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Seconb Series. 




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

Union Theological Seminary \ New York. London. 






















This volume of the series of Nicene Fathers has been unfortunately delayed. When 
I consented in the first instance to edit the volume, it was with the distinct understanding 
that I could not myself undertake the translation, but that I would do my best to find 
translators and see the work through the press. It has been several times placed in the 
hands of very competent scholars ; but the fact that work of this kind can only be done 
in the intervals of regular duties, and the almost inevitable drawback that the best men 
are also the busiest, has repeatedly stood in the way and caused the work to be returned 
to me. That it sees the light now is due mainly to the zeal, ability, and scholarship 
of the Rev. E. W. Watson. It was late in the day when Mr. Watson first undertook 
a share in the work which has since then been constantly increased. He has co-operated 
with me in the most loyal and efficient manner; and while I am glad to think that the 
whole of the Introduction and a full half of the translation are from his hand, there is 
hardly a page (except in the translation of the De Synodis, which was complete before 
he joined the work) which does not owe to him many and marked improvements. My 
own personal debt to Mr. Watson is very great indeed, and that of the subscribers to 
the series is, I believe, hardly less. 

For the translator of Hilary has before him a very difficult task. It has not been 
with this as with other volumes of the series, where an excellent translation already 
existed and careful revision was all that was needed. A small beginning had been made 
for the De Trinitate by the late Dr. Short, Bishop of Adelaide, whose manuscript was 
kindly lent to one of the contributors to this volume. But with this exception no English 
translation of Hilary's works has been hitherto attempted. That which is now offered is 
the first in the field. And it must be confessed that Hilary is a formidable writer. I do 
not think that I know any Latin writer so formidable, unless it is Victorinus Afer, or 
Tertullian. And the terse, vigorous, incisive sentences of Tertullian, when once the 
obscurities of meaning have been mastered, run more easily into English than the 
involved and overloaded periods of Hilary. It is true that in a period of decline 
Hilary preserves more than most of his contemporaries of the tradition of Roman culture ; 
but it is the culture of the rhetorical schools at almost the extreme point of their artifi- 
ciality and mannerism. Hilary was too sincere a man and too thoroughly in earnest to 
be essentially mannered or artificial j but his training had taken too strong a hold upon 
him to allow him to express his thought with ease and simplicity. And his very merits 
all tended in the same direction. He has the copia verborum; he has the weight and 
force of character which naturally goes with a certain amplitude of style; he has the 
seriousness and depth of conviction which keeps him at a high level of dignity and 
gravity but is unrelieved by lighter touches. 



We must take our author as we find him. But it seems to me, if I am not mistaken, 
that Mr. Watson has performed a real feat of translation in not only reproducing the meaning 
of the original but giving to it an English rendering which is so readable, flowing, and even 
elegant. I think it will be allowed that only a natural feeling for the rhythm and cadence of 
English speech, as well as for its varied harmonies of diction, could have produced the result 
which is now laid before the reader. And I cherish the hope, that although different 
degrees of success have doubtless been attained by the different contributors at least no 
jarring discrepancy of style will be felt throughout the volume. It will be seen that the 
style generally leans to the side of freedom ; but I believe that it will be found to be 
the freedom of the scholar who is really true to his text while transfusing it into another 
tongue, and not the clumsy approximation which only means failure. 

Few writers deserve their place in the library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 
more thoroughly than Hilary. He might be said to be the one Latin theologian before 
the age of St. Augustine and St. Leo. Tertullian had a still greater influence upon the 
writers who followed him. He came at a still more formative and critical time, and the 
vis vivida of his original and wayward genius has rarely been equalled. But the particular 
influence which Tertullian exerted in coining the terms and marking out the main lines 
of Latin theology came to him almost by accident. He was primarily a lawyer, and 
his special gift did not lie in the region of speculation. It is a strange fortune which 
gave to the language on which he set his stamp so great a control of the future. The 
influence of Hilary on the other hand is his by right. His intercourse with the East 
had a marked effect upon him. It quickened a natural bent for speculation unusual in 
the West. The reader will find in Mr. Watson's Introduction a description and estimate 
of Hilary's theology which is in my opinion at once accurate, candid and judicious. No 
attempt is made to gloss over the defects, especially in what we might call the more 
superficial exegesis of Hilary's argument; but behind and beneath this we feel that we 
are in contact with a very powerful mind. We feel that we are in contact with a mind 
that has seized and holds fast the central truth of the Christian system, which at that 
particular crisis of the Church's history was gravely imperilled. The nerve of all Hilary's 
thinking lies in his belief, a belief to which he clung more tenaciously than to life itself, 
that Christ was the Son of God not in name and metaphor only, but in fullest and 
deepest reality. The great Athanasius himself has not given to this belief a more im- 
pressive or more weighty expression. And when like assaults come round, as they are 
constantly doing, in what is in many respects the inferior arena of our own day, it is 
both morally bracing and intellectually helpful to go back to these protagonists of the 
elder time. 

And yet, although Hilary is thus one of the chief builders up of a metaphysical theology 
in the West — although, in other words, he stands upon the direct line of the origin of the 
Quicumque vult, it is well to remember that no one could be more conscious than he was 
of the inadequacy of human thought and human language to deal with these high matters. 
The accusation of intruding with a light heart into mysteries is very far from touching him. 
"The heretics compel us to speak where we would far rather be silent. If anything is said, 
this is what must be said," is his constant burden. In this respect too Hilary affords a noble 
pattern not only to the Christian theologian but to the student of theology, however humble. 

It has been an unfortunate necessity that use has had to be made almost throughout 
of an untrustworthy text. The critical edition which is being produced for the Corpus Scrip- 


torum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum of the Vienna Academy does not as yet extend beyond 
the Commentary on the Psalms (S. Hilarii Ep. Pidaviensis Tract, super Psahnos, recens. 
A. Zingerle, Vindobonae, mdcccxci). This is the more to be regretted as the MSS. 
of Hilary are rather exceptionally early and good. Most of these were used in the 
Benedictine edition, but not so systematically or thoroughly as a modern standard requires. 
It is impossible to speak decidedly about the text of Hilary until the Vienna edition 
is completed. 

The treatise £>e Synodis was translated by the Rev. L. Pullan, and has been in print 
for some time. The Introduction and the translation of De Trinitats i. — vii. are the 
work of Mr. Watson. Books viii. and xii. were undertaken Mr. E. N. Bennett, Fellow 
of Hertford, and Books ix. — xi. by the Rev. S. C. Gayford, late Scholar of Exeter. The 
specimens of the Commentary on the Psalms were translated by the Rev. H. F. Stewart, 
Vice-Principal of the Theological College, Salisbury, who has also made himself responsible 
for the double Index. 

A word of special thanks is due to the printers, Messrs. Parker, who have carried 
out their part of the work with conspicuous intelligence and with the most conscientious care. 


Christ Church, 

July 12, 1898. 


Introduction t— 

Chapter I. The Life and Writings of St. Hilary of Poitiers ....... ~ i 

Chapter II. The Theology of St. Hilary of Poitiers .. Iviii 

Introduction to the De Synodis .. .. i 

On the Councils, or The Faith of the Easterns .. 4 

Introduction to the De Trinitate 31 

On the Trinity. 

Book I ~ m MM . 40 

Book II „ 52 

Book III 62 

Book IV _ 71 

Book V. 85 

Book VI „ 98 

Book VII 118 

Book VIII _ „ 137 

Book IX 155 

Book X „ 182 

Book XI 203 

Book XII » 218 

Introduction to the Homilies on Psalms I., LIII., CXXX „ 235 

Homilies on the Psalms. 

Psalm I 236 

Psalm LIII. (LIV.) « 243 

Psalm CXXX. (CXXXI.) 247 


I. Index of Subjects ►. 249 

IL Index of Texts - 256 



The Life and Writings of St. Hilary of Poitiers. 

St. Hilary of Poitiers is one of the greatest, yet least studied, of the Fathers of the 
Western Church. He has suffered thus, partly from a certain obscurity in his style of 
writing, partly from the difficulty of the thoughts which he attempted to convey. But 
there are other reasons for the comparative neglect into which he has fallen. He learnt 
his theology, as we shall see, from Eastern authorities, and was not content to carry on 
and develope the traditional teaching of the West; and the disciple of Origen, who found 
his natural allies in the Cappadocian school of Basil and the Gregories *, his juniors 
though they were, was speaking to somewhat unsympathetic ears. Again, his Latin tongue 
debarred him from influence in the East, and he suffered, like all Westerns, from that 
deep suspicion of Sabellianism which was rooted in the Eastern Churches. Nor are these 
the only reasons for the neglect of Hilary. Of his two chief works, the Homilies 2 on the 
Psalms, important as they were in popularising the allegorical method of interpretation, 
were soon outdone in favour by other commentaries ; while his great controversial work 
on the Trinity suffered from its very perfection for the purpose with which it was 
composed. It seems, at first sight, to be not a refutation of Arianism, or of any par- 
ticular phase of Arianism, but of one particular document, the Epistle of Arius to Alexander, 
in which Arian doctrines are expressed; and that a document which, in the constantly shifting 
phases of the controversy, soon fell into an oblivion which the work of Hilary has nearly 
shared. It is only incidentally constructive ; its plan follows, in the central portion, that 
of the production of Arius which he was controverting, and this negative method must 
have lessened its popularity for purposes of practical instruction, and in competition 
with such a masterpiece as the De Trinitate of St. Augustine. And furthermore, Hilary 
never does himself justice. He was a great original thinker in the field of Christology, 
but he has never stated his views systematically and completely. They have to be 
laboriously reconstructed by the collection of passages scattered throughout his works; 
and though he is a thinker so consistent that little or no conjecture is needed for the 
piecing together of his system, yet we cannot be surprised that full justice has never 
been done to him. He has been regarded chiefly as one of the sufferers from the 
violence of Constantius, as the composer of a useful conspectus of arguments against 
Arianism, as an unsuccessful negotiator for an understanding between the Eastern and 
Western Churches ; but his sufferings were as nothing compared to those of Athanasius, 
while his influence in controversy seems to have been as small as the results of his 
diplomacy. It is not his practical share, in word or deed, in the conflicts of his day 
that is his chief title to fame, but his independence and depth as a Christian thinker. 
He has, indeed, exerted an important influence upon the growth of doctrine, but it has 

1 An actual dependence on Gregory of Nyssa has sometimes 
been ascribed to Hilary. But Gregory was surely too young for 
this. He may himself have borrowed from Hilary ; but more 

probably both derived their common element from Eastern writers 
like Basil of Ancyra. 

3 This is certainly the best translation of Tractatut; the 
word is discussed on a later page. 



been through the adoption of his views by Augustine and Ambrose ; and many who have 
profited by his thoughts have never known who was their author. 

Hilary of Poitiers, the most impersonal of writers, is so silent about himself, he is 
so rarely mentioned by contemporary writers — in all the voluminous works of Athanasius 
he is never once named, — and the ancient historians of the Church knew so little con- 
cerning him beyond what we, as well as they, can learn from his writings, that nothing 
more than a very scanty narrative can be constructed from these, as seen in the light of the 
general history of the time and combined with the few notices of him found elsewhere. 
But the account, though short, cannot be seriously defective. Apart from one or two 
episodes, it is eminently the history of a mind, and of a singularly consistent mind, whose 
antecedents we can, in the main, recognise, and whose changes of thought are few, 
and can be followed. 

He was born, probably about the year 300 a.d.', and almost certainly, since he was 
afterwards its bishop, in the town, or in the district dependent upon the town, by the 
name of which he is usually styled. Other names, beside Hilarius, he must have had, 
but we do not know them. The fact that he has had to be distinguished by the name 
of his see, to avoid confusion with his namesake of Aries, the contemporary of St. 
Augustine, shews how soon and how thoroughly personal details concerning him were 
forgotten. The rank of his parents must have been respectable at least, and perhaps high ; 
go much we may safely assume from the education they gave him. Birth in the Gallic 
provinces during the fourth century brought with it no sense of provincial inferiority. 
Society was thoroughly Roman, and education and literature more vigorous, so far as 
we can judge, than in any other part of the West. The citizen of Gaul and of Northern 
Italy was, in fact, more in the centre of the world's life than the inhabitant of Rome. 
Gaul was in the West what Roman Asia was in the East, the province of decisive 
importance, both for position and for wealth. And in this prosperous and highly civilised 
community the opportunities for the highest education were ample. We know, from 
Ausonius and otherwise, how complete was the provision for teaching at Bordeaux and 
elsewhere in Gaul. Greek was taught habitually as well as Latin. In fact, never since 
the days of Hadrian had educated society throughout the Empire been so nearly bilingual. 
It was not only that the Latin-speaking West had still to turn for its culture and its 
philosophy to the literature of Greece. Since the days of Diocletian the court, or at 
least the most important court, had resided as a rule in Asia, and Greek had tended 
to become, equally with Latin, the language of the courtier and the administrator. The 
two were of almost equal importance ; if an Oriental like Ammianus Marcellinus could 
write, and write well, in Latin, we may be certain that, in return, Greek was familiar 
to educated Westerns. To Hilary it was certainly familiar from his youth; his earlier 
thoughts were moulded by Neoplatonism, and his later decisively influenced by the writings 
of Origen *. His literary and technical knowledge of Latin was also complete s. It would 

3 The latest date which I have seen assigned for his birth 
is 320, by Fechtrup, in Wetzer-Welte's Encyclopaedia. But this 
is surely inconsistent with his styling Ursacius and Valens, in his 
first Epistle to Constantine, ' ignorant and unprincipled youths. 
This was written about the year 355, before Hilary knew much 
of the Arian controversy or the combatants, and was ludicrously 
inappropriate, for Ursacius and Valens were elderly men. He 
had found the words either in some of Athanasius' writings or 
in the records of the Council of Sardica, and borrowed them 
without enquiry. He could not have done so had he been only 
tome thirty-five years of age ; at fifty-five they are natural 

4 It is impossible to agree with Zingerle {Comment. WSlfflin. 
p. 218) that Hilary was under the necessity of using a Greek and 

Latin Glossary. Such a passage as Tract, in Ps. cxxxviii. 43, 
to which he appeals, shews rather the extent than the smallness 
of Hilary's knowledge of Greek. What he frankly confesses, 
there as elsewhere, is ignorance of Hebrew. The words of Jerome 
(£/>. 34, 3 f.) about Hilary's friend, the presbyter Heliodorus, 
to whom he used to refer for explanations of Origen on the 
Psalms, are equally incapable of being employed to prove Hilary's 
defective Greek. Heliodorus knew Hebrew, and Hilary for want 
of Hebrew found Origen's notes on the Hebrew text difficult 
to understand, and for this reason, according to Jerome, used 
to consult his friend ; not because he was unfamiliar with Greek. 
5 His vocabulary is very poorly treated in the dictionaries ; 
one of the many signs of the neglect into which he has fallen. 
There are at least twenty-four words in the Tractatus super 



require wide special study and knowledge to fix his relation in matters of composition 
and rhetoric to other writers. But one assertion, that of Jerome 6 , that Hilary was a 
deliberate imitator of the style of Quintilian, cannot be taken seriously. Jerome is the 
most reckless of writers ; and it is at least possible to be somewhat familiar with the 
writings of both and yet see no resemblance, except in a certain sustained gravity, between 
them. Another description by Jerome of Hilary as ' mounted on Gallic buskin and 
adorned with flowers of Greece ' is suitable enough, as to its first part, to Hilary's dignified 
rhetoric ; the flowers of Greece, if they mean embellishments inserted for their own sake, 
are not perceptible. In this same passage i Jerome goes on to criticise Hilary's en- 
tanglement in long periods, which renders him unsuitable for unlearned readers. But 
those laborious, yet perfectly constructed, sentences are an essential part of his method. 
Without them he could not attain the effect he desires; they are as deliberate and, 
in their way, as successful as the eccentricities of Tacitus. But when Jerome elsewhere 
calls Hilary 'the Rhone of Latin eloquence 8 ,' he is speaking at random. It is only 
rarely that he breaks through his habitual sobriety of utterance ; and his rare outbursts 
of devotion or denunciation are perhaps the more effective because the reader is un- 
prepared to expect them. Such language as this of Jerome shews that Hilary's literary 
accomplishments were recognised, even though it fails to describe them well. But though 
he had at his command, and avowedly employed, the resources of rhetoric in order that 
his words might be as worthy as he could make them of the greatness of his theme 9, 
yet some portions of the De Trinitate, and most of the Homilies on the Psalms are 
written in a singularly equable and almost conversational style, the unobtrusive excellence 
of which manifests the hand of a clear thinker and a practised writer. He is no pedant *, 
no laborious imitator of antiquity, distant or near ; he abstains, perhaps more completely 
than any other Christian writer of classical education, from the allusions to the poets 
which were the usual ornament of prose. He is an eminently businesslike writer; his 
pages, where they are unadorned, express his meaning with perfect clearness; where they 
are decked out with antithesis or apostrophe and other devices of rhetoric, they would 
no doubt, if our training could put us in sympathy with him, produce the effect upon 
us which he designed, and we must, in justice to him, remember as we read that, in 
their own kind, they are excellent, and that, whether they aid us or no in entering 
into his argument, they never obscure his thought. Save in the few passages when cor- 
ruption exists in the text, it is never safe to assert that Hilary is unintelligible. The 
reader or translator who cannot follow or render the argument must rather lay the 
blame upon his own imperfect knowledge of the language and thought of the fourth 
century. Where he is stating or proving truth, whether well-established or newly ascer- 
tained, he is admirably precise ; and even in his more dubious speculations he never 
cloaks a weak argument in ambiguous language. A loftier genius might have given us 
in language inadequate, through no fault of his own, to the attempt some intimations 
of remoter truths. We must be thankful to the sober Hilary that he, with his strong 
sense of the limitations of our intellect, has provided a clear and accurate statement 
of the case against Arianism, and has widened the bounds of theological knowledge 
by reasonable deductions from the text of Scripture, usually convincing and always 

Psalmos which are omitted in the last edition of Georges' lexicon, 
and these good Latin words, not technical terms invented for 
purposes of argument. Among the most interesting is qiiotiensque 
for quotienscumque ; an unnoticed use is the frequent cum quando 

6 Ep. 70, 5, ad Magnum. 7 Ep. 58, 10, ad Paulinum, 

8 Coinm. in Gall. ii. pre/. 

9 Cf. Tract, in Ps. xiii. 1, Trin. i. 38. 

1 Yet he strangely reproaches his Old Latin Bible with the 

for quandoquidem. Of Hilary's other writings there is as yet use of nimis for ualde. Tract, in Ps. cxxxviii. 38. This em- 
no trustworthy text ; from them the list of new words could at ployment of relative for positive terms had been common in 
least be doubled. 1 literature for at least a century and a half. 

b 2 



His training as a writer and thinker had certainly been accomplished before his con- 
version. His literary work done, like that of St. Cyprian, within a few years of middle life, 
displays, with a somewhat increasing maturity of thought, a steady uniformity of language 
and idiom, which can only have been acquired in his earlier days. And this assured 
possession of literary form was naturally accompanied by a philosophical training. Of one 
branch of a philosophical education, that of logic, there is almost too much evidence in 
his pages. He is free from the repulsive angularity which sometimes disfigures the pages 
of Novatian, a writer who had no great influence over him ; but in the De Trinitate he 
too often refuses to trust his reader's intelligence, and insists upon being logical not only 
in thought but in expression. But, sound premisses being given, he may always be expected 
to draw the right conclusion. He is singularly free from confusion of thought, and never 
advances to results beyond what his premisses warrant. It is only when a false, though 
accepted, exegesis misleads him, in certain collateral arguments which may be surrendered 
without loss to his main theses, that he can be refuted ; or again when, in his ventures 
into new fields of thought, he is unfortunate in the selection or combination of texts. But 
in these cases, as always, the logical processes are not in fault ; his deduction is clear and 

Philosophy in those days was regarded as incomplete unless it included some knowledge 
of natural phenomena, to be used for purposes of analogy. Origen and Athanasius display 
a considerable interest in, and acquaintance with, physical and physiological matters, and 
Hilary shares the taste. The conditions of human or animal birth and life and death are 
often discussed 2 ; he believes in universal remedies for diseases, and knows of the em- 
ployment of anaesthetics in surgery*. Sometimes he wanders further afield, as, for instance, 
in his account of the natural history of the fig-tree s and the worm 6 , and in the curious little 
piece of information concerning Troglodytes and topazes, borrowed, he says, from secular 
writers, and still to be read in the elder Pliny 7. Even where he seems to be borrowing, 
on rare occasions, from the commonplaces of Roman poetry, it is rather with the interest 
of the naturalist than of the rhetorician, as when he speaks in all seriousness of ' Marsian 
enchantments and hissing vipers lulled to sleep 8 ,' or recalls Lucan's asps and basilisks of 
the African desert as a description of his heretical opponents . Perhaps his lost work, 
twice mentioned by Jerome *, against the physician Dioscorus was a refutation of physical 
arguments against Christianity. 

Hilary's speculative thought, like that of every serious adherent of the pagan creed, 
had certainly been inspired by Neoplatonism. We cannot take the account of his spiritual 
progress up to the full Catholic faith, which he gives in the beginning of the De Trinitate, 
and of which we find a less finished sketch in the Homily on Psalm Ixi. § 2, as literal history. 
It is too symmetrical in its advance through steadily increasing light to the perfect knowledge, 
too well prepared as a piece of literary workmanship — it is indeed an admirable example 
of majestic prose, a worthy preface to that great treatise — for us to accept it, as it stands, 
as the record of actual experience. But we may safely see in it the evidence that Hilary 
had been an earnest student of the best thought of his day, and had found in Neoplatonism 
not only a speculative training but also the desire, which was to find its satisfaction in the 
Faith, for knowledge of God, and for union with Him. It was a debt which Origen, his 
master, shared with him ; and it must have been because, as a Neoplatonist feeling after 
the truth, he found so much of common ground in Origen, that he was able to accept so 

 E.g. Trin. v. IX, vii. 14, ix. 4. 

3 Trin. ii. 22. 

4 Trin. x. 14. This is a very remarkable allusion. Celsus, 
▼ii. prtzf., confidently assumes that all surgical operations must 
be painful 

S Corn/ft. in Matt- xxi. 8. 6 Trin. xi. 15. 

7 Tract, in Ps. cxviii. Ain. 16 ; it is from Plin. N.H. 37, 32. 

8 Tract, in Ps. lvii. 3. It suggests Virgil, Ovid, Silius, and 

9 Trin. vii. 3. « F.f. 70, 5, Vir. III. 100. 


fully the teaching of Alexandria. But it would be impossible to separate between the 
lessons which Hilary had learnt from the pagan form of this philosophy, and those which 
may have been new to him when he studied it in its Christian presentment. Of the influence 
of Christian Platonism upon him something will be said shortly. At this point we need 
only mention as a noteworthy indication of the fact that Hilary was not unmindful of the 
debt, that the only philosophy which he specifically attacks is the godless system of Epicurus, 
which denies creation, declares that the gods do not concern themselves with men, and 
deifies water or earth or atoms a . 

It was, then, as a man of mature age, of literary skill and philosophical training, that 
Hilary approached Christianity. He had been drawn towards the Faith by desire for a truth 
which he had not found in philosophy; and his conviction that this truth was Christianity 
was established by independent study of Scripture, not by intercourse with Christian teachers ; 
so much we may safely conclude from the early pages of the De Trinitate. It must remain 
doubtful whether the works of Origen, who influenced his thought so profoundly, had fallen 
into his hands before his conversion, or whether it was as a Christian, seeking for further 
light upon the Faith, that he first studied them. For it is certainly improbable that he would 
find among the Christians of his own district many who could help him in intellectual 
difficulties. The educated classes were still largely pagan, and the Christian body, which 
was, we may say, unanimously and undoubtingly Catholic, held, without much mental 
activity, a traditional and inherited faith. Into this body Hilary entered by Baptism, at 
some unknown date. His age at the time, his employment, whether or no he was married 3 , 
whether or no he entered the ministry of the Church of Poitiers, can never be known. 
It is only certain that he was strengthening his faith by thought and study. 

He had come to the Faith, St. Augustine says*, laden, like Cyprian, Lactantius and 
others, with the gold and silver and raiment of Egypt; and he would naturally wish to 
find a Christian employment for the philosophy which he brought with him. If his 
horizon had been limited to his neighbours in Gaul, he would have found little en- 
couragement and less assistance. The oral teaching which prevailed in the West fur- 
nished, no doubt, safe guidance in doctrine, but could not supply reasons for the Faith. 
And reasons were the one great interest of Hilary. The whole practical side of Chris- 
tianity as a system of life is ignored, or rather taken for granted and therefore not 
discussed, in his writings, which are ample enough to be a mirror of his thought. For 
instance, we cannot doubt that his belief concerning the Eucharist was that of the whole 
Church. Yet in the great treatise on the Trinity, of which no small part is given to 
the proof that Christ is God and Man, and that through this union must come the 
union of man with God, the Eucharist as a means to such union is only once introduced, 
and that in a short passage, and for the purpose of arguments. And altogether it would 
be as impossible to reconstruct the Christian life and thought of the day from his writings 
as from those of the half-pagan Arnobius. To such a mind as this the teaching which 
ordinary Christians needed and welcomed could bring no satisfaction, and no aid towards 
the interpretation of Scripture. The Western Church was, indeed, in an almost illogical 
position. Conviction was in advance of argument. The loyal practice of the Faith had 
led men on, as it were by intuition, to apprehend and firmly hold truths which the more 
thoughtful East was doubtfully and painfully approaching. Here, again, Hilary would 
be out of sympathy with his neighbours, and we cannot wonder that in such a doctrine 

• Tract, in Ps. i. 7, lxi. 2, Ixiii. 5, &c. As usual, Hilary does 
not name his opponents. 

3 Hilary's legendary daughle. Abra, to whom he is said to 
have written a letter printed in the editions of his works, is now 

generally abandoned by the best authorities, e.g. by Fechtrup, 
the writer, in Wetzer-Welte's Encyclopaedia, of the best shor. 
life of Hilary. 

*» De Doctr. Chr. ii. 40. 5 Trin. viii. 13 — 17. 



as that of the Holy Spirit he held the conservative Eastern view. Nor were the Latin- 
speaking Churches well equipped with theological literature. The two 6 great theologians 
who had as yet written in their tongue, Tertullian and Novatian, with the former of whom 
Hilary was familiar, were discredited by their personal history. St. Cyprian, the one 
doctor whom the West already boasted, could teach disciplined enthusiasm and Chris- 
tian morality, but his scattered statements concerning points of doctrine convey nothing 
more than a general impression of piety and soundness ; and even his arrangement, 
in the Testimonia, of Scriptural evidences was a poor weapon against the logical attack 
of Arianism. But there is little reason to suppose that there was any general sense of 
the need of a more systematic theology. Africa was paralysed, and the attention of 
the Western provinces probably engrossed, by the Donatist strife, into which questions 
of doctrine did not enter. The adjustment of the relations between Church and State, 
the instruction and government of the countless proselytes who flocked to the Faith 
while toleration grew into imperial favour, must have needed all the attention that the 
Church's rulers could give. And these busy years had followed upon a generation of 
merciless persecution, during which change of practice or growth of thought had been 
impossible ; and the confessors, naturally a conservative force, were one of the dominant 
powers in the Church. We cannot be surprised that the scattered notices in Hilary's 
writings of points of discipline, and his hortatory teaching, are in no respect different 
from what we find a century earlier in St. Cyprian. And men who were content to leave 
the superstructure as they found it were not likely to probe the foundations. Their belief 
grew in definiteness as the years went on, and faithful lives were rewarded, almost un- 
consciously, with a deeper insight into truth. But meanwhile they took the Faith as 
they had received it; one might say, as a matter of course. There was little heresy 
within the Western Church. Arianism was never prevalent enough to excite fear, even 
though repugnance were felt. The Churches were satisfied with faith and life as they 
saw it within and around them. Their religion was traditional, in no degenerate sense. 

But such a religion could not satisfy ardent and logical minds, like those of St. 
Hilary and his two great successors, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine. To such men it 
was a necessity of their faith that they should know, and know in its right proportions, 
the truth so far as it had been revealed, and trace the appointed limits which human 
knowledge might not overpass. For their own assurance and for effective warfare against 
heresy a reasoned system of theology was necessary. Hilary, the earliest, had the great- 
est difficulty. To aid him in the interpretation of Scripture he had only one writer in his 
own tongue, Tertullian, whose teaching, in the matters which interested Hilary, though 
orthodox, was behind the times. His strong insistence upon the subordination of the 
Son to the Father, due to the same danger which still, in the fourth century, seemed 
in the East the most formidable, was not in harmony with the prevalent thought 
of the West. Thus Hilary, in his search for reasons for the Faith, was practically 
isolated; there was little at home which could help him to construct his system. To 
an intellect so self-reliant as his this may have been no great trial. Scrupulous though 
he was in confining his speculations within the bounds of inherited and acknowledged 
truth, yet in matters still undecided he exercised a singularly free judgment, now advanc- 
ing beyond, now lingering behind, the usual belief of his contemporaries. In following 
out his thoughts, royally yet independently, he was conscious that he was breaking what 
was new ground to his older fellow-Christians, almost as much as to himself, the convert 

* This is on the assumption, which seems probable, that 
Irenaeus was not yet translated from the Greek. He certainly 
influenced Tertullian, and through him Hilary ; and his doctrine 
of the recapitulation of mankind in Christ, reappearing as it does 

in Hilary, though not in Tertullian, suggests that our writer had 
made an independent study of Irenaeus. Even if the present 
wretched translation existed, he would certainly read the Greek. 


from Paganism. And that he was aware of the novelty is evident from the sparing 
use which he makes of that stock argument of the old controversialists, the newness 
of heresy. He uses it, e.g., in Trin. ii. 4, and uses it with effect ; but it is far less 
prominent in him than in others. 

For such independence of thought he could find precedent in Alexandrian theology, 
of which he was obviously a careful student and, in his free use of his own judgment 
upon it, a true disciple. When he was drawn into the Arian controversy and studied 
its literature, his thoughts to some extent were modified ; but he never ceases to leave 
upon his reader the impression of an Oriental isolated in the West. From the Christian 
Platonists of Alexandria ' come his most characteristic thoughts. They have passed on, 
for instance, from Philo to him the sense of the importance of the revelation contained 
in the divine name He that is. His peculiar doctrine of the impassibility of the in- 
carnate Christ is derived, more probably directly than indirectly, from Clement of Alexandria. 
But it is to Origen that Hilary stands in the closest and most constant relations, now as 
a pupil, now as a critic. In fact, as we shall see, no small portion of the Homilies on 
the Psalms, towards the end of the work, is devoted to the controverting of opinions expressed 
by Origen ; and by an omission which is itself a criticism he completely ignores one of 
that writer's most important contributions to Christian thought, the mystical interpretation 
of the Song of Songs. It is true that Jerome 8 knew of a commentary on that Book 
which was doubtfully attributed to Hilary ; but if Hilary had once accepted such an exegesis 
he could not possibly have failed to use it on some of the numerous occasions when it must 
have suggested itself in the course of his writing, for it is not his habit to allow a thought 
to drop out of his mind ; his characteristic ideas recur again and again. In some cases 
we can actually watch the growth of Hilary's mind as it emancipates itself from Origen's 
influence; as, for instance, in his psychology. He begins (Co/nm. in Matt. v. 8) by holding, 
with Origen and Tertullian, that the soul is corporeal ; in later life he states expressly that 
this is not the case 9. Yet what Hilary accepted from Origen is far more important than 
what he rejected. His strong sense of the dignity of man, of the freedom of the will, 
his philosophical belief in the inseparable connection of name and thing, the thought of 
the Incarnation as primarily an obscuring of the Divine glory J , are some of the lessons which 
Origen has taught him. But, above all, it is to him that he owes his rudimentary doctrine 
concerning the Holy Spirit. Hilary says nothing inconsistent with the truth as it was soon 
to be universally recognised ; but his caution in declining to accept, or at least to state, 
the general belief of Western Christendom that the Holy Spirit, since Christians are baptized 
in His Name as well as in that of Father and Son, is God in the same sense as They, 
is evidence both of his independence of the opinion around him and of his dependence 
on Origen. Of similar dependence on any other writer or school there is no trace. He 
knew Tertullian well, and there is some evidence that he knew Hippolytus and Novatian, 
but his tnought was not moulded by theirs; and when, in the maturity of his powers, he 
became a fellow-combatant with Athanasius and the precursors of the great Cappadocians, 
his borrowing is not that of a disciple but of an equal. 

There is one of St. Hilary's writings, evidently the earliest of those extant and probably 
the earliest of all, which may be noticed here, as it gives no sign of being written by a Bishop. 
It is the Commentary on St. Matt/mv. It is, in the strictest sense, a commentary, and 
not, like the work upon the Psalms, a series of exegetical discourses. It deals with the 
text of the Gospel, as it stood in Hilary's Latin version, without comment or criticism 
upon its peculiarities, and draws out the meaning, chiefly allegorical, not of the whole Gospel, 

7 Dr. Bigg's Bampton Lectures upon them are full of hints I 9 E.g. Tract, in Ps. cxxix. «f. 
for the student of Hilary. 8 Vir. III. ioo. I » E.g. Trin. ix. 6. 

• • • 



but apparently of lections that were read in public worship. A few pages at the beginning 
and end are unfortunately lost, but they cannot have contained anything of such importance 
as to alter the impression which we form of the book. In diction and grammar it is exactly 
similar to Hilary's later writings; the fact that it is, perhaps, somewhat more stiff in style 
may be due to self-consciousness of a writer venturing for the first time upon so important 
a subject. The exegesis is often the same as that of Origen, but a comparison of the 
several passages in which Jerome mentions this commentary makes it certain that it is 
not dependent upon him in the same way as are the Homilies on the Psalms and Hilary's 
lost work upon Job. Yet if he is not in this work the translator, or editor, of Origen, he 
is manifestly his disciple. We cannot account for the resemblance otherwise. Hilary is 
independently working out Origen's thoughts on Origen's lines. Origen is not named, 
nor any other author, except that he excuses himself from expounding the Lord's Prayer 
on the ground that Tertullian and Cyprian had written excellent treatises upon it 3 . This 
is a rare exception to his habit of not naming other writers. But, whoever the writes 
were from whom Hilary drew his exegesis, his theology is his own. There is no immaturity 
in the thought ; every one of his characteristic ideas, as will be seen in the next chapter, 
is already to be found here. But there is one interesting landmark in the growth of the Latin 
theological vocabulary, very archaic in itself and an evidence that Hilary had not yet decided 
upon the terms that he would use. He twice 3 speaks of Christ's Divinity as ' the theotes which 
we call deltas' In his later writings he consistently uses divinitas, except in the few instances 
where he is almost forced, to avoid intolerable monotony, to vary it with de/tas; and in 
this commentary he would not have used either of these words, still less would he have 
used both, unless he were feeling his way to a fixed technical term. Another witness to 
the early date of the work is the absence of any clear sign that Hilary knew of the existence 
of Arianism. He knows, indeed, that there are heresies which impugn the Godhead of 
Christ *, and in consequence states that doctrine with great precision, and frequently as 
well as forcibly. But it has been pointed out 5 that he discusses many texts which served, 
in the Arian strife, for attack or defence, without alluding to that burning question : and 
this would have been impossible and, indeed, a dereliction of duty, in Hilary's later life. 
And there is one passage 6 in which he speaks of God the Father as ' He with (or ' in ') 
Whom the Word was before He was bom.' The Incarnation is spoken of in words which 
would usually denote the eternal Generation : and if a candid reader could not be misled, 
yet an opportunity is given to the malevolent which Hilary or, indeed, any careful writer 
engaged in the Arian controversy would have avoided. The Commentary, then, is an 
early work, yet in no respect unworthy of its author. But though he had developed his 
characteristic thoughts before he began to write it, they are certainly less prominent here 
than in the treatises which followed. It is chiefly remarkable for its display of allegorical 
ingenuity. Its pages are full of fantastic interpretations of the kind which he had so great 
a share in introducing into Western Europe 7. He started by it a movement which he would 
have been powerless to stop; that he was not altogether satisfied with the principle of 
allegory is shewn by the more modest use that he made of it when he composed, with 
fuller experience, the Homilies on the Psalms. It is, perhaps, only natural that there is little 
allegorism in the JDe Tritiitate. Such a hot-house growth could not thrive in the keen 

a Comm. in Matt. v. I. It may be mentioned that the chap- 
ters of the Commentary do not coincide with those of the Gospel. 

3 Comm. in Matt. xvi. 4, theotetam quam deitatem Latini 
nuncupant, xxvi. 5, theotetam quam deitatem nuncupamus. 
The strange accusative theotetam makes it the more probable 
that we have here a specimen of the primitive Greek vocabulary 
of Latin Christendom of which so few examples, e.g. Baptism and 
Eucharist, have survived. Cyprian had probably the chief share 

in destroying it; but the subject has never been examined as 
it deserves. 

4 So especially xii. 18. There is similarly a possible allusion 
to Marcellus' teaching in xi. 9, which, however, may equally well 
be a reminiscence of some cognate earlier heresy. 

5 Maffei's Introduction, § 15. 

6 xxxi. 3, penes quern erat antequam nasceretur. 

7 See Ebert, Litteratur des Mittelaltcrs, i. 139. 


air of controversy. As for the Commentary on St. Matthew, its chief influence has been 
indirect, in that St. Ambrose made large use of it in his own work upon the same Gospel. 
The consideration of Hilary's use of Scripture and of the place which it held in his system 
of theology is reserved for the next chapter, where illustrations from this Commentary 
are given. 

About the year 350 Hilary was consecrated Bishop of Poitiers. So we may infer 
from his own words 8 that he had been a good while regenerate, and for some little time 
a bishop, on the eve of his exile in 356 a.d. Whether, like Ambrose, he was raised directly 
from lay life to the Episcopate cannot be known. It is at least possible that this was the case. 
His position as a bishop was one of great importance, and, as it must have seemed, free from 
special difficulties. There was a wide difference between the Church organisation of the 
Latin-speaking provinces of the Empire (with the exception of Central and Southern Italy and 
of Africa, in each of which a multitude of insignificant sees were dependent upon the au- 
tocracy of Rome and Carthage respectively) and that of the Greek-speaking provinces of 
the East. In the former there was a mere handful of dioceses, of huge geographical extent ; 
in the latter every town, at least in the more civilised parts, had its bishop. The Western 
bishops were inevitably isolated from one another, and could exercise none of that constant 
surveillance over each other's orthodoxy which was, for evil as well as for good, so marked 
a feature of the Church life of the East. And the very greatness of their position gave them 
stability. The equipoise of power was too perfect, the hands in which it was vested too few, 
the men themselves, probably, too statesmanlike, for the Western Church to be infected with 
that nervous agitation which possessed the shifting multitudes of Eastern prelates, and made 
them suspicious and loquacious and disastrously eager for compromise. It was, in fact, the 
custom of the West to take the orthodoxy of its bishops for granted, and an external impulse 
was necessary before they could be overthrown. The two great sees with which Hilary was 
in immediate relation were those of Aries and Milan, and both were in Arian hands. But 
it needed the direct incitation of a hostile Emperor to set Saturninus against Hilary ; and it 
was in vain that Hilary, in the floodtide of orthodox revival in the West, attacked Auxentius. 
The orthodox Emperor upheld the Arian, who survived Hilary by eight years and died 
in possession of his see. But this great and secure position of the Western bishop had 
its drawbacks. Hilary was conscious of its greatness 9, and strove to be worthy of it; but it 
was a greatness of responsibility to which neither he, nor any other man, could be equal. 
For in his eyes the bishop was still, as he had been in the little Churches of the past, 
and still might be in quiet places of the East or South, the sole priest, sacerdos 1 , of his 
flock. In his exile he reminds the Emperor that he is still distributing the communion 
through his presbyters to the Church. This survival can have had none but evil results. 
It put both bishop and clergy in a false position. The latter were degraded by the denial 
to them of a definite status and rights of their own. Authority without influence and 
information in lieu of knowledge was all for which the former could hope. And this lack 
of any organised means of influencing a wide-spread flock — such a diocese as that of Poitiers 
must have been several times as large as a rural diocese of England — prevented its bishop 
from creating any strong public opinion within it, unless he were an evangelist with the gifts 
of a Martin of Tours. It was impossible for him to excite in so unwieldy a district any 
popular enthusiasm or devotion to himself. Unlike an Athanasius, he could be deported 
into exile at the Emperor's will with as little commotion as the bishop of some petty half- 
Greek town in Asia Minor. 

8 Syn. 91 ; regeneratus pridem et in episcopatu aliquantis- 9 E.g. Trin. viii. i. The bishop is a prince of the Church. 

per manens. The renderings 'long ago' and 'for some time' ' Sacerdos in Hilary, as in all writers till near the end ofth« 

in this translation seem rather too strong. fnnrth century, means ' bishon ' alwa\ ■- 



During the first years of Hilary's episcopate there was civil turmoil in Gaul, but the 
Church was at peace. While the Eastern ruler Constantius favoured the Arians, partly 
misled by unprincipled advisers and partly guided by an unwise, though honest, desire for 
compromise in the interests of peace, his brother Constans, who reigned in the West, upheld 
the Catholic cause, to which the immense majority of his clergy and people was attached. 
He was slain in January, 350, by the usurper Magnentius, who, with whatever motives, 
took the same side. It was certainly that which would best coi ciliate his own subjects; 
but he went further, and attempted to strengthen his precarious throne against the impending 
attack of Constantius by negotiations with the discontented Nicene Christians of the East. 
He tried to win over Athanasius, who was, however, too wise to listen ; and, in any case, 
he gained nothing by tampering with the subjects of Constantius. Constantius defeated 
Magnentius, pursued him, and finally slew him on the nth August, 353, and was then 
undisputed master not only of the East but of the West, which he proceeded to bring into 
ecclesiastical conformity, as far as he could, with his former dominions. 

The general history of Arianism and the tendencies of Christian thought at this time 
have been so fully and admirably delineated in the introduction to the translation of St. 
Athanasius in this series 2 , that it would be superfluous and presumptuous to go over the 
same ground. It must suffice to say that Constantius was animated with a strong personal 
hatred against Athanasius, and that the prelates at his court seem to have found their 
chief employment in intrigues for the expulsion of bishops, whose seats might be filled by 
friends of their own. Athanasius was a formidable antagonist, from his strong position in 
Alexandria, even to an Emperor; and Constantius was attempting to weaken him by creating 
an impression that he was unworthy of the high esteem in which he was held. Even in 
the East, as yet, the Nicene doctrine was not avowedly rejected ; still less could the doctrinal 
issue be raised in Gaul, where the truths stated in the Nicene Creed were regarded as so 
obvious that the Creed itself had excited little interest or attention. Hilary at this time 
had never heard its, though nearly thirty years had passed since the Council decreed it. 
But there were personal charges against Athanasius, of which he has himself given us 
a full and interesting account*, which had done him, and were to do him, serious injury. 
They had been disproved publicly and completely more than once, and with great solemnity 
and apparent finality ten years before this, at Sardica in 343 a.d. But in a distant province, 
aided by the application of sufficient pressure, they might serve their turn, and if the Emperor 
could obtain his enemy's condemnation, and that in a region whose theological sympathies 
were notoriously on his side, a great step would be gained towards his expulsion from Egypt. 
No time was lost. In October, 353, a Council was called at Aries to consider the charges. 
It suited Constantius' purpose well that Saturninus of Aries, bishop of the most important 
see in Gaul, and the natural president, was both a courtier and an Arian. He did his work 
well. The assembled bishops believed, or were induced to profess that they believed, that 
the charges against Athanasius were not made in the interests of his theological opponents, 
and that the Emperor's account of them was true. The decision, condemning the accused, 
was almost unanimous. Even the representative of Liberius of Rome consented, to be dis- 
avowed on his return; and only one bishop, Paulinus of Treves, suffered exile for resistance. 
He may have been the only advocate for Athanasius, or Constantius may have thought that 
one example would suffice to terrify the episcopate of Gaul into submission. It is impossible 
to say whether Hilary was present at the Council or no. It is not probable that he was 
absent : and his ignorance, even later, on important points in the dispute shews that he may 

* By Dr. Robertson of King's College, London. This, and 
Professor Gwatkin's Studies of Arianism, are the best English 

3 Syn. 91. 

4 The Apolegim centra Arianos, p. xooff. in Dr. Robertson's 


well have given an honest verdict against Athanasius. The new ruler's word had been given 
that he was guilty ; nothing can yet have been known against Constantius and much must 
have been hoped from him. It was only natural that he should obtain the desired decision. 
Two years followed, during which the Emperor was too busy with warfare on the frontiers 
of Gaul to proceed further in the matter of Athanasius. But in the Autumn of 355 he 
summoned a Council at Milan, a city whose influence over Gaul was so great that it might 
almost be called the ecclesiastical capital of that country. Here again strong pressure was 
used, and the verdict given as Constantius desired. Hilary was not present at this Council ; 
he was by this time aware of the motives of Constantius and the courtier bishops, and would 
certainly have shared in the opposition offered, and probably in the exile inflicted upon three 
of the leaders in it. These were Dionysius of Milan, who disappears from history, his 
place being taken by Hilary's future enemy, Auxentius, and Eusebius of Vercelli and 
Lucifer of Cagliari, both of whom were to make their mark in the future. 

By this time Hilary had definitely taken his side, and it will be well to consider his 
relation to the parties in the controversy. And first as to Arianism. As we have seen, 
Arian prelates were now in possession of the two great sees of Aries and Milan in his 
own neighbourhood ; and Arianisers of different shades, or at least men tolerant of Arianism, 
held a clear majority of the Eastern bishoprics, except in the wholly Catholic Egypt. But 
it is certain that, in the West at any rate, the fundamental difference of the Arian from 
the Catholic position was not generally recognised. Arian practice and Arian practical 
teaching was indistinguishable from Catholic; and unless ultimate principles were questioned, 
Catholic clergy might work, and the multitudes of Catholic laity might live and die, without 
knowing that their bishop's creed was different from their own. The Abbe Duchesne 
has made the very probable suggestion that the stately Ambrosian ritual of Milan was 
really introduced from the East by Auxentius, the Arian intruder from Cappadocia, of 
whom we have spoken s. Arian Baptism and the Arian Eucharist were exactly the same 
as the Catholic. They were not sceptical ; they accepted all current beliefs or superstitions, 
and had their own confessors and workers of miracles 6 . The Bible was common ground 
to both parties: each professed its confidence that it had the support of Scripture. "No 
false system ever struck more directly at the life of Christianity than Arianism. Yet after 
all it held aloft the Lord's example as the Son of Man, and never wavered in its worship 
of Him as the Son of God 7." And the leaders of this school were in possession of many 
of the great places of the Church, and asserted that they had the right to hold them ; 
that if they had not the sole right, at least they had as good a right as the Catholics, 
to be bishops, and yet to teach the doctrine that Christ was a creature, not the Son. 
And what made things worse was that they seemed to be at one with the Catholics, 
and that it was possible, and indeed almost inevitable, that the multitudes who did not 
look below the surface should be satisfied to take them for what they seemed. Many of 
the Arians no doubt honestly thought that their position was a tenable one, and held 
their offices with a good conscience ; but we cannot wonder that men like Athanasius 
and Hilary, aware of the sophistical nature of many of the arguments used, and knowing 
that some, at least, of the leaders were unscrupulous adventurers, should have regarded 
all Arianism and all Arians as deliberately dishonest. It seemed incredible that they 
could be sincerely at home in the Church, and intolerable that they should have the 
power of deceiving the people and persecuting true believers. It is against Arianism 
in the Church that Hilary's efforts are directed, not against Arianism as an external 
heresy. He ignores heresies outside the Church as completely as does Cyprian; they 

5 Originet du cult* chritien, p. 88. 6 Gwatkin, Studies of Arianism, p. 1^4. 7 lb., p. 28. 



are outside, and therefore he has nothing to do with them. But Arianism, as represented 
by an Auxentius or a Saturninus, is an internum ma/urn 3 ; and to the extirpation of 
this ' inward evil ' the remaining years of his life were to be devoted. 

His own devotion, from the time of his conversion to the Catholic Faith, which 
almost all around him held, was not the less sincere because it did not find its natural 
expression in the Nicene Creed. That document, which primarily concerned only bishops, 
and them only when their orthodoxy was in question, was hardly known in the West, 
where the bishops had as yet had little occasion for doubting one another's faith. Hilary 
had never heard it, — he can hardly have avoided hearing of it, — till just before his exile. 
In his earlier conflicts he rarely mentions it, and when he does it is in connection with 
the local circumstances of the East. In later life he, with Western Christendom at large, 
recognised its value as a rallying point for the faithful ; but even then there is no attachment 
to the Creed for its own sake. It might almost seem that the Creed, by his defence 
of which Athanasius has earned such glory, owed its original celebrity to him rather than 
he to it. His unjust persecution and heroic endurance excited interest in the symbol 
of which he was the champion. If it were otherwise, there has been a strange conspiracy of 
silence among Western theologians. In their great works on the Trinity, Hilary most rarely, 
and Augustine never, allude to it; the Council of Aquileia, held in the same interests 
and almost at the same time as that of Constantinople in 381, absolutely ignores it 9. 
The Creed, in the year 355, was little known in the West and unpopular in the East. 
Even Athanasius kept it somewhat in the background, from reasons of prudence, and 
Hilary's sympathies, as we shall see, were with the Eastern School which could accept 
the truth, though they disliked this expression of it. 

The time had now come for Hilary, holding these views of Arianism and of the 
Faith, to take an active part in the conflict. We have seen that he was not at Milan ; 
he was therefore not personally compromised, but the honour of the Church compelled 
him to move. He exerted himself to induce the bishops of Gaul to withdraw from 
communion with Saturninus, and with Ursacius and Valens, disciples of Arius during his 
exile on the banks of the Danube thirty years before, and now high in favour with 
Constantius, and his ministers, we might almost say, for the ecclesiastical affairs of the 
Western provinces. We do not know how many bishops were enlisted by Hilary against 
Saturninus. It is probable that not many would follow him in so bold a venture ; even 
men of like mind with himself might well think it unwise. It was almost a revolutionary 
act; an importation of the methods of Eastern controversy into the peaceful West, 
for this was not the constitutional action of a synod but the private venture of Hilary 
and his allies. However righteous and necessary, in the interests of morality and religion, 
their conduct may have seemed to them, to Constantius and his advisers it must have 
appeared an act of defiance to the law, both of Church and State. And Hilary would 
certainly not win favour with the Emperor by his letter of protest, the First Epistle to 
Constantius, written about the end of the year 355. He adopts the usual tone of the 
time, that of exaggerated laudation and even servility towards the Emperor. Such language 
was, of course, in great measure conventional; we know from Cicero's letters how little 
superlatives, whether of flattery or abuse, need mean, and language had certainly not 
grown more sincere under the Empire. The letter was, in fact, a singularly bold manifesto, 
and one which Hilary himself must have foreseen was likely to bring upon him the 

8 Trin. vii. 3. 

9 There is much more evidence to this effect in Reuter, 
Augustinische Studien, p. 182 f. It was probably due to jealousy 
between West and East ; cf. the way in which John of Jerusalem 
ignored the A'rican decision in Pelajjius' case. But the West 

was ignorant, as well as jealous, of the East. Even in his last 
years, after his sojourn in Asia Minor, Hilary believed that 
Jerusalem was, as had been prophesied, an uninhabited ruin ; 
Tr. in Ps. cxxiv. § 3, cxxxi. §§ 18, 23, cxlvL f 1. 


punishment which had befallen the recusants at Aries and Milan. He begins (§ i) in 
studiously general terms, making no mention of the provinces in which the offences were 
being committed, with a complaint of the tyrannical interference of civil officers in religious 
matters. If there is to be peace (§ 2), there must be liberty; Catholics must not be 
forced to become Arians. The voice of resistance was being raised ; men were beginning 
to say that it was better to die than to see the faith defiled at the bidding of an individual. 
Equity required that God-fearing men should not suffer by compulsory intercourse with 
the teachers of execrable blasphemy, but be allowed bishops whom they could obey with 
a good conscience. Truth and falsehood, light and darkness could not combine. He 
entreated the Emperor to allow the people to choose for themselves to what teachers 
they would listen, with whom they would join in the Eucharist and in prayer for him. 
Next (§ 3) he denies that there is any purpose of treason, or any discontent. The only 
disturbance is that caused by Arian propagators of heresy, who are busily engaged in 
misleading the ignorant. He now (§ 4) prays that the excellent bishops who have been 
sent into exile may be restored; liberty and joy would be the result. Then (§ 5) he 
attacks the modern and deadly Arian pestilence. Borrowing, somewhat incautiously, the 
words of the Council of Sardica, now twelve years old, he gives a list of Arian chiefs 
which ends with "those two ignorant and unprincipled youths, Ursacius and Valens.' : 
Communion with such men as these, even communion in ignorance, is a participation 
in their guilt, a fatal sin. He proceeds, in § 6, to combine denunciation of the atrocities 
committed in Egypt with a splendid plea for liberty of conscience; it is equally vain 
and wicked to attempt to drive men into Arianism, and an enforced faith is, in any 
case, worthless. The Arians (§ 7) were themselves legally convicted long ago and Athanasius 
acquitted; it is a perversion of justice that the condemned should now be intriguing 
against one so upright and so faithful to the truth. And lastly (§ 8) he comes to the 
wrong just done at Milan, and tells the well-known story of the violence practised upon 
Eusebius of Vercelli and others in the 'Synagogue of malignants,' as he calls it. Here 
also he takes occasion to speak of Paulinus of Treves, exiled for his resistance at Aries 
two years before, where he "had withstood the monstrous crimes of those men." The 
conclusion of the letter is unfortunately lost, and there are one or more gaps in the 
body of it ; these, we may judge, would only have made it more unacceptable to Constantius. 
It was, indeed, from the Emperor's point of view, a most provocatory Epistle. He 
and his advisers were convinced that compromise was the way of peace. They had no 
quarrel with the orthodoxy of the West, if only that orthodoxy would concede that Arianisers 
were entitled to office in the Church, or would at least be silent ; and they were animated 
by a persistent hatred of Athanasius. Moreover, the whole tendency of thought, since 
Constantine began to favour the Church, had run towards glorification of the Emperor 
as the vice-gerent of God ; and the orthodox had had their full share in encouraging 
the idea. That a bishop, with no status to justify his interference, should renounce com- 
munion with his own superior, the Emperor's friend, at Aries; should forbid the officers 
of state to meddle in the Church's affairs, and demand an entirely new thing, recognition 
by the state as lawful members of the Church while yet they rejected the prelates whom 
the state recognised ; should declare that peace was impossible because the conflicting 
doctrines were as different as light and darkness, and that the Emperor's friends were 
execrable heretics ; should assert, while denying that he or his friends had any treasonable 
purpose, that men were ready to die rather than submit ; should denounce two Councils, 
lawfully held, and demand reinstatement of those who had opposed the decision of those 
Councils ; should, above all, take the part of Athanasius, now obviously doomed to another 
exile ; — all this must have savoured of rebellion. And rebellion was no imaginary danger. 


We have seen that Magnentius had tried to enlist Athanasius on his side against the 
Arian Emperor. Constantius was but a new ruler over Gaul, and had no claim, through 
services rendered, to its loyalty. He might reasonably construe Hilary's words into a threat 
that the orthodox of Gaul would, if their wishes were disregarded, support an orthodox 
pretender. And there was a special reason for suspicion. At this very time Constantius 
had just conferred the government of the West upon his cousin Julian, who was installed 
as Caesar on the 6th November, 355. From the first, probably, Constantius distrusted 
Julian, and Julian certainly distrusted Constantius. Thus it might well seem that the 
materials were ready for an explosion; that a disloyal Caesar would find ready allies in 
discontented Catholics. 

We cannot wonder that Hilary's letter had no effect upon the policy of Constantius. 
It is somewhat surprising that several months elapsed before he was punished. In the 
spring of the year 356 Saturninus presided at a Council held at Beziers, at which Hilary 
was, he tells us, compelled to attend. In what the compulsion consisted we do not know. 
It may simply have been that he was summoned to attend; a summons which he could 
not with dignity refuse, knowing, as he must have done, that charges would be brought 
against himself. Of the proceedings of the Synod we know little. The complaints against 
Hilary concerned his conduct, not his faith. This latter was, of course, above suspicion, 
and it was not the policy of the court party to attack orthodoxy in Gaul. He seems to 
have been charged with exciting popular discontent ; and this, as we have seen, was an 
accusation which his own letter had rendered plausible. He tried to raise the question 
of the Faith, challenging the doctrine of his opponents. But though a large majority of 
a council of Gallic bishops would certainly be in sympathy with him, he had no success. 
Their position was not threatened; Hilary, like Paulinus, was accused of no doctrinal 
error, and these victims of Constantius, if they had raised no questions concerning their 
neighbours' faith and made no objections to the Emperor's tyranny, might also have passed 
their days in peace. The tone of the episcopate in Gaul was, in fact, by no means heroic. 
If we may trust Sulpicius Severus % in all these Councils the opposition was prepared to 
accept the Emperor's word about Athanasius, and excommunicate him, if the general question 
of the Faith might be discussed. But the condition was evaded, and the issue never frankly 
raised; and, if it was cowardly, it was not unnatural that Hilary should have been condemned 
by the Synod, and condemned almost unanimously. Only Rodanius of Toulouse was 
punished with him ; the sufferers would certainly have been more numerous had there 
been any strenuous remonstrance against the injustice. The Synod sent their decision 
to the Caesar Julian, their immediate ruler. Julian took no action ; he may have felt that 
the matter was too serious for him to decide without reference to the Emperor, but it is 
more likely that he had no wish to outrage the dominant Church feeling of Gaul and alienate 
sympathies which he might need in the future. In any case he refused to pass a sentence 
which he must have known would be in accordance with the Emperor's desire ; and the 
vote of the Synod, condemning Hilary, was sent to Constantius himself. He acted upon 
it at once, and in the summer of the same year, 356, Hilary was exiled to the diocese, 
or civil district comprising several provinces, of Asia. 

We now come to the most important period of Hilary's life. He was already, as we 
have seen, a Greek scholar and a follower of Greek theology. He was now to come into 
immediate contact with the great problems of the day in the field on which they were 
being constantly debated. And he was well prepared to take his part He had formed 
his own convictions before he was acquainted with homoousion, homoiousion or the Nicene 

1 Chron. ii. 39. 


Creed '. He was therefore in full sympathy with Athanasius on the main point. And his 
manner of treating the controversy shews that the policy of Athanasius was also, in a great 
measure, his. Like Athanasius, he spares Marcellus as much as possible. We know that 
Athanasius till the end refused to condemn him, though one of the most formidable weapons 
in the armoury of the Anti-Nicene party was the conjunction in which they could plausibly 
put their two names, as those of the most strenuous opponents of Arianism. Similarly 
Hilary never names Marcellus 3 , as he never names Apollinaris, though he had the keenest 
sense of the danger involved in either heresy, and argues forcibly and often against both. 
Like Athanasius again, he has no mercy upon Photinus the disciple, while he spares 
Marcellus the master; and it is a small, though clear, sign of dependence that he occasionally 
applies Athanasius' nickname of Ariomanitte, or ' Arian lunatics,' to his opponents. It is 
certain that Hilary was familiar with the writings of Athanasius, and borrowed freely from 
them. But so little has yet been done towards ascertaining the progress of Christian thought 
and the extent of each writer's contribution to it, that it is impossible to say which arguments 
were already current and may have been independently adopted by Hilary and by Athanasius, 
and for which the former is indebted to the latter «. Yet it is universally recognised that 
the debt exists; and Hilary's greatness as a theologians, his mastery of the subject, would 
embolden him to borrow and adapt the more freely that he was dealing as with an equal 
and a fellow-combatant in the same cause. 

Athanasius and Hilary can never have met face to face. But the eyes and the agents 
of Athanasius were everywhere, and he must have known something of the exile and of 
the services of Hilary, who was, of course, well acquainted with the history of Athanasius, 
though, with the rest of Gaul, he may not have been whole-hearted in his defence. And 
now he was the m re likely to be drawn towards him because this was the time of his approxi- 
mation to the younger generation of the Conservative School. For it is with them that Hilary's 
affinities are closest and most obvious. The great Cappadocians were devoted Origenists — 
we know the service they rendered to their master by the publication of the Philocalia, — 
and there could be no stronger bond of union between Hilary and themselves. They 
were the outgrowth of that great Asiatic school to which the name of Semiarians, 
somewhat unkindly given by Epiphanius, has clung, and which was steadily increasing 
in influence over the thought of Asia, the dominant province, at this time, of the whole 
Empire. Gregory of Nazianzus, the eldest of the three great writers, was probably not 
more than twenty-five years of age when Hilary was sent into exile, and none of them 
can have seriously affected even his latest works. But they represented, in a more perfect 
form, the teaching of the best men of the Conservative School ; and when we find that 
Hilary, who was old enough to be the father of Basil and the two Gregories, has thoughts 
in common with them which are not to be found in Athanasius, we may safely assign 
this peculiar teaching to the influence upon Hilary, predisposed by his loyalty to Origen 
to listen to the representatives of the Origenist tradition, of this school of theology. We 
see one side of .this influence in Hilary's understatement of the doctrine of the Holy Ghost. 
The Semiarians were coming to be of one mind with the Nicenes as to the consubstantial 
Deity of the Son ; none of them, in all probability, at this time would have admitted the 

2 Syn. 01. I 4 No such examination seems to have been made as that to 

3 This sparing of Marcellus, in the case of a Western like 
Hilary, may have been a concession to the incapacity of the 
West, e.g. Julius of Rome and the Council of Sardica, to see 
his error. But this is not so likely as that it was a falling in 
with the general policy of Athanasius, as was the rare mention 
of the homoousion ; cf. Gwatkin, op. cit. 42 n. Hilary was sin- 
gularly independent of Western opinion, and his whole aim was 
to win the East. 

which Reuter in his admirable Augustinische Studien has sub- 
jected some of the thoughts of St. Augustine. 

5 Harnack, Dogntengeschichte, ii. p. 243 n. (ed. 3). Hilary is, 
'making all allowance for dependence on Athanasius, an inde- 
pendent thinker, who hasi indeed, excelled the bishop of Alex, 
andria as a theologian.' 



consubstantial Deity of the Spirit, and the unity of their School was to be wrecked in 
future years upon this point. The fact that Hilary could use language so reserved upon 
this subject must have led them to welcome his alliance the more heartily. Neither he 
nor they could foresee the future of the doctrine, and both sides must have sincerely 
thought that they were at one. And, indeed, on Hilary's part there was a great willingness 
to believe in this unity, which led him, as we shall see, into an unfortunate attempt at 
ecclesiastical diplomacy. Another evidence of contact with this Eastern School, but at 
its most advanced point, is the remarkable expression, ' Only-begotten God,' which Hilary 
'employs with startling freedom, evidently as the natural expression of his own inmost 
thought 6 .' Dr. Hort, whose words these are, states that the term is used by Athanasius 
only twice, once in youth and once in old age ; but that, on the other hand, it is familiar 
to two of the Cappadocians, Basil and Gregory of Nyssa. They must have learned it from 
some Asiatic writer known to Hilary as a contemporary, to them as successors. And 
when we find Hilary? rejecting the baptism of heretics, and so putting himself in opposition 
to what had been the Roman view for a century and that of Gaul since the Council of 
Aries in 314, and then find this opinion echoed by Gregory of Nazianzus 8 , we are reminded 
not only of Hilary's general independence of thought, but of the circumstance that 
St. Cyprian found his stoutest ally in contesting this same point in the Cappadocian 
Firmilian. A comparison of the two sets of writings would probably lead to the discovery 
of more coincidences than have yet been noticed ; of the fact itself, of ' the Semiarian 
influence so visible in the De Synodis of Hilary, and even in his own later work?,' there 
can be no doubt. 

With these affinities, with an adequate knowledge of the Greek language and a strong 
sympathy, as well as a great familiarity, with Greek modes of thought, Hilary found himself 
in the summer of the year 356 an exile in Asia Minor. It was exile in the most favourable 
circumstances. He was still bishop of Poitiers, recognised as such by the government, 
which only forbade him, for reasons of state ostensibly not connected with theology, to 
reside within his diocese. He held free communication with his fellow-bishops in Gaul, 
and was allowed to administer his own diocese, so far as administration by letter was 
possible, without interruption. And his diocese did not forget him. We learn from 
Sulpicius Severus * that he and the others of the little band of exiles, who had suffered 
at Aries, and Milan, and Beziers, were the heroes of the day in their own country. That 
orthodox bishops should suffer for the Faith was a new thing in the West; we cannot 
wonder that subsidies were raised for their support and delegations sent to assure them 
of the sympathy of their flocks. To a man like Hilary, of energy and ability, of recognised 
episcopal rank and unimpeached orthodoxy, the position offered not less but more oppor- 
tunities of service than hitherto he had enjoyed. For no restriction was put upon his 
movements, so long as he kept within the wide bounds allotted him. He had perfect 
leisure for travel or for study, the money needed for the expense of his journeys, and 
something of the glory, still very real, with which the confessor was invested. And his 
movements were confined to the very region where he could learn most concerning the 
question of the hour, and do most for its solution. In fact, in sending Hilary into such 
an exile as this, Constantius had done too much, or too little; he had injured, and not 
advanced, his own favourite cause of unity by way of compromise. In this instance, as 
in those of Arius and Athanasius and many others, exile became an efficacious means for 

* Hort, Two Dissertations, p. ay. 
1 Trin. viii. 40. 

• Cf. Gwatkin, Studies ofArianism, p. 13a 

9 lb., p. 159. It would not be fair to judge Hilary by the 

de Synodis alone. The would-be diplomatist, in his eagernes» 
to bring about a reconciliation, is not quite just either to the 
facts or to his own feelings. 
1 Chron. ii. 39. 


the spreading and strengthening of convictions. If Hilary had no great success, as we shah 
see, in the Council which he attended, yet his presence, during these critical years, in a region 
where men were gradually advancing to the fuller truth cannot have been without influence 
upon their spiritual growth ; and his residence in Asia no doubt confirmed and enriched his 
own apprehension of the Faith. 

It is certain that Hilary was busily engaged in writing his great work upon the Trinity, 
and that some parts of it were actually published, during his exile. But as this work in 
its final form would appear to belong to the next stage of Hilary's life, it will be well to 
postpone its consideration for the present, and proceed at once to his share in the conciliar 
action of the time. We have no information concerning his conduct before the year 358, 
but it is necessary to say something about the important events which preceded his pub- 
lication of the De Synodis and his participation in the Council of Seleucia. 

It was a time when new combinations of parties were being formed. Arianism was 
shewing itself openly, as it had not dared to do since Nicaea. In 357 Hilary's adversaries, 
Ursacius and Valens, in a Synod at Sirmium, published a creed which was Arian without 
concealment; it was, indeed, as serious a blow to the Emperor's policy of compromise 
as anything that Athanasius or Hilary had ventured. But it was the work of friends 
of the Emperor, and shewed that, for the moment at any rate, the Court had been 
won over to the extreme party. But the forces of Conservatism were still the strongest. 
Within a few months, early in 358, the great Asiatic prelates, soon to be divided over 
the question of the Godhead of the Holy Spirit but still at one, Basil of Ancyra, 
Macedonius and others, met at Ancyra and repudiated Arianism while ignoring, after 
their manner, the Nicene definition. Then their delegates proceeded to the Court, now 
at Sirmium, and won Constantius back to his old position. Ursacius and Valens, who 
had no scruples, signed a Conservative creed, as did the weak Liberius of Rome, anxious 
to escape from an exile to which he had been consigned soon after the banishment of 
Hilary. It was a great triumph to have induced so prominent a bishop to minimise — 
we cannot say that he denied — his own belief and that of the Western churches. And the 
Asiatic leaders were determined to have the spoils of victory. Liberius, of course, was 
allowed to return home, for he had proved compliant, and the Conservatives had no quarrel 
with those who held the homoousion. But the most prominent of the Arian leaders, those 
who had the courage of their conviction, to the number, it is said, of seventy, were exiled. 
It is true that Constantius was quickly persuaded by other influences to restore them ; 
but the theological difference was embittered by the sense of personal injury, and further 
conflicts rendered inevitable between Conservatives and Arians. 

It was with this Conservative party, victorious for the moment, that Hilary had to deal. 
Its leaders, and especially Basil of Ancyra, had the ear of the Emperor, and seemed to 
hold the future of the Church in their hands. Hilary was on friendly terms with Basil, 
with whom, as we have seen, he had much in common, and corresponded on his behalf 
with the Western Bishops. He was, indeed, by the peculiar combination in him of the 
Eastern and the Western, perhaps the only man who could have played the part he undertook. 
He was thoroughly and outspokenly orthodox, yet had no prejudice in favour of the Nicene 
definition. He would have been content, like the earlier generation of Eastern bishops, 
with a simple formulary; the Apostles' Creed, the traditional standard of the West, satisfied 
the exigencies even of his own precise thought. And if a personal jealousy of Athanasius 
and his school on the part of the Asiatic Conservatives was one of the chief obstacles to peace, 
here again Hilary had certain advantages. We have seen that there was no personal' 
communication between him and Athanasius ; he could ignore, and may even have been 
ignorant of, the antipathy of Asia to Alexandria. And he was no absolute follower of 
Athanasius* teaching. We saw that in some important respects he was an independent 
VOL. ix. c 


thinker, and that in others he is on common ground with the Cappadocians, the heirs of 
the best thought of such men as Basil of Ancyra. Nor could he labour under any suspicion 
of being involved in the heresy of Marcellus. It was an honourable tradition of Eastern 
Christendom to guard against the recrudescence of such heresy as his, which revived the 
fallacies of Paul of Samosata and of Sabellius, and seemed in Asia the most formidable 
of all possible errors. Marcellus had forged it as a weapon in defence of the Nicene faith ; 
and if his doctrine were among the most formidable antagonists of Arianism, it may well 
have seemed that there was not much to choose between the two. And while Athanasius 
had never condemned Marcellus, and the West had more than once pronounced him innocent, 
the general feeling of the East was decisively against him, and deeply suspicious of any 
appearance of sympathy with him. And further, by one of those complications of personal 
with theological opposition which were so sadly frequent, Basil was in possession of that very 
see of Ancyra from which the heretic Marcellus had been expelled. Hilary, who was 
unconcerned in all this, saw a new hope for the Church in his Asiatic friends, and his own 
tendencies of thought must have been a welcome surprise to them, accustomed as they were 
to suspect Sabellianism in the West. The prospect, indeed, was at first sight a fair one. 
The Faith, it seemed, might be upheld by imperial support, now that it had advocates who 
were not prejudiced in the Emperor's eyes as was Athanasius; and Athanasius himself, 
accredited by the testimony of Asia, might recover his position. Yet Hilary was building 
on an unsound foundation. The Semiarian party was not united. Hilary may not have 
suspected, or may, in his zeal for the cause, have concealed from himself the fact, that in the 
doctrine of the Holy Ghost there lay the seeds of a strife which was soon to divide his allies 
as widely as Arius was separated from Athanasius. And these allies, as a body, were not 
worthy supporters of the truth. There were many sincere men among them, but these 
were mixed with adventurers, who used the conflict as a means of attaining office, with as few 
scruples as any of the other prelates who hung around the court. But the fatal obstacle 
to success was that the whole plan depended on the favour of Constantius. For the moment 
Basil and his friends possessed this, but their adversaries were men of greater dexterity and 
fewer scruples than they. Valens and Ursacius and their like were doing their utmost to 
retrieve defeat and enjoy revenge. It is significant that Athanasius, as it seems, had no share 
in Hilary's hopes and schemes for drawing East and West together. He had an unrivalled 
knowledge of the circumstances, and an open mind, willing to see good in the Semiarians; 
had the plan contained the elements of success it would have received his warm support. 

Hilary threw himself heartily into it. He travelled, we know, extensively ; so much so, 
that his letters from Gaul failed to reach him in the year 358. This was a serious matter. 
We have seen that the exiles from the West had derived great support from their flocks. 
Hilary's own weight as a negotiator must have depended upon the general knowledge that 
he did not stand alone, but represented the public opinion of a great province. For this 
reason, as well as for his own peace of mind, it must have been a welcome relief to him 
to learn, when letters came at last, that his friends had not forgotten or deserted him; 
and he seized the opportunity of reply to send to the bishops of all the Gallic provinces and 
of Britain the circular letter which we call the De Synodis, translated in this volume. The 
Introduction to it, here given, makes it unnecessary to describe its contents. It may suffice 
to say rihat it is an able arc} well-written attempt to explain the Eastern position to Western 
theologians. He shews thv^ *he Eastern creeds, which had been composed since the 
Nicene, were susceptible of an orthodox meaning, and felicitously brings out their merits 
by contrast with the unmitigated heresy of the second creed of Sirmium, which he cites 
at full length. It must be admitted that there is a certain amount of special pleading; that 
his eyes are resolutely shut to any other aspect of the documents than that which he 
is commending to the attention of his readers in Gaul. And he is as boldly original in his 


rendering of history as of doctrine. He actually describes the Council of the Dedication, 
which confirmed the deposition of Athanasius and propounded a compromising creed, 
definitely intended to displace the Nicene, as an 'assembly of the saints 2 .' The West, we 
know, cared little for Eastern disputes and formularies. There can have been no great 
risk that Hilary's praise should revolt the minds of his friends, and as little hope that 
it would excite any enthusiasm among them. This description, and a good deal else in the 
De Synodis, was obviously meant to be read in the land where it was written. When 
all possible allowance is made for his sympathy with the best men among the Asiatics, 
and for the hopefulness with which he might naturally regard his allies, it is still impossible 
to think that he was quite sincere in asserting that their object in compiling ambiguous creeds 
was the suppression of Sabellianism and not the rejection of the homoousion. Yet it was 
natural enough that he should write as he did, for the prospect must have seemed most 
attractive. If this open letter could convince the Eastern bishops that they were regarded 
in the West not with suspicion, as teachers of the inferiority of Christ, but with admiration, 
as steadfast upholders of His reality, a great step was made towards union. And if Hilary 
could persuade his brethren in Gaul that the imperfect terms in which the East was 
accustomed to express its faith in Christ were compatible with sound belief, an approach 
could be made from that side also. And in justice to Hilary we must bear in mind 
that he does not fall into the error of Liberius. It was a serious fault for a Western bishop 
to abandon words which were, for him and for his Church, the recognised expression 
of the truth ; it was a very different matter to argue that inadequate terms, in the mouth 
of those who were unhappily pledged to the use of them, might contain the saving Faith. 
This latter is the argument which Hilary uses. He urges the East to advance to the 
definiteness of the Nicene confession ; he urges the West to welcome the first signs of 
such an advance, and meantime to recognise the truth that was half-concealed in their 
ambiguous documents. The attempt was a bold one, and met, as was inevitable, with 
severe criticism from the side of uncompromising orthodoxy, which we may for the moment 
leave unnoticed. What Athanasius thought of the treatise we do not know; it would 
be unsafe to conjecture that his own work, which bears the same title and was written in the 
following year, when the futility of the hope which had buoyed Hilary up had been de- 
monstrated, was a silent criticism upon the De Synodis of the other. It is, at least, 
a success in itself, and was a step towards the ultimate victory of truth; we cannot say 
as much of Hilary's effort, admirable though its intention was, and though it must have 
contributed something to the softening of asperities. But Alexandria and Gaul were distant, 
and while the one excited repugnance in the Emperor's mind, the other had little influence 
with him. The decision seemed to lie in the hands of Basil of Ancyra and his colleagues. 
The men who had the ear of Constantius, and had lately induced him to banish the Arians, 
must in consistency use their influence for the restoration of exiles who were suffering 
for their opposition to Arianism ; and this influence, if only the West would heartily join with 
them, would be strong enough to secure even the restoration of Athanasius. Such thoughts 
were certainly present in the mind of Hilary when he painted so bright a picture of Eastern 
Councils, and represented Constantius as an innocent believer, once misguided but now 
returned to the Faith 3. From the Semiarian leaders, controlling the policy of Constantius, 
he expected peace for the Church, restoration of the exiles, the suppression of Arianism. 
And if to some extent he deceived himself, and was willing to believe and to persuade others 
that men's faith and purpose differed from what in fact it was, we must remember that it was 
a time of passionate earnestness, when cool judgment concerning friend or foe was almost 
impossible for one who was involved in that great conflict concerning the Divinity of Christ. 

a Syn. 32. 3 lb. 78. 

C 2 


But the times were not ripe for an understanding between East and West, and the 
Asiatics in whom Hilary had put his trust were not, and did not deserve to be, the restorers 
of the Church. Their victory had been complete, but the Emperor was inconstant and their 
adversaries were men of talent, who had once guided his counsels and knew how to recover 
their position. The policy of Constantius was, as we know, one of compromise, and it might 
seem to him that the prevailing confusion would cease if only a sufficiently comprehensive 
formula could be devised and accepted. * Specious charity and colourless indefiniteness *' 
was the policy of the new party, formed by Valens and Arians of every shade, which 
won the favour of Constantius within a year of the Semiarian victory. They had been 
mortified, had been forced to sign a confession which they disbelieved, many of them 
had suffered a momentary exile. Now they were to have their revenge ; not only were 
the terms of communion to be so lax that extreme Arianism should be at home within the 
Church, but, as in a modern change of ministry, the Semiarians were to yield their sees to 
their opponents. To attain these ends a Council was necessary. The general history 
of the Homoean intrigues, of their division of the forces opposed to them by the as- 
sembling of a Western Council at Rimini, of an Eastern at Seleucia, and their apparent 
triumph, gained by shameless falsehood, in the former, would be out of place. Hilary and 
his Asiatic friends were concerned only with the Council which met at Seleucia in September, 
359. The Emperor, who hoped for a final settlement, desired that the Council should be as 
large as possible, and the governors of provinces exerted themselves to collect bishops, and 
to forward them to Seleucia, as was usual, at the public expense. Among the rest, Hilary, 
who was, we must remember, a bishop with a diocese of his own, and of unimpugned ortho- 
doxy, exiled ostensibly for a political offence, received orders to attend at the cost of the 
State 5 . In the Council, which numbered some 160 bishops, his Semiarian friends were 
in a majority of three to one ; the uncompromising Nicenes of Egypt and the uncompromising 
Arians, taken together, did not number more than a quarter of the whole. Hilary was wel- 
comed heartily and, as it would seem, unanimously; but he had to disclaim, on behalf of the 
Church in Gaul, the Sabellianism of which it was suspected, and with some reason after 
the Western welcome of Marcellus. He stated his faith to the satisfaction of the Council 
in accordance with the Nicene confession 6 . We cannot doubt that he made use of its very 
words, for Hilary was not the man to retreat from the position he held, and the terms of his 
alliance with the school of Basil of Ancyra required no such renunciation. The proceedings 
of the Council, in which Hilary took no public part, may be omitted. The Semiarians, 
strong in numbers and, as they still thought, in the Emperor's favour, swept everything before 
them. They adopted the ambiguous creed of the Council of the Dedication, — that Council 
which Hilary had lately called an 'assembly of the Saints' — for the Nicenes were a powerless 
minority; and they repeated their sentence of excommunication upon the Arians, who were 
still fewer in number. They even ventured to consecrate a successor to Eudoxius, one of the 
most extreme, for the great Church of Antioch. Then the Council elected a commission 
of ten of the leaders of the majority to present to the Emperor a report of its proceedings, 
and dispersed. In spite of some ominous signs of obstinacy on the part of the Arians, and 
of favour towards them shewn by the government officials, they seemed to have succeeded in 
establishing still more firmly the results attained at Ancyra two years before, and to have 
struck another and, as they might hope, a more effectual blow at the heretics. 

