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Full text of "A Select library of Nicene and post-Nicene fathers of the Christian church. Second series"













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A SELECT LIBRARY 



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NICENE AND POST-NICENE FATHERS 



OF 



THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. 

J&econb Series. 

TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH WITH PROLEGOMENA. AND EXPLANATORY NOTES 

UNDER THE EDITORIAL SUPERVISION OF 

PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D., LL.D., and HENRY WACE, D.D., 

Professor of Church History in the Union Theological " Principal of King's College, 

Srtninary, Neiv York. London. 

IN CONNECTION WITH A NUMBER OF PATRISTIC SCHOLARS OF EUROPB 

AND AMERICA. 



VOLUME V. 

GREGORY OF NYSSA : 
DOGMATIC TREATISES, ETC. 



NEW YORK: 

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS. 

1917. 
1 






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Co 

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COPYRIGHT, 1893, BY 

THE CHRISTIAN LITERATURE COMPANY. 



EDITOR'S PREFACE. 



THESE translations from the works of St. Gregory of Nyssa have involved 
unusual labour, which the Editor hopes will be accepted as a sufficient apology 
!br the delay of the volume. The difficulty has been extreme of conveying with 
rorrectness in English the meaning of expressions and arguments which depend 
jn some of the most subtle ideas of Greek philosophy and theology ; and, in 
addition to the thanks due to the translators, the Editor must offer a special 
acknowledgment of the invaluable help he has received from the exact and philo- 
sophical scholarship of the Rev. J. H. Lupton, Surmaster of St. Paul's School. He 
must renew to Mr. Lupton, with increased earnestness, the expression of gratitude he 
had already had occasion to offer in issuing the Translation of St. Athanasius. 
From the careful and minute revision which the volume has thus undergone, the 
Editor ventures to entertain some hope that the writings of this important 
and interesting Father are in this volume introduced to the English reader in a 
manner which will enable him to obtain a fair conception of their meaning and 
value. 

Henry Wace, 

Kings College, London, tth November, 189a. 



SELECT WRITINGS AND LETTERS 

OF 

GREGORY, BISHOP OF NYSSA, 



TRANSLATED, WITH PROLEGOMENA, NOTES, AND INDICES 

BY 

WILLIAM MOORE, M.A* 

Rector of Appleton, 
Late Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford; 

AND 

HENRY AUSTIN WILSON, M.A., 

Fellow and Librarian of Magdalen College, Oxford. 



PREFACE. 



That nor* of the Treatises of S. Gregory of Nyssa have hitherto been translated into 
English, or even (with one exception long ago) into French, may be partly due to the imperfections, 
both in number and quality, of the MSS., and by consequence of the Editions, of the great 
majority of them. The state of the MSS., again, may be owing to the suspicion diligently 
fostered by the zealous friends of the reputation of this Father, in ages when MSS. could and 
should have been multiplied and preserved, that there were large importations into his writings 
from the hands of the Origenists — a statement which a very short study of Gregory, whose 
thought is atways taking the direction of Origen, would disprove. 

This suspicion, while it resulted in throwing doubts upon the genuineness of the entire text, 
has so far deprived the current literature of the Church of a great treasure. For there are two 
qualities in this Gregory's writings not to be found in the same degree in any other Greek 
teacher, namely, a far-reaching use of philosophical speculation (quite apart from allegory) in 
bringing out the full meaning of Church doctrines, and Bible truths ; and excellence of style. 
With regard to this last, he himself bitterly deplored the days which he had wasted over the 
study of style ; but we at all events need not share that regret, if only for this reason, that his 
writings thereby show that patristic Greek could rise to the level of the best of its time. It is 
not necessarily the thing which it is, too easily, even in other instances, assumed to be. Granted 
the prolonged decadence of the language, yet perfects are not aorists, nor aorists perfects, 
the middle is a middle, there are classical constructions of the participle, the particles of 
transition and prepositions in composition have their full, force in Athanasius ; much more in 
Basil ; much more in Gregory. It obscures facts to say that there was good Greek only in the 
age of Thucydides. There was good and bad Greek of its kind, in every epoch, as long as 
Greek was living. So far for mere syntax. As for adequacy of language, the far wider range of 
his subject-matter puts Gregory of Nyssa to a severer test ; but he does not fail under it. What 
could be more dignified than his letter to Flavian, or more choice than his description of the 
spring, or more richly illustrated than his praises of Contemplation, or more pathetic than his 
pleading for the poor? It would have been strange indeed if the Greek language had not 
possessed a Jerome of its own, to make it speak the new monastic devotion. 

But the labours of J. A. Krabinger, F. Oehler, and G. H. Forbes upon the text, though all 
abruptly ended, have helped to repair the neglect of the past. They in this century, as the 
scholars of Paris, Ghent, and Basle, though each working with fewer or more imperfect MSS., 
in the sixteenth and seventeenth, have been better friends to Gregory than those who wrote books 
in the sixth to defend his orthodoxy, but to depreciate his writings. In this century, too, 
Cardinal Mai has rescued still more from oblivion in the Vatican — a slight compensation for all 
the materials collected for a Benedictine edition of Gregory, but dispersed in the French 
Revolution. 

The longest Treatise here translated is that Against Eunomius in 13 Books. The repro- 
duction of so much ineffectual fencing in logic over a question which no longer can trouble the 
Church might be taken exception to. But should men like Gregory and Basil, pleading for the 
spirit and for faith and for mystery against the conclusions of a hard logician, be an indifferent 
spectacle to us ? The interest, too, in the contest deepens when we know that their opponent 
not only proclaimed himself, but was accepted, as a martyr to the Anomcean cause ; and that 
he had large congregations to the very end. The moral force of Arianism was stronger than 
ever as its end drew near in the East, because the Homceans were broken up and there was no 
more complicity with the court and politics. It was represented by a man who had suffered 
and had made no compromises ; and so the life-long work, previous to his, of Valens the bishop 
at last bore fruit in conversions ; and the Anomcean teaching came to a head in the easily 



viii PREFACE. 



understood formula that the 'Ayewritria was the essence of the Father — an idea which in the 
1 >ated Creed Valens had repudiated. 

What, then, was to be done ? Eunomius seemed by his parade of logic to have dug a gulf 
for ever between the Ungenerate and the Generate, in other words between the Father and the 
Son. The merit and interest of this Treatise of Gregory consists in showing this logician as 
making endless mistakes in his logic ; and then, that anything short of the " eternal generation " 
involved unspeakable absurdities or profanities; and lastly, that Eunomius was fighting by 
means of distinctions which were the mere result of mental analysis. Already, we see, there 
was floating in the air the Conceptualism and Realism of the Middle Ages, invoked for this 
last Arian controversy. When Eunomius retorted that this faculty of analysis cannot give the 
name of God, and calls his opponents atheists for not recognizing the more than human source 
of the term 'AytVvjjros, tne l ast word of Nicene orthodoxy has to be uttered ; and it is, that 
God is really incomprehensible, and that here we can never know His name. 

This should have led to a statement of the claims of the Sacraments as placing us in heart 
and spirit, but not in mind, in communion with this incomprehensible God. But this would 
have been useless with such opponents as the Eunomians. Accuracy of doctrine and clearness 
of statement was to them salvation ; mysteries were worse than nothing. Only in the intervals 
of the logical battle, and for the sake of the faithful, does Gregory recur to those moral and 
spiritual attributes which a true Christianity has revealed in the Deity, and upon which the 
doctrine of the Sacraments is built. 

Such controversies are repeated now ; /. e. where truths, which it requires a certain state of 
the affections to understand, should be urged, but cannot be, on the one side ; and truths which 
are logical, or literary, or scientific only, are ranged on the other side ; as an instance, though 
in another field, the arguments for and against the results of the " higher criticism " of the Old 
Testament exhibit this irreconcilable attitude. 

Yet in one respect a great gain must have at once resulted to the Catholic cause from this 
long work. The counter opposition of Created and Uncreate, with which Gregory met the 
opposition of Generate and Ungenerate, and which, unlike the latter, is a dichotomy founded 
on an essential difference, must have helped many minds, distracted with the jargon of Arianism, 
to see more clearly the preciousness of the Baptismal Formula, as the casket which contains 
the Faith. Indeed, the life-work of Gregory was to defend this Formula. 

The Treatise On Virginity is probably the work of his youth ; but none the less Christian 
for that Here is done what students of Plato had doubtless long been asking for, /. e. that 
his " love of the Beautiful " should be spiritualized. Beginning with a bitter accusation of 
marriage, Gregory leaves the reader doubtful in the end whether celibacy is necessary or not 
for the contemplative life ; so absorbed he becomes in the task of showing the blessedness of 
those who look to the source of all visible beauty. But the result of this seeing is not, as in 
Plato, a mere enlightenment as to the real value of these visible things. There are so many 
more beautiful things in God than Plato saw ; the Christian revelation has infinitely enriched 
the field of contemplation ; and the lover of the beautiful now must be a higher character, and 
have a more chastened heart, not only be a more favoured child of light, than others. His 
enthusiasm shall be as strong as ever ; but the model is higher now ; and even an Aristotelian 
balance of moral extremes is necessary to guide him to the goal of a successful Imitation. 

It was right, too, that the Church should possess her Phcedo, or Death-bed Dialogue; and 
it is. Gregory who has supplied this in his On the Soul and the Resurrection. But the copy 
becomes an original. The dialogue is between a sister and a brother; the one a saintly 
Apologist, the other, for argument's sake, a gainsayer, who urges all the pleas of Greek 
materialism. Not only the immortality of the soul is discussed, but an exact definition of it 
is sought, and that in the light of a truer psychology than Plato's. His "chariot" is given 
up ; sensation, as the basis of all thought, is freely recognized ; and yet the passions are firmly 
separated from the actual essence of the soul ; further, the " coats of skins " of fallen humanity, 
as symbolizing the wrong use of the passions, take the place of the " sea-weed " on the statue of 
Glaucus. The grasp of the Christian philosopher of the traits of a perfect humanity, so 
conspicuous in his Making of Man, give him an advantage here over the pagan. As for 
the Resurrection of the flesh, it was a novel stroke to bring the beliefs of Empedocles, 
Pythagoras, Plato, and the later Platonists, into one focus as it were, and to show that the 
teaching of those philosophers as to the destinies of the soul recognized the possibility, or even 
the necessity, of the reassumption of some body. Grotesque objections to the Christian 
Resurrection, such as are urged nowadays, are brought forward and answered in this Treatise. 
The appeal to the Saviour, as to the Inspiration of the Old Testament, has raised again a 



PREFACE. ix 



discussion as to the Two Natures ; and will probably continue to do so. But before the subject 
of the " communication of attributes " can be entered upon, we must remember that Christ's 
mere humanity (as has been lately pointed out J ) is, to begin with, sinless. He was perfect man. 
What the attributes of a perfect, as contrasted with a fallen, humanity are, it is not given except 
by inference to know ; but no Father has discussed this subject of Adam's nature more fully 
than Gregory, in his treatise On the Making of Man. 

The reasons for classing the Great Catechism as an Apologetic are given in the Prolegomena : 
here from first to last Gregory shows himself a genuine pupil of Origen. The plan of Revela- 
tion is made to rest on man's free-will ; every objection to it is answered by the fact of this free- 
will. This plan is unfolded so as to cover the whole of human history ; the beginning, the middle, 
and the end are linked, in the exposition, indissolubly together. The Incarnation is the turning- 
point of history ; and yet, beyond this, its effects are for all Creation. Who made this theology ? 
Origen doubtless ; and his philosophy of Scripture, based on a few leading texts, became, one 
point excepted, the property of the Church : she at last possessed a Theodicee that borrowed 
nothing from Greek ideas. So far, then, every one who used it was an Origenist: and yet 
Gregory alone has suffered from this charge. In using this Theodicee he has in some points 
surpassed his master, /. e. in showing in details the skilfulness (ootyia) which effected the real 
" touching " of humanity ; and how the " touched " soul and the " touched " body shall follow 
in the path of the Redeemer's Resurrection. 

To the many points of modern interest in this Gregory should be added his eschatology, 
which occupies a large share of his thoughts. On Infants' Early Deaths is a witness of this. 
In fact, when not occupied in defending, on one side or another, the Baptismal Formula, he is 
absorbed in eschatology. He dwells continually on the agonizing and refining processes of 
Purgatory. But to claim him as one who favours the doctrine of " Eternal Hope " in a 
universal sense is hardly possible, when we consider the passage in On the Soul and the 
Resurrection where he speaks of a Last Judgment as coming after the Resurrection 
and Purgatory. 

So much has been said in a Preface, in order to show that this Volume is a step at least 
towards reinstating a most interesting writer, doubtless one of the most highly educated of his 
time, and, let it be observed as well, a canonized saint (for, more fortunate than his works, he 
was never branded as a heretic), in his true position. 

In a first English translation of Treatises and Letters most of which (notably the books against 
Eunomius) have never been illustrated by a single translator's note, and by but a handful of 
scholia, a few passages remain, which from the obscurity of their allusion, local or historical, are 
unexplained. In others the finest shades of meaning in one Greek word, insisted on in some 
argument, but which the best English equivalent fails to represent, cause the appearance of 
obscurity. But, throughout, the utmost clearness possible without unduly straining the literal 
meaning has been aimed at ; and in passages too numerous to name, most grateful acknowledg- 
ment is here made of the invaluable suggestions of the Rev. J. H. Lupton. 

It is hoped that the Index of Subjects will be of use, in lieu of an analysis, where an 
analysis has not been provided. The Index of Texts, all of which have been strictly verified, 
while it will be found to piove Gregory's thorough knowledge of Scripture (notwithstanding 
his somewhat classical training), does not attempt to distinguish between citation and reminis- 
cence ; care, however, has been taken that the reminiscence should be undoubted. 

The Index of Greek words (as also the quotations in foot-notes of striking sentences) has 
been provided for those interested in the study of later Greek. 

W. M. 

July, 1892. 

' Christut Comprobator, p. 99, sq. 



CONTENTS OF VOLUME V. 



fAOR 

Preface v ii 

Prolegomena »: — 

-~ Chapter I. A Sketch of the Life of Gregory I 

II. His general Character as a Theologian 8 

III. His Origenism 14 

IV. His Teaching on the Holy Trinity (by Rev. H. A. Wilson) 23 

V. MSS. and Editions 30 

I. Dogmatic Treatises : — 

Against Eunomius. P>ook I. Translation with Notes 33 

Note on 'Aysi'i'r/roc IOO 

Book II. Rev. H. C. Ogle's translation revised, with Notes, by Rev. II. A. 

Wilson lot 

Books III — TX. Translation with Notes by Rev. H. A. Wilson 135 

Books X — XII. Rev. II . C. Ogle's translation revised, with Notes, by Rev. H. A. 

Wilson 220 

Note on 'Ewivoia . 249 

Answer to Eunomius' Second Book. Translation by Rev. M. Day, completed and revised, 'with Notes 250 

On the Holy Spirit against Macedonius. A Fragment. Translation with Notes 315 

On the Holy Trinity. ") j 

On "Not three Gods." > Translation with Notes by Rev. H. A. Wilson 326, 331, 337 

v>- On the Faith. ) 



II. Ascetic and Moral : — 

^On Virginity. Translation with Notes 343 

On Infants' Early Deaths. Translation with Notes 372 

J_^_On Pilgrimages. Translation with Notes 382 

III. Philosophical : — 

On the Making of Man. Translation with Notes by Rev. H. A. Wilson 387 

£^«On the Soul and the Resurrection. Analysis, Translation and Notes 428 



IV. Apologetic :— 

The Great Catechism. Summary, Translation and Notes. 



471 



Oratorical : — 

On Meletius. Translation with Notes 513 

On the Baptism of Christ: A Sermon. Translation with Notes by Rev. H. A. Wilson 518 



VI. Letters. Translation with Notes 

I To Eusebius. Rev. H. C. Ogle's translation. 

2. To the City Sebasteia. do. 

3. To Ablabius. do. 
To Cynegius. do. 
A Testimonial. do. 
To Stagirius. do. 
To a Friend. do. 
To a Student of the Classics, do. 
An Invitation. do. 
To Libanius. do. * 



527 



4 

5 
6 

7 
8, 

9 
10 



11. To Libanius. Rev. H. C. Ogle's translation. 

12. On his Work against Eunomius. do. 

13. To the Church at Nicomedia. do. 

14. To the Bishop of Melitene. do. 

15. To Adelphius the Lawyer. By Rev. H. A. Wilson. 

16. To Amphilochius. do. 

17. To Eustathia, Ambrosia, and Basilica. 

By Rev. W. Moore. 

18. To Flavian. do. 



Appendix. List of remaining Treatises and Editions 549 

Indices : — General 553 

Of Scripture;- cited 561 

Of Greek words discussed 566 



1 The Chapters, Translations, Notes, Analysis, &c, are by Rev. W. Moore, except where otherwise stated. 



WORKS ON ANALYTICAL CRITICISM, HISTORY, AND 
BIBLIOGRAPHY, CONSULTED. 

Rupp (Dr. Julius), Gregors des Bischofs von Nyssa Leben und Meinungen. Leipzig, 1834. 

Moller (E. W.) Gregori Nysseni doctrinam de hominis natural et illustravit et cum OrigenianA 

comparavit. Halle, 1854. 
Denys (J.), De la Philosophic d'Orige'ne. Paris, 1884. 

Dorner (Dr. J. A.), Doctrine of the Person of Christ. Clark's English translation. Edinburgh. 
Heyns (S. P.), Disputatio Historico-Theologica de Gregorio Nysseno. Leyden, 1835. 
Alzog (Dr. J.), Handbuch d. Patrologie. 3rd ed. 1876. 

Ceillier (Re"mi), Histoire Gdnerale des Auteurs Sacrds et Eccle"siastiques. Paris, 1858 sqq. 
Tillemont (Louis Sebastien Le Nain De), Mdmoires pour servir a l'Histoire Eccle"siastique des six 

premiers Siecles, Vol. IX. Paris, 1693-17 12. 
Fabricius (J. A.), Bibliotheca Graeca. Hamburg, 1718-28. 
Prolegomena to the Paris edition of all Gregory's Works, with notes by Father Fronto Du Due, 

1638. 
Cave (Dr. W.), Historia Literaria. London, 1688. (Oxford, 1740.) 
Du Pin (Dr. L. E.) Library of Ecclesiastical Authors. Paris, 1686. 
Fessler (Joseph), Institutiones Patrologiae : Dr. B. Jungmann's edition. Innsbruck, 189a 

DATES OF TREATISES, &C, HERE TRANSLATED. 
{Based on Heyns and Rupp.) 

331. Gregory born. 

360. Letters x. xi. xv. 

361. Julian's edict. Gregory gives up rhetoric* 

362. Gregory in his brother's monastery. 

363. Letter vi. (probably). 

368. On Virginity. 

369. Gregory elected a Reader. 

372. Gregory elected Bishop of Nyssa early in this year. 

374. Gregory is exiled under Valens. 

375. On the Faith. On " Not three Gods." 

376. Letters vii. xiv. On the Baptism of Christ, 

377. Against Macedonius. 

378. Gregory returns to his See. Letter Hi. 

379. On Pilgrimages^ 
Letter ii. 

380. On the Soul and the Resurrection. 
On the Making of Man. 

On the Holy Trinity. 

381. Gregory present at the Second Council. Oration on Meletiut. 
382-3. Against Eunomius, Books I — XII. 

Letter to Eustathia. 

383. Present at Constantinople. Letter xii. 

384. Answer to Eunomius 1 Second Book. 

385. The Great Catechism. 

386. Letter xiii. 
390. Letter iv. 

393. Letter to Flavian. 

394. Present for Synod at Constantinople. 

395. On Injants 1 Early Deaths. 

I Rupp places this after the Council of Constantinople, 381. 
Letters i. . v., via., be., xvi. are also probably after 381. 






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THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF 

GREGORY OF NYSSA. 



CHAPTER I. 
A Sketch of the Life of S. Gregory of Nyssa, 

In the roll of the Nicene Fathers there is no more honoured name than that of Gregory of 
Nyssa. Besides the praises of his great brother Basil and of his equally great friend Gregory 
Nazianzen, the sanctity of his life, his theological learning, and his strenuous advocacy of the 
faith embodied in the Nicene clauses, have received the praises of Jerome, Socrates, 
Theodoret, and many other Christian writers. Indeed such was the estimation in which he 
was held that some did not hesitate to call him 'the Father of Fathers' as well as ' the Star 
of Nyssa.*.' 

Gregory of Nyssa was equally fortunate in his country, the name he bore, and the family 
which produced him. He ,was a native of Cappadocia, and was born most probably at 
Caesarea, the capital, about a.d. 335 or 336. No province of the Roman Empire had in those 
early ages received more eminent Christian bishops than Cappadocia and the adjoining district 
of Pontus. 

In the previous century the great prelate Firmilian, the disciple and friend of Origen, who 
visited him at his See, had held the Bishopric of Caesarea. In the same age another saint, 
Gregory Thaumaturgus, a friend also and disciple of Origen, was bishop of Neo-Caesarea in 
^or'us. During the same century, too, no less than four other Gregories shed more or less 
lusue on bishoprics in that country. The family of Gregory of Nyssa was one of considerable 
wealth and distinction, and one also conspicuously Christian. 

During the Diocletian persecution his grandparents had fled for safety to the mountainous 
region of Pontus, where they endured great hardships and privations. It is said that his 
maternal grandfather, whose name is unknown, eventually lost both life and property. After 
a retirement of some few years the family appear to have returned and settled at Caesarea in 
Cappadocia, or else at Neo- Caesarea in Pontus, for there is some uncertainty in the account. 

Gregory's father, Basil, who gave his name to his eldest son, was known as a rhetorician. 
He died at a comparatively early age, leaving a family of ten children, five of whom were 
boys and five girls, under the care of their grandmother Macrina and mother Emmelia. 
Both of these illustrious ladies were distinguished for the earnestness and strictness of their 
Christian principles, to which the latter added the charm of great personal beauty. 

All the sons and daughters appear to have been of high character, but it is only of four 
sons and one daughter that we have any special record. The daughter, called Macrina, from 
her grandmother, was the angel in the house of this illustrious family. She shared with her 
grandmother and mother the care and education of all its younger members. Nor was there 

1 'O ruv HaT^puv HaTTJp ; 6 ru>v JWaaeW ^wtrnjp, Council. Nic II. Act. VI. Edition of Labbe. p. 477.— Nicephor. Callivr. 
H.E. xi. 19. 

VOL. V. R 



PROLEGOMENA. 



one of them who did not owe to her religious influence their settlement in the faith and con- 
sistency of Christian conduct 

This admirable woman had been betrothed in early life, but her intended husband died ot 
fever. She permitted herself to contract no other alliance, but regarded herself as still united 
(to her betrothed in the other world. She devoted herself to a religious life, and eventually, 
with her mother Emmelia, established a female conventual society on the family property in 
Pontus, at a place called Annesi, on the banks of the river Iris. 

It was owing to her persuasions that her brother Basil also gave up the worldly life, and 
retired to lead the devout life in a wild spot in the immediate neighbourhood of Annesi. 
Here for a while he was an hermit, and here he persuaded his friend Gregory Nazianzen to 
join him. They studied together the works of Origen, and published a selection of extracts 
from his Commentaries, which they called " Philocalia." By the suggestions of a friend Basil 
enlarged his idea,, and converted his hermit's seclusion into a monastery, which eventually 
became the centre of many others which sprung up in that district. 

His inclination for the monastic life had been greatly influenced by his acquaintance with 
the Egyptian monks, who had impressed him with the value S)t their system as an aid to a life 
of religious devotion. He had visited also the hermit saints of Syria and Arabia, and learnt 
from them the practice of a severe asceticism, which both injured his health and shortened 
his days. 

Gregory of Nyssa was the third son, and one of the youngest of the family. He had an 
•elder brother, Nectarius, who followed the profession of their father, and became rhetorician, 
and like him died early. He had also a younger brother, Peter, who became bishop of 
Sebaste. 

Besides the uncertainty as to the year and place of his birth it is not known where he 
received his education. From the weakness of his health and delicacy of his constitution, it 
was most probably at home- It is interesting, in the case of one so highly educated, to know 
who, in consequence of his father's early death, took charge of his merely intellectual bringing 
up : and his own words do not leave us in any doubt that, so far as he had a teacher, it was 
Basil, his senior by several years. He constantly speaks of him as the revered ' Master : ' 
to take but one instance, he says in his Hexaemeron (ad init.) that all that will be striking in that 
work will be due to Basil, what is inferior will be the ' pupil's.' Even in the matter of style, 
he says in a letter written in early life to Libanius that though he enjoyed his brother's society 
but a short time yet Basil was the author of his oratory (\6yov) : and it is safe to conclude that 
he was introduced to all that Athens had to teach, perhaps even to medicine, by Basil : for 
Basil had been at Athens. On the other hand we can have no difficulty in crediting his 
mother, of whom he always spoke with the tenderest affection, and his admirable sister 
Macrina, with the care of his religious teaching. Indeed few could be more fortunate than 
■Gregory in the influences of home. If, as there is every reason to believe, the grandmother 
Macrina survived Gregory's early childhood, then, like Timothy, he was blest with the religious 
instruction of another Lois and Eunice. 

In this chain of female relationship it is difficult to say which link is worthier of note, 
grandmother, mother, or daughter. Of the first, Basil, who attributes his early religious 
impressions to his grandmother, tells us that as a child she taught him a Creed, which had 
been drawn up for the use of the Church of Neo-Caesarea by Gregory Thaumaturgus. This 
Creed, it is said, was revealed to the Saint in a vision. It has been translated by Bishop Bull 
in his " Fidei Nicaenae Defensio." In its language and spirit it anticipates the Creed of 
Constantinople. 

Certain it is that Gregory had not the benefit of a residence at Athens, or of foreign 
travel. It might have given him a strength of character and width of experience, in which 
he was certainly deficient. His shy and retiring disposition induced him to remain at home 



A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF S. GREGORY OF NY.SSA. 3 

without choosing a profession, living on his share of the paternal property, and educating 
himself by a discipline of his own. 

He remained for years unbaptized. And this is a very noticeable circumstance which 
meets us in the lives of many eminent Saints ami Bishops of the Church. They either delayed 
baptism themselves, or it was delayed for them. Indeed there are instances of Bishops 
baptized and consecrated the same day. 

Gregory's first inclination or impulse to make a public profession of Christianity is said 
to have been due to a remarkable dream or vision. 

His mother Emmelia, at her retreat at Annesi, urgently entreated him to be present and 
take part in a religious ceremony in honour of the Forty Christian Martyrs. He had gone 
unwillingly, and wearied with his journey and the length of the service, which lasted far into 
the night, he lay down and fell asleep in the garden. He dreamed that the Martyrs appeared 
to him and, reproaching him for his indifference, beat him with rods. On awaking he was 
filled with remorse, and hastened to amend his past neglect by earnest entreaties for mercy and 
forgiveness. Under the influence of the terror which his dream inspired he consented to 
undertake the office of reader in the Church, which of course implied a profession of 
Christianity. But some unfitness, and, perhaps, that love of eloquence which clung to him 
to the last, soon led him to give up the office, and adopt the profession of a rhetorician or 
advocate. For this desertion of a sacred for a secular employment he is taken severely to 
task by his brother Basil and his friend Gregory Nazianzen. The latter does not hesitate to 
charge him with being influenced, not by conscientious scruples, but by vanity and desire 
of public display, a charge not altogether consistent with his character. 

Here it is usual to place the marriage of Gregory with Theosebeia, said to have been 
a sister of Gregory Nazianzen. Certainly the tradition of Gregory's marriage received such 
credit as to be made in after times a proof of the non-celibacy of the Bishops of his age. 
But it rests mainly on two passages, which taken separately are not in the least conclusive. 
The first is the ninety-fifth letter of Gregory Nazianzen, written to console for a certain loss by 
death, i. e. of " Theosebeia, the fairest, the most lustrous even amidst such beauty of the 
dSeXQoi ; Theosebeia, the true priestess, the yokefellow and the equal of a priest." J. Rupphas 
well pointed out that the expression ' yokefellow ' (o-vCvyov), which has been insisted as meaning 
'wife,' may, especially in the language of Gregory Nazianzen, be equivalent to d8e\<p6s. He 
sees in this Theosebeia ' a sister of the Cappadocian brothers.' The second passage is 
contained in the third cap. of Gregory's treatise On Virginity. Gregory there complains that 
he is "cut off by a kind of gulf from this glory of virginity" (napOevla). The whole passage 
should be consulted. Of course its significance depends on the meaning given to napdevla. 
Rupp asserts that more and more towards the end of the century this word acquired a technical 
meaning derived from the purely ideal side, i. e. virginity of soul : and that Gregory is alluding 
to the same thing that his friend had not long before blamed him for, the keeping of a school 
for rhetoric, where his object had been merely worldly reputation, and the truly ascetic career 
had been marred (at the time he wrote). Certainly the terrible indictment of marriage in the 
third cap. of this treatise comes ill from one whose wife not only must have been still living, 
but possessed the virtues sketched in the letter of Gregory Nazianzen : while the allusions at 
the end of it to the law-courts and their revelations appear much more like the professional 
reminiscence of a rhetorician who must have been familiar with them, than the personal com- 
plaint of one who had cause to depreciate marriage. The powerful words of Basil, de Virgin. 
I. 6ro, a. b., also favour the above view of the meaning of napdevla: and Gregory elsewhere 
distinctly calls celibacy napdevla roi o-apaTos, and regards it as a means only to this higher 
napdfvia (III. 131). But the two passages above, when combined, may have led to the 
tradition of Gregory's marriage. Nicephorus Callistus, for example, who first makes mention 
of it, must have put upon napdevla the interpretation of his own time (thirteenth century,) 

b 2 



PROLEGOMENA. 



i. e. that of continence. Finally, those who adopt this tradition have still to account for the 
fact that no allusion to Theosebeia as his wife, and no letter to her, is to be found in Gregory's 
numerous writings. It is noteworthy that the Benedictine editors of Gregory Nazianzen 
(ad Epist. 95) also take the above view. 

His final recovery and conversion to the Faith, of which he was always after 30 strenuous an 
asserter, was due to her who, all things considered, was the master spirit of the family. By 
the powerful persuasions of his sister Macrina, at length, after much struggle, he altered entirely 
his way of life, severed himself from all secular occupations, and retired to his brother's 
monastery in the solitudes of Pontus, a beautiful spot, and where, as we have seen, his mother 
and sister had established, in the immediate neighbourhood, a similar association for women. 

Here, then, Gregory was settled for several years, and devoted himself to the study of the 
Scripture and the works of his master Origen. Here, too, his love of natural scenery was 
deepened so as to find afterwards constant and adequate expression. For in his writings we 
have in large measure that sentiment of delight in the beauty of nature of which, even when 
it was felt, the traces are so few and far between in the whole range of Greek literature. 
A notable instance is the following from the Letter to Adelphus, written long afterwards : — 
" The gifts bestowed upon the spot by Nature, who beautifies the earth with an impromptu 
grace, are such as these : below, the river Halys makes the place fair to look upon 
with his banks, and glides like a golden ribbon through their deep purple, reddening his 
current with the soil he washes down. Above, a mountain densely overgrown with wood 
stretches, with its long ridge, covered at all points with the foliage of oaks, more worthy of 
finding some Homer to sing its praises than that Ithacan Neritus which the poet calls ' far-seen 
with quivering leaves.' But the natural growth of wood as it comes down the hill-side meets 
at the foot the plantations of human husbandry. For forthwith vines, spread out over the 
slopes and swellings and hollows at the mountain's base, cover with their colour, like a green 
mantle, all the lower ground : and the season also was now adding to their beauty with a 
display of magnificent grape-clusters." Another is from the treatise On Infants' Early Deaths : 
— " Nay look only at an ear of corn, at the germinating of some plant, at a ripe bunch of grapes, 
at the beauty of early autumn whether in fruit or flower, at the grass springing unbidden, at the 
mountain reaching up with its summit to the height of the ether, at the springs of the lower 
ground bursting from its flanks in streams like milk, and running in rivers through the glens, at 
the sea receiving those streams from every direction and yet remaining within its limits with 
waves edged by the stretches of beach, and never stepping beyond those fixed boundaries : 
and how can the eye of reason fail to find in them all that our education for Realities 
requires ? " The treatise On Virginity was the fruit of this life in Basil's monastery. 

Henceforward the fortunes of Gregory are more closely linked with those of his great brother 
Basil. 

About a. d. 365 Basil was summoned from his retirement to act as coadjutor to Eusebius, the 
Metropolitan of Caesarea in Cappadocia, and aid him in repelling the assaults of the Arian faction 
on the Faith. In these assaults the Arians were greatly encouraged and assisted by the proclivities 
of the Emperor Valens. After some few years of strenuous and successful resistance, and the 
endurance of great persecution from the Emperor and his Court, a persecution which indeed 
pursued him through life, Basil is called by the popular voice, on the death of Eusebius, 
a. d. 370, to succeed him in the See. His election is vehemently opposed, but after much 
turmoil is at length accomplished. 

To strengthen himself in his position, and surround himself with defenders of the orthodox 
Faith, he obliges his brother Gregory, in spite of his emphatic protest, to undertake the 
Bishopric of Nyssa *, a small town in the west of Cappadocia. When a friend expressed his 

surprise that he had chosen so obscure a place for such a man as Gregory, he replied, that 

— — 1— — ' # 

1 Now Nirse. . - 



A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF S. GREGORY OF NYSSA. 5 

he did not desire his brother to receive distinction from the name of his See, but rather to 
confer distinction upon it. 

It was with the same feeling, and by the exercise of a like masterful will, that he forced upon 
his friend Gregory Nazianzen the Bishopric of a still more obscure and unimportant place, 
called Sasima. But Gregory highly resented the nomination, which unhappily led to a life- 
long estrangement. 

It was about this time, too, that a quarrel had arisen between Basil and their uncle, 
another Gregory, one of the Cappadocian Bishops. And here Gregory of Nyssa gave 
a striking proof of the extreme simplicity and unrefiectiveness of his character, which without 
guileful intent yet led him into guile. Without sufficient consideration he was induced to 
practise a deceit which was as irreconcileable with Christian principle as with common sense. 
In his endeavours to set his brother and uncle at one, when previous efforts had been in vain, 
he had recourse to an extraordinary method. He forged a letter, as if from their uncle, to 
Basil, earnestly entreating reconciliation. The inevitable discovery of course only widened 
the breach, and drew down on Gregory his brother's indignant condemnation. The recon- 
ciliation, however, which Gregory hoped for, was afterwards brought about. 

Nor was this the only occasion on which Gregory needed Basil's advice and reproof, and 
protection from the consequences of his inexperienced zeal. After he had become Bishop of 
Nyssa, with a view to render assistance to his brother he promoted the summoning of Synods. 
But Basil's wider experience told him that no good would come of such assemblies under 
existing circumstances. Besides which he had reason to believe that Gregory would be made 
the tool of factious and designing men. He therefore discouraged the attempt. At another 
time Basil had to interpose his authority to prevent his brother joining in a mission to Rome 
to invite the interference of Pope Damasus and the Western Bishops in the settlement of the 
troubles at Antioch in consequence of the disputed election to the See. Basil had himself 
experience of the futility of such application to Rome, from the want of sympathy in the Pope 
and the Western Bishops with the troubles in the East. Nor would he, by such application, 
give a handle for Rome's assertion of supremacy, and encroachment on the independence of 
the Eastern Church. The Bishopric of Nyssa was indeed to Gregory no bed of roses. Sad 
was the contrast to one of his gentle spirit, more fitted for studious retirement and monastic 
calm than for controversies which did not end with the pen, between the peaceful leisure of his 
retreat in Pontus and the troubles and antagonisms of his present position. The enthusiasm 
of his faith on the subject of the Trinity and the Incarnation brought upon him the full weight 
of Arian and Sabellian hostility, aggravated as it was by the patronage of the Emperor. In 
fact his whole life at Nyssa was a series of persecutions. 

A charge of uncanonical irregularity in his ordination is brought up against him by certain 
Arian Bishops, and he is summoned to appear and answer them at a Synod at Ancyra. To 
this was added the vexation of a prosecution by Demosthenes, the Emperor's chef de cuisine, 
on a charge of defalcation in the Church funds. 

A band of soldiers is sent to fetch him to the Synod. The fatigue of the journey, and 
the rough treatment of his conductors, together with anxiety of mind, produce a fever which 
prevents his attendance. His brother Basil comes to his assistance. He summons anothei 
Synod of orthodox Cappadocian Bishops, who dictate in their joint names a courteous letter, 
apologising for Gregory's absence from the Synod of Ancyra, and proving the falsehood of the 
charge of embezzlement At the same time he writes to solicit the interest of Astorgus, 
a person of considerable influence at the Court, to save his brother from the indignity of being 
dragged before a secular tribunal. 

Apparently the application was unsuccessful, Demosthenes now obtains the holding 
another Synod at Gregory's own See of Nyssa, where he is summoned to answer the same 
charges. Gregory refuses to attend. He is consequently pronounced contumacious, and 



PROLEGOMENA. 



deposed from his Bishopric. His deposition is followed immediately by a decree of banish- 
ment from the Emperor, a.d. 376. He retires to Seleucia. But his banishment did not 
secure him from the malice and persecution of his enemies. He is obliged frequently to 
shift his quarters, and is subjected to much bodily discomfort and suffering. From the 
consoling answers of his friend Gregory of Nazianzen (for his own letters are lost), we learn 
the crushing effects of all these troubles upon his gentle and sensitive spirit, and the 
deep despondency into which he had fallen. 

At length there is a happier turn of affairs. The Emperor Valens is killed, a.d. 378, and 
with him Arianism 'vanished in the crash of Hadrianople.' He is succeeded by Gratian, the 
friend and disciple of St. Ambrose. The banished orthodox Bishops are restored to their Sees, 
and Gregory returns to Nyssa. In 2 one of his letters, most probably to his brother Basil, he 
gives a graphic description of the popular triumph with which his return was greeted. 

But the joy of his restoration is overshadowed by domestic sorrows. His great brother, 
to whom he owed so much, soon after dies, ere he is 50 years of age, worn out by his 
unparalleled toils and the severity of his ascetic life. Gregory celebrated his death in a sincere 
panegyric. Its high-flown style is explained by the rhetorical fashion of the time. The 
same year another sorrow awaits him. After a separation of many years he revisits his sister 
Macrina, at her convent in Pontus, but only to find her on her death-bed. We have an 
interesting and graphic account of the scene between Gregory and his dying sister. To the last 
this admirable woman appears as the great teacher of her family. She supplies her brother with 
arguments for, and confirms his faith in, the resurrection of the dead ; and almost reproves him 
for the distress he felt at her departure, bidding him, with St. Paul, not to sorrow as those 
who had no hope. After her decease an inmate of the convent, named Vestiana, brought to 
Gregory a ring, in which was a piece of the true Cross, and an iron cross, both of which were 
found on the body when laying it out. One Gregory retained himself, the other he gave to 
Vestiana. He buried his sister in the chapel at Annesi, in which her parents and her 
brother Naucratius slept. 

From henceforth the labours of Gregory have a far more extended range. He steps into 
the place vacated by the death of Basil, and takes foremost rank among the defenders of the 
Faith of Nicaea. He is not, however, without trouble still from the heretical party. Certain 
Galatians had been busy in sowing the seeds of their heresy among his own people. He is 
subjected, too, to great annoyance from the disturbances which arose out of the wish of the 
people of Ibera in Pontus to have him as their Bishop. In that early age of the Church 
election to a Bishopric, if not dependent on the popular voice, at least called forth the ex- 
pression of much popular feeling, like a contested election amongst ourselves. This often 
led to breaches of the peace, which required military intervention to suppress them, as it 
appears to have done on this occasion. 

But the reputation of Gregory is now so advanced, and the weight of his authority as an 
eminent teacher so generally acknowledged, that we find him as one of the Prelates at the 
Synod of Antioch assembled for the purpose of healing the long-continued schisms in that 
distracted See. By the same Synod Gregory is chosen to visit and endeavour to reform the 
Churches of Arabia and Babylon, which had fallen into a very corrupt and degraded state. 
He gives a lamentable account of their condition, as being beyond all his powers of reforma- 
tion. On this same journey he visits Jerusalem and its sacred scenes : it has been con- 
jectured that the Apollinarian heresy drew him thither. Of the Church of Jerusalem 
he can give no better account than of those he had already visited. He expresses himself 
as greatly scandalized at the conduct of the Pilgrims who visited the Holy City on the 
plea of religion. Writing to three ladies, whom he had known at Jerusalem, he takes occasion, 
from what he had witnessed there, to speak of the uselessness of pilgrimages as any aids to 

2 Epist. 1 1 1. (Zac.igni's collection). 



A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF S. GREGORY OF NYSSA. 7 

reverence and faith, and denounces in the strongest terms the moral dangers to which all 
pilgrims, especially women, are exposed. 

This letter is so condemnatory of what was a common and authorized practice of the 
mediaeval Church that 3 Divines of the Latin communion have endeavoured, but in vain, to 
deny its authenticity. 

The name and character of Gregory had now reached the Imperial Court, where Theo- 
dosius had lately succeeded to the Eastern Empire. As a proof of the esteem in which he 
was then held, it is said that in his recent journey to Babylon and the Holy Land he travelled 
with carriages provided for him by the Emperor. 

Still greater distinction awaits him. He is one of the hundred and fifty Bishops 
summoned by Theodosius to the second (Ecumenical Council, that of Constantinople, 
a.d. 381. To the assembled Fathers he brings an * instalment of his treatise against the 
Eunomian heresy, which he had written in defence of his brother Basil's positions, on the subject 
of the Trinity and the Incarnation. This he first read to his friend Gregory Nazianzen, Jerome, 
and others. Such was the influence he exercised in the Council that it is said, though this 
is very doubtful, that the explanatory clauses added to the Nicene Creed are due to him. 
Certain, however, it is that he delivered the inaugural address, which is not extant ; further 
that he preached the funeral oration, which has been preserved, on the death of Meletius, 
of Antioch, the first President of the Council, who died at Constantinople ; also that he 
preached at the enthronement of Gregory Nazianzen in the capital. This oration has perished. 

Shortly before the close of the Council, by a Constitution of the Emperor, issued from 
Heraclea, Gregory is nominated as one of the Bishops who were to be regarded as the central 
authorities of Catholic Communion. In other words, the primacy of Rome or Alexandria 
in the East was to be replaced by that of other Sees, especially Constantinople. Helladius 
of Caesarea was to be Gregory's colleague in his province. The connexion led to a misunder- 
standing. As to the grounds of this there is much uncertainty. The account of it is entirely 
derived from Gregory himself in his Letter to Flavian, and from his great namesake. Possibly 
there were faults on both sides. 

We do not read of Gregory being at the Synod, a.d. 382, which followed the great Council 
of Constantinople. But we find him present at the Synod held the following year. 

This same year we have proof of the continued esteem and favour shown him by the 
Imperial Court. He is chosen to pronounce the funeral oration on the infant Princess 
Pulcheria. And not long after that also on the death of the Empress Flaccilla, or Placidia, 
herself. This last was a magnificent eulogy, but one, according to Tillemont, even surpassed 
by that of Theodoret. This admirable and holy woman, a saint of the Eastern Church, fully 
warranted all the praise that could be bestowed upon her. If her husband Theodosius did not 
owe his conversion to Christianity to her example and influence, he certainly did his adherence 
to the true Faith. It is one of the subjects of Gregory's praise of her that by her persuasion 
the Emperor refused to give an interview to the ' rationalist of the fourth century,' Eunomius. 

Scarcely anything is known of the latter years of Gregory of Nyssa's life. The last record 
we have of him is that he was present at a Synod of Constantinople, summoned a.d. 394, 
by Rufinus, the powerful praefect of the East, under the presidency of Nectarius. The rival 
claims to the See of Bostra in Arabia had to be then settled ; but perhaps the chief reason for 
summoning this assembly was to glorify the consecration of Rufinus' new Church in the 
suburbs. It was there that Gregory delivered the sermon which was probably his last, wrongly 
entitled ' On his Ordination: His words, which heighten the effect of others then preached, 
are humbly compared to the blue circles painted on the new walls as a foil to the gilded dome 
above. " The whole breathes a calmer and more peaceful spirit ; the deep sorrow over heretics 



3 Notably Bellarniine : Gretser. the Jesuit, against the Calvinist Molino. 

4 See Note i to the Introductory Letter to the Treatise. 



8 PROLEGOMENA. 



who forfeit the blessings of the Spirit changes only here and there into the flashes of a short- 
lived indignation." (J. Rupp.) 

The prophecy of Basil had come true. Nyssa was ennobled by the name of its bishop 
appearing on the roll of this Synod, between those of the Metropolitans of Caesarea and 
Iconium. Even in outward rank he is equal to the highest. The character of Gregory could 
not be more justly drawn than in the words of Tillemont (IX. p. 269). " Autant en effet, qu' on 
peutjugerde lui par ses ecrits, c'etoit un esprit doux, bon, facile, qui avec beaucoup d'elevation 
et de lumiere, avoit neanmois beaucoup de simplicite et de candeur, qui aimoit plus le repos 
que Taction, et le travail du cabinet que le tumulte des affaires, qui avec cela etoit sans faste, 
dispose & estimer et it louer les autres et a se mettre a dessous d'eux. Mais quoiqu' il ne cher- 
chat que le repos, nous avons vu que son zele pour ses freres l'avoit souvent engage 4 de 
grands travaux, et que Dieu avait honore sa simplicite en le faisant regarder comme le maitre, 
le docteur, le pacificateur et l'arbitre des eglises." 

His death (probably 395) is commemorated by the Greek Church on January 10, by the 
Latin on March 9. 

CHAPTER II. 
His General Character as a Theologian. 

" The first who sought to establish by rational considerations the whole complex of 
orthodox doctrines." So Ueberweg (History of Philosophy, p. 326) of Gregory of Nyssa. 
This marks the transition from ante-Nicene times. Then, at all events in the hands of Origen, 
philosophy was identical with theology. Now, that there is a ' complex of orthodox doctrines' 
to defend, philosophy becomes the handmaid of theology. Gregory, in this respect, has done 
the most important service of any of the writers of the Church in the fourth century. He treats 
each single philosophical view only as a help to grasp the formulae of faith ; and the truth of 
that view consists with him only in its adaptability to that end. Notwithstanding strong 
speculative leanings he does not defend orthodoxy either in the fashion of the Alexandrian 
school or in the fashion of some in modern times, who put forth a system of philosophy to 
which the dogmas of the Faith are to be accommodated. 

If this be true, the question as to his attitude towards Plato, which is one of the first that 
suggests itself, is settled. Against polytheism he does indeed seek to defend Christianity by 
connecting it apologetically with Plato's system. This we cannot be surprised at, considering 
that the definitions of the doctrines of the Catholic Church were formed in the very place 
where the last considerable effort of Platonism was made ; but he by no means makes the 
New Life in any way dependent on this system of philosophy. " We cannot speculate," he 
says {De Anim. et Resurrect.), . . . "we must leave the Platonic car." But still when he is 
convinced that Plato will confirm doctrine he will, even in polemic treatises, adopt his view ; 
for instance, he seeks to grasp the truth of the Trinity from the Platonic account of our internal 
consciousness, i.e. ^vx*), Xo'yot, vois ; because such a proof from consciousness is, to Gregory, 
the surest and most reliable. 

The " rational considerations," then, by which Gregory would have established Christian 
doctrine are not necessarily drawn from the philosophy of the time : nor, further, does he seek 
to rationalize entirely all religious truth. In fact he resigns the hope of comprehending the 
Incarnation and all the- great articles. This is the very thing that distinguishes the Catholic 
from the Eunomian. " Receiving the fact we leave untampered with the manner of the crea- 
tion of the Universe, as altogether secret and inexplicable '." With a turn resembling the view 
of Tertullian, he comes back to the conclusion that for us after all Religious Truth consists in 
mystery. " The Church possesses the means of demonstrating these things : or rather, 



1 Cp. Or. Cat. c. xL 



HIS GENERAL CHARACTER AS A THEOLOGIAN. 



she has faith, which is surer than demonstration I ." He developes the truth of the Resur- 
rection as much by the fulfilment of God's promises as by metaphysics : and it has been 
considered as one of the proofs that the treatise What is being 'in the image of God'? is 
not his that this subordination of philosophical proof to the witness of the Holy Spirit is not 
preserved in it 

Nevertheless there was a large field, larger even than in the next century, in which ration- 
alizing was not only allowable, but was even required of him. In this there are three questions 
which Gregory has treated with particular fulness and originality. They are: — i. Evil; 
2. The relation between the ideal and the actual Man ; 3. Spirit. 

I. He takes, to begin with, Origen's view of evil. Virtue and Vice are not opposed to 
each other as two Existencies : but as Being is opposed to not-Being. Vice exists only as an 
absence. But how did this arise? 

In answering this question he seems sometimes to come very near Manicheism, and his 
writings must be read very carefully, in order to avoid fixing upon him the groundless charge 
that he leaves evil in too near connexion with Matter. But the passages 2 which give rise to 
this charge consist of comparisons found in his homilies and meditations ; just as a modern 
theologian might in such works make the Devil the same as Sin and Death. The only 
imperfection in his view is that he is unable 3 to regard evil as not only suffered but even 
per?nitted by God. But this imperfection is inseparable from his time : for Manicheism was 
too near and its opposition too little overcome for such a view to be possible for him ; he 
could not see that it is the only one able thoroughly to resist Dualism. 

Evil with Gregory is to be found in the spontaneous proclivity of the soul towards Matter: 
but not in Matter itself. Matter, therefore, in his eschatology is not to be burnt up and 
annihilated : only soul and body have to be refined, as gold (this is a striking comparison) 
is refined. He is very clear upon the relations between the three factors, body, matter, and 
eviL He represents the mind as the mirror of the Archetypal Beauty : then below the mind 
comes body (</>u«n?) which is connected with mind and pervaded by it, and when thus trans- 
figured and beautified by it becomes itself the mirror of this mirror : and then this body in its 
turn influences and combines Matter. The Beauty of the Supreme Being thus penetrates 
all things : and as long as the lower holds on to the higher all is well. But if a rupture occurs 
anywhere, then Matter, receiving no longer influence from above, reveals its own deformity, 
and imparts something of it to body and, through that, to mind : for matter is in itself 
1 a. shapeless unorganized thing *.' Thus the mind loses the image of God. But evil began 
when the rupture was made : and what caused that ? When and how did the mind become 
separated from God ? 

Gregory answers this question by laying it down as a principle, that everything created 
is subject to change. The Uncreate Being is changeless, but Creation, since its very beginning 
was owing to a change, i.e. a calling of the non-existent into existence, is liable to alter. 
Gregory deals here with angelic equally as with human nature, and with all the powers in both, 
especially with the will, whose virtual freedom he assumes throughout. That, too, was 
created ; therefore that, too, could change. 

It was possible, therefore, that, first, one of the created spirits, and, as it actually happened, 
he who was entrusted with the supervision of the earth, should choose to turn his eyes away 
from the Good ; he thus looked at a lower good ; and so began to be envious and to have nadrj. 
All evil followed in a chain from this beginning ; according to the principle that the beginning 
of anything is the cause of all that follows in its train. 

• In verba i faciamus hominem,' I. p. 14a I of the earth, so that the thought great in wickedness should vanish, 



2 De Per/. Christiani Forma, III. p. 294, he calls the ' Prince of 
darkness ' the author of sin and death : In Christi Resurrect. III. 
p. 386, he calls Satan ' the heart of the earth : ' and p. 387 identifies 
him with sin, 'And so the real wisdom visits that arrogant heart 



and the darkness should be lightened, &c.' 

3 As expressed by S. Thomas Aquinas Summ. I. Qu. xix. Art. 9, 
Deo nee nolente, nee volente, sed permittente. . . . Deus neque vult 
fieri, neque vult non fieri, sed vult permittere mala fieri. 

4 De Virginit. c. xi. 



io PROLEGOMENA. 



So the Devil fell : and the proclivity to evil was introduced into the spiritual world. Man, 
however, still looked to God and was filled with blessings (this is the ' ideal man ' of Gregory). 
But as when the flame has got hold of a wick one cannot dim its light by means of the flame 
itself, but only by mixing water with the oil in the wick, so the Enemy effected the weakening 
of God's blessings in man by cunningly mixing wickedness in his will, as he had mixed it in 
his own. From first to last, then, evil lies in the irpoatptats and in nothing else. 

God knew what would happen and suffered it, that He might not destroy our freedom, 
the inalienable heritage of reason and therefore a portion of His image in us. 'He 'gave 
scope to evil for a nobler end' Gregory calls it a piece of " little mindedness " to argue from 
evil either the weakness or the wickedness of God. 

II. His remarks on the relation between the ideal and the actual Man are very interesting. 
It is usual with the other Fathers, in speaking of man's original perfection, to take the moment 
of the first man's residence in Paradise, and to regard the whole of human nature as there repre- 
sented by the first two human beings. Gregory is far removed from this way of looking at the 
matter. With him human perfection is the ' idea ' of humanity : he sees already in the bodily- 
created Adam the fallen man. The present man is not to be distinguished from that bodily 
Adam ; both fall below the ideal type. Gregory seems to put the Fall beyond and before the 
beginning of history. ' Under the form of narrative Moses places before us mere doctrine *.* 
The locus classicus about the idea and the reality of human nature is On the Making of Man, I. 
p. 88 f. He sketches both in a masterly way. He speaks of the division of the human race 
into male and female as a ' device ' (<Vtr«^i^<rtf), implying that it was not the first ' organization ' 
(KaraaKtvrj). He hints that the irrational element was actually provided by the Creator, Who fore- 
saw the Fall and the Redemption, for man to sin in ; as if man immediately upon the creation 
of the perfect humanity became a mixed nature (spirit and flesh), and his fall was not a mere 
accident, but a necessary consequence of this mixed nature. Adam must have fallen : there was 
no perfect humanity in Paradise. In man's mixed nature of spirit and flesh nutrition is the 
basis of his sensation, and sensation is the basis of his thought ; and so it was inevitable that 
sin through this lower yet vital side of man should enter in. So ingrained is the spirit with 
the flesh in the whole history of actual humanity that all the varieties of all the souls that ever 
have lived or ever shall, arise from this very mixture ; i.e. from the varying degrees of either 
factor in each. But as Gregory's view here touches, though in striking contrast, on Origen's, 
more will be said about it in the next chapter. 

It follows from this that Gregory, as Clement and Basil before him, did not look upon 
Original Sin as the accidental or extraordinary thing which it was afterwards regarded. 
' From a man who is a sinner and subject to passion of course is engendered a man who 
is a sinner and subject to passion : sin being in a manner born with him, and growing with 
his growth, and not dying with it' And yet he says elsewhere, "An infant who is just 
born is not culpable, nor does it merit punishment ; just as he who has been baptized 
has no account to give of his past sins, since they are forgiven;" and he calls infants 
dn6vr)pot, ' not having in the least admitted the disease into their soul.' But these two 
views can of course be reconciled ; the infant at the moment of its physical birth starts 
with sins forgotten, just as at the moment of its spiritual birth it starts with sins forgiven. 
Mo actual sin lias been committed. But then its nature has lost the avaBtLa ; the inevitable 
weakness of its ancestry is in jt. 

III. 'Spirit.' Speaking of the soul, Gregory asks, 'How can that which is incomposite 
be dissolved?' i.e. the soul is spirit, and spirit is incomposite and therefore indestructible. 

But care must be taken not to infer too much from this his favourite expression 'spirit' in 
connexion with the soul. ' God is spirit ' too ; and we are inclined to forget that this 

 Oh Jn/an/i' early heaths, II J. p. 336. • Or. Cat. c. viii. D. 



HIS GENERAL CHARACTER AS A THEOLOGIAN. u 

is no more than a negative definition, and to imagine the human spirit of equal prerogative 
with Deity. Gregory gives no encouragement to this; he distinctly teaches that, though 
the soul is incomposite, it is not in the least independent of time and space, as the Deity is. 

In fact he almost entirely drops the old Platonic division of the Universe into Intelligible 
(spiritual) and Sensible, which helps to keep up this confusion between human and divine 
4 spirit,' and adopts the Christian division of Creator and Created. This difference between 
Creator and Created is further figured by him as that between 

i. The Infinite. The Finite. 

2. The Changeless. The Changeable. 

3. The Contradiction-less. The Contradictory. 

The result of this is that the Spirit-world itself has been divided into Uncreate and 
Created. 

With regard, then, to this created Spirit-world we find that Gregory, as Basil, teaches 
that it existed, i. e. it had been created, before the work of the Six Days began. ' God 
made all that is, at once' (dfy6«s). This is only his translation of the verse, ' In the beginning 
God created the heaven and the earth;' the material for 'heaven' and 'earth,' i.e. spirits 
and chaos, was made in a moment, but God had not yet spoken the successive Words 
of creation. The souls of men, then, existed from the very beginning of creation, and 
in a determinate number ; for this is a necessary consequence of the ' simultaneous creation.* 
This was the case with the Angels too, the other portion of the created Spirit-world. 
Gregory has treated the subject of the Angels very fully. He considers that they are 
perfect : but their perfection too is contingent : it depends on the grace of God and their 
own wills; the angels are free, and therefore changeable. Their will necessarily moves 
towards something : at their first creation the Beautiful alone solicited them. Man ' a little 
lower than the Angels ' was perfect too ; deathless, passionless, contemplative. ' The true 
and perfect soul is single in its nature, intellectual, immaterial l . % He was ' as the Angels 
and if he fell, Lucifer fell too. Gregory will not say, as Origen did, that human souls 
had a body when first created : rather, as we have seen, he implies the contrary ; and he 
came to be considered the champion that fought the doctrine of the pre-existence of 
embodied souls. He seems to have been influenced by Methodius' objections to Origen's 
view. But his magnificent idea of the first man gives way at once to something more 
Scriptural and at the same time more scientific ; and his ideal becomes a downright forecast 
of Realism. 

Taking, however, the human soul as it is, he still continues, we often find, to compare 
it with God. In his great treatise On the Soul and the Resurrection, he rests a great 
deal on the parallel between the relation of man to his body, and that of God to the 
world. — ' The soul is as a cord drawn out of mud ; God draws to Himself what is His own.' — 
He calls the human spirit 'an influx of the divine in-breathing' {Adv. Apoliin. c. 12). 
Anger and desire do not belong to the essence of the soul, he says : they are only among 
its varying states. The soul, then, as separable from matter, is like God. But this likeness 
does not extend to the point of identity. Incomprehensible, immortal, it is not uncreated. 
The distinction between the Creator and the Created cannot be obliterated. The attributes 
of the Creator set down above, i.e. that He is infinite, changeless, contradictionless, and 
so always good, &c, can be applied only catachrestically to some men, in that they resemble 
their Maker as a copy resembles its original : but still, in this connexion, Gregory does 
speak of those ' who do not need any cleansing at all 2 ,' and the context forces us to apply 
these words to men. There is no irony, to him or to any Father of the fourth century, in 
the words, ' They that are whole need not a physician.' Although in the treatise On Virginity T 



» On the Making oj Man, c. xiv. s Or. Cat. c. xxvi. 



12 PROLEGOMENA. 



where he is describing the development of his own moral and religious life, he is very far 
from applying them to himself, he nevertheless seems to recognize the fact that since 
Christianity began there are those to whom they might apply. 

There is also need of a certain amount of ' rational considerations ' in advancing a Defence 
and a Theory of Christianity. He makes this according to the special requirements of the 
time in his Oratio Catechetica. His reasonings do not seem to us always convincing; 
but the presence of a living Hellenism and Judaism in the world required them. These 
two phenomena also explain what appears to us a great weakness in this work : namely, 
that he treats Hellenism as if it were all speculation ; Judaism as if it were all facts. 
These two religions were too near and too practically opposed to each other for him 
to see, as we can now, by the aid of a sort of science of religions, that every religion 
has its idea, and eveiy religion has its fads. He and all the first Apologists, with the spectacle 
of these two apparently opposite systems before them, thought that, in arriving at the True 
Religion as well, all could be done by considering/ar/j/ or all could be done by speculation. 
Gregory chose the latter method. A Dogmatic in the modern sense, in which both the 
•idea and the facts of Christianity flow into one, could not have been expected of him. 
The Oratio Catechetica is a mere philosophy of Christianity in detail written in the philosophic 
language of the time. Not only does he refrain from using the historic proofs, i.e. of prophecy 
and type (except very sparingly and only to meet an adversary), but his defence is insufficient 
from another point of view also; he hardly uses the moral proofs either; he wanders per- 
sistently in metaphysics. 

If he does not lean enough on these two classes of proofs, at all events that he does not lean 
entirely on either, may be considered as a guarantee of his excellence as a theologian pure 
and simple. But he is on the other hand very far from attempting a philosophic construction 
of Christianity, as we have seen. Though akin to modern theologians in many things, he 
is unlike those of them who would construct an a priori Christianity, in which the relationship 
of one part to another is so close that all stands or falls together. Philosophic deduction 
is with him only ' a kind of instruction ' used in his apologetic works. On occasion he 
shows a clear perception of the historic principle. " The supernatural character of the 
Gospel miracles bears witness to their divine origin I ." He points, as Origen did, to the 
continued possession of miraculous powers in the Church. Again, as regards moral proof, 
there had been so much attempted that way by the Neo-Platonists that such proof could 
not have exactly the same degree of weight attributed to it that it has now, at least by 
an adherent of the newer Hellenism. Philostratus, Porphyry, Iamblichus had all tried to 
attract attention to the holy lives of heathen sages. Yet to these, rough sketches as they 
were, the Christian did oppose the Lives of the Saints : notably Gregory himself in the Life 
of Gregory Thaumaturgus : as Origen before him (c. Celsum, passim) had shewn in detail 
the difference in kind of Christian holiness. 

His treatment of the Sacraments in the Oratio Catechetica is noteworthy. On Baptism 
he is very complete : it will be sufficient to notice here the peculiar proof he offers that 
the Holy Spirit is actually given in Baptism. It is the same proof, to start with, as that 
which establishes that God came in the flesh when Christ came. Miracles prove this ; (he 
is not wanting here in the sense of the importance of History). If, then, we are persuaded 
that God is here, we must allow also that truth is here : for truth is the mark of Deity. 
When, therefore, God has said that He will come in a particular way, if called in a particular 
way, this must be true. He is so called in Baptism : therefore He comes. (The vital 
importance of the doctrine of the Trinity, upon which Gregory laboured for so many years, 
thus all comes from Baptism.) Gregory would not confine the entire force of Baptism to the 

> Or. Cat. c. iii. 



HIS GENERAL CHARACTER AS A THEOLOGIAN. 13 

one ritual act. A resurrection to a new immortal life is begun in Baptism, but owing to the 
weakness of nature this complete effect is separated into stages or parts. With regard to the 
necessity of Baptism for salvation, he says he does not know if the Angels receive the souls 
of the unbaptized ; but he rather intimates that they wander in the air seeking rest, and 
entreat in vain like the Rich Man. To him who wilfully defers it he says, ' You are out of 
paradise, O Catechumen ! ' 

In treating the Sacrament of the Eucharist, Gregory was the first Father who developed 
the view of transformation, for which transubstantiation was afterwards substituted to suit 
the mediaeval philosophy ; that is, he put this view already latent into actual words. There 
is a. locus classicus in the Oratio Catechetica, c. 37. 

"Therefore from the same cause as that by which the bread that was transformed in 
that Body was changed to a divine potency, a similar result takes place now. For as in 
that case, too, the grace of the Word used to make holy the Body, the substance of which 
came of the bread and was in a manner itself bread, so also in this case the bread, as 
says the Apostle, ' is sanctified by the word of God and prayer : ' not that it advances by 
the process of eating to the stage of passing into the body of the Word, but it at once is changed 
into the Body by the Word, as the Word Himself said, ' This is My Body; 1 " and just above 
he had said : " Rightly do we believe that now also the bread which is consecrated by the 
word of God is changed into the body of God the Word." This way of explaining the 
mystery of the Sacrament, i.e. from the way bread was changed into the Word when Christ 
was upon earth, is compared by Neander with another way Gregory had of explaining it, 
i.e. the heightened efficacy of the bread is as the heightened efficacy of the baptismal 
water, the anointing oil T , &c, a totally different idea. But this, which may be called the 
metabatic view, is the one evidently most present to his mind. In a fragment of his found 
in a Parisian MS. 2 , quoted with the Liturgies of James, Basil, Chrysostom, we also find it; 
"The consecrated bread is changed into the body of the Word; and it is needful for 
humanity to partake of that." 

Again, the necessity of the Incarnation, drawn from the words " it was necessary that Christ 
should suffer," receives a rational treatment from him. There must ever be, from a meditation 
on this, two results, according as the physical or the ethical element in Christianity prevails, 
i.e. 1. Propitiation ; 2. Redemption. The first theory is dear to minds fed upon the doctrines 
of the Reformation, but it receives no countenance from Gregory. Only in the book in which 
Moses' Life is treated allegorically does he even mention it. The sacrifice of Christ instead 
of the bloody sacrifices of the Old Testament is not his doctrine. He develops his theory 
of the Redemption or Ransom (i.e. from the Devil), in the Oratio Catechetica. Strict justice 
to the Evil One required it But in his hands this view never degenerates, as with some, 
into a mere battle, e.g. in Gethsemane, between the Rescuer and Enslaver. 

So much has been said about Gregory's inconsistencies, and his apparent inconsistencies 
are indeed so many, that some attempt must be made to explain this feature, to some so 
repulsive, in his works. One instance at all events can show how it is possible to reconcile 
even the most glaring. He is not a one-sided theologian : he is not one of those who 
pass always the same judgment upon the same subject, no matter with whom he has to deal. 
There could not be a harsher contradiction than that between his statement about human 
generation in the Oratio Catechetica, and that made in the treatises On Virginity and 
On the Making of Man. In the O. C. everything hateful and undignified is removed from 
the idea of our birth; the idea of ndSos is not applied; "only evil brings disgrace." But 
in the other two Treatises he represents generation as a consequence of the Fall. This 
contradiction arises simply from the different standpoint in each. In the one case he is 

1 In Sermon On the Baptism of Christ. A. 1560 fol. ; also Antwerp, p. 1562 (Latine). 



T4 



PROLEGOMENA. 



apologetic; and so he adopts a universally recognised moral axiom. In the other he is 
the Christian theologian ; the natural process, therefore, takes its colouring from the Christian 
doctrine of the Fall. This is the standpoint of most of his works, which are polemical, 
not apologetic. But in the treatise On the Soul and the Resurrection he introduces even a 
third view about generation, which might be called that of the Christian theosophist ; 
i.e. generation is the means in the Divine plan for carrying Humanity to its completion. 
Very similar is the view in the treatise On Infants' Early Deaths ; " the design of all 
births is that the Power which is above the universe may in all parts of the creation be 
glorified by means of intellectual natures conspiring to the same end, by virtue of the 
same faculty operating in all ; I mean, that of looking upon God." Here he is speaking 
to the purely philosophic instinct It may be remarked that on this and all the operations of 
Divine foreknowledge in vast world-wide relations he has constantly striking passages, and 
deserves for this especially to be studied. 

The style of Gregorv is much more elegant than that of Basil : sometimes it may be 
called eloquent. His occasional digressions did not strike ancient critics as a fault. To 
them he is "sweet," "bright," "dropping pleasure into the ears." But his love for splendour, 
combined with the lateness of his Greek, make him one of the more difficult Church writers 
to interpret accurately. 

His similes and illustrations are very numerous, and well chosen. A few exceptions 
must, perhaps, be made. He compares the mere professing Christian to the ape, dressed 
like a man and dancing to the flute, who used to amuse the people in the theatre at 
Alexandria, but once revealed during the performance its bestial nature, at the sight of 
food. This is hardly worthy of a great writer, as Gregory was \ Especially happy are his 
comparisons in the treatise On the Soul and Resurrection, by which metaphysical truths 
are expressed ; and elsewhere those by which he seeks to reach the due proportions of the 
truth of the Incarnation. The chapters in his work against Eunomius where he attempts 
to depict the Infinite, are striking. But what commends him most to modern taste is his 
power of description when dealing with facts, situations, persons: he touches these always 
with a colour which is felt to be no exaggeration, but the truth. 



CHAPTER III. 

His Origenism. 

A true estimate of the position and value of Gregory as a Church teacher cannot be formed 
until the question of his ' Origenism,' its causes and its quality, is cleared up. It is well known 
that this charge began to be brought against his orthodoxy at all events after the time of 
Justinian : nor could Germanus, the Patriarch of Constantinople in the next century, remove it 
by the device of supposed interpolations of partizans in the interests of the Eastern as against 
the Western Church : for such a theory, to be true, would still require some hints at all events 
in this Father to give a colour to such interpolations. Moreover, as will be seen, the points in 
which Gregory is most like Origen are portions of the very groundwork of his own theology. 

The question, then, remains why, and how far, is he a follower of Origen? 

I. When we consider the character of his great forerunner, and the kind of task which 
Gregory himself undertook, the first part of this question is easily answered. When Christian 
doctrine had to be set forth philosophically, so as to be intelligible to any cultivated mind of 
that time (to reconcile Greek philosophy with Christian doctrine was a task which Gregory 
m ver dreamed of attempting), the example and leader in such an attempt was Origen ; he 



Hit C om pa n ion of the hieiden meaning of the proverb or 
l« (III. i |. 216) to the 'turned up' side of the 

beautiful in itself foi (e.g. 'the ^ 

painting "( nature,' 'the lial(-i.ir<.le shining in the midst with its 



dye of purple,' 'the golden mist round the circle'): but it rather 
fails as a simile, when applied to the other or the literal side, which 
cannot in ihe ca.-e of parables be said to ' lack beauty and tint.' 



HIS ORIGENISM. T5 



occupied as it were the whole horizon. He was the founder of theology ; the very vocabulary 
of it, which is in use now, is of his devising. So that Gregory's language must have had, 
necessarily, a close connexion with that of the great interpreter and apologist, who had explained 
to his century the same truths which Gregory had to explain to his : this must have been the 
case even if his mind had not been as spiritual and idealizing as Origen's. But in some respects 
it will be seen Gregory is even more an idealist than Origen himself. Alike, then, from purpose 
and tradition as from sympathy he would look back to Origen. Though a gulf was between 
them, and, since the Council of Nicaea, there were some things that could come no more into 
controversy, Gregory saw, where the Church had not spoken, with the same eyes as Origen : 
he uses the same keys as he did for the problems which Scripture has not solved ; he uses the 
same great weapon of allegory in making the letter of Scripture give up the spiritual treasures. 
It could not have been otherwise when the whole Christian religion, which Gregory was called 
on to defend as a philosophy, had never before been systematically so defended but by Origen ; 
and this task, the same for both, was presented to the same type of mind, in the same intel- 
lectual atmosphere. It would have been strange indeed if Gregory had not been a pupil at 
least (though he was no blind follower) of Origen. 

If we take for illustration of this the most vital point in the vast system, if system it can be 
called, of Origen, we shall see that he had traced fundamental lines of thought, which could not 
in that age be easily left. He asserts the virtual freedom of the human will, in every stage 
and condition of human existence. The Greek philosophy of the third century, and the semi- 
pagan Gnosticism, in their emanational view of the world, denied this freedom. With them 
the mind of man, as one of the emanations of Deity itself, was, as much as the matter of which 
the world was made, regulated and governed directly from the Source whence they both flowed. 
Indeed every system of thought, not excepting Stoicism, was struck with the blight of this 
fatalism. There was no freedom for man at all but in the system which Origen was drawing 
from, or rather reading into, the Scriptures. No Christian philosopher who lived amongst the 
same counter-influences as Origen could overlook this starting-point of his system ; he must 
have adopted it, even if the danger of Pelagianism had been foreseen in it; which could not 
have been the case. 

Gregory adopted it, with the other great doctrine which in the mind of Origen accompanied 
it ; i.e., that evil is caused, not by matter, but by the act of this free will of man ; in other 
words, by sin. Again the fatalism of all the emanationists had to be combated as to the nature 
and necessity of evil. With them evil was some inevitable result of the Divine processes; it 
abode at all events in matter, and human responsibility was at an end. Greek philosophy from 
first to last had shewed, even at its best, a tendency to connect evil with the lower 0i/W. But 
now, in the light of revelation, a new truth was set forth, and repeated again and again by the 
very men who were inclined to adopt Plato's rather Dualistic division of the world into the intel- 
ligible and sensible. ' Evil was due to an act of the will of man.' Moreover it could no longer 
be regarded/<?r se : it was relative, being a ' default,' or ' failure,' or ' turning away from the true 
good ' of the will, which, however, was always free to rectify this failure. It was a (rriprjtns, — loss 
of the good ; but it did not stand over against the good as an independent power. Origen 
contemplated the time when evil would cease to exist; 'the non-existent cannot exist for 
ever : ' and Gregory did the same. 

This brings us to yet another consequence of this enthusiasm for human freedom and 
responsibility, which possessed Origen, and carried Gregory away. The anoKara<rra(Tis ri>v 
irdvruv has been thought f , in certain periods of the Church, to have been the only piece of 
Origenism with which Gregory can be charged. [This of course shows ignorance of the kind of 
influence which Gregory allowed Origen to have over him ; and which did not require him to 

* Cf. Dallaeus, de poenis et satiifactionilms, I. IV. c. 7, p. 368. 



i6 PROLEGOMENA. 



select even one isolated doctrine of his master.] It has also brought him into more suspicion 
than any other portion of his teaching. Yet it is a direct consequence of the view of evil,, 
which he shares with Origen. If evil is the non-existent, as his master says, a areprjais, * as he 
says, then it must pass away. It was not made by God ; neither is it self- subsisting. 

But when it has passed away, what follows? That God will be "all in all." Gregory 
accepts the whole of Origen's explanation of this great text. Both insist on the impossibility 
of God being in ' everything,' if evil still remains. But this is equivalent to the restoration to 
their primitive state of all created spirits. Still it must be remembered that Origen required 
many future stages of existence before all could arrive at such a consummation : with him there 
is to be more than one ' next world ; ' and even when the primitive perfection is reached, his 
peculiar view of the freedom of the will, as an absolute balance between good and evil, would 
admit the possibility of another fall. ' All may be saved ; and all may fall.' How the final 
Sabbath shall come in which all wills shall rest at last is but dimly hinted at in his writings. 
With Gregory, on the other hand, there are to be but two worlds : the present and the next ; and 
in the next the dnoKaraaraais tS>v ndvrcav must be effected. Then, after the Resurrection, the fire 
dKolfiT]Tos, nttowos, as he continually calls it, will have to do its work. ' The avenging flame will 
be the more ardent the more it has to consume' (Be A mm a et jResurr., p. 227). But at last 
the evil will be annihilated, and the bad saved by nearness to the good.' There is to rise 
a giving of thanks from all nature. Nevertheless 2 passages have been adduced from Gregory's 
writings in which the language of Scripture as to future punishment is used without any 
modification, or hint of this universal salvation. In the treatise, De Pauperibus Amandls, 
II. p. 240, he says of the last judgment that God will give to each his due ; repose eternal to 
those who have exercised pity and a holy life ; but the eternal punishment of fire for the harsh 
and unmerciful : and addressing the rich who have made a bad use of their riches, he says, 
'Who will extinguish the flames ready to devour you and engulf you? Who will stop the 
gnawings of a worm that never dies?' Cf. also Oral. 3, de Beatitudinibus, I. p. 788: contra 
Usuarios, II. p. 233 : though the hortatory character of these treatises makes them less im- 
portant as witnesses. 

A single doctrine or group of doctrines, however, may be unduly pressed in accounting for 
the influence of Origen upon a kindred spirit like Gregory. Doubtless fragments of Origen's 
teaching, mere details very often, were seized upon and appropriated by others ; they were 
erected into dogmas and made to do duty for the whole living fabric ; and even those details 
were sometimes misunderstood. ' 3 What he had said with a mind full of thought, others took 
in the very letter.' Hence arose the evil of Origenism,' so prevalent in the century in which 
Gregory lived. Different ways of following him were found, bad and good. Even the Arians 
could find in his language now and then something they could claim as their own. But as 
Rupp well says, ' Origen is not great by virtue of those particular doctrines, which are usually 
exhibited to the world as heretical by weak heads who think to take the measure of everything 
with the mere formulae of orthodoxy. He is great by virtue of one single thought, i.e. that of 
bringing philosophy into union with religion, and thereby creating a theology. With Clement 
of Alexandria this thought was a mere instinct : Origen gave it consciousness : and so 
Christendom began to have a science of its own.' It was this single purpose, visible in all 
Origen wrote, that impressed itself so deeply upon Gregory. He, too, would vindicate the 
Scriptures as a philosophy. Texts, thanks to the labours of Origen as well as to the councils 
of the Church, had now acquired a fixed meaning and an importance that all could acknow- 
ledge. The new spiritual philosophy lay within them; he would make them speak its 
language. Allegory was with him, just as with Origen, necessary, in order to find the Spirit 
which inspires them. The letter must not impose itself upon us and stand for more than it is 
worth ; just as the practical experience of evil in the world must not blind us to the fact that 

2 Cf. De Ah. et Resurr., 227 CD. * Collected by Cetllier in his Introduction (Paris, i860). 3 Bunscn. 



HIS ORIGENISM. 17 



it is only a passing dispensation. If only the animus and intention is regarded, we may say 
that all that Gregory wrote was Origenistic. 

II. But nevertheless much had happened in the interval of 130 years that divides them;, 
and this leads us to consider the limits which the state of the Church, as well as Gregory's own 
originality and more extended physical knowledge, placed upon the complete filling in of the 
outlines sketched by the master. First and chiefly, Origen's doctrine of the pre-existence of 
the soul could not be retained ; and we know that Gregory not only abandoned it, but attacked 
it with all his powers of logic in his treatise, De Animd et Resurrcdione : for which he receives- 
the applause of the Emperor Justinian. Souls, according to Origen, had pre-existed from, 
eternity : they were created certainly, but there never was a time when they did not exist : so 
that the procession even of the Holy Spirit could in thought only be prior to their existence. 
Then a failure of their free wills to grasp the true good, and a consequent cooling of the fire of 
love within them, plunged them in this material bodily existence, which their own sin made a 
suffering one. This view had certainly great merits : it absolved the Deity from being the author 
of evil, and so was a ' th£odic£e ; ' it entirely got rid of the two rival principles, good and evil,, 
of the Gnostics ; and it avoided the seeming incongruity of what was to last for ever in the future- 
being not eternal in the past. Why then was it rejected ? Not only because of the objection- 
urged by Methodius, that the addition of a body would be no remedy but rather an increase of 
the sin ; or that urged amongst many others by Gregory, that a vice cannot be regarded as the 
precursor of the birth of each human soul into this or into other worlds ; but more than that and 
chiefly, because such a doctrine contravened the more distinct views now growing up as to what 
the Christian creation was, and the more careful definitions also of the Trinity now embodied in 
the creeds. In fact the pre-existence of the soul was wrapped up in a cosmogony that could no 
longer approve itself to the Christian consciousness. In asserting the freedom of the will, and 
placing in the will the cause of evil, Origen had so far banished emanationism ; but in his view 
of the eternity of the world, and in that of the eternal pre-existence of souls which accompanied 
it, he had not altogether stamped it out. He connects rational natures so closely with the 
Deity that each individual \6yos seems almost, in a Platonic way, to lie in the Divine Aoyor,. 
which I he styles ovaia ovaiav, I8ea I8e£>i>. They are ' partial brightnesses (aTravydo-nara) of the glory 
of God.' He 2 allows them, of course, to have been created in the Scriptural sense of that 
word, which is certainly an advance upon Justin ; but his creation is not that distinct event in 
time which Christianity requires and the exacter treatment of the nature of the Divine Persons 
had now developed. His creation, both the intelligible and visible world, receives from him 
an eternity which is unnatural and incongruous in relation to his other speculations and beliefs : 
it lingers, Tithonus-like, in the presence of the Divine Persons, without any meaning and 
purpose for its life ; it is the last relic of Paganism, as it were, in a system which is otherwise 
Christian to the very core. His strenuous effort to banish all ideas of time, at all events from 
the intelligible world, ended in this eternal creation of that world ; which seemed to join the 
eternally generated Son too closely to it, and gave occasion to the Arians to say that He too 
was a KTto-fxa. This eternal pre-existence in fact almost destroyed the idea of creation, and 
made the Deity in a way dependent on His own world. Athanasius, therefore, and his 
followers were roused to separate the divinity of the Son from everything created. The 
relation of the world to God could no longer be explained in the same terms as those which 
they employed to illustrate the relations between the Divine Persons; and when once the 
doctrine of the consubstantiality of the Father and Son had been accepted and firmly 
established there could be no more favour shown by the defenders of that doctrine to the 
merely Platonic view of the nature and origin of souls and of matter. 

Amongst the defenders of the Creed of Nicaea, Gregory, we know, stands well-nigh foremost. 

« c. Ctls. VI. 64. " In/oann., torn. 32, 18. 

VOL. V. C 



i8 PROLEGOMENA. 



In his long and numerous treatises on the Trinity he employs every possible argument and 
illustration to show the contents of the substance of the Deity as transcendent, incommuni- 
cable to creation per se. Souls cannot have the attributes of Deity. Created spirits cannot 
claim immediate kindred with the Aoyos. So instead of the Platonic antithesis of the intelli- 
gible and sensible world, which Origen adopted, making all equal in the intelligible world, he 
brings forward the antithesis of God and the world. He felt too that that antithesis answers 
more fully not only to the needs of the Faith in the Trinity daily growing more exact and clear, 
but also to the facts of the Creation, i.e. its variety and differences. He gives up the pre- 
existence of the rational soul ; it will not explain the infinite variety observable in souls. The 
variety, again, of the material world, full as it is of the miracles of divine power, cannot have been 
the result of the chance acts of created natures embodying themselves therein, which the theory of 
pre-existence supposes. God and the created world (of spirits and matter) are now to be the 
factors in theology ; although Gregory does now and then, for mere purposes of illustration, 
divide the Universe still into the intelligible and the sensible. 

When once pre existence was given up, the parts of the soul could be more closely 
united to each other, because the lower and higher were in their beginning no longer separated 
by a gulf of ages. Accordingly Gregory, reducing the three parts of man which Origen had 
used to the simpler division into visible and invisible (sensible and intelligible), dwells much 
upon the intimate relation between the two and the mutual action of one upon the other. 
Origen had retained the trichotomy of Plato which other Greek Fathers also, with the sanction, 
as they supposed, of S. Paul (i Thess. v. 23), had adopted. ' Body,' ' soul,' and ' spirit,' or 
Plato's 'body,' 'unreasoning' and 'reasoning soul,' had helped Origen to explain how the last, 
the pre-existent soul (the spirit, or the conscience *, as he sometimes calls it) could ever have 
come to live in the flesh. The second, the soul proper, is as it were a mediating ground 
on which the spirit can meet the flesh. The celestial mind, ' the real man fallen from on high,' 
rules by the power of conscience or of will over this soul, where the merely animal functions 
and the natural appetites reside ; and through this soul over the body. How the celestial 
mind can act at all upon this purely animal soul which lies between it and the body, Origen 
leaves unexplained. But this division was necessary for him, in order to represent the spirit 
as remaining itself unchanged in its heavenly nature, though weakened by its long captivity in 
the body. The middle soul (in which he sometimes places the will) is the scene of contamina- 
tion and disorder ; the spirit is free, it can always rejoice at what is well done in the soul, and 
yet is not touched by the evil in it ; it chooses, convicts, and punishes. Such was Origen's 
psychology. But an intimate connexion both in birth and growth between all the faculties ol 
man is one of Gregory's most characteristic thoughts, and he gave up this trichotomy, which 
was still, however, retained by some Greek fathers, and adopted the simpler division mentioned 
above in order more clearly and concisely to show the mutual play of spirit and body upon 
each other. There was soon, too, another reason why this trichotomy should be suspected. 
It was a second time made the vehicle of error. Apollinaris adopted it, in order to expound 
that the Divine Aoyos took the place, in the tripartite soul of Christ, of the ' reasonable soul ' 
or spirit of other men. Gregory, in pressing for a simpler treatment of man's nature, thus 
snatched a vantage-ground from a sagacious enemy. His own psychology is only one 
instance of a tendency which runs through the whole of his system, and which may indeed 
be called the dominating thought with which he approached every question ; he views 
each in the light of form and matter; spirit penetrating and controlling body, body 
answering to spirit and yet at the same time supplying the nutriment upon which the 
vigour and efficacy of spirit, in this world at least, depends. This thought underlies 
his view of the material universe and of Holy Scripture, as well as of man's nature. With 



* Commmt. in Roi'i. ii. 9, p. 486. 



HIS ORIGENISM. 19 



regard to the last he says, 'the intelligible cannot be realized in body at all, except it be 
commingled with sensation ; ' and again, « as there can be no sensation without a material 
substance, so there can be no exercise of the power of thought without sensation '.* The 
spiritual or intelligent part of man (which he calls by various names, such as ' the inner man,' 
the yjrvxff XoytKT}, vovs or biavoia, to faonoiov atnov, or simply ^1^17 as throughout the treatise On 
the Soul), however alien in its essence from the bodily and sentient part, yet no sooner is 
united with this earthly part than it at once exerts power over it. In fact it requires this 
instrument before it can reach its perfection. ' Seeing, then, man is a reasoning animal of 
a certain kind, it was necessary that the body should be prepared as an instrument appropriate 
to the needs of his reason ■.* So closely has this reason been united with the senses and the 
flesh that it performs itself the functions of the animal part ; it is the ' mind ' or ' reason ' 
itself that sees, hears, &c. ; in fact the exercise of mind depends on a sound state of the senses 
and other organs of the body ; for a sick body cannot receive the ' artistic ' impressions of the 
mind and, so, the mind remains inoperative. This is enough to show how far Gregory 
had got from pre-existence and the ' fall into the prison of the flesh.' 

His own theory of the origin of the soul, or at least that to which he visibly inclines, is stated 
in the treatise, De Animd et Resurrectione, p. 241. It is that of Tertullian and some Greek 
Fathers also: and goes by the name of 'traducianism.' The soul is transmitted in the generating 
seed. This of course is the opposite pole to Origen's teaching, and is inconsistent with 
Gregory's own spiritualism. The other alternative, Creationism, which a number of the 
orthodox adopted, namely that souls are created by God at the moment of conception, or when 
the body of the foetus is already formed, was not open to him to adopt ; because, according to 
him, in idea the world of spirits was made, and in a determinate number, along with the world 
of unformed matter by the one creative act ' in the beginning.' In the plan of the universe, 
though not in reality as with Origen, all souls are already created. So the life of humanity 
contains them : when the occasion comes they take their beginning along with the body which 
enshrines them, but are not created then any more than that body. Such was the compromise 
between spiritualism and materialism to which Gregory was driven by the difficulties of the 
subject Origen with his eye unfalteringly fixed upon the ideal world, and unconscious of the 
practical consequences that might be drawn from his teaching, cut the knot with his eternal 
pre-existence of souls, which avoided at once the alleged absurdity of creationism and the gross- 
ness of traducianism. But the Church, for higher interests still than those of pure idealism, 
had to reject that doctrine ; and Gregory, with his extended knowledge in physic and his 
close observation of the intercommunion of mind and body, had to devise or rather select 
a theory which, though a makeshift, would not contradict either his knowledge or his faith. 

Yet after admitting that soul and body are born together and attaching such importance 
to the ' physical basis' of life and thought, the influence of his master, or else his own uncon- 
trollable idealism, carries him away again in the opposite direction. After reading words in 
his treatise which Locke might have written we come upon others which are exactly the 
teaching of Berkeley. There is a passage in the De Animd et Resurrectione where he deals 
with the question how an intelligent Being could have created matter, which is neither intelli- 
gent or intelligible. But what if matter is only a concourse of qualities, Zwomi, or \|nAa M^nro 
as he elsewhere calls them? Then there would be no difficulty in understanding the manner 
of creation. But even about this we can say so much, i.e. that not one of those things which 
we attribute to body is itself body : neither figure, nor colour, nor weight, nor extension, nor 
quantity, nor any other qualifying notion whatever: but every one of them is a thought: it is the 
combination of them all into a single whole that constitutes body. Seeing, then, that these 

* De Horn. Op. c. viii. ; De An, et Refurr. 205. » De Mom. Op. viiL 

C 2 



20 PROLEGOMENA. 



several qualifications which complete the particular body are grasped by thought alone, and 
not by sense, and that the Deity is a thinking being, what trouble can it be to such a thinking 
agent to produce the thoughts whose mutual combination generate for us the substance of 
that body? and in the treatise, De Horn. Op/., c. 24, the intelligible cpiais is said to produce 
the intelligible Svpaptis, and the concourse of these Swdpets brings into being the material nature. 
The body itself, he repeats (contra Fatum, p. 67), is not a real substance ; it is a soulless, 
unsubstantial thing. The only real creation is that of spirits. Even Origen did not go so far 
as that Matter with him, though it exists by concomitance and not by itself, nevertheless 
really exists. He avoided a rock upon which Gregory runs; for with Gregory not only 
matter but created spirit as well vanish in idealism. There remain with him only the voovptva 
and God. 

This transcendent idealism embarrasses him in many ways, and makes his theory of the 
soul full of inconsistency. (1) He will not say unhesitatingly whether that pure humanity in 
the beginning created in the image of God had a body or not like ours. Origen at all events 
says that the eternally pre-existing spirits were invested with a body, even before falling into 
the sensible world. But Gregory, while denying the pre-existenee of souls in the sense of 
Origen, yet in many of his treatises, especially in the De Horn. Opificio, seems to point to 
a primitive humanity, a predeterminate number of souls destined to live in the body though 
they had not yet lived, which goes far beyond Origen's in its ideal character. " When Moses," 
Gregory says, " speaks of the soul as the image of God, he shows that all that is alien to God 
must be excluded from our definition of the soul ; and a corporal nature is alien to God." He 
points out that God first 'made man in His own image,' and after that made them male and 
female ; so that there was a double fashioning of our nature, 17 re npos to 6dov 6p.oia>p.ivri, jj t« 
npos rr)v 8ia((>opav ravTTjv (i.e. male and female) SirjpTjpturj. On the other hand, in the Oratio 
Catechetica, which contains certainly his more dogmatic statement on every point, this ideal 
and passionless humanity is regarded as still in the future : and it is represented that man's 
double-nature is actually the very centre of the Divine Councils, and not the result of any 
mistake or sin ; man's soul from the very first was commingled (avdiepacris is Gregory's favourite 
word) with a body, in order that in him, as representing every stage of living things, the whole 
creation, even in its lowest part, might share in the divine. Man, as the paragon of animals, 
was necessary, in order that the union might be effected between two otherwise irreconcilable 
worlds, the intelligible and the sensible. Though, therefore, there was a Fall at last, it was not 
the occasion of man's receiving a body similar to animals ; that body was given him at the 
very first, and was only preparatory to the Fall, which was foreseen in the Divine Councils and 
provided for. Both the body and the Fall were necessary in order that the Divine plan might 
be carried out, and the Divine glory manifested in creation. In this view the "coats of 
skins " which Gregory inherits from the allegorical treasures of Origen are no longer merely the 
human body itself, as with Origen, but all the passions, actions, and habits of that body after 
the Fall, which he sums up in the generic term nddr). If, then, there is to be any reconciliation 
between this and the former view of his in which the pure unstained humanity, the ' image of 
God,' is differentiated by a second act of creation as it were into male and female, we must 
suppose him to teach that immediately upon the creation in God's image there was added all 
that in human nature is akin to the merely animal world. In that man was God's image, his 
will was free, but in that he was created, he was able to fall from his high estate ; and God, 
foreseeing the Fall, at once added the distinction of sex, and with it the other features of the 
animal which would befit the fall ; but with the purpose of raising thereby the whole creation. 
But two great counter-influences seem always to be acting upon Gregory ; the one sympathy 
with the speculations of Origen, the other a tendency to see even with a modern insight into 
the closeness of the intercommunion between soul and body. The results of these two 
influences cannot be altogether reconciled. His ideal and his actual man, each sketched with 



HIS ORIGENISM. 



21 



a skilful and discriminating hand, represent the interval that divides his aspirations from his 
observations: yet both are present to his mind when he writes about the soul. (2) He does 
not alter, as Origen does, the traditional belief in the resurrection of the body, and yet his 
idealism, in spite of his actual and strenuous defence of it in the carefully argued treatise On 
the Soul and Resurrection, renders it unnecessary, if not impossible. We know that his faith 
impelled Origen, too, to * contend for the resurrection of the flesh : yet it is an almost forced 
importation into the rest of his system. Our bodies, he teaches, will rise again : but that 
which will make us the same persons we were before is not the sameness of our bodies (for 
they will be ethereal, angelic, uncarnal, &c.) but the sameness of a X6y US within them which 

never dies (koyos «s tyKUTai tu a-apart, dcp' ov p,r) tydeipopivov t'yfiperai to (Tafia iv dcpdapaia, C. Cels. V. 

23). Here we have the Xd-yoi o-ntppariKol, which Gregory objected to as somehow connected in 
his mind with the infinite plurality of worlds. Yet his own account of the Resurrection of 
the flesh is nothing but Origenism, mitigated by the suppression of these Aoyoi. With him, too, 
matter is nothing, it is a negative thing that can make and effect nothing : the soul, the fun^ 
Svvafits, does everything; it is gifted by him with a sort of ubiquity after death. • Nothing can 
break its sympathetic union with the particles of the body.' It is not a long and difficult study 
for it to discern in the mass of elements that which is its own from that which is not its own. 
' It watches over its property, as it were, until the Resurrection, when it will clothe itself in them 
anew 2 / It is only a change of names : the \6yos has become this fa™v dvvapts or fvxf), which 
seems itself, almost unaided, to effect the whole Resurrection. Though he teaches as against 
Origen that the ' elements ' are the same ' elements,' the body the same body as before, yet the 
strange importance both in activity and in substance which he attaches to the yj/vxv even in the 
disembodied state seems to render a Resurrection of the flesh unnecessary. Here, too, his view 
of the plan of Redemption is at variance with his idealistic leanings. While Origen regarded 
the body, as it now is, as part of that ' vanity ' placed upon the creature which was to be laid 
aside at last, Gregory's view of the design of God in creating man at all absolutely required the 
Resurrection of the flesh 3 (<»$■ fi„ o-vvcrrapdeir) ru 6dci to yrjlvov). Creation was to be saved by 
man's carrying his created body into a higher world : and this could only be done by a resurrec- 
tion of the flesh such as the Church had already set forth in her creed. 

Again, however, after parting with Origen upon this point, he meets him in the ultimate 
contemplation of Christ's glorified humanity and of all glorified bodies. Both steadily refuse 
at last ' to know Christ according to the flesh.' They depict His humanity as so absorbed in 
deity that all traces of His bodily nature vanish ; and as with Christ, so finally with His true 
followers. This is far indeed from the Lamb that was slain, and the vision of S. John. In 
this heaven of theirs all individual or generic differences between rational creatures necessarily 
cease. 

Great, then, as are their divergences, especially in cosmogony, their agreements are main- 
tained throughout. Gregory in the main accepts Origen's teaching, as far as he can accommodate 
it to the now more outspoken faith of the Church. What 4 Redepenning summarises as the 
groundplan of Origen's whole way of thinking, Gregory has, with the necessary changes, appro- 
priated. Both regard the history of the world as a movement between a beginning and an end 
in which are united every single spiritual or truly human nature in the world, and the Divine 
nature. This interval of movement is caused by the falling away of the free will of the creature 
from the divine : but it will come to an end, in order that the former union may be restored. 
In this summary they would differ only as to the closeness of the original union. Both, too, 
according to this, would regard ' man ' as the final cause, and the explanation, and the centre 
of God's plan in creation. 

1 He does so De Principiis I. praef. 5. C. Cels. II. 77, VIII. 49 sq. 
 De Anim. et Resurrectione, p. 198, 199, 213 sq. 3 Oratio Cat. 55 A. 4 Orig. II. 314 sq. 



22 PROLEGOMENA. 



Even in the special sphere of theology which the later needs of the Church forced into 
prominence, and which Gregory has made peculiarly his own, that of the doctrine of the 
Trinity, Gregory employs sometimes a method which he has caught from Origen. Origen 
supposes, not so much, as Plato did, that things below are images of things above, as that they 
have certain secret analogies or affinities with them. This is perhaps after all only a peculiar 
application for his own purpose of Plato's theory of ideas. There are mysterious sympathies 
between the earth and heaven. We must therefore read within ourselves the reflection of 
truths which are too much beyond our reach to know in themselves. With regard to the 
attributes of God this is more especially the case. But Origen never had the occasion to 
employ this language in explaining the mystery of the Trinity. Gregory is the first Father who 
has done so. He finds a key to it in the * triple nature of our soul. The vovs, the \6yos, and 
the soul, form within us a unity such as that of the Divine hypostases. Gregory himself 
confesses that such thoughts about God are inadequate, and immeasurably below their object : 
but he cannot be blamed for employing this method, as if it was entirely superficial. Not only 
does this instance illustrate trinity in unity, but we should have no contents for our thought 
about the Father, Son, and Spirit, if we found no outlines at all of their nature within ourselves. 
Denis 2 well says that the history of the doctrine of the Trinity confirms this : for the advanced 
development of the theory of the Aoyor, a purely human attribute in the ancient philosophy, was 
the cause of the doctrine of the Son being so soon and so widely treated : and the doctrine of 
the Holy Spirit came into prominence only when He began to be regarded as the principle of 
the purely human or moral life, as Love, that is, or Charity. Gregory, then, had reason in 
recommending even a more systematic use of the method which he had received from Origen : 
' Learn from the things within thee to know the secret of God ; recognise from the Triad 
within thee the Triad by means of these matters which you realise : it is a testimony above 
and more sure than that of the Law and the Gospels.' 

He carries out elsewhere also more thoroughly than Origen this method of reading 
parables. He is an actual Mystic in this. The mysterious but real correspondences between 
earth and heaven, upon which, Origen had taught, and not upon mere thoughts or the artifices 
of language, the truth of a parable rests, Gregory employed, in order to penetrate the meaning 
of the whole of external nature. He finds in its facts and appearances analogies with the 
energies, and through them with the essence, of God. They are not to him merely indications 
of the wisdom which caused them and ordered them, but actual symptoms of the various 
energies which reside in the essence of the Supreme Being ; as though that essence, having 
first been translated into the energies, was through them translated into the material creation ; 
which was thus an earthly language saying the same thing as the heavenly language, word for 
word. The whole world thus became one vast allegory*: and existed only to manifest the 
qualities of the Unseen. Akin to this peculiar development of the parable is another 
characteristic of his, which is alien to the spirit of Origen ; his delight in natural scenery, his 
appreciation of it, and power of describing it. 

With regard to the question, so much agitated, of the 'AjroKnraorao-t?, it may be said that 
not Gregory only but Basil and Gregory Nazianzen also have felt the influence of their master 
in theology, Origen. But it is due to the latter to say that though he dwells much on the "all 
in all " and insists much more on the sanctifying power of punishment than on the satisfaction 
owed to Divine justice, yet no one could justly attribute to him, as a doctrine, the view of 
a Universal Salvation. Still these Greek Fathers, Origen and ' the three great Cappadocians,' 
equally showed a disposition of mind that left little room for the discussions that were soon 
to agitate the West. Their infinite hopes, their absolute confidence in the goodness of God, 

' This is an independent division to that mentioned above. 3 De la Philosophic D'Origtne (Paris, 1884). 

3 De eo quod immut., p. jo. 4 See De it's qui prirmaturc abripiuntur, p. 231, quoted above, p. 4. 



HIS TEACHING ON THE HOLY TRINITY. 23 



who owes it to Himself to make His work perfect, their profound faith in the promises and 
sacrifice of Christ, as well as in the vivifying action of the Holy Spirit, make the question of 
Predestination and Grace a very simple one with them. The word Grace occurs as often in 
them as in Augustine : but they do not make original sin a monstrous innovation requiring 
a remedy of a peculiar and overwhelming intensity. Passion indeed seems to Gregory of 
Nyssa himself one of the essential elements of the human soul. He borrows from the 
naturalists many principles of distinction between classes of souls and lives : he insists 
incessantly on the intimate connexion between the physical growth and the development of 
the reason, and on the correlation between the one and the other : and we arrive at the con- 
clusion that man in his eyes, as in Clement's, was not originally perfect, except in possibility; 
that being at once reasoning and sentient he must perforce feel within himself the struggle of 
reason and passion, and that it was inevitable that sin should enter into the world : it was 
a consequence of his mixed nature. This mixed nature of the first man was transmitted to his 
descendants. Here, though he stands apart from C*rigen on the question of man's original 
perfection, he could not have accepted the whole Augustinian scheme of original sin : and Grace 
as the remedy with him consists rather in the purging this mixed nature, than in the introduction 
into it of something absolutely foreign. The result, as with all the Greek Fathers, will depend 
on the co-operation of the free agent in this remedial work. Predestination and the ' bad 
will ' are excluded by the Possibility and the ' free will ' of Origen and Gregory. 



CHAPTER IV, 

His Teaching on the Holy Trinity. 

To estimate the exact value of the work done by S. Gregory in the establishment of the 
doctrine of the Trinity and in the determination, so far as Eastern Christendom is concerned, 
of the terminology employed for the expression of that doctrine, is a task which can hardly be 
satisfactorily carried out. His teaching on the subject is so closely bound up with that ot his 
brother, S. Basil of Caesarea, — his " master," to use his own phrase, — that the two can hardly 
be separated with any certainty. Where a disciple, carrying on the teaching he has himself 
received from another, with perhaps almost imperceptible variations of expression, has extended 
the influence 01 that teaching and strengthened its hold on the minds of men, it must always be 
a matter of some difficulty to discriminate accurately between the services which the two have 
rendered to their common cause, and to say how far the result attained is due to the earlier, 
how far to the later presentment of the doctrine. But the task of so discriminating between 
the work of S. Basil and that of S. Gregory is rendered yet more complicated by the 
uncertainty attaching to the authorship of particular treatises which have been claimed for 
both. If, for instance, we could with certainty assign to S. Gregory that treatise on the terms 
ovaia and vnoaraa-ts, which Dorner treats as one of the works by which he "contributed 
materially to fix the uncertain usage of the Church x ," but which is found also among the works 
of S. Basil in the form of a letter addressed to S. Gregory himself, we should be able to estimate 
the nature and the extent of the influence of the Bishop of Nyssa much more definitely than 
we can possibly do while the authorship of this treatise remains uncertain. Nor does this 
document stand alone in this respect, although it is perhaps of more importance for the deter- 
mination of such a question than any other of the disputed treatises. Thus in the absence of 
certainty as to the precise extent to which S. Gregory's teaching was directly indebted to that 
of his brother, it seems impossible to say how far the " fixing of the uncertain usage of the 
Church " was due to either of them singly. That together they did contribute very largely to 



» See Dorner, Doctrine of the Person of Christ, Div. I. vol. ii. p. 314 (English Trans. \ 



24 



PROLEGOMENA. 



that result is beyond question : and it is perhaps superfluous to endeavour to separate their 
contributions, especially as there can be little doubt that S. Gregory at least conceived himself 
to be in agreement with S. Basil upon all important points, if not to be acting simply as the 
mouth-piece of his " master's " teaching, and as the defender of the statements which his 
"master" had set forth against possible misconceptions of their meaning. Some points, 
indeed, there clearly were, in which S. Gregory's presentment of the doctrine differs from 
that of S. Basil ; but to these it may be better to revert at a later stage, after considering the 
more striking variation which their teaching displays from the language of the earlier Nicene 
school as represented by S. Athanasius. 

The council held at Alexandria in the year 362, during the brief restoration of S. Athanasius, 
shows us at once the point of contrast and the substantial agreement between the Western 
school, with which S. Athanasius himself is in this matter to be reckoned, and the Eastern 
theologians to whom has been given the title of" Neo-Nicene." The question at issue was one 
of language, not of belief; it turned upon the sense to be attached to the word vnoa-Taa-n. The 
Easterns, following a use of the term which may be traced perhaps to the influence of Origen, 
employed the word in the sense of the Latin " Persona," and spoke of the Three Persons as 
rptis v7roaTa(T€is, whereas the Latins employed the term "hypostasis" as equivalent to "sub- 
stantia," to express what the Greeks called ovaia, — the one Godhead of the Three Persons. 
With the Latins agreed the older school of the orthodox Greek theologians, who applied to the 
Three Persons the phrase rpla irpovuna, speaking of the Godhead as pla vnoaTaais. This phrase, 
in the eyes of the newer Nicene school, was suspected of Sabellianism x , while on the other 
hand the Westerns were inclined to regard the Eastern phrase rpels inoa-Tda-tts as implying 
tritheism. The synodal letter sets forth to us the means by which the fact of substantial agree- 
ment between the two schools was brought to light, and the understanding arrived at, that 
while Arianism on the one hand and Sabellianism on the other were to be condemned, it was 
advisable to be content with the language of the Nicene formula, which employed neither the 
phrase pia viroa-raa-is nor the phrase rpels vnoa-Taa-f is 2 . This resolution, prudent as it may have 
been for the purpose of bringing together those who were in real agreement, and of securing 
that the reconciled parties should, at a critical moment, present an unbroken front in the face 
of their common and still dangerous enemy, could hardly be long maintained. The expression 
rp«tf xmooTao as was one to which many of the orthodox, including those who had formerly 
belonged to the Semi-Arian section, had become accustomed : the Alexandrine synod, under the 
guidance of S. Athanasius, had acknowledged the phrase, as used by them, to be an orthodox 
one, and S. Basil, in his efforts to conciliate the Semi-Arian party, with which he had himself 
been closely connected through his namesake of Ancyra and through Eustathius of Sebastia, 
saw fit definitely to adopt it. While S. Athanasius, on the one hand, using the older 
terminology, says that vnoa-raan is equivalent to oiaia, and has no other meaning 3, S. Basil, on 
the other hand, goes so far as to say that the terms ovala and vTrdorao-ij, even in the Nicene 
anathema, are not to be understood as equivalent 4. The adoption of the new phrase, even 
after the explanations given at Alexandria, was found to require, in order to avoid misconstruc- 
tion, a more precise definition of its meaning, and a formal defence of its orthodoxy. And 
herein consisted one principal service rendered by S. Basil and S. Gregory ; while with more 
precise definition of the term vnoa-ratris there emerged, it may be, a more precise view of the 
relations of the Persons, and with the defence of the new phrase as expressive of the Trinity 
of Persons a more precise view of what is implied in the Unity of the Godhead. 



1 It is to l>e noted further that the use of the terms " Persona " 
and npiiaumov by those who avoided ihe phrase Tpeis iin-ooratreis 
no doubt assisted in the formation of this suspicion. At the same 
time the Nicene anathema favoured the sense of iin-oaracrit as 
•■ inivalent to oixria, and so appeared to condemn the Eastern use. 

2 S. Athanasius, Tom. ad Anlioch, 5. 



3 Ad Afr. Episc. § 4. S. Athanasius, however, does not shrink 
from the phrase Tpets urroo-rdcreis in contradistinction to the (xio 
ovtria : see the treatise, In Mud, ' Omnia mini tradita sunt ' 
§6. 

* S. Bas. Ep. 125 (being the confession of faith drawn up by 
S. Basil for the subscription of Eustathius) 



HIS TEACHING ON THE HOLY TRINITY. 



25 



The treatise, De Sancia Trinitate is one of those which are attributed by some to S. Basil, by 
others to S. Gregory : but for the purpose of showing the difficulties with which they had to 
deal, the question of its exact authorship is unimportant. x The most obvious objection alleged 
against their teaching was that which had troubled the Western theologians before the Alexan- 
drine Council, — the objection that the acknowledgment of Three Persons implied. a belief in 
Three Gods. To meet this, there was required a statement of the meaning of the term 
virocrTao-is, and of the relation of oWa to vnoo-rao-n. Another objection, urged apparently by the 
same party as the former, was directed against the " novelty," or inconsistency, of employing in 
the singular terms expressive of the Divine Nature such as "goodness" or ■*' Godhead," while 
asserting that the Godhead exists in plurality of Persons 2 . To meet this, it was required that 
the sense in which the Unity of the Godhead was maintained should be more plainly and 
clearly denned. 

The position taken by S. Basil with regard to the terms olo-la and vwoanaan is very concisely 
stated in his letter to Terentius ^. He says that the Western theologians themselves acknow- 
ledge that a distinction does exist between the two terms : and he briefly sets forth his view of 
the nature of that distinction by saying that ovaia is to vn6o-Taois as that which is common to 
individuals is to that in respect of which the individuals are naturally differentiated. He 
illustrates this statement by the remark that each individual man has his being tw koiVoj rr)r 
ovvLas Xdyo>, while he is differentiated as art individual man in virtue of his own particular 
attributes. So in the Trinity that which constitutes the ovaia (be it "goodness" or be it 
" Godhead ") is common, while the viroo-rao-ts is marked by the Personal attribute of Father- 
hood or Sonship or Sanctifying Power +. This position is also adopted and set forth in greater 
detail in the treatise, De Diff. Essen, et Hypost. s, already referred to, where we find once more 
the illustration employed in the Epistle to Terentius. The Nature of the Father is beyond 
our comprehension ; but whatever conception we are able to form of that Nature, we must 
consider it to be common also to the Son and to the Holy Spirit: so far as. the oio-la is 
concerned, whatever is predicated of any one of the Persons may be predicated equally of each 
of the Three Persons, just as the properties of man, qud man, belong alike to Paul and 
Barnabas and Timothy : and as these individual men are differentiated by their own particular 
attributes, so each Person of the Trinity is distinguished by a certain attribute. from the other 
two Persons. This way of putting the case naturally leads to the question, " If you say, as you 
do say, that Paul and Barnabas and Timothy are ' three men,' why do you not say that the 
Three Persons are 'three Gods?'" Whether the, question- was presented in this shape to 
S. Basil we cannot with certainty decide : but we may gather from his language regarding the 
applicability of number to the Trinity what his answer would have; been., He 6 says that in 
acknowledging One Father, One Son, One Holy Spirit,, we do not enumerate them by com- 
putation, but assert the individuality, so to say, of each, hypostasis— its distinctness from the 
others. He would probably have replied by saying that strictly speaking we ought to decline 
applying to the Deity, considered as Deity, any numerical idea at all* and that to enumerate 
the Persons as " three " is a necessity, possibly, imposed upon us by language, but that no 
conception of number is really applicable to the Divine Nature or to the Divine Persons, 



* It appears on the whole more probable that the treatise is the 
work of S. Gregory ; but it is found, n a slightly different shape, 
among the Letters of S. Basil. (Ep. 189 in the Benedictine 
Edition.) 