But when the deputation, with whom Hilary travelled, reached Constantinople, they 
found that the position was entirely different from their expectation. The intriguing party, 
whose aim was to punish and displace the Semiarians, had contrived a double treason. They 
misrepresented the Western Council to the Emperor as in agreement with themselves j 

4 Gwatkin, Studies 0/ Arianism, p. 163. 5 Sulp. Sev. Chroiu ii. 4a. 

6 Sulp. Sev. ii. 42, iuxta ea, qua Nicact trant a fatribut conscrifta. 


and they sacrificed their more honest colleagues in Arianism. They hated those who, like 
Basil of Ancyra, maintained the homoionsion, the doctrine that the Son is of like nature with 
the Father ; the Emperor sincerely rejected the logical Arianism which said that He is 
of unlike nature. They abandoned their friends in order to induce Constantius to sacrifice 
his old Semiarian advisers ; and proposed with success their new Homoean formula, that the 
Son is ' like the Father in all things, as Scripture says.' His nature is not mentioned ; 
the last words were a concession to the scruples of the Emperor. We shall see presently that 
this rupture with the consistent Arians is a matter of some importance for the dating of 
Hilary's De Trinitate ; for the present we must follow the fortunes of himself and his allies. 
He had journeyed with them to Constantinople. This was, apparently, a breach of the order 
given him to confine himself to the diocese of Asia; but he had already been commanded 
to go to Seleucia, which lay beyond those limits, and his journey to Constantinople may 
have been regarded as a legitimate sequel to his former journey. In any case he was 
not molested, and was allowed to appear, with the deputation from Seleucia, at the Court 
of Constantius. For the last two months of the year 359 the disputes concerning the 
Faith still continued. But the Emperor was firm in his determination to bring about a 
compromise which should embrace every one who was not an extreme and conscientious 
Arian, and the Homoean leaders supported him ably and unscrupulously. They falsified 
the sense of the Council of Rimini and denied their own Arianism, and Constantius backed 
them up by threats against the Seleucian deputation. Hilary, of course, had no official 
position, and could speak only for himself. The Western Church seemed to have decided 
against its own faith, and the decision of the East, represented by the ten delegates, was 
not yet declared, though it must have been probable that they would succumb to the 
pressure exercised upon them, and desert their own convictions and those of the Council 
whose commission they held. In these circumstances Hilary had the courage, which we 
cannot easily overestimate, to make a personal appeal to Constantius ?. It is evident that 
as yet he is hopeful, or at least that he thinks it worth while to make an attempt. He writes 
with the same customary humility which we found in his former address to the Emperor. 
Constantius is ' most pious,' ' good and religious,' ' most gracious,' and so forth. The 
sincerity of the appeal is manifest ; Hilary still believes, or is trying to believe, that the 
Emperor, who had so lately been on the side of Basil of Ancyra and his friends, and 
had at their instigation humiliated and exiled their opponents, has not transferred his favour 
once more to the party of Valens. The address is written with great dignity of style and 
of matter. Hilary begins by declaring that the importance of his theme is such that it 
enforces attention, however insignificant the speaker may be ; yet (§ 2) his position entitles 
him to speak. He is a bishop, in communion with all the churches and bishops of Gaul 
and to that very day distributing the Eucharist by the hands of his presbyters to his 
own Church. He is in exile, it is true, but he is guiltless ; falsely accused by designing men 
who had gained the Emperor's ear. He appeals to Julian's knowledge of his innocence; 
indeed, the malice of his opponents had inflicted less of suffering upon himself than of 
discredit upon the administration of Julian, under which he had been condemned. The 
Emperor's rescript sentencing Hilary to exile was public ; it was notorious that the charges 
upon which the sentence was based were false. Saturninus, the active promoter, if not 
the instigator, of the attack, was now in Constantinople. Hilary confidently promises to 
demonstrate that the proceedings were a deception of Constantius, and an insult to Julian ; 
if he fails, he will no longer petition to be allowed to return to the exercise of his office, 

1 Sulpicius Sevexus, Chron. ii. 45, says that he addressed at . two appeals, that before the exile and the present one, and th« 
this time three petitions to the Emperor. This is, of course, not Invective, 
impossible ; bii* it is more likely that he had in his mind the I 


but will retire to pass the rest of his days as a layman in repentance. To this end he 
asks to be confronted with Satuminus (§ 3), or rather takes for granted that Constantius 
will do as he wishes. He leaves the Emperor to determine all the conditions of the debate, 
in which, as he repeats, he will wring from Satuminus the confession of his falsehood. 
Meanwhile he promises to be silent upon the subject till the appointed time. Next, he turns 
to the great subject of the day. The world's danger, the guilt of silence, the judgment 
of God, fill him with fear; he is constrained to speak when his own salvation and that 
of the Emperor and of mankind is at stake, and encouraged by the consciousness of 
multitudes who sympathise with him. He bids the Emperor (§ 4) call back to his mind the 
Faith which (so he says) Constantius is longing in vain to hear from his bishops. Those 
whose duty is to proclaim the Faith of God are employed, instead, in composing faiths of their 
own, and so they revolve in an endless circle of error and of strife. The sense of human 
infirmity ought to have made them content to hold the Faith in the same form of words 
in which they had received it. At their baptism they had professed and sworn their faith, 
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; doubt or change are 
equally unlawful. Yet men were using the sacred words while they dishonestly assigned 
to them another meaning, or even were daring to depart from them. Thus to some the three 
sacred Names were empty terms. Hence innovations in the statement of the Faith ; the 
search for novelties took the place of loyalty to ancient truth, and the creed of the year 
displaced the creed of the Gospels. Every one framed his confession according to his 
own desire or his own character ; while creeds were multiplying, the one Faith was perishing. 
Since the Council of Nicasa (§ 5) there had been no end to this writing of creeds. So 
busily were men wrangling over words, seeking novelties, debating knotty points, forming 
factions and pursuing ambitions, refusing to agree and hurling anathemas at one another, 
that almost all had drifted away from Christ. The confusion was such that none could 
either teach or learn in safety. Within the last year no less than four contradictory creeds 
had been promulgated. There was no single point of the Faith which they or their fathers 
had held upon which violent hands had not been laid. And the pitiful creed which for 
the moment held the field was that the Son is ' like the Father' ; whether this likeness were 
perfect or imperfect was left in obscurity. The result of constant change and ceaseless 
dispute was self-contradiction and mutual destruction. This search for a faith (§ 6) involved 
the assumption that the true Faith was not ready to the believer's hand. They would 
have it in writing, as though the heart were not its place. Baptism implied the Faith and 
was useless without its acceptance; to teach a new Christ after Baptism, or to alter the 
Faith then declared, was sin against the Holy Ghost. The chief cause of the continuance of 
the present blasphemy was the love of applause ; men invented grandiloquent paraphrases 
in place of the Apostles' Creed, to delude the vulgar, to conceal their aberrations, to effect a 
compromise with other forms of error. They would do anything rather than confess that 
they had been wrong. When the storm arises (§ 7) the mariner returns to the harbour 
he had left ; the spendthrift youth, with ruin in prospect, to the sober habits of his father's 
home. So Christians, with shipwreck of the Faith in sight and the heavenly patrimony 
almost lost, must return to the safety which lies in the primitive, Apostolic Baptismal Creed. 
They must not condemn as presumptuous or profane the Nicene confession, but eschew 
it as giving occasion to attacks upon the Faith and to denials of the truth on the ground 
of novelty. There is danger lest innovation creep in, excused as improvement of this creed ; 
and emendation is an endless process, which leads the emenders to condemnation of each 
other. Hilary now (§ 8) professes his sincere admiration of Constantius' devout purpose and 
earnestness in seeking the truth, which he who denies Is antichrist, and he who feigns 
is anathema. He entreats the Emperor to allow him to expound the Faith, in his own 
presence, before the Council which was now debating the subject at Constantinople. 


His exposition shall be Scriptural ; he will use the words of Christ, Whose exile and Whose 
bishop he is. The Emperor seeks the Faith; let him hear it not from modern volumes, 
but from the books of God. Even in the West it may be taught, whence shall come 
some that shall sit at meat in the kingdom of God. This is a matter not of philosophy, 
but of the teaching of the Gospel. He asks audience rather for the Emperor's sake and for 
God's Churches than for himself. He is sure of the faith that is in him ; it is God's, and he 
will never change it. But (§ 9) the Emperor must bear in mind that every heretic professes 
that his own is the Scriptural doctrine. So say Marcellus, Photinus, and the rest. He prays 
(§ 10) for the Emperor's best attention ; his plea will be for faith and unity and eternal 
life He will speak in all reverence for Constantius' royal position, and for his faith, 
and what he says shall tend to peace between East and West. Finally (§ n) he gives, 
as an outline of the address he proposes to deliver, the series of texts on which he will 
base his argument. This is what the Holy Spirit has taught him to believe. To this 
faith he will ever adhere, loyal to the Faith of his fathers, and the creed of his Baptism, 
and the Gospel as he has learnt it. 

In this address, to which we cannot wonder that Constantius made no response, there 
is much that is remarkable. There is no doubt that Hilary's exile had been a political 
measure, and that the Emperor, in this as in the numerous other cases of the same kind, had 
acted deliberately and with full knowledge of the circumstances in the way that seemed 
to him most conducive to the interests of permanent peace. Hilary's assumption that 
Constantius had been deceived is a legitimate allusion, which no one could misunderstand, 
to a fact which could not be respectfully stated. That he should have spoken as he did, and 
indeed that he should have raised the subject at all, is a clear sign of the uncertainty of the 
times. A timorous appeal for mercy would have been useless ; a bold statement of innocence, 
although, as things turned out, it failed, was an effort worth making to check the Homoean 
advance. Saturninus, as we saw, was one of the Court party among the bishops ; and he was 
an enemy of Julian, who was soon to permit his deposition. Julian's knowledge of Hilary 
can have been but small ; his exile began within a month or two of the Caesar's arrival 
in Gaul, and Julian was not responsible for it. For good or for evil, he had little to say 
in the case. But the suspicions were already aroused which were soon to lead to Julian's 
revolt, and Constantius had begun to give the orders which would lessen Julian's military 
force, and were, as he supposed, intended to prepare his downfall. To appeal to Julian and 
to attack Saturninus was to remind Constantius very broadly that great interests were at 
stake, and that a protector might be found for the creed which he persecuted. And his 
double mention of the West (§§ 8, 10) as able to teach the truth, and as needing to be 
reconciled with the East, has a political ring. It suggests that the Western provinces 
are a united force, with which the Emperor must reckon. The fact that Constantius, though 
he did not grant the meeting in his own presence with Saturninus, which Hilary had asked 
for, yet did grant the substance of his prayer, allowing him to return without obstacle 
to his diocese, seems to shew that the Emperor felt the need for caution and concession 
in the West. 

The theological part of the letter is even more remarkable. Its doctrine is, of course, 
exactly that of the De Tri7iitate. The summary of Scripture proofs for the doctrine in § 11, 
the allusion to unlearned fishermen who have been teachers of the Faith 8 , and several 
other passages, are either anticipations or reminiscences of that work. But the interest 
of the letter lies in its bold proposal to go behind all the modern creeds, of the confusion 
of which a vivid picture is drawn, and revert to the baptismal formula. Here is a lead- 
ing combatant on the Catholic side actually proposing to withdraw the Nicene confes- 

8 Cf. Trin. ii. I3ff. 



sion : — ' Amid these shipwrecks of faith, when our inheritance of the heavenly patri- 
mony is almost squandered, our safety lies in clinging to that first and only Gospel 
Faith which we confessed and apprehended at our Baptism, and in making no change 
in that one form which, when we welcome it and listen to it, brings the right faith 9 
I do not mean that we should condemn as a godless and blasphemous writing the work 
of the Synod of our fathers; yet rash men make use of it as a means of gainsaying' 
(§ 7). The Nicene Creed ', Hilary goes on to say, had been the starting-point of an end- 
less chain of innovations and amendments, and thus had done harm instead of good. 
We have seen that Hilary was not only acting with the Semiarians, but was nearer 
to them in many ways than he was to Athanasius. The future of his friends was now 
in doubt; not only was their doctrine in danger, but, after the example they had them- 
selves set, they must have been certain that defeat meant deposition. This was a concession 
which only a sense of extreme urgency could have induced Hilary to make. Yet even 
now he avoids the mistake of Liberius. He offers to sign no compromising creed ; he 
only proposes that all modern creeds be consigned to the same oblivion. It was, in effect, 
the offer of another compromise in lieu of the Homoean ; though Hilary makes it perfectly 
clear what is, in his eyes, the only sense in which this simple and primitive confession can 
honestly be made, yet assuredly those whose doctrine most widely diverged would have 
felt able to make it. That the proposal was sincerely meant, and that his words, uncom- 
promising as they are in assertion of the truth, were not intended for a simple defiance 
of the enemy, is shewn by the list of heretics whom he advances, in § 9, in proof of his 
contention that all error claims to be based on Scripture. Three of them, Montanus, 
Manichaeus and Marcion, were heretics in the eyes of an Arian as much as of a Catholic ; 
the other three, Marcellus, Photinus and Sabellius, were those with whom the Arians were 
constantly taunting their adversaries. Hilary avoids, deliberately as we may be sure, the 
use of any name which could wound his opponents. But bold and eloquent and true as 
the appeal of Hilary was, it was still less likely that his petition for a hearing in Council 
should be granted than that he should be allowed to disprove the accusations which had 
led to his exile. The Homoean leaders had the victory in their hands, and they knew it, 
if Hilary and his friends were still in the dark. They did not want conciliation, but 
revenge, and this appeal was foredoomed to failure. The end of the crisis soon came. 
The Semiarian leaders were deposed, not on the charge of heresy, for that would have 
been inconsistent with the Homoean position and also with their acquiescence in the 
Homoean formula, but on some of those complaints concerning conduct which were 
always forthcoming when they were needed. Among the victims was not only Basil of 
Ancyra, Hilary's friend, but also Macedonius of Constantinople, who was in after days to 
be the chief of the party which denied the true Godhead of the Holy Ghost. He and 
his friends were probably unconscious at this time of the gulf which divided them from 
such men as Hilary, who for their part were content, in the interests of unity, with language 
which understated their belief, or else had not yet a clear sense of their faith upon this 
point. In any case it was well that the final victory of the true Faith was not won at 
this time, and with the aid of such allies ; we may even regard it as a sign of some 
short-sightedness on Hilary's part that he had thrown himself so heartily into their cause. 
But he, at any rate, was not to suffer. The two Eastern parties, Homoean and Semiarian, 
which alternately ejected one another from their sees, were very evenly balanced, and 
though Constantius was now on the side of the former, his friendship was not to be 

V Reading kabet for habeo, but the text is obscure. 

* It is true that the Nicene Council is not named here, but 
the allusion is obvious. The Conservatives had actually objected 
to the novelty of the Creed ; and the Arians had, as Hilary goes 

on to say, used the pretext of novelty to destroy the GospeL 
The Council of Nica;a was thirty-five years before, and is very 
accurately described as a ' Synod of our fathers.' 


trusted. The solid orthodoxy of the West was an influence which, as Hilary had hinted, 
could not be ignored ; and even in the East the Nicenes were a power worth conciliating. 
Hence the Homoeans gave a share of the Semiarian spoils to them 2 ; and it was part 
of the same policy, and not, as has been quaintly suggested, because they were afraid of 
his arguments, that they permitted Hilary to return to Gaul. Reasons of state as well 
as of ecclesiastical interest favoured his restoration. 

In the late revolution, though the Faith had suffered, individual Catholics had gained 
But the party to which Hilary had attached himself, and from which he had hoped so much 
was crushed : and his personal advantage did not compensate, in his eyes, for the injury to 
truth. He has left us a memorial of his feelings in the Invective against Constantius, one 
of the bitterest documents of a controversy in which all who engaged were too earnest 
to spare their opponents. It is an admirable piece of rhetoric suffused with passion, not 
the less spontaneous because its form, according to the canons of taste of that time, is perfect. 
For we must remember that the education of the day was literary, its aim being to provide 
the recipient with a prompt and felicitous expression of his thoughts, whatever they might be. 
The Invective was certainly written in the first place as a relief to Hilary's own feelings; 
he could not anticipate that Constantius had changed his views for the last time; that 
he would soon cease to be the master of Gaul, and would be dead within some eighteen 
months. But the existence of other attacks upon Constantius, composed about this time, 
makes it probable that there was some secret circulation of such documents ; and we can as 
little accuse the writers of cowardice, when we consider the Emperor's far-reaching power, 
as we can attribute to them injustice towards him. 

The book begins with an animated summons to resistance : — ' The time for speech 
is come, the time of silence past. Let us look for Christ's coming, for Antichrist is already 
in power. Let the shepherds cry aloud, for the hirelings are fled. Let us lay down our 
lives for the sheep, for the thieves have entered in and the ravening lion prowls around. 
With such words on our lips let us go forth to martyrdom, for the angel of Satan has 
transfigured himself into an angel of light.' After more Scriptural language of the same 
kind, Hilary goes on to say (§ 2) that, though he had been fully conscious of the extent 
of the danger to the Faith, he had been strictly moderate in his conduct. After the exiling 
of orthodox bishops at Aries and Milan, he and the bishops of GauL had contented 
themselves with abstaining from communion with Saturninus, Ursacius and Valens. Other 
heretical bishops had been allowed a time for repentance. And even after he had been 
forced to attend the Synod of Be'ziers, refused a hearing for the charges of heresy which 
he wished to bring, and finally exiled, he had never, in word or writing, uttered any 
denunciation against his opponents, the Synagogue of Satan, who falsely claimed to be 
the Church of Christ. He had not faltered in his own belief, but had welcomed every 
suggestion that held out a hope of unity ; and in that hope he had even refrained from 
blaming those who associated or worshipped with the excommunicate. Setting all personal 
considerations on one side, he had laboured for a restoration of the Church through a general 
repentance. This reserve and consistency (§ 3) is evidence that what he is about to say 
is not due to personal irritation. He speaks in the name of Christ, and his prolonged 
silence makes it his duty to speak plainly. It had been happy for him had he lived in 
the days of Nero or Decius (§ 4). The Holy Spirit would have fired him to endure as 
did the martyrs of Scripture ; torments and death would have been welcome. It would 
have been a fair fight with an open enemy. But now (§ 5) Constantius was Antichrist, 
and waged his warfare by deceit and flattery. It was scourging then, pampering now ; 
no longer freedom in prison, but slavery at court, and gold as deadly as the sword had 

* nr . '■J-vofVin Studies of A rianism, p 18?. 



been ; martyrs no longer burnt at the stake, but a secret lighting of the fires of hell. 
All that seems good in Constantius, his confession of Christ, his efforts for unity, his 
severity to heretics, his reverence for bishops, his building of churches, is perverted to 
evil ends. He professes loyalty to Christ, but his constant aim is to prevent Christ from 
being honoured equally witli the Father. Hence (§ 6) it is a clear duty to speak out, 
as the Baptist to Herod and the Maccabees to Antiochus. Constantius is addressed 
(§ 7) in the words in which Hilary would have addressed Nero or Decius or Maximian, 
had he been arraigned before them, as the enemy of God and His Church, a persecutor 
and a tyrant. But he has a peculiar infamy, worse than theirs, for it is as a pretended 
Christian that he opposes Christ, imprisons bishops, overawes the Church by military 
force, threatens and starves one council (at Rimini) into submission, and frustrates 
the purpose of another (Seleucia) by sowing dissension. To the pagan Emperors the 
Church owed a great debt (§ 8) ; the Martyrs with whom they had enriched her were 
still working daily wonders, healing the sick, casting out evil spirits, suspending the law of 
gravitation 3. But Constantius' guilt has no mitigation. A nominal Christian, he has brought 
unmixed evil upon the Church. The victims of his perversion cannot even plead bodily 
suffering as an excuse for their lapse. The devil is his father, from whom he has learnt 
his skill in misleading. He says to Christ, Lord, Lord, but shall not enter the kingdom 
of heaven (§ 9), for he denies the Son, and therefore the fatherhood of God. The old 
persecutors were enemies of Christ only; Constantius insults the Father also, by making 
Him lie. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing (§ 10). He loads the Church with the gold of 
the state and the spoil of pagan temples ; it is the kiss with which Judas betrayed his Master. 
The clergy receive immunities and remissions of taxation : it is to tempt them to deny 
Christ. He will only relate such acts of Constantius' tyranny as affect the Church (§ n). 
He will not press, for he does not know the offence alleged, his conduct in branding 
bishops on the forehead, as convicts, and setting them to labour in the mines. But he 
recounts his long course of oppression and faction at Alexandria ; a warfare longer than 
that which he had waged against Persia 1 Elsewhere, in the East, he had spread terror 
and strife, always to prevent Christ being preached. Then he had turned to the West. 
The excellent Paulinus had been driven from Treves, and cruelly treated, banished from 
all Christian society s, and forced to consort with Montanist heretics. Again, at Milan, 
the soldiers had brutally forced their way through the orthodox crowds and torn bishops 
from the altar ; a crime like that of the Jews who slew Zacharias in the Temple. He 
had robbed Rome also of her bishop, whose restoration was as disgraceful to the Emperor 
as his banishment. At Toulouse the clergy had been shamefully maltreated, and gross 
irreverence committed in the Church. These are the deeds of Antichrist. Hitherto, 
Hilary has spoken of matters of public notoriety, though not of his own observation. 
Now (§ 12) he comes to the Synod of Seleucia, at which he had been present. He 
found there as many blasphemers as Constantius chose. Only the Egyptians, with the 
exception of George, the intruder into the See of Athanasius, were avowedly Homoousian. 

3 ' Bodies lifted up without support, women hanging by the 
feet without their garments falling about their face.' The other 
references which the Benedictine editor gives for this curious 
statement are evidently borrowed from this of Hilary. From the 
time of the first Apologists exorcism is, of course, constantly ap- 
pealed to as an evidence of the truth of Christianity, but usually 
in somewhat perfunctory language, and without the assertion 
that the writer has himself seen what he records. Hilary himself 
does not profess to be an eye-witness. 

4 This is a telling point. Constantius had been notoriously 
unsuccessful in his Persian Wars. 

5 The text is corrupt, but it is not probable that Hilary means 
that Paulinus was first relegated to Phiygia and then to some 

pagan frontier district, if such there was. It is quite in Hilary's 
present vein to assume that because the Montanists were usually 
called after the province of their origin, in which they were still 
numerous, therefore all Phrygians were heretics and outside the 
pale of Christendom. If hordeo be read for horreo the passage 
is improved. Paulinus had either to be satisfied with rations 
of barley bread, the food of slaves, or else to beg from the heretics. 
Such treatment is very improbable, when we remember Hilary's 
own comfort in exile. But passions were excited, and men be- 
lieved the worst of their opponents. We may compare the false- 
hoods in Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, and in Neal's Puri- 
tans, which were eagerly believed in and after our own Civil 


Yet of the one hundred and five bishops who professed the Homoeousian Creed, he found 
'some piety in the words of some.' But the Anomoeans were rank blasphemers; he gives, 
in § J 3> words from a sermon by their leader, Eudoxius of Antioch, which were quoted 
by the opposition, and received with the abhorrence they deserved. This party found 
(§ 14) that no toleration was to be expected for such doctrines, and so forged the 
Homoean creed, which condemned equally the homoousion, the homoiousion and the 
anomoion. Their insincerity in thus rejecting their own belief was manifest to the Council, 
and one of them, who canvassed Hilary's support, avowed blank Arianism in the conversation. 
The large Homoeousian majority (§ 15) deposed the authors of the Homoean confession, 
who flew for aid to Constantius, who received them with honour and allowed them to air 
their heresy. The tables were turned ; the minority, aided by the Emperor's threats of 
exile, drove the majority, in the persons of their ten delegates, to conform to the new creed. 
The people were coerced by the prefect, the bishops threatened within the palace walls; 
the chief cities of the East were provided with heretical bishops. It was nothing less than 
making a present to the devil of the whole world for which Christ died. Constantius 
professed (§ 16) that his aim was to abolish unscriptural words. But what right had he 
to give orders to bishops or dictate the language of their sermons ? A new disease needed 
new remedies ; warfare was inevitable when fresh enemies arose. And, after all, the Homoean 
formula, Mike the Father,' was itself unscriptural. Scripture is adduced (§ 17) by Hilary 
to prove that the Son is not merely like, but equal to, the Father; and (§ 18) one in 
nature with Him, having (§ 19) the form and the glory of God. This 'likeness' is a trap 
(§ 20) ; chaff strewn on water, straw covering a pit, a hook hidden in the bait. The 
Catholic sense is the only true sense in which the word can be used, as is shewn more 
fully, by arguments to be found in the De Trinitate, in §§ 21, 22. And now he asks 
Constantius (§ 23) the plain question, what his creed is. He has made a hasty progress, 
by a steep descent, to the nethermost pit of blasphemy. He began with the Faith, which 
deserved the name, of Nicaea ; he changed it at Antioch. But he was a clumsy builder • 
the structure he raised was always falling, and had to be constantly renewed ; creed 
after creed had been framed, the safeguards and anathemas of which would have been 
needless had he remained steadfast to the Nicene. Hilary does not lament the creeds 
which Constantius had abandoned (§ 24) ; they might be harmless in themselves, but they 
represented no real belief. Yet why should he reject his own creeds ? There was no 
such reason for his discontent with them as there had been, in his heresy, for his 
rejection of the Nicene. This ceaseless variety arose from want of faith ; ' one Faith, one 
Baptism,' is the mark of truth. The result had been to stultify the bishops. They had 
been driven to condemn in succession the accurate homoousion and the harmless homoiousion, 
and even the word ousia, or substance. These were the pranks of a mere buffoon, amusing 
himself at the expense of the Church, and compelling the bishops, like dogs returning 
to their vomit, to accept what they had rejected. So many had been the contradictory 
creeds that every one was now, or had been in the past, a heretic confessed. And this 
result had only been attained (§ 26) by violence, as for instance in the cases of the Eastern 
and African bishops. The latter had committed to writing their sentence upon Ursacius 
and Valens ; the Emperor had seized the document. It might go to the flames, as would 
Constantius himself, but the sentence was registered with God. Other men (§ 27) had 
waged war with the living, but Constantius extended his hostility to the dead ; he con- 
tradicted the teaching of the saints, and his bishops rejected their predecessors, to whom 
they owed their orders, by denying their doctrine. The three hundred and eighteen at 
Nicsea were anathema to him, and his own father who had presided there. Yet though 
he might scorn the past, he could not control the future. The truth defined at Nicaea 
had been solemnly committed to writing and remained, however Constantius might contemn 



it. 'Give ear,' Hilary concludes, 'to the holy meaning of the words, to the unalterable 
determination of the Church, to the faith which thy father avowed, to the sure hope in 
which man must put his trust, the universal conviction of the doom of heresy ; and 
learn therefrom that thou art the foe of God's religion, the enemy of the tombs of the 
saints 6 , the rebellious inheritor of thy father's piety.' 

Here, again, there is much of interest. Hilary's painful feeling of isolation is manifest. 
He had withdrawn from communion with Saturninus and the few Arians of Gaul, but has 
to confess that his own friends were not equally uncompromising. The Gallic bishops, with 
their enormous dioceses, had probably few occasions for meeting, and prudent men could 
easily avoid a conflict which the Arians, a feeble minority, would certainly not provoke. The 
bishops had been courteous, or more than courteous; and Hilary dared not protest. His 
whole importance as a negotiator in the East depended on the belief that he was the 
representative of a harmonious body of opinion. To advertise this departure from his policy 
of warfare would have been fatal to his influence. And if weakness, as he must have judged 
it, was leading his brethren at home into a recognition of Arians, Constantius and his 
Homoean counsellors had ingeniously contrived a still more serious break in the orthodox 
line of battle. There was reason in his bitter complaint of the Emperor's generosity. He 
was lavish with his money, and it was well worth a bishop's while to be his friend. And of this 
expenditure Nicenes were enjoying their share, and that without having to surrender their 
personal belief, for all that was required was that they should not be inquisitive as to their 
neighbours' heresies. But Nicene bishops, of an accommodating character, were not only 
holding their own; they were enjoying a share of the spoils of the routed Semiarians. 
It was almost a stroke of genius thus to shatter Hilary's alliance ; for it was certainly not 
by chance that among the sees to which Nicenes, in full and formal communion with him, 
were preferred, was Ancyra itself, from which his chosen friend Basil had been ejected. 
Disgusted though Hilary must have been with such subservience, and saddened by the 
downfall of his friends, it is clear that the Emperor's policy had some success, even with him. 
His former hopes being dashed to the ground, he now turns, with an interest he had never 
before shewn, to the Nicene Creed as a bulwark of the Faith. And we can see the same 
feeling at work in his very cold recognition that there was 'some piety in the words of some' 
among his friends at Seleucia. It would be unjust to think of Hilary as a timeserver, but we 
must admit that there is something almost too businesslike in this dismission from his mind 
of former hopes and friendships. He looked always to a practical result in the establishment 
of truth, and a judgment so sound as his could not fail to see that the Asiatic negotiations 
were a closed chapter in his life. And his mind must have been full of the thought that he 
was returning to the West, which had its own interests and its own prejudices, and was 
impartially suspicious of all Eastern theologians; whose 'selfish coldness 7' towards the 
East was, indeed, ten years later still a barrier against unity. If Hilary was to be, as he 
purposed, a power in the West, he must promptly resume the Western tone; and he will have 
succumbed to very natural infirmity if, in his disappointment, he was disposed to couple 
together his allies who had failed with the Emperor who had caused their failure. 

The historical statements of the -Invective, as has been said, cannot always be verified. 
The account of the Synod of Seleucia is, however, unjust to Constantius. It was the free 

6 Hilary had previously (§ 27) asserted that 'the Apostle has 
taught us to communicate with the tombs of the saints." This 
is an allusion to Rom. xii. 13, with the strange reading ' tombs' 
ior 'necessities' (nvtlais for XP e ' a '*)> which has, in fact, con- 
siderable authority in the MSS. of the New Testament and in 
the Latin Christian writers. How far this reading may have 
been the cause, how far the effect, of the custom of celebrating 

the Eucharist at the tombs of Martyrs, it is impossible to say. 
The custom was by this time more than a century old, and one of 
its purposes was to maintain the sense of unity with the saints 
of the past. Constantius, by denying their doctrine, had mada 
himself their enemy. 

7 Gwatkin, Studies of Arianism, p. 944. 


expression of the belief of Asia, and if heretics were present by command of the Emperor, an 
overwhelming majority, more or less orthodox, were present by the same command. But the 
character and policy of Constantius are delineated fairly enough. The results, disastrous both 
to conscience and to peace, are not too darkly drawn, and no sarcasm could be too severe for 
the absurd as well as degrading position to w.hich he had reduced the Church. But the 
Invective is interesting not only for its contents but as an illustration of its writer's character. 
Strong language meant less in Latin than in English, but the passionate earnestness of these 
pages cannot be doubted. They are not more violent than the attacks of Athanasius upon 
Constantius, nor less violent than those of Lucifer ; if the last author is usually regarded as 
pre-eminent in abuse, he deserves his reputation not because of the vigour of his denunciation, 
but because his pages contain nothing but railing. The change is sudden, no doubt, from 
respect for Constantius and hopefulness as to his conduct, but the provocation, we must 
remember, had been extreme. If the faith of the Fathers was intense and, in the best sense, 
childlike, there is something childlike also in their gusts of passion, their uncontrolled 
emotion in victory or defeat, the personal element which is constantly present in their 
controversies. Though, henceforth, ecclesiastical policy was to be but a secondary interest 
with Hilary, and diplomacy was to give place to a more successful attempt to influence 
thought, yet we can see in another sphere the same spirit of conflict ; for it is evident that 
his labours against heresy, beside the more serious satisfaction of knowing that he was on the 
side of truth, are lightened by the logician's pleasure in exposing fallacy. 

The deposition of the Semiarian leaders took place very early in the year 360, and 
Hilary's dismissal homewards, one of the same series of measures, must soon have followed. 
If he had formed the plan of his Invective before he left Constantinople, it is not probable 
that he wrote it there. It was more probably the employment of his long homeward journey. 
His natural route would be by the great Egnatian Way, which led through Thessalonica to 
Durazzo, thence by sea to Brindisi, and so to Rome and the North. It is true that the 
historians, or rather Rufinus, from whom the rest appear to have borrowed all their 
knowledge, say that Illyricum was one sphere of his labours for the restoration of the Faith. 
But a journey by land through Illyricum, the country of Valens and Ursacius and thoroughly 
indoctrinated with Arianism, would not only have been dangerous but useless. For Hilary's 
purpose was to confirm the faithful among the bishops and to win back to orthodoxy those 
who had been terrorised or deceived into error, and thus to cement a new confederacy against 
the Homoeans ; not to make a vain assault upon what was, for the present, an impregnable 
position. And though the Western portion of the Via Egnatia did not pass through the 
existing political division called Illyricum, it did lie within the region called in history and 
literature by that name. Again, the evidence that Hilary passed through Rome is not 
convincing; but since it was his best road, and he would find there the most important person 
among those who had wavered in their allegiance to truth, we may safely accept it. He 
made it his business, we are told 8 , to exhort the Churches through which he passed to abjure 
heresy and return to the true faith. But we know nothing of the places through which he 
passed before reaching Rome, the see of Liberius, with whom it was most desirable for him 
to be on friendly terms. Liberius was not so black as he has sometimes been painted, but 
he was not a heroic figure. His position was exactly that of many other bishops in the 
Western lands. They had not denied their own faith, but at one time or another, in most 
cases at Rimini, they had admitted that there was room in the same communion for Arian 
bishops and for themselves. In the case of Liberius the circumstances are involved in some 
obscurity, but it is clear that he had, in order to obtain remission of his exile, taken a position 

• Rufinus, Hist. Eccl. i. 30, 31, and, dependent on him, Socrates iii. 10, and Sozomen ▼. 13. 


which was practically that of the old Council of the Dedication 9. Hilary, we remember, had 
called that Council a ' Synod of the Saints,' when speaking of it from the Eastern point of 
view. But he had never stooped to such a minimising of the Faith as its words, construed 
at the best, involved. Easterns, in their peculiar difficulties, he was hopeful enough to 
believe, had framed its terms in a legitimate sense ; he could accept it from them, but could 
not use it as the expression of his own belief. So to do would have been a retrograde step ; 
and this step Liberius had taken, to the scandal of the Church. Yet he, and all whose 
position in any way resembled his — all, indeed, except some few incorrigible ringleaders — 
were in the Church ; their deflection was, in Hilary's words, an ' inward evil.' And Hilary 
was no Lucifer ; his desire was to unite all who could be united in defence of the truth. This 
was the plan dictated by policy as well as by charity, and in the case of Liberius, if, as is 
probable, they met, it was certainly rewarded with success. Indeed, according to Rufinus, 
Hilary was successful at every stage of his journey. Somewhere on his course he fell in 
with Eusebius of Vercelli, who had been exiled at the Council of Milan, had passed his time 
in the region to the East of that in which Hilary had been interned, and was now profiting 
by the same Homoean amnesty to return to his diocese. He also had been using the 
opportunities of travel for the promotion of the Faith. He had come from Antioch, and 
therefore had probably landed at or near Naples. He was now travelling northwards, 
exhorting as he went. His encounter with Hilary stimulated him to still greater efforts; 
but Rufinus tells us x that he was the less successful of the two, for Hilary, ' a man by nature 
mild and winning, and also learned and singularly apt at persuasion, applied himself to the 
task with a greater diligence and skill.' They do not appear to have travelled in company ; 
the cities to be visited were too numerous and their own time, eager as they must have been 
to reach their homes, too short. But their journey seems to have been a triumphal progress ; 
the bishops were induced to renounce their compromise with error, and the people inflamed 
against heresy, so that, in the words of Rufinus 2 , ' these two men, glorious luminaries as it 
were of the universe, flooded Illyricum and Italy and the Gallic provinces with their splendour, 
so that even from hidden nooks and corners all darkness of heresy was banished.' 

In the passage just quoted Rufinus directly connects the publication of Hilary's 
masterpiece, usually called the De Trinitate, with this work of reconciliation. After speaking 
of his success in it, he proceeds, ' Moreover he published his books Concerning the Faith, 
composed in a lofty style, wherein he displayed the guile of the heretics and the deceptions 
practised upon our friends, together with the credulous and misplaced sincerity of the latter, 
with such skill that his ample instructions amended the errors not only of those whom he 
encountered, but also of those whom distance hindered him from meeting face to face.' 
Some of the twelve books of which the work is composed had certainly been published during 
his exile, and it is possible that certain portions may date from his later residence in Gaul. 
But a study of the work itself leads to the conclusion that Rufinus was right in the main 
in placing it at this stage of Hilary's life; this was certainly the earliest date at which it can 
have been widely influential. 

The title which Hilary gave to his work as a whole was certainly De Fide, Concerning the 
Faith, the name by which, as we saw, Rufinus describes it. It is probable that its con- 
troversial purpose was indicated by the addition of contra Arianos; but it is certain that its 
present title, De Trinitate, was not given to it by Hilary. The word Trinitas is of extra- 
ordinarily rare occurrence in his writings ; the only instances seem to be in Trin. i. 22, 36, 
where he is giving a very condensed summary of the contents of his work. In the actual 
course of his argument the word is scrupulously avoided, as it is in all his other writings. In 

9 Cf. Dr. Bright, Waytnarks, p. 217 n. * Hist. Eccl. i. 30, 31. 

a 0>. tit. i. 31. The recantation of Liberius and of the Italian bishops may be read in Hilary's 12th Fraement. 


this respect he resembles Athanasius, who will usually name the Three Persons rather than 
employ this convenient and even then familiar term. There may have been some undesirable 
connotation in it which he desired to avoid, though this is hardly probable; it is more likely 
that both Athanasius and Hilary, conscious that the use of technical terms of theology was in 
their times a playing with edged tools, deliberately avoided a word which was unnecessary, 
though it might be useful. And in Hilary's case there is the additional reason that to his 
mind the antithesis of truth and falsehood was One God or Two Gods*; that to him, more 
than to any other Western theologian, the developed and clearly expressed thought of Three 
coequal Persons was strange. Since, then, the word and the thought were rarely present in 
his mind, we cannot accept as the title of his work what is, after all, only a mediaeval 

The composite character of the treatise, which must still for convenience be called the 
De Trinitate, is manifest. The beginnings of several of its books, which contain far more 
preliminary, and often rhetorical, matter than is necessary to link them on to their pre- 
decessors, point to a separate publication of each ; a course which was, indeed, necessary 
under the literary conditions of the time. This piecemeal publication is further proved by the 
elaborate summaries of the contents of previous books which are given as, e.g., at the 
beginning of Trin. x. ; and by the frequent repetition of earlier arguments at a later stage, 
which shews that the writer could not trust to the reader's possession of the whole. Though 
no such attention has been devoted to the growth of this work as Noeldechen has paid to that 
of the treatises of Tertullian, yet some account of the process can be given. For although 
Hilary himself, in arranging the complete treatise, has done much to make it run smoothly 
and consecutively, and though the scribes who have copied it have probably made it appear 
still more homogeneous, yet some clues to its construction are left. The first is his de- 
scription of the fifth book as the second (v. 3). This implies that the fourth is the first ; 
and when we examine the fourth we find that, if we leave out of consideration a little 
preliminary matter, it is the beginning of a refutation of Arianism. It states the Arian case, 
explains the necessity of the term ho?noousios, gives a list of the texts on which the Arians 
relied, and sets out at length one of their statements of doctrine, the Epistle of Arius to 
Alexander, which it proceeds to demolish, in the remainder of the fourth book and in the fifth, 
by arguments from particular passages and from the general sense of the Old Testament. In 
the sixth book, for the reason already given, the Arian Creed is repeated, after a vivid 
account of the evils of the time, and the refutation continued by arguments from the New 
Testament. In § 2 of this book there is further evidence of the composite character of the 
treatise. Hilary says that though in the, first book he has already set out the Arian manifesto, 
yet he thinks good, as he is still dealing with it, to repeat it in this sixth. Hilary seems 
to have overlooked the discrepancy, which some officious scribe has half corrected s. The 
seventh book, he says at the beginning, is the climax of the whole work. If we take the 
De Trinitate as a whole, this is a meaningless flourish ; but if we look on to the eighth book, 
and find an elaborate introduction followed by a line of argument different from that of the 
four preceding books, we must be inclined to think that the seventh is the climax and 
termination of what has been an independent work, consisting of four books. And if we 
turn to the end of the seventh, and note that it alone of all the twelve has nothing that can 
be called a peroration, but ends in an absolutely bald and businesslike manner, we are almost 
forced to conclude that this is because the peroration which it once had, as the climax of the 
work, was unsuitable for its new position and has been wholly removed. Had Hilary written 
this book as one of the series of twelve, he would certainly, according to all rules of literary 

* TV 8- . rtH - ** x 7* I which we call first, though, as we saw, in v. 3 he speaks of our 

5 Similarly in iy. a he alludes to the first book, meaning that | fifth as his second. 


propriety, have given it a formal termination. In these four books then, the fourth to the 
seventh, we may see the nucleus of the De Trinitate ; not necessarily the part first written, 
for he says (iv. i) 6 that some parts, at any rate, of the three first books are of earlier date, 
but that around which the whole has been arranged. It has a complete unity of its own, 
following step by step the Arian Creed, of which we shall presently speak. It is purely 
controversial, and quite possibly the title Contra Arianos, for which there is some evidence, 
really belongs to this smaller work, though it clung, not unnaturally, to the whole for which 
Hilary devised the more appropriate name De Fide. Concerning the date of these four books, 
we can only say that they must have been composed during his exile. For though he does not 
mention his exile, yet he is already a bishop (vi. 2), and knows about the homoousion (iv. 4). 
We have seen already that his acquaintance with the Nicene Creed began only just before his 
exile ; he must, therefore, have written them during his enforced leisure in Asia. 

In the beginning of the fourth book Hilary refers back to the proof furnished in the 
previous books, written some time ago, of the Scriptural character of his faith and of the 
unscriptural nature of all the heresies. Setting aside the first book, which does not correspond 
to this description, we find what he describes in the second and third. These form a short 
connected treatise, complete in itself. It is much more academic than that of which we have 
already spoken ; it deals briefly with all the current heresies (ii. 4 ff.), but shews no* sign that 
one of them, more than the others, was an urgent danger. There is none of the passion 
of conflict; Hilary is in the mood for rhetoric, and makes the most of his opportunities. He 
expatiates, for instance, on the greatness of his theme (ii. 5), harps almost to excess upon the 
Fisherman to whom mysteries so great were revealed (ii. 13 ff.), dilates, after the manner 
of a sermon, upon the condescension and the glory manifested in the Incarnation, describes 
miracles with much liveliness of detail (iii. 5, 20), and ends the treatise (iii. 24 — 26) with 
a nobly eloquent statement of the paradox of wisdom which is folly and folly which is wisdom, 
and of faith as the only means of knowing God. The little work, though it deals professedly 
with certain heresies, is in the main constructive. It contains far more of positive assertion 
of the truth, without reference to opponents, than it does of criticism of their views. In 
sustained calmness of tone — it recognises the existence of honest doubt (iii. 1), — and in 
literary workmanship, it excels any other part of the De Trinitate, and in the latter respect is 
certainly superior to the more conversational Homilies on the Psalms. But it suffers, in 
comparison with the books which follow, by a certain want of intensity ; the reader feels that 
it was written, in one sense, for the sake of writing it, and written, in another sense, for 
purposes of general utility. It is not, as later portions of the work were, forged as a weapon 
for use in a conflict of life and death. Yet, standing as it does, at the beginning of the whole 
great treatise, it serves admirably as an introduction. It is clear, convincing and interesting, 
and its eloquent peroration carries the reader on to the central portion of the work, which 
begins with the fourth book. Except that the second book has lost its exordium, for the 
same reason that the seventh has lost its conclusion, the two books are complete as well as 
homogeneous. Of the date nothing definite can be said. There is no sign of any special 
interest in Arianism ; and Hilary's leisure for a paper conflict with a dead foe like Ebionism 
suggests that he was writing before the strife had reached Gaul. The general tone of the two 
books is quite consistent with this ; and we may regard it as more probable than not that they 
were composed before the exile; whether they were published at the time as a separate 
treatise, or laid on one side for a while, cannot be known ; the former supposition is the more 

The remaining books, from the eighth to the twelfth, appear to have been written 

• i.e. in the passage introduced at a connecting link with the books which now precede it, when the whole work was pot 
into its present shape. 


continuously, with a view to their forming part of the present connected whole. They were, 
no doubt, published separately, and they, with books iv. to vii., may well be the letters 
(stripped, of course, in their permanent shape of their epistolary accessories) which, Hilary 
feared, were obtaining no recognition from his friends in Gaul. The last five have certain 
references back to arguments in previous books 7, while these do not refer forward, nor do the 
groups ii. iii. and iv. — vii. refer to one another. But books viii. — xii. have also internal 
references, and promise that a subject shall be fully treated in due course 8 . We may 
therefore assume that, when he began to write book viii., Hilary had already determined 
to make use of his previous minor works, and that he now proceeded to complete his task 
with constant reference to these. Evidences of exact date are here again lacking; he writes as 
a bishop and as an exile 9, and under a most pressing necessity. The preface to book viii., 
with its description of the dangers of the time and of Hilary's sense of the duty of a bishop, 
seems to represent the state of mind in which he resolved to construct the present De 
Trinitate. It is too emphatic for a mere transition from one step in a continuous discussion 
to another. Regarding these last five books, then, as written continuously, with one purpose 
and with one theological outlook, we may fix an approximate date for them by two consider- 
ations. They shew, in books ix. and x., that he was thoroughly conscious of the increasing 
peril of Apollinarianism. They shew also, by their silence, that he had determined to ignore 
what was one of the most obvious and certainly the most offensive of the current modes of 
thought. There is_ no refutation, except implicitly, and no mention of Anomoeanism, that 
extreme Arianism which pronounced the Son unlike the Father s . This can be explained only 
in one way. We have seen that Hilary thinks Arianism worth attack because it is an ' inward 
evil ; ' that he does not, except in early and leisurely work such as book ii., pay any attention 
to heresies which were obviously outside the Church and had an organization of their own. 
We have seen also that the Homoeans cast out their more honest Anomoean brethren in 359. 
The latter made no attempt to retrieve their position within the Church ; they proceeded to 
establish a Church of their own, which was, so they protested, the true one. It was under 
Jovian (a.d. 362 — 363) that they consecrated their own bishop for Constantinople 2 ; but th<* 
separation must have been visible for some time before that decisive step was taken. Thus, 
when the De Trinitate took its present form, Apollinarianism was risen above the Church's 
horizon and Anomoeanism was sunk below it. We cannot, therefore, put the completion of 
the work earlier than the remission of Hilary's exile ; we cannot, indeed, suppose that he had 
leisure to make it perfect except in his home. Yet the work must have been for the most 
part finished before its writer reached Italy on his return ; and the issue or reissue of its 
several portions was a natural, and certainly a powerful, measure towards the end which he 
had at heart. 

There remains the first book, which was obviously, as Erasmus saw, the last to be 
composed. It is a survey of the accomplished task, beginning with that account of Hilary's 
spiritual birth and growth which has already been mentioned. This is a piece of writing 
which it is no undue praise to rank, for dignity and felicity of language, among the noblest 
examples of Roman eloquence. Hooker, among English authors, is the one whom it 
most suggests. Then there follows a brief summary of the argument of the successive 
books, and a prayer for the success of the work. This reads, and perhaps it was meant 
to read, as though it were a prayer that he might worthily execute a plan which as yet existed 
only in his brain ; but it may also be interpreted, in the more natural sense, as a petition that 
his hope might not be frustrated, and that his book might appear to others' what he trusted, 

7 E.g. ix. 31 to iii. 12, ix. 43 to vii. 17. 

8 E.g. x. 54 in. 

9 viii. 1, x. 4. 


1 This heresy is not even mentioned in xii. 6, where the open* 
ing was obvious. 

2 Dr. Gwatkin, Studies 0/ Arianism, p. 326. 



in his own mind, that it was, true to Scripture, sound in logic, and written with that lofty 
gravity which befitted the greatness of his theme. 

After speaking of the construction of the work, as Hilary framed it, something must 
be said of certain interpolations which it has suffered. The most important are those 
at the end of book ix. and in x. 8, which flatly contradict his teaching 3. They are obvious 
intrusions, imperfectly attested by manuscript authority, and condemned by their own 
character. Hilary was not the writer to stultify himself and confuse his readers by so clumsy 
a device as that of appending a bald denial of its truth to a long and careful exposition of his 
characteristic doctrine. Another passage, where the scholarship seems to indicate the work 
of an inferior hand, is Trin. x. 40, in which there is a singular misunderstanding of the Greek 
Testament *. The writer must have known Greek, for no manuscript of the Latin Bible would 
have suggested his mistake, and therefore he must have written in early days. It is even 
possible that Hilary himself was, for once, at fault in his scholarship. Yet, at the most, the 
interpolations are few and, where they seriously affect the sense, are easily detected*. 
Not many authors of antiquity have escaped so lightly in this respect as Hilary. 

Hilary certainly intended his work to be regarded as a whole ; as a treatise Concerning 
the Faith, for it had grown into something more than a refutation of Arianism. He 
has carefully avoided, so far as the circumstances of the time and the composite character 
of the treatise would allow him, any allusion to names and events of temporary interest ; 
there is, in fact, nothing more definite than a repetition of the wish expressed in the Second 
Epistle to Constantius, that it were possible to recur to the Baptismal formula as the 
authoritative statement of the Faith 6 . It is not, like the De Synodis, written with a diplo- 
matic purpose ; it is, though cast inevitably in a controversial form, a statement of permanent 
truths. This has involved the sacrifice of much that would have been of immediate service, 
and deprived the book of a great part of its value as a weapon in the conflicts of the day. 
But we can see, by the selection he made of a document to controvert, that Hilary's choice 
was deliberate. It was no recent creed, no confession to which any existing body of partisans 
was pledged. He chose for refutation the Epistle of Arius to Alexander, written almost 
forty years ago and destitute, it must have seemed, of any but an historical interest. And 
it was no extreme statement of the Arian position. This Epistle was ' far more temperate 
and cautious ? ' than its alternative, Arius' letter to Eusebius. The same wide outlook 
as is manifest in this indifference to the interests of the moment is seen also in Hilary's 
silence in regard to the names of friends and foes. Marcellus, Apollinaris, Eudoxius, Acacius 
are a few of those whom it must have seemed that he would do well to renounce as imagined 
friends who brought his cause discredit, or bitter enemies to truth and its advocates. 
But here also he refrains ; no names are mentioned except those of men whose heresies 
were already the commonplaces of controversy. And there is also an absolute silence 
concerning the feuds and alliances of the day. No notice is taken of the loyalty of living 
confessors or the approximation to truth of well-meaning waverers. The book contains 
no sign that it has any but a general object; it is, as far as possible, an impersonal refutation 
of error and statement of truth. 

This was the deliberate purpose of Hilary, and he had certainly counted its cost 
in immediate popularity and success. For though, as we have seen, the work did produce, 
as it deserved, a considerable effect at the time of its publication, it has remained ever 
since, in spite of all its merits, in a certain obscurity. There can be no doubt that 
this is largely due to the Mezentian union with such a document as Arius' Epistle 

t Cf. Gore's Dissertations, p. 134. 

4 St. Luke xxii. 32, where <?5oj0ijk is translated as a passive. 
Christ is entreated for Peter. There seems to be no parallel 
In Latin theology. 

5 E.g. the cento from the De Trinitate attached to the In- 
vective against Constantius. 

6 ii. 1. 

7 Newman, Arians of the Fourth Century, ii. ▼. 2. 


to Alexander of the decisively important section of the De Trinitate. The books in which 
that Epistle is controverted were those of vital interest for the age ; and the method which 
Hilary's plan constrained him to adopt was such as to invite younger theologians to compete 
with him. Future generations could not be satisfied with his presentation of the case. 
And again, his plan of refuting the Arian document point by point 8 , contrasting as 
it does with the free course of his thought in the earlier and later books, tends to repel 
the reader. The fourth book proves from certain texts that the Son is God; the fifth 
from the same texts that He is true God. Hence this part of the treatise is pervaded 
by a certain monotony ; a cumulative impression is produced by our being led forward 
again and again along successive lines of argument to the same point, beyond which 
we make no progress till the last proof is stated. The work is admirably and convincingly 
done, but we are glad to hear the last of the Epistle of Arius to Alexander, and accompany 
Hilary in a less embarrassed enquiry. 

Yet the whole work has defects of its own. It is burdened with much repetition ; 
subjects, especially, which have been treated in books ii. and iii. are discussed again at great 
length in later books?. The frequent stress laid upon the infinity of God, the limitations of 
human speech and knowledge, the consequent incompleteness of the argument from analogy, 
the humility necessary when dealing with infinities apparently opposed r , though it adds to the 
solemnity of the writer's tone and was doubtless necessary when the work was published in 
parts, becomes somewhat tedious in the course of a continuous reading. And something must 
here be said of the peculiarities of style. We saw that in places, as for instance in the 
beginning of the De Trinitate, Hilary can rise to a singularly lofty eloquence. This eloquence 
is not merely the unstudied utterance of an earnest faith, but the expression given to it by one 
whom natural talent and careful training had made a master of literary form. Yet, since his 
training was that of an age whose standard of taste was far from classical purity, much that 
must have seemed to him and to his contemporaries to be admirably effective can excite no 
admiration now. He prays, at the end of the first book, that his diction may be worthy of his 
theme, and doubtless his effort was as sincere as his prayer. Had there been less effort, there 
would certainly, in the judgment of a modern reader, have been more success. But he could 
not foresee the future, and ingenious affectations such as occur at the end of book viii. § i, 
impietati insolenti, et insolentitz vaniloqutz, et vaniloquio seducenti, with the jingle of rhymes 
which follows, are too frequent for our taste in his pages 2 . Sometimes we find purple patches 
which remind us of the rhetoric of Apuleius 3 ; sometimes an excessive display of symmetry 
and antithesis, which suggests to us St. Cyprian at his worst. Yet Cyprian had the excuse 
that all his writings are short occasional papers written for immediate effect ; neither he, nor 
any Latin Christian before Hilary, had ventured to construct a great treatise of theology, 
intended to influence future ages as well as the present. Another excessive development of 
rhetoric is the abuse of apostrophe, which Hilary sometimes rides almost to death, as in his 
addresses to the Fisherman, St. John, in the second book*. These blemishes, however, do 
not seriously affect his intelligibility. He has earned, in this as in greater matters, an unhappy 
reputation for obscurity, which he has, to a certain extent, deserved. His other writings, even 
the Commentary on St. Matthew, are free from the involved language which sometimes 
makes the De Trinitate hard to understand, and often hard to read with pleasure. When 
Hilary was appealing to the Emperor, or addressing his own flock, as in the Homilies on the 
Psalms, he has command of a style which is always clear, stately on occasion, never weak or 

8 T. 6. 

9 E.g. bk. iii. is largely reproduced in ix. ; ii. 9 f. = xi. 46 £ 

1 E.g. i. 19, ii. 2, iii. 1, iv. 2, viii. 53, xi. 46 f. 

2 Cf. v. 1 (beginning of column 130 in Migne), x. 4. 

3 E.g. v. ifin. 

4 Cf. Ad Const, ii. 8, in writing which his own words in the 
De Trinitate must have come into his mind. He had probably 
borrowed the thought from Origen, contra Cehum, i. 62. Similar 
apostrophes are in v. 19, vi. 19 f., 33. 




bald ; in these cases he resisted, or did not feel, the temptation to use the resources of his 
rhetoric. These, unfortunately, had for then result the production of sentences which are 
often marvels of grammatical contortion and elliptical ingenuity. Yet such sentences, though 
numerous, are of few and uniform types. In Hilary's case, as in that of Tertullian, familiarity 
makes the reader so accustomed to them that he instinctively expects their recurrence ; and, 
at their worst, they are never actual breaches of the laws of the language. A translator can 
hardly be an impartial judge in this matter, for constantly, in passages where the sense is 
perfectly clear, the ingenuity with which words and constructions are arranged makes it almost 
impossible to render their meaning in idiomatic terms. One can translate him out of Latin, 
but not into English. In this he resembles one of the many styles of St. Augustine. There 
are passages in the De Trinitate, for instance viii. 27, 28, which it would seem that Augustine 
had deliberately imitated ; a course natural enough in the case of one who was deeply 
indebted to his predecessor's thought, and must have looked with reverence upon the great 
pioneer of systematic theology in the Latin tongue. But this involution of style, irritating as 
it sometimes is, has the compensating advantage that it keeps the reader constantly on the 
alert. He cannot skim these pages in the comfortable delusion that he is following the 
course of thought without an effort. 

The same attention which Hilary demands from his readers has obviously been 
bestowed upon the work by himself. It is the selected and compressed result not 
only of his general study of theology, but of his familiarity with the literature and the 
many phases of the great Arian controversy s. And he makes it clear that he is engaged 
in no mere conflict of wit ; his passionate loyalty to the person of Christ is the obvious 
motive of his writing. He has taken his side with full conviction, and he is equally 
convinced that his opponents have irrevocably taken theirs. There is little or no reference 
to the existence or even the possibility of doubt, no charitable construction for ambiguous 
creeds, hardly a word of pleading with those in error 6 . There is no excuse for heresy : 
it is mere insanity, when it is not wilful self-destruction or deliberate blasphemy. The 
battle is one without quarter ; and sometimes, we must suspect, Hilary has been misled 
in argument by the uncompromising character of the conflict. Every reason advanced 
for a pernicious belief, he seems to think, must itself be bad, and be met with a direct 
negative. And again, in the heat of warfare he is led to press his arguments too far. 
Not only is the best and fullest use of Scripture made — for Hilary, like Athanasius, is 
marvellously imbued with its spirit as well as familiar with its letter — but texts are pressed 
into his service, and interpreted sometimes with brilliant ingenuity 7, which cannot bear 
the meaning assigned them. Yet much of this exegesis must be laid to the charge of 
his time, not of himself; and in the De Trinitate, as contrasted with the Homilies on 
the Psalms ; he is wisely sparing in the use of allegorical interpretations. He remembers 
that he is refuting enemies, not conversing with friends. And his belief in their conscious 
insincerity leads to a certain hardness of tone. They will escape his conclusions if they 
possibly can ; he must pin them down. Hence texts are sometimes treated, and deductions 
drawn from them, as though they were postulates of geometry; and, however we may 
admire the machine-like precision and completeness of the proof, we feel that we are 
reading Euclid rather than literature 8 . But this also is due to that system of exegesis, 
fatal to any recognition of the eloquence and poetry of Scripture, of which something 
will be said in the next chapter. 

These, after all, are but petty flaws in so great a work. Not only as a thinker, 
but as a pioneer of thought, whose treasures have enriched, often unrecognised, the pages 

$ Cf. x. 57 in. 

6 An instance is xi. 24 in. 

7 E.g. in his masterly treatment, from his point of view, of 
the Old Testament Theophanies, iv. 15 f. 

8 Cf. viii. 26 f., ix. 41. 


of Ambrose and Augustine and all later theologians, he deserves our reverence. Not 
without reason was he ranked, within a generation of his death, with Cyprian and Ambrose, 
as one of the three chief glories of Western Christendom 9. Jerome and Augustine mention 
him frequently and with honour. This is not the place to summarise or discuss the contents 
of his works ; but the reader cannot fail to recognise their great and varied value, the 
completeness of his refutation of current heresies, the convincing character of his 
presentation of the truth, and the originality, restrained always by scrupulous reverence 
as well as by intellectual caution, of his additions to the speculative development of the 
Faith. We recognise also the tenacity with which, encumbered as he was with the 
double task of simultaneously refuting Arianism and working out his own thoughts, he 
has adhered to the main issues. He never wanders into details, but keeps steadfastly 
to his course. He refrains, for instance, from all consideration of the results which 
Arianism might produce upon the superstructure of the Faith and upon the conduct of 
Christians ; they are undermining the foundations, and he never forgets that it is these 
which he has undertaken to strengthen and defend. Our confidence in him as a guide 
is increased by the eminently businesslike use which he makes of his higher qualities. 
This is obvious in the smallest details, as, for instance, in his judicious abstinence, which 
will be considered in the next chapter, from the use of technical terms of theology, 
when their employment would have made his task easier, and might even, to superficial 
minds, have enhanced his reputation. We see it also in the talent which he shews 
in the choice of watchwords, which serve both to enliven his pages and to guide the 
reader through their argument. Such is the frequent antithesis of the orthodox unitas 
with the heretical uni'o, the latter a harmless word in itself and used by Tertullian 
indifferently with the former, but seized by the quick intelligence of Hilary to serve 
this special end x ; such also, the frequent ' Not two Gods but One 2 ,' and the more 
obvious contrast between the Catholic unum and the Arian unus. Thus, in excellence 
of literary workmanship, in sustained cogency and steady progress of argument, in the 
full use made of rare gifts of intellect and heart, we must recognise that Hilary has 
brought his great undertaking to a successful issue ; that the voyage beset with many 
perils, to use his favourite illustration, has safely ended in the haven of Truth and 

Whether the De Trinitate were complete or not at the time of his return to Poitiers, 
after the triumphal passage through Italy, its publication in its final form must very 
ihortly have followed. But literature was, for the present, to claim only the smaller 
-iare of his attention. Heartily as he must have rejoiced to be again in his home, 
he had many anxieties to face. The bishops of Gaul, as we saw from the Invectiv6 
against Constantius, had been less militant against their Arian neighbours than he had 
wished. '? 'iere had been peace in the Church ; such peace as could be produced by 
a mutual 8 noring of differences. And it may well be that the Gallican bishops, in their 
prejudice against the East, thought that Hilary himself had gone too far in the path of 
conciliation, and that his alliance with the Semiarians was a much longer step towards 
compromise with heresy than their own prudent neutrality. Each side must have felt that 
there was something to be explained. Hilary, for his part, by the publication of the 
De -Trinitate had made it perfectly clear that his faith was above suspicion ; and his 
abstinence in that work from all mention of existing parties or phases of the controversy 
shewed that he had withdrawn from his earlier position. He was now once more a Western 
bishop, concerned only with absolute truth and the interests of the Church in his own 
province. But he had to reckon with the sterner champions of the Nicene faith, who 

9 Orosius, Apol. i. i E.g. iv. 42/ln. 2 E.g. i. 17. 


had not forgotten the De Synodis, however much they might approve the De TrinitaU, 
Some curious fragments survive of the Apology which he was driven to write by the 
attacks of Lucifer of Cagliari. Lucifer, one of the exiles of Milan, was an uncompromising 
partisan, who could recognise no distinctions among those who did not accept the Nicene 
Creed. All were equally bad in his eyes; no explaining away of differences or attempt 
at conciliation was lawful. In days to come he was to be a thorn in the side of 
Athanasius, and was to end his life in a schism which he formed because the Catholic 
Church was not sufficiently exclusive. We, who know his after history and turn with 
repugnance from the monotonous railing with which his writings, happily brief, are filled, 
may be disposed to underestimate the man. But at the time he was a formidable 
antagonist. He had the great advantage of being one of the little company of confessors 
of the Faith, whom all the West admired. He represented truly enough the feeling of 
the Latin Churches, now that the oppression of their leaders had awakened their hostility 
to Arianism. And vigorous abuse, such as the facile pen of Lucifer could pour forth, 
is always interesting when addressed to prominent living men, stale though it becomes 
when the passions of the moment are no longer felt. Lucifer's protest is lost, but we may 
gather from the fragments of Hilary's reply that it was milder in tone than was usual with 
him. Indeed, confessor writing to confessor would naturally use the language of courtesy. 
But it was an arraignment of the policy which Hilary had adopted, and in which he had 
failed, though Athanasius was soon to resume it with better success. And courteously as 
it may have been worded, it cannot have been pleasant for Hilary to be publicly reminded 
of his failure, and to have doubts cast upon his consistency ; least of all when he was 
returning to Gaul with new hopes, but also with new difficulties. His reply, so far as 
we can judge of it from the fragments which remain, was of a tone which would be 
counted moderate in the controversies of to-day. He addresses his opponent as f Brother 
Lucifer,' and patiently explains that he has been misunderstood. There is no confession 
that he had been in the wrong, though he fully admits that the term homoiousion, innocently 
used by his Eastern friends, was employed by others in a heretical sense. And he points 
out that Lucifer himself had spoken of the ' likeness ' of Son and Father, probably alluding 
to a passage in his existing writings 3. The use of this tu qitoque argument, and a certain 
apologetic strain which is apparent in the reply, seem to shew that Hilary felt himself 
at a disadvantage. He must have wished the Asiatic episode to be forgotten ; he had now 
to make his weight felt in the West, where he had good hope that a direct and uncom- 
promising attack upon Arianism would be successful. 

For a great change was taking place in public affairs. When Hilary left Constantinople, 
early in the spring of the year 360, it was probably a profound secret in the capital that 
a rupture between Constantius and Julian was becoming inevitable. In affairs, civil and 
ecclesiastical, the Emperor and his favourite, the bishop Saturninus, must have seemed 
secure of their dominance in Gaul. But events moved rapidly. Constantius needed 
troops to strengthen the Eastern armies, never adequate to an emergency, for an im- 
pending war with Persia ; he may also have desired to weaken the forces of Julian. 
He demanded men ; those whom Julian detached for Eastern service refused to march, 
and proclaim Julian Emperor at Paris. This was in May, some months, at the least, 
before Hilary, delayed by his Italian labours in the cause of orthodoxy, can have reached 
home. Julian temporised; he kept up negotiations with Constantius, and employed his 
army in frontier warfare. But there could be no doubt of the issue. Conflict was in- 
evitable, and the West could have little fear as to the result. The Western armies were 
the strongest in the Empire; it was with them that, in the last great trial of strength, 

3 Cf. Kriiger, Lucifer Bischofvan Calaris, p. 30. 


Constantine the Great had won the day, and the victory of his nephew, successful and 
popular both as a commander and an administrator, must have been anticipated. Julian's 
march against Constantius did not commence till the summer of the year 361 ; but long 
before this the rule of Constantius and the theological system for which he stood had 
been rejected by Gaul. The bishops had not shunned Saturninus, as Hilary had desired ; 
most of them had been induced to give their sanction to Arianism at the Council of 
Rimini. While overshadowed by Constantius and his representative Saturninus, they had 
not dared to assert themselves. But now the moment was come, and with it the leader. 
Hilary's arrival in Gaul must have taken place when the conflict was visibly impending, 
and he can have had no hesitation as to the side he should take. Julian's rule in Gaul 
began but a few months before his exile, and they had probably never met face to face. 
But Julian had a well earned reputation as a righteous governor, and Hilary had intro- 
duced his name into his second appeal to Constantius, as a witness to his character and 
as suffering in fame by the injustice of Constantius. We must remember that Julian 
had kept his paganism carefully concealed, and that all the world, except a few intimate 
friends, took it for granted that he was, as the high standard of his life seemed to indicate, 
a sincere Christian. And now he had displaced Constantius in the supreme rule over Gaul, 
and Saturninus, who had by this time returned, was powerless. We cannot wonder that 
Hilary continued his efforts ; that he went through the land, everywhere inducing the 
bishops to abjure their own confession made at Rimini. This the bishops, for their paxt, 
were certainly willing to do ; they were no Arians at heart, and their treatment at Rimini, 
followed as it was by a fraudulent misrepresentation of the meaning of their words, must 
have aroused their just resentment Under the rule of Julian there was no risk, there 
was even an advantage, in shewing their colours; it set them right both with the new 
Emperor and with public opinion. But it was not enough for Hilary's purpose that the 
' inward evil ' of a wavering faith should be amended ; it was also necessary that avowed 
heresy should be expelled. For this the co-operation of Julian was necessary ; and before 
it was granted Julian might naturally look for some definite pronouncement on Hilary's 
part. To this conjuncture, in the latter half of the year 360 or the earlier part of 361, 
we may best assign the publication of the Invective, already described, against Constan- 
tius. It was a renunciation of allegiance to his old master, not the less clear because 
the new is not mentioned. And with the name of Constantius was coupled that of 
Saturninus, as his abettor in tyranny and misbelief. Julian recognised the value of the 
Catholic alliance by giving effect to the decision of a Council held at Paris, which de- 
posed Saturninus. Hilary had no ecclesiastical authority to gather such a Council, but 
his character and the eminence of his services no doubt rendered his colleagues will- 
ing to follow him ; yet neither he nor they would have acted as they did without the 
assurance of Julian's support. Their action committed them irrevocably to Julian's cause; 
and it must have seemed that his expulsion of Saturninus committed him irrevocably to 
the orthodox side. Yet Julian, impartially disbelieving both creeds, had made the ostensible 
cause of Saturninus' exile, not his errors of faith, but some of those charges of misconduct 
which were always forthcoming when a convenient excuse was wanted for the banish- 
ment of a bishop. Saturninus was a man of the world, and very possibly his Arianism 
was only assumed in aid of his ambition ; it is likely enough that his conduct furnished 
sufficient grounds for his punishment. The fall of its chief, Sulpicius Severus says, destroyed 
the party. The other Arian prelates, who must have been few in number, submitted to 
the orthodox tests, with one exception. Paternus of Perigord, a man of no fame, had 
the courage of his convictions. He stubbornly asserted his belief, and shared the fate of 
Saturninus. Thus Hilary obtained, what he had failed to get in the case of the more 
prominent offender, a clear precedent for the deposition of bishops guilty of Arianism. 



Thesynodical letter, addressed to the Eastern bishops in reply to letters which some of 
them had sent to Hilary since his return, was incorporated by him in his History, to be 
mentioned hereafter 4 . The bishops of Gaul assert their orthodoxy, hold Auxentius, Valens, 
Ursacius and their like excommunicate, and have just excommunicated Saturninus. By 
his action at Paris, so Sulpicius says, Hilary earned the glory that it was by his single 
exertions that the provinces of Gaul were cleansed from the defilements of heresy 4 *. 

These events happened before Julian left the country, in the middle of the summer 
of 361, on his march against Constantius; or at least, if the actual proceedings were sub- 
sequent to his departure, they must have quickly followed it, for his sanction was neces- 
sary, and when that was obtained there was no motive for delay. And now, for some 
yiars, Hilary disappears from sight. He tells us nothing in his writings of the ordinary 
course of his life and work; even his informal and discursive Homilies cast no light upon 
his methods of administration, his successes or failures, and very little on the character 
of his flock. There was no further conflict within the Church of Gaul during Hilary's 
lifetime. The death of Constantius, which happened before Julian could meet him in 
battle, removed all political anxiety. Julian himself was too busy with the revival of 
paganism in the East to concern himself seriously with its promotion in the Latin- 
speaking provinces, from which he was absent, and for which he cared less. The orthodox 
cause in Gaul did not suffer by his apostasy. His short reign was followed by the still briefer 
rule of the Catholic Jovian. Next came Valentinian, personally orthodox, but steadily refusing 
to allow depositions on account of doctrine. Under him Arianism dwindled away; Catholic 
successors were elected to Arian prelates, and the process would have been hastened but by 
a few years had Hilary been permitted to expel Auxentius from Milan, as we shall presently 
see him attempting to do. 

This was his last interference in the politics of the Church, and does not concern us as 
yet. His chief interest henceforth was to be in literary work ; in popularising and, as he 
thought, improving upon the teaching of Origen. He commented upon the book of Job, as 
we know from Jerome and Augustine. The former says that this, and his work on the 
Psalms, were translations from Origen. But that is far from an accurate account of the latter 
work, \nd may be equally inaccurate concerning the former. The two fragments which 
St. Augustine has preserved from the Commentary on Job are so short that we cannot draw 
from them any conclusion as to the character of the book. If we may trust Jerome, its length 
was somewhat more than a quarter of that of the Homilies on the Psalms s, in their present 
form. It it unfortunate, but not surprising, that the work should have fallen into oblivion. 
It was, no doubt, allegorical in its method, and nothing of that kind could survive in 
competition with Gregory the Great's inimitable Moralia on Job. 

Hilary's other adaptation from Origen, the Homilies on the Psalms, happily remains to us. 
It is at least as great a work as the De Trinitate, and one from which we can learn even 
more what manner of man its writer was. For the De Trinitate is an appeal to all thoughtful 
Christians of the time, and written for future generations as well as for them ; characteristic, 
as it is, in many ways of the author, the compass of the work and the stateliness of its rhetoric 
tend to conceal his personality. But the Homilies 6 on the Psalms, which would seem to have 

4 Fragment xi. 
4» Chron. ii. 43. 

5 Jerome, Afol adv. Rufinum, i. 2, says that the total length 
of the Commentaries on Job and the Psalms was about 40,000 
lines, i.e. Virgilian hexameters. The latter, at a rough estimate, 
must be nearly 35,000 lines in its present state. But Jerome, 
•s we shall see, was not acquainted with so many Homilies as 
iave come down to us; we must deduct about 5,000 lines, and 
this will leave 10.000 for the Commentary on Job, making it two- 

sevenths of the length of the other. Jerome, however, is not 
careful in his statement of lengths ; he calls the short De Synodis 
'a very long book,' /•'/. v. 2. 

6 Tractatus ought to be translated thus. It is the term, and 
the only term, used so early as this for the bishop's address to 
the congregation ; in fact, one might almost say that tractate, 
tractatus in Christian language had no other meaning. It is 
an anachronism in the fourth century to render pradicare by 
'preach;' cf. Duchesne, Liber Pontifical™, i. 126. 


reached us in the notes of a shorthand writer, so artless and conversational is the style, shew 
ns Hilary in another aspect. He is imparting instruction to his own familiar congregation ; 
and he knows his people so well that he pours out whatever is passing through his mind. In 
fact, he seems often to be thinking aloud on subjects which interest him rather than address- 
ing himself to the needs of his audience. Practical exhortation has, indeed, a much smaller 
space than mystical exegesis and speculative Christology. Yet abstruse questions are never 
made more obscure by involution of style. The language is free and flowing, always that of 
an educated man who has learnt facility by practice. And here, strange as it seems to 
a reader of the De Trinitate, he betrays a preference for poetical words ?, which shews that his 
renunciation of such ornament elsewhere is deliberate. Yet, even here, he indulges in no 
definite reminiscences of the poets. 

There remains only one trace, though it is sufficient, of the original circumstances of 
delivery. The Homily on Psalm xiv. begins with the words, 'The Psalm which has been read.' 
The Psalms were sung as an act of worship, not read as a lesson, in the normal course of 
divine service ; and therefore we must assume that the Psalm to be expounded was recited, 
by the lector or another, as an introduction to the Homily. We need not be surprised that 
such notices, which must have seemed to possess no permanent interest, have been edited 
away. Many of the Homilies are too long to have been delivered on one or even two 
occasions, yet the ascription of praise with which Hilary, like Origen, always concludes 8 
has been omitted in every case except at the end of the whole discourse. This shews that 
Hilary himself, or more probably some editor, has put the work into its final shape. But this 
editing of the Homilies has not extended to the excision of the numerous repetitions, which 
were natural enough when Hilary was delivering each as a commentary complete in itself, and 
do not offend us when we read the discourse on a single Psalm, though they certainly disfigure 
the work when regarded as a treatise on the whole Psalter. 

It is probably due to the accidents of time that our present copies of the Homilies are 
imperfect. We are, indeed, better off than was Jerome. His manuscript contained Homilies 
on Psalms i, 2, 51 — 62, 118 — 150, according to the Latin notation. We have, in addition to 
these, Homilies which are certainly genuine on Psalms 13, 14, 63 — 69 ; and others on the 
titles of Psalms 9 and 91, which are probably spurious 9. Some more Homilies of uncertain 
origin which have been fathered upon Hilary, and may be found in the editions, may be left 
out of account. In the Homily on Psalm 59, § 2, he mentions one, unknown to Jerome as to 
ourselves, on Psalm 44; and this allusion, isolated though it is, suggests that the Homilies 
contained, or were meant to contain, a commentary on the whole Book of Psalms, composed 
in the order in which they stand. There is, of course, nothing strange in the circulation in 
ancient times of imperfect copies ; a well-known instance is that of St. Augustine's copy of 
Cyprian which did not contain an epistle which has come down to us. This series of 
Homilies was probably continuous as well as complete. The incidental allusions to the events 
of the times contain nothing inconsistent with the supposition that he began at the beginning 
of the Psalter and went on to the end. We might, indeed, construe the language of that on 
Psalm 52, § 13, concerning prosperous clergy, who heap up wealth for themselves and live in 
luxury, as an allusion to men like Saturninus, but the passage is vague, and a vivid recollection, 

' E.g. fundamen, Tr. in Ps. cxxviii. 10, germen, cxxxiv. i, 
revolubilis, ii. 23, peccamen, ii. 9 Jin. and often. The shape of 
sentences, though simple, is always good ; to take one test word, 
tapt, which was almost if not quite extinct in common use, 
occurs fairly often near the end of a period, where it was needed 
for rhythm, which Jreguenter would have spoiled. Some Psalms, 
e.g. xiii., xiv., are treated more rhetorically than others. 

8 Psalm li. is the only exception, due, no doubt, to careless 
transcription. The Homilies on the titles of Psalms ix. and xci. 

do not count ; they are probably spurious, and in any case are 
incomplete, as the text of the Psalms is not discussed. 

9 So Zingerle, Preface, p. xiv, to whom we owe the excellent 
Vienna Edition of the Homilies, the only part of Hilary's writings 
which has as yet appearecLin a critical text. The writer of the 
former of these two Homilies, in § 2, says that the title of a Psalm 
always corresponds to the contents. This is quite contrary to 
Hilary's teaching, who frequently points out and ingeniously 
explains what seem to him to be discrepancies. 



not a present evil, may have suggested it. More definite, and indeed a clear note of time, is 
the Homily on Psalm 63, where heathenism is aggressive and is become a real danger, of 
which Hilary speaks in the same terms as he does of heresy. This contrasts strongly with 
such language as that of the Homily on Psalm 67, § 20, where the heathen are daily flocking 
into the Church, or of that on Psalm 137, § 10, where paganism has collapsed, its temples are 
ruined and its oracles silent ; such words as the former could only have been written in the 
short reign of Julian. Other indications, such as the frequent warnings against heresy and 
denunciations of heretics, are too general to help in fixing the date. On the whole, it would 
seem a reasonable hypothesis that Hilary began his connected series of Homilies on the 
Psalms soon after his return to Gaul, that he had made good progress with them when Julian 
publicly apostatised, and that they were not completed till the better times of Valentinian. 

He was conversing in pastoral intimacy with his people, and hence we cannot be 
surprised that he draws, perhaps unconsciously, on the results of his own previous labours. 
For instance, on Psalm 61, § 2, he gives what is evidently a reminiscence, yet with features of 
its own and not as a professed autobiography, of his mental history as described in the opening 
of the De Trinitate. And while the direct controversy against Arianism is not avoided, there 
is a manifest preference for the development of Hilary's characteristic Christology, which had 
already occupied him in the later books of the De Trinitate. We must, indeed, reconstruct 
his doctrine in this respect even more from the Homilies than from the De Trinitate ; and in 
the later work he not only expands what he had previously suggested, but throws out still 
further suggestions which he had not the length of life to present in a more perfect form. But 
the Homilies contain much that is of far less permanent interest. Wherever he can T , he 
brings in the mystical interpretation of numbers, that strange vagary of the Eastern mind 
which had, at least from the time of Irenaeus and the Epistle of Barnabas, found a congenial 
home in Christian thought. This and other distortions of the sense of Scripture, which are the 
lesult in Hilary, as in Origen, of a prosaic rather than a poetical turn of mind, will find a more 
appropriate place for discussion at the beginning of the next chapter. Allusions to the mode 
of worship of his time are very rare 2 , as are details of contemporary life. Of general encour- 
agement to virtue and denunciation of vice there is abundance, and it repeats with striking 
fidelity the teaching of Cyprian. Hilary displays the same Puritanism in regard to jewelry as 
does Cyprian 3, and the same abhorrence of public games and spectacles. Of these three 
elements, the Christology, the mysticism, the moral teaching, the Homilies are mainly 
compact. They carry on no sustained argument and contain, as has been said, a good deal of 
repetition. In fact, a continuous reader will probably form a worse impression of their quality 
than he who is satisfied with a few pages at a time. They are eminently adapted for selection, 
and the three Homilies, those on Psalms 1, 53 and 130, which have been translated for this 
volume, may be inadequate, yet are fairly representative, as specimens of the instruction which 
Hilary conveys in this work. 

It has been said that the practical teaching of Hilary is that of Cyprian. But this is not 
a literary debt*; the writer to whom almost all the exegesis is due, by borrowing of substance 
or of method, is Origen, except where the spirit of the fourth century has been at work. Yet 
other authors have been consulted, and this not only for general information, as in the case, 
already cited, of the elder Pliny, but for interpretation of the Psalms. For instance, a strange 
legend concerning Mount Hermon is cited on Psalm 132, § 6, from a writer whose name 
Hilary does not know; and on Psalm 133, §4, he has consulted several writers and rejects 
the opinion of them all. But these authorities, whoever they may have been, were of little 

• E.g. in the Instruction or discourse preparatory to the Homi- 
lies, and in the introductury sections of that on Ps. 118 (119). 

9 E.g. Instr. in Ps., g 12, the fifty days of rejoicing during 
which Christians must not prostrate themselves in prayer, nor fast 

3 Ps. 118, Am., § 16. 

* The account of exorcism given on Ps. 64, | 10, suggests 
Cyprian, Ad. Don. 5, but the subject is such a commonplace 
that nothing definite can be said. 


importance for his purpose in comparison with Origen. Still we can only accept Jerome's 
assertion that the Homilies are translated from Origen in a qualified sense. Hilary was 
writing for the edification of his own flock, and was obliged to modify much that Origen had 
said if he would serve their needs, for religious thought had changed rapidly in the century 
which lay between the two, and a mere translation would have been as coldly received as 
would a reprint of some commentary of the age of George II. to-day. And Hilary's was 
a mind too active and independent to be the slave of a traditional interpretation. We must, 
therefore, expect to find a considerable divergence ; and we cannot be surprised that Hilary, 
as he settled down to his task, grew more and more free in his treatment of Origen's 


Unhappily the remains of Origen's work upon the Psalms, though considerable, are 
fragmentary, and of the fragments scattered through Catena no complete or critical edition 
has yet been made. Still, insufficient as the material would be for a detailed study and 
comparison, enough survives to enable us to form a general idea of the relation between the 
two writers. Origen s composed Homilies upon the Psalter, a Commentary upon it, and 
a summary treatise, called the Enchiridion. The first of these works was Hilary's model ; 
Origen's Homilies were diffuse extemporary expositions, ending, like Hilary's, with an 
ascription of praise. It is unfortunate that, of the few which survive, all treat of Psalms on 
which Hilary's Homilies are lost. But it is doubtful whether Hilary knew the other writings 
of Origen upon the Psalter. We have ourselves a very small knowledge of them, foi the 
Catena are not in the habit of giving more than the name of the author whom they cite. Yet it 
may well be that some of the apparent discrepancies between the explanations given by Hilary 
and by Origen are due to the loss of the passage from Origen's Homily which would have 
agreed with Hilary, and to the survival of the different rendering given in the Commentary or 
the Enchiridion ; some, no doubt, are also due to the carelessness and even dishonesty of the 
compilers of Catena in stating the authorship of their selections. But though it is possible 
that Hilary had access to all Origen's writings on the Psalms, there is no reason to suppose 
that he possessed a copy of his Hexapla. The only translation of the Old Testament which 
he names beside the Septuagint is that of Aquila ; he is aware that there are others, but none 
save the Septuagint has authority or deserves respect, and his rare allusions to them are only 
such as we find in Origen's Homilies, and imply no such exhaustive knowledge of the variants 
as a possessor of the Hexapla would have. 