2 In what sense this language was charged with " novelty " is 
not very clear. But the point of the objection appears to lie in 
a refusal to recognize that terms expressive of the Divine Nature, 
whether they indicate attributes or operations of that Nature, may 
be predicated of each vtto&tcuti's severally, as well as of the pvcria, 
without attaching to the terms themselves that idea of plurality 



which, so far as they express attributes or operations of the ouo-c'a, 
must be excluded from them. 3 S. Bas. Ep. 214, § 4. 

4 The differentia here assigned to the Third Person is not, 
in S. Basil's own view, a differentia at all : for he would no doubt 
have been ready to acknowledge that this attribute is common to 
all Three Persons. S. Gregory, as it will be seen, treats the 
question as to the differentiation of the Persons somewhat 
differently, and rests his answer on a basis theologically more 
scientific 5 S. Bas. Ep. 38 (Benedictine Ed.). 

6 De Spir. Sancto, § t8. 



26 



PROLEGOMENA. 



which transcend number 1 . To S. Gregory, however, the question did actually present itself as 
one demanding an answer, and his reply to it marks his departure from S. Basil's position, 
though, if the treatise, De Diff. Essen, et Hyp. be S. Basil's, S. Gregory was but following out 
and defending the view of his " master " as expressed in that treatise. 

S. Gregory's reply to the difficulty may be found in the letter, or short dissertation, addressed 
to Ablabius {Quod non sunt tres Dei), and in his treatise ntp\ koivS>v (woiav. In the latter he 
lays it down that the term 6(6s is a term ova las arjuavriicov, not a term npoaanwv or/Xantcou : the 
Godhead of the Father is not that in which He maintains His differentiation from the Son : 
the Son is not God because He is Son, but because His essential Nature is what it is. 
i Accordingly, when we speak of " God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost," 
the word and is employed to conjoin the terms expressive of the Persons, not the repeated 
term which is expressive of the Essence, and which therefore, while applied to each of the 
Three Persons, yet cannot properly be employed in the plural. That in the case of three 
individual " men " the term expressive of essence is employed in the plural is due, he says, to 
the fact that in this case there are circumstances which excuse or constrain such a use of the 
term "man" while such circumstances do not affect the case of the Holy Trinity. The 
individuals included under the term "man" vary alike in number and in identity, and thus we 
are constrained to speak of " men " as more or fewer, and in a certain sense to treat the 
essence as well as the persons numerically. In the Holy Trinity, on the other hand, the 
Persons are always the same, and their number the same. Nor are the Persons of the Holy 
Trinity differentiated, like individual men, by relations of time and place, and the like ; the 
differentiation between them is based upon a constant causal relation existing among the 
Three Persons, which does not affect the unity of the Nature : it does not express the Being, 
but the mode of Being 2 . The Father is the Cause ; the Son and the Holy Spirit are differen- 
tiated from Him as being from the Cause, and again differentiated inter se as being imme- 
diately from the Cause, and immediately through that which is from the Cause. Further, 
while these reasons may be alleged for holding that the cases are not in such a sense parallel 
as to allow that the same conclusion as to modes of speech should be drawn in both, he urges 
that the use of the term " men " in the plural is, strictly speaking, erroneous. We should, in 
strictness, speak not of " this or that man," but of " this or that hypostasis of man " — the 
" three men " should be described as " three hypostases " of the common oiala " man." In 
the treatise addressed to Ablabius he goes over the same ground, clothing his arguments in 
a somewhat less philosophical dress ; but he devotes more space to an examination of the 
meaning of the term 6t6s, with a view to showing that it is a term expressive of operation, and 
thereby of essence, not a term which may be considered as applicable to any one of the Divine 
Persons in any such peculiar sense that it may not equally be applied also to the other two 3. 
His argument is partly based upon an etymology now discredited, but this does not affect 
the position he seeks to establish (a position which is also adopted in the treatise, De 
S. Trinitate), that names expressive of the Divine Nature, or of the Divine operation (by 
which alone that Nature is known to us) are employed, and ought to be employed, only in the 
singular. The unity and inseparability of all Divine operation, proceeding from the Father, 
advancing through the Son, and culminating in the Holy Spirit, yet setting forth one nivr/ais of 
the Divine will, is the reason why the idea of plurality is not suffered to attach to these names 4 , 



* On S. Basil's language on this subject, see Domer, Doctrine 
of the Person of Christ, Div. I. vol. ii. pp. 309 — IX. (Eng. Trans.) 

a This statement strikes at the root of the theory held by 
Eunomius, as well as by the earlier Arians, that (he aytvtrqaria. 
of the Father constituted His Essence. S. Gregory treats His 
OLftyt^uia as that by which He is distinguished from the other 
Persons, as an attribute marking His hypostasis. This subject is 
treated moie fully, with special reference to the Eunomian view, in 
the Rtf. alt. libri Eunomii 



3 S. Gregory would apparently extend this argument even 
to the operations expressed by the names of " Redeemer," or 
"Comforter;" though he would admit that in regard of the mode 
by which these operations are applied to man, the names expressive 
of them are used in a special sense of the Son and of the Holy 
Spirit, yet he would argue that in neither case does the one Persoa 
act without the other two. 

* See Domer, ut sup., pp. 317-ilL 



HIS TEACHING ON THE HOLY TRINITY. 



while the reason for refusing to allow, in regard to the three Divine Persons, the same laxity of 
language which we tolerate in regard to the case of the three "men," is to be found in the 
fact that in the latter case no dangtr arises from the current abuse of language : no one thinks- 
of " three human natures ;" but on the other hand polytheism is a very real and serious- 
danger, to which the parallel abuse of language involved in speaking of " three Gods " would 
infallibly expose us. 

S. Gregory's own doctrine, indeed, has seemed to some critics to be open to the charge of 
tritheism. But even if his doctrine were entirely expressed in the single illustration of which 
we have spoken, it does not seem that the charge would hold good, when we consider the 
light in which the illustration would present itself to him. The conception of the unity of 
human nature is with him a thing intensely vivid : it underlies much of his system, and he 
brings it prominently forward more than once in his more philosophical writings l . We 
cannot, in fairness, leave his realism out of account when we are estimating the force of his 
illustration : and therefore, while admitting that the illustration was one not unlikely to produce 
misconceptions of his teaching, we may fairly acquit him of any personal bias towards tritheism 
such as might appear to be involved in the unqualified adoption of the same illustration by 
a writer of our own time, or such as might have been attributed to theologians of the period of 
S. Gregory who adopted the illustration without the qualification of a realism as determined as 
his own a . But the illustration does not stand alone : we must not consider that it is the only 
one of those to be found in the treatise, De Diff. Essen, et Hypost., which he would have felt 
justified in employing. Even if the illustration of the rainbow, set forth in that treatise, was. 
not actually his own (as Dorner, ascribing the treatise to him, considers it to have been), it was 
at all events (on the other theory of the authorship), included in the teaching he had received 
from his " master : " it would be present to his mind, although in his undisputed writings,, 
where he is dealing with objections brought against the particular illustration from human 
relations, he naturally confines himself to the particular illustration from which an erroneous 
inference was being drawn. In our estimate of his teaching the one illustration must be 
allowed to some extent to qualify the effect produced by the other. And, further, we must 
remember that his argument from human relations is professedly only an illustration. It 
points to an analogy, to a resemblance, not to an identity of relations ; so much he is careful in. 
his reply to state. Even if it were true, he implies, that we are warranted in speaking, in the 
given case, of the three human persons as "three men," it would not follow that we should 
be warranted thereby in speaking of the three Divine Persons as "three Gods." For the 
human personalities stand contrasted with the Divine, at once as regards their being and as 
regards their operation. The various human npoaana draw their being from many other 
npoaana, one from one, another from another, not, as the Divine, from One, unchangeably the 
same : they operate, each in his own way, severally and independently, not, as the Divine, 
inseparably : they are contemplated each by himself, in his own limited sphere, k<it UOop- 
irtpiypa<pr}v, not, as the Divine, in mutual essential connexion, differentiated one from the other 
only by a certain mutual relation. And from this it follows that the human npoaana are capable 
of enumeration in a sense in which number cannot be considered applicable to the Divine 
Persons. Here we find S. Gregory's teaching brought once more into harmony with his 
" master's : " if he has been willing to carry the use of numerical terms rather further than 
S. Basil was prepared to do, he yet is content in the last resort to say that number is not in 
strictness applicable to the Divine vtto<ttuous, in that they cannot be contemplated kut I8lav 
•ntpiypa^v, and therefore cannot be enumerated by way of addition. Still the distinction of 
the vnoaravtis remains ; and if there is no other way (as he seems to have considered there was- 



i Especially in the treatise, De Anuria et Resurrectione, and in that De Conditione Hominis. A notable instance is to be. 
found in the former (p. 243 A.). a See Dorner, ut sup., p. 315, and p. 319, note 2. 



28 PROLEGOMENA. 



none), of making full acknowledgment of their distinct though inseparable existence than to 
speak of them as " three," he holds that that use of numerical language is justifiable, so long 
as we do not transfer the idea of number from the viroaraaeis to the ova-la, to that Nature of 
God which is Itself beyond our conception, and which we can only express by terms suggested 
to us by what we know of Its operation. 

Such, in brief, is the teaching of S. Gregory on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, as expressed 
in the treatises in which he developed and defended those positions in which S. Basil appeared 
to diverge from the older Nicene theologians. That the terminology of the subject gained 
clearness and definiteness from his exposition, in that he rendered it plain that the adoption 
of the Eastern phraseology was a thing perfectly consistent with the Faith confessed alike by 
East and West in varying terms, seems beyond doubt. It was to him, probably, rather than 
to S. Basil, that this work was due ; for he cleared up the points which S. Basil's illustration 
had left doubtful ; yet in so doing he was using throughout the weapons which his " master " 
had placed in his hands, and arguing in favour of his " master's " statements, in language, it 
may be, less guarded than S. Basil himself would have employed, but in accordance 
throughout with the principles which S. Basil had followed. Each bore his own part in the 
common work : to one, perhaps, is due the credit of greater originality ; to the other it was 
given to carry on and to extend what his brother had begun : neither, we may well believe, 
would have desired to claim that the work which their joint teaching effected should be 
imputed to himself alone. 

So far, we have especially had in view those minor treatises of S. Gregory which illustrate 
such variations from Athanasian modes of expression as are to be found in the writers of the 
" Neo-Nicene " school. These are perhaps his most characteristic works upon the subject. 
But the doctrine of the Trinity, as he held it, is further set forth and enforced in other 
treatises which are, from another point of view, much more important than those with which 
we have been dealing — in his Oratio Catechetica, and his more directly polemical treatises 
against Eunomius. In both these sections of his writings, when allowance is made for the 
difference of terminology already discussed, we are less struck by the divergencies from 
S. Athanasius' presentment of the doctrine than by the substantial identity of S. Gregory's 
reasoning with that of S. Athanasius, as the latter is displayed, for example, in the " Orations 
against the Arians." 

There are, of course, many points in which S. Gregory falls short of his great predecessor ; 
but of these some may perhaps be accounted for by the different aspect of the Arian 
controversy as it presented itself to the two champions of the Faith. The later school of 
Arianism may indeed be regarded as a perfectly legitimate and rigidly logical development 
of the doctrines taught by Arius himself; but in some ways the task of S. Gregory was a 
different task from that of S. Athanasius, and was the less formidable of the two. His 
antagonist was, by his own greater definiteness of statement, placed at a disadvantage : the 
consequences which S. Athanasius had to extract from the Arian statements were by 
Eunomius and the Anomceans either openly asserted or tacitly admitted : and it was thus 
an easier matter for S. Gregory to show the real tendency of Anomoean doctrine than it 
had been for S. Athanasius to point out the real tendency of the earlier Arianism. Further, 
it may be said that by the time of S. Basil, still more by the time when S. Gregory succeeded 
to his brother's place in the controversy, the victory over Arianism was assured. It was 
not possible for S. Athanasius, even had it been in his nature to do so, to treat the earlier 
Arianism with the same sort of contemptuous criticism with which Eunomius is frequently 
met by S. Gregory. For S. Gregory, on the other hand, it was not necessary to refrain 
from such criticism lest he should thereby detract from the force of his protest against error. 
The crisis in his day was not one which demanded the same sustained effort for which the 
contest called in the days of S. Athanasius. Now and then, certainly, S. Gregory also rises 



HIS TEACHING ON THE HOLY TRINITY. 29 



to a white heat of indignation against his adversary : but it is hardly too much to say that 
his work appears to lack just those qualities which seem, in the writings of S. Athanasius, 
to have been called forth by the author's sense of the weight of the force opposed to him, 
and of the " life and death " character of the contest S. Gregory does not under-estimate 
the momentous nature of the questions at issue : but when he wrote, he might feel that to 
those questions the answer of Christendom had been already given, that the conflict was 
already won, and that any attempt at developing the Arian doctrine on Anomoean lines 
was the adoption of an untenable position, — even of a position manifestly and evidently 
untenable : the doctrine had but to be stated in clear terms to be recognized as incompatible 
with Christianity, and, that fact once recognized, he had no more to do. Thus much of 
his treatises against Eunomius consists not of constructive argument in support of his own 
position, but of a detailed examination of Eunomius' own statements, while a further portion 
of the contents of these books, by no means inconsiderable in amount, is devoted not so 
much to the defence of the Faith as to the refutation of certain misrepresentations of S. Basil's 
arguments which had been set forth by Eunomius. 

Even in the more distinctly constructive portion of these polemical writings, however, 
it may be said that S. Gregory does not show marked originality of thought either in his 
general argument, or in his mode of handling disputed texts. Within the limits of an 
introductory essay like the present, anything like detailed comparison on these points is 
of course impossible ; but any one who will take the trouble to compare the discourses ot 
S. Gregory against Eunomius with the " Orations " of S. Athanasius against the Arians, — the 
Athanasian writing, perhaps, most closely corresponding in character to these books of 
S. Gregory, — either as regards the specific passages of Scripture cited in support of the 
doctrine maintained, and the mode of interpreting them, or as to the methods of explanation 
applied to the texts alleged by the Arian writers in favour of their own opinions, can hardly 
fail to be struck by the number and the closeness of the resemblances which he will be 
able to trace between the earlier and the later representatives of the Nicene School. A 
somewhat similar relation to the Athanasian position, as regards the basis of belief, and 
(allowing for the difference of terminology) as regards the definition of doctrine, may be 
observed in the Oratio Catechetica. 

Such originality, in fact, as S. Gregory may claim to possess (so far as his treatment 
of this subject is concerned) is rather the originality of the tactician than that of the strate- 
gist : he deals rather with his particular opponent, and keeps in view the particular point 
in discussion more than the general area over which the war extends. S. Athanasius, 
on the other hand (partly, no doubt, because he was dealing with a less fully developed 
form of error), seems to. have more force left in reserve. He presents his arguments in 
a more concise form, and is sometimes content to suggest an inference where S. Gregory 
proceeds to draw out conclusions in detail, and where thereby the latter, while possibly 
strengthening his presentment of the truth as against his own particular adversary, — 
against the Anomoean or the polytheist on the one side, or against the Sabellian or the 
Judaizer on the other, — renders his argument, when considered per se as a defence of 
the orthodox position, frequently more diffuse and sometimes less forcible. Yet, even here, 
originality of a certain kind does belong to S. Gregory, and it seems only fair to him 
to say that in these treatises also he did good service in defence of the Faith touching the 
Holy Trinity. He shows that alike by way of formal statement of doctrine, as in the Oratio 
Catechetica, and by way of polemical argument, the forces at the command of the defenders 
of the Faith could be organized to meet varied forms of error, without abandoning, either 
for a more original theology like that ot Marcellus of Ancyra, or for the compromise which 
the Homcean or Semi-Arian school were in danger of being led to accept, the weapons with 
which S. Athanasius had conquered at Nicaea. 



?o PROLEGOMENA. 



CHAPTER V. 
MSS. and Editions. 

For the 13 Books Against Eunomius, the text of F. Oehler (S. Greg. Nyss. Opera. Tom. I. 
Halis, 1865) has in the following translations been almost entirely followed. 

The I st Book was not in the i 8t Paris Edition in two volumes (1615) ; but it was published 
three years afterwards from the 'Bavarian Codex,' i.e. that of Munich, by J. Gretser in an 
Appendix, along with the Summaries (these headings of the sections of the entire work are by 
some admirer of Gregory's) and the two introductory Letters. Both the Summaries and the 
letters, and also nearly three-quarters of the i 8t Book were obtained from J. Livineius' transcript 
of the Vatican MS. made at Rome, 1579. This Appendix was added to the 2 nd Paris Edition, 
in three volumes (1638). 

In correcting these Paris Editions (for MSS. of which see below), Oehler had access, in 
addition to the identical Munich MS. (paper, 16th century) which Gretser had used, to the 
following MSS. :— 

1. Venice (Library of S. Mark; cotton, 13 Cent, No. 69). This he says 'wonderfully 

agrees ' with the Munich (both, for instance, supply the lacunae of the Paris Edition 
of Book I : he concludes, therefore, that these are not due to Gretser's negligence, 
who gives the Latin for these passages, but to that of the printers). 

2. Turin (Royal Library; cotton, 14 Cent., No. 71). 

3. Milan (Library of S. Ambrose; cotton, 13 Cent., No. 225, Plut. 1; its inscription 

says that it was brought from Thessaly). 

4. Florence (Library Medic. Laurent.; the oldest of all ; parchment, n Cent, No. 17, 

Plut. vi. It contains the Summaries). 
These, and the Munich MS., which he chiefly used, are " all of the same family : " and from 
them he has been able to supply more than 50 lacunae in the Books against Eunomius. This 
family is the first of the two separated by G. H. Forbes (see below). The Munich MS. 
(No. 47, on paper, 16 Cent.), already used by Sifanus for his Latin version (1562), and by Gretser 
for his Appendix, has the corrections of the former in its margin. These passed into the two 
Paris Editions ; which, however, took no notice of his critical notes. When lent to Sifanus 
this MS. was in the Library of J. J. Fugger. Albert V. Duke of Bavaria purchased the 
treasures of Greek literature in this library, to found that in Munich. 

For the treatise On the Soul and the Resurrection, the Great Catechetical Oration, and the 
Funeral Oration on Meletius, John George Krabinger's text has been adopted. He had MSS. 
' old and of a better stamp ' (Oehler) than were accessible to the Paris editors. Krabinger's own 
account of them is this : — 

On the Soul. 5 MSS. of 16th, 14th, and nth Cent. All at Munich. In one of them 
there are scholia, some imported into the text by J. Naupliensis Mur- 
mureus the copyist ; and Sifanus' corrections. 
The ' Hasselman,' 14th Cent J. Christopher Wolf, who annotated this 
treatise {Aneedota Graca, Hamburgh, 1722), says of this MS. "very 
carefully written." It was lent by Zach. Hasselman, Minister of Olden- 
burgh. 
The ' Uffenbach,' 14th Cent, with var. lect in margin. Lent to Wolf by 
the Polish ambassador at Frankfort on Main, at the request of Zach. 
Uffenbach. 
Catechetical Oration. 4 MSS. of 16th Cent, 1 of 13th Cent., 'much mutilated: All at 

Munich. 
On Meletius. 2 MSS. of 16th Cent., 1 of 10th Cent All at Munich. 

His edition of the former appeared, at Leipzic, 1837 ; of the two latter, at Munich, 1838 ; 
all with valuable notes. 



MSS. AND EDITIONS. 31 



For the treatise Against Macedonius, the only text available is that of Cardinal Angelo Mai 
(Script Vet. Nova Collectio, Rome, 1833). It is taken from the Vatican MS. 'on silk.' The 
end of this treatise is not found in Mai. Perhaps it is in the MS. of Florence. 

For fourteen of the Letters, Zacagni (Praefect of the Vatican Library, 1698 — 1713) is the 
only editor. His text from the Vatican MS., No. 424, is printed in his Collectan. Monu- 
ment, ret. (pp. 354 — 400), Rome, 1698. 

He had not the use of the Medicean MS. which Caraccioli (see below) testifies to be much 
superior to the Vatican ; there are lacunae in the latter, however, which Zacagni occasionally 
fills by a happy guess with the very words supplied by the Medicean. 

For the Letter to Adelphius, and that (on Church Architecture) to Amphilochius, J. R 
Caraccioli (Professor of Philosophy at Pisa) furnishes a text (Florence, 1731) from the Medi- 
cean MS. The Letters in this collection are seven in all. Of the last of these (including that 
to Amphilochius) Bandinus says non sincerd fide ex Codice descrijttas, and that a fresh collation 
is necessary. 

For the treatise On the Making of Man, the text employed has been that of G. H. Forbes, 
(his first Fasciculus was published in 1855; his second in 1861 ; both at Burntisland, at his 
private press), with an occasional preference for the readings of one or other of the MSS. exam- 
ined by him or by others on his behalf. Of these he specifies twenty : but he had examined 
a much larger number. The MSS. which contain this work, he considers, are of two families. 

Of the first family the most important are three MSS. at Vienna, a tenth-century MS. on 
vellum at S. Mark's, Venice, which he himself collated, and a Vatican MS. of the tenth century. 
This family also includes three of the four Munich MSS. collated for Forbes by Krabinger. 

The other family displays more variations from the current text. One Vienna MS. " per- 
vetustus " " initio mutilus," was completely collated. Also belonging to this family are the 
oldest of the four Munich MSS., the tenth-century Codex Regius (Paris), and a fourteenth- 
century MS. at Christ Church, Oxford, clearly related to the last. 

The Codex Baroccianus (Bodleian, perhaps eleventh century; appears to occupy an inde- 
pendent position. 

For the other Treatises and Letters the text of the Paris Edition of 1638 (' plenior et 
emendatior' than that of 1615, according to Oehler, probably following its own title, but 
"much inferior to that of 1615" Canon Venables, Diet. Christ. Biog, says, and this is the 
judgment of J. Fessler) and of Migne have been necessary as the latest complete editions 
of the works of Gregory Nyssene. (All the materials that had been collected for the edition 
of the Benedictines of St. Maur perished in the French Revolution.) 

Of the two Paris Editions it must be confessed that they are based ' for the most part on in- 
ferior MSS.' (Oehler.) The frequent lacunae attest this. Fronto Ducaeus aided Claude, the 
brother of F. Morel, in settling the text, and the MSS. mentioned in the notes of the former are 
as follows : 

1. Pithoeus* "not of a very ancient hand," " as like F. Morel's (No. 2.-) as milk to milk " 
(so speaks John the Franciscan, who emended 'from one corrupt mutilated manu- 
script,' i.e. the above, the Latin translation of the Books against Eunomius made 
by his father N. Gulonius.) 
*. F. Morel's. ("Dean of Professors " and Royal Printer.) 

3. The Royal (in the Library of Henry II., Paris), on vellum, tenth century. 

4. Canter's (" ingens codex " sent from Antwerp by A. Schott ; it had been written out 

for T. Canter, Senator of Utrecht). 

5. Olivar's. " Multo emendatius " than (2.) 

6. J. Vulcobius', Abbot of Belpre. 

7. The Vatican. ^ ^ ^^.^ Qn yir g aUy% (The Paris Editors use d 

8. Bncmans (Cologne). Uvineius' Edition, based on (7) and (8). 



CEgidius David's, I. C. Paris. 



32 PROLEGOMENA. 



10. The Bavarian (Munich) for Books II. — XIII. Against Eunomius and other treatises ; 
only after the first edition of 1615. 

Other important MSS. existing for treatises here translated are 

the two last being wrongly attributed to 



On Pilgrimages : 

MS. Csesareus (Vienna): "valde vetustus " 
(Nessel, on the Imperial Library), vellum, 
No. 160, burnt at beginning. 
MSS. Florence (xx. 17 : xvi. 8). 
MS. Leyden (not older than fifteenth cen- 
tury). 
On the Making of Man : 

MS. Augsburgh, with twelve Homilies of Basil, 



Gregory (Reizer). 
MS. Ambrosian (Milan). See Montfaucon, 
Bibl. Bibliothec. p. 498. 
On Infants' 1 Early Deaths : 

MS. Turin (Royal Library). 
On the Soul and Resurrection : 

MSS. Augsburgh, Florence, Turin, Venice. 
Great Catechetical : 

MSS. Augsburgh, Florence, Turin, Csesareus. 

Many other MSS., for these and other treatises, are given by S. Heyns {Disputatio de Greg. Nyss. Leyden, 
1835). But considering the mutilated condition of most of the oldest, and the still small number of treatises 
edited from an extended collation of these, the complaint is still true that ' the text of hardly any other ancient 
writer is in a more imperfect state than that of Gregory of Nyssa. ' 

Versions of several Treatises." 

Latin. 

1. Of Dionysius Exiguus (died before 556) : On the Making of Man. Aldine, 1537. 

Cologne, 1551. Basle, 1562. Cologne, 1573. Dedicated to Eugippius.' 

This Dedication and the Latin of Gregory's Preface was only once printed 
- (i.e. in J. Mabillon's Analecta, Paris, 1677). 
This ancient Latin Version was revised by Fronto Ducaeus, the Jesuit, and Combe- 

ficius. There is a copy of it at Leyden. 
It stimulated J. Leiinclaius (see below), who judged it " fceda pollutum barbaria 

planeque perversum," to make another. Basle, 1567. 

2. Of Daniel Augentius : On the Soul. Paris 1557. 

3. Of Laurent. Sifanus, I. U. Doct. : On the Soul and many other treatises. Basle, 1562 

Apud N. Episcopum. 

4. Of Pet. Galesinius: On Virginity and On Prayer. Rome, 1563, ap. P. Manutium. 

5. Of Johann. Leiinclaius : On the Making of Man. Basle, 1567, ap. Oporinum. 

6. Of Pet. Morelius, of Tours : Great Catechetical. Paris, 1568. 

7. Of Gentianus Hervetus, Canon of Rheims, a diligent translator of the Fathers : 

Great Catechetical, and many others. Paris, 1573. 

8. Of Johann. Livineius, of Ghent : On Virginity. Apud Plantinum, 1574. 

9. Of Pet. Fr. Zinus, Canon of Verona, translator of Euthymius' Panoplia, which contains 

the Great Catechetical. Venice, 1575. 
10. Of Jacob Gretser, the Jesuit: /. e. Eunotn. Paris, 1618. 
XI. Of Nicolas Gulonius, Reg. Prof, of Greek: II. — XIII. c. Eunom. Paris, 1615. 

Revised by his son John, the Franciscan. 
12. Of J. Georg. Krabinger, Librarian of Royal Library, Munich : On the Soul, Great 

Catechetical, On Infants' Early Deaths, and others. Leipzic, 1837. 

German. 

1. Of Glauber : Great Catechetical, &c. Gregorius von Nyssa und Augustinus fiber 

den ersten Christlichen Religions-unterricht. Leipzic, 1781. 

2. Of Julius Rupp, Konigsberg : On Meletius. Gregors Leben und Meinungen. Leipzic, 

1834. 

3. Of Oehler : Various treatises. Bibliothek der Kirchenvater I. Theil. Leipzic, 

1858-59. 

4. Herm. Schmidt, paraphrased rather than translated : On the Soul. Halle, 1864. 

5. OfH. Hayd: On Infants"Early Deaths : On the Making of Man, Sac. Kempton, 1874. 



GREGORY OF NYSSA AGMNST HUNOMIUS. 



Letter I. 

Gregory to his brother Peter, Bishop of 
Sebasteia. 

Having with difficulty obtained a. little 
leisure, I have been able to recover from 
bodily fatigue on my return from Armenia, and 
to collect the sheets of my reply to Eunomius 
which was suggested by your wise advice ; so 
that my work is now arranged in a complete 
treatise, which can be read between covers. 
However, I have not written against both 
his pamphlets * ; even the leisure for that was 
not granted; for the person who lent me 
the heretical volume most uncourteously sent 
for it again, and allowed me no time either to 
write it out or to study it. In the short space 
of seventeen days it was impossible to be pre- 
pared to answer both his attacks. 

Owing to its somehow having become 
notorious that we had laboured to answer this 
blasphemous manifesto, many persons possess- 
ing some zeal for the Truth have importuned 
me about it : but I have thought it right to 
prefer you in your wisdom before them all, to 
advise me whether to consign this work to the 
public, or to take some other course. The 
reason why I hesitate is this. When our 



abuse of our father in God. I was exasperated 
with this, and there were passages where the 
flame of my heart-felt indignation burst out 
against this writer. The public have pardoned 
us for much else, because we have been apt in 
showing patience in meeting lawless attacks, 
and as far as possible have practised that 
restraint in feeling which the saint has taught 
us ; but I had fears lest from what we have 
now written against this opponent the reader 
should get the idea that we were very raw 
controversialists, who lost our temper directly 
at insolent abuse. Perhaps, however, this sus- 
picion about us will be disarmed by remember- 
ing that this display of anger is not on our own 
behalf, but because of insults levelled against 
our father in God ; and that it is a case in 
which mildness would be more unpardonable 
than anger. 

If, then, the first part of my treatise should 
seem somewhat outside the controversy, the fol- 
lowing explanation of it will, I think, be accepted 
by a reader who can judge fairly. It was not 
right to leave undefended the reputation of our 
noble saint, mangled as it was by the opponent's 
blasphemies, any more than it was convenient 
to let this battle in his behalf be spread 
diffusely along the whole thread of the dis- 
cussion ; besides, if any one reflects, these pages 



saintly Basil fell asleep, and I received the | do really form part of the controversy. Our 



legacy of Eunomius' controversy, when my 
heart was hot within me with bereavement, and, 
besides this deep sorrow for the common loss 
of the church, Eunomius had not confined 
himself to the various topics which might pass 
as a defence of his views, but had spent the 
chief part of his energy in laboriously-written 



« both his pamphlets. The' sheets' which Gregory says that 
he has collected are the i* Books that follow. They are written 
in reply to Eunomius' pamphlet, ' Apologia Apologia?,' itself a reply 
to Basil's Refutation. The other pamphlet of Eunomius seems to 
have come out during the composition of Gregory's 12 Books : and 
was afterwards answered by the latter in a second 12 th Book, 
but not now, because of the shortness of the time in which he had 
a copy of the ' heretical volume ' in his hands. The two last books 
of the five which go under the title of Basil's Refutation are con- 
sidered on good grounds to have been Gregory's, and to have 
formed that short reply to Eunomius which he read, at the Council 
of Constantinople, to Gregory of Nazianzen and Jerome (d. vir. 
Must. c. 128). Then he worked upon this longer reply. Thus 
there were in all three works of Gregory corresponding to the three 
attacks of Eunomius upon the Trinity. 

VOL. V. 



adversary's treatise has two separate arms, viz. 
to abuse us and to controvert sound doctrine \ 
and therefore ours too must show a double 
front. But for the sake of clearness, and in 
order that the thread of the discussion upon 
matters of the Faith should not be cut by 
parentheses, consisting of answers to their per- 
sonal abuse, we have separated. our work into 
two parts, and devoted ourselves in the first 
to refute these charges : and then we have 
grappled as best we might with that which 
they have advanced against the Faith. Our 
treatise also contains, in addition to a refuta- 
tion of their heretical views, a dogmatic ex- 
position of our own teaching ; for it would be 
a most shameful want of spirit, when our foes 
make no concealment of their blasphemy, not 
to be bold in our statement of the Truth 



34 



GREGORY OF NYSSA AGAINST EUNOMIUS. 



Letter II. 

To his most pious brother Gregory. Peter 
greeting in the Lord. 

Having met with the writings of your holiness 
and having perceived in your tract against this 
heresy your zeal both for the truth and for our 
sainted father in God, I judge that this work 
was not due simply to your own ability, but was 
that of one who studied that the Truth should 
speak, even in the publication of his own 
views. To the Holy Spirit of truth I would 
refer this plea for the truth ; just as to the 
father of lies, and not to Eunomius, should be 
referred this animosity against sound faith. 
Indeed, that murderer from the beginning who 
speaks in Eunomius has carefully whetted the 
sword against himself; for if he had not been 
so bold against the truth, no one would have 
roused you to undertake the cause of our 
religion. But to the end that the rottenness 
and flimsiness of their doctrines may be ex- 
posed, He who " taketh the wise in their own 
craftiness" hath allowed them both to be head- 
strong against the truth, and to have laboured 
- unlv on this vain speech. 



But since he that hath begun a good work 
will finish it, faint not in furthering the Spirit's 
power, nor leave half-won the victory over the 
assailants of Christ's glory ; but imitate thy 
true father who, like the zealot Phineas, pierced 
with one stroke of his Answer both master and 
pupil. Plunge with thy intellectual arm the 
sword of the Spirit through both these heret- 
ical pamphlets, lest, though broken on the 
head, the serpent affright the simpler sort 
by still quivering in the tail When the first 
arguments have been answered, should the 
last remain unnoticed, the many will suspect 
that they still retain some strength against 
the truth. 

The feeling shewn in your treatise will be 
grateful, as salt, to the palate of the soul. As 
bread cannot be eaten, according to Job, 
without salt, so the discourse which is not 
savoured with the inmost sentiments of God's 
word will never wake, and never move, 
desire. 

Be strong, then, in the thought that thou art 
a beautiful example to succeeding times of the 
way in which good-hearted children should act 
. towards their virtuous fathers. 



BOOK I\ 



§ I. Preface. — // is useless to attempt to benefit 
those who will not accept help. 

It seems that the wish to benefit all, and to 
lavish indiscriminately upon the first comer 
one's own gifts, was not a thing altogether 
commendable, or even free from reproach in 
the eyes of the many ; seeing that the gratuitous 
waste of many prepared drugs on the incurably- 
diseased produces no result worth caring 
about, either in the way of gain to the recipient, 
or reputation to the would-be benefactor. 
Rather such an attempt becomes in many cases 
the occasion of a change for the worse. The 
hopelessly-diseased and now dying patient re- 
ceives only a speedier end from the more active 
medicines ; the fierce unreasonable temper is 
only made worse by the kindness of the 
lavished pearls, as the Gospel tells us. I think 
it best, therefore, in accordance with the 
Divine command, for any one to separate the 
valuable from the worthless when either have 
to be given away, and to avoid the pain which 
a generous giver must receive from one who 
' treads upon his pearl,' and insults him by 
his utter want of feeling for its beauty. 

This thought suggests itself when I think 
of one who freely communicated to others the 
beauties of his own soul, I mean that man of 
God, that mouth of piety, Basil ; one who 
from the abundance of his spiritual treasures 
poured his grace of wisdom into evil souls 
whom he had never tested, and into one 
among them, Eunomius, who was perfectly 
insensible to all the efforts made for his good. 
Pitiable indeed seemed the condition of this 



« Thi» first Book against Eunomius was not in the i" Pans 

Edition of Gregory's works, 1615: but it was published three years 
later from the ' Bavarian Codex,' i.e. that of Munich, by J. Gret- 
ser, in an Appendix, along with the Summaries (i.e. the headings 
of the sections, which appear to be not Gregory's) and the two 
Introductory Letters. These Summaries and the Letters, and 
nearly three quarters of the 1" Book were found in J. Livineius' 
transcript from the Codex Vaticanus made 1570, at Rome. This 
Appendix was added to the a od Paris Edit. 1638. F. Oehler, 
whose text has been followed throughout, has used for the 1" Book 
the Munich Codex (on paper, xvi th Cent.); the Venetian (on 
cotton, xiii th Cent.); the Turin (on cotton, xiv' h Cent.), and the 
oldest of all, the Florentine (on parchment, xi th Cent.). 



poor man, from the extreme weakness of his> 
soul in the matter of the Faith, to all true 
members of the Church ; for who is so wanting 
in feeling as not to pity, at least, a perishing 
soul? But Basil alone, from the abiding 3 
ardour of his love, was moved to undertake 
his cure, and therein to attempt impossibilities ; 
he alone took so much to heart the man's 
desperate condition, as to compose, as an 
antidote of deadly poisons, his refutation of 
this heresy 3, which aimed at saving its author, 
and restoring him to the Church. 

He, on the contrary, like one beside himself 
with fury, resists his doctor; he fights and 
struggles ; he regards as a bitter foe one who 
only put forth his strength to drag him from 
the abyss of misbelief; and he does not in- 
dulge in this foolish anger only before chance 
hearers now and then; he has raised against 
himself a literary monument to record this 
blackness of his bile ; and when in long years 
he got the requisite amount of leisure, he was 
travailling over his work during all that interval 
with mightier pangs than those of the largest 
and the bulkiest beasts ; his threats of what 
was coming were dreadful, whilst he was still 
secretly moulding his conception : but when 
at last and with great difficulty he brought it 
to the light, it was a poor little abortion, quite 



 Reading,— m 

to ijlovi.ii.ov . . . iiriToknitvrau This is the correction of Oehler 
for toc ixovov . . . «jriToA/xo>i> which the text presents. The Vene- 
tian MS. has «TTlTOA/i.tt)fTt. 

3 his refutation of this heresy. This is Basil's ' A.vaTDtimKOS 
toC airoAoyirriicov tow Suo<re/3oO« Evvopiov. ' Basil,' says Photius, 
' with difficulty got hold of Eunomius' book,' perhaps because it 
was written originally for a small circle of readers, and was in 
a highly scientific form. What happened next may be told in the 
words of Claudius Morellius (Prolegomena to Paris Edition of 
1615) : ' When Basil's first essay against the foetus of Eunomius 
had been published, he raised his bruised head like a trodden 
worm, seized his pen, and began to rave more poisonously still as 
well against Basil as the orthodox faith.' This was Eunomius' 
' Apologia Apologiae : ' of it Photius says, ' His reply to Basil 
was composed for many Olympiads while shut up in his cell. 
This, like another Saturn, he concealed from the eyes of Basil 
till it had grown up, i.e. he concealed it, by devouring it, as long 
as Basil lived.' He then goes on to say that after Basil's death, 
Theodore (of Mopsuestia), Gregory ot Nyssa, and Sophronius 
found it and dealt with it, though even then Eunomius had only 
ventured to show it to some of his friends. Philostorgius, the 
ardent admirer of Eunomius, makes the amazing statement th^t 
Basii died of despair after reading it. 



D 2 



36 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



prematurely born. However, those who share 
his ruin nurse it and coddle it ; while we, 
seeking the blessing in the prophet (" Blessed 
shall he be who shall take thy children, and 
shall dash them against the stones * ") are only 
eager, now that it has got into our hands, to 
take this puling manifesto and dash it on the 
rock, as if it was one of the children of 
Babylon ; and the rock must be Christ ; in 
other words, the enunciation of the truth. 
Only may that power come upon us which 
strengthens weakness, through the prayers of 
him who made his own strength perfect in 
bodily weakness 5. 

§ 2. We have been justly provoked to make this 
Answer, being stung by Eunomius' accusa- 
tions of our brother. 

If indeed that godlike and saintly soul were 
still in the flesh looking out upon human 
affairs, if those lofty tones were still heard with 
all their peculiar 6 grace and all their resistless 
utterance, who could arrive at such a pitch of 
audacity, as to attempt to speak one word 
upon this subject? that divine trumpet-voice 
would drown any word that could be uttered. 
But all of him has now flown back to God ; at 
first indeed in the slight shadowy phantom 
of his body, he still rested on the earth ; but 
now he has quite shed even that unsubstantial 
form, and bequeathed it to this world. Mean- 
time the drones are buzzing round the cells of 
the Word, and are plundering the honey ; so 
let no one accuse me of mere audacity for 
rising up to speak instead of those silent lips. 
I have not accepted this laborious task from 
any consciousness in myself of powers of argu- 
ment superior to the others who might be 
named ; I, if any, have the means of knowing 
that there are thousands in the Church who 
are strong in the gift of philosophic skill. 
Nevertheless I affirm that, both by the written 
and the natural law, to me more especially 
belongs this heritage of the departed, and 
therefore I myself, in preference to others, 
appropriate the legacy of the controversy. 
I may be counted amongst the least of those 
who are enlisted in the Church of God, but 
.still I am not too weak to stand out as her 
champion against one who has broken with 
that Church. The very smallest member of a 
vigorous body would, by virtue of the unity of its 
life with the whole, be found stronger than one 



4 Psalm cxxxvii. 9. 

5 ' He asks for the intercession of Saint Paul ' (Paris Edit 
111 m.-irg.). 

6 a>roieAi)pu0ei < r<u>. This is probably the meaning, after the 
analogy of an-OKArjpujcrc?, in the sense (most frequent in Origen), 
of 'favour,' 'partiality,' passing into that of 'caprice,' • arbi- 
trar ness,' cf. below, cap. 9, n't r) oTroKAjjpuxris, k.t.K ' How arbi- 
trarily he praises himself." 



that had been cut away and was dying, how- 
ever large the latter and small the former. 

§ 3. We see nothing remarkable in logical force 
in the treatise of Eunomius, and so embark 
on our Answer with a just confidence. 

Let no one think, that in saying this I ex- 
aggerate and make an idle boast of doing some- 
thing which is beyond my strength. I shall not 
be led by any boyish ambition to descend to 
his vulgar level in a contest of mere arguments 
and phrases. Where victory is a useless and 
profitless thing, we yield it readily to those who 
wish to win ; besides, we have only to look at 
this man's long practice in controversy, to con- 
clude that he is quite a word-practitioner, and, 
in addition, at the fact that he has spent no 
small portion of his life on the composition of 
this treatise, and at the supreme joy of his 
intimates over these labours, to conclude that 
he has taken particular trouble with this work. 
It was not improbable that one who had 
laboured at it for so many Olympiads would 
produce something better than the work of 
extempore scribblers. Even the vulgar pro- 
fusion of the figures he uses in concocting his 
work is a further indication of this laborious 
care in writing 7. He has got a great mass of 
newly assorted terms, for which he has put 
certain other books under contribution, and he 
piles this immense congeries of words on a very 
slender nucleus of thought ; and so he has 
elaborated this highly-wrought production, 
which his pupils in error are lost in the admira- 
tion of; — no doubt, because their deadness on 
the vital points deprives them of the power of 
feeling the distinction between beauty and the 
reverse : — but which is ridiculous, and of no 
value at all in the judgment of those, whose 
hearts' insight is not dimmed with any soil of 
unbelief. How in the world can it contribute 
to the proof (as he hopes) of what he says and 
the establishment of the truth of his specula- 
tions, to adopt these absurd devices in his forms 
of speech, this new-fangled and peculiar arrange- 



7 Photius reports very much the same as to his style, i.e. he 
shows a 'prodigious ostentation;' uses 'words difficult to pro- 
nounce, and abounding in many consonants, and that in a poetic, or 
rather a dithyrambic style : ' he has ' periods inordinately long : ' 
he is ' obscure,' and seeks ' to hide by this very obscurity whatever 
is weak in his perceptions and conceptions, which indeed is often.' 
He ' attacks others for their logic, and is very fond of using logic 
himself:' but ' as he had taken up this science late in life, and had 
not gone very deeply into it, he is olten found making mistakes.' 

The book of Eunomius which Photius had read is still extant : 
it is his ' Apologeticus ' in 28 sections, and has been published by 
Canisius (Lectionei Antiquct, I. 172 ff.). His exdcot? ttjs -rio-Tews, 
presented to the emperor Theodosius in the year 383, is also ex- 
tant. This last is found in the Codex Theodosius and in the MSS. 
which Livineius of Ghent used (or his Greek and Latin edition of 
Gregory, 1574 : it follows the Books against Eunomius. His 
' Apologia Apologia:,' which he wrote in answer to Basil's 5 (or 3) 
books against him, is not extant: nor the ieuTepbs A070S which 
Gregory ahswered in his second i2 ,h Book. 

Most of the quotations, then, from Eunomius, in these books ol 
Gregory cannot be verified, in the case of a doubtful reading, &c. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



37 



ment, this fussy conceit, and this conceited 
fussiness, which works with no enthusiasm for 
iny previous model ? For it would be indeed 
difficult to discover who amongst all those who 
have been celebrated for their eloquence he 
has had his eye on, in bringing himself to this 
pitch; for he is like those who produce effects 
upon the stage, adapting his argument to the 
tune of his rhythmical phrases, as they their 
song to their castenets, by means of parallel 
sentences of equal length, of similar sound and 
similar ending. Such, amongst many other 
faults, are the nerveless quaverings and the 
meretricious tricks of his Introduction ; and one 
might fancy him bringing them all out, not with 
an unimpassioned action, but with stamping of 
the feet and sharp snapping of the fingers 
declaiming to the time thus beaten, and then 
remarking that there was no need of other 
arguments and a second performance after 
that. 



§ 4. Eanomius displays much folly and fine 
writing, but very little seriousness about vital 
points. 

In these and such like antics I allow him to 
have the advantage ; and to his heart's content 
he may revel in his victory there. Most 
willingly I forego such a competition, which 
can attract those only who seek renown ; if 
indeed any renown comes from indulging in 
such methods of argumentation, considering 
that Paul 8 , that genuine minister of the Word, 
whose only ornament was truth, both disdained 
himself to lower his style to such prettinesses, 
and instructs us also, in a noble and appropriate 
exhortation, to fix our attention on truth alone. 
What need indeed for one who is fair in the 
beauty of truth to drag in the paraphernalia of 
a decorator for the production of a false artificial 
beauty ? Perhaps for those who do not possess 
truth it may be an advantage to varnish their 
falsehoods with an attractive style, and to rub 
into the grain of their argument a curious polish. 
When their error i& taught in far-fetched lan- 
guage and decked out with all the affectations 
of style, they have a chance of being plausible 
and accepted by their hearers. But those whose 
only aim is simple truth, unadulterated by any 
misguiding foil, find the light of a natural 
beauty emitted from their words. 

But now that I am about to begin the exami- 
nation of all that he has advanced, I feel the 
same difficulty as a farmer does, when the air is 
calm ; I know not how to separate his wheat 
irum his chaff; the waste, in fact, and the chaff 
in this pile of words is so enormous, that it 



makes one think that the residue of facts and 
real thoughts in all that he has said is almost 
nil. It would be the worse for speed and very 
irksome, it would even be beside our object, to 
go into the whole of his remarks in detail ; we 
have not the means for securing so much 
leisure so as wantonly to devote it to such 
frivolities ; it is the duty, I think, of a prudent 
workman not to waste his strength on trifles, 
but on that which will clearly repay his toil. 

As to all the things, then, in his Introduction, 
how he constitutes himself truth's champion, 
and fixes the charge of unbelief upon his oppo- 
nents, and declares that an abiding and indel- 
ible hatred for them has sunk into his soul, 
how he struts in his ' new discoveries,' though 
he does not tell us what they are, but says only 
that an examination of the debateable points in 
them was set on foot, a certain 'legal' trial 
which placed on those who were daring to act 
illegally the necessity of keeping quiet, or to 
quote his own words in that Lydian style of 
singing which he has got, " the bold law-breakers 
— in open court — were forced to be quiet ; " (he 
calls this a "proscription" of the conspiracy 
against him, whatever may be meant by that 
term) ; — all this wearisome business I pass by as 
quite unimportant. On the other hand, all his 
special pleading for his heretical conceits may 
well demand our close attention. Our own inter- 
preter of the principles of divinity followed this 
course in his Treatise ; for though he had plenty 
of ability to broaden out his argument, he took 
the line of dealing only with vital points, which 
he selected from all the blasphemies of that 
heretical book °, ana so narrowed the scope of 
the subject 

If, however, any one desires that our answer 
should exactly correspond to the array of his 
arguments, let him tell us the utility of such a 
process. What gain would it be to my readers 
if I were to solve the complicated riddle of his 
title, which he proposes to us at the very com- 
mencement, in the manner of the sphinx of the 
tragic stage ; namely this ' New Apology for 
the Apology,' and all the nonsense which he 
writes about that; and if I were to tell the 
long tale of what he dreamt? I think that the 
reader is sufficiently wearied with the petty 
vanity about this newness in his title already 
preserved in Eunomius' own text, and with the 
want of taste displayed there in the account of 
his own exploits, all his labours and his trials, 
while he wandered over every land and every 
sea, and was ' heralded ' through the whole 
world. If all that had to be written down over 
again,— and with additions, too, as the retuta- 



B d. 1 Coruuh. ii. i— 8. 



9 that heretical book, Le. the first ' Apology ' of Eunomius m 
28 parts : a translation of it is given in Whiston's Eunomiattismui 
Redivivus. 



38 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



tions of these falsehoods would naturally have 
to expand their statement, — who would be 
found of such an iron hardness -as not to be 
sickened at this waste of labour? Suppose I 
was to write down, taking word by word, an 
explanation of that mad story of his ; suppose 
I were to explain, for instance, who that Ar- 
menian was on the shores of the Euxine, who 
had annoyed him at first by having the same 
name as himself, what their lives were like, what 
their pursuits, how he had a quarrel with that 
Armenian because of the very likeness of their 
characters, then in what fashion those two were 
reconciled, so as to join in a common sympathy 
with that winning and most glorious Aetius, 
his master (for so pompous are his praises) ; 
and after that, what was the plot devised 
against himself, by which they brought him to 
trial on the charge of being surpassingly pop- 
ular : suppose, I say, I was to explain all that, 
should I not appear, like those who catch 
opthalmia themselves from frequent contact 
with those who are already suffering so, to 
have caught myself this malady of fussy cir- 
cumstantiality? I should be following step by 
step each detail of his twaddling story ; finding 
out who the " slaves released to liberty" were, 
what was " the conspiracy » of the initiated " 
and "the calling out 2 of hired slaves," what 
' Montius and Gallus, and Domitian,' and ' false 
witnesses,' and ' an enraged Emperor,' and 
1 certain sent into exile ' have to do with the 
argument. What could be more useless than 
such tales for the purpose of one who was not 
wishing merely to write a narrative, but to refute 
the argument of him who had written against 
his heresy? What follows in the story is still 
more profitless ; I do not think that the author 
himself could peruse it again without yawning, 
though a strong natural affection for his off- 
spring does possess every father. He pretends 
to unfold there his exploits and his sufferings ; 
the style rears itself into the sublime, and the 
legend swells into the tones of tragedy. 

§ 5. His peculiar caricature of the bishops, Eusta- 
thius of Armenia and Basil of Galatia, is not 
well drawn. 

But, not to linger longer on these absurdities 
in the very act of declining to mention them, 
and not to soil this book by forcing my subject 
through all his written reminiscences, like one 
who urges his horse through a slough and so 
gets covered with its filth, I think it is best to 
leap over the mass of his rubbish with as high 
and as speedy a jump as my thoughts are 
capable of, seeing that a quick retreat from 



« <t\*<jw. » Tafii/. We have no context to explain these 

allusions, the treatise of EunomitU being lost, which Gregory is 
turw answering, i.e. the Apologia Apologias 



what is disgusting is a considerable advantage ; 
and let us hasten on 3 to the finale of his story, 
lest the bitterness of his own words should 
trickle into my book. Let Euncmius have the 
monopoly of the bad taste in such words as 
these, spoken of God's priests ♦, " curmudgeon 
squires, and beadles, and satellites, rummaging 
about, and not suffering the fugitive to carry 
on his concealment," and all the other things 
which he is not ashamed to write of grey-haired 
priests. Just as in the schools for secular 
learning s, in order to exercise the boys to be 
ready in word and wit, they propose themes 
for declamation, in which the person who" is 
the subject of them is nameless, so does 
Eunomius make an onset at once upon the 
facts suggested, and lets loose the tongue 
of invective, and without saying one word 
as to any actual villainies, he merely works 
up against them all the hackneyed phrases 
of contempt, and every imaginable term of 
abuse : in which, besides, incongruous ideas 
are brought together, such as a ' dilettante 
soldier,' ' an accursed saint,' ' pale with fast, 
and murderous with hate,' and many such 
like scurrilities ; and just like a reveller in the 
secular processions shouts his ribaldry, when 
he would carry his insolence to the highest 
pitch, without his mask on, so does Eunomius, 
without an attempt to veil his malignity, shout 
with brazen throat the language of the waggon. 
Then he reveals the cause why he is so en- 
raged ; ' these priests took every precaution 
that many should not' be perverted to the 
error of these heretics; accordingly he is angry 
that they could not stay at their convenience 
in the places they liked, but that a residence 
was assigned them by order of the then governor 
of Phrygia, so that most might be secured from 
such wicked neighbours ; his indignation at 
this bursts out in these words ; ' the excessive 
severity of our trials,' ' our grievous sufferings,' 
' our noble endurance of them,' ' the exile from 
our native country into Phrygia.' Quite so : 
this Oltiserian 6 might well be proud of what 
occurred, putting an end as it did to all his 
family pride, and casting such a slur upon his 
race that that far-renowned Priscus, his grand 
father, from whom he gets those brilliant and 
most remarkable heirlooms, " the mill, and the 

3 Reading irpds re to ntpax. 

* This must be the ' caricature ' of the (Greek) Summary above. 
Eustathius of Sebasteia, the capital of Armenia, and the Galatian 
Basil, of Ancyra (Angora), are certainly mentioned, c 6 (end). 
Twice did these two, once Semi-Arians, oppose Aetius and Euno- 
mius, before Constantius, at Byzantium. On the second occasion, 
however (Sozomen, H.E. iv. 23 , Ursacius and Valens arrived with 
the proscription 01 the Homoousion from Ariminum : it was then 
that " the world groaned to find itself Ariau " (Jerome). The 
1 accursed saint ' ' pale with fast,' i.e. Eustathius, in his Armenian 
monastery, gave Basil the Great a model for his own. 

5 rutv efwtfep Koyutv. 

6 Oltiseris was probably the district, as Corniaspa was the 
village, in which Eunomius was born. It is a Celtic word : and 
probably suggests his half-Galatian extraction. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



^ 



leather, and the slaves' stores," and the rest 
of his inheritance in Chanaan ?, would never 
have chosen this lot, which now makes him 
so angry. It was to be expected that he 
would revile those who were the agents of this 
exile. I quite understand his feeling. Truly 
the authors of these misfortunes, if such there 
be or ever have been, deserve the censures of 
these men, in that the renown of their former 
lives is thereby obscured, and they are deprived 
of the opportunity of mentioning and making 
much of their more impressive antecedents ; 
the great distinctions with which each started 
in life ; the professions they inherited from 
their fathers ; the greater or the smaller marks 
of gentility of which each was conscious, even 
before they became so widely known and 
valued that even emperors numbered them 
amongst their acquaintance, as he now boasts 
in his book, and that all the higher govern- 
ments were roused about them and the world 
was filled with their doings. 

§ 6. A notice of Aetius, Eunomius'' master in 
heresy, and of Eunomius himself, describing 
the origin and avocations of each. 

Verily this did great damage to our declama- 
tion-writer, or rather to his patron and guide 
in life, Aetius ; whose enthusiasm indeed ap- 
pears to me to have aimed not so much at the 
propagation of error as to the securing a com- 
petence for life. I do not say this as a mere 
surmise of my own, but I have heard it from 
the lips of those who knew him well. I have 
listened to Athanasius, the former bishop of 
the Galatians, when he was speaking of the 
life of Aetius; Athanasius was a man who 
valued truth above all things ; and he exhibited 
also the letter of George of Laodicaea, so that 
a number might attest the truth of his words. 
He told us that originally Aetius did not 
attempt to teach his monstrous doctrines, but 
only after some interval of time put forth these 
novelties as a trick to gain his livelihood ; that 
having escaped from serfdom in the vineyard 
to which he belonged, — how, I do not wish to 
say, lest I should be thought to be entering on 
his history in a bad spirit, — he became at first 
a tinker, and had this grimy trade of a me- 
chanic quite at his fingers' end, sitting under a 
goat's- hair tent, with a small hammer, and a 
diminutive anvil, and so earned a precarious 
and laborious livelihood. What income, in- 
deed, of any account could be made by one 
who mends the shaky places in coppers, and 
solders holes up, and hammers sheets of tin to 
( .ieces, and clamps with lead the legs of pots? 



7 This can be no other than the district Chammanene, on the 
can bank ol the Halys, where Galatia and Cappadocia join. 



We were told that a certain incident which 
befell him in this trade necessitated the next 
change in his life. He had received from a 
woman belonging to a regiment a gold orna- 
ment, a necklace or a bracelet, which had been 
broken by a blow, and which he was to mend : 
but he cheated the poor creature, by appro- 
priating her gold trinket, and giving her instead 
one of copper, of the same size, and also of 
the same appearance, owing to a gold-wash 
which he had imparted to its surface ; she was 
deceived by this for a time, for he was clever 
enough in the tinker's, as in other, arts to 
mislead his customers with the tricks of trade ; 
but at last she detected the rascality, for the 
wash got rubbed off the copper; and, as some 
of the soldiers of her family and nation were 
roused to indignation, she prosecuted the pur- 
loiner of her ornament. After this attempt he 
of course underwent a cheating thief's pun- 
ishment ; and then left the trade, swearing that 
it was not his deliberate intention, but that 
business tempted him to commit this theft 
After this he became assistant to a certain doctor 
from amongst the quacks, so as not to be 
quite destitute of a livelihood ; and in this 
capacity he made his attack upon the obscurer 
households and on the most abject of mankind. 
Wealth came gradually from his plots against 
a certain Armenius, who being a foreigner was 
easily cheated, and, having been induced to 
make him his physician, had advanced him 
frequent sums of money; and he began to 
think that serving under others was beneath 
him, and wanted to be styled a physician 
himself. Henceforth, therefore, he attended 
medical congresses, and consorting with the 
wrangling controversialists there became one 
of the ranters, and, just as the scales were 
turning, always adding his own weight to the 
argument, he got to be in no small request 
with those who would buy a brazen voice for 
their party contests. 

But although his bread became thereby well 
buttered he thought he ought not to remain in 
such a profession ; so he gradually gave up the 
medical, after the tinkering. Arius, the enemy 
ot God, had already sown those wicked tares 
which bore the Anomseans as their fruit, and 
the schools of medicine resounded then with 
the disputes about that question. Accordingly 
Aetius studied the controversy, and, having 
laid a train of syllogisms from what he remem- 
bered of Aristotle, he became notorious for 
even going beyond Alius, the father of the 
heresy, in the novel character of his specula- 
tions ;' or rather he perceived the consequences 
of all that Arius had advanced, and so got this 
character of a shrewd discoverer of truths not 
obvious ; revealing as he did that the Created, 



±0 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



even from things non-existent, was unlike the 
Creator who drew Him out of nothing. 

With such propositions he tickled ears that 
itched for these novelties; and the Ethiopian 
Theophilus 8 becomes acquainted with them. 
Aetius had already been connected with this man 
on some business of Gallus; and now by his help 
creeps into the palace. After Gallus 9 had per- 
petrated the tr.igedy with regard to Domitian 
the procurator and Montius, all the other par- 
ticipators in it naturally shared his ruin ; yet 
this man escapes, being acquitted from being 
punished along with them. After this, when 
the great Athanasius had been driven by Im- 
perial command from the Church of Alex- 
andria, and George the Tarbasthenite was 
tearing his flock, another change takes place, 
and Aetius is an Alexandrian, receiving his full 
share amongst those who fattened at the Cap- 
padocian's board ; for he had not omitted to 
practice his flatteries on George. George 
was in fact from Chanaan himself, and there- 
fore felt kindly towards a countryman : indeed 
he had been for long so possessed with his 
perverted opinions as actually to dote upon 
him, and was prone to become a godsend for 
Aetius, whenever he liked. 

All this did not escape the notice of his 
sincere admirer, our Eunomius. This latter 
perceived that his natural father — an excellent 
man, except that he had such a son — led a 
very honest and respectable life certainly, but 
one of laborious penury and full of countless 
toils. (He was one of those farmers who are 
always bent over the plough, and spend a 
world of trouble over their little farm ; and in 
the winter, when he was secured from agri 
cultural work, he used to carve out neatly the 
letters of the alphabet for boys to form syl 
lables with, winning his bread with the money 
these sold for.) Seeing all this in his father's 
life, he said goodbye to the plough and the 
mattock and all the paternal instruments, in- 
tending never to drudge himself like that ; then 
he sets himself to learn Prunicus' skill 10 of 



8 Probably the ' Indian ' Theophilus, who afterwards helped to 
organize the Anomoean schism in the reign of Jovian. 

9 Gallus, Caesar 3so— 354, brother ol J ulian, not a little influenced 
by Aetius, executed by Cpustaniius at Flanon in Daln.atia. During 
his short reign at Ant.och, DomiUan, who was sent to bring him to 
Italy and his quaestor Montius were dragged to death through the 
streets by the guards ol the young Caesar. 

cj,/° 1 h r? SamC P o hrabe 0CCU - rs a S ain : Refutation of Eunomius' 
second kssay, p. 844 : oi 17, npovvUov <ro<W eyyup.i/ao0eVTes- ef 

In the last word there is evidently a pun on npovvUov ; vpo&pn, 
g the secondary sense of 'precocious,' is used by Iamblichus and 
I orphyry, and npovviKos appears to have had the same meaning. 
We might venture, therefore, to translate 'that knowing tricfc' 
« wort-hand : but why Prum, ..if.ed, if it is personified, 

as .., theGuostic Prunicos Sophia, does not appear. See Epil 
phanius liases. 253 lor the feminine Proper name. 
ParUK' n P ^ 16 "planation is that given in the margin of the 

«££ "' and ,' S l ' abe ^ °" b ""'-' s ' '- c - P ""»« sunt cursores 

celcrc;, hie pro celtr sepba. Hesychiua also says of the word ; 
01 iu»(w MO^Sovm ra u,^a ajro pj* dyopdi, oiit rim iraiiaptwal 
«aAouo-«^, ipo^eit, Tpa*« s , ofets, *vk.V7,toi, yopyoi, m<rfW«n. 



short-hand writing, and having perfected himself 
in that he entered at first, I believe, the house 
of one of his own family, receiving his board 
for his services in writing ; then, while tutoring 
the boys of his host, he rises to the ambition 
of becoming an orator. I pass over the next 
interval, both as to his life in his native 
country and as to the things and the company 
in which he was discovered at Constantinople. 

Busied as he was after this ' about the cloke 
and the purse,' he saw it was all of little avail, 
and that nothing which he could amass by such 
work was adequate to the demands of his 
ambition. Accordingly he threw up all other 
practices, and devoted himself solely to the 
admiration of Aetius ; not, perhaps, without 
some calculation that this absorbing pursuit 
which he selected might further his own devices 
for living. In fact, from the moment he asked 
for a share in a wisdom so profound, he toiled 
not thenceforward, neither did he spin ; for he 
is certainly clever in what he takes in hand, 
and knows how to gain the more emotional 
portion of mankind. Seeing that human na- 
ture, as a rule, falls an easy prey to pleasure, 
and that its natural inclination in the direction 
of this weakness is very strong, descending 
from the sterner heights of conduct to the 
smooth level of comfort, he becomes with a 
view of making the largest number possible of 
proselytes to his pernicious opinions very 
pleasant indeed to those whom he is initiating ; 
he gets rid of the toilsome steep of virtue 
altogether, because it is not a persuasive to 
accept, his secrets. But should any one have 
the leisure to inquire what this secret teaching 
of theirs is, and what those who have been 
duped to accept this blighting curse utter with- 
out any reserve, and what in the mysterious 
ritual of initiation they are taught by the 
reverend hierophant, the manner of baptisms \ 
and the ' helps of nature.' and all that, let him 
question those who feel no compunction in 
letting indecencies pass their lips ; we shall 
keep silent. For not even though we are the 
accusers should we be guiltless in mentioning 
such things, and we have been taught to 
reverence purity in word as well as deed, and 
not to soil our pages with equivocal stories, 
even though there be truth in what we say. 

But we mention what we then heard (namely 
that, just as Aristotle's evil skill supplied 

Here such 'porter's' skill, easy going and superficial, is opposed 
to the more laborious task ol tilling the soil. 

1 For the baptisms 01 Eunomius, compare Ephiphanius Haer. 
765. Even Arians who were not Anomceans he rebaptized. The 
'helps ol nature' may possibly re'er to the 'miracles' which 
Philostorgius ascribes both to Aetius and Eunomius. 

Sozomen (vi. 26) says, "Eunomius introduced, it is said, a mode 
of discipline contrary to that of the Chuich, and endeavoured to 
disguise the innovation under the cloak of a grave and severe 
deuortinent." . . . His followers "do not applaud a virtuous 
coutse of hie ... so much as ski!! in disputation, and the power 
of triumphing in debates." 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



4i 



Aetius with his impiety, so the simplicity of 
his dupes secured a fat living for the well- 
trained pupil as well as for the master) for the 
purpose of asking some questions. What after 
all was the great damage done him by Basil on 
the Euxine, or by Eustathius in Armenia, to 
both of whom that long digression in his story 
harks back ? How did they mar the aim of his 
life? Did they not rather feed up his and his 
companion's freshly acquired fame? Whence 
came their wide notoriety, if not through the 
instrumentality of. these men, supposing, that 
is, that their accuser is speaking the truth ? 
For the fact that men, themselves illustrious, 
as our writer owns, deigned to right with those 
who had as yet found no means of being 
known naturally gave the actual start to the 
ambitious thoughts of those who were to be 
pitted against these reputed heroes ; and a veil 
was thereby thrown over their humble antece- 
dents. They in fact owed their subsequent 
notoriety to this, — a thing detestable indeed to 
a reflecting mind which would never choose to 
rest fame upon an evil deed, but the acme 
of bliss to characters such as these. They tell 
of one in the province of Asia, amongst the 
obscurest and the basest, who longed to make 
a name in Ephesus ; some great and brilliant 
achievement being quite beyond his powers 
never even entered his mind ; and yet, by 
hitting upon that which would most deeply 
injure the Ephesians, he made his mark deeper 
than the heroes of the grandest actions ; for 
there was amongst their public buildings one 
noticeable for its peculiar magnificence and 
costliness; and he burnt this vast structure to 
the ground, showing, when men came to 
inquire after the perpetration of this villany 
into its mental causes, that he dearly prized 
notoriety, and had devised that the greatness 
of the disaster should secure the name of its 
:uith or being recorded with it The secret 
motive 2 of these two men is the same thirst for 
publicity; the only difference is that the 
amount of mischief is greater in their case. 
They are marring, not lifeless architecture, but 
the living building of the Church, introducing, 
for fire, the slow canker of their teaching. 
Cut I will defer the doctrinal question till the 
proper time comes. 

.§ 7. Eunomius himself proves that the confession 
of faith which Be made was not impeached. 
Let us see for a moment now what kind of 
truth is dealt with by this man, who in his 
Introduction complains that it is because of his 
telling the truth that he is hated by the un- 
believers; we may well make the way he 

* Vir66e<ri.<;. 



handles truth outside doctrine teach us a test 
to apply to his doctrine itself. " He that is 
faithful in that which is least is faithful also in 
much, and he that is unjust in the least is 
unjust also in much." Now, when he is 
beginning to write this "apology for the. 
apology " (that is the new and startling title, as 
well as subject, of his book) he says that we 
must look for the cause of this very startling 
announcement nowhere else but in him who 
answered that first treatise of his. That book 
was entitled an Apology; but being given to 
understand by our master-theologian that an 
apology can only come from those who have 
been accused of something, and that if a man 
writes merely from his own inclination his pro- 
duction is something else than an apology, he 
does not deny — it would be too manifestly 
absurd — 3 that an apology requires a preceding 
accusation ; but he declares that his ' apology ' 
has cleared him from very serious accusations 
in the trial which has been instituted against 
him. How false this is, is manifest from his 
own words. He complained that "many 
heavy sufferings were inflicted on him by those 
who had condemned him "; we may read that 
in his book. 

But how could he have suffered so, if his 
'apology' cleared him of these charges? 'If 
he successfully adopted an apology to escape 
from these, that pathetic complaint of his is a 
hypocritical pretence ; if on the other hand 
he really suffered as he says, then, plainly, 
he suffered because he did not clear himself by 
an apology ; for every apology, to be such, has 
to secure this end, namely, to prevent the vot- 
ing power from being misled by any false state- 
ments. Sureiy he will not now attempt to say 
^hat at the time of the trial he produced his 
apology, but not being able to win over the jury 
lost the case to the prosecution. For he said 
nothing at the time of the trial 'about pro- 
ducing his apology;' nor was it likely that 
he would, considering that he distinctly states 
in his book that he refused to have anything to 
do with those ill-affected and hostile dicasts. 
" We own," he says, " that we were condemned 
by default : there was a packed 4 panel of evil- 
disposed persons where a jury ought to have 
sat." He is very labored here, and has his 
attention diverted by his argument, I think, or 
he would have noticed that he has tacked on 
a fine solecism to his sentence. He affects to 
be imposingly Attic with his phrase 'packed 
panel ; ' but the correct in language use these 
words, as those familiar with the forensic 



3 The \vr\ is redundant and owing to ovk. 

4 Ei;4>picair<ui'. A word used in Aristophanes of ' letting into 
court,' probably a technical word : it is a manifest derivation from 
f Icrcpopew. What the solecism is, is not clear ; Gretser thinks that 
Eunomius mea"' \< lor tia-rrriSai'. 



42 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



vocabulary know, quite differently to our new 
AtticisL 

A little further on he adds this ; " If he thinks 
that, because I would have nothing to do with 
a jury who were really my prosecutors he can 
argue away my apology, he must be blind to his 
own simplicity." When, then, and before 
whom did our caustic friend make his apology ? 
He had demurred to the jury because they were 
1 foes,' and he did not utter one word about any 
trial, as he himself insists. See how this strenuous 
champion of the true, little by little, passes over 
to the side of the false, and, while honouring 
truth in phrase, combats it in deed. But it is 
amusing to see how weak he is even in second- 
ing his own lie. How can one and the same 
man have ' cleared himself by an apology in the 
trial which was instituted against him,' and then 
have ' prudently kept silence because the court 
was in the hands of the foe ? ' Nay, the very 
language he uses in the preface to his Apology 
clearly shows that no court at all was opened 
against him. For he does not address his 
preface to any definite jury, but to certain un- 
specified persons who were living then, or who 
were afterwards to come into the world ; and 
I grant that to such an audience there was need 
of a very vigorous apology, not indeed in the 
manner of the one he has actually written, which 
requires another still to bolster it up, but 
a broadly intelligible one 5 , able to prove this 
special point, viz., that he was not in the pos- 
session of his usual reason when he wrote this, 
wherein he rings 6 the assembly-bell for men 
who never came, perhaps never existed, and 
speaks an apology before an imaginary court, 
and begs an imperceptible jury not to let 
numbers decide between truth and falsehood, 
nor to assign the victory to mere quantity. 
Verily it is becoming that he should make an 
apology of that sort to jurymen who are yet 
in the loins of their fathers, and to explain to 
them how he came to think it right to adopt 
opinions which contradict universal belief, and 
to put more faith in his own mistaken fancies 
than in those who throughout the world glorify 
Christ's name. 

Let him write, please, another apology in 
addition to this second; for this one is not 
a correction of mistakes made about him, but 
rather a proof of the truth of those charges. 
Every one knows that a proper apology aims at 
disproving a charge ; thus a man who is accused 
of theft or murder or any other crime either 
denies the fact altogether, or transfers the blame 
to another party, or else, if neither of these is 



„ 5 y "**>*■, ., 6 <ru«-«<cpoTfi. The word has this meaning in 

Ongen. In Philo [dt Vtta Mosit, p. 47 6, I. 48, quoted by Vie< 
it has another — 
i.e. ' cheered.' 



— 1— - - ~— -— , f. •/«, i. <U, l| 

11 nas another meaning, ovi-txpoToui- uAAos aAAoi-, p;r, a-nOKafxyt it - , 



possible, he appeals to the charity or to the 
compassion of those who are to vote upon his 
sentence. But in his book he neither denies 
the charge, nor shifts it on some one else, noi 
has recourse to an appeal for mercy, nor 
promises amendment for the future ; but he 
establishes the charge against him by an un- 
usually labored demonstration. This charge, 
as he himself confesses, really amounted to an 
indictment for profanity, nor did it leave the 
nature of this undefined, but proclaimed the 
particular kind ; whereas his apology proves 
this species of profanity to be a positive duty, 
and instead of removing the charge strengthens 
it Now, if the tenets of our Faith had been 
left in any obscurity, it might have been less 
hazardous to attempt novelties ; but the teach- 
ing of our master-theologian is now firmly fixed 
in the souls of the faithful ; and so it is a ques- 
tion whether the man who shouts out contra- 
dictions of that about which all equally have 
made up their minds is defending himself 
against the charges made, or is not rather 
drawing down upon him the anger of his 
hearers, and making his accusers still more 
bitter. I incline to think the latter. So that 
if there are, as our writer tells us, both hearers 
of his apology and accusers of his attempts 
upon the Faith, let him tell us, how those 
accusers can possibly compromise ? the matter 
now, or what sort of verdict that jury must 
return, now that his offence has been already 
proved by his own ' apology.' 

§ 8. Facts show that the terms of abuse which he 
has employed against Basil are more suitable 
for himself. 

But these remarks are by the way, and come 
from our not keeping close to our argument 
We had to inquire not how he ought to have 
made his apology, but whether he had ever, 
made one at all. But now let us return to our 
former position, viz., that he is convicted by 
his own statements. This hater of falsehood 
first of all tells us that he was condemned be- 
cause the jury which was assigned him defied 
the law, and that he was driven over sea and 
land and suffered much from the burning sun 
and the dust Then in trying to conceal his 
falsehood he drives out one nail with another 
nail, as the proverb says, and puts one falsehood 
right by cancelling it with another. As every 
one knows as well as he does that he never 
uttered one word in court, he declares that he 
begged to be let off coming into a hostile court 
and was condemned by default Could there 



7 KaBv$-r\oovoiv. This is the reading of the Venetian MS. The 
word bears the same loreiiMc sense as the Latin prstvarican. i he 
Common readme is «u&t'0utoui'aif . 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



43 



be a plainer case than this of a man contradict- 
ing both the truth and himself? When he is 
pressed about the title of his book, he makes 
his trial the constraining cause of this 
'apology;' but when he is pressed with the 
fact that he spoke not one word to the jury, he 
denies that there was any trial and says that 
he declined 8 such a jury. See how valiantly 
this doughty champion of the truth fights against 
falsehood ! Then he dares to call our mighty 
Basil ' a malicious rascal and a liar ; ' and be- 
sides that, 'a bold ignorant parvenu',' 'no 
deep divine,' and he adds to his list of abusive 
terms, ' stark mad,' scattering an infinity of such 
words over his pages, as if he imagined that 
his own bitter invectives could outweigh the 
common testimony of mankind, who revere that 
great name as though he were one of the saints 
of old. He thinks in fact that he, if no one 
else, can touch with calumny one whom 
calumny has never touched ; but the sun is not 
so low in the heavens that any one can reach 
him with stones or any other missiles ; they will 
but recoil upon him who shot them, while the 
intended target soars far beyond his reach. If 
any one, again, accuses the sun of want of light, 
he has not dimmed the brightness of the sun- 
beams with his scoffs ; the sun will still remain 
the sun, and the fault finder will only prove the 
feebleness of his own visual organs ; and, if he 
should endeavour, after the fashion of this 
' apology,' to persuade all whom he meets and 
will listen to him not to give in to the common 



opinions about the sun, nor to attach more 
weight to the experiences of all than to the 
surmises of one individual by ' assigning victory 
to mere quantity,' his nonsense will be wasted 
on those who can use their eyes. 

Let some one then persuade Eunomius to 
bridle his tongue, and not give the rein to such 
wild talk, nor kick against the pricks in the 
insolent abuse of an honoured name ; but to 
allow the mere remembrance of Basil to fill his 
soul with reverence and awe. What can he 
gain by this unmeasured ribaldry, when the 
object of it will regain all that character which 
his life, his words, and the general estimate of 
the civilized world proclaims him to have 
possessed ? The man who takes in hand to 
revile reveals his own disposition as not being 
able, because it is evil, to speak good things, 
but only " to speak from the abundance of 
the heart," and to bring forth from that evil 
treasure-house. Now, that his expressions are 
merely those of abuse quite divorced from 
actual facts, can be proved from his own 
writings. 



8 atra£ioi. 



9 TTcifjeyyiiixiTToy : for the vox nihili Trapoypaimw. Oehler again 
ha* adopted the reading of the Ven. MS. 



§ Q. In charging Basil with not defending his 
faith at the time of the * Trials ,' he lays him- 
self open to the same charge. 

He hints at a certain locality where this 
trial for heresy took place ; but he gives us no 
certain indication where it was, and the reader 
is obliged to guess in the dark. Thither, he 
tells us, a congress of picked representatives 
from all quarters was summoned ; and he is at 
his best here, placing before our eyes with 
some vigorous strokes the preparation of the 
event which he pretends took place. Then, he 
says, a trial in which he would have had to 
run for his very life was put into the hands of 
certain arbitrators, to whom our Teacher and 
Master who was present gave his charge ' ; and 
as all the voting power was thus won over to 
the enemies' side, he yielded the position 2 , fled 
from the place, and hunted everywhere for 
some hearth and home ; and he is great, in 
this graphic sketch 3, in arraigning the cowardice 
of our hero , as any one who likes may see by 
looking at what he has written. But I cannot 
stop to give specimens here of the bitter gall 
of his utterances ; I must pass on to that, for 
the sake of which I mentioned all this. 

Where, then, was that unnamed spot in 
which this examination of his teachings was to 
take place ? What was this occasion when the 
best men were collected for a trial ? Who 
were these men who hurried over land and sea 
to share in these labours ? What was this 
1 expectant world that hung upon the issue of 
the voting ? ' Who was ' the arranger of the 
trial ? ' However, let us consider that he in- 
vented all that to swell out the importance of 
his story, as boys at school are apt to do in 
their fictitious conversations of this kind ; and 
let him only tell us who that ' terrible com- 
batant ' was whom our Master shrunk from 
encountering If this also is a fiction, let him 
be the winner again, and have the advantage 
of his vain words. We will say nothing : in 
the useless fight with shadows the real victory 
is to decline conquering in that. But if he 
speaks of the events at Constantinople and 
means the assembly there, and is in this fever of 
literary indignation at tragedies enacted there, 
and means himself by that great and redoubt- 
able athlete, then we would display the 
reasons why, though present on the occasion, 
we did not plunge into the fight. 



* VTtO<l>U>Vt<-V . 

a Sozomen (vi. 26): "Alter his (Eunomiu*) elevation to the 
bishopric ol Cyzicus he was accused by his own clergy of in- 
troducing innovations. Eudoxius obliged him to undergo a public 
trial and give an account of his doctrines to the people : finding, 
however, no fault in him, Eudoxius exhorted him to return to. 
Cyzicus. He replied he could not remain with people who regarded 
him with suspicion, and it is said seized this opportunity to secede 
from communion." 

i vnoypa<t>ri i or else ' on the subject of Basil's cnarge. 



44 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



Now let this man who upbraids that hero 
with his cowardice tell us whether he went 
down into the thick of the fray, whether he 
uttered one syllable in defence of his own 
orthodoxy, whether he made any vigorous 
peroration, whether he victoriously grappled 
with the foe ? He cannot tell us that, or he 
manifestly contradicts himself, for he owns 
that by his default he received the adverse 
verdict. If it was a duty to speak at the 
actual tittie of the trial (for that is the law 
which he lays down for us in his book), then 
why was he then condemned by default ? If 
on the other J»md he did well in observing 
silence before rich dicasts, how arbitrarily 4 
he praises himsv'f, but blames us, for silence 
at such a time ! What can be more absurdly 
unjust than this ! When two treatises have 
been put forth since the time of the trial, he 
declares that his apology, though written so 
very long after, was in time, but reviles that 
which answered his own as quite too late ! 
Surely he ought to have abused Basil's in- 
tended counter-statement before it was actually 
made ; but this is not found amongst his 
other complaints. Knowing as he did what 
Basil was going to write when the time of the 
trial had passed away, why in the world did he 
not find fault with it there and then ? In fact 
it is clear from his own confession that he 
never made that apology in the trial itself. I 
will repeat again his words : — ' We confess 
that we were condemned by default ; ' and he 
adds why j ' Evil-disposed persons had been 
passed as jurymen,' or rather, to use his own 
phrase, ' there was a packed panel of them 
where a jury ought to have sat.' Whereas, on 
the other hand, it is clear from another passage 
in his book that he attests that his apology was 
made 'at the proper time.' It runs thus: — 
'That I was urged to make this apology at 
the proper time and in the proper manner 
from no pretended reasons, but compelled to 
do so on behalf of those who went security for 
me, is clear from facts and also from this man's 
words." He adroitly twists his words round 
to meet every possible objection ; but what 
will he say to this ? ' It was not right to keep 
silent during the trial.' Then why was Euno- 
mius speechless during that same trial ? And 
why is his apology, coming as it did after the 
trial, in good time ? And if in good time, why 
is Basil's controversy with him not in good 
time ? 

But the remark of that holy father is 
especially true, that Eunomius in pretending 
to make an apology really gave his teaching the 



• rit " oito'cA>))...th: tlm i* a favourite word with Orieen and 
Gregory. 



support he wished to give it ; and that genuine 
emulator of Phineas' zeal, destroying as he does 
with the sword of the Word every spiritual 
fornicator, dealt in the ' Answer to his blas- 
phemy ' a sword-thrust that was calculated at 
once to heal a soul and to destroy a heresy. 
If he resists that stroke, and with a soul 
deadened by apostacy will not admit the cure, 
the blame rests with him who chooses the evil, 
as the Gentile proverb says. So far for Euno- 
mius' treatment of truth, and of us : and now 
the law of former times, which allows an equal 
return on those who are the first to injure, 
might prompt us to discharge on him a counter- 
shower of abuse, and, as he is a very easy 
subject for this, to be very liberal of it, so as 
to outdo the pain which he has inflicted : for 
if he was so rich in insolent invective against 
one who gave no chance for calumny, how 
many of such epithets might we not expect to 
find for those who have satirized that saintly 
life? But we have been taught from the first 
by that scholar of the Truth to be scholars of 
the Gospel ourselves, and therefore we will not 
take an eye for an eye, nor a tooth for a tooth \ 
we know well that all the evil that happens 
admits of being annihilated by its opposite, 
and that no bad word and no bad deed would 
ever develope into such desperate wickedness, 
if one good one could only be got in to break 
the continuity of the vicious stream. There- 
fore the routine of insolence and abusiveness 
is checked from repeating itself by long-suffer- 
ing : whereas if insolence is met with insolence 
and abuse with abuse, you will but feed with 
itself this monster-vice, and increase it vastly. 



§ 10. All his insulting epithets are shewn by fad* 
to be false. 

I therefore pass over everything else, as 
mere insolent mockery and scoffing abuse, 
and hasten to the question of his doctrine. 
Should any one say that I decline to be 
abusive only because I cannot pay him back 
in his own coin, let such an one consider in 
his own case what proneness there is to evil 
generally, what a mechanical sliding into sin, 
dispensing with the need of any practice. The 
power of becoming bad resides in the will ; 
one act of wishing is often the sufficient oc- 
casion for a finished wickedness; and this 
ease of operation is more especially fatal in 
the sins of the tongue. Other classes of sins 
require time and occasion and co-operation 
to be committed ; but the propensity to speak 
can sin when it likes. The treatise of Eu- 
nomius now in our hands is sufficient to prove 
this ; one who attentively considers it will 
perceive the rapidity of the descent into sins 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



45 



in the matter of phrases : 
thing in the world to 



and it is the easiest 
imitate these, even 
though one is quite unpractised in habitual 
defamation. What need would there be to 
labour in coining our intended insults into 
names, when one might employ upon this 
slanderer his own phrases ? He has strung 
together, in fact, in this part of his work, 
every sort of falsehood ami evil-speaking, all 
moulded from the models which he finds in 
himself; every extravagance is to be found in 
writing these. He writes "cunning," "wrang- 
ling," "foe to truth," " high-flown V* "charlatan," 
" combating general opinion and tradition," 
"braving facts which give him the lie," "care- 
less of the terrors of the law, of the censure 
of men," " unable to distinguish the enthusiasm 
for truth from mere skill in reasoning ; " he 
adds, "wanting in reverence," "quick to call 
names," and then "blatant," "full of con- 
flicting suspicions," " combining irreconcileable 
arguments," "combating his own utterances," 
"affirming contradictories;" then, though eager 
to speak all ill of him, not being able to find 
other novelties of invective in which to indulge 
his bitterness, often in default of all else he 
reiterates the same phrases, and comes round 
again a third and a fourth time and even more 
to what he has once said ; and in this circus 
of words he drives up and then turns down, 
over and over again, the same racecourse of 
insolent abuse ; so that at last even anger at 
this shameless display die* away from very 
weariness. These low unlovely street boys' jeers 
do indeed provoke disgust rather than anger ; 
they are not a whit better than the inarticulate 
grunting of some old woman who is quite drunk. 
Must we then enter minutely into this, and 
laboriously refute all his invectives by showing 
that Basil was not this monster of his imagin- 
ation? If we did this, contentedly proving 
the absence of anything vile and criminal in 
him, we should seem to join in insulting one 
who was a • bright particular star ' to his 
generation.' But I remember how with that 
divine voice of his he quoted the prophet 6 
with regard to him, comparing him to a shame- 
less woman who casts her own reproaches on 
the chaste. For whom do these reasonings 
of his proclaim to be truth's enemy and in 
arms against public opinion? Who is it who 
begs the readers of his book not 'to look to 
the numbers of those who profess a belief, 
or to mere tradition, or to let their judgment 
be biassed so as to consider as trustworthy 
what is only suspected to be the stronger 
side?' Can one and the same man write 
like this, and then make those charges, scheming 



* tro^>itm\^. 



* Jeremiah iii. 3. 



that his readers should follow his own novelties 
at the very moment that he is abusing others 
for opposing themselves to the general belief? 
As for ' brazening out facts which give him 
the lie, and men's censure,' I leave the reader 
to judge to whom this applies ; whether to 
one who by a most careful self-restraint made 
sobriety and quietness and perfect purity the 
rule of his own life as well as that of his 
entourage, or to one who advised that nature 
should not be molested when it is her pleasure 
to advance through the appetites of the body, 
not to thwart indulgence, nor to be so par- 
ticular as that in the training of our life ; 
but that a self-chosen faith should be con- 
sidered sufficient for a man to attain perfection. 
If he denies that this is his teaching, I and 
any right-minded person would rejoice if he 
were telling the truth in such a denial. But 
his genuine followers will not allow him to 
produce such a denial, or their leading prin 
ciples would be gone, and the platform of 
those who for this reason embrace his tenets 
would fall to pieces. As for shameless in 
difference to human censure, you may look at 
his youth or his after life, and you would find 
him in both open to this reproach. The two 
men's lives, whether in youth or manhood, tell 
a widely-different tale. 

Let our speech -writer, while he reminds 
himself of his youthful doings in his native 
land, and afterwards at Constantinople, hear 
from those who can tell him what they know 
of the man whom he slanders. But if any 
would inquire into their subsequent occupo 
tions, let such a person tell us which of the 
two he considers to deserve so high a repu 
tation ; the man who ungrudgingly spent upon 
the poor his patrimony even before he was 
a priest, and most of all in the time of the 
famine, during which he was a ruler of the 
Church, though still a priest in the rank of 
presbyters ' ; and afterwards did not hoard even 
what remained to him, so that he too might 
have made the Apostles' boast, ' Neither did 
we eat any man's bread for nought 8 :' or, on 
the other hand, the man who has made the 
championship of a tenet a source of income, 
the man who creeps into houses, and does 
not conceal his loathsome affliction by staying 
at home, nor considers the natural aversion 
which those in good health must feel for such, 
though according to the law of old he is one 
of those who are banished from the inhabited 
camp because of the contagion of his un- 
mistakeable 9 disease. 



7 «.. iv <f >.A>iuu im ..,• ufSuTcpiuf icpaTrww. 

8 2 Thess'. iii. 8.' . 

9 According to Ruffinus (Hist. Eccl. x. 25), his constitution w« 
ooisoned with jaundice within and without 



4 6 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



Basil is called 'hasty' and 'insolent,' and 
in both characters 'a liar' by this man who 
' would in patience and meekness educate 
those of a contrary opinion to himself;' for 
such are the airs he gives himself when he 
speaks of him, while he omits no hyperbole of 
bitter language, when he has a sufficient opening 
to produce it. On what grounds, then, does he 
charge him with this hastiness and insolence ? 
Because 'he called me a Galatian, though I 
am a Cappadocian ;' then it was because he 
called a man who lived on the boundary in 
a« obscure corner like Corniaspine * a Gala- 
tian instead of an Oltiserian ; supposing, that 
is, that it is proved that he said this. I have 
not found it in my copies ; but grant it For 
this he is to be called ' hasty,' ' insolent,' all 
that is bad. But the wise know well that the 
minute charges of a faultfinder furnish a strong 
argument for the righteousness of the accused ; 
else, when eager to accuse, he would not have 
spared great faults and employed his malice on 
little ones. On these last he is certainly great, 
heightening the enormity of the offence, and 
making solemn reflections on falsehood, and 
seeing equal heinousness in it whether in great 
or very trivial matters. Like the fathers of his 
heresy, the scribes and Pharisees, he knows 
how to strain a gnat carefully and to swallow 
at one gulp the hump-backed camel laden with 
a weight of wickedness. But it would not be 
out of place to say to him, 'refrain from 
making such a rule in our system ; cease to 
bid us think it of no account to measure the 
guilt of a falsehood by the slightness or the 
importance of the circumstances.' Paul telling 
a falsehood and purifying himself after the 
manner of the Jews to meet the needs of those 
whom he usefully deceived did not sin the 
same as Judas for the requirement of his 
treachery putting on a kind and affable look. 
By a falsehood Joseph in love to his brethren 
deceived them ; and that too while swear- 
ing 'by the life of Pharaoh 2 ;' but his bre- 
thren had really lied to him, in their envy 
plotting his death and then his enslavement. 
There are many such cases: Sarah lied, be- 
cause she was ashamed of laughing : the ser- 
pent lied, tempting man to disobey and change 
to a divine existence. Falsehoods differ widely 
according to their motives. Accordingly we 

m' *'j ™y tri > l V T "" Kopwaairixrjc jo^aWii. Cf. fitya \PVH-" <><>S 
(Herod. ) for the use of this genitive. In the next sentence «i ami, 
though it gives the sense translated in the text, is not so good as 
" < vJ l, ^' e ' ,<r X aTla ). which Oehler suggests, but does not adopt. 

With regard to Eunomius" birthplace. Sozomenand Philostorgius 
Rive Jacora (which the former describes as on the slopes ol M' 
Argaius: but that it must have been on the borders ol Galatia 
and _appadocia is certain from what Gregory say:, here) : ' Pro- 
bably Jjacora was his paternal estate : Oliiscris the village to 
which a belonged ' (Diet. Christ. Biog. ; unless indeed Corniaspa, 
marked on the maps as a town where Cappadocia, Galatia and 
Poiilu* join, wil the spot, and Oltiseris the district. Eunomius 
died at Diicora. a Gen. xhi. 15. 



accept that general statement about man which 
the Holy Spirit uttered by the Prophets, ' Every 
man is a liar;' and this man of God, too, has 
not kept clear of falsehood, having chanced to 
give a place the name of a neighbouring dis- 
trict, through oversight or ignorance of its real 
name. But Eunomius also has told a false- 
hood, and what is it? Nothing less than a 
misstatement of Truth itself. Heasserts that One 
who always is once was not ; he demonstrates 
that One who is truly a Son is falsely so called ; 
he defines the Creator to be a creature and a 
work ; the Lord of the world he calls a ser- 
vant, and ranges the Being who essentially 
rules with subject beings. Is the difference 
between falsehoods so very trifling, that one 
can think it matters nothing whether the 
falsehood is palpable « in this way or in that ? 

§11. The sophistry which he employs to prove 
our ackno7uledgment that he had been tried, 
and that the confession of his faith had not 
been unimpeached, is feeble. 

He objects to sophistries in others ; see the 
sort of care he takes himself that his proofs 
shall be* real ones. Our Master said, in the 
book which he addressed to him, that at the 
time when our cause was ruined, Eunomius 
won Cyzicus as the prize of his blasphemy. 
What then does this detector of sophistry do ? 
He fastens at once on that word prize, and 
declares that we on our side confess that he 
made an apology, that he won thereby, that 
he gained the prize of victory by these efforts ; 
and he frames his argument into a syllogism 
consisting as he thinks of unanswerable pro- 
positions. But we will quote word for word 
what he has written. ' If a prize is the recog 
nition and the crown of victory, and a trial 
implies a victory, and, as also inseparable from 
itself,an accusation, then that man who grants (in 
argument) the prize must necessarily allow that 
there was a defence.' What then is our answer 
to that? We do not deny that he fought this 
wretched battle of impiety with a most vigo- 
rous energy, and that he went a very lung 
distance beyond his fellows in these perspiring 
efforts against the truth ; but we will not allow 
that he obtained the victory over his oppo- 
nents ; but only that as compared with those 
who were running the same as himself through 
heresy into error he was foremost in the num- 
ber of his lies and so gained the prize of 
Cyzicus in return for high attainments in evil, 
beating all who for the same prize combated 
the Truth ; and that for this victory of blasphemy 
his name was blazoned loud and clear when 



3 Psalm cxv. 11. 



* itfrtvaBai fcutctr. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. ROOK I. 



47 



Cyztcus was selected for him by the umpires of 
his party as the reward of his extravagance, 
This is the statement of our opinion, and this 
we allowed ; our contention now that Cyzicus 
was the prize of a heresy, not the successful 
result of a defence, shews it. Is this anything 
like his own mess of childish sophistries, so 
that he can thereby hope to have grounds for 
proving the fact of his trial and his defence ? 
His method is like that of a man in a drinking 
bout, who has made away with more strong 
liquor than the rest, and having then claimed 
the pool from his fellow-drunkards should at 
tempt to make this victory a proof of having 
won some case in the law courts. That man 
might chop the same sort of logic. ' If a prize 
is the recognition and the crown of victory, and 
a law-trial implies a victory and, as also in- 
separable from itself, an accusation, then I have 
won my suit, since I have been crowned for 
my powers of drinking in this bout.' 

One would certainly answer to such a boaster 
that a trial in court is a very different thing 
from a wine-contest, and that one who wins 
with the glass has thereby no advantage over 
his legal adversaries, though he get a beautiful 
chaplet of flowers. No more, therefore, has 
the man who has beaten his equals in the 
advocacy of profanity anything to show in 
having won the prize for that, that he has won 
a verdict too. The testimony on our side that 
he is first in profanity is no plea for his imagin- 
ary 'apology.' If he did speak it before the 
court, and, having so prevailed over his adver- 
saries, was honoured with Cyzicus for that, 
then he might have some occasion for using 
our own words against ourselves ; but as he is 
continually protesting in his book that he 
yielded to the animus of the voters, and 
accepted in silence the penalty which they 
inflicted, not even waiting for this hostile 
decision, why does he impose upon himself 
and make this word prize into the proof of a 
successful apology ? Our excellent friend fails 
to understand the force of this word prize ; 
Cyzicus was given up to him as the reward of 
merit for his extravagant impiety; and as it 
was his will to receive such a prize, and he 
views it in the light of a victor's guerdon, let 
him receive as well what that victory implies, 
viz. the lion's share in the guilt of profanity. 
If he insists on our own words against ourselves, 
he must accept both these consequences, or 
neither. 

§12. His charge of cowardice is baseless: for 
Basil displayed the highest courage before the 
Emperor and his Lord- Lieutenants. 

He treats our words so ; and in the rest of 
Jiis presumptuous statements can there be 



shown to be a particle of truth ? In these he 
calls him ' cowardly,' ' spiritless;,' ' a shirker 
of severer labours,' exhausting the list of such 
terms, and giving with laboured circumstanti- 
ality every symptom of this cowardice : ' the 
retired cabin, the door firmly closed, the 
anxious fear of intruders, the voice, the look, 
the tell-tale change of countenance,' everything 
of that sort, whereby the passion of fear is 
shown. If he were detected in no other lie but 
this, it alone would be sufficient to reveal his 
bent. For who does not know how, during 
the time when the Emperor Valens was roused 
against the churches of the Lord, that mighty 
champion of ours rose by his lofty spirit 
superior to those overwhelming circumstances 
and the terrors of the foe, and showed a mind 
which soared above every means devised to 
daunt him? Who of the dwellers in the East, 
and of the furthest regions of our civilized world 
did not hear of his combat with the throne 
itself for the truth ? Who, looking to his antag- 
onist, was not in dismay? For his was no 
common antagonist, possessed only of the 
power of winning in sophistic juggles, where 
victory is no glory and defeat is harmless ; but 
he had the power of bending the whole Roman 
government to his will ; and, added to this 
pride of empire, he had prejudices against our 
faith, cunningly instilled into his mind by 
Eudoxius 5 of Germanicia 6 , who had won him to 
his side ; and he found in all those who were 
then at the head of affairs allies in carrying out 
his designs, some being already inclined to 
them from mental sympathies, while others, 
and they were the majority, were ready from 
fear to indulge the imperial pleasure, and seeing 
the severity employed against those who held to 
the Faith were ostentatious in their zeal for him. 
It was a time of exile, confiscation, banishment, 
threats of fines, danger of life, arrests, imprison- 
ment, scourging; nothing was too dreadful to 
put in force against those who would not yield 
to this sudden caprice of the Emperor ; it was 
worse for the faithful to be caught in God's 
house than if they had been detected in the 
most heinous of crimes. 

But a detailed history of that time would be 
too long ; and would require a separate treat- 
ment; besides, as the sufferings at that sad 
season are known to all, nothing would be 
gained for our present purpose by carefully 
setting them forth in writing. A second draw- 
back to such an attempt would be found to be 
that amidst the details of that melancholy 
history we should be forced to make mention 



S Afterwards of Antioch, and then 8th Bishop of Constantinople 
(360 — 370), one of the most influential of all the Arians. He it was 
who procured for Eunomius the bishopric of Cyzicus '359)4 (The 
latter must indeed have concealed his riews on that occasion, for 
Constantius hated tie Anomaeans). ° A towu of Commagene. 



4 8 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



of ourselves ; and if we did anything in those 
struggles for our religion that redounds to our 
honour in the telling, Wisdom commands us to 
leave it to others to tell. " Let another man 
praise thee, and not thine own mouth 6 ;" and 
it is this very thing that our omniscient friend 
has not been conscious of in devoting the 
larger half of his book to self-glorification. 

Omitting, then, all that kind of detail, I will 
be careful only in setting forth the achieve- 
ment of our Master. The adversary whom he 
had to combat was no less a person than the 
Emperor himself; that adversary's second was 
the man who stood next him in the govern- 
ment ; his assistants to work out his will were 
the court. Let us take into consideration also 
the point of time, in order to test and to 
illustrate the fortitude of our own noble cham- 
pion. When was it ? The Emperor was pro- 
ceeding from Constantinople to the East, 
elated by his recent successes against the 
barbarians, and not in a spirit to brook any 
obstruction to his will ; and his lord-lieutenant 
directed his route, postponing all administration 
of the necessary affairs of state as long as a 
home remained to one adherent of the Faith, 
and until every one, no matter where, was 
ejected, and others, chosen by himself to out- 
rage our godly hierarchy, were introduced 
instead. The Powers then of the Propontis 
were moving in such a fury, like some dark 
cloud, upon the churches ; Bithynia was com- 
pletely devastated ; Galatia was very quickly 
carried away by their stream ; all in the inter- 
vening districts had succeeded with them ; and 
now our fold lay the next to be attacked. 
What did our mighty Basil show like then, 
' that spiritless coward,' as Eunomius calls 
him, ' shrinking from danger, and trusting to 
a retired cabin to save him ?' Did he quail at 
this evil onset? Did he allow the sufferings 
of previous victims to suggest to him that he 
should secure his own safety ? Did he listen 
to any who advised a slight yielding to this 
rush of evils ?, so as not to throw himself openly 
in the path of men who were now veterans in 
slaughter ? Rather we find that all excess of 
language, all height of thought and word, falls 
short of the truth about him. None could 
describe his contempt of danger, so as to bring 
before the reader's eyes this new combat, which 
one might justly say was waged not between 
man and man, but between a Christian's firm- 
ness and courage on the one side, and a blood- 
stained power on the other. 

The lord-lieutenant kept appealing to the 



* Proverbs xxviL a. 
u j ' * '' e metro P ol ' tai > remained unshaken. The rough threats of 
Moderns succeeded no better than the fatherly counsel of Enip- 
piui.' Givatkin's Ariant. 



commands of the Emperor, and rendering a 
power, which from its enormous strength was 
terrible enough, more terrible still by the un- 
sparing cruelty of its vengeance. After the 
tragedies which he had enacted in Bithynia. 
and after Galatia with characteristic fickleness 
had yielded without a struggle, he thought that 
our country would fall a ready prey to his 
designs. Cruel deeds were preluded by words- 
proposing, with mingled threats and promises, 
royal favours and ecclesiastical power to obe- 
dience, but to resistance all that a cruel spirit 
which has got the power to work its will can. 
devise. Such was the enemy. 

So far was our champion from being daunted 
by what he saw and heard, that he acted rather 
like a physician or prudent councillor calle.i 
in to correct something that was wrong, bidding 
them repent of their rashness and cea.ie to- 
commit murders amongst the servants of tl it- 
Lord ; ' their plans,' he said, ' could noi 
succeed with men who cared only for the 
empire of Christ, and for the Powers that 
never die ; with all thejr wish to maltreat him r 
they could discover nothing, whether word o* 
act, that could pain the Christian ; confiscation 
could not touch him whose only possession 
was his Faith ; exile had no terrors for one 
who walked in every land with the same 
feelings, and looked on every city as strange 
because of the shortness of his sojourn in it v 
yet as home, because all human creatures arc 
in equal bondage with himself; the endurance 
of blows, or tortures, or death, if it might be 
for the Truth, was an object of fear not even 
to women, but to every Christian it was the 
supremest bliss to suffer the worst for ihia 
their hope, and they were only grieved thai, 
nature allowed them but one death, and thai 
they could devise no means of dying man; 
times in this battle for the Truth 8 .' 

When he thus confronted their threats, an,, 
looked beyond that imposing power, as if it- 
were all nothing, then their exasperation, jusi 
like those rapid changes on the stage when 
one mask after another is put on, turned with. 
all its threats into flattery; and the very ma.. 
whose spirit up to then had been so determine,, 
and formidable adopted the most gentle am. 
submissive of language; 'Do not, 1 beg you, 
think it a small thing for our mighty emperoi 
to have communion with your people, but be 
willing to be called his master too : nor thwart 
his wish ; he wishes for this peace, if only one 
little word in the written Creed is erased, thai 
of Homoousios.' Our master answers that it 
is of the greatest importance that the em per u. 



8 Other words of Basil, before Modestus at Ca;sarea, are ui^ t 
recorded : " I c..nnot worship any created thing, being at 1 an.. 
God's creation, and having been bid Jen to it a UoJ." 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



49 



should be a member of the Church ; that is, 
that he should save his soul, not as an emperor, 
but as a mere man ; but a diminution of or 
addition to the Faith was so far from his 
(Basil's) thoughts, that he would not change 
even the order of the written words. That was 
what this ' spiritless coward, who trembles at 
the creaking of a door.' said to this great 
ruler, and he confirmed his words by what he 
did ; for he stemmed in his own person this 
imperial torrent of ruin that was rushing on the 
churches, and turned it aside ; he in himself 
was a match for this attack, like a grand 
immoveable rock in the sea, breaking the 
huge and surging billow of that terrible onset. 
Nor did his wrestling stop there ; the em- 
peror himself succeeds to the attack, ex- 
asperated because he did not get effected in 
the first attempt all that he wished. Just, 
accordingly, as the Assyrian effected the de- 
struction of the temple of the Israelites at 
Jerusalem by means of the cook Nabuzardan, 
so did this monarch of ours entrust his busi- 
ness to one Demosthenes, comptroller of his 
kitchen, and chief of his cooks 9, as to one more 
pushing than the rest, thinking thereby to suc- 
ceed entirely in his design. With this man 
stirring the pot, and with one of the blas- 
phemers from Illyricum, letters in hand, as- 
sembling the authorities with this end in 
view, and with Modestus * kindling passion 
to a greater heat than in the previous 
excitement, every one joined the movement 
of the Emperor's anger, making his fury their 
own, and yielding to the temper of author- 
ity ; and on the other hand all felt their 
hopes sink at the prospect of what might 
happen. That same lord-lieutenant re-enters 
on the scene ; intimidations worse than the 
former are begun ; their threats are thrown 
out ; their anger rises to a still higher pitch ; 
there is the tragic pomp of trial over again, 
the criers, the apparitors, the lictors, the 
curtained bar, things which naturally daunt 
even a mind which is thoroughly prepared ; 
and again we see .God's champion amidst 
this combat surpassing even his former 
glory. If you want proofs, look at the facts. 
What spot, where there are churches, did not 
that disaster reach? What nation remained 
unreached by these heretical commands ? Who 
of the illustrious in any Church was not driven 
from the scene of his labours? What people 
escaped their despiteful treatment? It reached 

9 This cook is compared to Nabuzardan bv Gregory Naz. also 
(Orat. xliii. 47). Cf. also Theodoret, iv. 19, where most of these 
events are recorded. The tormer says that ' Nabuzardan threat- 
ened Basil when summoned before him with the fiax<xipa of his 
trade, but was sent back to his kitchen fire.' 

» Modestus, the Lord Lieutenant or Count of the East, had sacri- 
ficed to the images under Julian, and had been re-baptized as an 
Arian. 

VOL. V. 



all Syria, and Mesopotamia up to the frontier, 
Phoenicia, Palestine, Arabia, Egypt, the 

Libyan tribes to the boundaries of the civilized 
world ; and all nearer home, Pontus, Cilicia, 
Lycia, Lydia, Pisidia, Pamphylia, Caria, the 
Hellespont, the islands up to the Propontis 
itself; the coasts of Thrace, as far as Thrace 
extends, and the bordering nations as far as the 
Danube. Which of these countries retained 
its former look, unless any were already 
possessed with the evil? The people of Cappa- 
docia alone felt not these afflictions of the 
Church, because our mighty champion saved 
them in their trial. 

 Such was the achievement of this 'coward * 
master of ours ; such was the success of one 
who 'shirks all sterner toil.' Surely it is not 
that of one who ' wins renown amongst poor 
old women, and practises to deceive the sex 
which naturally falls into everv snare,' and 
' thinks it a great thing to be admired by the 
criminal and abandoned ; ' it is that of one 
who has proved by deeds his soul's fortitude, 
and the unflinching and noble manliness of 
his spirit. His success has resulted in the sal- 
vation of the whole country, the peace of our 
Church, the pattern given to the virtuous of 
every excellence, the overthrow of the foe, the 
upholding of the Faith, the confirmation of the 
weaker brethren, the encouragement of the 
zealous, everything that is believed to belong 
to the victorious side ; and in the commemor- 
ation of no other events but these do hearing 
and seeing unite in accomplished facts ; for 
here it is one and the same thing to relate 
in words his noble deeds and to show in facts 
the attestation of our words, and to confirm 
each by the other — the record from what is 
before our eyes, and the facts from what is 
being said. 

§ 13. Resume of his dogmatic teaching. 
Objections to it in detail. 

But somehow our discourse has swerved con- 
siderably from the mark ; it has had to turn 
round and face each of this slanderer's insults. 
To Eunomius indeed it is no small advantage 
that the discussion should linger upon such 
points, and that the indictment of his offences 
against man should delay our approach to his 
graver sins. But it is profitless to abuse for 
hastiness of speech one who is on his trial for 
murder; (because the proof of the latter is 
sufficient to get the verdict of death passed, 
even though hastiness of speech is not proved 
along with it) ; just so it seems best to sub- 
ject to proof his blasphemy only, and to leave 
his insults alone. When his heinousness on 
the most important points has been detected, 
his other delinquencies are proved potentially 



50 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



without going minutely into them. Well then ; 
at the head of all his argumentations stands this 
blasphemy against the definitions of the Faith 
— both in his former work and in that which 
we are now criticizing — and his strenuous effort 
to destroy and cancel and completely upset all 
devout conceptions as to the Only-Begotten 
Son of God and the Holy Spirit. To show, then, 
how false and inconsistent are his arguments 
against these doctrines of the truth, I will 
first quote word for word his whole state- 
ment, and then I will begin again and 
examine each portion separately. " The 
whole account of our doctrines is summed 
up thus ; there is the Supreme and Absolute 
Being, and another Being existing by reason 
of the First, but after It 2 though before all 
others ; and a third Being not ranking with 
either of these, but inferior to the one, as to its 
cause, to the other, as to the energy which pro- 
duced it : there must of course be included in 
this account the energies that follow each Being, 
and the names germane to these energies. 
Again, as each Being is absolutely single, 
and is in fact and thought one, and its ener- 
gies are bounded by its works, and its works 
commensurate with its energies, necessarily, 
of course, the energies which follow these 
Beings are relatively greater and less, some 
being of a higher, some of a lower order ; in 
a word, their difference amounts to that ex- 
isting between their works : it would in fact not 
be lawful to say that the same energy produced 
the angels or stars, and the heavens or man : 
but a pious mind would conclude that in pro- 
portion as some works are superior to and more 
honourable than others, so does one energy tran- 
scend another, because sameness of energy 
produces sameness of work, and difference of 

a there is the Supreme and Absolute Being, and another Being 
existing through the First, but after It. The language of this 
exposition of Eunomius is Aristotelian : but the contents never- 
theless are nothing more nor less than Gnosticism, as Rupp well 
points out (Gregors v. Nyssa Leben und Meinungen, p. 132 sq.). 
Arianism. he says, is nothing hut the last attempt of Gnosticism to 
force the doctrine of emanations into Christian theology, clothing 
that doctrine on this occasion in a Greek dress. It was still an 
oriental heresy, not a Greek heresy like Pelagianism in the next 
century. 