A comparison of the two writers shews the closeness of their relation, and if we had 
Origen's complete Homilies, and not mere excerpts, the debt of Hilary would certainly be 
still more manifest. For the compilers of Catena have naturally selected what was best in 
Origen, and most suited for short extracts ; his eccentricities have been in great measure 
omitted. Hence we may err in attributing to Hilary much that is perverse in his comments ; 
there is an abundance of wild mysticism in the fragments of Origen, but its proportion to the 
whole is undoubtedly less in their present state than in their original condition. Hilary's 
method was that of paraphrasing, not of servile translation. There is apparently only one 
literal rendering of an extant passage of Origen, and that a short one 6 ; but paraphrases, which 
often become very diffuse expansions, are constant 7. But a just comparison between the two 
must embrace their differences as well as their resemblances. Hilary has exercised a silent 
criticism in omitting many of Origen's textual disquisitions. He gives, it is true, many various 
readings, but his confidence in the Septuagint often renders him indifferent in regard to 

5 He is here cited by the volume and page of the edition by 
Lommatzsch. His system of interpretation is admirably de- 
scribed in the fourth of Dr. Bigg's Bampton Lectures, The Chris- 
tian Platonists of Alexandria. 

6 Hil. Tr. in Ps. 13, § 3, his igitur ita grassantibus , sq. = 
Origen (ed. Lommatzsch) xii. 38. 

7 E.g. Instr. in Ps., § 15 = Origen in Eusebius, H.E. vi. 25 
(Philocalia 3), Hilary on Ps. 51, §§ 3, 7 = Origen xii. 353, 354, 
and very often on Ps. 118(119), e -%- the Introduction = Or. xiii. 
67 f., Aleph, § 13 = ib. 70, Beth, § 6 = ib. 71, Caph, §§ 4, 9 = ib. 
82, 83, &c. 



divergencies which Origen had taken seriously. The space which the latter devotes to the 
Greek versions Hilary employs in correcting the errors and variations of the Latin, or in 
explaining the meaning of Greek words. But these are matters which rather belong to the 
next chapter, concerning, as they do, Hilary's attitude towards Scripture. It is more 
significant of his tone of mind that he has omitted Origen's speculations on the resurrection of 
the body, preserved by Epiphanius 8 , and on the origin of evil 9. Again, Origen delights to 
give his readers a choice of interpretations ; Hilary chooses one of those which Origen has 
given, and makes no mention of the other. This is his constant habit in the earlier part of 
the Homilies ; towards the end, however, he often gives a rendering of his own, and also 
mentions, either as possible or as wrong, that which Origen had offered. Or else, though he 
only makes his own suggestion, yet it is obvious to those who have Origen at hand that he 
has in his mind, and is refuting for his own satisfaction, an alternative which he does not think 
good to lay before his audience r . A similar liberty with his original occurs in the Homily on 
Psalm 135, § 12: — 'The purposes of the present discourse and of this place forbid us to 
search more deeply.' This must have seemed a commonplace to his hearers ; but it happens 
that Origen's speculations upon the passage have survived, and we can see that Hilary was 
rather making excuses to himself for his disregard of them than directly addressing his 
congregation. Apart from the numerous instances where Hilary derives a different result from 
the same data, there are certain cases where he accepts the current Latin text, though it 
differed from Origen's Greek, and draws, without any reference to Origen, his own conclusions 
as to the meaning 2 . These, again, seem to be confined to the latter part of the work, and 
may be the result of occasional neglect to consult the authorities, rather than a deliberate 
departure from Origen's teaching. 

But the chief interest of the comparison between the writings of these two Fathers upon 
the Psalms lies in the insight which it affords into their respective modes of thought. 
Fragmentary as they are, Origen's words are a manifestly genuine and not inadequate 
expression of his mind ; and Hilary, a recognised authority and conscious of his powers, has 
so moulded and transformed his original, now adapting and now rejecting, that he has made 
it, even on the ground which is common to both, a true and sufficient representation of his 
own mental attitude. The Roman contrasts broadly with the Greek. He constantly illus- 
trates his discourse with historical incidents of Scripture, taken in their literal sense; there 
are few such in Origen. Origen is full, as usual, of praises of the contemplative state ; in 
speculation upon Divine things consists for him the happiness everywhere promised to the 
saints. Hilary ignores abstract speculation, whether as a method of interpretation or as 
a hope for the future, and actually describes 3 the contemplation of God's dealings with men as 
merely one among other modes of preparation for eternal blessings. In the same discourse 
he paraphrases the words of Origen, ' He who has done all things that conduce to the 
knowledge of God,' by 'They who have the abiding sense of a cleansed heart-*.' Though he 
is the willing slave of the allegorical method, yet he revolts from time to time against its 
excesses in Origen; their treatment of Psalm 126, in the one case practical, in the other 
mystical, is a typical example s. Hilary's attention is fixed on concrete things ; the enemies 
denounced in the Psalms mean for him the heretics of the day, while Origen had recognised in 
them the invisible agency of evil spirits 6 . The words ' Who teacheth my hands to fight ' 
suggest to Origen intellectual weapons and victories ; they remind Hilary of the ' I have 

8 H teres. 64, I2f. 

9 Origen xiii. 134. Hilary has omitted this from his Homily 
on Ps. 134, § 12. 

1 Instances of such independence are Ps. 118, Daleth, § 6 
(xiii. 74), 119, § 15 {ib. 108), 122, § 2 (ib. 112), 133, § 3 (ib. 131). 
The references to Origen are in brackets. 

2 E.g. Ps. 118, lleth, § 10, 121, § 1 ; Origen xiii. 80, m. 

3 Ps. 118, Gimel, § 21. 

4 Origen xiii. 72 ; Hilary, Ps. 118, Gi>nel, § 1. 

5 Cf. also Ps. 118, Heth, § 7, Koph, § 4, with Origen xiii. 
79, 98. Here again the spirit of independence manifests itself 
towards the end of the work. 

6 Cf. Ps. 118, Samech, § 6 Origen xiii. 9*. 


overcome the world ' of Christ?. In fact, the thought of Hilary was so charged with definite 
convictions concerning Christ, and so impressed with their importance, that his very earnest- 
ness and concentration betrays him into error of interpretation. It would be an insufficient, 
yet not a false, contrast between him and Origen to say that the latter distorts, with an almost 
playful ingenuity, the single words or phrases of Scripture, while Hilary, with masterful 
indifference to the principles of exegesis, will force a whole chapter to render the sense which 
he desires. And his obvious sincerity, his concentration of thought upon one great and always 
interesting doctrine, his constant appeal to what seems to be, and sometimes is, the exact 
sense of Scripture, and the vigour of his style, far better adapted to its purpose than that of 
Origen ; all these render him an even more convincing exponent than the other of the bad 
sys-em of interpretation which loth have adopted. Sound theological deductions and wise 
mo^al reflections on every pag. make 'he reader willing to pardon a vicious method, for 
Hilary's doctrine is never b .sed upon hi ; ex ^esis of the Psalms. No primary truth depends 
for him upon allegorj or i lyst cism, ard it may he t^at he us-vj the method with the less 
caution because he looked or r othing more than that i si ould illustrate ?„nd co"fim what was 
already established. Since, then, the permanent interest of the .vork is thai it iht-ws us what 
seemed to Hilary, as a representative of his age, to be che truth, and we have in it a powerful 
and original presentation of that truth, we can welcome, as a quaint and not ungraceful 
enlivening of his argument, this ingenuity of misinterpretation. And we may learn also 
a lesson for ourselves of the importance of the doctrine which he inculcates with such 
perseverance. Confronting him as it did, in various aspects, at every turn and in the most 
unlikely places during his journey through the Psalter, his faith concerning Christ was 
manifestly in Hilary's eyes the vital element of religion. 

The Homilies on the Psalms have never been a popular work. Readable as they are, and 
free from most of the difficulties which beset the De Trinitate, posterity allowed them to be 
mutilated, and, as we saw, only a portion has come down to us. Their chief influence, like 
that of the other treatise, has been that which Hilary has exercised through them upon writers 
of greater fame. Ambrose has borrowed from them liberally and quite uncritically for his own 
exposition of certain of the Psalms ; and Ambrose, accredited by his own fame and that of 
his greater friend Augustine, has quite overshadowed the fame of Hilary. The Homilies may, 
perhaps, have also suffered from an undeserved suspicion that anything written by the author 
of the De Trinitate would be hard to read. They have, in any case, been little read; and yet, 
as the first important example in Latin literature of the allegorical method, and as furnishing 
the staple of a widely studied work of St. Ambrose, they have profoundly affected the course 
of Christian thought. Their historical interest as well as their intrinsic value commands our 

In his Homily on Psalm 138, § 4, Hilary briefly mentions the Patriarchs as examples of 
faith, and adds, ' but these are matters of which we must discourse more suitably and fully in 
their" proper place.' This is a promise to which till of late no known work of our writer 
corresponded. Jerome had, indeed, informed us ?" that Hilary had composed a treatise entitled 
De Mysteriis, but no one had connected it with his words in the Homily. It had been 
supposed that the lost treatise dealt with the sacraments, in spite of the facts that it is Hilary's 
custom to speak of types as 'mysteries,' and that the sacraments are a theme upon which he 
never dwells. But in 1887 a great portion of Hilary's actual treatise on the Mysteries was 
recovered in the same manuscript which contained the more famous Pilgrimage to the Holy 
Places of Silvia of Aquitaine 8 . It is a short treatise of two books, unhappily mutilated at the 
beginning, in the middle and near the end, though the peroration has survived. The title is 

7 Ps. 143, § 4 ; Origen xiii. 149. 7» Vir. III. 100. 

* J. F Gamurrini, 5". HSarii Tractatus de Mysteriis et Hymni, etc., 4to., Rome, 1887. The De Mysteriit occupies pp 3 — at. 



lost, but there is no reason to doubt that Jerome was nearly right in calling it a iractatus, 
though he would have done better had he used the plural. It is written in the same easy style 
as the Homilies on the Psalms, and if it was not originally delivered as two homilies, as is 
probable, it must be a condensation of several discourses into a more compact form. The 
first book deals with the Patriarchs, the second with the Prophets, regarded as types of Christ. 
The whole is written from the point of view with which Hilary's other writings have made us 
familiar. Every deed recorded in Scripture proclaims or typifies or proves the advent of the 
incarnate Christ, and it is Hilary's purpose to display the whole of His work as reflected in 
the Old Testament, like an image in a mirror. He begins with Adam and goes on to Moses, 
deriving lessons from the lives of all the chief characters, often with an exercise of great 
ingenuity. For instance, in the history of the Fall Eve is the Church, which is sinful but shall 
be saved through bearing children in Baptism 9  the burning bush is a type of the endurance 
of the Church, of which St. Paul speaks in 2 Cor. iv. 8 1 ; the manna was found in the morning, 
the time of Christ's Resurrection and therefore of the reception of heavenly food in the 
Eucharist. They who collect too much are heretics with their excess of argument 2 . In the 
second book we have a fragmentary and desultory treatment of incidents in the lives of the 
Prophets, which Hilary ends by saying that in all the events which he has recorded we 
recognise ' God the Father and God the Son, and God the Son from God the Father, Jesus 
Christ, God and Man 3.' The peroration, in fact, reads like a summary of the argument of the 
De Trinitate. Of the genuineness of the little work there can be no doubt. Its language, its 
plan, its arguments are unmistakeably those of Hilary*. The homilies were probably 
delivered soon after he had finished his course on the Psalms, of which they contain some 
reminiscences, such as we saw are found in the later Homilies on the Psalms of earlier 
passages in the same. In all probability the subject matter of the De Mysteriis is mainly 
drawn from Origen. It is too short, and too much akin to Hilary's more important writings, 
to cast much light upon his modes of thought. He has, indeed, no occasion to speak here 
upon the points on which his teaching is most original and characteristic. 

In this same manuscript, discovered by Gamurrini at Arezzo, are the remains of what 
professes to be Hilary's collection of hymns. He has always had the fame of being the 
earliest Latin hymn writer. This was, indeed, a task which the circumstances of his life must 
have suggested to him. The conflict with Arianism forced him to become the pioneer of 
systematic theology in the Latin tongue ; it also drove him into exile in the East, where he 
must have acquainted himself with the controversial use made of hymnody by the Arians. 
Thus it was natural that he should have introduced hymns also into the West. But if the De 
Trinitate had little success, the hymns were still more unfortunate. Jerome tells us that 
Hilary complained of finding the Gauls unteachable in sacred songs; and there is no reason 
to suppose that he had any wide or permanent success in introducing hymns into public 
worship 6 . If Hilary must have the credit of originality in this respect, the honour of turning 
his suggestion to account belongs to Ambrose, whose fame in more respects than one is built 
upon foundations laid by the other. And if but a scanty remnant of the verse of Ambrose, 
popular as it was, survives, we cannot be surprised that not a line remains which can safely be 

9 Ed. Gamurrini, p. 5. 1 lb. p. 17. 

a lb. p. 21 ; there is the not uncommon play on the two senses 
of colligere. 

3 lb. p. 27. 

4 It must be confessed that some authorities refuse to regard 
this work as the De Mysteriis of Hilary. Among these is Ebert, 
Litteratur des Mittelalters, p. 142, who admits that the matter 
might be Hilary's, but denies that the manner and style are his. 

5 Comm. in Ep. ad Gal. it pre/. '. Hilarius in hymnorum car- 
mine Gallos indociles vocat. This may mean that Hilary actually 
nsed the words ' stubborn Gauls ' in one of his hymns. There 

would be nothing extraordinary in this ; the early efforts, and es- 
pecially those of the Arians which Hilary imitated for a better 
purpose, often departed widely from the propriety of later composi- 
tions, as we shall see in one of those attributed to Hilary himself. 

6 It is true that the Fourth Council of Toledo (a.d. 633) in 
its 13th canon couples Hilary with Ambrose as the writer of 
hymns in actual use. But these canons are verbose productions, 
and this may be a mere literary flourish, natural enough in coun- 
trymen and contemporaries of Isidore of Seville, who knew, no 
doubt from Jerome's Viri lllustres, that Hilary was the first 
Latin hymn writer. 


rttributed to Hilary, though authorities who deserve respect have pronounced in favour of 
more than one of the five hymns which we must consider. 

Hilary's own opinion concerning the use of hymns can best be learnt from his Homilies 
on Psalms 64 and 65. In the former (§ 12) the Church's delightful exercise of singing hymns 
at morning and evening is one of the chief tokens which she has of God's mercy towards her. 
In the latter (§ 1) we are told that sacred song requires the accompaniment of instrumental 
harmonies ; that the combination to this end of different forms of service and of art produces 
a result acceptable to God. The lifting of the voice to God in exultation, as an act of 
spiritual warfare against the devil and his hosts, is given as an example of the uses of hymnody 
{§ 4). It is a means of putting the enemy to flight ; ' Whoever he be that takes his post 
outside the Church, let him hear the voice of the people at their prayers, let him mark the 
multitudinous sound of our hymns, and in the performance of the divine Sacraments let him 
recognise the responses which our loyal confession makes. Every adversary must needs be 
affrighted, the devil routed, death conquered in the faith of the Resurrection, by such jubilant 
utterance of our exultant voice. The enemy will know that this gives pleasure to God and 
assurance to our hope, even this public and triumphant raising of our voice in sorig.' 
Original composition, both of words and music, is evidently in Hilary's mind ; and we can see 
that he is rather recommending a useful novelty than describing an established practice. It 
is a remarkable coincidence that the five hymns which are called his are, in fact, a song of 
triumph over the devil, and a hymn in praise of the Resurrection, which are, so their editor 
thinks, actually alluded to in the Homily cited above ; a confession of faith ; and a morning 
hymn and one which has been taken for an evening hymn. These are exactly the subjects 
which correspond to Hilary's description. 

But, when we come to the examination of these hymns in detail, the gravest doubts arise. 
The first three were discovered in the same manuscript to which we owe the De Mysteriis. 
They formed part of a small collection, which cannot have numbered more than seven or eight 
hymns, of which these three only have escaped, not without some mutilation. That which 
stands first is the confession of faith, the matter of which contains nothing that is inconsistent 
with Hilary's time. But beyond this, and the fact that the manuscript ascribes it to Hilary, 
there is nothing to suggest his authorship. It is a dreary production in a limping imitation of 
an Horatian metre; an involved argumentative statement of Catholic doctrine, in which it 
would be difficult to say whether verse or subject suffers the more from their unwonted union. 
The sequence of thought is helped out by the mechanical device of an alphabetical arrange- 
ment of the stanzas, but even this assistance could not make it intelligible to an ordinary 
congregation ?. And the want of literary skill in the author makes it impossible to suppose 
that Hilary is he ; classical knowledge was still on too high a level for an educated man to 
perpetrate such solecisms. 

In the same manuscript there follow, after an unfortunate gap, the two hymns to which it 
has been suggested that Hilary alludes in his Homily on Psalm 65, those which celebrate the 
praises of the Resurrection and the triumph over Satan. The former is by a woman's hand, 
and the feminine forms of the language must have made it, one would think, unsuitable for 
congregational singing. There is no reason why the poem should not date from the fourth 
century ; indeed, since it is written by a neophyte, that date is more probable than a later 
time, when adult converts to Christianity were more scarce. It has considerable merits ;'it is 

7 Two of the simplest stanzas are as follows : — 

Extra quam capere potest Felix qui potuit fide , It is written in stanzas of six lines in the MS. ; the metre is the 

'mens humana res tantas penitus ; second Asclepiad. Gamurrini, the discoverer, and Fechtrup (in 

manet Filius in Patre, credulus assequi, ' Wetzer Welte's Encyclopaedia) regard it as the work of Hilary, 

rursus quern penes sit Pater ut incorporeo ex Deo but the weight of opinion is against them, 

dignus, qui genitus est profectus fuerit 

Filius in Deum. primogenitus Dei. 



fervid in tone and free in movement, and has every appearance of being the expression of 
genuine feeling. It is, in fact, likely enough that, if it were written in Hilary's day, he should 
have inserted it in a collection of sacred verse. Concerning its authorship the suggestion has 
been made 8 that it was written by Florentia, a heathen maiden converted by Hilary near 
Seleucia, who followed him to Gaul, lived, died, and was buried by him in his diocese. The 
story of Florentia rests on no better authority than the worthless biography of Hilary, written 
by Fortunatus, who, moreover, says nothing about hymns composed by her. Neither proof 
nor disproof is possible : unless we regard the defective Latinity as evidence in favour of 
a Greek origin for the authoress. The third hymn, which celebrates the triumph of Christ 
over Satan, may or may not be the work of the same hand as the second. It bears much 
more resemblance to it than to the laborious and prosaic effusion which stands first. The 
manuscript which contains these three hymns distinctly assigns the first, and one or more 
which have perished, to Hilary : — ' Incipiunt hymni eiusdem.' Whether a fresh title stood 
before the later hymns, which clearly belong to another, we cannot say ; the collection is too 
short for this to be probable. It is obvious that, if we have in this manuscript the remains of 
a hymn-book for actual use, it was, like ours, a compilation ; brief as it was, it may have been 
as large as the cumbrous shape of ancient volumes would allow to be cheaply multiplied and 
conveniently used. Many popular treatises, as for instance some by Tertullian and Cyprian, 
were quite as short. Who the compiler may have been must remain unknown. We must 
attach some importance to the evidence of the manuscript which has restored to us the De 
Mysteriis and the Pilgrimage of Silvia ; and we may reasonably suppose that this collection 
was made in the time, and even with the sanction, of Hilary, though we cannot accept him as 
the author of any of the three hymns which remain. 

The spurious letter to his imaginary daughter Abra was apparently written with the 
ingenious purpose of fathering upon Hilary the morning hymn, Lucis Largitor splendide. 
This is a hymn of considerable beauty, in the same metre as the genuine Ambrosian hymns. 
But there is this essential difference, that while in the latter the rules of classical versification 
as regards the length of syllables are scrupulously followed, in the former these rules are 
ignored, and rhythm takes the place of quantity. This is a sufficient proof that the hymn 
is of a later date than Ambrose, and, a fortiori, than Hilary. There remains the so-called 
evening hymn, which has been supposed to be the companion to the last 9. This, again, 
is alphabetical, and contains in twenty-three stanzas a confession of sin, an appeal to Christ 
and an assertion of orthodoxy. The rules of metre are neglected in favour of an uncouth 
attempt at rhythm. Latin appears to have been a dead language to the writer 1 , who 
adorns his lines with little pieces of pagan mythology, and whose taste is indicated by 
his description of heretics as ' barking Sabellius and grunting Simon.' The hymn is probably 
the work of some bombastic monk, perhaps of the time of Charles the Great ; unlike the 
other four, it cannot possibly date from Hilary's generation. 

Omitting certain fragments of treatises of which Hilary may, or may not, have been 
the author 2 , we now come to his attack upon Auxentius of Milan, and to the last of 

8 By Gamurrini in Studi e documenti, 1884, p. 83 f. 

9 Printed in full by Mai, Patrunt Nova Bibliotheca, p. 490. 
He suspends judgment, and will not say that it is unworthy of 
Hilary. The Benedictine editor, Coustant, gives a few stanzas 
as specimens, and summarily rejects it. 

1 The four quarters of the universe are ortus, occasus, aquilo, 
septentrio ; one of these last must mean the south. This would 
point to some German land as the home of the author; in no 
country of Romance tongue could such an error have been per- 
petrated. Perire is used ior perdere, but this it not unparalleled. 

 In Mai's Patrum Nova Bibliotheca, vol. i., is a short treatise 
on the Genealogies of Christ. The method of interpretation is 

the same as Hilary's, but tha language is not his ; and the terms 
used of the Virgin in §§ 11, 13, are not so early as the fourth 
century. In the same volume is an exposition of the beginning 
of St. John's Gospel in an anti-Arian sense. In spite of some 
difference of vocabulary, there is no strong reason why this should 
not be by Hilary; cf. especially, §§ 5 — 7. Mai also prints in the 
same volume a short fragment on the Paralytic (St. Matt. ix. 2), 
too brief for a judgment to be formed. In Pitra's Spicilegiunt 
Solesmettse, vol. i., is a brief discussion on the first chapters of 
Genesis, dealing chiefly with the Fall. It appears, like the Homi- 
lies on the Psalms, to be the report of some extemporary ad« 
dresses, and is more likely than any of the preceding to be tin 


his complete works. Dionysius of Milan had been, as we saw, a sufferer in the same cause 
as Hilary. But he had been still more hardly treated ; he had not only been exiled, 
but his place had been taken by Auxentius, an Eastern Arian of the school favoured by 
Constantius. Dionysius died in exile, and Auxentius remained in undisputed possession of 
the see. He must have been a man of considerable ability ; perhaps, as we have mentioned, 
he was the creator of the so-called Ambrosian ritual, and certainly he was the leader of 
the Arian party in Italy and the further West. The very fact that Constantius and his 
advisers chose him for so great a post as the bishopric of Milan proves that they had 
confidence in him. He justified their trust, holding his own without apparent difficulty 
at Milan and working successfully in the cause of compromise at Ariminum and elsewhere 
Athanasius mentions him often and bitterly as a leader of the heretics; and he must be 
ranked with Ursacius and Valens as one of the most unscrupulous of his party. While 
Constantius reigned Auxentius was, of course, safe from attack. But at the end of the 
year 364 Hilary thought that the opportunity was come. Since his last entry into the 
conflict Julian and his successor Jovian had died, and Valentinian had for some months 
been Emperor. He had just divided the Roman Empire with his brother Valens, himself 
choosing the Western half with Milan for his capital, while he gave Constantinople and 
the East to Valens. The latter was a man of small abilities, unworthy to reign, and 
a convinced Arian ; Valentinian, with many faults, was a strong ruler, and favoured the 
cause of orthodoxy. But he was, before all else, a soldier and a statesman ; his orthodoxy 
was, perhaps, a mere acquiescence in the predominant belief among his subjects, and it 
had, in any case, much less influence over his conduct than had Arianism over that of Valens. 
It must have seemed to Hilary and to Eusebius of Vercelli that there was danger t© 
the Church in the possession by Auxentius of so commanding a position as that of bishop 
of Milan, with constant access to the Emperor's ear ; and especially now that the Emperor 
was new to his work and had no knowledge, perhaps no strong convictions, concerning 
the points at issue. As far as they could judge, their success or failure in displacing 
Auxentius would influence the fortunes of the Church for a generation at least. It would, 
therefore, be unjust to accuse Hilary as a mere busy-body. He interfered, it is true, 
outside his own province, but it was at a serious crisis ; and his knowledge of the Western 
Church must have assured him that, if he did not act, the necessary protest would 
probably remain unmade. • 

Hilary, then, in company with his ally Eusebius, hastened to Milan in order to 
influence the mind of Valentinian against Auxentius, and to waken the dormant orthodoxy 
of the Milanese Church. For there seems to have been little local opposition to the Arian 
bishop : no organised congregation of Catholics in the city rejected his communion. On 
the other hand, there was no militant Arianism ; the worship conducted by Auxentius could 
excite no scruples, and in his teaching he would certainly avoid the points of difference. 
He and his school had no desire to persecute orthodoxy because it was orthodox. From 
their point of view, the Faith had been settled in such a way that their own position 
was unassailable, and all they wished was to live and to let live. And we must remembe» 
that the Council of Rimini, disgraceful as the manner was in which its decision had beer 
reached, was still the rule of the Faith for the Western Church. Hilary and Eusebius 
had induced a multitude of bishops, amid the applause of their flocks, to recant ; but private 
expressions of opinion, however numerous, could not erase the definitions of Rimini from 

work of Hilary. It is quite in his style, but the contents are 
unimportant. But we must remember that the scribes were rarely 
content to confess that they were ignorant of the name of an 
author whom they transcribed; and that, being as ill-furnished 
with scruples as with imagination, they assigned everything that 
came to hand to a few familiar names. Two further works 

ascribed to Hilary are obviously not his. Pitra, in the volume 
already cited, has printed considerable remains of a Commentary 
on the Pauline Epistles, which really belongs to Theodore of 
Mopsuestia ; and a Commentary on the seven Canonical Epistles, 
recently published in the Spicilegium Casinense, vol. iii., is there 
attributed, with much reason, to his namesake of Aries. 


the records of the Church. It was not till the year 369 that a Council at Rome expunged 
them. The first object of the allies was to excite opposition to the Arian, and in this 
they had some success. Auxentius, in his petition to the Emperor, which we possess, 
asserts that they stirred up certain of the laity, who had been in communion neither with 
himself nor with his predecessors, to call him a heretic. The immediate predecessor of 
Auxentius was the Catholic Dionysius, and we cannot suppose that this is a fair description 
of Hilary's followers. But it is probable that the malcontents were not numerous, for none 
but enthusiasts would venture into apparent schism on account of a heresy which was 
certainly not conspicuous. How long Hilary was allowed to continue his efforts is unknown. 
Valentinian reached Milan in the November of 364, and left it in the Autumn of the 
following year; and before his departure his decision had frustrated Hilary's purpose. 
We only know that, as soon as the matter grew serious, Auxentius appealed to the Emperor. 
There was no point more important in the eyes of the government than unity within 
the local Churches, and Auxentius, being formally in the right, must have made his 
appeal with much confidence. His success was immediate. The Emperor issued what 
Hilary calls a 'grievous edicts,' the terms of which Hilary does not mention. He only 
says that under the pretext, and with the desire, of unity, Valentinian threw the faithful 
Church of Milan into confusion. In other words, he forbade Hilary to agitate for a separation 
of the people from their bishop. 

But Hilary, silenced in the city, exerted himself at court. With urgent importunity, 
he tells us, he pressed his charges against Auxentius, and induced the Emperor to appoint 
a commission to consider them. In due time this commission met. It consisted of two 
lay officials, with ' some ten ' bishops as assessors *. Hilary and Eusebius were present, as 
well as the accused. Auxentius pleaded his own cause, beginning with the unfortunate 
attack upon his adversaries that they had been deposed by Council, and therefore had 
no locus standi as accusers of a bishop. This was untrue; Hilary, we know, had been 
banished, but his see had never been declared vacant, nor, in all probability, had that 
of Eusebius. They were not intruders, like Auxentius, though even he had gained some 
legality for his position from the death of Dionysius in exile. The failure of this plea 
was so complete that Hilary, in his account of the matter, declares that it is not worth 
his while to repeat his defence. Next came the serious business of the commission. This 
was not the theological enquiry after truth, but the legal question whether, in fact, the 
teaching of Auxentius was in conformity with recognised standards. Hilary had asserted 
that his creed differed from that of the Emperor and of all other Christians, and had 
asserted it in very unsparing language. He now maintained his allegation, and, in doing 
so, gave Auxentius a double advantage. For he diverged into the general question of 
theology, while Auxentius stuck to the letter of the decisions of Rimini ; and the words 
of Hilary had been such that he could claim to be a sufferer from calumny. Hilary's 
account of the doctrinal discussion is that he forced the reluctant Auxentius by his 
questions to the very edge of a denial of the Faith ; that Auxentius escaped from this 
difficulty by a complete surrender, to which Hilary pinned him down by making hijn 
sign an orthodox confession, in terms to which he had several times agreed during the 
course of the debate ; that Hilary remitted this confession through the Quaestor, the lay 
president of the commission, to the Emperor. This document, which Hilary says that 
he appended to his explanatory letter, is unfortunately lost. The brief account of the 
matter which Auxentius gives is not inconsistent with Hilary's. He tells us that he began 
by protesting that he had never known or seen Arius, and did not even know what his 

3 Contra Auxcntium, § 7. 1 that the decision lay with the laymen. Auxentius, in his account 

4 Tt 's "lear from Hilary's account (Contra Auxentium, \ 7) I of the matter, does not even mention the bishops. 


doctrine was ; he proceeded to declare that he still believed and preached the truths 
which he had been taught in his infancy and of which he had satisfied himself by study 
of Scripture ; and he gives a summary of the statement of faith which he made before 
the commission. But he says not a word about the passage of arms between Hilary 
and himself, of his defeat, and of the enforced signature of a confession which contradicted 
his previous assertions. 

Hilary's account of the proceedings must certainly be accepted. But, though his moral 
and dialectical victory was complete, it is obvious that he had gained no advantage for 
his cause. He had taunted Auxentius as an adherent of Arius. Auxentius had an immediate 
reply, which put his opponent in the wrong. We cannot doubt that he spoke the truth, 
when he said that he had never known Arius; and it certainly was the case, that in 
the early years of the fourth century, inadequate statements of the doctrine of the Trinity 
were widely prevalent and passed without dispute. It was also true that the dominant 
faction at the court of Constantius, of which Auxentius had been a leader, had in the 
most effectual way disclaimed complicity with Arianism by ejecting its honest professors 
from their sees and by joining with their lips in the universal condemnation of the founder 
of that heresy. But if this was their shame, it was also, in such circumstances as those 
of Auxentius, their protection. And Auxentius held one of the greatest positions in the 
Church, and even in the state, now that Milan was to be, so it seemed, the capital of 
the West. The spirit of the government at that time was one of almost Chinese reverence 
for official rank ; and it must have seemed an outrage that the irresponsible bishop of 
a city, mean in comparison with Milan, should assail Auxentius in such terms as Hilary 
had used. Even though he had admitted, instead of repudiating, the affinity with Arius, 
there would have seen an impropriety in the use (A that familiar weapon, the labelling 
of a party with the name of its most discredited and unpopular member. We may be sure 
that Auxentius, a man of the world, would derive all possible advantage from this excessive 
vehemence of his adversary. In the debate itself, where Hilary would have the advantage 
not only of a sound cause, but of greater earnestness, we cannot be surprised that he 
won the victory. Auxentius was probably indifferent at heart ; Hilary had devoted his 
life and all his talents to the cause. But such a victory could have no results, beyond 
lowering Auxentius in public esteem and self-respect. It does not appear from his words 
or from those of Hilary, that the actual creed of Rimini was imported into the dispute. 
It was on it that Auxentius relied ; if he did not expressly contradict its terms, the debate 
became a mere discussion concerning abstract truth. The legal standard of doctrine was 
no more affected by his unwilling concession than it had been a few years before by 
the numerous repudiations, prompted by Hilary and Eusebius, of the vote given at Rimini. 
The confession which Hilary annexed in triumph to his narrative was the mere incidental 
expression of a private opinion, which Auxentius, in his further plea, could afford to leave 

The commissioners no doubt made their report privately to the Emperor. We do not 
know its tenour, but from the sequel we may be sure that they gave it as their opinion that 
Auxentius was the lawful bishop of Milan. Some time passed before Valentinian spoke. 
Whether Hilary took any further steps to influence his decision is unknown ; but we possess 
a memorial addressed 4 to the most blessed and glorious Emperors Valentinian and Valens ' by 
Auxentius. The two brothers were, by mutual arrangement, each sovereign within his own 
dominion, but they ruled as colleagues, not as rivals; and Auxentius must have taken courage 
from the thought that it would seem unnatural and impolitic for the elder to seize this first 
opportunity of proclaiming his dissent from the cherished convictions of the younger, by 
degrading one of the very school which his brother delighted to honour. For what had been 
proposed was not the silent filling of a vacant place, but the public ejection of a bishop whose 

e 2 


station was not much less prominent than that of Athanasius himself, and his ejection on 
purely theological grounds. Constantius himself had rarely been so bold; his acts of 
oppression, as in Hilary's case, were usually cloaked by some allegation of misconduct on the 
victim's part. But Auxentius had more than the character of Valens and political consider- 
ations on which to rely. In the forefront of his defence he put the Council of Rimini. This 
attack by Hilary and his friends was, according to him, the attempt of a handful of men to 
break up the unity attained by the labours of that great assembly of six hundred bishops 5 . 
He declared his firm assent to all its decisions ; every heresy that it had condemned he 
condemned. He sent with his address a copy of the Acts of the Council, and begged the 
Emperor to have them read to him. Its language would convince him that Hilary and 
Eusebius, bishops long deposed, were merely plotting universal schism. This, with his own 
account of the proceedings before the commission and a short statement of his belief, forms 
his appeal to the Emperor. It was composed with great skill, and was quite unanswerable. 
His actual possession of the see, the circumstances of the time, the very doctrine of the 
Church — for only a Council could undo what a Council had done — rendered his position 
unassailable. And if he was in the right, Hilary and his colleague were in the wrong. 
Nothing but success could have saved them from the humiliation, to which they were now 
subjected, of being expelled from Milan and bidden to return to their homes, while the 
Emperor publicly recognised Auxentius by receiving the Communion at his hands. Yet 
morally they had been in the right throughout. The strong legal position of Auxentius and 
the canons of that imposing Council of six hundred bishops behind which he screened himself 
had been obtained by deliberate fraud and oppression. He and his creed could not have, and 
did not deserve to have, any stability. Yet Valentinian was probably in the right, even in the 
interests of truth, in refusing to make a martyr of Auxentius. There would have been reprisals 
in the East, where the Catholic cause had far more to lose than had Arianism in the West ; 
and general considerations of equity and policy must have inclined him to allow the Arian to 
pass the remainder of his days in peace. But we cannot wonder that Hilary failed to 
appreciate such reasons. He had thrown himself with all his heart into the attack, and 
risked in it his public credit as bishop and confessor and first of Western theologians. Hence 
his published account of the transaction is tinged with a pardonable shade of personal 
resentment. It was, indeed, necessary that he should issue a statement. The assault and 
the repulse were rendered conspicuous by time and place, and by the eminence of the persons 
engaged ; and it was Hilary's duty to see that the defeat which he had incurred brought no 
injury upon his cause. He therefore addressed a public letter ' to the beloved brethen who 
abide in the Faith of the fathers and repudiate the Arian heresy, the bishops and all their 
flocks.' He begins by speaking of the blessings of peace, which the Christians of that day 
could neither enjoy nor promote, beset as they were by the forerunners of Antichrist, who 
boasted of the peace, in other words of the harmonious concurrence in blasphemy, which they 
had brought about. They bear themselves not as bishops of Christ but as priests of 
Antichrist. This is not random abuse (§ 2), but sober recognition of the fact, stated by 
St. John, that there are many Antichrists. For these men assume the cloak of piety, and pretend 
to preach the Gospel, with the one object of inducing others to deny Christ. It was (§ 3) the 
misery and folly of the day that men endeavoured to promote the cause of God by human 
means and the favour of the world. Hilary asks bishops, who believe in their office, whether 
the Apostles had secular support when by their preaching they converted the greater part of 
mankind. They were not adorned with palace dignities ; scourged and fettered, they sang 
their hymns. It was in obedience to no royal edict that Paul gathered a Church for Christ; 

5 This wat a gross exaggeration. They cannot have been I that the Homoean decision was only obtained by fraud, as Auxen* 
■more than 400, and probably were less. And we must remember I tius well knew. 


he was exposed to public view in the theatre. Nero and Vespasian and Decius were no 
patrons of the Church ; it was through their hatred that the truth had thriven. The Apostles 
laboured with their hands and worshipped in garrets and secret places, and in defiance of 
senate or monarch visited, it might be said, every village and every tribe. Yet it was these 
rebels who had the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven ; the more they were forbidden, the more 
they preached, and the power of God was made manifest. But now (§ 4) the Faith finds 
favour with men. The Church seeks for secular support, and in so doing insults Christ by 
the implication that His support is insufficient. She in her turn holds out the threat of exile 
and prison. It was her endurance of these that drew men to her; now she imposes her faith 
by violence. She craves for favours at the hands of her communicants; once it was her 
consecration that she braved the threatenings of persecutors. Bishops in exile spread the 
Faith ; now it is she that exiles bishops. She boasts that the world loves her ; the world's 
hatred was the evidence that she was Christ's. The ruin is obvious which has fallen upon the 
Church. The reason is plain (§ 5). The time of Antichrist, disguised as an angel of light, 
has come. The true Christ is hidden from almost every mind and heart. Antichrist is now 
obscuring the truth that he may assert falsehood hereafter. Hence the conflicting opinions 
of the time, the doctrine of Arius and of his heirs, Valens, Ursacius, Auxentius and their 
fellows. Their preaching of novelties concerning Christ is the work of Antichrist, who is 
using them to introduce his own worship. This is proved (§ 6) by a statement of their 
minimising and prevaricating doctrine, which has, however, made no impression upon the 
guileless and well-meaning laity. Then (§§ 7 — 9) comes Hilary's account of his proceedings at 
Milan, strongly coloured by the intensity of his feelings. The Emperor's first refusal to 
interfere with Auxentius is a 'command that the Church of the Milanese, which confesses that 
Christ is true God, of one divinity and substance with the Father, should be thrown into 
confusion under the pretext, and with the desire, of unity.' The canons of Rimini are described 
as those of the Thracian Nicasa ; Auxentius' protest that he had never known Arius is met by 
the assertion that he had been ordained to the presbyterate in an Arian Church under George 
of Alexandria. Hilary refuses to discuss the Council of Rimini ; it had been universally and 
righteously repudiated. His ejection from Milan, in spite of his protests that Auxentius was 
a liar and a renegade, is a revelation of the mystery of ungodliness. For Auxentius (§§ 10, n) 
had spoken with two contrary voices ; the one that of the confession which Hilary had driven 
him to sign, the other that of Rimini. His skill in words could deceive even the elect, but he 
had been clearly exposed. Finally (§ 12) Hilary regrets that he cannot state the case to each 
bishop and Church in person. He begs them to make the best of his letter; he dares not 
make it fully intelligible by circulating with it the Arian blasphemies which he had assailed. 
He bids them beware of Antichrist, and warns against love and reverence for the material 
structure of their churches, wherein Antichrist will one day have his seat. Mountains and 
woods and dens of beasts and prisons and morasses are the places of safety; in them some 
of the Prophets had lived, and some had died. He bids them shun Auxentius as an angel of 
Satan, an enemy of Christ, a deceiver and a blasphemer. ' Let him assemble against me what 
synods he will, let him proclaim me, as he has often done already, a heretic by public 
advertisement, let him direct, at his will, the wrath of the mighty against me; yet, being an 
Arian, he shall be nothing less than a devil in my eyes. Never will I desire peace except with 
them who, following the doctrine of our fathers at Nicaea, shall make the Arians anathema and 
proclaim the true divinity of Christ.' 

These are the concluding words of Hilary's last public utterance. We see him again 
giving an unreserved adhesion, in word as well as in heart, to the Nicene confession. It was 
the course dictated by policy as well as by conviction. His cautious language in earlier days 
had done good service to the Church in the East, and had made it easier for those who had 
compromised themselves at Rimini to reconcile themselves with him and with the truth for 


which he stood. But by this time all whom he could wish to win had given in their adhesion; 
Auxentius and the few who held with him, if such there were, were irreconcileable. They took 
their stand upon the Council of Rimini, and their opponents found in the doctrine of Nicaea 
the clear and uncompromising challenge which was necessary for effective warfare. But if 
Hilary's doctrinal position is definite, his theory of the relations of Church and State, if indeed 
his indignation allowed him to think of them, is obscure. An orthodox Emperor was uphold- 
ing an Arian, and Hilary, while giving Valentinian credit for personal good faith, is as eager 
as in the worst days of Constantius for a severance. We must, however, remember that this 
manifesto, though it is the expression of a settled policy in the matter of doctrine, is in other 
respects the unguarded outpouring of an injured feeling. And here again we find the old 
perplexity of the ' inward evil.' Auxentius is represented as in the Church and outside it at 
the same time. He is an Antichrist, a devil, all that is evil ; but Hilary is threatened and it is 
the Church that threatens, submission to an Arian is enforced and it is the Church which 
enforces it 6 . And if Auxentius had adhered to the confession which Hilary had induced him 
to sign, all objection to his episcopate would apparently have ceased. The time had not come, 
if it ever can come, for the solution of such problems. Meantime Hilary did his best, so far as 
words could do it, to brush aside the sophistries behind which Auxentius was defending 
himself. The doctrine of Rimini is named that of Nicaea, in Thrace, where the discreditable 
and insignificant assembly met in which its terms were settled ; the Church of Alexandria 
under the intruder George is frankly called Arian. It was an appeal to the future as well as 
an apology for himself. But certainly it could not move Valentinian, nor can Hilary have 
expected that it should. And, after all, Valentinian's action was harmless, at least. By 
Hilary's own confession, Auxentius had no influence for evil over his flock, and these 
proceedings must have warned him, if he needed the warning, that abstinence from aggressive 
Arianism was necessary if he would end his days in peace. The Emperor's policy remained 
unchanged. At the Roman Council of the year 369 the Western bishops formally 
annulled the proceedings of Rimini, and so deprived Auxentius of his legal position. At the 
same time, as the logical consequence, they condemned him to deposition, but Valentinian 
refused to give effect to their sentence, and Auxentius remained bishop of Milan till his death 
in the year 374. He had outlived Hilary and Eusebius, and also Athanasius, the promoter of 
the last attack upon him ; he had also outlived whatever Arianism there had been in Milan. 
His successor, St. Ambrose, had the enthusiastic support of his people in his conflicts with 
Arian princes. The Church could have gained little by Hilary's success, and yet we cannot 
be sure that, in a broad sense, he failed. So resolute a bearing must have effectually 
strengthened the convictions of Valentinian aad the fears of Auxentius. 

There remains one work of Hilary to be considered. This was a history of the Arian 
controversy in such of its aspects as had fallen under his own observation. We know 
from Jerome's biography of Hilary that he wrote a book againt Valens and Ursacius, 
containing an account of the Councils of Rimini and Seleucia. They had been his adversaries 
throughout his career, and had held their own against him. To them, at least as much as 
to Constantius, the overthrow of his Asiatic friends was due, and to them he owed the 
favour, which must have galled him, of permission to return to his diocese. Auxentius 
was one of their allies, and the failure of Hilary's attack upon him made it clear that 
these men too, as subjects of Valentinian, were safe from merited deposition. Their 
worldly success was manifest ; it was a natural and righteous task which Hilary undertook 
when he exposed their true character. It was clear that while Valens and Valentinian 
lived — and they were in early middle life — there would be an armed peace within the 
Western Church; that the overthrow of bishop by bishop in theological strife would be 


forbidden. The pen was the only weapon left to Hilary, and he used it to give an 
account of events from the time of that Council of Aries, in the year 353, which was 
the beginning for Gaul of the Arian conflict. He followed its course, with especial 
reference to Ursacius and Valens, until the year 367, or at least the end of 366 ; the 
latest incident recorded in the fragments which we possess must have happened within 
a few months of his death. The work was less a history than a collection of documents 
strung together by an explanatory narrative. It is evident that it was not undertaken as 
a literary effort ; its aim is not the information of future generations, but the solemn 
indictment at the bar of public opinion of living offenders. It must have been, when 
complete, a singularly businesslike production, with no graces of style to render it attractive 
and no generalisations to illuminate its pages. Had the whole been preserved, we should 
have had a complete record of Hilary's life ; as it is, we have thirteen valuable fragments ?, 
to which we owe a considerable part of our general knowledge of the time, though they 
tell us comparatively little of his own career. The commencement of the work has happily 
survived, and from it we learn the spirit in which he wrote. He begins (Fragment i. §§ t, 2) 
with an exposition of St. Paul's doctrine of faith, hope, and love. He testifies, with the 
Apostle, that the last is the greatest. The inseparable bond, of which he is conscious, 
of God's love for him and his for God, has detached him from worldly interests. He, 
like others (§ 3), might have enjoyed ease and prosperity and imperial friendship, and 
have been, as they were, a bishop only in name and a burden upon the Church. But 
the condition imposed was that of tampering with Gospel truths, wilful blindness to 
oppression and the condonation of tyranny. Public opinion, ill-informed and unused to 
theological subtleties, would not have observed the change. But it would have been 
a cowardly declension from the love of Christ to which he could not stoop. He feels (§ 4) 
the difficulty of the task he undertakes. The devil and the heretics had done their wst, 
multitudes had been terrified into denial of their convictions. The story was complicated 
by the ingenuity in evil of the plotters, and evidence was difficult to obtain. The scene 
of intrigue could not be clearly delineated, crowded as it was with the busy figures of 
bishops and officers, putting every engine into motion against men of apostolic mind. 
The energy with which they propagated slander was the measure of its falsehood. They 
had implanted in the public mind the belief that the exiled bishops had suffered merely 
for refusing to condemn Athanasius ; that they were inspired by obstinacy, not by principle. 
Out of reverence for the Emperor, whose throne is from God (§ 5), Hilary will not comment 
upon his usurped jurisdiction over a bishop, nor on the manner in which it was exercised ; 
nor yet on the injustice whereby bishops were forced to pass sentence upon the accused 
in his absence. In this volume he will give the true causes of trouble, in comparison 
of which such tyranny, grievous though it be, is of small account. Once before — this, 
no doubt, was at Beziers — he had spoken his mind upon the matter. But that was a hasty 
and unprepared utterance, delivered to an audience as eager to silence him as he was 
to speak. He will, therefore (§ 6), give a full and consecutive narrative of events from 
the Council of Aries onwards, with such an account of the question there debated as will 

7 There are fifteen in the collection, hut the second and third, course, notorious that he never did so ; the mistake is one which 
which are as long as all the rest together, and are obviously ex- . Hilary could not possibly have made. None the less, these frag- 
tracts from the same work, are not by Hilary. He expressly says j ments are, both in themselves and in the documents which they 
(Fragm. i. § 6) that he will commence with the Council of Aries i embody, one of our most important authorities for the transactions 

and the exile of Paulinus. These documents narrate at great 
length events which began six years earlier, and with which 
Hilary and his province had no direct concern. This proves 
that the fragments are not a portion of the Liber adversus Ursa- 
Hum et Valentem. Internal evidence proves not less clearly 
that they cannot be excerpts from some other work of Hilary. 
In Fragm. ii. § ai we are told that, apparently in the year 349, 

Athanasius excommunicated Marcellus of Ancyra. It is, of been suggested by the wish to disbelieve 

they narrate, and are indisputably contemporary and authentic. 
Nor is there any reasonable doubt as to the genuineness of the 
thirteen. Those of them which reveal the inconstancy of Liberius 
have been assailed by some Roman Catholic writers, though they 
are accepted by others. The same suspicion has extended to 
others among the fragments, because they are found in company 
with these revelations concerning Liberius. But the doubts have 


shew the true merits of Paulinus, and make it clear that nothing less than the Faith 
was at stake. He ends his introduction (§ 7) by warning the reader that this is a work 
which needs to be seriously studied. The multitude of letters and of synods which he 
must adduce will merely confuse and disgust him, if he do not bear in mind the dates 
and the persons, and the exact sense in which terms are used. Finally, he reminds him of 
the greatness of the subject. This is the knowledge of God, the hope of eternity; it 
is the duty of a Christian to acquire such knowledge as shall enable him to form and 
to maintain his own conclusions. The excerpts from the work have evidently been made 
by some one who was interested in Italy and Illyricum rather than in Gaul, and thought 
that the documents were more importar** than the narrative. Hence Hilary's character 
is as little illustrated as the events of his life. Nor can the date of the work be precisely 
fixed. It is clear that he had already taken up his final attitude of uncompromising adherence 
to the Nicene Symbol; that is to say, he began to write after all the waverers had been 
reclaimed from contact with Arianism. He must, therefore, have written the book in his 
latest years; and it is manifest that after he had brought the narrative down to the 
time of his return from exile, he continued to add to it from time to time even till 
the end of his life. For the last incident recorded in the Fragments, the secession from 
the party of Valens and Ursacius of an old and important ally, Germinius of Sirmium, 
must have come to his knowledge very shortly before his death. He had had little success 
in his warfare with error ; if he and his friends had held their own, they had not succeeded 
either in synod or at court in overthrowing their enemies; and it is pleasant to think 
that this gleam of comfort came to brighten the last days of Hilary 8 . The news must 
have reached Gaul early in the year 367, and no subsequent event of importance can 
have come to his knowledge. 

But though we have reached the term of Hilary's life, there remains one topic on 
which something must be said, his relation to St. Martin of Tours. Martin, born in 
Pannonia, the country of Valens and Ursacius, but converted from paganism under 
Catholic influences, was attracted by Hilary, already a bishop, and spent some years in 
his society before the outbreak of the Arian strife in Gaul. Hilary, we are told, wished 
to ordain him a priest, but at his urgent wish refrained, and admitted him instead to 
the humble rank of an exorcist. At an uncertain date, which cannot have long preceded 
Hilary's exile, he felt himself moved to return to his native province in order to convert 
his parents, who were still pagans. He succeeded in the case of his mother and of many 
of his countrymen. But he was soon compelled to abandon his labours, for he had, as 
a true disciple of Hilary, regarded it as his duty to oppose the Arianism dominant in 

8 This correspondence which Hilary has preserved (Fragm. i to neighbouring bishops, which they trust will be proved ground- 
sill. — xv.) is interesting as shewing how difficult it must have been ' less. Germinius made no direct reply to this letter, but addressed 
for the laity to determine who was, and who was not, a heretic, ! a manifesto to a number of more sympathetic bishops, containing 

when all parties used the same Scriptural terms in commendation 
of themselves and condemnation of their opponents. It begins 
with a public letter in which Germinius makes a declaration of 
faith in Homoeousion terms, without any mention of the reasons 
which had induced him to depart from the Homoean position. 
This is followed by a reproachful letter, also intended for pub- 
licity, from Valens, Ursacius, and others. They had refused 
to attend to the rumour of his defection ; but now are compelled, 
by his own published letter, to ask the plain question, whether 
or no he adheres to ' the Catholic Faith set forth and confirmed 
by the Holy Council at Rimini.' If he had added to the Homoean 
formula, which was that the Son is Mike the Father,' the words 
'in substance' or 'in all things,' he had fallen into the justly 
condemned heresy of Basil of Ancyra. They demand an explicit 
Statement that he never had said, and never would say, anything 
of the kind; and warn him that he is gravely suspected, com- 
faints of his teaching having been made by certain of his clergy 

the Scriptural proofs of the divinity of Christ, and recalling the 
fact that the Homoean leaders, before their own victory, had 
acquiesced in the Homoeousian confession. Any teaching to the 
contrary is the work, not of God, but of the spirit of this world; 
and he entreats those whom he addresses to circulate his letter 
as widely as possible, lest any should fall through ignorance into 
the snares of the devil. Germinius was assured of safety in 
writing thus. Valentinian's support of Auxentius had proved 
that bishops might hold what opinions they would on the great 
question, provided they were not avowed Arians. Germinius had 
been a leader of the Homoean party, and it is at least possible 
that his change of front was due to his knowledge that the Em- 
peror, though he would not eject Homoeans, had no sympathy 
with them and would allow them no influence. In fact, the 
smaller the share of conscience, the greater the historical interest 
of Germinius' action as shewing the decline of Homoean influenc* 
in the West. 


the province. Opposition to the bishops on the part of a man holding so low a station in 
the Church was a civil as well as an ecclesiastical offence, and Martin can have expected 
no other treatment than that which he received, of scourging and expulsion from the 
province. Hilary was by this time in exile, and Martin turned to Milan, where the 
heresy of the intruder Auxentius called forth his protests, which were silenced by another 
expulsion. He next retired to a small island off the Italian coast, where he lived in 
seclusion till he heard of Hilary's return. He hastened to Rome, so Fortunatus tells us, 
to meet his friend, but missed him on the way; and followed him at once to Poitiers. 
There Hilary gave him a site near the city, on which he founded the first monastery in 
that region, over which he presided for the rest of Hilary's life and for four years after 
his death. In the year 371 he was consecrated bishop of Tours, and so continued till 
his death twenty-five years later. It is clear that Martin was never able to exert any 
influence over the mind or action of Hilary, whose interests were in an intellectual sphere 
above his reach. But the courage and tenacity with which Martin held and preached 
the Faith was certainly inspired to some considerable extent by admiration of Hilary 
and confidence in his teaching. And the joy which Hilary expresses, as we have seen, 
in his later Homilies on the Psalms over the rapid spread of Christianity in Gaul, was 
no doubt occasioned by the earlier triumphs of Martin among the peasantry. The two 
men were formed each to be the complement of the other. It was the work of Hilary 
to prove with cogent clearness to educated Christians, that reason as well as piety dictated 
an acceptance of the Catholic Faith ; the mission of Martin was to those who were neither 
educated nor Christian, and his success in bringing the Faith home to the lives and 
consciences of the pagan masses marks him out as one of the greatest among the 
preachers of the Gospel. Both of them actively opposed Arianism, and both suffered 
in the conflict. But the confessorship of neither had any perceptible share in promoting 
the final victory of truth. Their true glory is that they were fellow-labourers equally 
successful in widely separate parts of the same field; and Hilary is entitled, beyond 
the honour due to his own achievements, to a share in that of St. Martin, whose merits 
he discovered and fostered. 

We have now reached the end of Hilary's life. Sulpicius Severus? tells us that he 
died in the sixth year from his return. He had probably reached Poitiers early in the 
year 361 ; we have seen that the latest event recorded in the fragments of his history 
must have come to his knowledge early in 367. There is no reason to doubt- that this 
was the conclusion of the history, and no consideration suggests that Sulpicius was wrong 
in his date. We may therefore assign the death of Hilary, with considerable confidence, 
to the year 367, and probably to its middle portion. Of the circumstances of his death 
nothing is recorded. This is one of the many signs that his contemporaries did not value 
him at his true worth. To them he must have been the busy and somewhat unsuccessful 
man of affairs ; their successors in the next generation turned away from him and his 
works to the more attractive writings and more commanding characters of Ambrose 
and Augustine. Yet certainly no firmer purpose or more convinced faith, perhaps no 
keener intellect has devoted itself to the defence and elucidation of truth than that of 
Hilary : and it may be that Christian thinkers in the future will find an inspiration of 
new and fruitful thoughts in his writings. 

9 Chron. U. 45. 


The Theology of St. Hilary of Poitiers. 

This Chapter offers no more than a tentative and imperfect outline of the theology 
of St. Hilary; it is an essay, not a monograph. Little attempt will be made to estimate 
the value of his opinions from the point of view of modern thought ; little will be said 
about his relation to earlier and contemporary thought, a subject on which he is habitually 
silent, and nothing about the after fate of his speculations. Yet the task, thus narrowed, 
is not without its difficulties. Much more attention, it is true, has been paid to Hilary's 
theology than to the history of his life, and the student cannot presume to dispense with 
the assistance of the books already written x . But they cannot release him from the necessity 
of collecting evidence for himself from the pages of Hilary, and of forming his own judgment 
upon it, for none of them can claim completeness and they differ widely as to the views 
which Hilary held. There is the further difficulty that a brief statement of a theologian's 
opinions must be systematic. But Hilary has abstained, perhaps deliberately, from con- 
structing a system ; the scattered points of his teaching must be gathered from writings 
composed at various times and with various purposes. The part of his work which was, 
no doubt, most useful in his own day, his summary in the De Tri?iitate of the defence 
against Arianism, is clear and well arranged, but it bears less of the stamp of Hilary's 
genius than any other of his writings. His characteristic thoughts are scattered over the 
pages of this great controversial treatise, where the exigencies of his immediate argument 
often deny him full scope for their development ; or else they must be sought in his 
Commentary on St. Matthew, where they find incidental expression in the midst of allegorical 
exegesis ; or again, amid the mysticism and exhortation of the Homilies on the Psalms. 
It is in some of these last that the Christology of Hilary is most completely stated ; but 
the Homilies were intended for a general audience, and are unsystematic in construction 
and almost conversational in tone. Hilary has never worked out his thoughts in consistent 
theological form, and many of the most original among them have failed to attract the 
attention which they would have received had they been presented in such a shape as 
that of the later books of the De Trinitaie. 

This desultory mode of composition had its advantages in life and warmth of present 
interest, and gives to Hilary's writings a value as historical documents which a formal 
and comprehensive treatise would have lacked. But it seriously increases the difficulty of 
the present undertaking. It was inevitable that Hilary's method, though he is a singularly 
consistent thinker, should sometimes lead him into self-contradiction and sometimes leave 
his meaning in obscurity. In such cases probabilities must be balanced, with due regard 
to the opinion of former theologians who have studied his writings, and a definite conclusion 
must be given, though space cannot be found for the considerations upon which it is based. 
But though the writer may be satisfied that he has, on the whole, fairly represented Hilary's 
belief, it is impossible that a summary of doctrine can be an adequate reflection of a great 
teacher's mind. Proportions are altogether changed ; a doctrine once stated and then dis- 
missed must be set down on the same scale as another to which the author recurs again 

1 Those which have been in constant use in the preparation the Benedictine edition is useful, though its value is lessened 

of this chapter have been an excellent article by Th. Forster by an evident desire to make Hilary conform to the accepted 

in the Theologische Studien und Kritiken for 1888, p. 645 ff., opinions of a later age. Dorner's great work on the Doctrine 

and two full and valuable papers by Dr. Baltzer on the Theologie 0/ the Person 0/ Christ, in the English translation, with the 

and Christologie of Hilary in the Programm of the Rottweil Gym- Doginengeschichte of Schwane (ed. 2, 1895) and that of Harnack 

nasium for 1879 and 1889 respectively. I have unfortunately not (ed. 3, 1894) have also been constantly and profitably consulted. 

had access to Wirthmuller's work, Die Lehre d. hi. Hit. iiber Indebtedness to other works is from time to time acknowledged 

die Selbstentausserung Christi, but the citations in Baltzer and in the notes. 
Schwane give some clue to its contents. The Introduction to 



and again with obvious interest. The inevitable result is an apparent coldness and stiffness 
and excess of method which does Hilary an injustice both as a thinker and as a writer. 
In the interests of orderly sequence not only must he be represented as sometimes more 
consistent than he really is, but the play of thought, the undeveloped suggestions, often 
brilliant in their originality, the striking expression given to familiar truths, must all be 
sacrificed, and with them great part of the pleasure and profit to be derived from his 
writings. For there are two conclusions which the careful student will certainly reach ; 
the one that every statement and argument will be in hearty and scrupulous consonance 
with the Creeds, the other that, within this limit, he must not be surprised at any ingenuity 
or audacity of logic or exegesis in explanation and illustration of recognised truths, and 
especially in the speculative connection of one truth with another. But the evidence that 
Hilary's heart, as well as his reason, was engaged in the search and defence of truth 
must be sought, where it will be abundantly found, in the translations given in this volume. 
The present chapter only purposes to set out, in a very prosaic manner, the conclusions 
at which his speculative genius arrived, working as it did by the methods of strict logic 
in the spirit of eager loyalty to the Faith. 

In his effort to render a reason for his belief Hilary's constant appeal is to Scripture ; 
and he avails himself freely of the thoughts of earlier theologians. But he never makes 
himself their slave; he is not the avowed adherent of any school, and never cites the 
names of those whose arguments he adopts. These he adjusts to his own system of thought, 
and presents for acceptance, not on authority, but on their own merits. For Scripture, 
however, he has an unbounded reverence. Everything that he believes, save the fundamental 
truth of Theism, of which man has an innate consciousness, being unable to gaze upon 
the heavens without the conviction that God exists and has His home there 2 , is directly 
derived from Holy Scripture. Scripture for Hilary means the Septuagint for the Old Testa- 
ment, the Latin for the New. He was, as we saw, no Hebrew Scholar, and had small 
respect either for the versions which competed with the Septuagint or for the Latin rendering 
of the Old Testament, but there is little evidence 3 that he was dissatisfied with the Latin 
of the New ; in fact, in one instance, whether through habitual contentment with his Latin or 
through momentary carelessness in verifying the sense, he bases an argument on a thoroughly 
false interpretation 4 . Of his relation to Origen and the literary aspects of his exegetical work, 
something has been said in the former chapter. Here we must speak of bis use of Scripture 
as the source of truth, and of the methods he employs to draw out its meaning. 

In Hilary's eyes the two Testaments form one homogeneous revelation, of equal 
value throughout s, and any part of the whole may be used in explanation of any other 
part The same title of beatissimus is given to Daniel and to St. Paul when both are 
cited in Comm. in Matt. xxv. 3 ; indeed, he and others of his day seem to have felt 
that the Saints of the Old Covenant were as near to themselves as those of the New. 
Not many years had passed since Christians were accustomed to encourage themselves 
to martyrdom, in default of well-known heroes of their own faith, by the example of Daniel 
and his companions, or of the Seven Maccabees and their Mother. But Scripture is not 
only harmonious throughout, as Origen had taught ; it is also never otiose. It never repeats 
itself, and a significance must be sought not only in the smallest differences of language, but 
also in the order in which apparent synonyms occur 6 ; in fact, every detail, and every sense 

 Tr. in Pt xxii. 2, 4. 

3 Ae fc.g. Tritt. vi. 45. 

4 St. John v. 44 in Trin. ix. as. 

5 Thin the Book of Banich, regarded as part of Jeremiah, 

is cited with the same confidence as Isaiah and the other pro- 
phets in Trin. v. 39. 

6 E.g. Tr. in Ps. cxviii. Aleph. 1, cxxviii. 12, cxxxi. 8. 
It must he confessed that Hilary's illustrations of the principle 
are not always fortunate. 



in which every detail may be interpreted, is a matter for profitable enquiry 7. Hence, the text 
of Scripture not only bears, but demands, the most strict and literal interpretation. Hilary's 
explanation of the words, ' My soul is sorrowful even unto death,' in Tract, in Ps. cxli. 8 
and Trin. x. 36, is a remarkable instance of his method 8 ; as is the argument from the words 
of Isaiah, 'We esteemed Him stricken,' that this, so far as it signifies an actual sense 
of pain in Christ, is only an opinion, and a false one'. Similarly the language of St. Paul 
about the treasures of knowledge hidden in Christ is made to prove His omniscience 
on earth. Whatever is hidden is present in its hiding-place ; therefore Christ could not 
be ignorant 1 . But this close adherence to the text of Scripture is combined with great 
boldness in its interpretation. Hilary does not venture, with Origen, to assert that some 
passages of Scripture have no literal sense, but he teaches that there are cases when its 
statements have no meaning in relation to the circumstances in which they were written a , 
and uses this to enforce the doctrine, which he holds as firmly as Origen, that the spiritual 
meaning is the only one of serious importance 3 . All religious truth is contained in Scripture, 
and it is our duty to be ignorant of what lies outside it 4 . But within the limits of Scripture 
the utmost liberty of inference is to be admitted concerning the purpose with which the 
words were written and the sense to be attached to them. Sometimes, and especially 
in his later writings, when Hilary was growing more cautious and weaning himself from 
the influence of Origen, we are warned to be careful^ not to read too much of definite 
dogmatic truth into every passage, to consider the context and occasion 5. Elsewhere, 
but this especially in that somewhat immature and unguarded production, the Commentary 
on St. , Matthew, we find a purpose and meaning, beyond the natural sense, educed by 
such considerations as that, while all the Gospel is true, its facts are often so stated as 
to be a prophecy as well as a history ; or that part of an event is sometimes suppressed 
in the narrative in order to make the whole more perfect as a prophecy 6 . But he can derive 
a lesson not merely from what Scripture says but also from the discrepancies between 
the different texts in which it is conveyed to us. Hilary had learnt from Origen to regard 
the Septuagint as an independent and inspired authority for the revelation of the Old 
Testament. Its translators are 'those seventy elders who had a knowledge of the Law 
and of the Prophets which transcends the limitations and doubtfulness of the letter ?. 
His confidence in their work, which is not exceeded by that of St. Augustine, encourages 
him to draw lessons from the differences between the Hebrew and the Septuagint titles 
of the Psalms. For instance, Psalm cxlii. has been furnished in the Septuagint with a title 
which attributes it to David when pursued by Absalom. The contents of the Psalm are 
appropriate neither to the circumstances nor to the date. But this does not justify us 
in ignoring the title. We must regard the fact that a wrong connection is given to the 
Psalm as a warning to ourselves not to attempt to discover its historical position, but confine 
ourselves to its spiritual sense. And this is not all. Another Psalm, the third, is assigned 
in the Hebrew to the same King in the same distress. But, though this attribution is 
certainly correct, here also we must follow the leading of the Septuagint, which was led 
to give a wrong title to one Psalm lest we should attach importance to the correct title 
of another. In both cases we must fix our attention not on the afflictions of David, but 
on the sorrows of Christ. Thus, negatively if not positively, the Septuagint must guide 
our judgment 8 . But Hilary often goes even further, and ventures upon a purely subjective 

7 Thus in Trin. xi. 15, in commenting on Ps. xxii. 6, he puts 
forward two alternative theories of the generation of worms, only 
one of which can be true, while both may be false. But he uses 
both, to illustrate two truths concerning our Lord. 

8 Cf. also Trin. x. 67. 9 Tr. in Ps. cxxxviii. q. 
1 Trin. ix. 62. There is a similar argument in § 63 

* E.g. Tr. in Ps. cxxv. x. 3 Cf. Tr. in Ps. cxlii. t. 

4 Tr. in Ps. cxxxii. 6. 

5 E.g. Tr. in Ps. lxiii. 2 ; Trin. iv. 14, Ix. 59. 

6 Comm. in Matt. xix. 4, xxi. 13. 

7 Tr. in Ps. cxlii. 1 ; cf. ib. cxxxi. 24, cxxxiii. 4, cL I. 

8 Similar arguments are often used ; cf. Tr. in Ps. cxlv. 1. 



interpretation, which sometimes gives useful insight into the modes of thought of Gaul in 
the fourth century. For instance, he is thoroughly classical in taking it for granted that 
the Psalmist's words, ' I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,' cannot refer to the natural 
feature ; that he can never mean the actual mountains bristling with woods, the naked rocks 
and pathless precipices and frozen snows 9. And even Gregory the Great could not surpass 
the prosaic grotesqueness with which Hilary declares it impious to suppose that God would 
feed the young ravens, foul carrion birds x ; and that the lilies of the Sermon on the Mount 
must be explained away, because they wear no clothing, and because, as a matter of fact, 
it is quite possible for men to be more brightly attired than they 2 . Examples of such 
reasoning, more or less extravagant, might be multiplied from Hilary's exegetical writings; 
passages in which no allowance is made for Oriental imagery, for poetry or for rhetoric 3. 

But though Hilary throughout his whole period of authorship uses the mystical method 
of interpretation, never doubting that everywhere in Scripture there is a spiritual meaning 
which can be elicited, and that whatever sense, consistent with truth otherwise ascertained, 
can be extracted from it, may be extracted, yet there is a manifest increase in sobriety in his 
later as compared with his earlier writings. From the riotous profusion of mysticisms in the 
Commentary on St. Matthew, where, for instance, ever)- character and detail in the incident 
of St. John Baptist's death becomes a symbol, it is a great advance to the almost Athanasian 
cautiousness in exegesis of the De Trinitate ; though even here, especially in the early books 
which deal with the Old Testament, there is some extravagance and a very liberal employ- 
ment of the method ♦. His reasons, when he gives them, are those adduced in his other 
■snitings ; the inappropriateness of the words to the time when they were written, or 
the plea that reverence or reason bids us penetrate behind the letter. His increasing 
caution is due to no distrust of the principle of mysticism. 

ThosgV. Hikry was not its inventor, and was forced by the large part played by 
Old Testament exegesis in the Arian controversy to employ it, whether he would or nots, 
yet it is certain that his hearty, though not indiscriminate 6 , acceptance of the method 
led to its general adoption in the West. Tertullian and Cyprian had made no great use 
of such speculations ; Irenseus probably had little influence. It was the introduction 
of Origen's thought to Latin Christendom by Hilary and his contemporaries which set 
the fashion, and none of them can have had such influence as Hilary himself. It is 
a strange irony of fate that so deep and original a thinker should have exerted his most 
permanent influence not through his own thoughts, but through this dubious legacy which 
he handed on from Alexandria to Europe. Yet, within certain limits, it was a sound 
and, for that age, even a scientific method; and Hilary might at least plead that he 
never allowed the system to be his master, and that it was a means which enabled him 
to derive from Scriptures which otherwise, to him, would be unprofitable, some measure 
of true and valuable instruction. It never moulds his thoughts ; at the most, he regards 
it as a useful auxiliary. No praise can be too high for his wise and sober marshalling 
not so much of texts as of the collective evidence of Scripture concerning the relation 
of the Father and the Son in the De Trinitate; and if his Christology be not equally 
convincing, it is not the fault of his method, but of its application 7. 

9 Tr. in Ps. cxx. 4. 
1 lb. cxlvi. n. 

• Contm. in Matt. v. u. 

3 E.g. Contm. in Matt, xviii. 3 ; Tr. imPs. cxix. 20, cxxxiv. 12, 
cxxxvi. 6, 7 ; Trin. iv. 38. 

* E.g. Trin. i. 6. 

5 The unhesitating use of the Theophaaies of the Old Tes- 
tament as direct evidence for the divinity of Christ is noteworthy. 

Similar to the usual proofs for the distinction of Persons within 
the Trinity, from the alternate use of plural and singular, are 
the arguments in Tr. in Ps. cxviii., Iod, 5, cxxvii. 4. 

6 It is worth notice that he makes no use of Origen's mystical 
interpretation of the Canticles. Silence in such a case is itself 
a criticism. 

7 Compare such a passage as Trin. x. 34 with his we of tk« 
proof-texts against Arianism. 



We cannot wonder that Hilary, who owed his clear dogmatic convictions to a careful 
and independent study of Scripture, should have wished to lead others to the same 
source of knowledge. He couples it with the Eucharist as a second Table of the Lord, 
a public means of grace, which needs, if it is to profit the hearer, the same preparation 
of a pure heart and life 8 . Attention to the lessons read in church is a primary duty, 
but private study of Scripture is enforced with equal earnestness'. It must be for all, 
as Hilary had found it for himself, a privilege as well as a duty. 

His sense of the value of Scripture is heightened by his belief in the sacredness 
of language. Names belong inseparably to the things which they signify ; words are 
themselves a revelation. This is a lesson learnt from Origen ; and the false antithesis 
between the nature and the name of God, of which, according to the Arians, Christ 
had the latter only, made it of special use to Hilary 1 . But if this high dignity belongs 
to every statement of truth, there is the less need for technical terms of theology. The 
rarity of their occurrence in the pages of Hilary has already been mentioned. ' Trinity ' 2 
is almost absent, and ' Person ' 3 hardly more common ; he prefers, by a turn of language 
which would scarcely be seemly in English, to speak of the ' embodied ' Christ and 
of His 'Embodiment,' though Latin theology was already familiar with the ' Incarnation ♦.' 
In fact, it would seem that he had resolved to make himself independent of technical 
terms and of such lines of thought as would require them. But he is never guilty of 
confusion caused by an inadequate vocabulary. He has the literary skill to express 
in ordinary words ideas which are very remote from ordinary thought, and this at no 
inordinate length. No one, for instance, has developed the idea of the mutual indwelling 
of Father and Son more fully and clearly than he ; yet he has not found it necessary 
to employ or devise the monstrous ' circuminsession ' or ' perichoresis ' of later theology. 
And where he does use terms of current theology, or rather metaphysic, he shews that 
he is their master, not their slave. The most important idea of this kind which he 
had to express was that of the Divine substance. The word ' essence ' is entirely rejected s •• 
'substance' and 'nature' are freely used as synonyms, but in such alternation that both 
of them still obviously belong to the sphere of literature, and not of science. They are 
twice used as exact alternatives, for the avoidance of monotony, in parallel clauses of 
Trin. vi. 18, 19. So also the nature of fire in vii. 29 is not an abstraction; and in ix. 36 
fin. the Divine substance and nature are equivalents. These are only a few of many 
instances 6 . Here, as always, there is an abstention from abstract thoughts and terms, 
which indicates, on the part of a student of philosophy and of philosophical theology, 
a deliberate narrowing of his range of speculation. We may illustrate the purpose of 
Hilary by comparing his method with that of the author of a treatise on Astronomy 
without Mathematics. But some part of his caution is probably due to his sense of 

8 Tr. in Ps. cxxvii. 10. 

9 E.g. Tr. in Ps. xci. 10, cxviii. Tod, 15, cxxxiv. 1, cxxxv. 1. 

* E.g. Trin. vii. 13 ; and cf. the argument, which is also 
Athanasian, of vii. 31. 

2 Beside the passages mentioned on p. xxx., it only occurs in 
the Instructio Psalmorum, § 13. 

3 The translation of the De Trinitate in this volume may give 
a somewhat false impression in this respect. For the sake of 
conciseness the word Person has been often used in the English 
where it is absent, and absent designedly in the Latin. The 
word occurs Trin. iii. 23 in., iv. 42, v. 10, 26, vii. 39, 40, and 
in a few other places. 

4 Concorporatio, Comnt. in Matt. vi. 1 ; corporatio, Tr. in 
Ps. \. 14, ii. 3, and often ; corporaius Dens, Comm. in Matt. iv. 
14, Tr. in Pi. Ii. 16 ; corporaiitas, Comm. in Matt. iv. 14 
(twice), Tnstr. Ps. vi. In the De Trinitate he usually prefers 

a periphrasis ; — assumpta caro, assumpsit carnem. Corporatio 
is used of man's dwelling in a body in Trin. zi. 15, and De 
Mysteriis, ed. Gamurrini, p. 5. 

5 It occurs in the De Synodis 69, but in that work Hilary 
is writing as an advocate in defence of language used by others, 
not as the exponent of his own thoughts. It also occurs once 
or twice in translations from the Greek, probably by another 
hand than Hilary's ; but from his own authorship it is completely 

6 Trin. v. 10, Syn. 69, ' God is One not in Person, but in 
nature ; ' Trin. iv. 42, ' Not by oneness of Person but by unity 
of substance ;' vi. 35, ' the birth of a living Nature from a living 
Nature.' Often enough the substance or nature of God or Christ 
is simply a periphrasis. The two natures in the Incarnate Christ 
are also mentioned, though, as we shall see, Hilary here aba 
avoids a precise nomenclature. 



the inadequacy of the terms with which Latin theology was as yet equipped, and of 
the danger, not only to his readers' faith, but to his own reputation for orthodoxy, which 
might result from ingenuity in the employment or invention of technical language. 

Though, as we have seen, the contemplative state is not the ultimate happiness of man, 
yet the knowledge of God is essential to salvation 7 ; man, created in God's image, is by 
nature capable of, and intended for, such knowledge, and Christ came to impart it, the 
necessary condition on the side of humanity being purity of mind 8 , and the result the elevation 
of man to the life of God. Hilary does not shrink from the emphatic language of the 
Alexandrian school, which spoke of the 'deification' of man; God, he says, was born to be 
man, in order that man might be born to be God 9. If this end is to be attained, obviously 
what is accepted as knowledge must be true ; hence the supreme wickedness of heresy, which 
destroys the future of mankind by palming upon them error for truth ; the greater their 
dexterity the greater, because the more deliberate, their crime. And Hilary was obviously 
convinced that his opponents had conceived this nefarious purpose. It is not in the language 
of mere conventional polemics, but in all sincerity, that he repeatedly describes them as liars 
who cannot possibly be ignorant of the facts which they misrepresent, inventors of sophistical 
arguments and falsifiers of the text of Scripture, conscious that their doom is sealed, and 
endeavouring to divert their minds from the thought of future misery by involving others in 
their own destruction ". He fully recognises the ability and philosophical learning displayed 
by them ; it only makes their case the worse, and, after all, is merely folly. But it increases 
the difficulties of the defenders of the Faith. For though man can and must know God, Who, 
for His part, has revealed Himself, our knowledge ought to consist in a simple acceptance of 
the precise terms of Scripture. The utmost humility is necessary; error begins when men 
grow inquisitive. Our capacity for knowledge, as Hilary is never tired of insisting, is so 
limited that we ought to be content to believe without defining the terms of our belief. For 
weak as intellect is, language, the instrument which it must employ, is still less adequate to so 
great a task 3 . Heresy has insisted upon definition, and the true belief is compelled to follow 
suit 3 . Here again, in the heretical abuse of technical terms and of logical processes, we find 
a reason for the almost ostentatious simplicity of diction which we often find in Hilary's pages. 
He evidently believed that it was possible for us to apprehend revealed truth and to profit 
fully by it, without paraphrase or other explanation. In the case of one great doctrine, as we 
shall see, no necessities of controversy compelled him to develope his belief; if he had had 
his way, the Faith should never have been stated in ampler terms than ' I believe in the Holy 

In a great measure he has succeeded in retaining this simplicity in regard to the doctrine 
of God. He had the full Greek sense of the divine unity ; there is no suggestion of the 
possession by the Persons of the Trinity of contrasted or complementary qualities. The 
revelation he would defend is that of God, One, perfect, infinite, immutable. This absolute 
God has manifested Himself under the name ' He that is,' to which Hilary constantly recurs. 
It is only through His own revelation of Himself that God can be known. But here we are 
faced by a difficulty; our reason is inadequate and tends to be fallacious. The argument from 
analogy, which we should naturally use, cannot be a sufficient guide, since it must proceed 
from the finite to the infinite. Hilary has set this forth with great force and frequency, and 
with a picturesque variety of illustration. Again, our partial glimpses of the truth are often 
in apparent contradiction ; when this is the case, we need to be on our guard against the 

7 Tr. in Ps. cxxxi. 6, ' The supreme achievement of Christ 
was to render man, instructed in the knowledge of God, worthy 
to be God's dwelling-place ;' cf. ib. § 23. 

8 Tr. in Ps. cxviii., Aleph., Si. 9 Trin. x 7. 

1 Cf. Tr. in Ps. cxix. xo ; Trin. v. 1, 26, vu 46 ff., viii. 37, 
&c, &c. 

2 Trin. iv. a, xi. 44. 

3 Trin. ii. 2, in vitium vitio coarctamur alieno. 



temptation to reject one as incompatible with the other. We must devote an equal attention 
to each, and believe without hesitation that both are true. The interest of the De Trinitate is 
greatly heightened by the skill and courage with which Hilary will handle some seeming 
paradox, and make the antithesis of opposed infinities conduce to reverence for Him of Whom 
they are aspects. And he never allows his reader to forget the immensity of his theme ; and 
here again the skill is manifest with which he casts upon the reader the same awe with which 
he is himself impressed. 

Of God as Father Hilary has little that is new to say. He is called Father in Scripture ; 
therefore He is Father and necessarily has a Son. And conversely the fact that Scripture 
speaks of God the Son is proof of the fatherhood. In fact, the name ' Son ' contains 
a revelation so necessary for the times that it has practically banished that of 'the Word,' 
which we should have expected Hilary, as a disciple of Origen, to employ by preference*. But 
since faith in the Father alone is insufficient for salvation s, and is, indeed, not only insufficient 
but actually false, because it denies His fatherhood in ignoring the consubstantial Son, Hilary's 
attention is concentrated upon the relation between these two Persons. This relation is one 
of eternal mutual indwelling, or ' perichoresis,' as it has been called, rendered possible by Their 
oneness of nature and by the infinity of Both. The thought is worked out from such passages 
as Isaiah xlv. 14, St. John xiv. n, with great cogency and completeness, yet always with due 
stress laid on the incapacity of man to comprehend its immensity. Hilary advances from this 
scriptural position to the profound conception of the divine self-consciousness as consisting 
in Their mutual recognition. Each sees Himself in His perfect image, which must be coeternal 
with Himself. In Hilary this is only a hint, one of the many thoughts which the urgency of 
the conflict with Arianism forbade him to expand. But Dorner justly sees in it ' a kind of 
speculative construction of the doctrine of the Trinity, out of the idea of the divine self- 
consciousness 6 .' 

The Arian controversy was chiefly waged over the question of the eternal generation 
of the Son. By the time that Hilary began to write, every text of Scripture which could 
be made applicable to the point in dispute had been used to the utmost. There was 
little or nothing that remained to be done in the discovery or combination of passages. 
Of that controversy Athanasius was the hero ; the arguments which he used and those 
which he refuted are admirably set forth in the introduction to the translation of his writings 
in this series. In writing the De Trinitate, so far as it dealt directly with the original 
controversy, it was neither possible nor desirable that Hilary should leave the beaten path. 
His object was to provide his readers with a compendious statement of ascertained truth 
for their own guidance, and with an armoury of weapons which had been tried and found 
effective in the conflicts of the day. It would, therefore, be superfluous to give in this 
place a detailed account of his reasonings concerning the generation of the Son, nor would 
such an account be of any assistance to those who have his writings in their hands. Hilary's 
treatment of the Scriptural evidence is very complete, as was, indeed, necessary in a work 
which was intended as a handbook for practical use. The Father alone is unbegotten ; 
the Son is truly the Son, neither created nor adopted. The Son is the Creator of the worlds, 
the Wisdom of God, Who alone knows the Father, Who manifested God to man in the 
various Theophanies of the Old Testament. His birth is without parallel, inasmuch as 
other births imply a previous non-existence, while that of the Son is from eternity. For the 
generation on the part of the Father and the birth on the part of the Son are not connected as by 

4 Dcui Verbum often ; Vtrbum alone rarely, if ever. Dorner, 
witk his iteration of ' Logos,' gives an altogether false impression 
of Hilary's vocabulary. 

5 Trin. i. 17 and often 

* Doctrine of the Person of Christ, I. ii. p. 302, English 
translation. The passages to which he refers are Comm. in Matt, 
xi. ia ; Tr. in Ps. xci. 6 ; Trin. ii. 3, ix. 69. There is a good, 
though brief, statement of this vi«w in Mason's Faith of the 

Gospel, p. <;6. 


a temporal sequence of cause and effect, but exactly coincide in a timeless eternity 7. 
Hilary repudiates the possibility of illustrating this divine birth by sensible analogies ; 
it is beyond our understanding as it is beyond time. Nor can we wonder at this, seeing 
that our own birth is to us an insoluble mystery. The eternal birth of the Son is the ex- 
pression of the eternal nature of God. It is the nature of the One that He should be 
Father, of the Other that He should be Son ; this nature is co-eternal with Themselves, and 
therefore the One is co-eternal with the Other. Hence Athanasius had drawn the conclusion 
that the Son is ' by nature and not by will 8 ; not that the will of God is contrary to His 
nature, but that (if the words may be used) there was no scope for its exercise in the 
generation of the Son, which came to pass as a direct consequence of the Divine nature. 
Such language was a natural protest against an Arian abuse ; but it was a departure from 
earlier precedent and was not accepted by that Cappadocian school, more true to Alex- 
andrian tradition than Athanasius himself, with which Hilary was in closest sympathy. In 
their eyes the generation of the Son must be an act of God's will, if the freedom of Om- 
nipotence, for which they were jealous, was to be respected; and Hilary shared their 
scruples. Not only in the De Synodis but in the De Trinitatev he assigns the birth of 
the Son to the omnipotence, the counsel and will of God acting in co-operation with His 
nature. This two-fold cause of birth is peculiar to the Son ; all other beings owe their 
existence simply to the power and will, not to the nature of God x . Such being the relation 
between Father and Son, it is obvious that They cannot differ in nature. The word ' birth,' 
by which the relation is described, indicates the transmission of nature from parent to 
offspring; and this word is, like 'Father' and 'Son,' an essential part of the revelation. 
The same divine nature or substance exists eternally and in equal perfection in Both, un- 
begotten in the Father, begotten in the Son. In fact, the expression, • Only-begotten God,' 
may be called Hilary's watchword, with such 'peculiar abundance 2 ' does it occur in his 
writings, as in those of his Cappadocian friends. But, though the Son is the Image of 
the Father, Hilary in his maturer thought, when free from the influence of his Asiatic 
allies, is careful to avoid using the inadequate and perilous term 'likeness' to describe 
the relation 3. Such being the birth, and such the unity of nature, the Son must be very 
God. This is proved by all the usual passages of the Old Testament, from the Creation 
onwards. These are used, as by the other Fathers, to prove that the Son has not the 
name only, but the reality, of Godhead ; the reality corresponding to the nature. All things 
were made through Him out of nothing ; therefore He is Almighty as the Father is Almighty. 
If man is made in the image of Both, if one Spirit belongs to Both, there can be no 
difference of nature between the Two. But They are not Two as possessing one nature, 
like human father and son, while living separate lives. God is One, with a Divinity 
undivided and indivisible*; and Hilary is never weary of denying the Arian charge that 
his creed involved the worship of two Gods. No analogies from created things can explain 
this unity. Tree and branch, fire and heat, source and stream can only illustrate Their 
inseparable co-existence ; such comparisons, if pressed, lead inevitably to error. The 
true unity of Father and Son is deeper than this ; deeper also than any unity, however 
perfect, of will with will. For it is an eternal mutual indwelling, Each perfectly corre- 
sponding with and comprehending and containing the Other, and Himself in the Other ; 

7 Trin. xii. 21, ' the birth is in the generation and the genera- 
tion in the birth.' 

8 Discourses against the Arians, iii. 58 ff. ; see Robertson's 
notes in the Athanasius volume of this series, p. 426. 

9 E.g. Syn. 35, 37, 59, Trin. iii. 4, vi. 21, viii. 54. 
* Cf. Baltzer, Theologie d, hi. Hit. p. 19 f. 

3 It constantly appears, though with all due safeguards, in the 
De Synodis, where sympathy as well as policy impelled him to 
approximate to the language used by his friends. Similarly in 
Trin. iii. 23, he argues, from the admitted likeness, that there 
can be no difference. But, as we saw, this part of the De Trini- 
tate is probably an early work, and does not represent Hilary'* 

« Hort, Two Dissertations , p. ax, and cf. p. xvi., afore. I later thought. * Trin. v. 38. 

vol.. IX. f 




and this not after the manner of earthly commingling of substances or exchange of .pro- 
perties. The only true comparison that can be made is with the union between Christ, 
in virtue of His humanity, and the believer s ; such is the union, in virtue of the Godhead, 
between Father and Son. And this unity extends inevitably to will and action. Since 
the Father is acting in all that the Son does, the Son is acting in all that the Father does ; 
'he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.' This doctrine reconciles all our Lord's 
statements in the Gospel of St. John concerning His own and His Father's work. 

But, notwithstanding this unity, there is a true numerical duality of Person. Sabellius, 
we must remember, had held for two generations the pre-eminence among heretics. To 
the Greek-speaking world outside Egypt the error which he and Paul of Samosata had 
taught, that God is one Person, was still the most dangerous of falsehoods ; the supreme 
victory of truth had not been won in their eyes when Arius was condemned at Nicaea, 
but when Paul was deposed at Antioch. The Nicene leaders had certainly counted the 
cost when they adopted as the test of orthodoxy the same word which Paul had used 
for the inculcation of error. But the homoousion, however great its value as a permanent 
safeguard of truth, was the immediate cause of alienation and suspicion. And not only did 
it make the East misunderstand the West, but it furnished the Arians with the most effective 
of instruments for widening the breach between the two forces opposed to them. They had an 
excuse for calling their opponents in Egypt and the West by the name of Sabellians, the very 
name most likely to engender distrust in Asia 6 . Hilary, who could enter with sympathy 
into the Eastern mind and had learnt from his own treatment at Seleucia how strong the 
feeling was, labours with untiring patience to dissipate the prejudice. There is no Arian plea 
against which he argues at greater length. The names 'Father' and 'Son,' being parts of the 
revelation, are convincing proofs of distinction of Person as well as of unity of nature. They 
prove that the nature is the same, but possessed after a different manner by Each of the Two ; 
by the One as ingenerate, by the Other as begotten. The word ' Image,' also a part of the 
revelation, is another proof of the distinction ; an object and its reflection in a mirror are ob- 
viously not one thing. Again, the distinct existence of the Son is proved by the fact that He 
has free volition of His own ; and by a multitude of passages of Scripture, many of them 
absolutely convincing, as for instance, those from the Gospel of St. John. But these two 
Persons, though one in nature, are not equal in dignity. The Father is greater than the 
Son ; greater not merely as compared to the incarnate Christ, but as compared to the Son, be- 
gotten from eternity. This is not simply by the prerogative inherent in all paternity ; it is be- 
cause the Father is self-existent, Himself the Source of all being7. With one of his happy phrases 
Hilary describes it as an inferiority generatio?ie, non genere* ; the Son is one in kind or nature 
with the Father, though inferior, as the Begotten, to the Unbegotten. But this inferiority is 
not to be so construed as to lessen our belief in His divine attributes. For instance, when 
He addresses the Father in prayer, this is not because He is subordinate, but because He wishes 
to honour the Fatherhood?; and, as Hilary argues at great length *, the end, when God shall be 
all in all, is not to be regarded as a surrender of the Son's power, in the sense of loss. It is 
a mysterious final state of permanent, willing submission to the Father's will, into which He 
enters by the supreme expression of an obedience which has never failed. Again, our Lord's 
language in St. Mark xiii. 32, must not be taken as signifying ignorance on the part of the 
Son of His Father's purpose. For, according to St. Paul (Col. ii. 3), in Him are hid all the 

5 Trin. viii. 13 ff. 

' Cf. Sulp Sev., Chron. ii. 4a for the Eastern suspicion that 
the West held a trionynta unto; — one Person under three names. 
Sulpicius ascribes it to Arian slander, but its causes lay deeper 
than this. 

7 This was the doctrine of all the earlier theologians, soon 

to be displaced in the stress of controversy by the opinion that 
the inferiority concerns the Son only as united with man. See 
the citations in Westcott's Gospel of St. John, additional nolj 
to xiv. 28. 

8 TV. in Ps. cxxxviii. 17. 9 lb. cxli. 6. 

1 Trin. xi. ai ff., on 1 Cor. *▼. ai ff. 


treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and therefore He must know the day and hour of judg- 
ment. He is ignorant relatively to us, in the sense that He will not betray His Father's 
secret 2 . Whether or no it be possible in calmer times to maintain that the knowledge and 
the ignorance are complementary truths which finite minds cannot reconcile, we cannot 
wonder that Hilary, ever on the watch against apparent concessions to Arianism, should in this 
instance have abandoned his usual method of balancing against each other the apparent 
contraries. His reasoning is, in any case, a striking proof of his intense conviction of the 
co-equal Godhead of the Son. 

Such is Hilary's argument, very briefly stated. We may read almost all of it, where 
Hilary himself had certainly read it, in the Discourses against the Arians and elsewhere 
in the writings of Athanasius. How far, however, he was borrowing from the latter must 
remain doubtful, as must the question as to the originality of Athanasius. For the con- 
troversy was universal, and both of these great writers had the practical purpose of col- 
lecting the best arguments out of the multitude which were suggested in ephemeral 
literature or verbal debate. Their victory, intellectual as well as moral, over their ad- 
versaries was decisive, and the more striking because it was the Arians who had made 
the attack on ground chosen by themselves. The authority of Scripture as the final court 
of appeal was their premiss as well as that of their opponents ; and they had selected the 
texts on which the verdict of Scripture was to be based. Out of their own mouth they 
were condemned, and the work done in the fourth century can never need to be re- 
peated. It was, of course, an unfinished work. As we have seen, Hilary concerns him- 
self with two Persons, not with three ; and since he states the contrasted truths of plurality 
and unity without such explanation of the mystery as the speculative genius of Augustine 
was to supply, he leaves, in spite of all his efforts, a certain impression of excessive dualism. 
But these defects do not lessen the permanent value of his work. Indeed, we may even 
assert that they, together with some strange speculations and many instances of wild inter- 
pretation, which are, however, no part of the structure of his argument and do not affect 
its solidity, actually enhance its human and historical interest. The De Trinitate remains 
'the most perfect literary achievement called forth by the Arian controversy 3.' 

Hitherto we have been considering the relations within the Godhead of Father and 
Son, together with certain characters which belong to the Son in virtue of His eternal 
birth. We now come to the more original part of Hilary's teaching, which must be treated 
in greater detail. Till now he has spoken only of the Son ; he now comes to speak of 
Christ, the name which the Son bears in relation to the world. We have seen that Hilary 
regards the Son as the Creator*. This was proved for him, as for Athanasius, by the 
passage, Proverbs viii. 22, which they read according to the Septuagint, 'The Lord hath 
created Me for the beginning of His ways for His Works 5.' These words, round which 
the controversy raged, were interpreted by the orthodox as implying that at the time, 
and for the purpose, of creation the Father assigned new functions to the Son as His 
representative. The gift of these functions, the exercise of which called into existence 
orders of being inferior to God, marked in Hilary's eyes a change so definite and important 
in the activity of the Son that it deserved to be called a second birth, not ineffable like 
the eternal birth, but strictly analogous to the Incarnation. This last was a creation, which 
brought Him within the sphere of created humanity; the creation of Wisdom for the 
beginning of God's ways had brought Him, though less closely, into the same relation 6 , and 

• Trin. ix. 58 ff. 3 Bardenhewer, Patrologie, p. 377. 

4 This is one of Hilary's many reminiscences of Origen. 
Athanasius brought the Father into direct connection with the 
world ; cf. Harnack, Dogmengesch. ii. 206 (ed. 3). 

5 Trin. xii. 35 ff. The passage is treated at much greater I of the ways of God 

f 2 

length in Athanasius' Discourses against the Arians, ii. 18 if., 
where see Robertson's notes. 

6 Trin. xii. 45 ; at the Incarnation Christ is ' created in the 
body,' and this is connected with His creation for the beginning 



the Incarnation is the completion of what was begun in preparation for the creation of 
the world. Creation is the mode by which finite being begins, and the beginning of each 
stage in the connection between the infinite Son and His creatures is called, from the 
one point of view, a creation, from the other, a birth. We cannot fail to see here an 
anticipation of the opinion that ' the true Protevangelium is the revelation of Creation, 
or in other words that the Incarnation was independent of the Fall 7 ,' for the Incarnation 
is a step in the one continuous divine progress from the Creation to the final consummation 
of all things, and has not sin for its cause, but is part of the original counsel of God 8 . 
Together with this new office the Son receives a new name. Henceforth Hilary calls Him 
Christ ; He is Christ in relation to the world, as He is Son in relation to the Father. 
From the beginning of time, then, the Son becomes Christ and stands in immediate relation 
to the world ; it is in and through Christ that God is the Author of all things °, and the 
title of Creator strictly belongs to the Son. This beginning of time, we must remember, 
is hidden in no remote antiquity. The world had no mysterious past; it came into exist- 
ence suddenly at a date which could be fixed with much precision, some 5,600 years before 
Hilary's day r , and had undergone no change since then. Before that date there had been 
nothing outside the Godhead ; from that time forth the Son has stood in constant relation 
to the created world. 

Christ, for so we must henceforth call Him, has not only sustained in being the 
universe which He created, but has also imparted to men a steadily increasing knowledge 
of God. For such knowledge, we remember, man was made, and his salvation depends 
upon its possession. All the Theophanies of the Old Testament are such revelations by Him 
of Himself; and it was He that spoke by the mo"th of Moses and the Prophets. But how- 
ever significant and valuable this Divine teaching and manifestation might be, it was not 
complete in itself, but was designed to prepare men's minds to expect its fulfilment in 
the Incarnation. Just as the Law was preliminary to the Gospel, so the appearances of 
Christ in human form to Abraham and to others were a foreshadowing of the true humanity 
which He was to assume. They were true revelations, as far as they went; but their 
purpose was not simply to impart so much knowledge as they explicitly conveyed, but 
also to lead men on to expect more, and to expect it in the very form in which it ulti- 
mately came 2 . For His self-revelation in the Incarnation was but the treading again of 
a familiar path. He had often appeared, and had often spoken, by His own mouth or 
by that of men whom He had inspired ; and in all this contact with the world His one 
object had been to bestow upon mankind the knowledge of God. With the same object 
He became incarnate ; the full revelation was to impart the perfect knowledge. He became 
man, Hilary says, in order that we might believe Him j — ' to be a Witness from among 
us to the things of God, and by means of weak flesh to proclaim God the Father to our 
weak and carnal selves 3.' Here again we see the continuity of the Divine purpose, the 
fulfilment of the counsel which dates back to the beginning of time. If man had not 
sinned, he would still have needed the progressive revelation; sin has certainly modified 
Christ's course upon earth, but was not the determining cause of the Incarnation. 

The doctrine of the Incarnation, or Embodiment as Hilary prefers to call it, is presented 
very fully in the De Trinitate, and with much originality. The Godhead of Christ is secured 
by His identity with the eternal Son and by the fact that at the very time of His humilia- 

7 Westcott, essay on 'The Gospel of Creation,' in his edition 
of St. John's Epistles, where, however, Hilary is not mentioned. 

8 Cf. Trin. xi. 49. 

9 Trin. ii. 6, xii. 4, &c. He is also often named Jesus Christ 
in this connection, e.g. Trin. ir. 6. 

1 According to Eusebius' computation, which Hilary would 

probably accept without dispute, there were 5,228 years from 
the Creation to our Lord's commencement of His mission in th« 
15th year of Tiberius, a.d. 29. 

 E.g. Trin. iv. ay ; Tr. in Ps. lxviii. 1%, 

3 Trin. iii. 9 ; cf. St. John xvii. 3. 


tion upon earth He was continuing without interruption His divine work of maintaining 
the existence of the worlds 4. Indeed, by a natural protest against the degradation which 
the Arians would put upon Him, it is the glory of Christ upon which Hilary (ays chief 
stress. And this is not the moral glory of submission and self-sacrifice, but the visible glory 
of miracles attesting the Divine presence. In the third book of the De Trinitate the miracles 
of Cana and of the feeding of the five thousand, the entrance into the closed room where 
the disciples were assembled, the darkness and the earthquake at the Crucifixion, are 
the proofs urged for His Godhead ; and the wonderful circumstances surrounding the birth 
at Bethlehem are similarly employed in book ii. s Sound as the reasoning is, it is typical 
of a certain unwillingness on Hilary's part to dwell upon the self-surrender of Christ ; he 
prefers to think of Him rather as the Revealer of God than as the Redeemer of men. 
But, apart from this preference, he constantly insists that the Incarnation has caused neither 
loss nor change of the Divine nature in Christ 6 , and proves the point by the same words 
of our Lord which had been used to demonstrate the eternal Sonship. And the assump- 
tion of flesh lessens His power as little as it degrades His nature. For though it is, in 
one aspect, an act of submission to the will of the Father, it is, in another, an exertion of 
His own omnipotence. No inferior power could appropriate to itself an alien nature ; only 
God could strip Himself of the attributes of Godhead ?. 

But the incarnate Christ is as truly man as He is truly God. We have seen that 
He is ' created in the body ' ; and Hilary constantly insists that His humanity is neither 
fictitious nor different in kind from ours 8 . We must therefore consider what is the con- 
stitution of man. He is, so Hilary teaches, a physically composite being ; the elements 
of which his body is composed are themselves lifeless, and man himself is never fully 
alive 9. According to this physiology, the father is the author of the child's body, the 
maternal function being altogether subsidiary. It would seem that the mother does nothing 
more than protect the embryo, so giving it the opportunity of growth, and finally bring the 
child to birth \ And each human soul is separately created, like the universe, out of nothing. 
Only the body is engendered ; the soul, wherein the likeness of man to God consists, 
has a nobler origin, being the immediate creation of God 2 . Hilary does not hold, or 
at least does not attach importance to, the tripartite division of man; for the purposes 
of his philosophy we consist of soul and body. We may now proceed to consider his 
theory of the Incarnation. This is based upon the Pauline conception of the first and 
second Adam. Each of these was created, and the two acts of creation exactly correspond. 
Christ, the Creator, made clay into the first Adam, who therefore had an earthly body. 
He made Himself into the second Adam, and therefore has a heavenly Body. To 
this end He descended from heaven and entered into the Virgin's womb. For, in accord- 
ance with Hilary's principle of interpretation 3, the word ' Spirit ' must not be regarded as 
necessarily signifying the Holy Ghost, but one or other of the Persons of the Trinity as 
the context may require; and in this case it means the Son, since the question is of an 
act of creation, and He, and none other, is the Creator. Moreover, the correspondence 
between the two Adams would be as effectually broken were the Holy Ghost the Agent in 
the conception, as it would be were Christ's body engendered and not created. Thus 

4 Trin. ii. 25 and often. 1 the nurse of the germ. This is contrary to Aristotle's teaching; 

5 Trin. ii. 27. The same conclusion is constantly drawn in ' ^Eschylus and Hilary evidently represent a rival current of 

the Comnt. in Matt. 

6 E.g. Trin. ix. 4, 14, 51 ; Tr. in Ps. ii. n, 25. 

7 Trin. ii. 26, xii. 6, &c. 8 E.g. Tr. in Ps. cxxxviii. 3. 

9 This, in contrast with God, Who is Life, is proved by the 
fact that certain bodily growths can be removed without our 
being conscious of the operation ; Trin, vii. 28. 

* Cf. Trin. vii. 28, x. 15, 16. Similarly in the Eumenides 
637, ^E-;chylus make? Apollo excuse Orestes' murder of Clytaem- 

ancient opinion. 

2 Trin. x. 20. In Tr. in Ps. cxviii., lod, 6, 7, this thought is 
developed. Man has a double origin. First, he is made after 
the likeness of God. This is the soul, which is immaterial and 
has no resemblance and owes no debt, as of effect to cause, to 
any other nature (i.e. substance) than God. It is not His like- 
ness, but is after His likeness. Secondly, there is the body, 
composed of earthly matter. 

ne^ra on the ground that the mother is not the parent, but only 3 Trin. ii. 3of. , viii. 23 f 



He is Himself not only the Author but (if the word may be used) the material of His own 
body 4 ; the language of St. John, that the Word became flesh, must be taken literally. It 
would be insufficient to say that the Word took, or united Himself to, the flesh s. But this 
creation of the Second Adam to be true man is not our only evidence of His humanity. 
We have seen that in Hilary's judgment the mother has but a secondary share in her 
offspring. That share, whatever it be, belongs to the Virgin ; she contributed to His growth 
and to His coming to birth 'everything which it is the nature of her sex to impart 6 .' But 
though Christ is constantly said to have been born of the Virgin, He is habitually called 
the ' Son of Man,' not the Son of the Virgin, nor she the Mother of God. Such language 
would attribute to her an activity and an importance inconsistent with Hilary's theory 
For no portion of her substance, he distinctly says, was taken into the substance of her 
Son's human body 7; and elsewhere he argues that St. Paul's words 'made of a woman' are 
deliberately chosen to describe Christ's birth as a creation free from any commingling 
with existing humanity 8 . But the Virgin has an essential share in the fulfilment 
of prophecy. For though Christ without her co-operation could have created Himself 
as Man, yet He would not have been, as He was fore-ordained to be, the Son of 
Man 9. And since He holds that the Virgin performs every function of a mother, Hilary 
avoids that Valentinian heresy according to which Christ passed through the Virgin ' like 
water through a pipe 1 ,' for He was Himself the Author of a true act of creation within 
her, and, when she had fulfilled her office, was born as true flesh. Again, Hilary's clear 
sense of the eternal personal pre-existence of the Word saves him from any contact with 
the Monarchianism combated by Hippolytus and Tertullian, which held that the Son was 
the Father under another aspect. Indeed, so secure does he feel himself that he can 
venture to employ Monarchian theories, now rendered harmless, in explanation of the 
mysteries of the Incarnation, for we cannot fail to see a connection between his opinions 
and theirs ; and it might seem that, confident in his wider knowledge, he has borrowed 
not only from the arguments used by Tertullian against the Monarchian Praxeas, but 
also from those which Tertullian assigns to the latter. Such reasonings, we know, had 
been very prevalent in the West ; and Hilary's use of certain of them, in order to turn their 
edge by showing that they were not inconsistent with the fundamental doctrines of the 
Faith 2 , may indicate that Monarchianism was still a real danger. 

Thus the Son becomes flesh, and that by true maternity on the Virgin's part. But man 
is more than flesh ; he is soul as well, and it is the soul which makes him man instead 
of matter. The soul, as we saw, is created by a special act of God at the beginning of the 
separate existence of each human being ; and Christ, to be true man and not merely true 
flesh, created for Himself the human soul which was necessary for true humanity. He 
had borrowed from the Apollinarians, consciously no doubt, their interpretation of one 
of their favourite passages, 'The Word became flesh'; here again we find an argument 
of heretics rendered harmless and adopted by orthodoxy. For the strange Apollinarian 

4 Trin. x. 16, caro non aliunde originent sumpserat quant 
ex Verbo, and ib. 15, 18, 25. Dorner, I. ii., p. 403, n. 1, points out 
that this is exactly the teaching of Gregory of Nyssa. 

5 This view that the conception by the Holy Ghost means 
conception by the Son is consistently held by Hilary throughout 
his writings. It appears in the earliest of them; in Comm. in 
Matt. ii. s, Christ is ' born of a woman ; . . . made flesh through 
the Word.' So in Trin. ii. 24, He is ' born of the Virgin and of 
the Holy Ghost, Himself ministering to Himself in this oper- 
ation. . . . By His own, that is God's, overshadowing power He 
sowed for Himself the beginnings of His body and ordained that 
His should commence to exist ;' and Trin. x. 16. 

6 Trin. x. 16; cf. ib. 17. In the Instructio Psalmorum, § 6, 
he speaks in more usual language ; — adventus Domini ex virgine 
in Aominem procreandi, and so also in some other passages. 

Dorner's view (I. ii. 403 f. and note 74, p. 533) differs from that 
here taken. But he is influenced (see especially p. 404) by the 
desire to save Hilary's consistency rather than to state his actual 
opinion. And Hilary was too early in the field, too anxiously 
employed in feeling his way past the pitfalls of heresy, to escape 
the danger of occasional inconsistency. 

7 Trin. iii. 19, perfectum ipsa de suis non imminuta gene- 
ravit. So ib. ii. 25, unigenitus Deus .... Virginis utero in- 
sert us accrescit. He grew there, but nothing more. In Vir- 
ginem exactly corresponds to ex Virgine. 

8 Trin. xii. 50 ; it would be a watering of the sense to regard 
commixlio in this passage as simply equivalent to coitio. 

9 Trin. x. 16. » Irenaeus, L r, 13. 

a He often and emphatically repudiates the use which th* 
Monarchians made of them, e.g. Trin. iv. 4. 


denial to Christ of a human soul, and therefore of perfect manhood, is not only expressly 
contradicted \ but repudiated on every page by the contrary assumption on which all 
Hilary's arguments are based. Christ, then, is 'perfect man*, of a reasonable soul and 
human flesh subsisting,' for Whom the Virgin has performed the normal functions of 
maternity. But there is one wide and obvious difference between Hilary's mode of handling 
the matter and that with which we are familiar. His view concerning the mother's office 
forbids his laying stress upon our Lord's inheritance from her. Occasionally, and without 
emphasis, he mentions our Lord as the Son of David, or otherwise introduces His human 
ancestry s, but he never dwells upon the subject. He neither bases upon this ancestry the 
truth, nor deduces from it the character, of Christ's humanity. Such is Hilary's account 
of the facts of the Incarnation. In his teaching there is no doubt error as well as defect, 
but only in the mode of explanation, not in the doctrine explained. It will help us 
to do him justice if we may compare the theories that have been framed concerning 
another great doctrine, that of the Atonement, and remember that the strangely diverse 
speculations of Gregory the Great and of St. Anselm profess to account for the same facts, 
and that, so far as definitions of the Church are concerned, we are free to accept one 
or other, or neither, of the rival explanations. 

Christ, then, Who had been perfect God from eternity, became perfect Man by His 
self-wrought act of creation. Thus there was an approximation between God and man ; 
man was raised by God, Who humbled Himself to meet Him. On the one hand the Virgin 
was sanctified in preparation for her sacred motherhood 6 ; on the other hand there was 
a condescension of the Son to our low estate. The key to this is found by Hilary in 
the language of St. Paul. Christ emptied Himself of the form of God and took the form 
of a servant ; this is a revelation as decisive as the same Apostle's words concerning the 
first and the second Adam. The form of God, wherein the Son is to the Father as the exact 
image reflected in a mirror, the exact impression taken from a seal, belongs to Christ's very 
being. He could not detach it from Himself, if He would, for it is the property of God 
to be eternally what He is ; and, as Hilary constantly reminds us, the continuous existence 
of creation is evidence that there had been no break in the Son's divine activity in maintain- 
ing the universe which He had made. While He was in the cradle He upheld the worlds i. 
Yet, in some real sense, Christ emptied Himself of this form of God 8 . It was necessary 
that He should do so if manhood, even the sinless manhood created by Himself for His 
own Incarnation, was to co-exist with Godhead in His one Person 9. This is stated as 
distinctly as is the correlative fact that He retained and exercised the powers and the majesty 
of His nature. Thus it is clear that, outside the sphere of His work for men, the form and 
the nature of God remained unchanged in the Son ; while within that sphere the form, 
though not the nature, was so affected that it could truly be said to be laid aside. But 
when we come to Hilary's explanation of this process, we can only acquit him of incon- 
sistency in thought by admitting the ambiguity of his language. In one group of passages 
he recognises the self-emptying, but minimises its importance; in another he denies that 
our Lord could or did empty Himself of the form of God. And again, his definitions 
of the word ' form ' are so various as to be actually contradictory. Yet a consistent 

3 E.g. Trin. x. 22 in. The human soul is clearly intended. 5 E.g. Comm, in Matt. i. ; Tr. in Ps. lxviii. 19. 
Schwane, ii. 268, justly praises Hilary for greater accuracy than 6 Trin. ii. 26. 7 lb. viii. 45, 47, ix. 14, &c. 

his contemporaries in laying stress upon each of the constituent 8 This 'evacuation' or ' exinanition ' is represented in Tr. in 

elements of Christ's humanity, and especially upon the soul ; Ps. lxviii. 4 by the more precise metaphor of a vessel drained 

in this respect following Tertullian and Origen. of its liquid contents. 

4 In Trin. x. 21 f. is an argument analogous to that of the 9 Hilary has devoted his Homily on Psalm lxviii. to this 
De Synodis concerning the Godhead. Christ is Man because subject. In § 25 he asks, ' How could He exist in the form of 
He is perfectly like man, just as in the Homoeusian argument man while remaining in the form of God?' There are many 
He is God because He is perfectly like God. equally emphatic statements throughout his writings. 



sense, and one exceedingly characteristic of Hilary, can be derived from a comparison 
of his statements ' ; and in judging him we must remember that we have no systematic 
exposition of his views, but must gather them not only from his deliberate reasonings, 
but sometimes from homiletical amplifications of Scripture language, composed for edification 
and without the thought of theological balance, and sometimes from incidental sayings, 
thrown out in the course of other lines of argument. To the minimising statements belongs 
his description of the evacuation as a ' change of apparel a ,' and his definition of the word 
* form 'as meaning no more than 'face' or ' appearance 3,' as also his insistence from time 
to time upon the permanence of this form in Christ, not merely in His supramundane 
relations, but as the Son of Man *. On the other hand Hilary expressly declares that the 
1 concurrence of the two forms s ' is impossible, they being mutually exclusive. This repre- 
sents the higher form, that of God, as something more than a dress or appearance which 
could be changed or masked ; and stronger still is the language used in the Homily 
on Psalm lxviii. There (§ 4) he speaks of Christ being exhausted of His heavenly nature, 
this being used as a synonym for the form of God, and even of His being emptied of 
His substance. But it is probable that the Homily has descended to us, without revision 
by its author, in the very words which the shorthand writer took down. This mention 
of ' substance ' is unlike Hilary's usual language, and the antithesis between the substance 
which the Son had not, because He had emptied Himself of it, and the substance which 
He had, because He had assumed it, is somewhat infelicitously expressed. The term 
must certainly not be taken as the deliberate statement of Hilary's final opinion, still 
less as the decisive passage to which his other assertions must be accommodated; but 
it is at least clear evidence that Hilary, in the maturity of his thought, was not afraid 
to state in the strongest possible language the reality and completeness of the evacuation. 
The reconciliation of these apparently contradictory views concerning Christ's relation 
to the form of God can only be found in Hilary's idea of the Incarnation as a ' dispensation,' 
or series of dispensations. The word and the thought are borrowed through Tertullian 6 from 
the Greek ' economy ' ; but in Hilary's mind the notion of Divine reserve has grown 
till it has become, we might almost say, the dominant element of the conception. This 
self-emptying is a dispensation 7, whereby the incarnate Son of God appears to be, what 
He is not, destitute of the form of God. For this form is the glory of God, concealed 
by our Lord for the purposes of His human life, yet held by Hilary, to a greater extent, 
perhaps, than by any other theologian, to have been present with Him on earth. In 
words which have a wider application, and must be considered hereafter, Hilary speaks 
of Christ as 'emptying Himself and hiding Himself within Himself 8 .' Concealment has 
a great part to play in Hilary's theories, and is in this instance the only explanation 
consistent with his doctrinal positions. 

Thus the Son made possible the union of humanity with Himself. He ' shrank from 
God into man x ' by an act not only of Divine power, but of personal Divine will. He Who 
did this thing could not cease to be what He had been before ; hence His very deed 
in submitting Himself to the change is evidence of His unchanged continuity of existence 2 . 

* Baltzer and Schwane have been followed in this matter, 
in opposition to Dorner. 

a Trin. ix. 38, habitus demutatio, and similarly ib. 14. 
3 Tr. in Ps. lxviii. 25. 4 E.g. Trin. viii. 45. 

5 Trin. ix. 14, concursus utriusque for nice. 

6 It is very characteristic that it lies outside Cyprian's voca- 
bulary and range of ideas. 

7 Trin. ix. 38 jh. , and especially ib. 39. The unity of glory 
departed through His obedience in the Dispensation. 

8 Trin. xi. 48 ; cf. the end of this section and xii. 6. 

9 Cf. Baltzer, Christologie, p. 10 f., Schwane, p. 272 f. Other 

explanations which have been suggested are quite inadmissible. 
Dorner, p. 407, takes the passage cited above about 'substance' 
too seriously, and wavers between the equally impossible inter- 
pretations of countenance' and 'personality.' Forster(l.c. p. 659) 
understands the word to mean 'mode of existence.' Wirthmiiller, 
cited by Schwane, p. 273, has the courage to regard 'form of 
God' and 'form of a servant* as equivalent to Divinity and 

1 Trin. xii. 6, decedere ex Deo in hominem. Perhaps it 
should be decidere, as in Tr. in Ps. lxviii. 4. 

2 Tr. in Ps. lxviii. 25. 



And furthermore, His assumption of the servant's form was not accomplished by a single 
act. His wearing of that form was one continuous act of voluntary self-repression 3, 
and the events of His life on earth bear frequent witness to His possession of the powers 
of God. 

Thus in Him God is united with man ; these two natures form the ( elements ' or 
'parts' of one Person 4 . The Godhead is superposed upon the manhood; or, as Hilary 
prefers to say, the manhood is assumed by Christ s . And these two natures are not 
confused 6 , but simultaneously coexist in Him as the Son of Man 7. There are not two 
Christs 8 , nor is the one Christ a composite Being in such a sense that He is intermediate 
in kind between God and Man. He can speak as God and can also speak as Man; 
in the Homilies on the Psalms Hilary constantly distinguishes between His utterances in 
the one and the other nature. Yet He is one Person with two natures, of which the one 
dominates, though it does not extinguish, the other in every relation of His existence as 
the Son of Man 9. Every act, bodily or mental, done by Him is done by both natures 
of the one Christ. Hence a certain indifference towards the human aspects of His life, 
and a tendency rather to explain away what seems humiliation than to draw out its lessons x . 
And Hilary is so impressed with the unity of Christ that the humanity, a notion for which 
he has no name 2 , would have been in his eyes nothing more than a collective term for 
certain attributes of One Who is more than man, just as the body of Christ is not for 
him a dwelling occupied, or an instrument used, by God, but an inseparable property 
of Christ, Who personally is God and Man. 

Hence the body of Christ has a character peculiar to itself. It is a heavenly body 3, 
because of its origin and because of its Owner, the Son of Man Who came down from 
heaven, and though on earth was in heaven still 4 . It performs the functions and experiences, 
the limitations of a human body, and this is evidence that it is in every sense a true, not 
an alien or fictitious body. Though it is free from the sins of humanity, it has our 
weaknesses. But here the distinction must be made, which will presently be discussed, 
between the two kinds of suffering, that which feels and that which only endures. Christ 
was not conscious of suffering from these weaknesses, which could inflict no sense of want 
of weariness or pain upon His body, a body not the less real because it was perfect. 
He took our infirmities as truly as He bore our sins. But He was no more under the 
dominion of the one than of the others. His body was in the likeness of ours, but its 
reality did not consist in the likeness 6 , but in the fact that He had created it a true body. 
Christ, by virtue of His creative power, might have made for Himself a true body, by 
means of which to fulfil God's purposes, that should have been free from these infirmities. 
It was for our sake that He did not. There would have been a true body, but it would 
have been difficult for us to believe it. Hence He assumed one which had for habits 

3 Trin. xi. 48, 'emptying Himself' might have been a single 
act; 'hiding Himself within Himself was a sustained course 
of conduct. 

4 Genus is fairly common, though much rarer than natura; 
pars occurs in Trin. xi. 14, 15, and cf. rf.40. Elementa is, I think, 
somewhat more frequent. 

5 Trin. xi. 40, natura assumpti corporis nostri natura 
patenter dhinitatis invecta. Conversely, Trin. ix. 54, nova 
natura in Deum illata. But such expressions are rare ; homi- 
nem ad sumpsit is the normal phrase. In Tr. in Ps. lxviii. 4, 
he speaks as if the two natures had been forced to coalesce by 
a Power higher than either. But, as we have seen, in this part 
of the Homily Hilary's language is destitute of theological ex- 

« Tr. in Ps. liv. 2. 

7 E.g. Trin. ix. II, 39, x. 16. The expression utriusque 

naturee persona in Trin. ix. 14 is susceptible of another inter- 

8 E.g. Trin. x. 22. 

9 Trin. x. 22, quia totus hominis filius totus Deifilius sit. 

1 Cf. Gore's Dissertations, p. 138 f. But Hilary, though he 
shares and even exaggerates the general tendency of his time, 
has also a strong sense of the danger of Apollinarianism. 

2 Homo assumptus is constantly used, and similarly homo 
noster for our manhood, e.g. Trin. ix. 7. This often leads to 
an awkwardness of which Hilary must have been fully conscious, 
though he regarded it as a less evil than the use of an abstract 

3 Corpus coeleste, x. 18. 

4 Tr. in Ps. ii. n, from St. John Hi. 13. 

5 Trin. x. 47 f. ; Tr. in Ps. cxxxviii. 3. 

6 Trin. x. 25. 



what are necessities to us, in order to demonstrate to us its reality ?. It was foreordained 
that He should be incarnate; the mode of the Incarnation was determined by considerations 
of our advantage. The arguments by which this thesis is supported will be stated 
presently, in connection with Hilary's account of the Passion. It would be difficult to 
decide whether he has constructed his theory concerning the human activities of our 
Lord upon the basis of this preponderance of the Divine nature in His incarnate personality, 
or whether he has argued back from what he deems the true account of Christ's mode 
of life on earth, and invented the hypothesis in explanation of it. In any case he has had 
the courage exactly to reverse the general belief of Christendom regarding the powers 
normally used by Christ. We are accustomed to think that with rare exceptions, such as 
the Transfiguration, He lived a life limited by the ordinary conditions of humanity, to 
draw lessons for ourselves from His bearing in circumstances like our own, to estimate 
His condescension and suffering, in kind if not in degree, by our own consciousness. 
Hilary regards the normal state of the incarnate Christ as that of exaltation, from which 
He stooped on rare occasions, by a special act of will, to self-humiliation. Thus the 
Incarnation, though itself a declension from the pristine glory, does not account for 
the facts of Christ's life; they must be explained by further isolated and temporary 
declensions. And since the Incarnation is the one great event, knowledge and faith con- 
cerning which are essential, the events which accompany or result from it tend, in Hilary's 
thought, to shrink in importance. They can and must be minimised, explained away, 
regarded as 'dispensations,' if they seem to derogate from the Majesty of Him Who was 

When we examine the interpretation of Scripture by which Hilary reaches the desired 
conclusions we find it, in many instances, strange indeed. The letter of the Gospels tells 
us of bodily needs and of suffering ; Christ, though more than man, is proved to be Man by 
His obvious submission to the conditions of human life. But according to Hilary all human 
suffering is due to the union of an imperfect soul with an imperfect body. The soul of Christ, 
though truly human, was perfect ; His body was that of a Person Divine as well as human. 
Thus both elements were perfect of their kind, and therefore as free from infirmity 8 as from sin, 
for affliction is the lot of man not because he is man, but because he is a sinner. In contrast 
with the squalor of sinful humanity, glory surrounded 'Christ from the Annunciation onward 
throughout His course on earth 9. Miracle is the attestation of His Godhead, and He Who 
was thus superior to the powers of nature could not be subject to the sufferings which nature 
inflicts. But, being omnipotent, He could subject Himself to humiliations which no power 
less than His own could lay upon Him, and this self-subjection is the supreme evidence 
of His might as well of His goodwill towards men. God, and only God, could occupy at 
once the cradle and the throne on high x . Thus in emphasizing the humiliation Hilary is 
extolling the majesty of Christ, and refuting the errors of Arianism. That school had made 
the most of Christ's sufferings, holding them a proof of His inferiority to the Father. In 
Hilary's eyes His power to condescend and His final victory are equally conclusive evidences 
of His co-equal Divinity. But if He stoops to our estate, and is at the same time God 
exercising His full prerogatives, here again there must be a ' dispensation.' He was truly 
subject to the limitations of our nature ; that is a fact of revelation. But He was subject by 
a succession of detached acts of self-restraint, culminating in the act, voluntary like the others, 
of His death 2 . Of His acceptance of the ordinary infirmities of humanity we have already 
spoken. Hilary gives the same explanation of the Passion as he does of the thirst or 

7 Trin. x. 24. The purpose of the Old Testament Theopha- 
nies, it will be remembered, was the same. Ood appeared as 
Man, in order to make men familiar with the future reality and 
so more ready to believe. See Trin. v. 17. 

8 Trin. x. 14, 15. 

9 Trin. ii. 26 f., iii. 18 f. and often, especially in the Comm* 
in Matt. 

' E.g. Trin. ix. 4, xi. 48. 2 16. x. n, 61. 



weariness of Christ. That He could suffer, and that to the utmost, is proved by the fact 
that He did suffer; yet was He, or could He be, conscious of suffering? For the fulfilment 
of the Divine purpose, for our assurance of the reality of His work, the acts had to be done; 
but it was sufficient that they should be done by a dispensation, in other words, that the 
events should be real and yet the feelings be absent of which, had the events happened to 
us, we should have been conscious. To understand this we must recur to Hilary's theory of 
the relation of the soul to the body The former i? the organ of sense, the latter a lifeless 
thing. But the soul may fall below or rise above its normal state Mortification of the 
body may set in, or drugs be administered which shall render the soul incapable of feeling the 
keenest pain 3. On the other hand it is capable of a spiritual elevation which shall make 
it unconscious of bodily needs or sufferings, as when Moses and Elijah fasted, or the three 
Jewish youths walked amid the flames *. On this high level Christ always dwelt. Others 
might rise for a moment above themselves ; He, not although, but because He was true and 
perfect Man, never fell below it. He placed Himself in circumstances where shame and 
wounds and death were inflicted upon Him ; He had lived a life of humiliation, not only real, 
in that it involved a certain separation from God, but also apparent. But as in this latter 
respect we may no more overlook His glory than we may suppose Him ignorant, as by 
a dispensation He professed to be 5 , so in regard to the Passion we must not imagine that He 
was inferior to His saints in being conscious, as they were not, of suffering 6 . So far, indeed, 
is He from the sense of suffering that Hilary even says that the Passion was a delight to 
Him 7, and this not merely in its prospective results, but in the consciousness of power which 
He enjoyed in passing through it. Nor could this be surprising to one who looked with 
Hilary's eyes upon the humanity of Christ. He enforces his view sometimes with rhetoric, 
as when he repudiates the notion that the Bread of Life could hunger, and He who gives the 
living water, thirst 8 , that the hand which restored the servant's ear could itself feel pain 9, that 
He Who said, ' Now is the Son of Man glorified,' when Judas left the chamber, could at that 
moment be feeling sorrow r , and He before Whom the soldiers fell be capable of fear 2 , or 
shrink from the pain of a death which was itself an exertion of His own free will and power 3. 
Or else he dwells upon the general character of Christ's manhood. He recognises no change 
in the mode of being after the Resurrection ; the passing through closed doors, the sudden 
disappearance at Emmaus are typical of the normal properties of His body, which could heal 
the sick by a touch, and could walk upon the waves 4 . It is a body upon the sensibility 
of which the forces of nature can make no impression whatever ; they can no more " pain Him 
than the stroke of a weapon can affect air or water s ; or, as Hilary puts it elsewhere, fear and 
death, which have so painful a meaning to us, were no more to Him than a shower falling 
upon a surface which it cannot penetrate 6 . It is not the passages of the Gospel which 
tell of Christ's glory, but those which speak of weakness or suffering that need to be explained ; 
and Hilary on occasion is not afraid to explain them away. For instance, we read that when 
our Lord had fasted forty days and forty nights ' He was afterward an hungred.' Hilary 
denies that there is a connection of cause and effect Christ's perfect body was unaffected 

3 Trin. x. 14. 

4 Cornm. in Matt. Hi. 2 ; Trin. x. 45. The freedom of Chris- 
tian martyrs from pain is frequently noticed in early writers. 

5 Cf. p. lxvi. 

« Hilary was undoubtedly influenced more than he knew by 
the Latin words pati and dolere, the one purely objective, the 
other subjective. By a line of thought which recalls that of 
Mozley concerning Miracles he refuses to argue from our ex- 
perience to that of Christ. That He suffered, in the sense of 
having wounds and death inflicted upon Him, is a fact ; that He 
was conscious of suffering is an inference, a supposition (putatur 
dolere quia patitur, Tr. in Ps. cxxxviii. 3, fallitur ergo hum ante 

wstimationis opinio putans hunc dolere quod patitur, Trin. x. 47), 
and one which we are not entitled to make. In fact, the passage 
last cited states that He has no natura dolendi ; so also x. 23, 
35, and cf. Tr. in Ps. liii. 12. Or, as Hilary puts it, Trin. x. 24, 
He is subject to the natura passionum not to their iniuriai 

7 Tr. in Ps. cxxxviii. 26. 8 Trin. x. 24. 

9 lb. 28. 1 lb. 29. 2 lb. 27. 3 lb. 11. 

* lb. 23. These instances of His power are used as a direct 
proof of Christ's incapacity of pain. Hilary is willing to confess 
that He could feel it, if it be shewn that we can follow Him in 
these respects. 

5 loc. cit. 6 Tr. in Ps- liv. 6. 



by abstinence ; but after the fast by an exertion of His will He experienced hunger'. So also 
the Agony in the Garden is ingeniously misinterpreted. He took with Him the three 
Apostles, and then began to be sorrowful. He was not sorrowful till He had taken them j 
they, not He, were the cause. When He said, ' My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto 
death,' the last words must not be regarded as meaning that His was a mortal sorrow, but as 
giving a note of time. The sorrow of which He spoke was not for Himself but for His 
Apostles, whose flight He foresaw, and He was asserting that this sorrow would last till 
He died. And when He prayed that the cup might pass away from Him, this was no 
entreaty that He might be spared. It was His purpose to drink it. The prayer was for His 
disciples that the cup might pass on from Him to them ; that they might suffer for Him as 
martyrs full of hope, without pain or fear 8 . One passage, St Luke xxii. 43, 44, which 
conflicts with his view is rejected by Hilary on textual grounds, and not without some reason'. 
He had looked for it, and found it absent, in a large number of manuscripts, both Greek and 
Latin. But perhaps the strangest argument which he employs is that when the Gospel tells 
us that Christ thirsted and hungered and wept, it does not proceed to say that He ate 
and drank and felt griefs. Hunger and thirst, eating and drinking, were two sets of 
dispensations, unconnected by the relation of cause and effect ; the tears were another 
dispensation, not the expression of personal grief. If, as a habit, He accepts the needs and 
functions of our body, this does not render His own body more real, for by the act of 
its creation it was made truly human ; His purpose, as has been said, is to enable us to 
recognise its reality, which would otherwise be difficult x . If He wept, He had the same 
object ; this use of one of the evidences of bodily emotion would help us to believe 3 . And 
so it is throughout Christ's life on earth. He suffered but He did not feel. No one but 
a heretic, says Hilary, would suppose that He was pained by the nails which fixed Him to the 
Cross 3. 

It is obvious that Hilary's theory offers a perfect defence against the two dangers 
of the day, Arianism and Apollinarianism. The tables are turned upon the former by 
emphatic insistence upon the power manifested in the humiliation and suffering of Christ 
That He, being what He was, should be able to place Himself in such circumstances 
was the most impressive evidence of His Divinity. And if His humanity was endowed 
with Divine properties, much more must His Divinity rise above that inferiority to 
which the Arians consigned it. Apollinarianism is controverted by the demonstration 
of His true humanity. No language can be too strong to describe its glories ; but the 
true wonder is not that Christ, as God, has such attributes, but that He Who has them is 
very Man. The theory was well adapted for service in the controversies of the day; 
for us, however we may admire the courage and ingenuity it displays, it can be no 
more than a curiosity of doctrinal history. Yet, whatever its defects as an explanation 
of the facts, the skill with which dangers on either hand are avoided, the manifest anxiety 
to be loyal to established doctrine, deserve recognition and respect. It has been said 
that Hilary • constantly withdraws in the second clause what he has asserted in the first V 
and in a sense it is true. For many of his statements might make him seem the advocate 
of an extreme doctrine of Kenosis, which would represent our Lord's self-emptying as 

7 Comm. in Matt. Hi. 2. 

8 lb. xxxi. 1 — 7. These were not immature speculations, aban- 
doned by a riper judgment. The explanation of 'even unto 
death' is repeated, and that concerning the cup implied, in Trin. 
X- 36, 37- 

9 Trin. x. 41. Westcott and Hort insert it within brackets. 
Even if the passage be retained, Hilary has an explanation which 
agrees with his theoiy. 

9* lb. 24. » loc. cit., Tr. in Ps. liii. 7 

» In Tr. in Ps. liii. 7, there is also the moral purpose. He 
prays humbly. His prayer expresses no need of His own, but 
is meant to teach us the lesson of meekness. 

3 Trin. x. 45. Yet Hilary himself is not always consistent. 
In the purely homiletical writing of Tr. in Ps. lxviii. 1, he dwells 
upon Christ's endurance of pain. His argument obliged Him 
to emphasize the suffering ; it was natural, though not logical, 
that he should sometimes insist also upon the feeling. 

4 Harnack, Dogmengesch. ii. 301 n. 


complete. But often expressed and always present in Hilary's thought, for the coherence 
of which it is necessary, is the correlative notion of the dispensation, whereby Christ seemed 
for our sake to be less than He truly was. Again, Hilary has been accused of ' sailing 
somewhat close to the cliffs of Docetism V but all admit that he has escaped shipwreck. 
Various accounts of his teaching, all of which agree in acquitting him of this error, have 
been given ; and that which has been accepted in this paper, of Christ by the very per- 
fection of His humanity habitually living in such an ecstasy as that of Polycarp or Perpetua 
at their martyrdom, is a noble conception in itself and consistent with the Creeds, though 
it cannot satisfy us. In part, at any rate, it belonged to the lessons which Hilary had 
learned from Alexandria. Clement had taught, though his successor Origen rejected, the 
impassibility of Christ, Who had eaten and drunk only by a ' dispensation ' ; — c He ate 
not for the sake of His body, which was sustained by a holy power, but that that false notion 
might not creep into the minds of His companions which in later days some have, in 
fact, conceived, that He had been manifested only in appearance. He was altogether im- 
passible ; there entered from without into Him no movement of the feelings, whether 
pleasure or pain 6 .' Thus Hilary had what would be in his eyes high authority for his 
opinion. But he must have felt some doubts of its value if he compared the strange 
exegesis and forced logic by which it was supported with that frank acceptance of the 
obvious sense of Scripture in which he takes so reasonable a pride in his direct controversy 
with the Arians. And another criticism may be ventured. In that controversy he balances 
with scrupulous reverence mystery against mystery, never forgetting that he is dealing with 
infinities. In this case the one is made to overwhelm the other ; the infinite glory ex- 
cludes the infinite sorrow from his view. Here, if anywhere, Hilary needs, and may justly 
claim, the indulgence he has demanded. It had not been his wish to define or explain ; 
he was content with the plain words of Scripture and the simplest of creeds. But he was 
compelled by the fault of others to commit a fault 7 • and speculation based on sound 
principles, however perilous to him who made the first attempt, had been rendered by 
the prevalence of heresy a necessary evil. Again, we must bear in mind that Hilary was 
essentially a Greek theologian, to whom the supremely interesting as well as the supremely 
important doctrine was that God became Man. He does not conceal or undervalue the 
fact of the Atonement and of the Passion as the means by which it was wrought. But, 
even though he had not held his peculiar theory of impassibility, he would still have thought 
the effort most worth making not that of realising the pains of Christ by our experience of 
suffering and sense of the enormity of sin, but that of apprehending the mystery of the 
Incarnation. For that act of condescension was greater, not only in scale but in kind, 
than any humiliation to which Christ, already Man, submitted Himself in His human 

Christ, Whose properties as incarnate are thus described by Hilary, is one Person. 
This, of course, needs no proof, but something must be said of the use which he makes 
of the doctrine. It is by Christ's own work, by an act of power, even of violence 8 , exercised 
by Him upon Himself, that the two natures are inseparably associated in Him ; so in- 
separably that between His death and resurrection His Divinity was simultaneously present 
with each of the severed elements of His humanity 9. Hence, though Hilary frequently 

5 The words are FSrster's, op. eit. p. 662, and are accepted 
as representing their opinion by Bardenhewer, Patrohgie, p. 382, 
and Baltzer, Christologie, p. 32. 

6 Strom, vi. g ft. Bigg, Chrittian Platonists, p. 71, gives 
other sources, by which Hilary is less likely to have been in- 
fluenced, from which he may have derived this teaching. This 
is not the only coincidence between him and Clement. 

8 Tr. in Ps. lxviii. 4. The unity is also strongly put in 
Trin. viii. 13, x. 61. 

9 Trin. x. 34. This was Hilary's deliberate belief. But in 
earlier life he had written rashly of the Holy Spirit (i.e. God 
the Son) surrendering His humanity to be tempted, and of the 
cry upon the Cross 'testifying the departure of God the Word 
from Him' (Comm. in Matt. iii. t, xxxiii. 6). This, if it had 

7 Trin ii. 2, in vitium vitio coarctamur alieno. represented Hilary's teaching in that treatise, would have prov«4 



discriminates between Christ's utterances as God and as Man % he never fails to keep his 
reader's attention fixed upon the unity of His Person. And this unity is the more obvious 
because, as has been said, the Manhood in Christ is dominated by the Godhead. Though 
we are not allowed to forget that He is truly Man, yet as a rule Hilary prefers to speak in 
such words as, ' the only-begotten Son of God was crucified 2 ,' or to say more briefly, ' God 
was crucified 3.' Judas is ' the betrayer of God * ; ' 'the life of mortals is renewed through the 
death of immortal God V Such expressions are far more frequent than the balanced language, 
' the Passion of Jesus Christ, our God and Lord 6 ,' and these again than such an exaltation of 
the manhood as ' the Man Jesus Christ, the Lord of Majesty 7 .' But once, in an unguarded 
moment, an element of His humanity seems to be deified. Hilary never says that Christ's 
body is God, but he speaks of the spectators of the Crucifixion 'contemplating the power 
of the soul which by signs and deeds had proved itself God V 

But though distinctions may be drawn, and though for the sake of emphasis and 
brevity Christ may be called by the name of one only of His two natures, the 
essential fact is never forgotten that He is God and man, one Person in two forms, 
God's and the servant's. And these two natures do not stand isolated and apart, 
merely contained within the limits of one personality. Just as we saw that Hilary 
recognises a complete mutual indwelling and interpenetration of Father and Son, so he 
teaches that in the narrower sphere of the Incarnation there is an equally exact and 
comprehensive union of the Godhead and Manhood in Christ. Jesus is Christ, and 
Christ is Jesus 9. Not merely is the one Christ perfect Man and perfect God, but 
the whole Son of Man is the whole Son of God l . So far is His manhood from 
being merged and lost in His Divinity, that the extent of the one is the measure 
of the other. We must not imagine that, simultaneously with the incarnate, there 
existed a non-incarnate Christ, respectively submitting to humiliation and ruling the 
worlds ; nor yet must we conceive of one Christ in two unconnected states of being, 
as though the assumption of humanity were merely a function analogous to the guid- 
ing of the stars. On the contrary, the one Person is co-extensive with all infinity, 
and all action lies within His scope. Whatever He does, whether it be, or be not, 
in relation to humanity, and in the former case whether it be the exaltation of man- 
hood or the self-emptying of Godhead, is done ' within the sphere of the Incarnation 2 ,' 
the sphere which embraces His whole being and His whole action. The self-emptying 
itself was not a self-determination, instant and complete, made before the Incarnation, 
but, as we saw, a process which continued throughout Christ's life on earth and was ac- 
tive to the end. For as He hung, deliberately self-emptied of His glory, on the Cross, 
He manifested His normal powers by the earthquake shock. His submission to death 
was the last of a consistent series of exertions of His will, which began with the Annun- 
ciation and culminated in the Crucifixion. 

it heretical ; but the whole tenour of the commentary proves that 
this was simply carelessness. In the Homilies on the Psalms 
he also writes somewhat loosely on occasion; e.g. liii. 4 fin., 
where he mentions Christ's former nature, i e. the Divinity, and 
ib. 5, where he speaks of ' Him Who after being God {ex Deo) 
had died as man.' But only malevolence could give an evil 
interpretation to these passages, delivered as they were for the 
edification of Hilary's flock, and with no thought of theological 
accuracy. It is, indeed, quite possible that they were never 
revised, or even intended, for publication by him. 

1 E.g. Trin. ix. 6, and often in the Homilies on the Psalms, 
as exxxviii. 13. 

a Tr. in Ps. liii. 12. 3 loc. cit. 

4 Tr. in Ps. exxxix. 15. 

5 Trin. x. 63. Similarly in Tr. in Ps. lxvii. 21, he speaks of 
' the passion, the cross, the death, the burial of God.' 

« Tr. in Ps. liii. 4. 

7 Trin. ix. 3. 

8 Tr. in Ps. cxli. 4. There is no evidence that the text is 
corrupt, though the words as they stand are rank Apollinarianism, 
and the more significant as dating from the maturity of Hilary's 
thought. But here, as often, we must remember that the Homi- 
lies are familiar addresses. 

9 Trin. x. 52. We must remember not only that heretical 
distinctions had been made, but that Christ is the name of the 
Son in pretemporal relation to the world (see p. lxvii.), as well as 
in the world. 

1 Ib. 22, 52. 

a Cf. Gore, Dissertations, p. an. It is in relation to the self- 
emptying that Hilary uses such definite language ; Trin. xi. 48, 
intra suam ipse vacuefactus potestatetn . . . . Se ipsum intra 
se vacuefaciens continuit ; xii. 6, st evacuavit in sese. 



Hilary estimates the cost of the Incarnation not by any episodes of Christ's life on 
earth, but by the fact that it brought about a real, though partial, separation or 
breach 3 within the Godhead. Henceforward there was in Christ the nature of the crea- 
ture as well as that of the Creator ; and this second nature, though it had been assumed 
in its most perfect form, was sundered by an infinite distance from God the Father, 
though indissolubly united with the Divinity of his Son. A barrier therefore was raised 
between them, to be overcome in due time by the elevation of manhood in and through 
the Son. When this elevation was complete within the Person of Christ, then the 
separation between Him and His Father would be at an end. He would still have true 
humanity, but this humanity would be raised to the level of association with the Father. 
In Hilary's doctrine the submission of Christ to this isolation is the central fact of 
Christianity, the supreme evidence of His love for men. Not only did it thus isolate 
Him, truly though partially, from the Father, but it introduced a strain, a ' division ' 4 
within His now incarnate Person. The union of natures was real, but in order that it 
might become perfect the two needed to be adjusted ; and the humiliation involved in 
this adjustment is a great part of the sacrifice made by Christ. There was conflict, in 
a certain sense, within Himself, repression and concealment of His powers. But finally 
the barrier was to be removed, the loss regained, by the exaltation of the manhood into 
harmonious association with the Godhead of Father and of Sons. Then He Who had 
become in one Person God and Man would become for ever fully God and fully Man. 
The humanity would gain, the Divinity regain, its appropriate dignity 6 , while each retained 
the reality it had had on earth. 

Thus Christ's life in the world was a period of transition. He had descended; this 
was the time of preparation for an equal, and even loftier, ascent. We must now consider 
in what the preparation consisted ; and here, at first sight, Hilary has involved himself 
in a grave difficulty. For it is manifest that his theory of Christ's life as one lived without 
effort, spiritual or physical, or rather as a life whose exertion consisted in a steady self- 
accommodation to the infirmities -of men, varied by occasional and special acts of con- 
descension to suffering, excludes the possibility of an advance, a growth in grace as well 
as in stature, such as Athanasius scripturally taught 7. We might say of Hilary, as has 
been said of another Father, ' under his treatment the Divine history seems to be dissolved 
into a docetic drama 8 .' In such a life it might seem that there was not merely no possibility 
of progress, but even an absence of identity, in the sense of continuity. The phenomena 
of Christ's life, therefore, are not manifestations of the disturbance and strain on which 
Hilary insists, for they are, when, rightly considered, proofs of His union with God and 
of His Divine power, not of weakness or of partial separation. It would, indeed, be vain 
for us to seek for sensible evidence of the process of adjustment, for it went on within 
the inmost being of the one Person. It did not affect the Godhead or the Manhood, 
both visibly revealed as aspects of the Person, but the hidden relation between the two. 
Our knowledge assures us that the process took place, but it is a knowledge attained by 
inference from what He was before and after the state of transition, not by observation 
of His action in that state. Both natures of the one Person were affected; 'everything' — 
glory as well as humiliation — 'was common to the entire Person at every moment, though 
to each aspect in its own distinctive manner.' The entire Person entered into inequality with 
Himself: the actuality of each aspect, during the state of humiliation, fell short of its idea — 
of the idea of the Son, of the idea of the perfect man, of the idea of the God-man. It was 

3 Offensio, Trin. ix. 38. 

4 Trin. x. 22, A se dividuus. 5 E.g. Trin. ix. 38. 

6 Trin. ix. 6. On earth Christ is Deus and homo; in glory 
"He is totus Deus and totus homo. 

7 E.g. Discourses against the Arians, iii. 53, p. 422 of the 
translation in this series. 

8 Bp. Westcott on Cyril of Alexandria in St. John's Gospel 
(Speaker's Commentary), p. xcv. 



not merely the human aspect that was at first inadequate to the Divine ; for, through the 
medium of the voluntary ' evacuatio,' it dragged down the Divine nature also, so far as it 
permitted it, to its own inequality 9.' Such is the only explanation which will reconcile Hilary's 
various, and sometimes obscure, utterances on this great subject. It is open to the obvious 
and fatal objection that it cuts, instead of loosening, the knot. For it denies any connection 
between the dispensation of Christ's life on earth and the mystery of His assumption and 
exaltation of humanity; the one becomes somewhat purposeless, and the other remains 
unverified. But it is at least a bold and reverent speculation, not inconsistent with the Faith 
as a system of thought, though no place can be found for it in the Faith, regarded as a 
revelation of fact. 

It was on behalf of mankind that this great sacrifice was made by the Son. While 
it separated Him from the Father, it united Him to men. We must now consider what was 
the spiritual constitution of the humanity which He assumed, as we have already considered 
the physical Man, as we saw (p. lxix.) is constituted of body and soul, an outward and an 
inward substance, the one earthly, the other heavenly 1 . The exact process of his creation 
has been revealed. First, man — that is, his soul — was made in the image of God ; next, long 
afterwards, his body was fashioned out of dust; finally by a distinct act, man was made 
a living soul by the breath of God, the heavenly and earthly natures being thus coupled 
together 2 . The world was already complete when God created the highest, the most beautiful 
of His works after His own image. His other works were made by an instantaneous com- 
mand; even the firmament was established by his hand* ; man alone was made by the hands 
of God ; — ' Thy hands have made me and fashioned me.' This singular honour of being 
made by a process, not an act, and by the hands, not the hand or the voice, of God, was paid 
to man not simply as the highest of the creatures, but as the one for whose sake the rest of 
the universe was called into being *. It is, of course, the soul, made after the image of God, 
which has this high honour ; an honour which no length of sinful ancestry can forfeit, for each 
soul is still separately created. Hence no human soul is akin to any other human soul ; the 
uniformity of type is secured by each being made in the same pattern, and the dignity of 
humanity by the fact that this pattern is that of the Son, the Image of God. But the soul 
pervades the whole body with which it is associated, even as God pervades the universe s. 
The soul of each man is individual, special to himself; his brotherhood with mankind belongs 
to him through his body, which has therefore something of universality. Hence the relation 
of mankind with Christ is not through his human soul ; it was ' the nature of universal flesh ' 
which He took 6 that has made Him one with us in the Incarnation and in the Eucharist '. 
The reality of His body, as we have seen, is amply secured by Hilary ; its universality is 
assured by the absence of any individual human paternity, which would have isolated Him 
from others 8 . Thus He took all humanity into His one body ; He is the Church °, for He 
contains her through the mystery of His body. In Him, by the same means, ' there is 
contained the congregation, so to speak, of the whole race of men.' Hence He spoke of 
Himself as the City set on a hill; the inhabitants are mankind 1 . But Christ not only 

» Dorner, I. ii. 415. The liberty has been taken of putting 
* Himself for ' itself.' On the same page Dorner speaks of an 
'ever increasing return of the Logos into equality with Him- 
self.' This is a contradiction of his own explanation. God has 
become God-man. He could not again become simply the Logos. 
The key to Hilary's position is the double nature of Christ. 
The Godhead and the Manhood are aspects in revelation, ab- 
stractions in argument. That which connects them and gives 
them reality is the one Person, the object of thought and faith. 

* Tr. in Ps. cxviiL, lod, 6, cxxix. 5. 

• lb. cxxix. 5. 

3 Isai. xlv. is, the Old Latin, translated from the LXX., 

having the singular. This characteristic piece of exegesis is in 
TV. in Ps. cxviii., Jod, 5 ; cf. ii. 7, 8. 

4 lb. lod, 1. 5 Tr. in Ps. cxviii., Koj>h, 8. 

6 lb. Ii. 16, naturam in se universal carnis adsumpsit, it. 
liv. 9, universitatis nostra caro est foetus ; so also Trim. xi. 
16 in., and often. 

7 This latter is the argument of Trin. viii. 13 f. 

8 Trin. ii. 24 ; in Him there is the universi generis kumam 
corpus because He is homo /actus ex virgine. 

9 Tr. in Ps. exxv. 6. 

1 Comtn. in Matt. iv. 11 ; habitatio, as is often the case Mi 
late Latin with abstracts, is collective. Hilary also speaks of 


embraces all humanity in Himself, but the archetype after Whom, and the final cause for 
Whom, man was made. Every soul, when it proceeds from the hands of God, is pure, 
free and immortal, with a natural affinity and capacity for good 2 , which can find its 
satisfaction only in Christ, the ideal Man. But if Christ is thus everything to man, 
humanity has also, in the foreordained purpose of God, something to confer upon Christ. 
The temporary humiliation of the Incarnation has for its result a higher glory than He 
possessed before 3 , acquired through the harmony of the two natures. 

The course of this elevation is represented by Hilary as a succession of births, in 
continuation of the majestic series. First there had been the eternal generation of the 
Son ; then His creation for the ways and for the works of God, His appointment, which 
Hilary regards as equivalent in importance to another birth, to the office of Creator; next 
the Incarnation, the birth in time which makes Him what He was not before, namely Man  
This is followed by the birth of Baptism, of which Hilary speaks thrice s. He read in 
St. Matthew iii. 17, instead of the familiar words of the Voice from heaven, 'Thou 
art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee.' This was in his judgment the institution 
of the sacrament of Baptism ; because Christ was baptized, we must follow His example. 
It was a new birth to Him, and therefore to us. He had been the Son ; He became 
through Baptism the perfect Son by this fresh birth 6 . It is difficult to see what Hilary's 
thought was ; perhaps he had not defined it to himself. But, with this reading in his 
copy of the Gospel, it was necessary that he should be ready with an explanation ; and 
though there remained a higher perfection to be reached, this birth in Baptism might well 
be regarded as a stage in the return of Christ to His glory, an elevation of His humanity 
to a more perfect congruity with His Godhead. This birth is followed by another, the 
effect and importance of which is more obvious, that of the Resurrection, ' the birthday of 
His humanity to glory 7. ' By the Incarnation He had lost unity with the Father; but the 
created nature, by the assumption of which He had disturbed the unity both within Him- 
self and in relation to the Father, is now raised to the level on which that unity is again pos- 
sible. In the Resurrection, therefore, it is restored; and this stage of Christ's achievement is 
regarded as a new birth 8 , by which His glory becomes, as it had been before, the same as that 
of the Father. But now the glory is shared by His humanity ; the servant's form is promoted 
to the glory of God 9 and the discordance comes to an end. Christ, God and Man, stands 
where the Word before the Incarnation stood. In this Resurrection, the only step in this 
Divine work which is caused by sin, His full humanity partakes. In order to satisfy all 
the conditions of actual human life, He died and visited the lower world 1 ; and also, 
as man shall do, He rose again with the same body in which He had died 2 . Then 
comes that final state, of which something has already been said, when God shall be all 
in all. No further change will be possible within the Person of Christ, for his humanity, 
already in harmony with the Godhead, will now be transmuted. The whole Christ, Man 
as well as God, will become wholly God. Yet the humanity will still exist, for it is 
inseparable from the Divinity, and will consist, as before, of body and soul. But there 
will be nothing earthly or fleshly left in the body; its nature will be purely spiritual 3. 
The only form in which Hilary can express this result is the seeming paradox that Christ 
will, by virtue of the final subjection, 'be and continue what He is not*.' By this return of 

Christ as gertns nos, Trin. x. 25, which recalls the gestans of 
Tertullian and the portans of Cyprian. 

2 Tr. in Ps. ii. 16, lvii. 3, lxii. 3, and often. 

3 Trin. xi. 40 — 42. * Tr. in Ps. ii. 27. 

S Comtn. in Matt. ii. 6 ; Tr. in Ps. ii. 29 ; Trin. viiL 25. 
Ym he twice (Trin. vi. 23 ; Tr. in Ps. cxxxviii. 6) gives the 
ordinary text, without any hint that he knew of an important 

V>L. IX. 

6 Tr. in Ps. ii. 29, ipse Deo renascebatur in filium perfectum. 
Trin. viii. 25, perfecta nativitas. 

7 Dorner, I. ii. 417. Dorner overlooks the birth in Baptism. 

8 Tr. in Ps. ii. 27, liii. 14. 

9 lb. cxxxviii. 19. 1 lb. liii. 14. » lb. lv. xa. 
3 Trin. xi. 40, 49. 

* lb. 40, habens in Sacramento rubisctionit us* ac mantrt 
quod non est. 



the whole Christ into perfect union with God, humanity attains the purpose of its creati >n. 
He was the archetype after Whose likeness man was fashioned, and in His Person all 
the possibilities of mankind are attained. And this great consummation not only fulfils 
the destinies of humanity; it brings also an augmentation of the glory of Him Who is 
glorified in Christ s. 

In the fact that humanity is thus elevated in Christ consists the hope of individual 
men. Man in Him has, in a true sense, become God 6 ; and though Hilary as a rule 
avoids the phrase, familiar to him in the writings of his Alexandrian teachers and freely 
used by Athanasius and other of his contemporaries, that men become gods because 
God became Man, still the thought which it conveys is constantly present to his mind. 
As we have seen, men are created with such elevation as their final cause ; they have the 
innate certainty that their soul is of Divine origin and a natural longing for the knowledge 
and hope of things eternal ?. But they can only rise by a process, corresponding to that 
by which the humanity in Christ was raised to the level of the Divinity. This process 
begins with the new birth in the one Baptism, and attains its completion when we fully 
receive the nature and the knowledge of God. We are to be members of Christ's body 
and partakers in Him, saved into the name and the nature of God 8 . And the means 
to this is knowledge of Him, received into a pure mind 9. Such knowledge makes the soul 
of man a dwelling rational, pure and eternal, wherein the Divine nature, whose properties 
these are, may eternally abide *. Only that which has reason can be in union with Him 
Who is reason. Faith must be accurately informed as well as sincere. Christ became 
Man in order that we might believe Him ; that He might be a witness to us from among 
ourselves touching the things of God 2 . 

We have now followed Hilary through his great theory, in which we may safely say 
that no other theologian entirely agrees, and which, where it is most original, diverges 
most widely from the usual lines of Christian thought. Yet it nowhere contradicts the 
accepted standards of belief; and if it errs it does so in explanation, not in the statement 
of the truths which it undertakes to explain. Hilary has the distinction of being the only 
one of his contemporaries with the speculative genius to imagine this development ending 
in the abolition of incongruity and in the restoration of the full majesty of the Son and 
of man with Him 3. He saw that there must be such a development, and if he was 
wrong in tracing its course, there is a reverence and loyalty, a solidity of reasoning and 
steady grasp of the problems under discussion, which save him from falling into mere 
ingenuity or ostentation. Sometimes he may seem to be on the verge of heresy; but 
in each case it will be found that, whether his system be right or no, the place in it 
which he has found for an argument used elsewhere in the interests of error is one where 
the argument is powerless for evil. Sometimes — and this is the most serious reproach that 
can be brought against him — it must seem that his theology is abstract, moving in a region 
apart from the facjs of human life. It must be admitted that this is the case ; that though, 
as we shall presently see, Hilary had a clear sense of the realities of temptation and sin 
and of the need of redemption, and has expressed himself in these regards with the 
fervour and practical wisdom of an earnest and experienced pastor, still these subjects 
lie within the sphere of his feelings rather than of his thought. It was not his fault that 
he lived in the days before St. Augustine, and in the heat of an earlier controversy; 
and it is his conspicuous merit that in his zeal for the Divinity of Christ he traced the 
Incarnation back beyond the beginning of sin and found its motive in God's eternal 

5 Trin. xi. 42, incrcmentum glorificati in to Dti. 
* E.g. Trin. ix. 4, x. 7. 

1 Tr. in Ps. lxii. 3; cf. Comm. in Matt. xvi. 5. 
8 Tr. in Ps. Ivi. 7, liii. 5. We must remember the importance 
of names in Hilary's eyes. They are not arbitrary symbols, but 

belong essentially to the objects which they signify. Hnd there 
been no sin, from which man needed to be saved, he would still 
have required raising to this name and nature. 

9 lb. cxviii., Altph, 1, cxxxi. 6. * lb. cxxxi. 23. 

a Trin. iii. g. 3 Farster, op. cit. 


purpose of uniting man to Himself. He does not estimate the condescension of Christ 
by the distance which separates the Sinless from the sinful. To his wider thought sin is 
not the cause of that great sequence of Divine acts of grace, but a disturbing factor which 
has modified its course. The measure of the love of God in Christ is the infinity He 
overpassed in uniting the Creator with the creature. 

But before we approach the practical theology of Hilary something must be said of 
his teaching concerning the Third Person of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit 
is little developed in his writings. The cause was, in part, his sympathy with Eastern 
thought. The West, in this as in some other respects, was in advance of the contemporary 
Greeks ; but Hilary was too independent to accept conclusions which were as yet un- 
reasoned*. But a stronger reason was that the doctrine was not directly involved in the 
Arian controversy. On the main question, as we have seen, he kept an open mind, and 
was prepared to modify from time to time the terms in which he stated the Divinity of our 
Lord ; but in other respects he was often strangely archaic. Such is the case here ; Hilary's 
is a logical position, but the logical process has been arrested. There is nothing in his 
words concerning the Holy Spirit inconsistent with the later definitions of faith s, and it 
would be unfair to blame him because, in the course of a strenuous life devoted to the 
elucidation and defence of other doctrines, he found no time to develope this ; unfair also 
to blame him for not recognising its full importance. In his earlier days, and while he 
was in alliance with the Semiarians, there was nothing to bring this doctrine prominently 
before his mind ; in his later life it still lay outside the range of controversy, so far as he 
was concerned. Hilary, in fact, preferred like Athanasius to rest in the indefinite terms 
of the original Nicene Creed, the confession of which ended with the simple 'And in the 
Holy Ghost.' But there was a further and practical reason for his reserve. It was a con- 
stant taunt of the Arians that the Catholics worshipped a plurality of Gods. The frequency 
and emphasis with which Hilary denies that Christians have either two Gods or one God 
in solitude proves that he regarded this plausible assertion as one of the most dangerous 
weapons wielded by heresy. It was his object, as a skilful disputant, to bring his whole 
forces to bear upon them, and this in a precisely limited field of battle. To import the 
question of the Holy Spirit into the controversy might distract his reader's attention from 
the main issue, and afford the enemy an opening for that evasion which he constantly 
accuses them of attempting. Hence, in part, the small space allowed to so important 
a theme ; and hence the avoidance, which we noticed, of the very word ' Trinity.' The 
Arians made the most of their argument about two Gods ; Hilary would not allow them 
the opportunity of imputing to the faithful a belief in three. This might not have been 
a sufficient inducement, had it stood alone, but the encouragement which he received 
from Origen's vagueness, representative as it was of the average theology of the third 
century, must have predisposed him to give weight to the practical consideration. Yet 
Hilary has not avoided a formal statement of his belief. In Trin. ii. §§ 29 — 35, which is, 
as we saw, part of a summary statement of the Christian Faith, he sets it forth with Scripture 
proofs. But he shows clearly, by the short space he allows to it, that it is not in his eyes 
of co-ordinate importance with the other truths of which he treats. And the curious language 
in which he introduces the subject, in § 29, seems to imply that he throws it in to satisfy 
others rather than from his own sense of its necessary place in such a statement. The 
doctrine, as he here defines it, is that the Holy Spirit undoubtedly exists ; the Father and 
the Son are the Authors of His being, and, since He is joined with Them in our confession, 

4 Cf. Harnack, Dogmengesch. ii. 281. But Harnack is unjust I 5 Gwatkin, Studies of Arianism, p. 206 ft. ' Hilary's belief 
in saying that Hilary had not made up his own mind. 1 in the deity of the Holy Spirit is hardly more doubtful than 

St. John's : yet he nowhere states it in so many words.' 

g 2 



He cannot, without mutilation of the Faith, be separated from Them. The fact that He 
is given to us is. a further proof of His existence. Yet the title 'Spirit' is often used 
both for Father and for Son; in proof of this St. John iv. 24 and 2 Cor. iii. 17 are cited. 
Yet the Holy Spirit has a personal 6 existence and a special office in relation to us. It 
is through Him that we know God. Our nature is capable of knowing Him, as the eye 
is capable of sight; and the gift of the Spirit is to the soul what the gift of light is to 
the eye. Again, in xii. §§ 55, 56, the subject is introduced, as if by an after thought, and 
even more briefly than in the second book. As he has refused to style the Son a creature, 
so he refuses to give that name to the Spirit, Who has gone forth from God, and been sent 
by Christ. The Son is the Only-begotten, and therefore he will not say that the Spirit 
was begotten ; yet he cannot call Him a creature, for the Spirit's knowledge of the mysteries 
of God, of which He is the Interpreter to men, is the proof of His oneness in nature with 
God. The Spirit speaks unutterable things and is ineffable in His operation. Hilary cannot 
define, yet he believes. It must suffice to say, with the Apostle, simply that He is the 
Spirit of God. The tone of § 56 seems that of silent rebuke to some excess of definition, 
as he would deem it, of which he had heard. To these passages must be added another 
in Trin. viii. 19 f., where the possession by Father and Son of one Spirit is used in proof 
of Their own unity. But in this passage there occur several instances of Hilary's character- 
istic vagueness. As in ii. 30, so here we are told that 'the Spirit' may mean Father or 
Son as well as Holy Ghost 7, and instances are given where the word has one or other 
of the two first- significations. Thus we must set a certain number of passages where 
a reference in Scripture to the Holy Spirit is explained away against a number, certainly 
no greater, in which He is recognised : and in the latter we notice a strong tendency to 
understate the truth. For though we are expressly told that the Spirit is not a creature, 
that He is from the Father through the Son, is of one substance with Them and bears 
the same relation to the One that He bears to the Other 8 , yet Hilary refuses with some 
emphasis and in a conspicuous place, at the very end of the treatise, to call Him God. 
But both groups of passages, those in which the Holy Ghost is recognised and those in 
which reason is given for non-recognition, are more than counterbalanced by a multitude 
in which, no doubt for the controversial reason already mentioned, the Holy Spirit is left 
unnamed, though it would have been most natural that allusion should be made to Him 9. 
We find in Hilary ' the premisses from which the Divinity of the Holy Ghost is the necessary 
conclusion l ; ' and there is reason to believe that he would have stated the doctrine of the 
Procession in the Western, not in the Eastern, form 2 ; but we find a certain willingness 
lo keep the doctrine in the background, which sufficiently indicates a failure to grasp its 
cardinal importance, and is, however natural in his circumstances and however interesting 
as evidence of his mode of thought, a blemish to the Dc Trinitate, if we seek in it a balanced 
exposition of the Faith 3. 