Rupp gives two reasons why Arianism may be identified with 
Gnosticism. 

1. Arianism holds the A0705 as the highest being after the God- 
head, i.e. as the irp<ur<>TO<ro? rij? «Ti<reio?, and as merely the me- 
diator between God and Man : just as it was the peculiar aim 
of Gnosticism to bridge over the gulf between the Creator and the 
Created by means of intermediate beings (the emanations). 

a. Eunomius and his master adopted that very system of Greek 
philosophy which had always been the natural ally of Gnos- 
ticism: i.e. Aristotle is strong in divisions and differences, weak 
in ' identifications : ' he had marked with a clearness never attained 
before the various stages upwards of existencies in the physical 
world : and this is just what Gnosticism, in its wish to exhibit all 
things according to their relative distances from the "Ay«W>7To?, 
wanted. 

Eunomius has in fact in this formula of his translated all the 
terms of Scripture straight into those of Aristotle : he has changed 
the ethical-physical of Christianity into the purely physical ; 
nvfujta e.g. becomes ov<ria : and by thus banishing the spiritual 
and the moral he has made his 'Aye'fiT)Tos as completely 'single' 
•ind incommunicable as the to irpurov xivovv okLvotoii (Arist. 
Metaph. XII. 7). 



work indicates difference of energy. These 
things being so, and maintaining an unbroken 
connexion in their relation to each other, it 
seems fitting for those who make their investi- 
gation according to the order germane to the 
subject, and who do not insist on mixing and 
confusing all together, in case of a discussion 
being raised about Being, to prove what is 
in course of demonstration, and to settle the 
points in debate, by the primary energies and 
those attached to the Beings, an 1 ajain to 
explain by the Beings when the energies are 
in question, yet still to consider the passage 
from the first to the second the more suitable 
and in all respects the more efficacious of the 
two." 

Such is his blasphemy systematized ! May 
the Very God, Son of the Very God, by the 
leading of the Holy Spirit, direct our discussion 
to the truth ! We will repeat his statements 
one by one. He asserts that the " whole 
account of his doctrines is summed up in the 
Supreme and Absolute Being, and in another 
Being existing by reason of the First, but after It 
though before all others, and in a third Being 
not ranking with either of these but inferior to 
the one as to its cause, to the other as to the 
energy " The first point, then, of the unfair 
dealings in this statement to be noticed is that in 
professing to expound the mystery of the Faith, 
he corrects as it were the expressions in the 
Gospel, and will not make use of the words by 
which our Lord in perfecting our faith con- 
veyed that mystery to us : he suppresses the 
names of ' Father, Son and Holy Ghost,' and 
speaks of a 'Supreme and Absolute Being' 
instead of the Father, of ' another existing 
through it, but after it' instead of the Son, and 
of 'a third ranking with neither of these two' 
instead of the Holy Ghost. And yet if those 
had been the more appropriate names, the 
Truth Himself would not have been at a loss 
to discover them, nor those men either, on 
whom successively devolved the preaching of 
the mystery, whether they were from the first 
eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word, or, 
as successors to these, filled the whole world 
with the Evangelical doctrines, and again 
at various periods after this defined in a 
common assembly the ambiguities raised 
about the doctrine ; whose traditions are con- 
stantly preserved in writing in the churches. 
If those had been the appropriate terms, they 
would not have mentioned, as they did, Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost, granting indeed it were 
pious or safe to remodel at all, with a view to 
this innovation, the terms of the faith ; or else 
they were all ignorant men and uninstructed in 
the mysteries, and unacquainted with what he 
calls the appropriate names — those men who 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK. I. 



5* 






had really neither the knowledge nor the desire 
to give the preference to their own conceptions 
over what had been handed down to us by the 
voice of God. 

§ 14. He did wrong, when mentioning the Doc- 
trines of Salvation, in adopting terms of his 
own choosing instead of the traditional terms 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

The reason for this invention of new words 
I take to be manifest to everyone — namely: 
that every one, when the words father and 
son are spoken, at once recognizes the proper 
and natural relationship to one another which 
they imply. This relationship is conveyed at 
once by the appellations themselves. To 
prevent it being understood of the Father, and 
the Only-begotten Son, he robs us of this 
idea of relationship which enters the ear along 
with the words, and abandoning the inspired 
terms, expounds the Faith by means of others 
devised to injure the truth. 

One thing, however, that he says is true : 
that his own teaching, not the Catholic teach 
ing, is summed up so. Indeed any one who 
reflects can easily see the impiety of his 
statement. It will not be out of place now to 
discuss in detail what his intention is in 
ascribing to the being of the Father alone 
the highest degree of that which is supreme 
and proper, while not admitting that the being 
of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is supreme 
and proper. For my part I think that it 
is a prelude to his complete denial of the 
' being' of the Only-begotten and of the Floly 
Ghost, and that this system of his is secretly 
intended to effect the setting aside of all real 
belief in their personality, while in appearance 
and in mere words confessing it. A moment's 
reflection upon his statement will enable any 
one to perceive that this is so. It does not look 
like one who thinks that the Only-begotten 
and the Holy Ghost really exist in a distinct 
personality to be very particular about the names 
with which he thinks the greatness of Almighty 
God should be expressed. To grant the fact 3, 
and then go into minute distinctions about the 
appropriate phrases + would be indeed consum- 
mate folly : and so in ascribing a being that 
is in the highest degree supreme and proper 
only to the Father, he makes us surmise by 
this silence respecting the other two that (to 
him) they do not properly exist. How can 
that to which a proper being is denied be said 
to really exist? When we deny proper being 
to it, we must perforce affirm of it all the op- 
posite terms. That which cannot be properly 
said is improperly said, so that the demonstra- 



tion of its not being properly said is a proof 
of its not really subsisting : and it is at this 
that Eunomius seems to aim in introducing 
these new names into his teaching. For no 
one can say that he has strayed from ignorance 
into some silly fancy of separating, locally, the 
supreme from that which is below, and as- 
signing to the Father as it were the peak 
of some hill, while he seats the Son lower 
down in the hollows. No one is so childish 
as to conceive of differences in space, when 
the intellectual and spiritual is under dis- 
cussion. Local position is a property of the 
material : but the intellectual and immaterial is 
confessedly removed from the idea of locality. 
What, then, is the reason why he says that the 
Father alone has supreme being? For one can 
hanllv think it is from ignorance that he wan- 
ders oil into these conceptions, being one who, 
in the many displays he makes, claims to be 
wise, even "making himself overwise," as the 
Holy Scripture forbids us to do 5 . 

§15. He does 7vrong in making the being of 
the Father alone proper and supreme, implying 
by his omission of the Son and the Spirit that 
theirs is improperly spoken of, and is inferior. 

But at all events he will allow that this 
supremacy of being betokens no excess of 
power, or of goodness, or of anything of that 
kind. Every one knows that, not to mention 
those whose knowledge is supposed to be very 
profound; viz., that the personality of the Only- 
begotten and of the Holy Ghost has nothing 
lacking in the way of perfect goodness, perfect 
power, and of every quality like that. Good, 
as long as it is incapable of its opposite, has 
no bounds to its goodness : its opposite alone 
can circumscribe it, as we may see by particular 
examples. Strength is stopped only when 
weakness seizes it ; life is limited by death 
alone ; darkness is the ending of light : in a 
word, every good is checked by its opposite, 
and by that alone. If then he supposes that 
the nature of the Only-begotten and of the 
Spirit can change for the worse, then he plainly 
diminishes the conception of their goodness, 
making them capable of being associated with 
their opposites. But if the Divine and un- 
alterable nature is incapable of degeneracy, 
as even our foes allow, we must regard it as 
absolutely unlimited in its goodness: and the 
unlimited is the same as the infinite. But to 
suppose excess and defect in the infinite and 
unlimited is to the last degree unreasonable : 
for how can the idea of infinitude remain, if we 
posited increase and loss in it ? We get the idea 
of excess only by a comparison of limits : where 



I Le. of the equality of Persons. 



4 i.e. for the Persons 



5 Eccles. vii. 16 



E 2 



S2 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



there is no limit, we cannot think of any ex- 
cess. Perhaps, however, this was not what 
he was driving at, but he assigns this superi- 
ority only by the prerogative of priority in 
time, and, with this idea only, declares the 
Father's being to be alone the supreme one. 
Then he must tell us on what grounds he has 
measured out more length of life to the Father, 
while no distinctions of time whatever have 
been previously conceived of in the personality 
of the Son. 

And yet supposing for a moment, for the 
sake of argument, that this was so, what supe- 
riority does the being which is prior in time 
have over that which follows, on the score of 
pure being, that he can say that the one is 
supreme and proper, and the other is not ? 
For while the lifetime of the elder as com- 
pared with the younger is longer, yet his 
being has neither increase nor decrease on 
that account. This will be clear by an illus- 
tration. What disadvantage, on the score of 
being, as compared with Abraham, had David, 
who lived fourteen generations after ? Was 
any change, so far as humanity goes, effected 
in the latter? Was he less a human being, 
because he was later in time ? Who would be 
so foolish as to assert this ? The definition 
of their being is the same for both : the lapse 
of time does not change it. No one would 
assert that the one was more a man for being 
first in time, and the other less because he 
sojourned in life later; as if humanity had 
been exhausted on the first, or as if time 
had spent its chief power upon the deceased. 
For it is not in the power of time to define 
for each one the measures of nature, but 
nature abides self-contained, preserving her- 
self through succeeding generations : and time 
has a course of its own, whether surround- 
ing, or flowing by, this nature, which remains 
firm and motionless within her own limits. 
Therefore, not even supposing, as our argu- 
ment did for a moment, that an advantage 
were allowed on the score of time, can they 
properly ascribe to the Father alone the 
highest supremacy of being: but as there is 
really no difference whatever in the prerogative 
of time, how could any one possibly entertain 
such an idea about these existencies which are 
pre temporal ? Every measure of distance that 
we could discover is beneath the divine nature : 
so no ground is left for those who attempt to 
divide this pre-temporal and incomprehensible 
being by distinctions of superior and inferior. 

We have no hesitation either in asserting 
that what is dogmatically tauyht by them is 
an advocacy of the Jewish doctrine, setting 
forth, as they do, that the being of the Father 
alone has subsistence, and insisting that this 



only has proper existence, and reckoning that 
of the Son and'the Spirit amongnon-existencies, 
seeing that what does not properly exist can 
be said nominally only, and by an abuse 
of terms, to exist at all. The name of man, 
for instance, is not given to a portrait re- 
presenting one, but to so and so who is 
absolutely such, the original of the picture, 
and not the picture itself; whereas the 
picture is in word only a man, and does 
not possess absolutely the quality ascribed to 
it, because it is not in its nature that which it 
is called. In the case before us, too, if being 
is properly ascribed to the Father, but ceases 
when we come to the Son and the Spirit, it is 
nothing short of a plain denial of the message 
of salvation. Let them leave the church and 
fall back upon the synagogues of the Jews> 
proving, as they do, the Son's non-existence in 
denying to Him proper being. What does 
not properly exist is the same thing as the 
non-existent. 

Again, he means in all this to be very 
clever, and has a poor opinion of those who 
essay to write without logical force. Then let 
him tell us, contemptible though we are, by 
what sort of skill he has detected a greater 
and a less in pure being. What is his method 
for establishing that one being is more of 
a being than another being, — taking being in 
its plainest meaning, for he must not brivg 
forward those various qualities and properties, 
which are comprehended in the conception of 
the being, and gather round it, but are not the 
subject itself? Shade, colour, weight, force or 
reputation, distinctive manner, disposition, any 
quality thought of in connection with body or 
mind, are not to be considered here : we have 
to inquire only whether the actual subject of 
all these, which is termed absolutely the being, 
differs in degree of being from another. We 
have yet to learn that of two known existencies, 
which still exist, the one is more, the other less, 
an existence. Both are equally such, as long 
as they are in the category of existence, and 
when all notions of more or less value, more 
or less force, have been excluded. 

If, then, he denies that we can regard the 
Only-begotten as completely existing, — for to 
this depth his statement seems to lead, — in 
withholding from Him a proper existence, 
let him deny it even in a less degree. It, how- 
ever, he does grant that the Son subsists in 
some substantial way — we will not quarrel 
now about the particular way— why does he 
take away again that which he has conceded 
Him to be, and prove Him to exist not 
properly, which is tantamount, as we have 
said, to not at all? For as humanity is not 
possible to that which does not possess the 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



53 



complete connotation of the term ' man,' and 
the whole conception of it is cancelled in the 
case of one who lacks any of the properties, 
so in every thing whose complete and proper 
existence is denied, the partial affirmation of 
its existence is no proof of its subsisting at 
all ; the demonstration, in fact, of its incom- 
plete being is a demonstration of its efface- 
ment in all points. So that if he is well- 
advised, he will come over to the orthodox 
belief, and remove from his teaching the idea 
of less and of incompleteness in the nature 
of the Son and the Spirit : but if he is deter- 
mined to blaspheme, and wishes for some 
inscrutable reason thus to requite his Maker 
and God and Benefactor, let him at all events 
part with his conceit of possessing some amount 
of showy learning, unphilosophically piling, as 
he does, being over being, one above the other, 
one proper, one not such, for no discoverable 
reason. We have never heard that any of the 
infidel philosophers have committed this folly, 
any more than we have met with it in the in- 
spired writings, or in the common apprehen- 
sion of mankind. 

I think that from what has been said it will 
be clear what is the aim of these newly-devised 
names. He drops them as the base of opera- 
tions or foundation-stone of all this work of 
mischief to the Faith : once he can get the 
idea into currency that the one Being alone 
is supreme and proper in the highest degree, 
he can then assail the other two, as belonging 
to the inferior and not regarded as properly 
Being. He shows this especially in what fol- 
lows, where he is discussing the belief in the 
Son and the Holy Spirit, and does not proceed 
with these names, so as to avoid bringing 
before us tne proper characteristic of their 
nature by means of those appellations : they 
are passed over unnoticed by this man who is 
always telling us that minds of the hearers are 
to be directed by the use of appropriate names 
and phrases. Yet what name could be more ap- 
propriate than that which has been given by 
the Very Truth? He sets his views against 
the Gospel, and names not the Son, but 
' a Being existing through the First, but after 
It though before all others.' That this is said 
to destroy the right faith in the Only-begotten 
will be made plainer still by his subsequent 
arguments. Still there is only a moderate 
amount of mischief in these words : one intend- 
ing no impiety at all towards Christ might 
sometimes use them : we will therefore omit 
at present all discussion about our Lord, and 
reserve our reply to the more open blas- 
phemies against Him. But on the subject of 
the Holy Spirit the blasphemy is plain and un- 
concealed : he says that He is not to be ranked 



with the Father or the Son, but is subject to 
both. I will therefore examine as closely as 
possible this statement. 

§ 1 6. Examination of the meaning oj '' subjection: ' 
in that he says that the nature of the Holy 
Spirit is subject to that of the Father and the 
Son. It is shewn that the Holy Spirit is of 
an equal, not inferior, rank to the Father and 
the Son. 

Let us first, then, ascertain the meaning of 
this word ' subjection ' in Scripture. To 
whom is it applied ? The Creator, honouring 
man in his having been made in His own image, 
' hath placed ' the brute creation ' in subjec- 
tion under his feet ; ' as great David relating 
this favour (of God) exclaimed in the Psalms 6 : 
"He put all things," he says, "under his 
feet," and he mentions by name the creatures 
so subjected. There is still another meaning 
of ' subjection ' in Scripture. Ascribing to 
God Himself the cause of his success in war, 
the Psalmist says?, "He hath put peoples 
and nations in subjection under our feet," 
and " He that putteth peoples in subjection 
under me." This word is often found thus 
in Scripture, indicating a victory. As for the 
future subjection of all men to the Only- 
begotten, and through Him to the Father, 
in the passage where the Apostle with a pro- 
found wisdom speaks of the Mediator between 
God and man as subject to the Father, imply- 
ing by that subjection of the Son who shares 
humanity the actual subjugation of mankind — 
we will not discuss it now, for it requires a full 
and thorough examination. But to take only 
the plain and unambiguous meaning of the 
word subjection, how can he declare the 
being of the Spirit to be subject to that ot 
the Son and the Father ? As the Son is 
subject to the Father, according to the 
thought of the Apostle ? But in this view 
the Spirit is to be ranked with the Son, not 
below Him, seeing that both Persons are of 
this lower rank. This was not his meaning ? 
How then ? In the way the brute creation is 
subject to the rational, as in the Psalm ? 
There is then as great a difference as is implied 
in the subjection of the brute creation, when 
compared to ma,n. Perhaps he will reject 
this explanation as well. Then he will have 
to come to the only remaining one, that the 
Spirit, at first in the rebellious ranks, was after- 
wards forced by a superior Force to bend to 
a Conqueror. 

Let him choose which he likes of these 
alternatives : whichever it is I do not see 
Ijow he can avoid the inevitable crime of 



6 Psalm viii. 6-8. 



7 Psalm xlvii. 3 (LXX.). 



54 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



blasphemy : whether he says the Spirit is 
subject in the manner of the brute creation, 
as fish and birds and sheep, to man, or were 
to fetch Him a captive to a superior power 
after the manner of a rebel. Or does he 
mean neither of these ways, but uses the 
word in a different signification altogether to 
the scripture meaning? What, then, is that 
signification? Does he lay down that we 
must rank Him as inferior and not as equal, 
because He was given by our Lord to His 
disciples third in order? By the same reason- 
ing he should make the Father inferior to 
the Son, since the Scripture often places the 
name of our Lord first, and the Father Al- 
mighty second. " I and My Father," our Lord 
says. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
and the love of God 8 ," and other passages 
innumerable which the diligent student of 
Scripture testimonies might collect : for in- 
stance, " there are differences of gifts, but it 
is the same Spirit : and there are differences 
of administration, but it is the same Lord : 
and there are differences of operations, but 
it is the same God." According to this, then, 
let the Almighty Father, who is mentioned 
third, be made 'subject' to the Son and 
the Spirit. However we have never yet heard 
of a philosophy such as this, which relegates 
to the category of the inferior and the de- 
pendent that which is mentioned second or 
third only for some particular reason of se- 
quence : yet that is what our author wants to 
do, in arguing to show that the order observed 
in the transmission of the Persons amounts 
to differences of more and less in dignity and 
nature. In fact he rules that sequence in 
point of order is indicative of unlikeness of 
nature : whence he got this fancy, what ne- 
cessity compelled him to it, is not clear. 
Mere numerical rank does not create a dif- 
ferent nature : that which we would count in 
a number remains the same in nature whether 
we count it or not. Number is a mark 
only of the mere quantity of things: it does 
not place second those things only which have 
an inferior natural value, but it makes the 
sequence of the numerical objects indicated 
in accordance with the intention of those 
who are counting. * Paul and Silvanus and 
Timotheus' are three persons mentioned ac- 
cording to a particular intention. Does the 
place of Silvanus, second and after Paul, 
indicate that he was other than a man? Or 
is Timothy, because he is third, considered by 
the writer who so ranks him a different kind 
ot being? Not so. Each is human both 
before and after this arrangement. Speech, 



• John *. 30 ; 2 Cor. xiii. «j_ 



which cannot utter the names of ali three at 
once, mentions each separately according to 
an order which commends itself, but unites 
them by the copula, in order that the juncture 
of the names may show the harmonious action 
of the three towards one end. 

This, however, does not please our new 
dogmatist. He opposes the arrangement of 
Scripture. He separates off that equality with 
the Father and the Son of His proper and 
natural rank and connexion which our Lord 
Himself pronounces, and numbers Him with 
'subjects': he declares Him to be a work of 
both Persons 9, of the Father, as supplying 
the cause of His constitution, of the Only- 
begotten, as of the artificer of His subsist- 
ence: and defines this as the ground of His 
'subjection,' without as yet unfolding the 
meaning of ' subjection.' 

§17. Discussion as to the exact nature of the 
' energies ' which, this man declares, '■follow ' 
the being of the Father and of the Son. 

Then he says " there must of course be in- 
cluded in this account the energies that accom- 
pany each Being, and the names appropriate 
to these energies." Shrouded in such a mist 
of vagueness, the meaning of this is far from 
clear : but one might conjecture it is as follows. 
By the energies of the Beings, he means those 
powers which have produced the Son and the 
Holy Spirit, and by which the First Being 
made the Second, and the Second the Third : 
and he means that the names of the results 
produced have been provided in a manner 
appropriate to those results. We have already 
exposed the mischief of these names, and will 
again, when we return to that part of the 
question, should additional discussion of it be 
required. 

But it is worth a moment's while now to 
consider how energies 'follow' beings: what 
these energies are essentially : whether different 
to the beings which they 'follow,' or part of 
them, and of their inmost nature : and then, 
if different, how and whence they arise : if 
the same, how they have got cut off from 
them, and instead of co existing ' follow ' 



9 lie declares Him to be a work o/both Persons. With regard to 
Gregory's own belief as to the procession of the Holy Spirit, it may 
be said once lor all that there is hardly anything (but see p. go, 
note 5) clear about it to be found in his writings. The question, in 
fact, remained undecided until the 9 th century, the time of the 
schism of the East and West. Bui here, as in other points, Origen 
had approached the nearest to the teaching of the West : lor he 
represents the procession as from Father and Son, just as often 
as from one Person or the other. Athanasius does certainly s.«y 
that the Spirit 'unites the creation to the Son, and through the 
Son to the Father,' but with him this expression is not followed 
up : while in the Roman Church it led to doctrine, for why does 
the Holy Spirit unite the creation with God continuously and per- 
fectly? Because, to use Bossuet's words, " pro'ceeding from the 
Father and the Son He is their love and eternal union." Neither 
Basil, nor Gregory Nazianzen, nor Chrysostom, have anything 
definite about the procession of the Third Person. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



55 



them externally only. This is necessary, for 
we cannot learn all at once from his words, 
whether some natural necessity compels the 
1 energy,' whatever that may be, to ' follow ' 
the being, in the way heat and vapour follow 
fire, and the various exhalations the bodies 
which produce them. Still I do not think that 
he would affirm that we should consider the 
being of God to be something heterogeneous 
and composite, having the energy inalienably 
contained in the idea of itself, like an ' accident ' 
in some subject-matter : he must mean that the 
beings, deliberately and voluntarily moved, pro- 
duce by themselves the desired result. But, 
if this be so, who would style this free result of 
intention as one of its external consequences ? 
We have never heard of such an expression 
used in common parlance in such cases ; the 
energy of the worker of anything is not said 
to ' follow ' that worker. We cannot separate 
one from the other and leave one behind by 
itself: but, when one mentions the energy, 
one comprehends in the idea that which is 
moved with the energy, and when one men- 
tions the worker one implies at once the 
un mentioned energy. 

An illustration will make our meaning clearer. 
We say a man works in iron, or in wood, or 
in anything else. This single expression 
conveys at once the idea of the working and 
of the artificer, so that if we withdraw the 
one, the other has no existence. If then 
they are thus thought of together, i.e. the 
energy and he who exercises it, how in this case 
can there be said to " follow ' : upon the first 
being the energy which produces the second 
being, like a sort of go-between to both, and 
neither coalescing with the nature of the first, 
nor combining with the second : separated from 
the first because it is not its very nature, but 
only the exercise of its nature, and from that 
which results afterwards because it does not 
therein reproduce a mere energy, but an 
active being. 

§ 1 8. He has no reason for distinguishing a 
plurality of beings in the Trinity. He offers 
no demonstration that it is so. 

Let us examine the following as well. He 
calls one Being the work of another, the second 
of the first, and the third of the second. On 
what previous demonstration does this state- 
ment rest : what proofs does he make use 
of, what method, to compel belief in the 
succeeding Being as a result of the preceding? 
For even if it were possible to draw an analogy 
for this from created things, such conjecturing 
about the transcendent from lower existences 
would not be altogether sound, though the 
error in arguing from natural phenomena to 



the incomprehensible might then be pardon- 
able. But as it is, none would venture to 
affirm that, while the heavens are the work 
of God, the sun is that of the heavens, and 
the moon that of the sun, and the stars that 
of the moon, and other created things that 
of the stars : seeing that all are the work of 
One : for there is one God and Father of all, of 
Whom are all things. If anything is produced 
by mutual transmission, such as the race 
of animals, not even here does one produce 
another, for nature runs on through each 
generation. How then, when it is impossible 
to affirm it of the created world, can he declare 
of the transcendent existencies that the second 
is a work of the first, and so on ? If, however, 
he is thinking of animal generation, and fancies 
that such a process is going on also amongst 
pure existences, so that the older produces 
the younger, even so he fails to be consistent : 
for such productions are of the same type 
as their progenitors : whereas he assigns to 
the members of his succession strange and un- 
inherited qualities : and thus displays a super- 
fluity of falsehood, while striving to strike 
truth with both hands at once, in a clever 
boxer's fashion. In order to show the inferior 
rank and diminution in intrinsic value of the 
Son and Holy Spirit, he declares that " one is 
produced from another ; " in order that those 
who understand about mutual generation might 
entertain no idea of family relationship here : 
he contradicts the law of nature by declaring 
that " one is produced from another," and at the 
same time exhibiting the Son as a bastard 
when compared with His Father's nature. 

But one might find fault with him, I think, 
before coming to all this. If, that is, any one 
else, previously unaccustomed to discussion 
and unversed in logical expression, delivered 
his ideas in this chance fashion, some indulgence 
might be shown him for not using the recog- 
nized methods for establishing his views. But 
considering that Eunomius has such an abund- 
ance of this power, that he can advance by his 
1 irresistible ' method * of proof even into the 



• »caTaAT|7rTiiciijs i<f>o&ov — ij <caT<iA7)i/<is. These words are taken 
from the Stoic logic, and refer to the Stoic view of the standard 
of truth. To the question, How are true percepuons distinguished 
from false ones, the Stoics answered, that a true perception is one 
which represents a real object as it really is. To the further ques- 
tion, How may it be known that a perception faithfully represents 
a reality, they replied by pointing to a relative not an absolute 
test — the degree of strength with which certain perceptions force 
themselves upon our notice. Some of our perceptions are ol such 
a kind that they at once oblige us to bestow on them assent. Such 
perceptions produce in us that strength of conviction which the 
Stoics call a conception. Whenever a perceplion forces itself upon 
us in this irresistible form, we are no longer dealing with a fiction 
of the imagination but with something real. The test of irresisti- 
bility (k<itoAt)i/<is) was, in the first place, understood to apply to 
sensations from without, such sensations, according to the Stoic 
view, alone supplying the materia! for knowledge. An equal 
degree of certainty was, however, attached to terms deduced fr^m 
originally true data, either by the universal and natural exercise of 
thought, or by scientific processes of proof. It is (riToAn|/«is 
obtained in this last way that Gregory refers to, and Eunomius 
was endeavouring to create in the supra natural world. 



5^ 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



supra-natural, how can he be ignorant of the 
starting-point from which this ' irresistible ' per- 
ception of a hidden truth takes its rise in all 
these logical excursions. Everyone knows that 
all such arguing must start from plain and 
well-known truths, to compel belief through 
itself in still doubtful truths : and that none of 
these last can be grasped without the guidance 
of what is obvious leading us towards the un- 
known. If on the other hand that which is 
adopted to start with for the illustration of this 
unknown is at variance with universal belief, it 
will be a long time before the unknown will 
receive any illustration from it. 

The whole controversy, then, between the 
Church and the Anomceans turns on this : Are 
we to regard the Son and the Holy Spirit as 
belonging to created or uncreated existence? 
Our opponent declares that to be the case 
which all deny : he boldly lays it down, without 
looking about for any proof, that each being is 
the work of the preceding being. What 
method of education, what school of thought 
can warrant him in this, it is difficult to see. 
Some axiom that cannot be denied or assailed 
must be the beginning of every process of 
proof; so as for the unknown quantity to be 
demonstrated from what has been assumed, 
being legitimately deduced by intervening 
syllogisms. The reasoner, therefore, who 
makes what ought to be the object of inquiry 
itself a premiss of his demonstration is only 
proving the obscure by the obscure, and illu- 
sion by illusion. He is making ' the blind 
lead the blind,' for it is a truly blind and 
unsupported statement to say that the Creator 
and Maker of all things is a creature made : 
and to this they link on a conclusion that is also 
blind : namely, that the Son is alien in nature, 
unlike in being to the Father, and quite devoid 
}f His essential character. But of this enough. 
Where his thought is nakedly blasphemous, 
there we too can defer its refutation. We must 
now return to consider his words which come 
next in order. 

§ 1 9. His acknowledgment that the Divine Being 
is ' single ' is only verbal. 

" Each Being has, in fact and in conception, 
a nature unmixed, single, and absolutely one 
as estimated by its dignity ; and as the 
works are bounded by the energies of each 
operator, and the energies by the works, 
it is inevitable that the energies which 
follow each Being are greater in the one 
case than the other, some being of the first, 
others of the second rank." The intention 
that runs through all this, however verbosely 
expressed, is one and the same ; namely, to 
e>t;ib!ish that there is no connexion be- 



tween the Father and the Son, or between the 
Son and the Holy Ghost, but that these Beings 
are sundered from each other, and possess 
natures foreign and unfamiliar to each other, 
and differ not only in that, but also in mag- 
nitude and in subordination of their dignities, 
so that we must think of one as greater than the 
other, and presenting every other sort of 
difference. 

It may seem to many useless to linger over 
what is so obvious, and to attempt a discussion 
of that which to them is on the face of it false 
and abominable and groundless : nevertheless, 
to avoid even the appearance of having to let 
these statements pass for want of counter-argu- 
ments, we will meet them with all our might. 
He says, " each being amongst them is un- 
mixed, single, and absolutely one, as estimated 
by its dignity, both in fact and in conception." 
Then premising this very doubtful statement 
as an axiom and valuing his own ' ipse 
dixit ' as a sufficient substitute for any proof, 
he thinks he has made a point. " There 
are three Beings : " for he implies this when 
he says, ' each being amongst them : ' he 
would not have used these words, if he meant 
only one. Now if he speaks thus of the 
mutual difference between the Beings in order 
to avoid complicity with the heresy of Sabellius, 
who applied three titles to one subject, we 
would acquiesce in his statement : nor would 
any of the Faithful contradict his view, except 
so far as he seems to be at fault in his names, 
and his mere form of expression in speaking of 
'beings' instead of 'persons:' for things that 
are identical on the score of being will not all 
agree equally in definition on the score of 
personality. For instance, Peter, James, and 
John are the same viewed as beings, each 
was a man : but in the characteristics of 
their respective personalities, they were 
not alike. If, then, he were only proving 
that it is not right to confound the Persons, 
and to fit all the three names on to one 
Subject, his 'saying' would be, to use the 
Apostle's words, ' faithful, and worthy of all 
acceptation 2 .' But this is not his object : he 
speaks so, not because he divides the Persons 
only from each other by their recognized 
characteristics, but because he makes the 
actual substantial being of each different from 
that of the others, or rather from itself: and so 
he speaks of a plurality of beings with distinctive 
differences which alienate them from each other. 
I therefore declare that his view is unfounded, 
and lacks a principle : it starts from data that 
are not granted, and then it constructs by 
mere logic a blasphemy upon them. It at- 



1 Timothy i. 15. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



57 



tempts no demonstration that could attract 
towards such a conception of the doctrine : it 
merely contains the statement of an unproved 
impiety, as if it were telling us a dream. 
While the Church teaches that we must 
not divide our faith amongst a plurality of 
beings, but must recognize no difference of 
being in three Subjects or Persons, whereas 
our opponents posit a variety and unlikeness 
amongst them as Beings, this writer con- 
fidently assumes as already proved what 
never has been, and never can be, proved 
by argument : maybe he has not even yet 
found hearers for his talk : or he might have 
been informed by one of them who was listening 
intelligently that every statement which is made 
at random, and without proof, is 'an old 
woman's tale,' and powerless to prove the 
question, in itself, unaided by any plea what- 
ever fetched from the Scriptures, or from human 
reasonings. So much for this. 

But let us still scrutinize his words. He 
declares each of these Beings, whom he has 
shadowed forth in his exposition, to be single 
and absolutely one. We believe that the most 
boorish and simple-minded would not deny 
that the Divine Nature, blessed and transcen- 
dent as it is, was ' single.' That which is 
viewless, formless, and sizeless, cannot be con- 
ceived of as multiform and composite. But it 
will be clear, upon the very slightest reflec- 
tion, that this view of the supreme Being 
as ' simple,' however finely they may talk 
of it, is quite inconsistent with the system 
which they have elaborated. For who does 
not know that, to be exact, simplicity in the 
case of the Holy Trinity admits of no degrees. 
In this case there is no mixture or conflux of 
qualities to think of ; we comprehend a potency 
without parts and composition ; how then, and 
on what grounds, could any one perceive there 
any differences of less and more. For he who 
marks differences there must perforce think 
of an incidence of certain qualities in the 
subject. He must in fact have perceived dif- 
ferences in largeness and smallness therein, 
to have introduced this conception of quantity 
into the question : or he must posit abundance 
or diminution in the matter of goodness, 
strength, wisdom, or of anything else that can 
with reverence be associated with God : and 
neither way will he escape the idea of com- 
position. Nothing which possesses wisdom 
or power or any other good, not as an ex- 
ternal gift, but rooted in its nature, can suffer 
diminution in it; so that if any one says 
that he detects Beings greater and smaller 
in the Divine Nature, he is unconsciously 
establishing a composite and heterogeneous 
Deity, and thinking of the Subject as one thing, 



and the quality, to share in which constitutes 
as good that which was not so before, as 
another. If he had been thinking of a Being 
really single and absolutely one, identical with 
goodness rather than possessing it, he would 
not be able to count a greater and a less in 
it at all. It was said, moreover, above that 
good can be diminished by the presence of 
evil alone, and that where the nature is in 
capable of deteriorating, there is no limit con- 
ceived of to the goodness : the unlimited, in 
fact, is not such owing to any relation whatever, 
but, considered in itself, escapes limitation. It 
is, indeed, difficult to see how a reflecting 
mind can conceive one infinite to be greater 
or less than another infinite. So that if he ac- 
knowledges the supreme Being to be ' single ' 
and homogenous, let him grant that it is 
bound up with this universal attribute of 
simplicity and infinitude. If, on the other 
hand, he divides and estranges the 'Beings' 
from each other, conceiving that of the Only- 
begotten as another than the Father's, and 
that of the Spirit as another than the Only- 
begotten, with a ' more ' and ' less ' in each 
case, let him be exposed now as granting 
simplicity in appearance only to the Deity, 
but in reality proving the composite in Him. 

But let us resume the examination of his 
words in order. " Each Being has in fact and 
conception a nature unmixed, single, and abso- 
lutely one, as estimated by its dignity." Why 
"as estimated by its dignity?" If he con- 
templates the Beings in their common dig- 
nity, this addition is unnecessary and super- 
fluous, and dwells upon that which is ob- 
vious : although a word so out of place might 
be pardoned, if it was any feeling of reverence 
which prompted him not to reject it. But here 
the mischief really is not owing to a mistake 
about a phrase (that might be easily set right) : 
but it is connected with his evil designs. He 
says that each of the three beings is ' single, as 
estimated by its dignity,' in order that, on 
the strength of his previous definitions of the 
first, second, and third Being, the idea of 
their simplicity also may be marred. Hav- 
ing affirmed that the being of the Father 
alone is ' Supreme ' and ' Proper,' and hav- 
ing refused both these titles to that of the 
Son and of the Spirit, in accordance with 
this, when he comes to speak of them all as 
' simple,' he thinks it his duty to associate with 
them the idea of simplicity in proportion only 
to their essential worth, so that the Supreme 
alone is to be conceived of as at the height and 
perfection of simplicity, while the second, in 
proportion to its declension from supremacy, 
receives also a diminished measure of simplicity , 
and in the case of the third Being also, there L 



5« 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



as much variation from the perfect simplicity, 
as the amount of worth is lessened in the 
extremes: whence it results that the Father's 
being is conceived as of pure simplicity, that of 
the Son as not so flawless in simplicity, but with 
a mixture of the composite, that of the Holy 
Spirit as still increasing in the composite, while 
the amount of simplicity is gradually lessened. 
Just as imperfect goodness must be owned to 
share in some measure in the reverse disposi- 
tion, so imperfect simplicity cannot escape be- 
ing considered composite. 

§ 20. He does wrong in assuming, to account 
for the existence of the Only begotten, an 
'energy* that produced Christ's Person. 

That such is his intention in using these 
phrases will be clear from what follows, where 
he more plainly materializes and degrades 
our conception of the Son and of the Spirit. 
" As the energies are bounded by the works, 
and the works commensurate with the ener- 
gies, it necessarily follows that these energies 
which accompany these Beings are relatively 
greater and less, some being of a higher, some 
of a lower order." Though he has studiously 
wrapt the mist of his phraseology round the 
meaning of this, and made it hard for most 
to find out, yet as following that which we 
have already examined it will easily be made 
clear. "The energies," he says, " are bounded 
by the works." By ' works ' he means the 
Son and the Spirit, by ' energies ' the effi- 
cient powers by which they were produced, 
which powers, he said a little above, 'follow' 
the Beings. The phrase 'bounded by' expresses 
the balance which exists between the being pro- 
duced and the producing power, or rather the 
' energy ' of that power, to use his own word 
implying that the thing produced is not the 
effect of the whole power of the operator, but 
only of a particular energy of it, only so much 
of the whole power being exerted as is calcu- 
lated to be likely to be equal to effect that 
result. Then he inverts his statement : " and 
the works are commensurate with the energies 
of the operators." The meaning of this will be 
made clearer by an illustration. Let us think 
of one of the tools of a shoemaker: i.e., 
a leather-cutter. When it is moved round 
upon that from which a certain shape has to be 
cut, the part so excised is limited by the size of 
the instrument, and a circle of such a radius 
will be cut as the instrument possesses of 
length, and, to put the matter the other way, 
the span of the instrument will measure and 
cut out a corresponding circle. That is the 
idea which our theologian has of the divine 
person of the Only-begotten. He declares 
that a certain 'energy' which 'follows' upon 



the first Being produced, in the fashion of such 
a tool, a corresponding work, namely our Lord : 
this is his way of glorifying the Son of God, Who 
is even now glorified in the glory of the Father,, 
and shall be revealed in the Day of Judgment, 
He is a 'work commensurate with the produc- 
ing energy.' But what is this energy which 
' follows ' the Almighty and is to be conceived 
of prior to the Only-begotten, and which cir- 
cumscribes His being? A certain essential 
Power, self-subsisting, which works its will by 
a spontaneous impulse. It is this, then, that is 
the real Father of our Lord. And why do we 
go on talking of the Almighty as the Father, if 
it was not He, but an energy belonging to the 
things which follow Him externally that pro- 
duced the Son : and how can the Son be a son. 
any longer, when something else has given Him 
existence according to Eunomius, and He 
creeps like a bastard (may our Lord pardon 
the expression !) into relationship with the 
Father, and is to be honoured in name only 
as a Son ? How can Eunomius rank our Lord' 
next after the Almighty at all, when he counts- 
Him third only, with that mediating 'energy' 
placed in the second place? The Holy Spirit 
also according to this sequence will be found 
not in the third, but in the fifth place, that 
' energy' which follows the Only-Begotten, and 
by which the Holy Spirit came into existence 
necessarily intervening between them. 

Thereby, too, the creation of all things by 
the Son 3 will be found to have no foundation : 
another personality, prior to Him, has been in- 
vented by our neologian, to which the author- 
ship of the world must be referred, because the 
Son Himself derives His being according to- 
them from that ' energy.' If, however, to avoid 
such profanities, he makes this 'energy' which 
produced the Son into something unsubstantial, 
he will have to explain to us- how non-being, 
can ' follow ' being, and how what is not a sub- 
stance can produce a substance : for, if he did 
that, we shall find an unreality following God, 
the non-existent author of all existence, the 
radically unsubstantial circumscribing a sub- 
stantial nature, the operative force of creation, 
contained, in the last resort, in the unreal. Such 
is the result of the teaching of this theologian 
who affirms of the Lord Artificer of heaven and 
earth and of all the Creation, the Word of God 
Who was in the beginning, through Whom are 
all things, that He owes His existence to such 
a baseless entity or conception as that unname- 
able 'energy' which he has just invented, and 
that He is circumscribed by it, as by an enclos- 



There is of course refarence here to John i. 3: and Eunomius 
is called just below th« 'new theologian,' with an allusion o. ,S. 
John, who was called by virtue of this passage essentially 6 6e6- 
A0705. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. ROOK I. 



<9 



ing prison of unreality. He who 'gazes into 
the unseen ' cannot see the conclusion to which 
his teaching tends. It is this : if this 'energy' 
of God has no real existence, and if the work 
that this unreality produces is also circum- 
scribed by it, it is quite clear that we can only 
think of such a nature in the work, as that 
which is possessed by this fancied producer of 
the work : in fact, that which is produced from 
and is contained by an unreality can itself be 
conceived of as nothing else but a non- entity. 
Opposites, in the nature of things, cannot be 
contained by opposites : such as water by fire, 
life by death, light by darkness, being by non- 
being. But with all his excessive cleverness 
he does not see this : or else he consciously 
shuts his eyes to the truth. 

Some necessity compels him to see a diminu- 
tion in the Son, and to establish a further 
advance in this direction in the case of the 
Holy Ghost. "It necessarily follows," he says, 
" that these energies which accompany these 
Beings are relatively greater and less." This 
compelling necessity in the Divine nature, 
which assigns a greater and a less, has not 
been explained to us by Eunomius, nor as yet 
can we ourselves understand it. Hitherto there 
has prevailed with those who accept the Gospel 
in its plain simplicity the belief that there is 
no necessity above the Godhead to bend the 
Only-begotten, like a slave, to inferiority. But 
he quite overlooks this belief, though it was 
worth some consideration • and he dogmatizes 
that we must conceive of this inferiority. But 
this necessity of his does not stop there : it lands 
him still further in blasphemy : as our examina- 
tion in detail has already shewn. If, that is, 
the Son was born, not from the Father, but 
from some unsubstantial ' energy,' He must be 
thought of as not merely inferior to the Father, 
and this doctrine must end in pure Judaism. 
This necessity, when followed out, exhibits the 
product of a non-entity as not merely insigni- 
ficant, but as something which it is a perilous 
blasphemy even for an accuser to name. For 
as that which has its birth from an existence 
necessarily exists, so that which is evolved 
from the non-existent necessarily does the very 
contrary. When anything is not self- existent, 
how can it generate another? 

If, then, this energy which ' follows' the Deity, 
and produces the Son, has no existence of its 
own, no one can be so blind as not to see the 
conclusion, and that his aim is to deny our 
Saviour's deity : and if the personality of the 
Son is thus stolen by their doctrine from the 
Faith, with nothing left of it but the name, it 
will be a long time before the Holy Ghost, 
descended as He will be from a lineage of 
unrealities, will be believed in again. The 



energy which 'follows' the Deity has no ex- 
istence of its own : then common sense re- 
quires the product of this to be unreal : then 
a second unsubstantial energy follows this 
product : then it is declared that the Holy 
Ghost is formed by this energy: so that thc-ir 
blasphemy is plain enough: it consists in 
nothing less than in denying that after the 
Ingenerate God there is any real existence : 
and their doctrine advances into shadowy and 
unsubstantial fictions, where there is no foun- 
dation of any actual subsistence. In such mon- 
strous conclusions does their teaching strand 
the argument. 

§ 21. The blasphemy of these heretics is worse 
than the Jewish unbelief. 

But let us assume that this is not so : for 
they allow, forsooth, in theoretic kindness to- 
wards humanity, that the Only-begotten and 
the Holy Spirit have some personal existence : 
and if, in allowing this, they had granted too 
the consequent conceptions about them, they 
would not have been waging battle about 
the doctrine of the Church, nor cut them- 
selves off from the hope of Christians. 
But if they have lent an existence to the 
Son and the Spirit, only to furnish a mate- 
rial on which to erect their blasphemy, perhaps 
it might have been better for them, though it 
is a bold thing to say, to abjure the Faith and 
apostatize to the Jewish religion, rather than 
to insult the name of Christian by this mock 
assent. The Jews at all events, though they 
have persisted hitherto in rejecting the Word, 
carry their impiety only so far as to deny 
that Christ has come, but to hope that He will 
come : we do not hear from them any malig- 
nant or destructive conception of the glory of 
Him Whom they expect. But this school of 
the new circumcision *, or rather of " the con- 
cision," while they own that He has come,, 
resemble nevertheless those who insulted our 
Lord's bodily presence by their wanton un- 
belief. They wanted to stone our Lord : these 
men stone Him with their blasphemous titles. 
They urged His humble and obscure origin, 
and rejected His divine birth before the ages: 
these men in the same way deny His grand, 
sublime, ineffable generation from the Father, 
and would prove that He owes His existence 
to a creation, just as the human race, and all 
that is born, owe theirs. In die eyes of the 



4 this school oj the Hew circumcision. This accusation is some- 
what discounted by Gregory's comparison 01 Eunomius elsewhere 
to Bardesanes and Marcion, to the Manichees, to Nicholaus, to- 
Philo (see Book XI. 691, 704, VI. 607, and especially VII. 
645), and by his putting him down a scholar of I'lato. But 
a momentary advantage, calculated in accordance with che char- 
acter and capacities 01 the great mass of Giegory's audience, could, 
not be lost. The lesions of Libanius, the rhetorician, had not beea 
thrown away on Gregory. 



6o 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



Jews it was a crime that our Lord should be 
regarded as Son of the Supreme : these men also 
are indignant against those who are sincere in 
making this confession of Him. The Jews 
thought to honour the Almighty by excluding 
the Son from equal reverence : these men, by 
annihilating the glory of the Son, think to 
bestow more honour on the Father. But it 
would be difficult to do justice to the number 
and the nature of the insults which they heap 
upon the Only -begotten : they invent an 
'energy' prior to the personality of the Son, 
and say that He is its work and product : a 
thing which the Jews hitherto have not dared 
to say. Then they circumscribe His nature, 
shutting Him off within certain limits of the 
power which made Him : the amount of this 
productive energy is a sort of measure within 
which they enclose Him : they have devised 
it as a sort of cloak to muffle Him up in. 
We cannot charge the Jews with doing this. 

§ 22. He has no right to assert a greater and 
less in the Divine being. A systematic state- 
ment of the teaching of the Church. 

Then they discover in His being a certain 
shortness in the way of deficiency, though they 
do not tell us by what method they measure 
that which is devoid of quantity and size : they 
are able to find out exactly by how much the 
size of the Only-begotten falls short of per- 
fection, and therefore has to be classed with 
the inferior and imperfect : much else they lay 
down, partly by open assertion, partly by 
underhand inference : all the time making 
their confession of the Son and the Spirit 
a mere exercise-ground for their unbelieving 
spirit. How, then, can we fail to pity them 
more even than the condemned Jews, when 
views never ventured upon by the latter 
are inferred by the former ? He who makes 
the being of the Son and of the Spirit 
comparatively less, seems, so far as words 
go perhaps, to commit but a slight profanity : 
but if one were to test his view stringently it 
will be found the height of blasphemy. Let us 
look into this, then, and let indulgence be 
shown me, if, for the sake of doctrine, and to 
place in a clear light the lie which they have 
demonstrated, I advance into an exposition of 
our own conception of the truth. 

Now the ultimate division of all being is into 
the Intelligible and the Sensible. The Sens- 
ible world is called by the Apostle broadly 
" that which is seen." For as all body has 
colour, and the sight apprehends this, he calls 
this world by the rough and ready name of 
'• that which is seen," leaving out all the other 
qualities, which are essentially inherent in its 
framework. The common term, again, for all the 



intellectual world, is with the Apostle " that 
which is not seen 5 :" by withdrawing all idea of 
comprehension by the senses he leads the mind 
on to the immaterial and intellectual. Reason 
again divides this " which is not seen " into the 
uncreate and the created, inferentially compre- 
hending it : the uncreate being that which effects 
the Creation, the created that which owes its 
origin and its force to the uncreate. In the 
Sensible world, then, is found everything that 
we comprehend by our organs of bodily sense, 
and in which the differences of qualities 
involve the idea of more and less, such differ- 
ences consisting in quantity, quality, and the 
other properties. 

But in the Intelligible world, — that part of 
it, I mean, which is created, — the idea of such 
differences as are perceived in the Sensible 
cannot find a place : another method, then, 
is devised for discovering the degrees of greater 
and less. The fountain, the origin, the supply 
of every good is regarded as being in the world 
that is uncreate, and the whole creation inclines 
to that, and touches and shares the Highest 
Existence only by virtue of its part in the 
First Good : therefore it follows from this 
participation in the highest blessings varying 
in degree according to the amount of freedom 
in the will that each possesses, that the greater 
and less in this creation is disclosed accord- 
ing to the proportion of this tendency in each 6 . 
Created intelligible nature stands on the border- 
line between good and the reverse, so as to 
be capable of either, and to incline at pleasure 
to the things of its choice, as we learn from 
Scripture ; so that we can say of it that it 
is more or less in the heights of excel- 
lence only in proportion to its removal 
from the evil and its approach to the good. 
Whereas 7 uncreate intelligible nature is far 
removed from such distinctions : it does not 



5 Colossians i. 16. 

6 i.e. according as each inclines more or less to the First Good. 

7 uncreate intelligible nature is Jar removed from suck dis- 
tinctions. This *as the impregnable position that Athanasius 
had taken up. To admit that the Son is less than the Father, and 
the Spirit less than the Son, is to admit the laiu of emanation 
such as hitherto conceived, that is, the gradual and successive 
degradation of God's substance ; which had conducted oriental 
heretics as well as the Neoplatonists to a sort of pantheistic poly- 
theism. Arius had indeed tried to resist this tendency so far as to 
bring back divinity to the Supreme Being ; but it was at the 
expense of the divinity ol the Son, Who was with him just as much 
a created Intermediate between God and man, as one of the ./Eons : 
and Aetius and Kunomius treated the Holy Ghost also as their 
master had treated the Son. But Arianism tended at once to 
Judaism and, in making creatures adorable, to Greek polytheism. 
There was only one way of cutting short the phantasmagoria of 
divine emanations, without having recourse to the contradictory 
hypothesis ol Arius : and that was to reject the law oj emanation, 
as hitherto accepted, altogether. Far from admitting that the 
Supreme Being is always weakening and degrading Himself in that 
which emanates from Him, Athanasius lays down the principle that 
He produces within Himself nothing but what is perfect, and first, 
and divine : and all that is not perfect is a work of the Divine Will, 
which draws it out of nothing (i.e. creates it), and not out ol the 
Divine Substance. This was the crowning result of the teaching 
ol Alexandria and Origen. See Denys (Oe la Philosophic d'Ori- 
gene, p. 432, Paris, 1884J. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



61 



possess the good by acquisition, or participate 
only in the goodness of some good which 
lies above it : in its own essence it is good, 
and is conceived as such : it is a source of 
good, it is simple, uniform, incomposite, 
even by the confession of our adversaries. 
But it has distinction within itself in keeping 
with the majesty of its own nature, but not 
conceived of with regard to quantity, as Eu- 
nomius supposes : (indeed the man who in- 
troduces the notion of less of good into any 
of the things believed to be in the Holy 
Trinity must admit thereby some admixture 
of the opposite quality in that which fails of 
the good : and it is blasphemous to imagine 
this in the case either of the Only-begotten, 
or of the Holy Spirit) : we regard it as consum- 
mately perfect and incomprehensibly excellent, 
yet as containing clear distinctions within itself 
which reside in the peculiarities of each of the 
Persons : as possessing invariableness by virtue 
of its common attribute of uncreatedness, but 
differentiated by the unique character of each 
Person. This peculiarity contemplated in each 
sharply and clearly divides one from the other : 
the Father, for instance, is uncreate and un- 
generate as well : He was never generated any 
more than He was created. While this un- 
createdness is common to Him and the Son, 
and the Spirit, He is ungenerate as well as the 
Father. This is peculiar and uncommunicable, 
being not seen in the other Persons. The 
Son in His uncreatedness touches the Father 
and the Spirit, but as the Son and the Only- 
begotten He has a character which is not 
that of the Almighty or of the Holy Spirit. 
The Holy Spirit by the uncreatedness of His 
nature has contact with the Son and Father, 
but is distinguished from them by His own 
tokens. His most peculiar characteristic is 
that He is neither of those things which 
we contemplate in the Father and the Son 
respectively. He is simply, neither as un- 
generate 8 , nor as only-begotten : this it is that 
constitutes His chief peculiarity. Joined to 
the Father by His uncreatedness, He is dis- 
joined from Him again by not being 'Father.' 
United to the Son by the bond of uncreated- 
ness, and of deriving His existence from the 
Supreme, He is parted again from Him by the 
characteristic of not being the Only-begotten 
of the Father, and of having been manifested 
by means of the Son Himself. Again, as the 
creation was effected by the Only-begotten, in 
order to secure that the Spirit should not be 
considered to have something in common with 
this creation because of His having been mani- 
fested by means of the Son, He is distin- 

 But He is not begotten. Athanasian Creed. 



guished from it by His unchangeableness, and 
independende of all external goodness. The 
creation does not possess in its nature this 
unchangeableness, as the Scripture says in the 
description of the fall of the morning star, 
the mysteries on which subject are revealed 
by our Lord to His disciples: "I saw Satan 
falling like lightning from heaven 9." But the 
very attributes which part Him from the 
creation constitute His relationship to the 
Father and the Son. All that is incapable of 
degenerating has one and the same definition 
of " unchangeable." 

Having stated thus much as a preface we 
are in a position to discuss the rest of our 
adversaries' teaching. " It necessarily follows," 
he says in his system of the Son and the 
Spirit, "that the Beings are relatively greater 
and less." Let us then inquire what is the 
meaning of this necessity of difference. Does 
it arise from a comparison formed from 
measuring them one with another in some 
material way, or from viewing them on the 
spiritual ground of more or less of moral 
excellence, or on that of pure being? But 
in the case of this last it has been shown by 
competent thinkers that it is impossible to 
conceive of any difference whatever, if one 
abstracts being from attributes and properties, 
and looks at it according to its bare definition. 
Again, to conceive of this difference as con- 
sisting in the case of the Only-begotten and 
the Spirit in the intensity or abatement of 
moral excellence, and in consequence to hint 
that their nature admits of change in either 
direction, so as to be equally capable of 
opposites, and to be placed in a border land 
between moral beauty and its opposite — that 
is gross profanity. A man who thinks this 
will be proving that their nature is one thing 
in itself, and becomes something else by 
virtue of its participation in this beauty or 
its opposite : as happens with iron for ex- 
ample : if it is approached some time to 
the fire, it assumes the quality of heat 
while remaining iron : if it is put in snow 
or ice, it changes its quality to the mas- 
tering influence, and lets the snow's coldness 
pass into its pores. 

Now just as we cannot name the material 
of the iron from the quality now to be observed 
upon it (for we do not give the name of 
fire or ice to that which is tempered with 
either of these), so the moment we grant the 
view of these heretics, that in the case "of the 
Life-giving Power good does not reside in It 
essentially, but is imparted to it only, it will 
become impossible to call it properly goou : 



9 Luke x. 18. 



1 Tljt (JwotoioO Svpoucuic- 



62 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



such a conception of it will compel us to 

regard it as something different, as not eternally 

exhibiting the good, as not in itself to be 

classed amongst genuine goods, but as such 

that the good is at times not in it, ana is 

at times not likely to be in it. If these 

existences become good only by sharing 

in a something superior to themselves, it 

is plain that before this participation they 

were not good, and if, being other than 

good, they were then coloured by the in 

fluence of good they must certainly, if again 

isolated from this, be considered other than 

good : so that, if this heresy prevails, the 

Divine Nature cannot be apprehended as 

transmissive of good, but rather as itself 

needing goodness : for how can one impart to 

another that which he does not himself possess? 

If it is in a state of perfection, no abatement 

of that can be conceived, and it is absurd to 

talk of less of perfection. If on the other 

hand its participation of good is an imperfect 

one, and this is what they mean by ' less,' 

mark the consequence that anything in that 

state can never help an inferior, but will be 

busied in satisfying its own want : so that, 

according to them, Providence is a fiction, 

and so is the judgment and the Dispensation 

of the Only-begotten, and all the other works 

believed to be done, and still doing by Hirn : 

for He will necessarily be employed in taking 

care of His own good, and must abandon the 

supervision of the Universe 2 . 

If, then, this surmise is to have its way, 
namely, that our Lord is not perfected in 
every kind of good, it is very easy to see the 
conclusion of the blasphemy. This being so, 
our faith is vain, and our preaching vain ; 
our hopes, which take their substance from 
our faith, are unsubstantial. Why are they 
baptized into Christ 3, if He has no power of 
goodness of His own? God forgive me for saying 
it ! Why do they believe in the Holy Ghost, 
if the same account is given of Him? How 
are they regenerate « by baptism from their 
mortal birth, if the regenerating Power does 
not possess in its own nature infallibility and 
independence? How can their 'vile body' 
be changed, while they think that He who is 
to change it Himself needs change, i.e. another 
to change Him? For as long as a nature 



uncuon in me names used by the btOICS for the world, whicli had 
long since passed from them into the common parlance. Including 
the Empty, the world is called to irau, without it, oAok (to oAox, T i 
oAa fluently occurs with the Stoics). The 7^, it was said 



» tov iravrov. It is worth while to mention, once for all, the dis- 
tinction in the names used by the Stoics for the world, which had 
long 

i 

ii di ithi r material nor immaterial, since it consists of both 

l'i yap fiairri^omat «is XpioW. This throws some light on 

the much discussed passage, ' Why are these baptized for the dead ?' 

■>ry at all events seenu here to lake it to mean, ' Why are they 

baptized in tlic name of a dead Christ?' as he is adopting par- 

tially & Paul's words, 1 Cor. xv. 29 ; as well as Heb. xl 1 above. 

* umYowiTu. 



is in defect as regards the good, the superior 
existence exerts upon this inferior one a cease- 
less attraction towards itself: and this craving 
for more will never stop : it will be stretching 
out to something not yet grasped : the subject 
of this deficiency will be always demanding 
a supply, always altering into the grander 
nature, and yet will never touch perfection, 
because it cannot find a goal to grasp, and 
cease its impulse upward. The First Good 
is in its nature infinite, and so it follows of 
necessity that the participation in the enjoy- 
ment of it will be infinite also, for more 
will be always being grasped, and yet some- 
thing beyond that which has been grasped 
will always be discovered, and this search 
will never overtake its Object, because its 
fund is as inexhaustible as the growth of that 
which participates in it is ceaseless s. 

Such, then, are the blasphemies which 
emerge from their making differences between 
the Persons as to the good. If on the other 
hand the degrees of more or less are to be 
understood in this case in some material sense, 
the absurdity of this surmise will be obvious 
at once, without examination in detail. Ideas 
of quality and distance, weight and figure, 
and all that goes to complete the notion of 
a body, will perforce be introduced along with 
such a surmise into the view of the Divine 
Nature : and where a compound is assumed, 
there the dissolution also of that compound 
must be admitted. A teaching so monstrous, 
which dares to discover a smaller and a 
larger in what is sizeless and not concrete 
lands us in these and suchlike conclusions, 
a few samples only of which are here in- 
dicated : nor indeed would it be easy to 
unveil all the mischief that lurks beneath 
it. Still the shocking absurdity that results 
from their blasphemous premiss will be clear 
from this brief notice. We now proceed to 
their next position, after a short defining and 
confirmation of our own doctrine. For an 
inspired testimony is a sure test of the truth 
of any doctrine : and so it seems to me that 
ours may be well guaranteed by a quotation 
from the divine words. 

In the division of all existing things, then, 
we find these distinctions. There is, as ap- 
pealing to our perceptions, the Sensible world : 

5 Cf. Gregory's theory of human perfection ; De anima et 
Resurrectione, p. 229, 230. ' The All-creating Wisdom fashioned 
these souls, these receptacles with free wills, as vessels as it were, 
for this very purpose, that there should be some capacities able to 
receive His blessings, and become continually larger with the in- 
pouring of the stream. Such are the wonders that the participation 
in the Divine blessings works ; it makes hiin into whom they come 
larger and more capacious. . . . The fountain of blessings wells up 
unceasingly, and the partaker's nature, finding nothing superfluous 
and without a use in that which it receives, makes the whole inlhix 
an enlargement ol its own proportions. ... It is likely, therefore, 
that this bulk will mount to a magnitude wherein 110 limit checks- 
the growth. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK L 



63 



and there is, beyond this, the world which 
the mind, led on by objects of sense, can 
view : I mean the Intelligible : and in this 
we detect again a further distinction into the 
Created and the Uncreate : to the latter of 
which we have defined the Holy Trinity 
to belong, to the former all that can exist 
or can be thought of after that. But in 
order that this statement may not be left 
without a proof, but may be confirmed by 
Scripture, we will add that our Lord was 
not created, but came forth from the Father, 
as the Word with His own lips attests in 
the Gospel, in a manner of birth or of pro- 
ceeding ineffable and mysterious : and what 
truer witness could be found than this con- 
stant declaration of our Lord all through the 
Gospel, that the Very Father was a father, 
not a creator, of Himself, and that He was 
not a work of God, but Son of God ? Just 
as when He wished to name His connexion 
with humanity according to the flesh, He 
called that phase of his being Son of Man, 
indicating thereby His kinship according to 
the nature of the flesh with her from whom 
He was born, so also by the title of Son he 
expresses His true and real relationship to 
the Almighty, by that name of Son showing 
this natural connexion : no matter if there 
are some who, for the contradiction of the 
truth, do take literally and without any ex- 
planation, words used with a hidden meaning 
in the dark form of parable, and adduce the 
expression 'created,' put into the mouth of 
Wisdom by the author of the Proverbs 6 , to 
support their perverted views. They say, in 
tact, that " the Lord created me " is a proof 
that our Lord is a creature, as if the Only- 
begotten Himself in that word confessed it. 
But we need not heed such an argument. 
They do not give reasons why we must refer 
that text to our Lord at all: neither will 
they be able to show that the idea of the 
word in the Hebrew leads to this and no 
other meaning, seeing that the other trans- 
lators have rendered it by " possessed " or 
"constituted:" nor, finally, even if this was 
the idea in the original text, would its real 
meaning be so plain and on the surface : for 
these proverbial discourses do not show their 
aim at once, but rather conceal it, reveal- 
ing it only by an indirect import, and we 
may judge of the obscurity of this par- 
ticular passage from its context where he 
says, " When He set His throne upon the 
winds 7," and all the similar expressions. What 
is God's throne ? Is it material or ideal ? 

6 Proverbs viii. 22 (LXX). For another discussion of this 
passage, see Book II. ch. 10 (beginning) with note. 

7 Proverbs viii. 27 (LXX). 



What are the winds ? Are they these winds so 
familiar to us, which the natural philosophers 
tell us are formed from vapours and exhal- 
ations : or are they to be understood in another 
way not familiar to man, when they are called 
the bases of His throne ? What is this throne 
of the immaterial, incomprehensible, and form- 
less Deity? Who could possibly understand 
all this in a literal sense? 

23. These doctrines of our Faith witnessed to 
and confirmed by Scripture passages. 

It is therefore clear that these are meta- 
phors, which contain a deeper meaning than 
the obvious one : so that there is no reason 
from them that any suspicion that our Lord 
was created should be entertained by re- 
verent inquirers, who have been trained ac- 
cording to the grand words of the evangelist, 
that "all things that have been made were 
made by Him" and "consist in Him." 
" Without Him was not anything made that 
was made." The evangelist would not have 
so defined it if he had believed that our Lord 
was one among the things made. How could 
all things be made by Him and in Him 
consist, unless their Maker possessed a nature 
different from theirs, and so produced, not 
Himself, but them ? If the creation was by 
Him, but He was not by Himself, pla uly 
He is something outside the creation. And 
after the evangelist has by these word- so 
plainly declared that the things that were 
made were made by the Son, and did not 
pass into existence by any other channel, 
Paul 8 follows and, to leave no ground at all 
for this profane talk which numbers even the 
Spirit amongst the things that were made, 
he mentions one after another all the ex- 
istencies which the evangelist's words imply : 
just as David in fact, a^er having said that "all 
things " were put in subjection to man, adds 
each species which that " all " comprehends, 
that is, the creatures on land, in water, and 
in air, so does Paul the Apostle, expounder 
of the divine doctrines, after saying that all 
things were made by Him, define by numbering 
them the meaning of "all." He speaks of 
" the things that are seen " and "the things 
that are not seen:" by the first he gives 
a general name to all things cognizable by 
the senses, as we have seen : by the latter 
he shadows foith the intelligible world. 

Now about the first there is no necessity 
of going into minute detail. No one is so 

8 in the Canon. (Oehler's stopping is here at fault, i.e. he 
b -gins a new paragraph with 'Eic8e'x*Ta4 tov Koyov toutoc 6 nauAo?). 
We need not speculate whether Gregory was aware that the Epi-t' 
to the Colossians (quoted below) is an earlier 'Gospel' >' 

S. John's. 

9 C'lloss, L t*. 



6 4 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



carnal, so brutelike, as to imagine that the 
Spirit resides in the sensible world. But 
after Paul has mentioned "the things that 
are not seen " he proceeds (in order that none 
may surmise that the Spirit, because He is of 
the intelligible and immaterial world, on account 
of this connexion subsists therein; to another 
most distinct division into the things that have 
been made in the way of creation, and the exis- 
tence that is above creation. He mentions 
the several classes of these created intelligi- 
bles : " J thrones," " dominions," " principali- 
ties," " powers," conveying his doctrine about 
these unseen influences in broadly comprehen- 
sive terms : but by his very silence he separates 
from his list of things created that which is 
above them. It is just as if any one was 
required to name the sectional and inferior 
officers in some army, and after he had gone 
through them all, the commanders of tens, the 
commanders of hundreds, the captains and the 
colonels 2 , and all the other names given to the 
authorities over divisions, omitted after all to 
speak of the supreme command which extended 
over all the others : not from deliberate neglect, 
or from forgetfulness, but because when required 
or intending to name only the several ranks 
which served under it, it would have been an 
insult to include this supreme command in the 
list of the inferior. So do we find it with Paul, 
who once in Paradise was admitted to mysteries, 
when he had been caught up there, and had 
become a spectator of the wonders that are 
above the heavens, and saw and heard " things 
which it is not lawful for a man to utter 3." This 
Apostle proposes to tell us of all that has 
been created by our Lord, and he gives 
them under certain comprehensive terms : 
but, having traversed all the angelic and 
transcendental world, he stops his reckon- 
ing there, and refuses to drag down to the 
level of creation that which is above it. 
Hence there is a clear testimony in Scripture 
that the Holy Spirit is higher than the creation. 
Should any one attempt to refute this, by urging 
that neither are the Cherubim mentioned by 
Paul, that they equally with the Spirit are left 
out, and that therefore this omission must prove 
either that they also are above the creation, or 
that the Holy Spirit is not any more than they 
to he believed above it, let him measure the lull 
intent of each name in the list: and he will 
find amongst them that which from not being 
a< tually mentioned seems, but only seems, 
omitted. Under "thrones" he includes the 



' Coloss. i. 1 6. 

.p*as *ai Aoxayovs, «aToi/T<ipxov« T * <tai xiA.apvovs. 
I hi difference between the two pairs seems to be the difference 

between 1 ommissioned ' and 'commissioned ' officers. 

Corinth, xii. 4. 



Cherubim, giving them this Greek name, as 
more intelligible than the Hebrew name for 
them. He knew that "God sits upon the 
Cherubim : " and so he calls these Powers the 
thrones of Him who sits thereon. In the same 
way there are included in the list Isaiah's 
Seraphim 4 ? by whom the mystery of the Trinity 
was luminously proclaimed, when they uttered 
that marvellous cry " Holy," being awestruck 
with the beauty in each Person of the Trinity. 
They are named under the title of "powers" 
both by the mighty Paul, and by the prophet 
David. The latter says, " Bless ye the Lord 
all ye His powers, ye ministers of His that do His 
pleasure s : " and Isaiah instead of saying " Bless 
ye" has written the very words of their bless- 
ing, " Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts : 
the whole earth is full of His glory " and he has 
revealed by what one of the Seraphim did (to 
him) that these powers are ministers that do 
God's pleasure, effecting the ' purging of sin ' 
according to the will of Him Who sent them : 
for this is the ministry of these spiritual beings, 
viz., to be sent forth for the salvation of those 
who are being saved. 

That divine Apostle perceived this. He 
understood that the same matter is indicated 
under different names by the two prophets, and 
he took the best known of the two words, and 
called those Seraphim "powers:" so that no 
ground is left to our critics for saying that any 
single one of these beings is omitted equally 
with the Holy Ghost from the catalogue of 
creation. We learn from the existences detailed 
by Paul that while some existences have been 
mentioned, others have been passed over : and 
while he has taken count of the creation in 
masses as it were, he has (elsewhere) men- 
tioned as units those things which are conceived 
of singly. For it is a peculiarity of the Holy 
Trinity that it is to be proclaimed as consisting 
of individuals : one Father, one Son, one Holy 
Ghost : whereas those existences aforesaid are 
counted in masses, "dominions," "principal- 
ities," "lordships," "powers," so as to exclude 
any suspicion that the Holy Ghost was one of 
them. Paul is wisely silent upon our mysteries ; 
he understands how, after having heard those 
unspeakable words in paradise, to refrain from 
proclaiming those secrets when he is making 
mention of lower beings. 

But these foes of the truth rush in upon the 
ineffable ; they degrade the majesty of the Spirit 
to the level of the creation ; they act as if they 
had never heard that the Word of God, 
when confiding to His disciples the secret 
of knowing God, Himself said that the life of 



4 Isaiah vi. 6, 7. 



5 Psalm ciii. 21. 



AGAINST KUNOMU'S. HOOK i. 



«S 



6 the regenerate was to be completed in them 
and imparted in the name of Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost, and, thereby ranking the Spirit 
with the Father and Himself, precluded Him 
from being confused with the creation. From 
both, therefore, we may get a reverential and 
proper conception with regard to Him : from 
Paul's omitting the Spirit's existence in the 
mention of the creation, and from our Lord's 
joining the Spirit with His Father and Himself 
in mentioning the life-giving power. Thus does 
our reason, under the guidance of the Scripture, 
place not only the Only-begotten but the Holy 
Spirit as well above the creation, and prompt 
us in accordance with our Saviour's command to 
contemplate Him by faith in the blessed world 
of life giving and uncreated existence: and so 
this unit, which we believe in, above creation, 
and sharing in the supreme and absolutely 
perfect nature, cannot be regarded as in any 
way a ' less,' although this teacher of heresy 
attempt to curtail its infinitude by introducing 
the idea of degrees, and thus contracting the 
divine perfection by defining a greater and 
a less as residing in the Persons. 

§ 24. If is elaborate account of degrees and dif- 
ferences in ' ivorks ' and ' energies ' within the 
Trinity is absurd. 

Now let us see what he adds, as the conse- 
quence of this. After saying that we must 
perforce regard the Being as greater and less, 
and that while ? the ones, by virtue of a pre- 
eminent magnitude and value, occupy a leading 
place, the others must be detruded to a lower 
place, because their nature and their value is 
secondary, he adds this; "their difference 
amounts to that existing between their works: 
it would in fact be impious to say that the 
same energy produced the angels or the stars, 
and the heavens or man ; but one would posi- 
tively maintain about this, that in propor- 
tion as some works are older and more honour- 
able than others, so does one energy transcend 
another, because sameness of energy produces 
sameness of work, and difference of work 
indicates difference of energy." 

I suspect that their author himself would 
find it difficult to tell us what he meant when 
he wrote those words. Their thought is ob- 
scured by the rhetorical mud, which is so thick 
that one can hardly see beyond any clue to 
interpret them. "Their difference amounts 
to that existing between their works " is a sen- 
tence which might be suspected of coming 
from some Loxias of pagan story, mystifying 

* rot? aLvayewu>ii.ivoiS, 

7 Tas /xei/, i.e. Oiio-i'os. Eunomius' Arianism here degenerates 
into mere Emanationism : but even in this system the Substances 
were living : it is best on the whole to translate oiaia ' being,' and 
this, as a rule, is adhered to throughout. 

VOL. V. F 



his hearers. But if we may make a guess ai 
the drift of his observations here by following 
out those which we have already examined, 
this would be his meaning, viz., that if we 
know the amount of difference between one 
work and another, we shall know the amount 
of that between the corresponding energies. 
But what " works " he here speaks of, it is 
impossible to discover from his words. If he 
means the works to be observed in the creation, 
I do not see how this hangs on to what goes 
before. For the question was about Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost : what occasion was 
there, then, for one thinking rationally to in- 
quire one after another into the nature of 
earth, and water, and air, and fire, and the dif- 
ferent animals, and to distinguish some works 
as older and more honourable than others, 
and to speak of one energy as transcending an- 
other? But if he calls the Only-begotten and 
the Holy Spirit " works," what does he mean 
by the "differences" of the energies which 
produce these works : and what are 8 those 
wonderful energies of this writer which trans- 
cend the others ? He has neither explained the 
particular way in which he means them to 
" transcend " each other ; nor has he discussed 
the nature of these energies : but he has ad- 
vanced in neither direction, neither proving so 
far their real subsistence, nor their being some 
unsubstantial exertion of a will. Throughout 
it all his meaning hangs suspended between 
these two conceptions, and oscillates from one 
to the other. He adds that "it would be 
impious to say that the same energy produced 
the angels or the stars, and the heavens or 
man." Again we ask what necessity there is 
to draw this conclusion from his previous re- 
marks ? I do not see that it is proved any more 
9 because the energies vary amongst themselves 
as much as the works do, and because the 
works are not all from the same source but: 
are stated by him to come from different 
sources. As for the heavens and each angel, 
star, and man, or anything else understood by 
the word " creation," we know from Scripture 
that they are all the work of One : whereas in 
their system of theology the Son and ii-.- 
Spirit are not the work of one and the same, 
the Son being the work of the energy which 
' follows ' the first Being, and the bpirit the 
further work of that work. What the connexion, 
then, is between that statement and the heavens, 
man, angel, star, which he diags in, must be 
revealed by himself, or some one whom he ha 
initiated into his profound philosophy. Ti. 
blasphemy intended by his words is phi 



8 kk'ki 1W1 ai evepyeiai avrau.. 

9 t<u 7rapT)AAdx0ai, k.t.A. This is Oehler's emendation ivi the 
faulty reading to of the editions. 



66 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



enough, but the way the profanity is stated 
is inconsistent with itself. To suppose that 
within the Holy Trinity there is a difference 
as wide as that which we can observe between 
the heavens which envelope the whole creation, 
and one single man or the star which shines in 
them, is openly profane : but still the connexion 
of such thoughts and the pertinence of such a 
comparison is a mystery to me, and I suspect 
also to its author himself. If indeed his ac- 
count of the creation were of this sort, viz., 
that while the heavens were the work of some 
transcendent energy each star in them was the 
result of an energy accompanying the heavens, 
and that the i an angel was the result of that 
star, and a man of that angel, his argument 
would then have consisted in a comparison of 
similar processes, and might have somewhat 
confirmed his doctrine. But since he grants 
that it was all made by One (unless he wishes 
to contradict Scripture downright), while he 
describes the production of the Persons after 
a different fashion, what connexion is there 
between this newly imported view and what 
went before ? 

But let it be granted to him that this 
comparison does have some connexion with 
proving variation amongst the Beings (for this 
is what he desires to establish) ; still let us 
see how that which follows hangs on to 
what he has just said, ' In proportion as one 
work is prior to another and more precious 
than it, so would a pious mind affirm that 
one energy transcends another.' If in this he 
alludes to the sensible world, the statement 
is a long way from the matter in hand. There 
is no necessity whatever that requires one 
whose subject is theological to philosophize 
about the order in which the different results 
achieved in the world-making are to come, and 
to lay down that the energies of the Creator 
are higher and lower analogously to the mag- 
nitude of each thing then made. But if he 
speaks of the Persons themselves, and means 
by works that are ' older and more honourable ' 
those 'works' which he has just fashioned in 
his own creed, that is, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost, it would be perhaps better to pass over 
in silence such an abominable view, than to 
create even the appearance of its being an ar- 
gument by entangling ourselves with it. For 
can a ' more honourable' be discovered where 
there is not a less honourable? If he can go 
so far, and with so light a heart, in profanity 
as to hint that the expression and the idea 
4 less precious' can be predicated of anything 
whatever which we believe of the Trinity, then 
it were well to stop our ears, and get as quickly 
as possible out of hearing of such wickedness, 
And the contagion of reasoning which will be 



transfused into the heart, as from a vessel 
full of uncleanness. 

Can any one dare to speak of the divine 
and supreme Being in such a way that a less 
degree of honour in comparison is proved by 
the argument. " That all," says the evan- 
gelist, " may honour the Son, as they honour 
the Father 1 ." This utterance (and such an 
utterance is a law to us) makes a law of this 
equality in honour : yet this man annuls 
both the law and its Giver, and apportions 
to the One more, to the Other less of honour, 
by some occult method for measuring its extra 
abundance which he has discovered. By the 
custom of mankind the differences of worth 
are the measure of the amount of honour 
which each in authority receives ; so that 
inferiors do not approach the lower magistracies 
in the same guise exactly as they do the 
sovereign, and the greater or less display 
of fear or reverence on their part indicates 
the greater or the less worshipfulness in the 
objects of it : in fact we may discover, in this 
disposition of inferiors, who are the specially 
honourable ; when, for instance, we see some 
one feared beyond his neighbours, or the re- 
cipient of more reverence than the rest. But 
in the case of the divine nature, because every 
perfection in the way of goodness is connoted 
with the very name of God, we cannot 
discover, at all events as we look at it, 
any ground for degrees of honour. Where 
there is no greater and smaller in power, 
or glory, or wisdom, or love, or of any other 
imaginable good whatever, but the good which 
the Son has is the Father's also, and all 
that is the Father's is seen in the Son, what 
possible state of mind can induce us to 
show the more reverence in the case of the 
Father? If we think of royal power and worth 
the Son is King: if of a judge, 'all judgment 
is committed to the Son 2 : ' if of the magnificent 
office of Creation, 'all things were made by 
Him 2 : ' if of the Author of our life, we know 
the True Life came down as far as our nature : 
if of our being taken out of darkness, we know 
He is the True Light, who weans us from 
darkness: if wisdom is precious to any, Christ 
is God's power and Wisdom 3 . 

Our very souls, then, being disposed so 
naturally and in proportion to their capacity, 
and yet so miraculously, to recognize so many 
and great wonders in Christ, what further ex- 
cess of honour is left us to pay exclusively to 
the Father, as inappropriate to the Son ? 
Human reverence of the Deity, looked at 
in its plainest meaning, is nothing else but 

1 John v. 23. 2 John v. 22 ; i. 3. 

3 1 Cor. i. 24. ''Christ the puwer of God, and the wisdom of 
God " 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



67 



an attitude of love towards Him, and a con- 
fession of the perfections in Him : and I think 
that the precept 'so ought the Son to be 
honoured as the Father ♦,' is enjoined by the 
Word in place of love. For the Law com- 
mands that we pay to God this fitting honour 
by loving Him with all our heart and strength ; 
and here is the equivalent of that love, in that 
the Word as Lawgiver thus says, that the Son 
ought to be honoured as the Father. 

It was this kind of honour that the great 
David fully paid, when he confessed to the 
Lord in a prelude s of his psalmody that he 
loved the Lord, and told all the reasons for 
his love, calling Him his " rock " and " for- 
tress," and "refuge," and "deliverer," and 
"God-helper," and "hope," and "buckler," 
and "horn of salvation," and "protector." If 
the Only-begotten Son is not all these to 
mankind, let the excess of honour be re- 
duced to this extent as this heresy dictates : 
but if we have always believed Him to be, 
and to be entitled to, all this and even 
more, and to be equal in every operation 
and conception of the good to the majesty of 
the Father's goodness, how can it be pro- 
nounced consistent, either not to love such 
a character, or to slight it while we love it? 
No one can say that we ought to love Him 
with all our heart and strength, but to honour 
Him only with half. If, then, the Son is to 
be honoured with the whole heart in rendering 
to Him all our love, by what device can any- 
thing superior to His honour be discovered, 
when such a measure of honour is paid Him 
in the coin of love as our whole heart is 
capable of? Vainly, therefore, in the case 
of Beings essentially honourable, will any one 
dogmatize about a superior honour, and by 
comparison suggest an inferior honour. 

Again ; only in the case of the creation is 
it true to speak of 'priority.' The sequence of 
works was there displayed in the order of the 
days ; and the heavens may be said to have 
preceded by so much the making of man, 
and that interval may be measured by the 
interval of days. But in the divine nature, 
which transcends all idea of time and sur- 
passes all reach of thought, to talk of a "prior" 
and a "later" in the honours of time is a 
privilege only of this new-fangled philosophy. 
In short he who declares the Father to be 
' prior ' to the subsistence of the Son declares 
nothing short of this, viz., that the Son is 
later than the things made by the Son 6 (if at 



4 John r. 23. The Gospel enjoins honour and means love : 
the Law enjoins love and means honour. 

5 a prelude. See Psalm vii. 1 and xviii. 1, "fortress," <cpa- 
rauwfia ; arepcu/ia, LXX. 

6 The meaning is that, if the Son is later (in time) than the 
Father, then time must have already existed for this comparison to 



least it is true to say that all the ages, and all 
duration of time was created after the Son, and 
by the Son). 

§25. He who asserts that the Father is i prior 1 
to the Son with any thought oj an interval 
must perforce allow that even the Fatfier is 
not without beginning. 

But more than this: what exposes still further 
the untenableness of this view is, that, besides 
positing a beginning in time of the Son's 
existence, it does not, when followed out, 
spare the Father even, but proves that He also 
had his beginning in time. For any recogniz- 
ing mark that is presupposed for the generation 
of the Son must certainly define as well the 
Father's beginning. 

To make this clear, it will be well to discuss 
it more carefully. When he pronounces that the 
life of the Father is prior to tnat of the Son, 
he places a certain interval between the two ; 
now, he must mean, either that this interval 
is infinite, or that it is included within fixed 
limits. But the principle of an intervening 
mean will not allow him to call it infinite ; he 
would annul thereby the very conception of 
Father and Son and the thought of anything 
connecting them, as long as this infinite were 
limited on neither side, with no idea of a 
Father cutting it short above, nor that of a Son 
checking it below. The very nature of the 
infinite is, to be extended in either direction, 
and to have no bounds of any kind. 

Therefore if the conception of Father and 
Son is to remain firm and immoveable, he will 
find no ground for thinking this interval is 
infinite : his school must place a definite in- 
terval of time between the Only-begotten ami 
the Father. What I say, then, is this : that 
this view of theirs will bring us to the con 
elusion that the Father is not from everlasting, 
but from a definite point in time. I will 
convey my meaning by familiar illustrations ; 
the known shall make the unknown clear. 
When we say, on the authority of the text of 
Moses, that man was made the fifth day after 
the heavens, we tacitly imply that before those 
same days the heavens did not exist either ; a 
subsequent event goes to define, by means ot 
the interval which precedes it, the occurrence 
also of a previous event. If this example does 
not make our contention plain, we can gi\e 
others. We say that ' the Law given by Moses 
was four hundred and thirty years later than the 
Promise to Abraham.' If after traversing, step 
by step upwards ?, the anterior time we reach 

be made ; i.e. the Son is later than time as well as the Father. 
This involves a contradiction. 

7 step by step upwards. Si' a.va\v<reuts. This does not seem to 
be used in the Platonic (dialectic) sense, but in the N.T. sense of 
" return " or " retrogression," cf. Luke xii. 36. Gregory elsewhere 



V 2 



68 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



this end of that number of years, we firmly 
grasp as well the fact that, before that date, 
Hod's Promise was not either. Many such 
instances could be given, but I decline to be 
minute and wearisome. 

Guided, then, by these examples, let us 
examine the question before us. Our adver- 
saries conceive of the existences of Father, 
Son, and Holy Spirit as involving elder and 
younger, respectively. Well then ; if, at the 
bidding of this heresy, we journey up beyond 
die generation of the Son, and approach that 
intervening duration which the mere fancy of 
these dogmatists supposes between the Father 
and the Son, and then reach that other and 
supreme point of time by which they close 
that duration, there we find the life of the 
Father fixed as it were upon an apex ; and 
thence we must necessarily conclude that be- 
fore it the Father is not to be believed to 
have existed always. 

If you still feel difficulties about this, let us 
again take an illustration. It shall be that of 
two rulers, one shorter than the other. If we 
fit the bases of the two together we know from 
the tops the extra length of the one ; from the 
end of the lesser lying alongside of it we 
measure this excess, supplementing the defi- 
ciency of the shorter ruler by a calculation, and 
so bringing it up to the end of the longer ; 
a cubit for instance, or whatever be the dis- 
tance of the one end from the other. So, if 
there is, as our adversaries say, an excess of 
some kind in the Father's life as compared 
with the Son's, it must needs consist in some 
definite interval of duration : and they will 
allow that this interval of excess cannot be in 
the future, for that Both are imperishable, 
even the foes of the truth will grant. No ; 
they conceive of this difference as in the past, 
and instead of equalizing the life of the Father 
and the Son there, they extend the conception 
of the Father by an interval of living. But 
every interval must be bounded by two ends : 
and so for this interval which they have devised 
we must grasp the two points by which the ends 
are denoted. The one portion takes its begin- 
ning, in their view, from the Son's generation ; 
and the other portion must end in some other 
point, from which the interval starts, and by 
which it limits itself. What this is, is for them 
to tell us; unless, indeed, they are ashamed 
of the consequences of their own assumptions. 

It admits not of a doubt, then, that they will 
not be able to find at all the other portion, cor- 
responding to the first portion of their fancied 

$ Horn. Opif. xxv.), uses i.va\veiv in this sense : speaking of the 
:..ree examples of Christ's power oi rawing hum iiic ue.(d, jjc says, 
' you see . . . all these equally at the Command of one and the 
same voice returning (avoAvoi'Ta?) to life." 'AvaAvo-is thus also 
came to mean " death," as a 'return." Cf. Ecclesiast. xi. 7. 



interval, except they were to suppose some be- 
ginning of their Ungenerate, whence the middle, 
that connects with the generation of the Son, 
may be conceived of as starting. We affirm, 
then, that when he makes the Son later than 
the Father by a certain intervening extension 
of life, he must grant a fixed beginning to the 
Father's existence also, regulated by this same 
interval of his devising ; and thus their much- 
vaunted "Ungeneracy" of the Father will be 
found to be undermined by its own champions' 
arguments ; and they will have to confess that 
their Ungenerate God did once not exist, but 
began from a starting-point : indeed, that which 
has a beginning of being is not inoriginate. 
But if we must at all risks confess this absence 
of beginning in the Father, let not such exacti- 
tude be displayed in fixing for the life of the 
Son a point which, as the term of His existence, 
must cut Him off from the life on the other side 
of it ; let it suffice on the ground of causation 
only to conceive of the Father as before the 
Son ; and let not the Father's life be thought 
of as a separate and peculiar one before the 
generation of the Son, lest we should have to 
admit the idea inevitably associated with this 
of an interval before the appearance of the 
Son which measures the life of Him Who begot 
Him, and then the necessary consequence of 
this, that a beginning of the Father's life also 
must be supposed by virtue of which their 
fancied interval may be stayed in its upward 
advance so as to set a limit and a beginning 
to this previous life of the Father as well : let 
it suffice for us, when we confess the ' coming 
from Him,' to admit also, bold as it may seem, 
the ' living along with Him ; ' for we are led by 
the written oracles to such a belief. For we 
have been taught by Wisdom to contemplate 
the brightness 8 of the everlasting light in, and 
together with, the very everlastingness of that 
primal light, joining in one idea the brightness 
and its cause, and admitting no priority. Thus 
shall we save the theory of our Faith, the Son's 
life not failing in the upward view, and the 
Father's everlastingness being not trenched 
upon by supposing any definite beginning for 
the Son. 

§26. 7/ will not do to apply this conception, as 
drawn out above, of the father and Son to the 
Creation, as they insist on doing: but we must 
contemplate the Son apart with the Father, 
and believe that the Creation had its origin 
from a definite point. 

But perhaps some of the opponents of this 
will say, ' The Creation also has an acknow- 
ledged beginning ; and yet the things in it are 

8 brightness. Heb. i. 3, airavycur/ia rijs Wfifs. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



*9 



not connected in thought with the everlasting- 
ness of the Father, and it does not check, by 
having a beginning of its own, the infinitude of 
the divine life, which is the monstrous con- 
clusion this discussion has pointed out in 
the case of the Father and the Son. One 
therefore of two things must follow. Either the 
Creation is everlasting; or, it must be boldly 
admitted, the Son is later in time (than the 
Father). The conception of an interval in time 
will lead to monstrous conclusions, even when 
measured from the Creation up to the Creator.' 
One who demurs so, perhaps from not 
attending closely to the meaning of our 
belief, fights against it with alien compari- 
sons which have nothing to do with the 
matter in hand. If he could point to any- 
thing above Creation which has its origin 
marked by any interval of time, and it 
were acknowledged possible by all to think 
of any time-interval as existing before Crea- 
tion, he might have occasion for endeavour- 
ing to destroy by such attacks that everlasting- 
ness of the Son which we have proved above. 
But seeing that by all the suffrages of the 
faithful it is agreed that, of all things that are, 
part is by creation, and part before creation, 
and that the divine nature isito be believed un- 
create (although within it, as our, faith teaches, 
there is a cause, and there is a subsistence pro- 
duced, but without separation, from the cause), 
while the creation is to be viewed in an extension 
of distances, — all order and sequence of time 
in events can be perceived only in the ages 
(of this creation), but the nature pre- existent 
to those ages escapes all distinctions of before 
and after, because reason cannot see in that 
divine and blessed life the things which it 
observes, and that exclusively, in creation. 
The creation, as we have said, comes into 
existence according to a sequence of order, and 
is commensurate with the duration of the ages, 
so that if one ascends along the line of things 
created to their beginning, one will bound the 
search with the foundation of those ages. But 
the world above creation, being removed from 
all conception of distance, eludes all sequence 
of time : it has no commencement of that sort : 
it has no end in which to cease its advance, 
according to any discoverable method of order. 
Having traversed thfe ages and all that has been 
produced therein, our thought catches a glimpse 
of the divine nature, as of some immense ocean, 
but when the imagination stretches onward to 
grasp it, it gives no sign in its own case of any 
beginning ; so that one who after inquiring with 
curiosity into the ' priority ' of the ages tries to 
mount to the source of all things will never be 
able to make a single calculation on which he 
may stand ; that which he seeks will always be 



moving on before, and no basis will be offered 
him for the curiosity of thought. 

It is clear, even with a moderate insight 
into the nature of things, that there is nothing 
by which we can measure the divine and 
blessed Life. It is not in time, but time flows 
from it ; whereas the creation, starting from 
a manifest beginning, journeys onward to its 
proper end through spaces of time ; so that it 
is possible, as Solomon somewhere 9 says, to 
detect in it a beginning, an end, and a middle ; 
and mark the - sequence of its history by 
divisions of time. But the supreme and 
blessed life has no time-extension accompany- 
ing its course, and therefore no span nor 
measure. Created things are confined within 
the fitting measures, as within a boundary, with 
due regard to the good adjustment of the whole 
by the pleasure of a wise Creator ; and so, 
though human reason in its weakness cannot 
reach the whole way to the contents of crea- 
tion, yet still we do not doubt that the creative 
power has assigned to all of them their 
limits and that they do not stretch beyond 
creation. But this creative power itself, while 
circumscribing by itself the growth of things, 
has itself no circumscribing bounds ; it buries in 
itself every effort of thought to mount up to the 
source of God's life, and it eludes the busy and 
ambitious strivings to get to the end of the 
Infinite. Every discursive effort of thought to 
go back beyond the ages will ascend only so 
far as to see that that which it seeks can never 
be passed through : time and its contents seem 
the measure and the limit of the movement 
and the working of human thought, but that 
which lies beyond remains outside its reach ; 
it is a world where it may not tread, unsullied 
by any object that can be comprehended by 
man. No form, no place, no size, no reckoning 
of time, or anything else knowable, is there : 
and so it is inevitable that our apprehensive 
faculty, seeking as it does always some object 
to grasp, must fall back from any side of this 
incomprehensible existence, and seek in the 
ages and in the creation which they hold its 
kindred and congenial sphere. 

All, I say, with any insight, however 
moderate, into the nature of things, know that 
the world's Creator laid time and space as 
a background to receive what was to be ; on 
this foundation He builds the universe. It is 
not possible that anything which has come 
or is now coming into being by way of 
creation can be independent of space or 
time. But the existence which is all-suf- 
ficient, everlasting, world-enveloping, is not in 
space, nor in time : it is before these, and 

9 Compare Eccles. iii. i — II ; and viii. 5, "and a wise man's 
heart discerneth both time and judgment. ' 



70 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



above these in an ineffable way ; self-con- 
tained, knowable by faith alone ; immeasur- 
able by ages ; without the accompaniment 
of time ; seated and resting in itself, with 
no associations of past or future, there being 
nothing beside and beyond itself, whose pass- 
ing can make something past and some- 
thing future. Such accidents are confined to 
the creation, whose life is divided with time's 
divisions into memory and hope. But within 
that transcendent and blessed Power all things 
are equally present as in an instant : past and 
future are within its all-encircling grasp and 
its comprehensive view. 

This is the Being in which, to use the words 
of the Apostle, all things are formed ; and we, 
with our individual share in existence, live and 
move, and have our being io . It is above be- 
ginning, and presents no marks of its inmost 
nature: it is to be known of only in the impos- 
sibility of perceiving it. That indeed is its 
most special characteristic, that its nature is too 
high for any distinctive attribute. A very 
different account to the Uncreate must be 
given of Creation : it is this very thing that 
takes it out of all comparison and connexion 
with its Maker; this difference, I mean, 
of essence, and this admitting a special 
account explanatory of its nature which has 
nothing in common with that of Him who 
made it. The Divine nature is a stranger to 
these special marks in the creation : It leaves 
beneath itself the sections of time, the ' before ' 
and the ' after,' and the ideas of space : in fact 
' higher ' cannot properly be said of it at all. 
Every conception about that uncreate Power 
is a sublime principle, and involves the idea 
of what is proper in the highest degree ". 

We have shewn, then, by what we have said 
that the Only-begotten and the Holy Spirit are 
not to be looked for in the creation but 
are to be believed above it ; and that while 
the creation may perhaps by the persevering 
efforts of ambitious seekers be seized in its own 
beginning, whatever that may be, the super- 
natural will not the more for that come within 
the realm of knowledge, for no mark before 
the ages indicative of its nature can be found. 
Well, then, if in this uncreate existence those 
wondrous realities, with their wondrous names 
of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are to be in 
our thoughts, how can we imagine, of that pre- 
temporal world, that which our busy, restless 
minds perceive in things here below by compar- 
ing one of them with another and giving it pre- 
cedence by an interval of time ? For there, with 
the Father, unoriginate, ungenerate, always 



«» Acts xvii. 28 ; Col. i. 17. 
cat tqv tov cupiwrarou AoyOf «W)(et" 



Father, the idea of the Son as coming from 
Him yet side by side with Him is inseparably 
joined; and through the Son and yet with 
Him, before any vague and unsubstantial con- 
ception comes in between, the Holy Spirit 
is found at once in closest union ; not subse- 
quent in existence to the Son, as if the Son 
could be thought of as ever having been with- 
out the Spirit ; but Himself also owning the 
same cause of His being, i.e. the God over all, 
as the Only-begotten Light, and having shone 
forth in that very Light, being divisible neither 
by duration nor by an alien nature from the 
Father or from the Only-begotten. There 
are no intervals in that pre-temporal world : 
and difference on the score of being there is 
none. It is not even possible, comparing the 
uncreate with the uncreated, to see differences; 
and the Holy Ghost is uncreate, as we have 
before shewn. 

This being the view held by all who accept 
in its simplicity the undiluted Gospel, what occa- 
sion was there for endeavouring to dissolve this 
fast union of the Son with the Father by means 
of the creation, as if it were necessary to suppose 
either that the Son was from everlasting along 
with the creation, or that He too, equally with 
it, was later ? For the generation of the Son 
does not fall within time ", any more than the 
creation was before time : so that it can in no 
kind of way be right to partition the indivisible, 
and to insert, by declaring that there was a 
time when the Author of all existence was not, 
this false idea of time into the creative Source 
of the Universe. 

Our previous contention, therefore, is true, 
that the everlastingness of the Son is included, 

» Tlie generation of t lie Son does not fall within time. On 
this "eternal generation" Deny* (De la Philosophic d'Origene, 
p. 452) has the following remarks, illustrating the probable way 
that Alhanasius would have dealt with Eunomius: " ll we do 
not see how God's indivisibility remains in the co-existence ol the 
three Persons, we can throw the blame of this difficulty upon the 
feebleness ot our reason: while it is a mam. est contradiction to 
admit at one and the same time the simplicity of the Uncreated, 
and some change or inequality within Hi» Being. I know that 
the defenders of the orthodox belief might be troubled with their 
adversaries' argument. (Eunom. Apol. 22.) ' ll we admit that the 
Son, the energy creative ol the world, is equal to the Father, it 
amounts to admitting that He is the actual energy of the Father in 
Creation, and that this energy is equal to His essence. But that 
is to return to the mistake of the Greeks who identified His 
essence and His energy, and consequently made the world coexist 
with God.' A serious difficulty, certainly, and one that has never 
yet been solved, nor will he; as all the questions likewi.-.e which 
refer to the Uncreated and Created, to eternity and time. It is 
true we cannot explain how God's eternally active energy does 
prolong itself eternally. But what is this difficulty compared with 
those which, with the hypothesis of Eunomius, must be swallowed f 
We must suppose, so, that the "Aye»-i/ijT(K, since His energy is 
not eternal, became in a given place and moment, and that He was 
at that point the Vtwifrix:. We must suppose that this activity 
communicated to a creature that privilege ol the Uncreated which 
is most incommunicable, viz. the power of creating other creatures. 
We iiuist_ suppose that these creatures, unconnected as they are 
with the ' Kytv\rt\To<; (since He has not made them), nevertheless 
conceive of and see beyond their own creator a Being, who cannot 
be anything to them. (This direct intuition on our part of the 
Deity was a special tenet of Funomius.J Finally we must suppose 
that these creatures, seeing that Eunomius agrees with orthodox 
believers that the end of this world will be but a commencement, 
will enter into new relations with this Kyivv^ro^, when the Sou 
shall have submitted all things to the Father." 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



71 



along with the idea of His birth, in the Father's 
ungeneracy; and that, if any interval were 
to be imagined dividing the two, that same 
interval would fix a beginning for the life of 
the Almighty ; — a monstrous supposition. But 
there is nothing to prevent the creation, being, 
as it is, in its own nature something other 
than its Creator and in no point trenching on 
that pure pre-temporal world, from having, in 
our belief, a beginning of its own, as we have 
said. To say that the heavens and the earth 
and other contents of creation were out of 
things which are not, or, as the Apostle says, out 
of "things not seen, 2 " inflicts no dishonour upon 
the Maker of this universe ; for we know from 
Scripture that all these things are not from 
everlasting nor will remain for ever. If on the 
other hand it could be believed that there is 
something in the Holy Trinity which does not 
coexist with the Father, if following out this 
heresy any thought could be entertained of 
stripping the Almighty of the glory of the Son 
and Holy Ghost, it would end in nothing else 
than in a God manifestly removed from every 
deed and thought that was good and godlike. 
But if the Father, existing before the ages, is 
always in glory, and the pre-temporal Son is 
His glory, and if in like manner the Spirit of 
Christ is the Son's glory, always to be contem- 
plated along with the Father and the Son, 
what training could have led this man of learn- 
ing to declare that there is a ' before ' in what 
is timeless, and a ' more honourable ' in what is 
all essentially honourable, and preferring, by 
comparisons, the one to the other, to dishonour 
the latter by this partiality? The term in oppo- 
sition 3 to the more honourable makes it clearer 
still whither he is tending. 

§ 2 7. He falsely i?nagines that the same energies 
produce the same woiks, and that variation in 
the works indicates variation in the energies. 

Of the same strain is that which he adds in 
the next paragraph ; " the same energies pro- 
ducing sameness of works, and different works 
indicating difference in the energies as well." 
Finely and irresistibly does this noble thinker 
plead for his doctrine. " The same energies 
produce sameness of works." Let us test this 
by facts. The energy of fire is always one 
and the same ; it consists in heating : but what 
sort of agreement do its results show ? Bronze 
melts in it ; mud hardens ; wax vanishes : 
while all other animals are destroyed by it, the 
salamander is preserved alive 4 ; tow burns, as- 



3 Heb. xi. 1 ; 2 Cor. iv. 18. 

3 di'TtSiao'ToAT). 

4 is preserved alive ; ^woyovdrai. This is the LXX., not the 
classical use, of the word. Cf. Exod. i. 17; Judges viii. 19, ike. 
It is reproduced in the speech of S. Stephen, Acts vii. jo : cf. Luke 
xnii. 33, "shall preserve (his life).' 



bestos is washed by the flames as if Ly water ; so 
much for his 'sameness of works from one and 
the same energy.' How too about the sun ? 
Is not his power of warming always the same; 
and yet while he causes one plant to grow, he 
withers another, varying the results of his 
operation in accordance with the latent force 
of each.  That on the rock ' withers ; ' that 
in deep earth ' yields an hundredfold Investi- 
gate Nature's work, and you will learn, in the 
case of those bodies which she produces 
artistically, the amount of accuracy there is in 
his statement that ' sameness of energy effects 
sameness of result.' One single operation is 
the cause of conception, but the composition 
of that which is effected internally therein is so 
varied that it would be difficult for any one even 
to count all the various qualities of the body. 
Again, imbibing the milk is one single opera- 
tion on the part of the infant, but the results of 
its being nourished so are too complex to be 
all detailed. While this food passes from the 
channel of the mouth into the secretory 
ducts 5 , the transforming power of Nature 
forwards it into the several parts proportion- 
ately to their wants ; for by digestion she 
divides its sum total into the small change of 
multitudinous differences, and into supplies 
congenial to the subject matter with which she 
deals ; so that the same milk goes to feed 
arteries, veins, brain and its membranes, 
marrow, bones, nerves 6 , sinews, tendons, flesh, 
surface, cartilages, fat, hair, nails, perspiration, 
vapours, phlegm, bile, and besides these, all 
useless superfluities deriving from the same 
source. You could not name either an oigan, 
whether of motion or sensation, or an) thing 
else making up the body's bulk, which was 
not formed (in spite of startling differences) 
from this one and selfsame operation oi feeding. 
If one were to compare the mechanic arts too it 
will be seen what is the scientific value of his 
statement; for there we see in them all the same 
operation", I mean the movement of the hands; 
but what have the results in common ? What 
has building a shrine to do with a coat, though 
manual labour is employed on both? The 
house-breaker and the well-digger both move 
their hands: the mining of the earth, themuruer 
of a man are results of the motion of the hands. 
The soldier slays the foe, and the husbandman 
wields the fork which breaks the clod, with his 
hands. How, then, can this doctrinaire lay it 
down that the ' same energies produce sameness 
of work?' But even if we were to grant that 
this view of his had any truth in it, the essential 
union of the Son with the Father, and of the 



5 a-noitpiTiKoiis, activi, so the Medical writers. The Latin in 
meatus destinato idescendit ' takes iipassive (.dn-oKpiTiicous). 
c rirjju. So since Galea's time : not 'tendon.' 



72 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 






Holy Spirit with the Son, is yet again more 
fully proved. For if there existed any variation 
in their energies, so that the Son worked His 
will in a different manner to the Father, then 
(on the above supposition) it would be fair to 
conjecture, from this variation, a variation also in 
the beings which were the result of these varying 
energies. Eut if it is true that the manner of 
the Father's working is likewise the manner 
always of the Son's, both from our Lord's own 
words and from what we should have expected 
a priori — (for the one is not unbodied while 
the other is embodied, the one is not from this 
material, the other from that, the one does not 
work his will in this time and place, the other 
in that time and place, nor is there difference 
of organs in them producing difference of result, 
but the sole movement of their wish and of 
their will is sufficient, seconded in the founding 
of the universe by the power that can create 
anything) — if, I say, it is true that in all re- 
spects the Father from Whom are all things, 
and the Son by Whom are all things in the 
actual form of their operation work alike, then 
how can this man hope to prove the essential 
difference between the Son and the Holy 
Ghost by any difference and separation between 
the working of the Son and the Father? The 
very opposite, as we have just seen, is proved 
to be the case ? ; seeing that there is no manner 
of difference contemplated between the working 
of the Father and that of the Son ; and so that 
there is no gulf whatever between the being of 
the Son and the being of the Spirit, is shewn by 
the identity of the power which gives them their 
subsistence; and our pamphleteer himself con- 
firms this; for these are his wordsverbalim: "the 
same energies producing sameness of works." 
If sameness of works is really produced by like- 
ness of energies, and if (as they say) the Son is 
the work of the Father and the Spirit the 
work of the Son, the likeness in manner 8 of 
the Father's and the Son's energies will de- 
monstrate the sameness ol these beings who 
each result from them. 

But he adds, "variation in the works indi- 
cates variation in the energies." How, again, is 
this dictum of his corroborated by facts ? Look, 
n you please, at plain instances. Is not the 
energy' of command, in Him who embodied 
the world and all things therein by His sole 
will, a single energy? "He spake and they 
were made. He commanded and they were 
ted." Was not the thing commanded in 
every case alike given existence : did not His 



7 Punctuating vapoo-Kcua^Tai, iirtCdir), k.t.A. instead of a full 
IS Oelilcr. 

1  • replaces 'sameness' (in th i the energies in 

bunomius argument) b> 'likeness' since the Father and me .Son 

 not be said to be the w;«, and theil energies, therefore 

not identical but similar. ' 



single will suffice to give subsistence to the non- 
existent? How, then, when, such vast differ- 
ences are seen coming from that one energy 
of command, can this man shut his eyes to 
realities, and declare that the difference of 
works indicates difference of energies? If our 
dogmatist insists on this, that difference of 
works implies difference of energies, then we 
should have expected the very contrary to that 
which is the case ; viz., that everything in the 
world should be of one type. Can it be that he 
does see here a universal likeness, and detects 
unlikeness only between the Fatherand the Son? 
Let him, then, observe, if he never did before, 
the dissimilarity amongst the elements of the 
world, and how each thing that goes to make 
up the framework of the whole hangs on to its 
natural opposite. Some objects are light and 
buoyant, others heavy and gravitating ; some 
are always still, others always moving ; and 
amongst these last some move unchangingly 
on one plan °, as the heaven, for instance, and 
the planets, whose courses all revolve the 
opposite way to the universe, others are trans- 
fused in all directions and rush at random, 
as air and sea for instance, and every sub- 
stance which is naturally penetrating 10 . What 
need to mention the contrasts seen between 
heat and cold, moist and dry, high and low 
position ? As for the numerous dissimilarities 
amongst animals and plants, on the score 
of figure and size, and all the variations of 
their products and their qualities, the human 
mind would fail to follow them. 

§28. He falsely imagines that 7ve can have an 
unalterable series of harmonious natures ex- 
isting side by side. 

But this man of science still declares that 
varied works have energies as varied to pro- 
duce them. Either he knows not yet the 
nature of the Divine energy, as taught by 
Scripture,—' All things were made by the word 
of His command,' — or else he is blind to the 
differences of existing things. He utters for 
our benefit these inconsiderate statements, and 
lays down the law about divine doctrines, as if 
he had never yet heard that anything that is 
merely asserted, — where no entirely undeniable 
and plain statement is made about the matter 
in hand, and where the asserter says on his own 
responsibility that which a cautious listener 
cannot assent to, — is no better than a telling of 
dreams or of stories over wine. Little then as 
this dictum of his fits facts, nevertheless, — like 
one who is deluded by a dream into thinking that 
he sees one of the objects of his waking efforts, 
and who grasps eagerly at this phantom and 



9 t?TlTO kl>. 