We may now turn to the practical teaching of Hilary. Henceforth he will be no 
longer the compiler of the best Latin handbook of the Arian controversy, or the some- 
what unsystematic investigator of unexplored regions of theology. We shall find him 

6 If the word may be admitted for the sake of clearness. 
Hilary never calls the Spirit a Person. 

7 §§ 23, 25, 30; so also ix. 69 and notably in x. 16. Similarly 
in Comm in Matt. iii. I, the Spirit means Christ. 

8 Trin. viii. 20, ix. 73 fin., and especially ii. 4. This last is 
not a reference to the Macedonian heresy, but to the logical 
result of Arianism. 

9 Trin. i. 17, v. I, 35, vii. 8, 31, viii. 31, 36, x. 6 Ac. 
1 Baltzer, Thcologit des hi. Hilarius, p. 51. 

3 Trin. viii. 21, xii. 55. 

3 The work by Tertullian in which the doctrine of the Spirit 
is most fully brought out; in which, in fact, He is first expressly 
named God, is the Adversus Praxean. It was written after his 
secession from the Church, and Hilary, upon whom it had more 
influence than any other of Tertullian's writings, may have sus- 
pected that this teaching was the expression of his Montanisra 
rather than a legitimate deduction from Scripture, and so have 
been misled by over caution. He may also have been influenced 
by such Biblical passages as Rev. xiv. 1, where the Spirit is 



often accepting the common stock of Christian ideas of his age, without criticism or attempt 
at improvement upon them ; often paraphrasing in even more emphatic language emphatic 
and apparently contradictory passages of Scripture, without any effort after harmony or balance. 
Yet sometimes we shall find him anticipating on one page the thoughts of later theologians, 
while on another he is content to repeat the views upon the same subject which had 
satisfied an earlier generation. His doctrine, where it is not traditional, is never more than 
tentative, and we must not be surprised, we must even expect, to find him inconsistent 
with himself. 

No subject illustrates this inconsistency better than that of sin, of which Hilary gives 
two accounts, the one Eastern and traditional, the other an anticipation of Augustinianism. 
These are never compared and weighed the one against the other. In the passages where 
each appears, it is adduced confidently, without any reservation or hint that he is aware 
of another explanation of the facts of experience. The more usual account is that which 
is required by Hilary's doctrine of the separate creation of every human soul, which is 
good, because it is God's immediate work, and has a natural tendency to, and fitness for, 
perfection. Because God, after Whose image man is made, is free, therefore man also is 
free; he has absolute liberty, and is under no compulsion to good or to evil 4. The sin 
which God foresees, as in the case of Esau, He does not foreordains. Punishment never 
follows except upon sin actually committed ; the elect are they who show themselves worthy 
of election 6 . But the human body has defiled the soul ; in fact, Hilary sometimes speaks 
as though sin were not an act of will but an irresistible pressure exerted by the body on the 
soul. If we had no body, he says once, we should have no sin; it is a 'body of death' 
and cannot be pure. This is the spiritual meaning of the ancient law against touching 
a corpse 7. When the Psalmist laments that his soul cleaveth to the ground, his sorrow 
is that it is inseparably attached to a body of earth 8 ; when Job and Jeremiah cursed 
the day of their birth, their anger was directed against the necessity of living surrounded 
by the weaknesses and vices of the flesh, not against the creation of their souls after the 
image of God 9. Such language, if it stood alone, would convict its author of Manicheanism, 
but Hilary elsewhere asserts that the desire of the soul goes half-way to meet the invitation 
of sin 9% and this latter in his normal teaching. Man has a natural proclivity to evil, an 
inherited weakness * which has, as a matter of experience, betrayed all men into actual 
sin, with the exception of Christ 2 . Elsewhere, however, Hilary recognises the possibility, 
under existing conditions, of a sinless life. For David could make the prayer, ' Take from 
me the way of iniquity ; ' of iniquity itself he was guiltless, and only needed to pray against 
the tendency inherent in his bodily nature 3. But such a case is altogether exceptional ; 
ordinary men must confide in the thought that God is indulgent, for He knows our in- 
firmity. He is propitiated by the wish to be righteous, and in His judgment the merits of 
good men outweigh their sins ♦. Hence a prevalent tone of hopefulness about the future 
state of the baptized; even Sodom and Gomorrah, their punishment in history having 
satisfied the righteousness of God, shall ultimately be saved s. Yet God has a perfect, immut- 
able goodness of which human goodness, though real, falls infinitely short, because He is 
steadfast and we are driven by varying impulses 6 . This Divine goodness is the standard 
and the hope set before us. It can only be attained by grace 7, and grace is freely offered. 
But just as the soul, being free, advances to meet sin, so it must advance to meet grace. 
Man must take the first step ; . he must wish and pray for grace, and then perseverance in 

* E.g. Tr. in Ps. ii. 16, li. 23. 5 Ib. lvii. 3. 

* Ib. cxviii., Telh, 4, lxiv. 5. 7 lb. cxviii., Gimel, 3, 4. 
8 lb., Daleth, 1. 9 lb. cxix. 19(12). 9» lb. lxviii. 9. 

1 E.g. ib. cxviii., Aleph, 8, lii. 12. Natura infirmitatis is 
a favourite phrase. 

a E.g. ib. lii. 9, cxviii., Gimel, 12, Vau, 6. 

3 Ib. cxviii. Daleth, 8 ; cf. He, 16. * Ib. lii. 1*. 

5 Ib. lxviii. 22, based on St. Matt. x. 15. 

6 Ib. lii. 11, 12. 

1 E.g. ib. cxviii., Prolog: 2, AUph, 12, Pke, 3. 



faith will be granted him 8 , together with such a measure of the Spirit as he shall desire and 
deserve 9. He will, indeed, be able to do more than he need, as David did when he spared 
and afterwards lamented Saul, his worst enemy, and St. Paul, who voluntarily abstained from 
the lawful privilege of marriage r . Such is Hilary's first account, ' a naive, undeveloped 
mode of thought concerning the origin of sin and the state of man V Its irconsistencies 
are as obvious as their cause, the unguarded homiletical expansion of isolated passages. There 
is no attempt to reconcile man's freedom to be good with the fact of universal sin. The 
theory, so far as it is consistent, is derived from Alexandria, from Clement and Origen. It 
may seem not merely inadequate as theology, but philosophical rather than Christian ; and its 
aim is, indeed, that of strengthening man's sense of moral responsibility and of heightening 
his courage to withstand temptation. But we must remember that Hilary everywhere assumes 
the union between the Christian and Christ. While this union exists there is always the 
power of bringing conduct into conformity with His will. Conduct, then, is, comparatively 
speaking, a matter of detail. Sins of action and emotion do not necessarily sever the union; 
a whole system of casuistry might be built upon Hilary's foundation. But false thoughts 
of God violate the very principle of union between Him and man. However abstract they 
may seem and remote from practical life, they are an insuperable barrier. For intellectual 
harmony, as well as moral, is necessary ; and error of belief, like a key moving in a lock 
with whose wards it does not correspond, forbids all access to the nature and the grace 
of God. A good example of his relative estimate of intellectual and moral offences occurs 
in the Homily on Psalm i. §§ 6 — 8, where it is noteworthy that he does not trace back the 
former to moral causes 3. 

Against these, the expressions of Hilary's usual opinion, must be set others in which he 
anticipates the language of St. Augustine in the Pelagian controversy. But certain deductions 
must be made, before we can rightly judge the weight of his testimony on the side of original 
sin. Passages where he is merely amplifying the words of Scripture must be excluded, as 
also those which are obviously exhibitions of unguarded rhetoric. For instance such words 
as these, ' Ever since the sin and unbelief of our first parent, we of later generations have 
had sin for the father of our body and unbelief for the mother of our soul V contradicting 
as they do Hilary's well-known theory of the origin of the soul, cannot be regarded as giving 
his deliberate belief concerning sin. Again, we must be careful not to interpret strong 
language concerning the body (e.g. Tr. in Ps. cxviii., Caph, $fin), as though it referred to our 
whole complex manhood. But after all deductions a good deal of strong Augustinianism 
remains. In the person of Adam God created all mankind, and all are implicated in his 
downfall, which was not only the beginning of evil but is a continuous power 5 . Not only 
as a matter of experience, is no man sinless, but no man can, by any possibility, be free from 
sin 6 . Because of the sin of one sentence is passed upon all?; the sentence of slavery which 
is so deep a degradation that the victim of sin forfeits even the name of man 8 . But Hilary 
not only states the doctrine; he approaches very nearly, on rare occasions, to the term 
'original sin 9.' It follows that nothing less than a regeneration, the free gift of God, will 
avail l ; and the grace by which the Christian must be maintained is also His spontaneous 

8 Tr. in Ps. cxviii., He, 12, Nun, 20. But in the former pas- 
sage the perseverance also depends upon the Christian. 

9 Trin. ii. 35- 

1 Tr. in Ps. cxviii., Nun, 11 f. 
» Forster, loc cit. 

3 So also the sin against the Holy Ghost is primarily intel- 
Itctual, not ethical ; Comm. in Matt. v. 15, xii. 17. 
A lb. X. 23. 

5 Trin. iv. 21 ; Tr. in Ps. lxvi. 2 ; Com?n. in Matt, xviii. 6. 

6 Tr. in Ps. cxviii., He, 16. 

1 Tr. in Ps. lix. 4 in. 

8 lb. cxlii. 6, cxviii., Iod, 2. In regard to the latter passage 
we must remember once more what importance Hilary attaches 
to names. 

9 Comm. in Matt. x. 24, originis nostra peccata; Tr. in Ps. 
cxviii., Tau, 6, scit sub peccati origine et sub peccati lege se esse 
nation. Other passages must be cited from quotations in St. 
Augustine, but Forster, p. 676, has given reason for doubting 
Hilary'6 authorship. 

1 E.g. Comm. in Matt. x. 34. 


and unconditional gift. Faith, knowledge, Christian life, all have their origin and their 
maintenance from Him 2 . Such is a brief statement of Hilary's position as a forerunner of 
St. Augustine. The passages cited are scattered over his writings, from the earliest to the 
latest, and there is no sign that the more modern view was gaining ground in his mind as his 
judgment ripened. He had no occasion to face the question, and was content to say 
whatever seemed obviously to arise from the words under discussion, or to be most profitable 
to his au Hence. His Augustinianism, if it may be called so, is but one of many instances 
of originality, a thought thrown out but not developed. It is a symptom of revolt against the 
inadequate views of older theologians; but it had more influence upon the mind of his great 
successor than upon his own. Dealing, as he did, with the subject in hortatory writings, 
hardly at all, and only incidentally, in his formal treatise on the Trinity, he preferred to regard 
it as a matter of morals rather than of doctrine. And the dignity of man, impressed upon 
him by the great Alexandrians, seemed to demand for humanity the fullest liberty. 

We may now turn to the Atonement, by which Christ has overcome sin. Hilary's 
language concerning it is, as a rule, simply Scriptural 3. He had no occasion to discuss the 
doctrine, and his teaching is that which was traditional in his day, without any such 
anticipations of future thought as we found in his treatment of sin. Since the humanity 
of Christ is universal, His death was on behalf of all mankind, ' to buy the salvation of 
the whole human race by the offering of this holy and perfect Victim ♦.' His last cry 
upon the Cross was the expression of His sorrow that some would not profit by His 
sacrifice; that He was not, as He had desired, bearing the sins of alls. He was able 
to take them upon Him because He had both natures. His manhood could do what 
His Godhead could not ; it could atone for the sins of men. Man had been overcome 
by Satan ; Satan, in his turn, has been overcome by Man. In the long conflict, enduring 
through Christ's life, of which the first pitched battle was the Temptation, the last the 
Crucifixion, the victory has been won by the Mediator in the flesh 6 . The devil was in the 
wrong throughout. He was deceived, or rather deceived himself, not recognising what it 
was for which Christ hungered ?. The same delusion as to Christ's character led him 
afterwards to exact the penalty of sin from One Who had not deserved it 8 . Thus the 
human sufferings of Christ, unjustly inflicted, involve His enemy in condemnation and 
forfeit his right to hold mankind enslaved. Therefore we are set free', and the sinless 
Passion and death are the triumph of the flesh over spiritual wickedness and the vengeance 
of God upon it l . Man is set free, because he is justified in Christ, Who is Man. But 
the fact that Christ could do the works necessary to this end is proof that He is God. 
These works included the endurance of such suffering — in the sense, of course, which 
Hilary attaches to the word — as no one who was not more than man could bear. 
Hence he emphasises the Passion, because in so doing he magnifies the Divine nature 
of Him Who sustained it 2 . He sets forth the sufferings in the light of deeds, of displays 
of power 3, the greatest wonder being that the Son of God should have made Himself 
passible. Yet though it was from union with the Godhead that His humanity possessed 
the purity, the willingness, the power to win this victory, and though, in Hilary's words 
it was immortal God Who died upon the Cross, still it was a victory won not by God 
but by the flesh 4. But the Passion must not be regarded simply as an attack, ending 
in his own overthrow, made by Satan upon Christ. It is also a free satisfaction offered to 
God by Christ as Man, in order that His sufferings might release us from the punishment 
we had deserved, being accepted instead of ours s. This latter was a thought peculiarly 

2 Tr. in Ps. cxviii., Vau, 4, Lamed, 1 ; cf. Nun, 20. 

3 E.g. Trin. ix. 10; Tr. in Ps. cxxix. 9. 

4 Tr. in Ps. liii. 13 Jin. 5 Comm. in Matt, xxxiii. 6. 
6 Ib - "'• 2 7 lb. iii. 3. 8 Tr. in Ps. lxviii. 8. 

9 Tr. in Ps. lxi. 2. 
3 E.g. ib. x. 11. 
5 E.g. Tr. in Ps. 
Ixiv. 4. 

* Trin. ix. 7. * E.g. Trin. x. 23, 47 in. 

4 Comm. in Matt. iii. 2. 
liii. 12, 13 (translated in this volume) 



characteristic of the West, and especially of St. Cyprian's teaching ; but Hilary has had 
his share in giving prominence to the propitiatory aspect of Christ's self-sacrifice 6 . Yet 
it must be confessed that the death of Christ is somewhat in the background ; that Hilary 
is less interested in its positive value than in its negative aspect, as the cessation from earthly 
life and the transition to glory. Upon this, and upon the evidential importance of the 
Passion as a transcendent exertion of power, whereby the Son of God held Himself down 
and constrained Himself to suffer and die, Hilary chiefly dwells. The death has not, in his 
eyes, the interest of the Resurrection. The reason is that it does not belong to the course of 
the Incarnation as fore-ordained by God, but is only a modification of it, rendered necessary 
by the sinful self-will of man. Had there been no Fall, the visible, palpable flesh would 
still have been laid aside, though not by death upon the Cross, when Christ's work in the 
world was done ; and there would have been some event corresponding to the Ascension, if 
not to the Resurrection. The body, laid aside on earth, would have been resumed in glory ; 
and human flesh, unfallen and therefore not corrupt, yet free and therefore corruptible, would 
have entered into perfectly harmonious union with His Divinity, and so have been rendered 
safe from all possibility of evil. The purpose of raising man to the society of God was 
anterior to the beginnings of sin ; and it is this broader conception that renders the Passion 
itself intelligible, while relegating it to a secondary place. But Hilary, though as a rule 
he mentions the subject not for its own sake but in the course of argument, has as firm 
a faith in the efficacy of Christ's death and of His continued intercession in His humanity 
for mankind 7 as he has in His triumphant Resurrection. 

In regard to the manner in which man is to profit by the Atonement, Hilary shews 
the same inconsistency as in the case of sin. On the one hand, he lays frequent stress 
on knowledge concerning God and concerning the nature of sin as the first conditions 
of salvation; on the other, he insists, less often yet with equal emphasis, upon its being 
God's spontaneous gift to men, to be appropriated only by faith. We have already seen 
that one of Hilary's positions is that man must take the first step towards God; that if 
we will make the beginning He will give the increase 8 . This increase is the knowledge 
of God imparted to willing minds 9, which lifts them up to piety. He states strongly the 
superiority of knowledge to faith ; — "■ There is a certain greater effectiveness in knowledge 
than in faith. Thus the writer here did not believe; he knew 1 . For faith has the reward 
of obedience, but it has not the assurance of ascertained truth. The Apostle has indicated 
the breadth of the interval between the two by putting the latter in the lower place in his 
list of the gifts of graces. ' To the first wisdom, to the next knowledge, to the third faith ' 
is his message 2 ; for he who believes may be ignorant even while he believes, but he who 
has come to know is saved by his possession of knowledge from the very possibility of 
unbelief 3 ." This high estimation of sound knowledge was due, no doubt, to the intellectual 
character of the Arian conflict, in which each party retorted upon the other the charge 
of ignorance and folly ; and it must have been confirmed by the observation that some 
who were conspicuous for the misinterpretation of Scripture were notorious also for moral 
obliquity. There was, however, that deeper reason which influenced all Hilary's thought ; 
the conviction that if there is to be any harmony, any understanding between God and 
the soul of man, it must be a perfect harmony and understanding. And knowledge is 
pre-eminently the sphere in which this is possible, for the revelation of God is clear and 
precise, and unmistakeable in its import*. But there was another, a directly practical 

• Cf. Harnack, ii. 177 ; Schwane, ii. 271. 

7 E.g. Tr. in Ps. liii. 4. 

8 Cf. p. \xxxv.Jin. In Tr. in Ps. cxviii., Nun, ao, Hilary 
says 'the reward of the consummation attained depends upon the 
initiative of the will ;' so also Trin. i it 

9 Tr. in Ps. ii. 40. 

1 Hilary is commenting on the words, ' I know, O Lord, that 
Thy judgments are right.' 

a 1 Cor. xii. 8. » Tr. in Ps. cxviii.! Iod, is. 

4 E.g. Trin. x. 70, xi. 1. 



reason for this insistence. Apprehension of Divine truths is the unfailing test of a Christian 
mind ; conduct changes and faith varies in intensity, but the facts of religion remain the 
same, and the believer can be judged by his attitude towards them. Hence we cannot 
be surprised that Hilary maintains the insufficiency of ' simplicity of faith,' and ranks its 
advocates with heathen philosophers who regard purity of life as a substitute for religion. 
God, he says, has provided copious knowledge, with which we cannot dispense s . But 
this knowledge is to embrace not only the truth concerning God, but also concerning the 
realities of human life. It is to be a knowledge of the fact that sins have been committed 
and an opening of the eyes to their enormity 6 . This will be followed by confession to God, 
by the promise to Him that we will henceforth regard sin as He regards it, and by the 
profession of a firm purpose to abandon it. Here again the starting-point is human 
knowledge. When the right attitude towards sin, intellectually and therefore morally, 
has been assumed, when there is the purpose of amendment and an earnest and successful 
struggle against sensual and worldly temptations, then we shall become ' worthy of the 
favour of God ?.' In this light confession is habitually regarded 8 ; it is a voluntary moral 
act, a self-enlightenment to the realities of sin, necessarily followed by repugnance and 
the effort to escape, and antecedent to Divine pardon and aid. But in contrast to this, 
Hilary's normal judgment, there are passages where human action is put altogether in 
the background. Forgiveness is the spontaneous bounty of God, overflowing from the 
riches of His loving-kindness, and faith the condition of its bestowal and the means by 
which it is appropriated °. Even the Psalmist, himself perfect in all good works, prayed 
for mercy; he put his whole trust in God, and so must we 1 . And faith precedes knowledge 
also, which is unattainable except by the believer 2 . Salvation does not come first, and 
then faith, but through faith is the hope of salvation ; the blind man believed before he 
saw 3. Here again, as in the case of sin, we have two groups of statements without attempt 
at reconciliation; but that which lays stress upon human initiative is far more numerous than 
the other, and must be regarded as expressing Hilary's underlying thought in his exhortations 
to Christian conduct, to his doctrine of which we may now turn. 

We must first premise that Christ's work as our Example as well as our Saviour is 
fully recognised. Many of his deeds on earth were done by way of dispensation, in order 
to set us a pattern of life and thought*. Christian life has, of course, its beginning in 
the free gift of Baptism, with the new life and the new faculties then bestowed, which 
render possible the illumination of the soul s. Hilary, as was natural at a time when 
Baptism was often deferred by professed Christians, and there were many converts from 
paganism, seems to contemplate that of adults as the rule ; and he feels it necessary to 
warn them that their Baptism will not restore them to perfect innocence. In fact, by 
a strange conjecture tentatively made, he once suggests that our Baptism is that wherewith 
John baptized our Lord, and that the Baptism of the Holy Ghost awaits us hereafter, 
in cleansing fires beyond the grave or in the purification of martyrdom 6 . Hilary nowhere 
says in so many words that while Baptism abolishes sins previously committed, alms and 
other good deeds perform a similar office for later offences, but his view, which will be 
presently stated, concerning good works shews that he agreed in this respect with St. Cyprian ; 
neither, however, would hold that the good works were sufficient in ordinary cases without 

5 Tr. in Ps. cxviii., prolog. 4. 

6 lb. cxxxv. 3 ; con/essio is paraphrased by pro/tssa cognitio. 
Similar language is used in cxxxvii. 2 f. 

t lb. ii. 38; cf. Hi. 12 in., cxix. 11 (4). 

8 It is always confession to God directly. There is no hint 
of public or ceremonial confession, or of absolution. Rut Hilary's 
abstinence from allusion to the practical system of the Church 
is so complete that no argument can ever be drawn from his 

silence as to the existence, or the importance in his eyes, of her 

9 Tr. in Ps. lxvi. 2, Ivi. 3. 

1 lb. cxviii., Koph, 6. 

2 Trin. i. 12. 3 Comm. in Matt. ix. 9. 
* E.g. Tr. in Ps. liii. 7. 5 E.g. Trin. i 18. 

6 Tr. in Ps. cxviii., Gimcl, 5. Hilary never mentions Con- 



the further purification. Martyrdoms had, of course, ceased in Hilary's day throughout 
the Roman empire, but it is interesting to observe that the old opinion, which had such 
power in the third century, still survived. The Christian, then, has need for fear, but 
he has a good hope, for all the baptized while in this world are still in the land of the 
living, and can only forfeit their citizenship by wilful and persistent unworthiness 7. The 
means for maintaining the new life of effort is the Eucharist, which is equally necessary 
with Baptism 8 . But the Eucharist is one of the many matters of practical importance 
on which Hilary is almost silent, having nothing new to say, and being able to assume 
that his readers and hearers were well informed and of one mind with himself. His reticence 
is never a proof that he regarded them with indifference. 

The Christian life is thus a life of hope and of high possibilities. But Hilary frankly 
and often recognises the serious short-comings of the average believers of his day 9. Some- 
times, in his zeal for their improvement and in the wish to encourage his flock, he even 
seems to condone their faults, venturing to ascribe to God what may almost be styled 
mere good-nature, as when he speaks of God, Himself immutable, as no stern Judge 
of our changefulness, but rather appeased by the wish on our part for better things than 
angry because we cannot perform impossibilities. But in this very passage I he holds 
up for our example the high attainment of the Saints, explaining that the Psalmist's 
words, ' There is none that doeth good, no not one,' refer only to those who are altogether 
gone out of the way and become abominable, and not to all mankind. Indeed, holding 
as he does that all Christians may have as much grace from God as they will take 2 , 
and that the conduct which is therefore possible is also necessary to salvation, he could 
not consistently maintain the lower position. In fact, the standard of life which Hilary 
sets in the Homilies on the Psalms is very high. Cleanness of hand and heart is the 
first object at which we must aim 3, and the Law of God must be our delight. This is 
the lesson inculcated throughout his discourses on Psalm cxix. He recognises the complexity 
of life, with its various duties and difficulties, which are, however, a privilege inasmuch 
as there is honour to be won by victory over them * ; and he takes a common-sense view 
of our powers and responsibilities s. But though his tone is buoyant and life in his eyes 
is well worth living for the Christian 6 , he insists not merely upon a general purity of 
life, but upon renunciation of worldly pleasures. Like Cyprian, he would apparently have 
the wealthy believer dispose of his capital and spend his income in works of charity, 
without thought of economy 7. Like Cyprian, again, he denounces the wearing of gold 
and jewellery 8 , and the attendance at public places of amusement. Higher interests, spiritual 
and intellectual, must take the place of such dissipation. Sacred melody will be more 
attractive than the immodest dialogue of the theatre, and study of the course of the stars 
a more pleasing pursuit than a visit to the racecourse 9. Yet strictly and even sternly 
Christian as Hilary is, he does not allow us altogether to forget that his is an age with 
another code than ours. Vengeance with him is a Christian motive. He takes with 
absolute literalness the Psalmist's imprecations r . Like every other emotion which he 
expresses, that of delight at the punishment of evil doers ought to have a place in the 
Christian soul. This was an inheritance from the days of persecution, which were still 
within the memory of living men. Cyprian often encourages the confessors to patience 
by the prospect of seeing the wrath of God upon their enemies ; but he never gives so 

7 Tr. inPs. li. 16, 17. 

8 E.g. ib. cxxxi. 23; Trin. viii. 13. The latter is the only 
passage in Hilary's writings in which the subject is discussed 
at length ; and even here it is not introduced for its own sake. 

9 E.g. Tr. in Ps. i. g(., cxviii., Koph, 6. Conduct in church 
was not more exemplary than outside. The most innocent em- 
ployment which he attributes to many of his people during the 

reading of the lessons is the casting up of their business accounts, 
Tr. in Ps. exxxv. 1. 

1 Tr. in Ps. Hi. 9 — 12. * Trin. ii. 35. 

3 Tr. in Ps. cxviii., Aleph, 1. 4 lb. Phe, 9. 

S lb. i. 12. 6 E.g. Trin. i. 14, vi. 19. 

7 Ib. li. 21. 8 Ib. cxviii., Ain, 16, 17. 

9 lb., He, 14. » E.g. ib. liii. 10. 


strong expression to the feeling as Hilary does, when he enforces obedience to our Lord's 
command to turn the other cheek by the consideration that fuller satisfaction will be 
gained if the wrong be stored up against the Day of Judgment 2 . There is something hard 
and Puritan in the tone which Hilary has caught from the men of the times of persecution ; 
. Mid his conflict with heretics gave him ample opportunity for indulgence in the thought 
of vengeance upon them. This was no mere pardonable excitement of feeling; it was 
a Christian duty and privilege to rejoice in the future destruction of his opponents. But 
there is an even stranger difference between his standard and ours. Among the difficulties 
ot keeping in the strait and narrow way he reckons that of truthfulness. A lie, he says, 
is often necessary, and deliberate falsehood sometimes useful 3. We may mislead an assassin, 
and so enable his intended victim to escape ; our testimony may save a defendant who 
is in peril in the courts; we may have to cheer a sick man by making light of his 
ailment Such are the cases in which the Apostle says that our speech is to be 
'seasoned with salt.' It is not the lie that is wrong; the point of conscience is whether 
or no it will inflict injury upon another. Hilary is not alone in taking falsehood lightly *, 
and allowance must be made for the age in which he lived. And his words cast light 
upon the history of the time. The constant accusations made against the character and 
conduct of theological opponents, which are so painful a feature of the controversies of 
the early centuries, find their justification in the principle which Hilary has stated. No 
harm was done, rather a benefit was conferred upon mankind, if a false teacher could be 
discredited in a summary and effective manner; such was certainly a thought which 
presented itself to the minds of combatants, both orthodox and heterodox. Apart from 
these exceptions, which, however, Hilary would not have regarded as such, his standard 
of life, as has been said, is a high one both in faith and in practice, and his exhortation 
is full of strong common sense. It is, however, a standard set for educated people ; there 
is little attention paid to those who are safe from the dangers of intellect and wealth. The 
worldliness which he rebukes is that of the rich and influential ; and his arguments are 
addressed to the reading class, as are his numerous appeals to his audience in the 
Homilies on the Psalms to study Scripture for themselves. Indeed, his advice to them 
seems to imply that they have abundant leisure for spiritual exercises and for reflection. 
But he does not simply ignore the illiterate, still mostly pagans, for the work of St. Martin 
of Tours only began, as we saw, in Hilary's last days ; in one passage at least he speaks 
with the scorn of an ancient philosopher of ' the rustic mind,' which will fail to find the 
meaning of the Psalms 5 . 

Hilary is not content with setting a standard which his flock must strive to reach. 
He would have them attain to a higher level than is commanded, and at the same time 
constantly remember that they are failing to perform their duty to God. This higher 
life is set before his whole audience as their aim. He recognises the peculiar honour 
of the widow and the virgin 6 , but has singularly little to say about these classes of the 
Christian community, or about the clergy, and no special counsel for them. The works 
of supererogation — the word is not his — which he preaches are within the reach of all 
Christians. They consist in the more perfect practice of the ordinary virtues. King 

2 Tr. in Ps. cxxxvii. 16. Cf. Trin. x. 55, where he refuses does not represent his mouthpiece as a model of virtue. It is 
to believe that it was with real sorrow that our Lord wept over more significant that Tertullian, Pud. 19, classes breach of trust 
Jerusalem, that godless and murderous city. His tears were a I and lying among slight sins which may happen to any one any 
' dispensa-lion.' [day. This was in his strictest and most censorious period. There 

3 Tr. in Ps. xiv. 10, est enim ?iecessarium flerumque men- ' are grave difficulties in reconciling some of Cyprian's statements 
daciion , ct nonnunquam fahitas utilis est. The latter apparently concerning his opponents with one another and with probability, 
refers to his second example. but he has not ventured upon any general extenuation ol the vice. 

* Hermas, Mand, iii. 3 f confesses to wholesale lying; he had I 5 Tr. in Ps. cxxxiv. 1. 
never heard that it was wrong. But the writer of the Shepherd 6 lb. cxxxi. 24, cxxvii. 7, and especially cxviii., Nun, 14. 



David 'was not content henceforth to be confined to the express commands of the Law, 

nor to be subject to a mere necessity of obedience.' ' The Prophet prays that these 

free-will offerings may be acceptable to God, because the deeds done in compliance to 

the Law's edict are performed under the actual compulsion of servitude ?. As an instance 

he gives the character of David. His duty was to be humble ; he made himself humble 

exceedingly, thus doing more than he was legally bound to do. He spared his enemies 

so far as in him lay, and bewailed their death ; this was a free service to which he 

was bound by no compulsion. Such conduct places those who practice it on the same 

level with those whose lives are formally consecrated ; the state of the latter beino- 

regarded, as always in early times, as admirable in itself, and not as a means towards 

higher things. Vigils and fasts and acts of mercy are the methods advocated by Hilary 

for such attainment. But they must not stand alone, nor must the Christian put his 

trust in them. Humility must have faith for its principle, and fasting be combined with 

charity 8 . And the Christian must never forget that though he may in some respects 

be doing more than he need, yet in others he is certainly falling short. For the conflict 

is unceasing ; the devil, typified by the mountains in the Psalm, has been touched by God 

and is smoking, but is not yet burning and powerless for mischiefs. Hence there is 

constant danger lest the Christian fall into unbelief or unfruitfulness, sins equally fatal * • 

he must not trust in himself, either that he can deserve forgiveness for the past or resist 

future temptations 2 . Nor may he dismiss his past offences from his memory. It can never 

cease to be good for us to confess our former sins, even though we have become righteous. 

St. Paul did not allow himself to forget that he had persecuted the Church of God 3. 

But there is a further need than that of penitence. Like Cyprian before him and Augustine 

after him, Hilary insists upon the value of alms in the sight of God. The clothing of 

the naked, the release of the captive plead with God for the remission of our sins * j and 

the man who redeems his faults by alms is classed among those who win His favour, 

with the perfect in love and the blameless in faith s. 

Thus the thought of salvation by works greatly preponderates over that of salvation 
by grace. Hilary is fearful of weakening man's sense of moral responsibility by dwelling 
too much upon God's work which, however, he does not fail to recognise. Of the two 
great dangers, that of faith and that of life, the former seemed to him the more serious. 
God's requirements in that respect were easy of fulfilment; He had stated the truth and 
He expected it to be unhesitatingly accepted. But if belief, being an exertion of the will, 
was easy, misbelief must be peculiarly and fatally wicked. The confession of St. Peter, 
the foundation upon which the Church is built, is that Christ is God 6 ; the sin against 
the Holy Ghost is denial of this truth?. These are the highest glory and the deepest 
shame of man. It does not seem that Hilary regarded any man, however depraved, as 
beyond hope so long as he did not dispute this truth; he has no code of mortal sins. 
But heresy concerning Christ, whatever the conduct and character of the heretic, excludes 
all possibility of salvation, for it necessarily cuts him off from the one Faith and the one 
Church which are the condition and the sphere of growth towards perfection; and the 

7 Tr. in Ps. cxviii., Nun, 13, 15. It is in this passage that 
Hilary gives his views most fully. His antithesis is between 
legititna and voluntaria. 

8 I.e. Nun, 14, Comm. in Matt. v. 2. In the latter passage 
there is a piece of practical advice which shews that public fnsts 
were generally recognised. Hilary tells his readers that they 
must not take literally our Lord's command to anoint themselves 
when they fast. If they do, they will render themselves con- 
spicuous and ridiculous. The passage, Comm. in Matt, xxvii. 
5,6, on the parables of the Virgins with their lamps and of the 
Talents cannot be taken, as by Koriter, as evidence that Hilary 

rejected the later doctrine of the supererogatory righteousness 
of the Saints. He is speaking of the impossibility of conlenv 
poraries conveying righteousness to one another in the present 
life, and his words have no bearing on that doctrine. 

9 Tr. in Ps. cxliii. II. * Ib. li. 16. 

a E.g. ib. lxi. 6, cxviii., He, 12, Nun, 20, Koph, 6. 

3 Ib. exxxv. 4. * Ib. li. 21. 

5 Ib. cxviii., Lamed, 15. Similar passages are fairly numer- 
ous ; e.g. Comm. in Matt. iv. 26. 

* Trin. vi. 36. 

7 Comm. in Matt. xii. 17, xxxi. 5. 


severance is just, because misbelief is a wilful sin. Since, then, compliance or non-com- 
pliance with one of God's demands, that for faith in His revelation, depends upon the 
will, it was natural that Hilary should lay stress upon the importance of the will in regard 
to God's other demand, that for a Christian life. This was, in a sense, a lighter requirement, 
for various degrees of obedience were possible. Conduct could neither give nor deny faith, 
but only affect its growth, while without the frank recognition of the facts of religion no 
conduct could be acceptable to God. Life presents to the will a constantly changing series 
of choices between good and evil, while the Faith must be accepted or rejected at once 
and as a whole. It is clear from Hilary's insistence upon this that the difficulties, apart 
from heresy, with which he had to contend resembled those of Mission work in modern 
India. There were many who would accept Christianity as a revelation, yet had not the 
moral strength to live in conformity with their belief. Of such persons Hilary will not 
despair. They have the first essential of salvation, a clear and definite acceptance of 
doctrinal truth ; they have also the offer of sufficient grace, and the free will and power to 
use it And time and opportunity are granted, for the vicissitudes of life form a progressive 
education ; they are, if taken aright, the school, the training-ground for immortality 8 . This 
is because all Christians are in Christ, by virtue of His Incarnation. They are, as St. Paul 
says, complete in Him, furnished with the faith and hope they need. But this is only 
a preparatory completeness ; hereafter they shall be complete in themselves, when the 
perfect harmony is attained and they are conformed to His glory'. Thus to the end the 
dignity and responsibility of mankind is maintained. But it is obvious that Hilary has 
failed to correlate the work of Christ with the work of the Christian. The necessity of His 
guidance and aid, and the manner in which these are bestowed, is sufficiently stated, and 
the duty of the Christian man is copiously and eloquently enforced. But the importance 
of Christ's work within Himself, in harmonising the two natures, has withdrawn most of 
Hilary's attention from His work within the believing soul ; and the impression which 
Hilary's writings leave upon the mind concerning the Saviour and redeemed mankind is 
that of allied forces seeking the same end but acting independently, each in a sphere of 
its own. 

There still remains to be considered Hilary's account of the future state. The human 
soul, being created after the image of God, is imperishable ; resurrection is as inevitable 
as death *. And the resurrection will be in the body, for good and bad alike. The body 
of the good will be glorified, like that of Christ ; its substance will be the same as in the 
present life, its glory such that it will be in all other respects a new body 2 . Indeed, the 
true life of man only begins when this transformation takes place 3. No such change awaits 
the wicked ; we shall all rise, but we shall not all be changed, as St. Paul says 4 . They 
remain as they are, or rather are subjected to a ceaseless process of deterioration, 
whereby the soul is degraded to the level of the body, while this in the case of others is 
raised, either instantly or by a course of purification, to the level of the soul s. Their 
last state is vividly described in language which recalls that of Virgil ; crushed to powder 
and dried to dust they will fly for ever before the wind of God's wrath 6 . For the thoroughly 
good and the thoroughly bad the final state begins at the moment of death. There is no 
judgment for either class, but only for those whose character contains elements of both good 
and evil 7. But perfect goodness is only a theoretical possibility, and Hilary is not certain 
of the condemnation of any except wilful unbelievers. Evil is mingled in varying proportions 
with good in the character of men at large ; God can detect it in the very best. All therefore 

8 Trin. i. 14. 9 lb. ix. 8, commenting on Col. ii. 10. 

» Tr. in Ps. Ii. 18, Ixiii. 9. * lb. ii. 41. 

3 lb. cxviii., Gimel, 3. a lb. Hi. 1- 

S Comm._ in Matt. x. 19. 6 Tr. in Pt. i. 19. 

7 lb. i. 19 ff., translated in this volume. For the good, $e» 
also ib. lvii. 7 ; for the bad, lvii. 5, Trin. vi -\. 


need to be purified after death, if they are to excape condemnation on the Day of Judgment. 
Even the Mother of our Lord needs the purification of pain ; this is the sword which 
should pierce through her soul 8 . All who are infected by sin, the heretic who has erred 
in ignorance among them 9, must pass through cleansing fires after death. Then comes 
the general Resurrection. To the good it brings the final change to perfect glory ; the 
bad will rise only to return to their former place r . The multitude of men will be judged, 
and after the education and purification of suffering to which, by God's mercy, they have 
been submitted, will be accepted by Him. Hilary's writings contain no hint that any who 
are allowed to present themselves on the Day of Judgment will then be rejected. 

We have now completed the survey of Hilary's thoughts. Many of these were 
strange and new to his contemporaries, and his originality, we may be sure, deprived 
him of some of the influence he wished to exert in the controversies of his day. Yet 
he shared the spirit and entered heartily into the interests and conflicts of his age, and 
therefore his thoughts in many ways were different from our own. To this we owe, no 
doubt, the preservation of his works; writings which anticipated modern opinion would 
have been powerless for good in that day, and would not have survived to ours. Thus 
from his own century to ours Hilary has been somewhat isolated and neglected, and even 
misunderstood. Yet he is one of the most notable figures in the history of the early 
Church, and must be numbered among those who have done most to make Christian 
thought richer and more exact. If we would appreciate him aright as one of the builders 
of the dogmatic structure of the Faith, we must omit from the materials of our estimate 
a great part of his writings, and a part which has had a wider influence than any other. 
His interpretation of the letter, though not of the spirit, of Scripture must be dismissed ; 
interesting as it always is, and often suggestive, it was not his own and was a hindrance, 
though he did not see it, to the freedom of his thought. Yet his exegesis in detail is 
often admirable. For instance, it would not be easy to overpraise his insight and courage 
in resisting the conventional orthodoxy, sanctioned by Athanasius in his own generation 
and by Augustine in the next, which interpreted St. Paul's ' First-born of every creature ' 
as signifying the Incarnation of Christ, and not His eternal generation 2 . We must omit 
also much that Hilary borrowed without question from current opinion ; it is his glory 
that he concentrated his attention upon some few questions of supreme importance, and 
his strength, not his weakness, that he was ready to adopt in other matters the best and 
wisest judgments to which he had access. An intelligent, and perhaps ineffective, curiosity 
may keep itself abreast of the thought of the time, to quote a popular phrase ; Hilary 
was content to survey wide regions of doctrine and discipline with the eyes of Origen and 
of Cyprian. This limitation of the interests of a powerful mind has enabled him to pene- 
trate further into the mysteries of the Faith than any of his predecessors ; to points, in fact, 
where his successors have failed to establish themselves. We cannot blame him that 
later theologians, starting where he left off, have in some directions advanced further still. 
The writings of Hilary are the quarry whence many of the best thoughts of Ambrose and 
of Leo are hewn. Eminent and successful as these men were, we cannot rank them with 
Hilary as intellectually his equals ; we may even wonder how many of their conclusions 
they would have drawn had not Hilary supplied the premisses. It is a greater honour 
that the unrivalled genius of Augustine is deeply indebted to him. Nor may we blame 
him, save lightly, for some rashness and error in his speculations. He set out, unwillingly, 
as we know, but not half-heartedly, upon his novel journey of exploration. He had not, 
as we have, centuries of criticism behind him, and could not know that some of the 

8 Tr. in Ps. cxviii., Gimel, la. 9 Trin. vi. 3. l Tr. in Ps. lii. 17, lxix. 3. 

2 Trin. viii. 50 ; Tr. in Ps. ii. 23. Cf. Lightfoot on Col. i. is- 



avenues he followed would lead him astray. It may be that we are sober because we 
are, in a sense, disillusioned; that modern Christian thought which starts from the old 
premisses tends to excess of circumspection. And certainly Hilary would not have earned 
his fame as one of the most original and profound of teachers, whose view of Christology 
is one of the most interesting in the whole of Christian antiquity 3, had he not been in- 
spired by a sense of freedom and of hope in his quest. Yet great as was his genius 
and reverent the spirit in which lie worked, the errors into which he fell, though few, were 
serious. There are instances in which he neglects his habitual balancing of corresponding 
infinities ; as when he shuts his eyes to half the revelation, and asserts that Christ could 
not be ignorant and could not feel pain. And there is that whole system of dispensations 
which he has built up in explanation of Christ's life on earth ; a system against which 
our conscience and our common sense rebel, for it contradicts the plain words of Scripture 
and attributes to God ' a process of Divine reserve which is in fact deception +.' We may 
compare Hilary's method in such cases to the architecture of Gloucester and of Sher- 
borne, where the ingenuity of a later age has connected and adorned the massive and 
isolated columns of Norman date by its own light and graceful drapery of stonework. 
We cannot but admire the result j yet there is a certain concealment of the original de- 
sign, and perhaps a perilous cutting away of the solid structure. But, in justice to Hilary, 
we must remember that in these speculations he is venturing away from the established 
standards of doctrine. When he is enunciating revealed truths, or arguing onward from 
them to conclusions towards which they point, he has the company of the Creeds, or at 
least they indicate the way he must go. But in explaining the connection between doc- 
trine and doctrine he is left to his own guidance. It is as though a traveller, not content 
to acquaint himself with the highroads, should make his way over hedge and ditch from 
one of them to another ; he will not always hit upon the best and straightest course. But 
at least Hilary's conclusions, though sometimes erroneous, were reached by honest and 
reverent reasoning, and neither ancient nor modern theology can afford to reproach him. 
The tendency of the former, especially ofter the rise of Nestorius, was to exaggerate some 
of his errors ; and the latter has failed to develope and enforce some of his highest 

This is, indeed, worthy of all admiration. On the moral side of Christianity we see 
him insisting upon the voluntary character of Christ's work ; upon His acts of will, which 
are a satisfaction to God and an appeal to us s . On the intellectual side we find the 
Unity in Trinity so luminously declared that Bishop French of Lahore, one of the greatest 
of missionaries, had the works of Hilary constantly in his hands, and contemplated a tran- 
slation of the De T?-initate into Arabic for the benefit of Mohammedans 6 . This was not 
because Hilary's explanation of our Lord's sufferings might seem to commend the Gospel 
to their prejudices ; such a concession would have been repugnant to French's whole 
mode of thought. It was because in the central argument on behalf of the Godhead of 
Christ, where he had least scope for originality of thought, Hilary has never suffered him- 
self to become a mere mechanical compiler. The light which he has cast upon his sub- 

3 Dorner, I. ii. 399. 

4 Gore, Dissertations, p. 151. 

5 Schwa-ie, ii. 271, says, 'Though we reject that part of it 
which attributes a natural impassibility to the body of Christ, 
yet Hilary's exposition presents one truth more clearly than the 
earlier Fathers had stated it, by giving to the doctrine of the 
representative satisfaction of Christ its reasonable explanation as 
a free service of satisfaction. He conceives rightly of the Lord's 
whole life on earth, with ail its troubles and infirmities, as a 
sacrifice of free love on the part of the God-Man ; it is onl$ V>is 

closer definition of this sacrifice that is inaccurate. . . . Hilary 
lays especial stress upon the freedom of the Lord's acceptance 
of death.' He quotes Trin. x. 11. 

6 He had evidently been long familiar with it (Life, i. 155), 
but the first mention of its use for missionary purposes is in 1862 
{id. i. 137). He began the translation into Arabic at Tunis in 
1890, after his resignation of the bishopric of Lahore (ii. 333), 
but it seems doubtful whether he was able to make any progress 
with it at Muscat. His biographer says nothing of the amount 
actually accomplished. 


ject, though clear, is never hard ; and the doctrine which, because it was attractive to 
himself, he has made attractive to his readers, is that of the unity of God, the very doctrine 
which is of supreme importance in Mohammedan eyes 7. 

But, above all, it is Hilary's doctrine concerning the Incarnation as the eternal purpose 
of God for the union of the creature with the Creator, that must excite our interest and 
awaken our thoughts. He renders it, on the one hand, impossible to rate too highly the 
dignity of man, created to share the nature and the life of God ; impossible, on the other 
hand, to estimate highly enough the condescension of Christ in assuming humanity. It 
is by His humiliation that we are saved ; by the fact that the nature of man was taken 
by his Maker, not by the fact that Christ, being man, remained sinless. For sin began 
against God's will and after His counsel was formed; it might deflect the march of His 
purpose towards fulfilment, but could no more impede its consummation than it could 
cause its inception. The true salvation of man is not that which rescues him, when corrupt, 
from sin and its consequences, but that which raises him, corruptible, because free, even 
though he had not become corrupt, into the safety of union with the nature of God. 
Human life, though pure from actual sin, would have been aimless and hopeless without the 
Incarnation. And the human body would have had no glory, for its glory is that Christ has 
taken it, worn it awhile in its imperfect state, laid it aside and finally resumed it in its 
perfection. All this He must have done, in accordance with God's purpose, even though 
the Fall had never occurred. Hence the Incarnation and the Resurrection are the facts 
of paramount interest; the death of Christ, corresponding as it does to the hypothetical 
laying aside of the unglorified flesh, loses something of its usual prominence in Christian 
thought. It is represented as being primarily for Christ the moment of transition, for the 
Christian the act which enables him to profit by the Incarnation ; but it is the Incarnation 
itself whereby, in Hilary's words, we are saved into the nature and the name of God. But 
though we may feel that this great truth is not stated in its full impressiveness, we must 
allow that the thought which has taken the foremost place is no mere academic speculation. 
And, after all, sin and the Atonement are copiously treated in his writings, though they 
do not control his exposition of the Incarnation. Yet even in this there are large spaces 
of his argument where these considerations have a place, though only to give local colour, 
so to speak, and a sense of reality to the description of a purpose formed and a work done 
for man because he is man, not because he is fallen. But if Hilary has somewhat erred 
in placing the Cross in the background, he is not in error in magnifying the scope of 
the reconciliation 8 which includes it as in a wider horizon. Man has in Christ the nature 
of God ; the infinite Mind is intelligible to the finite. The Creeds are no dry statement of 
facts which do not touch our life; the truths they contain are the revelation of God's self 
to us. Not for the pleasure of weaving theories, but in the interests of practical piety, Hilary 
has fused belief and conduct into the unity of that knowledge which Isaiah foresaw and 
St. John possessed ; the knowledge which is not a means towards life, but life itself. 

7 For Bishop French's view of the importance of this doctrine, 
I his Life, i. 84. 

8 Compare Bishop Lightfoot' comprehensive words on Col. i. 

ao. The reconciliation of mankind implies ' a restitution to a stat« 
from which they had fallen, or which was potentially theirs, or 
for which they were destined.' 



Hilary had taken no part in the Synod held at Ancyra in the spring of a.d. 358, 
but he had been made acquainted with its decisions and even with the anathemas which 
the legates of that Synod concealed at Sirmium. He saw that these decisions marked 
an approach. The horror which was felt at the Sirmian Blasphemia by those Eusebians 
whose only objection to the Nicene faith was that they did not understand it, augured well 
for the future. At the same time the majority of the Eastern bishops were deliberately 
heretical. It was natural that Hilary should be anxious about the episcopate of the West. 

He had been in exile about three years and had corresponded with the Western 
bishops. From several quarters letters had now ceased to arrive, and the fear came that 
the bishops did not care to write to one whose convictions were different to their own. 
Great was his joy when, at the end of the year 358, he received a letter which not only 
explained that the innocent cause of their silence was ignorance of his address, but also 
that they had persistently refused communion with Saturninus and condemned the Blas- 

Early in 359 he dispatched to them the Liber de Synodis. It is a double letter, ad- 
dressed to Western bishops, but containing passages intended for Orientals, into whose 
hands the letter would doubtless come in time. Hilary had recognized that the orthodox of 
the West had kept aloof from the orthodox of the East, firstly from ignorance of events, 
secondly from misunderstanding of the word 6/zoovcno?, and thirdly from the feelings of dis- 
trust then prevalent. These facts determined the contents of his letter. 

He begins with an expression of the delight he experienced on receiving the news 
that the Gallican bishops had condemned the notorious Sirmian formula. He praises the 
constancy of their faith. 

He then mentions that he has received from certain of their number a request that he 
would furnish them with an account of the creeds which had been composed in the East 
He modestly accedes to this request beseeching his readers not to criticise his letter until 
they have read the whole letter and mastered the complete argument. His aim throughout 
is to frustrate the heretic and assist the Catholic. 

In the first or historical division of the letter he promises a transcription, with ex 
planations, of all the creeds drawn up since the Council of Nicasa. He protests that he is not 
responsible for any statement contained in these creeds, and leaves his readers to judge of 
their orthodoxy. 

The Greek confessions had already been translated into Latin, but Hilary considered it 
necessary to give his own independent translations, the previous versions having been half- 
unintelligible on account of their slavish adherence to the original. 

The historical part of the book consists of fifty-four chapters (c. 10 — 63). It begins 
with the second Sirmian formula, and the opposing formula promulgated at Ancyra in a.d. 
358. The Sirmian creed being given in c. 10, Hilary, before proceeding to give the twelve 
anathemas directed against its teaching by the bishops who assembled at Ancyra, explains 



the meaning of essentia and substantia. Concerning the former he says, Essentia est res quae 
est, vel ex quibus est, et quae in eo quod maneat subsisiit. This esse?i!ia is therefore identical 
with substantia, quia res quae est necesse est subsistat in sese. The Ancyran anathemas are then 
appended, with notes and a summary. 

In the second division (c. 29 — t>Z) or " the historical part, Hilary considers the Dedi- 
cation creed drawn up at Antioch in a.d. 341. He interprets it somewhat favourably. 
After stating that the creed is perhaps not sufficiently explicit in declaring the exact likeness 
of the Father and the Son, he excuses this inadequacy by pointing out that the Synod was 
not held to contradict Anomcean teaching, but teaching of a Sabellian tendency. The com- 
plete similarity of the Son's essence to that of the Father appears to him to be guarded by 
the phrase Deum de Deo, totmn ex toto. 

The third division (c. 34 — 37) contains the creed drawn up by the Synod, or Cabal 
Synod, which met at Philippopolis in a.d. 343. Hilary does not discuss the authority of the 
Synod; it was enough for his purpose that it was composed of Orientals, and that its lan- 
guage emphatically condemns genuine Arianism and asserts the Son is God of God. The 
anathema which the creed pronounces on those who declare the Son to have been begotten 
without the Father's will, is interpreted by Hilary as an assertion that the eternal Birth was 
not conditioned by those passions which affect human generation. 

The fourth division (c. 38 — 61) contains the long formula drawn up at Sirmium in 
A.D. 351 against Photinus. The twenty-seven anathemas are then separately considered and 
commended. The two remaining chapters of the historical part of the work include 
a reflection on the many-sided character of these creeds both in their positive and negative 
aspects. God is infinitus et immensus, and therefore short statements concerning His nature 
may often prove misleading. The bishops have used many definitions and phrases because 
clearness will remove a danger. These frequent definitions would have been quite un- 
necessary if it had not been for the prevalence of heresy. Asia as a whole is ignorant ot 
God, presenting a piteous contrast to the fidelity of the Western bishops. 

The theological part of the work opens in c. 64 with Hilary's exposition of his own 
belief. He denies that there is in God only one personality, as he denies that there is any 
difference of substance. The Father is greater in that He is Father, the Son is not less 
because He is Son. He asks his readers to remember that if his words fall short, his meaning 
is sound. This done, he passes to discuss the meaning of the word ofioovaiov. Three wrong 
meanings may be attributed to it. Firstly, it may be understood to deny the personal dis- 
tinctions in the Trinity. Secondly, it may be thought to imply that the divine essence is 
capable of division. Thirdly, it may be represented as implying that the Father and the Son 
both equally partake of one prior substance. A short expression like opooiKnos must there- 
fore receive an exact explanation. A risk is attached to its use, but there is no risk if we 
understand it to mean that the Father is unbegotten and the Son derives His being from the 
Father, and is like Him in power, and honour, and nature. The Son is subordinate to 
the Father as to the Author of His being, yet it was not by a robbery that He made Himself 
equal with God. He is not from nothing. He is wholly God. He is not the Author of the 
divine life, but the Image. He is no creature, but is God. Not a second God, but one God 
with the Father through similarity of essence. This is the ideal meaning of 6/jloov<tios, and in 
this sense it is not an error to assert, but to deny, the consubstantiality. 

Hilary then makes a direct appeal to the Western bishops. They might forget the 
contents of the word while retaining the sound, but provided that the meaning was granted, 
what objection could be made to the word ? Was the word onotovatov free from all possible 
objections? Hilary (c. 72 — 75) shews that really like means really equal. Scripture is ap- 
pealed to as proving the assertion that the Son is both like God and equal to God. This 
essential likeness can alone justify the statement that the Father and the Son are one. It 


is blasphemous to represent the similarity as a mere analogy. The similitude is a similitude 
of proper nature and equality. The conclusion of the argument is that the word o/xotovo-toj, if 
understood, leads us to the word 6/xoovo-ior which helps to guard it, and that it does not 
imply any separation between the Persons of the Trinity. 

The saint now turns to the Eastern bishops, a small number of whom still remained 
faithful. He bestows upon them titles of praise, and expresses his joy at the decisions 
they had made, and at the Emperor's repudiation of his former mistake. With Pauline 
fervour Hilary exclaims that he would remain in exile all his life, if only truth might be 

Then, in a chapter which displays alike his knowledge of the Bible and his power of re- 
fined sarcasm, he unveils his suspicions concerning Valens and Ursacius. He doubts whether 
they could have been so inexperienced as to be ignorant of the meaning of the word otxoovaioi. 
when they signed the third Sirmian Creed. Furthermore he is obliged to point out a defect in 
the letter which the Oriental bishops wrote at the Synod of Ancyra. The word Sfioova-iov is 
there rejected. The three grounds for such rejection could only be that the word was thought 
to imply a prior substance, or the teaching of Paul of Samosata, or that the word was 
not in Scripture. The first two grounds were only illusions, the third was equally fatal to the 
word 6/j.oiovo-iov. Those who intelligibly maintained o/jloovctiov or Snoiovaiov, meant the same 
thing and condemned the same impiety (c. 82). Why should any one wish to decline 
the word which the Council of Nicaea had used for an end which was unquestionably good ? 
The argument is enforced by the insertion of the Nicene Creed in full. True, the word 
onoovatov is quite capable of misconstruction. But the application of this test to the difficult 
passages in the Bible would lead to the chaos of all belief. The possible abuse of the word 
does not abolish its use. The authority of the eighty bishops who condemned the Samos- 
atene abuse of it does not affect the authority of the three hundred and eighteen who ratified 
its Nicene meaning. Hilary adds a statement of great importance. Before he was ac- 
quainted with the term he had personally believed what it implied. The term has merely 
invigorated his previous faith (c. 88, cf. c. 91). In other words, Hilary tells his contem- 
poraries and tells posterity that the word Snoova-iov is Scripture because it is the sense 
of Scripture, and is truly conservative because it alone adequately preserves the faith of the 
fathers. The argument is interwoven with a spirited appeal to the Eastern bishops to return 
to that faith as expressed at Nicaea. 

The last chapter (c. 92) is addressed to the Western bishops. It modestly defends the 
action of Hilary in writing, and urges a corresponding energy on the part of his readers. The 
whole concludes with a devout prayer. 

The Liber de Synodis, like other works in which Catholicism has endeavoured to be con- 
ciliatory, did not pass unchallenged. It satisfied neither the genuine Arian nor the violently 
orthodox. The notes or fragments which we call Hilary's Apology throw light upon the 
latter fact. Hilary has to explain that he had not meant that the Eastern bishops had stated 
the true faith at Ancyra, and tells his Lord and brother Lucifer that it was against his will that 
he had mentioned the word 6fj.oiovo-ioi>. We must ourselves confess that Hilary puts an inter- 
pretation on the meaning of the Eastern formulae which would have been impossible if he had 
written after the Synod of Ariminum. Speaking when he did, his arguments were not only 
pardonable but right. 

B 2 




To the most dearly loved and blessed bre- 
thren our fellow-bishops of the province 
of Germania Prima and Germania Se- 
cunda, Belgica Prima and Belgica Se- 
cunda, Lugdunensis Prima and Lugdu- 
nensis Secunda, and the province of Aqui- 
tania, and the province of Novempopulana, 
and to the laity and clergy of Tolosa in 
the Provincia Narbonensis, and to the 
bishops of the provinces of Britain, Hilary 
the servant of Christ, eternal salvation in 
God our Lord. 

I had determined, beloved brethren, to send 
no letter to you concerning the affairs of the 
Church in consequence of your prolonged 
silence. For when I had by writing from 
several cities of the Roman world frequently 
informed you of the faith and efforts of our 
religious brethren, the bishops of the East, and 
how the Evil One profiting by the discords 
of the times had with envenomed lips and 
tongue hissed out his deadly doctrine, I was 
afraid. I feared lest while so many bishops 
were involved in the serious danger of dis- 
astrous sin or disastrous mistake, you were 
holding your peace because a defiled and sin- 
stained conscience tempted you to despair. 
Ignorance I could not attribute to you ; you 
had been too often warned. I judged there- 
fore that I also ought to observe silence to- 
wards you, carefully remembering the Lord's 
saying, that those who after a first and second 
entreaty, and in spite of the witness of the 
Church, neglect to hear, are to be unto us as 
heathen men and publicans 1 . 

2. But when I received the letters that your 
blessed faith inspired, and understood that 
their slow arrival and their paucity were due 
to the remoteness and secrecy of my place of 
exile, I rejoiced in the Lord that you had con- 
tinued pure and undefiled by the contagion of 

* Matt. xiii. 15 ff. 

any execrable heresy, and that you were united 
with me in faith and spirit, and so were par- 
takers of that exile into which Saturninus, fear- 
ing his own conscience, had thrust me after 
beguiling the Emperor, and after that you had 
denied him communion for the whole three 
years ago until now. I equally rejoiced that 
the impious and infidel creed which was sent 
straightway to you from Sirmium was not only 
not accepted by you, but condemned as soon 
as reported and notified. I felt that it was 
now binding on me as a religious duty to write 
sound and faithful words to you as my fellow- 
bishops, who communicate with me in Christ. 
I, who through fear of what might have been 
could at one time only rejoice with my own 
conscience that I was free from all these errors, 
was now bound to express delight at the 
purity of our common faith. Praise God for 
the unshaken stability of your noble hearts, for 
your firm house built on the foundation of the 
faithful rock, for the undefiled and unswerving 
constancy of a will that has proved immacu- 
late ! For since the good profession at the 
Council of Biterrae, where I denounced the 
ringleaders of this heresy with some of you for 
my witnesses, it has remained and still con- 
tinues to remain, pure, unspotted and scru- 

3. You awaited the noble triumph of a holy 
and steadfast perseverance without yielding to 
the threats, the powers and the assaults of 
Saturninus: and when all the waves of awaken- 
ing blasphemy struggled against God, you who 
still remain with me faithful in Christ did not 
give way when threatened with the onset of 
heresy, and now by meeting that onset you 
have broken all its violence. Yes, brethren, 
you have conquered, to the abundant joy of 
those who share your faith : and your unim- 
paired constancy gained the double glory of 
keeping a pure conscience and giving an au- 
thoritative example. For the fame of your 


unswerving and unshaken faith has moved cer- 
tain Eastern bishops, late though it be, to 
some shame for the heresy fostered and sup- 
ported in those regions : and when they heard 
of the godless confession composed at Sir- 
mium, they contradicted its audacious authors 
by passing certain decrees themselves. And 
though they withstood them not without in 
their turn raising some scruples, and inflicting 
some wounds upon a sensitive piety, yet they 
withstood them so vigorously as to compel 
those who at Sirmium yielded to the views of 
Potamius and Hosius as accepting and con- 
firming those views, to declare their ignorance 
and error in so doing; in fact they had to 
condemn in writing their own action. And 
they subscribed with the express purpose of 
condemning something else in advance 2 . 

4. But your invincible faith keeps the hon- 
ourable distinction of conscious worth, and 
content with repudiating crafty, vague, or hes- 
itating action, safely abides in Christ, pre- 
serving the profession of its liberty. You ab- 
stain from communion with those who oppose 
their bishops with their blasphemies and keep 
them in exile, and do not by assenting to any 
crafty subterfuge bring yourselves under a 
charge of unrighteous judgment. For since 
we all suffered deep and grievous pain at the 
actions of the wicked against God, within our 
boundaries alone is communion in Christ to 
be found from the time that the Church began 
to be harried by disturbances such as the 
expatriation of bishops, the deposition of 
priests, the intimidation of the people, the 
threatening of the faith, and the determination 
of the meaning of Christ's doctrine by human 
will and power. Your resolute faith does not 
pretend to be ignorant of these facts or profess 
that it can tolerate them, perceiving that by 
the act of hypocritical assent it would bring 
itself before the bar of conscience. 

5. And although in all your actions, past 
and present, you bear witness to the uninter- 
rupted independence and security of your 
faith ; yet in particular you prove your warmth 
and fervour of spirit by the fact that some of 
you whose letters have succeeded in reaching 
me have expressed a wish that I, unfit as I am, 
should notify to you what the Easterns have 
since said in their confessions of faith. They 

» Hosius, bishop of Cordova in Spain, had been sent by Con- 
stantine to Alexandria at the outbreak of the Arian controversy. 
He had presided at the Council of Nicsea in 325, and had taken 
part in the Council of Sardica in 343, when the Nicene Creed 
was reaffirmed. In his extreme old age he was forced with blows 
to accept this extreme Arian Creed drawn up at the third Council 
of Sirmium in the summer of 357. This is what is stated by 
Socrates, and it is coiroborated by Athanasius, Hist. Arian, c. 45, 
where it is added that he anathematized Arianism before dying. 
Hilary_ certainly does Hosius an injustice in declaring him to 
be a joint-author of the ' blasphemous ' creed. 

affectionately laid the additional burden upon 
me of indicating my sentiments on all their 
decisions. I know that my skill and learning 
are inadequate, for I feel it most difficult to 
express in words my own belief as I under- 
stand it in my heart ; far less easy must it be 
to expound the statements of others. 

6. Now I beseech you by the mercy of the 
Lord, that as I will in this letter according to 
your desire write to you of divine things and 
of the witness of a pure conscience to our 
faith, no one will think to judge me by the 
beginning of my letter before he has read the 
conclusion of my argument. For it is unfair 
before the complete argument has been 
grasped, to conceive a prejudice on account 
of initial statements, the reason of which is yet 
unknown, since it is not with imperfect state- 
ments before us that we must make a de- 
cision for the sake of investigation, but on the 
conclusion for the sake of knowledge. I 
have some fear, not about you, as God is wit- 
ness of my heart, but about some who in their 
own esteem are very cautious and prudent 
but do not understand the blessed apostle's 
precept not to think of themselves more highly 
than they ought 3 : for I am afraid that they 
are unwilling to know all those facts, the com- 
plete account of which I will offer at the end, 
and at the same time they avoid drawing the 
true conclusion from the aforesaid facts. But 
whoever takes up these lines to read and 
examine them has only to be consistently 
patient with me and with himself and pe- 
ruse the whole to its completion. Perchance 
all this assertion of my faith will result 
in those who conceal their heresy being unable 
to practise the deception they wish, and in 
true Catholics attaining the object which they 

7. Therefore I comply with your affection- 
ate and urgent wish, and I have set down all 
the creeds which have been promulgated at 
different times and places since the holy 
Council of Nicsea, with my appended ex- 
planations of all the phrases and even words 
employed. If they be thought to contain any- 
thing faulty, no one can impute the fault to 
me : for I am only a reporter, as you wished 
me to be, and not an author. But if anything 
is found to be laid down in right and apostolic 
fashion, no one can doubt that it is no credit 
to the interpreter but to the originator. In 
any case I have sent you a faithful account of 
these transactions : it is for you to determine 
by the decision your faith inspires whether 
their spirit is Catholic or heretical. 

8. For although it was necessary to reply to 

3 Rom. xii. 3. 


your letters, in which you offered me Christian 
communion with your faith, (and, moreover, 
certain of your number who were summoned 
to the Council which seemed pending in 
Bithynia did refuse with firm consistency of 
faith to hold communion with any but myself 
outside Gaul), it also seemed fit to use my 
episcopal office and authority, when heresy 
was so rife, in submitting to you by letter some 
godly and faithful counsel. For the word of 
God cannot be exiled as our bodies are, or so 
chained and bound that it cannot be imparted 
to you in any place. But when I had learnt 
that synods were to meet in Ancyra and Ari- 
minum, and that one or two bishops from each 
province in Gaul would assemble there, I 
thought it especially needful that I, who am 
confined in the East, should explain and make 
known to you the grounds of those mutual 
suspicions which exist between us and the 
Eastern bishops, though some of you know 
those grounds ; in order that whereas you had 
condemned and they had anathematized this 
heresy that spreads from Sirmium, you might 
nevertheless know with what confession of 
faith the Eastern bishops had come to the 
same result that you had come to, and that 
I might prevent you, whom I hope to see as 
shining lights in future Councils, differing, 
through a mistake about words, even a hair's- 
breadth from pure Catholic belief, when your 
interpretation of the apostolic faith is identi- 
cally the same and you are Catholics at heart. 

9. Now it seems to me right and appro- 
priate, before I begin my argument about sus- 
picions and dissensions as to words, to give 
as complete an account as possible of the 
decisions of the Eastern bishops adverse to 
the heresy compiled at Sirmium. Others 
have published all these transactions very 
plainly, but much obscurity is caused by a 
translation from Greek into Latin, and to be 
absolutely literal is to be sometimes partly 

10. You remember that in the Blasphemia, 
lately written at Sirmium, the object of the 
authors was to proclaim the Father to be the 
one and only God of all things, and deny the 
Son to be God : and while they determined 
that men should hold their peace about bpoov- 
<tiop and ofioiovawv, they determined that God 
the Son should be asserted to be born not 
of God the Father, but of nothing, as the first 
creatures were, or of another essence than 
God, as the later creatures. And further that 
in saying the Father was greater in honour, 
dignity, splendour and majesty, they implied 
that the Son lacked those things which con- 
stitute the Father's superiority. Lastly, that 
while it is affirmed that His birth is unknow- 

able, we were commanded by this Compulsory 
Ignorance Act not to know that He is of God : 
just as if it could be commanded or decreed 
that a man should know what in future he 
is to be ignorant of, or be ignorant of what 
he already knows. I have subjoined in full 
this pestilent and godless blasphemy, though 
ngainst my will, to facilitate a more complete 
knowledge of the worth and reason of the 
replies made on the opposite side by those 
Easterns who endeavoured to counteract all 
the wiles of the heretics according to their 
understanding and comprehension. 

A copy of the Blasphemia composed at Sirmium 
by Osius and Potamius. 

ii. Since there appeared to be some mis- 
understanding respecting the faith, all points 
have been carefully investigated and discussed 
at Sirmium in the, presence of our most rever- 
end brothers and fellow-bishops, Valens, Ur- 
sacius and Germinius. 

It is evident that there is one God, the 
Father Almighty, according as it is believed 
throughout the whole world ; and His only 
Son Jesus Christ our Saviour, begotten of Him 
before the ages. But we cannot and ought 
not to say that there are two Gods, for the 
Lord Himself said, / will go unto My Father 
and your Father, unto My God and your God*. 
So there is one God over all, as the Apostle 
hath taught us, Is He the God of the Jews only ? 
Is He not also of the Gentiles ? Yes, of the 
Gentiles also ; seeing it is one God, which shall 
justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncir- 
cumcision through faith. And in all other things 
they agreed thereto, nor would they allow any 

But since some or many persons were dis- 
turbed by questions concerning substance, 
called in Greek oio-ta, that is, to make it under- 
stood more exactly, as to bpoovcnov, or what 
is called Snoioia-iou, there ought to be no 
mention made of these at all. Nor ought any 
exposition to be made of them for the reason 
and consideration that they are not contained 
in the divine Scriptures, and that they are 
above man's understanding, nor can any man 
declare the birth of the Son, of whom it is 
written, Who shall declare His generation s ? 
For it is plain that only the Father knows how 
He begat the Son, and the Son how He was 
begotten of the Father. There is no question 
that the Father is greater. No one can doubt 
that the Father is greater than the Son in 
honour, dignity, splendour, majesty, and in the 
very name of Father, the Son Himself testifying, 
He that sent Me is greater than I 6 . And no one 

4 John xx. 17. 

5 Is. liii. 8. 

6 John xir. a8. 


is ignorant that it is Catholic doctrine that 
there are two Persons of Father and Son ; and 
that the Father is greater, and that the Son 
is subordinated to the Father, together with 
all things which the Father has subordinated 
to Him, and that the Father has no beginning 
and is invisible, immortal and impassible, but 
that the Son has been begotten of* the Father, 
God of God, Light of Light, and that the 
generation of this Son, as is aforesaid, no one 
knows but His Father. And that the Son 
of God Himself, our Lord and God, as we re id, 
took flesh, that is, a body, that is, man of the 
womb of the Virgin Mary, of the Angel an- 
nounced. And as all the Scriptures teach, 
and especially the doctor of the Gentiles him- 
self, He took of Mary the Virgin, man, through 
whom He suffered. And the whole faith is 
summed up and secured in this, that the 
Trinity must always be preserved, as we read 
in the Gospel, Go ye and baptize all nations 
in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and 
of the Holy Ghost '?. Complete and perfect is 
the number of the Trinity. Now the Paraclete, 
the Spirit, is through the Son : Who was sent 
and came according to His promise in order 
to instruct, teach and sanctify the apostles and 
all believers. 

12. After these many and most impious 
statements had been made, the Eastern bishops 
on their side again met together and composed 
definitions of their confession. Since, however, 
we have frequently to mention the words 
essence and substance, we must determine the 
meaning of essence, lest in discussing facts 
we prove ignorant of the signification of our 
words. Essence is a reality which is, or the 
reality of those things from which it is, and 
which subsists inasmuch as it is permanent. 
Now we can speak of the essence, or nature, 
or genus, or substance of anything. And the 
strict reason why the word essence is employed 
•is because it is always. But this is identical 
with substance, because a thing which is, ne- 
cessarily subsists in itself, and whatever thus 
subsists possesses unquestionably a permanent 
genus, nature or substance. When, therefore, 
we say that essence signifies nature, or genus, 
or substance, we mean the essence of that 
thing which permanently exists in the nature, 
genus, or substance. Now, therefore, let us 
review the definitions of faith drawn up by 
the Easterns. 

I. " If any one hearing that the Son is the 
image of the invisible God, says that the image 
of God is the same as the invisible God, as 
though refusing to confess that He is truly 
Son : let him be anathema." 

7 Matt, xxviii. 19. 

13. Hereby is excluded the assertion of 
those who wish to represent the relationship 
of Father and Son as a matter of names, in- 
asmuch as every image is similar in species 
to that of which it is an image. For no one 
is himself his own image, but it is necessary 
that the image should demonstrate him of 
whom it is an image. So an image is the 
figured and indistinguishable likeness of one 
thing equated with another. Therefore the 
Father is, and the Son is, because the Son 
is the image of the Father : and he who is an 
image, if he is to be truly an image, must have 
in himself his original's species, nature and 
essence in virtue of the fact that he is an 

II. "And if any one hearing the Son say, 
As the Father hath life in Himself so also hath 
He given to the Son to have life in Himself z , 
shall say that He who has received life from 
the Father, and who also declares, I live by the 
Father 9, is the same as He who gave life: let 
him be anathema." 

14. The person of the recipient and of the 
giver are distinguished so that the same should 
not be made one and sole. For since he is 
under anathema who has believed that, when 
recipient and giver are mentioned one solitary 
and unique person is implied, we may not 
suppose that the selfsame person who gave 
received from Himself. For He who lives and 
He through whom He lives are not identical, 
for one lives to Himself, the other declares that 
He lives through the Author of His life, and 
no one will declare that He who enjoys life 
and He through whom His life is caused are 
personally identical. 

III. " And if any one hearing that the Only- 
begotten Son is like the invisible God, denies 
that the Son who is the image of the invisible 
God (whose image is understood to include 
essence) is Son in essence, as though deny- 
ing His true Sonship : let him be anathema." 

15. It is here insisted that the nature is 
indistinguishable and entirely similar. For 
since He is the Only-begotten Son of God 
and the image of the invisible God, it is 
necessary that He should be of an essence 
similar in species and nature. Or what dis- 
tinction can be made between Father and 
Son affecting their nature with its similar 
genus, when the Son subsisting through the 
nature begotten in Him is invested with the 
properties of the Father, viz., glory, worth, 

jDOwer, invisibility, essence? And while these 
prerogatives of divinity are equal we neither 
understand the one to be less because He 
is Son, nor the other to be greater because 

8 John v. 26. 

9 lb. vi. 57. 



He is Father : since the Son is the image 
of the Father in species, and not dissimilar 
in genus ; since the similarity of a Son begot- 
ten of the substance of His Father does not 
admit of any diversity of substance, and the 
Son and image of the invisible God embraces 
in Himself the whole form of His Father's 
divinity both in kind and in amount : and this 
is to be truly Son, to reflect the truth of the 
Father's form by the perfect likeness of the 
nature imaged in Himself. 

IV. "And if any one hearing this text, For 
as the Father hath life in Himself so also He 
hath given to the Son to have life in Himself' 1 ; 
denies that the Son is like the Father even 
in essence, though He testifies that it is even 
as He has said ; let him be anathema. For it 
is plain that since the life which is understood 
to exist in the Father signifies substance, and 
the life of the Only-begotten which was be- 
gotten of the Father is also understood to 
mean substance or essence, He there signifies 
a likeness of essence to essence." 

1 6. With the Son's origin as thus stated 
is connected the perfect birth of the undivided 
nature. For what in each is life, that in each 
is signified by essence. And in the life which 
is begotten of life, i.e. in the essence which is 
born of essence, seeing that it is not born 
unlike (and that because life is of life), He 
keeps in Himself a nature wholly similar to 
His original, because there is no diversity in 
the likeness of the essence that is born and 
that begets, that is, of the life which is possessed 
and which has been given. For though God 
begat Him of Himself, in likeness to His own 
nature, He in whom is the unbegotten like- 
ness did not relinquish the property of His 
natural substance. For He only has what He 
gave ; and as possessing life He gave life to 
be possessed. And thus what is born of 
essence, as life of life, is essentially like itself, 
and the essence of Him who is begotten and 
of Him who begets admits no diversity or 

V. " If any one hearing the words formed or 
created it and begat me spoken by the same 
lips 2 , refuses to understand this begat me of 
likeness of essence, but says that begat ?ne and 
formed ?ne are the same : as if to deny that the 
perfect Son of God was here signified as Son 
under two different expressions, as Wisdom 
has given us to piously understand, and asserts 
that formed me and begat me only imply forma- 
tion and not sonship : let him be anathema." 

17. Those who say that the Son of God 
is only a creature or formation are opposed 

1 John v. 26. 

3 Prov. viii. 22. 

by the following argument. For this profane 
presumption of the impiety of heretics is based 
on the fact that they say they have read The 
Lord formed or created me, which seems to 
imply formation or creation ; but they omit 
the following sentence, which is the key to 
the first, and from the first wrest authority 
for their impious statement that the Son is 
a creature, because Wisdom has said that she 
was created. But if she were created, how 
could she be also born? For all birth, of 
whatever kind, attains its own nature from the 
nature that begets it : but creation takes its 
beginning from the power of the Creator, the 
Creator being able to form a creature from 
nothing. So Wisdom, who said that she was 
created, does in the next sentence say that 
she was also begotten, using the word creation 
of the act of the changeless nature of her 
Parent, which nature, unlike the manner and 
wont of human parturition, without any detri- 
ment or change of self created from itself what 
it begat. Similarly a Creator has no need of 
passion or intercourse or parturition. And 
that which is created out of nothing begins to 
exist at a definite moment. And He who 
creates makes His object through His mere 
power, and creation is the work of might, not 
the birth of a nature from a nature that begets 
it. But because the Son of God was not 
begotten after the manner of corporeal child- 
bearing, but was born perfect God of perfect 
God ; therefore Wisdom says that she was 
created, excluding in her manner of birth every 
kind of corporeal process. 

18. Moreover, to shew that she possesses 
a nature that was born and not created, 
Wisdom has added that she was begotten, 
that by declaring that she was created and also 
begotten, she might completely explain her 
birth. By speaking of creation she implies 
that the nature of the Father is changeless, 
and she also shews that the substance of her. 
nature begotten of God the Father is genuine 
and real. And so her words about creation 
and generation have explained the perfection 
of her birth : the former that the Father is 
changeless, the latter the reality of her own 
nature. The two things combined become 
one, and that one is both in perfection : for the 
Son being born of God without any change 
in God, is so born of the Father as to be 
created ; and the Father, who is changeless in 
Himself and the Son's Father by nature, so 
forms the Son as to beget Him. Therefore 
the heresy which has dared to aver that the 
Son of God is a creature is condemned because 
while the first statement shews the impassible 
perfection of the divinity, the second, which 
asserts His natural generation, crushes the 


impious opinion that He was created out of 

VI. " And if any one grant the Son only 
a likeness of activity, but rob Him of the like- 
ness of essence which is the corner-stone of 
our faith, in spite of the fact that the Son 
Himself reveals His essential likeness with the 
Father in the words, For as the Father hath 
life in Himself, so also hath He given to the Son 
to have life in Himself*, as well as His likeness 
in activity by teaching us that What things 
soever the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son 
likewise*, such a man robs himself of the know- 
ledge of eternal life which is in the Father and 
the Son, and let him be anathema." 

19. The heretics when beset by autho- 
ritative passages in Scripture are wont only 
to grant that the Son is like the Father in 
might while they deprive Him of similarity of 
nature. This is foolish and impious, for they 
do not understand that similar might can only 
be the result of a similar nature. For a lower 
nature can never attain to the might of a 
higher and more powerful nature. What will 
the men who make these assertions say about 
the omnipotence of God the Father, if the 
might of a lower nature is made equal to His 
own ? For they cannot deny that the Son's 
power is the same, seeing that He has said, 
What things soever the Father doeth, these also 
doeth the Son likewise. 

No, a similarity of nature follows on a simi- 
larity of might when He says, As the Father 
hath life in Himself, so also hath He given to 
the Son to have life in Himself. In life is im- 
plied nature and essence ; this, Christ teaches, 
has been given Him to have as the Father 
hath. Therefore similarity of life contains 
similarity of might : for there cannot be simi- 
larity of life where the nature is dissimilar. 
So it is necessary that similarity of essence 
follows on similarity of might : for as what 
the Father does, the Son does also, so the 
life that the Father has He has given to the 
Son to have likewise. Therefore we condemn 
the rash and impious statements of those who 
confess a similarity of might but have dared 
to preach a dissimilarity of nature, since it is 
the chief ground of our hope to confess that 
in the Father and the Son there is an identical 
divine substance. 

VII. "And if any one professing that he 
believes that there is a Father and a Son, says 
that the Father is Father of an essence unlike 
Himself but of similar activity • for speaking 
profane and novel words against the essence of 
the Son and nullifying His true divine Sonship, 
let him be anathema." 

3 John v. a6. 

4 lb. 

r. 19. 

20. By confused and involved expressions 
the heretics very frequently elude the truth and 
secure the ears of the unwary by the mere 
sound of common words, such as the titles 
Father and Son, which they do not truthfully 
utter to express a natural and genuine com- 
munity of essence : for they are aware that 
God is called the Father of all creation, and 
remember that all the saints are named sons 
of God. In like manner they declare that the 
relationship between the Father and the Son 
resembles that between the Father and the 
universe, so that the names Father and Son 
are rather titular than real. For the names 
are titular if the Persons have a distinct nature 
of a different essence, since no reality can be 
attached to the name of father unless it be 
based on the nature of his offspring. So the 
Father cannot be called Father of an alien 
substance unlike His own, for a perfect birth 
manifests no diversity between itself and the 
original substance. Therefore we repudiate all 
the impious assertions that the Father is 
Father of a Son begotten of Himself and yet 
not of His own nature. We shall not call God 
Father for having a creature like Him in 
might and activity, but for begetting a nature 
of an essence not unlike or alien to Himself: 
for a natural birth does not admit of any dis- 
similarity with the Father's nature. Therefore 
those are anathema who assert that the Father 
is Father of a nature unlike Himself, so that 
something other than God is born of God, and 
who suppose that the essence of the Father 
degenerated in begetting the Son. For so far 
as in them lies they destroy the very birthless 
and changeless essence of the Father by daring 
to attribute to Him in the birth of His Only- 
begotten an alteration and degeneration of His 
natural essence. 

VIII. "And if any one understanding that 
the Son is like in essence to Him whose Son 
He is admitted to be, says that the Son is the 
same as the Father, or part of the Father, or 
that it is through an emanation or any such 
passion as is necessary for the procreation of 
corporeal children that the incorporeal Son 
draws His life from the incorporeal Father: 
let him be anathema." 

21. We have always to beware of the vices 
of particular perversions, and countenance no 
opportunity for delusion. For many heretics 
say that the Son is like the Father in divinity 
in order to support the theory that in virtue of 
this similarity the Son is the same Person as 
the Father: for this undivided similarity ap- 
pears to countenance a belief in a single 
monad. For what does not differ in kind 
seems to retain identity of nature. 

22. But birth does not countenance this 



vain imagination ; for such identity without 
differentiation excludes birth. For what is 
born has a father who caused its birth. Nor 
because the divinity of Him who is being born 
is inseparable from that of Him who begets, 
are the Begetter and the Begotten the same 
Person ; while on the other hand He who is 
born and He who begets cannot be unlike. 
He is therefore anathema who shall proclaim 
a similarity of nature in the Father and the 
Son in order to abolish the personal meaning 
of the word Son : for while through mutual 
likeness one differs in no respect from the 
other, yet this very likeness, which does not 
admit of bare union, confesses both the Father 
and the Son because the Son is the change- 
less likeness of the Father. For the Son is 
not part of the Father so that He who is 
born and He who begets can be called one 
Person. Nor is He an emanation so that by 
a continual flow of a corporeal uninterrupted 
stream the flow is itself kept in its source, 
the source being identical with the flow in 
virtue of the successive and unbroken con- 
tinuity. But the birth is perfect, and remains 
alike in nature ; not taking its beginning ma- 
terially from a corporeal conception and bear- 
ing, but as an incorporeal Son drawing His 
existence from an incorporeal Father according 
to the likeness which belongs to an identical 

IX. "And if any one, because the Father 
is never admitted to be the Son and the Son 
is never admitted to be the Father, when he 
says that the Son is other than the Father 
(because the Father is one Person and the 
Son another, inasmuch, as it is said, There is 
another that beareth witness of Me, even the 
Father who sent Me 5 ), does in anxiety for the 
distinct personal qualities of the Father and the 
Son which in the Church must be piously 
understood to exist, fear that the Son and the 
Father may sometimes be admitted to be the 
same Person, and therefore denies that the 
Son is like in essence to the Father : let him 
be anathema." 

23. It was said unto the apostles of the 
Lord, Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as 
doves 6 . Christ therefore wished there to be in 
us the nature of different creatures : but in 
such a sort that the harmlessness of the dove 
might temper the serpent's wisdom, and the 
wisdom of the serpent might instruct the harm- 
lessness of the dove, and that so wisdom might 
be made harmless and harmlessness wise. 
This precept has been observed in the expo- 
sition of this creed. For the former sentence 
of which we have spoken guarded against the 

5 John v. 32. 

6 Matt. x. 16. 

teaching of a unity of person under the cloak 
of an essential likeness, and against the denial 
of the Son's birth as the result of an identity 
of nature, lest we should understand God to 
be a single monad because one Person does 
not differ in kind from the other. In the 
next sentence, by harmless and apostolic 
wisdom we have again taken refuge in that 
wisdom of the serpent to which we are bidden 
to be conformed no less than to the harm- 
lessness of the dove, lest perchance through 
a repudiation of the unity of persons on 
the ground that the Father is one Person and 
the Son another, a preaching of the dis- 
similarity of their natures should again 
take us unawares, and lest on the ground 
that He who sent and He who was sent 
are two Persons (for the Sent and the 
Sender cannot be one Person) they should be 
considered to have divided and dissimilar 
natures, though He who is born and He who 
begets Him cannot be of a different essence. 
So we preserve in Father and in Son the like- 
ness of an identical nature through an es- 
sential birth : yet the similarity of nature does 
not injure personality by making the Sent and 
the Sender to be but one. Nor do we do away 
with the similarity of nature by admitting dis- 
tinct personal qualities, for it is impossible 
that the one God should be called Son and 
Father to Himself. So then the truth as to 
the birth supports the similarity of essence 
and the similarity of essence does not under- 
mine the personal reality of the birth. Nor 
again does a profession of belief in the Be- 
getter and the Begotten exclude a similarity of 
essence ; for while the Begetter and the Be- 
gotten cannot be one Person, He who is born 
and He who begets cannot be of a different 

X. " And if any one admits that God be- 
came Father of the Only-begotten Son at any 
point in time and not that the Only-begotten 
Son came into existence without passion be- 
yond all times and beyond all human calcu- 
lation : for contravening the teaching of the 
Gospel which scorned any interval of time 
between the being of the Father and the Son 
and faithfully has instructed us that In the 
beginning was the Word, and the Word ivas 
with God, and the Word was Godi, let him be 

24. It is a pious saying that the Father 
is not limited by times : for the true meaning 
of the name of Father which He bore before 
time began surpasses comprehension. Al- 
though religion teaches us to ascribe to Him 
this name of Father through which comes the 

7 John i. 1. 


1 1 

impassible origin of the Son, yet He is not 
bound in time, for the eternal and infinite 
God cannot be understood as having become 
a Father in time, and according to the teach- 
ing of the Gospel the Only-begotten God the 
Word is recognized even in the beginning 
rather to be with God than to be born. 

XI. " And if any one says that the Father 
is older in time than His Only-begotten Son, 
and that the Son is younger than the Father : 
let him be anathema " 

25. The essential likeness conformed to the 
Father's essence in kind is also taught to be 
identical in time : lest He who is the image 
of God, who is the Word, who is God with 
God in the beginning, who is like the Father, 
by the insertion of time between Himself and 
the Father should not have in Himself in 
perfection that which is both image, and Word, 
and God. For if He be proclaimed to be 
younger in time, He has lost the truth of the 
image and likeness : for that is no longer 
likeness which is found to be dissimilar in 
time. For that very fact that God is Father 
prevents there being any time in which He 
was not Father : consequently there can be no 
time in the Son's existence in which He was 
not Son. Wherefore we must neither call the 
Father older than the Son nor the Son 
younger than the Father : for the true mean- 
ing of neither name can exist without the 

XII. "And if any one attributes the time- 
less substance (i.e. Person) of the Only-be- 
gotten Son derived from the Father to the 
unborn essence of God, as though calling the 
Father Son : let him be anathema 8 ." 

26. The above definition when it denied 
that the idea of time could be applied to the 
birth of the Son seemed to have given an 
occasion for heresy (we saw that it would be 
monstrous if the Father were limited by time, 
but that He would be so limited if the Son 
were subjected to time), so that by the help of 
this repudiation of time, the Father who is un- 
born might under the appellation of Son be pro- 
claimed as both Father and Son in a single 
and unique Person. For in excluding time 
from the Son's birth it seemed to countenance 
the opinion that there was no birth, so that 
He whose birth is not in time might be con- 

8 Substantia is in this passage used as the equivalent of 
Person. The word was used by Tertullian in the sense of oixria, 
and this early Latin use of the word is the use which eventually 
prevailed. The meaning of the word in Hilary is influenced by 
its philological equivalent in Greek. At the beginning of the 
fourth century unwTao-is was used in the same sense as ovcria. 
The latter word meant ' reality,' the former word ' the basis of 
existence.' Athanasius, however, began the practice of restricting 
uTTOTTaeris to the divine Persons. Hilary consequently here uses 
substantia in this new sense of the word un-dorao-is. The Alex- 
andrine Council of 362 sanctioned as allowable the use of vnov- 
rao-is in the sense of Person, and by the end of the century the 
old usage practically disappeared. 

sidered not to have been born at all. Where- 
fore, lest at the suggestion of this denial of 
time the heresy of the unity of Persons should 
insinuate itself, that impiety is condemned 
which dares to refer the timeless birth to the 
unique and singular Person of the unborn 
essence. For it is one thing to be outside 
time and another to be unborn ; the first 
admits of birth (though outside time), the 
other, so far as it is, is the one sole author 
from eternity of its being what it is. 

27. We have reviewed, beloved brethren, 
all the definitions of faith made by the 
Eastern bishops which they formulated in 
their assembly against the recently emerging 
heresy. And we, as far as we have been 
able, have adapted the wording of our ex- 
position to express their meaning, following 
their diction rather than desiring to be 
thought the originators of new phrases. In 
these words they decree the principles of their 
conscience and a long maintained doctrine 
against a new and profane impiety. Those 
who compiled this heresy at Sirmium, or ac- 
cepted it after its compilation, they have 
thereby compelled to confess their ignorance 
and to sign such decrees. There the Son is 
the perfect image of the Father : there under 
the qualities of an identical essence, the Person 
of the Son is not annihilated and confounded 
with the Father: there the Son is declared 
to be image of the Father in virtue of a real 
likeness, and does not differ in substance from 
the Father, whose image He is : there on 
account of the life which the Father has and 
the life which the Son has received, the Father 
can have nothing different in substance (this 
being implied in life) from that which the Son 
received to have : there the begotten Son is 
not a creature, but is a Person undistinguished 
from the Father's nature : there, just as an 
identical might belongs to the Father and the 
Son, so their essence admits of no difference : 
there the Father by begetting the Son in no 
wise degenerates from Himself in Him through 
any difference of nature : there, though the 
likeness of nature is the same in each, the 
proper qualities which mark this likeness are 
repugnant to a confusion of Persons, so that 
there is not one subsisting Person who is 
called both Father and Son : there, though it is 
piously affirmed that there is both a Father 
who sends and a Son who is sent, yet no 
distinction in essence is drawn between the 
Father and the Son, the Sent and the Sender : 
there the truth of God's Fatherhood is not 
bound by limits of time : there the Son is not 
later in time : there beyond all time is a per- 
fect birth which refutes the error that the Son 
could not be born. 



28. Here, beloved brethren, is the entire 
creed which was published by some Easterns, 
few in proportion to the whole number of 
bishops, and which first saw light at the very 
time when you repelled the introduction of this 
heresy. The reason for its promulgation was 
the fact that they were bidden to say nothing 
of the SfjLoovaiov. But even in former times, 
through the urgency of these numerous causes, 
it was necessary at different occasions to com- 
pose other creeds, the character of which will be 
understood from their wording. For when 
you are fully aware of the results, it will be 
easier for us to bring to a full consummation, 
such as religion and unity demand, the argu- 
ment in which we are interested. 

An exposition of the faith of the Church made at 
the Council held on the occasion of the Dedica- 
tion of the church at Antioch by ninety-seven 
bishops there present, because of suspicions felt 
as to the orthodoxy of a certain bishop 9. 

29. "We believe in accordance with evan- 
gelical and apostolic tradition in one God the 
Father Almighty, the Creator, Maker and Dis- 
poser of all things that are, and from whom 
are all things. 

"And in one Lord Jesus Christ, His Only- 
begotten Son, God through whom are all 
things, who was begotten of the Father, God 
of God, whole God of whole God, One of One, 
perfect God of perfect God, King of King, 
Lord of Lord, the Word, the Wisdom, the 
Life, true Light, true Way, the Resurrection, 
the Shepherd, the Gate, unable to change or 
alter, the unvarying image of the essence and 
might and glory of the Godhead, the first-born 
of all creation, who always was in the begin- 
ning with God, the Word of God, according 
to what is said in the Gospel, and the Word 
was God, through whom all things were made, 
and in whom all things subsist, who in the 
last days came down from above, and was 
born of a virgin according to the Scriptures, 
and was made the Lamb r , the Mediator be- 
tween God and man, the Apostle of our faith, 
and leader of life. For He said, / came down 

'The Council at Antioch of 341, generally known as the 
Dedication Council, assembled for the dedication of the great 
cathedral church which had been commenced there by the em- 
peror Constantine, who did not live to see its completion. Four 
creeds were then drawn up, if we reckon a document which was 
drawn up at Antioch by a continuation of the Council in the 
following year. The second, and most important, of these creeds 
became the creed of the Semi-Nicene party. Capable of a wholly 
orthodox interpretation, it was insufficient of itself tc repel Arian- 
ism, but not insufficient to be used as an auxiliary means of oppos- 
ing it. Hilary throughout assumes that it is not to be interpreted 
in an Arian sense, and uses it as an introduction to Niceue 

1 Lamb is Hilary's mistake for Man. He doubtless read the 
Original in a Greek manuscript which had the word avBptunov 
written in its abbreviated form ii-oi». This would readily be 
mistaken for the word apviov, lamb. The Latin word used by 
Hilary as a substitute for Apostle is praedesti/iatus, for which 
word it seems impossible to account. 

from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the 
will of Him that sent me*. Who suffered and 
rose again for us on the third day, and as- 
cended into heaven, and sitteth on the right 
hand of the Father, and is to come again with 
glory to judge the quick and the dead. 

" And in the Holy Ghost, who was given 
to them that believe, to comfort, sanctify and 
perfect, even as our Lord Jesus Christ ordained 
His disciples, saying, Go ye, and teach all 
nations, baptizing them in the name of the 
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghosts, 
manifestly, that is, of a Father who is truly 
Father, and clearly of a Son who is truly Son, 
and a Holy Ghost who is truly a Holy Ghost, 
these words not being set forth idly and with- 
out meaning, but carefully signifying the 
Person, and order, and glory of each of those 
who are named, to teach us that they are three 
Persons, but in agreement one. 

30. "Having therefore held this faith from 
the beginning, and being resolved to hold 
it to the end in the sight of God and Christ, 
we say anathema to every heretical and per- 
verted sect, and if any man teaches contrary 
to the wholesome and right faith of the Scrip- 
tures, saying that there is or was time, 01 
space, or age before the Son was begotten, 
let him be anathema. And if any one say 
that the Son is a formation like one of the 
things that are formed, or a birth resembling 
other births, or a creature like the creatures, 
and not as the divine Scriptures have affirmed 
in each passage aforesaid, or teaches or pro- 
claims as the Gospel anything else than what 
we have received : let him be anathema. For 
all those things which were written in the 
divine Scriptures by Prophets and by Apostles 
we believe and follow truly and with fear." 

31. Perhaps this creed has not spoken ex- 
pressly enough of the identical similarity of 
the Father and the Son, especially in conclud- 
ing that the names Father, Son and Holy 
Ghost referred to the Person and order and 
glory of each of those 7vho are named to teach us 
that they are three Persons, but in agreement 

32. But in the first place we must remember 
that the bishops did not assemble at Antioch 
to oppose the heresy which has dared to 
declare that the substance of the Son is unlike 
that of the Father, but to oppose that which, 
in spite of the Council of Nica^a, presumed 
to attribute the three names to the Father. 
Of this we will treat in its proper place. 
I recollect that at the beginning of my argu- 
ment I besought the patience and forbearance 
of my readers and hearers until the completion 

2 John vi. 38. 

3 Matt, xxviii. 19. 



of my letter, lest any one should rashly rise 
to judge me before he was acquainted with 
the entire argument. I ask it again. This 
assembly of the saints wished to strike a blow 
at that impiety which by a mere counting 
of names evades the truth as to the Father 
and the Son and the Holy Ghost; which 
represents that there is no personal cause for 
each name, and by a false use of these names 
makes the triple nomenclature imply only one 
Person, so that the Father alone could be also 
called both Holy Ghost and Son. Conse- 
quently they declared there were three sub- 
stances, meaning three subsistent Persons, and 
not thereby introducing any dissimilarity of 
essence to separate the substance of Father 
and Son. For the words to teach us that they 
are three in substance, bid in agreement one, 
are free from objection, because as the Spirit 
is also named, and He is the Paraclete, it 
is more fitting that a unity of agreement should 
be asserted than a unity of essence based 
on likeness of substance. 

33. Further the whole of the above state- 
ment has drawn no distinction whatever be- 
tween the essence and nature of the Father 
and the Son. For when it is said, God of God, 
whole God of whole God, there is no room for 
doubting that whole God is born of whole 
God. For the nature of God who is of God 
admits of no difference, and as whole God 
of whole God He is in all in which the Father 
is. One of One excludes the passions of a 
human birth and conception, so that since 
He is One of One, He comes from no other 
source, nor is different nor alien, for He is 
One of One, perfect God of perfect God. 
Except in having a cause of its origin His 
birth does not differ from the birthless nature ; 
since the perfection of both Persons is the 
same. Ki?ig of King. A power that is ex- 
pressed by one and the same title allows no 
dissimilarity of power. Lord of Lord. In 
' Lord ' also the lordship is equal : there can 
be no difference where domination is confessed 
of both without diversity. But plainest of all 
is the statement appended after several others, 
unable to change or alter, the unvarying image 
of the Godhead and essence and might and 
glory. For as God of God, whole God of 
whole God, One of One, perfect God of perfect 
God, King of King and Lord of Lord, since 
in all that glory and nature of Godhead in 
which the Father ever abides, the Son born 
of Him also subsists ; He derives this also 
from the Father's substance that He is unable 
to change. For in His birth that nature from 
which He is born is not changed; but the 
Son has maintained a changeless essence since 
His origin is in a changeless nature. For 

though He is an image, yet the image cannot 
alter, since in Him was born the image of the 
Father's essence, and there could not be in 
Him a change of nature caused by any unlike- 
ness to the Father's essence from which He 
was begotten. Now when we are taught that 
He was brought into being as the first of all 
creation, and He is Himself said to have 
always been in the beginning with God as 
God the Word, the fact that He was brought 
into being shews that He was born, and the 
fact that He always was, shews that He is not 
separated from the Father by time. There- 
fore this Council by dividing the three sub- 
stances, which it did to exclude a monad God 
with a threefold title, did not introduce any 
separation of substance between the Father 
and the Son. The whole exposition of faith 
makes no distinction between Father and Son, 
the Unborn and the Only-begotten, in, time, 
or name, or essence, or dignity, or domination. 
But our common conscience demands that 
we should gain a knowledge of the other 
creeds of the same Eastern bishops, composed 
at different times and places, that by the 
study of many confessions we may understand 
the sincerity of their faith. 

The Creed according to the Council of 
the East. 

34. "We, the holy synod met in Sardica 
from different provinces of the East, namely, 
Thebais, Egypt, Palestine, Arabia, Phoenicia, 
Coele Syria, Mesopotamia, Cilicia, Cappadocia, 
Pontus, Paphlagonia, Galatia, Bithynia and 
Hellespont, from Asia, namely, the two pro- 
vinces of Phrygia, Pisidia, the islands of the 
Cyclades, Pamphylia, Caria, Lydia, from 
Europe, namely, Thrace, Haemimontus *, 
Mcesia, and the two provinces of Pannonia, 
have set forth this creed. 

"We believe in one God, the Father Al- 
mighty, Creator and Maker of all things, from 
whom all fatherhood in heaven and earth is 
named : 

"And we believe in His Only-begotten 
Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who before all 
ages was begotten of the Father, God of God, 
Light of Light, through whom were made 
all things which are in heaven and earth, 
visible and invisible : who is the Word and 
Wisdom and Might and Life and true Light : 
and who in the last days for our sake was 
incarnate, and was born of the holy Virgin, 
who was crucified and dead and buried, And 
rose from the dead on the third day, And 

4 Mount Haemus is the mountain range which at this period 
formed the boundary between the provinces of Thracia and Mce- 
sia Inferior. Haemimontus was grouped with Mcesia Inferior 
under the Vicarius of Thrace. 



was received into heaven, And sitteth on the 
right hand of the Father, And shall come 
to judge the quick and the dead and to give 
to every man according to his works : Whose 
kingdom remaineth without end for ever and 
ever. For He sitteth on the right hand of the 
Father not only in this age, but also in the 
age to come. 

"We believe also in the Holy Ghost, that 
is, the Paraclete, whom according to His 
promise He sent to His apostles after His 
return into the heavens to teach them and 
to bring all things to their remembrance, 
through whom also the souls of them that 
believe sincerely in Him are sanctified. 

" But those who say that the Son of God is 
sprung from things non-existent or from another 
substance and not from God, and that there 
was a time or age when He was not, the holy 
Catholic Church holds them as aliens. Like- 
wise also those who say that there are three 
Gods, or that Christ is not God and that before 
the ages He was neither Christ nor Son of 
God, or that He Himself is the Father and 
the Son and the Holy Ghost, or that the Son 
is incapable of birth ; or that the Father begat 
the Son without purpose or will : the holy 
Catholic Church anathematizes." 

35. In the exposition of this creed, concise 
but complete definitions have been employed. 
For in condemning those who said that the 
Son sprang from things non-existent, it attri- 
buted to Him a source which had no begin- 
ning but continues perpetually. And lest this 
source from which He drew His permanent 
birth should be understood to be any other sub- 
stance than that of God, it also declares to be 
blasphemers those who said that the Son was 
born of some other substance and not of God. 
And so since He does not draw His sub- 
sistence from nothing, or spring from any other 
source than God, it cannot be doubted that 
He was born with those qualities which are 
God's ; since the Only-begotten essence of the 
Son is generated neither from things which 
are non-existent nor from any other substance 
than the birthless and eternal substance of the 
Father. But the creed also rejects intervals 
of times or ages : on the assumption that He 
who does not differ in nature cannot be separ- 
able by time. 

36. On every side, where anxiety might be 
felt, approach is barred to the arguments of 
heretics lest it should be declared that there 
is any difference in the Son. For those are 
anathematized who say that there are three 
Gods : because according to God's true nature 
His substance does not admit a number of 
applications of the title, except as it is given 
to individual men and angels in recognition 

of their merit, though the substance of their 
nature and that of God is different. In that 
sense there are consequently many gods- 
Furthermore in the nature of God, God is 
one, yet in such a way that the Son also is 
God, because in Him there is not a different 
nature : and since He is God of God, both 
must be God, and since there is no difference 
of kind between them there is no distinction 
in their essence. A number of titular Gods 
is rejected ; because there is no diversity in 
the quality of the divine nature. Since there- 
fore he is anathema who says there are man)' 
Gods and he is anathema who denies that the 
Son is God ; it is fully shewn that the fact 
that each has one and the same name arises 
from the real character of the similar substance 
in each : since in confessing the Unborn God 
the Father, and the Only-begotten God the 
Son, with no dissimilarity of essence between 
them, each is called God, yet God must be 
believed and be declared to be one. So by 
the diligent and watchful care of the bishops 
the creed guards the similarity of the nature 
begotten and the nature begetting, confirming 
it by the application of one name. 

37. Yet to prevent the declaration of one 
God seeming to affirm that God is a solitary 
monad without offspring of His own, it im- 
mediately condemns the rash suggestion that 
because God is one, therefore God the Father 
is one and solitary, having in Himself the 
name of Father and of Son : since in the 
Father who begets and the Son who comes 
to birth one God must be declared to exist 
on account of the substance of their nature 
being similar in each. The faith of the saints 
knows nothing of the Son being incapable of 
birth : because the nature of the Son only 
draws its existence from birth. But the nature 
of the birth is in Him so perfect that He who 
was born of the substance of God is born also 
of His purpose and will. For from His will 
and purpose, not from the process of a cor- 
poreal nature, springs the absolute perfection 
of the essence of God born from the essence 
of God. It follows that we should now con- 
sider that creed which was compiled not long 
ago when Photinus was deposed from the 

A copy of the creed composed at Sirmium by the 
Easterns to oppose Phot i mis. 

38. "We believe in one God the Father 
Almighty, the Creator and Maker, from whom 
every fatherhood in heaven and in earth is 

" And in His only Son Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who was born of the Father before all ages, 
God of God, Light of Light, through whom. 


all things were made in heaven and in earth, 
visible and invisible. Who is the Word and 
Wisdom and Might and Life and true Light : 
who in the last days for our sake took a body, 
And was born of the holy Virgin, And was 
crucified, And was dead and buried : who also 
rose from the dead on the third day, And 
ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right 
hand of the Father, And shall come at the 
end of the world to judge the quick and the 
dead ; whose kingdom continueth without end, 
and remaineth for perpetual ages. For He 
shall be sitting at the right hand of the Father, 
not only in tins age, but also in the age to 

" And in the Holy Ghost, that is, the Para- 
clete, whom according to His promise He 
sent to the apostles after He ascended into 
heaven to teach them and to remind them of 
all things, through whom also are sanctified 
the souls of those who believe sincerely in 

I. " But those who say that the Son is 
sprung from things non-existent, or from an- 
other substance and not from God, and that 
there was a time or age when He was not, 
the holy Catholic Church regards as aliens. 

II. " If any man says that the Father and 
the Son are two Gods : let him be anathema. 

III. " And if any man says that God is one, 
but does not confess that Christ, God the Son 
of God, ministered to the Father in the crea- 
tion of all things : let him be anathema. 

IV. " And if any man dares to say that the 
Unborn God, or a part of Him, was born of 
Mary : let him be anathema. 

V. " And if any man say that the Son born 
of Mary was, before born of Mary, Son only 
according to foreknowledge or predestination, 
and denies that He was born of the Father 
before the ages and was with God, and that all 
things were made through Him : let him be 

VI. " If any man says that the substance of 
God is expanded and contracted : let him be 

VII. " If any man says that the expanded 
substance of God makes the Son ; or names 
Son His supposed expanded substance : let 
him be anathema. 

VIII. "If any man says that the Son of God 
is the internal or uttered Word of God : let 
him be anathema. 

IX. "If any man says that the man alone 
born of Mary is the Son : let him be ana- 

X. " If any man though saying that God and 
Man was born of Mary, understands thereby 
the Unborn God : let him be anathema. 

XL " If any man hearing The Word was 

made Flesh S thinks that the Word was trans- 
formed into Flesh, or says that He suffered 
change in taking Flesh : let him be anathema. 

XII. " If any man hearing that the only 
Son of God was crucified, says that His 
divinity suffered corruption, or pain, or change, 
or diminution, or destruction : let him be 

XIII. "If any man says Let us make man 6 
was not spoken by the Father to the Son, 
but by God to Himself: let him be anathema. 

XIV. "If any man says that the Son did 
not appear to Abraham, but the Unborn God, 
or a part of Him : let him be anathema. 

XV. " If any man says that the Son did 
not wrestle with Jacob as a man, but the 
Unborn God, or a part of Him : let him be 

XVI. " If any man does not understand The 
Lord rained f 7-o m the Lord to be spoken of the 
Father and the Son, but that the Father 
rained from Himself: let him be anathema. 
For the Lord the Son rained from the Lord 
the Father. 

XVII. " If any man says that the Lord and 
the Lord, the Father and the Son are two 
Gods, because of the aforesaid words : let him 
be anathema. For we do not make the Son 
the equal or peer of the Father, but under- 
stand the Son to be subject. For He did not 
come down to Sodom without the Father's 
will, nor rain from Himself but from the Lord, 
to wit by the Father's authority ; nor does 
He sit at the Father's right hand by His 
own authority, but He hears the Father 
saying, Sit thou on My right hand ?. 

XVIII. " If any man says that the Father 
and the Son and the Holy Ghost are one 
Person : let him be anathema. 

XIX. "If any man speaking of the Holy 
Ghost the Paraclete says that He is the 
Unborn God : let him be anathema. 

XX. " If any man denies that, as the Lord 
has taught us, the Paraclete is different from the 
Son ; for He said, And the Father shall send 
you atwther Comforter, whom L shall ask 8 .• let 
him be anathema. 

XXL " If any man says that the Holy Spirit 
is a part of the Father or of the Son : let him 
be anathema. 

XXII. "If any man says that the Father 
and the Son and the Holy Spirit are three 
Gods : let him be anathema. 

XXIII. "If any man after the example of 
the Jews understands as said for the destruc- 
tion of the Eternal Only-begotten God the 
words, L am the first God, and L am the last 

5 John i. 14. 

6 Gen. i. 26. 
8 John xiv. 16. 

7 Ps. cix 1. 



God, and beside Me there is no God 9, which 
were spoken for the destruction of idols and 
them that are no gods : let him be anathema. 

XXIV. " If any man says that the Son was 
made by the will of God, like any object in 
creation : let him be anathema. 

XXV. " If any man says that the Son was 
born against the will of the Father : let him be 
anathema. For the Father was not forced 
against His own will, or induced by any neces- 
sity of nature to beget the Son : but as soon as 
He willed, before time and without passion He 
begat Him of Himself and shewed Him forth. 

XXVI. " If any man says that the Son is 
incapable of birth and without beginning, 
saying as though there were two incapable of 
birth and unborn and without beginning, and 
makes two Gods : let him be anathema. For 
the Head, which is the beginning of all things, 
is the Son ; but the Head or beginning of 
Christ is God : for so to One who is without 
beginning and is the beginning of all things, 
we refer the whole world through Christ. 

XXVII. "Once more we strengthen the 
understanding of Christianity by saying, If any 
man denies that Christ who is God and Son of 
God, personally existed before time began and 
aided the Father in the perfecting of all things; 
but says that only from the time that He was 
born of Mary did He gain the name of Christ 
and Son and a beginning of His deity : let him 
be anathema." 

39. The necessity of the moment urged the 
Council to set forth a wider and broader ex- 
position of the creed including many intricate 
questions, because the heresy which Photinus 
was reviving was sapping our Catholic home 
by many secret mines. Their purpose was to 
oppose every form of stealthy subtle heresy by 
a corresponding form of pure and unsullied 
faith, and to have as many complete explan- 
ations of the faith as there were instances of 
peculiar faithlessness. Immediately after the 
universal and unquestioned statement of the 
Christian mysteries, the explanation of the 
faith against the heretics begins as follows. 

I. "But those who say that the Son is 
sprung from things non-existent, or from an- 
other substance and not from God, and that 
there was a time or age when He was not, the 
holy Catholic Church regards as aliens." 

40. What ambiguity is there here? What is 
omitted that the consciousness of a sincere 
faith oould suggest ? He does not spring from 
things non-existent : therefore His origin has 
existence. There is no other substance ex- 
tant to be His origin, but that of God : there- 
fore nothing else can be born in Him but all 

9 Isai. xliv. 6. 

that is God ; because His existence is not from 
nothing, and He draws ' subsistence from no 
other source. He does not differ in time: 
therefore the Son like the Father is eternal. 
And so the Unborn Father and the Only- 
begotten Son share all the same qualities. 
They are equal in years, and that very simi- 
larity between the sole-existing paternal essence 
and its offspring prevents distinction in any 

II. " If any man says that the Father and 
the Son are two Gods : let him be anathema. 

III. " And if any man says that God is one, 
but does not confess that Christ who is God 
and eternal Son of God ministered to the 
Father in the creation of all things : let him be 

41. The very statement of the name as our 
religion states it gives us a clear insight into 
the fact. For since it is condemned to say 
that the Father and the Son are two Gods, 
and it is also accursed to deny that the Son is 
God, any opinion as to the substance of the 
one being different from that of the other in 
asserting two Gods is excluded. For there is no 
other essence, except that of God the Father, 
from which God the Son of God was born 
before time. For since we are compelled to 
confess God the Father, and roundly declare 
that Christ the Son of God is God, and be- 
tween these two truths lies the impious con- 
fession of two Gods : They must on the ground 
of their identity of nature and name be one in 
the kind of their essence if the name of their 
essence is necessarily one. 

IV. " If any one dares to say that the 
Unborn God, or a part of Him, was born of 
Mary: let him be anathema." 

42. The fact of the essence declared to be 
one in the Father and the Son having one 
name on account of their similarity of nature 
seemed to offer an opportunity to heretics 
to declare that the Unborn God, or a part 
of Him, was born of Mary. The danger was 
met by the wholesome resolution that he who 
declared this should be anathema. For the 
unity of the name which religion employs and 
which is based on the exact similarity of their 
natural essence, has not repudiated the Person 
of the begotten essence so as to represent, 
under cover of the unity of name, that the 
substance of God is singular and undifferen- 
tiated because we predicate one name for the 
essence of each, that is, predicate one God, 
on account of the exactly similar substance 
of the undivided nature in each Person. 

V. " If any man say that the Son existed 
before Mary only according to foreknowledge 
or predestination, and denies that He was 
born of the Father before the ages and with 



God, and that all things were made through 
Him : let him be anathema." 

43. While denying that the God of us all, 
the Son of God, existed before He was born 
in bodily form, some assert that He existed 
according to foreknowledge and predestina- 
tion, and not according to the essence of 
a personally subsistent nature : that is, be- 
cause the Father predestined the Son to have 
existence some day by being born of the 
Virgin, He was announced to us by the 
Father's foreknowledge rather than born and 
existent before the ages in the substance of 
the divine nature, and that all things which 
He Himself spake in the prophets concerning 
the mysteries of His incarnation and passion 
were simply said concerning Him by the 
Father according to His foreknowledge. Con- 
sequently this perverse doctrine is condemned, 
so that we know that the Only-begotten Son 
of God was born of the Father before all 
worlds, and formed the worlds and all creation, 
and that He was not merely predestined to 
be born. 

VI. "If any -man says that the substance 
of God is expanded and contracted : let him 
be anathema." 

44. To contract and expand are bodily af- 
fections : but God who is a Spirit and breathes 
where He listeth, does not expand or contract 
Himself through any change of substance. Re- 
maining free and outside the bond of any 
bodily nature, He supplies out of Himself what 
He wills, when He wills, and where He wills. 
Therefore it is impious to ascribe any change 
of substance to such an unfettered Power. 

VII. "If any man says that the expanded 
substance of God makes the Son, or names 
Son His expanded substance : let him be 

45. The above opinion, although meant to 
teach the immutability of God, yet prepared 
the way for the following heresy. Some have 
ventured to say that the Unborn God by ex- 
pansion of His substance extended Himself as 
far as the holy Virgin, in order that this ex- 
tension produced by the increase of His nature 
and assuming manhood might be called Son. 
They denied that the Son who is perfect God 
born before time began w r as the same as He 
who was afterwards born as Man. Therefore 
the Catholic Faith condemns all denial of the 
immutability of the Father and of the birth of 
the Son. 

VIII. " If any man says that the Son is the 
internal or uttered Word of God : let him be 

46. Heretics, destroying as far as in them 
lies the Son of God, confess Him to be only 
the word, going forth as an utterance from the 


speaker's lips and the unembodied sound of 
an impersonal voice : so that God the Father 
has as Son a word resembling any word we 
utter in virtue of our inborn power of speaking. 
Therefore this dangerous deceit is condemned, 
which asserts that God the Word, who was in 
the beginning with God, is only the word of 
a voice sometimes internal and sometimes 

IX. " If any man says that the man alone 
born of Mary is the Son : let him be ana- 

We cannot declare that the Son of God is 
born of Mary without declaring Him to be 
both Man and God. But lest the declaration 
that He is both God and Man should give 
occasion to deceit, the Council immediately 

X. " If any man though saying that God 
and Man was born of Mary, understands 
thereby the Unborn God : let him be ana- 

47. Thus is preserved both the name and 
power of the divine substance. For since he 
is anathema who says that the Son of God by 
Mary is man and not God ; and he falls under 
the same condemnation who says that the Un- 
born God became man : God made Man is 
not denied to be God but denied to be the 
Unborn God, the Father being distinguished 
from the Son not under the head of nature or 
by diversity of substance, but only by such 
pre-eminence as His birthless nature gives. 

XI. " If any man hearing The Word was 
made Flesh thinks that the Word was trans- 
formed into Flesh, or says that He suffered 
change in taking Flesh : let him be ana- 

48. This preserves the dignity of the God- 
head : so that in the fact that the Word was 
made Flesh, the Word, in becoming Flesh, has 
not lost through being Flesh what constituted 
the Word, nor has become transformed into 
Flesh, so as to cease to be the Word ; 
but the Word was made Flesh * in order 
that the Flesh might begin to be what the 
Word is. Else whence came to His Flesh 
miraculous power in working, glory on the 
Mount, knowledge of the thoughts of human 
hearts, calmness in His passion, life in His 
death ? God knowing no change, when made 
Flesh lost nothing of the prerogatives of His 

XII. " If any man hearing that the only Son 

« The Flesh, without ceasing to be truly flesh, is represented 
as becoming divine like the Word. That is, the humanity be- 
comes so endowed with power, and knowledge, and holiness 
through the unction ot the Holy Ghost that its natural properties 
are "deified." These and similar phrases are freely used by the 
Fathers of the fourth century, and may be compared with John 
i. 14, and 2 Pet. i. 4. 



of God was crucified, says that His divinity suf- 
fered corruption or pain or change or diminu- 
tion or destruction : let him be anathema." 

49. It is clearly shewn why the Word, though 
He was made Flesh, was nevertheless not 
transformed into Flesh. Though these kinds 
of suffering affect the infirmity of the flesh, yet 
God the Word when made Flesh could not 
change under suffering. Suffering and change 
are not identical. Suffering of every kind 
causes all flesh to change through sensitive- 
ness and endurance of pain. But the Word 
that was made Flesh, although He made Him- 
self subject to suffering, was nevertheless un- 
changed by the liability to suffer. For He 
was able to suffer, and yet the Word was not 
passible. Passibility denotes a nature that is 
weak ; but suffering in itself is the endurance 
of pains inflicted, and since the Godhead is 
immutable and yet the Word was made Flesh, 
such pains found in Him a material which they 
could affect though the Person of the Word 
had no infirmity or passibility. And so when 
He suffered His Nature remained immutable, 
because like His Father, His Person is of an 
impassible essence, though it is born a . 

XIII. "If any man says Let us make man^ 
was not spoken by the Father to the Son, but 
by God to Himself: let him be anathema. 

XIV. " If any man says that the Son did not 
appear to Abraham \ but the Unborn God, or 
a part of Him : let him be anathema. 

XV. " If any man says that the Son did not 
wrestle with Jacob as a man s, but the Unborn 
God, or a part of Him : let him be anathema. 

XVI. " If any man does not understand The 
Lord rained from the Lord 6 to be spoken of the 
Father and the Son, but says that the Father 
rained from Himself: let him be anathema. 
For the Lord the Son rained from the Lord 
the Father." 

50. These points had to be inserted into 
the creed because Photinus, against whom the 
synod was held, denied them. They were in- 
serted lest any one should dare to assert that 
the Son of God did not exist before the Son 
of the Virgin, and should attach to the Unborn 
God with the foolish perversity of an insane 
heresy all the above passages which refer to 
the Son of God, and while applying them to 

a Passibility may not be affirmed of the divine nature of 
Christ which is incapable of any change or limitation within 
itself. At the same time the Word may be said to have suffered 
inasmuch as the suffering affected the flesh which He assumed. 
This subject was afterwards carefully developed by St. John of 
Damascus jrepi bp6o&6£ov iriVreu?, III. 4. In c. 79, Hilary criti- 
cises the Arian statement that the Son "jointly suffered," a word 
which meant that the divine nature of the Son shared in the 
sufferings which were endured by His humanity. This phrase, 
like the statement of Arius that the Logos was "capable of 
change" implied that the Son only possessed a secondary divinity. 

3 Gen. i. 26. 4 lb. xviii. 1. S lb. xxxii. 26. 

6 lb. xix. 24. 

the Father, deny the Person of the Son. The 
clearness of these statements absolves us from 
the necessity of interpreting them. 

XVII. " If any man says that the Lord 
and the Lord, the Father and the Son, are 
two Gods because of the aforesaid words : 
let him be anathema. For we do not make 
the Son the equal or peer of the Father, but 
understand the Son to be subject. For He 
did not come down to Sodom without the 
Father's will, nor rain from Himself but from 
the Lord, to wit, by the Father's authority ; 
nor does He sit at the Father's right hand 
by His own authority, but because He hears 
the Father saying, Sit Thou on My right 
hand 7." 

51. The foregoing and the following state- 
ments utterly remove any ground for sus- 
pecting that this definition asserts a diversity 
of different deities in the Lord and the Lord. 
No comparison is made because it was seen 
to be impious to say that there are two Gods : 
not that they refrain from making the Son 
equal and peer of the Father in order to deny 
that He is God. For, since he is anathema 
who denies that Christ is God, it is not on 
that score that it is profane to speak of two 
equal Gods. God is One on account of the 
true character of His natural essence and be- 
cause from the Unborn God the Father, who 
is the one God, the Only-begotten God the Son 
is born, and draws His divine Being only from 
God ; and since the essence of Him who is 
begotten is exactly similar to the essence of 
Him who begat Him, there must be one 
name for the exactly similar nature. That the 
Son is not on a level with the Father and is 
not equal to Him is chiefly shewn in the fact 
that He was subjected to Him to render 
obedience, in that the Lord rained from the 
Lord and that the Father did not, as Photinus 
and Sabellius say, rain from Himself, as the 
Lord from the Lord ; in that He then sat 
down at the right hand of God when it was 
told Him to seat Himself; in that He is sent, 
in that He receives, in that He submits in 
all things to the will of Him who sent Him. 
But the subordination of filial love is not 
a diminution of essence, nor does pious duty 
cause a degeneration of nature, since in spite 
of the fact that both the Unborn Father is 
God and the Only-begotten Son of God is 
God, God is nevertheless One, and the sub- 
jection and dignity of the Son are both taught 
in that by being called Son He is made sub- 
ject to that name which because it implies 
that God is His Father is yet a name which 
denotes His nature. Having a name which 

7 Ps. ex. x. 



belongs to Him whose Son He is, He is 
subject to the Father both in service and 
name ; yet in such a way that the subor- 
dination of His name bears witness to the 
true character of His natural and exactly 
similar essence. 

XVIII. " If any man says that the Father 
and the Son are one Person : let him be 

52. Sheer perversity calls for no contra- 
diction : and yet the mad frenzy of certain 
men has been so violent as to dare to predi- 
cate one Person with two names. 

XIX. " If any man speaking of the Holy 
Ghost the Paraclete say that He is the Un- 
born God : let him be anathema." 

53. The further clause makes liable to 
anathema the predicating Unborn God of the 
Paraclete. For it is most impious to say that 
He who was sent by the Son for our conso- 
lation is the Unborn God. 

XX. " If any man deny that, as the Lord 
has taught us, the Paraclete is different from 
the Son ; for He said, And the Father shall 
send you another Comforter, whom I shall ask : 
let him be anathema." 

54. We remember that the Paraclete was 
sent by the Son, and at the beginning the 
creed explained this. But since through the 
virtue of His nature, which is exactly similar, 
the Son has frequently called His own works 
the works of the Father, saying, I do the works 
of My Father 8 : so when He intended to send 
the Paraclete, as He often promised, He said 
sometimes that He was to be sent from the 
Father, in that He was piously wont to refer 
all that He did to the Father. And from this 
the heretics often seize an opportunity of say- 
ing that the Son Himself is the Paraclete : 
while by the fact that He promised to pray 
that another Comforter should be sent from 
the Father, He shews the difference between 
Him who is sent and Him who asked. 

XXI. " If any man says that the Holy 
Spirit is a part of the Father or of the Son : 
let him be anathema." 

55. The insane frenzy of the heretics, and 
not any genuine difficulty, rendered it neces- 
sary that this should be written. For since 
the name of Holy Spirit has its own signifi- 
cation, and the Holy Spirit the Paraclete has 
the office and rank peculiar to His Person, 
and since the Father and the Son are every- 
where declared to be immutable : how could 
the Holy Spirit be asserted to be a part either 
of the Father or of the Son ? But since this 
folly is often affirmed amid other follies by 

godless men, it was needful that the pious 
should condemn it. 

XXII. " If any man says that the Father 
and the Son and the Holy Spirit are three 
Gods : let him be anathema." 

56. Since it is contrary to religion to say 
that there are two Gods, because we remember 
and declare that nowhere has it been affirmed 
that there is more than one God : how much 
more worthy of condemnation is it to name 
three Gods in the Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost ? Nevertheless, since heretics say this, 
Catholics rightly condemn it. 

XXIII. " If any man, after the example 
of the Jews, understand as said for the de- 
struction of the Eternal Only-begotten God, the 
words, 7" am the first God, and I am the last 
God, and beside Me there is no God^, which 
were spoken for the destruction of idols and 
them that are no gods : let him be ana- 

57. Though we condemn a plurality of gods 
and declare that God is only one, we cannot 
deny that the Son of God is God. Nay, the 
true character of His nature causes the name 
that is denied to a plurality to be the privilege 
of His essence. The words, Beside Me there 
is no God, cannot rob the Son of His divinity: 
because beside Him who is of God there is no 
other God. And these words of God the Father 
cannot annul the divinity of Him who was 
born of Himself with an essence in no way 
different from His own nature. The Jews 
interpret this passage as proving the bare 
unity of God, because they are ignorant of the 
Only-begotten God. But we, while we deny 
that there are two Gods, abhor the idea of 
a diversity of natural essence in the Father 
and the Son. The words, Beside Me there is 
no God, take away an impious belief in false 
gods. In confessing that God is One, and also 
saying that the Son is God, our use of the 
same name affirms that there is no difference 
of substance between the two Persons. 

XXIV. " If any man says that the Son was 
made by the will of God, like any object in 
creation : let him be anathema." 

58. To all creatures the will of God has 
given substance : but a perfect birth gave to 
the Son a nature from a substance that is 
impassible and itself unborn. All created 
things are such as God willed them to be : but 
the Son who is born of God has such a per- 
sonality as God has. God's nature did not 
produce a nature unlike itself: but the Son 
begotten of God's substance has derived the 
essence of His nature by virtue of His origin, 

8 John x. 37. 

9 It. xliv. 6. 

C 2 



not from an act of will after the manner of 

XXV. " If any man says that the Son was 
horn against the will of the Father : let him he 
anathema. For the Father was not forced 
against His own will, or induced against His 
will by any necessity of nature, to heget His 
Son ; but as soon as He willed, before time 
and without passion He begat Him of Himself 
and shewed Him forth." 

59. Since it was taught that the Son did 
not, like all other things, owe His existence to 
Cod's will, lest He should be thought to derive 
His essence only at His Father's will and not 
in virtue of His own nature, an opportunity 
seemed thereby to be given to heretics to 
attribute to God the Father a necessity of be- 
getting the Son from Himself, as though He 
had brought forth the Son by a law of nature 
in spite of Himself. But such liability to be 
acted upon does not exist in God the Father : 
in the ineffable and perfect birth of the Son it 
was neither mere will that begat Him nor was 
the Father's essence changed or forced at the 
bidding of a natural law. Nor was any sub- 
stance sought for to beget Him, nor is the 
nature of the Begetter changed in the Be- 
gotten, nor is the Father's unique name affected 
by time. Before all time the Father, out of 
the essence of His nature, with a desire that 
was subject to no passion, gave to the Son 
a birth that conveyed the essence of His 

XXVI. "If any man says that the Son is 
incapable of birth and without beginning, 
speaking as though there were two incapable 
of birth and unborn and without beginning, 
and makes two Gods : let him be anathema. 
For the Head, which is the beginning of all 
things, is the Son ; but the Head or beginning 
of Christ is God : for so to One who is without 
beginning and is the beginning of all things, 
we refer the whole world through Christ." 

60. To declare the Son to be incapable of 
birth is the height of impiety. God would no 
longer be One : for the nature of the one Un- 
born God demands that we should confess 
that God is one. Since therefore God is one, 
there cannot be two incapable of birth : be- 
cause God is one (although both the Father is 
God and the Son of God is God) for the very 
reason that incapability of birth is the only 
quality that can belong to one Person only. 
The Son is God for the very reason that He 
derives His birth from that essence which can- 
not be born. Therefore our huly faith rejects 
the idea that the Son is incapable of birth in 
order to predicate one God incapable of birth 
and consequently one God, and in order to 
embrace the Only-begotten nature, begotten 

from the unborn essence, in the one name of 
the Unborn God. For the Head of all things 
is the Son : but the Head of the Son is God. 
And to one God through this stepping-stone 
and by this confession all things are referred, 
since the whole world takes its beginning from 
Him to whom God Himself is the beginning. 

XXVII. "Once more we strengthen the 
understanding of Christianity by saying, If any 
man denies that Christ, who is God and the 
Son of God, existed before time began and 
aided the Father in the perfecting of all things ; 
but says that only from the time that He was 
born of Mary did He gain the name of Christ 
and Son and a beginning of His deity : let 
him be anathema." 

61. A condemnation of that heresy on ac- 
count of which the Synod was held necessarily 
concluded with an explanation of the whole 
faith that was being opposed. This heresy 
falsely stated that the beginning of the Son of 
God dated from His birth of Mary. Accord- 
ing to evangelical and apostolic doctrine the 
corner-stone of our faith is that our Lord Jesus 
Christ, who is God and Son of God, cannot 
be separated from the Father in title or 
power or difference of substance or interval 
of time. 

62. You perceive that the truth has been 
sought by many paths through the advice and 
opinions of different bishops, and the ground 
of* their views has been set forth by the 
separate declarations inscribed in this creed. 
Every separate point of heretical assertion has 
been successfully refuted. The infinite and 
boundless God cannot be made compre- 
hensible by a few words of human speech. 
Brevity often misleads both learner and 
teacher, and a concentrated discourse either 
causes a subject not to be understood, or 
spoils the meaning of an argument where 
a thing is hinted at, and is not proved by full 
demonstration. The bishops fully understood 
this, and therefore have used for the purpose 
of teaching many definitions and a profusion 
of words that the ordinary understanding 
might find no difficulty, but that their hearers 
might be saturated with the truth thus differ- 
ently expressed, and that in treating of divine 
things these adequate and manifold definitions 
might leave no room for danger or obscurity. 

63. You must not be surprised, dear bre- 
thren, that so many creeds have recently been 
written. The frenzy of heretics makes it neces- 
sary. The danger of the Eastern Churches is 
so great that it is rare to find either priest or 
layman that belongs to this faith, of the ortho- 
doxy of which you may judge. Certain in- 
dividuals have acted so wrongly as to support 
the side of evil, and the strength of the wicked 



has been increased by the exile of some of the 
bishops, the cause of which you are acquainted 
with. I am not speaking about distant events 
or writing down incidents of which I know 
nothing : I have heard and seen the faults 
which we now have to combat. They are not 
laymen but bishops who are guilty. Except 
the bishop Eleusius J and his few comrades, 
the greater part of the ten provinces of Asia, 
in which I am now staying, really know not 
God. Would that they knew nothing about 
Him, for their ignorance would meet with 
a readier pardon than their detraction. These 
faithful bishops do not keep silence in their 
pain. They seek for the unity of that faith 
of which others have long since robbed them. 
The necessity of a united exposition of that 
faith was first felt when Hosius forgot his 
former deeds and words, and a fresh yet fester- 
ing heresy broke out at Sirmium. Of Hosius 
I say nothing, I leave his conduct in the back- 
ground lest man's judgment should forget what 
once he was. But everywhere there are scan- 
dals, schisms and treacheries. Hence some 
of those who had formerly written one creed 
were compelled to sign another. I make no 
complaint against these long-suffering Eastern 
bishops, it was enough that they gave at least 
a compulsory assent to the faith after they had 
once been willing to blaspheme. 1 think it 
a subject of congratulation that a single peni- 
tent should be found among such obstinate, 
blaspheming and heretical bishops. But, bre- 
thren, you enjoy happiness and glory in the 
Lord, who meanwhile retain and conscien- 
tiously confess the whole apostolic faith, and 
have hitherto been ignorant of written creeds. 
You have not needed the letter, for you 
abounded in the spirit. You required not the 
office of a hand to write what you believed in 
your hearts and professed unto salvation. It 
was unnecessary for you to read as bishops 
what you held when new-born converts. But 
necessity has introduced the custom of ex- 
pounding creeds and signing expositions. 
Where the conscience is in danger we must 
use the letter. Nor is it wrong to write what 
it is wholesome to confess. 

64. Kept always from guile by the gift of 
the Holy Spirit, we confess and write of out- 
own will that there are not two Gods but one 
God ; nor do we therefore deny that the Son 

» Eleusius is criticised by Socrates II. 40, for disliking any 
attempt at a repudiation of the "Dedication" creed of 341, 
although the "Dedication" creed was little better than a repu- 
diation ot the Nicene creed. He was, in fact, a semi-Arian. But 
hU vigorous opposition to the extreme form of Arianism and the 
hopefulness witli which Hilary always regarded the seuii-Arians, 
here invest him with a reputation for the " true knowledge of 
God." In s3i he refused to accept the Niceue creed or take part 
IB the Council of Constantinople. 

of God is also God ; for He is God of God. 
We deny that there are two incapable of birth, 
because God is one through the prerogative 
of being incapable of birth ; nor does it follow 
that the Unbegotten is not God, for His 
source is the Unborn substance. There is 
not one subsistent Person, but a similar sub- 
stance in both Persons. There is not one 
name of God applied to dissimilar natures, 
but a wholly similar essence belonging to one 
name and nature. One is not superior to the 
other on account of the kind of His substance, 
but one is subject to the other because born 
of the other. The Father is greater because 
He is Father, the Son is not the less be- 
cause He is Son. The difference is one of 
the meaning of a name and not of a nature. 
We confess that the Father is not affected 
by time, but do not deny that the Son is 
equally eternal. We assert that the Father 
is in the Son because the Son has nothing 
in Himself unlike the Father: we confess that 
the Son is in the Father because the existence 
of the Son is not from any other source. We 
recognize that their nature is mutual and 
similar because equal : we do not think them 
to be one Person because they are one : we 
declare that they are through the similarity 
of an identical nature one, in such a way that 
they nevertheless are not one Person. 

65. I have expounded, beloved brethren, my 
belief in our common faith so far as our wonted 
human speech permitted and the Lord, whom 
I have ever besought, as He is my witness, 
has given me power. If I have said too little, 
nay, if I have said almost nothing, I ask you 
to remember that it is not belief but words 
that are lacking. Perhaps I shall thereby 
prove that my human nature, though not my 
will, is weak : and I pardon my human nature 
if it cannot speak as it would of God, for it 
is enough for its salvation to have believed 
the things of God. 

66. Since your faith and mine, so far as 
I am conscious, is in no danger before God, 
and I have shewn you, as you wished, the 
creeds that have been set forth by the*Eastern 
bishops (though I repeat that they were few 
in number, for, considering how numerous the 
Eastern Churches are, that faith is held by 
few), I have also declared my own convictions 
about divine things, according to the doctrine 
of the apostles. It remains for you to in- 
vestigate without suspicion the points that 
mislead the unguarded temper of our simple 
minds, for there is now no opportunity left 
of hearing. And although I shall no longer 
fear that sentence will not be passed upon me 
in accordance with the whole exposition of 
the creed, I ask you to allow me to express 



a wish that I may not have the sentence passed 
until the exposition is actually completed. 

67. Many of us, beloved brethren, declare 
the substance of the Father and the Son to 
be one in such a spirit that I consider the 
statement to be quite as much wrong as right. 
The expression contains both a conscientious 
conviction and the opportunity for delusion. 
If we assert the one substance, understanding 
it to mean the likeness of natural qualities and 
such a likeness as includes not only the species 
but the genus, we assert it in a truly religious 
spirit, provided we believe that the one sub- 
stance signifies such a similitude of qualities 
that the unity is not the unity of a monad but 
of equals. By equality I mean exact similarity 
so that the likeness may be called an equality, 
provided that the equality imply unity because 
it implies an equal pair, and that the unity 
which implies an equal pair be not wrested to 
mean a single Person. Therefore the one 
substance will be asserted piously if it does 
not abolish the subsistent personality or divide 
the one substance into two, for their substance 
by the true character of the Son's birth and by 
their natural likeness is so free from difference 
that it is called one. 

68. But if we attribute one substance to 
the Father and the Son to teach that there 
is a solitary personal existence although de- 
noted by two titles : then though we confess 
the Son with our lips we do not keep Him 
in our hearts, since in confessing one substance 
we then really say that the Father and the Son 
constitute one undifferentiated Person. _ Nay, 
there immediately arises an opportunity for 
the erroneous belief that the Father is divided, 
and that He cut off a portion of Himself to be 
His Son. That is what the heretics mean 
when they say the substance is one : and the 
terminology of our good confession so gratifies 
them that it aids heresy when the word fyo- 
ova-ios is left by itself, undefined and ambiguous. 
There is also a third error. When the Father 
and the Son are said to be of one substance 
this is thought to imply a prior substance, 
which the two equal Persons both possess. 
Consequently the word implies three things, 
one original substance and two Persons, who 
are as it were fellow-heirs of this one substance. 
For as two fellow-heirs are two, and the 
heritage of which they are fellow-heirs is 
anterior to them, so the two equal Persons 
might appear to be sharers in one anterior 
substance. The assertion of the one substance 
of the Father and the Son signifies either that 
there is one Person who has two titles, or 
one divided substance that has made two 
imperfect substances, or that there is a third 
prior substance which has been usurped and 

assumed by two and which is called one be- 
cause it was one before it was severed into 
two. Where then is there room for the Son's 
birth ? Where is the Father or the Son, if these 
names are explained not by the birth of the 
divine nature but a severing or sharing of one 
anterior substance ? 

69. Therefore amid the numerous dangers 
which threaten the faith, brevity of words 
must be employed sparingly, lest what is 
piously meant be thought to be impiously 
expressed, and a word be judged guilty of 
occasioning heresy when it has been used in 
conscientious and unsuspecting innocence. 
A Catholic about to state that the substance 
of the Father and the Son is one, must not 
begin at that point: nor hold this word all 
important as though true faith did not exist 
where the word was not used. He will be 
safe in asserting the one substance if he has 
first said that the Father is unbegotten, that the 
Son is born, that He draws His personal 
subsistence from the Father, that He is like 
the Father in might, honour and nature, that 
He is subject to the Father as to the Author 
of His being, that He did not commit robbery 
by making Himself equal with God, in whose 
form He remained, that He was obedient unto 
death. He did not spring from nothing, but 
was born. He is not incapable of birth but 
equally eternal. He is not the Father, but 
the Son begotten of Him. He is not any 
portion of God, but is whole God. He is 
not Himself the source but the image; the 
image of God born of God to be God. He 
is not a creature but is God. Not another 
God in the kind of His substance, but the one 
God in virtue of the essence of His exactly 
similar substance. God is not one in Person 
but in nature, for the Born and the Begetter 
have nothing different or unlike. After saying 
all this, he does not err in declaring one sub- 
stance of the Father and the Son. Nay, if 
he now denies the one substance he sins. 

70. Therefore let no one think that our 
words were meant to deny the one substance. 
We are giving the very reason why it should 
not be denied. Let no one think that the 
word ought to be used by itself and unex- 
plained. Otherwise the word Sfioovaws is not 
used in a religious spirit. I will not endure to 
hear that Christ was born of Mary unless I 
also hear, In the beginning was the Word, and 
the Word was God*. I will not hear Christ 
was hungry, unless I hear that after His fast of 
forty days He said, Man doth not live by bread 
alone*. I will not hear He thirsted unless 
I also hear, Whosoever drinketh of the water 

» John i. x. 

3 Matt. tv. 4. 



that I shall give him shall never thirst*. I will 
not hear Christ suffered unless I hear, The horn- 
is come that the Son of man should be glorified s . 
I will not hear He died unless I hear He rose 
again. Let us bring forward no isolated point 
of the divine mysteries to rouse the suspicions 
of our hearers and give an occasion to the 
blasphemers. We must first preach the birth 
and subordination of the Son and the likeness 
of His nature, and then we may preach in 
godly fashion that the Father and the Son are 
of one substance. I do not personally under- 
stand why we ought to preach before every- 
thing else, as the most valuable and important 
of doctrines and in itself sufficient, a truth 
which cannot be piously preached before other 
truths, although it is impious to deny it after 

71. Beloved brethren, we must not deny 
that there is one substance of the Father and 
the Son, but we must not declare it without 
giving our reasons. The one substance must 
be derived from the true character of the be- 
gotten nature, not from any division, any con- 
fusion of Persons, any sharing of an anterior 
substance. It may be right to assert the one 
substance, it may be right to keep silence 
about it. You believe in the birth and you 
believe in the likeness. Why should the word 
cause mutual suspicions, when we view the 
fact in the same way? Let us believe and 
say that there is one substance, but in virtue 
of the true character of the nature and not to 
imply a blasphemous unity of Persons. Let 
the oneness be due to the fact that there are 
similar Persons and not a solitary Person. 

72. But perhaps the word similarity may 
not seem fully appropriate. If so, I ask how 
I can express the equality of one Person with 
the other except by such a word ? Or is to 
be like not the same thing as to be equal? 
If I say the divine nature is one I am sus- 
pected of meaning that it is undifferentiated : 
if I say the Persons are similar, I mean that 
I compare what is exactly like. I ask what 
position equal holds between like and one? 
I enquire whether it means similarity rather 
than singularity. Equality does not exist be- 
tween things unlike, nor does similarity exist in 
one. What is the difference between those 
that are similar and those that are equal ? Can 
one equal be distinguished from the other? 
So those who are equal are not unlike. If 
then those who are unlike are not equals, what 
can those who are like be but equals? 

73. Therefore, beloved brethren, in declar- 
ing that the Son is like in all things to the 
Father, we declare nothing else than that He 

* John iv. 13. 

5 lb. xii. 23. 

is equal. Likeness means perfect equality, 
and this fact we may gather from the Holy 
Scriptures, And Adam lived iivo hundred and 
thirty years, and begat a son according to his 
own image and according to his own likeness ; 
and called his name Seth 6 . I ask what was the 
nature of his likeness and image which Adam 
begat in Seth? Remove bodily infirmities, 
remove the first stage of conception, remove 
birth-pangs, and every kind of human need. 
I ask whether this likeness which exists in 
Seth differs in nature from the author of his 
being, or whether there was in each an essence 
of a different kind, so that Seth had not at his 
birth the natural essence of Adam? Nay, he 
had a likeness to Adam, even though we deny 
it, for his nature was not different. This like- 
ness of nature in Seth was not due to a nature 
of a different kind, since Seth was begotten 
from only one father, so we see that a likeness 
of nature renders things equal because this 
likeness betokens an exactly similar essence. 
Therefore every son by virtue of his natural 
birth is the equal of his father, in that he has 
a natural likeness to him. And with regard 
to the nature of the Father and the Son the 
blessed John teaches the very likeness which 
Moses says existed between Seth and Adam, 
a likeness which is this equality of nature. 
He says, Therefore the Jews sought the more to 
kill Him, because He not only had broken the 
Sabbath, but said also that God was His father, 
making Himself equal with GodT. Why do we 
allow minds that are dulled with the weight of 
sin to interfere with the doctrines and sayings 
of such holy men, and impiously match our 
rash though sluggish senses against their im- 
pregnable assertions? According to Moses, 
Seth is the likeness of Adam, according to 
John, the Son is equal to the Father, yet we 
seek to find a third impossible something 
between the Father and the Son. He is like 
the Father, He is the Son of the Father, He 
is born of Him : this fact alone justifies the 
assertion that they are one. 

74. I am aware, dear brethren, that there 
are some who confess the likeness, but deny 
the equality. Let them speak as they will, 
and insert the poison of their blasphemy into 
ignorant ears. If they say that there is a dif- 
ference between likeness and equality, I ask 
whence equality can be obtained ? If the Son 
is like the Father in essence, might, glory and 
eternity, I ask why they decline to say He is 
equal ? In the above creed an anathema was 
pronounced on any man who should say that 
the Father was Father of an essence unlike 
Himself. Therefore if He gave to Him whom 

6 Gen. v. 3. 

7 John v. 18. 

2 4 


He begat without effect upon Himself a nature 
which was neither another nor a different 
nature, He cannot have given Him any other 
than His own. Likeness then is the sharing 
of what is one's own, the sharing of one's 
own is equality, and equality admits of no 
difference 8 . Those things which do not differ 
at all are one. So the Father and the Son are 
one, not by unity of Person but by equality of 

75. Although general conviction and divine 
authority sanction no difference between like- 
ness and equality, since both Moses and John 
would lead us to believe the Son is like the 
Father and also His equal, yet let us consider 
whether the Lord, when the Jews were angry 
with Him for calling God His Father and thus 
making Himself equal with God, did Himself 
teach that He was equal with God. He says, 
The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what 
He seeth the Father do*. He shewed that the 
Father originates by saying Can do nothing of 
Himself, He calls attention to His own obe- 
dience by adding, but what He seeth the Father 
do. There is no difference of might, He says 
He can do nothing that He does not see, 
because it is His nature and not His sight 
that gives Him power. But His obedience 
consists in His being able only when He sees. 
And so by the fact that He has power when 
He sees, He shews that He does not 
gain power by seeing but claims power on the 
authority of seeing. The natural might does 
not differ in Father and Son, the Son's equality 
of power with the Father not being due to any 
increase or advance of the Son's nature but to 
the Father's example. In short that honour 
which the Son's subjection retained for the 
Father belongs equally to the Son on the 
strength of His nature. He has Himself 
added, What things soever He doeth, these also 
doeth the Son likewise?*. Surely then the like- 
ness implies equality. Certainly it does, even 
though we deny it : for these also doeth the Son 
likewise. Are not things done likewise the 
same? Or do not the same things admit 
equality ? Is there any other difference between 
likeness and equality, when things that are 
done likewise are understood to be made the 
same ? Unless perchance any one will deny 
that the same things are equal, or deny that 
similar things are equal, for tilings that are 
done in like manner are not only declared to 
be equal but to be the same things. 

76. Therefore, brethren, likeness of nature 

8 Projtrietas, or sharing one's own. The word proprietas is 
not here used in a technical sense. In its technical sense pro- 
prietor or JSiotjjs signifies the special property of each Person 
ol the Godhead, and the word is used to secure the distinctions 
of the three Persons and exclude any Sabellian misunderstanding. 

9 John v. 19. 9» Ih. 

can be attacked by no cavil, and the Son 
cannot be said to lack the true qualities of 
the Father's nature because He is like Him. 
No real likeness exists where there is no 
equality of nature, and equality of nature 
cannot exist unless it imply unity, not unity 
of person but of kind. It is right to believe, 
religious to feel, and wholesome to confess, 
that we do not deny that the substance of 
the Father and the Son is one because it 
is similar, and that it is similar because they 
are one. 

77. Beloved, after explaining in a faithful 
and godly manner the meaning of the phrases 
one substance, in Greek ofioovaiov, and similar 
substance or Sfiotovaiov, and shewing very com- 
pletely the faults which may arise from a 
deceitful brevity or dangerous simplicity of 
language, it only remains for me to address 
myself to the holy bishops of the East. We 
have no longer any mutual suspicions about 
our faith, and those which before now have 
been due to mere misunderstanding are being 
cleared away. They will pardon me if I pro- 
ceed to speak somewhat freely with them 
on the basis of our common faith. 

78. Ye who have begun to be eager for 
apostolic and evangelical doctrine, kindled 
by the fire of faith amid the thick darkness 
of a night of heresy, with how great a hope 
of recalling the true faith have you inspired 
us by consistently checking the bold attack 
of infidelity ! In former days it was only 
in obscure corners that our Lord Jesus Christ 
was denied to be the Son of God according 
to His nature, and was asserted to have no 
share in the Father's essence, but like the 
creatures to have received His origin from 
things that were not But the heresy now 
bursts forth backed by civil authority, and 
what it once muttered in secret it has of late 
boasted of in open triumph. Whereas in 
former times it has tried by secret mines to 
creep into the Catholic Church, it has now 
put forth every power of this world in the 
fawning manners of a false religion. For the 
perversity of these men has been so audacious 
that when they dared not preach this doctrine 
publicly themselves, they beguiled the Emperor 
to give them hearing. For they did beguile 
an ignorant sovereign so successfully that 
though he was busy with war he expounded 
their infidel creed, and before he was regen- 
erate by baptism imposed a form of faith 
upon the churches. Opposing bishops they 
drove into exile. They drove me also to wish 
for exile, by trying to force me to commit 
blasphemy. May 1 always be an exile, if only 
the truth begins to be preached again! I thank 
God that the Emperor, through your warnings, 



acknowledged his ignorance, and through these 
your definitions of faith came to recognize 
an error which was not his own but that of 
his advisers. He freed himself from the re- 
proach of impiety in the eyes of God and men, 
when he respectfully received your embassy, 
and after you had won from him a confession 
of his ignorance, shewed his knowledge of 
the hypocrisy of the men whose influence 
brought him under this reproach. 

79. These are deceivers, I both fear and 
believe they are deceivers, beloved brethren ; 
for they have ever deceived. This very docu- 
ment is marked by hypocrisy. They excuse 
themselves for having desired silence as to 
ofjiooviriov and ofiowvo-iov on the ground that 
they taught that the meaning of the words 
was identical. Rustic bishops, I trow, and 
untutored in the significance of Sjuoovaiov : 
as though there had never been any Council 
about the matter, or any dispute. But suppose 
they did not know what Sfxoovaiov was, or were 
really unaware that Sfimova-iov meant of a like 
essence. Granted that they were ignorant 
of this, why did they wish to be ignorant of 
the generation of the Son ? If it cannot be 
expressed in words, is it therefore unknown- 
able? But if we cannot know how He was 
born, can we refuse to know even this, that 
God the Son being born not of another sub- 
stance but of God, has not an essence differing 
from the Father's? Have they not read that 
the Son is to be honoured even as the Father, 
that they prefer the Father in honour ? Were 
they ignorant that the Father is seen in the 
Son, that they make the Son differ in dignity, 
splendour and majesty? Is this due to ignor- 
ance that the Son, like all other things, is 
made subject to the Father, and while thus 
subjected is not distinguished from them ? 
A distinction does exist, for the subjection 
of the Son is filial reverence, the subjection of 
all other things is the weakness of things 
created. They knew that He suffered, but 
when, may I ask, did they come to know that 
He jointly suffered ? They avoid the words 
ojxoovaiuv and ofMoiovatuv, because they are not 
in Scripture : I enquire whence they gathered 
that the Son jointly suffered ? Can they mean 
that there were two Persons who suffered ? 
This is what the word leads us to believe. 
What of those words, Jesus Christ the Son 
of Goal Is Jesus Christ one, and the Son 
of God another? If the Son of God is not 
one and the same inwardly and outwardly, 
if ignorance on such a point is permissible, 
then believe that they were ignorant of the 
meaning of 6/xoovanov. But if on these points 
ignorance leads to blasphemy and yet cannot 
find even a false excuse, I fear that they lied | 

in professing ignorance of the word oymovaiov. 
I do not greatly complain of the pardon you 
extended them ; it is reverent to reserve for 
God His own prerogatives, and mistakes of 
ignorance are but human. But the two 
bishops, Ursacius and Valens, must pardon 
me for not believing that at their age and 
with their experience they were really ignorant. 
It is very difficult not to think they are lying, 
seeing that it is only by a falsehood that they 
can clear themselves on another score. But 
God rather grant that I am mistaken than that 
they really knew. For I had rather be judged 
in the wrong than that your faith should be 
contaminated by communion with the guilt of 

80. Now I beseech you, holy brethren, to 
listen to my anxieties with indulgence. The 
Lord is my witness that in no matter do I wish 
to criticise the definitions of your faith, which 
you brought to Sirmium. But forgive me if 
I do not understand certain points ; I will 
comfort myself with the recollection that the 
spirits 0/ the prophets are subject to the prophets 1 . 
Perhaps I am not presumptuous in gathering 
from this that I too may understand something 
that another does not know. Not that I have 
dared to hint that you are ignorant of anything 
according to the measure of knowledge : but 
for the unity of the Catholic faith suffer me 
to be as anxious as yourselves. 

81. Your letter on the meaning of S/jloovo-wv 
and Sfiuiovaiov, which Valens, Ursacius and 
Germinius demanded should be read at Sir- 
mium, I understand to have been on certain 
points no less cautious than outspoken. And 
with regard to oixoovaiov and 6jj.oiovaiov your 
proof has left no difficulty untouched. As 
to the latter, which implies the similarity of 
essence, our opinions are the same. But in 
dealing with the opoovviov, or the one essence, 
you declared that it ought to be rejected 
because the use of this word led to the idea 
that there was a prior substance which two 
Persons had divided between themselves. 
I see the flaw in that way of taking it. Any 
such sense is profane, and must be rejected 
by the Church's common decision. The second 
reason that you added was that our fathers, 
when Paul of Samosata was pronounced a 
heretic, also rejected the word onoovcnov, on 
the ground that by attributing this title to 
God he had taught that He was single and 
undifferentiated, and at once Father and Son 
to Himself. Wherefore the Church stid re- 
gards it as most profane to exclude the differ- 
ent personal qualities, and, under the mask 

» 1 Cor. xiv. 32. 



of the aforesaid expressions, to revive the 
error of confounding the Persons and deny- 
ing the personal distinctions in the God- 
head. Thirdly you mentioned this reason for 
disapproving of the 6fxooCcnov, that in the 
Council of Nicaea our fathers were compelled 
to adopt the word on account of those who 
said the Son was a creature : although it ought 
not to be accepted, because it is not to be 
found in Scripture. Your saying this causes 
me some astonishment. For if the word 
6fj.oovaiov must be repudiated on account of 
its novelty, I am afraid that the word Sfioiovaiov, 
which is equally absent in Scripture, is in 
some danger. 

82. But I am not needlessly critical on this 
point. For I had rather use an expression 
that is new than commit sin by rejecting it. 
So, then, we will pass by this question of in- 
novation, and see whether the real question 
is not reduced to something which all our 
fellow-Christians unanimously condemn. What 
man in his senses will ever declare that there 
is a third substance, which is common to both 
the Father and the Son ? And who that has 
been reborn in Christ and confessed both the 
Son and the Father will follow him of Samo- 
sata in confessing that Christ is Himself to 
Himself both Father and Son? So in con- 
demning the blasphemies of the heretics we 
hold the same opinion, and such an inter- 
pretation of Snoovaiov we not only reject but 
hate. The question of an erroneous interpre- 
tation is at an end, when we agree in con- 
demning the error. 

83. But when I at last turn to speak on the 
third point, I pray you to let there be no 
conflict of suspicions where there is peace at 
heart. Do not think I would advance any- 
thing hurtful to the progress of unity. For 
it is absurd to fear cavil about a word when 
the fact expressed by the word presents no 
difficulty. Who objects to the fact that the 
Council of Nicsea adopted the word Snoovviov ? 
He who does so, must necessarily like its re- 
jection by the Arians. The Avians rejected 
the word, that God the Son might not be 
asserted to be born of the substance of God 
the Father, but formed out of nothing, like 
the creatures. This is no new thing that I 
speak of. The perfidy of the Arians is to be 
found in many of their letters and is its own 
witness. If the godlessness of the negation 
then gave a godly meaning to the assertion, 
I ask why we should now criticise a word 
which was then rightly adopted because it was 
wrongly denied? If it was rightly adopted, 
why after supporting the right should that 
which extinguished the wrong be called to 
account? Having been used as the instrument 

of evil it came to be the instrument of 
good 2 . 

84. Let us see, therefore, what the Council of 
Nicasa intended by saying onoovaiov, that is, 
of one substance : not certainly to hatch the 
heresy which arises from an erroneous inter- 
pretation of o/xoova-iov. I do not think the 
Council says that the Father and the Son 
divided and shared a previously existing 
substance to make it their own. It will not 
be adverse to religion to insert in our argu- 
ment the creed which was then composed to 
preserve religion. 

" We believe in one God the Father Al- 
mighty, Maker of all things visible and in- 
visible : 

"And in one our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son 
of God, born of the Father, Only-begotten, 
that is, of the substance of the Father, God of 
God, Light of Light, Very God of very God, 
born not made, of one substance with the 
Father (which in Greek they call o/jlooCo-lov) ; 
By whom all things were made which are 
in heaven and in earth, Who for our salva- 
tion came down, And was incarnate, And was 
made man, And suffered, And rose again the 
third day, And ascended into heaven, And 
shall come to judge the quick and the dead. 

" And in the Holy Ghost. 

" But those who say, There was when He 
was not, And before He was born He was 
not, And that He was made of things that 
existed not, or of another substance and es- 
sence, saying that God was able to change 
and alter, to these the Catholic Church says 

Here the Holy Council of religious men 
introduces no prior substance divided between 
two Persons, but the Son born of the sub- 
stance of the Father. Do we, too, deny it, 
or confess anything else ? And after other 
explanations of our common faith, it says, 
Born not made, of one substance with the 
Father (which in Greek they call 6/u.ooCaiov). 
What occasion is there here for an erroneous 
interpretation ? The Son is declared to be 
born of the substance of the Father, not 
made : lest while the word born implies His 
divinity, the word made should imply He is 
a creature. For the same reason we have 
of one substa?ice, not to teach that there is one 
solitary divine Person, but that the Son is 
born of the substance of God and subsists 
from no other source, nor in any diversity 
caused by a difference of substance. Surely 
again this is our faith, that He subsists from 
no other source, and He is not unlike the 

* Impiare se is used by Plautus, Rud. 1, 3, 8, in the sense 
of atrefieiv. The sentence probably refers to the misuse of the 
word o/ioou<rtos by Paul of Samosata. 



Father. Is not the meaning here of the word 
6i.ioov(rtov that the Son is produced of the 
Father's nature, the essence of the Son having 
no other origin, and that both, therefore, have 
one unvarying essence ? As the Son's essence 
has no other origin, we may rightly believe 
that both are of one essence, since the Son 
could be born with no substance but that 
derived from the Father's nature which was 
its source. 

85. But perhaps on the opposite side it will 
be said that it ought to meet with disapproval, 
because an erroneous interpretation is gener- 
ally put upon it. If such is our fear, we 
ought to erase the words of the Apostle, 
There is one Mediator between God and men, 
the man Christ Jesus 3, because Photinus uses 
this to support his heresy, and refuse to read 
it because he interprets it mischievously. And 
the fire or the sponge should annihilate the 
Epistle to the Philippians, lest Marcion should 
read again in it, And was found in fashion as 
a man*, and say Christ's body was only a 
phantasm and not a body. Away with the 
Gospel of John, lest Sabellius learn from it, 
/ and the Father are one s. Nor must those 
who now affirm the Son to be a creature find 
it written, The Father is greater than I 6 . Nor 
must those who wish to declare that the Son 
is unlike the Father read : But of that day and 
hour k?ioweth no man, no, not the angels which 
are in heaven, neither the Son, but the FatherT. 
We must dispense, too, with the books of 
Moses, lest the darkness be thought coeval 
with God who dwells in the unborn light, 
since in Genesis the day began to be after 
the night ; lest the years of Methuselah extend 
later than the date of the deluge, and con- 
sequently more than eight souls were saved 8 ; 
lest God hearing the cry of Sodom when the 
measure of its sins was full should come down 
as though ignorant of the cry to see if the 
measure of its sins was full according to the 
cry, and be found to be ignorant of what He 
knew ; lest any one of those who buried 
Moses should have known his sepulchre when 
he was buried ; lest these passages, as the 
heretics think, should prove that the contra- 
dictions of the law make it its own enemy. 
So as they do not understand them, we ought 
not to read them. And though I should not 
have said it myself unless forced by the argu- 

3 1 Tim. ii. 5. 4 Phil. ii. 7. 5 John x. 30. 

6 lb. xiv. 28. 7 Mark xiii. 32. 