10 vypai. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



with eyes deceived by this visionary desire 
thinks that he holds it, — he with this dream- 
like outline of doctrines before him imagines 
that his words possess force, and insists upon 
their truth, and essays by them to prove all 
the rest. It is worth while to give the pas- 
sage. "These being so, and maintaining an 
unbroken connexion in their relation to each 
other, it seems fitting for those who make their 
investigation according to the order germane 
to the subject, and who do not insist on mix- 
ing and confusing all together, in case of a 
discussion being raised about Being, to prove 
what is in course of demonstration, and to 
settle the points in debate, by the primary 
energies and those attached to the Beings, 
and again to explain by the Being when the 
energies are in question." I think the actual 
phrases of his impiety are enough to prove 
how absurd is this teaching. If any one had 
to give a description of the way some dis- 
ease mars a human countenance, he would 
explain it better by actually unbandaging the 
patient, and there would be then no need of 
words when the eye had seen how he looked. 
So some mental eye might discern the hideous 
mutilation wrought by this heresy: its mere 
perusal might remove the veil. But since it is 
necessary, in order to make the latent mischief 
of this teaching clear to the many, to put the 
finger of demonstration upon it, I will again 
repeat each word. "This being so." What 
does this dreamer mean? What is 'this?' 
How has it been stated? "The Father's be- 
ing is alone proper and in the highest degree 
supreme ; consequently the next being is de- 
pendent, and the third more dependent still." 
In such words he lays down the law. But 
why? Is it because an energy accompanies 
the first being, of which the effect and work, 
the Only-begotten, is circumscribed by the 
sphere of this producing cause? Or be- 
cause these Beings are to be thought of as of 
greater or less extent, the smaller included 
within and surrounded by the larger, like casks 
put one inside the other, inasmuch as he detects 
degrees of size within Beings that are illimit- 
able ? Or because differences of products imply 
differences of producers, as if it were impossible 
that different effects should be produced by simi- 
lar energies ? Well, there is no one whose men- 
tal faculties are so steeped in sleep as to acqui- 
esce directly after hearing such statements in 
the following assertion, "these being so, and 
maintaining an unbroken connexion in their 
relation to one another." It is equal mad- 
ness to say such things, and to hear them 
without any questioning. They are placed 
in a 'series' and 'an unalterable relation to 
each other,' and yet they are parted from 



each other by an essential unlikeness ! Either, 
as our own doctrine insists, they are united 
in being, and then they really preserve an 
unalterable relation to each other; or else 
they stand apart in essential unlikeness, as 
he fancies. But what series, what relationship , 
that is unalterable can exist with alien enti- 
ties? And how can they present that 'order 
germane to the matter' which according to 
him is to rule the investigation? Now if he 
had an eye only on the doctrine of the 
truth, and if the order in which be counts 
the differences was only that of the attri- 
butes which Faith sees in the Holy Trinity, 
— an order so ' natural ' and ' germane ' that the 
Persons cannot be confounded, being divided 
as Persons, though united in their being — then 
he would not have been classed at all amongst 
our enemies, for he would mean the very same 
doctrine that we teach. But, as it is, he is 
looking in the very contrary direction, and he 
makes the order which he fancies there quite 
inconceivable. There is all the difference in 
the world between the accomplishment of an 
act of the will, and that of a mechanical law of 
nature. Heat is inherent in fire, splendour in 
the sunbeam, fluidity in water, downward ten- 
dency in a stone, and so on. But if a man 
builds a house, or seeks an office, or puts to sea 
with a cargo, or attempts anything else which 
requires forethought and preparation to suc- 
ceed, we cannot say in such a case that there 
is properly a rank or order inherent in his 
operations : their order in each case will 
result as an after consequence of the motive 
which guided his choice, or the utility of that 
which he achieves. Well, then ; since this 
heresy parts the Son from any essential rela- 
tionship with the Father, and adopts the same 
view ol the Spirit as estranged from any union 
with the Father or the Son, and since also it 
affirms throughout that the Son is the work of 
the Father, and the Spirit the work of the Son, 
and that these works are the results of a pur- 
pose, not of nature, what grounds has he for 
declaring that this work of a will is an ' order 
inherent in the matter,' and what is the drift of 
this teaching, which makes the Almighty the 
manufacturer of such a nature as this in the 
Son and the Holy Spirit, where transcen- 
dent beings are made such as to be inferior 
the one to the other? If such is really his 
meaning, why did he not clearly state the 
grounds he has for presuming in the case of 
the Deity, that smallness ot result will be 
evidence of all the greater power? But who 
really could ever allow that a cause that is 
great and powerful is to be looked for in this 
smallness 01 results? As if God was unable 
to establish His own penection in anything 



/4 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 






that comes from Him * ! And how can he 
attribute to the Deity the highest preroga- 
tive of supremacy while he exhibits His 
power as thus falling short of His will ? 
Eunomius certainly seems to mean that per- 
fection was not even proposed as the aim 
of God's work, for fear the honour and 
glory of One to Whom homage is due for 
His superiority might be thereby lessened. 
And yet is there any one so narrow-minded 
as to reckon the Blessed Deity Himself as not 
free from the passion of envy? What plausible 
reason, then, is left why the Supreme Deity 
should have constituted such an 'order' in the 
case of the Son and the Spirit? "But I did 
not mean that 'order' to come from Him," he 
rejoins. But whence else, if the beings to which 
this 'order' is connatural are not essentially re- 
lated to each other? But perhaps he calls the 
inferiority itself of the being of the Son and of 
the Spirit this 'connatural order.' But I would 
beg of him to tell me the reason of this very 
thing, viz., why the Son is inferior on the score 
of being, when both this being and energy are 
to be discovered in the same characteristics 
and attributes. If on the other hand there is 
not to be the same 2 definition of being and 
energy, and each is to signify something 
different, why does he introduce a demonstra- 
tion of the thing in question by means of that 
which is quite different from it? It would be, 
in that case, just as if, when it was debated 
with regard to man's own being whether he 
were a risible animal, or one capable of being 
taught to read, some one was to adduce the 
building of a house or ship on the part of 
a mason or a shipwright as a settling of the ques- 
tion, insisting on the skilful syllogism that we 
know beings by operations, and a house and 
a ship are operations of man. Do we then 
learn, most simple sir, by such premisses, that 
man is risible as well as broad-nailed ? Some 
one might well retort ; ' whether man possesses 
motion and energy was not the question : 
it was, what is the energizing principle 
itself; and that I fail to learn from your 
way of deciding the question.' Indeed, if we 
wanted to know something about the nature of 
the wind, you would not give a satisfactory 
answer by pointing to a heap of sand or chall 
raised by the wind, or to dust which it scattered : 
for the account to be given of the wind is 
quite different : and these illustrations of yours 
would be foreign to the subject. What ground, 



1 • v irai-71 tw t'f aiiTov. 

8 Heading ai/ro? ; instead of Oehler's oOtck. 

3 only ont thing amongst the things which follow, &v. The 
''•""' ""' manifestly wrong here, " si recte a te assertum 

m eciam qu* ad primam subsu sequuntur aliquant 

teratumem uutu. j|,e Greek is ,i,r»p v .VtjJwta rfa „„ p ,„ . 

M« fuf Tit HWL4 T|j TT4.U.TII oiiatu pi napTupriTa.. 



then, has he for attempting to explain beings by 
their energies, and making the definition of 
an entity out of the resultants of that entity. 

Let us observe, too, what sort of work of 
the Father it is by which the Father's being, 
according to him, is to be comprehended. 
The Son most certainly, he will say, if he says 
as usual. But this Son of yours, most learned 
sir, is commensurate in your scheme only with 
the energy which produced Him, and indicates 
that alone, while the Object of our search 
still keeps in the dark, if, as you yourself 
confess, this energy is only one amongst the 
things which 'follow 3' the first being. This 
energy, as you say, extends itself into the 
work which it produces, but it does not reveal 
therein even its own nature, but only so much 
of it as we can get a glimpse of in that work. 
All the resources of a smith are not set in 
motion to make a gimlet ; the skill of that 
artisan only operates so far as is adequate to 
form that tool, though it could fashion a large 
variety of other tools. Thus the limit of the 
energy is to be found in the work which it 
produces. But the question now is not about 
the amount of the energy, but about the being 
of that which has put forth the energy. In 
the same way, if he asserts that he can per- 
ceive the nature of the Only-begotten in the 
Spirit (Whom he styles the work of an energy 
which ' follows ' the Son), his assertion has no 
foundation ; for here again the energy, while 
it extends itself into its work, does not reveal 
therein the nature either of itself or of the 
agent who exerts it. 

But let us yield in this; grant him that 
beings are known in their energies. The 
First being is known through His work ; and 
this Second being is revealed in the work 
proceeding from Him. But what, my learned 
friend, is to show this Third being? No such 
work of this Third is to be found. If you 
insist that these beings are perceived by 
their energies, you must confess that the 
Spirit's nature is imperceptible ; you cannot 
infer His nature from any energy put fortii by 
Him to carry on the continuity. Show some 
substantiated work of the Spirit, through which 
you think you have detected the being of the 
Spirit, or all your cobweb will collapse at 
the touch of Reason. U the being is known 
by the subsequent energy, and substantiated 
energy of the Spirit there is none, such as 
ye say the Father shows in the Son, and 
the Son in the Spirit, then the nature of the 
Spirit must be confessed unknowable and not 
be apprehended through these; there is no 
energy conceived of in connexion with a sub- 
stance to show even a side glimpse of it. 
But if the Spirit eludes apprehension, how 



AGAINST EUNOM1US. ROOK I. 



7«; 



by means of that which is itself impercep- 
tible can the more exalted being be per- 
ceived ? If the Son's work, that is, the Spirit 
according to them, is unknowable, the Son 
Himself can never be known; He will be 
involved in the obscurity of that which gives 
evidence of Him : and if the being of the Son 
in this way is hidden, how can the being who 
is most properly such and most supreme be 
brought to light by means of the being which 
is itself hidden ; this obscurity of the Spirit is 
transmitted by retrogression'* through the Son 
to the Father; so that in this view, even by 
our adversaries' confession, the unknowable- 
ness of the Father's being is clearly demon- 
strated. How, then, can this man, be his eye 
ever so 'keen to see unsubstantial entities,' 
discern the nature of the unseen and incom- 
prehensible by means of itself; and how can 
he command us to grasp the beings by means 
of their works, and their works again from them? 

§ 29. He vainly thinks that the doubt about 
the energies is to be solved by the beings, and 
reversely. 

Now let us see what comes next. ' The 
doubt about the energies is to be solved by 
the beings.' What way is there of bringing 
this man out of his vain fancies down to 
common sense ? If he thinks that it is possible 
thus to solve doubts about the energies by 
comprehending the beings themselves, how, if 
these last are not comprehended, can he 
change this doubt to any certainty? If the 
being has been comprehended, what need to 
make the energy ot this importance, as if it was 
going to lead us to the comprehension of the 
being. But if this is the very thing that makes 
an examination of the energy necessary, viz., 
that we may be thereby guided to the under- 
standing of the being that exerts it, how can 
this as yet unknown nature solve the doubt 
about the energy ? The proof of anything that 
is doubted must be made by means ot well- 
known truths ; but when there is an equal 
uncertainty about both the objects oi our 
search, how can Eunomius say that they are 
comprehended by means of each other, both 
being in themselves beyond our knowledge? 
When the Father's being is under discus- 
sion, he tells us that the question may be 
settled by means of the energy which follows 
Him and of the work which this energy 
accomplishes ; but when the inquiry is about 
the being of the Only-begotten, whether Eu- 
nomius calls Him an energy or a product 
of the energy (Jbr he does both), then he tells 

4 KOTa ivdAvoiv. So Plutarch, ii. 76 E. and see above (cap. 25, 
feote 6.). 



us that the question may be easily solved by 
looking at the being of His producer! 

§ 30. There is no Word of God that commands 
such investigations : the uselessness oj the philo- 
sophy which makes them is thereby proved. 

I should like also to ask him this. Does 
he mean that energies are explained by the 
beings which produced them only in the case 
of the Divine Nature, or does he recognize 
the nature of the produced by means of the 
being of the producer with regard to any- 
thing whatever that possesses an effective 
force? If in the case of the Divine Nature 
only he holds this view, let him show us 
how he settles questions about the works of 
God by means of the nature of the Worker. 
Take an undoubted work of God, — the sky, 
the earth, the sea, the whole universe. Let it 
be the being of one of these that, according to 
our supposition, is being enquired into, and 
let ' sky ' be the subject fixed for our specu- 
lative reasoning. It is a question what the 
substance of the sky is ; opinions have been 
broached about it varying widely according to 
the lights of each natural philosopher. How 
will the contemplation of the Maker of the sky 
procure a solution of the question, immaterial, 
invisible, formless, ungenerate, everlasting, in- 
capable of decay and change and alteration, 
and all such things, as He is. How will any- 
one who entertains this conception of the 
Worker be led on to the knowledge of the 
nature of the sky? How will he get an idea of 
a thing which is visible from the Invisible, ot 
the perishable from the imperishable, of that 
which has a date for its existence from that 
which never had any generation, of that 
which has duration but for a time from the 
everlasting; in fact, of the object of his 
search from everything which is the very 
opposite to it. Let this man who has accu- 
rately probed the secret of things tell us how 
it is possible that two unlike things should 
be known from each other. 

§ 31. The observations made by watching Pro 
vidence are sufficient to give us the knowledge 
of sameness oj Being. 

And yet, if he could see the consequences of 
his own statements, he would be led on by them 
to acquiesce in the doctrine of the Church. For 
if the makers nature is an indication of the 
thing made, as he affirms, and if, according to 
his school, the Son is something made by the 
Father, anyone who has observed the Father's 
nature would have certainly known thereby that 
of the Son ; if, I say, it is true that the worker's 
nature is a sign of that which he works. But 
the Only-begotten, as they say, of tie Father's 
unlikeness, will be excluded from operating 



j6 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



through Providence. Eunomius need not 
trouble any more about His being generated, 
nor force out of that another proof of the son's 
unlikeness. The difference of purpose will itself 
be sufficient to bring to light His alien nature. 
For the First Being is, even by our opponents' 
confession, one and single, and necessarily His 
will must be thought of as following the bent of 
His nature; but Providence shows that that 
purpose is good, and so the nature from which 
that purpose comes is shown to be good also. So 
the Father alone works good; and the Son does 
not purpose the same things as He, if we adopt 
the assumptions of our adversary; the difference, 
then, of their nature will be clearly attested by 
this variation of their purposes. But if, while the 
Father is provident for the Universe, the Son is 
■equally provident for it (for ' what He sees the 
Father doing that also the Son does '), this same- 
ness of their purposes exhibits a communion of 
nature in those who thus purpose the same 
things. Why, then, is all mention of Providence 
omitted by him, as if it would not help us at all 
to that which we are searching for. Yet many 
familiar examples make for our view of it. 
Anyone who has gazed on the brightness of fire 
and experienced its power of warming, when 
he approaches another such brightness and an- 
other such warmth, will assuredly be led on to 
think of fire ; for his senses through the medium 
of these similar phsenomena will conduct him 
to the fact of a kindred element producing 
both ; anything that was not fire could not work 
on all occasions like fire. Just so, when we per- 
ceive a similar and equal amount of providential 
power in the Father and in the Son, we make 
a guess by means of what thus comes within 
the range of our knowledge about things which 
transcend our comprehension; we feel that 
causes of an alien nature cannot be detected 
in these equal and similar effects. As the 
observed phenomena are to each other, so 
will the subjects of those phenomena be: if 
the first are opposed to each other, we must 
reckon the revealed entities to be so too ; if 
the first are alike, so too must those others 
be. Our Lord said allegorically that their 
iruit is the sign of the characters of trees, 
meaning that it does not belie that charac- 
ter, that the bad is not attached to the good 
tree, nor the good to the bad tree ;— " by their 
fruits ye shall know them ;"— so when the fruit, 
Providence, presents no difference, we detect 
single nature from winch that fruit has 
sprung, even though the trees be different 
from which the fruit is put forth. Through 
that, then, which is cognizable by our ap- 
prehension, viz., the scheme or Providence 
visible in the Son in the same way as in 
the father, the common likeness of the Only- 



begotten and the Father is placed beyond a 
doubt; and it is the identity of the fruits 
of Providence by which we know it. 

§ 32. His dictum that ' the manner of the likeness 
must folloiv the manner of the generation ' is 
uni?itelligible. 

But to prevent such a thought being enter- 
tained, and pretending to be forced somehow 
away from it, he says that he withdraws from 
all these results of Providence, and goes back 
to the manner of the Son's generation, because 
"the manner of His likeness must follow 
the manner of His generation." What an ir- 
resistible proof! How forcibly does this ver- 
biage compel assent ! What skill and precision 
there is in the wording of this assertion ! Then, 
if we know the manner of the generation, we 
shall know by that the manner of the likeness. 
Well, then ; seeing that all, or at all events 
most, animals born by parturition have the 
same manner of generation, and, according to 
their logic, the manner of likeness follows this 
manner of generation, these animals, following 
as they do the same model in their production, 
will resemble entirely those similarly generated ; 
for things that are like the same thing are like 
one another. If, then, according to the view of 
this heresy, the manner of the generation makes 
every thing generated just like itself, and it is 
a fact that this manner does not vary at all in 
diversified kinds of animals but remains the 
same in the greatest part of them, we shall find 
that this sweeping and unqualified assertion of 
his establishes, by virtue of this similarity ot 
birth, a mutual resemblance between men, 
dogs, camels, mice, elephants, leopards, and 
every other animal which Nature produces in 
the same manner. Or does he mean, not, that 
things brought into the world in a similar way 
are all like each other, but that each one of 
them is like that being only which is the source 
of its life. But if so, he ought to have declared 
that the child is like the parent, not that the 
" manner of the likeness" resembles the "manner 
of the generation." But this, which is so prob- 
able in itself, and is observed as a fact in 
Nature, that the begotten resembles the be- 
getter, he will not admit as a truth; it would 
reduce his whole argumentation to a proof of 
the contrary of what he intended. If he al- 
lowed the offspring to be like the parent, his 
laboured store of arguments to prove the un- 
likeness of the beings would be refuted as 
evanescent and groundless. 

So he says "the manner of the likeness 
follows the manner of the generation." This, 
when tested by the exact critic of the meaning 
of any idea 5, will be found completely unintel- 

S ivvoias \6yov. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



77 



ligible. It is plainly impossible to say what 
a " manner of generation " can mean. Does it 
mean the figure of the parent, or his impulse, 
or his disposition ; or the time, or the place, or 
the completing of the embryo by conception ; 
or the generative receptacles ; or nothing of 
that kind, but something else of the things ob- 
served in 'generation.' It is impossible to find 
out what he means. The impropriety and 
vagueness of the word " manner " causes per- 
plexity as to its signification here ; every possible 
one is equally open to our surmises, and pre- 
sents as well an equal want of connexion with 
the subject before us. So also with this phrase 
of his "manner of likeness;" it is devoid of 
any vestige of meaning, if we fix our attention 
on the examples familiarly known to us. For 
the thing generated is not to be likened there 
to the kind or the manner of its birth. Birth 
consists, in the case of animal birth, in a sepa- 
ration of body from body, in which the animal 
perfectly moulded in the womb is brought 
forth ; but the thing born is a man, or horse, 
or cow, or whatever it may chance to be in 
its existence through birth. How, therefore, 
the " manner of the likeness of the offspring 
tollows the manner of its generation " must 
be left to him, or to some pupil of his in 
midwifery, to explain. Birth is one thing : the 
thing born is another: they are different ideas 
altogether. No one with any sense would deny 
that what he says is perfectly untrue in the case 
of animal births. But if he calls the actual 
making and the actual fashioning a "manner 
of the generation," which the " manner of the 
likeness " of the thing produced is to " follow," 
even so his statement is removed from all like- 
lihood, as we shall see from some illustrations. 
Iron is hammered out by the blows of the 
artificer into some useful instrument. How, 
then, the outline of its edge, if such there 
happen to be, can be said to be similar to the 
hand of the worker, or to the manner of its 
fashioning, to the hammers, for instance, and 
the coals and the bellows and the anvil by 
means of which he has moulded it, no one 
could explain. And what can be said in one 
case fits all, where there is any operation pro- 
ducing a result ; the thing produced cannot be 
said to be like the "manner of its generation." 
What has the shape of a garment got to do with 
the spool, or the rods, or the comb, or with the 
lorm of the weaver's instruments at all ? What 
lias an actual seat got to do with the working of 
the blocks; or any finished production with the 
build of him who achieved it? — But I think 
even our opponents would allow that this rule 
of his is not in force in sensible and material 
instances. 

It remains to see whether it contributes 



anything further to the proof of his blas- 
phemy. What, then, was he aiming at? The 
necessity of believing in accordance with their 
being in the likeness or unlikeness of the Son to 
the Father ; and, as we cannot know about this 
being from considerations of Providence, the 
necessity of having recourse to the "manner 
of the generation," whereby we may know, not 
indeed whether the Begotten is like the 
Begetter (absolutely), but only a certain 
" manner of likeness " between them ; and as 
this manner is a secret to the many, the neces- 
sity of going at some length into the being of 
the Begetter. Then has he forgotten his own 
definitions about the beings hiving to be known 
from their works? But this begotten being, 
which he calls the work of the supreme being, 
has as yet no light thrown upon it (according 
to him) ; so how can its nature be dealt with ? 
And how can he " mount above this lower and 
therefore more directly comprehensible thing," 
and so cling to the absolute and supreme 
being ? Again, he always throughout his dis- 
course lays claim to an accurate knowledge of 
the divine utterances ; yet here he pays 
them scant reverence, ignoring the fact that it 
is not possible to approach to a knowledge of 
the Father except through the Son. " No 
man knoweth the Father, save the Son, and he 
to whomsoever the Son shall reveal Him 6 ." 
Yet Eunomius, while on every occasion, where 
he can insult our devout and God-adoring 
conceptions of the Son, he asserts in plain 
words the Son's inferiority, establishes His 
superiority unconsciously in this device of his 
for knowing the Deity ; for he assumes that 
the Father's being lends itself the more readily 
to our comprehension, and then attempts to 
trace and argue out the Son's nature from 
that 

§ 33. He declares falsely that ' the manner oj 
the generation is to be known from the in- 
trinsic worth of the generator' 

He goes back, for instance, to the begetting 
being, and from thence takes a survey of the 
begotten ; " for," says he, "the manner of the 
generation is to be known from the intrinsic 
worth of the generator." Again, we find this 
bold unqualified generalization of his causing 
the thought of the inquirer to be dissipated in 
every possible direction ; it is the nature of such 
generai statements, to extend in their meanings 
to every instance, and allow nothing to escape 
their sweeping assertion. If then ' the manner 
of the generation is to be known from the 
intrinsic worth of the generator,' and there 
are many differences in the worth of gene- 



6 Matt xi. 27. 



-8 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



rators according to their many classifications ? 
to be found (for one may be born Jew, 
Greek, barbarian, Scythian, bond, free), what 
will be the result ? Why, that • we must 
expect to find as many " manners of genera- 
tion " as there are differences in intrinsic 
worth amongst the generators ; and that their 
birth will not be fulfilled with all in the 
same way, but that their nature will vary 
with the worth of the parent, and that some 
peculiar manner of birth will be struck out for 
each, according to these varying estimations. 
For a certain inalienable worth is to be 
observed in the individual parent ; the dis- 
tinction, that is, of being better or worse 
off according as there has fallen to each 
race, estimation, religion, nationality, power, 
servitude, wealth, poverty, independence, de- 
pendence, or whatever else constitutes the 
life-long differences of worth. If then "the 
manner of the generation" is shown by the in- 
trinsic worth of the parent, and there are many 
differences in worth, we shall inevitably find, 
if we follow this opinion-monger, that the 
manners of generation are various too ; in 
fact, this difference of worth will dictate to 
Nature the manner of the birth. 

But if he should not 8 admit that such 
worth is natural, because they can be put 
in thought outside the nature of their sub- 
ject, we will not oppose him. But at all 
events he will agree to this ; that man's ex- 
istence is separated by an intrinsic character 
from that of brutes. Yet the manner of birth 
in these two cases presents no variation in 
intrinsic character ; nature brings man and the 
brute into the world in just the same way, i. e. 
by generation. But if he apprehends this native 
dignity only in the case of the most proper and 
supreme existence, let us see what he means 
then. In our view, the ' native dignity ' of 
God consists in godhead itself, wisdom, power, 
goodness, judgment, justice, strength, mercy, 
truth, creativeness, domination, invisibility, 
everlastingness, and every other quality named 
in the inspired writings to magnify his glory ; 
and we affirm that every one of them is properly 
and inalienably found in the Son, recognizing 
difference only in respect of unoriginateness ; 
and even that we do not exclude the Son from, 
according to «//its meanings. But let no carp- 



7 'Ettivoio is the opposite of ivvoia, 'the intuitive .idea.' It 
means an "alterlhought," and, with the notion of unnecessary 
addition, a ' conceit. ' Here it is applied to conventional, or not 
purely natural difference. See Introduction to Hook XJU. lor the 
fuller meaning of E7rtVo«i. 

8 /ir) it'^oiTO. This use of the optative, where the subjunctive 
wilh iav ini^lit have been expected, is one of the few instances in 
Gregory s Greek of declension from Classic usage ; in the latter, 
when a with the optative does denote subjective possibility, it is 
only when the condition is conceived of as of frequent repetition, 
j g. i Peter iii. :4. The optative often in this Greek of the fourth 
century invades the province of the subjunctive. 



ing critic attack this statement as if we were 
attempting to exhibit the Very Son as un- 
generate ; for we hold that one who maintains 
that is no less impious than an Anomcean. 
But since the meanings of ' origin ' are various, 
and suggest many ideas, there are some of 
them in which the title 'unoriginate' is not 
inapplicable to the Son 9. When, for instance, 
this word has the meaning of 'deriving existence 
from no cause whatever,' then we confess that 
it is peculiar to the Father ; but when the 
question is about ' origin ' in its other meanings 
(since any creature or time or order has an 
origin), then we attribute the being superior to 
origin to the Son as well, and we believe that 
that whereby all things were made is beyond 
the origin of creation, and the idea of time, and 
the sequence of order.- So He, Who on the 
ground of His subsistence is not without an 
origin, possessed in every other view an un- 
doubted unoriginateness ; and while the Father 
is unoriginate and Ungenerate, the Son is un- 
originate in the way we have said, though not 
ungenerate. 

What, then, is that native dignity of the 
Father which he is going to look at in order to 
infer thereby the ' manner of the generation/ 
" His not being generated, most certainly," he 
will reply. If, then, all those names with which 
we have learnt to magnify God's glory are use- 
less and meaningless to you, Eunomius, the 
mere going through the list of such expressions 
is a gratuitous and superfluous task ; none of 
these other words, you say, expresses the in- 
trinsic worth of the God over all. But if 
there is a peculiar force fitting our conceptions 
of the Deity in each of these words, the intrin- 
sic dignities of God must plainly be viewed 
in connexion with this list, and the likeness of 
the two beings will be thereby proved ; if, that 
is, the characters inalienable from the beings 
are an index of the subjects of those characters. 
The characters of each being are found to be 
the same ; and so the identity on the score of 
being of the two subjects of these identical # 
dignities is shown most clearly. For if the 
variation in a single name is to be held to 
be the index of an alien being, how much more 
should the identity of these countless names 
avail to prove community of nature! 

What, then, is the reason why the other 
names should all be neglected, and genera- 
tion be indicated by the means of one alone ? 
Why do they pronounce this ' Ungeneracy ' to 
be the only intrinsic character in the Father, 
and thrust all the rest aside? It is in order that 
they may establish their mischievous mode 10 of 



9 fxrj t'mt^(t>uti'tn'. 
"° See Note on 'A\f «'i|Tot, p. 100. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. ROOK I. 



79 



unlikeness of Father and Son, by this con- 
trast as regards the begotten. But we shall 
find that this attempt of theirs, when we come 
to test it in its proper place, is equally feeble, 
unfounded, and nugatory as the preceding 
attempts. 

Still, that all his reasonings point this way, 
is shown by the sequel, in which he praises 
himself for having fittingly adopted this 
method for the proof of his blasphemy, and 
yet for not having all at once divulged his in- 
tention, nor shocked the unprepared hearer 
with his impiety, before the concatenation of 
his delusive argument was complete, nor dis- 
played this Ungeneracy as God's being in the 
early part of his discourse, nor to weary us with 
talk about the difference of being. The 
following are his exact words : " Or was it 
right, as Basil commands, to begin with the 
thing to be proved, and to assert incoherently 
that the Ungeneracy is the being, and to talk 
about the difference or the sameness of nature?" 
Upon this he has a long intervening tirade, 
made up of scoffs and insulting abuse (such 
being the weapons which this thinker uses to 
defend his own doctrines), and then he resumes 
the argument, and turning upon his adversary, 
fixes upon him, forsooth, the blame of what he is 
saying, in these words; " For your party, before 
any others, are guilty of this offence ; having 
partitioned out this same being between Be- 
getter and Begotten ; and so the scolding you 
have given is only a halter not to be eluded 
which you have woven for your own necks ; 
justice, as might have been expected, records in 
your own words a verdict against yourselves. 
Either you first conceive of the beings as 
sundered, and independent of each other"; 
and then bring down one of them, by 
generation, to the rank of Son, and contend 
that One who exists independently nevertheless 
was made by means of the Other existence ; 
and so lay yourselves open to your own re- 
proaches : for to Him whom you imagine 
as without generation you ascribe a genera- 
tion by another : — or else you first allow one 
single causeless being, and then marking this 
out by an act of causation into Father and Son, 
you declare that this non-generated being came 
into existence by means of itself." 

§ 34. The Passage where he attacks the 'Ofioov- 
ctiov, and the contention in answer to it. 

I will omit to speak of the words which 
occur before this passage which has been 
quoted. They contain merely shameless abuse 
of our Master and Father in God, and nothing 
bearing on the matter in hand. But on the 



11 a.va.px""'- 



passage itself, as he advances by the device of 
this terrible dilemma a double-edged refutation, 
we cannot be silent; we must accept the in- 
tellectual challenge, and fight for the Faith 
with all the power we have, and show that the 
formidable two-edged sword which he has 
sharpened is feebler than a make-believe in a 
scene-painting. 

He attacks the community of substance with 
two suppositions ; lie says that we either name 
as Father and as Son two independent princi- 
ples drawn out parallel to each other, and then 
say that one of these exisiencies is produced 
by the other existence : or else we say that 
one and the same essence is conceived of, par- 
ticipating in both names in turn, both being * 
Father, and becoming Son, and itself pro- 
duced in generation from itself. I put this 
in my own words, thereby not misinterpret- 
ing his thought, but only correcting the 
tumid exaggeration of its expression, in such 
a way as to reveal his meaning by clearer 
words and afford a comprehensive view of 
it. Having blamed us for want of polish 
and for having brought to the controversy 
an insufficient amount of learning, he decks 
out his own work in such a glitter of style, 
and passes the nail 2 , to use his own phrase, 
so often over his own sentences, and makes 
his periods so smart with this elal orate 
prettiness, that he captivates the reader at 
once with the attractions of language ; such 
amongst many others is the passage we have 
just recited by way of preface. We will, by 
leave, again recite it. "And so the scolding 
you have given is only a halter, not to be 
eluded, which you have woven for your own 
necks ; justice, as might have been expected, 
records in your own words a verdict against 
yourselves." 

Observe these flowers of the old Attic ; what 
polished brilliance of diction plays over his 
composition ; what a delicate and subtle charm 
of style is in bloom there ! However, let this 
be as people think. Our course requires us 
again to turn to the thought in those words ; 
let us plunge once more into the phrases of 
this pamphleteer. " Either you conceive of 
the beings as separated and independent 
of each other, and then bring down one of 
them, by generation, to the rank of Son, and 
contend that One who exists independently 
nevertheless was made by means of the Other 
existence." That is enough for the present. 
He says, then, that we preach 3 two causeless 
Beings. How can this man, who is always 
accusing us of levelling and confusing, assert 



« Reading axxrav for ovaiav of Oehler and Migne. 
3 irpecr/Seuei*. So Lucian. Diug. Laert., and Origen passim. 



So 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



this from our believing, as we do, in a single 
substance of Both. If two natures, alien to 
each other on the score of their being, were 
preached by our Faith, just as it is preached 
by the Anomoean school, then there would be 
good reason for thinking that this distinction 
of natures led to the supposition of two 
causeless beings. But if, as is the case, we 
acknowledge one nature with the differences 
of Person, if, while the Father is believed in, 
the Son also is glorified, how can such a Faith 
be misrepresented by our opponents as preach- 
ing Two First Causes ? Then he says, ' of these 
two causes, one is lowered ' by us ' to the rank 
of Son.' Let him point out one champion of 
such a doctrine ; whether he can convict any 
single person of talking like this, or only knows 
of such a doctrine as taught anywhere at all in 
the Church, we will hold our peace. For who 
is so wild in his reasonings, and so bereft of re- 
flection as, after speaking of Father and Son, to 
imagine in spite of that two ungenerate beings : 
and then again to suppose that the One of them 
has come into being by means of the Other ? 
Besides, what logical necessity does he show 
for pushing our teaching towards such suppo- 
sitions? By what arguments does he show that 
such an absurdity must result from it? If 
indeed he adduced one single article of our 
Faith, and then, whether as a quibble or with 
a real force of demonstration, made this 
criticism upon it, there might have been some 
reason for his doing so with a view to in 
validate that article. But when there is not, 
and never can be such a doctrine in the Church, 
when neither a teacher of it nor a hearer of it 
is to be found, and the absurdity cannot be 
shown, either, to be the strictlogical consequence 
of anything, I cannot understand the meaning 
of his fighting thus with shadows. It is just 
as if some phenzy-struck person supposed him- 
self to be grappling with an imaginary com- 
batant, and then, having with great efforts 
thrown himself down, thought that it was his 
foe who was lying there ; our clever pamph- 
leteer is in the same state ; he feigns sup- 
positions which we know nothing about, and 
he fights with the shadows which are sketched 
by the workings of his own brain. 

For I challenge him to say why a believer in 
the Son as having come into being from the 
Father must advance to the opinion that there 
are two First Causes; and let him tell us who 
is most guilty of this establishment of two First 
Causes; one who asserts that the Son is falsely 
so named, or one who insists that, when we call 
Him that, the name represents a reality? The 
first, rejecting a real generation of the Son, and 
affirming simply that He exists, would be more 
open to the suspicion of making Him a First 



Cause, if he exists indeed, but not by genera- 
tion : whereas the second, making the repre- 
sentative sign of the Person of the Only- 
begotten to consist in subsisting generatively 
from the Father, cannot by any possibility be 
drawn into the error of supposing the Son to 
be Ungenerate. And yet as long as, according 
to you thinkers, the non-generation of the Son 
by the Father is to be held, the Son Himself 
will be properly called Ungenerate in one of 
the many meanings of the Ungenerate ; seeing 
that, as some things come into existence by 
being born and others by being fashioned, 
nothing prevents our calling one of the latter,, 
which does not subsist by generation, an Un- 
generate, looking only to the idea of gene- 
ration ; and this your account, defining, as it 
does, our Lord to be a creature, does es- 
tablish about Him. So, my very learned 
sirs, it is in your view, not ours, when it is 
thus followed out, that the Only-begotten can 
be named Ungenerate : and you will find that 
"justice," — whatever you mean by that, — 
records in your own words 4 a verdict against 
us. 

It is easy also to find mud in his words after 
that to cast upon this execrable teaching. For 
the other horn of his dilemma partakes in the 
same mental delusion ; he says, " or else you 
first allow one single causeless being, and then 
marking this out by an act of generation into 
Father and Son, you declare that this non- 
generated being came into existence by means 
of itself." What is this new and marvellous 
story ? How is one begotten by oneself, hav- 
ing oneself for father, and becoming one's own 
son? What dizziness and delusion is here? 
It is like supposing the roof to be turning 
down below one's feet, and the floor above 
one's head ; it is like the mental state of one 
with his senses stupified with drink, who shouts 
out persistently that the ground does not stand 
still beneath, and that the walls are disappear- 
ing, and that everything he sees is whirling 
round and will not keep still. Perhaps our 
pamphleteer had such a tumult in his soul when 
he wrote ; if so, we must pity him rather than 
abhor him. For who is so out of hearing of 
our divine doctrine, who is so far from the mys- 
teries of the Church, as to accept such a view 
as this to the detriment of the Faith. Rather, 
it is hardly enough to say, that no one ever 
dreamed of such an absurdity to its detriment. 
Why, in the case of human nature, or any other 



4 your own words, i.e. not ours, as you say. The Codex of 
Turin has tois r^eTtpois, and iip-iv above : but Oeliler has wisely 
followed that of Venice. Eunomius had said ol Basil s parly (,$ 34). 
'justice records in your own words a verdict against yourselves. ' 
'.No,' Gregory answers, ' your words (interpreting our doctrine! 
alone lend themselves to that.' But to change Kaff j)/a<i>i> of the. 
Codd. also toxad' i/pCiv would supply a still better sense. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. HOOK I. 



8r 



entity falling within the grasp of the senses, 
who, when he hears of a community of sub- 
stance, dreams either that all things that are 
compared together on the ground of substance 
are without a cause or beginning, or that some- 
thing comes into existence out of itself, at once 
producing and being produced by itself? 

The first man, and the man born from him, 
received their being in a different way ; the 
latter by copulation, the former from the 
moulding of Christ Himself; and yet, though 
they are thus believed to be two, they are 
inseparable in the definition of their being, and 
are not considered as two beings, without 
beginning or cause, running parallel to each 
other ; nor can the existing one be said to be 
generated by the existing one, or the two be 
ever thought of as one in the monstrous sense 
that each is his own father, and his own son ; 
but it is because the one and the other was a man 
that the two have the same definition of being ; 
each was mortal, reasoning, capable of intuition 
and of science. If, then, the idea of humanity 
in Adam and Abel does not vary with the 
difference of their origin, neither the order nor 
the manner of their coming into existence 
making any difference in their nature, which 
is the same in both, according to the testimony 
of every one in his senses, and no one, not 
greatly needing treatment for insanity, would 
deny it ; what necessity is there that against 
the divine nature we should admit this strange 
thought? Having heard of Father and Son 
from the Truth, we are taught in those two 
subjects the oneness of their nature ; their 
natural relation to each other expressed by 
those names indicates that nature ; and so do 
Our Lord's own words. For when He said, 
" I and My Father are one s," He conveys by 
that confession of a Father exactly the truth 
that He Himself is not a first cause, at the 
same time that He asserts by His union with 
the Father their common nature ; so that these 
words of His secure our faith from the taint 
of heretical error on either side : for Sabellius 
has no ground for his confusion of the indi- 
viduality of each Person, when the Only- 
begotten has so distinctly marked Himself off 
from the Father in those words, " I and My 
Father;" and Arius finds no confirmation 
of his doctrine of the strangeness of either 
nature to the other, since this oneness of both 
cannot admit distinction in nature. For that 
which is signified in these words by the one- 
ness of Father and Son is nothing else but 
what belongs to them on the score of then- 
actual being; all the other moral excellences 
which are to be observed in them as over and 



above 6 their nature may without error be set 
down as shared in by all created beings. For 
instance, Our Lord is called merciful and 
pitiful by the prophet ?, and He wills us to be 
and to be called the same ; " Be ye therefore 
merciful 3 ," and "Blessed are the merciful'-'," 
and many such passages. If, then, anyone by 
diligence and attention has modelled himself 
according to the divine will, and become kind 
and pitiful and compassionate, or meek and 
lowly of heart, such as many of the saints are 
testified to have become in the pursuit of such 
excellences, does it follow that they are there- 
fore one with God, or united to Him by virtue 
of any one of them? Not so. That which is 
not in every respect the same, cannot be ' one ' 
with him whose nature thus varies from it. 
Accordingly, a man becomes ' one ' with 
another, when in will, as our Lord says, they 
are 'perfected into one 1 ,' this union of wills 
being added to the connexion of nature. So 
also the Father and Son are one, the com- 
munity of nature and the community of will 
running, in them, into one. But if the Son 
had been joined in wish only to the Father, 
and divided from Him in His nature, how is 
it that we find Him testifying to His oneness 
with the Father, when all the time He was 
sundered from Him in the point most proper 
to Him of all? 

§ 35. Proof that the Anomoean teaching tends to 
Mankhozism. 

We hear our Lord saying, " I and My Father 
are one," and we are taught in that utterance 
the dependence of our Lord on a cause, and 
yet the absolute identity of the Son's and the 
Father's nature ; we do not let our idea 
about them be melted down into One Person, 
but we keep distinct the properties of the 
Persons, while, on the other hand, not dividing 
in the Persons the oneness of their substance ; 
and so the supposition of two diverse principles 
in the category of Cause is avoided, and there 
is no loophole for the Manichaean heresy to 
enter. For the created and the uncreate are as 
diametrically opposed to each other as their 
names are ; and so if the two are to be ranked 
as First Causes, the mischief of Manichaeism will 
thus under cover be brought into the Church. 
I say this, because my zeal against our an- 
tagonists makes me scrutinize their doctrine 
very closely. Now I think that none would 
deny that we were bringing this scrutiny very 
near the truth, when we said, that if the created 
be possessed of equal power with the uncreate, 



S John x. 30. 



6 oa-a. e7ri0eoipeiTOi rj) <f>u<rei. 

7 Psalm ciii. 8. 8 Luke vi. 36. . » Matthew v. 7. 

1 John xvii. 23. " I in them, and thou in Me, that they may 
be perfected into one." (R.V.) 



VOL. V. 



82 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



there will be some sort of antagonism between 
these things of diverse nature, and as long as 
neither of them fails in power, the two will be 
brought into a certain state of mutual discord : 
for we must perforce allow that will corresponds 
with, and is intimately joined to nature ; and 
that if two things are unlike in nature, they 
will be so also in wilL But when power is 
adequate in both, neither will flag in the gratifi- 
cation of its wish ; and if the power of each 
is thus equal to its wish, the primacy will 
become a doubtful point with the two : and it 
will end in a drawn battle from the inexhaus- 
tibleness of their powers. Thus will the Man- 
ichaean heresy creep in, two opposite prin- 
ciples appearing with counter claims in the 
category of Cause, parted and opposed by 
reason of difference both in nature and in will. 
They will find, therefore, that assertion of 
diminution (in the Divine being) is the be- 
ginning of Manichaeism ; for their teaching 
organizes a discord within that being, which 
comes to two leading principles, as our ac- 
count of it has shewn; namely the created 
and the uncreated. 

But perhaps most will blame this as too 
strong a reductio ad absurdum, and will wish 
that we had not put it down at all along with 
our other objections. Be it so ; we will not 
contradict them. It was not our impulse, but 
our adversaries themselves, that forced us to 
carry our argument into such minuteness of 
results. But if it is not right to argue thus, it 
was more fitting still that our opponents' teach- 
ing, which gave occasion to such a refutation, 
should never have been heard. There is only 
one way of suppressing the answer to bad 
teaching, and that is, to take away the subject- 
matter to which a reply has to be made. But 
what would give me most pleasure would be to 
advise those, who are thus disposed, to divest 
themselves a little of the spirit of rivalry, 
and not be such exceedingly zealous com- 
batants on behalf of the private opinions 
with which they have become possessed, and, 
convinced that the race is for their (spirit- 
ual) life, to attend to its interests only, 
and to yield the victory to Truth. If, then, 
one were to cease from this ambitious strife, 
and look straight into the actual question be- 
fore us, he would very soon discover the 
flagrant absurdity of this teaching. 

For let us assume as granted what the system 
of our opponents demands, that the having 
no generation is Being, and in like manner 
again that generation is admitted into Being. 
If, then, one were to follow out carefully 
these statements in all their meaning, even 
this way the Manichaean heresy will be recon- 
structed ; seeing that the Manichees are wont 



to take as nn axiom the oppositions of good and 
bad, light and darkness, and all such naturally 
antagonistic things. I think that any who will 
not be satisfied with a superficial view of the 
matter will be convinced that I say true. Let 
us look at it thus. Every subject has certain 
inherent characteristics, by means of which the 
specialty of that underlying nature is known. 
This is so, whether we are investigating the 
animal kingdom, or any other. The tree and 
the animal are not known by the same marks ; 
nor do the characteristics of man extend in the 
animal kingdom to the brutes ; nor, again, 
do the same symptoms indicate life and death ; 
in every case, without exception, as we have 
said, the distinction of subjects resists any 
effort to confuse them and run one into an- 
other ; the marks upon each thing which we 
observe cannot be communicated so as to 
destroy that distinction. Let us follow this 
out in examining our opponents' position. 
They say that the state of having no gene- 
ration is Being ; and they likewise make 
the having generation Being. But just as 
a man and a stone have not the same marks 
(in denning the essence of the animate and 
that of the inanimate you would not give 
the same account of each), so they must 
certainly grant that one who is non-generated 
is to be known by different signs to the gener- 
ated. Let us then survey those peculiar 
qualities of the non-generated Deity, which 
the Holy Scriptures teach us can be men- 
tioned and thought of, without doing Him 
an irreverence. 

What are they? I think no Christian is 
ignorant that He is good, kind, holy, just and 
hallowed, unseen and immortal, incapable of 
decay and change and alteration, powerful, 
wise, beneficent, Master, Judge, and everything 
like that. Why lengthen our discussion by 
lingering on acknowledged facts? If, then, 
we find these qualities in the ungenerate 
nature, and the state of having been gene- 
rated is contrary 2 in its very conception to 
the state of having not been generated, 
those who define these two states to be each 
of them Being, must perforce concede, that 
the characteristic marks of the generated 
being, following this opposition existing be- 
tween the generated and non-generated, must 
be contrary to the marks observable in the 
non-generated being ; for if they were to 
declare the marks to be the same, this same- 
ness would destroy the difference between 
the two beings who are the subject ot 

1 uirepavriuf, i.e. as logical "contraries" diner from each 
other. This is not an Aristotelian, but a Neo-Platonic use ol the 
word (i.e. Aminomus, ad 390, &c. ). It occurs so again io this 
B>^k frequently. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



83 



these observations. Differing things must be 
regarded as possessing differing marks ; like 
things are to be known by like signs. If, 
then, these men testify to the same marks in 
the Only-begotten, they can conceive of no 
difference whatever in the subject of the marks. 
But if they persist in their blasphemous posi- 
tion, and maintain in asserting the difference 
of the generated and the non-generated the 
variation of the natures, it is readily seen what 
must result: viz., that, as in following out 
the opposition of the names, the nature of 
the things which those names indicate must 
be considered to be in a state of contrariety 
to itself, there is every necessity that the 
qualities observed in each should be drawn 
out opposite each other; so that those qualities 
should be applied to the Son which are the 
reverse of those predicated of the Father, viz., 
of divinity, holiness, goodness, imperishability, 
eternity, and of every other quality that 
represents God to the devout mind ; in fact, 
every negation 3 of these, every conception 
that ranks opposite to the good, must be 
considered as belonging to the generated 
nature. 

To ensure clearness, we must dwell upon this 
point. As the peculiar phaenomena of heat 
and cold— which are themselves by nature 
opposed to each other (let us take fire and 
ice as examples of each), each being that 
which the other is not — are at variance with 
each other, cooling being the peculiarity of ice, 
heating of fire ; so if in accordance with the 
antithesis expressed by the names, the nature 
revealed by those names is parted asunder, 
it is not to be admitted that the faculties 
attending these natural " subcontraries*" are 
lir.e each other, any more than cooling can 
belong to fire, or burning to ice. If, then, 
goodness is inseparable from the idea of the 
non-generated nature, and that nature is parted 
on the ground of being, as they declare, from 
the generated nature, the properties of the 
former will be parted as well from those of 
the latter : so that if the good is found in the 
first, the quality set against the good is to be 
perceived in the last. Thus, thanks to our 
clever systematizers, Manes lives again with 
his parallel line of evil in array over against 
the good, and his theory of opposite powers 
residing in opposite natures. 

Indeed, if we are to speak the truth boldly, 
without any reserve, Manes, who for having 
been the first, they say, to venture to 
entertain the Manichaean view, gave his name 
to that heresy, may fairly be considered 
the less offensive of the two. I say this, just 



3 HTC/i jxtivoyra. 



4 virsvavTiutv, 



as if one had to choose between a vipei and 
an asp for the most affection towards man ; 
still, if we consider, there is some difference 
between brutes s. Does not a comparison of 
doctrines show that those older heretics are 
less intolerable than these? Manes thought 
he was pleading on the side of the Origin of 
Good, when he represented that Evil could 
derive thence none of its causes ; so he linked 
the chain of things which are on the list of 
the bad to a separate Principle, in his 
character of the Almighty's champion, and in 
his pious aversion to put the blame of any 
unjustifiable aberrations upon that Source of 
Good ; not perceiving, with his narrow under- 
standing, that it is impossible even to conceive 
of God as the fashioner of evil, or on the 
other hand, of any other First Principle besides 
Him. There might be a long discussion on 
this point, but it is beside our present pur- 
pose. We mentioned Manes' statements only 
in order to show, that he at all events thought 
it his duty to separate evil from anything to 
do with God. But the blasphemous error 
with regard to the Son, which these men 
systematize, is much more terrible. Like the 
others, they explain the existence of evil by a 
contrariety in respect of Being ; but when they 
declare, besides this, that the God of the 
universe is actually the Maker of this alien 
production, and say that this "generation" 
formed by Him into a substance possesses 
a nature foreign to that of its Maker, they 
exhibit therein more of impiety than the 
aforesaid sect ; for they not only give a 
personal existence to that which in its nature 
is opposed to good, but they say that a Good 
Deity is the Cause of another Deity who in 
nature diverges from His ; and they all but 
openly exclaim in their teaching, that there is 
in existence something opposite to the nature 
of the good, deriving its personality from the 
good itself. For when we know the Father's 
substance to be good, and therefore find that 
the Son's s ibstance, owing to its being unlike 
the Father's in its nature (which is the tenet 
of this heresy), is amongst the contrary pre- 
dicates, what is thereby proved? Why, not 
only that the opposite to the good subsists, 
but that this contrary comes from the good 
itself. I declare this to be more horrible 
even than the irrationality of the Manichees. 

But if they repudiate this blasphemy from 
their system, though it is the logical carrying 
out of their teaching, and if they say that the 
Only-begotten has inherited the excellences 
of the Father, not as being really His Son, but 
-so does it please these misbelievers — as re- 



S nkr)v dAV tirz>.&7) i<rn «ai iv 6r\pt.oi<i icpiois. 



G a 



s 4 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



ceiving His personality by an act of creation, 
let us look into this too, and see whether such 
an idea can be reasonably entertained. If, then, 
it were granted that it is as they think, viz., that 
the Lord of all things has not inherited as be- 
ing a true Son, but that He rules a kindred 
of created things, being Himself made and 
created, how will the rest of creation accept 
this rule and not rise in revolt, being thus 
thrust down from kinship to subjection and 
condemned, though not a whit behind Him 
in natural prerogative (both being created), to 
serve and bend beneath a kinsman after all. 
That were like a usurpation, viz. not to assign 
the command to a superiority of Being, but to 
divide a creation that retains by right of nature 
equal privileges into slaves and a ruling power, 
one part in command, the other in subjection ; 
as if, as the result of an arbitrary distri- 
bution 6 , these same privileges had been piled 
at random on one who after that distribu- 
tion got preferred to his equals. Even man 
did not share his honour with the brutes, 
before he received his dominion over them ; 
his prerogative of reason gave him the title 
to command ; he was set over them, because 
of a variance of his nature in the direc- 
tion of superiority. And human governments 
experience such quickly-repeated revolutions 
for this very reason, that it is impracticable 
that those to whom nature has given equal 
rights should be excluded from power, but her 
impulse is instinct in all to make themselves 
equal with the dominant party, when all 
are of the same blood. 

How, too, will it be true that " all things were 
made by Him:," if it is true that the Son 
Himself is one of the things made? Either 
He must have made Himself, for that text to 
be true, and so this unreasonableness which 
they have devised to harm our Faith will recoil 
with all its force upon themselves ; or else, 
if this is absurdly unnatural, that affirma- 
tion that the whole creation was made by 
Him will be proved to have no ground to 
stand on. The withdrawal of one makes " all " 
a false statement. So that, from this definition 
of the Son as a created being, one of two 
vicious and absurd alternatives is inevitable ; 
either that He is not the Author of all created 
things, seeing that He, who, they insist, is one 
of those works, must be withdrawn from the 
"all;" or else, that He is exhibited as the 
maker of Himself, seeing that the preaching 
that ' without Him was not anything (made) 
that was made' is not a lie. So much for 
their teaching. 

6 arbitrary distribution, a.iroKKrjpui(reo>'; : Kar <z7ro<cA>/pw<rii/ 
"at random," is also used by Sextus Empiric, (a.d. 200J, Clem. 
Alex., and Greg. Naz. 



§ 36. A passing repetition of the teaching of the 
Church. 
But if a man keeps steadfast to the sound 
doctrine, and believes that the Son is of 
the nature which is divine without admix- 
ture, he will find everything in harmony with 
the other truths of his religion, viz., that 
Our Lord is the maker of all things, that He is 
King of the universe, set above it not by an 
arbitrary act of capricious power, but ruling 
by virtue of a superior nature ; and besides 
this, he will find that the one First Cause ?, as 
taught by us, is not divided by any unlike- 
ness of substance into separate first causes, 
but one Godhead, one Cause, one Power 
over all things is believed in, that God- 
head being discoverable by the harmony 
existing between these like beings, and lead- 
ing on the mind through one like to an- 
other like, so that the Cause of all things, 
which is Our Lord, shines in our hearts by 
means of the Holy Spirit ; (for it is impossible, 
as the Apostle says, that the Lord Jesus can be 
truly known, "except by the Holy Spirit 8 "); 
and then all the Cause beyond, which is God 
over all, is found through Our Lord, Who 
is the Cause of all things ; nor, indeed, is it 
possible to gain an exact knowledge of the 
Archetypal Good, except as it appears in the 
(visible) image of that invisible. But then, 
after passing that summit of theology, I mean 
the God over all, we turn as it were back again 
in the racecourse of the mind, and speed 
through conjoint and kindred ideas from the 
Father, through the Son, to the Holy Ghost. 
For once having taken our stand on the compre- 
hension of the Ungenerate Light, we perceive 9 
that moment from that vantage ground the 
Light that streams from Him, like the ray co- 
existent with the sun, whose cause indeed is in 
the sun, but whose existence is synchronous 
with the sun, not being a later addition, but ap- 
pearing at the first sight of the sun itself : or 
rather (for there is no necessity to be slaves 
to this similitude, and so give a handle to the 
critics to use against our teaching by reason of 
the inadequacy of our image), it will not 
be a ray of the sun that we shall perceive, but 
another sun blazing forth, as an offspring, out 
of the Ungenerate sun, and simultaneously with 
our conception of the First, and in every way 
like him, in beauty, in power, in lustre, in size, 



7 One First Cause, /aovapxias. In a notable passage on the 
Greeks who came up to the Feast (John xii. 20), Cyrill (Catena, 
p. 307), uses the same word. "Such, seeing that some of the Jews' 
customs did not greatly differ from their own, as far as related 
to the manner of sacrifice, and the belief in a Onejirst Cause . . . 
came up with them to worship." Arc. Philo had already used the 
word so (Dt C/iarit.). Athanasius opposes it to n-oAvtfeia (Qutest. 
ad Antioch. I.). 

8 1 Cor. xii. 3. 

9 evorjo-anev: aorist of instantaneous action. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



85 



in brilliance, in all things at once that we 
observe in the sun. Then again, we see yet 
another such Light after the same fashion, 
sundered by no interval of time from that 
offspring Light, and while shining forth by 
means of It yet tracing the source of its being 
to the Primal Light ; itself, nevertheless, a Light 
shining in like manner as the one first conceived 
of, and itself a source of light and doing all that 
light does. There is, indeed, no difference 
between one light and another light, qua light, 
when the one shows no lack or diminution of 
illuminating grace, but by its complete perfec- 
tion forms part of the highest light of all, 
and is beheld along with the Father and the 
Son, though counted after them, and by its 
own power gives access to the light that is per- 
ceived in the Father and Son to all who are 
able to partake of it So far upon this. 

§ 37. Defence of S. BasiTs statement, attacked by 
Eunomius, that the terms ' Father ' and ' the 
Ungenerate ' can have the same meaning. 

The stream of his abuse is very strong ; in- 
solence is at the bottom of every principle he 
lays down ; and vilification is put by him in the 
place of any demonstration of doubtful points : 
so let us briefly discuss the many misrepresenta- 
tions about the word Ungenerate with which he 
insults our Teacher himself and his treatise. 
He has quoted the following words of our 
Teacher : " For my part I should be inclined 
to say that this title of the Ungenerate, how- 
ever fitting it may seem to express our ideas, 
yet, as nowhere found in Scripture and as 
forming the alphabet of Eunomius' blasphemy, 
may very well be suppressed, when we have 
the word Father meaning the same thing ; 
for One who essentially and alone is Father 
comes from none else ; and that which comes 
from none else is equivalent to the Un- 
generate." Now let us hear what proof he 
brings of the 'folly' of these words : " Over- 
hastiness and shameless dishonesty prompt 
him to put this dose of words 1 anomalously used 
into his attempts ; he turns completely round, 
because his judgment is wavering and his 
powers of reasoning are feeble." Notice how 
well-directed that blow is ; how skilfully, with 
all his mastery of logic, he takes Basil's words 
to pieces and puts a conception more con- 
sistent with piety in their place ! "Anomalous 
in phrase," " hasty and dishonest in judgment," 
" wavering and turning round from feebleness 
of reasoning." Why this? what has exasperated 
this man, whose own judgment is so firm, and 
reasoning so sound ? What is it that he 



• Le. imrijp, ayivvrfTOS 



most condemns in Basil's words? Is it, th t 
he accepts the idea of the Ungenerate, but 
says that the actual word, as misused by 
those who pervert it, should be suppressed? 
Well ; is the Faith in jeopardy only as re- 
gards words and outward expressions, and 
need we take no account of the correct- 
ness of the thought beneath ? Or does not 
the Word of Truth rather exhort us first 
to have a heart pure from evil thoughts, 
and then, for the manifestation of the soul's 
emotions, to use any words that can express 
these secrets of the mind, without any minute 
care about this or that particular sound ? For 
the speaking in this way or in that is not the 
cause of the thought within us ; but the hidden 
conception of the heart supplies the motive for 
such and such words ; " for from the abund- 
ance of the heart the mouth speaketh." We 
make the words interpret the thought; we do 
not by a reverse process gather 2 the thought 
from the words. Should both be at hand, a 
man may certainly be ready in both, in clever 
thinking and clever expression ; but if the 
one should be wanting, the loss to the illiterate 
is slight, if the knowledge in his soul is perfect 
in the direction of moral goodness. " Tins 
people honoureth me with their lips, but their 
heart is far from me 3." What is the meaning of 
that? That the right attitude of the soul 
towards the truth is more precious than the 
propriety of phrases in the sight of God, who 
hears the "groanings that cannot be uttered." 
Phrases can be used in opposite senses ; the 
tongue readily serving, at his will, the intention 
of the speaker ; but the disposition of the soul, 
as it is, so is it seen by Him Who sees all 
secrets. Why, then, does he deserve to be 
called "anomalous," and "hasty," and "dis- 
honest," for bidding us suppress all in the term 
Ungenerate which can aid in their blasphemy 
those who transgress the Faith, while minding 
and welcoming all the meaning in the word 
which can be reverently held. If indeed he had 
said that we ought not to think of the Deity as 
Ungenerate, there might have been some occa- 
sion for these and even worse terms of abuse to 
be used against him. But if he falls in with the 
general belief of the faithful and admits this, 
and then pronounces an opinion well worthy 
of the Master's mind-*, viz., "Refrain from 
the use of the word, for into it, and from it, 
the subverting heresy is fetched," and bids 
us cherish the idea of an ungenerate Deity by 
means of other names, — therein he does not 



a Putting a full stop at ovvayeipontv. Oehler otherwise. 

3 Isaiah xxix. 13 ; Matthew xv. 8. 

4 the Master's mind. " But whoso shall offend one of these 
little ones which helieve in Me. it were better for him that a mill- 
stone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in 
the depth of the sea." Matth. xviii. 6 ; Mark ix. 42. 



86 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



deserve their abuse. Are we not taught by 
the Truth Himself to act so, and not to cling 
even to things exceeding precious, if any of 
them tend to mischief? When He thus bids 
us to cut away the right eye or foot or hand, 
if so be that one of them offends, what else 
does He imply by this figure, than that He 
would have anything, however fair-seeming, if it 
leads a man by an inconsiderate use to evil, 
remain inoperative and out of use, assuring us 
that it is better for us to be saved by amputa- 
tion of the parts which led to sin, than to 
perish by retaining them ? 

What, too, does Paul, the follower of Christ, 
say ? He, too, in his deep wisdom teaches the 
same. He, who declares that " everything is 
good, and nothing to be rejected, if it be re- 
ceived with thanks V' on some occasions, 
because of the ' conscience of the weak brother,' 
puts some things back from the number which 
he has accepted, and commands us to decline 
them. " If," he says, " meat make my bro- 
ther to offend, I will eat no flesh while the 
world standeth 6 ." Now this is just what our 
follower of Paul did. He saw that the deceiv- 
ing power of those who try to teach the in- 
equality of the Persons was increased by this 
word Ungenerate, taken in their mischievous, 
heretical sense, and so he advised that, while 
we cherish in our souls a devout consciousness 
of this ungenerate Deity, we should not show 
any particular love for the actual word, which 
was the occasion of sin to the reprobate ; for 
that the title of Father, if we follow out all that 
it implies, will suggest to us this meaning of 
not having been generated. For when we 
hear the word Father, we think at once of the 
Author of all beings ; for if He had some 
further cause transcending Himself, He would 
not have been called thus of proper right 
Father ; for that title would have had to be 
transferred higher, to this pre-supposed Cause. 
But if He Himself is that Cause from which 
all comes, as the Apostle says, it is plain that 
nothing can be thought of beyond His exis- 
tence. But this is to believe in that existence 
not having been generated. But this man, 
who claims that even the Truth shall not be 
considered more persuasive than himself, will 
not acquiesce in this ; he loudly dogmatizes 
against it ; he jeers at the argument. 

§ 38. Several ways of controverting his 
quibbling syllogisms. 

Let us, if you please, examine his irrefragable 
syllogisms, and his subtle transpositions ^ of the 

5 1 Tim. iv. 4 (R.V.). 

6 1 Cor. viii. 13. 

7 Transpositions 0/ the terms in his 011m false premisses ; rHiv 
<ro<fticr par iov ai>Ti<TTpo<pai;. The same as " the professional twisting 
o( premisses," and " the hooking backward and iorward and twisting 



terms in his own false premisses, by which he 
hopes to shake that argument ; though, indeed. 
I fear lest the miserable quibbling in what he 
says may in a measure raise a prejudice also 
against the remarks that would correct it. 
When striplings challenge to a fight, men get 
more blame for pugnaciousness in closing with 
such foes, than honour for their show of vic- 
tory. Nevertheless, what we want to say is 
this. Wh think, indeed, that the things said by 
him, with that well-known elocution now 
familiar to us, only for the sake of being inso- 
lent, are better buried in silence and oblivion ; 
they may suit him ; but to us they afford only 
an exercise for much-enduring patience. Nor 
would it be proper, I think, to insert his ridi- 
culous expressions in the midst of our own 
serious controversy, and so to make this zeal 
for the truth evaporate in coarse, vulgar 
laughter ; for indeed to be within hearing, 
and to remain unmoved, is an impossibility, 
when he says with such sublime and mag 
nificient verbosity, " Where additional worus 
amount to additional blasphemy, it is by half 
as much more tranquillizing to be silent than 
to speak." Let those laugh at these expressions 
who know which of them are fit to be believed, 
and which only to be laughed at ; while we 
scrutinize the keenness of those syllogisms with 
which he tries to tear our system to pieces. 

He says, "If 'Father' is the same in 
meaning as ' Ungenerate,' and words which 
have the same meaning naturally have in every 
respect the same force, and Ungenerate signifies 
by their confession that God comes from no- 
thing, it follows necessarily that Father signi- 
fies the fact of God being of none, and not the 
having generated the Son." Now what is this 
logical necessity which prevents the having 
generated a Son being signified by the title 
" Father," if so be that that same title does in 
itself express to us as well the absence of 
beginning in the Father? If, indeed, the one 
idea was totally destructive of the other, it 
would certainly follow, from the very nature 
of contradictories 8 , that the affirming of the one 
would involve the denial of the other. But if 
there is nothing in the world to prevent the 



of premisses" below. The terms Father and Wwnw are trans- 
posed or twisted into each other's place in this ' irrefragable syllo- 
gism." It is 'a reductio ad absurdum ' thus: — 

Father means 'AyivmiTos (Basil's premiss), 
.*. 'AyivvrfTo<; means Father. 
The fallacy of Eunomu • consists in making ' Father universal 
in his own premiss, when it »as only particular in Basil's. •"Aytv- 
i^tos means the whole contents of the word Father," which there- 
fore cannot mean having generated a son. It is a False Con- 

ver>ion. . . . . . 

This Conversion or avTiTTpofrt is illustrated in Aristotle s Ana- 
lytics, Prior. I. iii. 3- II » s legitimate thus :— 
Some B is A 
.'. Some A is (some) B. 
8 Kara Tt\v w avTiKei/xexoi' <f»ii<ne. If 'AyeVnjTOS means not 
having a son, then to affirm ' God is always 'Ayei>vr)Tos' is even to 
deny (us logical contradictory; ' God once had a Son.' 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



87 



same Existence from being Father and also 
Ungenerate, when we try to think, under this 
title of Father, of the quality of not having 
been generated as one of the ideas implied in 
it, what necessity prevents the relation to a Son 
being any longer marked by the word Father? 
Other names which express mutual relationship 
are not always confined to those ideas of rela- 
tionship ; for instance, we call the emperor 9 
autocrat and masterless, and we call the same 
the ruler of his subjects ; and, while it is quite 
true that the word emperor signifies also the 
being masterless, it is not therefore necessary 
that this word, because signifying autocratic 
and unruled, must cease to imply the having 
power over inferiors ; the word emperor, in 
fact, is midway between these two conceptions, 
and at one time indicates masterlessness, at 
another the ruling over lower orders. In the 
case before us, then, if there is some other 
Father conceivable besides the Father of Our 
Lord, let these men who boast of their pro- 
found wisdom show him to us, and then we 
will agree with him that the idea of the Un- 
generate cannot be represented by the title 
" Father." But if the First Father has no 
cause transcending His own state, and the sub- 
sistence of the Son is invariably implied in the 
title of Father, why do they try to scare us, as if 
we were children, with these professional twist- 
ings of premisses, endeavouring to persuade or 
rather to decoy us into the belief that, if the 
property of not having been generated is ac- 
knowledged in the title of Father, we must sever 
from the Father any relation with the Son. 

Despising, then, this silly superficial attempt 
of theirs, let us manfully own our belief in that 
which they adduce as a monstrous absurdity, 
viz., that not only does the ' Father ' mean the 
same as Ungenerate and that this last pro- 
perty establishes the Father as being of none, 
but also that the word ' Father ' introduces 
with itself the notion of the Only-begotten, as 
a relative bound to it. Now the following 
passage, which is to be found in the treatise 
of our Teacher, has been removed from the 
context by this clever and invincible contro- 
versialist ; for, by suppressing that part which 
was added by Basil by way of safeguard, 
he thought he would make his own reply 
a much easier task. The passage runs thus 
verbatim. " For my part I should be inclined 
to say that this title of the Ungenerate, however 
readily it may seem to fall in with our own 
ideas, yet, as nowhere found in Scripture, and 
as forming the alphabet of Eunomius' blas- 
phemy, may very well be suppressed, when we 
have the word Father meaning the same thing, 

Tin fiatriKJa. 



in addition to ' its introducing with itself, as 
a relative bound to it, the notion of the Son." 
This generous champion of the truth, with 
innate good feeling 2 , has suppressed this 
sentence which was added by way of safeguard, 
I mean, "in addition to introducing with itself, 
as a relative bound to it, the notion of the 
Son;" after this garbling, he comes to close 
quarters with what remains, and having 
severed the connection of the living whole 3, 
and thus made it, as he thinks, a more yielding 
and assailable victim of his logic, he misleads 
his own party with the frigid and feeble para- 
logism, that " that which has a common mean- 
ing, in one single point, with something else 
retains that community of meaning in every 
possible point ;" and with this he takes their 
shallow intelligences by storm. For while we 
have only affirmed that the word Father in 
a certain signification yields the same mean- 
ing as Ungenerate, this man makes the coin- 
cidence of meanings complete in every point, 
quite at variance therein with the common 
acceptation of either word ; and so he re- 
duces the matter to an absurdity, pretending 
that this word Father can no longer denote any 
relation to the Son, if the idea of not having 
been generated is conveyed by it. It is just 
as if some one, after having acquired two ideas 
about a loaf, — one, that it is made of flour, the 
other, that it is food to the consumer — were to 
contend with the person who told him this, 
using against him the same kind of fallacy as 
Eunomius does, viz., that 'the being made of 
flour is one thing, but the being food is another ; 
if, then, it is granted that the loaf is made of 
flour, this quality in it can no longer strictly be 
called food.' Such is the thought in Eunomius' 
syllogism ; " if the not having been generated 
is implied by the word Father, this word can 
no longer convey the idea of having generated 
the Son." But I think it is time that we, in our 
turn, applied to this argument of his that mag- 
nificently rounded period of his own (already 
quoted). In reply to such words, it would be 
suitable to *ay that he would have more claim 
to be considered in his sober senses, if he had 
put the limit to such argumentative safeguards 
at absolute silence. For " where additional 
words amount to additional blasphemy," or, 
rather, indicate that he has utterly lost his 
reason, it is not only " by half as much more," 
but by the whole as much more " tranquil- 
lizing to be silent than to speak." 

1 npbs t<3. Cod. Ven., surely better than the common irpbs to, 
which Oehler has in his text. 

2 (\rv8epia ; late Greek, for tAmOepiorT/s. 

3 " ttu living ivIwU.' o-oifioTO? : this is the radical meaning 
of o-ifia, and also the classical. Viger. (Idiom p. 143 note) dis- 
tinguishes four meanings under this. 1. Safety. 2. Individuality. 
3. "Living presence. 4- Life : and adduces instances of each 
from the Attic orators. 



88 



GREGORY OF NYS 






But perhaps a man would be more easily 
led into the true view by personal illustra- 
tions ; so let us leave this hooking back- 
wards and forwards and this twisting of false 
premisses *, and discuss the matter in a less 
learned and more popular way. Your father, 
Eunomius, was certainly a human being ; but 
the same person was also the author of your 
being. Did you, then, ever use in his case 
too this clever quibble which you have em- 
ployed ; so that your own ' father,' when once he 
receives the true definition of his being, can no 
longer mean, because of being a ' man,' any rela- 
tionship to yourself; 'for he must be one of two 
things, either a man, or Eunomius' father?' — 
Well, then, you must not use the names of in- 
timate relationship otherwise than in accord- 
ance with that intimate meaning. Yet, though 
you would indict for libel any one who con- 
temptuously scoffed against yourself, by means 
of such an alteration of meanings, are you not 
afraid to scoff against God ; and are you safe 
when you laugh at these mysteries of our faith ? 
As ' your father ' indicates relationship to your- 
self, and at the same time humanity is not ex- 
cluded by that term, and as no one in his sober 
senses instead of styling him who begat you 
'your father' would render his description by 
the word 'man,' or, reversely, if asked for his 
genus and answering 'man,' would assert that 
that answer prevented him from being your 
father; so in the contemplation of the Almighty 
a reverent mind would not deny that by the 
title of Father is meant that He is without 
generation, as well as that in another meaning 
it represents His relationship to the Son. 
Nevertheless Eunomius, in open contempt of 
truth, does assert that the title cannot mean the 
' having begotten a son ' any longer, when once 
the word has conveyed to us the idea of ' never 
having been generated.' 

Let us add the following illustration of the 
absurdity of his assertions. It is one that all 
must be familiar with, even mere children 
who are being introduced under a grammar- 
tutor to the study of words. Who, I say, does 
not know that some nouns are absolute and 
out of all relation, others express some rela- 
tionship. Of these last, again, there are some 
which incline, according to the speaker's wish, 
either way ; they have a simple intention 
in themselves, but can be turned so as to 
become nouns of relation. I will not linger 



4 to KaTrjyKv\tofj.evou tVjs tu>i/ o*v^>tO"juaTto^ itAoktjs. See C 38, 
note 7. The false premisses in the syllogisms have been — 

1. Father (partly) means 'AycVi'rjTot. 

Things which mean the same in part, mean the tame in 

all (false premise). 
.'. Father means 'A-ye'i'i'ijTO? (false). 

2. Father means 'AytPi/riToc (false). 
Ayti'iT/To? does not mean ' having a Son.' 

 Father does not mean ' having a Son ' (false). 



amongst examples foreign to our subject. I will 
explain from the words of our Faith itself. 

God is called Father and King and other 
names innumerable in Scripture. Of these 
names one part can be pronounced absolutely, 
i.e. simply as they are, and no more: viz.. 
" imperishable," " everlasting," " immortal, " and 
so on. Each of these, without our bringing in 
another thought, contains in itself a complete 
thought about the Deity. Others express only 
relative usefulness ; thus, Helper, Champion, 
Rescuer, and other words of that meaning ; if 
you remove thence the idea of one in need of 
the help, all the force expressed by the word 
is- gone. Some, on the other hand, as we 
have said, are both absolute, and are also 
amongst the words of relation ; ' God,' for in- 
stance, and 'good,' and many other such. In 
these the thought does not continue always 
within the absolute. The Universal God 
often becomes the property of him who calls 
upon Him ; as the Saints teach us, when they 
make that independent Being their own. 'The 
Lord God is Holy;' so far there is no relation ; 
but when one adds the Lord Our God, and so 
appropriates the meaning in a relation towards 
oneself, then one causes the word to be no 
longer thought of absolutely. Again; "Abba, 
Father" is the cry of the Spirit; it is an 
utterance free from any partial reference. But 
we are bidden to call the Father in heaven, 
' Our Father ; ' this is the relative use of the 
word. A man who makes the Universal 
Deity his own, does not dim His supreme 
dignity ; and in the same way there is nothing 
to prevent us, when we point out the Father 
and Him who comes from Him, the Firstborn 
before all creation, from signifying by that 
title of Father at one and the same time the 
having begotten that Son, and also the not 
being from any more transcendent Cause. For 
he who speaks of the First Father means Him 
who is presupposed before all existence, Whos"e 
is the beyond s. This is He, Who has nothing 
previous to Himself to behold, no end in which 
He shall cease. Whichever way we look, He 
is equally existing there for ever ; He transcends 
the limit of any end, the idea of any beginning, 
by the infinitude of His life ; whatever be His 
title, eternity must be implied with it. 

But Eunomius, versed as he is in the contem- 
plation of that which eludes thought, rejects this 
view of unscientific minds ; he will not admit 
a double meaning in the word ' Father,' the one, 
that from Him are all things and in the front 
ot all things the Only-begotten Son, the other, 
that He Himself has no superior Cause. He 



5 cpeSci£aTO, ah to eTrcKeipa. This is the reading of the Turin 
Cod., and preferable to that of the Paris edition. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK 1. 



89 



may scorn the statement ; but we will brave his 
mocking laugh, and repeat what we have said 
already, that the ' Father ' is the same as that 
Ungenerate One, and both signifies the having 
begotten the Son, and represents the being 
from nothing. 

But Eunomius, contending with this state- 
ment of ours, says (the very contrary now 
of what he said before), '' If God is Father 
because He has begotten the Son, and ' Fa- 
ther ' has the same meaning as Ungenerate, 
God is Ungenerate because He has begotten 
the Son, but before He begat Him He was 
not Ungenerate." Observe his method of 
turning round ; how he pulls his first quibble 
to pieces, and turns it into the very opposite, 
thinking even so to entrap us in a conclu- 
sion from which there is no escape. His first 
syllogism presented the following absurdity, 
" If ' Father' means the coming from nothing, 
then necessarily it will no longer indicate the 
having begotten the Son." But this last syllo- 
gism, by turning (a premiss) into its contrary, 
threatens our faith with another absurdity 
How, then, does he pull to pieces his former 
conclusion 6 ? "If He is ' Father' because 
He has begotten a Son." His first syllogism 
gave us nothing like that ; on the contrary, 
its logical inference purported to show that 
if the Father's not having been generated 
was meant by the word Father, that word 
could not mean as well the having begotten 
a Son 7. Thus his first syllogism contained no 
intimation whatever that God was Father be- 
cause He had begotten a Son. I fail to un- 
derstand what this argumentative and shrewdly 
professional reversal means. 

But let us look to the thought in it below the 
words. ' If God is Ungenerate because He has 
begotten a Son, He was not Ungenerate before 
He begat Him.' The answer to that is plain ; 
it consists in the simple statement of the Truth, 
that ' the word Father means both the having 
begotten a Son, and also that the Begetter is 
not to be thought of as Himself coming from 
any cause.' If you look at the effect, the 
Person of the Son is revealed in the word 



6 The first syllogism was — 

' Father ' means the ' coming from nothing ;' 
(' Coming from nothing ' does not mean ' begetting a Son ') 
.'. Father does not mean begetting a Son. 
He "pulls to pieces" this conclusion by taking its logical 'con- 
trary' as the first premiss of his second syllogism ; thus — 
Father means begetting a Son ; 
(Father means 'AyeVcTpros) 

.'. 'AyeVcijTos means begetting a Son. 
From which it follows that before that begetting the Almighty 
■was not ' Kyivvt\TO<i. 

The conclusion of the last syllogism also involves the contrary 
of the 2 nd premiss of the first. 

It is to be noticed that both syllogisms are aimed at Basil's 
doctrine, ' Father' means ' coming from nothing.' Eunomius strives 
to show that, in both, such a premiss leads to an absurdity. But 
Gregory ridicules both for contradicting each other. 

7 to fniv ny Svvaa-Bai. The negative, absent in Oehler, is 
recovered from the Turin Cod. 



Father ; if you look for a previous Cause, the 
absence of any beginning in the Begetter is 
shown by that word. In saying that ' Before 
He begat a Son, the Almighty was not Un- 
generate,' this pamphleteer lays himself open 
to a double charge ; i. e. of misrepresenta- 
tion of us, and of insult to the Faith. He 
attacks, as if there was no mistake about it, 
something which our Teacher never said, neither 
do we now assert, viz., that the Almighty be- 
came in process of time a Father, having been 
something else before. Moreover in ridiculing 
the absurdity of this fancied doctrine of ours, 
he proclaims his own wildness as to doctrine. 
Assuming that the Almighty was once some- 
thing else, and then by an advance became 
entitled to be called Father, he would have it 
that before this He was not Ungenerate either, 
since Ungeneracy is implied in the idea of 
Father. The folly of this hardly needs to be 
pointed out; it will be abundantly clear to any- 
one who reflects. If the Almighty was some- 
thing else before He became Father, what 
will the champions of this theory say, if 
they were asked in what state they propose 
to contemplate Him ? What name are they 
going to give Him in that stage of existence ; 
child, infant, babe, or youth ? Will they blush 
at such flagrant absurdity, and say nothing like 
that, and concede that He was perfect from the 
first? Then how can He be perfect, while as 
yet unable to become Father? Or will they 
not deprive Him of this power, but say only 
that it was not fitting that there should be 
Fatherhood simultaneously with His existence. 
But if it was not good nor fitting that He 
should be from the very beginning Father of 
such a Son, how did He go on to acquire that 
which was not good ? 

But, as it is, it is good and fitting to God's 
majesty that He should become Father of such 
a Son. So they will make out that at the be- 
ginning He had no share in this good thing, 
and as long as He did not have this Son they 
must assert (may God forgive me for saying it !) 
that He had no Wisdom, nor Power, nor Truth, 
nor any of the other glories which from various 
points of view the Only-begotten Son is and 
is called. 

But let all this fall on the heads of those who 
started it. We will return whence we digressed. 
He says, " If God is Father because of having 
begotten a Son, and if Father means the being 
Ungenerate, then God was not this last, before 
He begat." Now if he could speak here as it 
is customary to speak about human life, where 
it is inconceivable that any should acquire 
possession of many accomplishments all at 
once, instead of winning each of the objects 
sought after in a certain order and sequence 



go 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



of time — if I say we could Teason like 
that in the case of the Almighty, so that 
we could say He possessed His Ungene- 
racy at one time, and after that acquired 
His power, and then His imperishability, and 
then His Wisdom, and advancing so became 
Father, and after that Just and then Everlast- 
ing, and so came into all that enters into 
the philosophical conception of Him, in a 
certain sequence — then it would not be so 
manifestly absurd to think that one of His 
names has precedence of another name, and to 
talk of His being first Ungenerate, and after 
that having become Father. 

As it is, however, no one is so earth-bound 
in imagination, so uninitiated in the sublimities 
of our Faith, as to fail, when once he has appre 
hended the Cause of the universe, to embrace in 
one collective and compact whole all the attri- 
butes which piety can give to God ; and to con 
ceive instead of a primal and a later attribute, 
and of another in between, supervening in a cer- 
tain sequence. It is not possible, in fact, to tra- 
verse in thought one amongst those attributes, 
and then reach another, be ita reality or a concep- 
tion, which is to transcend the first in antiquity. 
Every name of God, every sublime conception 
of Him, every utterance or idea that harmonizes 
with our general ideas with regard to Him, is 
linked in closest union with its fellow ; all such 
conceptions are massed together in our under 
standing into one collective and compact whole ; 
namely, His Fatherhood, and Ungeneracy, and 
Power, and Imperishability, and Goodness, and 
Authority, and everything else. You cannot 
take one of these and separate it in thought 
from the rest by any interval of time, as if it 
preceded or followed something else ; no 
sublime or adorable attribute in Him can 
be discovered, which is not simultaneously 
expressed in His everlastingness. Just, then, 
as we cannot say that God was ever not 
good, or powerful, or imperishable, or im- 
mortal, in the same way it is a blasphemy 
not to attribute to Him Fatherhood always, 
and to say that that came later. He Who 
is truly Father is always Father ; if eternity 
was not included in this confession, and 
if a foolishly preconceived idea curtailed and 
checked retrospectively our conception of the 
Father, true Fatherhood could no longer be 
properly predicated of Him, because that pre- 
conceived idea about the Son would cancel 
the continuity and eternity of His Father 
hood. How could that which He is now 
called be thought of something which came 
into existence subsequent to these other 
attributes? If being first Ungenerate He 
then became Father, and received that name, 
He was not always altogether what He is 



now called. But that which the God now 
existing is He always is ; He does not be- 
come worse or better by any addition, He does 
not become altered by taking something from 
another source. He is always identical wiih 
Himself. If, then, He was not Father at first, 
He was not Father afterwards. But if He is 
confessed to be Father (now), I will recur 
to the same argument, that, if He is so now, 
He always was so ; and that if He always was, 
He always will be. The Father therefore is 
always Father ; and seeing that the Son must 
always be thought of along with the Father 
(for the title of father cannot be justified unless 
there is a son to make it true), all that we con- 
template in the Father is to be observed also in 
the Son . " All that the Father hath is the Son's ; 
and all that is the Son's the Father hath." The 
words are, ' The Father hath that which is the 
Son's 8 ,' and so a carping critic will have no 
authority for finding in the contents of the word 
" all " the ungeneracy of the Son, when it is 
said that the Son has all that the Father has, 
nor on the other hand the generation of the 
Father, when all that is the Son's is to be 
observed in the Father. For the Son has all 
the things of the Father ; but He is not Father : 
and again, all the things of the Son are to be 
observed in the Father, but He is not a Son. 

If, then, all that is the Father's is in the 
Only-begotten, and He is in the Father, and 
the Fatherhood is not dissociated from the ' not 
having been generated,' I tor my part cannot 
see what there is to think of in connexion with 
the Father, by Himself, that is parted by any 
interval so as to precede our apprehension of 
the Son. Therefore we may boldly encounter 
the difficulties started in that quibbling syllo- 
gism ; we may despise it as a mere scare to 
frighten children, and still assert that God is 
Holy, and Immortal, and Father, and Ungene- 
rate, and Everlasting, and everything all at once ; 
and that, if it could be supposed possible that 
you could withhold one of these attributes 
which devotion assigns to Him, all would 
be destroyed along with that one. Nothing, 
therefore, in Him is older or younger; else 
He would be found to be older or younger 
than Himself. If God is not all His attri- 
butes always, but something in Him is, and 
something else only becoming, following some 
order of sequence (we must remember God is 
not a compound ; whatever He is is the whole 
of Him), and if according to this heresy He is 
first Ungenerate and afterwards becomes Father, 
then, seeing that we cannot think of Him in 
connexion with a heaping together of qualities, 

8 John xvi. 15. Oehler conjectures these words (*Ex« 6 narnp) 
are to be repeated ; and thus obtains a good sense, which the 
common reading, 6 ttotjjp t'jrw, does not give. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



9* 



there is no alternative but that the whole of 
Him must be both older and younger than the 
whole of Him, the former by virtue of His 
Ungeneracy, the latter by virtue of His Father- 
hood. But if, as the prophet says of God 9, He 
" is the same," it is idle to say that before He 
begat He was not Himself Ungenerate ; we can- 
not find either of these names, the Father and 
the Ungenerate One, parted from the other; 
the two ideas rise together, suggested by each 
other, in the thoughts of the devout reasoner. 
God is Father from everlasting, and everlasting 
Father, and every other term that devotion 
assigns to Him is given in a like sense, the 
mensuration and the flow of time having no 
place, as we have said, in the Eternal. 

Let us now see the remaining results of his 
expertness in dealing with words ; results, which 
he himself truly says, are at once ridiculous and 
lamentable. Truly one must laugh outright at 
what he says, if a deep lament for the error that 
steeps his soul were not more fitting. Whereas 
Father, as we teach, includes, according to one 
of its meanings, the idea of the Ungenerate, he 
transfers the full signification of the word Father 
to that of the Ungenerate, and declares " If 
Father is the same as Ungenerate, it is allow- 
able for us to drop it, and use Ungenerate in- 
stead ; thus, the Ungenerate of the Son is 
Ungenerate ; for as the Ungenerate is Father of 
the Son, so reversely the Father is Ungenerate 
of the Son. " After this a feeling of admiration 
for our friend's adroitness steals over me, 
with the conviction that the many-sided subtlety 
of his theological training is quite beyond the 
capacity of most. What our Teacher said was 
embraced in one short sentence, to the effect 
that it was possible that by the title 'Father' 
the Ungeneracy could be signified ; but Euno- 
mius' words depend for their number not on the 
variety of the thoughts, but on the way that 
anything within the circuit of similar names 
can be turned about *. As the cattle that 
run blindfold round to turn the mill remain 
with all their travel in the same spot, so does 
he go round and round the same topic, and 
never leaves it. Once he said, ridiculing us, 
that ' Father' does not signify the having be- 
gotten, but the being from nothing. Again 
he wove a similar dilemma, " If Father sig- 
nifies Ungeneracy, before He begat He was 
not ungenerate." Then a third time he resorts 
to the same trick, " It is allowable for us to 
drop Father, and to use Ungenerate instead ; " 
and then directly he repeats the logic so 
often vomited. " For as the Ungenerate is 
Father of the Son, so reversely the Father is 



9 Psalm cii- 27. 
1 iv ry 7rtpioCu) xai avaai fio<t>j) litv bfxoiwv pijfidruK. 



Ungenerate of the Son." How often be returns 
to his vomit ; how often he blurts it out again ! 
Shall we not, then, annoy most people, if we 
drag about our argument in company with this 
foolish display of words? It would be perhaps 
more decent to be silent in a case like this; 
still, lest any one should think that we decline 
discussion because we are weak in pleas, we 
will answer thus to what he has said. ' You 
have no authority, Eunomius, for calling the 
Father the Ungenerate of the Son, even though 
the title Father does signify that the Begetter 
was from no cause Himself. For as, to take 
the example already cited, when we hear the 
word ' Emperor' we understand two things, 
both that the one who is pre-eminent in 
authority is subject to none, and also that 
he controls his inferiors, so the title Father 
supplies us with two ideas about the Deity, one 
relating to His Son, the other to His being 
dependent on no preconceivable cause. As,, 
then, in the case of 'Emperor' we cannot say 
that because the two things are signified by that 
term, viz., the ruling over subjects and the 
not having any to take precedence of him, 
there is any justification for speaking of the 
' Unruled of subjects,' instead of the ' Ruler 
of the nation,' or allowing so much, that we 
may use such a juxtaposition of words, in imita- 
tion of king of a nation, as kingless of a nation, 
in the same way when ' Father' indicates a Son, 
and also represents the idea of the Ungenerate, 
we may not unduly transfer this latter meaning, 
so as to attach this idea of the Ungenerate 
fast to a paternal relationship, and absurdly 
say ' the Ungenerate is Ungenerate of the 
Son.' 

He treads on the ground of truth, he thinks, 
after such utterances ; he has exposed the 
absurdity of his adversaries' position ; how 
boastfully he cries, " And what sane thinker, 
pray, ever yet wanted the natural thought to be 
suppressed, and welcomed the paradoxical ? " 
No sane thinker, most accomplished sir ; and 
therefore our argument neither, which teaches 
that while the term Ungenerate does suit our 
thoughts, and we ought to guard it in our 
hearts intact, yet the term Father is an adequate 
substitute for the one which you have perverted, 
and leads the mind in that direction. Remem- 
ber the words which you yourself quoted ; Basil 
did not ' want the natural thought to be sup- 
pressed, and welcome the paradoxical,' as you 
phrase it ; but he advised us to avoid all danger 
by suppressing the mere word Ungenerale, that 
is, the expression in so many syllables, as one 
which had been evilly interpreted, and besides 
was not to be found in Scripture ; as for its- 
meaning he declares that it does most com 
pletely suit our thoughts. 



9 2 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



Thus far for our statement. But this reviler 
of all quibblers, who completely arms his own 
argument with the truth, and arraigns our sins in 
logic, does not blush in any of his arguing 
on doctrines to indulge in very pretty quib- 
bles ; on a par with those exquisite jokes which 
are cracked to make people laugh at dessert. 
Reflect on the weight of reasoning displayed 
in that complicated syllogism ; which I will 
now again repeat. "If 'Father' is the same 
as Ungenerate, it is allowable for us to drop it, 
and use Ungenerate instead ; thus, the Ungen- 
erate is Ungenerate of the Son ; for as the 
Ungenerate is Father of the Son, so, reversely, 
the Father is Ungenerate of the Son." Well, 
this is very like another case such as the follow- 
ing. Suppose some one were to state the right 
and sound view about Adam ; namely, that it 
mattered not whether we called him " father of 
mankind " or " the first man formed by God " 
(for both mean the same thing), and then some 
one else, belonging to Eunomius' school of 
reasoners, were to pounce upon this statement, 
and make the same complication out of it, 
viz.: If "first man formed by God" and 
"father of mankind" are the same things, it 
is allowable for us to drop the word "father" 
and use " first formed " instead ; and say that 
Adam was the " first formed," instead of the 
" father," of Abe) ; for as the first formed was 
the father of a son, so, reversely, that father is 
the first formed of that son. If this had been 
said in a tavern, what laughter and applause 
would have broken from the tippling circle 
over so fine and exquisite a joke ! These are 
the arguments on which our learned theologian 
leans ; when he assails our doctrine, he really 
needs himself a tutor and a stick to teach him 
that all the things which are predicated of some 
one do not necessarily, in their meaning, have 
respect to one single object; as is plain from 
the aforesaid instance of Abel and Adam. 
That one and the same Adam is Abel's father 
and also God's handiwork is a truth ; never- 
theless it does not follow that, because he is 
both, he is both with respect to Abel. So 
the designation of the Almighty as Father 
has both the special meaning of that word, i.e., 
the having begotten a son, and also that of 
there being no preconceivable cause of the 
Very Father; nevertheless it does not follow 
that when we mention the Son we must speak 
of the Ungenerate, instead of the Father, of 
that Son; nor, on the other hand, if the 
absence of beginning remains unexpressed in 
reference to the Son, that we must banish from 
our thoughts about God that attribute of Un- 
generacy. But he discards the usual accepta- 
tions, and like an actor in comedy, makes a 
joke of the whole subject, and by dint of the 



oddity of his quibbles makes the questions of 
our faith ridiculous. Again I must repeat his 
words : "If Father is the same as Ungenerate, 
it is allowable for us to drop it, and use Ungen- 
erate instead; thus, the Ungenerate is Ungene- 
rate of the Son ; for as the Ungenerate is Father 
of the Son, so, reversely, the Father is Ungen- 
erate of the Son." But let us turn the laugh 
against him, by reversing his quibble ; thus: If 
Father is not the same as Ungenerate, the Son 
of the Father will not be Son of the Ungen- 
erate ; for having relation to the Father only, 
he will be altogether alien in nature to that 
which is other than Father, and does not suit 
that idea ; so that, if the Father is some- 
thing other than the Ungenerate, and the title 
Father does not comprehend that meaning, the 
Son, being One, cannot be distributed between 
these two relationships, and be at the same time 
Son both of the Father and of the Ungenerate ; 
and, as before it was an acknowledged absur- 
dity to speak of the Deity as Ungenerate of the 
Son, so in this converse proposition it will be 
found an absurdity just as great to call the 
Only-begotten Son of the Ungenerate. So 
that he must choose one of two things ; either 
the Father is the same as the Ungenerate 
(which is necessary in order that the Son of the 
Father may be Son of the Ungenerate as well) ; 
and then our doctrine has been ridiculed by 
him without reason ; or, the Father is some- 
thing different to the Ungenerate, and the Son 
of the Father is alienated from all relationship 
to the Ungenerate. But then, if it is thus to 
hold that the Only-begotten is not the Son of 
the Ungenerate, logic inevitably points to a 
" generated Father ;" for that which exists, but 
does not exist without generation, must have 
a generated substance. If, then, the Father, 
being according to these men other than 
Ungenerate, is therefore generated, where is 
their much talked of Ungeneracy? Where 
is that basis and foundation of their heretical 
castle-building? The Ungenerate, which they 
thought just now that they grasped, has 
eluded them, and vanished quite beneath 
the action of a few barren syllogisms ; their 
would-be demonstration of the Unlikeness, like 
a mere dream about something, slips away at 
the touch of criticism, and takes its flight 
along with this Ungenerate. 

Thus it is that whenever a falsehood is wel- ' 
corned in preference to the truth, it may indeed 
flourish for a little through the illusion which 
it creates, but it will soon collapse ; its own 
methods of proof will dissolve it. But we 
bring this forward only to raise a smile at the 
very pretty revenge we might take on their 
Utdikeness. We must now resume the main 
thread of our discourse. 



AGAINST EUNOMTUS. "ROOK 



93 



§ 39. Answer to the question he is always asking, 
" Can He 7cho is he begotten ? " 

Eunomius does not like the meaning of the 
Ungenerate to be conveyed by the term Father, 
because he wants to establish that there was a 
time when the Son was not. It is in fact a 
constant question amongst his pupils, " How 
can He who (always) is be begotten ?" This 
comes, I take it, of not weaning oneself from 
the human application of words, when we 
have to think about God. But let us with- 
out bitterness at once expose the actual false- 
ness of this ' arriere pensee ' of his 2 , stating 
first our conclusions upon the matter. 

These names have a different meaning with 
us, Eunomius ; when we come to the trans- 
cendent energies they yield another sense. 
Wide, indeed, is the interval in all else that 
divides the human from the divine ; experi- 
ence cannot point here below to anything at 
all resembling in amount what we may guess 
at and imagine there. So likewise, as regards 
the meaning of our terms, though there 
may be, so far as words go, some likeness 
between man and the Eternal, yet the gulf 
between these two worlds is the real measure 
of the separation of meanings. For instance, 
our Lord calls God a ' man ' that was a ' house- 
holder ' in the parable 3 ; but though this title is 
ever so familiar to us, will the person we think 
of and the person there meant be of the same 
description ; and will our ' house' be the same 
as that large house, in which, as the Apostle 
says, there are the vessels of gold, and those of 
silver*, and those of the other materials which 
are recounted ? Or will not those rather be be- 
yond our immediate apprehension and to be 
contemplated in a blessed immortality, while 
ours are earthern, and to dissolve to earth ? 
So in almost all the other terms there is a simi- 
larity of names between things human and things 
divine, revealing nevertheless underneath this 
sameness a wide difference of meanings. We 
find alike in both worlds the mention of bodily 
limbs and senses; as with us, so with the life 
of God, which all allow to be above sense, 
there are set down in order fingers and arm 
and hand, eye and eyelids, hearing, heart, feet 
and sandals, horses, cavalry, and chariots ; and 
other metaphors innumerable are taken from 
human life to illustrate symbolically divine things. 
As, then, each one of these names has a human 
sound, but not a human meaning, so also that 
of Father, while applying equally to life divine 
and human, hides a distinction between the 
uttered meanings exactly proportionate to the 



2 auTO to 7re7rAao>iei>oi> rij'S U7roeoias. 
3 the parable, i.e. of the Tares. Matthew xiii. 27: cf. v. 52. 
4 2 Tim. ii. 20. 



difference existing between the subjects of this 
title. We think of man's generation one 
way ; we surmise of the divine generation in 
another. A man is born in a stated time; and 
a particular place must be the receptacle of 
his life ; without it it is not in nature that he 
should have any concrete substance : whence 
also it is inevitable that sections of time are 
found enveloping his life ; there is a Before, 
and With, and After him. It is true to say 
of any one whatever of those born into this 
world that there was a time when he was 
not, that he is now, and again there will be 
time when he will cease to exist ; but into 
the Eternal world these ideas of time do not 
enter ; to a sober thinker they have nothing 
akin to that world. He who considers what 
the divine life really is will get beyond the 
' sometime,' the ' before,' and the ' after,' and 
every mark whatever of this extension in time; 
he will have lofty views upon a subject so 
lofty; nor will he deem that the Absolute is 
bound by those laws which he observes to be 
in force in human generation. 

Passion precedes the concrete existence 
of man ; certain material foundations are laid 
for the formation of the living creature; beneath 
it all is Nature, by God's will, with her wonder- 
working, putting everything under contribution 
for the proper proportion of nutrition for that 
which is to be born, taking from each terrestrial 
element the amount necessary for the particular 
case, receiving the co-operation of a measured 
time, and as much of the food of the parents 
as is necessary for the formation of the child : 
in a word Nature, advancing through all these 
processes by which a human life is built up, 
brings the non-existent to the birth ; and 
accordingly we say that, non-existent once, it 
now is born ; because, at one time not being, 
at another it begins to be. But when it comes 
to the Divine generation the mind rejects this 
ministration oi Nature, and this fulness ot time 
in contributing to the development, and every- 
thing else which our argument contemplated 
as taking place in human generation ; and 
he who enters on divine topics with no carnal 
conceptions will not fall down again to the 
level of any of those debasing thoughts, 
but seeks for one in keeping with the 
majesty of the thing to be expressed ; he will 
not think of passion in connexion with that 
which is passionless, or count the Creator of 
all Nature as in need of Nature's help, or 
admit extension in time into the Eternal life ; 
he will see that the Divine generation is to be 
cleared of all such ideas, and will allow to the 
title 'Father' only the meaning that the Only- 
begotten is not Himself without a source, but de- 
rives from That the cause of His being ; thougn, 



<r-A 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



as for the actual beginning of His subsistence, 
he will not calculate that, because he will not 
be able to see any sign of the thing in ques- 
tion. ' Older ' and ' younger ' and all such 
notions are found to involve intervals of time ; 
and so, when you mentally abstract time in 
general, all such indications are got rid of 
along with it. 

Since, then, He who is with the Father, in 
some inconceivable category, before the ages 
admits not of a ' sometime,' He exists by gene- 
ration indeed, but nevertheless He never begins 
to exist. His life is neither in time, nor in 
place. But when we take away these and 
all suchlike ideas in contemplating the sub- 
sistence of the Son, there is only one thing 
that we can even think of as before Him — i.e. 
the Father. But the Only-begotten, as He 
Himself has told us, is in the Father, and so, 
from His nature, is not open to the supposition 
that He ever existed not. If indeed the 
Father ever was not, the eternity of the Son 
must be cancelled retrospectively in conse- 
quence of this nothingness of the Father: but 
if the Father is always, how can the Son ever 
be non-existent, when He cannot be thought of 
at all by Himself apart from the Father, but is 
always implied silently in the name Father. 
This name in fact conveys the two Persons 
/equally; the idea of the Son is inevitably 
suggested by that word. When was it, then, 
that the Son was not? In what category shall 
we detect His non-existence? In place? There 
is none. In time? Our Lord was before all 
times ; and if so, when was He not ? And if 
He was in the Father, in what place was He 
not ? Tell us that, ye who are so practised in 
seeing things out of sight. What kind of 
interval have your cogitations given a shape 
to? What vacancy in the Son, be it of sub- 
stance or of conception, have you been able 
to think of, which shows the Father's life, 
when drawn out in parallel, as surpassing 
that of the Only-begotten ? Why, even of 
men we cannot say absolutely that any one 
was not, and then was born. Levi, many 
generations before his own birth in the flesh, 
was tithed by Melchisedech ; so the Apostle 
says, " Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed 
tithes (in Abraham)," 5 adding the proof, "for 
he was yet in the loins of his father, when " 
Abraham met the priest of the Most High. 
If, then, a man in a certain sense is not, and 
is then born, having existed beforehand by 
virtue of kinship of substance in his progenitor, 
according to an Apostle's testimony, how as 
to the Divine life do they dare to utter the 
thought that He was not, and then was 

5 Heb. vii. 9, 10 ; Genesis xiv. 18. 



begotten ? For He ' is in the Father,' as our 
Lord has told us; "I am in the Father, and 
the Father in Me 6 ," each of course being in 
the other in two different senses ; the Son 
being in the Father as the beauty of the image 
is to be found in the form from which it has 
been outlined ; and the Father in the Son, 
as that original beauty is to be found in 
the image of itself. Now in all hand-made 
images the interval of time is a point of 
separation between the model and that to 
which it lends its form ; but there the one 
cannot be separated from the other, neither 
the " express image " from the " Person," 
to use the Apostle's words?, nor the "bright- 
ness" from the "glory" of God, nor the 
representation from the goodness ; but when 
once thought has grasped one of these, it has 
admitted the associated Verity as well. 
" Being" he says (not becoming), "the bright- 
ness of His glory 8 ;" so that clearly we may 
rid ourselves for ever of the blasphemy which 
lurks in either of those two conceptions ; 
viz., that the Only-begotten can be thought 
of as Ungenerate (for he says "the brightness 
of His glory," the brightness coming from the 
glory, and not, reversely, the glory from the 
brightness) ; or that He ever began to be. 
For the word "being" is a witness that 
interprets to us the Son's continuity and 
eternity and superiority to all marks of time. 

What occasion, then, had our foes for pro- 
posing for the damage of our Faith that 
trifling question, which they think unan- 
swerable and, so, a proving of their own 
doctrine, and which they are continually, 
asking, namely, ' whether One who is can be 
generated.' We may boldly answer them at 
once, that He who is in the Ungenerate was 
generated from Him. and does derive His 
source from Him. ' I live by the Father 9 :' 
but it is impossible to name the ' when ' of 
His beginning. When there is no intermediate 
matter, or idea, or interval of time, to separate 
the being of the Son from the Father, no 
symbol can be thought of, either, by which 
the Only-begotten can be unlinked from the 
Father's life, and shewn to proceed from some 
special source of His own. If, then, there is 
no other principle that guides the Son's life, 
if there is nothing that a devout mind can 
contemplate before (but not divided from) the 
subsistence of the Son, but the Father only ; 
and if the Father is without beginning or 
generation, as even our adversaries admit, 
how can He who can be contemplated only 
within the Father, who is without beginning, 
admit Himself of a beginning? 



6 John x. 38. 7 Heb. i. . 

* Heb. i. 3. (if, not ytvofitvos). 9 John iv. 57. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



95 



What harm, too, does our Faith suffer from our 
admitting those expressions of our opponents 
which they bring forward against us as absurd, 
when thry ask 'whether He which is can be 
begotten ? * We do not assert that this can be 
so in the sense in which Nicodemus put his 
offensive question x , wherein he thought it 
impossible that one who was in existence 
could come to a second birth : but we assert 
that, having His existence attached to an 
Existence which is always and is without begin- 
ning, and accompanying every investigator into 
the antiquities of time, and forestalling the 
curiosity of thought as it advances into the 
world beyond, and intimately blended as He 
is with all our conceptions of the Father, 
He has no beginning of His existence any 
more than He is Ungenerate : but He was 
both begotten and was, evincing on the 
score of causation generation from the Father, 
but by virtue of His everlasting life repelling 
any moment of non-existence. 

But this thinker in his exceeding subtlety 
contravenes this statement ; he sunders the 
being of the Only-begotten from the Father's 
nature, on the ground of one being Generated, 
the other Ungenerate ; and although there are 
such a number of names which with reverence 
may be applied to the Deity, and all of them 
suitable to both Persons equally, he pays no at- 
tention to anyone of them, because these others 
indicate that in which Both participate ; he 
fastens on the name Ungenerate, and that 
alone ; and even of this he will not adopt 
the usual and approved meaning; he revolu- 
tionizes the conception of it, and cancels 
its common associations. Whatever can be 
the reason of this? For without some very 
strong one he would not wrest language 
away from its accepted meaning, and in- 
novate 2 by changing the signification of 
words. He knows perfectly well that if 
their meaning was confined to the customary 
one he would have no power to subvert the 
sound doctrine ; but that if such terms are 
perverted from their common and current 
acceptation, he will be able to spoil the 
doctrine along with the word. For instance 
{to come to the actual words which he mis- 
uses), if, according to the common thinking 
of our Faith he had allowed that God was to be 
called Ungenerate only because He was never 
generated, the whole fabric of his heresy would 
have collapsed, with the withdrawal of his quib- 
bling about this Ungenerate. If, that is, he was 
to be persuaded, by following out the analogy 
of almost all the names of God in use for the 
Church, to think of the God over alias Ungen- 



1 John iii. 4. 



1 £«ei£eL, intrans. N.T. Polyb. Luciati. 



erate, just as He is invisible, and passionless, 
and immaterial ; and if he was agreed that in 
every one of these terms there was signified 
only that which in no way belongs to God — 
body, for instance, and passion and colour, 
and derivation from a cause — then, if his view 
of the case had been like that, his party's 
tenet of the Unlikeness would lose its meaning; 
for in all else (except the Ungeneracy) that 
is conceived concerning the God of all even 
these adversaries allow the likeness existing be- 
tween the Only begotten and the Father. But 
to prevent this, he puts the term Ungenerate 
in front of all these names indicating God's 
transcendent nature ; and he makes this one 
a vantage-ground from which he may sweep 
down upon our Faith ; he transfers the con- 
trariety between the actual expressions ' Gen- 
erated ' and ' Ungenerate ' to the Persons 
themselves to whom these words apply ; and 
thereby, by this difference between the words 
he argues by a quibble for a difference between 
the Beings ; not agreeing with us that Gene- 
rated is to be used only because the Son was 
generated, and Ungenerate because the Father 
exists without having been generated ; but 
affirming that he thinks the former has ac- 
quired existence by having been generated ; 
though what sort of philosophy leads him to 
such a view I cannot understand. If one were 
to attend to the mere meanings of those words 
by themselves, abstracting in thought those 
Persons for whom the names are taken to 
stand, one would discover the groundlessness 
of these statements of theirs. Consider, then, 
not that, in consequence of the Father being 
a conception prior to the Son (as the Faith 
truly teaches), the order of the names them- 
selves must be arranged so as to correspond 
with the value and order of that which underlies 
them ; but regard them alone by themselves, 
to see which of them (the word, I repeat, no: 
the Reality which it represents) is to be 
placed before the other as a conception of 
our mind; which of the two conveys the 
assertion of an idea, which the negation or 
the same; for instance (to be clear, I think 
similar pairs of words will give my meaning), 
Knowledge, Ignorance — Passion, Passionless- 
ness — and suchlike contrasts, which ot them 
possess priority of conception before the 
others? Those which posit the negation, or 
those which posit the assertion of the said 
quality? I take it the latter do so. Know- 
ledge, anger, passion, are conceived of t.rst ; 
and then comes the negation of these i eas. 
And let no one, in his excess of devoti n 3 f 
blame this argument, as if it would put the 



3 i0eKo9pr)<TKe«K, " will worship.' 



9 6 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



Son before the Father. We are not making 
out that the Son is to be placed in conception 
before the Father, seeing that the argument 
is discriminating only the meanings of ' Gene- 
rated,' and 'Ungenerate.' So Generation sig- 
nifies the assertion of some reality or some 
idea ; while Ungeneracy signifies its negation ; 

 so that there is every reason that Generation 
must be thought of first. Why, then, do they 
insist herein on fixing on the Father the 
second, in order of conception, of these two 

• names ; why do they keep on thinking that 
a negation can define and can embrace the 
whole substance of the term in question, 
and are roused to exasperation against those 
who point out the groundlessness of their 
arguments ? 

§ 40. His unsuccessful attempt to be consistent 
with his own statements after Basil has con- 
futed him. 

For notice how bitter he is against one who 
did detect the rottenness and weakness of his 
work of mischief; how he revenges himself all he 
can, and that is only by abuse and vilification : 
in these, however, he possesses abundant abil- 
ity. Those who would give elegance of style 
to a discourse have a way of filling out the 
places that want rhythm with certain conjunc- 
tive particles *, whereby they introduce more 
euphony and connexion into the assembly of 
their phrases ; so does Eunomius garnish his 
work with abusive epithets in most of his 
passages, as though he wished to make a dis- 
play of this overflowing power of invective. 
Again we are ' fools,' again we ' fail in correct 
reasoning,' and 'meddle in the controversy 
without the preparation which its importance 
requires,' and ' miss the speaker's meaning.' 
Such, and still more than these, are the 
phrases used of our Master by this decorous 
orator. But perhaps after all there is good 
reason in his anger ; and this pamphleteer 
is justly indignant. For why should Basil 
have stung him by thus exposing the weak- 
ness of this teaching of his ? Why should 
he have uncovered to the sight of the sim- 
pler brethren the blasphemy veiled beneath 



4 conjunctive particles, crvvStanoi. In Aristotle's Poetics (xx. 6), 
these are reckoned as one ot the 8 'parts of speech.' The term 
o-ui/o"eo-j*os is illustrated by the examples fikv, tjtoi, 6"rj, which leaves 
no doubt that it includes at all events conjunctions and particles. 
Its general character is defined in his Rhetoric ill. 12, 4: "It 
makes many (sentences) one." Harris (Hermes ii. c. 2), thus 
defines a conjunction, ,- A part of speech devoid of signification 
itself, but so formed as to help signification by making two or more 
significant sentences to be one significant sentence," a definition 
which manifestly comes from Aristotle. 

The comparison here seems to be between these constantly 
recurring particles, themselves ' devoid of signification,' in an 
'elegant 'discourse, and the perpetually used epithets, " fools," &c, 
which, though utterly meaningless, serve to connect his dislocated 
paragraphs. The 'asseml ly' (cnii/ajis, always of the synagogue 
or the Communion. See Suicer) of his words is brought, it is 
i. jnically implied, into some sort of harmony by these means. 



his plausible sophistries ? Why should he not 
have let silence cover the unsoundness of this 
view? Why gibbet the wretched man, when 
he ought to have pitied him, and kept the veil 
over the indecency of his argument? He actu- 
ally finds out and makes a spectacle of one who 
has somehow got to be admired amongst his 
private pupils for cleverness and shrewdness ! 
Eunomius had said somewhere in his works that 
the attribute of being ungenerate "follows" the 
deity. Our Master remarked upon this phrase 
of his that a thing which " follows " must be 
amongst the externals, whereas the actual 
Being is not one of these, but indicates the 
very existence of anything, so far as it does 
exist. Then this gentle yet unconquerable 
opponent is furious, and pours along a copious 
stream of invective, because our Master, on 
hearing that phrase, apprehended the sense of it 
as well. But what did he do wrong, if he firmly 
insisted only upon the meaning of your own 
writings. If indeed he had seized illogically on 
what was said, all that you say would be true, 
and we should have to ignore what he did ; 
but seeing that you are blushing at his reproof, 
why do you not erase the word from your 
pamphlet, instead of abusing the reprover? 
' Yes, but he did not understand the drift of 
the argument. Well, how do we do wrong, if 
being human, we guessed at the meaning from 
your actual words, having no comprehension 
of that which was buried in your heart ? It is 
for God to see the inscrutable, and to inspect 
the characters of that which we have no means 
of comprehending, and to be cognizant of 
unlikeness s in the invisible world. We can 
only judge by what we hear. 