8 Methuselah's age was a favourite problem with the early 
Church. See Aug. de Civ. Dei, xv. 13, and de fecc. orig. ii. 23, 
where it is said to be one of those points on which a Christian can 
afford to be ignorant. According to the Septuagint, Methuselah 
lived for fourteen years after the deluge, so that more than ' eight 
souls ' survived, and 1 Pet. iii. 20, appeared to be incorrect. Ac- 
cording to the Hebrew and Vulgate there is no difficulty, as 
Methuselah is there represented as dying before the deluge. 

ment, we must, if it seems fit, abolish all the 
divine and holy Gospels with their message of 
our salvation, lest their statements be found 
inconsistent ; lest we should read that the 
Lord who was to send the Holy Spirit was 
Himself born of the Holy Spirit ; lest He 
who was to threaten death by the sword to 
those who should take the sword, should before 
His passion command that a sword should be 
brought ; lest He who was about to descend 
into hell should say that He would be in para- 
dise with the thief; lest finally the Apostles 
should be found at fault, in that when com- 
manded to baptize in the name of the Father, 
and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, they bap- 
tized in the name of Jesus only. I speak to 
you, brethren, to you, who are no longer nour- 
ished with milk, but with meat, and are strong 9. 
Shall we, because the wise men of the world 
have not understood these things, and they 
are foolish unto them, be wise as the world is 
wise and believe these things foolish? Because 
they are hidden from the godless, shall we 
refuse to shine with the truth of a doctrine 
which we understand ? We prejudice the cause 
of divine doctrines when we think that they 
ought not to exist, because some do not regard 
them as holy. If so, we must not glory in the 
cross of Christ, because it is a stumbling-block 
to the world ; and we must not preach death 
in connection with the living God, lest the 
godless argue that God is dead. 

86. Some misunderstand Sfioovaiov ; does 
that prevent me from understanding it ? The 
Samosatene was wrong in using the word 
ofxoovaiov ; does that make the Arians right in 
denying it? Eighty bishops once rejected it; 
but three hundred and eighteen recently ac- 
cepted it. And for my own part I think the 
number sacred, for with such a number Abra- 
ham overcame the wicked kings, and was 
blessed by Him who is a type of the eternal 
priesthood. The former disapproved of it to 
oppose a heretic : the latter surely approved 
of it to oppose a heretic. The authority of 
the fathers is weighty, is the sanctity of their 
successors trivial ? If their opinions were con- 
tradictory, we ought to decide which is the 
better : but if both their approval and dis- 
approval established the same fact, why do we 
carp at such good decisions ? 

87. But perhaps you will reply, 'Some of 
those who were then present at Nicasa have 
now decreed that we ought to keep silence 
about the word 6/xoovcrtov.' Against my will 
I must answer: Do not the very same men 
rule that we must keep silence about the word 
ofioiovaiov ? I beseech you that there may be 

9 Heb. t. is. 



found no one of them but Hosius, that old 
man who loves a peaceful grave too well, who 
shall be found to think that we ought to keep 
silence about both. Amid the fury of the 
heretics into what straits shall we fall at last, 
if while we do not accept both, we keep 
neither? For there seems to be no impiety 
in saying that since neither is found in Scrip- 
ture, we ought to confess neither or both. 

88. Holy brethren, I understand by 6fxo- 
oiaiov God of God, not of an essence that 
is unlike, not divided but born, and that the 
Son has a birth which is unique, of the sub- 
stance of the unborn God, that He is begotten 
yet co-eternal and wholly like the Father. I 
believed this before I knew the word o^oova-iof, 
but it greatly helped my belief. Why do you 
condemn my faith when I express it by Spo- 
oiaiou while you cannot disapprove it when 
expressed by Sfioiovo-iov ? For you condemn my 
faith, or rather your own, when you condemn 
its verbal equivalent. Do others misunder- 
stand it ? Let us join in condemning the 
misunderstanding, but not deprive our faith 
of its security. Do you think we must sub- 
scribe to the Samosatene Council to prevent 
any one from using Sfioovaiov in the sense of 
Paul of Samosata? Then let us also subscribe 
to the Council of Nicaea, so that the Arians 
may not impugn the word. Have we to fear 
that 6/jotrwioi/ does not imply the same belief 
as Sfxoovaiov ? Let us decree that there is no 
difference between being of one or of a similar 
substance. The word otiooio-iou can be under- 
stood in a wrong sense. Let us prove that it 
can be understood in a very good sense. We 
hold one and the same sacred truth. I beseech 
you that we should agree that this truth, which 
is one and the same, should be regarded as 
sacred. Forgive me, brethren, as I have so 
often asked you to do. You are not Arians : 
why should you be thought to be Arians by 
denying the 6iioovo-iov ? 

89. But you say : ' The ambiguity of the 
word ofxaovaiov troubles and offends me.' I pray 
you hear me again and be not offended. I am 
troubled by the inadequacy of the word opoi- 
ovaiov. Many deceptions come from similarity. 
I distrust vessels plated with gold, for I 
may be deceived by the metal underneath : 
and yet that which is seen resembles gold. 
I distrust anything that looks like milk, lest 
that which is offered to me be milk but not 
sheep's milk : for cow's milk certainly looks 
like it. Sheep's milk cannot be really like 
sheep's milk unless drawn from a sheep. 
True likeness belongs to a true natural con- 
nection. But when the true natural connection 
exists, the opoovaiov is implied. It is a like- 
ness according to essence when one piece of 

metal is like another and not plated, if milk 
which is of the same colour as other milk 
is not different in taste. Nothing can be like 
gold but gold, or like milk that did not belong 
to that species. I have often been deceived 
by the colour of wine : and yet by tasting 
the liquor have recognized that it was of 
another kind. I have seen meat look like 
other meat, but afterwards the flavour has 
revealed the difference to me. Yes, I fear those 
resemblances which are not due to a unity 
of nature. 

90. I am afraid, brethren, of the brood of 
heresies which are successively produced in 
the East : and I have already read what I tell 
you I fear. There was nothing whatever sus- 
picious in the document which some of you, 
with the assent of certain Orientals, took on 
your embassy to Sirmium to be there sub- 
scribed. But some misunderstanding has arisen 
in reference to certain statements at the be- 
ginning which I believe you, my holy brethren, 
Basil, Eustathius, and Eleusius, omitted to 
mention lest they should give offence. If it 
was right to draw them up, it was wrong to 
bury them in silence. But if they are now 
unmentioned because they were wrong we 
must beware lest they should be repeated at 
some future time. Out of consideration for 
you I have hitherto said nothing about this: 
yet you know as well as I do that this creed 
was not identical with the creed of Ancyra. 
I am not talking gossip : I possess a copy of 
the creed, and I did not get it from laymen, it 
was given me by bishops. 

91. I pray you, brethren, remove all sus- 
picion and leave no occasion for it. To ap- 
prove of onoioiaiov, we need not disapprove of 
ofioova-iov. Let us think of the many holy 
prelates now at rest : what judgment will the 
Lord pronounce upon us if we now say an- 
athema to them ? What will be our case if we 
push the matter so far as to deny that they 
were bishops and so deny that we are ourselves 
bishops? We were ordained by them and are 
their successors. Let us renounce our epis- 
copate, if we took its office from men under 
anathema. Brethren, forgive my anguish : 
it is an impious act that you are attempting. 
I cannot endure to hear the man anathematized 
who says Sfioova-iov and says it in the right sense. 
No fault can be found with a word which does 
no harm to the meaning of religion. I do not 
know the word otioiovo-iov, or understand it, 
unless it confesses a similarity of essence. 
I call the God of heaven and earth to witness, 
that when I had heard neither word, my belief 
was always such that I should have interpreted 
6fj.oiovcri.ov by o/ioovcrtov. That is, I believed that 
nothing could be similar according to nature 



unless it was of the same nature. Though long 
ago regenerate in baptism, and for some time 
a bishop, I never heard of the Nicene creed 
until I was going into exile, but the Gospels 
and Epistles suggested to me the meaning of 
onoovoiov and 6ii.oiovdi.ov. Our desire is sacred. 
Let us not condemn the fathers, let us not 
encourage heretics, lest while we drive one 
heresy away, we nurture another. After the 
Council of Nicaea our fathers interpreted the 
due meaning of 6fioovo-wv with scrupulous care ; 
the books are extant, the facts are fresh in 
men's minds : if anything has to be added to 
the interpretation, let us consult together. 
Between us we can thoroughly establish the 
faith, so that what has been well settled need 
not be disturbed, and what has been misunder- 
stood may be removed. 

92. Beloved brethren, I have passed beyond 
the bounds of courtesy, and forgetting my 
modesty I have been compelled by my affec- 

tion for you to write thus of many abstruse 
matters which until this our age were un- 
attempted and left in silence. I have spoken 
what I myself believed, conscious that I 
owed it as my soldier's service to the Church 
to send to you in accordance with the 
teaching of the Gospel by these letters the 
voice of the office which I hold in Christ. 
It is yours to discuss, to provide and to act, 
that the inviolable fidelity in which you stand 
you may still keep with conscientious hearts, 
and that you may continue to hold what you 
hold now. Remember my exile in your holy 
prayers. I do not know, now that I have thus 
expounded the faith, whether it would be as 
sweet to return unto you again in the Lord 
Jesus Christ as it would be full of peace to die. 
That our God and Lord may keep you pure 
and undefiled unto the day of His appearing 
is my desire, dearest brethren. 



Since the circumstances in which the De Trinitate was written, and the character and 
object of the work, are discussed in the general Introduction, it will suffice to give here 
a brief summary of its contents, adapted, in the main, from the Benedictine edition. 

Book I. The treatise begins with St. Hilary's own spiritual history, the events of which 
are displayed, no doubt, more logically and symmetrically in the narrative than they had 
occurred in the writer's experience. He tells of the efforts of a pure and noble soul, impeded, 
so far as we hear, neither by unworthy desires nor by indifference, to find an adequate 
end and aim of life. He rises first to the conception of the old philosophers, and then 
by successive advances, as he learns more and more of the Divine revelation in Scripture, 
he attains the object of his search in the apprehension of God as revealed in the Catholic 
Faith. But this happiness is not the result of a mere intellectual knowledge, but of belief 
as well. In §§ i — 14 we have this advance from ignorance and fear to knowledge and peace. 
And here he might have rested, had he not been charged with the sacerdotal (i.e., in the 
language of that time, the episcopal) office, which laid upon him the duty of caring for the 
salvation of others. And such care was needed, for (§§ 15, 16) heresies were abroad, and 
chiefly two; the Sabellian which said that Father and Son were mere names or aspects 
of one Divine Person, and therefore there had been no true birth of the Son ; and the Arian 
(which, however, Hilary rarely calls by the name of its advocate, preferring to 'style it the 
'new heresy') asserting more or less openly that the Son is created and not born, and 
therefore is different in kind from the Father, and not, in the true sense, God. Hilary 
declares (§ 17) that his purpose is to refute these heresies and to demonstrate the true faith 
by the evidence of Scripture. He demands from his hearers a loyal belief in the Scriptures 
which he will cite; without such faith his arguments will not profit them (§ 18); and in § 19 
he warns them of the limits of the argument from analogy, which he must employ, inadequate 
as it is in respect of the finite illustrations which he must use to express the infinite. Then 
in § 20 he speaks with a modest pride of his careful marshalling of the arguments which 
shall lead his readers to the right conclusion, and in §§ 21 — 36 he gives a summary of the 
contents of the work. He concludes the first Book (§§ 37, 38) with a prayer which expresses 
his certainty that what he holds is the truth, and entreats the Father and the Son that 
he may have the eloquence of language and the cogency of reasoning needed for the worthy 
presentation of the truth concerning Them. 

Book II. He begins with the command to baptize all nations (St. Matt, xxviii. 19) 
as a summary of the faith ; this by itself would suffice were not explanations rendered 
necessary by heretical misrepresentations of its meaning. For (§§ 3, 4) heresy is the result 
of Scripture misunderstood ; and here we must notice that Scripture is regarded as ground 
•common to both sides. All accept it as literally true, and combine its texts as will best 


serve their own purposes. Hilary, regarding all heresies as one combined opposition to 
the truth, makes the two objections that their arguments are mutually destructive, and that 
they are modern. Then in § 5 he expresses the awe with which he approaches the subject. 
The language which he must use is utterly inadequate, and yet he is compelled to use it. 
In §§ 6 j 7 ne begins with the notion of God as Father; in §§8 — 11 he proceeds to that 
of God the Son. He states the faith as it must be believed; it is not enough (§§ 12, 13) 
to accept the truth of Christ's miracles. The mystery, as it is revealed in St. John i. 1 — 4, 
must be the object of faith. In §§ 14 — 21 he expounds this passage in the face of current 
objections, and then triumphantly asserts that all the efforts of heresy are vain (§ 22). 
He advances proof-texts in § 23 against each objector, and then points out in §§ 24, 25 
our indebtedness to the infinite Divine condescension thus revealed. For, in all the 
humiliation to which Christ stooped the Divine Majesty was still inseparably His, and 
was manifested both in the circumstances of His birth and in His life on earth (§§ 26 — 28). 
The book concludes (§§ 29 — 35) with a statement of the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, as 
perfect as in the undeveloped state of that doctrine was possible. 

Book III. In §§ 1 — 4, the words, / in the Father and the Father in Me, are taken 
as typical. Man cannot comprehend, but only apprehend them. So far as they are 
explicable Hilary explains them. But God's self-revelation is always mysterious. The 
miracles of Christ are inexplicable (§§ 5 — 8) ; this is God's way, and meant to check pre- 
sumption. Human wisdom is limited, and when it passes its bounds, and invades the realm 
of faith, it becomes folly. Next, in §§ 9 — 17, the passage, St. John xvii. 1 fif., is explained 
as proving that in the One God there are the Persons of Father and of Son, and as revealing 
God in the aspect of the Father. Then, in §§ 18 — 21, the wonderful deeds of Christ are put 
forth as an evidence of His wonderful birth. We must not ask how He can be coeternal 
with the Father, for it is in vain that we should ask how He could pass through the closed 
door. Either question is mere presumption. The revelation which Christ makes (§§ 22, 23) 
is that of God as His Father; Uniim sunt, non Unus. And finally, in §§ 25, 26, he returns 
to the futility of reasoning. True wisdom is to believe where we cannot comprehend; 
we must trifct to faith, not to proof. 

Book IV. This book is in a sense the beginning of the treatise, and is sometimes cited 
later on as the first. Its three predecessors, he says in § 1, had been written some time 
before. They had contained a statement of the truth concerning the Divinity of Christ* 
and a summary refutation of the various heresies. He now commences his main attack 
upon Arianism. First (§ 2) he repeats what his difficulty is ; that human language and 
thought cannot cope with the Infinite. Then (§ 3) he tells how the Arians explain away 
the eternal Sonship of Christ. As a defence against this tampering with the truth, the 
Church has adopted the term Homoousioti (§§4 — 7); Hilary explains and defends its use. 
In § 8 he shews, by a collection of the passages of Scripture which they wrest to their own 
purposes, that such a definition is necessary, and in §§9, 10 that their use of these passages 
is dishonest. In § 11 he tells us exactly what the Arian teaching is, and sets it forth in one 
of their own formularies, the Epistola Arii ad Alexandrum (§§ 12, 13). In § 14 this doctrine 
is denounced ; it does not explain, but explains away. The proclamation made through 
Moses, Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One, upon which the Arians take their stand, 
reveals only one aspect of the truth (§ 15). It does not exhaust the truth; for God is. 
represented as not one solitary Person in the history of creation (§§ 16 — 22), in the life 
of Abraham (§§ 23 — 31), and in that of Moses (§§ 32 — 34). And this again is the teaching, 
of the Prophets, as is shewn by passages selected from Isaiah, Hosea, and Jeremiah (§§ 35 — \t\ 


All the evidence thus collected shews that in the Godhead there is both Father and Son, 
and that the Son is God. 

Book V. Hilary now points out (§ 1) the controversial strength of the Arian position. 
If he is silent in face of their assertion, they will claim that he agrees with them that the Son 
is God only in some inferior sense. On the other hand, if he opposes them, he will seem 
to be contradicting the Mosaic revelation of the Divine unity, In § 2 he recapitulates the 
argument of Book IV., that the witness of Scripture proves that God is not a solitary Person ; 
that, as he says, there is God and God. But the Arians had a further loophole ; their creed 
asserted (§ 3) one true God. They might argue that Christ is indeed God, but of a nature 
different from that of the Father. In refutation of this Hilary goes once more through 
the history of creation (§§ 4 — 10), proving that the narrative reveals not only the Son's share 
in that work, but also His equality and oneness of nature with the Father ; in other words, 
that He is not only God but true God. The same truth is demonstrated from the life 
of Abraham (§§ 11 — 16). Moreover, these self-revelations of the Son (as the Angel, on 
various occasions) are anticipations of the Incarnation. He was first seen in flesh, afterwards 
born in flesh. The Arians concentrate their attention on the humble conditions of Christ's 
human life, and so, from want of a comprehensive view, fail to discern His true Godhead. 
But Hilary will not anticipate the evidence of the Gospels (§§ 17, 18). He returns to the 
Old Testament, and proves his point from Jacob's visions (§§ 19, 20), and by the revelations 
made to Moses (§§ 21 — 23). After a summary and an enforcement of the preceding argu- 
ments (§§ 24, 25), he proceeds to prove from certain passages of Isaiah that the Prophet 
recognised the Son as true God (§§ 26 — 31), and that St. Paul understood him in that sense 
(§§ 3 2 > 33)' Then, in §§ 34, 35, the result which has been attained is dwelt upon. Hilary 
shews that it is the Arians who fail to recognise the one true God ; for Christ is true God, 
yet not a second God. Finally, in §§ 36 — 39, Moses, Isaiah, and Jeremiah are adduced 
as testifying that Christ is God from God, and God in God. 

Book VI. Hilary begins by lamenting the wide extension of Arianism ; his love for 
souls leads him to combat the heresy, whose insidiousness makes it the more dangerous 
(§§ ! — 4)- He repeats in §§ 5, 6 the same Arian creed which he had given in Book IV. 
The heretics here gain the appearance of orthodoxy by condemning errors inconsistent with 
rheir own ; and this condemnation is designed to cast upon the Catholic faith the suspicion 
of complicity in such errors. Hence he must postpone his appeal to the New Testament 
*U1 he has examined them (§§ 7, 8). Accordingly in §§ 9 — 12 he explains successively the 
ioctrines of Valentinus, Manichaeus, Sabellius and Hieracas, and shews that the Church 
rejects them all, as she does (§13) the doctrine which the Arians in their creed have falsely 
assigned to her. Their object is to deny that the Son is coeternal with the Father and of one 
substance with Him (§§ 14, 15); but this denial is clean contrary to Scripture, which it 
is blasphemy to oppose (§§ 16, 17). The Arians would make a creature of Christ (§ 18), 
to Whom, in §§ 19 — 21, Hilary turns with an impassioned declaration of certainty that 
He is very God. He then resumes the argument, and proves that Christ is Son by birth, 
not by adoption, from the words both of Father and of Son as recorded in the Gospel 
(§§ 22 — 25). This is confirmed (§§ 26, 27) by the Gospel account of His acts, which are 
otherwise inexplicable. The argument is clenched by a discussion of St. John vii. 28, 29, 
and viii. 42 (§§ 28 — 31). The true Sonship of Christ is further proved by the faith of 
the Apostles, whose certainty increased with their knowledge (§§ 31 — 35), and especially 
by that of St. Peter (§§ 36—38), of St. John (§§ 39—43), and of St Paul (§§ 44, 45). 
To reject such a weight of testimony is to prefer Antichrist to Christ (§ 46). And, moreover, 



we have the witness of those for whom He wrought miracles, of devils, of the Jews, of 
the Apostles in peril on the sea, of the centurion by the Cross, that Christ is truly the 
Son of God (§§ 47 — 52). 

Book VII. The Arians are adepts at concealing their meaning ; at the use of Scripture 
terms in unscriptural senses (§ 1). They have already been refuted by the proof that Christ 
is the true and coeternal Son ; and Hilary now advances to the proof of the true Divinity 
of Christ, which is logically inseparable from His true Sonship (§ 2). But the danger is great 
lest, in attacking one heresy, he should use language which would sanction others (§ 3). 
Yet the truth is one, while heresies are manifold. Each of them can be trusted to demolish 
the others, while none can establish its own case. He illustrates this by the mutually destruc- 
tive arguments of Sabellius, Arius and Photinus (§§ 5 — 7). Christ is proved to be God by the 
name God which is given Him in Scripture : The Word was God (§§ 8, 9). The name is His 
in the strict sense, and not any derivative meaning (§§ 10, 11). Yet Father and Son are not 
two, but one God (§ 13). Being the Son of God, He has the nature of God, and therefore is 
God (§§ 14 — 17), and yet not one Person with the Father (§ 18). Again, His power, manifested 
in His works, proves His Godhead (§ 19), as does the fact that all judgment has been given 
Him by the Father (§ 20). Christ's own words display the truth (§ 21). The Arians are 
blind to the plain sense of Scripture, and are more blasphemous than the Jews; Christ's 
.eply to the latter meets the objections of the former (§§ 22 — 24). He asserts His unity with 
the Father (§ 25), and makes His works the proof (§ 26). The Father is in the Son and the 
Son is in the Father (§ 27) : this is illustrated by the transmission of physical properties from 
parent to child and from flame to flame (§§ 28 — 30). In fact, the Catholic is the only 
rational explanation of the words of Scripture (§§ 31, 32). Again (§§ 33 — 38), the way to the 
Father is through the Son, and knowledge of the Son is knowledge of the Father. This 
would be impossible, were not the Son God in the same sense in which the Father is God. 
Thus the contrary doctrines of Sabellius and of Arius are confuted ; there is neither one 
Person, nor yet two Gods (§§ 39, 40). Christ calls upon us to believe the truth, and belief 
is not only possible but reasonable (§ 41). 

Book VIII. Piety is necessary in a Bishop, but he needs also knowledge and dia- 
lectical skill in the face of such heresies as were rampant in Hilary's day; for the heretics 
outdo the orthodox in zeal, and are masters in the art of devising pitfalls for the unwary 
reasoner (§§ 1 — 3). He maintains (§ 4) that hitherto he has established his case; and now 
turns, in § 5, to the Arian interpretation of I and the Father are One, as meaning that They 
are one in will, not in nature. The fallacy of this is shewn by a comparison of the unity 
of Christians in Christ (§§ 7 — 9) ; a unity which is confessedly one of nature, yet is not more 
natural than that of Father and Son, of which it is a type (§ ro). And indeed the words, 
/ and the Father are One, are ill-adapted to express a mere harmony of will (§ n). This 
gift of unity of nature could not be given, as it is, through the Incarnation and the Eucharist, 
to Christians, unless the Givers Themselves possessed it ; i.e. unless Father and Son were 
One God (§§ 12 — 14). As a matter of fact, we have a perfect union, through the mediation 
of Christ, with the Father ; and it is a unity of nature, a permanent abiding ; an assurance 
to us of the indwelling of Father in Son and Son in Father, and of the fact that Christ 
is not a creature, one in will with the Father, but a Son, one in nature with Him (§§ 15 — 18). 
For, again (§§ 19 — 21), the Mission of the Holy Ghost is jointly from the Father and the 
^on ; He is called sometimes the Spirit of the Father, sometimes the Spirit of the Son, 
and this is a further proof of the unity in nature of Father and Son. Hilary now enquires 
(§§ 22 — 25) into the senses in which Scripture speaks of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes this 


litle is given to the Father, sometimes to the Son, in both cases to save us from corporeal 
conceptions of God. But it is also used, in the strict sense, of the Paraclete, as on the day 
of Pentecost. Now the Divine Spirit dwells in Christians ; but this Spirit, whether styled 
the Spirit of God, or the Spirit of Christ, or the Spirit of Truth, proceeding from the Father 
and sent by the Son, is only one Spirit. Hence the Godhead is One, and the nature of the 
Persons within that Godhead one also (§§ 26, 27). He next points out (§ 28) that the Arians 
are inconsistent in worshipping Christ, and yet styling Him a creature; for thus they fall 
under the curse of the Law, and forfeit the Holy Spirit Again (§§ 29 — 34) the powers and 
graces bestowed by God are described indiscriminately as gifts of one or another Person 
in the Godhead. The Son, therefore, as a Giver, must be one with the Father, Who is 
also a Giver, and one with the Spirit. There is One God and One Lord (§ 35); if we deny 
that the Son is God, we must also deny that the Father is Lord; which is absurd. They are 
One God, with one Spirit, but not one Person (§ 36). St. Paul expressly says that Christ 
is God over all ; an expression which must, like all the Apostle's teaching, bear the Catholic 
sense, and is incompatible with Arianism (§§ 37 — 39). The supporters of Arianism are 
thus alien from the faith (§ 40). After a restatement of the truth (§ 41), Hilary proceeds 
to deduce the Divine nature of the Son from the fact that He has been sealed by the Father 
(§§ 42 — 45). This sealing makes Him the Father's counterpart, Whose Image He thus 
becomes, though in the form of a servant. If He were thus the Image of God after His 
Incarnation, how much more before that condescension (§ 46). In § 47 he again denies 
that this teaching reduces the Father and the Son to one Person ; and then (§§ 48 — 50) 
works out the sense in which Christ is the Image of God. It means that They are of one 
nature and of one power, and that the Son is the Firstborn, through Whom all things were 
created. But creation and also reconciliation is the joint work of Father and Son (§ 51). 
Christ could not have stated more explicitly than He has done His unity with the Father; 
the recognition of this truth is the test of the true Church (§ 52). Heresy is blind to the 
essential difference between the life-giving Christ and the created universe, which owes 
its life to Him (§ 53). In Him dwells the whole fulness of the Godhead bodily. The In- 
dweller and the Indwelt are Both Persons, yet are One God; and the whole Godhead dwells 
in Each (§§ 54-56). 

Book IX. After a summary (§ 1) of the results already obtained, Hilary returns, in § 2, 
to certain of the Arian proof-texts, and warns his readers that their life depends on the 
recognition in Christ of true God and true man, for it is this twofold nature which makes Him 
the Mediator (§ 3). Universal analogy and our consciousness of the capacity to rise to the life 
in God convince us of these two natures in Him, Who makes this rise possible (§ 4). But 
heresy lays hold of words spoken by Christ Incarnate, appropriate to His humility as Man, 
and assigns them to Him in His previous state ; thus they make Him deny His true Godhead. 
But His utterances before the Incarnation, during His life on earth, and after His return 
to glory, must be carefully distinguished (§§ 5, 6). Hilary now examines the aims and 
achievements of Christ Incarnate, and shews that His work for men was a Divine work, 
accomplished by Him for us only because He was throughout both God and Man, the 
two natures in Him being inseparable (§§ 7 — 14). After reaching this conclusion from 
a general survey of Christ's life on earth, he examines in the light of it the Arian arguments 
from isolated words. They assert that Christ refused to be called Good or Master. He 
refused neither title, and yet declared that both belong to God only (§§ 15 — 18). And, 
indeed, He could not have associated Himself more closely than He did with the Father, 
while yet He kept His Person distinct (§ 19). The Father Himself bears witness to the Son ; 
and the sin and loss of the Jews is this, that, seeing the Father's works done by Christ, 

d 2 


they did not see in Him the Son (§§ 20, 21). The honour and glory of Christ is inseparable 
from that of God (§§ 22, 23). The Scribe did well to confess the Divine unity, but was 
still outside the Kingdom because He did not believe in Christ as God (§§ 24 — 27). Next, 
the Arian argument from the words, This is life eternal, that they may know Thee, the only true 
God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent, is refuted by comparison with cognate passages 
(§§ 28 — 35). For, indeed, if the Father be the only true God, the Son must also be the 
only true God (§ $6). That Divine nature which is common to Father and Son is subject to 
no limitations, and the eternal generation can be illustrated by no analogy of created things 
(§ 37)- Christ took humanity, and, since the Father's nature did not share in this, the 
unity was so far impaired. But humanity has been raised in Christ to God ; and this 
could only be because His unity in the Divine nature with the Father was perfect. 
Otherwise the flesh which Christ took could not have entered into the Divine glory (§ 38). 
There is but one glory of Father and of Son ; the Son sought in the Incarnation not 
glory for the Word but for the flesh (§§39, 40). The glory of Father and Son is one; 
in that unity the Son bestows, as well as receives, glory (§§ 41, 42), and this glory, common 
to Both, is evidence that the Divine nature also is common to Both (§ 42). Again, the 
Arians allege the words, The Son can do nothing of Himself, which Hilary shews, by an 
examination of the context, to be a support of the Catholic cause (§§ 43 — 46). The Son 
does the Father's work, not under compulsion as an inferior, but because They are One. 
His will is free, yet in perfect harmony with that of the Father, because of their unity 
of nature (§§ 47 — 50). The Arians also appeal to the text, The Father is greater than I. 
The Father is, in fact, greater, first as being the Unbegotten, and secondly inasmuch as 
the Son has condescended to the state of man, yet without forfeiting His Godhead (§ 51). 
But He is not greater in nature than the Son, Who is His Image ; or rather, the Begetter 
is the greater, while the Son, as the Begotten, is not less than He, for, although begotten, 
He had no beginning of existence (§§ 52 — 57). Next, the allegation of ignorance, based on 
St. Mark xiii. 32, and therefore of difference in nature from God Omniscient is refuted 
(§§ 58 — 62), both by express statements of Scripture and by a consideration of the Divine 
character. It is only in figurative senses that God is stated in the Old Testament sometimes 
to come to know, sometimes to be ignorant of, particular facts (§§ 63, 64). And so it is 
with Christ; His ignorance is but a wise and merciful concealment of knowledge (§§ 65 — 67). 
Yet the Arians, though they admit that Christ, being superior to man, knows all the secrets of 
humanity, assert that He cannot penetrate the mysteries of God (§ 68). But Christ expressly 
declares that He can and does, for Each is in the Other and is mirrored in the Other (§ 69). 
The ignorance can be nothing but concealment. Only the Father knows, i.e. He has told 
none but the Son ; the Son does not know, i.e. He wills not to reveal His knowledge 
(§§ 7°) 7 1 )- Cod is unlimited; unlimited therefore in knowledge. The nature of Father 
and Son being one, it is impossible that the Son should be ignorant of what the Father knows. 
As in will, so in knowledge, They are One (§§ 72 — 74). And the Apostles, by repeating 
their question after the Resurrection, shew that they were aware that His ignorance meant 
reserve. And Christ did not, this time, speak of ignorance, though He withheld the knowledge 
which they asked (§ 75). 

Book X. Theological differences are not the result of honest reasoning, but of reasoning 
distorted, as in the case of the Arians, by preconceived opinions, whose cause is sin and their 
result hypocrisy (§§ 1 — 3). Hilary has fallen on the evil times foretold by the Apostle ; truth 
is banished and so is he, yet his sufferings do not affect his joy in the Lord (§ 4). In the 
preceding books he has stated the exact truth, of which he now gives a summary (§§ 5 — 8). 
But the further objection is raised that, while God is impassible, Christ in His Passion 
suffered fear and pain (§ 9). But He Who taught others not to fear death could not fear 


it Himself (§ 10). He died of His own free will, knowing that in three days His Body and 

Spirit would rise again (§§ n, 12). Nor did He fear bodily tortures, for pain is an affection 

of the weak human soul, which inhabits our body, and is not felt by the body itself (§§ 13, 14). 

And, although the Virgin fulfilled entirely the part of a human mother, yet the Begetter was 

Divine. Christ, when He took the form of a servant, remained still in the form of God, and 

was born perfect even as the Begetter was perfect, for Mary was not the cause, but only the 

means, of His human life (§§ 15, 16). St. Paul draws a clear distinction between the First 

Man, who was earthy, and the Second Man, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and in 

Whom what is Flesh, in one aspect, is Bread from heaven in another (§§ 17, 18). He is 

therefore perfect Man as well as perfect God, and did not inherit the flesh or the soul of 

Adam. His whole human nature is derived from the Holy Ghost, by Whom the Virgin 

conceived (§§ 19, 20). Again (§ 21) the Arians argue that the Word was in Jesus in the same 

sense in which the Spirit was in the Prophets, and reproach the Catholics with denying the 

true humanity of Christ. Hilary replies that just as Christ was the cause of the birth of His 

own human Body, so He was the Author of His own human Soul : for no soul is transmitted. 

Thus His human nature is complete ; He has taken the form of a servant, but all the while 

He is in the form of God, i.e. He Who is God and also Man is one Christ, Who was born 

and died and rose (§ 22). In all this He endured passion but not pain, even as air or water, 

if pierced by a blow, is unaffected by it. The blow is real, and the Passion was real ; but it 

was not inflicted on our limited humanity but on a human nature which could walk on water 

and pass through locked doors (§ 23). If it be argued that He wept, hungered, thirsted, 

Hilary answers that He could wipe away tears and supply needs, and therefore was not 

subject to them ; that though He endured them, as true Man, He was not affected by them. 

Such sufferings are habitual with men, and He endured them to shew that He had a true 

Body (§ 24). For such a Body He had, although (since He was not conceived in sin) one 

free from the defects of our bodies ; not sinful flesh, but only the likeness of sinful flesh. For 

He was the Word made Flesh, and continued to be true God as He had been before 

(§§ 25, 26). The Lord of glory suffered neither fear nor pain in His Passion, as is shewn 

by the powers which He exercised on the verge of death (§§ 27, 28). His utterances in the 

Garden and on the Cross are not evidences of pain or fear, for they may be matched by lofty 

expressions of calmness and hope (§§ 29 — 32). Thus no proof of fear or pain or weakness 

can be drawn from the circumstances of the Passion. Nor was the Cross a shame, for it was 

His road from humiliation to glory (§ 33), nor the descent to hell a degradation, for all the 

while He was in heaven. How different the faith of the Thief on the cross to that of the 

Arian! (§ 34). The argument is summed up in § 35. Next the Agony is considered. 

Christ does not say that He is sorrowful on account of death, but unto death. It is anxiety 

on the Apostles' account, lest their faith should fail ; a fear which reached to His death, not 

beyond, for He knew that after His death His glory would revive their faith. This was the 

fear in which He was comforted by the Angel ; for Himself He was fearless, being conscious 

of His Godhead (§§ 36—43). He was free from pain and fear, for it is the sinful body which 

transmits these affections to the soul. Yet even human bodies rise sometimes superior to 

them, e.g. Daniel and other heroes of faith : how much more Christ (§§ 44—46). In the 

same way we must understand His bearing our suffering and our sin (§ 47), for, as St. Paul 

says, His Passion was itself a triumph (§ 48). The complaint that He was forsaken by the 

Father is similarly explained (§ 49). The purpose of the Arian arguments is to displace the 

truth of Christ as very God and very man in favour of one or other heretical hypothesis, all of 

which the Church rejects (§§ 50—52). Our reason must recognise its limitations and be 

content to believe, without understanding, apparently contradictory truths (§§ 53, 54). Christ 

weeping over Jerusalem and at the grave of Lazarus is equally inexplicable, yet certain 


(§§ 55> 56). His laying down and taking again His life is accounted for by the two natures 
inseparably united in one Person (§§ 57 — 62). After a short summary (§ 63) he returns to the 
union of two natures, which is the stumbling-block of worldly wisdom (§ 64), and shews it to 
be the only reasonable explanation of the facts (§§ 65, 66). As St. Paul says, our belief must 
be according to the Scriptures ; the necessity and the rewards of faith (§§ 67 — 70). The 
seeming infirmity of Christ was assumed for our instruction and for our salvation. 

Book XI. The Faith is one, even as God is One ; but the faiths of heretics are many 
(§§ x » 2 )- Hilary has now demonstrated the truth about Christ, so that it cannot be denied; 
it is attested also by miracles even in his own day (§ 3). The Arians preach another, 
a created Christ; and in making Christ a creature they proclaim another God, not a Father 
but a Creator (§ 4). The Son, as the Image, is of one nature with the Father; if He 
is inferior He is not the Image (§ 5). But the Arians explain the oneness away by arguments 
from His condescension to our estate (§ 6), and, even after His Resurrection, plead that 
He confesses His inequality. They argue thus from 1 Cor. xv. 24 — 28, a passage to which 
the rest of this book is devoted (§§ 7, 8). But we must recognise the mysteriousness of 
the truth, accepting the two sides of it, both clearly revealed though we cannot reconcile 
them (§ 9). They regard only one aspect; Hilary in reply proves once more that Christ 
is both born from God, and Himself God (§§ 10 — 12). But at His Incarnation He began 
to have as Lord the God Who had been His Father eternally (§ 13), and when He said that 
He was ascending to His God, He spoke as when He calls us His brethren (§§ 14, 15). 
Thus there are two senses in which God is the Father of Christ ; and He Who is Father 
to Christ the Son is Lord to Christ the Servant (§§ 16, 17). And it was to Him as Servant 
that the Psalmist said, Thy God hath anointed Thee; the words would have no meaning 
if addressed to Him as Son (§§ 18, 19). It is through this lower nature that He is our 
Brother and God our Father, and He the Mediator (§ 20). But it is argued that His subjec- 
tion at the last and the delivery of the kingdom to the Father is a proof of inequality. The 
passage must be taken as a whole (§§ 21, 22). There are some truths which it is difficult 
for man to grasp, and if we misunderstand them we must not be ashamed to confess our error 
(§§ 2 3» 2 4)- I n tn i s passage the Arians aid their case by changing the order of the prophecy 
(§§ 2 5 — 2 7)- The end means a final and enduring state, not the coming to an end (§ 28), and 
though He delivers up the kingdom He does not cease to reign (§ 29). His subjection 
to the Father and the subjection of all things to Him is next considered ; in one sense 
it is figurative language, in another it proves the unity of Father and Son. The subjection 
of the Son means His partaking in the glory of the Father (§§ 30 — 36). The Transfiguration 
shews the glory of Christ's Body; a glory which the faithful shall share (§§ 37, 38). The 
righteous are His kingdom, which He, as Man, shall deliver to the Father, for By man came 
also the resurrection of the dead (§ 39). And at last God shall be all in all, humanity in Christ 
not being discarded, but glorified and received into the Godhead (§ 40). Christ, as well 
as St. Paul, has foretold this (§§41, 42). The Arian misrepresentation of this truth is mere 
folly (§ 43). Any rational explanation must assume that God's majesty cannot be augmented, 
even as it cannot be measured (§§ 44, 45), while our reason is limited, and so contrasted 
with the Divine infinity. God cannot become greater than He was in becoming All 
in all. Father and Son, after as before, must Each be as He was (§§ 46 — 48). All 
was done for us that we might be glorified, being conformed to the likeness of Him 
Who is the Image of the Father (§ 49). 

Book XII. Hilary gives a final explanation of the great Arian text, The Lord created 
me for a beginning of His ways ; the words must not be taken literally. Christ is not created, 


but Creator (§§ t — '5). If He is a creature, the Father also is a creature, for They are One 
in nature and in honour (§§ 6, 7). The similar passage, / begat Thee from the womb, is 
figurative; elsewhere God's Hands and Eyes are spoken of. The sense is that the Son 
is God from God (§§ 8 — 10). Nor was Christ made; He is the Son, not the handiwork, 
of the Father (§§ it, 12). And His Sonship is immediate, not derivative like ours, or like 
that of Israel His firstborn. This latter kind of sonship has a definite beginning of existence, 
and an origin out of nothing (§§ 13 — 16). The Arian arguments fail to prove that the Sonship 
of Christ has either of these characters (§§ 17, 18). Truth is to be attained not by self- 
confident arguing but by faith (§ 19), yet it is not enough for us to avoid their reasonings; 
we must overthrow them (§ 20). The Son was born from eternity, being the Son of the 
eternal Father (§ 21). The objection that sonship involves beginning does not hold in His 
case (§§22,23). The Son has all that the Father has; He has therefore eternity and 
an unconditioned existence (§ 24). He is from the Eternal, and therefore eternal Himself; 
from the Eternal, and therefore not from nothing. Reason cannot grasp, and therefore 
cannot refute, this. We must not assert that there was a time before He was born, a time 
when He was not (§§25 — 27). We must not argue, from the analogy of our own birth, 
that the truth is impossible (§ 28), nor that, because of His eternal existence, the Son was 
not born (§§ 29 — 32). Again, the Arians deny the eternal Fatherhood of God; He always 
existed, they say, but was not always the Father. This contradicts Scripture (§§ 33, 34). 
They argue that Wisdom is said to be the first of God's creatures; but creation, in this sense, 
is a synonym for generation, and Wisdom was antecedent to creation (§§ 35 — 38). Wisdom 
is coeternal with God (§ 39), and shared His eternal purpose of creation (§§ 40, 41). Nor 
may we believe that Christ was begotten simply in order to perform the creative work, as 
God's Minister, for Wisdom took part in the design as well as in the execution (§§ 42, 43). 
And again, Wisdom is spoken of as created, as an indication of Her control over created 
things (§ 44). The creation to be a beginning of God's ways is a separate event from the 
eternal generation. It means that Christ, as the Way of Life, under the Old Covenant took 
the semblance, under the New Covenant the substance, of the creature man, to lead us 
into the way. The two senses must not be confused (§§ 45 — 49). Yet mere inaccuracy 
of speech, without heretical intent, is not unpardonable (§ 50). After a final assertion (§ 51) 
of faith in Christ as God from God, the eternal Son, Hilary appeals to the Almighty Father, 
declaring his creed, his consciousness of human infirmity and of the need of faith (§§ 52, 53). 
The Son is the Only-begotten of God, the Second because He is the Son (§ 54). The Holy 
Ghost proceeds from the Father and is sent by the Son. He also is no creature, but of one 
nature with the God Whose mysteries He knows, and ineffable like Him Whose Spirit 
He is (§ 55). Finally, Hilary prays that, as he was baptized, so he may remain in the faith 
of Three Persons in One God. 



i. When I was seeking an employment 
adequate to the powers of human life and 
righteous in itself, whether prompted by 
nature or suggested by the researches of the 
wise, whereby I might attain to some result 
worthy of that Divine gift of understanding 
which has been given us, many things occurred 
to me which in general esteem were thought 
to render life both useful and desirable. And 
especially that which now, as always in the 
past, is regarded as most to be desired, leisure 
combined with wealth, came before my mind. 
The one without the other seemed rather 
a source of evil than an opportunity for good, 
for leisure in poverty is felt to be almost an 
exile from life itself, while wealth possessed 
amid anxiety is in itself an affliction, rendered 
the worse by the deeper humiliation which he 
must suffer who loses, after possessing, the 
things that most are wished and sought. And 
yet, though these two embrace the highest and 
best of the luxuries of life, they seem not far 
removed from the normal pleasures of the 
beasts which, as they roam through shady 
places rich in herbage, enjoy at once their 
safety from toil and the abundance of their 
food. For if this be regarded as the best and 
most perfect conduct of the life of man, 
it results that one object is common, though 
the range of feelings differ, to us and the 
whole unreasoning animal world, since all of 
them, in that bounteous provision and abso- 
lute leisure which nature bestows, have full 
scope for enjoyment without anxiety for pos- 

2. I believe that the mass of mankind have 
spurned from themselves and censured in 
others this acquiescence in a thoughtless, ani- 
mal life, for no other reason than that nature 
herself has taught them that it is unworthy of 
humanity to hold themselves born only to 
gratify their greed and their sloth, and ushered 
into life for no high aim of glorious deed or 
fair accomplishment, and that this very life 
was granted without the power of progress 

towards immortality; a life, indeed, which 
then we should confidently assert did not 
deserve to be regarded as a gift of God, since, 
racked by pain and laden with trouble, it 
wastes itself upon itself from the blank mind 
of infancy to the wanderings of age. I believe 
that men, prompted by nature herself, have 
raised themselves through teaching and prac- 
tice to the virtues which we name patience 
and temperance and forbearance, under the 
conviction that right living means right action 
and right thought, and that Immortal God has 
not given life only to end in death ; for none 
can believe that the Giver of good has be- 
stowed the pleasant sense of life in order that 
it may be overcast by the gloomy fear of dying. 

3. And yet, though I could not tax with 
folly and uselessness this counsel of theirs to 
keep the soul free from blame, and evade by 
foresight or elude by skill or endure with 
patience the troubles of life, still I could not 
regard these men as guides competent to lead 
me to the good and happy Life. Their 
precepts were platitudes, on the mere level of 
human impulse ; animal instinct could not fail 
to comprehend them, and he who understood 
but disobeyed would have fallen into an 
insanity baser than animal unreason. More- 
over, my soul was eager not merely to do the 
things, neglect of which brings shame and 
suffering, but to know the God and Father 
Who had given this great gift, to Whom, it felt, 
it owed its whole self, Whose service was its 
true honour, on Whom all its hopes were fixed, 
in Whose lovingkindness, as in a safe home 
and haven, it could rest amid all the troubles 
of this anxious life. It was inflamed with 
a passionate desire to apprehend Him or to 
know Him. 

4. Some of these teachers brought forward 
large households of dubious deities, and under 
the persuasion that there is a sexual activity in 
divine beings narrated births and lineages from 
god to god. Others asserted that there were 
gods greater and less, of distinction propor- 



donate to their power. Some denied the 
existence of any gods whatever, and confined 
their reverence to a nature which, in their 
opinion, owes its being to chance-led vibrations 
and collisions. On the other hand, many 
followed the common belief in asserting the 
existence of a God, but proclaimed Him 
heedless and indifferent to the affairs of men. 
Again, some worshipped in the elements of 
earth and air the actual bodily and visible 
forms of created things ; and, finally, some 
made their gods dwell within images of men 
or of beasts, tame or wild, of birds or of 
snakes, and confined the Lord of the universe 
and Father of infinity within these narrow 
prisons of metal or stone or wood. These, 
I was sure, could be no exponents of truth, for 
though they were at one in the absurdity, the 
foulness, the impiety of their observances, they 
were at variance concerning the essential 
articles of their senseless belief. My soul 
was distracted amid all these claims, yet still it 
pressed along that profitable road which leads 
inevitably to the true knowledge of God. It 
could not hold that neglect of a world created 
by Himself was worthily to be attributed to 
God, or that deities endowed with sex, and 
lines of begetters and begotten, were com- 
patible with the pure and mighty nature of the 
Godhead. Nay, rather, it was sure that that 
which is Divine and eternal must be one 
without distinction of sex, .for that which is 
self-existent cannot have left outside itself 
anything superior to itself. Hence omni- 
potence and eternity are the possession of One 
only, for omnipotence is incapable of degrees 
of strength or weakness, and eternity of priority 
or succession. In God we must worship 
absolute eternity and absolute power. 

5. While my mind was dwelling on these 
and on many like thoughts, I chanced upon 
the books which, according to the tradition of 
the Hebrew faith, were written by Moses and 
the prophets, and found in them words spoken 
by God the Creator testifying of Himself 
' I am that I am, and again, He that is 
hath sent vie unto you' 1 .' I confess that I was 
amazed to find in them an indication concern- 
ing God so exact that it expressed in the terms \ 
best adapted to human understanding an 
unattainable insight into the mystery of the 
Divine nature. For no property of God which 
the mind can gr-sp is more characteristic of 
Him than existence, since existence, in the 
absolute sense, cannot be predicated of that 
which shall come to an end, or of that which 
has had a beginning, and He who now joins 

continuity of being with the possession of 
perfect felicity could not in the past, nor can 
in the future, be non-existent ; for whatsoever 
is Divine can neither be originated nor de- 
stroyed. Wherefore, since God's eternity is 
inseparable from Himself, it was worthy of 
Him to reveal this one thing, that He is, as 
the assurance of His absolute eternity. 

6. For such an indication of God's in- 
finity the words ' I am that I am ' were 
clearly adequate ; but, in addition, we needed 
to apprehend the operation of His majesty 
and power. For while absolute existence 
is peculiar to Him Who, abiding eternally, 
had no beginning in a past however re- 
mote, we hear again an utterance worthy of 
Himself issuing from the eternal and Holy 
God, Who says, Who holdeth the heaveti in Mis 
palm and the earth in His hand 2 , and again, 
The heaven is My throne and the earth is the 
footstool of My feet. What house will ye build 
Me or what shall be the place of My rest 3 ? 
The whole heaven is held in the palm of God, 
the whole earth grasped in His hand. Now 
the word of God, profitable as it is to the cur- 
sory thought of a pious mind, reveals a deeper 
meaning to the patient student than to the 
momentary hearer. For this heaven which is 
held in the palm of God is also His throne, 
and the earth which is grasped in His hand is 
also the footstool beneath His feet. This was 
not written that from throne and footstool, 
metaphors drawn from the posture of one 
sitting, we should conclude that He has exten- 
sion in space, as of a body, for that which is 
His throne and footstool is also held in hand 
and palm by that infinite Omnipotence. It 
was written that in all born and created thinsrs 
God might be known within them and without, 
overshadowing and indwelling, surrounding all 
and interfused through all, since palm and 
hand, which hold, reveal the might of His ex- 
ternal control, while throne and footstool, by 
their support of a sitter, display the sub- 
servience of outward things to One within Who, 
Himself outside them, encloses all in His grasp, 
yet dwells within the external world which is 
His own. In this wise does God, from within 
and from without, control and correspond to 
the universe ; being infinite He is present in 
all things, in Him Who is infinite all are 
included. In devout thoughts such as these 
my soul, engrossed in the pursuit of truth, took 
its delight. For it seemed that the greatness 
of God so far surpassed the mental powers of 
His handiwork, that however fa* the limited 
mind of man might strain in the hazardous 

1 Exod. iii. 14. 

2 Isai. xl. 12. 

3 lb. lxvi. 1, 2. 



effort to define Him, the gap was not lessened 
between the finite nature which struggled and 
the boundless infinity that lay beyond its ken 4 . 
I had come by reverent reflection on my own 
part to understand this, but I found it confirmed 
by the words of the prophet, Whither shall 
I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee 
from Thy face 1 If I ascend up into heaven, 
Thou art there ; if I go down into hell, Thou 
art there also ; if I have taken my wings before 
dawn and made my dwelling in the uttermost 
parts of the sea (Thou art there). For thither 
Thy hand shall guide me and Thy right hand 
shall hold me s . There is no space where God 
is not ; space does not exist apart from Him. 
He is in heaven, in hell, beyond the seas ; 
dwelling in all things and enveloping all. Thus 
He embraces, and is embraced by, the universe, 
confined to no part of it but pervading all. 

7. Therefore, although my soul drew joy 
from the apprehension of this august and 
unfathomable Mind, because it could worship 
as its own Father and Creator so limitless an 
Infinity, yet with a still more eager desire it 
sought to know the true aspect of its infinite 
and eternal Lord, that it might be able to 
believe that that immeasurable Deity was 
apparelled in splendour befitting tbe beauty 
of His wisdom. Then, while the devout soul 
was baffled and astray through its own feeble- 
ness, it caught from the prophet's voice this 
scale of comparison for God, admirably ex- 
pressed, By the greatness of His works and 
the beauty of the things that He hath made the 
Creator of worlds is rightly discerned**-. The 
Creator of great things is supreme in greatness, 
of beautiful things in beauty. Since the work 
transcends our thoughts, all thought must be 
transcended .by the Maker. Thus heaven and 
air and earth and seas are fair : fair also the 
whole universe, as the Greeks agree, who from 
its beautiful ordering call it Koafios, that is, 
order. But if our thought can estimate this 
beauty of the universe by a natural instinct — an 
instinct such as we see in certain birds and 
beasts whose voice, though it fall below the level 
of our understanding, yet has a sense clear to 
them though they cannot utter it, and in which, 
since all speech is the expression of some 
thought, there lies a meaning patent to them- 
selves — must not the Lord of this universal 
beauty be recognised as Himself most beau- 
tiful amid all the beauty that surrounds Him ? 
For though the splendour of His eternal glory 
overtax our mind's best powers, it cannot fail 
to see that He is beautiful. We must in truth 

4 Reading mensjinita and naturcr jinitattm for the infinita 
and infinitatem of the lienedictine Editi«n. 

5 l's. exxxviii. (cxxxix.)7 — 10. 
5» Wisd. xiii. 5. 

confess that God is most beautiful, and that with 
a beauty which, though it transcend our com- 
prehension, forces itself upon our perception. 

8. Thus my mind, full of these results which 
by its own reflection and the teaching of Scrip- 
ture it had attained, rested with assurance, as 
on some peaceful watch-tower, upon that glori- 
ous conclusion, recognising that its true nature 
made it capable of one homage to its Creator, 
and of none other, whether greater or less ; 
the homage namely of conviction that His is 
a greatness too vast for our comprehension but 
not for our faith. For a reasonable faith is 
akin to reason and accepts its aid, even though 
that same reason cannot cope with the vast- 
ness of eternal Omnipotence. 

9. Beneath all these thoughts lay an in- 
stinctive hope, which strengthened my asser- 
tion of the faith, in some perfect blessedness 
hereafter to be earned by devout thoughts 
concerning God and upright life ; the reward, 
as it were, that awaits the triumphant warrior. 
For true faith in God would pass unrewarded, 
if the soul be destroyed by death, and 
quenched in the extinction of bodily life. 
Even unaided reason pleaded that it was 
unworthy of God to usher man into an exist- 
ence which has some share of His thought and 
wisdom, only to await the sentence of life 
withdrawn and of eternal death ; to create him 
out of nothing to take his place in the world, 
only that when he has taken it he may perish. 
For, on the only rational theory of creation, 
its purpose was that things non-existent should 
come into being, not that things existing 
should cease to be. 

10. Yet my soul was weighed down with 
fear both for itself and for the body. It 
retained a firm conviction, and a devout loyalty 
to the true faith concerning God, but had 
come to harbour a deep anxiety concerning 
itself and the bodily dwelling which must, it 
thought, share its destruction. While in this 
state, in addition to its knowledge of the 
teaching of the Law and Prophets, it learned 
the truths taught by the Apostle in the 
Gospel ; — In the beginning was the Word, and 
the Word was with God, and the Word was 
God. The same was in the beginning with 
God. All things were made through Him, and 
without Him 7oas not anything made. That 
which was made in Him is life 6 , and the life 
was the light of men, and the light shineth in 
darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not. 
There was a man sent from God, whose name 
was John. He came for wiiness, that he might 
bear witness of the light. That was the true 
light, which lightenelh every man that cometh 

6 Cf. Hilary's explanation of this passage in Book ii. §§ 19, 20. 



into this world. He was in the world, and the 
world was made through Him, and the world 
knew Him not. He came unto His own things, 
and they that were His own received Him not. 
But to as many as received Him He gave power 
to become sons of God, even to them that believe on 
His Same ; which were born, not of blood, not 
of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, 
but of God. And the Word became flesh and 
dwelt among us, and 7ce beheld His glory, glory 
as of the Only-begotten from the Father, full of 
grace and truthT. Here the soul makes an 
advance beyond the attainment of its natural 
capacities, is taught more than it had dreamed 
concerning God. For it learns that its Creator 
is God of God ; it hears that the Word is God 
and was with God in the beginning. It comes 
to understand that the Light of the world was 
abiding in the world and that the world knew 
Him not ; that He came to His own possession 
and that they that were His own received Him 
not ; but that they who do receive Him by 
virtue of their faith advance to be sons of God, 
being born not of the embrace of the flesh nor 
of the conception of the blood nor .of bodily 
desire, but of God ; finally, it learns that the 
Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and 
that His glory was seen, which, as of the Only- 
begotten from the Father, is perfect through 
grace and truth. 

ii. Herein my soul, trembling and dis- 
tressed, found a hope wider than it had 
imagined. First came its introduction to the 
knowledge of God the Father. Then it learnt 
that the eternity and infinity and beauty which, 
by the light of natural reason, it had attributed 
to its Creator belonged also to God the Only- 
begotten. It did not disperse its faith among 
a plurality of deities, for it heard that He 
is God of God ; nor did it fall into the error 
of attributing a difference of nature to this 
God of God, for it learnt that He is full of 
grace and truth. Nor yet did my soul per- 
ceive anything contrary to reason in God of 
God, since He was revealed as having been 
in the beginning God with God. It saw that 
there are very few who attain to the know- 
ledge of this saving faith, though its reward 
be great, for even His own received Him not, 
though they who receive Him are promoted 
to be sons of God by a birth, not of the flesh 
but of faith. It learnt also that this sonship 
to God is not a compulsion but a possibility, 
for, while the Divine gift is offered to all, 
it is no heredity inevitably imprinted but 
a prize awarded to willing choice. And lest 
this very truth that whosoever will may become 
a son of God should stagger the weakness 

7 St. John i. i — 14. 

of our faith (for most we desire, but least 
expect, that which from its very greatness 
we find it hard to hope for), God the Word 
became flesh, that through His Incarnation 
our flesh might attain to union with God the 
Word. And lest we should think that this 
incarnate Word was some other than God the 
Word, or that His flesh was of a body different 
from outs, He dwelt among us that by His 
dwelling He might be known as the indwell- 
ing God, and, by His dwelling among us, 
known as God incarnate in no other flesh 
than our own, and moreover, though He had 
condescended to take our flesh, not destitute 
of His own attributes ; for He, the Only- 
begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, 
is fully possessed of His own attributes and 
truly endowed with ours. 

12. This lesson in the Divine mysteries was 
gladly welcomed by my soul, now drawing 
near through the flesh to God, called to new 
birth through faith, entrusted with liberty and 
power to win the heavenly regeneration, con- 
scious of the love of its Father and Creator, 
sure that He would not annihilate a creature 
whom He had summoned out of nothing into 
life. And it could estimate how high are 
these truths above the mental vision of man ; 
for the reason which deals with the common 
objects of thought can conceive of nothing 
as existent beyond what it perceives within 
itself or can create out of itself. My soul 
measured the mighty workings of God, wrought 
on the scale of His eternal omnipotence, not 
by its own powers of perception but by a 
boundless faith ; and therefore refused to dis- 
believe, because it could not understand, that 
God was in the beginning with God, and that 
the Word became flesh and dwelt among 
us, but bore in mind the truth that with the 
will to believe would come the power to under- 

13. And lest the soul should stray and 
linger in some delusion of heathen philosophy, 
it receives this further lesson of perfect loyalty 
to the holy faith, taught by the Apostle in 
words inspired : — Be7i>are lest any man spoil 
you through philosophy and vain deceit, after 
the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the 
word, and not ajier Christ ; for in Him 
dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, 
and ye are made full in Him, Which is the 
Head of all principality and power ; in Whom 
ye were also circumcised with a circumcision not 
made with hands, in putting off the body of the 

flesh, but with the circumcision of Christ; buried 
with Him in Baptism, wherein also ye have 
risen again through faith in the working of 
God, Who raised Him from the dead. And 
you, when ye were dead in sins and in the 



uncircumcision of your flesh, He hath quickened 
with Him, having forgiven you all your sins, 
blotting out the bond which was against us 
by its ordinances, which was contrary to us ; 
and He hath taken it out of the way, nailing 
it to the Cross ; and having put off the flesh 
He made a show of powers openly, triumphing 
over them through confidence in Himself*. 
Steadfast faith rejects the vain subtleties of 
philosophic enquiry ; truth refuses to be van- 
quished by these treacherous devices of human 
folly, and enslaved by falsehood. It will not 
confine God within the limits which bound 
our common reason, nor judge after the 
rudiments cf the world concerning Christ, in 
Whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead 
bodily, and in such wise that the utmost 
efforts of the earthly mind to comprehend 
Him are baffled by that immeasurable Eternity 
and Omnipotence. My soul judged of Him 
as One Who, drawing us upward to partake 
of His own Divine nature, has loosened 
henceforth the bond of bodily observances ; 
Who, unlike the Symbolic Law, has initiated 
us into no rites of mutilating the flesh, but 
Whose purpose is that our spirit, circumcised 
from vice, should purify all the natural faculties 
of the body by abstinence from sin, that we 
being buried with His Death in Baptism may 
return to the life of eternity (since regener- 
ation to life is death to the former life), and 
dying to our sins be born again to immor- 
tality, that even as He abandoned His immor- 
tality to die for us, so should we awaken from 
death to immortality with Him. For He 
took upon Him the flesh in which we have 
sinned that by wearing our flesh He might 
forgive sins ; a flesh which He shares with 
us by wearing it, not by sinning in it. He 
blotted out through death the sentence of 
death, that by a new creation of our race 
in Himself He might sweep away the penalty 
appointed by the former Law. He let them 
nail Him to the cross that He might nail 
to the curse of the cross and abolish all the 
curses to which the world is condemned. He 
suffered as man to the utmost that He might 
put powers to shame. For Scripture had fore- 
told that He Who is God should die ; that the 
victory and triumph of them that trust in 
Him lay in the fact that He, Who is immortal 
and cannot be overcome by death, was to die 
that mortals might gain eternity. These deeds 
of God, wrought in a manner beyond our 
comprehension, cannot, I repeat, be under- 
stood by our natural faculties, for the work 
of the Infinite and Eternal can only be grasped 
by an infinite intelligence. Hence, just as 

8 Col. ii. 8— is- 

the truths that God became man, that the 
Immortal died, that the Eternal was buried, 
do not belong to the rational order but are an 
unique work of power, so on the other hand 
it is an effect not of intellect but of omni- 
potence that He Who is man is also God, 
that He Who died is immortal, that He Who 
was buried is eternal. We, then, are raised 
together by God in Christ through His death. 
But, since in Christ there is the fulness of the 
Godhead, we have herein a revelation of God 
the Father joining tp raise us in Him Who 
died ; and we must confess that Christ Jesus 
is none other than God in all the fulness of 
the Deity. 

14. In this calm assurance of safety did my 
soul gladly and hopefully take its rest, and 
feared so little the interruption of death, that 
death seemed only a name for eternal life. 
And the life of this present body was so far 
from seeming a burden or affliction that it was 
regarded as children regard their alphabet, sick 
men their draught, shipwrecked sailors their 
swim, young men the training for their pro- 
fession, future commanders their first campaign; 
that is, as an endurable submission to present 
necessities, bearing the promise of a blissful 
immortality. And further, I began to proclaim 
those truths in which my soul had a personal 
faith, as a duty of the episcopate which had 
been laid upon me, employing my office to 
promote the salvation of all men. 

15. While I was thus engaged there came to 
light certain fallacies of rash and wicked men, 
hopeless for themselves and merciless towards 
others, who made their own feeble nature 
the measure of the might of God's nature. 
They claimed, not that they had ascended to 
an infinite knowledge of infinite things, but 
that they had reduced all knowledge, undefined 
before, within the scope of ordinary reason, and 
fixed the limits of the faith. Whereas the true 
work of religion is a service of obedience ; and 
these were men heedless of their own weak- 
ness, reckless of Divine realities, who under- 
took to improve upon the teaching of God. 

16. Not to touch upon the vain enquiries 
of other heretics — concerning whom however, 
when the course of my argument gives occa- 
sion, I will not be silent — there are those who 
tamper with the faith of the Gospel by denying, 
under the cloak of loyalty to the One God, the 
birth of God the Only-begotten. They assert 
that there was an extension of God into man, 
not a descent; that He, Who for the season 
that He took our flesh was Son of Man, had 
not been previously, nor was then, Son of God; 
that there was no Divine birth in His case, but 
an identity of Begetter and Begotten ; and (to 
maintain what they consider a perfect loyalty 



to the unity of God) that there was an un- 
broken continuity in the Incarnation, the 
Father extending Himself into the Virgin, and 
Himself being born as His own Son. Others, 
on the contrary (heretics, because there is no 
salvation apart from Christ, Who in the begin- 
ning was God the Word with God), deny that 
He was born and declare that He was merely 
created. Birth, they hold, would confess Him 
to be true God, while creation proves His 
Godhead umeal; and though this explanation 
be a fraud against the faith in the unity of 
God, regarded as an accurate definition, yet 
they think it may pass muster as figurative 
language. They degrade, in name and in 
belief, His true birth to the level of a creation, 
to cut Him off from the Divine unity, that, as 
a creature called into being, He may not 
claim the fulness of the Godhead, which is not 
His by a true birth. 

17. My soul has been burning to answer 
these insane attacks. I call to mind that the 
very centre of a saving faith is the belief not 
merely in God, but in God as a Father; not 
merely in Christ, but in Christ as the Son of 
God ; in Him, not as a creature, but as God 
the Creator, born of God. My prime object is 
by the clear assertions of prophets and evan- 
gelists to refute the insanity and ignorance of 
men who use the unity of God (in itself a pious 
and profitable confession) as a cloak for their 
denial either that in Christ God was born, or 
else that He is very God. Their purpose is 
to isolate a solitary God at the heart of the 
faith by making Christ, though mighty, only 
a creature ; because, so they allege, a birth of 
God widens the believer's faith into a trust in 
more gods than one. But we, divinely taught 
to confess neither two Gods nor yet a solitary 
God, will adduce the evidence of the Gospels 
and the prophets for our confession of God the 
Father and God the Son, united, not con- 
founded, in our faith. We will not admit Their 
identity nor allow, as a compromise, that 
Christ is God in some imperfect sense; for 
God, born of God, cannot be the same as His 
Father, since He is His Son, nor yet can He 
be different in nature. 

18. And you, whose warmth of faith and 
passion for a truth unknown to the world and 
its philosophers shall prompt to read me, must 
remember to eschew the feeble and baseless 
conjectures of earthly minds, and in devout 
willingness to learn must break down the bar* 
riers of prejudice and half-knowledge. The 
new faculties of the regenerate intellect are 
needed ; each must have his understanding 
enlightened by the heavenly gift imparted to 
the soul. First he must take his stand upon 
the sure ground [substantia = v7roardo-et] of 

God, as holy Jeremiah says 9, that since he is 
to hear about that nature [substantia] he may 
expand his thoughts till they are worthy of the 
theme, not fixing some arbitrary standard for 
himself, but judging as of infinity. And again, 
though he be aware that he is partaker of the 
Divine nature, as the holy apostle Peter says 
in his second Epistle ', yet he must not measure 
the Divine nature by the limitations of his own, 
but gauge God's assertions concerning Himself 
by the scale of His own glorious self-revelation. 
For he is the best student who does not read 
his thoughts into the book, but lets it reveal its 
own ; who draws from it its sense, and does 
not import his own into it, nor force upon its 
words a meaning which he had determined was 
the right one before he opened its pages. 
Since then we are to discourse of the things of 
God, let us assume that God has full knowledge 
of Himself, and bow with humble reverence to 
His words. For He Whom we can only know 
through His own utterances is the fitting 
witness concerning Himself. 

19. If in our discussion of the nature and 
birth of God we adduce certain analogies, let 
no one suppose that such comparisons are 
perfect and complete. There can be no 
comparison between God and earthly things, 
yet the weakness of our understanding forces 
us to seek for illustrations from a lower sphere 
to explain our meaning about loftier themes. 
The course of daily life shews how our ex- 
perience in ordinary matters enables us to form 
conclusions on unfamiliar subjects. We must 
therefore regard any comparison as helpful to 
man rather than as descriptive of God, since it 
suggests, rather than exhausts, the sense we 
seek. Nor let such a comparison be thought 
too bold when it sets side by side carnal and 
spiritual natures, things invisible and things 
palpable, since it avows itself a necessary aid 
to the weakness of the human mind, and 
deprecates the condemnation due to an im- 
perfect analogy. On this principle I proceed 
with my task, intending to use the terms 
supplied by God, yet colouring my argument 
with illustrations drawn from human life. 

20. And first, I have so laid out the plan of 
the whole work as to consult the advantage of 
the reader by the logical order in which its 
books are arranged. It has been my resolve 
to publish no half-finished and ill-considered 
treatise, lest its disorderly array should re- 
semble the confused clamour of a mob of 
peasants. And since no one can scale a pre- 
cipice unless there be jutting ledges to aid his 
progress to the summit, I have here set down 

9 xxiii. as, according to the LXX., iv v7roora<r«i. 
1 ii. 14. 

4 6 


in order the primary outlines of our ascent, 
leading our difficult course of argument up the 
easiest path ; not cutting steps in the face of 
the rock, but levelling it to a gentle slope, that 
so the traveller, almost without a sense of effort, 
may reach the heights. 

21. Thus, after the present first book, the 
second expounds the mystery of the Divine 
birth, that those who shall be baptized in the 
Name of the Father and of the Son and of the 
Holy Ghost may know the true Names, and 
not be perplexed about their sense but accu- 
rately informed as to fact and meaning, and so 
receive full assurance that in the words which 
are used they have the true Names, and that 
those Names involve the truth. 

22. After this short and simple discourse 
concerning the Trinity, the third book makes 
further progress, sure though slow. Citing the 
greatest instances of His power, it brings within 
the range of faith's understanding that saying, 
in itself beyond our comprehension, / in the 
Father and the Father in Me 2 , which Christ 
utters concerning Himself. Thus truth beyond 
the dull wit of man is the prize of faith 
equipped with reason and knowledge ; for 
neither may we doubt God's Word concerning 
Himself, nor can we suppose that the devout 
reason is incapable of apprehending His might. 

23. The fourth book starts with the doctrines 
of the heretics, and disowns complicity in the 
fallacies whereby they are traducing the faith of 
the Church. It publishes that infidel creed 
which a number of them have lately pro- 
mulgated 3, and exposes the dishonesty, and 
therefore the wickedness, of their arguments 
from the Law for what they call the unity of 
God. It sets out the whole evidence of Law 
and Prophets to demonstrate the impiety of 
asserting the unity of God to the exclusion 
of the Godhead of Christ, and the treason 
of alleging that if Christ be God the Only- 
begotten, then God is not one. 

24. The fifth book follows in reply the 
sequence of heretical assertion. They had 
falsely declared that they followed the Law in 
the sense which they assigned to the unity of 
God, and that they had proved from it that the 
true God is of one Person; and this in order 
to rob the Lord Christ of His birth by their 
conclusion concerning the One true God, for 
birth is the evidence of origin. In answer I as- 
sert, step by step, what they deny ; for from the 
Law and the Prophets I demonstrate that there 
are not two gods, nor one isolated true God, 
neither perverting the faith in the Divine unity 
nor denying the birth of Christ. And since they 

» St. John x. 38. 

3 The letter of Arius to Alexander ; Book iv., 

12, 13. 

say that the Lord Jesus Christ, created rather 
than born, bears the Divine Name by gift and 
not by right, I have proved His true Divinity 
from the Prophets in such a way that, He being 
acknowledged very God, the assurance of His 
inherent Godhead shall hold us fast to the 
certainty that God is One. 

25. The sixth book reveals the full deceit- 
fulness of this heretical teaching. To win 
credit for their assertions they denounce the 
impious doctrine of heretics : — of Valentinus, 
to wit, and Sabellius and Manichseus and 
Hieracas, and appropriate the godly language 
of the Church as a cover for their blasphemy. 
They reprove and alter the language of these 
heretics, correcting it into a vague resemblance 
to orthodoxy, in order to suppress the holy faith 
while apparently denouncing heresy. But we 
state clearly what is the language and what the 
doctrine of each of these men, and acquit the 
Church of any complicity or fellowship with 
condemned heretics. Their words which de- 
serve condemnation we condemn, and those 
which claim our humble acceptance we accept. 
Thus that Divine Sonship of Jesus Christ, 
which is the object of their most strenuous 
denial, we prove by the witness of the Father, 
by Christ's own assertion, by the preaching of 
Apostles, by the faith of believers, by the cries 
of devils, by the contradiction of Jews, in 
itself a confession, by the recognition of the 
heathen who had not known God ; and all this 
to rescue from dispute a truth of which Christ 
had left us no excuse for ignorance. 

26. Next the seventh book, starting from the 
basis of a true faith now attained, delivers 
its verdict in the great debate. First, armed 
with its sound and incontrovertible proof of 
the impregnable faith, it takes part in the 
conflict raging between Sabellius and Hebion 
and these opponents of the true Godhead. 
It joins issue with Sabellius on his denial of 
the pre-existence of Christ, and with his as- 
sailants on their assertion that He is a creature. 
Sabellius overlooked the eternity of the Son, 
but believed that true God worked in a human 
body. Our present adversaries deny that He 
was born, assert that He was created, and 
fail to see in His deeds the works of very 
God. What both sides dispute, we believe. 
Sabellius denies that it was the Son who was 
working, and he is wrong ; but he proves 
his case triumphantly when he alleges that 
the work done was that of true God. The 
Church shares his victory over those who 
deny that in Christ was very God. But when 
Sabellius denies that Christ existed before the 
worlds, his adversaries prove to conviction 
that Christ's activity is from everlasting, and 
we are on their side in this confutation of 



Sabellius, who recognises true God, but not 
God the Son, in this activity. And our two 
previous adversaries join forces to refute 
Hebion, the second demonstrating the eternal 
existence of Christ, while the first proves that 
His work is that of very God. Thus the 
heretics overthrow one another, while the 
Church, as against Sabellius, against those 
who call Christ a creature, against Hebion, 
bears witness that the Lord Jesus Christ is 
very God of very God, born before the worlds 
and born in after times as man. 

27. No one can doubt that we have taken 
the course of true reverence and of sound 
doctrine when, after proving from Law and 
Prophets first that Christ is the Son of God, 
and next that He is true God, and this without 
breach of the mysterious unity, we proceed 
to support the Law and the Prophets by the 
evidence of the Gospels, and prove from them 
also that He is the Son of , God and Himself 
very God. It is the easiest of tasks, after 
demonstrating His right to the Name of Son, 
to shew that the Name truly describes His 
relation to the Father ; though indeed uni- 
versal usage regards the granting of the name 
of son as convincing evidence of sonship. 
But, to leave no loop-hole for the trickery and 
deceit of these traducers of the true birth of 
God the Only-begotten, we have used His 
true Godhead as evidence of His true Son- 
ship ; to shew that He Who (as is confessed 
by all) bears the Name of Son of God is 
actually God, we have adduced His Name, 
His birth, His nature, His power, His asser- 
tions. We have proved that His Name is 
an accurate description of Himself, that the 
title of Son is an evidence of birth, that in 
His birth He retained His Divine Nature, and 
with His nature His power, and that that 
power manifested itself in conscious and 
deliberate self-revelation. I have set down 
the Gospel proofs of each several point, shew- 
ing how His self-revelation displays His 
power, how His power reveals His nature, 
how His nature is His by birthright, and from 
His birth comes His title to the name of Son. 
Thus every whisper of blasphemy is silenced, 
for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself by the 
witness of His own mouth has taught us that 
He is, as His Name, His birth, His nature, 
His power declare, in the true sense of Deity, 
very God of very God. 

28. While its two predecessors have been 
devoted to the confirmation of the faith in 
Christ as Son of God and true God, the eighth 
book is taken up with the proof of the unity 
of God, shewing that this unity is consistent 
with the birth of the Son, and that the birth ! 
involves no duality in the Godhead. First' 

it exposes the sophistry with which these 
heretics have attempted to avoid, though they 
could not deny, the confession of the real 
existence of God, Father and Son ; it de- 
molishes their helpless and absurd plea that 
in such passages as, And the multitude of them 
that bell 'Ted tvere one soul and heart *, and 
again. He that plant eth and He that watereth 
are one*, and Neither for these only do I pray, 
but for them also that shall believe on Me 
through their word, that they tnay all be one t 
even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in 
Ihee, that they also may be in Us 6 , a unity of 
will and mind, not of Divinity, is expressed. 
From a consideration of the true sense of 
these texts we shew that they involve the 
reality of the Divine birth ; and then, display- 
ing the whole series of our Lord's self-revela- 
tions, we exhibit, in the language of Apostles 
and in the very words of the Holy Spirit, the 
whole and perfect mystery of the glory of 
God as Father and as Only-begotten Son. 
Because there is a Father we know that 
there is a Son ; in that Son the Father is 
manifested to us, and hence our certainty 
that He is born the Only-begotten and that 
He is very God. 

29. In matters essential to salvation it is 
not enough to advance the proofs which faith 
supplies and finds sufficient. Arguments which 
we have not tested may delude us into a mis- 
apprehension of the meaning of our own 
words, unless we take the offensive by ex- 
posing the hollowness of the enemy's proofs, 
and so establish our own faith upon the de- 
monstrated absurdity of his. The ninth book, 
therefore, is employed in refuting the argu- 
ments by which the heretics attempt to in- 
validate the birth of God the Only-begotten ; — 
heretics who ignore the mystery of the revela- 
tion hidden from the beginning of the world, 
and forget that the Gospel faith proclaims the 
union of God and man. For their denial that 
our Lord Jesus Christ is God, like unto God 
and equal with God as Son with Father, born 
of God and by right of His birth subsisting 
as very Spirit, they are accustomed to appeal 
to such words of our Lord as, Why callest' 
thou Me good? None Is good save One, even 
God '7. They argue that by His reproof of 
the man who called Him good, and by His 
assertion of the goodness of God only, He 
excludes Himself from the goodness of that 
God Who alone is good and from that true 
Divinity which belongs only to One. With 
this text their blasphemous reasoning connects 
another, And this is life eternal that they should 

* Acts iv. 32 : in this and the following passages ununt is 
read. 5 1 Cor. iii. 8. 6 St. John xvii. 20, 21. 

7 St. Luke xviii. iq. 

4 8 


know Thee the only true God, and Him Whom 
Thou didst send, Jesus Christ z . Here, they 
say, He confesses that the Father is the only 
true God, and that He Himself is neither true 
nor God, since this recognition of an only 
true God is limited to the Possessor of the 
attributes assigned. And they profess to be 
quite clear about His meaning in this passage, 
since He also says, The Son can do nothing 
of Himself, but what He hath seen the Father 
doing 9. The fact that He can only copy 
is said to be evidence of the limitation of His 
nature. There can be no comparison between 
Omnipotence and One whose action is depen- 
dent upon the previous activity of Another; 
reason itself draws an absolute line between 
power and the want of power. That line is 
so clear that He Himself has avowed concern- 
ing God the Father, The Father is greater 
than I 1 . So frank a confession silences all 
demur ; it is blasphemy and madness to assign 
the dignity and nature of God to One who 
disclaims them. So utterly devoid is He of 
the qualities of true God that He actually 
bears witness concerning Himself, But of that 
day and hour knoweth no one, neither the angels 
in heaven nor the Son, but God only 2 . A son 
who knows not his father's secret must, from 
his ignorance, be alien from the father who 
knows ; & nature limited in knowledge cannot 
partake of that majesty and might which alone 
is exempt from the tyranny of ignorance. 

30. We therefore expose the blasphemous 
misunderstanding at which they have arrived 
by distortion and perversion of the meaning 
of Christ's words. We account for those 
words by stating what manner of questions 
He was answering, at what times He was 
speaking, what partial knowledge He was 
deigning to impart; we make the circum- 
stances explain the words, and do not force the 
former into consistency with the latter. Thus 
each case of variance, that for instance be- 
tween The Father is greater than J 1 , and I and 
the Father are One 3, or between None is good 
save One, even God*, and He that hath seen 
Me hath seen the Father also s , or a difference 
so wide as that between Father, all things 
that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine 6 , 
and That they may know Thee, the only true 
God7, or between / in the Father and the 
Jui I her in J/e s , and But of the day and hour 
knoweth no one, neither the angels in heaven 
?wr the Son, but the Father only °, is explained 
by a discrimination between gradual reve- 

8 St. John xvii. 3. 

8 St. Mark xiii. 33. 
* St. Luke xviii. iq. 
6 lb. xvii. 10. 

9 St. Mark xiii. 3a. 

9 lb. v. 19. 'lb. xiv. 28. 

3 St. John x. 30. 
5 St. John xiv. 9. 
7 lb. 3. 8 lb. xiv. 11 

lation and full expression of His nature and 
power. Both are utterances of the same 
Speaker, and an exposition of the real force 
of each group will shew that Christ's true 
Godhead is no whit impaired because, to form 
the mystery of the Gospel faith, the birth and 
Name * of Christ were revealed gradually, and 
under conditions which He chose of occasion 
and time. 