§41. The thing that follo7c>s is not the same as 
the thing that it follows. 

He first says, " the attribute of being un- 
generate follows the Deity." By that we un- 
derstood him to mean that this Ungeneracy is 
one of the things external to God. Then he 
says, " Or rather this Ungeneracy is His actual 
being." We fail to understand the 'sequitur' 
of this ; we notice in fact something very queer 
and incongruous about it. If Ungeneracy 
follows God, and yet also constitutes His being, 
two beings will be attributed to one and the 
same subject in this view ; so that God will be 
in the same way as He was before and has 
always been believed to be 6 , but besides that 
will have another being accompanying, which 



5 A hit at the Anomceans. 'Your subtle distinctions, in the 
invisible world of your own mind, between the meanings of 
"following" are like the uniikenesses which you see between 
the Three Persons.' 

6 uj? elvat fieu top ©for (card Taiirbv a>5 «U'at rrore (infinitive 
by attraction to preceding) ko.1 tivai ireirtcrreuTcu. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



97 



they style Ungeneracy, quite distinct from Him 
Whose 'following' it is, as our Master puts it. 
Well, if he commands us to think so, he must 
pardon our poverty of ideas, in not being able 
to follow out such subtle speculations. 

But if he disowns this view, and does not 
admit a double being in the Deity, one repre- 
sented by the godhead, the other by the 
ungeneracy, let our friend, who is himself 
neither ' rash ' nor ' malignant,' prevail upon 
himself not to be over partial to invective 
while these combats for the truth are being 
fought, but to explain to us, who are so 
wanting in culture, how that which follows is 
not one thing and that which leads another, 
but how both coalesce into one ; for, in spite 
of what he says in defence of his statement, 
the absurdity of it remains ; and the addition 
of that handful of words? does not correct, as he 
asserts, the contradiction in it. I have not yet 
been able to see that any explanation at all is 
discoverable in them. But we will give what 
he has written verbatim. " We say, ' or rather 
the Ungeneracy is His actual being,' without 
meaning to contract into the being 8 that which 
we have proved to follow it, but applying 
' follow ' to the title, but is to the being." Ac- 
cordingly when these things are taken together, 
•the whole resulting argument would be, that the 
title Ungenerate follows, because to be Ugene- 
rate is His actual being. But what expounder 
of this expounding shall we get? He says "with- 
out meaning tocontract intothe beingthatwhich 
we have proved to follow it." Perhaps some 
of the guessers of riddles might tell us that by 
' contract into ' he means ' fastening together.' 
But who can see anything intelligible or co- 
herent in the rest ? The results of ' following ' 
belong, he tells us, not to the being, but to 
the title. But, most learned sir, what is the 
title ? Is it in discord with the being, or does 
it not rather coincide with it in the thinking? 
If the title is inappropriate to the being, then 
how can the being be represented by the title ; 
but if, as he himself phrases it, the being is 
fittingly defined by the title of Ungenerate, how 
can there be any parting of them after that ? 
You make the name of the being follow one 
thing and the being itself another. And 
what then is the ' construction of the en- 
tire view?' "The title Ungenerate follows 
God, seeing that He Himself is Ungenerate." 
He says that there 'follows ' God, Who is some- 
thing other than that which is Ungenerate, 
this very title. Then how can he place the 
definition of Godhead within the Ungeneracy? 



7 ivapi8fj.riTaiv p77ju.a.7w. But it is nossible that the true read 
ing may be tvpvB/j.uji', alluding to the ' rhythm ' in the forrn of 
abuse with which Eunomius connected his arguments (preceding 
section). 

8 ovk eis to eivai crvraipoCi'Tes. 



Again, he says that this title ' follows ' God as 
existing without a previous generation. Who 
will solve us the mystery of such riddles? 
' Ungenerate ' preceding and then following ; 
first a fittingly attached title of the being, 
and then following like a stranger! What, 
too, is the cause oi this excessive flutter 
about this name ; he gives to it the whole 
contents of godhead 9; as if there will be 
nothing wanting in our adoration, if God be so 
named ; and as if the whole system of our 
faith will be endangered, if He is not? Now, 
if a brief statement about this should not be 
deemed superfluous and irrelevant, we will 
thus explain the matter. 

§ 42. Explanation of ' Ungenerate] and 

a ' study ' of Eternity. 
The eternity of God's life, to sketch it in 
mere outline, is on this wise. He is always to 
be apprehended as in existence ; He admits 
not a time when He was not, and when 
He will not be. Those who draw a circular 
figure in plane geometry from a centre 
to the distance of the line of circumference 
tell us there is no definite beginning to 
their figure ; and that the line is interrupted 
by no ascertained end any more than by any 
visible commencement : they say that, as it 
forms a single whole in itself with equal 
radii on all sides, it avoids giving any indica- 
tion of beginning or ending. When, then, we 
compare the Infinite being to such a figure, 
circumscribed though it be, let none find fault 
with this account ; for it is not on the 
circumference, but on the similarity which 
the figure bears to the Life which in every 
direction eludes the grasp, that we fix our 
attention when we affirm that such is our 
intuition of the Eternal. From the present 
instant, as from a centre and a "point," we 
extend thought in all directions, to the im- 
mensity of that Life. We find that we are 
drawn round uninterruptedly and evenly, and 
that we are always following a circumference 
where there is nothing to grasp; we find 
the divine life returning upon itself in an 
unbroken continuity, where no end and no 
parts can be recognized. Of God's eternity 

9 He gives to it the whole contents of godhead. It was the 
central point in Eunomius' system that by the 'Ayexvrjo-t'a we car* 
comprehend the Divine Nature ; he trusts entirely to the Aris- 
totelian divisions (logical) and sub-divisions. A mere word (yev- 
i/tjtos) was thus allowed to destroy the equality of the Son. It was 
almost inevitable, therefore, that his opponent, as a defender of the 
Homoousion, should occasionally fall back so far upon Plato, as 
to maintain that opposites are joined and are identical with each 
other, i.e. that yeVirjo-is and ayevviqaia are not truly opposed to 
each other. Another method of combating this excessive insistence 
on the physical and logical was, to bring forward the ethical 
realities ; and this Gregory does constantly throughout this treatise. 
We are to know God by Wisdom, and Truth, and Righteousness. 
Only occasionally (as in the next section) does he speak of the 
' eternity ' of God : and here only because Eunomius has obliged 
him, and in order to show that the idea is made up of two nega- 
tions, and nothing more. 



VOL. V. 



H 



9 8 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



we say that which we have heard from 
prophecy 1 ; viz.. that God is a king "of old," 
and rules for ages, and for ever, and beyond. 
Therefore we define Him to be earlier than 
any beginning, and exceeding any end. En- 
tertaining, then, this idea of the Almighty, as 
one that is adequate, we express it by two 
titles ; i.e., ' Ungenerate ' and 'Endless ' repre- 
sent this infinitude and continuity and ever- 
lastingness of the Deity. If we adopted only 
one of them for our idea, and if the remaining 
•one was dropped, our meaning would be 
marred by this omission ; for it is impossible 
with either one of them singly 2 to express the 
notion residing in each of the two ; but when 
one speaks of the ' endless,' only the absence as 
regards an end has been indicated, and it does 
not follow that any hint has been given about 
a beginning ; while, when one speaks of the 
' Unoriginate3,' the fact of being beyond a 
beginning has been expressed, but the case as 
regards an end has been left quite doubtful. 

Seeing, then, that these two titles equally 
help to express the eternity of the divine life, 
it is high time to inquire why our friends cut 
in two the complete meaning of this eternity, 
:and declare that the one meaning, which is the 
negation of beginning, constitutes God's being 
'(instead of merely forming part of the definition 
of eternity*), while they consider the other, 
which is the negation of end, as amongst the 
•externals of that being. It is difficult to see 
the reason for thus assigning the negation of 
beginning to the realm of being, while they 
; banish the negation of end outside that realm. 
The two are our conceptions of the same thing ; 
and, therefore, either both should be admitted 
to the definition of being, or, if the one is 
to be judged inadmissible, the other should 
he rejected also. If, however, they are deter- 
mined thus to divide the thought of eternity, 
.and to make the one fall within the realm 
•of that being, and to reckon the other with 
the non realities of Deity (for the thoughts 
which they adopt on this subject are grovelling, 
and, like birds who have shed their feathers, 
they are unable to soar into the sublimities of 
theology), I would advise them to reverse their 
teaching, and to count the unending as being, 
•overlooking the unoriginate rather, and assign- 
ing the palm to that which is future and excites 
hope, rather than to that which is past and 
stale. Seeing, I say (and I speak thus owing 
to their narrowness of spirit, and lower the dis- 
cussion to the level of a child's conception), the 
past period of his life is nothing to him who 



* from prophecy. Psalm x. 16. 
aiuca, kcu ei? Toy aiupa rou aiun-us; 
fiiaiXtus «if top aXvtva' lxxiv. 12. 
uiuvof . » ivos Tiyos toutwk. 

4 oil irfpi to ai6iof 0eu>oei<rO(u. 



Bao*iAtuo*€i Ki/pios eic toc 
xxix. in. Kadietrat Kvpio? 

3 " i <i/j \>tv 



has lived it, and all his interest is centred on 
the future and on that which can be looked 
forward to, that which has no end will have 
more value than that which has no beginning. 
So let our thoughts upon the divine nature be 
worthy and exalted ones ; or else, if they are 
going to judge of it according to human tests, 
let the future be more valued by them than the 
past, and let them confine the being of the 
Deity to that, since time's lapse sweeps away 
with it all existence in the past, whereas ex- 
pected existence gains substance from our 
hope 5 . 

Now I broach these ridiculously childish 
suggestions as to children sitting in the market- 
place and playing 6 ; for when one looks into the 
grovelling earthliness of their heretical teaching 
it is impossible to help falling into a sort of 
sportive childishness. It would be right, how- 
ever, to add this to what we have said, viz., 
that, as the idea of eternity is completed only 
by means of both (as we have already argued), 
by the negation of a beginning and also by 
that of an end, if they confine God's being to 
the one, their definition of this being will be 
manifestly imperfect and curtailed by half; it 
is thought of only by the absence of beginning, 
and does not contain the absence of end within 
itself as an essential element. But if they do 
combine both negations, and so complete their 
definition of the being of God, observe, again, 
the absurdity that is at once apparent in this 
view ; it will be found, after all their efforts, to 
be at variance not only with the Only-begotten, 
but with itself. The case is clear and does not 
require much dwelling upon. The idea of a 
beginning and the idea of an end are opposed 
each to each ; the meanings of each differ as 
widely as the other diametric oppositions?, 
where there is no half-way proposition below 8 . 
If any one is asked to define ' beginning,' he 
will not rive a definition the same as that of 
end ; but will carry his definition of it to the 
opposite extremity. Therefore also the two 



5 Cf. Heb. xi. I, of faith, e\Tn£ofievu>v iiTroorao-it rrpayixdriav. 

6 Luke vii. 32. 

7 Kara. Stafierpov oAAjjAois apTtxei/u-eVuc, i.e. Contradictories 
in Logic. 

A Contraries. £ 




I (Sub)-contraries. O 



8 As in A or £, both of which have the Particular below them 
(I or O) as a half-way to the contrary Universal. Thus — 
A I E 

All men are mortal. Some men are mortal. No men are mortal. 

E O A 

No men are mortal. Some men are not mortal. All men are mortal. 
But between A and O, E and 1. there is no halfway. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK I. 



99 



contraries'* of these will be separated from each 
other by the same distance of opposition ; and 
that which is without beginning, being contrary 
to that which is to be seen by a beginning, will 
be a very different thing from that which is 
endless, or the negation of end. If, then, 
they import both these attributes into the 
being of God, I mean the negations of end 
and of beginning, they will exhibit this Deity 
of theirs as a combination of two contra- 
dictory and discordant things, because the con- 
trary ideas to beginning and end reproduce on 
their side also the contradiction existing between 
beginning and end. Contraries of contradic- 
tories are themselves contradictory of each 
other. In fact, it is always a true axiom, that 
two things which are naturally opposed to two 
things mutually opposite are themselves op- 
posed to each other ; as we may see by exam- 
ple. Water is opposed to fire ; therefore also 
the forces destructive of these are opposed 
to each other; if moistness is apt to extinguish 
fire, and dryness is apt to destroy water, the 
opposition of fire to water is continued in those 
qualities themselves which are contrary to 
them ; so that dryness is plainly opposed to 
moistness. Thus, when beginning and end 
have to be placed (diametrically) opposite each 
other 1 , the terms contrary to these also contra- 
dict each other in their meaning, I mean, the 
negations of end and of beginning. Well, 
then, if they determine that one only of these 
negations is indicative of the being (to repeat 
my former assertion), they will bear evidence to 
half only of God's existence, confining it to the 
absence of beginning, and refusing to extend it 
to the absence of end ; whereas, if they import 
both into their definition of it, they will actually 
exhibit it so as a combination of contradictions 
in the way that has been said ; for these two 
negations of beginning and of end, by virtue 
of the contradiction existing between beginning 
and end, will part it asunder. So their Deity 
will be found to be a sort of patchwork com- 
pound, a conglomerate of contradictions. 

But there is not, neither shall there be, in the 
Church of God a teaching such as that, which 
can make One who is single and incomposite 
not only multiform and patchwork, but also 

• Beginning (Contraries) Beginningless, 




Endless (Contraries) Ending. 
1 vnevavriiat Siaxeifitvuv . The same term has been used to 
express the opposition between Ungenerate and Generated : so that 
it means both Oppositions, i.e. Contraries and Contradictories. 



the combination of opposites. The simplicity 
of the True Faith assumes God to be that 
which He is, viz., incapable of being grasped 
by any term, or any idea, or any other device 
of our apprehension, remaining beyond the 
reach not only of the human but of the angelic 
and of all supramundane intelligence, unthink- 
able, unutterable, above all expression in words, 
having but one name that can represent His 
proper nature, the single name of being 
' Above every name 2 ' ; which is granted to the 
Only-begotten also, because "all that the 
Father hath is the Son's." The orthodox 
theory allows these words, I mean " Ungen- 
erate," "Endless," to be indicative of God's 
eternity, but not of His being ; so that " Ungen- 
erate" means that no source or cause lies 
beyond Him, and " Endless " means that His 
kingdom will be brought to a standstill in no 
end. " Thou art the same," the prophet says, 
"and Thy years shall not fail 3," showing by 
"art" that He subsists out of no cause, and 
by the words following, that the blessedness 
of His life is ceaseless and unending. 

But, perhaps, some one amongst even very 
religious people will pause over these investi- 
gations of ours upon God's eternity, and say 
that it will be difficult from what we have 
said for the Faith in the Only-begotten to 
escape unhurt. Of two unacceptable doc- 
trines, he will say, our account* must in- 
evitably be brought into contact with one. 
Either we shall make out that the Son is 
Ungenerate, which is absurd ; or else we shall 
deny Him Eternity altogether, a denial which 
that fraternity of blasphemers make their spe- 
cialty. For if Eternity is characterized by 
having no beginning and end, it is inevitable 
either that we must be impious and deny 
the Son Eternity, or that we must be led in 
our secret thoughts about Him into the idea 
of Ungeneracy. What, then, shall we answer ? 
That if, in conceiving of the Father before 
the Son on the single score of causation, 
we inserted any mark of time before the sub- 
sistence of the Only-begotten, the belief which 
we have in the Son's eternity might with reason 
be said to be endangered. But, as it is„ the 
Eternal nature, equally in the case of the 
Father's and the Son's life, and, as well, in 
what we believe about the Holy Ghost, admits 
not of the thought that it will ever cease to 
be; for where time is not, the "when" is an- 
nihilated with it And if the Son, always ap 



* Philip, ii. 9. oyofia to vtrep nav oMOju.a. 3 Psalm cii. 27. 

* Adopting 6 Aoyo? from the Venice Cod. (eel navTios 6 Adyoc 
trvvev<i\$r]aiTax) . The verb cannot be impersonal : and tis above, 
the only available nominative, does not suit tiie sense veiy well. 

Gregory constructs this scheme of Opposition after the analogy 
of Logical Opposition. Beginning is not so opposed to Beginning- 
less, as it is to Ending, because with the latter there is no half-way, 
i.e. no word of definition in common. 



H 2 



10O 



GREGORY OF NYSSA, ETC. 



pearing with the thought of the Father, is 
always found in the category of existence, 
what danger is there in owning the Eternity 
of the Only-begotten, Who " hath neither be- 
ginning of days, nor end of life s." For as 
He is Light from Light, Life from Life, Good 
from Good, and Wise, Just, Strong, and all 
else in the same way, so most certainly is 
He Eternal from Eternal. 

But a lover of controversial wrangling 
catches up the argument, on the ground 
that such a sequence would make Him Un- 
generate from Ungenerate. Let him, however, 
cool his combative heart, and insist upon the 
proper expressions, for in confessing His 
'coming from the Father' he has banished all 
ideas of Ungeneracy as regards the Only- 
begotten ; and there will be then no danger in 
pronouncing Him Eternal and yet not Ungen- 
erate. On the one hand, because the existence 
of the Son is not marked by any intervals of 
time, and the infinitude of His life flows back 
before the ages and onward beyond them in 
an all-pervading tide, He is properly ad- 
dressed with the title of Eternal; again, on the 

5 Hcb. vii. 3. 



other hand, because the thought of Him as 
Son in fact and title gives us the thought of the 
Father as inalienably joined to it. He thereby 
stands clear of an ungenerate existence being 
imputed to Him, while He is always with a 
Father Who always is, as those inspired words 
of our Master expressed it, "bound by way of 
generation to His Father's Ungeneracy." Our 
account of the Holy Ghost will be the same 
also ; the difference is only in the place 
assigned in order. For as the Son is bound 
to the Father, and, while deriving existence 
from Him, is not substantially after Him, so 
again the Holy Spirit is in touch with the Only- 
begotten, Who is conceived of as before the 
Spirit's subsistence only in the theoretical light 
of a cause 6 . Extensions in time find no ad- 
mittance in the Eternal Life ; so that, when 
we have removed the thought of cause, the 
Holy Trinity in no single way exhibits discord 
with itself; and to It is glory due. 



6 Tbci-rjs acTt'as \6you. This is much more probably the meaning, 
because of before above, than "on the score of the different kind 
of causation" (Non omne quod procedat nascitur, quamvis omne 
procedat quod nascitur. S August.). It isa direct testimony to the 
'Filioque' belief. "The Spirit comes forth with the Word, not 
begotten with Him, but being with and accompanying and pro- 
ceeding from Him." Thcodoret. Serm. II. 



NOTE ON AyivvrjTos (Ungenerate). 

The difference between the Father and the Son is contained in this one word. But what Gregory and 
what Eunomius make of that difference illustrates the gulf fixed between the Catholic Faith and Arianism. 

Gregory shows (1. c. Book I. c. 33, p. 78, viii. 5 (ad fin.), ix. 2) how the Son as well as the Father can be 
called avapxos (unoriginate or beginningless), i.e. when the ideas of time and creation are brought in ; but the 
Son can never be called Ungenerate. But he goes no further than this. No word can express the being of 
God. Gregory repeatedly maintains that He is incomprehensible. 'Ungenerate' and 'Father' only express 
a relation of His being (<Tx eT ' K V twoia.) : but of the two the latter is preferable, as Scriptural, and as lending 
no handle to the interpretation which from its mere form could be put upon the other. 

Eunomius did actually put this interpretation upon it, and it became the watchword of his system. He made 
of it what many now make of the word ' Infinite.' He saw in it the expression of a positive idea which enabled 
the mind to comprehend the Deity, and at the same time by virtue of the logical opposition between ungenerate 
and generate destroyed not only the equality but also the likeness of the Father and the Son. As in all other 
dichotomies- arising from privative terms (i.e. Imperishable, Unending, Uncreate, &c), the Trinity stands apart 
from creation, so in this last dichotomy the First Person stands apart from the Second and the Third. It 
was the only distinction of this sort that Arianism could seize on for its purpose : and so this one ('AyiviniTos) 
is hypostatized and deified. 

Gregory, to destroy the tyranny of a word, shows that all the conceivable attributes of Deity (the 7rX^o>/uo of 
the New Testament) are still above the distinction of Ungenerate and Generate Deity, and are present in both : 
just as human nature was present equally in the ' not-born' Adam, and the 'born' Abel. Christ is Very God of 
Very God, Eight of Light, Life of Life, and all else, ethical or spiritual, that Scripture or human intuition has 
ever attributed to God : only He is not Ungenerate of Ungenerate : and for the simple reason that the Generate 
cannot be its own opposite. But this distinction is simply dynamic, not spiritual ; and in person, not in essence. 

It will be clear from this that ' Ungenerate' is the only adequate equivalent of 'Ay4vi/r)Tos, as used in this 
controversy. ' Not-begotten ' or ' Unbegotten ' as applicable to the Father only would confuse the doctrine of 
the Third Person, Who is Himself also 'not made, nor created, nor begotten.' ' Ingenerate ' is not supported 
by the Latin use (though ingenitus is used thus by Arnobius) ; ' Unoriginate' bears the sense of unbeginning, and 
can be said of the Son (see above). Lastly, ' Not-generated ' does not furnish a corresponding idiomatic expression 
for ' \"yevvrier(a. 

With regard to the form of the Greek word, "it is very well known," says Bull, Def. Fid. Nic. ii. 296, 
"that by the Greeks the words 7€v?jtos and ytvvr\Tos are used promiscuously; although the Catholic writers of 
the Church for the most part, especially such as lived after the third century, distinguished more accurately be- 
tween them, in the question of the divinity of the Son ;" but Lightfoot (Ignatius, vol. 2. p. 90 ff. 2nd edit.) has 
shewn by many citations that such writers always felt the distinction between ayevrnros and aytrnros. Thus 
'A7tVjjToj (unmade), but not 'Ayiworos, could be applied to the Son. But the instances in which the one word 
has been miswritten or misprinted lor the other are too numerous to mention. Of course the contemporary 
philosophy could not enter into this distinction : still it is worth noticing that Plotinus uses ay^vwros of the 
Supreme Being: Ennead V. iii. (p. 517) ; and Celsus the Neoplatonist uses it of his eternal world (Origen, 
e. Cels. according to the text of the Philocalia, i.e. the edition of Basil and Greg. Naz.). 



BOOK II. 



§ t. The second book declares the Incarnation of 
God the Word, and the faith delivered by the 
Lord to His disciples, and asserts that the 
heretics who endeavour to overthrow this faith 
and devise other additional names are of their 
father the devil. 

The Christian Faith, which in accordance 
with the command of our Lord has been 
preached to all nations by His disciples, is 
neither of men, nor by men, but by our Lord 
Jesus Christ Himself, Who being the Word, the 
Life, the Light, the Truth, and God, and Wis- 
dom, and all else that He is by nature, for this 
cause above all was made in the likeness of 
man, and shared our nature, becoming like us 
in all things, yet without sin. He was like us in 
all things, in that He took upon Him manhood 
in its entirety with soul and body, so that our 
salvation was accomplished by means of both : 
—He, I say, appeared on earth and "conversed 
with men I ," that men might no longer have 
opinions according to their own notions about 
the Self-existent, formulating into a doctrine 
the hints that come to them from vague con- 
jectures, but that we might be convinced that 
God has truly been manifested in the flesh, and 
believe that to be the only true " mystery of 
godliness 2 ," which was delivered to tis by the 
very Word and God, Who by Himself spake to 
His Apostles, and that we might receive the 
teaching concerning the transcendent nature 
of the Deity which is given to us, as it were, 
" through a glass darkly 3 " from the older 
Scriptures, — from the Law, and the Prophets, 
and the Sapiential Books, as an evidence of 
the truth fully revealed to us, reverently ac- 
cepting the meaning of the th.ngs which have 
been spoken, so as to accord in the faith set 
forth by the Lord of the whole Scriptures «, 
which faith we guard as we received it, word 
for word, in purity, without falsification, 
judging even a slight divergence from the 



1 Bar iii. 37. 2 1 Tim. iii. 16. 3 1 Cor. xiii. 12. 

4 This is perhaps the force of tw oAwi/ : " the Lord of the Old 
Covenant as well as of the New." But tiIii/ oKiav may mean simply 
"the Universe." 



words delivered to us an extreme blasphemy 
and impiety. We believe, then, even as the 
Lord set forth the Faith to His Disciples, when 
He said, "Go, teach all nations, baptizing them 
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and 
of the Holy Ghost 5 ." This is the word of the 
mystery whereby through the new birth from 
above our nature is transformed from the cor- 
ruptible to the incorruptible, being renewed 
from "the old man," " according to the image 
of Him who created 6 " at the beginning the 
likeness to the Godhead. In the Faith then 
which was delivered by God to the Apostles we 
admit neither subtraction, nor alteration, nor 
addition, knowing assuredly that he who pre- 
sumes to pervert the Divine utterance by dis- 
honest quibbling, the same "is of his father the 
devil," who leaves the words of truth and 
" speaks of his own," becoming the father of a 
lie 7. For whatsoever is said otherwise than in 
exact accord with the truth is assuredly false 
and not true. 

§ 2. Gregory then makes an explanation atle?igth 
touching the eternal Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Spirit. 

Since then this doctrine is put forth by the 
Truth itself, it follows that anything which the 
inventors of pestilent heresies devise besides to 
subvert this Divine utterance, — as, for example, 
calling the Father " Maker" and " Creator" of 
the Son instead of " Father," and the Son a 
" result," a "creature," a " product," instead of 
" Son," and the Holy Spirit the " creature of a 
creature," and the "product of a product," 
instead of His proper title the " Spirit," and 
whatever those who fight against God are 
pleased to say of Him,—, all such fancies we 
term a denial and violation of the Godhead 
revealed to us in this doctrine. For once for 
all we have learned from the Lord, through 
Whom comes the transformation of our nature 
from mortality to immortality, — from Him, I 
say, we have learned to what we ought to look 



5 S. Matt, xxviii. 19. 6 Cf. Col. iii. 

7 Cf. S. John viii. 44. 



102 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



with the eyes of our understanding, — that is, 
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We 
say that it is a terrible and soul-destroying 
thing to misinterpret these Divine utterances 
and to devise in their stead assertions to sub- 
vert them, — assertions pretending to correct 
God the Word, Who appointed that we should 
maintain these statements as part of our faith. 
For each of these titles understood in its 
natural sense becomes for Christians a rule of 
truth and a law of piety. For while there are 
many other names by which Deity is indicated 
in the Historical Books, in the Prophets and in 
the Law, our Master Christ passes by all these 
and commits to us these titles as better able to 
bring us to the faith about the Self Existent, 
declaring that it suffices us to cling to the title, 
" Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," in order to 
attain to the apprehension of Him Who is 
absolutely Existent, Who is one and yet not 
one. In regard to essence He is one, where- 
fore the Lord ordained that we should look to 
one Name : but in regard to the attributes in- 
dicative of the Persons, our belief in Him is 
distinguished into belief in the Father, the Son, 
and the Holy Ghost 8 ; He is divided without 
separation, and united without confusion. For 
when we hear the title "Father" we apprehend 
the meaning to be this, that the name is not 
understood with reference to itself alone, but 
also by its special signification indicates the 
relation to the Son. For the term "Father" 
would have no meaning apart by itself, if 
" Son " were not connoted by the utterance of 
the word " Father." When, then, we learnt the 
name "Father" we were taught at the same 
time, by the selfsame title, faith also in the 
Son. Now since Deity by its very nature is 
permanently and immutably the same in all 
that pertains to its essence, nor did it at any 
time fail to be anything that it now is, nor will 
it at any future time be anything that it now is 
not, and since He Who is the very Father was 
named Father by the Word, and since in the 
Father the Son is implied, — since these things 
are so, we of necessity believe that He Who 
admits no change or alteration in His nature 
was always entirely what He is now, or, if 
there is anything which He was not, that He 
assuredly is not now. Since then He is named 
Father by the very Word, He assuredly always 
rvas Father, and is and will be even as He was. 
For surely it is not lawful in speaking of the 
Divine and unimpaired Essence to deny that 
what is excellent always belonged to It. For 
if He was not always what He now is, He cer- 
tainly changed either from the better to the 

8 Or, somewhat more literally, "He admits of distinction into 
v >elie in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, being divided," 



worse or from the worse to the better, and of 
these assertions the impiety is equal either 
way, whichever statement is made concerning 
the Divine nature. But in fact the Deity is 
incapable of change and alteration. So, then, 
everything that is excellent and good is always 
contemplated in the fountain of excellency. 
But " the Only-begotten God, Who is in the 
bosom of the Father 9" is excellent, and be- 
yond all excellency : — mark you, He says, 
"Who is in the bosom of the Father," not 
" Who came to be " there. 

Well then, it has been demonstrated by these 
proofs that the Son is from all eternity to be con- 
templated in the Father, in Whom He is, being 
Life and Light and Truth, and every noble name 
and conception— to say that the Father ever 
existed by Himself apart from these attributes 
is a piece of the utmost impiety and infatua- 
tion. For if the Son, as the Scripture saith, is 
the Power of God, and Wisdom, and Truth, 
and Light, and Sanctification, and Peace, and 
Life, and the like, then before the Son existed, 
according to the view of the heretics, these 
things also had no existence at all. And if 
these things had no existence they must cer- 
tainly conceive the bosom of the Father to 
have been devoid of such excellences. To 
the end, then, that the Father might not be 
conceived as destitute of the excellences which 
are His own, and that the doctrine might not 
run wild into this extravagance, the right faith 
concerning the Son is necessarily included in 
our Lord's utterance with the contemplation 
of the eternity of the Father. And for this 
reason He passes over all those names which 
are employed to indicate the surpassing ex- 
cellence of the Divine nature ', and delivers 
to us as part of our profession of faith 
the title of "Father" as better suited to 
indicate the truth, being a title which, as has 
been said, by its relative sense connotes 
with itself the Son, while the Son, Who is 
in the Father, always is what He essentially 
is, as has been said already, because the 
Deity by Its very nature does not admit of 
augmentation. For It does not perceive any 
other good outside of Itself, by participation in 
which It could acquire any accession, but is 
always immutable, neither casting away what 
It has, nor acquiring what It has not : for none 
of Its properties are such as to be cast away. 
And if there is anything whatsoever blessed, 
unsullied, true and good, associated with Him 
and in Him, we see of necessity that the good 
and holy Spirit must belong to Him 2 , not 

9 S. John i. 18. 

1 That nature which transcends our conceptions (i»7rtp«i/Li«iT>). 

* Or " be conjoined with such attribute : " avru probably refers, 
like jrepi avrbv xai iv avT<i just above, to 0e(k or to Octov, 0U ( it 
may conceivably refer to el ti ixaxapiov, K.r.K. 



AGAINST EUN0M1US. BOOK II. 



103 



by way of accretion. That Spirit is indis- 
putably a princely Spirit 3, a quickening Spirit, 
the controlling and sanctifying force of all 
creation, the Spirit that "worketh all in all" as 
He wills 4 . Thus we conceive no gap between 
the anointed Christ and His anointing, between 
the King and His sovereignty, between Wisdom 
and the Spirit of Wisdom, between Truth and 
the Spirit of Truth, between Power and the Spirit 
of Power, but as there is contemplated from all 
eternity in the Father the Son, Who is Wisdom 
and Truth, and Counsel, and Might, and Know- 
ledge, and Understanding, so there is also con- 
templated in Him the Holy Spirit, Who is the 
Spirit of Wisdom, and of Truth, and of Counsel, 
and of Understanding, and all else that the Son 
is and is called. For which reason we say that 
to the holy disciples the mystery of godliness 
was committed in a form expressing at once 
union and distinction, — that we should believe 
on the Name of the Father, and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Ghost. For the differentiation 
of the subsistences 5 makes the distinction of 
Persons 6 clear and free from confusion, while 
the one Name standing in the forefront of the 
declaration of the Faith clearly expounds to 
us the unity of essence of the Persons 6 Whom 
the Faith declares, — I mean, of the Father, 
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. For 
by these appellations we are taught not a differ- 
ence of nature, but only the special attributes 
that mark the subsistences 5, so that we know 
that neither is the Father the Son, nor the 
Son the Father, nor the Holy Spirit either the 
Father or the Son, and recognize each by the 
distinctive mark of His Personal Subsistence?, 
in illimitable perfection, at once contemplated 
by Himself and not divided from that with 
Which He is connected. 

§ 3. Gregory proceeds to discuss the relative force of 
the unnameable name of the Holy Trinity and 
the mutual relation of the Persons, and more- 
over the unknowable character of the Essence, 
and the condescension on His part toivards us, 
His generation of the Virgin, and His second 
coming, the resurrection from the dead and 
future retribution. 

What then means that unnameable name con- 
cerning which the Lord said, " Baptizing them 
into the name," and did not add the actual sig- 
nificant term which "the name" indicates? 
We have concerning it this notion, that all 
things that exist in the creation are defined by 
means of their several names. Thus whenever 
a man speaks of "heaven" he directs the notion 

3 yyenoviKov. Cf. Ps. li. 12 in LXX. (Spiritus principalis in 
Vulg., "free spirit" in the "Authorised" Version, and in the 
Prayer-book Version), 



* Cf. 1 Cor. xii. 6. 
7 i/7roora<rtius. 



5 inrovTaatuv. 



TrpevwTruiv. 



of the hearer to the created object indicated 
by this name, and he who mentions "man " or 
some animal, at once by the mention of the 
name impresses upon the hearer the form ot 
the creature, and in the same way all other 
things, by means of the names imposed upon 
them, are depicted in the heart of him who by 
hearing receives the appellation imposed upon 
the thing. The uncreated Nature alone, which 
we acknowledge in the Father, and in the Son, 
and in the Holy Spirit, surpasses all significance 
of names. For this cause the Word, when He 
spoke of " the name " in delivering the Faith, 
did not add what it is, — for how could a name 
be found for that which is above every name ? 
— but gave authority that whatever name our 
intelligence by pious effort be enabled to 
discover to indicate the transcendent Nature, 
that name should be applied alike to Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost, whether it be " the 
Good " or " the Incorruptible," whatever name 
each may think proper to be employed to indi- 
cate the undefiled Nature of Godhead. And 
by this deliverance the Word seems to me to 
lay down for us this law, that we are to be per- 
suaded that the Divine Essence is ineffable 
and incomprehensible : for it is plain that the 
title of Father does not present to us the 
Essence, but only indicates the relation to the 
Son. It follows, then, that if it were possible 
for human nature to be taught the essence of 
God, He " Who will have all men to be saved 
and to come to the knowledge of the truth 8 " 
would not have suppressed the knowledge 
upon this matter But as it is, by saying 
nothing concerning the Divine Essence, He 
showed that the knowledge thereof is beyond 
our power, while when we have learnt that of 
which we are capable, we stand in no need of 
the knowledge beyond our capacity, as we have 
in the profession of faith in the doctrine de- 
livered to us what suffices for our salvation. 
For to learn that He is the absolutely existent, 
together with Whom, by the relative force of 
the term, there is also declared the majesty of 
the Son, is the fullest teaching of gouliness ; 
the Son,- as has been said, implying in close 
union with Himself the Spirit of Life and 
Truth, inasmuch as He is Himself Life and 
Truth. 

These distinctions being thus established, 
while we anathematize all heretical fancies in 
the sphere of divine doctrines, we believe, 
even as we were taught by the voice of the 
Lord, in the Name of the Father and of the 
Son and of the Holy Ghost, acknowledging 
together with this faith also the dispensation 
that has been set on foot on behalf of men 

8 1 Tim. ii. 4. 



T04 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



by the Lord of the creation. For He " being 
in the form of God thought it not robbery to 
be equal with God,, but made Himself of no 
reputation, and took upon Him the form of 
a servant 9," and being incarnate in the Holy 
Virgin redeemed us, from death "in which 
we were held," " sold under sin '," giving as 
the ransom for the deliverance of our souls 
His precious blood which He poured out by 
T-Tis Cross, and having through Himself made 
clear for us the path of the resurrection 2 from 
the dead, shall come in His own time in the 
glory of the Father to judge every soul in 
righteousness, when " all that are in the graves 
shall hear His voice, and shall come forth, 
they that have done good unto the resurrection 
of life, and they that have done evil unto the 
resurrection of damnations." But that the 
pernicious heresy that is now being sown 
broadcast by Eunomius may not, by falling 
upon the mind of some of the simpler sort 
and being left without investigation, do harm 
to guileless faith, we are constrained to set 
forth the profession which they circulate and 
to strive to expose the mischief of their 
teaching. 

§ 4. He next skilfully confutes the partial, empty 
and blasphemous statement of Eunomius on 
the subject of the absolutely existent. 

Now the wording of their doctrine is as 
follows: " We believe in the one and only true 
God, according to the teaching of the Lord 
Himself, not honouring Him with a lying title 
(for He cannot lie), but really existent, one God 
in nature and in glory, who is without begin- 
ning, eternally, without end, alone." Let not 
him who professes to believe in accordance with 
the teaching of the Lord pervert the exposition 
of the faith that was made concerning the 
Lord of all to suit his own fancy, but himself 
follow the utterance of the truth. Since then, 
i he expression of the Faith comprehends the 
name of the Father and of the Son and of 
the Holy Ghost, what agreement has this con- 
struction of theirs to show with the utterances 
of the Lord, so as to refer such a doctrine 
to the teaching of those utterances? They 
cannot manage to show where in the Gospels 
the Lord said that we should believe on " the 
one and only true God:" unless they have 



some new Gospel. For the Gospels which 
are read in the churches continuously from 
ancient times to the present day, do not 
contain this saying which tells us that we 
should believe in or baptize into " the one 
and only true God," as these people say, 
but "in the name of the Father and of the 
Son and of the Holy Ghost." But as we 
were taught by the voice of the Lord, this 
we say, that the word " one " does not indicate 
the Father alone, but comprehends in its 
significance the Son with the Father, inasmuch 
as the Lord said, "I and My Father are one 4 ." 
In like manner also the name " God " belongs 
equally to the Beginning in which the Word 
was, and to the Word Who was in the 
Beginning. For the Evangelist tells us that 
"the Word was with God, and the Word was 
God s." So that when Deity is expressed the 
Son is included no less than the Father. 
Moreover, the true cannot be conceived as 
something alien from and unconnected with 
the truth. But that the Lord is the Truth no 
one at all will dispute, unless he be one 
estranged from the truth. If, then, the Word 
is in the One, and is God and Truth, as is 
proclaimed in the Gospels, on what teaching 
of the Lord does he base his doctrine who 
makes use of these distinctive terms ? For the 
antithesis is between "only" and "not only," 
between "God" and "no God," between "true" 
and " untrue." If it is with respect to idols that 
they make their distinction of phrases, we too 
agree. For the name of "deity" is given, in 
an equivocal sense, to the idols of the heathen, 
seeing that " all the gods of the heathen are 
demons," and in another sense marks the con- 
trast of the one with the many, of the true with 
the false, of those who are not Gods with Him 
who is God 6 . But if the contrast is one with 
the Only-begotten God ?, let our sages learn 
that truth has its opposite only in falsehood, 
and God in one who is not God. But inas- 
much as the Lord Who is the Truth is God, and 
is in the Father and is one relatively to the 
Father 8 , there is no room in the true doctrine 
for these distinctions of phrases. For he who 
truly believes in the One sees in the One Him 
Who is completely united with Him in truth, 
and deity, and essence, and life, and wisdom, 
and in all attributes whatsoever : or, if he does 
not see in the One Him Who is all these it si 



9 Phil. ii. 6. 

1 Or, "111 which we were held by sin, being sold." The 
reference is to Rom. vii. 7 and 14, bin wiih the variation of virb 
T>jj a/iapria? for vwb rrjv dp-apriav, and a change in the order 
of the words. 

2 A similar phrase is to be found in Book V. With both may 
be compared tne language 01 the Eucharistic Prayer in the 
Liturgy of S. Basil (where the context corresponds to some extent 
with that of either passag  in S. 1 licgory): — icai deacrTas TJj rpCrrj 
'?M e P« ; ko.1 66o7rot);<ras n-dcrjj aapxi t>ji/ ex vncputy dvaaTaaiv, k.t.A. 

3 S. John v. 29. 



4 S. John x. 30. 5 S. John i. 1. 

6 Or, possibly, "and the contrast he makes between the one 
and the many, &c. is irrelevant" (dAAojt avTiSiaipci) : the quotation 
is from Ps. xcvi. 6(LXX.). 

7 Cf. S. John i. 18, reading (as S.Gregory seems to have done) 
fleds lor uios. 

8 «ai iv n-pbs rbv irare'pa okto;. It may be questioned whether 
the text is sound: the phrase seems unusual ; perhaps iv has been 
inserted in error from the preceding clause «ai iv Tip -rraTpi oitos, 
and we should read " is in the Father and is with the lather " fct. 
the 2 n, ' verse of the i" 1 Epistle, and verses 1 and 2 ol the Gospel of 
S. John). 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK II. 



ic 



in nothing that he believes. For without the 
Son the Father has neither existence nor name, 
any more than the Powerful without Power, or 
the Wise without Wisdom. For Christ is " the 
Power of God and the Wisdom of God9;" so 
that he who imagines he sees the One God 
apart from power, truth, wisdom, life, or the 
true light, either sees nothing at all or else 
assuredly that which is evil. For the with- 
drawal of the good attributes becomes a 
positing and origination of evil. 

" Not honouring Him," he says, " with a lying 
title, for He cannot lie." By that phrase I pray 
that Eunomius may abide, and so bear witness 
to the truth that it cannot lie. For if he would 
be of this mind, that everything that is uttered 
by the Lord is far removed from falsehood, he 
will of course be persuaded that He speaks 
the truth Who sa\s, " I am in the Father, and 
the Father in Me I ," — plainly, the One in His 
entirety, in the Other in His entirety, the Father 
not superabounding in the Son, the Son not 
being deficient in the Father, — and Who savs 
a^o that the Son should be honoured as the 
Father is honoured 2 , and " He that hath seen 
Me hath seen the Father 3," and " no man 
knoweth the Father save the Son 4 ," in all 
which passages there is no hint given to those 
who receive these declarations as genuine, 
of any variation 5 of glory, or of essence, or 
anything else, between the Father and the Son. 
"Really existent," he says, "one God in 
nature and in glory." Real existence is op- 
posed to unreal existence. Now each of 
existing things is really existent in so far as 
it is ; but that which, so far as appearance and 
suggestion go, seems to be, but is not, this is 
iK t really existent, as for example an appearance 
n a dream or a man in a picture. For these 
and such like things, though they exist so far 
as appearance is concerned, have not real exist- 
ence. If then they maintain, in accordance 
with the Jewish opinion, that the Only-begotten 
<iod does not exist at all, they are right in pre- 
dicating real existence of the Father alone. 
Hut if they do not deny the existence of the 
Maker of all things, let them be content not to 
deprive of real existence Him Who is, Who in 
the Divine appearance to Moses gave Himself 
the name of Existent, when He said, " I am that 
I am 6 :" even as Eunomius in his later argument 
agrees with this, saying that it was He Who 
appeared to Moses. Then he says that God is 
"one in nature and in glory." Whether God 
exists without being by nature God, he who 
uses these words may perhaps know : but if it 
be true that he who is not by nature God is not 



9 i Cor. i. 24. 1 S. John xiv. 10. 2 Cf. S. John v. 23. 

3 S. John xiv. 9. *S. Matt. xi. 27. 5 mipaAAayjj (Cf. 

S. James i. 17). 6 Or " I am He that is," Ex. iii. 14. 



God at all, let them learn from the great Paul 
that they who serve those who are not Gods do 
not serve God 7." But we "serve the living 
and true God," as the Apostle says 8 : and He 
Whom we serve is Jesus the Christ'. For 
Him the Apostle Paul even exults in serving, 
saying, " Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ I ." 
We then, who no longer serve them which 
by nature are no Gods 2 , have come to the 
knowledge of Him Who by nature is God, to 
Whom every knee boweth " of things in heaven 
and things in earth and things under the 
earth 3." But we should not have been His 
servants had we not believed that this is the 
living and true God, to Whom " every tongue 
maketh confession that Jesus is Lord to the 
glory of God the Father 3." 

" God," he says, " Who is without begin- 
ning, eternally, without end, alone." Once 
more "understand, ye simple ones," as Solo- 
mon says, " his subtlety *," lest haply ye 
be deceived and fall headlong into the denial 
of the Godhead of the Only-begotten Son. 
That is without end which admits not of 
death and decay : that, likewise, is called ever- 
lasting which is not only for a time. That, 
therefore, which is neither everlasting nor with- 
out end is surely seen in the nature which is 
perishable and mortal. Accordingly he who 
predicates "unendingness " of the one and 
only God, and does not include the Son in the 
assertion of "unendingness" and "eternity," 
maintains by such a proposition, that He Whom 
he thus contrasts with the eternal and unending 
is perishable and temporary. But we, even 
when we are told that God "only hath immor- 
tality s," understand by " immortality" the Son. 
For life is immortality, and the Lord is that 
life, Who said, "I am the Life 6 ." And if He 
be said to dwell " in the light that no man can 
approach unto s," again we make no difficulty 
in understanding that the true Light, unap- 
proachable by falsehood, is the Only-begotten, 
in Whom we learn from the Truth itself that the 
Father is ?. Of these opinions let the reader 
choose the more devout, whether we are to 
think of the Only-begotten in a manner worthy 
of the Godhead, or to call Him, as heresy pre- 
scribes, perishable and temporary. 

§ 5. He next marvellously overthrows the un- 
intelligible statements of Eunomius which 
assert that the essence of the Father is 7iot 
separated or divided, and does not become any- 
thing else. 

" We believe in God," he tells us, " not separ- 



7 The reference seems to be to Gal. iv. 8. 8 i Thess. i. IO- 
9 There is perhaps a reference here to Col. iii. 24. 
1 Rom. i. 1. 2 Cf. Gal. iv. 8. 3 Cf. Phil. ii. 10. n. 

4 Prov. viii. 5 (Septuagint). 5 1 Tim. vi. 16. 

6 S. John xiv. 6. 7 S John xiv. n. 



io6 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



ated as regards the essence wherein He is one, 
into more than one, or becoming sometimes 
one and sometimes another, or changing from 
being what He is, or passing from one essence 
to assume the guise of a threefold personality : 
for He is always and absolutely one, remaining 
uniformly and unchangeably the only God." 
From these citations the discreet reader may 
well separate first of all the idle words inserted 
in the statement without any meaning from 
those which appear to have some sense, and 
afterwards examine the meaning that is dis- 
coverable in what remains of his statement, to 
ascertain whether it is compatible with due 
reverence towards Christ. 

The first, then, of the statements cited is 
completely divorced from any intelligible 
meaning, good or bad. For what sense 
there is in the words, "not separated, as 
regards the essence wherein He is one, into 
more than one, or becoming sometimes one 
and sometimes another, or changing from 
being what He is," Eunomius himself could 
not tell us, and I do not think that any of 
his allies could find in the words any shadow 
of meaning. When he speaks of Him as " not 
separated in regard to the essence wherein He 
is one," he says either that He is not separated 
from His own essence, or that His own essence 
is not divided from Him. This unmeaning 
statement is nothing but a random combina- 
tion of noise and empty sound. And why 
should one spend time in the investigation of 
these meaningless expressions? For how does 
any one remain in existence when separated 
from his own essence ? or how is the essence 
of anything divided and displayed apart? Or 
how is k possible for one to depart from that 
wherein he is, and become another, getting out- 
side himself? But he adds, " not passing from 
one essence to assume the guise of three per- 
sons : for He is always and absolutely one, 
remaining uniformly and unchangeably the 
only God." I think the absence of meaning 
in his statement is plain to every one without 
a word from me : against this let any one argue 
who thinks there is any sense or meaning in 
what he says : he who has an eye to discern 
the force of words will decline to involve him- 
self in a struggle with unsubstantial shadows. 
For what force has it against our doctrine to 
say " not separated or divided into more than 
one as regards the essence wherein He is one, 
or becoming sometimes one and sometimes 
another, or passing from one essence to assume 
the guise of three persons?"— things that 
are neither said nor believed by Christians nor 
understood by inference from the truths we 
confess. For who ever said or heard any one 
else say in the Church of God, that the I ather 



is either separated or divided as regards His 
essence, or becomes sometimes one. sometimes 
another, coming to be outside Himself, or 
assumes the guise of three persons ? These 
things Eunomius says to himself, not arguing 
with us but stringing together his own trash, 
mixing with the impiety of his utterances a 
great deal of absurdity. For we say that it is 
equally impious and ungodly to call the Lord 
of the creation a created being and to think 
that the Father, in that He is, is separated or 
split up, or departs from Himself, or assumes 
the guise of three persons, like clay or wax 
moulded in various shapes. 

But let us examine the words that follow : 
" He is always and absolutely one, remain- 
ing uniformly and unchangeably the only 
God." If he is speaking about the Father, 
we agree with him, for the Father is most 
truly one, alone and always absolutely uni- 
form and unchangeable, never at any time 
present or future ceasing to be what He is. 
If then such an assertion as this has regard 
to the Father, let him not contend with the 
doctrine of godliness, inasmuch as on this 
point he is in harmony with the Church. For 
he who confesses that the Father is always and 
unchangeably the same, being one and only 
God, holds fast the word of godliness, if in the 
Father he sees the Son, without Whom the 
Father neither is nor is named. But if he is 
inventing some other God besides the Father, 
let him dispute with the Jews or with those 
who are called Hypsistiani, between whom and 
the Christians there is this difference, that they 
acknowledge that there is a God Whom they 
term the Highest 8 or Almighty, but do not 
admit that he is Father ; while a Christian, if 
he believe not in the Father, is no Christian 
at all. 

§ 6. He then shows the unity of the Son with 
the Father and Eunomius" lack of understanding 
and knowledge in the Scriptures. 

What he adds next after this is as follows : — 
"Having no sharer," he says, "in His Godhead, 
no divider of His glory, none who has lot in 
His power, or part in His royal throne : for 
He is the one and only God, the Almighty, 
God of Gods, King of Kings, Lord of Lords." 
I know not to whom Eunomius refers when he 
protests that the Father admits none to share 
His Godhead with Himself. For if he uses 
such expressions with reference to vain idols 
and to the erroneous concej tions of those who 
worship them (even as Paul assures us that 
there is no agreement between Christ and 
Belial, and no fellowship between the temple 



8 \><ln<nov, whence the name of the sect. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK II. 



107 



of Cod and idols 9) we agree with him. 
But if by these assertions he means to sever 
the Only-begotten God from the Godhead of 
the Father, let him be informed that he is pro- 
viding us with a dilemma that may be turned 
against himself to refute his own impiety. For 
either he denies the Only-begotten God to be 
God at all, that he may preserve for the Father 
those prerogatives of deity which (according to 
him) are incapable of being shared with the 
Son, and thus is convicted as a transgressor by 
denying the God Whom Christians worship, or 
if he were to grant that the Son also is God, 
yet not agreeing in nature with the true God, 
he would be necessarily obliged to acknow- 
ledge that he maintains Gods sundered from 
one another by the difference of their natures. 
Let him choose which of these he will, — either 
to deny the Godhead of the Son, or to intro 
duce into his creed a plurality of Gods. For 
whichever of these he chooses, it is all one as 
regards impiety : for we who are initiated into 
the mystery of godliness by the Divinely in- 
spired words of the Scripture do not see 
between the Father and the Son a partner- 
ship of Godhead, but unity, inasmuch as the 
Lord hath taught us this by His own words, 
when He saith, " I and the Father are one 1 ," 
and "he that hath seen Me hath seen the 
Father 2 ." For if He were not of the same 
nature as the Father, how could He either 
have had in Himself that which was different 3 ? 
or how could He have shown in Himself that 
which was unlike, if the foreign and alien 
nature did not receive the stamp of that which 
was of a different kind from itself? But he 
says, "nor has He a divider of His glory." 
Herein he speaks in accordance with the fact, 
even though he does not know what he is say- 
ing : for the Son does not divide the glory 
with the Father, but has the glory of the Father 
in its entirety, even as the Father has all the 
glory of the Son. For thus He spake to the 
Father " All Mine are Thine and Thine are 
Mine 3 ." Wherefore also He says that He will 
appear on the Judgment Day " in the glory of 
the Father 4," when He will render to every 
man according to his works. And by this 
phrase He shows the unity of nature that sub- 
sists between them. For as " there is one 
glory of the sun and another glory of the 
moon s," because of the difference between the 
natures of those luminaries (since if both had 
the same glory there would not be deemed to 
be any difference in their nature), so He Who 
foretold of Himself that He would appear in 
the glory of the Father indicated by the iden- 
tity of glory their community of nature. 

9 Cf. 2 Cor. vi. 15, 16. » S. John x. 3a. a S. John xiv. 9. 

3 S. John xvii. 10. 4 S. Marx viii. 38. 5 1 Cor. xv. 41. 



But to say that the Son has no part in His 
Father's royal throne argues an extraordinary 
amount of research into the oracles of God on 
the part of Eunomius, who, after his extreme 
devotion to the inspired Scriptures, has not yet 
heard, " Seek those things which are above, 
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of 
God 6 ," and many similar passages, of which it 
would not be easy to reckon up the number, 
but which Eunomius has never learnt, and so 
denies that the Son is enthroned together with 
the Father. Again the phrase, " not having lot 
in his power," we should rather pass by as un- 
meaning than confute as ungodly. For what 
sense is attached to the term " having lot" is 
not easy to discover from the common use of 
the word. Those cast lots, as the Scripture 
tells us, for the Lord's vesture, who were un- 
willing to rend His garment, but disposed to 
make it over to that one of their number in 
whose favour the lot should decide ?. They 
then who thus cast lots among themselves for 
the " coat " may be said, perhaps, to " have 
had lot " in it But here in the case of the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, inasmuch 
as Their power resides in Their nature (for the 
Holy Spirit breathes " where He listeth 8 ," and 
" worketh all in all as He will 9," and the Son, 
by Whom all things were made, visible and 
invisible, in heaven and in earth, " did all 
things whatsoever He pleased x ," and " quick- 
eneth whom He will 2 ," and the Father put 
"the times in His own powers," while from 
the mention of " times" we conclude that all 
things done in time are subject to the power 
of the Father), if, I say, it has been demon- 
strated that the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Spirit alike are in a position of power 
to do what They will, it is impossible to 
see what sense there can be in the phrase 
"having lot in His power." For the heir of 
all things, the maker of the ages *, He Who 
shines with the Father's glory and expresses in 
Himself the Fathers person, has all tnings that 
the Father Himself has, and is possessor of all 
His power, not that the right is transferred 
from the Father to the Son, but that it at once 
remains in the Father and resides in the Son. 
For He Who is in the Father is manitestly in 
the Father with all His own might, and He 
Who has the Father in Himself includes all 
the power and might of the Father. For He 
has in Himself all the Father, and not merely 
a part of Him : and He Who has Him entirely 
assuredly has His power as well. With what 
meaning, then, Eunomius asserts that the Father 
has " none who has lot in His power," those 



6 Col. iii. i. 7 Cf. S. John xix. 23, 24. 8 S. John iii. 8. 

9 Cf. 1 Cor. xii. 6 and 11. x Ps. cxxav. 6. 2 S.John v. 21. 

3 Acts i. 7. * Cf. Heb. i. 2. 



ioS 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



perhaps can tell who are disciples of his folly : 
one who knows how to appreciate language 
confesses that he cannot understand phrases 
•divorced from meaning. The Father, he says, 
" has none Who has lot in His power." Why, 
who is there that says that the Father and Son 
■contend together for power and cast lots to 
decide the matter? But the holy Eunomius 
comes as mediator between them and by a 
friendly agreement without lot assigns to the 
Father the superiority in power. 

Mark, I pray you, the absurdity and child- 
ishness of this grovelling exposition of his 
articles of faith. What ! He Who " upholds 
all things by the word of His powers," Who 
says what He wills to be done, and does what 
He wills by the very power of that command, 
He Whose power lags not behind His will and 
Whose will is the measure of His power (for 
" He spake the word and they were made, He 
commanded and they were created 6 "), He 
Who made all things by Himself, and made 
them consist in Himself ?, without Whom no 
existing thing either came into being or remains 
in being. — He it is Who waits to obtain His 
power by some process of allotment ! Judge 
vou who hear whether the man who talks like 
this is in his senses. "For He is the one and 
only God, the Almighty," he says. If by the 
title of " Almighty" he intends the Father, the 
language he uses is ours, and no strange lan- 
guage : but if he means some other God than 
the Father, let our patron of Jewish doctrines 
preach circumcision too, if he pleases. For 
the Faith of Christians is directed to the 
Father. And the Father is all these — Highest, 
Almighty, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, 
and in a word all terms of highest significance 
are proper to the Father. But all that is the 
Father's is the Son's also ; so that, on this 
understanding 8 , we admit this phrase too. 
But if, leaving the Father, he speaks of another 
Almighty, he is speaking the language of the 
Jews or following the speculations of Plato, — 
for they say that that philosopher also affirms 
that there exists on high a maker and creator 
of certain subordinate gods. As then in the 
case of the Jewish and Platonic opinions 
he who does not believe in God the Father 
is not a Christian, even though in his creed 
he asserts an Almighty God, so Eunomius 
also falsely pretends to the name of Chris- 
tian, being in inclination a Jew, or asserting 
the doctrines of the Greeks while putting 
on the guise of the title borne by Chris- 
tians. And with regard to the next points 



5 Heb. i. 3. ' Ps. cxlviii. 5. or xxxiii. y in LXX. 

7 Cf. Col. i. 16 and rj. 

8 " If this is so : " i.e. if Eunomius means his words in a Chris- 
tian sense. 



he asserts the same account will apply. He 
says He is " God of Gods." We make the 
declaration our own by adding the name of 
the Father, knowing that the Father is God of 
Gods. But all that belongs to the Father cer- 
tainly belongs also to the Son. " And Lord of 
Lords." The same account will apply to this. 
" And Most High over all the earth." Yes, for 
whichever of the Three Persons you are think- 
ing of, He is Most High over all the earth, 
inasmuch as the oversight of earthly things 
from on high is exercised alike by the Father, 
and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. So, too, 
with what follows the words above, " Most 
High in the heavens, Most High in the highest, 
Heavenly, true in being what He is, and so 
continuing, true in words, true in works." 
Why, all these things the Christian eye discerns 
alike in the Father, the Son, and the Holy- 
Ghost. If Eunomius does assign them to one 
only of the Persons acknowledged in the creed, 
let him dare to call Him " not true in words" 
Who has said, "I am the Truth 9," or to call the 
Spirit of truth " not true in words," or let him 
refuse to give- the title of " true in works" to 
Him Who doeth righteousness and judgment, 
or to the Spirit Who worketh all in all as He 
will. For if he does not acknowledge that 
these attributes belong to the Persons delivered 
to us in the creed, he is absolutely cancelling 
the creed of Christians: For how shall any one 
think Him a worthy object of faith Who is 
false in words and untrue in works. 

But let us proceed to what follows. " Above 
all rule, subjection and authority," he says. 
This language is ours, and belongs properly 
to the Catholic Church, — to believe that tire 
Divine nature is above all rule, and that it has 
in subordination to itself everything that can 
be conceived among existing things. But the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost constitute 
the Divine nature. If he assigns this property 
to the Father alone, and if he affirms Him 
alone to be free from variableness and change, 
and if he says that He alone is undefiled. the 
inference that we are meant to draw is plain, 
namely, that He who has not these characteris- 
tics is variable, corruptible, subject to change 
and decay. This, then, is what Eunomius 
asserts of the Son and the Holy Spirit : for if 
he did not hold this opinion concerning the 
Son and the Spirit, he would not have em- 
ployed this opposition, contrasting the Father 
with them. For the rest, brethren, judge 
whether, with these sentiments, he is not a 
persecutor of the Christian faith. For who 
will allow it to be right to deem that a fitting 
object of reverence which varies, changes, and 

9 S. John xiv. 6. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK II. 



109 



is subject to decay ? So then the whole aim of 
one who frames such notions as these, — notions 
by which he makes out that neither the Truth 
nor the Spirit of Truth is undefiled, unvarying, 
or unchangeable, — is to expel from the Church 
the belief in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. 

§ 7. Gregory further shows that the Only-begotten 
being begotten not only 0/ the Father, but also 
impassibly of the Virgin by the Holy Ghost, 
does not divide the substance; seeing that 
neither is the nature of men divided or severed 
from the parents by being begotten, as is in- 
geniously demonstrated from the instances of 
Adam and Abraham. 

And now let us see what he adds to his 
previous statements. " Not dividing," he says, 
" His own. essence by begetting, and being at 
once begetter and begotten, at the same time 
Father and Son ; for He is incorruptible." Of 
such a kind as this, perhaps, is that of which 
the prophet says, touching the ungodly, " They 
weave a spider's web 1 ." For as in the cob- 
web there is the appearance of something 
woven, but no substantiality in the appearance, 
— for he who touches it touches nothing sub-j 
stantial, as the spider's threads break with 
the touch of a finger, — just such is the unsub- ' 
stantial texture of idle phrases. " Not dividing 
His own essence by begetting and being at 
once begetter and begotten." Ought we to 
give his words the name of argument, or to call 
them rather a swelling of humours secreted by 
some dropsical inflation? For what is the 
sense of " dividing His own essence by beget- 
ting, and being at once begetter and begotten?" 
Who is so distracted, who is so demented, as to 
make the statement against which Eunomius 
thinks he is doing battle? For the Church 
believes that the true Father is truly Father of 
His own Son, as the Apostle says, not of a Son 
alien from Him. For thus he declares in one ! 
of his Epistles, " Who spared not His own 
Son 2 ," distinguishing Him, by the addition of 
" own," from those who are counted worthy of 
the adoption of sons by grace and not by 
nature. But what says He who disparages this 
belief of ours ? " Not dividing His own essence 
by begetting, or being at once begetter and 
begotten, at the same time Father and Son ; 
for He is incorruptible." Does one who hears 
in the Gospel that the Word was in the begin- 
ning, and was God, and that the Word came 
forth from the Father, so befoul the undefiled 
doctrine with these base and fetid ideas, saying 
" He does not divide His essence by begetting?" 
Shame on the abomination of these base and 



1 Is. llx. 5. 



Rom. viii. 3*. 



filthy notions ! How is it that he who speaks 
thus fails to understand that God when mani- 
fested in flesh did not admit for the formation 
of His own body the conditions of human 
nature, but was born for us a Child by the Holy 
Ghost and the power of the Highest ; nor was 
the Virgin subject to those conditions, nor was 
the Spirit diminished, nor the power of the 
Highest divided ? For the Spirit is entire, the 
power of the Highest remained undiminished : 
the Child was born in the fulness of our nature \ 
and did not sully the incorruption of His 
mother. Then was flesh born of flesh without 
carnal passion : yet Eunomius will not admit 
that the brightness of the glory is from the 
glory itself, since the glory is neither diminished 
nor divided by begetting the light. Again, the 
word of man is generated from his mind with- 
out division, but God the Word cannot be 
generated from the Father without the essence 
of the Father being divided ! Is any one so 
witless as not to perceive the irrational cha- 
racter of his position? "Not dividing," quoth 
he, "His own essence by begetting." Why, 
whose own essence is divided by begetting? 
For in the case of men essence means human 
nature : in the case of brutes, it means, gener 
ically, brute nature, but in the case of cattle, 
sheep, and all brute animals, specifically, it is 
regarded according to the distinctions of their 
kinds. Which, then, of these divides its own 
essence by the process of generation ? Does 
not the nature always remain undiminished in 
the case of every animal by the succession of 
its posterity ? Further a man in begetting a 
man from himself does not divide his nature, 
but it remains in its fulness alike in him who 
begets and in him who is begotten, not split 
off and transferred from the one to the other, 
nor mutilated in the one when it is fully formed 
in the other, but at once existing in its entirety 
in the former and discoverable in its entirety in 
the latter. For both before begetting his child 
the man was a rational animal, mortal, capable 
of intelligence and knowledge, and also after be- 
getting a man endowed with such qualities: so 
that in him are shown all the special properties 
of his nature ; as he does not lose his existence 
as a man by begetting the man derived from 
him, but remains after that event what he was 
before without causing any diminution of the 
nature derived from him by the fact that the 
man derived from him comes into being. 

Well, man is begotten of man, and the nature 
of the begetter is not divided. Yet Eunomius 
does not admit that the Only-begotten God, 
Who is in the bosom of the Father, is truly of the 
Father, for fear forsooth, lest he should muti- 



3 This, or something like this, appears to be the force of S.W. 



no 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



lale the inviolable nature of the Father by the 
subsistence of the Only-begotten : but after 
saying "Not dividing His essence by beget- 
ting,'' he adds, " Or being Himself begetter 
and begotten, or Himself becoming Father 
and Son ♦," and thinks by such loose disjointed 
phrases to undermine the true confession of 
godliness or to furnish some support to his own 
ungodliness, not being aware that by the very 
means he uses to construct a reductio ad ab- 
surdum he is discovered to be an advocate of 
the truth. For we too say that He who has all 
that belongs to His own Father is all that He 
is, save being Father, and that He who has all 
that belongs to the Son exhibits in Himself the 
Son in His completeness, save being Son : so 
that the reductio ad absurdum, which Eunomius 
here invents, turns out to be a support of the 
truth, when the notion is expanded by us so as 
to display it more clearly, under the guidance 
of the Gospel. For if " he that hath seen the 
Son seeth the Fathers" then the Father begat 
another self, not passing out of Himself, and at 
the same time appearing in His fulness in 
Him : so that from these considerations that 
which seemed to have been uttered against 
godliness is demonstrated to be a support of 
sound doctrine. 

But he says, " Not dividing His own essence 
by begetting, and being at once begetter and 
begotten, at the same time Father and Son ; 
for He is incorruptible." Most cogent conclu- 
sion ! What do you mean, most sapient sir ? 
Because He is incorruptible, therefore He does 
not divide His own essence by begetting the 
Son : nor does He beget Himself or be be- 
gotten of Himself, nor become at the same 
time His own Father and His own Son, 
because He is incorruptible. It follows, 
then, that if any one is of corruptible nature, 
he divides his essence by begetting, and is 
begotten by himself, and begets himself, and 
is his own father and his own son, because 
he is not incorruptible. If this is so, then 
Abraham, because he was corruptible, did 
not beget Ishmael and Isaac, but begat him- 
self by the bondwoman and by his lawful wife : 
or, to take the other mountebank tricks of the 
argument, he divided his essence among the 
sons who were begotten of him, and first, when 
Hagar bore him a son, he was divided into 
two sections, and in one of the halves became 
Ishmael, while in the other he remained half 
Abraham ; and subsequently the residue of the 
essence of Abraham being again divided took 
subsistence in Isaac. Accordingly the fourth 
pait of the essence of Abraham was divided 
into the twin sons of Isaac, so that there 



4 The quotation does not verbally correspond with E 
words as cited above. s Ci. S. John xiv. o. 



5 Ci. S. John xiv. 9. 



unomius' 



was an eighth in each of his grandchildren ! 
How could one subdivide the eighth part, cut- 
ting it small in fractions among the twelve 
Patriarchs, or among the threescore and fifteen 
souls with whom Jacob went down into Egypt? 
And why do I talk thus when I really ought to 
confute the folly of such notions by beginning 
with the first man? For if it is a property of 
the incorruptible only not to divide its essence 
in begetting, and if Adam was corruptible, to 
whom the word was spoken, " Dust thou art 
and unto dust shalt thou return 6 ," then, ac- 
cording to Eunomius' reasoning, he certainly 
divided his essence, being cut up among those 
who were begotten of him, and by reason of 
the vast number of his posterity (the slice of 
his essence which is to be found in each being 
necessarily subdivided according to the number 
of his progeny), the essence of Adam is used up 
before Abraham began to subsist, being dis- 
persed in these minute and infinitesimal par- 
ticles among the countless myriads of his de- 
scendants, and the minute fragment of Adam 
that has reached Abraham and his descendants 
by a process of division, is no longer discovera- 
ble in them as a remnant of his essence, inas- 
much as his nature has been already used up 
among the countless myriads of those who 
were before them by its division into infinite- 
simal fractions. Mark the folly of him who 
" understands neither what he says nor whereof 
he affirms V For by saying " Since He is 
incorruptible" He neither divides His essence 
nor begets Himself nor becomes His own father, 
he implicitly lays it down that we must suppose 
all those things from which he affirms that the 
incorruptible alone are free to be incidental to 
generation in the case of every one who is sub- 
ject to corruption. Though there are many other 
considerations capable of proving the inanity of 
his argument, I think that what has been said 
above is sufficient to demonstrate its absurdity. 
But this has surely been already acknowledged 
by all who have an eye for logical consistency, 
that, when he asserted incorruptibility of the 
Father alone, he places all things which are 
considered after the Father in the category of 
corruptible, by virtue of opposition to the 
incorruptible, so as to make out even the 
Son not to be free from corruption. If 
then he places the Son in opposition to the 
incorruptible, he not only defines Him to be 
corruptible, but also asserts of Him all those 
incidents from which he affirms only the incor- 
ruptible to be exempt. For it necessarily 
follows that, if the Father alone neither begets 
Himsell nor is begotten ol Himself, everything 
which is not incorruptible both begets itself 



• Gen. iii. 19. 



7 Cf. 1 Tim. i. 7. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK II. 



in 



and is begotten of itself, and becomes its own 
father and son, shifting from its own proper 
essence to each of these relations. For if to 
be incorruptible belongs to the Father alone, 
and if not to be the things specified is a special 
property of the incorruptible, then, of course, 
according to this heretical argument, the Son is 
not incorruptible, and all these circumstances, 
of course, find place about Him, — to have His 
essence divided, to beget Himself and to be 
begotten by Himself, to become Himself His 
own father and His own son. 

Perhaps, however, it is waste of time to 
linger long over such follies. Let us pass to 
the next point of his statement. He adds to 
what he had already said, " Not standing in 
need, in the act of creation, of matter or parts 
or natural instruments : for He stands in need 
of nothing." This proposition, though Euno- 
mius states it with a certain looseness of phrase, 
we yet do not reject as inconsistent with godly 
doctrine. For learning as we do that " He 
spake the word and they were made : He com- 
manded and they were created 8 ," we know that 
the Word is the Creator of matter, by that very 
act also producing with the matter the qualities 
of matter, so that for Him the impulse of His 
almighty will was everything and instead of 
everything, matter, instrument, place, time, es- 
sence, quality, everything that is conceived 
in creation. For at one and the same time 
did He will that that which ought to be should 
be, and His power, that produced all things 
that are, kept pace with His will, turning His 
will into act. For thus the mighty Moses in 
the record of creation instructs us about the 
Divine power, ascribing the production of each 
of the objects that were manifested in the 
creation to the words that bade them be. For 
" God said," he tells us, " Let there be light, 
and there was light' :" and so about the rest, 
without any mention either of matter or of any 
instrumental agency. Accordingly the language 
of Eunomius on this point is not to be rejected. 
For God, when creating all things that have 
their origin by creation, neither stood in need 
of any matter on which to operate, nor of 
instruments to aid Him in His construction : 
for the power and wisdom of God has no need 
of any external assistance. But Christ is " the 
Power of God and the Wisdom of God I ," by 
Whom all things were made and without Whom 
is no existent thing, as John testifies 2 . If, 
then, all things were made by Him, both 
visible and invisible, and if His will alone 
suffices to effect the subsistence of existing 
things (for His will is power), Eunomius utters 
our doctrine though with a loose mode of expres- 

* Ps. cxlviii. 5, or Ps. xjcxiii. 9 in LXX. 9 Geo. L 3. 

« 1 Cor. i. 24. » Cf. S. John i. 3. 



sion '. For what instrument and what matter 
could He Who upholds all thinsg by the word 
of His power 4 need in upholding the constitu- 
tion of existing things by His almighty word? 
But if he maintains that what we have believed 
to be true of the Only begotten in the case of 
the creation, is true also in the case of the Son 
— in the sense that the Father created Him in 
like manner as the creation was made by the 
Son, — then we retract our former statement, 
because such a supposition is a denial of the 
Godhead of the Only-begotten. For we have 
learnt from the mighty utterance of Paul that 
it is the distinguishing feature of idolatry to 
worship and serve the creature more than the 
Creators, as well as from David, when He says 
" There shall no new God be in thee : neither 
shalt thou worship any alien God 6 ." We use this 
line and rule to arrive at the discernment of 
the object of worship, so as to be convinced 
that that alone is God which is neither '' new" 
nor " alien." Since then we have been taught 
to believe that the Only-begotten God is God, 
we acknowledge, by our belief that He is God, 
that He is neither " new " or " alien." If, then, 
He is God, He is not " new," and if He is not 
new, He is assuredly eternal. Accordingly, 
neither is the Eternal " new," nor is He Who 
is of the Father and in the bosom of the Father 
and Who has the Father in Himself "alien " 
from true Deity. Thus he who severs the Son 
from the nature of the Father either absolutely 
disallows the worship of the Son, that he may 
not worship an alien God, or bows down 
before an idol, making a creature and not God 
the object of his worship, and giving to his 
idol the name of Christ 

Now that this is the meaning to which 
he tends in his conception concerning the 
Only-begotten will become more plain by 
considering the language he employs touch- 
ing the Only-begotten Himself, which is as 
follows. " We believe also in the Son of 
God, the Only-begotten God, the first-born 
of all creation, very Son, not ungenerate, verily 
begotten before the worlds, named Son not 
without being begotten before He existed, 
coming into being before all creation, not un- 
create." I think that the mere reading of his 
exposition of his faith is quite sufficient to 
render its impiety plain without any investiga- 
tion on our part. For though he calls Him 
"first-born," yet that he may not raise any 



3 Reading ev aTOfOuirn rff Ae'fei for eva.Tovov<rg rg Xf'fet (the 
reading of the Paris edition, which Oehler follows). 

 Cf. Heb. i. 3. The quotation is not veroally exact. 

5 Cf. Rom. i. 26. 

' Ps. lxxxi. 10, LXX. The words np6a^>aro<: (" new ") and 
dMoTpios (" alien") are both represented in the A.V. by "strange," 
and so in R.V. The Prayer-book version expresses them by 
"strange" and "any other." Both words are subsequently em 
ployed by Gregory in his argument. 



I 12 



GREGORY OF NYSS 



doubt in his readers' minds as to His not being 
created, he immediately adds the words, " not 
uncreate," lest if the natural significance of the 
term " Son " were apprehended by his readers, 
any pious conception concerning Him might 
find place in their minds. It is for this reason 
that after at first confessing Him to be Son of 
God and Only-begotten God, he proceeds at 
once, by what he adds, to pervert the minds of 
his readers from their devout belief to his 
heretical notions. For he who hears the titles 
"Son of God" and "Only-begotten God" is of 
necessity lifted up to the loftier kind of asser- 
tions respecting the Son, led onward by the 
significance of these terms, inasmuch as no dif- 
ference of nature is introduced by the use of 
the title " God " and by the significance of the 
term " Son." For how could He Who is truly 
the Son of God and Himself God be conceived 
as something else differing from the nature of 
the Father ? But that godly conceptions may 
not by these names be impressed beforehand 
on the hearts of his readers, he forthwith calls 
Him " the first-born of all creation, named 
Son, not without being begotten before He 
existed, coming into being before all creation, 
not uncreate." Let us linger a little while, 
then, over his argument, that the miscreant 
may be shown to be holding out his first state- 
ments to people merely as a bait to induce 
them to receive the poison that he sugars over 
with phrases of a pious tendency, as it were 
with honey. Who does not know how great is 
the difference in signification between the term 
"only-begotten " and " first-born ?" For " first- 
born " implies brethren, anH " only-begotten " 
implies that there are no other brethren. Thus 
the " first-born " is not " only-begotten," for 
certainly " first-born " is the first-born among 
brethren, while he who is " only-begotten " has 
no bi other : for if he were numbered among 
brethren he would not be only-begotten. And 
moreover, whatever the essence of the brothers 
of the first-born is, the same is the essence of 
the first-born himself. Nor is this all that is 
signified by the title, but also that the first- 
born and those born after him draw their being 
from ihe same source, without the firstborn 
contributing at all to the birth of those that 
come after him : so that hereby 7 is maintained 
the falsehood of that statement of John, which 
affirms that ''all things were made by Him 8 ." 
For if He is first-born, He differs from those 
born after Him only by priority in time, while 
there must be some one else by Whom the 
power to be at all is imparted alike to Him 
and to the rest. But that we may not by our 
objections give any unfair opponent ground for 

7 Hereby, i.e. by the use of the ttrm vputotokik as applicable 
to the Divinity of the Son. 8 g. John i. 3. 



an insinuation that we do not receive the in- 
spired utterances of Scripture, we will first set 
before our readers our own view about these 
titles, and then leave it to their judgment 
which is the better. 

§ 8. He further very appositely expounds the 
meaning of the term " Only-begotten" and of 
the term " First born" four times used by the 
Apostle. 

The mighty Paul, knowing that the Only- 
begotten God, Who has the pre-eminence in 
all things Q , is the author and cause of all 
good, bears witness to Him that not only was 
the creation of all existent things wrought by 
Him, but that when the original creation of 
man had decayed and vanished away J , to use 
his own language, and another new creation 
was wrought in Christ, in this too no other than 
He took the lead, but He is Himself the first- 
born of all that new creation of men which 
is effected by the Gospel. And that our view 
about this may be made clearer let us thus 
divide our argument. The inspired apostle 
on four occasions employs this term, once 
as here, calling Him, "first-born of all crea- 
tion 2 ," another time, " the first-born among 
many brethren 3 ," again, " first-born from the 
dead 4 ," and on another occasion he employs 
the term absolutely, without combining it 
with other words, saying, " But when again 
He bringeth the first-born into the world, 
He saith, And let all the angels of God 
worship Him 5 ." Accordingly whatever view 
we entertain concerning this title in the other 
combinations, the same we shall in consistency 
apply to the phrase "first-born of all creation." 
For since the title is one and the same it 
must needs be that the meaning conveyed is 
also one. In what sense then does He become 
" the first-born among many brethren ? " in 
what sense does He become " the first-born 
from the dead ? " Assuredly this is plain, that 
because we are by birth flesh and blood, as- 
the Scripture saith, " He Who for our sakes 
was born among us and was partaker of flesh 
and blood 6 ," purposing to change us from 
corruption to incorruption by the birth from 
above, the birth by water and the Spirit, 
Himself led the way in this birth, drawing 
down upon the water, by His own baptism, 
the Holy Spirit ; so that in all things He 
became the first-born of those who are 
spiritually born again, and gave the name 
of brethren to those who partook in a birth 
like to His own by water and the S irit. 
But since it was also meet that He should 



9 Cf. Col. i. 18. 

1 Cf. Heb. viii. 13, whence the phrase is apparently adapted, 
a Col. i. 15. 3 Rom. viii. 29. 4 Col. i. 18 (cf. Rev. i. el 
5 Heb. i. 6. 6 Cf. Heb. i. 14. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK II. 



ii3 



implant in our nature the power of rising again 
from the dead, He becomes the " first-fruits of 
them that slept?" and the "first-born fromfthe 
dead 8 ," in that He first by His own act loosed 
the pains of death ° ? so that His new birth from 
the dead was made a way for us also, since the 
pains of death, wherein we were held, were 
loosed by the resurrection of the Lord. Thus, 
just as by having shared in the washing 
of regeneration J He became " the first-born 
among many brethren," and again by having 
made Himself the first-fruits of the resurrec- 
tion. He obtains the name of the " first-born 
from the dead," so having in all things the 
pre-eminence, after that "all old things," as 
the apostle says, "have passed away 2 ," He 
becomes the first-born of the new creation of 
men in Christ by the two-fold regeneration, 
alike that by Holy Baptism and that which 
is the consequence of the resurrection from 
the dead, becoming for us in both alike the 
Prince of Life 3, the first-fruits, the first-born. 
This first-born, then, hath also brethren, con- 
cerning whom He speaks to Mary, saying, 
"Go and tell My brethren, I go to My 
Father and your Father, and to My God and 
your God 4 ." In these words He sums up the 
whole aim of His dispensation as Man. For 
men revolted from God, and " served them 
which by nature were no gods 5 ," and though 
being the children of God became attached 
to an evil father falsely so called. For this 
cause the mediator between God and man 6 , 
having assumed the first-fruits of all human 
nature 7 , sends to His brethren the announce- 
ment of Himself not in His divine character, 
but in that which He shares with us, saying, 
"I am departing in order to make by My 
own self that true Father, from whom you 
were separated, to be your Father, and by My 
own self to make that true God from whom 
you had revolted to be your God, for by that 
first-fruits which I have assumed, I am in 
Myself presenting all humanity to its God and 
Father." 

Since, then, the first-fruits made the true 
God to be its God, and the good Father to be 
its Father, the blessing is secured for human 
nature as a whole, and by means of the first- 
fruits the true God and Father becomes Father 
and God of all men. Now " if the first-fruits 
be holy, the lump also is holy 8 ." But where 

7 1 Cor. xv. 20. 8 Col. i. 18. 

9 Cf. Acts ii. 24. See note 2, p. 104, supra. 

1 1 he phrase is not verbally the same as in Tit. iii. 5. 

2 Cf. 2 Cor. v. 17. 3 Cf. Acts iii. 15. 
* Cf. S. John xx. 17 : the quotation is not verbal. 

5 Cf. Gal. iv. 8. 6 Cf. 1 Tim. ii. 5. 

7 The Humanity of Christ being regarded as this " first-fruits : " 
unless this phrase is to be understood of the Resurrection, rather 
than of the Incarnation, in which case the first-fruits will be His 
Body, and ava\afiu>v should be rendered by " having resumed." 

8 Rom. ix. 16. The reference next following may be to S. John 
xii. 26, or xiv. 3 ; or to Col. iii. 3. 

VOL. V. 



the first-fruits, Christ, is (and the first-fruits is- 
none other than Chiist), there also are they 
that are Christ's, as the apostle says. In those 
passages therefore where he makes mention of 
the " first-born " in connexion with other words, 
he suggests that we should understand the 
phrase in the way which I have indicated : but 
where, without any such addition, he says, 
" When again He bringeth the first-born into 
the world V' the addition of " again " asserts 
that manifestation of the Lord of all which 
shall take place at the last day. For as " at the 
name of Jesus every knee doth bow, of things 
in heaven and things in earth and things under 
the earth I ," although the human name does 
not belong to the Son in that He is above 
every name, even so He says that the First- 
born, Who was so named for our sakes, is 
worshipped by all the supramundane creation, 
on His coming again into the world, when He 
" shall judge the world with righteousness and 
the people with equity 2 ." Thus the several 
meanings of the titles " First-born " and " Only- 
begotten " are kept distinct by the word of 
godliness, its respective significance being 
secured for each name. But how can he who 
refers the name of " first-born " to the pre- 
temporal existence of the Son preserve the 
proper sense of the term " Only-begotten " ? 
Let the discerning reader consider whether 
these things agree with one another, when the 
term "first-born" necessarily implies brethren, 
and the term " Only-begotten " as necessarily 
excludes the notion of brethren. For when 
the Scripture says, " In the beginning was the 
Word 3," we understand the Only-begotten to 
be meant, and when it adds " the Word was 
made flesh 4 " we thereby receive in our minds 
the idea of the first-born, and so the word of 
godliness remains without confusion, preserving 
to each name its natural significance, so that in 
" Only-begotten " we regard the pre-temporal, 
and by "the first-born of creation" the mani- 
festation of the pre-temporal in the flesh. 



§ 9. Gregory again discusses the generation of 
the Only-begotten, and other different modes of 
generation, material and immaterial, and 
nobly demonstrates that the Son is the bright- 
ness of the Divine glory, and not a creature. 

And now let us return once more to the pre- 
cise statement of Eunomius. " We believe 
also in the Son of God, the only begotten God, 
the first-born of all creation, very Son, not Un- 
generate, verily begotten before the worlds." 



9 Heb. i. 6. x Phil. ii. 10, ix. " Cf. Ps. xcviii. 10. 

3 S. John i. 1. 4 S. John i. 14. 



114 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



That he transfers, then, the sense of genera- 
tion to indicate creation is plain from his ex- 
pressly calling Him created, when he speaks 
of Him as "coming into being" and "not 
uncreate ". But that the inconsiderate rash- 
ness and want of training which shows itself 
in the doctrines may be made manifest, let 
us omit all expressions of indignation at his 
evident blasphemy, and employ in the dis- 
cussion of this matter a scientific division. 
For it would be well, I think, to consider in 
a somewhat careful investigation the exact 
meaning of the term " generation." That this 
expression conveys the meaning of existing 
as the result of some cause is plain to all, 
and I suppose there is no need to contend 
about this point : but since there are different 
modes of existing as the result of a cause, this 
difference is what I think ought to receive 
thorough explanation in our discussion by means 
of scientific division. Of things which have 
come into being as the results of some cause 
we recognize the following differences. Some 
are the result of material and art, as the fabrics 
of houses and all other works produced by 
means of their respective material, where some 
art gives direction and conducts its purpose 
to its proper aim. Others are the result of 
material and nature ; for nature orders s the 
generation of animals one from another, effect- 
ing her own work by means of the material 
subsistence in the bodies of the parents ; 
others again are by material efflux. In these 
the original remains as it was before, and that 
which flows from it is contemplated by itself, 
as in the case of the sun and its beam, or the 
lamp and its radiance, or of scents and oint- 
ments, and the quality given off from them. 
For these, while remaining undiminished in 
themselves, have each accompanying them the 
special and peculiar effect which they naturally 
produce, as the sun his ray, the lamp its bright- 
ness, and perfumes the fragrance which they 
engender in the air. There is also another 
kind of generation besides these, where the 
cause is immaterial and incorporeal, but the 
generation is sensible and takes place through 
the instrumentality of the body ; I mean the 
generation of the word by the mind. For the 
mind being in itself incorporeal begets the word 
by means of sensible instruments. So many 
are the differences of the term generation, 
which we discover in a philosophic view of 
them, that is itself, so to speak, the result of 
generation. 

And now that we have thus distinguished the 
various modes of generation, it will be time to 
remark how the benevolent dispensation of the 

5 Reading oixoi'opei or oucojofiti. 



Holy Spirit, in delivering to us the Divine 
mysteries, imparts that instruction which trans- 
cends reason by such methods as we can re- 
ceive. For the inspired teaching adopts, in 
order to set forth the unspeakable power of 
God, all the forms of generation that human 
intelligence recognizes, yet without including 
the corporeal senses attaching to the words. 
For when it speaks of the creative power, it 
gives to such an energy the name of genera- 
tion, because its expression must stoop to our 
low capacity ; it does not, however, convey 
thereby all that we include in creative gener- 
ation, as time, place, the furnishing of matter, 
the fitness of instruments, the design in the 
things that come into bemg, but it leaves these, 
and asserts of God in lofty and magnificent 
language the creation of all existent things, 
when it says, " He spake the word and they 
were made 6 , He commanded and they were 
created." Again when it interprets to us the 
unspeakable and transcendent existence of the 
Only-begotten from the Father, as the poverty 
of human intellect is incapable of receiving 
doctrines which surpass all power of speech and 
thought, there too it borrows our language and 
terms Him " Son," — a name which our usage 
assigns to those who are born of matter and 
nature. But just as Scripture, when speaking of 
generation by creation, does not in the case of 
God imply that such generation took place by 
means of any material, affirming that the power 
of God's will served for material substance, place, 
time and all such circumstances, even so here 
too, when using the term Son, it rejects both all 
else that human nature remarks in generation 
here below, — I mean affections and dispositions 
and the co-operation of time, and the necessity 
of place, — and, above all, matter, without all 
which natural generation here below does not 
take place. But when all such material, tem- 
poral and local ' existence is excluded from the 
sense of the term "Son," community of nature 
alone is left, and for this reason by the title 
" Son " is declared, concerning the Only-be- 
gotten, the close affinity and genuineness of 
relationship which mark His manifestation from 
the Father. And since such a kind of genera- 
tion was not sufficient to implant in us an ade- 
quate notion of the ineffable mode of subsistence 
of the Only-begotten, Scripture avails itself also 
of the third kind of generation to indicate the 
doctrine of the Son's Divinity, — that kind, 
namely, which is the result of material efflux, 
and speaks of Him as the " brightness of 
glory 8 ," the " savour of ointment 9 t " the "breath 



* Or " were generated." The reference is to Ps. cxlvui. 5. 
7 5ia<rTT)(iaTcKrjs seems to include the idea of extension in time 
as well as in space. • Heb. i. 3. 

9 The refe.euce may be to the Song of Solomon L 3. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK II. 



ii5 



of God * ; " illustrations which in the scientific 
phraseology we have adopted we ordinarily 
designate as material efflux. 

But as in the cases alleged neither the birth 
of the creation nor the force of the term 
"Son" admits time, matter, place, or affec- 
tion, so here too the Scripture employing only 
the illustration of effulgence and the others 
that I have mentioned, apart from all material 
conception, with regard to the Divine fitness of 
such a mode of generation, shows that we must 
understand by the significance of this expres- 
sion, an existence at once derived from and 
subsisting with the Father. For neither is the 
figure of breath intended to convey to us the 
notion of dispersion into the air from the 
material from which it is formed, nor is the 
figure of fragrance designed to express the 
passing off of the quality of the ointment into 
the air, nor the figure of effulgence the efflux 
which takes place by means of the rays from 
the body of the sun : but as has been said in 
all cases, by such a mode of generation is 
indicated this alone, that the Son is of the 
Father and is conceived of along with Him, 
no interval intervening between the Father 
and Him Who is of the Father. For since of 
His exceeding loving-kindness the grace of the 
Holy Spirit so ordered that the divine con- 
ceptions concerning the Only-begotten should 
reach us from many quarters, and so be im- 
planted in us, He added also the remaining 
kind of generation, — that, namely, of the word 
from the mind. And here the sublime John 
uses remarkable foresight. That the reader 
might not through inattention and unworthy 
conceptions sink to the common notion of 
" word," so as to deem the Son to be merely 
a voice of the Father, he therefore affirms of 
the Word that He essentially subsisted in the 
first and blessed nature Itself, thus proclaiming 
aloud, "In the Beginning was the Word, and 
with God, and God, and Light, and Life 2 ," and 
all that the Beginning is, the Word was also. 

Since, then, these kinds of generation, those, 
I mean, which arise as the result of some 
cause, and are recognized in our e very-day 
experience, are also employed by Holy Scrip- 
ture to convey its teaching concerning trans- 
cendent mysteries in such wise as each of them 
may reasonably be transferred to the expression 
of divine conceptions, we may now proceed to 
examine Eunomius' statement also, to find in 
what sense he accepts the meaning of "genera- 
tion." "Very Son," he says, "not ungenerate, 
verily begotten before the worlds." One may, 
I think, pass quickly over the violence done to 
logical sequence in his distinction, as being 
easily recognizable by all. For who does not 



1 Wisd vii. 35. 



* Cf. S. John L 1 sqq. 



know that while the proper opposition is 
between Father and Son, between generate 
and ungenerate, he thus passes over the term 
" father " and sets " ungenerate " in opposition 
to "Son," whereas he ought, if he had any 
concern for truth, to have avoided diverting his 
phrase from the due sequence of relationship, 
and to have said, " Very Son, not Father " ? 
And in this way due regard would have been 
paid at once to piety and to logical consistency, 
as the nature would not have been rent asunder 
in making the distinction between the persons. 
But he has exchanged in his statement of his 
faith the true and scriptural use of the term 
"Father," committed to us by the Word Him- 
self, and speaks of the " Ungenerate " instead 
of the "Father," in order that by separating 
Him from that close relationship towards the 
Son which is naturally conceived of in the title 
of Father, he may place Him on a common 
level with all created objects, which equally 
stand in opposition to the " ungenerate 3." 
" Verily begotten," he says, " before the worlds." 
Let him say of Whom He is begotten. He will 
answer, of course, " Of the Father," unless he 
is prepared unblushingly to contradict the truth. 
But since it is impossible to detach the eternity 
of the Son from the eternal Father, seeing that 
the term "Father" by its very signification 
implies the Son, for this reason it is that he 
rejects the title Father and shifts his phrase to 
"ungenerate," since the meaning of this latter 
name has no sort of relation or connection with 
the Son, and by thus misleading his readers 
through the substitution of one term for the 
other, into not contemplating the Son along 
with the Father, he opens up a path for his 
sophistry, paving the way of impiety by slipping 
in the term " ungenerate." For they who ac- 
cording to the ordinance of the Lord believe in 
the Father, when they hear the name of the 
Father, receive the Son along with Him in their 
thought, as the mind passes from the Son to the 
Father, without treading on an unsubstantial 
vacuum interposed between them. But those 
who are diverted to the title " ungenerate " 
instead of Father, get a bare notion of this 
name, learning only the fact that He did not 
at any time come into being, not that He is 
Father. Still, even with this mode of concep- 
tion, the faith of those who read with discern- 
ment remains free from confusion. For the 
expression "not to come into being" is used in 
an identical sense of all uncreated nature : and 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are equally un- 
created. For it has ever been believed by 



3 That is, by using as the terms of his antithesis, not " Son " and 

"Father," but "Son" and "Ungenerate," he avoids suggesting 

relationship between the two Persons, and does suggest that the 

Second Person stands in the same opposition to the First Person in 

I which all created objects stand as contrasted with Him. 



I 2 



n6 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



those who follow the Divine word that all the 
creation, sensible and supramundane, derives 
its existence from the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Ghost. He who has heard that " by the 
word of the Lord were the heavens made, and 
all the host of them by the breath of His 
mouth V neither understands by "word" mere 
utterance, nor by " breath " mere exhalation, 
but by what is there said frames the concep- 
tion of God the Word and of the Spirit of 
God. Now to create and to be created are not 
equivalent, but all existent things being divided 
into that which makes and that which is made, 
each is different in nature from the other, so 
that neither is that uncreated which is made, 
nor is that created which effects the production 
of the things that are made. By those then 
who, according to the exposition of the faith 
given us by our Lord Himself, have believed in 
the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of 
the Holy Ghost, it is acknowledged that each 
of these Persons is alike unoriginate 5 , and the 
meaning conveyed by " ungenerate " does no 
harm to their sound belief: but to those who 
are dense and indefinite this term serves as 
a starting-point for deflection from sound doc- 
trine. For not understanding the true force 
of the term, that "ungenerate " signifies nothing 
more than " not having come into being," and 
that " not coming into being " is a common 
property of all that transcends created nature, 
they drop their faith in the Father, and sub- 
stitute for " Father " the phrase " ungenerate : " 
and since, as has been said, the Personal exist- 
ence of the Only-begotten is not connoted in 
this name, they determine the existence of the 
Son to have commenced from some definite 
beginning in time, affirming (what Eunomius 
here adds to his previous statements) that He 
is called Son not without generation preceding 
His existence. 

What is this vain juggling with words? Is 
he aware that it is God of Whom he speaks, 
Who was in the beginning and is in the Father, 
nor was there any time when He was not? He 
knows not what he says nor whereof he affirms 6 , 
but he endeavours, as though he were con- 
structing the pedigree of a mere man, to apply 
to the Lord of all creation the language which 
properly belongs to our nature here below. For, 
to take an example, Ishmael was not before 
the generation that brought him into being, 
and before his birth there was of course an 



* Ps. xxxiii. 6. 

5 Tb(xr)yei/e<7SaiTi toutoii' cwiVrjs 6/ioAoyetTai. This may possibly 
mean "'it is acknowledged that each of those alternatives " (viz. 
that that which comes into being is uncreate, and that that which 
creates should itself be created) " is equally untrue." But this view 
would not be confined to those who held the Catholic doctrine : the 
impossibility of the former alternative, indeed, was insisted upon by 
the Arians as an argument in their own favour. 

6 Cf. i Tim. L 7. 



interval of time. But with Him Who is " the 
brightness of glory?," "before" and "after" 
have no place : for before the brightness, of 
course neither was there any glory, for concur- 
rently with the existence of the glory there 
assuredly beams forth its brightness ; and it is 
impossible in the nature of things that one 
should be severed from the other, nor is it 
possible to see the glory by itself before its 
brightness. For he who says thus will make 
out the glory in itself to be darkling and dim, 
if the brightness from it does not shine 
out at the same time. But this is the unfair 
method of the heresy, to endeavour, by the 
notions and terms employed concerning the 
Only-begotten God, to displace Him from His 
oneness with the Father. It is to this end they 
say, " Before the generation that brought Him 
into being He was not Son :" but the " sons of 
rams 8 ," of whom the prophet speaks, — are not 
they too called sons after coming into being ? 
That quality, then, which reason notices in the 
" sons of rams," that they are not " sons of 
rams " before the generation which brings them 
into being, — this our reverend divine now as- 
cribes to the Maker of the worlds and of all 
creation, Who has the Eternal Father in Him- 
self, and is contemplated in the eternity of the 
Father, as He Himself says, " I am in the 
Father, and the Father in Me 9." Those, how- 
ever, who are not able to detect the sophistry 
that lurks in his statement, and are not trained 
to any sort of logical perception, follow these 
inconsequent statements and receive what comes 
next as a logical consequence of what preceded. 
For he says, "coming into being before all 
creation," and as though this were not enough 
to prove his impiety, he has a piece of profanity 
in reserve in the phrase that follows, when he 
terms the Son " not uncreate." In what sense 
then does he call Him Who is not uncreate 
" very Son " ? For if it is meet to call Him 
Who is not uncreate " very Son," then of course 
the heaven is "very Son; " for it too is "not 
uncreate." So the sun too is "very Son," and 
all that the creation contains, both small and 
great, are of course entitled to the appellation 
of "very Son." And in what sense does He 
call Him Who has come into being " Only- 
begotten " ? For all things that come into 
being are unquestionably in brotherhood with 
each other, so far, I mean, as their coming into 
being is concerned. And from whom did He 
come into being ? For assuredly all things that 
have ever come into being did so from the Son. 
For thus did John testify, saying, "All things were 
made by Him 1 ." If then the Son also came 
into being, according to Eunomius' creed, He 



^ Cf. Heb. i. 3. 
9 S. John xiv. ic. 



8 Ps. cxiv. 4, in SeptuaginC. 
1 S. John l 3. 



AGAINST EUNOM1US. BOOK II. 



117 



is certainly ranked in the class of things which 
have come into being. If then all things that 
came into being were made by Him, and the 
Word is one of the things that came into being, 
who is so dull as not to draw from these 
premises the absurd conclusion that our new 
creed-monger makes out the Lord of creation 
to have been His own work, in saying in so 
many words that the Lord and Maker of all 
creation is " not uncreate " ? Let him tell us 
whence he has this boldness of assertion. 
From what inspired utterance ? What evange- 
list, what apostle ever uttered such words as 
these ? What prophet, what lawgiver, what 
patriarch, what other person of all who were 
divinely moved by the Holy Ghost, whose 
voices are preserved in writing, ever originated 
such a statement as this? In the tradition of 
the faith delivered by the Truth we are taught 
to believe in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If 
it were right to believe that the Son was created, 
how was it that the Truth in delivering to us 
this mystery bade us believe in the Son, and not 
in the creature? and how is it that the inspired 
Apostle, himself adoring Christ, lays it down 
that they who worship the creature besides the 
Creator are guilty of idolatry 2 ? For, were the 
Son created, either he would not have wor- 
shipped Him, or he would have refrained from 
classing those who worship the creature along 
with idolaters, lest he himself should appear to 
be an idolater, in offering adoration to the 
created. But he knew that He Whom he 
adored was God over all 3, for so he terms the 
Son in his Epistle to the Romans. Why then 
do those who divorce the Son from the essence 
of the Father, and call Him creature, bestow on 
Him in mockery the fictitious title of Deity, idly 
conferring on one alien from true Divinity the 
name of " God," as they might confer it on Bel 
or Dagon or the Dragon ? Let those, therefore, 
who affirm that He is created, acknowledge that 
He is not God at all, that they may be seen to 
be nothing but Jews in disguise, or, if they 
confess one who is created to be God, let them 
not deny that they are idolaters. 



§ 10. He explains the phrase " The Lord created 
Me," and the argument about the origination 
of the Son, the deceptive character of Eunomius' 
reasoning, and the passage which says, " My 
glory ivill I not give to another" examining 
them from different points of view. 

But of course they bring forward the passage 
in the book of Proverbs which says, " The Lord 
created Me as the beginning of His ways, for 

2 Rom. i. 25, where napa rbv Kriuavra may be better translated 
" besides the Creator," or " rather than the Creator," than as in 



the A.V. 



3 Rom. ix. 5. 



His works *." Now it would require a lengthy 
discussion to explain fully the real meaning of 
the passage : still it would be possible even in 
a few words to convey to well-disposed readers 
the thought intended. Some of those who are 
accurately versed in theology do say this, that 
the Hebrew text does not read " created," and 
we have ourselves read in more ancient copies 
" possessed " instead of " created." Now as- 
suredly " possession " in the allegorical language 
of the Proverbs marks that slave Who for our 
sakes "took upon Him the form of a slaves." 
But if any one should allege in this passage the 
reading which prevails in the Churches, we do 
not reject even the expression "created." For 
this also in allegorical language is intended to 
connote the " slave," since, as the Apostle tells 
us, "all creation is in bondage 6 ." Thus we 
say that this expression, as well as the other, 
admits of an orthodox interpretation. For He 
Who for our sakes became like as we are, was 
in the last days truly created, — He Who in the 
beginning being Word and God afterwards 
became Flesh and Man. For the nature of 
flesh is created : and by partaking in it in all 
points like as we do, yet without sin, He was 
created when He became man : and He was 
created "after God 7," not after man, as the 
Apostle says, in a new manner and not accord- 
ing to human wont. For we are taught that 
this " new man " was created — albeit of the 
Holy Ghost and of the power of the Highest — 
whom Paul, the hierophant of unspeakable 
mysteries, bids us to " put on," using two 
phrases to express the garment, that is to be 
put on, saying in one place, " Put on the new 
man which after God is created 7 ," and in 
another, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ 8 ." 
For thus it is that He, Who said " I am the 
Way 9," becomes to us who have put Him on 
the beginning of the ways of salvation, that He 
may make us the work of His own hands, new 
modelling us from the evil mould of sin once 
more to His own image. He is at once our 
foundation before the world to come, according 
to the words of Paul, who says, " Other founda- 
tion can no man lay than that is laid x ," and it 
is true that " before the springs of the waters 
came forth, before the mountains were settled, 
before He made the depths, and before all hills, 
He begetteth Me 2 ." For it is possible, accord- 



4 Prov. viii. 22 (LXX). The versions of Aquila, Theodotion, 
and Symmachus (to one or more of which perhaps § 9 refers), all 
render the Hebrew by eKT>j<raTO ("possessed"), not by eKTitre 
(" created "). But Gregory may be referring to MSS. of the LXX. 
version which read c/ciTJeraTO. It is clear from what follows that Mr. 
Gwatkin is hardly justified in his remark (Studies of Arianism, p. 
69), that "the whole discussion on Prov. viii. 22 (LXX.), Kupio? 
exTio-e f/.e, K.r.\., might have been avoided by a glance at the 
original." The point of the controversy might have been changed, 
but that would have been all. Gregory seems to feel that eicnjo-aTo 
requires an explanation, though he has one ready. 

5 Phil. ii. 7. 6 Rom. viii. 20-1. 7 Eph. iv. 24. 
8 Rom. xiii. 14. 9 S. John xiv. 6. * 1 Cor. iii. XI. 
2 Prov. viii. 23 — 25 (not quite verbal, from the LXX). 



Ii8 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



ing to the usage of the Book of Proverbs, for 
each of these phrases, taken in a tropical sense, 
to be applied to the Word 3. For the great 
David calls righteousness the "mountains of 
God V' His judgments "deeps*," and the 
teachers in the Churches " fountains," saying 
" Bless God the Lord from the fountains of 
Israel s " ; and guilelessness he calls " hills," as 
he shows when he speaks of their skipping like 
lambs 6 . Before these therefore is born in us 
He Who for our sakes was created as man, that 
of these things also the creation may find place 
in us. But we may, I think, pass from the dis- 
cussion of these points, inasmuch as the truth 
has been sufficiently pointed out in a few words 
to well-disposed readers ; let us proceed to what 
Eunomius says next. 

" Existing in the beginning," he says, " not 
without beginning." In what fashion does he 
who plumes himself on his superior discernment 
understand the oracles of God ? He declares 
Him Who was in the beginning Himself to have 
a beginning : and is not aware that if He Who 
is in the beginning has a beginning, then the 
beginning itself must needs have another be- 
ginning. Whatever He says of the beginning 
he must necessarily confess to be true of Him 
Who was in the beginning : for how can that 
which is in the beginning be severed from the 
beginning? and how can any one imagine a 
" was not " as preceding the " was " ? For 
however far one carries back one's thought to 
apprehend the beginning, one most certainly 
understands as one does so that the Word which 
was in the beginning (inasmuch as It cannot be 
separated from the beginning in which It is) does 
not at any point of time either begin or cease 
its existence therein. Yet let no one be induced 
by these words of mine to separate into two the 
one beginning we acknowledge. For the be- 
ginning is most assuredly one, wherein is dis- 
cerned, indivisibly, that Word Who is completely 
united to the Father. He who thus thinks 
will never leave heresy a loophole to impair his 
piety by the novelty of the term "ungenerate." 
But in Eunomius' next propositions his state- 
ments are like bread with a large admixture of 
sand. For by mixing his heretical opinions 
with sound doctrines, he makes uneatable even 
that which is in itself nutritious, by the gravel 
which he has mingled with it. For he calls the 
Lord " living wisdom," " operative truth," " sub- 
sistent power," and " life " : — so far is the nutri- 
tious portion. But into these assertions he 
instils the poison of heresy. For when he 
speaks of the " life " as " generate " he makes 
a reservation by the implied opposition to the 



3 Or "to be_ brought into harmony with Christian doctrine " 
(e(t>ap)x6<r8rivai. tcu Aoyw) * Ps. xxxvi. 6. 

5 Ps. Uviii. 26 (LXX.). <« Cf. Ps. cxiv. 6. 



" ungenerate " life, and does not affirm the Son 
to be the very Life. Next he says : — "As Son 
of God, quickening the dead, the true light, the 
light that lighteneth every man coming into the 
world 7 , good, and the bestower of good things." 
All these things he offers for honey to the 
simple-minded, concealing his deadly drug under 
the sweetness of terms like these. For he im- 
mediately introduces, on the heels of these 
statements, his pernicious principle, in the 
words " Not partitioning with Him that begat 
Him His high estate, not dividing with another 
the essence of the Father, but becoming by 
generation glorious, yea, the Lord of glory, 
and receiving glory from the Father, not shar- 
ing His glory with the Father, for the glory 
of the Almighty is incommunicable, as He 
hath said, ' My glory will I not give to an- 
other 8 .'" These are his deadly poisons, which 
they alone can discover who have their souls' 
senses trained so to do : but the mortal mis- 
chief of the words is disclosed by their con- 
clusion : — " Receiving glory from the Father, 
not sharing glory with the Father, for the glory 
of the Almighty is incommunicable, as He hath 
said, ' My glory will I not give to another.' " 
Who is that "other" to whom God has said 
that He will not give His glory? The 
prophet speaks of the adversary of God, and 
Eunomius refers the prophecy to the only be- 
gotten God Himself ! For when the prophet, 
speaking in the person of God, had said, " My 
glory will I not give to another," he added, 
" neither My praise to graven images." For 
when men were beguiled to offer to the adver- 
sary of God the worship and adoration due to 
God alone, paying homage in the representa- 
tions of graven images to the enemy of God, 
who appeared in many shapes amongst men in 
the forms furnished by idols, He Who healeth 
them that are sick, in pity for men's ruin, fore- 
told by the prophet the loving-kindness which 
in the latter days He would show in the abolish- 
ing of idols, saying, " When My truth shall have 
been manifested, My glory shall no more be 
given to another, nor My praise bestowed upon 
graven images : for men, when they come to 
know My glory, shall no more be in bondage to 
them that by nature are no gods." All there- 
fore that the prophet says in the person of the 
Lord concerning the power of the adversary, 
this fighter against God, refers to the Lord Him- 
self, Who spake these words by the prophet ! 
Who among the tyrants is recorded to have 
been such a persecutor of the faith as this? 
Who maintained such blasphemy as this, that 
He Who, as we believe, was manifested in the 
flesh for the salvation of our souls, is not very 
God, but the adversary of God, who puts his 



' Cf. S. John i. 9. 



8 Is. xlii. 8. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK II. 



119 



guile into effect against men by the instrument- 
ality of idols and graven images? For it is what 
was said of that adversary by the prophet that 
Eunomius transfers to the only-begotten God, 
without so much as reflecting that it is the 
Only-begotten Himself Who spake these words 
by the prophet, as Eunomius himself subse- 
quently confesses when he says, " this is He 
Who spake by the prophets." 

Why should I pursue this part of the subject 
in more detail ? For the words preceding also 
are tainted with the same profanity — "receiving 
glory from the Father, not sharing glory with 
the Father, for the glory of the Almighty God 
is incommunicable." For my own part, even 
had his words referred to Moses who was glori- 
fied in the ministration of the Law, — not even 
then should I have tolerated such a statement, 
even if it be conceded that Moses, having no 
glory from within, appeared completely glorious 
to the Israelites by the favour bestowed on him 
from God. For the very glory that was be- 
stowed on the lawgiver was the glory of none 
other but of God Himself, which glory the 
Lord in the Gospel bids all to seek, when He 
blames those who value human glory highly 
and seek not the glory that cometh from 
God only 9. For by the fact that He com- 
manded them to seek the glory that cometh 
from the only God, He declared the possibility 
of their obtaining what they sought. How then 
is the glory of the Almighty incommunicable, 
if it is even our duty to ask for the glory that 
cometh from the only God, and if, according 
to our Lord's word, " every one that asketh re- 
ceiveth 1 " ? But one who says concerning the 
Brightness of the Father's glory, that He has 
the glory by having received it, says in effect 
that the Brightness of the glory is in Itself de- 
void of glory, and needs, in order to become 
Himself at last the Lord of some glory, to 
receive glory from another. How then are we 
to dispose of the utterances of the Truth, — 
one which tells us that He shall be seen in the 
glory of the Father 2 , and another which says, 
"All things that the Father hath are Mines"? 
To whom ought the hearer to give ear? To 
him who says, " He that is, as the Apostle says, 
the 'heir of all things * ' that are in the Father, 
is without part or lot in His Father's glory " ; 
or to Him Who declares that all things that the 
Father hath, He Himself hath also ? Now 
among the " all things," glory surely is in- 
cluded. Yet Eunomius says that the glory of 
the Almighty is incommunicable. This view 
Joel does not attest, nor yet the mighty Peter, 
who adopted, in his speech to the Jews, the 
language of the prophet. For both the pro- 



5 Cf. S. John v. 44. ' S. Matt. vii. 8. 

S. Mark viii. 38. 3 S. John xvi. 15. * Heb. i. 3. 



phet and the apostle say, in the person of 
God, — " I will pour out of My Spirit upon all 
flesh s." He then Who did not grudge the 
partaking in His own Spirit to all flesh, —how 
can it be that He does not impart His own 
glory to the only-begotten Son, Who is in the 
bosom of the Father, Who has all things that 
the Father has ? Perhaps one should say that 
Eunomius is here speaking the truth, though not 
intending it. For the term "impart " is strictly 
used in the case of one who has not his glory 
from within, whose possession of it is an ac- 
cession from without, and not part of his own 
nature : but where one and the same nature 
is observed in both Persons, He Who is as 
regards nature all that the Father is believed to 
be stands in no need of one to impart to Him 
each several attribute. This it will be well to 
explain more clearly and precisely. He Who 
has the Father dwelling in Him in His entirety 
— what need has He of the Father's glory, 
when none of the attributes contemplated in 
the Father is withdrawn from Him ? 

§ 11. After expounding the high estate of the 

Almighty, the Eternity of the Son, and the 

phrase '■'■being made obedient" he shows the 

folly of Euno?nius in his assertion that the 

Son did not acquire His sons hip by obedience. 

What, moreover, is the high estate of the 
Almighty in which Eunomius affirms that the 
Son has no share ? Let those, then, who are 
wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their 
own sight 6 , utter their groundling opinions — 
they who, as the prophet says, " speak out of 
the ground ?." But let us who reverence the 
Word and are disciples of the Truth, or rather 
who profess to be so, not leave even this as- 
sertion unsifted. We know that of all the 
names by which Deity is indicated some are 
expressive of the Divine majesty, employed and 
understood absolutely, and some are assigned 
with reference to the operations over us and all 
creation. For when the Apostle says " Now 
to the immortal, invisible, only wise God 8 ," 
and the like, by these titles he suggests con- 
ceptions which represent to us the transcendent 
power, but when God is spoken of in the Scrip- 
tures as gracious, merciful, full of pity, true, 
good, Lord, Physician, Shepherd, Way, Bread, 
Fountain, King, Creator, Artificer, Protector, 
Who is over all and through all, Who is all in 
all, these and similar titles contain the declara- 
tion of the operations of the Divine loving- 
kindness in the creation. Those then who 
enquire precisely into the meaning of the term 
"Almighty" will find that it declares nothing 



5 Joel ii. 28 : Acts ii. 17. 
7 Is. xxix. 4. 



6 Is. v. 31. 

• Cf. 1 Tim. i. 17. 



120 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



else concerning the Divine power than that that 
operation which controls created things and is 
indicated by the word "Almighty," stands in a 
certain relation to something. For as He would 
not h<" called a Physician, save on account of 
the sick, nor merciful and gracious, and the like, 
save by reason of one who stood in need of 
grace and mercy, so neither would He be styled 
Almighty, did not all creation stand in need 
of one to regulate it and keep it in being. As, 
then, He presents Himself as a Physician to 
those who are in need of healing, so He is 
Almighty over one who has need of being 
ruled : and just as " they that are whole have 
no need of a physician 9," so it follows that we 
may well say that He Whose nature contains in 
it the principle of unerring and unwavering rec- 
titude does not, like others, need a ruler over 
Him. Accordingly, when we hear the name 
" Almighty," our conception is this, that God 
sustains in being all intelligible things as well 
as all things of a material nature. For for this 
cause He sitteth upon the circle of the earth, 
for this cause He holdeth the ends of the 
earth in His hand, for this cause He " meteth 
out heaven with the span, and measureth the 
waters in the hollow of His hand l " ; for this 
cause He comprehendeth in Himself all the 
intelligible creation, that all things may remain 
in existence controlled by His encompassing 
power. Let us enquire, then, Who it is that 
" worketh all in all." Who is He Who made 
all things, and without Whom no existing thing 
does exist ? Who is He in Whom all things 
were created, and in Whom all things that are 
have their continuance ? In Whom do we live 
and move and have our being ? Who is He 
Who hath in Himself all that the Father hath ? 
Does what has been said leave us any longer 
in ignorance of Him Who is " God over all 2 ," 
Who is so entitled by S. Paul, — our Lord Jesus 
Christ, Who, as He Himself says, holding in 
His hand " all things that the Father hath 3," 
assuredly grasps all things in the all-containing 
hollow of His hand and is sovereign over what 
He has grasped, and no man taketh from the 
hand of Him Who in His hand holdeth all 
things ? If, then, He hath all things, and is 
sovereign over that which He hath, why is He 
Who is thus sovereign over all things some- 
thing else and not Almighty? If heresy replies 
that the Father is sovereign over both the Son 
and the Holy Spirit, let them first show that 
the Son and the Holy Spirit are of mutable 
nature, and then over this mutability let them 
set its ruler, that by the help implanted from 
above, that which is so overruled may con- 

9 Cf. S. Matt. ix. 12, and parallel passages. 

1 Cf. Is. xl. 12 and 24. The quotation is not verbally from the 
LXX. 

* Rom. ix. 5. 3 S. John xvi. 15. 



tinue incapable of turning to evil. If, on the 
other hand, the Divine nature is incapable of 
evil, unchangeable, unalterable, eternally per- 
manent, to what end does it stand in need of a 
ruler, controlling as it does all creation, and itself 
by reason of its immutability needing no ruler 
to control it? For this cause it is that at the 
name of Christ " every knee boweth, of things 
in heaven, and things in earth, and things under 
the earth V For assuredly every knee would 
not thus bow, did it not recognize in Christ 
Him Who rules it for its own salvation. But 
to say that the Son came into being by the 
goodness of the Father is nothing else than to 
put Him on a level with the meanest objects 
of creation. For what is there that did not 
arrive at its birth by the goodness of Him Who 
made it? To what is the formation of mankind 
ascribed ? to the badness of its Maker, or to 
His goodness ? To what do we ascribe the 
generation of animals, the production of plants 
and herbs? There is nothing that did not 
take its rise from the goodness of Him Who 
made it. A property, then, which reason dis- 
cerns to be common to all things, Eunomius 
is so kind as to allow to the Eternal Son ! But 
that He did not share His essence or His 
estate with the Father — these assertions and the 
rest of his verbiage I have refuted in anticipa- 
tion, when dealing with his statements con- 
cerning the Father, and shown that he has 
hazarded them at random and without any 
intelligible meaning. For not even in the case 
of us who are born one of another is there any 
division of essence. The definition expressive 
of essence remains in its entirety in each, in 
him that begets and in him who is begotten, 
without admitting diminution in him who be- 
gets, or augmentation in him who is begotten. 
But to speak of division of estate or sovereignty 
in the case of Him Who hath all things whatso- 
ever that the Father hath, carries with it no 
meaning, unless it be a demonstration of the 
propounder's impiety. It would therefore be 
superfluous to entangle oneself in such discus- 
sions, and so to prolong our treatise to an un- 
reasonable length. Let us pass on to what 
follows. 

" Glorified," he says, " by the Father before the 
worlds." The word of truth hath been demon- 
strated, confirmed by the testimony of its ad- 
versaries. For this is the sum of our faith, 
that the Son is from all eternity, being glorified 
by the Father : for " before the worlds " is the 
same in sense as "from all eternity. v seeing 
that prophecy uses this phrase to set forth to 
us God's eternity, when it speaks of Him as 
"He that is from before the worlds s." If then 
to exist before the worlds is beyond all begin- 



* Cf. Phil. ii. 10. 



5 Ps. lv. 19 (LXX.) 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK II. 



121 



ning, he who confers glory on the Son before 
the worlds, does thereby assert His existence 
from eternity before that glory 6 : for surely it 
is not the non-existent, but the existent which 
is glorified. Then he proceeds to plant for 
himself the seeds of blasphemy against the 
Holy Spirit ; not with a view to glorify the Son, 
but that he may wantonly outrage the Holy 
Ghost. For with the intention of making out 
the Holy Spirit to be part of the angelic host, 
he throws in the phrase " glorified eternally by 
the Spirit, and by every rational and generated 
being," so that there is no distinction between 
the Holy Spirit and all that comes into being ; 
if, that is, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord in 
the same sense as all the other existences 
enumerated by the prophet, " angels and 
powers, and the heaven of heavens, and the 
water above the heavens, and all the things of 
earth, dragons, deeps, fire and hail, snow and 
vapour, wind of the storm, mountains and all 
hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and all 
cattle, worms and feathered fowls 7 ." If, then, 
he says, that along with these the Holy Spirit 
also glorifies the Lord, surely his God-opposing 
tongue makes out the Holy Spirit Himself also 
to be one of them. 

The disjointed incoherencies which follow 
next, I think it well to pass over, not because 
they give no handle at all to censure, but be- 
cause their language is such as might be used 
by the devout, if detached from its malignant 
context. If he does here and there use some 
expressions favourable to devotion it is just 
held out as a bait to simple souls, to the end 
that the hook of impiety may be swallowed 
along with it. For after employing such lan- 
guage as a member of the Church might use, he 
subjoins, "Obedient with regard to the creation 
and production of all things that are, obedient 
with regard to every ministration, not having by 
His obedience attained Sonship or Godhead, but, 
as a consequence of being Son and being gener- 
ated as the Only-begotten God, showing Himself 
obedient in words, obedient in acts." Yet who 
of those who are conversant with the oracles of 
God does not know with regard to what point 
of time it was said of Him by the mighty Paul, 
(and that once for all), that He " became 
obedient 8 " ? For it was when He came in the 
form of a servant to accomplish the mystery of 
redemption by the cross, Who had emptied 
Himself, Who humbled Himself by assuming 
the likeness and fashion of a man, being found 
as man in man's lowly nature — then, I say, it 
was that He became obedient, even He Who 



6 Reading auTrjs, with Oehler. The general sense is the same, 
if avTcu be read ; ' ' does yet more strongly attest His existence from 
all eternity." 

7 Cf. Ps. cxlviii. 2— io. 8 Phil. ii. 8. 



"took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses 9," 
healing the disobedience of men by His own 
obedience, that by His stripes He might heal 
our wound, and by His own death do away 
with the common death of all men, — then it 
was that for our sakes He was made obedient, 
even as He became " sin x " and "a curse 2 " by 
reason of the dispensation on our behalf, not 
being so by nature, but becoming so in His 
love for man. But by what sacred utterance 
was He ever taught His list of so many obedi- 
ences ? Nay, on the contrary every inspired 
Scripture attests His independent and sovereign 
power, saying, " He spake the word and they 
were made : He commanded and they were 
created 3 " : — for it is plain that the Psalmist 
says this concerning Him Who upholds "all 
things by the word of His power *," Whose 
authority, by the sole impulse of His will, 
framed every existence and nature, and all 
things in the creation apprehended by reason 
or by sight. Whence, then, was Eunomius 
moved to ascribe in such manifold wise to the 
King of the universe the attribute of obedience, 
speaking of Him as " obedient with regard to all 
the work of creation, obedient with regard to 
every ministration, obedient in words and in 
acts " ? Yet it is plain to every one, that he 
alone is obedient to another in acts and words, 
who has not yet perfectly achieved in himself 
the condition of accurate working or unexcep- 
tionable speech, but keeping his eye ever on 
his teacher and guide, is trained by his sugges- 
tions to exact propriety in deed and word. 
But to think that Wisdom needs a master and 
teacher to guide aright Its attempts at imitation, 
is the dream of Eunomius' fancy, and of his 
alone. And concerning the Father he says, 
that He is faithful in words and faithful in 
works, while of the Son he does not assert 
faithfulness in word and deed, but only obedi- 
ence and not faithfulness, so that his profanity 
extends impartially through all his statements. 
But it is perhaps right to pass in silence over 
the inconsiderate folly of the assertion inter- 
posed between those last mentioned, lest some 
unreflecting persons should laugh at its absurdity 
when they ought rather to weep over the per- 
dition of their souls, than laugh at the folly of 
their words. For this wise and wary theologian 
says that He did not attain to being a Son as the 
result of His obedience ! Mark his penetration ! 
with what cogent force does he lay it down for 
us that He was not first obedient and afterwards 
a Son, and that we ought not to think that His 
obedience was prior to His generation ! Now 
if he had not added this defining clause, who 
without it would have been sufficiently silly and 



9 Cf. S. Matt viii. 17. 

2 Gal. iii. 13. 3 Ps. cxlviii. 5. 



1 2 Cor. v. 21. 

* Heb. L 3. 



122 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



idiotic to fancy that His generation was bestowed 
on Him by His Father, as a reward of the 
obedience of Him Who before His generation 
had showed due subjection and obedience ? But 
that no one may too readily extract matter for 
laughter from these remarks, let each consider 
that even the folly of the words has in it some- 
thing worthy of tears. For what he intends to 
establish by these observations is something of 
this kind, that His obedience is part of His 
nature, so that not even if He willed it would 
it be possible for Him not to be obedient. 

For he says that He was so constituted that 
His nature was adapted to obedience alone 5 , just 
as among instruments that which is fashioned 
with regard to a certain figure necessarily pro- 
duces in that which is subjected to its operation 
the form which the artificer implanted in the 
construction of the instrument, and cannot 
possibly trace a straight line upon that which 
receives its mark, if its own working is in a 
curve ; nor can the instrument, if fashioned to 
draw a straight line, produce a circle by its 
impress. What need is there of any words of 
ours to reveal how great is the profanity of such 
a notion, when the heretical utterance of itself 
proclaims aloud its monstrosity? For if He 
was obedient for this reason only that He was 
so made, then of course He is not on an equal 
footing even with humanity, since on this theory, 
while our soul is self-determining and independ- 
ent, choosing as it will with sovereignty over 
itself that which is pleasing to it, He on the 
contrary exercises, or rather experiences, obedi- 
ence under the constraint of a compulsory law 
of His nature, while His nature suffers Him not 
to disobey, even if He would. For it was " as 
the result of being Son, and being begotten, that 
He has thus shown Himself obedient in words 
and obedient in acts." Alas, for the brutish 
stupidity of this doctrine ! Thou makest the 
Word obedient to words, and supposest other 
words prior to Him Who is truly the Word, and 
another Word of the Beginning is mediator 
between the Beginning and the Word that was 
in the Beginning, conveying to Him the decision. 
And this is not one only : there are several 
words, which Eunomius makes so many links 
of the chain between the Beginning and the 
Word, and which abuse His obedience as they 
think good. But what need is there to linger 
over this idle talk ? Any one can see that even 
at that time with reference to which S. Paul 
says that He became obedient, (and he tells us 
that He became obedient in this wise, namely, 
by becoming for our sakes flesh, and a servant, 

5 If this phrase is a direct quotation from Eunomius, it is prob- 
ably from some other context : its grammatical structure does not 
connect it with what has gone before, nor is it quite clear where 
the quotation ends, or whether the illustration of the instrument is 
Eunomius' own, or is Gregory's exposition of the statement of 
Eunomius. 



and a curse, and sin), — even then, I say, the 
Lord of glory, Who despised the shame and 
embraced suffering in the flesh, did not abandon 
His free will, saying as He does, " Destroy this 
temple, and in three days I will raise it up 6 ;" 
and again, " No man taketh My life from Me ; 
I have power to lay it down, and I have power 
to take it again i " ; and when those who were 
armed with swords and staves drew near to 
Him on the night before His Passion, He 
caused them all to go backward by saying " I 
am He 8 ," and again, when the dying thief be- 
sought Him to remember him, He showed His 
universal sovereignty by saying, "To-day shalt 
thou be with Me in Paradise ." If then not 
even in the time of His Passion He is separated 
from His authority, where can heresy possibly 
discern the subordination to authority of the 
King of glory ? 

§ 12. He thus proceeds to a magnificent dis- 
course of the interpretation of "Mediator" 
"Like" " Ungenerate," and "generate" and 
of "The likeness and seal of the energy of the 
Almighty and of His works." 

Again, what is the manifold mediation which 
with wearying iteration he assigns to God, call- 
ing Him " Mediator in doctrines, Mediator in 
the Law I "? It is not thus that we are taught 
by the lofty utterance of the Apostle, who says 
that having made void the law of command- 
ments by His own doctrines, He is the media- 
tor between God and man, declaring it by this 
saying, " There is one God, and one mediator 
between God and man, the man Christ Jesus 2 ;" 
where by the distinction implied in the word 
"mediator" he reveals to us the whole aim of 
the mystery of godliness. Now the aim is this. 
Humanity once revolted through the malice of 
the enemy, and, brought into bondage to sin, 
was also alienated from the true Life. After this 
the Lord of the creature calls back to Him His 
own creature, and becomes Man while still re- 
maining God, being both God and Man in the 
entirety of the two several natures, and thus 
humanity was indissolubly united to God, the 
Man that is in Christ conducting the work of 
mediation, to Whom, by the first-fruits as- 
sumed for us, all the lump is potentially united 3. 
Since, then, a mediator is not a mediator of 
one 4, and God is one, not divided among the 
Persons in Whom we have been taught to be- 
lieve (for the Godhead in the Father, the Son, 
and the Holy Ghost is one), the Lord, there- 
fore, becomes a mediator once for all betwixt 



6 S. John ii. 19. 7 S. John x. 18. 

8 S. John xviii. 5-6. 9 S. Luke xxiii. 43. 

1 Here again the exact connexion of the quotation from Euno- 
mius with the extracts preceding is uncertain. 

2 Cf. 1. Tim. ii. 5. 3 Cf. Rom. xL 16. 
4 Gal. iii. 20. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK II. 



123 



God and men, binding man to the Deity by 
Himself. But even by the idea of a mediator 
we are taught the godly doctrine enshrined in 
the Creed. For the Mediator between God 
and man entered as it were into fellowship with 
human nature, not by being merely deemed a 
man, but having truly become so : in like 
manner also, being very God, He has not, as 
Eunomius will have us consider, been honoured 
by the bare title of Godhead. 

What he adds to the preceding statements is 
characterized by the same want of meaning, or 
rather by the same malignity of meaning. For 
in calling Him "Son" Whom, a little before, 
he had plainly declared to be created, and in 
calling Him " only begotten God " Whom he 
reckoned with the rest of things that have come 
into being by creation, he affirms that He is 
like Him that begat Him only "by an especial 
likeness, in a peculiar sense." Accordingly, we 
must first distinguish the significations of the 
term "like," in how many senses it is employed 
in ordinary use, and afterwards proceed to dis- 
cuss Eunomius' positions. In the first place, 
then, all things that beguile our senses, not 
being really identical in nature, but producing 
illusion by some of the accidents of the re- 
spective subjects, as form, colour, sound, and 
the impressions conveyed by taste or smell or 
touch, while really different in nature, but sup- 
posed to be other than they truly are, these 
custom declares to have the relation of " like- 
ness," as, for example, when the lifeless material 
is shaped by art, whether carving, painting, or 
modelling, into an imitation of a living creature, 
the imitation is said to be "like" the original. 
For in such a case the nature of the animal is 
one thing, and that of the material, which cheats 
the sight by mere colour and form, is another. 
To the same class of likeness belongs the image 
of the original figure in a mirror, which gives ap- 
pearances of motion, without, however, being in 
nature identical with its original. In just the 
same way our hearing may experience the same 
deception, when, for instance, some one, imi- 
tating the song of the nightingale with his own 
voice, persuades our hearing so that we seem to 
be listening to the bird. Taste, again, is subject 
to the same illusion, when the juice of figs 
mimics the pleasant taste of honey : for there is 
a certain resemblance to the sweetness of honey 
in the juice of the fruit. So, too, the sense of 
smell may sometimes be imposed upon by re- 
semblance, when the scent of the herb camo- 
mile, imitating the fragrant apple itself, deceives 
our perception : and in the same way with touch 
also, likeness belies the truth in various modes, 
since a silver or brass coin, of equal size and 
similar weight with a gold one, may pass for the 
gold piece if our sight does not discern the truth. 



We have thus generally described in a few 
words the several cases in which objects, be- 
cause they are deemed to be different from 
what they really are, produce delusions in our 
senses. It is possible, of course, by a more 
laborious investigation, to extend one's enquiry 
through all things which are really different in 
kind one from another, but are nevertheless 
thought, by virtue of some accidental resem- 
blance, to be like one to the other. Can 
it possibly be such a form of " likeness " as 
this, that he is continually attributing to the 
Son ? Nay, surely he cannot be so infatuated 
as to discover deceptive similarity in Him Who 
is the Truth. Again, in the inspired Scriptures, 
we are told of another kind of resemblance by 
Him Who said, " Let us make man in our 
image, after our likeness 5;" but I do not sup- 
pose that Eunomius would discern this kind of 
likeness between the Father and the Son, so as 
to make out the Only-begotten God to be iden- 
tical with man. We are also aware of another 
kind of likeness, of which the word speaks in 
Genesis concerning Seth, — "Adam begat a son 
in his own likeness, after his image 6 ": and if 
this is the kind of likeness of which Eunomius 
speaks, we do not think his statement is to be 
rejected. For in this case the nature of the 
two objects which are alike is not different, 
and the impress and type imply community of 
nature. These, or such as these, are our views 
upon the variety of meanings of " like." Let 
us see, then, with what intention Eunomius as- 
serts of the Son that "especial likeness" to the 
Father, when he says that He is "like the 
Father with an especial likeness, in a peculiar 
sense, not as Father to Father, for they are not 
two Fathers." He promises to show us the 
" especial likeness " of the Son to the Father, 
and proceeds by his definition to establish the 
position that we ought not to conceive of Him 
as being like. For by saying, " He is not like 
as Father to Father," he makes out that He is 
not like ; and again when he adds, " nor as Un- 
generate to Ungenerate," by this phrase, too, he 
forbids us to conceive a likeness in the Son to 
the Father ; and finally, by subjoining " nor as 
Son to Son," he introduces a third conception, 
by which he entirely subverts the meaning of 
"like." So it is that he follows up his own 
statements, and conducts his demonstration of 
likeness by establishing unlikeness. And now 
let us examine the discernment and frankness 
which he displays in these distinctions. After 
saying that the Son is like the Father, he 
guards the statement by adding that we ought 
not to think that the Son is like the Father, 
" as Father to Father." Why, what man on 



5 Gen. i. 36. 



' Gen. v. 3. 



124 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



earth is such a fool as, on learning that the Son 
is like the Father, to be brought by any course 
of reasoning to think of the likeness of Father to 
Father ? " Nor as Son to Son " : — here, again, 
the acuteness of the distinction is equally con- 
spicuous. When he tells us that the Son is 
like the Father, he adds the further definition 
that He must not be understood to be like 
Him in the same way as He would be like 
another Son. These are, the mysteries of the 
awful doctrines of Eunomius, by which his 
disciples are made wiser than the rest of the 
world, by learning that the Son, by His like- 
ness to the Father, is not like a Son, for the 
Son is not the Father : nor is He like " as 
Ungenerate to Ungenerate," for the Son is not 
ungenerate. But the mystery which we have 
received, when it speaks of the Father, cer- 
tainly bids us understand the Father of the 
Son, and when it names the Son, teaches us to 
apprehend the Son of the Father. And until 
the present time we never felt the need of these 
philosophic refinements, that by the words 
Father and Son are suggested two Fathers 
or two Sons, a pair, so to say, of ungenerate 
beings. 

Now the drift of Eunomius' excessive con- 
cern about the Ungenerate has been often ex- 
plained before ; and it shall here be briefly 
discovered yet again. For as the term Father 
points to no difference of nature from the Son, 
his impiety, if he had brought his statement to 
a close here, would have had no support, seeing 
that the natural sense of the names Father and 
Son excludes the idea of their being alien in 
essence. But as it is, by employing the terms 
" generate " and " ungenerate," since the con- 
tradictory opposition between them admits of 
no mean, just like that between "mortal " and 
" immortal," " rational " and " irrational," and 
all those terms which are opposed to each other 
by the mutually exclusive nature of their 
meaning, — by the use of these terms, I repeat, 
he gives free course to his profanity, so as to 
contemplate as existing in the "generate " with 
reference to the " ungenerate " the same differ- 
ence which there is between " mortal " and 
" immortal " : and even as the nature of the 
mortal is one, and that of the immortal another, 
and as the special attributes of the rational and 
of the irrational are essentially incompatible, 
just so he wants to make out that the nature of 
the ungenerate is one, and that of the generate 
another, in order to show that as the irrational 
nature has been created in subjection to the 
rational, so the generate is by a necessity of its 
being in a state of subordination to the ungener- 
ate. For which reason he attaches to the 
ungenerate the name of " Almighty," and this 
he does not apply to express providential opera- 



tion, as the argument led the way for him in 
suggesting, but transfers the application of the 
word to arbitrary sovereignty, so as to make 
the Son to be a part of the subject and sub- 
ordinate universe, a fellow-slave with all the 
rest to Him Who with arbitrary and absolute 
sovereignty controls all alike. And that it is 
with an eye to this result that he employs these 
argumentative distinctions, will be clearly estab- 
lished from the passage before us. For after 
those sapient and carefully-considered expres- 
sions, that He is not like either as Father to 
Father, or as Son to Son, — and yet there is no 
necessity that father should invariably be like 
father or son like son : for suppose there is one 
father among the Ethiopians, and another among 
the Scythians, and each of these has a son, the 
Ethiopian's son black, but the Scythian white- 
skin ned and with hair of a golden tinge, yet 
none the more because each is a father does 
the Scythian turn black on the Ethiopian's 
account, nor does the Ethiopian's body change 
to white on account of the Scythian, — after 
saying this, however, according to his own 
fancy, Eunomius subjoins that " He is like as 
Son to Father ?." But although such a phrase 
indicates kinship in nature, as the inspired 
Scripture attests in the case of Seth and Adam, 
our doctor, with but small respect for his in- 
telligent readers, introduces his idle exposition 
of the title "Son," defining Him to be the 
image and seal of the energy 8 of the Almighty. 
"For the Son," he says, "is the image and seal 
of the energy of the Almighty." Let him who 
hath ears to hear first, I pray, consider this 
particular point — What is " the seal of the 
energy"? Every energy is contemplated as 
exertion in the party who exhibits it, and on 
the completion of his exertion, it has no in- 
dependent existence. Thus, for example, the 
energy of the runner is the motion of his feet, 
and when the motion has stopped there is no 
longer any energy. So too about every pursuit 
the same may be said ; — when the exertion of 
him who is busied about anything ceases, the 
energy ceases also, and has no independent ex- 
istence, either when a person is actively engaged 
in the exertion he undertakes, or when he ceases 
from that exertion. What then does he tell us 
that the energy is in itself, which is neither 
essence, nor image, nor person ? So he speaks 
of the Son as the similitude of the impersonal, 
and that which is like the non-existent surely 
has itself no existence at all. This is what his 
juggling with idle opinions comes to, — belief in 
nonentity ! for that which is like nonentity surely 



1 This is apparently a quotation from Eunomius in continuation 
of what has gone before. 

8 The word employed is evipyeia. : which might be translated by 
"active force," or "operation," as elsewhere. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK II. 



125 



itself is not. O Paul and John and all you others 
of the band of Apostles and Evangelists, who are 
they that arm their venomous tongues against 
your words ? who are they that raise their frog- 
like croakings against your heavenly thunder ? 
What then saith the son of thunder? " In the 
beginning was the Word, and the Word was 
with God, and the Word was God?." And 
what saith he that came after him, that other 
who had been within the heavenly temple, who 
in Paradise had been initiated into mysteries 
unspeakable? "Being," he says, "the Bright- 
ness of His glory, and the express Image of His 
person I ." What, after these have thus spoken, 
are the words of our ventriloquist 2 ? "The 
seal," quoth he, " of the energy of the Almighty." 
He makes Him third after the Father, with that 
non-existent energy mediating between them, 
or rather moulded at pleasure by non-existence. 
God the Word, Who was in the beginning, is 
" the seal of the energy " : — the Only-begotten 
God, Who is contemplated in the eternity of 
the Beginning of existent things, Who is in the 
bosom of the Father 3, Who sustains all things 
by the word of His power*, the creator of the 
ages, from Whom and through Whom and in 
Whom are all things s, Who sitteth upon the 
circle of the earth, and hath meted out heaven 
with the span, Who measure th the water in the 
hollow of his hand 6 , Who holdeth in His hand 
all things that are, Who dwelleth on high and 
looketh upon the things that are lowly ?, or 
rather did look upon them to make all the 
world to be His footstool 8 , imprinted by the 
footmark of the Word — the form of God 9 is 
"the seal" of an "energy." Is God then an 
energy, not a Person ? Surely Paul when 
expounding this very truth says He is " the 
express image," not of His energy, but " of 
His Person." Is the Brightness of His glory 
a seal of the energy of God ? Alas for his 
impious ignorance ! What is there intermediate 
between God and His own form ? and Whom 
does the Person employ as mediator with His 
own express image ? and what can be conceived 
as coming between the glory and its brightness? 
But while there are such weighty and numerous 
testimonies wherein the greatness of the Lord 
of the creation is proclaimed by those who were 
entrusted with the proclamation of the Gospel, 
what sort of language does this forerunner of 
the final apostasy hold concerning Him ? 
What says he? "As image," he says, "and 
seal of all the energy and power of the Almighty." 
How does he take upon himself to emend the 
words of the mighty Paul ? Paul says that the 

9 S. John L t. * Heb. i. 3. 

2 Cf. the use of eyyaarpifivflos in LXX. [e.g. Lev. xix. 31, Is. 
xliv. 25'.. 

3 S. John i. 18. * Cf. Heb. L 3. 5 Cf. Rom. xi. 36. 
6 Cf. Isa. xl. 12—22. ' Cf. Ps. cxxxviii. 6. 

8 Cf. Isa. lxvi. 1. 9 Cf. Phil. ii. 5. 



Son is "the Power of God r " ; Eunomius calls 
Him "the seal of a power," not the Power. 
And then, repeating his expression, what is it 
that he adds to his previous statement? He 
calls Him " seal of the Father's works and words 
and counsels." To what works of the Father is 
He like? He will say, of course, the world, 
and all things that are therein. But the Gospel 
has testified that all these things are the works 
of the Only-begotten. To what works of the 
Father, then, was He likened? of what works 
was He made the seal ? what Scripture ever 
entitled Him " seal of the Father's works " ? 
But if any one should grant Eunomius the right 
to fashion his words at his own will, as he de- 
sires, even though Scripture does not agree with 
him, let him tell us what works of the Father 
there are of which he says that the Son was 
made the seal, apart from those that have been 
wrought by the Son. All things visible and 
invisible are the work of the Son : in the visible 
are included the whole world and all that is 
therein ; in the invisible, the supramundane 
creation. What works of the Father, then, are 
remaining to be contemplated by themselves, 
over and above things visible and invisible, 
whereof he says that the Son was made the 
" seal " ? Will he perhaps, when driven into a 
corner, return once more to the fetid vomit of 
heresy, and say that the Son is a work of the 
Father ? How then does the Son come to be 
the " seal " of these works, when He Himself, 
as Eunomius says, is the work of the Father ? 
Or does he say that the same Person is at once 
a work and the likeness of a work ? Let this 
be granted : let us suppose him to speak of the 
other works of which he says the Father was the 
creator, if indeed he intends us to understand 
likeness by the term "seal." But what other 
" words " of the Father does Eunomius know, 
besides that Word Who was ever in the Father, 
Whom he calls a " seal " — Him Who is and is 
called the Word in the absolute, true, and 
primary sense ? And to what counsels can he 
possibly refer, apart from the Wisdom of God, 
to which the Wisdom of God is made like, in 
becoming a " seal " of those counsels ? Look at 
the want of discrimination and circumspection, at 
the confused muddle of his statement, how he 
brings the mystery into ridicule, without under- 
standing either what he says or what he is 
arguing about. For He Who has the Father in 
His entirety in Himself, and is Himself in His 
entirety in the Father, as Word and Wisdom 
and Power and Truth, as His express image 
and brightness, Himself is all things in the 
Father, and does not come to be the image 
and seal and likeness of certain other things 
discerned in the Father prior to Himself. 

1 1 Cor. i. 24. 



126 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



Then Eunomius allows to Him the credit of 
the destruction of men by water in the days of 
Noah, of the rain of fire that fell upon Sodom, 
and of the just vengeance upon the Egyptians, 
as though he were making some great conces- 
sions to Him Who holds in His hand the ends 
of the world, in Whom, as the Apostle says, 
"all things consist 2 ," as though he were not 
aware that to Him Who encompasses all things, 
and guides and sways according to His good 
pleasure all that hath already been and all that 
will be, the mention of two or three marvels 
does not mean the addition of glory, so much 
as the suppression of the rest means its depriv- 
ation or loss. But even if no word be said of 
these, the one utterance of Paul is enough by 
itself to point to them all inclusively — the one 
utterance which says that He " is above all, and 
through all, and in all 3." 

§ 13. He expounds the passage of the Gospel, 
" The Father judgeth no man," and further 
speaks of the assumption of man with body and 
soul wrought by the Lord, of the transgression 
of Adam, and of death and the resurrection of 
the dead. 

Next he says, " He legislates by the command 
of the Eternal God." Who is the eternal God? 
and who is He that ministers to Him in the 
giving of the Law ? Thus much is plain to all, 
that through Moses God appointed the Law to 
those that received it. Now inasmuch as 
Eunomius himself acknowledges that it was the 
only-begotten God Who held converse with 
Moses, how is it that the assertion before us 
puts the Lord of all in the place of Moses, and 
ascribes the character of the eternal God to the 
Father alone, so as, by thus contrasting Him with 
the Eternal, to make out the only-begotten God, 
the Maker of the Worlds, to be not Eternal ? 
Our studious friend with his excellent memory 
seems to have forgotten that Paul uses all these 
terms concerning himself, announcing among 
men the proclamation of the Gospel by the 
command of God *. Thus what the Apostle 
asserts of himself, that Eunomius is not ashamed 
to ascribe to the Lord of the prophets and 
apostles, in order to place the Master on the 
same level with Paul, His own servant. But 
why should I lengthen out my argument by 
confuting in detail each of these assertions, 
where the too unsuspicious reader of Eunomius' 
writings may think that their author is saying 
what Holy Scripture allows him to say, while 
one who is able to unravel each statement 
critically will find them one and all infected 

a Col. L 17. 

3 Eph. iv. 6. The application of the words to the Son is 
remarkable. 

4 Cf. Rom. xvL 26. 



with heretical knavery. For the Churchman 
and the heretic alike affirm that "the Father 
judgeth no man, but hath committed all judg- 
ment unto the Son 5," but to this assertion they 
severally attach different meanings. By the 
same words the Churchman understands 
supreme authority, the other maintains sub- 
servience and subjection. 

But to what has been already said, ought to 
be added some notice of that position which they 
make a kind of foundation of their impiety in 
their discussions concerning the Incarnation, 
the position, namely, that not the whole man 
has been saved by Him, but only the half of 
man, I mean the body. Their object in such a 
malignant perversion of the true doctrine, is to 
show that the less exalted statements, which our 
Lord utters in His humanity, are to be thought 
to have issued from the Godhead Itself, that so 
they may show their blasphemy to have a 
stronger case, if it is upheld by the actual ac- 
knowledgment of the Lord. For this reason it 
is that Eunomius says, " He who in the last 
days became man did not take upon Himself 
the man made up of soul and body." But, 
after searching through all the inspired and 
sacred Scripture, I do not find any such state- 
ment as this, that the Creator of all things, at 
the time of His ministration here on earth for 
man, took upon Himself flesh only without a 
soul. Under stress of necessity, then, looking 
to the object contemplated by the plan of 
salvation, to the doctrines of the Fathers, and to 
the inspired Scriptures, I will endeavour to con- 
fute the impious falsehood which is being 
fabricated with regard to this matter. The 
Lord came " to seek and to save that which was 
lost 6 ." Now it was not the body merely, but 
the whole man, compacted of soul and body, 
that was lost : indeed, if we are to speak more 
exactly, the soul was lost sooner than the body. 
For disobedience is a sin, not of the body, 
but of the will : and the will properly belongs 
to the soul, from which the whole disaster of 
our nature had its beginning, as the threat of 
God, that admits of no falsehood, testifies in 
the declaration that, in the day that they 
should eat of the forbidden fruit, death without 
respite would attach to the act. Now since the 
condemnation of man was twofold, death cor- 
respondingly effects in each part of our nature 
the deprivation of the twofold life that operates 
in him who is thus mortally stricken. For the 
death of the body consists in the extinction of 
the means of sensible perception, and in the 
dissolution of the body into its kindred ele- 
ments : but "the soul that sinneth," he saith, 
"it shall die 7." Now sin is nothing else than 



5 S. John v. 32. 6 Cf. S. Luke xix. 10. 

1 Ezek. xviii. ao. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK II. 



127 



alienation from God, Who is the true and only 
life. Accordingly the first man lived many 
hundred years after his disobedience, and yet 
God lied not when He said, " In the day that 
ye eat thereof ye shall surely die 8 ." For by 
the fact of his alienation from the true life, the 
sentence of death was ratified against him that 
self-same day : and after this, at a much later 
time, there followed also the bodily death of 
Adam. He therefore Who came for this cause, 
that He might seek and save that which was 
lost, (that which the shepherd in the parable 
calls the sheep,) both finds that which is lost, 
and carries home on His shoulders the whole 
sheep, not its skin only, that He may make 
the man of God complete, united to the deity 
in body and in soul. And thus He Who was in 
all points tempted like as we are, yet without 
sin, left no part of our nature which He did not 
take upon Himself. Now the soul is not sin, 
though it is capable of admitting sin into it as 
the result of being ill-advised : and this He 
sanctifies by union with Himself for this end, 
that so the lump may be holy along with the 
first-fruits. Wherefore also the Angel, when 
informing Joseph of the destruction of the 
enemies of the Lord, said, " They are dead 
which sought the young Child's life 9," (or 
"soul ") : and the Lord says to the Jews, " Ye 
seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the 
truth *." Now by " Man " is not meant the 
body of a man only, but that which is composed 
of both, soul and body. And again, He says to 
them, "Are ye angry at Me, because I have 
made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath 
day 2 ? " And what He meant by " every whit 
whole," He showed in the other Gospels, when 
He said to the man who was let down on a 
couch in the midst, "Thy sins be forgiven 
thee," which is a healing of the soul, and, 
"Arise and walks," which has regard to the 
body : and in the Gospel of S. John, by liber- 
ating the soul also from its own malady after 
He had given health to the body, where He 
saith, " Thou art made whole, sin no more *," 
thou, that is, who hast been cured in both, I 
mean in soul and in body. For so too does S. 
Paul speak, " for to make in Himself of twain 
one new man s." And so too He foretells that 
at the time of His Passion He would voluntarily 
detach His soul from His body, saying, " No 
man taketh " my soul " from Me, but I lay it 
down of Myself: I have power to lay it down, 



8 Cf. Gen. ii. 17. 

9 S Matt. ii. 20. The word ^ruxV" may be rendered by either 
" life " or " soul." 

1 S. John viii. 40. This is the only passage in which our Lord 
speaks of Himself by this term. 

2 S. John vii. 20. 

3 Cf. S. Luke v. 20, 23, and the parallel passages in S. Matt. 
ix. and S. Mark ii. 

4 S. John v. 14. 5 Eph. ii. ij. 



and I have power to take it again 6 ." Yea, the 
prophet David also, according to the interpret- 
ation of the great Peter, said with foresight of 
Him, " Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, 
neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to 
see corruption 7 ," while the Apostle Peter 
thus expounds the saying, that " His soul was 
not left in hell, neither His flesh did see cor- 
ruption." For His Godhead, alike before 
taking flesh and in the flesh and after His 
Passion, is immutably the same, being at all 
times what It was by nature, and so continuing 
for ever. But in the suffering of His human 
nature the Godhead fulfilled the dispensation for 
our benefit by severing the soul for a season from 
the body, yet without being Itself separated from 
either of those elements to which it was once 
for all united, and by joining again the elements 
which had been thus parted, so as to give to all 
human nature a beginning and an example 
which it should follow of the resurrection from 
the dead, that all the corruptible may put on 
incorruption, and all the mortal may put on 
immortality, our first-fruits having been trans- 
formed to the Divine nature by its union with 
God, as Peter said, " This same Jesus Whom 
ye crucified, hath God made both Lord and 
Christ 8 ; " and we might cite many passages of 
Scripture to support such a position, showing 
how the Lord, reconciling the world to Himself 
by the Humanity of Christ, apportioned His 
work of benevolence to men between His soul 
and His body, willing through His soul and 
touching them through His body. But it would 
be superfluous to encumber our argument by 
entering into every detail. 

Before passing on, however, to what follows, 
I will further mention the one text, " Destroy 
this temple, and in three days I will raise it 
up 9." Just as we, through soul and body, be- 
come a temple of Him Who "dwelleth in us and 
walketh in us l " even so the Lord terms their 
combination a " temple," of which the " de- 
struction " signifies the dissolution of the soul 
from the body. And if they allege the passage 
in the Gospel, " The Word was made flesh 2 ," 
in order to make out that the flesh was taken 
into the Godhead without the soul, on the 
ground that the soul is not expressly mentioned 
along with the flesh, let them learn that it is 
customary for Holy Scripture to imply the 
whole by the part. For He that said, " Unto 
Thee shall all flesh come 3 ," does not mean 
that the flesh will be presented before the 
Judge apart from the souls : and when we read 



6 Cf. S. John x. 17, 18. Here again the word ijray^ is rendered 
in the A. V. by "life. 1 ; 

7 Ps. xvi. 8. Acts ii. 27, 31. 

8 Acts ii. 36. A further exposition of Gregory's views on this 
passage will be found in Book V. 

9 S. John ii. 19. * Cf. 2 Cor. vi. 16. 
Z S. John i. 14. 3 Ps. lxv. 2. 



128 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



in sacred History that Jacob went down into 
Egypt with seventy-five souls 4 we understand 
the flesh also to be intended together with the 
souls. So, then, the Word, when He became 
flesh, took with the flesh the whole of human 
nature ; and hence it was possible that hunger 
and thirst, fear and dread, desire and sleep, 
tears and trouble of spirit, and .all such things, 
were in Him. For the Godhead, in its proper 
nature, admits no such affections, nor is the 
flesh by itself involved in them, if the soul is 
not affected co-ordinately with the body. 

§ 14. He proceeds to discuss the views held by 
Eunomius , and by the Church, touching the 
Holy Spirit ; and to show that the Father, 
the Son, and the Holy Ghost are not three 
Gods, but one God. He also discusses differ- 
ent senses of "Subjection? and therein shows 
that the subjection of all things to the Son is 
the same as the subjection of the Son to the 
Father. 

Thus much with regard to his profanity to- 
wards the Son. Now let us see what he says 
about the Holy Spirit. "After Him, we believe," 
he says, "on the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth." 
I think it will be plain to all who come across 
this passage what object he has in view in 
thus perverting the declaration of the faith de- 
livered to us by the Lord, in his statements 
concerning the Son and the Father. Though 
this absurdity has already been exposed, I will 
nevertheless endeavour, in few words, to make 
plain the aim of his knavery. As in the former 
case, he avoided using the name " Father," 
that so he might not include the Son in the 
eternity of the Father, so he avoided employ- 
ing the title Son, that he might not by it suggest 
His natural affinity to the Father ; so here, too, 
he refrains from saying " Holy Spirit," that he 
may not by this name acknowledge the majesty 
of His glory, and His complete union with the 
Father and the Son. For since the appellation 
of " Spirit," and that of " Holy," are by the 
Scriptures equally applied to the Father and 
the Son (for "God is a Spirits," a nd "the 
anointed Lord is the Spirit before our face 6 ," 
and "the Lord our God is Holy 7," and there 
is " one Holy, one Lord Jesus Christ 8 "), lest 
there should, by the use of these terms, be bred 
in the minds of his readers some orthodox 
conception of the Holy Spirit, such as would 
naturally arise in them from His sharing His 
glorious appellation with the Father and the 
Son, for this reason, deluding the ears of the 



4 Acts vii. 14. Cf. Gen. xlvL 27, and Deut. x. 22. 

5 S. John iv. 24. 6 Cf. Lain. iv. 20 in LXX. 
1 Ps. xcix. 9. 
* Cf. the response to the words of the Priest at the elevation of 

the Gifts in the Greek Liturgies. 



foolish, he changes the words of the Faith as 
set forth by God in the delivery of this mystery, 
making a way, so to speak, by this sequence, 
for the entrance of his impiety against the Holy 
Spirit. For if he had said, " We believe in the 
Holy Spirit," and " God is a Spirit," any one 
instructed in things divine would have inter- 
posed the remark, that if we are to believe in 
the Holy Spirit, while God is called a Spirit, 
He is assuredly not distinct in nature from that 
which receives the same titles in a proper sense. 
For of all those things which are indicated not 
unreally, nor metaphorically, but properly and 
absolutely, by the same names, we are neces- 
sarily compelled to acknowledge that the nature 
also, which is signified by this identity of names, 
is one and the same. For this reason it is that, 
suppressing the name appointed by the Lord in 
the formula of the faith, he says, "We believe 
in the Comforter." But I have been taught 
that this very name is also applied by the 
inspired Scripture to Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost alike. For the .Son gives the name of 
"Comforter" equally to Himself and to the 
Holy Spirit 9 ; and the Father, where He is 
said to work comfort, surely claims as His own 
the name of " Comforter." For assuredly he 
Who does the work of a Comforter does not dis- 
dain the name belonging to the work : for David 
says to the Father, " Thou, Lord, hast holpen 
me and comforted me *," and the great Apostle 
applies to the Father the same language, when 
he says, " Blessed be the God and Father of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, Who comforteth us in 
all our tribulation 2 " ; and John, in one of his 
Catholic Epistles, expressly gives to the Son 
the name of Comforter 3. Nay, more, the Lord 
Himself, in saying that another Comforter would 
be sent us, when speaking of the Spirit, clearly 
asserted this title of Himself in the first place. 
But as there are two senses of the word 
irapatcaXelv 4 , — one to beseech, by words and 
gestures of respect, to induce him to whom we 
apply for anything, to feel with us in respect of 
those things for which we apply, — the other to 
comfort, to take remedial thought for affections 
of body and soul,— the Holy Scripture affirms 
the conception of the Paraclete, in either sense 
alike, to belong to the Divine nature. For at 
one time Paul sets before us by the word 
napaKaXuv the healing power of God, as when 
he says, " God, Who comforteth those that 
are cast down, comforted us by the coming of 
Titus 5 "; and at another time he uses this 
word in its other meaning, when he says, 
writing to the Corinthians, " Now we are am- 

9 S. John xiv. i( , * Ps. lxxvi. 17. 2 2 Cor. i. 3-4. 

3 1 S. John ii. 1. (The word is in the A. V. rendered "advo- 
cate.") 

4 From which is derived the name Paraclete, i.e. Comforter or 
Advocate. 5 2 Cor. vii. 6. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK II. 



129 



bassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech 
you by us ; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye 
reconciled to God 6 ." Now since these things 
are so, in whatever way you understand the 
title " Paraclete," when used of the Spirit, you 
will not in either of its significations detach 
Him from His community in it with the Father 
and the Son. Accordingly, he has not been 
able, even though he wished it, to belittle the 
glory of the Spirit by ascribing to Him the very 
attribute which Holy Scripture refers also to 
the Father and to the Son. But in styling Him 
" the Spirit of Truth," Eunomius' own wish, I 
suppose, was to suggest by this phrase sub- 
jection, since Christ is the Truth, and he called 
Him the Spirit of Truth, as if one should say 
that He is a possession and chattel of the 
Truth, without being aware that God is called 
a God of righteousness ? ; and we certainly do 
not understand thereby that God is a possession 
of righteousness. Wherefore also, when we 
hear of the "Spirit of Truth," we acquire by 
that phrase such a conception as befits the 
Deity, being guided to the loftier interpretation 
by the words which follow it. For when the 
Lord said "The Spirit of Truth," He imme- 
diately added "Which proceedeth from the 
Father 8 ," a fact which the voice of the Lord 
never asserted of any conceivable thing in 
creation, not of aught visible or invisible, not 
of thrones, principalities, powers, or dominions, 
nor of any other name that is named either 
in this world or in that which is to come. It is 
plain then that that, from share in which all 
creation is excluded, is something special and 
peculiar to uncreated being. But this man bids 
us believe in " the Guide of godliness." Let a 
man then believe in Paul, and Barnabas, and 
Titus, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, and all those 
by whom we have been led into the way of the 
faith. For if we are to believe in " that which 
guides us to godliness," along with the Father 
and the Son, all the prophets and lawgivers and 
patriarchs, heralds, evangelists, apostles, pastors, 
and teachers, have equal honour with the Holy 
Spirit, as they have been " guides to godliness " 
to those who came after them. " Who came 
into being," he goes on, "by the only God 
through the Only-begotten." In these words he 
gathers up in one head all his blasphemy. 
Once more he calls the Father " only God," 
who employs the Only-begotten as an instru- 
ment for the production of the Spirit. What 
shadow of such a notion did he find in Scrip- 
ture, that he ventures upon this assertion? by 
deduction from what premises did he bring 
his profanity to such a conclusion as this ? 



6 1 Cor. v. 20. 

7 The text reads, " that God is called righteousness," but the 
irgument seems to require the genitive case. The reference may 
De to Ps. iv. 1. S S. John xv. 26. 

VOL. V. K 



Which of the Evangelists says it? what apostle? 
what prophet ? Nay, on the contrary every 
scripture divinely inspired, written by the af- 
flatus of the Spirit, attests the Divinity of the 
Spirit. For example (for it is better to prove 
my position from the actual testimonies), those 
who receive power to become children of God 
bear witness to the Divinity of the Spirit. Who 
knows not that utterance of the Lord which 
tells us that they who are born of the Spirit are 
the children of God ? For thus He expressly 
ascribes the birth of the children of God to the 
Spirit, saying, that as that which is born of the 
flesh is flesh, so that which is born of the Spirit 
is spirit. But as many as are born of the Spirit 
are called the children of God 9. So also when 
the Lord by breathing upon His disciples had 
imparted to them the Holy Spirit, John says, 
" Of His fulness have all we received I ." And 
that " in Him dwelleth the fulness of the God- 
head 2 ," the mighty Paul attests : yea, moreover, 
through the prophet Isaiah it is attested, as to 
the manifestation of the Divine appearance 
vouchsafed to him, when he saw Him that sat 
" on the throne high and lifted up 3 : " the 
older tradition, it is true, says that it was the 
Father Who appeared to him, but the evangelist 
John refers the prophecy to our Lord, saying, 
touching those of the Jews who did not believe 
the words uttered by the prophet concerning 
the Lord, "These things said Esaias, when he 
saw His glory and spake of Him V But the 
mighty Paul attributes the same passage to the 
Holy Spirit in his speech made to the Jews at 
Rome, when he says, " Well spake the Holy 
Ghost by Esaias the prophet concerning you, 
saying, Hearing ye shall hear and shall not 
understand V showing, in my opinion, by Holy 
Scripture itself, that every specially divine vision, 
every theophany, every word uttered in the 
Person of God, is to be understood to refer 
to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 
Hence when David says, " they provoked God 
in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the 
desert 6 ," the apostle refers to the Holy Spirit 
the despite done by the Israelites to God, in 
these terms : " Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost 
saith, Harden not your hearts, as in the provo- 
cation, in the day of temptation in the wilder- 
ness ; when your fathers tempted me 7 ," and 
goes on to refer all that the prophecy refers to 
God, to the Person of the Holy Ghost. Those 
who keep repeating against us the phrase " three 
Gods," because we hold these views, have per- 



9 With this passage cf. S. John i. 12, iii. 6 ; Rom. viii. 14 ; 
1 S. John iii. 3. 

1 S. John xx. 2i, and i. 16. 2 Col. ii. 9. 

3 Is. vi. 1. 

4 S. John xii. 41. The " older tradition " means presumabH 
the ancient interpretation of the Jews. 

5 Cf. Acts xxviii. 25, 26. The quotation is not verbal. 

6 Cf. Ps. lxxviii. 40. 7 Heb. iii. 7. 



130 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



haps not yet learnt how to count. For if the 
Father and the Son are not divided into duality, 
(for they are, according to the Lord's words, 
One, and not Two 8 ,) and if the Holy Ghost is 
also one, how can one added to one be divided 
into the number of three Gods? Is it not 
rather plain that no one can charge us with 
believing in the number of three Gods, without 
himself first maintaining in his own doctrine a 
pair of Gods ? For it is by being added to two 
that the one completes the triad of Gods. But 
what room is there for the charge of tritheism 
against those by whom one God is worshipped, 
the God expressed by the Name of the Father 
and the Son and the Holy Ghost ? 

Let us however resume Eunomius' statement 
in its entirety. " Having come into being from 
the only God through the Only-begotten, this 
Spirit also — " What proof is there of the 
statement that "this Spirit also" is one of the 
things that were made by the Only-begotten ? 
They will say of course that " all things were 
made by Him 9," and that in the term " all 
things" "this Spirit also" is included. Our 
answer to them shall be this, All things were 
made by Him, that were made. Now the 
things that were made, as Paul tells us, were 
things visible and invisible, thrones, authorities, 
dominions, principalities, powers, and among 
those included under the head of thrones and 
powers are reckoned by Paul the Cherubim 
and Seraphim * : so far does the term " all 
things " extend. But of the Holy Spirit, as 
being above the nature of things that have 
come into being, Paul said not a word in his 
enumeration of existing things, not indicating 
to us by his words either His subordination or 
His coming into being ; but just as the prophet 
calls the Holy Spirit " good," and " right," and 
"guiding 3 " (indicating by the word "guiding" 
the power of control), even so the apostle as- 
cribes independent authority to the dignity of 
the Spirit, when he affirms that He works all in 
all as He wills 3. Again, the Lord makes mani- 
fest the Spirit's independent power and opera- 
tion in His discourse with Nicodemus, when 
He says, " The Spirit breatheth where He 
willeth 4." How is it then that Eunomius goes 
so far as to define that He also is one of the 
things that came into being by the Son, con- 
demned to eternal subjection. For he describes 
Him as "once for all made subject," enthralling 
the guiding and governing Spirit in I know not 
what form of subjection. For this expression 



the 



8 S. John x. 30. « Cf. S. John i. 3. 

1 Cf. Col. i. 16 ; but the enumeration varies considerably. 

2 The last of these epithets is from Ps. li. 14 {Trve<fi.a T)yefioi>iKbi>, 
" Spiritus principalis" of the Vulgate, the ' free spirit" of the 



Spiritus principalis >■•» «. •.••- 

English version) ; the "right spirit" of ver. 12 being also applied by 
S Gregory to the Holy Spirit, while the epithet "good" is from 



«J}9 
Ps cxlii. 10. 

3 Cf. 1 Cor. xii. 11. 



S. John iii. 8. 



of " subjection " has many significations in 
Holy Scripture, and is understood and used 
with many varieties of meaning. For the 
Psalmist says that even irrational nature is put 
in subjection s, and brings under the same term 
those who are overcome in war 6 , while the 
apostle bids servants to be in subjection to 
their own masters ?, and that those who are 
placed over the priesthood should have their 
children in subjection 8 , as their disorderly con- 
duct brings discredit upon their fathers, as in 
the case of the sons of Eli the priest. Again, 
he speaks of the subjection of all men to God, 
when we all, being united to one another by the 
faith, become one body of the Lord Who is in 
all, as the subjection of the Son to the Father, 
when the adoration paid to the Son by all 
things with one accord, by things in heaven, 
and things on earth, and things under the earth, 
redounds to the glory of the Father ; as Paul 
says elsewhere, "To Him every knee shall bow, 
of things in heaven, and things in earth, and- 
things under the earth, and every tongue shall 
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory 
of God the Father °." For when this takes 
place, the mighty wisdom of Paul affirms that 
the Son, Who is in all, is subject to the Father 
by virtue of the subjection of those in whom 
He is. What kind of " subjection once for all" 
Eunomius asserts of the Holy Spirit, it is thus 
impossible to learn from the phrase which he 
has thrown out, — whether he means the subjec- 
tion of irrational creatures, or of captives, or of 
servants, or of children who are kept in order, 
or of those who are saved by subjection. For 
the subjection of men to God is salvation for 
those who are so made subject, according to 
the voice of the prophet, who says that his soul 
is subject to God, since of Him cometh salva- 
tion by subjection r , so that subjection is the 
means of averting perdition. As therefore the 
help of the healing art is sought eagerly by the 
sick, so is subjection by those who are in need 
of salvation. But of what life does the Holy 
Spirit, that quickeneth all things, stand in need, 
that by subjection He should obtain salvation 
for Himself? Since then it is not on the 
strength of any Divine utterance that he asserts 
such an attribute of the Spirit, nor yet is it as a 
consequence of probable arguments that he has 
launched this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, 
it must be plain at all events to sensible men 
that he vents his impiety against Him without 
any warrant whatsoever, unsupported as it is by 
any authority from Scripture or by any logical 
consequence. 



5 Ps. viii. 7, 8. 6 Ps. xlvii. 3. 

7 Tit. ii. 9. 8 1 Tim. iii. 4. 

9 Cf. Phil. ii. to, 11, a passage which is apparently considered 
as explanatory of 1 Cor. xv. 28. 
1 Cf. Ps. lxii. 1 (LXX.). 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK II. 



131 



§ 15. Lastly he displays at length the folly of 
Eunomius, 7vho at times speaks of the Holy 
Spirit as created, and as the fairest work of 
the Son, and at other times confesses, by the 
operations attributed to Him, that He is God, 
and thus ends the book. 

He goes on to add, " Neither on the same 
level with the Father, nor connumerated with the 
Father (for God over all is one and only Father), 
nor on an equality with the Son, for the Son is 
only-begotten, having none begotten with Him." 
Well, for my own part, if he had only added to 
his previous statement the remark that the Holy 
Ghost is not the Father of the Son, I should 
even then have thought it idle for him to linger 
over what no one ever doubted, and forbid 
people to form notions of Him which not even 
the most witless would entertain. But since he 
endeavours to establish his impiety by irrelevant 
and unconnected statements, imagining that by 
denying the Holy Spirit to be the Father of the 
Only-begotten he makes out that He is subject 
and subordinate, I therefore made mention of 
these words, as a proof of the folly of the man 
who imagines that he is demonstrating the 
Spirit to be subject to the Father on the ground 
that the Spirit is not Father of the Only-begotten. 
For what compels the conclusion, that if He be 
not Father, He must be subject? If it had 
been demonstrated that " Father " and "despot" 
were terms identical in meaning, it would no 
doubt have followed that, as absolute sovereignty 
was part of the conception of the Father, we 
should affirm that the Spirit is subject to Him 
Who surpassed Him in respect of authority. 
But if by " Father " is implied merely His re- 
lation to the Son, and no conception of absolute 
sovereignty or authority is involved by the use 
of the word, how does it follow, from the fact 
that the Spirit is not the Father of the Son, that 
the Spirit is subject to the Father? "Nor on 
an equality with the Son," he says. How comes 
he to say this ? for to be, and to be unchange- 
able, and to admit no evil whatsoever, and to 
remain unalterably in that which is good, all 
this shows no variation in the case of the Son 
and of the Spirit. For the incorruptible nature 
of the Spirit is remote from corruption equally 
with that of the Son, and in the Spirit, just as 
in the Son, His essential goodness is absolutely 
apart from its contrary, and in both alike their 
perfection in every good stands in need of no 
addition. 

Now the inspired Scripture teaches us to 
affirm all these attributes of the Spirit, when it 
predicates of the Spirit the terms " good," and 
"wise," and "incorruptible," and "immortal," 
and all such lofty conceptions and names as are 
properly applied to Godhead. If then He is 



inferior in none of these respects, by what 
means does Eunomius determine the inequality 
of the Son and the Spirit? "For the Son is," 
he tells us, " Only-begotten, having no brother 
begotten with Him." Well, the point, that we 
are not to understand the " Only-begotten " to 
have brethren, we have already discussed in our 
comments upon the phrase " first-born of all 
creation 2 ." But we ought not to leave un- 
examined the sense that Eunomius now unfairly 
attaches to the term. For while the doctrine 
of the Church declares that in the Father, the 
Son, and the Holy Ghost there is one power, 
and goodness, and essence, and glory, and the 
like, saving the difference of the Persons, this 
man, when he wishes to make the essence of the 
Only-begotten common to the creation, calls 
Him " the first-born of all creation" in respect 
of His pre-temporal existence, declaring by this 
mode of expression that all conceivable objects 
in creation are in brotherhood with the Lord ; 
for assuredly the first-born is not the first-born 
of those otherwise begotten, but of those begot- 
ten like Himself 3 . But when he is bent upon 
severing the Spirit from union with the Son, he 
calls Him "Only-begotten, not having any 
brother begotten with Him," not with the object 
of conceiving of Him as without brethren, but 
that by the means of this assertion he may estab- 
lish touching the Spirit His essential alienation 
from the Son. It is true that we learn from 
Holy Scripture not to speak of the Holy Ghost as 
brother of the Son : but that we are not to say 
that the Holy Ghost is homogeneous * with the 
Son, is nowhere shown in the divine Scriptures. 
For if there does reside in the Father and the 
Son a life-giving power, it is ascribed also to 
the Holy Spirit, according to the words of the 
Gospel. If one may discern alike in Father, 
Son, and Holy Spirit the properties of being 
incorruptible, immutable, of admitting no evil, 
of being good, right, guiding, of working all in 
all as He wills, and all the like attributes, how 
is it possible by identity in these respects to 
infer difference in kind? Accordingly the 
word of godliness agrees in affirming that we 
ought not to regard any kind of brotherhood as 
attaching to the Only-begotten ; but to say that 
the Spirit is not homogeneous with the Son, the 
upright with the upright, the good with the 
good, the life-giving with the life-giving, this has 
been clearly demonstrated by logical inference 
to be a piece of heretical knavery. 

Why then is the majesty of the Spirit curtailed 
by such arguments as these ? For there is nothing 

* See above, § 8 of this book. 

3 Or, " not the first-born of beings of a different race, but of 
those of his own stock." 

* ofioyeeJj, " of the same stock " : the word being the same which 
(when coupled with a&tkfov) has been translated, in the passage* 
preceding, by " begotten with." 



K 2 



132 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



which can be the cause of producing in him 
deviation by excess or defect from conceptions 
such as befit the Godhead, nor, since all these 
are by Holy Scripture predicated equally of the 
Son and of the Holy Spirit, can he inform us 
wherein he discerns inequality to exist. But he 
launches his blasphemy against the Holy Ghost 
in its naked form, ill-prepared and unsupported 
by any consecutive argument. " Nor yet 
ranked," he says, " with any other : for He 
has gone above s all the creatures that came into 
being by the instrumentality of the Son in mode 
of being, and nature, and glory, and knowledge, 
as the first and noblest work of the Only-begotten, 
the greatest and most glorious." I will leave, 
however, to others the task of ridiculing the 
bad taste and surplusage of his style, thinking 
as I do that it is unseemly for the gray hairs of 
age, when dealing with the argument before us, 
to make vulgarity of expression an objection 
against one who is guilty of impiety. I will 
just add to my investigation this remark. If 
the Spirit has " gone above " all the crea- 
tions of the Son, (for I will use his own un- 
grammatical and senseless phrase, or rather, 
to make things clearer, I will present his idea 
in my own language) if he transcends all things 
wrought by the Son, the Holy Spirit cannot be 
ranked with the rest of the creation ; and if, as 
Eunomius says, he surpasses them by virtue of 
priority of birth, he must needs confess, in the 
case of the rest of creation, that the objects 
which are first in order of production are more 
to be esteemed than those which come after 
them. Now the creation of the irrational 
animals was prior to that of man. Accordingly 
he will of course declare that the irrational 
nature is more honourable than rational exist- 
ence. So too, according to the argument of 
Eunomius, Cain will be proved superior to 
Abel, in that he was before him in time of 
birth, and so the stars will be shown to be 
lower and of less excellence than all the 
things that grow out of the earth ; for these last 
sprang from the earth on the third day, and 
all the stars are recorded by Moses to have 
been created on the fourth. Well, surely no 
one is such a simpleton as to infer that the 
grass of the earth is more to be esteemed than 
the marvels of the sky, on the ground of its 
precedence in time, or to award the meed to 
Cain over Abel, or to place below the irrational 
animals man who came into being later than 
they. So there is no sense in our author's con- 
tention that the nature of the Holy Spirit is 
superior to that of the creatures that came into 
being subsequently, on the ground that He 



5 avafiifiriKe : the word apparently is intended by Eunomius to 
have the force of "transcended"; Gregory, later on, criticizes 
it.s employment in this sense. 



came into being before they did. And now let 
us see what he who separates Him from fellow- 
ship with the Son is prepared to concede to the 
glory of the Spirit : " For he too," he says, 
" being one, and first and alone, and surpassing 
all the creations of the Son in essence and dignity 
of nature, accomplishing every operation and all 
teaching according to the good pleasure of the 
Son, being sent by Him, and receiving from Him, 
and declaring to those who are instructed, and 
guiding into truth." He speaks of the Holy 
Ghost as " accomplishing every operation and 
all teaching." What operation ? Does he mean 
that which the Father and the Son execute, ac- 
cording to the word of the Lord Himself Who 
" hitherto worketh 6 " man's salvation, or does 
he mean some other ? For if His work is that 
named, He has assuredly the same power and 
nature as Him Who works it, and in such an 
one difference of kind from Deity can have no 
place. For just as, if anything should perform 
the functions of fire, shining and warming in 
precisely the same way, it is itself certainly fire, 
so if the Spirit does the works of the Father, 
He must assuredly be acknowledged to be of 
the same nature with Him. If on the other 
hand He operates something else than our 
salvation, and displays His operation in a con- 
trary direction, He will thereby be proved to 
be of a different nature and essence. But 
Eunomius' statement itself bears witness that 
the Spirit quickeneth in like manner with the 
Father and the Son. Accordingly, from the 
identity of operations it results assuredly that 
the Spirit is not alien from the nature of the 
Father and the Son. And to the statement that 
the Spirit accomplishes the operation and 
teaching of the Father according to the good 
pleasure of the Son we assent. For the com- 
munity of nature gives us warrant that the will of 
the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is 
one, and thus, if the Holy Spirit wills that which 
seems good to the Son, the community of will 
clearly points to unity of essence. But he goes 
on, "being sent by Him, and receiving from Him, 
and declaring to those who are instructed, and 
guiding into truth." If he had not previously 
said what he has concerning the Spirit, the 
reader would surely have supposed that these 
words applied to some human teacher. For to 
receive a mission is the same thing as to be 
sent, and to have nothing of one's own, but to 
receive of the free favour of him who gives the 
mission, and to minister his words to those who 
are under instruction, and to be a guide into 
truth for those that are astray. All these things, 
which Eunomius is good enough to allow to the 
Holy Spirit, belong to the present pastors and 
teachers of the Church, — to be sent, to receive, 

6 S. John v. 17. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK II. 



J 33 



to announce, to teach, to suggest the truth. 
Now, as he had said above "He is one, and 
first, and alone, and surpassing all," had he but 
stopped there, he would have appeared as a de- 
fender of the doctrines of truth. For He Who 
is indivisibly contemplated in the One is most 
truly One, and first Who is in the First, and 
alone Who is in the Only One. For as the spirit 
of man that is in him, and the man himself, 
are but one man, so also the Spirit of God 
which is in Him, and God Himself, would 
properly be termed One God, and First and 
Only, being incapable of separation from Him 
in Whom He is. But as things are, with his 
addition of his profane phrase, " surpassing all 
the creatures of the Son," he produces turbid 
confusion by assigning to Him Who "breatheth 
where He willeth ?," and " worketh all in all 8 ," 
a mere superiority in comparison with the rest 
of created things. 

Let us now see further what he adds to this : 
" sanctifying the saints." If any one says this 
also of the Father and of the Son, he will speak 
truly. For those in whom the Holy One 
dwells, He makes holy, even as the Good One 
makes men good. And the Father, the Son, 
and the Holy Ghost are holy and good, as has 
been shown. "Acting as a guide to those who 
approach the mystery." This may well be said 
of Apollos who watered what Paul planted. 
For the Apostle plants by his guidance 9, and 
Apollos, when he baptizes, waters by Sacramental 
regeneration, bringing to the mystery those who 
were instructed by Paul. Thus he places on a 
4evel with Apollos that Spirit Who perfects men 
through baptism. "Distributing every gift." 
With this we too agree ; for everything that is 
good is a portion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 
" Co-operating with the faithful for the under- 
standing and contemplation of thingsappointed." 
As he does not add by whom they are ap- 
pointed, he leaves his meaning doubtful, 
whether it is correct or the reverse. But we 
will by a slight addition advance his statement 
so as to make it consistent with godliness. 
For since, whether it be the word of wisdom, or 
the word of knowledge, or faith, or help, or 
government, or aught else that is enumerated 
in the lists of saving gifts, " all these worketh 
that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to 
every man severally as He will I ," we therefore 
do not reject the statement of Eunomius when 
he says that the Spirit " co-operates with the 
faithful for understanding and contemplation of 
things appointed" by Him, because by Him all 
good teachings are appointed for us. " Sound- 
ing an accompaniment to those who pray." 



7 S. John iii. 8. 8 i Cor. xii. 6. 

9 If we read k<itt)X7)<j'c'uk for the »ca<h)y>)<rea)s of Oehler's text we 
have a clearer sense, " the Apostle plants by his instruction." 
1 i Cor. xii. ii. 



It would be foolish seriously to examine the 
meaning of this expression, of which the ludi- 
crous and meaningless character is at once 
manifest to all. For who is so demented and 
beside himself as to wait for us to tell him that 
the Holy Spirit is not a bell nor an empty cask 
sounding an accompaniment and made to ring 
by the voice of him who prays as it were by a 
blow? " Leading us to that which is expedient 
for us." This the Father and the Son likewise 
do: for "He leadeth Joseph like a sheep 2 ," 
and, "led His people like sheep 3," and, "the 
good Spirit leadeth us in a land of righteous- 
ness 4 ." "Strengthening us to godliness." To 
strengthen man to godliness David says is the 
work of God ; " For Thou art my strength and 
my refuges," says the Psalmist, and " the Lord 
is the strength of His people 6 ," and, " He shall 
give strength and power unto His people?." 
If then the expressions of Eunomius are meant 
in accordance with the mind of the Psalmist, 
they are a testimony to the Divinity of the 
Holy Ghost : but if they are opposed to the 
word of prophecy, then by this very fact a charge 
of blasphemy lies against Eunomius, because 
he sets up his own opinions in opposition to 
the holy prophets. Next he says, " Lightening 
souls with the light of knowledge." This grace 
also the doctrine of godliness ascribes alike to 
the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. 
For He is called a light by David 8 , and from 
thence the light of knowledge shines in them 
who are enlightened. In like manner also the 
cleansing of our thoughts of which the statement 
speaks is proper to the power of the Lord. 
For it was " the brightness of the Father's glory, 
and the express image of His person," Who 
"purged our sins 9." Again, to banish devils, 
which Eunomius says is a property of the Spirit, 
this also the only-begotten God, Who said to 
the devil, " I charge thee I ," ascribes to the 
power of the Spirit, when He says, " If I by the 
Spirit of God cast out devils 2 ," so that the 
expulsion of devils is not destructive of the 
glory of the Spirit, but rather a demonstration 
of His divine and transcendent power. " Heal- 
ing the sick," he says, " curing the infirm, com- 
forting the afflicted, raising up those who stumble, 
recovering the distressed." These are the words 
of those who think reverently of the Holy 
Ghost, for no one would ascribe the operation 
of any one of these effects to any one except 
to God. If then heresy affirms that those things 
which it belongs to none sa*e God alone to 
effect, are wrought by the power of the Spirit, 
we have in support of the truths for which we 
are contending the witness even of our advers- 
aries. How does the Psalmist seek his healing 

f a Ps. lxxx. i. 3 Ps. lxxvii. 20. « Cf. Ps. cxliii. 10. 

5 Cf. Ps. xxxi. 3. 6 Ps. xxviii. 8. ^ Ps. lxviii 75. 

8 Ps. xxvii. 1. 9 Heb. i. 3. 

1 Cf. S. Mark ix. 25. 2 S. Matt. xii. 28. 



134 



GREGORY GF NYSSA AGAINST EUNOMIUS. 



from God, saying, " Have mercy upon me, O 
Lord, for I am weak ; Lord, heal me, for my 
bones are vexed 3 ! " It is to God that Isaiah 
says, "The dew that is from Thee is healing 
unto them *." Again, prophetic language attests 
that the conversion of those in error is the work 
of God. For " they went astray in the wilder- 
ness in a thirsty land," says the Psalmist, and 
he adds, " So He led them forth by the right 
way, that they might go to the city where they 
dwelts;" and, "when the Lord turned again 
the captivity of Sion 6 ." In like manner also 
the comfort of the afflicted is ascribed to God, 
Paul thus speaking, " Blessed be God, even the 
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who com- 
forteth us in all our tribulation ?." Again, the 
Psalmist says, speaking in the person of God, 
" Thou catledst upon Me in trouble and I 
delivered thee 8 ." And the setting upright of 
those who stumble is innumerable times ascribed 
by Scripture to the power of the Lord : " Thou 
hast thrust sore at me that I might fall, but the 
Lord was my help 9," and "Though he fall, he 
shall not be cast away, for the Lord upholdeth 
him with His hand V and "The Lord helpeth 
them that are fallen 2 ." And to the loving- 
kindness of God confessedly belongs the re- 
covery of the distressed, if Eunomius means the 
same thing of which we learn in prophecy, as 
the Scripture says, " Thou laidest trouble upon 
our loins ; Thou sufferedst men to ride over our 
heads ; we went through fire and water, and 
Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place 3." 
Thus far then the majesty of the Spirit is 
demonstrated by the evidence of our opponents, 
but in what follows the limpid waters of devotion 
are once more defiled by the mud of heresy. 
For he says of the Spirit that He "cheers on those 
who are contending " : and this phrase involves 
him in the charge of extreme folly and impiety. 
For in the stadium some have the task of 
arranging the competitions between those who 
intend to show their athletic vigour ; others, who 
surpass the rest in strength and skill, strive for 
the victory and strip to contend with one 
another, while the rest, taking sides in their 
good wishes with one or other of the competi- 
tors, according as they are severally disposed 
towards or interested in one athlete or another, 
cheer him on at the time of the engagement, 
and bid him guard against some hurt, or re- 
member some trick of wrestling, or keep him- 
self unthrown by the help of his art. Take 
note from what has been said to how low a 
rank Eunomius degrades the Holy Spirit. For 
while on the course there are some who arrange 
the contests, and others who settle whether the 



3 Ps. vi. 3. * Is. xxvi. 19 (LXX.). 5 Ps. cviii. 4 — 7. 

6 Ps. cxxvi. 1. 7 j Cor. i. 3, 4. 8 Ps. Ixxxi. 17. 

V Ps. cxviii. 13. * Ps. xxxvii. 24. 

1 Ps. cxlvi. 8. IPs. Ixvi. 10, 11. 



contest is conducted according to rule, others 
who are actually engaged, and yet others who 
cheer on the competitors, who are acknowledged 
to be far inferior to the athletes themselves, 
Eunomius considers the Holy Spirit as one of 
the mob who look on, or as one of those who 
attend upon the athletes, seeing that He neither 
determines the contest nor awards the victory, 
nor contends with the adversary, but merely 
cheers without contributing at all to the victory. 
For He neither joins in the fray, nor does He 
implant the power to contend, but merely wishes 
that the athlete in whom He is interested may 
not come off second in the strife. And so Paul 
wrestles " against principalities, against powers, 
against the rulers of the darkness of this world, 
against spiritual wickedness in high places +," 
while the Spirit of power does not strengthen 
the combatants nor distribute to them His gifts, 
" dividing to every man severally as He will s," 
but His influence is limited to cheering on those 
who are engaged. 

Again he says, " Emboldening the faint- 
hearted." And here, while in accordance with 
his own method he follows his previous blas- 
phemy against the Spirit, the truth for all that 
manifests itself, even through unfriendly lips. 
For to none other than to God does it belong 
to implant courage in the fearful, saying to the 
faint-hearted, " Fear not, for I am with thee, be 
not dismayed 6 ," as says the Psalmist, " Yea 
though I walk through the valley of the shadow 
of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with 
me 7 ." Nay, the Lord Himself says to the 
fearful, — "Let not your heart be troubled, 
neither let it be afraid 8 ," and, " Why are ye 
fearful, O ye of little faith 9?" and, "Be of 
good cheer, it is I, be not afraid r ," and again, 
"Be of good cheer : I have overcome the 
world 8 ." Accordingly, even though this may 
not have been the intention of Eunomius, 
orthodoxy asserts itself by means even of the 
voice of an enemy. And the next sentence 
agrees with that which went before : — " Caring 
for all, and showing all concern and forethought." 
For in fact it belongs to God alone to care and 
to take thought for all, as the mighty David has 
expressed it, " I am poor and needy, but the 
Lord careth for me 3." And if what remains 
seems to be resolved into empty words, with 
sound and without sense, let no one find fault, 
seeing that in most of what he says, so far as 
any sane meaning is concerned, he is feeble and 
untutored. For what on earth he means when 
he says, " for the onward leading of the better 
disposed and the guardianship of the more faith- 
ful," neither he himself, nor they who sense- 
lessly admire his follies, could possibly tell us. 



* Eph. vi. 11. 
7 Ps. xxiii. 4. 
1 S. Mark vi. 50. 



s 1 Cor. xii. it. 
8 S. John xiv. 27. 
2 S. John xvL 33. 



6 Is. xlL 10. 
9 S. Matt. viii. tit. 
3 Ps. xl. to. 



BOOK III. 



§ I. This third book shows a third fall of 
Eunomius. as refuting himself and sometimes 
saying that the Son is to be called Only- 
begotten in virtue of natural generation, and 
that Holy Scripture proves this from the 
first ; at other times, that by reason of His 
being created He should not be called a Son, 
but a "product" or "creature." 

If, when a man "strives lawfully 1 ," he finds 
a limit to his struggle in the contest by his 
adversary's either refusing the struggle, and 
withdrawing of his own accord in favour of his 
conqueror from his effort for victory, or being 
thrown according to the rules of wrestling in 
three falls (whereby the glory of the crown is 
bestowed with all the splendour of proclamation 
upon him who has proved victorious in the 
umpire's judgment), then, since Eunomius, 
though he has been already twice thrown in 
our previous arguments, does not consent that 
truth should hold the tokens of her victory over 
falsehood, but yet a third time raises the dust 
against godly doctrine in his accustomed arena 
of falsehood with his composition, strengthen- 
ing himself for his struggle on the side of 
deceit, our statement of truth must also be 
now called forth to put his falsehood to rout, 
placing its hopes in Him Who is the Giver and 
the Judge of victory, and at the same time 
deriving strength from the very unfairness of 
the adversaries' tricks of wrestling. For we 
are not ashamed to confess that we have pre- 
pared for our contest no weapon of argument 
sharpened by rhetoric, that we can bring 
forward to aid us in the fight with those 
arrayed against us, no cleverness or sharpness 
of dialectic, such as with inexperienced judges 
lays even on truth the suspicion of falsehood. 
One strength our reasoning against falsehood 
has — first the very Word Himself, Who is the 
might of our word, 2 and in the next place the 
rottenness of the arguments set against us, 
which is overthrown and falls by its own spon- 
taneous action. Now in order that it may be 
made as clear as possible to all men, that the 

1 2 Tim. ii. 5. 

2 The earlier editions bere omit a long passage, which Oehler 
restores. 



very efforts of Eunomius serve as means for 
his own overthrow to those who contend with 
him, I will set forth to my readers his phan- 
tom doctrine (for so I think that doctrine may 
be called which is quite outside the truth), 
and I would have you all, who are present at 
our struggle, and watch the encounter now 
taking place between my doctrine and that 
which is matched with it, to be just judges of 
the lawful striving of our arguments, that by 
your just award the reasoning of godliness may 
be proclaimed as victor to the whole theatre 
of the Church, having won undisputed victory 
over ungodliness, and being decorated, in virtue 
of the three falls of its enemy, with the unfading 
crown of them that are saved. Now this state- 
ment is set forth against the truth by way of 
preface to his third discourse, and this is the 
fashion of it : — " Preserving," he says, "natural 
order, and abiding by those things which are 
known to us from above, we do not refuse to 
speak of the Son, seeing He is begotten, even by 
the name of 'product of generation 3,' since the 
generated essence and 4 the appellation of Son 
make such a relation of words appropriate." I 
beg the reader to give his attention carefully 
to this point, that while he calls God both 
" begotten " and " Son," he refers the reason 
of such names to "natural order," and calls to 
witness to this conception the knowledge pos- 
sessed from above : so that if anything should 
be found in the course of what follows contrary 
to the positions he has laid down, it is clear to 
all that he is overthrown by himself, refuted by 
his own arguments before ours are brought 
against him. And so let us consider his state- 
ment in the light of his own words. He con- 
fesses that the name of " Son " would by no 
means be properly applied to the Only-begotten 
God, did not " natural order," as he says, con- 
firm the appellation. If, then, one were to 
withdraw the order of nature from the con- 
sideration of the designation of "Son," his use 
of this name, being deprived of its proper and 
natural significance, will be meaningless. And 



3 yevvrj^a. 

4 Inserting /ecu, which does not appear here in Oehler's text, but is 
found in later quotations of the same passsage : atrrijs is also found 
in the later citations. 



136 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



moreover the fact that he says these state- 
ments are confirmed, in that they abide by the 
knowledge possessed from above, is a strong 
additional support to the orthodox view touch- 
ing the designation of "Son," seeing that the 
inspired teaching of the Scriptures, which comes 
to us from above, confirms our argument on 
these matters. If these things are so, and this 
is a standard of truth that admits of no deception, 
that these two concur — the "natural order," as he 
says, and the testimony of the knowledge given 
from above confirming the natural interpreta- 
tion — it is clear, that to assert anything con- 
trary to these, is nothing else than manifestly to 
fight against the truth itself. Let us hear again 
what this writer, who makes nature his instructor 
in the matter of this name, and says that he 
abides by the knowledge given to us from above 
by the instruction of the saints, sets out at 
length a little further on, after the passage I 
have just quoted. For I will pretermit for the 
time the continuous recital of what is set next 
in order in his treatise, that the contradiction 
in what he has written may not escape detec- 
tion, being veiled by the reading of the inter- 
vening matter. " The same argument," he says, 
" will apply also in the case of what is made and 
created, as both the natural interpretation and 
the mutual relation of the things, and also the 
use of the saints, give us free authority for the 
use of the formula : wherefore one would not be 
wrong in treating the thing made as correspond- 
ing to the maker, and the thing created to the 
creator." Of what product of making or of 
creation does he speak, as having naturally the 
relation expressed in its name towards its maker 
and creator? If of those we contemplate in 
the creation, visible and invisible (as Paul 
recounts, when he says that by Him all things 
were created, visible and invisible) 5 , so that 
this relative conjunction of names has a proper 
and special application, that which is made 
be'ing set in relation to the maker, that which 
is created to the creator, — if this is his meaning, 
we agree with him. For in fact, since the 
Lord is the Maker of angels, the angel is 
assuredly a thing made by Him that made 
him : and since the Lord is the Creator of the 
world, clearly the world itself and all that is 
therein are called the creature of Him that 
created them. If however it is with this in- 
tention that he makes his interpretation of 
" natural order," systematizing the appropriation 
of relative terms with a view to their mutual 
relation in verbal sense, even thus it would be 
an extraordinary thing, seeing that every one is 
aware of this, that he should leave his doctrinal 
statement to draw out for us a system of 



5 Cf. Col. i. 16. 



grammatical trivialities 6 . But if it is to the 
Only-begotten God that he applies such phrases, 
so as to say that He is a thing made by Him 
that made Him, a creature of Him that created 
Him, and to refer this terminology to "the 
use of the saints," let him first of all show us in 
his statement what saints he says there are who 
declared the Maker of all things to be a product 
and a creature, and whom he follows in this 
audacity of phrase. The Church knows as 
saints those whose hearts were divinely guided 
by the Holy Spirit, — patriarchs, lawgivers, 
prophets, evangelists, apostles. If any among 
these is found to declare in his inspired words 
that God over all, Who "upholds all things 
with the word of His power," and grasps with 
His hand all things that are, and by Himself 
called the universe into being by the mere act 
of His will, is a thing created and a product, 
he will stand excused, as following, as he says, 
the " use of the saints 7 " in proceeding to formu- 
late such doctrines. But if the knowledge of 
the Holy Scriptures is freely placed within the 
reach of all, and nothing is forbidden to or hidden 
from any of those who choose to share in the 
divine instruction, how comes it that he en- 
deavours to lead his hearers astray by his mis- 
representation of the Scriptures, referring the 
term " creature," applied to the Only-begotten, 
to "the use of the saints"? For that by Him 
all things were made, you may hear almost from 
the whole of their holy utterance, from Moses and 
the prophets and apostles who come after him, 
whose particular expressions it would be tedious 
here to set forth. Enough for our purpose, with 
the others, and above the others, is the sublime 
John, where in the preface to his discourse on 
the Divinity of the Only-begotten he proclaims 
aloud the fact that there is none of the things 
that were made which was not made through 
Him 8 , a fact which is an incontestable and 
positive proof of His being Lord of the creation, 
not reckoned in the list of created things. For 
if all things that are made exist by no other 
but by Him (and John bears witness that 
nothing among the things that are, throughout 
the creation, was made without Him), who is 
so blinded in understanding as not to see in 
the Evangelist's proclamation the truth, that 
He Who made all the creation is assuredly 
something else besides the creation? For if 
all that is numbered among the things that 
were made has its being through Him, while 
He Himself is " in the beginning," and is " with 
God," being God, and Word, and Life, and 
Light, and express Image, and Brightness, and 

6 Oehler's punctuation here seems to admit of alteration. 

7 Reading rn xPV& €i T( **i> a-yuui> for 777 Kpt'cret tu>i> <ryuoi>. the read* 
ing of Oehler : the words are apparently a quotation from Eunomius, 
from whom the phrase XP^'S Tuf ayiwv has already been cited. 

s Cf. S. John 1. 3. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK III. 



117 



if none of the things that were made throughout 
creation is named by the same names — (not 
Word, not God, not Life, not Light, not Truth, 
not express Image, not Brightness, not any of 
the other names proper to the Deity is to be 
found employed of the creation) — then it is 
clear that He Who is these things is by nature 
something else besides the creation, which 
neither is nor is called any of these things. If, 
indeed, there existed in such phrases an identity 
of names between the creation and its Maker, 
he might perhaps be excused for making the 
name of " creation " also common to the thing 
■created and to Him Who made it, on the 
ground of the community of the other names : 
but if the characteristics which are contemplated 
by means of the names, in the created and in 
the uncreated nature, are in no case reconcilable 
or common to both, how can the misrepresent- 
ation of that man fail to be manifest to all, who 
•dares to apply the name of servitude to Hun 
Who, as the Psalmist declares, " ruleth with 
His power for ever V and to bring Him Who, 
as the Apostle says, "in all things hath the pre- 
eminence V to a level with the servile nature, 
by means of the name and conception of ''crea- 
tion " ? For that all 2 the creation is in bondage 
the great Paul declares 3, — he who in the 
schools above the heavens was instructed in 
that knowledge which may not be spoken, 
learning these things in that place where every 
voice that conveys meaning by verbal utterance 
is still, and where unspoken meditation becomes 
the word of instruction, teaching to the purified 
heart by means of the silent illumination of the 
thoughts those truths which transcend speech. 
If then on the one hand Paul proclaims aloud, 
'•the creation is in bondage," and on the other 
the Only-begotten God is truly Lord and God 
over all, and John bears witness to the fact that 
the whole creation of the things that were made 
is by Him, how can any one, who is in any 
M_-nse whatever numbered among Christians, 
hold his peace when he sees Eunomius, by his 
inconsistent and inconsequent systematizing, 
degrading to the humble state of the creature, 
by means of an identity of name that tends to 
servitude, that power of Lordship which sur- 
passes all rule and all authority ? And if he 
says that he has some of the saints who declared 
Him to be a slave, or created, or made, or any 
of these lowly and servile names, lo, here are 
the Scriptures. Let him, or some other on his 
behalf, produce to us one such phrase, and we 
will hold our peace. But if there is no such 
phrase (and there could never be found in those 
inspired Scriptures which we believe any such 
thought as to support this impiety), what need 

9 Ps. IxvL 6 (LXX.). * Col. i. 18. 

2 Substituting na.<rtxv for the ■na.ai.v of Oehler's text. 

3 Rom. viii. 21. 



is there to strive further upon points admitted 
with one who not only misrepresents the words 
of the saints, but even contends against his own 
definitions? For if the "order of nature," as 
he himself admits, bears additional testimony 
to the Son's name by reason of His being 
begotten, and thus the correspondence of the 
name is according to the relation of the Begotten 
to the Begetter, how comes it that he wrests 
the significance of the word " Son " from its 
natural application, and changes the relation to 
"the thing made and its maker" — a relation 
which applies not only in the case of the 
elements of the universe, but might also be 
asserted of a gnat or an ant — that in so far as 
each of these is a thing made, the relation of its 
name to its maker is similarly equivalent ? The 
blasphemous nature of his doctrine is clear, not 
only fiom many other passages, but even from 
thos,- quoted: and as for that "use of the 
-aims " which he alleges that he follows in these 
expressions, it is clear that there is no such use 
at all. 

§ 2. He then once more excellently, appropriately, 
and clearly examines and expounds the passage, 
" The Lord created Me." 

Perhaps that passage in the Proverbs might 
be brought forward against us which the 
champions of heresy are wont to cite as a 
testimony that the Lord was created — the 
passage, "The Lord created me in the beginning 
of His ways, for His works*." For because 
these words are spoken by Wisdom, and the 
Lord is called Wisdom by the great Paul s, they 
allege this passage as though the Only-begotten 
God Himself, under the name of Wisdom, 
acknowledges that He was created by the 
Maker of all things. I imagine, however, that 
the godly sense of this utterance is clear to 
moderately attentive and painstaking persons, 
so that, in the case of those who are instructed 
in the dark sayings of the Proverbs, no injury is 
done to the doctrine of the faith. Yet I think 
it well briefly to discuss what is to be said on 
this subject, that when the intention of this 
passage is more clearly explained, the heretical 
doctrine may have no room for boldness of 
speech on the ground that it has evidence in 
the writing of the inspired author. It is uni- 
versally admitted that the name of " proverb," 
in its scriptural use, is not applied with regard 
to the evident sense, but is used with a view to 
some hidden meaning, as the Gospel thus gives 
the name of " proverbs 6 " to dark and obscure 
sayings ; so that the " proverb," if one were to 
set forth the interpretation of the name by a 

4 Prov. viii. 22 (LXX.). On this passage see also Book II. 
§ 10. 

5 1 Cor. i. 24. ' E. g. S. John xvii. 25. 



138 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



definition is a form of speech which, by means 
of one set of ideas immediately presented, 
points to something else which is hidden, or a 
form of speech which does not point out the 
aim of the thought directly, but gives its in- 
struction by an indirect signification. Now to 
this book such a name is especially attached as 
a title, and the force of the appellation is at 
once interpreted in the preface by the wise 
Solomon. For he does not call the sayings in 
this book "maxims," or "counsels," or "clear 
instruction," but " proverbs," and proceeds to 
add an explanation. What is the force of the 
signification of this word? "To know," he 
tells us, " wisdom and instruction 7 " ; not set- 
ting before us the course of instruction in 
wisdom according to the method common in 
other kinds of learning ; he bids a man, on the 
other hand 8 , first to become wise by previous 
training, and then so to receive the instruction 
conveyed by proverb. For he tells us that 
there are " words of wisdom " which reveal 
their aim " by a turn 9." For that which is not 
directly understood needs some turn for the 
apprehension of the thing concealed ; and as 
Paul, when about to exchange the literal sense 
of the history for figurative contemplation, says 
that he will " change his voice *," so here the 
manifestation of the hidden meaning is called 
by Solomon a " turn of the saying," as if the 
beauty of the thoughts could not be perceived, 
unless one were to obtain a view of the revealed 
brightness of the thought by turning the apparent 
meaning of the saying round about, as happens 
with the plumage with which the peacock is 
decked behind. For in him, one who sees the 
back of his plumage quite despises it for its 
want of beauty and tint, as a mean sight ; but 
if one were to turn it round and show him the 
other view of it, he then sees the varied painting 
of nature, the half-circle shining in the midst 
with its dye of purple, and the golden mist 
round the circle ringed round and glistening at 
its edge with its many rainbow hues. Since 
then there is no beauty in what is obvious in 
the saying (for "all the glory of the king's 
daughter is within 2 ," shining with its hidden 
ornament in golden thoughts), Solomon of 
necessity suggests to the readers of this book 
" the turn of the saying," that thereby they 
may " understand a parable and a dark saying, 
words of the wise and riddles 3." Now as this 
proverbial teaching embraces these elements, a 
reasonable man will not receive any passage 
cited from this book, be it never so clear and 
intelligible at first sight, without examination 
and inspection ; for assuredly there is some 

' Prov. i. a. 

8 The hiatus in the Paris editions cuds here. 

» Cf. Prov. i. 3 (LXX.). ' Gal. iv. 20. 

» Ps. adv. 13 (LXX). 3 Prov. i. 6 (LXX.). 



mystical contemplation underlying even those 
passages which seem manifest. And if the 
obvious passages of the work necessarily demand 
a somewhat minute scrutiny, how much more 
do those passages require it where even imme- 
diate apprehension presents to us much that is 
obscure and difficult ? 

Let us then begin our examination from the 
context of the passage in question, and see 
whether the reading of the neighbouring clauses 
gives any clear sense. The discourse describes 
Wisdom as uttering certain sayings in her own 
person. Every student knows what is said in 
the passage * where Wisdom makes counsel her 
dwelling-place, and calls to her knowledge and 
understanding, and says that she has as a pos- 
session strength and prudence (while she is 
herself called intelligence), and that she walks 
in the ways of righteousness and has her con- 
versation in the ways of just judgement, and 
declares that by her kings reign, and princes 
write the decree of equity, and monarchs win 
possession of their own land. Now every one 
will see that the considerate reader will receive 
none of the phrases quoted without scrutiny 
according to the obvious sense. For if by her 
kings are advanced to their rule, and if from 
her monarchy derives its strength, it follows of 
necessity that Wisdom is displayed to us as a 
king-maker, and transfers to herself the blame 
of those who bear evil rule in their kingdoms. 
But we know of kings who in truth advance 
under the guidance of Wisdom to the rule that 
has no end — the poor in spirit, whose posses- 
sion is the kingdom of heaven 5 , as the Lord 
promises, Who is the Wisdom of the Gospel : 
and such also we recognize as the princes who 
bear rule over their passions, who are not en- 
slaved by the dominion of sin, who inscribe the 
decree of equity upon their own life, as it were 
upon a tablet. Thus, too, that laudable de- 
spotism which changes, by the alliance Of 
Wisdom, the democracy of the passions into 
the monarchy of reason, brings into bondage 
what were running unrestrained into mischievous 
liberty, I mean all carnal and earthly thoughts : 
for " the flesh lusteth against the Spirit 6 ," and 
rebels against the government of the soul. Of 
this land, then, such a monarch wins possession, 
whereof he was, according to the first creation, 
appointed as ruler by the Word. 

Seeing then that all reasonable men admit 
that these expressions are to be read in such a 
sense as this, rather than in that which appears 
in the words at first sight, it is consequently 
probable that the phrase we are discussing, 
being written in close connection with them, is 
not received by prudent men absolutely and 



4 Compare with what follows Prov. viii. 12, sgq. (LXX.). 

5 S. Matt. v. 3. « GaL v. 17. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK III. 



U9 



without examination. " If I declare to you," 
she says, " the things that happen day by day, 
I will remember to recount the things from 
everlasting : the Lord created me V What, 
pray, has the slave of the literal text, who sits 
listening closely to the sound of the syllables, 
like the Jews, to say to this phrase ? Does not 
the conjunction, " If I declare to you the things 
that happen day by day, the Lord created me," 
ring strangely in the ears of those who listen 
attentively ? as though, if she did not declare 
the things that happen day by day, she will by 
consequence deny absolutely that she was 
created. For he who says, " If I declare, I was 
created," leaves you by his silence to under- 
stand, " I was not created, if I do not declare." 
" The Lord created me," she says, " in the 
beginning of His ways, for His works. He set 
me up from everlasting, in the beginning, before 
He made the earth, before He made the depths, 
before the springs of the waters came forth, 
before the mountains were settled, before all 
hills, He begetteth me 8 ." What new order of 
the formation of a creature is this ? First it is 
created, and after that it is set up, and then it 
is begotten. " The Lord made," she says, 
"lands, even uninhabited, and the inhabited 
extremes of the earth under heaven 9." Of 
what Lord does she speak as the maker of land 
both uninhabited and inhabited ? Of Him, 
surely, who made wisdom. For both the one 
saying and the other are uttered by the same 
person ; both that which says, "the Lord created 
me," and that which adds, "the Lord made 
land, even uninhabited." Thus the Lord will 
be the maker equally of both, of Wisdom her- 
self, and of the inhabited and uninhabited land. 
What then are we to make of the saying, " All 
things were made by Him, and without Him 
was not anything made x " ? For if one and the 
same Lord creates both Wisdom (which they 
advise us to understand of the Son), and also the 
particular things which are included in the 
Creation, how does the sublime John speak 
truly, when he says that all things were made 
by Him ? For this Scripture gives a contrary 
sound to that of the Gospel, in ascribing to the 
Creator of Wisdom the making of land unin- 
habited and inhabited. So, too, with all that 
follows 2 : — she speaks of a Throne of God set 
apart upon the winds, and says that the clouds 
above are made strong, and the fountains under 
the heaven sure ; and the context contains 
many similar expressions, demanding in a 
marked degree that interpretation by a minute 
and clear-sighted intelligence, which is to be 
observed in the passages already quoted. What 
is the throne that is set apart upon the winds ? 



' Prov. »iii. 21-22 (LXX.). 

9 Prov. viii. 26 (LXX.). 

8 Cf. Piov. viii. 27-8 (LXX.). 



8 Prov. viii. 22 tgq. (LXX) 
1 S. John i. 3. 



What is the security of the fountains under the 
heaven ? How are the clouds above made 
strong ? If any one should interpret the pass- 
age with reference to visible objects 3, he will 
find that the facts are at considerable variance 
with the words. For who knows not that the 
extreme parts of the earth under heaven, by 
excess in one direction or in the other, either 
by being too close to the sun's heat, or by being 
too far removed from it, are uninhabitable ; 
some being excessively dry and parched, other 
parts superabounding in moisture, and chilled 
by frost, and that only so much is inhabited as 
is equally removed from the extreme of each of 
the two opposite conditions? But if it is the 
midst of the earth that is occupied by man, 
how does the proverb say that the extremes of 
the earth under heaven are inhabited ? Again, 
what strength could one perceive in the clouds, 
that that passage may have a true sense, ac- 
cording to its apparent intention, which says 
that the clouds above have been made strong ? 
For the nature of cloud is a sort of rather slight 
vapour diffused through the air, which, being 
light, by reason of its great subtilty, is borne 
on the breath of the air, and, when forced to- 
gether by compression, falls down through the 
air that held it up, in the form of a heavy drop 
of rain. What then is the strength in these, 
which offer no resistance to the touch ? For in 
the cloud you may discern the slight and easily 
dissolved character of air. Again, how is the 
Divine throne set apart on the winds that are 
by nature unstable ? And as for her saying at 
first that she is " created," finally, that she is 
"begotten," and between these two utterances 
that she is "set up," what account of this could 
any one profess to give that would agree with 
the common and obvious sense? The point 
also on which a doubt was previously raised in 
our argument, the declaring, that is, of the 
things that happen day by day, and the remem- 
bering to recount the things from everlasting, is, 
as it were, a condition of Wisdom's assertion 
that she was created by God. 

Thus, since it has been clearly shown by what 
has been said, that no part of this passage is 
such that its language should be received with- 
out examination and reflection, it may be well> 
perhaps, as with the rest, so not to interpret the 
text, "The Lord created me," according to that 
sense which immediately presents itself to us 
from the phrase, but to seek with all attention 
and care what is to be piously understood 
from the utterance. Now, to apprehend per- 
fectly the sense of the passage before us, would 
seem to belong only to those who search out 
the depths by the aid of the Holy Spirit, and 
know how to speak in the Spirit the divine 

3 Or " according to the apparent sense." 



140 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



mysteries : our account, however, will only busy 
itself with the passage in question so far as not 
to leave its drift entirely unconsidered. What, 
then, is our account? It is not, I think, pos- 
sible that that wisdom which arises in any man 
from divine illumination should come alone, 
apart from the other gifts of the Spirit, but there 
must needs eater in therewith also the grace of 
prophecy. For if the apprehension of the truth 
of the things that are is the peculiar power of 
wisdom, and prophecy includes the clear know- 
ledge of the things tha*- are about to be, one 
would not be possessed of tne gift of wisdom in 
perfection, if he did not further include in his 
knowledge, by the aid of prophecy, the future 
likewise. Now, since it is not mere human 
wisdom that is claimed for himself by Solomon, 
who says, " God hath taught me wisdom *," and 
who, where he says "all my words are spoken from 
God 5 ,"refers to God all that is spoken by himself, 
it might be well in this part of the Proverbs to 
trace out the prophecy that is mingled with his 
wisdom. But we say that in the earlier part of 
the book, where he says that " Wisdom has 
builded herself a house 6 ," he refers darkly in 
these words to the preparation of the flesh of 
the Lord : for the true Wisdom did not dwell 
in another's building, but built for Itself that 
dwelling-place from the body of the Virgin. 
Here, however, he adds to his discourse ? that 
which of both is made one — of the house, I 
mean, and of the Wisdom which built the house, 
that is to say, of the Humanity and of the Divin- 
ity that was commingled with man 8 ; and to 
each of these he applies suitable and fitting 
terms, as you may see to be the case also in 
the Gospels, where the discourse, proceeding as 
befits its subject, employs the more lofty and 
divine phraseology to indicate the Godhead, 
and that which is humble and lowly to indicate 
the Manhood. So we may see in this passage 
also Solomon prophetically moved, and deliver- 
ing to us in its fulness the mystery of the In- 
carnation 9. For we speak first of the eternal 
power and energy of Wisdom ; and here the 
evangelist, to a certain extent, agrees with him 
in his very words. For as the latter in his com- 
prehensive * phrase proclaimed Him to be the 



4 Prov. xxx. 3 (LXX. ch. xxiv.). 

5 Prov. xxxi. 1 LXX. ch xxiv.). The ordinary reading in the 
LXX. seems to bci>no0(ov, while • >ehler retains in his lext of Greg. 
>. yss. the oltto 8fov of the Paris editions. 

I iv. ix. 1, which seems to he spoken of as " earlier" in contrast, 
not with the main passage under examination, but with those just 
cited. 

1 I f irpooriOrjcri be the right readinB.itwouldalmostsecnith.it 

>ry had forgotten the order of the passages, and supposed 

Prov. viii. 22 to have been written after Prov. ix. 1. To read 

irpori0i)<ri, '" presents to us") w Id gel rid of tins difficulty, bill it 

may lie that Gregory only intends to point out that the idea of the 
union of the two natures, from which the "1 nnmuinr.it 10 i< 1 1 .ituiu" 

results, is distinct from that of the pi paration foi the Nativity, 
not t<> insist upon the order in which, as he conceives, they are set 
111 the book of Proverbs. 

a ayaxpaBtitrqs Toi ay&puiTrui. 9 j-^ oiKovo^iifit;. 

' ntfjiArinrft appears to be used as equivalent to n<f>i\rinTiKJj. 



cause and Maker of all things, so Solomon says 
that by Him were made those individual things 
which are included in the whole. For he tells 
us that God by Wisdom established the earth, 
and in understanding prepared the heavens, and 
all that follows these in order, keeping to the 
same sense : and that he might not seem to 
pass over without mention the gift of excellence 
in men, he again goes on to say, speaking in 
the person of Wisdom, the words we mentioned 
a little earlier ; I mean, " I made counsel my 
dwelling-place, and knowledge, and understand- 
ing 2 ," and all that relates to instruction in in- 
tellect and knowledge. 

After recounting these and the like matters, 
he proceeds to introduce also his teaching con- 
cerning the dispensation with regard to man, 
why the Word was made flesh. For seeing that 
it is clear to all that God Who is over all has in 
Himself nothing as a thing created or imported, 
not power nor wisdom, nor light, nor word, nor 
life, nor truth, nor any at all of those things 
which are contemplated in the fulness of the 
Divine bosom (all which things the Only-begot- 
ten God is, Who is in the bosom of the Father 3), 
the name of " creation " could not properly be 
applied to any of those things which are con- 
templated in God, so that the Son Who is in 
the Father, or the Word Who is in the Beginning, 
or the Light Who is in the Light, or the Life Who 
is in the Life, or the Wisdom Who is in the 
Wisdom, should say, "the Lord created me." 
For if the Wisdom of God is created (and Christ 
is the Power of God and the Wisdom of God +), 
God, it would follow, has His Wisdom as a 
thing imported, receiving afterwards, as the re- 
sult of making, something which He had not at 
first. But surely He Who is in the bosom of 
the Father does not permit us to conceive the 
bosom of the Father as ever void of Himself. 
He Who is in the beginning is surely not of the 
things which come to be in that bosom from 
without, but being the fulness of all good, He is 
conceived as being always in the Father, not 
waiting to arise in Him as the result of creation, 
so that the Father should not be conceived as 
at any time void of good, but He Who is con- 
ceived as being in the eternity of the Father's 
Godhead is always in Him, being Power, and 
Life, and Truth, and Wisdom, and the like. 
Accordingly the words "created me" do not 
proceed from the Divine and immortal nature, 
but from that which was commingled with it in 
the Incarnation from our created nature. How 
comes it then that the same, called wisdom, and 
understanding, and intelligence, establishes the 
earth, and prepares the heavens, and breaks up 
the deeps, and yet is here "created for the be- 



1 Cf. Prov. viii. 12 (LXX.). 
3 S. John i. 18 



Cor. i. 24. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK III. 



141 



ginning of His works s " ? Such a dispensation, 
he tells us, is not set forward without great 
cause. But since men, after receiving the com- 
mandment of the things we should observe, cast 
away by disobedience the grace of memory, and 
became forgetful, for this cause, " that I may 
declare to you the things that happen day by 
day for your salvation, and may put you in mind 
by recounting the things from everlastii g, which 
you have forgotten (for it is no new gospel that 
I now proclaim, but I labour at your restoration 
to your first estate), — for this cause I was created, 
Who ever am, and need no creation in order to 
be ; so that I am the beginning of ways for the 
works of God, that is for men. For the first 
way being destroyed, there must needs again be 
consecrated for the wanderers a new and living 
way 6 , even I myself, Who am the way." And 
this view, that the sense of " created me " has 
reference to the Humanity, the divine apostle 
more clearly sets before us by his own words, 
when he charges us, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus 
Christ 7," and also where (using the same word) 
he says, " Put on the new man which after God 
is created 8 ." For if the garment of salvation is 
one, and that is Christ, one cannot say that " the 
new man, which after God is created," is any 
other than Christ, but it is clear that he who 
has "put on Christ" has "put on the new 
man which after God is created." For actually 
He alone is properly named "the new man," 
Who did not appear in the life of man by the 
known and ordinary ways of nature, but in His 
case alone creation, in a strange and special 
form, was instituted anew. For this reason he 
names the same Person, when regarding the 
wonderful manner of His birth?, "the new 
man, which after God is created," and, when 
looking to the Divine nature, which was blended * 
in the creation of this " new man," he calls Him 
" Christ " : so that the two names (I mean the 
name of "Christ" and the name of " the new 
man which after God is created ") are applied to 
one and the same Person. 

Since, then, Christ is Wisdom, let the intelli- 
gent reader consider our opponent's account of 
the matter, and our own, and judge which is the 
more pious, which better preserves in the text 
those conceptions which are befitting the Divine 
nature ; whether that which declares the Creator 
and Lord of all to have been made, and places 
Him on a level with the creation that is in 
bondage, or that rather which looks to the 
Incarnation, and preserves the due proportion 
with regard to our conception alike of the 
Divinity and of the Humanity, bearing in mind 
that the great Paul testifies in favour of our 

5 The quotation is an inexact reproduction of Prov. viii. 22 
(LXX.). 6 Cf. Heb. x. 20. 

^ Rom. xiii 141 8 Eph. iv. 24. 

9 •yevnjo-e'wf. x iyxpaOn Z<r<w. 



view, who sees in the " new man " creation, 
and in the true Wisdom the power of creation. 
And, further, the order of the passage agrees 
with this view of the doctrine it conveys. For 
if the "beginning of the ways" had not been 
created among us, the foundation of those ages 
for which we look would not have been laid ; 
nor would the Lord have become for us " the 
Father of the age to come 2 ," had not a Child 
been born to us, according to Isaiah, and His 
name been called, both all the other titles which 
the prophet gives Him, and withal " The Father 
of the age to come." Thus first there came to 
pass the mystery wrought in virginity, and the 
dispensation of the Passion, and then the wise 
master-builders of the Faith laid the foundation 
of the Faith : and this is Christ, the Father of 
the age to come, on Whom is built the life of 
the ages that have no end. And when this has 
come to pass, to the end that in each individual 
believer may be wrought the divine decrees of 
the Gospel law, and the varied gifts of the Holy 
Spirit — (all which the divine Scripture figura- 
tively names, with a suitable significance, 
" mountains" and "hills," calling righteousness 
the " mountains " of God, and speaking of His 
judgments as "deeps 3," and giving the name 
of " earth " to that which is sown by the Word 
and brings forth abundant fruit ; or in that 
sense in which we are taught by David to 
understand peace by the "mountains," and 
righteousness by the " hills 4 "), — Wisdom is 
begotten in the faithful, and the saying is found 
true. For He Who is in those who have re- 
ceived Him, is not yet begotten in the unbeliev- 
ing. Thus, that these things may be wrought 
in us, their Maker must be begotten in us. 
For if Wisdom is begotten in us, then in each 
of us is prepared by God both land, and land 
uninhabited, — the land, that which receives the 
sowing and the ploughing of the Word, the 
uninhabited land, the heart cleared of evil 
inhabitants, — and thus our dwelling will be upon 
the extreme parts of the earth. For since in 
the earth some is depth, and some is surface, 
when a man is not buried in the earth, or, as it 
were, dwelling in a cave by reason of thinking 
of things beneath (as is the life of those who 
live in sin, who " stick fast in the deep mire 
where no ground is 5 ," whose life is truly a pit, 
as the Psalm says, " let not the pit shut her 
mouth upon me 6 ") — if, I say, a man, when 
Wisdom is begotten in him, thinks of the things 
that are above, and touches the earth only so 
much as he needs must, such a man inhabits 
" the extreme parts of the earth under heaven," 
not plunging deep in earthly thought ; with 

2 Is ix. 6 (LXX.). "The Everlasting Father" of the English 
Version. 

3 Cf. Ps. xxxvi. 6. 4 Ps. Ixxii. 3. 
5 Ps. lxix. 2. ' Ps. lxix. 16. 



142 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



him Wisdom is present, as he prepares in him- 
self heaven instead of earth : and when, by 
carrying out the precepts into act, he makes 
strong for himself the instruction of the clouds 
above, and, enclosing the great and widespread 
sea of wickedness, as it were with a beach, by 
his exact conversation, hinders the troubled 
water from proceeding forth from his mouth ; 
and if by the grace of instruction he be made 
to dwell among the fountains, pouring forth the 
stream of his discourse with sure caution, that 
he may not give to any man for drink the turbid 
fluid of destruction in place of pure water, and 
if he be lifted up above all earthly paths and 
become aerial in his life, advancing towards 
that spiritual life which he speaks of as " the 
winds," so that he is set apart to be a throne 
of Him Who is seated in him (as was Paul, 
separated for the Gospel to be a chosen vessel 
to bear the name of God, who, as it is else- 
where expressed, was made a throne, bearing 
Him that sat upon him) — when, I say, he is 
established in these and like ways, so that he 
who has already fully made up in himself the 
land inhabited by God, now rejoices in gladness 
that he is made the father, not of wild and 
senseless beasts, but of men (and these would 
be godlike thoughts, which are fashioned accord- 
ing to the Divine image, by faith in Him Who 
has been created and begotten, and set up in 
us ; — and faith, according to the words of Paul, 
is conceived as the foundation whereby wisdom 
is begotten in the faithful, and all the things 
that I have spoken of are wrought) — then, I 
say, the life of the man who has been thus 
established is truly blessed, for Wisdom is at 
all times in agreement with him, and rejoices 
with him who daily finds gladness in her alone. 
For the Lord rejoices in His saints, and there 
is joy in heaven over those who are being saved, 
and Christ, as the father, makes a feast for his 
rescued son. Though we have spoken hurriedly 
of these matters, let the careful man read the 
original text of the Holy Scripture, and fit its 
dark sayings to our reflections, testing whether 
it is not far better to consider that the meaning 
of these dark sayings has this reference, and 
not that which is attributed to it at first sight. 
For it is not possible that the theology of John 
should be esteemed true, which recites that all 
created things are the work of the Word, if in 
this passage He Who created Wisdom be 
believed to have made together with her all 
other things also. For in that case all things 
will not be by her, but she will herself be 
counted with the things that were made. 

And that this is the reference of the enigmati- 
cal sayings is clearly revealed by the passage 
that follows, which says, " Now therefore 
hearken unto me, my son : and blessed is he 



that keepeth my ways V meaning of course by 
" ways " the approaches to virtue, the beginning 
of which is the possession of Wisdom. Who, 
then, who looks to the divine Scripture, will 
not agree that the enemies of the truth are at 
once impious and slanderous? — impious, be- 
cause, so far as in them lies, they degrade the 
unspeakable glory of the Only-begotten God, 
and unite it with the creation, striving to show 
that the Lord Whose power over all things is 
only-begotten, is one of the things that were 
made by Him : slanderous, because, though 
Scripture itself gives them no ground for such 
opinions, they arm themselves against piety as 
though they drew their evidence from that 
source. Now since they can by no means show 
any passage of the Holy Scriptures which leads 
us to look upon the pre-temporal glory of the 
Only-begotten God in conjunction with the 
subject creation, it is well, these points being 
proved, that the tokens of victory over falsehood 
should be adduced as testimony to the doctrine 
of godliness, and that sweeping aside these 
verbal systems of theirs by which they make 
the creature answer to the creator, and the 
thing made to the maker, we should confess, as 
the Gospel from heaven teaches us, the well- 
beloved Son — not a bastard, not a counterfeit ; 
but that, accepting with the name of Son all 
that naturally belongs to that name, we should 
say that He Who is of Very God is Very God, 
and that we should believe of Him all that we 
behold in the Father, because They are One, 
and in the one is conceived the other, not over- 
passing Him, not inferior to Him, not altered 
or subject to change in any Divine or excellent 
property. 

§ 3. He then shows, from the instance of Adam 
and Abel, and other examples, the absence of 
alienation of essence in the case of the "gener- 
ate " and " ungenerate." 

Now seeing that Eunomius' conflict with 
himself has been made manifest, where he has 
been shown to contradict himself, at one time 
saying, " He ought to be called ' Son,' accord- 
ing to nature, because He is begotten," at 
another that, because He is created, He is no 
more called " Son," but a " product," I think 
it right that the careful and attentive reader, as 
it is not possible, when two statements are 
mutually at variance, that the truth should be 
found equally in both, should reject of the two 
that which is impious and blasphemous — that, 
I mean, with regard to the " creature " and the 
"product," and should assent to that only which 
is of orthodox tendency, which confesses that 

7 Prov. viii. 32 (not verbally agreeing with the LXX.^ 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK III. 



143 



the appellation of " Son " naturally attaches to 
the Only-begotten God : so that the word of 
truth would seem to be recommended even by 
the voice of its enemies. 

I resume my discourse, however, taking up 
that point of his argument which we originally 
set aside. " We do not refuse," he says, " to call 
the Son, seeing He is generate, even by the name 
of ' product of generation 8 ,' since the generated 
essence itself, and the appellation of 'Son,' make 
such a relation of words appropriate." Mean- 
while let the reader who is critically following 
the argument remember this, that in speaking 
of the " generated essence " in the case of the 
Only-begotten, he by consequence allows us to 
speak of the " ungenerate essence " in the case 
of the Father, so that neither absence of genera- 
tion, nor generation, can any longer be supposed 
to constitute the essence, but the essence must 
be taken separately, and its being, or not being 
begotten, must be conceived separately by 
means of the peculiar attributes contemplated 
in it. Let us, however, consider more carefully 
his argument on this point. He says that an 
essence has been begotten, and that the name 
of this generated essence is "Son." Well, at 
this point our argument will convict that of our 
opponents on two grounds, first, of an attempt 
at knavery, secondly, of slackness in their 
attempt against ourselves. For he is playing 
the knave when he speaks of "generation of 
essence," in order to establish his opposition 
between the essences, when once they are 
divided in respect of a difference of nature 
between "generate" and "ungenerate" : while 
the slackness of their attempt is shown by the 
very positions their knavery tries to establish. 
For he who says the essence is generate, clearly 
defines generation as being something else 
distinct from the essence, so that the signifi- 
cance of generation cannot be assigned to the 
word "essence." For he has not in this 
passage represented the matter as he often 
does, so as to say that generation is itself the 
essence, but acknowledges that the essence is 
generated, so that there is produced in his 
readers a distinct notion in the case of each 
word : for one conception arises in him who 
hears that it was generated, and another is 
called up by the name of " essence." Our 
argument may be made clearer by example. 
The Lord says in the Gospel ' that a woman, 
when her travail is drawing near, is in sorrow, 
but afterwards rejoices in gladness because a 
man is born into the world. As then in this 



8 yewtiita. This word, in what follows, is sometimes translated 
simply by the word " product," where it is not contrasted with 
iroi7)/ia (the " product of making "), or where the argument depends 
especially upon its grammatical form (which indicates that the thing 
denoted is the result of a process), rather than upon the idea of the 
particular process. 

* Cf. S. John xvL 31. 



passage we derive from the Gospel two distinct 
conceptions, — one the birth which we conceive 
to be by way of generation, the other that which 
results from the birth (for the birth is not the 
man, but the man is by the birth), — so here too, 
when Eunomius confesses that the essence was 
generated, wg learn by the latter word that the 
essence comes from something, and by the 
former we conceive that subject itself which 
has its real being from something. If then 
the signification of essence is one thing, and 
the word expressing generation suggests to us 
another conception, their clever contrivances 
are quite gone to ruin, like earthen vessels 
hurled one against the other, and mutually 
smashed to pieces. For it will no longer be 
possible for them, if they apply the opposition 
of " generate " and " ungenerate " to the essence 
of the Father and the Son, to apply at the same 
time to the things themselves the mutual con- 
flict between these names *. For as it is con- 
fessed by Eunomius that the essence is generate 
(seeing that the example from the Gospel ex- 
plains the meaning of such a phrase, where, 
when we hear that a man is generated, we do 
not conceive the man to be the same thing as 
his generation, but receive a separate conception 
in each of the two words), heresy will surely no 
longer be permitted to express by such words 
her doctrine of the difference of the essences. 
In order, however, that our account of these 
matters may be cleared up as far as possible, 
let us once more discuss the point in the follow- 
ing way. He Who framed the universe made the 
nature of man with all things in the beginning, 
and after Adam was made, He then appointed 
for men the law of generation one from another, 
saying, "Be fruitful and multiply 2 ." Now 
while Abel came into existence by way of 
generation, what reasonable man would deny 
that, in the actual sense of human generation, 
Adam existed ungenerately ? Yet the first man 
had in himself the complete definition of man's 
essential nature, and he who was generated of 
him was enrolled under the same essential 
name. But if the essence that was generated 
was made anything other than that which 
was not generated, the same essential name 
would not apply to both : for of those things 
whose essence is different, the essential name 
also is not the same. Since, then, the essential 
nature of Adam and of Abel is marked by the 
same characteristics, we must certainly agree 
that one essence is in both, and that the one 
and the other are exhibited in the same nature. 
For Adam and Abel are both one so far as the 

1 If, that is, they speak of the " generated essence " in contra- 
distinction to " ungenerate essence," they are precluded from saying 
that the essence of the Son is that He is begotten, and that the 
essence of the Father is that He is ungenerate : that which con- 
stitutes the essence cannot be made an epithet of the essence. 

1 Gen. i. 28. 



144 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



definition of their nature is concerned, but are 
distinguished one from the other without con- 
fusion by the individual attributes observed in 
each of them. We cannot therefore properly 
say that Adam generated another essence 
besides himself, but rather that of himself he 
generated another self, with whom was pro- 
duced the whole definition of the essence of 
him who generated him. What, then, we learn 
in the case of human nature by means of the 
inferential guidance afforded to us by the 
definition, this I think we ought to take for our 
guidance also to the pure apprehension of the 
Divine doctrines. For when we have shaken 
off from the Divine and exalted doctrines all 
carnal and material notions, we shall be most 
surely led by the remaining conception, when 
it is purged of such ideas, to the lofty and 
unapproachable heights. It is confessed even 
by our adversaries that God, Who is over all, 
both is and is called the Father of the Only- 
begotten, and they moreover give to the Only- 
begotten God, Who is of the Father, the name 
of "begotten," by reason of His being gene- 
rated. Since then among men the word 
"father" has certain significances attaching to 
it, from which the pure nature is alien, it behoves 
a man to lay aside all material conceptions 
which enter in by association with the carnal 
significance of the word "father," and to form 
in the case of the God and Father a conception 
befitting the Divine nature, expressive only of 
the reality of the relationship. Since, therefore, 
in the notion of a human father there is in- 
cluded not only all that the flesh suggests to 
our thoughts, but a certain notion of interval 
is also undoubtedly conceived with the idea of 
human fatherhood, it would be well, in the case 
of the Divine generation, to reject, together 
with bodily pollution, the notion of interval 
also, that so what properly belongs to matter 
may be completely purged away, and the trans- 
cendent generation may be clear, not only from 
the idea of passion, but from that of interval. 
Now he who says that God is a Father will 
unite with the thought that God is, the further 
thought that He is something : for that which 
has its being from some beginning, certainly 
also derives from something the beginning of 
its being, whatever it is : but He in Whose case 
being had no beginning, has not His beginning 
from anything, even although we contemplate 
in Him some other attribute than simple exist- 
ence. Well, God is a Father. It follows that 
He is what He is from eternity : for He did 
not become, but is a Father : for in God that 
which was, both is and will be. On the other 
hand, if He once was not anything, then He 
neither is nor will be that thing : for He is not 
be 1 iced to be the Father of a Being such that 



it may be piously asserted that God once existed 
by Himself without that Being. For the Father 
is the Father of Life, ar.d Truth, and Wisdom, 
and Light, and Sanctification, and Power, and 
all else of a like kind that the Only-begotten is 
or is called. Thus when the adversaries allege 
that the Light " once was not," I know not to 
which the greater injury is done, whether to the 
Light, in that the Light is not, or to Him that 
has the Light, in that He has not the Light. 
So also with Life and Truth and Power, and all 
the other characters in which the Only-begotten 
fills the Father's bosom, being all things in His 
own fulness. For the absurdity will be equal 
either way, and the impiety against the Father 
will equal the blasphemy against the Son : for 
in saying that the Lord "once was not," you 
will not merely assert the non-existence of 
Power, but you will be saying that the Power 
of God, Who is the Father of the Power, " was 
not." Thus the assertion made by your doctrine 
that the Son " once was not," establishes 
nothing else than a destitution of all good in 
the case of the Father. See to what an end 
these wise men's acuteness leads, how by them 
the word of the Lord is made good, which says, 
" He that despiseth Me despiseth Him that 
sent Me 3 : " for by the very arguments by which 
they despise the existence at any time of the 
Only-begotten, they also dishonour the Father, 
stripping off by their doctrine from the Father's 
glory every good name and conception. 

§ 4. He thus shows the oneness of the Eternal 
Son with the Father, the identity of essence and 
the community of nature (^wherein is a natural 
inquiry into the production of wine), and that 
the terms " Son " and "product" in the naming 
of the Only-begotten include a like idea of 
relationship. 

What has been said, therefore, has clearly ex- 
posed the slackness which is to be found in the 
knavery of our author, who, while he goes about 
to establish the opposition of the essence of the 
Only-begotten to that of the Father, by the 
method of calling the one " ungenerate," and 
the other "generate," stands convicted of play- 
ing the fool with his inconsistent arguments. 
For it was shown from his own words, first, that 
the name of "essence" means one thing, and 
that of "generation" another; and next, that 
there did not come into existence, with the Son, 
any new and different essence besides the essence 
of the Father, but that what the Father is as re- 
gards the definition of His nature, that also He 
is Who is of the Father, as the nature does not 
change into diversity in the Person of the Son, 



3 S. Luke x. 16. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK III. 



HS 



according to the truth of the argument displayed 
by our consideration of Adam and Abel. For 
as, in that instance, he that was not generated 
after a like sort was yet, so far as concerns the 
definition of essence, the same with him that 
was generated, and Abel's generation did not 
produce any change in the essence, so, in the 
case of these pure doctrines, the Only-begotten 
God did not, by His own generation, produce in 
Himself any change in the essence of Him Who 
is ungenerate, (coming forth, as the Gospel says, 
from the Father, and being in the Father,) but 
is, according to the simple and homely language 
of the creed we profess, " Light of Light, very 
God of very God," the one being all that the 
other is, save being that other. With regard, 
however, to the aim for the sake of which he 
carries on this system-making, I think there is 
no need for me at present to express any opinion, 
whether it is audacious and dangerous, or a thing 
allowable and free from danger, to transform the 
phrases which are employed to signify the Divine 
nature from one to another, and to call Him 
Who is generated by the name of "product of 
generation." 

I let these matters pass, that my discourse 
may not busy itself too much in the strife against 
lesser points, and neglect the greater ; but I say 
that we ought carefully to consider the question 
whether the natural relation does introduce the 
use of these terms : for this surely Eunomius 
asserts, that with the affinity of the appellations 
there is also asserted an essential relationship. 
For he would not say, I presume, that the mere 
names themselves, apart from the sense of the 
things signified, have any mutual relation or 
affinity ; but all discern the relationship or 
diversity of the appellations by the meanings 
which the words express. If, therefore, he con- 
fesses that "the Son" has a natural relation 
with "the Father," let us leave the appellations, 
and consider the force that is found in their 
significations, whether in their affinity we discern 
diversity of essence, or that which is kindred 
and characteristic. To say that we find diversity 
is downright madness. For how does some- 
thing without kinship or community " preserve 
order," connected and conformable, in the 
names, where "the generated essence itself," as 
he says, " and the appellation of ' Son,' make 
such a relation of words appropriate " ? If, on 
the other hand, he should say that these appella- 
tions signify relationship, he will necessarily 
appear in the character of an advocate of the 
community of essence, and as maintaining the 
fact that by affinity of names is signified also the 
connection of subjects : and this he often does 
in his composition without being aware of it 4 . 



4 Oehler's punctuation is here slightly altered. 
VOL V. 



For, by the arguments wherewith he endeavour: 
to destroy the truth, he is often himself unwit- 
tingly drawn into an advocacy of the very doc- 
trines against which he is contending. Some 
such thing the history tells us concerning Saul, 
that once, when moved with wrath against the 
prophets, he was overcome by grace, and was- 
found as one of the inspired, (the Spirit of pro- 
phecy willing, as I suppose, to instruct the 
apostate by means of himself,) whence the sur- 
prising nature of the event became a proverb in 
his after life, as the history records such an ex- 
pression by way of wonder, " Is Saul also among 
the prophets 5 ? " 

At what point, then, does Eunomius assent 
to the truth ? When he says that the Lord 
Himself, "being the Son of the living God, not 
being ashamed of His birth from the Virgin, often 
named Himself, in His own sayings, 'the Son of 
Man ' " ? For this phrase we also allege for 
proof of the community of essence, because the 
name of " Son " shows the community of nature 
to be equal in both cases. For as He is called 
the Son of Man by reason of the kindred of 
His flesh to her of whom He was born, so also 
He is conceived, surely, as the Son of God, by 
reason of the connection of His essence with 
that from which He has His existence, and this 
argument is the greatest weapon of the truth. 
For nothing so clearly points to Him Who is 
the " mediator between God and man 6 " (as 
the great Apostle called Him), as the name of 
"Son," equally applicable to either nature, 
Divine or Human. For the same Person is 
Son of God, and was made, in the Incarnation, 
Son of Man, that, by His communion with each, 
He might link together by Himself what were 
divided by nature. Now if, in becoming Son 
of Man, he were without participation in human 
nature, it would be logical to say that neither 
does He share in the Divine essence, though He 
is Son of God. But if the whole compound 
nature of man was in Him (for Tie was "in all 
points tempted like as we are, yet without sin ?), 
it is surely necessary to believe that every pro- 
perty of the transcendent essence is also in Him, 
as the Word " Son " claims for Him both alike 
— the Human in the man, but in the God the 
Divine. 

If then the appellations, as Eunomius says, 
indicate relationship, and the existence of rela- 
tionship is observed in the things, not in the 
mere sound of the words (and by things I mean 
the things conceived in themselves, if it be not 
over-bold thus to speak of the Son and the 
Father), who would deny that the very champion 
of blasphemy has by his own action been dragged 
into the advocacy of orthodoxy, overthrowing by 
his own means his own arguments, and pro- 



5 i Sam. xix. 24. 



6 1 Tim. 



7 Heb. iv. 15. 



146 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



claiming community of essence in the case of the 
Divine doctrines ? For the argument that he un- 
willingly casts into the scale on the side of truth 
does not speak falsely as regards this point, — 
that He would not have been called Son if the 
natural conception of the names did not verify 
this calling. For as a bench is not called the 
son of the workman, and no sane man would 
say that the builder engendered the house, and 
we do not say that the vineyard is the "pro- 
duct 8 " of the vine-dresser, but call what a man 
makes his work, and him who is begotten of 
him the son of a man, (in order, I suppose, that 
the proper meaning might be attached by means 
of the names to the respective subjects,) so too, 
when we are taught that the Only-begotten is 
Son of God, we do not by this appellation under- 
stand a creature of God, but what the word 
"Son" in its signification really displays. And 
even though wine be named by Scripture the 
"product 9" of the vine, not even so will 
our argument with regard to the orthodox 
doctrine suffer by this identity of name. For 
we do not call wine the " product " of the oak, 
nor the acorn the " product " of the vine, but 
we use the word only if there is some natural 
community between the "product" and that 
from which it comes. For the moisture in the 
vine, which is drawn out from the root through 
the stem by the pith, is, in its natural power, 
water: but, as it passes in orderly sequence 
along the ways of nature, and flows from the 
lowest to the highest, it changes to the quality 
of wine, a change to which the rays of the sun 
contribute in some degree, which by their warmth 
draw out the moisture from the depth to the 
shoots, and by a proper and suitable process of 
ripening make the moisture wine : so that, so 
far as their nature is concerned, there is no dif- 
ference between the moisture that exists in the 
vine and the wine that is produced from it. For 
the one form of moisture comes from the other, 
and one could not say that the cause of wine is 
anything else than the moisture which naturally 
exists in the shoots. But, so far as moisture is 
concerned, the differences of quality produce no 
alteration, but are found when some peculiarity 
discerns the moisture which is in the form of 
wine from that which is in the shoots, one of 
the two forms being accompanied by astringency, 
or sweetness, or sourness, so that in substance 
the two are the same, but are distinguished by 
qualitative differences. As, therefore, when we 
hear from Scripture that the Only-begotten God 
is Son of man, we learn by the kindred expressed 
in the name His kinship with true man, so even, 
if the Son be called, in the adversaries' phrase, 
a " product," we none the less learn, even by 
this name, His kinship in essence with Him that 



y* yrr^a. 



' yvniti*. /:. g. S. M.ill. x\i , 



has "produced 1 " Him, by the fact that wine, 
which is called the " product " of the vine, has 
been found not to be alien, as concerns the idea 
of moisture, from the natural power that resides 
in the vine. Indeed, if one were judiciously to 
examine the things that are said by our adver- 
saries, they tend to our doctrine, and iheir sense 
cries out against their own fabrications, as they 
strive at all points to establish their " difference 
in essence." Yet it is by no means an easy 
matter to conjecture whence they were led to 
such conceptions. For if the appellation of 
"Son" does not merely signify "being from 
something," but by its signification presents to 
us specially, as Eunomius himself says, relation- 
ship in point of nature, and wine is not called 
the " product " of an oak, and those " products " 
or "generation of vipers 2 ," of which the Gospel 
somewhere speaks, are snakes and not sheep, it 
is clear, that in the case of the Only-begotten 
also, the appellation of "Son" or of "product" 
would not convey the meaning of relationship 
to something of another kind : but even if, ac- 
cording to our adversaries' phrase, He is called 
a " product of generation," and the name of 
" Son," as they confess, has reference to nature, 
the Son is surely of the essence of Him Who 
has generated or " produced " Him, not of that 
of some other among the things which we con- 
template as external to that nature. And if He 
is truly from Him, He is not alien from all that 
belongs to Him from Whom He is, as in the 
other cases too it was shown that all that has its 
existence from anything by way of generation is 
clearly of the same kind as that from whence it 
came. 

§ 5. He discusses the incomprehensibility of the 
Divine essence, and the saying to the woman 
of Samaria, " Ye worship ye know not what." 

Now if any one should ask for some inter- 
pretation, and description, and explanation of 
the Divine essence, we are not going to deny 
that in this kind of wisdom we are unlearned, 
acknowledging only so much as this, that it is 
not possible that that which is by nature infinite 
should be comprehended in any conception 
expressed by words. The fact that the Divine 
greatness has no limit is proclaimed by pro- 
phecy, which declares express.y that of His 
splendour, His glory, His holiness, " there is 
no end 3 : " and if His surroundings have no 
limit, much more is He Himself in His essence, 
whatever it may be, comprehended by no limit- 
ation in any way. If then interpretation by 
way of words and names implies by its meaning 

1 yeyevvr)Kvra. : which, as answering to -yeVnjfia, is here translated 
" produced " rather than " begotten." 

1 ytvi-rifiara (yi&vutv. E.g. S. Matt. iii. 7. 
\ CI r>i. cxlv. 3. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK III. 



14/ 



some sort of comprehension of the subject, and 
if, on the other hand, that which is unlimited 
cannot be comprehended, no one could reason- 
ably blame us for ignorance, if we are not bold 
in respect of what none should venture upon. 
For by what name can I describe the incom- 
prehensible ? by what speech can I declare the 
unspeakable ? Accordingly, since the Deity is 
too excellent and lofty to be expressed in words, 
we have learnt to honour in silence what tran- 
scends speech and thought : and if he who 
" thinketh more highly than he ought to think ♦," 
tramples upon this cautious speech of ours, 
making a jest of our ignorance of things incom- 
prehensible, and recognizes a difference of 
unlikeness in that which is without figure, or 
limit, or size, or quantity (I mean in the Father, 
the Son, and the Holy Spirit), and brings for- 
ward to reproach our ignorance that phrase 
which is continually alleged by the disciple-- of 
deceit, " ' Ye worship ye know not what 5,' if ye 
know not the essence of that which ye worship," 
we s! all follow the advice of the prophet, and 
not fear the reproach of fools 6 , nor be led by 
their reviling to talk boldly of things unspeak- 
able, making that unpractised speaker Paul orr 
teacher in the mysteries that transcend know- 
ledge, who is so far from thinking that the 
Divine nature is within the reach of human 
perception, that he calls even the judgments 
of God " unsearchable," and His ways " past 
finding out 7," and affirms that the things 
promised to them that love Him, for their good 
deeds done in this life, are above comprehension, 
so that it is not possible to behold them with 
the eye, nor to receive them by hearing, nor to 
contain them in the heart 8 . Learning this, 
therefore, from Paul, we boldly declare that, not 
only are the judgments of God too high for 
those who try to search them out, but that the 
ways also that lead to the knowledge of Him 
are even until now untrodden and impassable. 
For this is what we understand that the Apostle 
wishes to signify, when he calls the ways that 
lead to the incomprehensible " past finding out," 
showing by the phrase that that knowledge is 
unattainable by human calculations, and that 
no one ever yet set his understanding on such 
a path of reasoning, or showed any trace or 
s:gn of an approach, by way of perception, to 
the things incomprehensible. 

Learning these things, then, from the lofty 
words of the Apostle, we argue, by the passage 
quoted, in this way : — If His judgments cannot 
be searched out, and His ways are not traced, 
and the promise of His good things transcends 
every representation that our conjectures can 
frame, by how much more is His actual Godhead 



* Rom. xii. 3. 

1 Rom. xi. 33. 



5 S. John iv. 22. 6 Cf. Is. li. 7. 

8 Cf. 1 Cor. ii 9. 



higher and loftier, in respect of being unspeak- 
able and unapproachable, than those attributes 
which are conceived as accompanying it, whereof 
the divinely instructed Paul declares that there 
is no knowledge : — and by this means we con- 
firm in ourselves the doctrine they d.ride, con- 
fessing ourselves inferior to them in the know- 
ledge of those things which are beyond the 
range of knowledge, and declare that we really 
worship what we know. Now we know the 
loftiness of the glory of Him Whom we worship, 
by the very fact that we are not able by reason- 
ing to comprehend in our ihoughts the incom- 
parable character of His greatness ; and that 
saying of our Lord to the Samaritan woman, 
which is brought forward against us by our 
enemies, might more properly be addressed to 
them. For the words, " Ye worship ye know 
not what," the Lord speaks to the Samaritan 
woman, prejudiced as she was by corporeal ideas 
in her opinions concerning God : and to her 
the phrase well applies, because the Samaritans, 
thinking that they worship God, and at the 
same time supposing the Deity to be corporeally 
settled in place, adore Him in name only, 
worshipping something else, and not God. 
For nothing is Divine that is conceived as 
being circumscribed, but it belongs to the God- 
head to be in all places, and to pervade all 
things, and not to be limited by anything : so 
that those who fight against Christ find the 
phrase they adduce against us turned into an 
accusation of themselves. For, as the Samaritans, 
supposing the Deity to be compassed round by 
some circumscription of place, were rebuked by 
the words they heard, " ' Ye worship ye know 
not what,' and your service is profitless to you, 
for a God that is deemed to be settled in any 
place is no God," — so one might well say to 
the new Samaritans, " In supposing the Deity 
to be limited by the absence of generation, as 
it were by some local limit, 'ye worship ye 
know not what,' doing service to Him indeed 
as God, but not knowing that the infinity of 
God exceeds all the significance and compre- 
hension that names can furnish." 

§ 6. Thereafter he expounds the appellation of 
"Son," and of " product of generation" and 
very many varieties of li sons," of God, of men, 
of rams, of perdition, of light, and of day. . 

But our discourse has diverged too far from 
the subject before us, in following out the ques- 
tions which arise from time to time by way of 
inference. Let us therefore once more resume 
its sequence, as I imagine that the phrase 
under examination has been sufficiently shown, 
by what we have said, to be contradictory not 
only to the truth, but also to itself. For if, 



L 2 



148 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



according to their view, the natural relation to 
the Father is established by the appellation of 
" the Son," and so with that of the " product of 
generation " to Him Who has begotten Him (as 
these men's wisdom falsely models the terms 
significant of the Divine nature into a verbal 
arrangement, according to some grammatical 
frivolity), no one could longer doubt that the 
mutual relation of the names which is established 
by nature is a proof of their kindred, or rather of 
their identity of essence. But let not our dis- 
course merely turn about our adversaries' 
words, that the orthodox doctrine may not seem 
to gain the victory only by the weakness of 
those who fight against it, but appear to have 
an abundant supply of strength in itself. Let 
the adverse argument, therefore, be strengthened 
as much as may be by us ourselves with more 
energetic advocacy, that the superiority of our 
force may be recognized with full confidence, as 
we bring to the unerring test of truth those 
arguments also which our adversaries have 
omitted. He who contends on behalf of our 
adversaries will perhaps say that the name of 
" Son," or " product of generation," does not 
by any means establish the fact of kindred in 
nature. For in Scripture the term " child of 
wrath 9 " is used, and "son of perdition V and 
"product of a viper 2 ;" and in such names 
surely no community of nature is apparent. 
For Judas, who is called " the son of perdition," 
is not in his substance the same with perdition, 
according to what we understand by the word 3 . 
For the signification of the " man " in Judas is 
one thing, and that of " perdition " is another. 
And the argument may be established equally 
from an opposite instance. For those who are 
called in a certain sense " children of light," and 
"children of the day*," are not the same with 
light and day in respect of the definition of 
their nature, and the stones are made Abraham's 
children 5 when they claim their kindred with 
him by faitli and works; and those who are 
" led by the Spirit of God," as the Apostle says, 
are called " Sons of God 6 ," without being the 
same with God in respect of nature ; and one 
may collect many such instances from the in- 
spired Scripture, by means of which deceit, like 
some image decked with the testimonies of 
Scripture, masquerades in the likeness of truth. 
V\ '11, what do we say to this? The dhine 
Scripture knows how to use the word "Son " in 
both senses, so that in some cases such an 
appellation is derived from nature, in others it 
is adventitious and artificial. For when it 
speaks of " sons of men," or " sons of rams 7," 

« Cf. Eph. ii. 3. ' S. John xvii. i2. * Cf. S. Matt. iii. 7. 

? Reading Kara to voovfxi imv, for Kara, tov vootifitvov as the 
won ilie text of Oehler, who cites no MSS. in favour of 

11 which he has made. 

41 v. 5. 5 Cf. S Matt. iii. 9. 

«• Kom. vui. ,4. 7 p s . xx i x . , (JLXX.). 



it marks the essential relation of that which is 
begotten to that from which it has its being : 
but when it speaks of "sons of power," or 
" children of God," it presents to us that kin- 
ship which is the result of choice. And, more- 
over, in the opposite sense, too, the same 
persons are called " sons of Eli," and " sons of 
Belial 8 ," the appellation of " sons " being easily 
adapted to either idea. For when they are 
called " sons of Eli," they are declared to have 
natural relationship to him, but in being called 
" sons of Belial," they are reproved for the 
wickedness of their choice, as no longer emu- 
lating their father in their life, but addicting 
their own purpose to sin. In the case, then, 
of this lower nature of ours, and of the things 
with which we are concerned, by reason of 
human nature being equally inclined to either 
side (I mean, to vice and to virtue), it is in our 
power to become sons either of night or of day, 
while our nature yet remains, so far as the chief 
part of it is concerned, within its proper limits. 
For neither is he who by sin becomes a child 
of wrath alienated from his human generation, 
nor does he who by choice addicts himself to 
good reject his human origin by the refinement 
of his habits, but, while their nature in each 
case remains the same, the differences of their 
purpose assume the names of their relationship, 
according as they become either children of 
God by virtue, or of the opposite by vice. 

But how does Eunomius, in the case of the 
divine doctrines at least — he who " preserves the 
natural order " (for I will use our author's very 
words), "and abides by those things which are 
known to us from the beginning, and does not 
refuse to call Him that is begotten by the name 
of ' product of generation,' since the generated 
essence itself " (as he says) "and the appellation 
of ' Son ' makes such a relation of words appro- 
priate ", — how does he alienate the Begotten 
from essential kindred with Him that begat 
Him ? For in the case of those who are called 
"sons" or "products" by way of reproach, or 
again where some praise accompanies such 
names, we cannot say that any one is called " a 
child of wrath," being at the same time actually 
begotten by wrath ; nor again had any one the 
day for his mother, in a corporeal sense, that he 
should be called its son ; but it is the difference 
of their will which gives occasion for names ot 
such relationship. Here, however, Eunomius 
says, " we do not refuse to call the Son, seeing 
He is begotten, by the name of 'product of 
generation,' since the generated essence," he 
tells us, "and the appellation of 'Son,' makes 
such a relation of words appropriate." If, then, 
he confesses that such a relation of words is 

8 1 Sam. ii. iv The 1'lirase is viol Aoi/uot, or "pestilent sons," 
as in the I.XX. Gregory's argument would seem to require the 
reading uiot Aoi/uoO. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK III. 



149 



made appropriate by the fact that the Son is 
really a " product of generation," how is it 
opportune to assign such a rationale of names, 
alike to those which are used inexactly by 
way of metaphor, and to those where the 
natural relation, as Eunomius tells us, makes 
such a use of names appropriate ? Surely such 
an account is true only in the case of those 
whose nature is a border-land between virtue 
and vice, where one often shares in turn 
opposite classes of names, becoming a child, 
now of light, then again of darkness, by reason 
of affinity to the good or to its opposite. But 
where contraries have no place, one could no 
longer say that the word " Son " is applied 
metaphorically, in like manner as in the case of 
those who by choice appropriate the title to 
themselves. For one could not arrive at this 
view, that, as a man casting off the works of 
darkness becomes, by his decent life, a child of 
light, so too the Only-begotten God received 
the more honourable name as the result of a 
change from the inferior state. For one who 
is a man becomes a son of God by being joined 
to Christ by spiritual generation : but He Who 
by Himself makes the man to be a son of God, 
does not need another Son to bestow on Him 
the adoption of a son, but has the name also 
of that which He is by nature. A man himself 
changes himself, exchanging the old man for 
the new ; but to what shall God be changed, 
so that He may receive what He has not ? A 
man puts off himself, and puts on the Divine 
nature ; but what does He put off, or in what 
does He array Himself, Who is always the 
same ? A man becomes a son of God, receiving 
what he has not, and laying aside what he has ; 
but He Who has never been in the state of vice 
has neither anything to receive nor anything to 
relinquish. Again, the man may be on the one 
hand truly called some one's son, when one 
speaks with reference to his nature ; and, on 
the other hand, he may be so called inexactly, 
when the choice of his life imposes the name. 
But God, being One Good, in a single and 
uncompounded nature, looks ever the same 
way, and is never changed by the impulse of 
choice, but always wishes what He is, and is, 
assuredly, what He wishes : so that He is in 
both respects properly and truly called Son of 
God, since His nature contains the good, and 
His choice also is never severed from that which 
is more excellent, so that this word is employed, 
without inexactness, as His name. Thus there 
is no room for these arguments (which, in the 
person of our adversaries, we have been oppos- 
ing to ourselves), to be brought forward by our 
adversaries as a demurrer to the affinity in 
respect of nature. 



§ 7. Then he ends the book with an exposition 
of the Divine and Human names of the Only- 
begotten, and a discussion of the terms "gener- 
ate" 



and " ungenerate." 



But as, I know not how or why, they hate 
and abhor the truth, they give Him indeed the 
name of " Son," but in order to avoid the 
testimony which this word would give to the 
community of essence, they separate the word 
from the sense included in the name, and con- 
cede to the Only-begotten the name of " Son " 
as an empty thing, vouchsafing to Him only 
the mere sound of the word. That what I say 
is true, and that I am not taking a fiilse aim at 
the adversaries' mark, may be clearly learnt 
from the actual attacks they make upon thj 
truth. Such are those arguments which are 
brought forward by them to establish their 
blasphemy, that we are taught by the divine 
Scriptures many names of the Only-begotten — 
a stone, an axe, a rock, a foundation, bread, a 
vine, a door, a way, a shepherd, a fountain, a 
tree, resurrection, a teacher, light, and many 
such names. But we may not piously use any 
of these names of the Lord, understanding it 
according to its immediate sense. For surely 
it would be a most absurd thing to think that 
what is incorporeal and immaterial, simple, and 
without figure, should be fashioned according 
to the apparent senses of these names, whatever 
they may be, so that when we hear of an axe 
we should think of a particular figure of iron, 
or when we hear of light, of the light in the sky, 
or of a vine, of that which grows by the planting 
of shoots, or of any one of the other names, as 
its ordinary use suggests to us to think ; but we 
transfer the sense of these names to what better 
becomes the Divine nature, and form some 
other conception, and if we do designate Him 
thus, it is not as being any of these things, 
according to the definition of His nature, but as 
being called these things while He is conceived 
by means of the names employed as something 
else than the things themselves. But if such 
names are indeed truly predicated of the Only- 
begotten God, without including the declaration 
of His nature, they say that, as a consequence, 
neither should we admit the signification of 
"Son," as it is understood according to the 
prevailing use, as expressive of nature, but 
should find some sense of this word also, 
different from that which is ordinary and 
obvious. These, and others like these, are 
their philosophical arguments to establish that 
the Son is not what He is and is called. Our 
argument was hastening to a different goal, 
namely to show that Eunomius' new discourse 
is false and inconsistent, and argues neither 
with the truth nor with itself. Since, however, 



ISO 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



the arguments which we employ to attack their 
doctrine are brought into the discussion as a sort 
of support for their blasphemy 9, it may be well 
first briefly to discusst his point, and then to pro- 
ceed to the orderly examination of his writings. 
What can we say, then, to such things without 
Trelevance? That while, as they say, the 
names which Scripture applies to the Only- 
begotten are many, we assert that none of the 
other names is closely connected with the refer- 
ence to Him that begat Him. For we do not 
employ the name " Stone," or " Resurrection," 
or "Shepherd," or " Light," or any of the rest, 
as we do the name " Son of the Father," with a 
reference to the God of all. It is possible to 
make a twofold division of the signification of 
the Divine names, as it were by a scientific 
rule : for to one class belongs the indication of 
His lofty and unspeakable glory; the other 
class indicates the variety of the providential 
dispensation : so that, as we suppose, if that 
which received His benefits did not exist, neither 
would those words be applied with respect to 
them ' which indicate His bounty. All those, 
on the other hand, that express the attributes 
of God, are applied suitably and properly to the 
Only-begotten God, apart from the objects of 
the dispensation. But that we may set forth 
this doctrine clearly, we will examine the names 
themselves. The Lord would not have been 
called a vine, save for the planting of those 
who are rooted in Him, nor a shepherd, had 
not the sheep of the house of Israel been lost, 
nor a physician, save for the sake of them that 
were sick, nor would He have received for 
Himself the rest of these names, had He not 
made the titles appropriate, in a manner ad- 
vantageous with regard to those who were 
benefited by Him, by some action of His 
providence. What need is there to mention 
individual instances, and to lengthen our argu- 
ment upon points that are acknowledged? On 
the other hand, He is certainly called " Son," 
and " Right Hand," and " Only-begotten," and 
" Word," and " Wisdom," and " Power," and 
all other such relative names, as being named 
together with the Father in a certain relative 
conjunction. For He is called the " Power of 
God;' and the " Right Hand of God," and the 
"Wisdom of God" and the "Son and Only- 
begotten of the Father" and the " Word with 
God" and so of the rest. Thus, it follows from 
what we have stated, that in each of the names 

' The meanine of this seems to be that theAnomoean party make 
the same charge of " inconsistency " against the orthodox, which 
rv makes against Eunomius, basing that charge on the fact 
thai the title " Son" is not interpreted in the same figurative way 
as the other lilies recited. Gregory accordingly pioceeds to show 
why the name of" Son " stands on a different level from those titles, 
and is to be treated in .1 different way. 

1 in o.vtu)i> : perhaps " with reference to man." the plural being 
employed here to denote the race of men. spoken of in the pre- 
ceding clause collectively as to tvipytrov/x v>\ 



we are to contemplate some suitable sense 
appropriate to the subject, so that we may not 
miss the right understanding of them, and go 
astray from the doctrine of godliness. As, 
then, we transfer each of the other terms to 
that sense in which they may be applied to 
God, and reject in their case the immediate 
sense, so as not to understand material light, or 
a trodden way, or the bread which is produced 
by husbandry, or the word that is expressed by 
speech, but, instead of these, all those thoughts 
which present to us the magnitude of the power 
of the Word of God, — so, if one were to reject 
the ordinary and natural sense- of the word 
"Son," by which we learn that He is of the 
same essence as Him that begat Him, he will 
of course transfer the name to some more 
divine interpretation. For since the change to 
the more glorious meaning which has been 
made in each of the other terms has adapted 
them to set forth the Divine power, it surely 
follows that the significance of this name also 
should be transferred to what is loftier. But 
what more Divine sense could we find in the 
appellation of " Son," if we were to reject, 
according to our adversaries' view, the natural 
relation to Him that begat Him ? J presume 
no one is so daring in impiety as to think that, 
in speech concerning the Divine nature, what 
is humble and mean is more appropriate than 
what is lofty and great. If they can discover, 
therefore, any sense of more exalted character 
than this, so that to be of the nature of the 
Father seems a thing unworthy to conceive of 
the Only-begotten, let them tell us whether 
they know, in their secret wisdom, anything 
more exalted than the nature of the Father, 
that, in raising the Only-begotten God to this 
level, they should lift Him also above His rela- 
tion to the Father. But if the majesty of the 
Divine nature transcends all height, and excels 
every power that calls forth our wonder, what 
idea remains that can carry the meaning of the 
name " Son " to something greater still ? Since 
it is acknowledged, therefore, that every sig- 
nificant phrase employed of the Only-begotten, 
even if the name be derived from the ordinary 
use of our lower life, is properly applied to 
Him with a difference of sense in the direction 
of greater majesty, and if it is shown that we 
can find no more noble conception of the title 
" Son " than that which presents to us the 
reality of His relationship to Him that begat 
Him, I think that we need spend no more time 
on this topic, as our argument has sufficiently 
shown that it is not proper to interpret the title 
of " Son " in like manner with the other names. 
But we must bring back our enquiry once 
more to the book. It does not become the 
same persons " not to refuse " (for I will use 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK III. 



KI 



their own words) "to call Him that is generated 
a 'product of generation, 'since both thegenerated 
essence itself and the appellation of Son make 
such a i elation of words appropriate," and again 
to change the names which naturally belong to 
Him into metaphorical interpretations : so that 
one of two things has befallen them, — either 
their first attack has failed, and it is in vain that 
they fly to " natural order " to establish the 
necessity of calling Him that is generated a 
" product of generation " ; or, if this argument 
holds good, they will find their second argu- 
ment brought to nought by what they have 
already established. For the person who is 
called a " product of generation " because He is 
generated, cannot, for the very same reason, be 
possibly called a "product of making," or a 
" product of creation." For the sense of the 
several terms differs very widely, and one who 
uses his phrases advisedly ought to employ 
words with due regard to the subject, that we 
may not, by improperly interchanging the sense 
of our phrases, fall into any confusion of ideas. 
Hence we call that which is wrought out by a 
craft the work of the craftsman, and call him 



who is begotten by a man that man's son ; and 
no sane p.-rson would call the work a son, or 
the son a work ; for that is the language of one 
who confuses and obscures the true sense by an 
erroneous use of names. It follows that we 
must truly affirm of the Only-begotten one of 
these two things, — if He is a Son, that He is 
not to be called a " product of creation," and if 
He is created, that He is alien from the appella- 
tion of " Son 2 ," just as heaven and sea and earth, 
and all individual things, being things created, 
do not assume the name of " Son." But since 
Eunomius bears witness that the Only-begotten 
God is begotten (and the evidence of enemies 
is of aditional value for establishing the truth), 
he surely testifies also, by saying that He is 
begotten, to the fact that He is not created. 
Enough, however, on these points : for thoug'i 
many arguments crowd upon us, we will be 
content, lest their number lead to disproportion, 
with those we have already adduced on the 
subject before us. 



2 Oehler's punctuation here seems faulty, and is accordingly 
followed. 



not 



BOOK IV. 



$ I. The fourth book discusses the account of the 
nature of the "product of generation," and of 
the passionless generation of the Only-begotten, 
and the text, " In the beginning was the 
Word" and the birth of the Virgin. 

It is, perhaps, time to examine in our dis- 
course that account of the nature of the " product 
of generation " which is the subject of his ridicu- 
lous philosophizing. He says, then (I will repeat 
word fur word his beautifully composed argu- 
ment against the truth): — " Who is so indifferent 
and inattentive to the nature of things as not to 
know, that of all bodies which are on earth, in 
their generating and being generated, in their 
activity and passivity, those which generate are 
found on examination to communicate their own 
essence, and those which are generated naturally 
receive the same, inasmuch as the material cause 
and the supply which flows in from without are 
common to both ; and the things begotten are 
generated by passion, and those which beget, 
naturally h <ve an action which is not pure, by 
reason of their nature being linked with passions 
of all kinds ? " See in what fitting style he dis- 
cusses in his speculation the pre-teniporal gene- 
ration of the Word of God that was in the begin- 
ning ! he who closely examines the nature of 
things, bodies on the earth, and material causes, 
and passion of things generating and generated, 
and all the rest of it, — at which any man of 
understanding would blush, even were it said of 
ourselves, if it were our nature, subject as it is to 
passion, which is thus exposed to scorn by his 
words. Yet such is our author's brilliant enquiry 
into nature with regard to the Only-begotten God. 
Let us lay aside complaints, however, (for what 
will sighii.g do to help us to overthrow the 
in i lice of our enemy?) and make generally 
known, as best we may, the sense of what we 
have quoted — concerning what sort of " pro- 
duct" the speculation was proposed, — that which 
exists according to the flesh, or that which is to 
be contemplated in the Only-begotten God. 

As the' speculation is two-fold, concerning 
that lit which is Divine, simple, and imma- 
terial, and concerning that existence which is 
material and subject to passion, and as the 
word "generation" is used of both, we must 



needs make our distinction sharp and clear, 
lest the ambiguity of the term " generation " 
should in any way pervert the truth. Since, 
then, the entrance into being through the 
flesh is material, and is promoted by passion, 
while that which is bodiless, impalpable, without 
form, and free from any material commixture, is 
alien from every condition that admits of passion, 
it is proper to consider about what sort of gen- 
eration we are enquiring — that which is pure 
and Divine, or that which is subject to passion 
and pollution. Now, no one, I suppose, would 
deny that with regard to the Only-begotten 
God, it is pre-temporal existence that is pro- 
posed for the consideration 3 of Eunomius' 
discourse. Why, then, does he linger over this 
account of corporeal nature, defiling our nature 
by the loathsome presentment of his argument, 
and setting forth openly the passions that gather 
round human generation, while he deserts the 
subject set before him ? for it was not about 
this animal generation, that is accomplished by 
means of the flesh, that we had any need to 
learn. Who is so foolish, when he looks on 
himself, and considers human nature in himself, 
as to seek another interpreter of his own nature, 
and to need to be told all the unavoidable 
passions which are included in the thought of 
bodily generation — that he who begets is affect- 
ed in one way, that which is begotten in another 
— so that the man should learn from this in- 
struction that he himself begets by means of 
passion, and that passion was the beginning of 
his own generation ? For it is all the same 
whether these things are passed over or spoken, 
and whether one publishes these secrets at 
length, or keeps hidden in silence things that 
should be left unsaid, we are not ignorant of 
the fact that our nature progresses by way of 
passion. But what we are seeking is that a clear 
account should be given of the exalted and un- 
speakable existence of the Only-begotten, where- 
by He is believed to be of the Father. 

Now, while this is the enquiry set before him, 
our new theologian enriches his discourse with 



3 Reading, with the older editions, tj\ Secopi'a. Oehler substitutes 
TTjc 8to>piav [n variation which seems to give no good sense, unless 
Ottopia be translated as " subject of contemplation "), but alleges no 
Ms. authority for the change. 



GREGORY OF NYSSA AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK IV. 153 



'• flowing," and " passion," and " material cause," 
and some "action " which " is not pure " from 
pollution, and all other phrases of this kind ♦. 
I know not under what influence it is that he 
who says, in the superiority of his wisdom, that 
nothing incomprehensible is left beyond his own 
knowledge, and promises to explain the unspeak- 
able generation of the Son, leaves the question 
before him, and plunges like an eel into the 
slimy mud of his arguments, after the fashion of 
that Nicodemus who came by night, who, when 
our Lord was teaching him of the birth from 
above, rushed in thought to the hollow of the 
womb, and raised a doubt how one could 
enter a second time into the womb, with the 
words, " How can these things be ? 5 " think- 
ing that he would prove the spiritual birth 
impossible, by the fact that an old man 
could not again be born within his mother's 
bowels. But the Lord corrects his erroneous 
idea, saying that the properties of the flesh and 
the spirit are distinct. Let Eunomius also, if 
he will, correct himself by the like reflection. 
For he who ponders on the truth ought, I im- 
agine, to contemplate his subject according to 
its own properties, not to slander the immaterial 
by a charge against things material. For if a 
man, or a bull, or any other of those things 
which are generated by the flesh, is not free from 
passion in generating or being generated, what 
has this to do with that Nature which is without 
passion and without corruption ? The fact that 
we are mortal is no objection to the immortality 
of the Only-begotten, nor does men's propen- 
sity to vice render doubtful the immutability 
that is found in the Divine Nature, nor is any 
other of our proper attributes transferred to 
God ; but the peculiar nature of the human and 
the Divine life is separated, and without com- 
mon ground, and their distinguishing properties 
stand entirely apart, so that those of the latter 
are not apprehended in the former, nor, con- 
versely, those of the former in the latter. 

How comes it, therefore, that Eunomius, 
when the Divine generation is the subject for 
discourse, leaves his subject, and discusses at 
length the things of earth, when on this matter 
we have no dispute with him? Surely our 
craftsman's aim is clear, — that by the slanderous 
insinuation of passion he may raise an objection 
to the generation of the Lord. And here I pass 
by the blasphemous nature of his view, and 
admire the man for his acuteness, — how mindful 
he is of his own zealous endeavour, who, having 
by his previous statements established the theory 
that the Son must be, and must be called, a 
" product of generation," now contends for the 



4 Oehler's punctuation seems less clear than that of the older 
•editions, which is here followed. 

5 S. John iii. 10. 



view that we. ought not to entertain regarding 
Him the conception of generation. For, if all 
generation, as this author imagines, has linked 
with it the condition of passion, we are hereby 
absolutely compelled to admit that what is 
foreign to passion is alien also from generation : 
for if these things, passion and generation, are 
considered as conjoined, He that has no share in 
the one would not have any participation in the 
other. How then does he call Him a " product " 
by reason of His generation, of Whom he tries to 
show by the arguments he now uses, that He 
was not generated ? and for what cause does he 
fight against our master 6 , who counsels us in 
matters of Divine doctrine not to presume in 
name-making, but to confess that He is gener- 
ated without transforming this conception into 
the formula of a name, so as to call Him Who is 
generated " a product of generation," as this 
term is properly applied in Scripture to things 
inanimate, or to those which are mentioned " as 
a figure of wickedness 7 " ? When we speak of 
the propriety of avoiding the use of the term 
" product," he prepares for action that invincible 
rhetoric of his, and takes also to support him 
his frigid grammatical phraseology, and by his 
skilful misuse of names, or equivocation, or 
whatever one may properly call his processes — by 
these means, I say, he brings his syllogisms to 
their conclusion, "not refusing to call Him Who 
is begotten by the name of ' product of gener- 
ation.' " Then, as soon as we admit the term, 
and proceed to examine the conception involved 
in the name, on the theory that thereby is vin- 
dicated the community of essence, he again 
retracts his own words, and contends for the 
view that the " product of generation " is not 
generated, raising an objection by his foul ac- 
count of bodily generation, against the pure and 
Divine and passionless generation of the Son, 
on the ground that it is not possible that the 
two things, the true relationship to the Father, 
and exemption of His nature from passion, 
should be found to coincide in God, but that, if 
there were no passion, there would be no gen- 
eration, and that, if one should acknowledge the 
true relationship, he would thereby, in admitting 
generation, certainly admit passion also. 

Not thus speaks the sublime John, not thus 
that voice of thunder which proclaims the mys- 
tery of the Theology, who both names Him Son 
of God and purges his proclamation from every 
idea of passion. For behold how in the very 
beginning of his Gospel he prepares our ears, 
how great forethought is shown by the teacher 



6 i. e. S- Basil. 

7 The reference is to S. Basil's treatise against Eunomius (ii. 7-8 ; 
p. 242-4 in the Benedictine ed.). Oehler's punctuation is apparently 
wrong, for Gregory paraphrases not only the rule, but the reason 
given for it, from .S. Basil, from whom the last words of the sentence 
are a direct quotation. 



154 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



that none of his hearers should fall into low- 
ideas on the subject, slipping by ignorance into 
any incongruous conceptions. For in order to 
lead the untrained hearing as far away as pos- 
sible from passion, he does not speak in his 
opening words cf " Son," or " Father," or "gen- 
eration^" that no one should either, on hearing 
first of all of a " Father," be hurried on to the 
obvious signification of the word, or, on learning 
the proclamation of a " Son," should under- 
stand that name in the ordinary sense, or stumble, 
as at a "stone of stumbling 8 ," at the word 
" generation " ; but instead of " the Father," he 
speaks of "the Beginning": instead of "was 
begotten," he says "was" : and instead of "the 
Son," he says " the Word " : and declares " In 
the Beginning was the Word 9." What passion, 
pray, is to be found in these words, " beginning," 
and " was," and " Word " ? Is " the beginning " 
passion? does "was" imply passion? does 
" the Word " exist by means of passion ? Or 
are we to say, that as passion is not to be found 
in the terms used, so neither is affinity expressed 
by the proclamation ? Yet how could the 
Word's community of essence, and real relation 
ship, and co eternity with the Beginning, be 
more strongly shown by other words than by 
these ? For he does not say, " Of the Beginning 
was begotten the Word," that he may not separ- 
ate the Word from the Beginning by any con- 
ception of extension in time, but he proclaims 
together with the Beginning Him also Who was 
in the Beginning, making the word " was " com- 
mon to the Beginning and to the Word, that 
the Word may not linger after the Beginning, 
but may, by entering in together with the faith 
as to the Beginning, by its proclamation forestall 
our hearing, before this admits the Beginning 
itself in isolation. Then he declares, " And 
the Word was with God." Once more the 
Evangelist fears for our untrained state* once 
more he dreads our childish and untaught con- 
dition : he does not yet entrust to our ears the 
appellation of "Father," lest any of the more 
carnally minded, learning of "the Father," may 
be led by his understanding to imagine also by 
consequence a mother. Neither does he yet 
name in his proclamation the Son ; for he still 
suspects our customary tendency to the lower 
nature, and fears lest any, hearing of the Son, 
should humanize the Godhead by an idea of 
passion. For this reason, resuming his procla- 
mation, he again calls him " the Word," making 
this the account of His nature to thee in thine 
unbelief For as thy word proceeds from thy 
mind, without requiring the intervention of 
passion, so here also, in hearing of the Word, 
ih u shah conceive that which is from some- 



8 i S. Pet. ii. 8. 



9 S. John i. i. 



thing, and shalt not conceive passion. Hence, 
once more resuming his proclamation, he snys, 
" And the Word was with God." O, how d es 
he make the Word commensurate with God ! 
rather, how does he extend the infinite in com- 
parison with the infinite ! " The Word was 
with God " — the whole being of the Wnr 1, 
assuredly, with the whole being of God. There- 
fore, as great as God is, so great, clearly, is the 
Word also that is with Him ; so that if God is 
limited, then will the Word also, surely, be sub- 
ject to limitation. But if the ini'.nity of God 
exceeds limit, neither is the Word that is con- 
templated with Him comprehended by limits 
and measures. For no one would deny that 
the Word is contem] lated together with the 
entire Godhead of the Father, so that he should 
make one part of the Godhead appear to be in 
the Word, and another destitute of the Word. 
Once more the spiritual voice of John speaks, 
once more the Evangelist in his proclamation 
takes tender care for the hearing of those who 
are in childhood : not yet have we so much 
grown by the hearing of his first words as to 
hear of "the Son," and yet remain firm without 
being moved from our footing by the influence 
of the wonted sense. Therefore our herald, 
crying once more aloud, still proclaims in his 
third utterance "the Word," and not "the Son," 
saying, " And the Word was God." First he 
declared wherein He was, then with whom He 
was, and now he says what He is, completing, 
by his third repetition, the object of his procla- 
mation. For he says, " It is no Word of those 
that are readily understood, that I declare to you, 
but God under the designation of the Word." 
For this Word, that was in the Beginning, and 
was with God, was not anything else besides 
God, but was also Himself God. And forth- 
with the herald, reaching the full height of his 
lofty speech, declares that this God Whom his 
proclamation sets forth is He by Whom all 
things were made, and is life, and the light of 
men, and the true light that shineth in darkness, 
yet is not obscured by the darkness, sojourning 
with His own, yet not received by His own : 
and being made flesh, and tabernacling, by 
means of the flesh, in man's nature. And when 
he has first gone through this number and 
variety of statements, he then names the Father 
and the Only-begotten, when there can be no 
danger that what has been purified by so many 
precautions should be allowed, in consequence 
of the sense of the word " Father," to sink 
down to any meaning tainted with pollution, 
for, " we beheld His glory," he says, " the 
glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father." 

Repeat, then, Eunomius, repeat this clever 
objection of yours to the Evangelist : " How 
dobt thou give the name of ' Father ' in thy 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK IV. 



155 



discourse, how that of Only-begotten, seeing 
that all bodily generation is operated by 
passion ? " Surely truth answers you on his 
behalf, that the mystery of theology is one 
ihing, and the physiology of unstable bodies is 
another. Wide is the interval by which they 
are fenced off one from the other. Why do 
you join together in your argument what can- 
not blend ? how do you defile the purity of the 
Divine generation by your foul discourse? how 
do you make systems for the incorporeal by the 
passions that affect the body ? Cease to draw 
your account of the nature of things above from 
those that are below. I proclaim the Lord as 
the Son of God, because the gospel from 
heaven, given through the bright cloud, thus 
proclaimed Him; for "This," He saith, "is 
My beloved Son *." Yet, though I was taught 
that He is the Son, I was not dragged down by 
the name to the earthly significance of " Son," 
but I both know that He is from the Father, 
and do not know that He is from passion. 
And this, moreover, I will add to what has been 
said, that I know even a bodily generation 
which is pure from passion, so that even on 
this point Eunomius' physiology of bodily 
generation is proved false, if, that is to say, a 
bodily birth can be found which does not admit 
passion. Tell me, was the Word made flesh, 
or not ? You would not, I presume, say that 
It was not. It was so made, then, and there is 
none who denies it. How then was it that 
" God was manifested in the flesh 2 " ? " By 
birth," of course you will say. But what sort 
of birth do you speak of? Surely it is clear 
that you speak of that from the virginity, and 
that " that which was conceived in her was of 
the Holy Ghost 3 ," and that "the days were 
accomplished that she should be delivered, and 
she brought forth ■*," and none the less was her 
purity preserved in her child-bearing. You 
believe, then, that that birth which took place 
from a woman was pure from passion, if you 
do believe, but you refuse to admit the Divine 
and incorruptible generation from the Father, 
that you may avoid the idea of passion in 
generation. But I know well that it is not 
passion he seeks to avoid in his doctrine, for 
that he does not discern at all in the Divine 
and incorruptible nature ; but to the end that 
the Maker of all creation may be accounted a 
part of creation, he builds up these arguments 
in order to a denial of the Only-begotten God, 
and uses his pretended caution about passion 
to help him in his task. 



1 S. Matt. xvii. 5. 

2 1 Tim. iii. 16. Here, as elsewhere in Gregory's writings, it 



appears that he read flebs in this passage. 
3 S. Matt. L 20 



S. Luke ii. 6, 7. 



§ 2. He convicts Eunomius of having used of the 
Only-begotten terms applicable to the existence 
of the earth, and thus shows that his intention 
is to prove the Son to be a being mutable and 
created. 

And this he shows very plainly by his con- 
tention against our arguments, where he says 
that " the essence of the Son came into being 
from the Father, not put forth by way of exten- 
sion, not separated from its conjunction with 
Him that generated Him by flux or division, 
not perfected by way of growth, not transformed 
by way of change, but obtaining existence by 
the mere will of the Generator." Why, what 
man whose mental senses are not closed up is 
left in ignorance by this utterance that by these 
statements the Son is being represented by 
Eunomius as a part of the creation ? What 
hinders us from saying all this, word for word 
as it stands, about every single one of the 
things we contemplate in creation ? Let us 
apply, if you will, the definition to any of the 
things that appear in creation, and if it does 
not admit the same sequence, we will condemn 
ourselves for having examined the definition 
slightingly, and not with the care that befits the 
truth. Let us exchange, then, the name of the 
Son, and so read the definition word by word. 
We say that the essence of the earth came into 
being from the Father, not separated by way of 
extension or division from its conjunction with 
Him Who generated it, nor perfected by way 
of growth, nor put forth by way of change, but 
obtaining existence by the mere will of Him 
Who generated it. Is there anything in what 
we have said that does not apply to the exist- 
ence of the earth ? I think no one would say 
so : for God did not put forth the earth by 
being extended, nor bring its essence into exist- 
ence by flowing or by dissevering Himself from 
conjunction with Himself, nor did He bring it 
by means of gradual growth from being small 
to completeness of magnitude, nor was He 
fashioned into the form of earth by undergoing 
mutation or alteration, but His will sufficed 
Him for the existence of all things that were 
made : " He spake and they were generated V' 
so that even the name of " generation " does 
not fail to accord with the existence of the 
earth. Now if these things may be truly said 
of the parts of the universe, what doubt is still 
left as to our adversaries' doctrine, that while, 
so far as words go, they call Him " Son," they 
represent Him as being one of the things that 
came into existence by creation, set before the 
rest only in precedence of order? just as you 
might say about the trade of a smith, that from 



5 Cf. Ps. xxxiii. 9, and Ps. cxlviii. 5, in LXX (reading 
iyevvrjdrjaav). 



156 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



it come all things that are wrought out of iron ; 
but that the instrument of the tongs and ham- 
mer, by which the iron is fashioned for use, 
existed before the making of the rest ; yet, while 
this has precedence of the rest, there is not on 
that account any difference in respect of matter 
between the instrument that fashions and the 
iron that is shaped by the instrument, (for both 
one and the other are iron,) but the one form is 
earlier than the other. Such is the theology of 
heresy touching the Son, — to imagine that there 
is no difference between the Lord Himself and 
the things that were made by Him, save the 
difference in respect of order. 

Who that is in any sense classed among 
Christians admits that the definition 6 of the 
essence of the parts of the world, and of Him 
Who made the world, is the same ? For my 
own part I shudder at the blasphemy, knowing 
that where the definition of things is the same 
neither is their nature different. For as the 
definition of the essence of Peter and John and 
other men is common and their nature is one, 
in the same way, if the Lord were in respect of 
nature even as the parts of the world, they must 
acknowledge that He is also subject to those 
things, whatever they may be, which they per- 
ceive in them. Now the world does not last 
for ever: thus, according to them, the Lord 
also will pass away with the heaven and the 
earth, if, as they say, He is of the same kind 
with the world. If on the other hand He is 
confessed to be eternal, we must needs suppose 
that the world too is not without some part in 
the Divine nature, if, as they say, it corresponds 
with the Only-begotten in the matter of creation. 
You see where this fine process of inference 
makes the argument tend, like a stone broken 
off from a mountain ridge and rushing down-hill 
by its own weight. For either the elements of 
the world must be Divine, according to the 
foolish belief of the Greeks, or the Son must not 
be worshipped. Let us consider it thus. We say 
that the creation, both what is perceived by the 
mind, and that which is of a nature to be per- 
ceived by sense, came into being from nothing : 
this they declare also of the Lord. We say that 
all things that have been made consist by the 
will of God : this they tell us also of the Only- 
begotten. We believe that neither the angelic 
creation nor the mundane is of the essence of 
1 1 1 in that made it: and they make Him also 
alien from the essence of the Father. We con- 
fess that all things serve Him that made them : 
this view they also hold of the Only-begotten. 
Therefore, of necessity, whatever else it may be 
that they conceive of the creation, all these 



6 '1 he force of \6yos here appears to be nearly equivalent to 
i (he sense of an exact expression of the nature of a thing. 
is renders it by " ral 



attributes they will also attach to the Only- 
begotten : and whatever they believe of Him, 
this they will also conceive of the creation : so 
that, if they confess the Lord as God, they will 
also deify the rest of the creation. On the 
other hand, if they define these things to be 
without share in the Divine nature, they will not 
reject the same conception touching the Only- 
begotten also. Moreover no sane man asserts 
Godhead of the creation. Then neither — : — I 
do not utter the rest, lest I lend my tongue to 
the blasphemy of the enemy. Let those say 
what consequence follows, whose mouth is well 
trained in blasphemy. But their doctrine is 
evident even if they hold their peace. For one 
of two things must necessarily happen : — either 
they will depose the Only-begotten God, so 
that with them He will no more either be, or be 
called so : or, if they assert Godhead of Him, 
they will equally assert it of all creation : — or, 
(for this is still left to them,) they will shun the 
impiety that appears on either side, and take 
refuge in the orthodox doctrine, and will as- 
suredly agree with us that He is not created, 
that they may confess Him to be truly God. 

What need is there to take time to recount 
all the other blasphemies that underlie his 
doctrine, starting from this beginning ? For by 
what we have quoted, one who considers the 
inference to be drawn will understand that the 
father of falsehood, the maker of death, the 
inventor of wickedness, being created in a 
nature intellectual and incorporeal, was not by 
that nature hindered from becoming what he is 
by way of change. For the mutability of 
essence, moved either way at will, involves a 
capacity of nature that follows the impulse of 
determination, so as to become that to which its 
determination leads it. Accordingly they will 
define the Lord as being capable even of con- 
trary dispositions, drawing Him down as it were 
to a rank equal with the angels, by the concep- 
tion of creation 7. But let them listen to the great 
voice of Paul. Why is it that he says that He 
alone has been called Son ? Because He is 
not of the nature of angels, but of that which is 
more excellent. " For unto which of the 
angels said He at any time, ' Thou art My Son, 
This day have I begotten Thee ' ? and when* 
again He bringeth the first-begotten into the 
world He saith, ' And let all the angels of God 
worship Him.' And of the angels He saith, 
'Who maketh His angels spirits, and His 

7 The argument appears to be this : — The Anomceans assert, on 
the ground that He is created, that the Son's essence is rpeirr'ov, 
liable to change ; where there is the possibility of change, the nature 
must have a capacity of inclining one way or the other, according to 
the balance of will determining to which side the nature shall incline : 
and that this is the condition of the angels may be seen from the 
instance of the fallen angels, whose nature was inclined to evil by 
their npoaipe<ri<; . It follows that to say the Son is Tpenrb? implies 
that He is on a level with the angelic nature, and might tail even aj 
the unguis fell. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK IV. 



157 



ministers a flame of fire ' : but of the Son He 
saith, ' Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever ; 
a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy 
kingdom V " and all else that the prophecy 
recites together with these words in declaring 
His Godhead. And he adds also from another 
Psalm the appropriate words, " Thou, Lord, in 
the beginning hast laid the foundation of the 
earth, and the heavens are the works of Thine 
hands," and the rest, as far as " But Thou art 
the same, and Thy years shall not fail 9 f " 
whereby he describes the immutability and 
eternity of His nature. If, then, the Godhead 
of the Only-begotten is as far above the angelic 
nature as a master is superior to his slaves, how 
do they make common either with the sensible 
creation Him Who is Lord of the creation, or 
with the nature of the angels Him Who is 
worshipped by them 1 , by detailing, concerning 
the manner o f His existence, statements which 
will properly apply to the individual things we 
contemplate in creation, even as we already 
showed the account given by heresy, touching 
the Lord, to be closely and appropriately applic- 
able to the making of the earth ? 

§ 3. He then again admirably discusses the term 
■KpwTOTOKOQ as it is four times employed by the 
Apostle. 

But that the readeis of our work may find no 
ambiguity left of such a kind as to afford any 
support to the heretical doctrines, it may be worth 
while to add to the passages examined by us this 
point also from Holy Scripture. They will per- 
haps raise a question from the very apostolic 
writings which we quoted : " How could He be 
called ' the first-born of creation 2 ' if He were 
not what creation is ? for every first-born is the 
firstborn not of another kind, but of its own : 
as Reuben, having precedence in respect of birth 
of those who are counted after him, was the 
first-born, a man the first-born of men ; and 
many others are called the first-born of the 
brothers who are reckoned with them." They 
sAy then, " We assert that He Who is ' the first- 
born of creation ' is of that same essence which 
we consider the essence of all creation. Now 
if the whole creation is of one essence with the 
Father of all, we will not deny that the first-born 
of creation is this also : but if the God of all 
differs in essence from the creation, we must 
of necessity say that neither has the first-born 
of creation community in essence with God." 

8 Cf. Heb. i. 4, and foil. It is to be noted that Gregory con- 
nects iraXiv in v. 6, with eierayayjj, not treating it, as the A.V. does, 
as simply introducing another quotation. This appears from his 
later reference to the text 9 Cf. Ps. cii. 25, 26. 

1 Oehler's punctuation here seems to be unsatisfactory. 

2 Cf. Col. i. 15. IIpcoTOToKo? may be, as it is in th_- Authorized 
Version, translated either by " first born," or by "first-begotten." 
Compare with this passage Book II. § 8. where the use of the word 
in Holy Scripture is discussed. 



The structure of this objection is not, I think, 
at all less imposing in the form in which it is 
alleged by us, than in the form in which it would 
probably be brought against us by our advers- 
aries. But what we ought to know as regards 
this point shall now, so far as we are able, be 
plainly set forth in our discourse. 

Four times the name of " first-born " or " first- 
begotten " is used by the Apostle in all his 
writings : but he has made mention of the 
name in different senses and not in the same 
manner. For now he speaks of " the first-b^rn of 
all creation 3," and again of " the first-born among 
many brethren*," then of " the first-born from 
thedeads;" and in the Epistle to the Hebrews 
the name of "first-begotten" is absolute, being 
mentioned by itself: for he speaks thus, " When 
again He bringeth the first-begotten into the 
woild, He saith, 'Let all the angels worship 
Him 6 .' " As these passages are thus distinct, it 
may be well to interpret each of them separately 
by itself, how He is the " first-born of creation," 
how "among many brethren," how "from the 
dead," and how, spoken of by Himself apart 
from each of these, when He is again brought 
into the world, He is worshipped by all His 
angels. Let us begin then, if you will, our 
survey of the passages before us with the last- 
mentioned. 

"When again He bringeth in," he says, "the 
first-begotten into the world." The addition of 
"again" shows, by the force of this word, that 
this event happens not for the first time : for we 
use this word of the repetition of things which 
have once happened. He signifies, therefore, 
by the phrase, the dread appearing of the Judge 
at the end of the ages, when He is seen no 
more in the form of a servant, but seated in 
glory upon the throne of His kingdom, and 
worshipped by all the ange's that are around 
Him. Therefore He Who once entered into the 
world, becoming the first-born " from the dead," 
and "of His brethren," and "of all creation," 
does not, when He comes again into the world 
as He that judges the world in righteousness ?, 
as the prophecy saith, cast off the name of the 
first-begotten, which He once received for our 
sakes ; but as at the name of Jesus, which is 
above every name, every knee bows 8 , so also 
the company of all the angels worships Him 
Who comes in the name of the First-begotten, 
in their rejoicing over the restoration of men, 
wherewith, by becoming the first born among 
us, He restored us again to the grace which we 
had at the beginning 9. For since there is joy 
among the angels over those who are rescued 

3 Cf. Col. i. 15. * Rom. viii. 29. 

5 Col. i. 18. 6 Cf. Heb. i. 6. 

7 Ps xcviii. 10. 8 Cf. Phil. ii. 10. 

9 Oehler's punctuation, which is probably due to a printer's error, 
is here a good deal altered. 



1 5 8 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



from sin, (because until now that creation 
groaneth and travaileth in pain at the vanity 
that affects us *, judging our perdition to be their 
own loss,) when that manifestation of the sons 
of God takes place which they look for and 
expect, and when the sheep is brought safe to 
the hundred above, (and we surely — humanity, 
that is to say — are that sheep which the Good 
Shepherd saved by becoming the first-be- 
gotten 2 ,) then especially will they offer, in their 
intense thanksgiving on our behalf, their worship 
to God, Who by being first-begotten restored 
him that had wandered from his Father's home. 
Now that we have arrived at the understand- 
ing of these words, no one could any longer 
hesitate as to the other passages, for what reason 
He is the first-born, either " of the dead," or " of 
the creation," or "among many brethren." For 
all these passages refer to the same point, al- 
though each of them sets forth some special 
conception. He is the first-born from the dead, 
Who first by Himself loosed the pains of death 3, 
that He might also make that birth of the resur- 
rection a way for all men +. Again, He becomes 
"the first-born among many brethren," Who is 
born before us by the new birth of regeneration 
in water, for the travail whereof the hovering of 
the Dove was the midwife, whereby He makes 
those who share with Him in the like birth to be 
His own brethren, and becomes the first-born 
of those who after Him are born of water and 
of the Spirit s : and to speak briefly, as there are 
in us three births, whereby human nature is 
quickened, one of the body, another in the 
sacrament of regeneration, another by that 
resurrection of the dead for which we look, He 
is first-born in all three : — of the twofold re- 
generation which is wrought by two (by baptism 
and by the resurrection), by being Himself the 
leader in each of them ; while in the flesh He 
is first-born, as having first and alone devised in 
His own case that birth unknown to nature, 
which no one in the many generations of men 
had originated. If these passages, then, have 
been rightly understood, neither will the signifi- 
cation of the " creation," of which He is first- 
born, be unknown to us. For we recognize a 
twofold creation of our nature, the first that 
whereby we were made, the second that where- 
by we were made anew. But there would have 

1 Cf. Rom. viii. 10 — 23. 

2 This interpretation is of course common to many of the Fathers, 
though S. Augustine, for instance, explains the "ninety and nine" 
otherwise, and his explanation has been often followed by modern 
writers and preachers. The present intcri relation is assumed in a 
prayer, no doubt of great antiquity, which is found in the Liturgy of 
S. James, both in the Greek and the Syriac version, and also in the 

I. form of the Coptic Liturgy of S. Basil, where it is said to be 
" from the Liturgy of S. James.' 

3 Acts ii. 24. 

* >icc Book II. §§4 and 8, and note on the former passage. 

5 With this passage may be compared the parallel passage in 
Bk. II $ 8. The interpretation of the "many brethren" of those 
baptized suggests that Gregory understood the " predestination " 
spoken of in Kom. viii. 29 to be predestination to baptism. 



been no need of the second creation had we not 
made the first unavailing by our disobedience. 
Accordingly, when the first creation had waxed 
old and vanished away, it was needful that there 
should be a new creation in Christ, (as the 
Apostle says, who asserts that we should no 
longer see in the second creation any trace of 
that which has waxed old, saying, " Having put 
off the old man with his deeds and his lusts, put 
on the new man which is created according to 
God 6 ," and "If any man be in Christ," he 
says, "he is a new creature : the old things are 
passed away, behold all things are become 
new?:") — for the maker of human nature at 
the first and afterwards is one and the same. 
Then He took dust from the earth and formed 
man : again, He took dust from the Virgin, and 
did not merely form man, but formed man about 
Himself: then, He created ; afterwards, He was 
created : then, the Word made fhsh ; afterwards, 
the Word became flesh, that He might change 
our flesh to spirit, by being made partaker with 
us in flesh and blood. Of this new creation 
therefore in Christ, which He Himself began, 
He was called the first-born, being the first- 
fruits of all, both of those begotten into life, and 
of those quickened by resurrection of the dead, 
" that He might be Lord both of the dead and 
of the living 8 ," and might sanctify the whole 
lump 9 by means of its first-fruits in Himself. 
Now that the character of " first-born " does not 
apply to the Son in respect of His pre-temporal 
existence the appellation of " Only-begotten " 
testifies. For he who is truly only-begotten has 
no brethren, for how could any one be only- 
begotten if numbered among brethren ? but as 
He is called God and man, Son of God and 
Son of man, — for He has the form of God and 
the form of a servant J , being some things ac- 
cording to His supreme nature, becoming other 
things in His dispensation of love to man, — so 
too, being the Only-begotten God, He becomes 
the first-born of all creation, — the Only-begotten, 
He that is in the bosom of the Father, yet, 
among those who are saved by the new creation, 
both becoming and being called th< first-born of 
the creation. But if, as heresy will have it, He 
is called first-born because He was made before 
the rest of the creation, the name does not agree 
with what they maintain concerning the Only- 
begotten God. For they do not say this, — that 
the Son and the universe were from the Father 
in like manner, — but they say, that the Only- 
begotten God was made by the Father, and that 
all else was made by the Only-begotten. There- 
fore on the same ground on which, while they 
hold that the Son was created, they call God 
the Father of the created Being, on the same 

6 Cf. Col. iii. 9, and Eph. iv. 24. 7 Cf. 2 Cor. v. 17. 

8 Kom xiv. 9. 9 tf. Rom. xi. 16. • Cf. Phil. ii. 6. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK IV. 



159 



ground, while they say that all things were 
made by the Only-begotten God, they give 
Him the name not of the "first-born" of the 
things that were made by Him, but more pro- 
perly of their "Father," as the same relation 
existing in both cases towards the things created, 
logically gives rise to the same appellation. For 
if God, Who is over all, is not properly called 
the " First-born," but the Father of the Being 
He Himself created, the Only-begotten God 
will surely also be called, by the same reason- 
ing, the "father," and not properly the "first- 
born " of His own creatures, so that the appella- 
tion of " first-born " will be altogether improper 
and superfluous, having no place in the heretical 
conception. 

§ 4. He proceeds again to discuss the impassibility of 
the Lord's generation ; and the folly of Eunomius, 
who says that the generated essence involves the 
appellation of Son, and again, forgetting this, 
denies the relation of the Son to the Father: 
and herein he speaks of Circe and of the man- 
drake poison. 

We must, however, return to those who con- 
nect passion with the Divine generation, and on 
this account deny that the Lord is truly begotten, 
in order to avoid the conception of passion. To 
say that passion is absolutely linked with genera- 
tion, and that on this account, in order that the 
Divine nature may continue in purity beyond the 
reach of passion, we ought to consider that the 
Son is alien to the idea of generation, may per- 
haps appear reasonable in the eyes of those who 
are easily deceived, but those who are instructed 
in the Divine mysteries 2 have an answer ready 
to hand, based upon admitted facts. For who 
knows not that it is generation that leads us 
back to the true and blessed life, not being the 
same with that which takes place " of blood and 
of the will of the flesh V' in which are flux and 
change, and gradual growth to perfection, and 
all else that we observe in our earthly genera- 
tion : but the other kind is believed to be from 
God, and heavenly, and, as the Gospel says, 
''from above 4 ," which excludes the passions of 
flesh and blood? I presume that they both 
admit the existence of this generation, and find 
no passion in it. Therefore not all generation 
is naturally connected with passion, but the 
material generation is subject to passion, the 
immaterial pure from passion. What constrains 
him then to attribute to the incorruptible gener- 
ation of the Son what properly belongs to the 
flesh, and, by ridiculing the lower form of gener- 
ation with his unseemly physiology, to exclude 

2 That is, in the sacramental doctrine with regard to Holy 
Baptism. 3 S. John i. 13. 

4 S. John iii. 3, where ai/utQuv may be interpreted either " from 
above " or as in A.V. 



the Son from affinity with the Father? For if, 
even in our own case, it is generation that is the 
beginning of either life, — that generation which 
is through the flesh of a life of passion, that which 
is spiritual of a life of purity, (and no one who 
is in any sense numbered among Christians 
would contradict this statement,) — how is it 
allowable to entertain the idea of passion in 
thinking of generation as it concerns the incor- 
ruptible Nature? Let us moreover examine 
this point in addition to those we have men- 
tioned. If they disbelieve the passionless 
character of the Divine generation on the 
ground of the passion that affects the flesh, 
let them also, from the same tokens, (those, 
I mean, to be found in ourselves,) refuse 
to believe that God acts as a Maker without 
passion. For if they judge of the Godhead by 
comparison of our own conditions, they must 
not confess that God either begets or creates ; 
for neither of these operations is exercised by 
ourselves without passion. Let them t ! erefore 
either separate from the Divine nature both 
creation and generation, that they may guard 
the impassibility of God on either side, and let 
them, that the Father may be kept safely beyond 
the range of passion, neither growing weary by 
creation, nor being defiled by generation, entirely 
reject from their doctrine the belief in the Only- 
begotten, or, if they agree 5 that the one activity 
is exercised by the Divine power without passion, 
let them not quarrel about the other : for if He 
creates without labour or matter, He surely also 
begets without labour or flux. 

And here once more I have in this argument 
the support of Eunomius. I will state his 
nonsense concisely and briefly, epitomizing his 
whole meaning. That men do not make 
materials for us, but only by their art add form 
to matter, — this is the drift of what he says in 
the course of a great quantity of nonsensical 
language. If, then, understanding conception 
and formation to be included in the lower 
generation, he forbids on this ground the pure 
notion of generation, by consequence, on the 
same reasoning, since earthly creation is busied 
with the form, but cannot furnish matter 
together with the form, let him forbid us also, 
on this ground, to suppose that the Father is a 
Creator. If, on the other hand, he refuses to 
conceive creation in the case of God according 
to man's measure of power, let him also cease to 
slander Divine generation by human imperfec- 
tions. But, that his accuracy and circumspection 
in argument may be more clearly established, 
I will again return to a small point in his state- 
ments. He asserts that "tilings which are re- 
spectively active and passive share one another's 
nature," and n entions, after bodily generation, 



5 Keadni j ei lor eis, according to Oehlcr's suggestion. 



i6o 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



" the work of the craftsman as displayed in 
materials." Now let the acute hearer mark how 
he here fails in his proper aim, and wanders 
about among whatever statements he happens 
to invent. He sees in things that come into 
being by way of the flesh the " active and passive 
conceived, with the same essence, the one im- 
parting the essence, the other receiving it." 
Thus he knows how to discern the truth with 
accuracy as regards the nature of existing 
things, so as to separate the imparter and the 
receiver from the essence, and to say that each 
of these is distinct in himself apart from the 
essence. For he that receives or imparts is 
surely another besides that which is given or 
received, so that we must first conceive some 
one by himself, viewed in his own separate 
existence, and then speak of him as giving that 
which he has, or receiving that which he has 
not 6 . And when he has sputtered out this 
argument in such a ridiculous fashion, our sage 
friend does not perceive that by the next step 
he overthrows himself once more. For he who 
by his art forms at his will the material before 
him, surely in this operation acts ; and the 
material, in receiving its form at the hand of 
him who exercises the art, is passively affected : 
for it is not by remaining unaffected and un- 
impressionable that the material receives its 
form. If then, even in the case of things 
wrought by art, nothing can come into being 
without passivity and action concurring to pro- 
duce it, how cah our author think that he here 
abides by his own words ? seeing that, in declar- 
ing community of essence to be involved in the 
relation of action and passion, he seems not 
only to attest in some sense community of 
essence in Him that is begotten with Him that 
begat Him, but also to make the whole creation 
of one essence 7 with its Maker, if, as he says, 
the active and the passive are to be denned as 
mutually akin in respect of nature. Thus, by 
the very arguments by which he establishes 
what he wishes, he overthrows the main object 
of his effort, and makes the glory of the co- 
essential Son more secure by his own conten- 
tion. For if the fact of origination from anything 
shows the essence of the generator to be in the 
generated, and if artificial fabrication (being 
accomplished by means of action and passion) 
reduces both that which makes and that which 
is produced to community of essence, according 
to his account, our author in many places of 
his own writings maintains that the Lord has 
been begotten. Thus by the very arguments 

not quite clear whether any of this passage, or, if so, how 

ol .1 is a direct quotation from Eunomiu; Probably only the 

phrase about the imparling and receiving of the essence is taken 

him, the rest of the passage lieni^ Gregory's expansion <>! the 
i i e into a distini tion hetween th< nd the thing of which 

thi thin i viewed apart from its own 

ice. ? o/iuoi'<noi\ 



whereby he seeks to prove the Lord alien from 
the essence of the Father, he asserts for Him 
intimate connexion. For if, according to his 
account, separation in essence is not observed 
either in generation or in fabrication, ther< r 
whatever he allows the- Lord to be, whether 
"created" or a "product of generation," he 
asserts, by both names alike, the affinity of 
essence, seeing that he makes community of 
nature in active and passive, in generator and 
generated, a part of his system. 

Let us turn however to the next point of the 
argument. I beg my readers not to be im- 
patient at the minuteness of examination which 
extends our argument to a length beyond what 
we would desire. For it is not any ordinary 
matters on which we stand in danger, so that 
our loss would be slight if we should hurry past 
any point that required more careful attention,, 
but it is the very sum of our hope that we have 
at stake. For the alternative before us is, 
whether we should be Christians, not led astray 
by the destructive wiles of heresy, or whether 
we should be completely swept away into the 
conceptions of Jews or heathen. To the end, 
then, that we may not suffer either of these 
things forbidden, that we may neither agree 
with the doctrine of the Jews by a denial of the 
verily begotten Son, nor be involved in the 
downfall of the idolaters by the adoration of 
the creature, let us perforce spend some time 
in the discussion of these matters, and set forth 
the very words of Eunomius, which run thus : — 

"Now as these things are thus divided, one 
might reasonably say that the most proper and 
primary essence, and that which alone exists 
by the operation of the Father, admits for itself 
the appellations of 'product of generation,' 
' product of making,' and ' product of creation ' :" 
and a little further on he says, " But the Son 
alone, existing by the operation of the Father, 
possesses His nature and His relation to Him 
that begat Him, without community 8 ." Such 
are his words. But let us, like men who look on 
at their enemies engaged in a factious struggle 
among themselves, consider first our adversaries' 
contention against themselves, and so proceed 
to set forth on the other side the true doctrine 
of godliness. " The Son alone," he says, 
"existing by the operation of the Father, pos- 
sesses His nature and His relation to Him that 
begat Him, without community." But in his 
previous statements, he says that he "does not 
refuse to call Him, that is begotten a 'product 
of generation,' as the generated essence itself, 
and the appellation of Son, make such a relation 
of words appropriate." 

8 This seems to be the force of aKoiruirr/Toi' : it is clear from what 
ili.it it is to be understood as denying community of essence 
between the father and tin Son, nut as asserting only the unique 
chaiHCter alike ol the Sun and ol His relation to the Father. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK IV. 



161 



The contradiction existing in these passages 
being thus evident, I am inclined to admire for 
their acuteness those who praise this doctrine. 
For it would be hard to say to which of his 
statements they could turn without finding 
themselves at variance with the remainder. 
His earlier statement represented that the 
generated essence, and the appellation of 
" Son," made such a relation of words appro- 
priate. His present system says the contrary : — 
that " the Son possesses His relation to Him 
that begat Him without community." If they 
believe the first statement, they will surely not 
accept the second : if they incline to the latter, 
they will find themselves opposed to the earlier 
conception. Who will stay the combat? Who 
will mediate in this civil war? Who will bring 
this discord into agreement, when the very soul 
is divided against itself by the opposing state- 
ments, and drawn in different ways to contrary 
doctrines? Perhaps we may see here that dark 
saying of prophecy which David speaks of the 
Jews — "They were divided but were not 
pricked at heart 9." For lo, not even when they 
are divided among contrariety of doctrines have 
they a sense of their discordancy, but they are 
carried about by their ears like wine-jars, borne 
around at the will of him who shifts them. It 
pleased him to say that the generated essence 
was closely connected with the appellation of 
"Son": straightway, like men asleep, they 
nodded assent to his remarks. He changed 
his statement again to the contrary one, and 
denies the relation of the Son to Him that 
begat Him : again his well-beloved friends join 
in assent to this also, shifting in whatever 
direction he chooses, as the shadows of bodies 
change their form by spontaneous mimicry with 
the motion of the advancing figure, and even if 
he contradicts himself, accepting that also. 
This is another form of the draught that Homer 
tells us of, not changing the bodies of those 
who drink its poison into the forms of brutes, 
but acting on their souls to produce in them 
a change to a state void of reason. For of 
those men, the tale tells that their mind was 
sound, while their form was changed to that of 
beasts, but here, while their bodies remain in 
their natural state, their souls are transformed to 
the condition of brutes. And as there the 
poet's tale of wonder says that those who drank 
the drug were changed into the forms of various 
beasts, at the pleasure of her who beguiled their 
nature, the same thing happens now also from 
this Circe's cup. For they who drink the 
deceit of sorcery from the same writing are 
changed to different forms of doctrine, trans- 
formed now to one, now to another. And 

9 This is the LXX. version of the last part of Ps. xxxv. 15, a 
rendering with which the Vulgate version practically agrees. 

VOL. V. M 



meanwhile these very ridiculous people, accord- 
ing to the revised edition of the fable, are still 
well pleased with him who leads them to such 
absurdity, and stoop to gather the words he 
scatters about, as if they were cornel fruit or 
acorns, running greedily like swine to the 
doctrines that are shed on the ground, not 
being naturally capable of fixing their gaze on 
those which are lofty and heavenly. For this 
reason it is that they do not see the tendency 
of his argument to contrary positions, but snatch 
without examination what comes in their way : 
and as they say that the bodies of men stupefied 
with mandrake are held in a sort of slumber 
and inability to move, so are the senses of these 
men's souls affected, being made torpid as 
regards the apprehension of deceit. It is 
certainly a terrible thing to be held in uncon- 
sciousness by hidden guile, as the result of some 
fallacious argument : yet where it is involuntary 
the misfortune is excusable : but to be brought 
to make trial of evil as the result of a kind of 
forethought and zealous desire, not in ignorance 
of what will befall, surpasses every extreme of 
misery. Surely we may well complain, when 
we hear that even greedy fish avoid the steel 
when it comes near them unbaited, and take 
down the hook only when hope of food decoys 
them to a bait : but where the evil is apparent, 
to go over of their own accord to this destruc- 
tion is a more wretched thing than the folly oi 
the fish : for these are led by their greediness 
to a destruction that is concealed from them, 
but the others swallow with open mouth the 
hook of impiety in its bareness, satisfied with 
destruction under the influence of some un- 
reasoning passion. For what could be clearei 
than this contradiction — than to say that the 
same Person was begotten and is a thing 
created, and that something is closely con- 
nected with the name of " Son," and, again, is 
alien from the sense of " Son " ? But enough, 
of these matters. 

§ 5. He again shows Eunomius, constrained by 
truth, in the character of an advocate of the 
orthodox doctrine, confessing as ?nost proper 
and primary, not on/y the essence of the Fat her r 
but the essence also of the Only-begotten. 

It might, however, be useful to look at the 
sense of the utterance of Eunomius that is set 
before us in orderly sequence, recurring to the 
beginning of his statement. For the points we 
have now examined were an obvious incitement 
to us to begin our reply with the last passage, 
on account of the evident character of the 
contradiction involved in his words. 

This, then, is what Eunomius says at the 
beginning : — 



1 62 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



"Now, as these things are thus divided, one 
might reasonably say that the most proper and 
primary essence, and that which alone exists by 
the operation of the Father, admits for itself 
the appellations of 'product of generation,' 
'product of making,' and 'product of creation.' " 
First, then, I would ask those who are attending 
to this discourse to bear in mind, that in his 
first composition he says that the essence of the 
Father also is " most proper," introducing his 
statement with these words, " The whole account 
of our teaching is completed with the supreme 
and most proper essence." And here he calls 
the essence of the Only-begotten "most proper 
and primary." Thus putting together Eunomius' 
phrases from each of his books, we shall call 
him himself as a witness of the community of 
essence, who in another place makes a declara- 
tion to this effect, that " of things which have 
the same appellations, the nature also is not 
different " in any way. For our self-contradic- 
tory friend would not indicate things differing 
in nature by identity of appellation, but it is 
surely for this reason, that the definition of 
essence in Father and Son is one, that he says 
that the one is " most proper," and that the other 
also is " most proper." And the general usage 
of men bears witness to our argument, which 
does not apply the term " most proper" where 
the name does not truly agree with the nature. 
For instance, we call a likeness, inexactly, "a 
man," but what we properly designate by this 
name is the animal presented to us in nature. 
And similarly, the language of Scripture recog- 
nizes the appellation of " god " for an idol, 
and for a demon, and for the belly : but here 
too the name has not its proper sense ; and in 
the same way with all other cases. A man is 
said to have eaten food in the fancy of a dream, 
but we cannot call this fancy food, in the proper 
sense of the term. As, then, in the case of 
two men existing naturally, we properly call 
both equally by the name of man, while if 
any one should join an inanimate portrait in 
his enumeration with a real man, one might 
perhaps speak of him who really exists and 
of the likeness, as "two men," but would 
no longer attribute to both the proper mean- 
ing of the word, so, on the supposition that 
the nature of the Only-begotten was con- 
ceived as something else than the essence of 
the Father, our author would not have called 
each of the essences " most proper." For how 
could any one signify things differing in nature 
by identity of names ? Surely the truth seems 
to be made plain even by those who fight 
against it, as falsehood is unable, even when 
expressed in the words of the enemy, utterly to 
prevail over truth. Hence the doctrine of 
orthodoxy is proclaimed by the mouth of its 



opponents, without their knowing what they say, 
as the saving Passion of the Lord for us had been 
foretold in the case of Caiaphas, not knowing 
what he said r . If, therefore, true propriety of 
essence is common to both (I mean to the 
Father and the Son), what room is there for 
saying that their essences are mutually diver- 
gent ? Or how is a difference by way of superior 
power, or greatness, or honour, contemplated 
in them, seeing that the " most proper " essence 
admits of no diminution ? For that which is 
whatever it is imperfectly, is not that thing 
" most properly," be it nature, or power, or rank, 
or any other individual object of contemplation, 
so that the superiority of the Father's essence, 
as heresy will have it, proves the imperfection 
of the essence of the Son. If then it is imperfect 
it is not proper ; but if it is " most proper " it 
is also surely perfect. For it is not possible 
to call that which is deficient perfect. But 
neither is it possible, when, in comparing them, 
that which is perfect is set beside that which is 
perfect, to perceive any difference by way of 
excess or defect : for perfection is one in both 
cases, as in a rule, not showing a hollow by 
defect, nor a projection by excess. Thus, from 
these passages Eunomius' advocacy in favour 
of our doctrine may be sufficiently seen — I 
should rather say, not his earnestness on our 
behalf, but his conflict with himself. For he 
turns against himself those devices whereby he 
establishes our doctrines by his own arguments. 
Let us, however, once more follow his writings 
word for word, that it may Le clear to all that 
their argument has no power for evil except the 
desire to do mischief. 

§ 6. He then exposes the argument about the 
" Generate," and the •' product of making" and 
"product of creation" and shows the impious 
nature of the language of Eunomius and 
Theognostus on the " immediate" and "un- 
divided" character of the essence, and its 
" relation to its creator and 7n alter." 

Let us listen, then, to what he says. " One 
might reasonably say that the most proper and 
primary essence, and that which alone exists by 
the operation of the Father, admits for itself 
the appellations of 'product of generation,' 
' product of making,' and ' product of creation.' " 
Who knows not that what separates the Chinch 
from heresy is this term, "product of creation," 
applied to the Son ? Accordingly, the doctrinal 
difference being universally acknowledged, what 
would be the reasonable course for a man to 
take who endeavours to show that his opinions 
are more true than ours? Clearly, to establish 
his own statement, by showing, by such proofs 
as he could, that we ought to consider that the 

1 S. John xi. 51. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK IV. 



163 



Lord is created. Or omitting this, should he 
rather lay down a law for his readers that 
they should speak of matters of controversy 
as if they were acknowledged facts ? For my 
own part, I think he should take the former 
course, and perhaps all who possess any 
share of intelligence demand this of their op- 
ponents, that they should, to begin with, estab- 
lish upon some incontrovertible basis the first 
principle of their argument, and so proceed to 
press their theory by inferences. Now our 
writer leaves alone the task of establishing the 
view that we should think He is created, and 
goes on to the next steps, fitting on the infer- 
ential process of his argument to this unproved 
assumption, being just in the condition of those 
men whose minds are deep in foolish desires, 
with their thoughts wandering upon a kingdom, 
or upon some other object of pursuit. They 
do not think how any of the things on which 
they set their hearts could possibly be, but they 
arrange and order their good fortune for them- 
selves at their pleasure, as if it were theirs 
already, straying with a kind of pleasure among 
non-existent things. So, too, our clever author 
somehow or other lulls his own renowned dia- 
lectic to sleep, and before giving a demonstra- 
tion of the point at issue, he tells, as if to 
children, the tale of this deceitful and inconse- 
quent folly of his own doctrine, setting it forth 
like a story told at a drinking-party. For he 
says that the essence which "exists by the 
operation of the Father " admits the appellation 
of " product of generation," and of " product of 
making," and of " product of creation." What 
reasoning showed us that the Son exists by any 
constructive operation, and that the nature of 
the Father remains inoperative with regard to 
the Personal existence 2 of the Son ? This was 
the very point at issue in the controversy, 
whether the essence of the Father begat the 
Son, or whether it made Him as one of the 
external things which accompany His nature 3. 
Now seeing that the Church, according to the 
Divine teaching, believes the Only-begotten to 
be verily God, and abhors the superstition of 
polytheism, and for this cause does not admit 
the difference of essences, in order that the 
Godheads may not, by divergence of essence, 
fall under the conception of number (for this is 
nothing else than to introduce polytheism into 
our life) — seeing, I say, that the Church teaches 
this in plain language, that the Only-begotten 
is essentially God, very God of the essence of the 
very God, how ought one who opposes her de- 
cisions to overthrow the preconceived opinion ? 
Should he not do so by establishing the oppos- 



vnoa-raJTiv. 



3 At a later stage Gregory points out that the idea of creation 
is involved, if the thing produced is external to the nature of the 
Maker. 



ing statement, demonstrating the disputed point 
from some acknowledged principle ? I think 
no sensible man would look for anything else 
than this. But our author starts from the dis- 
puted points, and takes, as though it were 
admitted, matter which is in controversy as a 
principle for the succeeding argument. If it 
had first been shown that the Son had His 
existence through some operation, what quarrel 
should we have with what follows, that he 
should say that the essence which exists through 
an operation admits for itself the name of 
"product of making"? But let the advocates 
of error tell us how the consequence has any 
force, so long as the antecedent remains un- 
established. For supposing one were to grant 
by way of hypothesis that man is winged, there 
will be no question of concession about what 
comes next : for he who becomes winged will fly 
in some way or other, and lift himself up on 
high above the earth, soaring through the air on 
his wings. But we have to see how he whose 
nature is not aerial could become winged, and 
if this condition does not exist, it is vain to 
discuss the next point. Let our author, then, 
show this to begin with, that it is in vain that 
the Church has believed that the Only-begotten 
Son truly exists, not adopted by a Father falsely 
so called, but existing according to nature, by 
generation from Him Who is, not alienated 
from the essence of Him that begat Him. But 
so long as his primary proposition remains 
unproved, it is idle to dwell on those which are 
secondary. And let no one interrupt me, by 
saying that what we confess should also be 
confirmed by constructive reasoning : for it is 
enough for proof of our statement, that the 
tradition has come down to us from our fathers, 
handed on, like some inheritance, by succession 
from the apostles and the saints who came after 
them. They, on the other hand, who change 
their doctrines to this novelty, would need the 
support of arguments in abundance, if they were 
about to bring over to their views, not men light 
as dust, and unstable, but men of weight and 
steadiness : but so long as their statement is 
advanced without being established, and without 
being proved, who is so foolish and so brutish 
as to account the teaching of the evangelists 
and apostles, and of those who have successively 
shone like lights in the churches, of less force 
than this undemonstrated nonsense? 

Let us further look at the most remarkable 
instance of our author's cleverness ; how, by the 
abundance of his dialectic skill, he ingeniously 
draws over to the contrary view the more simple 
sort. He throws in, as an addition to the title 
of " product of making," and that of " product 
of creation," the further phrase, "product of 
generation," saying that the essence of the Son 



s 



M I 



lOq. 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



"admits these names for itself"; and thinks 
that, so long as he harangues as if he were in 
some gathering of topers, his knavery in dealing 
with doctrine will not be detected by any one. 
For in joining " product of generation " with 
" P' oduct of making," and " product of crea- 
tion," he thinks that he stealthily makes away 
with the difference in significance between the 
names, by putting together what have nothing 
in common. These are his clever tricks of 
dialectic; but we mere laymen in argument 4 
do not deny that, so far as voice and tongue 
are concerned, we are what his speech sets forth 
about us, but we allow also that our ears, as the 
prophet says, are made ready for intelligent 
hearing. Accordingly, we are not moved, by 
the conjunction of names that have nothing in 
common, to make a confusion between the 
things they signify: but even if the great 
A [jostle names together wood, hay, stubble, 
gold, silver, and precious stones s, we reckon 
up summarily the number of things he mentions, 
:.nd yet do not fail to recognize separately the 
nature of each of the substances named. So 
here, too, when " product of generation " and 
" product of making " are named together, we 
pass from the sounds to the sense, and do not 
behold the same meaning in each of the names; 
for " product of creation " means one thing, 
and " product of generation " another : so that 
even if he tries to mingle what will not blend, 
the intelligent hearer will listen with discrimin- 
ation, and will point out that it is an impossi- 
bility for any one nature to "admit for itself" 
the appellation of " product of generation," and 
that of " product of creation." For, if one of 
these were true, the other would necessarily be 
false, so that, if the thing were a product of 
creation, it would not be a product of genera- 
tion, and conversely, if it were called a product 
of generation, it would be alienated from the 
title of " product of creation." Yet Eunomius 
tells us that the essence of the Son "admits for 
itself the appellations of ' product of generation,' 
' product of making,' and ' product of creation ' " ! 
Does he, by what still remains, make at all 
more secure this headless and rootless state- 
ment of his, in which, in its earliest stage, nothing 
was laid down that had any force with regard 
to the point he is trying to establish ? or 
does the rest also cling to the same folly, not 
deriving its strength from any support it gets 
from argument, but setting out its exposition of 
blasphemy with vague details like the recital of 
dreams? He says (and this he subjoins to what 
I have already quoted) — " Having its generation 



4 This phrase seems to be quoted from Eunomius. The refer- 
ence to the "prophet" may possibly be suggested by Is. vi. 9-10: 
but it is more probably only concerned with the words wti'o and 
aKOJiv, as applied to convey the idea of mental alertness. 

5 Cf. 1 Cor. iii. 12 



without intervention, and preserving indivisible 
its relation to its Generator, Maker, and Creator." 
Well, if we were to leave alone the absence of 
intervention and of division, and look at the 
meaning of the words as it stands by itself, we 
shall find that everywhere his absurd teaching 
is cast upon the ears of those whom he deceives, 
without corroboration from a single argument. 
" Its Generator, and Maker, and Creator," he 
says. These names, though they seem to be 
three, include the sense of but two concepts, 
since two of the words are equivalent in meaning. 
For to make is the same as to create, but gener- 
ation is another thing distinct from those spoken 
of. Now, seeing that the result of the significa- 
tion of the words is to divide the ordinary 
apprehension of men into different ideas, what 
argument demonstrates to us that making is the 
same thing with generation, to the end that we 
may accommodate the one essence to this differ- 
ence of terms ? For so long as the ordinary 
significance of the words holds, and no argument 
is found to transfer the sense of the terms to an 
opposite meaning, it is not possible that any 
one nature should be divided between the con- 
ception of " product of making," and that of 
" product of generation." Since each of these 
terms, used by itself, has a meaning of its own, 
we must also suppose the relative conjunction 
in which they stand to be appropriate and ger- 
mane to the terms. For all other relative terms 
have their connection, not with what is foreign 
and heterogeneous, but, even if the correlative 
term be suppressed, we hear spontaneously, to- 
gether with the primary word, that which is 
linked with it, as in the case of " maker," " slave," 
" friend," " son," and so forth. For all names 
that are considered as relative to another, pre- 
sent to us, by the mention of them, each its 
proper and closely connected relationship with 
that which it declares, while they avoid all mix- 
ture of that which is heterogeneous 6 . For 
neither is the name of " maker " linked with the 
word " son," nor the term " slave " referred to 
the term " maker," nor does " friend " present 
to us a " slave," nor " son " a " master," but we 
recognize clearly and distinctly the connection 
of each of these with its correlative, conceiving 
by the word " friend " another friend; by " slave," 
a master ; by " maker," work ; by " son," a 
father. In the same way, then, " product of 
generation " has its proper relative sense ; with 
the " product of generation," surely, is linked 
the generator, and with the " product of crea- 
tion " the creator ; and we must certainly, if we 
are not prepared by a substitution of names to 

6 E.g. "A thing made " suggests to us the thought of a " maker, " 
" a maker" the thought of the thing made ; and they suggest also a 
close connection as existing between the two correlative terms of one 
of which the name is uttered ; but neither suggests in the same way 
any term which is not correlative, or with which it is not, in some 
manner, in pari materia. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK IV. 



165 



introduce a confusion of things, preserve for 
each of the relative terms that which it properly 
connotes. 

Now, seeing that the tendency of the meaning 
of these words is manifest, how comes it that 
one who advances his doctrine by the aid of 
logical system failed to perceive in these names 
their proper relative sense ? But he thinks that 
he is linking on the " product of generation " to 
" maker," and the " product of making " to 
"generator," by saying that the essence of the 
Son " admits for itself the appellations of ' pro- 
duct of generation,' ' product of making,' and 
'product of creation,'" and "preserves indi- 
visible its relation to its Generator, Maker, and 
Creator." For it is contrary to nature, that a 
single thing should be split up into different 
relations. But the Son is properly related to the 
Father, and that which is begotten to him that 
begat it, while the " product of making" has its 
relation to its " maker " ; save if one might con- 
sider some inexact use, in some undistinguishing 
way of common parlance, to overrule the strict 
signification. 

By what reasoning then is it, and by what 
arguments, according to that invincible logic of 
his, that he wins back the opinion of the mass 
of men, and follows out at his pleasure this line 
of thought, that as the God Who is over all is 
conceived and spoken of both as " Creator " 
and as " Father," the Son has a close con- 
nection with both titles, being equally called 
both " product of creation " and " product of 
generation " ? For as customary accuracy of 
speech distinguishes between names of this 
kind, and applies the name of " generation " in 
the case of things generated from the essence 
itself, and understands that of " creation " of 
those things which are external to the nature of 
their maker, and as on this account the Divine 
doctrines, in handing down the knowledge of 
God, have delivered to us the names of" Father" 
and " Son," not those of " Creator " and " work," 
that there might arise no error tending to blas- 
phemy (as might happen if an appellation of the 
latter kind repelled the Son to the position of 
an alien and a stranger), and that the impious 
doctrines which sever the Only-begotten from 
essential affinity with the Father might find no 
entrance — seeing all this, I say, he who declares 
that the appellation of " product of making " is 
one befitting the Son, will surely say by con- 
sequence that the name of " Son " is properly 
applicable to that which is the product of 
making ; so that, if the Son is a " product of 
making," the heaven is called "Son," and the 
individual things that have been made are, 
according to our author, properly named by the 
appellation of " Son." For if He has this 
name, not because He shares in nature with 



Him that begat Him, but is called Son for this 
reason, that He is created, the same argumei t 
will permit that a lamb, a dog, a frog, and all 
things that exist by the will of their maker, 
should be named by the title of " Son." If, on 
the other hand, each of these is not a Son and 
is not called God, by reason of its being external 
to the nature of the Son, it follows, surely, that 
He Who is truly Son is Son, and is confessed 
to be God by reason of His being of the very 
nature of Him that begat Him. But Eunomius 
abhors the idea of generation, and excludes it 
from the Divine doctrine, slandering the term 
by his fleshly speculations. Well, our discourse, 
in what precedes, showed sufficiently on this 
point that, as the Psalmist says, "they are 
afraid where no fear is ?." For if it was shown 
in the case of men that not all generation exists 
by way of passion, but that that which is ma- 
terial is by passion, while that which is spiritual 
is pure and incorruptible, (for that which is 
begotten of the Spirit is spirit and not flesh, 
and in spirit we see no condition that is subject 
to passion,) since our author thought it neces- 
sary to estimate the Divine power by means of 
examples among ourselves, let him persuade 
himself to conceive from the other mode of 
generation the passionless character of the 
Divine generation. Moreover, by mixing up 
together these three names, of which two are 
equivalent, he thinks that his readers, by reason 
of the community of sense in the two phrases, 
will jump to the conclusion that the third is 
equivalent also. For since the appellation of 
" product of making," and " product of creation," 
indicate that the thing made is external to the 
nature of the maker, he couples with these the 
phrase, "product of generation," that this too may 
be interpreted along with those above mentioned. 
But argument of this sort is termed fraud and 
falsehood and imposition, not a thoughtful and 
skilful demonstration. For that only is called 
demonstration which shows what is unknown 
from what is acknowledged ; but to reason 
fraudulently and fallaciously, to conceal your 
own reproach, and to confound by superficial 
deceits the understanding of men, as the Apostle 
says, "of corrupt minds 8 ," this no sane man 
would call a skilful demonstration. 

Let us proceed, however, to what follows in 
order. He says that the generation of the es- 
sence is "without intervention," and that it 
" preserves indivisible its relation to its Gener- 
ator, Maker, and Creator." Well, if he had 
spoken of the immediate and indivisible cha- 
racter of the essence, and stopped his discourse 
there, it would not have swerved from the 
orthodox view, since we too confess the close 



7 Cf. Ps. liii. 6. 



8 3 Tim. iii. 8. 



1 66 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



connection and relation of the Son with the 
Father, so that there is nothing inserted between 
them which is found to intervene in the con- 
nection of the Son with the Father, no concep- 
tion of interval, not even that minute and 
indivisible one, which, when time is divided 
into past, present, and future, is conceived in- 
divisibly by itself as the present, as it cannot be 
considered as a part either of the past or of the 
future, by reason of its being quite without 
dimensions and incapable of division, and un- 
observable, to whichever side it might be added. 
That, then, which is perfectly immediate, admits, 
we say, of no such intervention ; for that which 
is separated by any interval would cease to be 
immediate. If, therefore, our author, likewise, 
in saying that the generation of the Son is 
" without intervention," excluded all these ideas, 
then he laid down the orthodox doctrine of the 
conjunction of Him Who is with the Father. 
When, however, as though in a fit of repent- 
ance, he straightway proceeded to add to what 
he had said that the essence " preserves its 
relation to its Generator, Maker, and Creator," 
he polluted his first statement by his second, 
vomiting forth his blasphemous utterance upon 
the pure doctrine. For it is clear that there 
too his " without intervention " has no orthodox 
intention, but, as one might say that the 
hammer is mediate between the smith and the 
nail, but its own making is " without inter- 
vention," because, when tools had not yet been 
found out by the craft, the hammer came first 
from the craftsman's hands by some inventive 
process, not 9 by means of any other tool, and so 
by it the others were made ; so the phrase, 
" without intervention," indicates that this is 
also our author's conception touching the Only- 
begotten. And here Eunomius is not alone in 
his error as regards the enormity of his doctrine, 
but you may find a parallel also in the works of 
Theognostus *, who says that God, wishing to 
make this universe, first brought the Son into 
existence as a sort of standard of the creation ; 
not perceiving that in his statement there is 
involved this absurdity, that what exists, not for 
its own sake, but for the sake of something else, 
is surely of less value than that for the sake of 
wh^h it exists: as we provide an implement 
of husbandry for the sake of life, yet the plough 
is surely not reckoned as equally valuable with 
life. So, if the Lord also exists on account of 



' It seems necessary for the sense to read ow St' ere'pou tivos 
bpydvov, since the force of the comparison consists in the hammer 
being produced immediately by the smith : otherwise we must 
understand &i irepov Tifb? bpydvov to refer to the employment of 
some tool not properly belonging to the Tex 1 ") °f tne smith : but even 
so the parallel would be destroyed. 

1 Theognostus, a writer of the third century, is said to have been 
the he. id of the Catechetical School at Alexandria, and is quoted by 
S. Alhanasius as an authority against the Arians. An account of 
his work is to lie found in Fhotius, and this is extracted and printed 
with the few remaining fragments if his actual writings in the 3rd 
volume of Koulli's hctiquia Sacrac. 



the world, and not all things on account of Him, 
the whole of the things for the sake of which 
they say He exists, would be more valuable 
than the Lord. And this is what they are here 
establishing by their argument, where they insist 
that the Son has His relation to His Creator 
and Maker " without intervention." 

§ 7. He then dearly and skilfully criticises the 
doctrine of the impossibility of comparison with 
the things made after the Son, and exposes the 
idolatry contrived by Eunomius, and concealed 
by the terminology of " Son " and " Only- 
begotten" to deceive his readers. 

In the remainder of the passage, however, he 
becomes conciliatory, and says that the essence 
"is not compared with any of the things that 
were made by it and after it 2 ." Such are the 
gifts which the enemies of the truth offer to the 
Lord 3, by which their blasphemy is made more 
manifest. Tell me what else is there of all 
things in creation that admits of comparison 
with a different thing, seeing that the character- 
istic nature that appears in each absolutely 
rejects community with things of a different 
kind ♦? The heaven admits no comparison with 
the earth, nor this with the stars, nor the stars 
with the seas, nor water with stone, nor animals 
with trees, nor land animals with winged crea- 
tures, nor four-footed beasts with those that 
swim, nor irrational with rational creatures. 
Indeed, why should one take up time with 
individual instances, in showing that we may 
say of every single thing that we behold in the 
creation, precisely what was thrown to the Only- 
begotten, as if it were something special — that 
He admits of comparison with none of the 
things that have been produced after Him and 
by Him ? For it is clear that everything which 
you conceive by itself is incapable of comparison 
with the universe, and with the individual things 
which compose it ; and it is this, which may be 
truly said of any creature you please, which is 
allotted by the enemies of the truth, as adequate 
and sufficient for His honour and glory, to the 
Only-begotten God ! And once more, putting 
together phrases of the same sort in the remain- 
der of the passage, he dignifies Him with his 
empty honours, calling Him " Lord " and " Only- 
begotten " : but that no orthodox meaning may 
be conveyed to his readers by these names, he 

* Oehler's proposal to read " vel invitis libris quod scntenfiu 
Jlagitat rmv hi avrov kox /act' avrbi* " does not seem necessary, 
aurrj? and avrqv refer to oiioia, the quotation being made (not verb- 
ally) from Eunomius, not from Theognostus, and following appar- 
ently the phrase ahout " preserving the relation," etc. If the clause 
were a continuation of the quotation from Theognostus, we should 
have to follow Oehler's proposal. 

I Reading, according to Cotelerius' suggestion, (mentioned with 
approval by Oehler, though not followed by him,) Suipo<popo\f<Tii for 
&opv<popov<riv. 

4 That is to say, because there is no " common measnre " ol the 
distinct natures. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK IV. 



167 



promptly mixes up blasphemy with the more 
notable of them. His phrase runs thus : — " In- 
asmuch," he says, " as the generated essence 
leaves no room for community to anything else 
(for it is only-begotten s), nor is the operation 
of the Maker contemplated as common." O 
marvellous insolence ! as though he were ad- 
dressing his harangue to brutes, or senseless 
beings "which have no understanding 6 ," he 
twists his argument about in contrary ways, as 
he pleases ; or rather he suffers as men do who 
are deprived of sight ; for they too behave often 
in unseemly ways before the eyes of those who 
see, supposing, because they themselves cannot 
see, that they are also unseen. For what sort 
of man is it who does not see the contradiction 
in his words? Because it is " generated," he says, 
the essence leaves other things no room for 
community, for it is only-begotten ; and then 
when he has uttered these words, really as though 
he did not see or did not suppose himself to be 
seen, he tacks on, as if corresponding to what 
he has said, things that have nothing in common 
with them, coupling " the operation of the 
maker" with the essence of the Only-begotten. 
That which is generated is correlative to the 
generator, and the Only-begotten, surely, by 
consequence, to the Father; and he who looks 
to the truth beholds, in co-ordination with the 
Son, not " the operation of the maker," but the 
nature of Him that begat Him. But he, as if 
he were talking about plants or seeds, or some 
other thing in the order of creation, sets "the 
operation of the maker" by the side of the ex- 
istence 7 of the Only-begotten. Why, if a stone 
or a stick, or something of that sort, were the 
subject of consideration, it would be logical to 
pre-suppose " the operation of the maker " ; 
but if the Only-begotten God is confessed, even 
by His adversaries, to be a Son, and to exist by 
way of generation, how do the same words befit 
Him that befit the lowest portions of the creation? 
how do they think it pious to say concerning 
the Lord the very thing which may be truly 
said of an ant or a gnat ? For if any one un- 
derstood the nature of an ant, and its peculiarities 
in reference to other living things, he would not 
be beyond the truth in saying that " the oper- 
ation of its maker is not contemplated as com- 
mon" with reference to the other things. What, 
therefore, is affirmed of such things as these, 
this they predicate also of the Only-begotten, 
and as hunters are said to intercept the passage 
of their game with holes, and to conceal their 
design by covering over the mouths of the holes 
with some unsound and unsubstantial material, 
in order that the pit may seem level with the 
ground about it, so heresy contrives against men 

5 Altering Oehler's punctuation ; it is the fact that the essence is 
fMfvayfvTis which excludes all other things from community with it. 

6 Ps. xxxii. 9. 7 i/frooTdcrev. 



something of the same sort, covering over the 
hole of their impiety with these fine-sounding 
and pious names, as it were with a level thatch, 
so that those who are rather unintelligent, think- 
ing that these men's preaching is the same with 
the true faith, because of the agreement of their 
words, hasten towards the mere name of the Son 
and the Only-begotten, and step into emptiness 
in the hole, since the significance of these titles 
will not sustain the weight of their tread, but 
lets them down into the pitfall of the denial of 
Christ. This is why he speaks of the generated 
essence that leaves nothing room for community, 
and calls it " Only-begotten." These are the 
coverings of the hole. But when any one stops 
before he is caught in the gulf, and puts forth 
the test of argument, like a hand, upon his 
discourse, he sees the dangerous downfall of 
idolatry lying beneath the doctrine. For when 
he draws near, as though to God and the Son 
of God, he finds a creature of God set forth for 
his worship. This is why they proclaim high 
and low the name of the Only-begotten, that 
the destruction may be readily accepted by the 
victims of their deceit, as though one were to 
mix up poison in bread, and give a deadly greet- 
ing to those who asked for food, who would not 
have been willing to take the poison by itself, 
had they not been enticed to what they saw. 
Thus he has a sharp eye to the object of his 
efforts, at least so far as his own opinion goes. 
For if he had entirely rejected from his teaching 
the name of the Son, his falsehood would not 
have been acceptable to men, when his denial 
was openly stated in a definite proclamation ; 
but now leaving only the name, and changing 
the signification of it to express creation, he at 
once sets up his idolatry, and fraudulently hides 
its reproach. But since we are bidden not to 
honour God with our lips 8 , and piety is not 
tested by the sound of a word, but the Son 
must first be the object of belief in the heart 
unto righteousness, and then be confessed with 
the mouth unto salvation 9, and those who say 
in their hearts that He is not God, even though 
with their mouths they confess Him as Lord, 
are corrupt and become abominable x , as the 
prophet says, — for this cause, I say, we must 
look to the mind of those who put forward, 
forsooth, the words of the faith, and not be 
enticed to follow their sound. If, then, one 
who speaks of the Son does not by that word 
refer to a creature, he is on our side and not on 
the enemy's ; but if any one applies the name 
of Son to the creation, he is to be ranked among 
idolaters. For they too gave the name of God 
to Dagon and Bel and the Dragon, but they did 
not on that account worship God. For the wood 
and the brass and the monster were not God. 



8 Cf. Is. xx ix. 13. v Cf. Rom. x. 10. 



1 Cf. Ps. xiii. a. 



i68 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



§ 8. He proceeds to show that there is no " vari- 
ance " in the essence of t/ie Father and the Son : 
wherein he expounds many forms of variation 
and harmony, and .explains the "form," the 
" sea/," and the " express image." 

But what need is there in our discourse to 
reveal his hidden deceit by mere guesses at his 
intention, and possibly to give our hearers oc- 
casions for objection, on the ground that we 
make these charges against our enemies untruly ? 
For lo, he sets forth to us his blasphemy in its 
nakedness, not hiding his guile by any veil, 
but speaking boldly in his absurdities with 
unrestrained voice. What he has written runs 
thus: — "We, for our part," he says, "as we 
find nothing else besides the essence of the Son 
which admits of the generation, are of opinion 
that we must assign the appellations to the es- 
sence itself, or else we speak of ' Son ' and 
' begotten ' to no purpose, and as a mere verbal 
matter, if we are really to separate them from 
the essence ; starting from these names, we also 
confidently maintain that the essences are variant 
from each other 2 ." 

There is no need, I imagine, that the ab- 
surdity here laid down should be refuted by 
arguments from us. The mere reading of what 
he has written is enough to pillory his blasphemy. 
But let us thus examine it. He says that the 
essences of the Father and the Son are " variant." 
What is meant by " variant " ? Let us first of all 
examine the force of the term as it is applied 
by itself 3 , that by the interpretation of the word 
its blasphemous character may be more clearly 
revealed. The term " variance " is used, in the 
inexact sense sanctioned by custom, of bodies, 
when, by palsy or any other disease, any limb is 
perverted from its natural co-ordination. For 
we speak, comparing the state of suffering with 
that of health, of the condition of one who has 
been subjected to a change for the worse, as 
being a " variation " from his usual health ; and 
in the case of those who differ in respect of 
virtue and vice, comparing the licentious life 
vith that of purity and temperance, or the un- 
just life with that of justice, or the life which is 
passionate, warlike, and prodigal of anger, with 

2 The whole passage is rather obscure, and Oehler's punctuation 
renders it perhaps more obscure than that which is here adopted. 
The argument seems to be something like this: — "The generated 
essenc is nol i ompared with any of the things made by it, or alter it, 
because being only-begotten it leaves no room for a common basi^ <>f 
comparison with anything else, and the operation of its maker is also 
peculiar to itself (since it is immediate, the operation in the case "I 
Other things being mediate). The essence of the Son, then, being SO 
■ilated, it is to it that the appellations of yiwryxo., -rroirfiJ.il, and 
KTiV/ta are to be assigned ; otherwise the terms 'Son' and ' Only- 
Men' are meaningless. Therefore the Son, being in essence a 
ut or KTi<Tixa, is alien from the Father Who made or created 
Him." Tire word 7rap7)AAdx#cu, used to express the difference of 

nee, between thi lor which it i 1 

to find in equivalent which shall suit all the cases of the use of the 
instanced: the idea of " variation, 1 however, seems 
to attach to all these cases, and the verb has been trail 
accordingly. 

3 Following Oehler's suggestion and reading t'<// iaurrj?. 



that which is mild and peaceful — and generally 
all that is reproached with vice, as compared 
with what is more excellent, is said to exhibit 
"variance " from it, because the marks observed 
in both — in the good, I mean, and the inferior — 
do not mutually agree. Again, we say that 
those qualifies observed in the elements are " at 
variance " which are mutually opposed as con- 
traries, having a power reciprocally destructive, 
as heat and cold, or dryness and moisture, or, 
generally, anything that is opposed to another 
as a contrary; and the absence of union in 
these we express by the term " variation " ; and 
generally everything which is out of harmony 
with another in their observed characteristics, is 
said to be " at variance " with it, as health with 
disease, life with death, war with peace, virtue 
with vice, and all similar cases. 

Now that we have thus analyzed these 
expressions, let us also consider in regard to 
our author in what sense he says that the 
essences of the Father and the Son are " variant 
from each other." What does he mean by it ? 
Is it in the st-nse that the Father is according 
to nature, while the Son " varies " from that 
nature ? Or does he express by this word the 
perversion of virtue, separating the evil from the 
more excellent by the name of "variation," so 
as to regard the one essence in a good, the other 
in a contrary aspect? Or does he assert that 
one Divine essence also is variant from another, 
in the manner of the opposition of the elements? 
or as war stands to peace, and life to death, 
does he also perceive in the essences the con- 
flict which so exists among all such things, so 
that they cannot unite one with another, because 
the mixture of contraries exerts upon the things 
mingled a consuming force, as the wisdom of 
the Proverbs saith of such a doctrine, that water 
and fire never say "It is enough 4 ," expressing 
enigmatically the nature of contraries of equal 
force and equal balance, and their mutual 
destruction? Or is it in none of these ways that 
he sees " variance " in the essences ? Let him 
tell us, then, what he conceives besides these. 
He could not say, I take it, even if he were 
to repeat his wonted phrases, "The Son is 
variant from Him Who begat Him " ; for 
thereby the absurdity of his statements is yet 
more clearly shown. For what mutual relation 
is so closely and concordantly engrafted and 
fitted together as that meaning of relation to 

4 Cf. Prov. xxx. i 5 (LXX.). 

5 The sense given would perhaps be clearer if we were to read 
(as Gulonius seems to have done) ao-vvr)0r) for crvnjOij. This might 
be interpreted, " He could not say, I take it, even if he uses the 
words in an unwonted sense, that the Son is at variance with Hun 

Wh i it Him." The crw>jt9>) would thus he the senses already 

considered ind ^et aside : and the poinl would be that such a state- 
ment could not be made without manifest absurdity, even if some 
out of-the-way sense were attached to the words. As the passage 
stands, it must mean that even if Eunomius repeats his wonted 

thai in suggest no other sense of " variance " than those 
enumerated. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK IV. 



169 



the Father expressed by the word " Son " ? 
And a proof of this is that even if both of these 
names be not spoken, that which is omitted is 
connoted by the one that is uttered, so closely 
is the one implied in the other, and concordant 
with it : and both of them are so discerned in 
the one that one cannot be conceived without 
the other. Now that which is "at variance" is 
surely so conceived and so called, in opposition 
to that which is "in harmony," as the plumb- 
line is in harmony with the straight line, while 
that which is crooked, when set beside that 
which is straight, does not harmonize with it. 
Musicians also are wont to call the agreement 
of notes "harmony," and that which is out 
of tune and discordant " inharmonious." To 
speak of things as at "variance," then, is the 
same as to speak of them as " out of harmony." 
If, therefore, the nature of the Only-begotten 
God is at " variance," to use the heretical 
phrase, with the essence of the Father, it is 
surely not in harmony with it : and inharmoni- 
ousness cannot exist where there is no possibility 
of harmony 6 . For the case is as when, the 
figure in the wax and in the graving of the signet 
being one, the wax that has been stamped by the 
\ signet, when it is fitted again to the latter, makes 
jthe impression on itself accord with that which 
surrounds it, filling up the hollows and accom- 
modating the projections of the engraving with its 
own patterns : but if some strange and different 
pattern is fitted to the engraving of the signet, 
it makes its own form rough and confused, by 
' rubbing off its figure on an engraved surface 
ti at does not correspond with it. But He 
Who is " in the form of God 7 " has been formed 
iby no impression different from the Father, 
seeing that He is "the express image" of the 
Father's Person 8 , while the " form of God " is 
surely the same thing as His essence. For as, 
"being made in the form of a servant 9," He 
was formed in the essence of a servant, not 
taking upon Him the form merely, apart from 
the essence, but the essence is involved in the 
■sense of " form," so, surely, he who says that 
He is " in the form of God " signified essence 
I y "form." If, therefore, He is " in the form of 
God," and being in the Father is sealed with 
the Father's glory, (as the word of the Gospel 
declares, which saith, " Him hath God the 
Father sealed *" — whence also " He that hath 
seen Me hath seen the Father 3 ,") then "the 
image of goodness " and " the brightness of 
glory," and all other similar titles, testify that the 
essence of the Son is not out of harmony with 
the Father. Thus by the text cited is shown 
the insubstantial character of the adversaries' 

6 The reading of Oehler is here followed : hut the sense of the 
clause is not clear either in his text or in that of the Paris editions 

7 Phil. ii. 6. 8 Heb. i. 3. « Phil. ii. 7. 
' ;>■ John vi 3j. * S- John xiv. 9. 



blasphemy. For if things at " variance " are not 
in harmony, and He Who is sealed by the 
Father, and displays the Father in Himself, both 
being in the Father, and having the Father in 
Himself 3, shows in all points His close relation 
and harmony, then the absurdity of the oppos-j 
ing views is hereby overwhelmingly shown. 
For as that which is at " variance " was shown to 
be out of harmony, so conversely that which 
is harmonious is surely confessed beyond dis- 
pute not to be at " variance." For as that which 
is at " variance " is not harmonious, so the 
harmonious is not at "variance." Moreover, he 
who says that the nature of the Only-begotten 
is at "variance" with the good essence of the 
Father, clearly has in view variation in the good 
itself. But as for what that is which is at 
variance with the good — "O ye simple," as the 
Proverb saith, " understand his craftiness 4 ! " 

§ 9. Then, distinguishing between essence and 
generation, he declares the empty and frivolous 
language of Eunomius to be like a rattle. He 
proceeds to show that the language used by the 
great Basil on the subject of the generation of 
the Only-begotten has been grievously slandered 
by Eufiomius, and so ends the book. 

I will pass by these matters, however, as 
the absurdity involved is evident ; let us ex- 
amine what precedes. He says that nothing 
else is found, "besides the essence of the Son, 
which admits of the generation." What does he 
mean when he says this? He distinguishes 
two names from each other, and separating by 
his discourse the things signified by them, he 
sets each of them individually apart by itself. 
" The generation " is one name, and " the 
essence " is another. The essence, he tells us, 
"admits of the generation," being therefore of 
course something distinct from the generation. 
For if the generation were the essence (which 
is the very thing he is constantly declaring), 
so that the two appellations are equivalent 
in sense, he would not have said that the 
essence "admits of the generation": for that 
would amount to saying that the essence admits 
of the essence, or the generation the generation, 
— if, that is, the generation were the same thing 
as the essence. He understands, then, the 
generation to be one thing, and the essence to 
be another, which "admits of generation " : for 
that which is taken cannot be the same with 
that which admits it. Well, this is what the 
sage and systematic statement of our author 
says : but as to whether there is any sense in 
his words, let him consider who is expert in 
judging. I will resume his actual words. 

He says that he finds "nothing else besides 



3 Cf. S. John xiv. 10. 



* Prov.viii. 5 (lxx.; 



170 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



the essence of the Son which admits of the gener- 
ation " ; that there is no sense in his words, 
however, is clear to every one who hears his 
statement at all : the task which remains seems 
to be to bring to light the blasphemy which he 
is trying to construct by aid of these meaning- 
less words. For he desires, even if he cannot 
effect his purpose, to produce in his hearers by 
this slackness of expression, the notion that the 
essence of the Son is the result of construction : 
but he calls its construction "generation," 
decking out his horrible blasphemy with the 
fairest phrase, that if " construction " is the 
meaning conveyed by the word "generation," 
the idea of the creation of the Lord may receive 
a ready assent. He says, then, that the essence 
"admits of generation," so that every construc- 
tion may be viewed, as it were, in some subject 
matter. For no one would say that that is con- 
structed which has no existence, so extending 
 making " in his discourse, as if it were some 
constructed fabric, to the nature of the Only-be- 
gotten God s . " If, then," he says, " it admits of 
this generation," — wishing to convey some such 
meaning as this, that it would not have been, had 
it not been constructed. But what else is there 
among the things we contemplate in the creation 
which is without being made ? Heaven, earth, 
air, sea, everything whatever that is, surely is 
by being made. How, then, comes it that he 
considered it a peculiarity in the nature of the 
Only-begotten, that it " admits generation " 
(for this is his name for making) " into its 
actual essence," as though the humble-bee 
or the gnat did not admit generation into 
itself 6 , but into something else besides itself. 
It is therefore acknowledged by his own 
writings, that by them the essence of the Only- 
begotten is placed on the same level with the 
smallest parts of the creation : and every proof 
by which he attempts to establish the alienation 
of the Son from the Father has the same force 
also in the case of individual things. What 
need has he, then, for this varied acuteness to 



5 This whole passage, as it stands in Oehler's text, (which has 
here been followed without alteration,) is obscure : the connection 
between the clauses themselves is by no means clear ; and the 
general meaning of the passage, in view of the succeeding 
sentences, seems doubtful. For it seems here to be alleged that 
Eunomius considered the KaraxTKcirq to imply the previous existence 
of some material, so to say, which was moulded by generation — on 
the ground that no one would say that the essence, or anything else, 
was constructed without being existent. On the other hand it is 
immediately urged that this is just what would be said of all created 
things. If the passage might be emended thus: — iv', uiern-ep iv 
irrroKtificVuj TIM Trpay/xaTi iraaa KaiatjKfvrj focopciTcu, (ov yap aV tis 
tiTroi KaratTKevaaQaJ. o p,7j v<j>4<m}K€v) , outws otov KaTcuriccvao'^aTi 
t/5 tou fj.ovoytvovs <pu<7f t TTpoTetVfl tu> Aoya> rr\v noirjaiv — we should 
have a comparatively clear sense — " in order that as all construction 
is observed in some subject matter, (for no one would say that that 
is constructed which has not existence) so he may extend the pro- 
cess of ' making ' by his argument to the nature of the Only-begotten 
God, as to some product of construction." The force of this won d 
be, that Eunomius is really employing the idea of " receiving 
generation," to imply that the essence of the Only-begotten is a 
(toTa<T«n/a<7fia : and this, Gregory says, puts him at once on a level 
with the physical crci 

' Oehler's punctuation seems faulty here. 



establish the diversity of nature, when he ought 
to have taken the short cut of denial, by openly 
declaring that the name of the Son ought not 
to be confessed, or the Only-begotten God to 
be preached in the churches, but that we ought 
to esteem the Jewish worship as superior to 
the faith of Christians, and, while we confess the 
Father as being alone Creator and Maker of the 
world, to reduce all other things to the name 
and conception of the creation, and among these 
to speak of that work which preceded the rest as 
a " thing made," which came into being by some 
constructive operation, and to give Him the 
title of" First-created," instead of Only-begotten 
and Very Son. For when these opinions have 
carried the day, it will be a very easy matter 
to bring doctrines to a conclusion in agreement 
with the aim they have in view, when all are 
guided, as you might expect from such a 
principle, to the consequence that it is im- 
possible that He Who is neither begotten nor 
a Son, but has His existence through some 
energy, should share in essence with God. So 
long, however, as the declarations of the Gospel 
prevail, by which He is proclaimed as " Son," 
and " Only-begotten," and " of the Father," and 
"of God," and the like, Eunomius will talk his 
nonsense to no purpose, leading himself and 
his followers astray by such idle chatter. For 
while the title of "Son " speaks aloud the true 
relation to the Father, who is so foolish that, 
while John and Paul and the rest of the choir 
of the Saints proclaim these words, — words of 
truth, and words that point to the close affinity, 
— he does not look to them, but is led by the 
empty rattle of Eunomius' sophisms to think 
that Eunomius is a truer guide than the teach- 
ing of those who by the Spirit speak mysteries 7 , 
and who bear Christ in themselves? Why, 
who is this Eunomius ? Whence was he raised 
up to be the guide of Christians? 

But let all this pass, and let our earnestness 
about what lies before us calm down our heart, 
that is swollen with jealousy on behalf of the 
faith against the blasphemers. For how is it 
possible not to be moved to wrath and hatred, 
while our God, and Lord, and Life-giver, and 
Saviour is insuited by these wretched men? If 
he had reviled my father according to the flesh, 
or been at enmity with my benefactor, would 
it have been possible to bear without emotion 
his anger against those 1 love? And if the 
Lord of my soul, Who gave it being when it 
was not, and redeemed it when in bondage, 
and gave me to taste of this present life, and 
prepared for me the life to come, Who calls us 
to a kingdom, and gives us His commands that 
we may escape the damnation of hell, — these 
are small things that I speak of, and not worthy 

7 Cf. i (.'or. xiv. 2. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK IV. 



171 



to express the greatness of our common Lord, 
— He that is worshipped by all creation, by 
things in heaven, and things on earth, and 
things under the earth, by Whom stand the 
unnumbered myriads of the heavenly ministers, 
to Whom is turned all that is under rule here, 
and that has the desire of good — if He is ex- 
posed to reviling by men, for whom it is not 
enough to associate themselves with the party 
of the apostate, but who count it loss not to 
draw others by their scribbling into the same 
gulf with themselves, that those who come 
after may not lack a hand to lead them to 
destruction, is there any one 8 who blames us 
for our anger against these men ? But let us 
return to the sequence of his discourse. 

He next proceeds once more to slander us 
as dishonouring the generation of the Son by 
human similitudes, and mentions what was 
written on these points by our father 9, where 
he says that while by the word " Son " two 
things are signified, the being formed by passion, 
and the true relationship to the begetter, he 
does not admit in discourses upon things divine 
the former sense, which is unseemly and carnal, 
but in so far as the latter tends to testify to the 
glory of the Only-begotten, this alone finds a 
place in the sublime doctrines. Who, then, 
dishonours the generation of the Son by human 
notions? He who sets far from the Divine 
generation what belongs to passion and to man, 
and joins the Son impassibly to Him that begat 
Him ? or he who places Him Who brought all 
things into being on a common level with the 
lower creation ? Such an idea, however, as it 
seems, — that of associating the Son in the majesty 
of the Father, — this new wisdom seems to regard 
as dishonouring ; while it considers as great and 



8 Reading apd ns for ipa ti's of Oehler's text. 

9 That is, by S. Basil : the reference seems to be to the treatise 
Adv. Eurwmium ii 24 (p. 260 C is the Benedictine edition), but 
the quotation is not exact. 



sublime the act of bringing Him down to 
equality with the creation that is in bondage 
with us. Empty complaints ! Basil is slandered 
as dishonouring the Son, who honours Him 
even as he honours the Father ', and Eunomius 
is the champion of the Only-begotten, who 
severs Him from the good nature of the Father ! 
Such a reproach Paul also once incurred with 
the Athenians, being charged therewith by them 
as "a setter forth of strange gods 2 ," when he 
was reproving the wandering among their gods 
of those who were mad in their idolatry, and 
was leading them to the truth, preaching the 
resurrection by the Son These charges are 
now brought against Paul's follower by the new 
Stoics and Epicureans, who " spend their time 
in nothing else," as the history says of the 
Athenians, " but either to tell or to hear some 
new thing 3." For what could be found newer 
than this, — a Son of an energy, and a Father 
of a creature, and a new God springing up 
from nothing, and good at variance with good? 
These are they who profess to honour Him with 
due honour by saying that He is not that which 
the nature of Him that begat Him is. Is 
Eunomius not ashamed of the form of such 
honour, if one were to say that he himself is not 
akin in nature to his father, but has community 
with something of another kind ? If he who 
brings the Lord of the creation into community 
with the creation declares that he honours Him, 
by so doing, let him also himself be honoured 
by having community assigned him with what 
is brute and senseless : but, if he finds com- 
munity with an inferior nature hard and insolent 
treatment, how is it honour for Him Who, as 
the prophet saith, " ruleth with His power 
for ever 4," to be ranked with that nature which 
is in subjection and bondage? But enough 
of this. 



1 Cf. S. John v. »j. 

3 Acts I vu 3*. 



3 Acts xvii. 18. 
* Ps. lxvi. 6 (LXX.). 



BOOK V. 



$ i. The fifth book promises to speak of the 
words contained in the saying of the Apostle 
Peter, but delays their exposition. He dis- 
courses first of the creation, to the effect that, 
while nothing therein is deserving of worship, 
yet men, lea astray by their ill-informed and 
feeble intelligence, and marvelling at its beauty, 
deified the several parts of the universe. And 
herein he excellently expounds the passage of 
Isaiah, " I am God, the first" 

It is now, perhaps, time to make enquiry into 
■what is said concerning the words of the Apostle 
Peter I , by Eunomius himself, and by our father 2 
concerning the latter. If a detailed examina- 
tion should extend our discourse to considerable 
length, the fair-minded reader will no doubt 
pardon this, and will not blame us for wasting 
time in words, but lay the blame on him who 
has given occasion for them. Let me be allowed 
also to make some brief remarks preliminary to 
the proposed enquiry : it may be that they too 
will be found not to be out of keeping with the 
aim of our discussion. 

That no created thing is deserving of man's 
worship, the divine word so clearly declares as 
a law, that such a truth may be learned from 
almost the whole of the inspired Scripture. 
Moses, the Tables, the Law, the Prophets that 
follow, the Gospels, the decrees of the Apostles, 
all alike forbid the act of reverencing the crea- 
tion. It would be a lengthy task to set out in 
order the particular passages which refer to this 
matter ; but though we set out only a few from 
among the many instances of the inspired 
testimony, our argument is surely equally con- 
vincing, since each of the divine words, albeit 
the least, has equal force for declaration of the 
truth. Seeing, then, that our conception of 
existences is divided into two, the creation and 
the uncreated Nature, if the present contention 
of our adversaries should prevail, so that we 
should say that the Son of God is created, we 
should be absolutely compelled either to set at 
naught the proclamation of the Gospel, and to 
refuse tn worship that God the Word Who was 

1 The words referred to arc those in A I ii 

Basil : the passages discussed arc afterwards referred to in 



in the beginning, on the ground that we must 
not address worship to the creation, or, if these 
marvels recorded in the Gospels are too urgent 
for us, by which we are led to reverence and 
to worship Him Who is displayed in them, tc 
place, in that case, the created and the Uncre- 
ated on the same level of honour; seeing that 
if, according to our adversaries' opinion, even 
the created God is worshipped, though having 
in His nature no prerogative above the rest of 
the creation, and if this view should get the 
upper hand, the doctrines of religion will be 
entirely transformed to a kind of anarchy and 
democratic independence. For when men 
believe that the nature they worship is not one, 
but have their thoughts turned away to diveise 
Godheads, there will be none who will stay the 
conception of the Deity in its progress through 
creation, but the Divine element, once recog- 
nized in creation, will become a stepping-stone 
to the like conception in the case of that which 
is next contemplated, and that again for the 
next in order, and as a result of this inferential 
process the error will extend to all things, as 
the first deceit makes its way by coniiguous 
cases even to the very last. 

To show that I am not making a random 
statement beyond what probability admits of, I 
will cite as a credible testimony in favour of 
my assertion the error which still prevails 
among the heathen 3. Seeing that they, with 
their untrained and narrow intelligence, were 
disposed to look with wonder on the beauties 
of nature, not employing the things they btheld 
as a leader and guide to the beauty of the 
Nature that transcends them, they rather made 
their intelligence halt on arriving at the objects 
of its apprehension, and marvelled at each part 
of the creation severally — for this cause they 
did not stay their conception of the Deity at 
any single one of the things they beheld, but 
deemed everything they looked on in creation 
to be divine. And thus with the Egyptians, as 
the error developed its force more in respect of 
intellectual objects, the countless forms of spirit- 
ual beings were reckoned to be so many natures 
of Gods; while with the Babylonians the un- 



< With the following passage may be compared the parallel ac- 
counl in the Bunk ul \\ iscloin ch. xiii.). 



GREGORY OF NYSSA AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK V. 173 



erring circuit of the firmament was accounted a 
God, to whom they also gave the name of Bel. 
So, too, the foolishness of the heathen deifying 
individually the seven successive spheres, one 
bowed down to one, another to another, ac- 
cording to some individual form of error. For 
as they perceived all these circles moving in 
mutual relation, seeing that they had gone 
astray as to the most exalted, they maintained 
the same error by logical sequence, even to the 
last of them. And in addition to these, the 
aether itself, and the atmosphere diffused be- 
neath it, the earth and sea and the subterranean 
region, and in the earth itself all things which are 
useful or needful for man's life, — of all these there 
was none which they held to be without part or 
lot in the Divine nature, but they bowed down to 
each of them, bringing themselves, by means of 
some one of the objects conspicuous in the crea- 
tion, into bondage to all the successive parts of the 
creation, in such a way that, had the act of reve- 
rencing the creation been from the beginning 
even to them a thing evidently unlawful, they 
would not have been led astray into this deceit 
of polytheism. Let us look to it, then, lest we 
too share the same fate, — we who in being 
taught by Scripture to reverence the true God- 
head, were trained to consider all created ex- 
istence as external to the Divine nature, and to 
worship and revere that uncreated Nature alone, 
Whose characteristic and token is that it never 
either begins to be or ceases to be ; since the 
great Isaiah thus speaks of the Divine nature 
with reference to these doctrines, in his exalted 
utterance, — who speaks in the person of the 
Deity, " 1 am the first, and hereafter am I, and 
no God was before Me, and no God shall be 
after Me ♦." For knowing more perfectly than 
all others the mystery of the religion of the 
Gospel, this great prophet, who foretold even 
that marvellous sign concerning the Virgin, and 
gave us the good tidings 5 of the birth of the 
Child, and clearly pointed out to us that Name 
of the Son, — he, in a word, who by the Spirit 
includes in himself all the truth, — in order that 
the characteristic of the Divine Nature, whereby 
we discern that which really is from that which 
came into being, might be made as plain as 
possible to all, utters this saying in the person 
of God : " I am the first, and hereafter am I, 
and before Me no God hath been, and after 
Me is none." Since, then, neither is that God 
which was before God, nor is that God which 
is after God, (for that which is after God is the 
creation, and that which is anterior to God is 

4 Cf. Is. xli. 4, xliv. 6, xlviii. 12 (LXX.). If the whole passage is in- 
tended to be a quotation, it is not made exactly from any one of 
these ; the opening words are from the second passage referred to ; 
and perhaps this is the only portion intended to be a quotation, the 
second clause being explanatory ; the words of the second clause 
are varied in the repetition immediately afterwards. 

5 euayyeAi<Td|uei'OS. 



nothing, and Nothing is not God ; — or one 
should rather say, that which is anterior to God 
is God in His eternal bLssedness, defined in 
contradistinction to Nothing 6 ); — since, I say, 
this inspired utterance was spoken by the mouth 
of the prophet, we learn by his means the doc- 
trine that the Divine Nature is one, continuous 
with Itself and indiscerptible, not admitting in 
Itself priority and posteriority, though it be 
declared in Trinity, and with no one of the 
things we contemplate in it more ancient or 
more recent than another. Since, then, the 
saying is the saying of God, whether you grant 
that the words are the words of the Father or 
of the Son, the orthodox doctrine is equally 
upheld by either. For if it is the Father that 
speaks thus, He bears witness to the Son that 
He is not "after" Himself: for if the Son is 
God, and whatever is " after " the Father is not 
God, it is clear that the saying bears witness to 
the truth that the Son is in the Father, and not 
after the Father. If, on the other hand, one 
were to grant that this utterance is of the Son, 
the phrase, " None hath been before Me," will 
be a clear intimation that He Whom we con- 
template " in the Beginning 7" is apprehended 
together with the eternity of the Beginning. If, 
then, anything is "after " God, this is discovered, 
by the passages quoted, to be a creature, and 
not God : for He says, " That which is after 
Me is not God 8 ." 

§ 2. He then explains the phrase of S. Peter \ 
'•'•Him God made Lord and Christ." And 
herein he sets forth the opposing statement of 
Eunomius, which he made on account of such 
phrase against S. Basil, and his lurking 
revilings and insults. 

Now that we have had presented to us this 
preliminary view of existences, it may be op- 
portune to examine the passage before us. It 
is said, then, by Peter to the Jews, " Him God 
made Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom ye 
crucified V' while on our part it is said that 
it is not pious to refer the word " made " to 
the Divine Nature of the Only-begotten, but 
that it is to be referred to that " form of a ser- 
vant V which came into being by the Incar- 
nation 2 , in the due time of His appearing in 
the flesh ; and, on the other hand, those who 
press the phrase the contrary way say that in 
the word " made " the Apostle indicates the 
pretemporal generation of the Son. We shal 1 , 



6 ;rp6s oi/Sev opifofxeeos ; i.e. before the name of " God " could be 
applied, as now, in contradistinction to creatio?i, it was applied in 
contradistinction to nothing, and that distinction was in a sense the 
definition of God. Or the words may be turned, as Gulomus turns 
them, "nulla re determinatus," 'with no limitation" — the contra- 
distinction to creation being regarded as a limitation by way of 
definition. 7 S. John i. i. 

B Taking the whole phrase to /ner' e'/n* 01/ as a loose quotation. 

9 Acts ii. 36. " Phil. ii. 7. 2 oIkovo^lkox; yci/ojutciijv. 



174 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



therefore, set forth the passage in the midst, 
and after a detailed examination of both the 
suppositions, leave the judgment of the truth 
to our reader. Of our adversaries' view Eu- 
nomius himself may be a sufficient advocate, 
for he contends gallantly on the matter, so that 
in going through his argument word by word we 
shall completely follow out the reasoning of 
those who strive against us : and we ourselves 
will act as champion of the doctrine on our side 
as best we may, following so far as we are able 
the line of the argument previously set forth by 
the great Basil. But do you, who by your 
reading act as judges in the cause, " execute 
true judgment," as one of the prophets 3 says, 
not awarding the victory to contentious pre- 
conceptions, but to the truth as it is manifested 
by examination. And now let the accuser of 
our doctrines come forward, and read his in- 
dictment, as in a court of law. 

" In addition, moreover, to what we have 
mentioned, by his refusal to take the word 
' made ' as referring to the essence of the Son, 
and withal by his being ashamed of the Cross, 
he ascribes to the Apostles what no one even 
of those who have done their best to speak ill 
of them on the score of stupidity, lays to their 
charge; and at the same time he clearly in- 
troduces, by his doctrines and arguments, two 
Christs and two Lords ; for he says that it was 
not the Word Who was in the beginning Whom 
God made Lord and Christ, but He Who ' em- 
ptied Himself to take the form of a servant 4 ,' 
and ' was crucified through weakness V At all 
events the great Basil writes expressly as fol- 
lows 6 : — ' Nor, moreover, is it the intention of 
the Apostle to present to us that existence of 
the Only-begotten which was before the ages 
(which is now the subject of our argument), 
for he clearly speaks, not of the very essence 
of God the Word, Who was in the beginning 
with God, but of Him Who emptied Himself 
to take the form of a servant, and became con- 
formable to the body of our humiliation ?, and 
was crucified through weakness.' And again, 
' This is known to any one who even in a small 
degree applies his mind to the meaning of the 
Apostle's words, that he is not setting forth to 
us the mode of the Divine existence, but is 
introducing the terms which belong to the 
Incarnation ; for he says, Him God made Lord 
and Christ, this Jesus Whom ye crucified, 
evidently laying stress by the demonstrative 
word on that in Him which was human and 
was seen by all V 

" This, then, is what the man has to say who 

h trii. 9. * Cf. Phil. ii. 7. 5 Cf. 2 Cor. xiii. 4. 

' 1 dons are from S. Basil c. Eunomiusll. 3. (pp. 239-40 

ID the Bi tine edition.) 

^ Cf. Phil iii : , 

B The lattei part of the quotation from S. Basil does not exactly 
agree with the Benedictine text, but the variations are not material. 



substitutes, — for we may not speak of it as 
' application,' lest any one should blame for such 
madness men holy and chosen for the preaching 
of godliness, so as to reproach their doctrine 
with a fall into such extravagance, — who sub- 
stitutes hrs own mind 9 for the intention of the 
Apostles ! With what confusion are they not 
filled, who refer their own nonsense to the 
memory of the saints ! With what absurdity 
do they not abound, who imagine that the man 
'emptied himself to become man, and who 
maintain that He Who by obedience ' humbled 
himself to take the form of a servant was made 
conformable to men even before He tot)k that 
form upon Him ! Who, pray, ye most reckless 
of men, when he has the form of a servant, 
takes the form of a servant ? and how can any 
one 'empty himself to become the very thing 
which he is ? You will find no contrivance to 
meet this, bold as you are in saying or thinking 
things uncontrivable. Are you not verily of all 
men most miserable, who suppose that a man 
has suffered death for all men, and ascribe your 
own redemption to him ? For if it is not of the 
Word Who was in the beginning and was God 
that the blessed Peter speaks, but of him who 
was ' seen,' and who ' emptied Himself,' as 
Basil says, and if the man who was seen ' emp- 
tied Himself to take ' the form of a servant/ 
and He Who 'emptied Himself to take 'the 
form of a servant,' emptied Himself to come 
into being as man, then the man who was seen 
emptied himself to come into being as man r . 
The very nature of things is. repugnant to this ; 
and it is expressly contradicted by that writer 2 
who celebrates this dispensation in his discourse 
concerning the Divine Nature, when he says 
not that the man who was seen, but that the 
Word Who was in the beginning and was God 
took upon Him flesh, which is equivalent in 
other words to taking ' the form of a servant.' 
If, then, you hold that these things are to be 
believed, depart from your error, and cease to 
believe that the man ' emptied himself ' to be- 
come man. And if you are not able to per- 
suade those who will not be persuaded, destroy 
their incredulity by another saying, a second de- 

9 Reading eovrou for the iavriov of Oehler's text, for which nc 
authority is alleged by the editor, and which is probably a mere 
misprint. 

* The argument here takes the form of a reductio ad absur- 
dum ; assuming that S. Peter's reference is to the "visible man." 
and bearing in mind S. Basil's words that S. Peter refers to Him 
Who "emptied Himself," it is said " then it was the 'visible man' 
who 'emptied him->elf.' But the purpose of that 'emptying' was 
the ' taking the form of a servant, which again is the coming into 
being as man: therefore the ' visible ma.' 'emptied himself, ' to 
come into being as man, which is absurd." The wording of S Basil's 
statement makes the argument in a certain degree plausible ; — if he 
had said that S. Peier ieferred to the Son, not in regard to his actual 
essence, but in regard to the fact that He "empt.ed Himself" to 
become man, and as so having "emptied Himself" (which is no 
doubt what he intended his words to mean), then the reductio ad 
absitrdum would not apply ; nor would the later arguments, by 
which h. immnis proceeds to prove that He Who " emptied Hun- 

sell 'was icre man, but the Word Who was in the beginning, 

have any (orci a: against S. Basil's statement. 2 S.John i. i sqq. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK V. 



175 



cision against them. Remember him who says, 
« Who being in the form of God thought it not 
robbery to be equal with God, but emptied 
Himself, taking the form of a servant' There 
is none among men who will appropriate this 
phrase to himself. None of the saints that ever 
lived was the Only-begotten God and became 
man : — for that is what it means to ' take the 
form of a servant,' ' being in the form of God.' 
If, then, the blessed Peter speaks of Him Who 
' emptied Himself ' to ' take the form of a 
servant,' and if He Who was ' in the form of 
God' did 'empty Himself to 'take the form 
of a servant,' and if He Who in the beginning 
was God, being the Word and the Only-begotten 
God, is He Who was 'in the form of God,' 
then the blessed Peter speaks to us of Him 
Who was in the beginning and was God, and 
expounds to us that it was He Who became 
Lord and Christ. This, then, is the conflict 
which Basil wages against himself, and he clearly 
appears neither to have 'applied his own mind 
to the intention of the Apostles', nor to be able 
to preserve the sequence of his own arguments ; 
for, according to them, he must, if he is conscious 
of their irreconcilable character, admit that the 
Word Who was in the beginning and was God 
became Lord ; or if he tries to fit together 
statements that are mutually conflicting, and 
contentiously stands by them, he will add 
to them others yet more hostile, and maintain 
that there are two Christs and two Lords. For 
if the Word that was in the beginning and was 
God be one, and He Who ' emptied Himself ' 
and  took the form of a servant ' be another, 
and if God the Word, by Whom are all things, 
be Lord, and this Jesus, Who was crucified after 
all things had come into being, be Lord also, 
there are, according to his view, two Lords and 
Christs. Our author, then, cannot by any argu- 
ment clear himself from this manifest blasphemy. 
But if any one were to say in support of him 
that the Word Who was in the beginning is 
indeed the same Who became Lord, but that 
He became Lord and Christ in respect of His 
presence in the flesh, He will surely be con- 
strained to say that the Son was not Lord 
before His presence in the flesh. At all events, 
even if Basil and his faithless followers falsely 
proclaim two Lords and two Christs, for us 
there is one Lord and Christ, by Whom all 
things were made, not becoming Lord by 
way of promotion, but existing before all cre- 
ation and before all ages, the Lord Jesus, by 
Whom are all things, while all the saints with 
one harmonious voice teach us this truth and 
proclaim it as the most excellent of doctrines. 
Here the blessed John teaches us that God the 
Word, by Whom all things were made, has 
become incarnate, saying, ' And the Word was 



made flesh 3 ' ; here the most admirable Paul, urg- 
ing those who attend to him to humility, speaks 
of Christ Jesus, Who was in the form of God, and 
emptied Himself to take the form of a servant, 
and was humbled to death, even the death of 
the Cross * ; and again in another passage calls 
Him Who was crucified ' the Lord of Glory ' : 
' for had they known it,' he says, ' they would 
not have crucified the Lord of Glory ''. In- 
deed, he speaks far more openly than this 
of the very essential nature by the name of 
' Lord,' where he says, 'Now the Lord is the 
Spirit 6 '. If, then, the Word Who was in the 
beginning, in that He is Spirit, is Lord, and the 
Lord of glory, and if God made Him Lord and 
Christ, it was the very Spirit and God the Word 
that God so made, and not some other Lord 
Whom Basil dreams about." 

§ 3. A remarkable and original reply to these 
utterances, and a demonstration of the power 
of the Crucified, and of the fact that this sub- 
jection was of the Human Nature, not of that 
which the Only-begotten has from the Father. 
Also an explanation of the figure of the Cross, 
and of the appellation " Christ" and an ac- 
count of the good gifts bestowed on the Human 
Nature by the Godhead which was commingled 
with it. 

Well, such is his accusation. But I think it 
necessary in the first place to go briefly, by way 
of summary, over the points that he urges, and 
then to proceed to correct by my argument 
what he has said, that those who are judging 
the truth may find it easy to remember the 
indictment against us, which we have to answer, 
and that we may be able to dispose of each of 
the charges in regular order. He says that we 
are ashamed of the Cross of Christ, and slander 
the saints, and say that a man has " emptied 
himself" to become man, and suppose that the 
Lord had the " form of a servant " before His 
presence by the Incarnation, and ascribe 
our redemption to a man, and speak in our 
doctrine of two Christs and two Lords, or, if we 
do not do this, then we deny that the Only- 
begotten was Lord and Christ before the Pas- 
sion. So that we may avoid this blasphemy, 
he will have us confess that the essence of the 
Son has been made, on the ground that the 
Apostle Peter by his own voice establishes such 
a doctrine. This is the substance of the ac- 
cusation ; for all that he has been at the trouble 
of saying by way of abuse of ourselves, I will 
pass by in silence, as being not at all to the 
point. It may be that this rhetorical stroke 
of phrases framed according to some artificial 

3 S. John i. 14. * Cf. Phil. ii. 7. 8. 5 t Cor. ii. 8. 6 a Cor. iii. if. 



176 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



theory is the ordinary habit of those who play 
the rhetorician, an invention to swell the bulk 
of their indictment. Let our sophist then use 
his art to display his insolence, and vaunt his 
strength in reproaches against us, showing off 
his strokes in the intervals of the contest ; let 
him call us foolish, call us of all men most 
reckless, of all men most miserable, full of con- 
fusion and absurdity, and make light of us at 
his good pleasure in any way he likes, and we 
will bear it ; for to a reasonable man disgrace 
lies, not in hearing one who abuses him, but in 
making retort to what he says. There may 
even be some good in his expenditure of breath 
against us ; for it may be that while he occu- 
pies his railing tongue in denouncing us he will 
at all events make some truce in his conflict 
against God. So let him take his fill of inso- 
lence as he likes : none will reply to him. For 
if a man has foul and loathsome breath, by 
reason of bodily disorder, or of some pesti- 
lential and malignant disease, he would not rouse 
any healthy person to emulate his misfortune, 
so that one should choose, by himself acquiring 
disease, to repay, in the same evil kind, the 
unpleasantness of the man's ill odour. Such 
men our common nature bids us to pity, not to 
imitate. And so let us pass by everything of 
this kind which by mockery, indignation, provo- 
cation, and abuse, he has assiduously mixed up 
with his argument, and examine only his argu- 
ments as they concern the doctrinal points at 
issue. We shall begin again, then, from the 
beginning, and meet each of his charges in turn. 
The beginning of his accusation was that we 
are ashamed of the Cross of Him Who for our 
sakes underwent the Passion. Surely he does 
not intend to charge against us also that we 
preach the doctrine of dissimilarity in essence ! 
Why, it is rather to those who turn aside to this 
opinion that the reproach belongs of going 
about to make the Cross a shameful thing. For 
if by both parties alike the dispensation of the 
Passion is held as part of the faith, while we 
hold it necessary to honour, even as the Father 
is honoured, the God Who was manifested by 
the Cross, and they find the Passion a hindrance 
to glorifying the Only begotten God equally 
with the Father that begat Him, then our 
sophist's charges recoil upon himself, and in 
the words with which he imagines himself to be 
accusing us, he is publishing his own doctrinal 
impiety. For it is plear that the reason why he 
sjts the Father above the Son, and exalts Him 
with supreme honour, is this, — that in Him is 
not seen the shame of the Cross : and the reason 
why he asseverates that the nature of the Son 
varies in the sense of inferiority is this, — that 
the reproach of the Cross is referred to Him 
alone, and does not touch the Father. And let 



no one think that in saying this I am only fol- 
lowing the general drift of his composition, for 
in going through all the blasphemy of his speech, 
which is there laboriously brought together, I 
found, in a passage later than that before us, 
this very blasphemy clearly expressed in un- 
disguised language ; and I propose to set forth, 
in the orderly course of my own argument, what 
they have written, which runs thus : — " If," he 
says, " he can show that the God Who is over 
all, Who is the unapproachable Light, was in- 
carnate, or could be incarnate, came under 
authority, obeyed commands, came under the 
laws of men, bore the Cross, then let him say 
that the Light is equal to t e Light." Who 
then is it who is ashamed of the Cross ? he who, 
even after the Passion, worships the Son equally 
with the Father, or he who even before the 
Passion insults Him, not only by ranking Him 
with the creation, but by maintaining that He 
is of passible nature, on the ground that He 
could not have come to experience His suffer- 
ings had He not had a nature capable of such 
sufferings? We on our part assert that even 
the body in which He underwent His Passion, 
by being mingled with the Divine Nature, was 
made by that commixture to be that which 
the assuming 7 Nature is. So far are we from 
entertaining any low idea concerning the Only- 
begotten God, that if anything belonging to 
our lowly nature was assumed in His dispens- 
ation of love for man, we believe that even 
this was transformed to what is Divine and in- 
corruptible 8 ; but Eunomius makes the suffering 
of the Cross to be a sign of divergence in essence, 
in the sense of* inferiority, considering, I know 
not how, the surpassing act of power, by which 
He was able to perform this, to be an evidence 
of weakness ; failing to perceive the fact that, 
while nothing which moves according to its own 
nature is looked upon as surpiisingly wonderful, 
all things that overpass the limitations of their 
own nature become especially the objects of 
admiration, and to them every ear is turned, 
every mind is attentive, in wonder at the marvel. 
And hence it is that all who preach the word 
point out the wonderful character of the mys- 
tery in this respect, — that "God was manifesied 
in the flesh 9," that '• the Word was made flesh 1 ," 
that "the Light shined in darkness 2 ," "the Life 
tasted death," and all such declarations which 
the heralds of the faith are wont to make, 
whereby is increased the marvellous character 



* Or " resuming." Cf. Bookll. § 8 (sup. p. 113, where see note 7', 

8 With b. Gregory's language here may be compared th.it oi &. 
Athanasius (Or. adv. Arian. iii. 53), " It was not the Wisdom, qui 
Wisdom, that 'advanced' ; but the humanity in the Wisdom did 
advance, gradually ascending above the human nature and being 
made Divine (OeoTroioiifievov)." 

9 1 Tim. iii. 16, where it would appear that Gregory read ftos 
not os. ' S. John i. 14. 

2 S. John i. 5 (not verbally). 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK V. 



177 



of Him Who manifested the superabundance of 
His power by means external to his own nature. 
But though they think fit to make this a subject 
for their insolence, though they make the dis- 
pensation of the Cross a reason for partitioning 
off the Son from equality of glory with the 
Father, we believe, as those " who from the 
beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of 
the word 3 " delivered to us by the Holy Scrip- 
tures, that the God who was in the beginning, 
" afterwards ", as Baruch says, " was seen upon 
the earth, and conversed with men V' and, be- 
coming a ransom for our death, loosed by His 
own resurrection the bonds of death, and by 
Himself made the resurrection a way for all 
flesh 5, and being on the same throne and in 
the same glory with His own Father, will in the 
day of judgment give sentence upon those who 
are judged, according to the desert of the lives 
they have led. These are the things which we 
believe concerning Him Who was crucified, and 
for this cause we cease not to extol Him ex- 
ceedingly, according to the measure of our 
powers, that He Who by reason of His unspeak- 
able and unapproachable greatness is not com- 
prehensible by any, save by Himself and the 
Father and the Holy Spirit, He, I say, was able 
even to descend to community with our weak- 
ness. But they adduce this proof of the Son's 
alienation in nature from the Father, that the 
Lord was manifested by the flesh and by the 
Cross, arguing on the ground that the Father's 
nature remained pure in impassibility, and could 
not in any way admit of a community which 
tended to passion, while the Son, by reason of the 
diverg nee of His nature by way of humiliation, 
was not incapable of being brought to experi- 
ence the flesh and death, seeing that the change 
of condition was not great, but one which took 
place in a certain sense from one like state to 
another state kindred and homogeneous, be- 
cause the nature of man is created, and the 
nature of the Only-begotten is created also. 
Who then is fairly charged with being ashamed 
of the Cross? he who speaks basely of it 6 , or 
he who contends for its more exalted aspect? 
I know not whether our accuser, who thus 
abases the God Who was made known upon 
the Cross, has heard the lofty speech of Paul, in 
what terms and at what length he discourses 
with his exalted lips concerning that Cross. For 
he, who was able to make himself known by 
miracles so many and so great, says, " God 
forbid that I should glory in anything else, than 
in the Cross of Christ ?." And to the Corinthians 
he says that the word of the Cross is " the 

3 S. Luke i. 2. 4 Bar. iii. 37. 

5 See Note 2, p. 104, sup. 

6 Reading aitrov (for which Oehler cites good MS. authority), for 
iavTov (the reading of his text, as well as of the Paris editions). 

1 Gal- vi. 14 (not verbally). 



power of God to them that are in a state of 
salvation 8 ." To the Ephesians, moreover, he 
describes by the figure of the Cross the power 
that controls and holds together the universe, 
when he expresses a desire that they may be 
exalted to know the exceeding glory of this 
power, calling it height, and depth, and breadth, 
and length 9, speaking of the several projections 
we behold in the figure of the Cross by their 
proper names, so that he calls the upper part 
" height," and that which is below, on the opposite 
side of the junction, " depth," while by the name 
"length and breadth " he indicates the cross-beam 
projecting to either side, that hereby might be 
manifested this great mystery, that both things 
in heaven, and. things under the earth, and all 
the furthest bounds of the things that are, are 
ruled and sustained by Him Who gave an ex- 
ample of this unspeakable and mighty power in 
the figure of the Cross. But I think there is no 
need to contend further with such objections, 
as I judge it superfluous to be anxious about 
rrging arguments against calumny when even a 
few words suffice to show the truth. Let us 
therefore pass on to another charge. 

He says that by us the saints are slandered. 
Well, if he has heard it himself, let him tell us 
the words of our defamation : if he thinks we 
have uttered it to others, let him show the truth 
of his charge by witnesses : if he demonstrates 
it from what we have written, let him read the 
words, and we will bear the blame. But he 
cannot bring forward anything of the kind : our 
writings are open for examination to any one 
who desires it. If it was not said to himself, 
and he has not heard it from others, and has 
no proof to offer from our writings, I think he 
who has to make answer on this point may well 
hold his peace : silence is surely the fitting 
answer to an unfounded charge. 

The Apostle Peter says, " God made this 
Jesus, Whom ye crucified, Lord and Christ \" 
We, learning this from him, say that the whole 
context of the passage tends one way, — the 
Cross itself, the human name, the indicative 
turn of the phrase. For the word of the Scrip- 
ture says that in regard to one person two 
things were wrought, — by the Jews, the Passion, 
and by God, honour ; not as though one person 
had suffered and another had been honoured 
by exaltation : and he further explains this yet 
more clearly by his words in what follows, " be- 
ing exalted by the right hand of God." Who 
then was " exalted " ? He that was lowly, or 
He that was the Highest ? and what else is the 
lowly, but the Humanity? what else is the 
Highest, but the Divinity? Surely, God needs 
not to be exalted, seeing that He is the Highest. 
It follows, then, that the Apostle's meaning is 



8 Cf. i Cor. i. 18. 



9 Cf. Eph. iii. 1 8. 



1 Acts ii. 36. 



VOL. V. 



N 



1 7 3 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



that the Humanity was exalted : and its exalt- 
ation was effected by its becoming Lord and 
Christ. And this took place after the Passion 2 . 
It is not therefore the pre-temporal existence of 
the Lord which the Apostle indicates by the 
word " made," but that change of the lowly to 
the lofty which was effected "by the right hand 
of God." Even by this phrase is declared the 
mystery of godliness ; for he who says " exalted 
by the right hand of God " manifestly reveals 
the unspeakable dispensation of this mystery, 
that the Right Hand of God, that made all 
things that are, (which is the Lord, by Whom 
all things were made, and without Whom 
nothing that is subsists,) Itself raised to Its 
own height the Man united with It, making 
Him also to be what It is by nature. Now It 
is Lord and King : Christ is the King's name : 
these things It made Him too. For as He was 
highly exalted by being in the Highest, so too 
He became all else, — Immortal in the Immortal, 
Light in the Light, Incorruptible in the Incor- 
ruptible, Invisible in the Invisible, Christ in the 
Christ, Lord in the Lord. For even in physical 
combinations, when one of the combined parts 
exceeds the other in a great degree, the inferior 
is wont to change completely to that which is 
more potent. And this we are plainly taught by 
the voice of the Apostle Peter in his mystic dis- 
course, that the lowly nature of Him Who was 
crucified through weakness, (and weakness, as 
we have heard from the Lord, marks the flesh 3,) 
that lowly nature, I say, by virtue of its combin- 
ation with the infinite and boundless element of 
good, remained no longer in its own measures 
and properties, but was by the Right Hand of 
God raised up together with Itself, and became 
Lord instead of servant, Christ a King instead 
of a subject, Highest instead of Lowly, God 
instead of man. What handle then against the 
saints did he who pretends to give warning 
against us in defence of the Apostles find in the 
material of our writings ? Let us pass over this 
charge also in silence ; for I think it a mean 
and unworthy thing to stand up against charges 
that are false and unfounded. Let us pass on 
to the more pressing part of his accusation. 

§ 4. He shows the falsehood of Eunomius' 
calumnious charge that the great Basil had 
said that " man was emptied to become man, 1 ' 
and demonstrates that the " emptying " of the 

* It can hardly be supposed that it is intended by S. Gregory 
that we should understand that, during the years of His life on earth, 
our lord's Humanity was not so united with His Divinity that " the 
visible man ' was ihen both Lord and Christ. He probably refers 
more especially to the manifestation of His Messiahship afforded by 
the Resurrection and Ascension ; but he also undoubtedly dwells 
on the exaltation of the Human Nature after the Passion in terms 
winch wool. 1 perhaps imply more than he intended to convey. His 
language on this point may be compared with the more guarded and 
caieftil statement of Hooker. (Eccl. Pol. V. lv 8.) The point of 
his irgiiment i* tha S. Peter's words apply to the Human N.mire, 
not io the Divine 3 Cf. S Mark xiv. ji 



Only-begotten took place with a view to the 
restoration to life of the Man Who had 
suffered^. 

He assorts that we say that man has emptied 
Himself to become man, and that He Who by 
obedience humbled Himself to the form of the 
servant shared the form of men even before He 
took that form. No change has been made in 
the wording; we have simply transferred the 
very words from his speech to our own. Now 
if there is anything of this sort in our writings, 
(for I call my master's writings ours) let no one 
blame our orator for calumny. I ask for all 
regard for the truth : and we ourselves will give 
evidence. But if there is nothing of all this in 
our writings, while his language not merely lays 
blame upon us, but is indignant and wrathful as 
if the matter were clearly proved, calling us full 
of absurdity, nonsense, confusion, inconsistency, 
and so on, I am at a loss to see the right course 
to take. Just as men who are perplexed at the 
groundless ra^es of madmen can decide upon 
no plan to follow, so I myself can find no device 
to meet this perplexity. Our master says (for 
I will again recite his argument verbally), " He 
is not setting forth to us the mode of the 
Divine existence, but the terms which belong 
to the Incarnation." Our accuser starts from 
this point, and says that we maintain that man 
emptied Himself to become man ! What com- 
munity is there between one statement and the 
other ? If we say that the Apostle has not 
set forth to us the mode of the Divine exist- 
ence, but points by his phrase to the dispens- 
ation of the Passion, we are on this ground 
charged with speaking of the " emptying " of 
man to become man, and with saying that the 
" form of the servant " had pretemporal exist- 
ence, and that the Man Who was born of Mary 
existed before the coming in the flesh ! Well, 
I think it superfluous to spend time in discussing 
what is admitted, seeing that truth itself frees 
us from the cl arge. In a case, indeed, where 
one may have given the calumniators some 
handle against oneself, it is proper to resist 
accusers : but where there is no danger of being 
suspected of some absurd charge, the accus- 
ation becomes a proof, not of the false charge 
made against him who is calumniated, but ot the 
madness of the accuser. As, however, in deal- 
ing with the charge of being ashamed of the 
Cross, we showed by our examination that the 
charge recoiled upon the acciser, so we shall 
show how this charge too returns upon those 
who make it, since it is they, and not we, who 
lay down the doctrine of the change of the Son 
from like to like in the dispensation of the 



* This seems to be the sense of the Greek title. Ttie Latin 
version of the earlier editions appears to represent a different reading, 
' contigisse, quando in pa^sione homo Christus passus est" 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK V. 



179 



Passion. We will examine briefly, bringing 
them side by side, the statements of each party. 
We say that the Only-begotten God, having by 
His own agency brought all things into being, 
by Himself s has full power over all things, 
while the nature of man is also one of the things 
that were made by Him : and that when this 
had fallen away to evil, and come to be in the 
destruction of death, He by His own agency 
drew it up once more to immortal life, by means 
of the Man in whom He tabernacled, taking to 
Himself humanity in completeness, and that 
He mingled His life-giving power with our 
mortal and perishable nature, and changed, by 
the combination with Himself, our deadness to 
living grace and power. And this we declare 
to be the mystery of the Lord according to the 
flesh, that He Who is immutable came to be in 
that which is mutable, to the end that altering 
it for the better, and changing it from the worse, 
He might abolish the evil which is mingled 
with our mutable condition, destroying the evil 
in Himself. For "our God is a consuming 
fire 6 ," by whom all the material of wickedness 
is done away. This is our statement. What 
does our accuser say? Not that He Who wa- 
immutable and uncreated was mingled with 
that which came into being by creation, and 
which had therefore suffered a change in the 
direction of evil ; but he does say that He, 
being Himself created, came to that which was 
kindred and homogeneous with Himself, not 
coming from a transcendent nature to put on 
the lowlier nature by reason of His love to man, 
but becoming that very thing which He was. 

For as regards the general character of the 
appellation, the name of "creature" is one, as 
predicated of all things that have come into 
being from nothing, while the divisions into 
sections of the things which we contemplate as 
included in the term " creature ", are separated 
one from the other by the variation of their 
pioperties: so that if He is created, and man 
is created, He was " emptied," to use Euno- 
mius' phrase, to become Himself, and changed 
His place, not from the transcendent to the 
lowly, but from what is similar in kind to what 
(save in regard of the special character of 
body and the incorporeal) is similar in dignity. 
To whom now will the just vote of those who 
have to try our cause be given, or who will 
seem to them to be under the weight of these 
charges? he who says that the created was 
saved by the uncreated God, or he who refers 
the cause of our salvation to the creature ? 
Surely the judgment of pious men is not doubt- 
ful. For any one who knows clearly the dif- 

5 This seems to be the force of aiii-cu ; olutoi/ might give a simpler 
Construction, but the sense would not be changed. Oehler, who here 
restore^ some words which were omitted in the earlier edition-., makes 
no mention of any variation of reading. 6 Heb. xii. 29. 



ference which there is between the created and 
the uncreated, (terms of which the divergence 
is marked by dominion and slavery, since the 
uncreated God, as the prophet says, "ruleth 
with His power for ever i" while all things in 
the creation are servants to Him, according to 
the voice of the same prophet, which says " all 
things serve Thee 8 ,") he, I say, who carefully 
considers these matters, surely cannot fail to 
recognize the person who makes the Only- 
begotten change from servitude to servitude. 
For if, according to Paul, the whole creation " is 
in bondage °," and if, according to Eunomius, 
the essential nature of the Only-begotten is 
created, our adversaries maintain, surely, by 
their doctrines, not that the master was mingled 
vvi'h the servant, but that a servant came to be 
among servants. As for our saying that the 
Lord was in the form o. a servant before His 
piesence in the flesh, that is just like charging 
us with saying that the stars are black and the 
sun misty, and the sky low, and water dry, 
and so on : — a man who does not maintain 
a charge on the ground of what he has 
heard, but makes up what seems good to him 
at his own sweet will, need not be sparing 
in making against us such charges as these. 
It is just the same thing for us to be called to 
account for the one set of charges as for the 
other, so far as concerns the fact that they have 
no b.sis for them in anything that we have said. 
How could one who says distinctly that the 
true Son was in the glory of the Father, in- 
sult the eternal glory of the Only-begotten by 
conceiving it to have been " in the form of a 
servant"? When our author thinks proper to 
speak evil of us, and at the same time takes 
care to present his case with some appearance 
of truth, it may perhaps not be superfluous or 
useless to rebut his unfounded accusations. 

§ 5. Thereafter he shows that there are not hvo 
Christs or two Lords, but one Christ and one 
Lord, and that the Divine nature, after m:'ngli>rg 
7viih the Human, preserved the properties of 
each nature without confusion, and dec/ares 
that the operations are, by reason of the union, 
predicated of the two natures in common, in the 
sense that the Lord took upon Himself the suffer- 
ings of the servant, and the Hum a ';ity is glorified 
with Him in tlie honour that is the Lord's, and 
that by the paiver of the Divine Nature that is 
commingled with Lt, the Human Nature is 
made anew, conformably with that Divine 
Nature Itself 

His next charge too has its own absurdity of 
the same sort. For he reproaches us with say- 
ing that there are " two Christs," and " two 
Lords," without being able to make ?ood his 



J Ps. lxvi. 6. (LXX.) 



8 Ps. cxix. 91. ? (^f. Rom. viii. zt 



N 2 



i So 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



charge from our words, but employing falsehood 
at discretion to suit his fancy. Since, then, he 
deems it within his power to say what he likes, 
why does he utter his falsehood with such care 
about detail, and maintain that we speak but of 
two Christs? Let him say, if he likes, that we 
preach ten Christs, or ten times ten, or extend 
the number to a thousand, that he may handle 
his calumny more vigorously. For blasphemy 
is equally involved in the doctrine of two 
Christs, and in that of more, and the character 
of the two charges is also equally devoid of 
proof. When he shows, then, that we do speak 
of two Christs, let him have a verdict against 
us, as much as though he had given proof of 
ten thousand. But he says that he convicts us 
by our own statements. Well, let us look once 
more at those words of our master by means of 
which he thinks to raise his charges against us. 
He says "he" (he, that is, who says "Him 
God made Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom 
ye crucified ") " is not setting forth to us the 
mode of the Divine existence, but the terms 
which belong to the Incarnation . . . laying 
stress by the demonstrative word on that in 
Him which was human and was seen by all." 
This is what he wrote. But whence has Euno- 
mius managed by these words to bring on the 
stage his " two Christs " ? Does saying that the 
demonstrative word lays stress on that which is 
visible, convey the proof of maintaining " two 
Christs " ? Ought we (to avoid being charged 
with speaking of " two Highests ") to deny 
the fact that by Him the Lord was highly 
exalted after His Passion ? seeing that God the 
Word, Who was in the beginning, was Highest, 
and was also highly exalted after His Passion, 
when He rose from the dead, as the Apostle 
says. We must of necessity choose one of two 
courses — either say that He was highly exalted 
after the Passion (which is just the same as 
saying that Hj was made Lord and Christ), 
and be impeached by Eunomius, or, if we avoid 
the accusation, deny the confession of the high 
exaltation of Him Who suffered. 

Now at this point it seems right to put for- 
ward once more our accuser's statement in 
support of our own defence. We shall there- 
for repeat word for word the statement laid 
down by him, which supports our argument, 
as follows: — "The blessed John," he says, 
" teaches us that God the Word, by Whom all 
things were made, has become incarnate, saying 
'And the Word was made flesh.'" Does he 
understand what he is writing when he adds 
this to his own argument ? I can hardly myself 
think that the same man can at once be aware 
of the meaning of these words and contend 
against our statement. For if any one examines 
the words cart-fully, he will find that there is no 



mutual conflict between what is said by us and 
what is said by him. For we both consider the 
dispensation in the flesh apart, and regard the 
Divine power in itself: and he, in like manner 
with ourselves, says that the Word that was in 
the beginning has been manifested in the flesh : 
yet no one ever charged him, nor does he charge 
himself, with preaching "two Words", Him 
Who was in the beginning, and Him Who was 
made flesh ; for he knows, surely, that the 
Word is identical with the Word, He who 
appeared in the flesh with Him Who was with 
God. But the flesh was not identical with the 
Godhead, till this too was transformed to the 
Godhead, so that of necessity one set of attributes 
befits God the Word, and a different set of attri- 
butes befits the " form of the servant I ." If, then, 
in view of such a confession, he does not re- 
proach himself with the dualitv of Words, why- 
are we falsely charged with dividing the object 
of our faith into "two Christs"? — we, who say 
that He Who was highly exalted after His 
Passion, was made Lord and Christ by His 
union 2 with Him Who is verily Lord and 
Christ, knowing by what we have learnt that 
the Divine Nature is always one and the same, 
and with the same mode of existence, while the 
flesh in itself is that which reason and sense 
apprehend concerning it, but when mixed 3 with 
the Divine no longer remains in its own limit- 
ations and properties, but is taken up to that 
which is overwhelming and transcendent. Our 
contemplation, however, of the respective pro- 
perties of the flesh and of the Godhead remains 
free from confusion, so long as each of these is 
contemplated by itself 4 , as, for example, "the 
Word was before the ages, but the flesh came 
into being in the last times " : but one could not 
reverse this statement, and say that the latter is 
pretemporal, or that the Word has come into 
being in the last times. The flesh is of a 
passible, the Word of an operative nature : and 
neither is the flesh capable of making the things 
that are, nor is the power possessed by the 
Godhead capable of suffering. The Word was 

1 This statement would seem to imply that, at some time after 
the Incarnation, the Humanity of Christ was transformed to the 
Divine Nature, and made identical with It. From other passages 
in what has preceded, it would seem that this change in the mutual 
relation of the two Natures might, according to the words of S. 
Gregory, be conceived as taking place after the Passion. Thus it 
might be said that S. Gregory conceived the union of the two- 
Natures to be, 'since the Passion (or, more strictly, since the 
"exaltation'), what the Monophysites conceived it to be from the 
moment of the Incarnation. But other phrases, again, seem to 
show that he conceived the two Natures still to remain distinct 
(see note 4 inf.). There is, however, ample justification in S. 
Gregory's language for the remark of Bp. Hefele, that S. Gregory 
not entirely free himself from the notion of a transmutation 
of the Human Nature into the Divine." (Hefele, Hist, of the 
Councils, Eng. Trans, vol. iii. p. 4.) 

* < 1 screws. 3 avaucpaQila'a 7rpbs to Btlov. 

4 Here S. Gregory seems to state accurately the differentiation 
of the two Natures, while he recognizes the possibility of'the com- 
municatio idiomatum : but it is not clear that he would acknow- 
ledge that the two Natures still remain distinct. Even this, how- 
•jeins to be implied in his citation of Phil. ii. 11, at a later 
point. 






AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK V. 



181 



in the beginning with God, the man was subject 
to the trial of death ; and neither was the Human 
Nature from everlasting, nor the Divine Nature 
mortal : and all the rest of the attributes are 
contemplated in the same way. It is not the 
Human Nature that raises up Lazarus, nor is it 
the power that cannot suffer that weeps for him 
when he lies in the grave : the tear proceeds 
from the Man, the life from the true Life. It 
is not the Human Nature that feeds the thou- 
sands, nor is it omnipotent might that hastens 
to the fig-tree. Who is it that is weary with 
the journey, and Who is it that by His word 
made all the world subsist ? What is the 
brightness of the glory, and what is that that 
was pierced with the nails ? What form is it 
that is buffeted in the Passion, and what form 
is it that is glorified from everlasting ? So much 
as this is clear, (even if one does not follow the 
argument into detail,) that the blows belong to 
the servant in whom the Lord was, the honours 
to the Lord Whom the servant compassed 
about, so that by reason of contact and the 
union of Natures the proper attributes of each 
belong to both 5, as the Lord receives the stripes 
of the servant, while the servant is glorified with 
the honour of the Lord ; for this is why the 
Cross is said to be the Cross of the Lord of 
glory 6 , and why every tongue confesses that 
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the 
Father ?. 

But if we are to discuss the other points in 
the same way, let us consider what it is that 
dies, and what it is that destroys death ; what it 
is -that is renewed, and what it is that empties 
itself. The Godhead "empties" Itself that It 
may come within the capacity of the Human 
Nature, and the Human Nature is renewed by 
becoming Divine through its commixture 8 with 
the Divine. For as air is not retained in water 
when it is dragged down by some weighty body 
and left in the depth of the water, but rises quickly 
to its kindred element, while the water is often 
raised up together with the air in its upward 
rush, being moulded by the circle of air into a 
convex shape with a slight and membrane-like 
surface, so too, when the true Life that underlay 
the flesh sped up, after the Passion, to Itself, 
the flesh also was raised up with It, being forced 
upwards from corruption to incorruptibility by 
the Divine immortality. And as fire that lies 
in wood hidden below the surface is often un- 
observed by the senses of those who see, or 
even touch it, but is manifest when it blazes up, 

5 Here is truly stated the ground of the communicatin idio- 
matum : while the illustrations following seem to show that S. 
Gregory recognized this communicatio as existing at the time of 
our Lord's humiliation, and as continuing to exist after His "exalt- 
ation"; that he acknowledged, that is, the union of the two 
Natures before the "exaltation," and the distinction of the two 
Natures alter that event 6 i Cor ii. Z. 



7 Phiu " 



u.'iuvadlurf 



so too, at His death (which He brought about 
at His will, Who separated His soul from His 
Body, Who said to His own Father " Into Thy 
hands I commend My Spirit V Who, as He 
says, " had power to lay it down and had power 
to take it again 1 "), He Who, because He is 
the Lord of glory, despised that which is shame 
among men, having concealed, as it were, the 
flame of His life in His bodily Nature, by the 
dispensation of His death 2 , kindled and in- 
flamed it once more by the power of His own 
Godhead, fostering into life that which had been 
brought to death, having infused with the in- 
finity of His Divine power that humble first- 
fruits of our nature, made it also to be that 
which He Himself was — making the servile 
form to be Lord, and the Man born of Mary to 
be Christ, and Him Who was crucified through 
weakness to be Life and power, and making all 
that is piously conceived to be in God the Word 
to be also in that which the Word assumed, so 
that these attributes no longer seem to be in 
either Nature by way of division, but that the 
perishable Nature being, by its commixture with 
the Divine, made anew in conformity with the 
Nature that overwhelms it, participates in the 
power of the Godhead, as if one were to say 
that mixture makes a drop of vinegar mingled 
in the deep to be sea, by reason that the natural 
quality of this liquid does not continue in the 
infinity of that which overwhelms it 3. This is 
our doctrine, which does not, as Eunomius 
charges against it, preach a plurality of Christs, 
but the union of the Man with the Divinity, 
and which calls by the name of "making " the 
transmutation of the Mortal to the Immortal,' of 
the Servant to the Lord, of Sin 4 to Righteous- 
ness, of the Curse 5 to the Blessing, of the Man 
to Christ. What further have our slanderers 
left to say, to show that we preach "two 
Christs " in our doctrine, if we refuse to say 
that He Who was in the beginning from the 
Father uncreatedly Lord, and Christ, and the 
Word, and God, was " made," and declare that 
the blessed Peter was pointing briefly and in- 
cidentally to the mystery of the Incarnation, 
according to the meaning now explained, that 
the Nature which was crucified through weak- 
ness has Itself also, as we have said, become, 
by the overwhelming power of Him Who dwells 
in It, that' which the Indweller Himself is in 
fact and in name, even Christ and Lord ? 

9 S. Luke xxiii. 46. * S. John x. 18. 

2 Altering Oehler's punctuation, which would connect ev rrj Kara. 
tov OdvaTov oiKovoiAia, not with (rvyKa\viptx<;, but with ai/Tji/ze. 

3 Here may be observed at once a conformity to the phraseology 
of the Monophysites (bearing in mind that S. Gregory is not 
speaking, as they were, of the union of the two Natures in the Incar- 
nation, but of the change wrought by the " exaltation "), and a 
suggestion that the Natures still remain distinct, as otherwise it 
would be idle to speak of the Human Nature as participating in 
the power of the Divine. 

4 Cf. 2 Cor. v. 21 * Cf. Gal. iii. 13. 



BOOK VI. 



$ I. The sixth book shows that He Who came 
for man's salvation was not a mere man, as 
Eunomius, falsely slandering him, affirmed 
that the great Basil had said, but the Only- 
begotten Son of God, putting on human flesh, 
and becoming a mediator between God and 
man, on Whom we believe, as subject to suffer- 
ing in the flesh, but impassible in His Godhead ; 
and demonstrates the calumny of Eunomius. 

But I perceive that while the necessities of 
the subject compelled me to follow this line of 
thought, I have lingered too long over this 
passage *. I must now resume the train of his 
complaints, that we may pass by none of the 
charges brought against us without an answer. 
And first I propose that we should examine this 
point, that he charges us with asserting that an 
ordinary man has wrought the salvation of the 
world. For although this point has been to 
some extent already cleared up by the investi- 
gations we have made, we shall yet briefly deal 
with it once more, that the mind of those who 
are acting as our judges on this slanderous 
accusation may be entirely freed from mis- 
apprehension. So far are we from referring to 
an ordinary man the cause of this great and 
unspeakable grace, that even if any should refer 
so great a boon to Peter and Paul, or to an 
angel from heaven, we should say with Paul, 
"let him be anathema 2 ." For Paul was not 
crucified for us, nor were we baptized into a 
human name 3 . Surely the doctrine which our 
adversaries oppose to the truth is not thereby 
strengthened when we confess that the saving 
power of Christ is more potent than human 
nature * : — yet it may seem to be so, for their 
aim is to maintain at all points the difference 
of the essence of the Son from that of the 
Father, and they strive to show the dissimilarity 
of essence not only by the contrast of the 
Generated with the Ungenerate, but also by the 
opposition of the passible to the impassible. 

1 The passage in S. Peter's speech (Acts ii. 36) discussed in the 
preceding book. * (Jf. Gal. 1. 8, 9. 3 1 Cor. i. 13. 

4 The sei'se of this passage is rather obscure. S. Gregory in- 
tends, it wi.nl 1 seem, to point out that, although an acknowledgment 
thai lie Christ wa.< more than man m.iy seem at first sight 

to uppnn the Kunomian view of the passibility of the Godhead of 
the Son, tins is mil its necessary effect. Apparently either ov fA7|i> 
must be taken as equivalent to ov fi'rfv aAAa, i>r a clause such as 
thnl expressed in the translation must be supplied before TOW ixev 
yap k.t.A. 



And while this is more openly maintained in 
the last part of their argument, it is also clearly 
shown in their present discourse 5 . For if he 
finds fault with those who refer the Passion to 
the Human Nature, his intention is certainly to 
subject to the Passion the Godhead Itself. For 
our conception being twofold, and admitting of 
two developments, accordingly as the Divinity 
or the Humanity is held to have been in a 
condition of suffering, an attack on one of these 
views is clearly a maintaining of the other. 
Accordingly, if they find fault with those who 
look upon the Passion as concerning the Man, 
they will clearly approve those who say that the 
Godhead of the Son was subject to passion, 
and the position which these last maintain be- 
comes an argument in favour of their own 
absurd doctrine. For if, according to their 
statement, the Godhead of the Son suffers, 
while that of the Father is preserved in absolute 
impassibility, then the impassible Nature is 
essentially different from that which admits 
passion. Seeing, therefore, that the dictum 
before us, though, so far as it is limited by 
number of words, it is a short one, yet affords 
principles and hypotheses for every kind of 
doctrinal pravity, it would seem right that our 
readers should require in our reply not so much 
brevity as soundness. We, then, neither attri- 
bute our own salvation to a man, nor admit 
that the incorruptible and Divine Nature is 
capable of suffering and mortality : but since 
we must assuredly believe the Divine utterances 
which declare to us that the Word that was in 
the beginning was God 6 , and that afterward the 
Word made flesh was seen upon the earth and 
conversed with men 7, we admit in our creed 
those conceptions which are consonant with the 
Divine utterance. For when we hear that He 
is Light, and Power, and Righteousness, and 
Life, and Truth, and that by Him all things 
were made, we account all these and such-like 
statements as things to be believed, referring 
them to God the Word : but when we hear of 
pain, of slumber, of need, of trouble, of bonds, 
of nails, of the spear, of blood, of wounds, of 
burial, of the sepulchre, and all else of this 
kind, even' if they are somewhat opposed to 

5 Altering Oehler's punctuation, which here follows that of the 
earlier editions. ° Of. S. John i. I. 7 Cf Bar. iii. 37. 



GREGORY OF NYSSA AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK VI. 183 



what has previously been stated, we none the 
less admit them to be things to be believed, and 
true, having regard to the flesh, which we receive 
by faith as conjoined with the Word. For as 
it is not possible to contemplate the peculiar 
attributes of the flesh as existing in the Word that 
was in the beginning, so also on the other hand 
we may not conceive those which are proper to 
the Godhead as existing in the nature of the flesh. 
As, therefore, the teaching of the Gospel con- 
cerning our Lord is mingled, partly of lofty and 
Divine ideas, partly of those which are lowly 
and human, we assign every particular phrase 
accordingly to one or other of these Natures 
which we conceive in the mystery, that which 
is human to the Humanity, that which is lofty 
to the Godhead, and say that, as God, the Son 
is certainly impassible and incapable of corrup- 
tion : and whatever suffering is asserted con- 
cerning Him in the Gospel, He assuredly 
wrought by means of His Human Nature which 
admitted of such suffering. For verily the God- 
head works the salvation of the world by means 
of that body which encompassed It, in such 
wise that the suffering was of the body, but the 
operation was of God ; and even if some wrest 
to the support of the opposite doctrine the 
words of the Apostle, "God spared not His 
own Son 8 ," and, "God sent His own Son 9," 
and other similar phrases which seem to refer, 
in the matter of the Passion, to the Divine 
Nature, and not to the Humanity, we shall 
none the less refuse to abandon sound doctrine, 
seeing that Paul himself declares to us more 
clearly the mystery of this subject. For he 
everywhere attributes to the Human element in 
Christ the dispensation of the Passion, when he 
says, "for since by man came death, by man 
came also the resurrection of the dead V and, 
" God, sending His own Son in the likeness of 
sinful flesh, condemned sin in the flesh 9 " (for 
he says, "in the flesh, "not "in the Godhead") ; 
and " He was crucified through weakness " 
(where by "weakness" he means "the flesh"), 
" yet liveth by power 2 " (while he indicates by 
" power " the Divine Nature) ; and, " He died 
unto sin" (that is, with regard to the body), 
" but liveth unto God 3 " (that is, with regard to 
the Godhead, so that by these words it is estab- 
lished that, while the Man tasted death, the 
immortal Nature did not admit the suffering of 
death) ; and again, " He made Him to be sin 
for us, Who knew no sin *," giving once more 
the name of " sin " to the flesh. 

§ 2. Then he again mentions S. Peter's word, 
" made" and the passage in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, which says that Jesus was made by 



8 Ron 



32- 



a Cor. xui. 4. 



9 Cf. Rom. viii. 3. 
3 Rom. vi. 10. 



1 Cor. xv. 21. 
3 Cor. v. 31. 



God "an Apostle and High Priest" : and, 
after giving a sufficient answer to the charges 
brought against him by Eunomius, shows that 
Eunomius himself supports Basil's argumen's, 
and says that the Only-begotten Son, when He 
had put on the flesh, became Lord. 

And although we make these remarks in 
passing, the parenthetic addition seems, perhaps, 
not less important than the main question before 
us. For since, when St. Peter says, " He made 
Him Lord and Christ 5 ," and again, when the 
Apostle Paul says to the Hebrews that He 
made Him a priest 6 , Eunomius catches at the 
word " made " as being applicable to His pre- 
temporal existence, and thinks thereby to estab- 
lish his doctrine that the Lord is a thing made ?, 
let him now listen to Paul when he says, " Fie 
made Him to be sin for us, Who knew not 
sin V If he refers the word "made," which is 
used of the Lord in the passages from the 
Epistle to the Hebrews, and from the words of 
Peter, to the pretemporal idea, he might fairly 
refer the word in that passage which says that 
God made Him to be sin, to the first existence 
of His essence, and try to show by this, as in 
the case of his other testimonies, that he was 
"made", so as to refer the word "made" to 
the essence, acting consistently with himself, and 
to discern sin in that essence. But if he shrinks 
from this by reason of its manifest absurdity, 
and argues that, by saying, " He made Him to 
be sin," the Apostle indicates the dispensation 
of the last times, let him persuade himself by 
the same train of reasoning that the word 
" made " refers to that dispensation in the other 
passages also. 

Let us, however, return to the point from 
which we digressed ; for we might gather to- 
gether from the same Scripture countless other 
passages, besides those quoted, which bear upon 
the matter. And let no one think that the 
divine Apostle is divided against himself in con- 
tradiction, and affords by his own utterances 
matter for their contentions on either side to 
those who dispute upon the doctrines. For 
careful examination would find that his argu- 
ment is accurately directed to one aim ; and 
he is not halting in his opinions : for while 
he everywhere proclaims the combination of 
the Human with the Divine, he none the less 
discerns in each its proper nature, in the sense 
that while the human weakness is changed for 
the better by its communion with the imperish- 
able, the Divine power, on the other hand, is 
not abased by its contact with the lowly form of 
nature. When therefore he says, " He spared 
not His own Son," he contrasts the true Son 
with the other sons, begotten, or exalted, or 



5 Acts ii. 36. 

7 Altering Oehler's punctuation. 



* Cf. Heb. v. 5. 



1 84 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



adopted 8 (those, I mean, who were brought 
into being at His command), marking the 
specialty of nature by the addition of '■'■own." 
And, to the end that no one should connect the 
suffering of the Cross with the imperishable 
nature, he gives in other words a fairly distinct 
correction of such an error, when he calls Him 
" mediator between God and menV and "manV 
and "God V' that, from the fact that both are 
predicated of the one Being, the fit conception 
might be entertained concerning each Nature, 
— concerning the Divine Nature, impassibility, 
concerning the Human Nature, the dispensation 
of the Passion. As his thought, then, divides 
that which in love to man was made one, but is 
distinguished in idea, he uses, when he is pro- 
claiming that nature which transcends and 
surpasses all intelligence, the more exalted 
order of names, calling Him "God over all 2 ," 
"the great Gods," "the power" of God, and 
" the wisdom " of God 4 , and the like ; but when 
he is alluding to all that experience of suffering 
which, by reason of our weakness, was neces- 
sarily assumed with our nature, he gives to the 
union of the Natures 5 that name which is de- 
rived from ours, and calls Him Man, not by 
this word placing Him Whom he is setting forth 
to us on a common level with the rest of nature, 
but so that orthodoxy is protected as regards 
each Nature, in the sense that the Human 
Nature is glorified by His assumption of it, and 
the Divine is not polluted by Its condescension, 
but makes the Human element subject to suffer- 
ings, while working, through Its Divine power, 
the resurrection of that which suffered. And 
thus the experience of death is not 6 referred 
to Him Who had communion in our passible 
nature by reason of the union with Him of the 
Man, while at the same time the exalted and 
Divine names descend to the Man, so that He 
Who was manifested upon the Cross is called 
even "the Lord of glory 7," since the majesty 
implied in these names is transmitted from the 
Divine to the Human by the commixture of 
Its Nature with that Nature which is lowly. 
For this cause he describes Him in varied and 
different language, at one time as Him Who 
came down from heaven, at another time as 
Him Who was born of woman, as God from 
eternity, and Man in the last days ; thus too the 

8 Reading, as Gulonius seems to have done, and according to 
Oehler's suggestion (which he does not himself follow), vio0iTr)9fiji 
for a#eTr)<Ta<7i. In the latter reading the MSS. seem to agree, but 
Ihc sense is doubtful. It may be rendered, perhaps, "Who were 
begotten and exalted, and who rejected Him." The quotation from 
S. Paul is from Rom. viii. 32. 9 1 Tim. ii. 5. 

1 The reference is perhaps to 1 Tim iii. 16, but more probably 
to t Tim. ii. 5. 2 Rom ix 5. 

3 Tit. ii, 13. * 1 Cor. i 24. 5 T b <rvva^(j>6Tfpov 

b Reading o"Te, in favour of which apparently lies the weight of 
MSS. I'he reading of the Paris edit inn gives an easier connection, 
bin I itly no Mv authority. The distinction S. Gri 

draws is ilns ;— ■• you may nol say ' Goddied,' for human weakness 
not attach to the Divine Nature . you may say ' He who died is 
the Lord •>! glory,' for the Human Nature is actually made partaker 
of the power and majesty ol the Divine." 7 1 Cor. ii. 8. 



Only-begotten God is held to be impassible, and 
Christ to be capable of suffering ; nor does his 
discourse speak falsely in these opposing state- 
ments, as it adapts in its conceptions to each 
Nature the terms that belong to it. If then 
these are the doctrines which we have learnt 
from inspired teaching, how do we refer the 
cause of our salvation to an ordinary man ? and 
if we declare the word " made " employed by 
the blessed Peter to have regard not to the pre- 
temporal existence, but to the new dispensation 
of the Incarnation, what has this to do with the 
charge against us? For this great Apostle says 
that that which was seen in the form of the 
servant has been made, by being assumed, to 
be that which He Who assumed it was in His 
own Nature. Moreover, in the Epistl" to the 
Hebrews we may learn the same tru^i from 
Paul, when he says that Jesus was made an 
Apostle and High Priest by God, " being faith- 
ful to him that made Him so 8 ." For in that 
passage too, in giving the name of High Priest 
to Him Who made with His own Blood the 
priestly propitiation for our sins, he does not by 
the word " made " declare the first existence of 
the Only-begotten, but says " made " with the 
intention of representing that grace which is 
commonly spoken of in connection with the 
appointment of priests. For Jesus, the great 
High Priest (as Zechariah says 9), Who offered 
up his own lamb, that is, His own Body, for the 
sin of the world ; Who, by reason of the children 
that are partakers of flesh and blood, Himself 
also in like manner took part with them in 
blood ' (not in that He was in the beginning, 
being the Word and God, and being in the form 
of God, and equal with God, but in that He 
emptied Himself in the form of the servant, and 
offered an oblation and sacrifice for us), He, I 
say, became a High Priest many generations 
later, after the order of Melchisedech 2 . Surely 
a reader who has more than a casual acquaint- 
ance with the discourse to the Hebrews knows 
the mystery of this matter. As, then, in that 
passage He is said to have been made Priest 
and Apostle, so here He is said to have been 
made Lord and Christ, — the latter for the dis- 
pensation on our behalf, the former by the 
change and transformation of the Human to the 
Divine (for by "making" the Apostle means 
" making anew "). Thus is manifest the knavery 
of our adversaries, who insolently wrest the 
words referring to the dispensation to apply 
them to the pretemporal existence. For we 
learn from the Apostle not to know Christ in 
the same manner now as before, as Paul thus 
speaks, "Yea, though we have known Christ 
after the flesh, yet now know we Him no more 3 ," 
in the sense that the one knowledge manifests 

» Cf. Heb. iii. i, 2. 9 Cf. Zech. iii. 1. 

1 Cf. Heb. ii. 14. 2 Cf. Heb. vii. 21. 3 2 Cf. Cor. v. 16. 



AGAINST EUNOMIUS. BOOK VI. 



185 



to us His temporary dispensation, the other His 
eternal existence. Thus our discourse has made 
no inconsiderable answer to his charges : — that 
we neither hold two Christs nor two Lords, that 
we are not ashamed of the Cross, that we do not 
glorify a mere man as having suffered for the 
world, that we assuredly do not think that the 
word " made " refers to the formation of the 
essence. But, such being our view, our argu- 
ment has no small support from our accuser 
himself, where in the midst of his discourse he 
employs his tongue in a flourishing onslaught 
upon us, and produces this sentence among 
others: "This, then, is the conflict that Basil 
wages against himself, and he clearly appears 
neither to have ' applied his own mind to the 
intention of the Apostles,' nor to be able to pre- 
serve the sequence of his own arguments ; for 
according to them he must, if he is conscious 
of their irreconcilable character, admit that the 
Word Who was in the beginning and was God 
became Lord," or he fits together "statements 
that are mutually conflicting." Why, this is ac- 
tually our statement which Eunomius repeats, 
who says that "the Word that was in the begin- 
ning and was God became Lord." For, being 
what He was, God, and Word, and Life, and 
Light, and Grace, and Truth, and Lord, and 
Christ, and every name exalted and Divine, He 
did become, in the Man assumed by Him, Who 
was none of these, all else which the Word was, 
and among the rest did become Lord and Christ, 
according to the teaching of Peter, and accord- 
ing to the confession of Eunomius ; — not in the 
sense that the Godhead acquired anything by 
way of advancement, but (all exalted majesty 
being contemplated in the Divine Nature) He 
thus becomes Lord and Christ, not by arriving 
at any addition of grace in respect of His God- 
head (for the Nature of the Godhead is ac- 
knowledged to be lacking in no good), but by 
bringing the Human Nature to that participation 
in the Godhead which is signified by the terms 
" Christ " and " Lord." 

§ 3. He then gives a notable explanation of the 
saying of the Lord to Philip, " He that hath 
seen Me hath seen the Father; " and herein he 
excellently discusses the suffering of the Lord 
in His love to man, and the impassibility, 
creative power, and providence of the Father, 
and the composite nature of men, and their 
resolution into the elements of which they were 
composed. 

Sufficient defence has been offered on these 
points, and as for that which Eunomius says by 
way of calumny against our doctrine, that 
" Christ was emptied to become Himself," there 
has been sufficient discussion in what has been 
said above, where he has been shown to be at- 



tributing to our doctrine his own blasphemy.* 

For it is not one who confesses that the immut- 
able Nature has put on the created and perish- 
able, who speaks of the transition from like to like, 
but one who conceives that there is no change 
from the majesty of Nature to that which is 
more lowly. For if, as their doctrine asserts, He 
is created, and man is created also, the wonder 
of the doctrine disappears, and there is nothing 
marvellous in what is alleged, since the created 
nature comes to be in itself 5 . But we who 
have learnt from prophecy of " the change of 
the right hand of the Most High 6 ," — and by 
the " Right Hand " of the Father we understand 
that Power of God, which made all things, 
which is the Lord (not in the sense of depend- 
ing upon Him as a part upon a whole, but as 
being indeed from Him, and yet contemplated 
in individual existence), — say thus : that neither 
does the Right Hand vary from Him Whose 
Right Hand It is, in regard to the idea of Its 
Nature, nor can any other change in It be 
spoken of besides the dispensation of the Flesh. 
For verily the Right Hand of God was God 
Himself, manifested in the flesh, seen through 
that same flesh by those whose sight was clear ; 
as He did the work of the Father, being, both 
in fact and in thought, the Right Hand of God, 
yet being changed, in respect of the veil of the 
flesh by which He was surrounded, as regarded 
that which was seen, from that which He was 
by Nature, as a subject of contemplation. 
Therefore He says to Philip, who was gazing 
only at that which was changed, " Look through 
that which is changed to that which is unchange- 
able, and if thou seest this, thou hast seen that 
Father Himself, Whom thou seekest to see ; for 
he that hath seen Me — not Him Who appears 
in a state of change, but My very self, Who am 
in the Father — will have seen that Father Him- 
self in Whom I am, because the very same 
character of Godhead is beheld in both ?." If, 
then, we believe that the immortal and im- 
passible and uncreated Nature came to be in 
the passible Nature of the creature, and conceive 
the " change " to consist in this, on what grounds 
are we charged with saying that He " was emp- 
tied to become Himself," by those who keep 
prating their own statements about our doc- 
trines? For the participation of the created 
with the created is no "change of the Right 
Hand." To say that the Right Hand of the 
uncreated Nature is created belongs to Euno- 
mius alone, and to those who adopt such 
opinions as he holds. For the man with an 
eye that looks on the truth will discern the 

4 See above, Book V. § 4. 

5 That is, in a nature created like itself. 

6 Ps. Ixxvii. io(LXX.). This application of the passage is also 
made by Michael Ayguan (the " Doctor Incognitas"), who is the 
only commentator mentioned by Neale and Littledale as so inter- 
preting the text. 7 Cf. S. John xiv. 9, 10. 



1 86 



GREGORY OF NYSSA 



Right Hand of the Highest to be such as he 
sees the Highest to be, — Uncreated of Un- 
created, Good of Good, Eternal of Eternal, 
without prejudice to Its eternity by Its being in 
the Father by way of generation. Thus our 
accuser has unawares been employing against 
us reproaches that properly fall upon himself. 

But with reference 8 to those who stumble at 
the idea of "passion," and on this ground 
maintain the diversity of the Essences, — arguing 
that the Father, by reason of the exaltation of 
His Nature, does not admit passion, and that 
the Son on the other hand condescended, by 
reason of defect and divergence, to the partaking 
of His sufferings, — I wish to add these remarks 
to what has been already said : — That nothing 
is truly " passion " which does not tend to sin, 
nor would one strictly call by the name of 
"passion" the necessary routine of nature, re- 
garding the composite nature as it goes on its 
course in a kind of order and sequence. For 
the mutual concurrence of heterogeneous ele- 
ments in the formation of our body is a kind of 
a combination harmoniously conjoined out of 
several dissimilar elements ; but when, at the 
due time, the tie is loosed which bound together 
this concurrence of the elements, the combined 
nature is once more dissolved into the elements 
of which it was composed. This then is rather 
a work than a passion of the nature 9. For we 
give the name of " passion " only to that which 
is opposed to the virtuous unimpassioned state, 
and of this we believe that He Who granted 
us salvation was at all times devoid, Who 
"was in all points tempted like as we are, 
yet without sin '." Of that, at least, which 
is truly passion, which is a diseased condition 
of the will, He was not a partaker ; for it says 
" He did no sin, neither was guile found in 
His mouth 2 " ; but the peculiar attributes of our 
nature, which, by a kind of customary abuse of 
terms, are called by the same name of "passion," 
— of these, we confess, the Lord did partake, — 
of birth, nourishment, growth, of sleep and toil, 
and all those natural dispositions which the 
soul is wont to experience with regard to bodily 
inconveniences, — the desire of that which is 
lacking, when the longing passes from the body 
to the soul, the sense of pain, the dread of 
death, and all the like, save only such as, if 
followed, lead to sin. As, then, when we per- 
ceive His power extending through all things 
in heaven, and air, and earth, and sea, whatever 
there is in heaven, whatever there is beneath 



8 Oehler's punctuation, while it does not exactly follow that of 
the earlier editions, Mill seems to admit of emendation here. 

* The word ira&x, like the English word '" passion," has a double 
sense : in one sense it connotes a tendency to evd action or evil 
habit — and in this sense Christ was not subject to passion. ]n 
another sense il has no such connotation, and it is in this sense (a 
sense, Gregory would say, somewhat inexact), that the term is used 
to express the sufferings of Christ : — to tins case, it may be -aid, the 
inexact use of the English word is for the most part restricted. 

1 Hcb. iv. 15. a 1 Pet. li. 22. 



the earth, we believe that He is universally 
present, and yet do not say that He is any of 
those things in which He is (for He is not the 
Heaven, Who has marked it out with His en- 
folding span, nor is He the earth, Who upholds 
the circle of the earth, nor yet is He the water, 
Who encompasses the liquid nature), so neither 
do we say that in passing through those suffer- 
ings of the flesh of which we speak He was 
"subject to passion," but, as we say that He is 
the cause of all things that are, that He holds 
the universe in His grasp, that He directs all that 
is in motion and keeps upon a settled foundation 
all that is stationary, by the unspeakable power 
of His own majesty, so we say that He was born 
among us for the cure of the disease of sin, 
adapting the exercise of His healing power in a 
manner corresponding to the suffering, applying 
the healing in that way which He knew to be 
for the good of that part of the creation which 
He knew to be in infirmity. And as it was 
expedient that He should heal the sufferings 
by touch, we say that He so healed it ; yet is 
He not, because He is the Healer of our in- 
firmity, to be deemed on this account to have 
been Himself passible. For even in the case 
of men, ordinary use does not allow us to affirm 
such a thing. We do not say that one who 
touches a sick man to heal him is himself par- 
taker of the infirmity, but we say that he does 
give the sick man the boon of a return to health, 
and does not partake of the infirmity : for the 
suffering does not touch him, it is he who 
touches the disease. Now if he who by his art 
works any good in men's bodies is not called 
dull or feeble, but is called a lover of men and 
a benefactor and the like, why do they slander 
the dispensation to usward as being mean and 
inglorious, and use it to maintain that the es- 
sence of the Son is "divergent by way of 
inferiority," on the ground that the Nature of 
the Father is superior to sufferings, while that of 
the Son is not pure from passion ? Why, if the 
aim of the dispensation of the Incarnation was 
not that the Son should be subject to suffering, 
but that He should be manifested as a lover of 
men, while the Father also is undoubtedly a 
lover of men, it follows that if one will but re- 
gard the aim, the Son is in the same case with 
the Father. But if it was not the Father Who 
wrought the destruction of death, marvel not, — 
for ail judgment also He hath committed unto 
the Son, Himself judging no man 3 ; not doing 
all things by the Son for the reason that He is 
unable either to save the lost or judge the sinner, 
but because He does these things too by His 
own Power, by which He works all things. 
Then they who were saved by the Son were 
saved by the Power of the Father, and they who 
are judged by Him undergo judgment by the 

3 Cf. S. John v. 22. 



AGAINST EUNOM1US. BOOK VI. 



187 



Righteousness of God. For "Christ," as the 
Apostle says, "is the Righteousness of God 4 ," 
which is revealed by the Gospel ; and whether 
you look at the world as a whole, or at the parts 
of the world which make up that complete 
whole, all these are works of the Father, in that 
they are works of His Power ; and thus the 
word which says both that the Father made all 
things, and that none of these things that are 
came into being without the Son, speaks truly 
on both points ; for the operation of the Power 
bears relation to Him Whose Power It is. Thus, 
since the Son is the Power of the Father, all 
the works of the Son are works of the Father. 
That He entered upon the dispensation of the 
Passion not by weakness of nature but by the 
power of His will, one might bring countless 
passages of the Gospel to show ; but these, as 
the matter is clear, I will pretermit, that my 
discourse may not be prolonged by dwelling on 
points that are admitted. If, then, that which 
comes to pass is evil, we have to separate from 
that evil not the Father only, but the Son also ; 
but if the saving of them that were lost is good, 
and if that which took place is not "passion V 
but love of men, why do you alienate from our 
thanksgiving for our salvation the Father, Who 
by His own Power, which is Christ, wrought for 
men their freedom from death ? 

§ 4. Then returning to the words of Peter, l * God 
made Him Lord and Christ" he skilfully ex- 
plains it by many arguments, and hen in shcnvs 
Eunomius as an advocate of the orthodox doc- 
trine, and concludes the book by showing that 
the Divine and Human names are applied, by 
reason of the commixture, to either Nature. 

But we must return once more to our vehe- 
ment writer of speeches, and take up again that 
severe invective of his against ourselves. He 
makes it a complaint against us that we deny 
that the Essence of the Son has been made, as 
contradicting the words of Peter, " He made 
Him Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom ye 
crucified 6 " ; and he is very forcible in his in- 
dignation and abuse upon this matter, and 
moreover maintains certain points by which he 
thinks that he refutes our doctrine. Let us 
see, then, the force of his attempts. " Who, 
pray, ye most reckless of men," he says, "when 
he has the form of a servant, takes the form of 
a servant?" "No reasonable man," shall be 

4 Rom. i. 17. 

5 That is, " passion " in the sense defined above, as something 
with evil tendency. If the yii/ojitvoe (/. e. the salvation of men) is 
evil, then Father and Son alike must be "kept clear" from any 
participation in it. If it is good, and if, therefore, the means (the 
actual events) are not " passion" as not tending to evil, while, con- 
sidered in regard to their aim, they are <t>iKa.v9pu>TtCa, then there is no 
reason why a share in their fulfilment should be denied to the 
Father. Who, as well as the Son, is <|>iAai'0puj7ros. and Who by His 
own Power (that is, by Christ) wrought the salvation of men. 

6 Acts ii. 36. 



our reply to him, " would use language of this 
kind, save such as may be entirely alien from 
the hope of Christians. But to this class you 
belong, who charge us with recklessness because 
we do not admit the Creator to be created. 
For if the Holy Spirit does not lie, when He 
says by the prophet, 'All things serve Thee 7 ,' 
and the whole crea f ion is in servitude, and the 
Son is, as you say 8 , created, He is clearly a 
fellow-servant with all things, being degraded 
by His partaking of creation to partake also of