31. The purpose of the tenth book is one 
in harmony with the faith. For since, in the 
folly which passes with them for wisdom, the 
heretics have twisted some of the circum- 
stances and utterances of the Passion into 
an insolent contradiction of the Divine nature 
and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, I am 
compelled to prove that this is a blasphemous 
misinterpretation, and that these things were 
put on record by the Lord Himself as evi- 
dences of His true and absolute majesty. 
In their parody of the faith they deceive 
themselves with words such as, My soul is 
sorrowful even unto death 2 . He, they think, 
must be far removed from the blissful and 
passionless life of God, over Whose soul 
brooded this crushing fear of an impending 
woe, Who under the pressure of suffering even 
humbled Himself to pray, Father, if it be 
possible, let this cup pass aivay from Me 3, and 
assuredly bore the appearance of fearing to 
endure the trials from which He prayed for 
release ; Whose whole nature was so over- 
whelmed by agony that in those moments 
on the Cross He cried, My God, My God, 
why hast Thou forsaken Me  ? forced by the 
bitterness of His pain to complain that He 
was forsaken : Who, destitute of the Father's 
help, gave up the ghost with the words, 
Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit s. 
The fear, they say, which beset Him at the 
moment of expiring made Him entrust His 
Spirit to the care of God the Father : the 
very hopelessness of His own condition forced 
Him to commit His Soul to the keeping of 

32. Their folly being as great as their blas- 
phemy, they fail to mark that Christ's words, 
spoken under similar circumstances, are always 
consistent ; they cleave to the letter and ignore 
the purpose of His words. There is the 
widest difference between My soul is sorrowful 
even unto death 2 , and Henceforth ye shall see 
the Son of Man silting at the right hand of 
pozver 6 ; so also between Father, if it be pos- 
sible, let this cup pass away from Me 3, and 
The cup which the Father hath given Me, shall 

1 Reading nativitas et npmen. The clause above, which if 
bracketed in Migne, appears to be a gloss. 

2 St. Matt xxvi. 38. 3 lb. 39. 4 lb. xxvii. 46. 
5 St. Luke xxiii. 46. 6 St. Matt. xxvi. 64. 



/ not drink if ? and further between My God, 
My God, ichy hast Thou forsaken Me z ? and 
Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be 
with Me in Paradise ?, and between Father, 
into Thy hands I commend My Spirit 1 , and 
Father, forgive them, for they know not what 
they do 2 ; and their narrow minds, unable 
to grasp the Divine meaning, plunge into 
blasphemy in the attempt at explanation. 
There is a broad distinction between anxiety 
and a mind at ease, between haste and the 
prayer for delay, between words of anguish 
and words of encouragement, between despair 
for self and confident entreaty for others ; and 
the heretics display their impiety by ignoring 
the assertions of Deity and the Divine nature 
of Christ, which account for the one class 
of His words, while they concentrate their at- 
tention upon the deeds and words which refer 
only to His ministry on earth. I have there- 
fore set out all the elements contained in the 
mystery of the Soul and Body of the Lord 
Jesus Christ ; all have been sought out, none 
suppressed. Next, casting the calm light of 
reason upon the question, I have referred 
each of His sayings to the class to which its 
meaning attaches it, and so have shewn that 
He had also a confidence which never wavered, 
a will which never faltered, an assurance which 
never murmured, that, when He commended 
His own soul to the Father, in this was involved 
a prayer for the pardon of others 3. Thus 
a complete presentment of the teaching of 
the Gospel interprets and confirms all (and 
not some only) of the words of Christ. 

33. And so — for not even the glory of the 
Resurrection has opened the eyes of these 
lost men and kept them within the manifest 
bounds of the faith — they have forged a weapon 
for their blasphemy out of a pretended re- 
verence, and even perverted the revelation 
of a mystery into an insult to God. From 
the words, / ascend unto My Father and 
your Father, to My God and your God*, 
they argue that since that Father is ours as 
much as His, and that God also ours and 
His, His own confession that He shares with 
us in that relation to the Father and to God 
excludes Him from true Divinity, and sub- 
ordinates Him to God the Creator Whose 
creature and inferior He is, as we are, al- 
though He has received the adoption of a 
Son. Nay more, we must not suppose that 
He possesses any of the characters of the 
Divine nature, since the Apostle says, But 
when He sailh, all things are put in subjection, 

7 St. John xviii. n. 
9 St. Luke xxiii. 43. 
3 Reading rum dtsiderattt. 


» St. Matt, xxvii. 46. 
lb. 46. a lb. 34. 

4 St. John xx. 17. 

this is except Him Who did subject all things 
unto Him, for when all things shall have been 
subjected unto Him, then shall also He Himself 
be subjected to Him that did subject all things 
unto Him, that God may be all in all*. For, 
so they say, subjection is evidence of want 
of power in the subject and of its possession 
by the sovereign. The eleventh book is em- 
ployed in a reverent discussion of this argu- 
ment ; it proves from these very words of 
the Apostle not only that subjection is no 
evidence of want o f power in Christ but that 
it actually is a sign of His true Divinity as 
God the Son ; that the fact that His Father 
and God is also our Father and God is an 
infinite advantage to us and no degradation 
to Him, since He Who has been born as 
Man and suffered all the afflictions of our 
flesh has gone up on high to our God and 
Father, to receive His glory as Man our Re- 

34. In this treatise we have followed the 
course which we know is pursued in every 
branch of education. First come easy lessons 
and a familiarity, slowly attained by practice, 
with the groundwork of the subject; then the 
student may make proof, in the business of 
life, of the training which he has received. 
Thus the soldier, when he is perfect in his 
exercises, can go out to battle ; the advocate 
ventures into the conflicts of the courts when 
he is versed in the pleadings of the school 
of rhetoric ; the sailor who has learned to 
navigate his ship in the land-locked harbour 
of his home may be trusted amid the storms 
of open seas and distant climes. Such has 
been our proceeding in this most serious and 
difficult science in which the whole faith is 
taught. First came simple instruction for the 
untaught believer in the birth, the name, the 
Divinity, the true Divinity of Christ ; since 
then we have quietly and steadily advanced 
till our readers can demolish every plea of 
the heretics ; and now at last we have pitted 
them against the adversary in the present 
great and glorious conflict. The mind of men 
is powerless with the ordinary resources of 
unaided reason to grasp the idea of an eternal 
birth, but they attain by study of things Divine 
to the apprehension of mysteries which lie 
beyond the range of common thought. They 
can explode that paradox concerning the Lord 
Jesus, which derives all its strength and sem- 
blance of cogency from a purblind pagan 
philosophy : the paradox which asserts, There 
was a time when He was not, and He zvas not 
before He was born, and He was made out of 

5 1 Cor. xt. 27, 38. 



nothing, as though His birth were proof that 
He had previously been non-existent and at 
a given moment came into being, and God 
the Only-begotten could thus be subjected to 
the conception of time, as if the faith itself [by 
conferring the title of 'Son'] and the very 
nature of birth proved that there was a time 
when He was not. Accordingly they argue that 
He was born out of nothing, on the ground that 
birth implies the grant of being to that which 
previously had no being. We proclaim in 
answer, on the evidence of Apostles and Evan- 
gelists, that the Father is eternal and the Son 
eternal, and demonstrate that the Son is God 
of all with an absolute, not a limited, pre- 
existence ; that these bold assaults of their 
blasphemous logic — He was born out of nothing, 
and He was not before He was born — are power- 
less against Him ; that His eternity is con- 
sistent with sonship, and His sonship with 
eternity; that there was in Him no unique 
exemption from birth but a birth from ever- 
lasting, for, while birth implies a Father, Di- 
vinity is inseparable from eternity. 

35. Ignorance of prophetic diction and un- 
skilfulness in interpreting Scripture has led 
them into a perversion of the point and mean- 
ing of the passage, The Lord created Me for 
a beginning of His ways for His works 6 . They 
labour to establish from it that Christ is 
created, rather than born, as God, and hence 
partakes the nature of created beings, though 
He excel them in the manner of His creation, 
and has no glory of Divine birth but only the 
powers of a transcendent creature. We in 
reply, without importing any new consider- 
ations or preconceived opinions, will make 
this very passage of Wisdom 7 display its own 
true meaning and object. We will show that 
the fact that He was created for the beginning 
of the ways of God and for His works, cannot 
be twisted into evidence concerning the Divine 
and eternal birth, because creation for these 
purposes and birth from everlasting are two 
entirely different things. Where birth is meant, 
there birth, and nothing but birth, is spoken 
of; where creation is mentioned, the cause 
of that creation is first named. There is 
a Wisdom born before all things, and again 
there is a wisdom created for particular pur- 
poses ; the Wisdom which is from everlasting 
is one, the wisdom which has come into ex- 
istence during the lapse of time is another. 

36. Having thus concluded that we must 
reject the word 'creation' from our confession 
of faith in God the Only-begotten, we proceed 

6 Prov. viii. 22, according to the LXX. 

7 Here, as often in early writers, the Sapiential books are 
included under this name. 

to lay down the teachings of reason and of 
piety concerning the Holy Spirit, that the 
reader, whose convictions have been estab- 
lished by patient and earnest study of the 
preceding books, may be provided with a 
complete presentation of the faith. This end 
will be attained when the blasphemies of 
heretical teaching on this theme also have 
been swept away, and the mystery, pure and 
undefiled, of the Trinity which regenerates us 
has been fixed in terms of saving precision on 
the authority of Apostles and Evangelists. 
Men will no longer dare, on the strength of 
mere human reasoning, to rank among crea- 
tures that Divine Spirit, Whom we receive 
as the pledge of immortality and source of 
fellowship with the nature of God. 

37. I know, O Lord God Almighty, that 
I owe Thee, as the chief duty of my life, the 
devotion of all my words and thoughts to 
Thyself. The gift of speech which Thou hast 
bestowed can bring me no higher reward than 
the opportunity of service in preaching Thee 
and displaying Thee as Thou art, as Father 
and Father of God the Only-begotten, to the 
world in its blindness and the heretic in his 
rebellion. But this is the mere expression 
of my own desire ; I must pray also for the 
gift of Thy help and compassion, that the 
breath of Thy Spirit may fill the sails of faith 
and confession which I have spread, and a 
favouring wind be sent to forward me on 
my voyage of instruction. We can trust the 
promise of Him Who said, Ask, and it shall 
be given you, seek, and ye shall find, knock, and 
it shall be opened unto you 8 ; and we in our 
want shall pray for the things we need. We 
shall bring an untiring energy to the study of 
Thy Prophets and Apostles, and we shall knock 
for entrance at every gate of hidden know- 
ledge, but it is Thine to answer the prayer, 
to grant the thing we seek, to open the door 
on which we beat. Our minds are born with 
dull and clouded vision, our feeble intellect 
is penned within the barriers of an impassable 
ignorance concerning things Divine ; but the 
study of Thy revelation elevates our soul to 
the comprehension of sacred truth, and sub- 
mission to the faith is the path to a certainty 
beyond the reach of unassisted reason. 

38. And therefore we look to Thy support 
for the first trembling steps of this undertak- 
ing, to Thy aid that it may gain strength and 
prosper. We look to Thee to give us the 
fellowship of that Spirit Who guided the 
Prophets and the Apostles, that we may take 
their words in the sense in which they spoke 
and assign its right shade of meaning to every 

8 St. Luke xi. 9. 



utterance. For we shall speak of things 
which they preached in a mystery ; of Thee, 
O God Eternal, Father of the Eternal and 
Only-begotten God, Who alone art without 
birth, and of the One Lord Jesus Christ, born 
of Thee from everlasting. We may not sever 
Him from Thee, or make Him one of a 
plurality of Gods, on any plea of difference 
of nature. We may not say that He is not 
begotten of Thee, because Thou art One. 
We must not fail to confess Him as true God, 

seeing that He is born of Thee, true God, 
His Father. Grant us, therefore, precision of 
language, soundness of argument, grace of 
style, loyalty to truth. Enable us to utter the 
things that we believe, that so we may confess, 
as Prophets and Apostles have taught us, 
Thee, One God our Father, and One Lord 
Jesus Christ, and put to silence the gainsaying 
of heretics, proclaiming Thee as God, yet not 
solitary, and Him as God, in no unreal 


1. Believers have always found their satis- 
faction in that Divine utterance, which our 
ears heard recited from the Gospel at the 
moment when that Power, which is its attes- 
tation, was bestowed upon us : — Go now and 
leach all nations, baptizing them in the Name 
■of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 

Ghost, teaching them to observe all things what- 
soever I command you ; and, lo, I am with you 
alway, even unto the end of the world 1 . What 
element in the mystery of man's salvation is 
not included in those words ? What is for- 
gotten, what left in darkness ? All is full, as 
from the Divine fulness ; perfect, as from the 
Divine perfection. The passage contains the 
exact words to be used, the essential acts, the 
sequence of processes, an insight into the 
Divine nature. He bade them baptize in the 
Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost, that is with confession of the 
Creator and of the Only-begotten, and of the 
Gift. For God the Father is One, from Whom 
are all things ; and our Lord Jesus Christ the 
Only-begotten, through Whom are all things, 
is One ; and the Spirit, God's Gift to us, Who 
pervades all things, is also One. Thus all 
are ranged according to powers possessed and 
benefits conferred ; — the One Power from 
Whom all, the One Offspring through Whom 
all, the One Gift Who gives us perfect hope. 
Nothing can be found lacking in that supreme 
Union which embraces, in Father, Son and 
Holy Spirit, infinity in the Eternal, His 
Likeness in His express Image, our enjoy- 
ment of Him in the Gift 

2. But the errors of heretics and blasphe- 
mers force us to deal with unlawful matters, 
to scale perilous heights, to speak unutterable 
words, to trespass on forbidden ground. Faith 
ought in silence to fulfil the commandments, 
worshipping the Father, reverencing with Him 
the Son, abounding in the Holy Ghost, but 
we must strain the poor resources of our lan- 
guage to express thoughts too great for words. 
The error of others compels us to err in daring 
to embody in human terms truths which ought 
to be hidden in the silent veneration of the 

3. For there have risen many who have 
given to the plain words of Holy Writ some 

1 St. Malt, xxviii. 19, ao. 

arbitrary interpretation of their own, instead 
of its true and only sense, and this in defiance 
of the clear meaning of words. Heresy lies 
in the sense assigned, not in the word written ; 
the guilt is that of the expositor, not of the 
text. Is not truth indestructible? When we 
hear the name Father, is not sonship involved 
in that Name ? The Holy Ghost is mentioned 
by name; must He not exist? We can no 
more separate fatherhood from the Father or 
sonship from the Son than we can deny the 
existence in the Holy Ghost of that gift which 
we receive. Yet men of distorted mind 
plunge the whole matter in doubt and diffi- 
culty, fatuously reversing the clear meaning 
of words, and depriving the Father of His 
fatherhood because they wish to strip the Son 
of His sonship. They take away the fatherhood 
by asserting that the Son is not a Son by nature ; 
for a son is not of the nature of his father 
when begetter and begotten have not the same 
properties, and he is no son whose being is 
different from that of the father, and unlike it. 
Yet in what sense is God a Father (as He is), 
if He have not begotten in His Son that same 
substance and nature which are His own? 

4. Since, therefore, they cannot make any 
change in the facts recorded, they bring novel 
principles and theories of man's device to bear 
upon them. Sabellius, for instance, makes 
the Son an extension of the Father, and the 
faith in this regard a matter of words rather 
than of reality, for he makes one and the same 
Person, Son to Himself and also Father. 
Hebion allows no beginning to the Son of God 
except from Mary, and represents Him not 
as first God and then man, but as first man 
then God; declares that the Virgin did not 
receive into herself One previously existent, 
Who had been in the beginning God the 
Word dwelling with God, but that through 
the agency of the Word she bore Flesh ; the 
1 Word' meaning in his opinion not the nature 
of the pre-existent Only-begotten God 2 , but 
only the sound of an uplifted voice. Similarly 
certain teachers of our present day assert that 
the Image and Wisdom and Power of God 
was produced out of nothing, and in time. 
They do this to save God, regarded as Father 
of the Son, from being lowered to the Son's 

3 Reading non antca. 



level. They are fearful lest this birth of the 
Son from Him should deprive Him of His 
glory, and therefore come to God's rescue 
by styling His Son a creature made out of 
nothing, in order that God may live on in 
solitary perfection without a Son born of Him- 
self and partaking His nature. What wonder 
that their doctrine of the Holy Ghost should 
be different from ours, when they presume to 
subject the Giver of that Holy Ghost to crea- 
tion, and change, and non-existence. Thus 
do they destroy the consistency and complete- 
ness of the mystery of the faith. They break 
up the absolute unity of God by assigning 
differences of nature where all is clearly com- 
mon to Each ; they deny the Father by robbing 
the Son of His true Sonship; they deny the 
Holy Ghost in their blindness to the facts 
that we possess Him and that Christ gave 
Him. They betray ill-trained souls to ruin 
by their boast of the logical perfection of their 
doctrine ; they deceive their hearers by empty- 
ing terms of their meaning, though the Names 
remain to witness to the truth. I pass over 
the pitfalls of other heresies, Valentinian, 
Marcionite, Manichee and the rest. From 
time to time they catch the attention of some 
foolish souls and prove fatal by the very infec- 
tion of their contact ; one plague as destruc- 
tive as another when once the poison of their 
teaching has found its way into the hearer's 

5. Their treason involves us in the diffi- 
cult and dangerous position of having to make 
a definite pronouncement, beyond the state- 
ments of Scripture, upon this grave and ab- 
struse matter. The Lord said that the nations 
were to be baptized in the Name of the Father, 
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The 
words of the faith are clear; the heretics do their 
utmost to involve the meaning in doubt. We 
may not on this account add to the appointed 
form, yet we must set a limit to their license 
of interpretation. Since their malice, inspired 
by the devil's cunning, empties the doctrine 
of its meaning while it retains the Names 
which convey the truth, we must emphasise 
the truth which those Names convey. We 
must proclaim, exactly as we shall firwi them 
in the words of Scripture, the majesty and 
functions of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and 
so debar the heretics from robbing these Names 
of their connotation of Divine character, and 
compel them by means of these very Names 
to confine their use of terms to their proper 
meaning. I cannot conceive what manner of 
mind our opponents have, who pervert the 
truth, darken the light, divide the indivisible, 
rend the scatheless, dissolve the perfect unity. 
It may seem to them a light thing to tear 

up Perfection, to make laws for Omnipo- 
tence, to limit Infinity ; as for me, the task 
of answering them fills me with anxiety ; my 
brain whirls, my intellect is stunned, my very 
words must be a confession, not that I am 
weak of utterance, but that I am dumb. Vet 
a wish to undertake the task forces itself upon 
me ; it means withstanding the proud, guiding 
the wanderer, warning the ignorant. But the 
subject is inexhaustible ; I can see no limit 
to my venture of speaking concerning God in 
terms more precise than He Himself has used. 
He has assigned the Names — Father, Son and 
Holy Ghost, — which are our information of 
the Divine nature. Words cannot express or 
feeling embrace or reason apprehend the re 
suits of enquiry carried further; all is ineffable, 
unattainable, incomprehensible. Language is 
exhausted by the magnitude of the theme, the 
splendour of its effulgence blinds the gazing 
eye, the intellect cannot compass its boundless 
extent. Still, under the necessity that is laid 
upon us, with a prayer for pardon to Him 
Wiiose attributes these are, we will venture, 
enquire and speak ; and moreover — -it is the 
only promise that in so grave a matter we dare 
to make — we will accept whatever conclusion 
He shall indicate. 

6. It is the Father to Whom all existence 
owes its origin. In Christ and through Christ 
He is the source of all. In contrast to all else 
He is self-existent. He does not draw His 
being from without, but possesses it from 
Himself and in Himself. He is infinite, for 
nothing contains Him and He contains all 
things ; He is eternally unconditioned by 
space, for He is illimitable ; eternally anterior 
to time, for time is His creation. Let imagi- 
nation range to what you may suppose is God's 
utmost limit, and you will find Him present 
there; strain as you will there is always a 
further horizon towards which to strain. In- 
finity is His property, just as the power of 
making such effort is yours. Words will fail 
you, but His being will not be circumscribed. 
Or ag?in, turn back the pages of history, and 
you will find Him ever present ; should num- 
bers fail to express the antiquity to which you 
have penetrated, yet God's eternity is not 
diminished. Gird up your intellect to com- 
prehend Him as a whole ; He eludes you. 
God, as a whole, has left something within 
your grasp, but this something is inextricably 
involved in His entirety. Thus you have 
missed the whole, since it is only a part which 
remains in your hands ; nay, not even a part, 
for you are dealing with a whole which you 
have failed to divide. For a part implies 
division, a whole is undivided, and God is 
everywhere and wholly present wherever He is. 



Reason, therefore, cannot cope with Him, 
since no point of contemplation can be found 
outside Himself and since eternity is eternally 
His. This is a true statement of the mystery of 
that unfathomable nature which is expressed by 
the Name 'Father:' God invisible, ineffable, 
infinite. Let us confess by our silence that 
words cannot describe Him ; let sense admit 
that it is foiled in the attempt to apprehend, 
and reason in the effort to define. Yet He has, 
as we said, in • Father' a name to indicate His 
nature; He is a Father unconditioned. He 
does not, as men do, receive the power of 
paternity from an external source. He is 
unbegotten, everlasting, inherently eternal. 
To the Son only is He known, for no one 
knoweth the Father save the Son and him to 
whom the Son willeth to reveal Him, nor yet 
the Son save the Fathers. Each has perfect 
and complete knowledge of the Other. There- 
fore, since no one knoweth the Father save the 
Son, let our thoughts of the Father be at one 
with the thoughts of the Son, the only faithful 
Witness, Who reveals Him to us. 

7. It is easier for me to feel this concerning 
the Father than to say it. I am well aware 
that no words are adequate to describe His 
attributes. We must feel that He is invisible, 
incomprehensible, eternal. But to say that 
He is self-existent and self-originating and self- 
sustained, that He is invisible and incompre- 
hensible and immortal ; all this is an acknow- 
ledgment of His glory, a hint of our meaning, 
a sketch of our thoughts, but speech is power- 
less to tell us what God is, words cannot 
express the reality. You hear that He is 
self-existent; human reason cannot explain 
such independence. We can find objects 
which uphold, and objects which are upheld, 
but that which thus exists is obviously distinct 
from that which is the cause of its existence. 
Again, if you hear that He is self-originating, 
no instance can be found in which the giver of 
the gift of life is identical with the life that 
is given. If you hear that He is immortal, then 
there is something which does not spring from 
Him and with which He has, by His very 
nature 4 , no contact; and, indeed, death is 
not the only thing which this word ' immortal ' 
claims as independent of God s. If you hear 
that He is incomprehensible, that is as much 
as to say that He is non-existent, since contact 
with Him is impossible. If you say that He is 
invisible, a being that does not visibly exist 

3 Cf. St. Matt. xi. 27. 

4 Reading a se, instead of alter. 

5 This is merely a verbal paradox, to illustrate the inadequacy 
of language to treat of God. God is ex hypothesi author of all 
things, and contains all things in Himself. Hut the negative 
term immortal ' excludes death, and its concomitants of disease, 
pain, &c, from God's sphere. 

cannot be sure of its own existence. Thus our 
confession of God fails through the defects of 
language ; the best combination of words we 
can devise cannot indicate the reality and the 
greatness of God. The perfect knowledge of 
God is so to know Him that we are sure we 
must not be ignorant of Him, yet cannot 
describe Him. We must believe, must appre- 
hend, must worship ; and such acts of devotion 
must stand in lieu of definition. 

8. We have now exchanged the perils of 
a harbourless coast for the storms of the open 
sea. We can neither safely advance nor safely 
retreat, yet the way that lies before us has 
greater hardships than that which lies behind. 
The Father is what He is, and as He is mani- 
fested, so we must believe. The mind shrinks 
in dread from treating of the Son ; at every 
word I tremble lest I be betrayed into treason. 
For He is the Offspring of the Unbegotten, 
One from One, true from true, living from 
living, perfect from perfect ; the Power of 
Power, the Wisdom of Wisdom, the Glory of 
Glory, the Likeness of the invisible God, the 
Image of the Unbegotten Father. Yet in what 
sense can we conceive that the Only-begotten 
is the Offspring of the Unbegotten? Repeat- 
edly the Father cries from heaven, This is My 
beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased 6 . It 
is no rending or severance, for He that begat 
is without passions, and He that was born is 
the Image of the invisible God and bears 
witness, The Father is in Me and I in the 
Father t. It is no mere adoption, for He is 
the true Son of God and cries, He that hath 
seen Me hath seen the Father also 8 . Nor did 
He come into existence in obedience to a 
command as did created things, for He is the 
Only-begotten of the One God ; and He has 
life in Himself, even as He that begat Him 
has life, for He says, As the Father hath life in 
Himself, even so gave He to the Son to have life 
in Himself?. Nor is there a portion of the 
Father resident in the Son, for the Son bears 
witness, All things that the Father hath are 
Mine 1 -, and again, And all things that are 
Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine 2 , and the 
Apostle testifies, For in Him dwelleth all the 
fulness of the Godhead bodily *; and by the 
nature of things a portion cannot possess the 
whole 4 . He is the perfect Son of the perfect 
Father, for He Who has all has given all to 
Him. Yet we must not imagine that the 

6 St. Matt. iii. 17 ; xvii. 5. Again in § 23 Hilary says that 
these words were often repeated. 7 St. John x. 38. 

8 lb. xiv. 9. 9 lb. v. 26. • lb. xvi. 15. 

2 lb. xvii. 10. The words which follow, "and Whatsoever 
tlu Father hath He hath given to tlu Son," printed in the editions 
as a Scriptural citation, are evidently a gloss which has crept 
into the text. The words do not occur in Scripture, but are used 
again by Hilary in § 10 of this Book. 

3 Col. ii. 9. * Omitting esse. 



Father did not give, because He still possesses, 
or that He has lost, because He gave to the 

9. The manner of this birth is therefore a 
secret confined to the Two. If any one lays 
upon his personal incapacity his failure to solve 
the mystery, in spite of the certainty that Father 
and Son stand to Each Other in those relations, 
he will be still more pained at the ignorance 
to which I confess. I, too, am in the dark, yet 
I ask no questions. I look for comfort to the 
fact that Archangels share my ignorance, that 
Angels have not heard the explanation, and 
worlds do not contain it, that no prophet has 
espied it and no Apostle sought for it, that the 
Son Himself has not revealed it. Let such 
pitiful complaints cease. Whoever you are 
that search into these mysteries, I do not bid 
you resume your exploration of height and 
breadth and depth ; I ask you rather to ac- 
quiesce patiently in your ignorance of the 
mode of Divine generation, seeing that you 
know not how His creatures come into exist- 
ence. Answer me this one question : — Do 
your senses give you any evidence that you 
yourself were begotten ? Can you explain the 
process by which you became a father? 
I do not ask whence you drew perception, 
how you obtained life, whence your reason 
comes, what' is the nature of jfcour senses of 
smell, touch, sight, hearing; the fact that we 
have the use of all these is the evidence that 
they exist. What I ask is : — How do you 
give them to your children? How do you 
ingraft the senses, lighten the eyes, implant 
the mind? Tell me, if you can. You have, 
then, powers which you do not understand, 
you impart gifts which you cannot comprehend. 
You are calmly indifferent to the mysteries of 
your own being, profanely impatient of ignor- 
ance concerning the mysteries of God's. 

10. Listen then to the Unbegotten Father, 
listen to the Only-begotten Son. Hear His 
words, The Father is greater than 1$, and / 
and the Fa/her are One 6 , and He that hath seen 
Me hath seen the Father also ?, and The Father 
is in Me and I in the Father*, and I went out 
from the Father?, and Who is in the bosom 0/ 
the Father 1 , and Whatsoever the Father hath 
He hath delivered to the Son*, and The Son 
hath life in Himself, even as the Father hath in 
Himself*. Hear in these words the Son, the 
Image, the Wisdom, the Power, the Glory of 
God. Next mark the Holy Ghost proclaiming 
Who shall declare His generation *? Note s the 

S St. John xiv. 28. 6 lb. x. 30. 7 lb. xiv. 9. 

8 lb. x. 38. 9 lb. xvi. 28. ' » lb. i. 18. 

2 The citation which is interpolated in § 8, where see the note, 
and cf. St. Matt. xi. 25. 

3 St. John v. 26. 4 Isai. liii. 8. 5 Reading observa. 

Lord's assurance, No cm \noweth 'hi Son save 
the Father, neither doth any know the Father 
save the Son and He to whom the Son willeth 
to reveal Him 6 , Penetrate into the mystery, 
plunge into the darkness which shrouds that 
birlh, where you will be alone with God the 
Unbegotten and God the Only-begotten. Make 
your start, continue, persevere. I know that 
you will not reach the goal, but I shall rejoice 
at your progress. For He who devoutly treads 
an endless road, though he reach no conclusion, 
will profit by his exertions.- Reason will fail 
for want of words, but when it comes to a stand 
it will be the better for the effort made. 

1 1. The Son draws His life from that Father 
Who truly has life ; the Only-begotten from 
the Unbegotten, Offspring from Parent, Liv- 
ing from Living. As the Father hath life in 
Himself, even so gave He to the Son also to have 
life in Himself t . The Son is perfect from 
Him that is perfect, for He is whole from 
Him that is whole. This is no division or 
severance, for Each is in the Other, and the 
fulness of the Godhead is in the Son. Incom- 
prehensible is begotten of Incomprehensible, 
for none else knows Them, but Each knows the 
Other; Invisible is begotten of Invisible, for 
the Son is the Image of the invisible God, 
and he that has seen the Son has seen the 
Father also. There is a distinction, for 
They are Father and Son ; not that Their 
Divinity is different in kind, for Both are One, 
God of God, One God Only-begotten of One 
God Unbegotten. They are not two Gods, 
but One of One ; not two Unbegotten, for 
the Son is born of the Unborn. There is no 
diversity, for the life of the living God is in 
the living Christ. So much I have resolved 
to say concerning the nature of their Divinity; 
not imagining that I have succeeded in mak- 
ing a summary of the faith, but recognising 
that the theme is inexhaustible. So faith, you 
object, has no service to render, since there is 
nothing that it can comprehend. Not so ; the 
proper service of faith is to grasp and confess 
the truth that it is incompetent to comprehend 
its Object. 

12. It remains to say something more con- 
cerning the mysterious generation of the Son ; 
or rather this something more is everything. 
1 quiver, I linger, my powers fail, I know not 
where to begin. I cannot tell the time of the 
Son's birth ; it were impious not to be certain 
of the fact. Whom shall I entreat ? Whom 
shall I call to my aid ? From what books 
shall I borrow the terms needed to state so 
hard a problem ? Shall I ransack the philos- 
ophy of Greece ? No ! I have read, Where is 

6 St. Matt. xi. 27. 

7 St. John v. 26. 



the wise f Where is the enquirer of this world* ? 
In this matter, then, the world's philosophers, 
the wise men of paganism, are dumb : for 
they have rejected the wisdom of God. Shall 
I turn to the Scribe of the Law ? He is in 
darkness, for the Cross of Christ is an offence 
to him. Shall I, perchance, bid you shut your 
eyes to heresy, and pass it by in silence, on the 
ground that sufficient reverence is shown to 
Him Whom we preach if we believe that 
lepers were cleansed, the deaf heard, the lame 
ran, the palsied stood, the blind (in general) 
received sight, the blind from his birth had 
eyes given to him 9, devils were routed, the 
sick recovered, the dead lived. The heretics 
confess all this, and perish. 

13. Look now to see a thing not less mira- 
culous than lame men running, blind men 
seeing, the flight of devils, the life from the 
dead. There stnnds by my side, to guide me 
through the difficulties which I have enunci- 
ated, a poor fisherman, ignorant, uneducated, 
fishing-lines in hand, clothes dripping, muddy 
feet, every inch a sailor. Consider and decide 
whether it were the greater feat to raise the 
dead or impart to an untrained mind the 
knowledge of mysteries so deep as he reveals 
by saying, In the beginning was the Word 1 . 
What means this In the beginning was? He 
ranges backward over the spaces of time, 
centuries are left behind, ages are cancelled. 
Fix in your mind what date you will for this 
beginning; you miss the mark, for even then 
He, of Whom we are speaking, was. Survey 
the universe, note well what is written of it, 
In the beginning God made the heaven and the 
earth 2 . This word beginning fixes the moment 
of creation ; you can assign its date to an 
event which is definitely stated to have hap- 
pened in the beginning. But this fisherman 
of mine, unlettered and unread, is untram- 
melled by time, undaunted by its immensity ; 
he pierces beyond the beginning. For his 
zvas has no limit of time and no commence- 
ment ; the uncreated Word was in the begin- 

14. But perhaps we shall find that our 
fisherman has been guilty of departure from 
the terms of the problem proposed for solu- 
tion 3. He has set the Word free from the 
limitations of time ; that which is free lives its 
own life and is bound to no obedience. Let 
us, therefore, pay our best attention to what 
follows : — And the Word was with God. We 

8 1 Cor. i. 20. 

9 The healing of the blind man, St. John ix. i ff., is treated as 
a special case distinct from more ordinary cases of blindness. 

« St. John i. 1. 2 Gen. i. i. 

3 I.e. how to reconcile the Unity of God with the Divinity 
ef Christ. To say that the Word is God might seem to con- 
tradict the Unity by asserting the existence of a second God. 

find that it is with God that the Word, Which 
7vas before the beginning, exists unconditioned 
by time. The Word, Which was, is with 
God. He Who is absent when we seek for 
His origin in time* is present all the while 
with the Creator of time. For this once our 
fisherman has escaped ; perhaps he will suc- 
cumb to the difficulties which await him. 

15. For you will plead that a word is the 
sound of a voice ; that it is a naming of things, 
an utterance of thoughts. This Word was 
with God, and was in the beginning; the 
expression of the eternal Thinker's thoughts 
must be eternal. For the present I will give 
you a brief answer of my own on the fisher- 
man's behalf, till we see what defence he has 
to make for his own simplicity. The nature, 
then, of a word is that it is first a potentiality, 
afterwards a past event ; an existing thing only 
while it is being heard. How can we say, In 
the beginning was the Word, when a word 
neither exists before, nor lives after, a definite 
point of time? Can we even say that there 
is* a point of time in which a word exists? 
Not only are the words in a speaker's mouth 
non-existent until they are spoken, and perished 
the instant they are uttered, but even in the 
moment of utterance there is a change from 
the sound which commences to that which 
ends a word. Such is the reply that suggests 
itself to me as a bystander. But your op- 
ponent the Fisherman has an answer of his 
own. He will begin by reproving you for 
your inattention. Even though your unprac- 
tised ear failed to catch the first clause, In the 
beginning was the Word, why complain of the 
next, And the Word was with God? Wa c . 
it And the Word was in God that you heard,— 
the dictum of some profound philosophy ? 
Or is it that your provincial dialect makes no 
distinction between in and with ? The asser- 
tion is that That Which was in the beginning 
was with, not in, Another. But I will not 
argue from the beginning of the sentence ; the 
sequel can take care of itself. Hear now the 
rank and the name of the Word : — And the 
Word was God. Your plea that the Word 
is the sound of a voice, the utterance of 
a thought, falls to the ground. The Word 
is a reality, not a sound, a Being, not a speech, 
God, not a nonentity. 

16. But I tremble to say it; the audacity 
staggers me. 1 hear, And the Word was 
God; I, whom the prophets have taught that 
God is One. To save me from further fears, 
give me, friend Fisherman, a fuller imparting 
of this great mystery. Show that these asser- 
tions are consistent with the unity of God : 

4 Reading a cognitione temporis. 



that there is no blasphemy in them, no ex- 
plaining away, no denial of eternity. He 
continues, He was in the beginning with God. 
This He was in the beginning removes the 
limit of time ; the word God shows that He 
is more than a voice ; that He is with God 
proves that He neither encroaches nor is 
encroached upon, for His identity is not swal- 
lowed up in that of Another, and He is clearly 
stated to be present with the One Unbegotten 
God as God, His One and Only-begotten Son. 

17. We are still waiting, Fisherman, for your 
full description of the Word. He was in the 
beginning, it may be said, but perhaps He 
was not before the beginning. To this also 
I will furnish a reply on my Fisherman's behalf. 
The Word could not be other than He zvas ; 
that was is unconditional and unlimited. But 
what says the Fisherman for himself? All 
things were made through Him. Thus, since 
nothing exists apart from Him through Whom 
the universe came into being, He, the Author 
of all things, must have an immeasurable ex- 
istence. For time is a cognisable and divisible 
measure of extension, not in space, but in 
duration. All things are from Him, without 
exception ; time then itself is His creature. 

18. But, my Fisherman, the objection will 
be raised that you are reckless and extravagant 
in your language ; that All things were made 
through Him needs qualification. There is the 
Unbegotten, made of none ; there is also the 
Son, begotten of the Unborn Father. This 
All things is an unguarded statement, admitting 
no exceptions. While we are silent, not daring 
to answer or trying to think of some reply, do 
you break in with, And without Him was 
nothing made. You have restored the Author 
of the Godhead to His place, while proclaiming 
that He has a Companion. From your saying 
that nothing was made without Him, I learn 
that He was not alone. He through Whom 
the work was done is One ; He without Whom 
it was not done is Another : a distinction is 
drawn between Creator and Companion. 

19. Reverence for the One Unbegotten 
Creator distressed me, lest in your sweeping 
assertion that all things were made by the 
Word you had included Him. You have 
banished my fears by your Without Him was 
nothing made. Yet this same Without Him was 
?wthing made brings trouble and distraction. 
There was, then, something made by that 
Other ; not made, it is true, without Him. If 
the Other did make anything, even though the 
Word were present at the making, then it is 
untrue that through Him all things were made. 
It is one thing to be the Creator's Companion, 
quite another to be the Creator's Self. I could 
find answers of my own to the previous ob- 

jections ; in this case, Fisherman, I can only 
turn at once to your words, All things were 
made through Him. And now I understand, 
for the Apostle has enlightened me: — Things 
visible and things invisible, whether thrones or 
dominions or principalities or powers, all are 
through Him and in Him 5 . 

20. Since, then, all things were made through 
Him, come to our help and tell us what it was 
that was made not without Him. That which 
was made in Him is life. That which was 
made in Him was certainly not made without 
Him ; for that which was made in Him was 
also made through Him. All things were 
created in Him and through Him 6 . They 
were created in Him ?, for He was born as God 
the Creator. Again, nothing that was made in 
Him was made without Him, for the reason 
that God the Begotten was Life, and was born 
as Life, not made life after His birth ; for there 
are not two elements in Him, one inborn and 
one afterwards conferred. There is no interval 
in His case between birth and maturity. None 
of the things that were created in Him was 
made without Him, for He is the Life which 
made their creation possible. Moreover God, 
the Son of God, became God by virtue of His 
birth, not after He was born. Being born the 
Living from the Living, the True from the 
True, the Perfect from the Perfect, He was 
born in full possession of His powers. He 
needed not to learn in after time what His 
birth was, but was conscious of His Godhead 
by the very fact that He was born as God of 
God. / and the Father are One s , are the 
words of the Only-begotten Son of the Un- 
begotten. It is the voice of the One God 
proclaiming Himself to be Father and Son ; 
Father speaking in the Son and Son in the 
Father. Hence also He that hath seen Me 
hath seen the Father also 1 *; hence All that the 
Father hath, He hath given to the Son l ; hence 
As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He 
given to the Son to have life i?i Himself' 1 ; hence 
No one knoweth the Father save the Son, nor the 
Son save the Father 3y hence In Him dwelleth 
all the fulness of the Godhead bodily *. 

S Col. i. 16. « Cf. Col. i. 16. 7 I.e. potentially. 

8 St. John x. 30. 9 lb. xiv. 9. 1 lb. xvi. 15. 

2 lb. v. 26. 3 St. Matt. xi. 27. 

4 Col. ii. 9. The argument of §§ 18 — 20 is not easy. They 
begin with the possible objection to All tilings were made through 
Him, that this would include the Father among the Son's crea- 
tions. The answer is found in the following woras, Without Him 
was not anything made. These show that the Son was not alone 
in His work ; the Father is co-existent. But they raise another 
difficulty. What if the Father were the sole agent in creation, 
the Son only His inseparable Companion, yet taking no share 
in the work? The answer is found in the preceding words, All 
things were made through Him, amplified and explained by 
St. Paul when He says that it was through Him and in Him. 
hi Him, because when the Son, the future Creator, was born, the 
world was potentially created ; in Him also because He is Life, 
and thus the condition of all existence. Again, the truth of the 
words, All things were made through Him, is shewn by the 



21. This Life is the Light of men, the Light 
which lightens the darkness. To comfort us 
for that powerlessness to describe His genera- 
tion of which the prophet speaks s, the Fisher- 
man adds, And the darkness comprehended Him 
not 6 . The language of unaided reason was 
baffled and silenced; the Fisherman who lay on 
the bosom of the Lord was taught to express 
the mystery. His language is not the world's 
language, for He deals with things that are not 
of the world. Let us know what it is, if there 
be any teaching that you can extract from his 
words, more than their plain sense conveys ; 
if you can translate into other terms the truth 
we have elicited, publish them abroad. 1/ 
there be none — indeed, because there are 
none — let us accept with reverence this teach- 
ing of the fisherman, and recognise in his 
words the oracles of God. Let us cling in 
adoration to the true confession of Father and 
Son, Unbegotten and Only-begotten ineffably, 
Whose majesty defies all expression and all 
perception. Let us, like John, lie on the 
bosom of the Lord Jesus, that we too may 
understand and proclaim the mystery. 

22. This faith, and every part of it, is im- 
pressed upon us by the evidence of the 
Gospels, by the teaching of the Apostles, by 
the futility of the treacherous attacks which 
heretics make on every side. The foundation 
stands firm and unshaken in face of winds and 
rains and torrents; storms cannot overthrow 
it, nor dripping waters hollow it, nor floods 
sweep it away. Its excellence is proved by 
the failure of countless assaults to impair it. 
Certain remedies are so compounded as to be 
of value not merely against some single disease 
but against all ; they are of universal efficacy. 
So it is with the Catholic faith. It is not 
a medicine for some special malady, but for 
every ill ; virulence cannot master, nor num- 
bers defeat, nor complexity baffle it. One and 
unchanging it faces and conquers all its foes. 
Marvellous it is that one form of words should 
contain a remedy for every disease, a statement 
of truth to confront every contrivance of false- 
hood. Let heresy muster its forces and every 
sect come forth to battle. Let our answer to 
their challenge be that there is One Unbe- 
gotten God the Father, and One Only-begotten 
Son of God, perfect Offspring of perfect 
Parent; that the Son was begotten by no 
lessening of the Father or subtraction from 
His Substance, but that He Who possesses all 
things begat an all-possessing Son ; a Son not 

manner of His birth. It was instantaneous, and He was born 
endowed with all His powers. We may say therefore that He 
was the author of His own existence; All things were made 
through I'iiu, with the necessary exception of the Father. 
5 Isai. liii. 8. 6 St. John i. 4. 

emanating nor proceeding from the Father, but 
compact of, and inherent in, the whole. Divi- 
nity of Him Who wherever He is present is 
present eternally ; One free from time, un- 
limited in duration, since by Him all things 
were made?, and, indeed, He could not be 
confined within a limit created by Himself. 
Such is the Catholic and Apostolic Faith which 
the Gospel has taught us and we avow. 

23. Let Sabellius. if he dare, confound Father 
and Son as two names with one meaning, mak- 
ing of them not Unity but One Person. He 
shall have a prompt answer from the Gospels, 
not once or twice, but often repeated, This is 
My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased 9 . 
He shall hear the words, The Father is greater 
than 19, and I go to the Father 1 , and Father, 
I thank Thee 2 , and Glorify Me, Father 3, and 
Thou art the Son of the living God*. Let 
Hebion try to sap the faith, who allows the 
Son of God no life before the Virgin's womb, 
and sees in Him the Word only after His life 
as flesh had begun. We will bid him read 
again, Father, glorify Me with Thine own Self 
with that glory which I had with Thee before 
the world was 5 , and In the beginning tvas the 
Word, and the Word was with God, and the 
Word was God 6 , and All things were made 
through Him ?, and He was in the world, and 
the world was made through Him, and the 
world k7iew Him not z . Let the preachers 
whose apostleship is of the newest fashion — 
an apostleship of Antichrist — come forward 
and pour their mockery and insult upon the 
Son of God. They must hear, / came out 
from the Father ■£>, and The Son in the Father's 
bosom 1 , and I a?id the Father are One 2 , and 
/ in the Father, and the Father in Me 3. And 
lastly, if they be wroth, as the Jews were, that 
Christ should claim God for His own Father, 
making Himself equal with God, they must 
take the answer which He gave the Jews, 
Believe My works, that the Father is in Me 
and I in the Father*. Thus our one immov- 
able foundation, our one blissful rock of faith, 
is the confession from Peter's mouth, Thou 
art the Son of the Living God 5 . On it we can 
base an answer to every objection with which 
perverted ingenuity or embittered treachery 
may assail the truth. 

24. In what remains we have the ap- 
pointment of the Father's will. The Virgin, 
the birth, the Body, then the Cross, the 
death, the visit to the lower world ; these 
things are our salvation. For the sake of 

7 Reading sint. 8 St. Matt. xvii. 5. See the note to § 8. 
9 St. John xiv. 28. « lb. 12. " 2 lb. xi 41. 

3 lb. xvii. 5. * St. Matt. xvi. 17. s St. John xvii. 5. 

6 lb. i. 1. 7 lb. 3. 8 ib. 10 . 9 lb. xvi. 28. 

1 lb. i. 18. ' lb. x. 30. 3 lb. xiv. 11. 

* lb. x. 38. S St. Matt. xvi. 16. 



mankind the Son of God was born of the 
Virgin and of the Holy Ghost. In this process 
He ministered to Himself; by His own power 
—the power of God — which overshadowed 
her He sowed the beginning of His Body, and 
entered on the first stage of His life in the 
flesh. He did it that by His Incarnation He 
might take to Himself from the Virgin the 
fleshly nature, and that through this com- 
mingling there might come into being a hal- 
lowed Body of all humanity ; that so through 
that Body which He was pleased to assume 
all mankind might be hid in Him, and He in 
return, through His unseen exisience, be re- 
produced in all. Thus the invisible Image of 
God scorned not the shame which marks the 
beginnings of human life. He passed through 
every stage; through conception, birth, wail- 
ing, cradle and each successive humiliation. 

25. What worthy return can we make for so 
great a condescension ? The One Only- 
begotten God, ineffably born of God, entered 
the Virgin's womb and grew and took the 
frame of poor humanity. He Who upholds 
the universe, within Whom and through Whom 
are all things, was brought forth by common 
childbirth ; He at Whose voice Archangels 
and Angels tremble, and heaven and earth 
and all the elements of this world are melted, 
was heard in childish wailing. The Invisible 
and Incomprehensible, Whom sight and feel- 
ing and touch cannot gauge, was wrapped 
in a cradle. If any man deem all this un- 
worthy of God, the greater must he own his 
debt for the benefit conferred the less such 
condescension befits the majesty of God. He 
by Whom man was made had nothing to gain 
by becoming Man ; it was our gain that God 
was incarnate and dwelt among us, making all 
flesh His home by taking upon Him the llesh 
of One. We were raised because He was 
lowered ; shame to Him was glory to us. He, 
being God, made flesh His residence, and we 
in return are lifted anew from the flesh to God. 

26. But lest perchance fastidious minds be 
exercised by cradle and wailing, birth and 
conception, we must render to God the glory 
which each of these contains, that we may 
approach His self-abasement with souls duly 
filled with His claim to reign, and not forget 
His majesty in His condescension. Let us 
note, therefore, who were attendant on His 
conception. An Angel speaks to Zacharias ; 
fertility is given to the barren ; the priest 
conies forth dumb from the place of incense ; 
John bursts forth into speech while yet con- 
fined within his mother's womb ; an Angel 
blesses Mary and promises that she, a virgin, 
shall be the mother of the Son of God. Con- 
scious of her virginity, she is distressed at this 

hard thing ; the Angel explains to her the 
mighty working of God, saying, The Holy 
Ghost shall come from above into thee, and the 
power of the Most High shall overshadow thee 6 . 
The Holy Ghost, descending from above, hal- 
lowed the Virgin's womb, and breathing therein 
(for The Spirit bloweth where it listeth''), 
mingled Himself with the fleshly nature of 
man, and annexed by force and might that 
foreign domain. And, lest through weakness 
of the human structure failure should ensue, 
the power of the Most High overshadowed 
the Virgin, strengthening her feebleness in 
semblance of a cloud cast round her, that the 
shadow, which was the might of God, might 
fortify her bodily frame to receive the pro- 
creative power of the Spirit. Such is the glory 
of the conception. 

27. And now let us consider the glory which 
accompanies the birth, the wailing and the 
cradle. The Angel tells Joseph that the 
Virgin shall bear a Son, and that that Son 
shall be named Emmanuel, that is, God with 
us. The Spirit foretells it through the prophet, 
the Angel bears witness ; He that is born 
is God with us. The light of a new star 
shines forth for the Magi ; a heavenly sign 
escorts the Lord of heaven. An Angel brings 
to the shepherds the news that Christ the 
Lord is born, the Saviour of the world. A 
multitude of the heavenly host flock together 
to sing the praise of that childbirth ; the re- 
joicing of the Divine company proclaims the 
fulfilment of the mighty work. Then glory to 
God in heaven, and peace on earth to men of 
good will is announced. And now the Magi 
come and worship Him wrapped in swaddling 
clothes ; after a life devoted to mystic rites of 
vain philosophy they bow the knee before 
a Babe laid in His cradle. Thus the Magi 
stoop to reverence the infirmities of Infancy ; 
its cries are saluted by the heavenly joy of 
angels ; the Spirit Who inspired the prophet, 
the heralding Angel, the light of the new star, 
all minister around Him. In such wise was 
it that the Holy Ghost's descent and the over- 
shadowing power of the Most High brought 
Him to His birth. The inward reality is 
widely different from the outward appearance ; 
the eye sees one thing, the soul another. A 
virgin bears ; her child is of God. An Infant 
wails ; angels are heard in praise. There are 
coarse swaddling clothes; God is being wor- 
shipped. The glory of His Majesty is not 
forfeited when He assumes the lowliness of 

28. So was it also during His further life on 
earth. The whole time which He passed in 

6 St. Luke i. 35. 

7 St. John iii. 8. 



human form was spent upon the works of God. 
I have no space for details ; it must suffice to 
say that in all the varied acts of power and 
healing which He wrought, the fact is con- 
spicuous that He was man by virtue of the 
flesh He had taken, God by the evidence of 
the works He did. 

29. Concerning the Holy Spirit I ought not 
to be silent, and yet I have no need to speak ; 
still, for the sake of those who are in ignor- 
ance, I cannot refrain. There is no need to 
speak, because we are bound to confess Him, 
proceeding, as He does, from Father and Son 8 . 
For my own part, I think it wrong to discuss 
the question of His existence. He does exist, 
inasmuch as He is given, received, retained. 
He is joined with Father and Son in our con- 
fession of the faith, and cannot be excluded 
from a true confession of Father and Son ; 
take away a part, and the whole faith is 
marred. If any man demand what meaning 
we attach to this conclusion, he, as well as we, 
has read the words of the Apostle, Because ye 
are sons of God, God hath sent the Spirit of 
His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father °, 
and Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in 
Whom ye have been sealed' 1 , and again, But we 
have received not the spirit of this world, but 
the Spirit which is of God, that we may know 
the things that are given unto us by God 11 , 
and also But ye are not in the flesh but in the 
Spirit, if so be 'that the Spirit of God is in you. 
But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, 
he is not His 3 , and further, But if the Spirit 
of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead 
dwelleth in you, He that raised up Christ from 
the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies 
for the sake of His Spirit which dwelleth in 
you*. Wherefore since He is, and is given, 
and is possessed, and is of God, let His tradu- 
cers take refuge in silence. When they ask, 
Through Whom is He? To what end does 
He exist? Of what nature is He? We answer 
that He it is through Whom all things exist, 
and from Whom are all things, and that He 
is the Spirit of God, God's gift to the faithful. 
If our answer displease them, their displeasure 
must also fall upon the Apostles and the 
Prophets, who spoke of Him exactly as we 
have spoken. And furthermore, Father and 
Son must incur the same displeasure. 

30. The reason, I believe, why certain 
people continue in ignorance or doubt is that 
they see this third Name, that of the Holy 
Spirit, often used to signify the Father or 'hz 
Son. No objection need be raised .3 this ; 

- Qui Patre et Filio auctoribus confitendus est ; A comparison 
ghh duin et usum et attctorcm eius ignorant in § 4 makes tliis 
appear the probable translation. It might, of course, mean conjcss 
Hint on the evidence 0/ Father andSo*. S CaL iv K 

1 Eph. iv. 30. 2 1 Cor. ii. 12. 3 Kom. viii. 9. * lb. 11. 

whether it be Father or Son, He is Spirit, and 
He is holy. 

31. But the words of the Gospel, For God 
is Spirit*, need careful examination as to their 
sense and their purpose. For every saying 
has an antecedent cause and an aim which 
must be ascertained by study of the meaning. 
We must bear this in mind lest, on the strength 
of the words, God is Spirit, we deny not only 
the Name, but also the work and the gift of 
the Holy Ghost. The Lord was speaking 
with a woman of Samaria, for He had come 
to be the Redeemer for all mankind. After 
He had discoursed at length of the living 
water, and of her five husbands, and of him 
whom she then had who was not her husband, 
the woman answered, Lord, I perceive that 
Thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped 
in this mountain ; and ye say that in Jerusalem 
is the place where men ought to worships. The 
Lord replied, Woman, believe Me, the hour 
cometh when ?ieither in this mountain, nor in 
Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father. Ye 
ivorship that which ye know not ; we worship 
that which zve know ; for salvation is from the 
Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when 
the true worshippers shall worship the Father 
in the Spirit and in truth ; for the Father 
seeketh such to worship Him. For God is 
Spirit, and they that worship Him must wor- 
ship in the Spirit and in truth, for God is 
Spirit'. We see that the woman, her mind 
full of inherited tradition, thought that God 
must be worshipped either on a mountain, as 
at Samaria, or in a temple, as at Jerusalem ; 
for Samaria in disobedience to the Law had 
chosen a site upon the mountain for worship, 
while the Jews regarded the temple founded 
by Solomon as the home of their religion, and 
the prejudices of both confined the all-embrac- 
ing and illimitable God to the crest of a hill 
or the vault of a building. God is invisible, 
incomprehensible, immeasurable ; the Lord 
said that the time had come when God should 
be worshipped neither on mountain nor in 
temple. For Spirit cannot be cabined or 
confined ; it is omnipresent in space and time, 
and under all conditions present in its fulness. 
Therefore, He said, they are the true wor- 
shippers who shall worship in the Spirit and 
in truth. And these who are to worship God 
the Spirit in the Spirit shall have the One for 
the means, the Other for the object, of their 
reverence: for Each of the Two stands in 
a different relation to the worshipper. The 
words, God is Spirit, do not alter the fact that 
the Holy Spirit has a Name of His own, and 
that Ke is the Gift to us. The woman who 

5 St. John iv. 24. 

« lb. 

19, 20. 

7 lb. 




confined God to hill or temple was tokl that 
God contains all things and is self-contained : 
that He, the Invisible and Incomprehensible, 
must be worshipped by invisible and incom- 
prehensible means. The imparted gift and 
the object of reverence were clearly shewn 
when Christ taught that God, being Spirit, 
must be worshipped in the Spirit, and revealed 
what freedom and knowledge, what boundless 
scope for adoration, lay in this worship of God, 
the Spirit, in the Spirit. 

32. The words of the Apostle are of like 
purport ; For the Lord is Spirit, and where the 
Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty*. To 
make his meaning clear he has distinguished 
between the Spirit, Who exists, and Him 
Whose Spirit He is. Proprietor and Property, 
He and His are different in sense. Thus 
when he says, The Lord is Spirit he reveals the 
infinity of God; when He adds, Where the 
Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, he indicates 
Him Who belongs to God ; for He is the 
Spirit of the Lord, and Where the Spirit of the 
Lord is, there is liberty. The Apostle makes 
the statement not from any necessity of his 
own argument, but in the interests of clearness. 
For the Holy Ghost is everywhere One, en- 
lightening all patriarchs and prophets and the 
whole company of the Law, inspiring John 
even in his mother's womb, given in due time to 
the Apostles and other believers, that they 
might recognise the truth vouchsafed them. 

33. Let us hear from our Lord's own words 
what is the work of the Holy Ghost within us. 
He says, / have yet many things to say unto you, 
but ye cannot bear them now 9. For it is ex- 
pedient for you that L go : if L go I will send 
you the Advocate 1 -. And again, L will ask the 
Father and He shall send you another Advo- 
cate, that He may be with you for ever, even 
the Spirit of truth 2 . He shall guide you into 
all truth, for He shall not speak from Himself, 
but whatsoever things He shall hear He shall 
speak, and He shall declare unto you the things 
that are to come. He shall glorify Me, for He 
shall take of Mine 3. These words were spoken 
to show how multitudes should enter the king- 
dom of heaven ; they contain an assurance of 
the goodwill of the Giver, and of the mode and 
terms of the Gift. They tell how, because our 
feeble minds cannot comprehend the Father or 
the Son, our faith which finds God's incarnation 
hard of credence shall be illumined by the gift 
of the Holy Ghost, the Bond of union and the 
Source of light. 

34. The next step naturally is to listen to 
the Apostle's account of the powers and func- 
tions of this Gift. He says, As many as are led 

by the Spirit of God, these are the child/ en of 
God. For ye received not the Spirit op bondage 
again unto fear, but ye received the Spirit of 
adoption whereby zve cry, Abba, Father*; and 
again, For no man by the Spirit of God saith 
anathema to Jesus, and no man can say, Jesus 
is Lord, but in the Lloly Spirit $; and he adds, 
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same 
Spirit, and diversities of ministrations, but the 
same Lord, and diversities of workings, but the 
same God, Who worketh all things in all. 
But to each one is given the enlightenment of 
the Spirit, to profit withal. Now to one is given 
through the Spirit the word of wisdom, to an- 
other the word of knowledge according to the 
same Spirit, to another faith in the same Spirit, 
to another gifts of healings in the One Spirit, to 
another workings of miracles, to another pro- 
phecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another 
kinds of tongues, to another interpretation of 
tongues. But all these worketh the One and 
same Spirit 6 . Here we have a statement of 
the purpose and results of the Gift; and I 
cannot conceive what doubt can remain, after 
so clear a definition of His Origin, His action 
and His powers. 

35. Let us therefore make use of this great 
benefit, and seek for personal experience of 
this most needful Gift. For the Apostle says, 
in words I have already cited, But we have not 
received the spirit of this world, but the Spirit 
which is of God, that we may know the things 
that are given unto us by God "J. We receive 
Him, then, that we may know. Faculties of the 
human body, if denied their exercise, will lie 
dormant. The eye without light, natural or 
artificial, cannot fulfil its office ; the ear will be 
ignorant of its function unless some voice or 
sound be heard ; the nostrils unconscious of 
their purpose unless some scent be breathed. 
Not that the faculty will be absent, because it 
is never called into use, but that there will be 
no experience of its existence. So, too, the soul 
of man, unless through faith it have appro- 
priated the gift of the Spirit, will have the 
innate faculty of apprehending God, but be 
destitute of the light of knowledge. That 
Gift, which is in Christ, is One, yet offered, 
and offered fully, to all ; denied to none, and 
given to each according to the measure of his 
willingness to receive ; its stores the richer, the 
more earnest the desire to earn them. This 
gift is with us unto the end of the world, the 
solace of our waiting, the assurance, by the 
favours which He bestows, of the hope that 
shall be ours, the light of our minds, the sun 
of our souls. This Holy Spirit we must seek 
and must earn, and then hold fast by faith and 
obedience to the commands of God. 

• a Cor. iii. 17. 

2 lb. xiv. 16, 17. 

9 St. John xvi. 12. 

3 lb. xiv. 


* lb. 7. 

4 Rom. viii. 14, 15, 5 1 Cor. xii. 3 6 lb. 4— n. 

7 1 Cor. ii. 12, cited in § 29. 


i. The words of the Lord, I in the Father, and 
the Father in Me x , confuse many minds, and 
not unnaturally, for the powers of human 
reason cannot provide them with any intel- 
ligible meaning. It seems impossible that one 
object should be both within and without another, 
or that (since it is laid down that the Beings 
of whom we are treating, though They do not 
dwell apart, retain their separate existence and 
condition) these Beings can reciprocally con- 
tain One Another, so that One should per- 
manently envelope, and also be permanently en- 
veloped by, the Other, whom yet He envelopes. 
This is a problem which the wit of man will 
never solve, nor will human research ever 
find an analogy for this condition of Divine 
existence. But what man cannot understand, 
God can be. I do not mean to say that the 
fact that this is an assertion made by God 
renders it at once intelligible to us. We must 
think for ourselves, and come to know the 
meaning of the words, I in the Father, and the 
Father in Me: but this will depend upon our 
success in grasping the truth that reasoning 
based upon Divine verities can establish its 
conclusions, even though they seem to contra- 
dict the laws of the universe. 

2. In order to solve as easily as possible 
this most difficult problem, we must first 
master the knowledge which the Divine 
Scriptures give of Father and of Son, that 
so we may speak with more precision, as 
dealing with familiar and accustomed matters. 
The eternity of the Father, as we concluded 
after full discussion in the last Book, tran- 
scends space, and time, and appearance, and 
all the forms of human thought. He is with- 
out and within all things, He contains all and 
can be contained by none, is incapable of 
change by increase or diminution, invisible, 
incomprehensible, full, perfect, eternal, not 
deriving anything that He has from another, 
but, if ought be derived from Him, still com- 
plete and self-sufficing. 

3. He therefore, the Unbegotten, before 
time was begat a Son from Himself; not from 
any pre-existent matter, for all things are 
through the Son ; not from nothing, for the 
Son is from the Father's self; not by way of 
childbirth, for in God there is neither change 

1 St. John xiv. ix. 

nor void ; not as a piece of Himself cut or 
torn off or stretched out, for God is passionless 
and bodiless, and only a passible and em- 
bodied being could so be treated, and, as the 
Apostle says, in Christ dweUeth all the fulness 
of the Godhead bodily 2 . Incomprehensibly, 
ineffably, before time or worlds, He begat 
the Only-begotten from His own unbegotten 
substance, bestowing through love and power 
His whole Divinity upon that Birth. Thus 
He is the Only-begotten, perfect, eternal Son 
of the unbegotten, perfect, eternal Father. 
But those properties which He has in con- 
sequence of the Body which He took, are the 
fruit of His goodwill toward our salvation. 
For He, being invisible and bodiless and 
incomprehensible, as the Son of God, took 
upon Him such a measure of matter and of 
lowliness as was needed to bring Him within 
the range of our understanding, and per- 
ception, and contemplation. It was a con- 
descension to our feebleness rather than a 
surrender of His own proper attributes. 

4. He, therefore, being the perfect Father's 
perfect Son. the Only-begotten Offspring of 
the unbegotten God, who has received all 
from Him Who possesses all, being God from 
God, Spirit from Spirit, Light from Light, 
says boldly, The Father in Me, and I in the 
Father's. For as the Father is Spirit, so is 
the Son Spirit ; as the Father is God, so is the 
Son God ; as the Father is Light, so is the 
Son Light. Thus those properties which are 
in the Father are the source of those where- 
with the Son is endowed ; that is, He is 
wholly Son of Him Who is wholly Father; 
not imported from without, for before the Son 
nothing was ; not made from nothing, for the 
Son is from God ; not a son partially, for the 
fulness of the Godhead is in the Son ; not 
a Son in some respects, but in all ; a Son ac- 
cording to the will of Him who had the power, 
after a manner which He only knows. What is 
in the Father is in the Son also ; what is in the 
Unbegotten is in the Only-begotten also. The 
One is from the Other, and they Two are 
a Unity ; not Two made One, yet One in the 
Other, for that which is in Both is the same. 
The Father is in the Son, for the Son is from 
Him; the Son is in the Father, because the 

a Col. ii. 9. 

3 St. John x. 38. 



Father is His sole Origin ; the Only-begotten 
is in the Unbegotten, because He is the Only- 
begotten from the Unbegotten. Thus mutually 
Each is in the Other, for as all is perfect in 
the Unbegotten Father, so all is perfect in the 
Only-begotten Son. This is the Unity which 
is in Son and Father, this the power, this the 
love; our hope, and faith, and truth, and way, 
and life is not to dispute the Father's powers 
or to depreciate the Son, but to reverence the 
mystery and majesty of His birth ; to set the 
unbegotten Father above all rivalry, and count 
the Only-begotten Son as His equal in eter- 
nity and might, confessing concerning God 
the Son that He is from God. 

5. Such powers are there in God ; powers 
which the methods of our reason cannot com- 
prehend, but of which our faith, on the sure 
evidence of His action, is convinced. We 
shall find instances of this action in the bodily 
sphere as well as in the spiritual, its mani- 
festation taking, not the form of an analogy 
which might illustrate the Birth, but of a deed 
marvellous yet comprehensible. On the wed- 
ding day in Galilee water was made wine. 
Have we words to tell or senses to ascertain 
what methods produced the change by which 
the tastelessness of water disappeared, and 
was replaced by the full flavour of wine? It 
was not a mixing; it was a creation, and a 
creation which was not a beginning, but a 
transformation. A weaker liquid was not ob- 
tained by admixture of a stronger element ; 
an existing thing perished and a new thing 
came into being. The bridegroom was anxious, 
the household in confusion, the harmony of 
the marriage feast imperilled. Jesus is asked 
for help. He does not rise or busy Himself; 
He does the work without an effort. Water 
is poured into the vessels, wine drawn out 
in the cups. The evidence of the senses of 
the pourer contradicts that of the drawer. 
They who poured expect water to be drawn ; 
they who draw think that wine must have 
been poured in. The intervening time cannot 
account for any gain or loss of character in 
the liquid. The mode of action baffles sight 
and sense, but the power of God is manitest 
in the result achieved. 

6. In the case of the five loaves a miracle 
of the same type excites our wonder. By 
their increase five thousand men and countless 
women and children are saved from hunger; 
the method eludes our powers of observation. 
Five loaves are offered and broken ; while the 
Apostles are dividing them a succession of 
new-created portions passes, they cannot tell 
how, through their hands. The loaf which 
•they are dividing grows no smaller, yet their 
hands are continually full of the pieces. The 

swiftness of the process baffles sight; you 
follow with the eye a hand full of portions, 
and meantime you see that the contents of 
the other hand are not diminished, and all 
the while the heap of pieces grows. The 
carvers are busy at their task, the eaters are 
hard at work ; the hungry are satisfied, and 
the fragments fill twelve baskets. Sight or 
sense cannot discover the mode of so note- 
worthy a miracle. What was not existent is 
created ; what we see passes our understand- 
ing. Our only resource is faith in God's om- 

7. There is no deception in these miracles 
of God, no subtle pretence to please or to 
deceive. These works of the Son of God 
were done from no desire for self-display ; He 
U'hom countless myriads of angels serve never 
deluded man. What was there of ours that 
He could need, through Whom all that we 
have was created ? Did He demand praise 
from us who now are heavy with sleep, now 
sated with lust, now laden with the guilt of 
riot and bloodshed, now drunken from revel- 
ling; — He Whom Archangels, and Dominions, 
and Principalities, and Powers, without sleep 
or cessation or sin, praise in heaven with 
everlasting and unwearied voice ? They praise 
Him because He, the Image of the Invisible 
God, created all their host in Himself, made 
the worlds, established the heavens, appointed 
the stars, fixed the earth, laid the foundations 
of the deep ; because in after time He was 
born, He conquered death, broke the gates 
of hell, won for Himself a people to be His 
fellow-heirs, lifted flesh from corruption up 
to the glory of eternity. There was nothing, 
then, that He might gain from us, that could 
induce Him to assume the splendour of these 
mysterious and inexplicable works, as though 
He needed our praise. But God foresaw how 
human sin and folly would be misled, and 
knew that disbelief would dare to pass its 
judgment even on the things of God, and 
therefore He vanquished presumption by tokens 
of His power which must give pause to our 

8. For there are many of those wise men 
of the world whose wisdom is folly with God, 
who contradict our proclamation of God from 
God, True from True, Perfect from Perfect, 
One from One, as though we taught things 
impossible They pin their faith to certain 
conclusions which they have reached by pro- 
cess of logic : — NotJiing can be born of one, 
for every birth requires two parents, and If 
this Son be born of One, He has received a part 
of His Begetter : if He be a part, then Neither 
of the Two is perfect, for something is missing 
from Him from Whom the Son issued, and 

6 4 


there cannot be fulness in One Who consists of 
a portion of Another. Thus Neither is perfect, 
for the Begetter has lost His fulness, and the Be- 
gotten has not acquired it. This is that wisdom 
of the world which was foreseen by God even 
in the prophet's days, and condemned through 
him in the words, I will destroy the wisdom oj 
the 7vise t and reject the understanding of the 
prudent*. And the apostle says: Where is 
the 7i>ise ? Where is the scribe ? Where is the 
inquirer of this world ? Hath not God made 
foolish the wisdom of this 7vorld? For because 
in the wisdom of God the world through wisdom 
knetv not God, it pleased God through the 
foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 
For the Jews seek signs, and the Greeks seek 
wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, to the 
Je7cs indeed a stumbling-block and to the Gentiles 
foolishness, but unto them that are called, both 
fe7vs and Greeks, Christ the po7ver of God and 
the 7c>isdom of God. Because the foolishness of 
God is wiser than men, and the tveakness of 
God is stronger than men 5. 

9. The Son of God, therefore, having the 
charge of mankind, was first made man, that 
men might believe on Him ; that He might 
be to us a witness, sprung from ourselves, of 
things Divine, and preach to us, weak and 
carnal as we are, through the weakness of the 
flesh concerning God the Father, so fulfilling 
the Father's will, even as He says, I came not 
to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that 
sent Me 6 . It was not that He Himself was 
unwilling, but that He might manifest His 
obedience as the result of His Father's will, 
for His own will is to do His Father's. This 
is that will to carry out the Father's will of 
which He testifies in the words : Father, the 
hour is come ; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son 
may glorify Thee; even as Thou hast given 
Him power over all flesh, that whatsoever Thou 
hast given Him, He should give it eternal life. 
And this is life eternal, that they should knozv 
Thee the only true God, and Him Whom Thou 
didst send, Jesus Christ. I have glorified Thee 
upon earth, having accomplished the work which 
Thou gavest Me to do. And now, O Father, 
glorify Me with Thine own Self with the glory 
which I had with Thee before the world was. 
I have manifested Thy Name unto the men 
whom Thou hast given Me ?. In words short 
and few He has revealed the whole task to 
which He was appointed and assigned. Yet 
those words, short and few as they are, are 
the true faith's safeguard against every sug- 
gestion of the devil's cunning. Let us briefly 
consider the force of each separate phrase. 

4 Isaiah xxix. 14. 

6 St. John vi. 38. 

5 1 Cor. i. 20 — »5. 
7 lb. xvii. 1 — 6. 

10. He says, Father the hour is come ; glorify 
Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee. He 
says that the hour, not the day nor the time, 
is come. An hour is a fraction of a day. 
What hour must this be? The hour, of course, 
of which He speaks, to strengthen His dis- 
ciples, at the time of His passion : — Lo, the 
hour is come that the Son of Man should be 
glorified*. This then is the hour in which 
He prays to be glorified by the Father, that 
He Himself may glorify the Father. But what 
does He mean ? Does One who is about to 
give glory look to receive it ? Does One who 
is about to confer honour make request for 
Himself? Is He in want of the very thing 
which He is about to repay ? Here let the 
world's philosophers, the wise men of Greece, 
beset our path, and spread their syllogistic 
nets to entangle the truth. Let them ask 
How ? and Whence ? and Why ? When they 
can find no answer, let us tell them that it is 
because God has chosen the foolish things of 
the 7vorld to confound the 7vise^. That is the 
reason why we in our foolishness understand l 
things incomprehensible to the world's phi- 
losophers. The Lord had said, Father, the 
hour is come; He had revealed the hour of 
His passion, for these words were spoken at 
the very moment ; and then He added, Glorify 
Thy Son. But how was the Son to be glo- 
rified ? He had been born of a virgin, from 
cradle and childhood He had grown to man's 
estate, through sleep and hunger and thirst 
and weariness and tears He had lived man's 
life : even now He was to be spitted on, 
scourged, crucified. And why? These things 
were ordained for our assurance that in Christ 
is pure man. But the shame of the cross is 
not ours ; we are not sentenced to the scourge, 
nor defiled by spitting. The Father glorifies 
the Son ; how? He is next nailed to the 
cross. Then what followed? The sun, instead 
of setting, fled. How so ? It did not retire 
behind a cloud, but abandoned its appointed 
orbit, and all the elements of the world felt 
that same shock of the death of Christ. The 
stars in their courses, to avoid complicity in 
the crime, escaped by self-extinction from be- 
holding the scene. What did the earth ? It 
quivered beneath the burden of the Lord 
hanging on the tree, protesting that it was 
powerless to confine Him who was dying. 
Yet surely rock and stone will not refuse Him 
a resting-place. Yes, they are rent and cloven, 
and their strength fails. They must confess 
that the rock-hewn sepulchre cannot imprison 
the Body which awaits its burial. 

11. And next? The centurion of the cc~ 

8 St. John xii. 23. 9 1 Cor. i. 27. » Reading mtclligimut. 



hort, the guardian of the cross, cries out, 
Truly this was the Son of God 2 . Creation is 
set free by the mediation of this Sin-offering ; 
the very rocks lose their solidity and strength. 
They who had nailed Him to the cross confess 
that truly this is the Son of God. The out- 
come justifies the assertion. The Lord had 
said, Glorify Thy Son. He had asserted, by 
that word Thy, that He was God's Son not in 
name only, but in nature. Multitudes of us 
are sons of God ; He is Son in another sense. 
For He is God's true and own Son, by origin 
and not by adoption, not by name only but 
in truth, born and not created. So, after He 
was glorified, that confession touched the 
truth ; the centurion confessed Him the true 
Son of God, that no believer might doubt a 
fact which even the servant of His persecutors 
could not deny. 

12. But perhaps some may suppose that 
He was destitute of that glory for which He 
prayed, and that His looking to be glorified 
by a Greater is evidence of want of power. 
Who, indeed, would deny that the Father is 
the greater; the Unbegotten greater than the 
Begotten, the Father than the Son, the Sender 
than the Sent, He that wills than He that 
obeys ? He Plimself shall be His own wit- 
ness : — The Father is greater than I. It is a 
fact which we must recognise, but we must 
take heed lest with unskilled thinkers the 
majesty of the Father should obscure the 
glory of the Son. Such obscuration is for- 
bidden by this same glory for which the Son 
prays ; for the prayer, Father glorify Thy Son, 
is completed by, That the Son may glorify 
Thee. Thus there is no lack of power in the 
Son, Who, when He has received this glory, 
will make His return for it in glory. But why, 
if He were not in want, did He make the 
prayer? No one makes request except for 
something which he needs. Or can it be 
that the Father too is in want ? Or has He 
given His glory away so recklessly that He 
needs to have it returned Him by the Son ? 
No ; the One has never been in want, nor 
the Other needed to ask, and yet Each shall 
give to the Other. Thus the prayer for glory 
to be given and to be paid back is neither 
a robbery of the Father nor a depreciation of 
the Son, but a demonstration of the power 
of one Godhead resident in Both. The Son 
prays that He may be glorified by the Father ; 
the Father deems it no humiliation to be glo- 
rified by the Son. The exchange of glory 
given and received proclaims the unity of 
power in Father and in Son. 

13. We must next ascertain what and 

2 St. Matt, xxvii. 54. 

whence this glorifying is. God, I am sure, 
is subject to no change ; His eternity admits 
not of defect or amendment, of gain or of 
loss. It is the character of Him alone, that 
what He is, He is from everlasting. What 
He from everlasting is, it is by His nature 
impossible that He should ever cease to be. 
How then can He receive glory, a thing which 
He fully possesses, and of which His store 
does not diminish ; there being no fresh glory 
which He can obtain, and none that He has 
lost and can recover ? We are brought to 
a standstill. But the Evangelist does not fail 
us, though our reason has displayed its help- 
lessness. To tell us what return of glory it 
was that the Son should make to the Father, 
he gives the words : Even as Thou hast given 
Him power over all flesh, that whatsoever Thou 
hast given Him He may give it eternal life. 
And this is life eternal that they should know 
Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ 
Whom Thou hast sent. The Father, then, is 
glorified through the Son, by His being made 
known to us. And the glory was this, that 
the Son, being made flesh, received from Him 
power over all flesh, and the charge of restor- 
ing eternal life to us, ephemeral beings bur- 
dened with the body. Eternal life for us was 
the result not of work done, but of innate 
power ; not by a new creation, but simply by 
knowledge of God, was the glory of that 
eternity to be acquired. Nothing was added 
to God's glory; it had not decreased, and so 
could not be replenished. But He is glorified 
through the Son in the sight of us, ignorant, 
exiled, defiled, dwelling in hopeless death and 
lawless darkness ; glorified inasmuch as the 
Son, by virtue of that power over all flesh 
which the Father gave Him, was to bestow on 
us eternal life. It is through this work of the 
Son that the Father is glorified. So when the 
Son received all things from the Father, the 
Father glorified Him; and conversely, when 
all things were made through the Son, He 
glorified the Father. The return of glory given 
lies herein, that all the glory which the Son 
has is the glory of the Father, since everything 
He has is the Father's gift. For the glory 
of Him who executes a charge redounds to 
the glory of Him Who gave it, the glory of the 
Begotten to the glory of the Begetter. 

14. But in what does eternity of life consist? 
His own words tell us : — That they may know 
Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom 
Thou hast sent. Is there any doubt or diffi- 
culty here, or any inconsistency? It is life 
to know the true God; but the bare know- 
ledge of Him does not give it. What, then, 
does He add? And Jesus Christ Whom Thou 
hast sent. In Thee, the only true God, the Son 




pays the honour due to His Father; by the 
addition, And Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast 
sent, He associates Himself with the true 
Godhead. The believer in his confession 
draws no line between the Two, for his hope 
of life rests in Both, and indeed, the true God 
is inseparable from Him Whose Name follows 
in the creed. Therefore when we read, That 
they may know Thee, the only true God, and 
Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent, these terms 
of Sender and of Sent are not intended, under 
any semblance of distinction or discrimination, 
to convey a difference between the true God- 
head of Father and of Son, but to be a guide 
to the devout confession of Them as Begetter 
and Begotten. 

15. And so the Son glorifies the Father 
fully and finally in the words which follow, 
I have glorified Thee on the earth, having 
accomplished the work which Thou hast given 
Me to do. All the Father's praise is from 
the Son, for every praise bestowed upon the 
Son is praise of the Father, since all that He 
accomplished is what the Father had willed. 
The Son of God is born as man ; but the 
power of God is in the virgin-birth. The 
Son of God is seen as man ; but God is 
present in His human actions. The Son of 
God is nailed to the cross ; but on the cross 
God conquers human death. Christ, the Son 
of God, dies; but all flesh is made alive in 
Christ. The Son of God is in hell ; but man 
is carried back to heaven. In proportion to 
our praise of Christ for these His works, will 
be the praise we bring to Him from Whom 
Christ's Godhead is. These are the ways in 
which the Father glorifies the Son on earth ; 
and in return the Son reveals by works of 
power to the ignorance of the heathen and 
to the foolishness of the world, Him from 
Whom He is. This exchange of glory, given 
and received, implies no augmentation of the 
Godhead, but means the praises rendered for 
the knowledge granted to those who had lived 
in ignorance of God. What, indeed, could 
there be which the Father, from Whom are 
all things, did not richly possess? In what 
was the Son lacking, in Whom all the fulness 
of the Godhead had been pleased to dwell? 
The Father is glorified on earth because the 
work which He had commanded is finished. 

16. Next let us see what this glory is which 
the Son expects to receive from the Father; 
and then our exposition will be complete. The 
sequel is, / have glorified Thee on the earth, 
having accomplished the work which Thou hast 
given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify 
Thou Me with Thine own Self with the glory 
which I had with Thee befiore the world was. 
I have manifested Thy name unto men. It is, 

then, by the Son's works that the Father is 
glorified, in that He is recognised as God, 
as Father of God the Only-begotten, Who 
for our salvation willed that His Son should 
be born as man, even of a virgin ; that Son 
Whose whole life, consummated in the Passion, 
was consistent with the humiliation of the 
virgin-birth. Thus, because the Son of God, 
all-perfect and born from everlasting in the 
fulness of the Godhead, had now by incarna- 
tion become Man and was ready for His death, 
He prays that He may be glorified with God, 
even as He was glorifying His Father on the 
earth ; for at that moment the powers of God 
were being glorified in the flesh before the 
eyes of a world that knew Him not. But 
what is this glory with the Father, for which 
He looks? It is that, of course, which He 
had with Him before the world was. He had 
the fulness of the Godhead ; He has it still, 
for He is God's Son. But He Who was the 
Son of God had become the Son of man also, 
for The Word was made flesh. He had not 
lost His former being, but He had become 
what He was not before ; He had not abdi- 
cated His own position, yet He had taken 
ours ; He prays that the nature which He had 
assumed may be promoted to the glory which 
He had never renounced. Therefore, since 
the Son is the Word, and the Word was made 
flesh, and the Word was God, and was in the 
beginning with God, and the Word was Son be- 
fore the foundation of the world ; this Son, now 
incarnate, prayed that flesh might be to the 
Father what the Son had been. He prayed 
that flesh, born in time, might receive the 
splendour of the everlasting glory, that the 
corruption of the flesh might be swallowed up, 
transformed into the power of God and the 
purity of the Spirit. It is His prayer to God, 
the Son's confession of the Father, the en- 
treaty of that flesh wherein all shall see Him 
on the Judgment-day, pierced and bearing the 
marks of the cross; of" that flesh wherein His 
glory was foreshown upon the Mount, wherein 
He ascended to heaven and is set down at 
the right hand of God, wherein Paul saw Him. 
and Stephen paid Him worship. 

17. The name Father has thus been re- 
vealed to men ; the question arises, What is 
this Father's own name? Yet surely the name 
of God has never been unknown. Moses heard 
it from the bush, Genesis announces it at the 
beginning of the history of creation, the Law 
has proclaimed and the prophets extolled it, 
the history of the world has made mankind 
familiar with it ; the very heathen have wor- 
shipped it under a veil of falsehood. Men 
have never been left in ignorance of the name* 
of God. And yet they were, in very truth, 


6 7 

in ignorance 

For no man knows God unless 
He confess Him as Father, Father of the 
Only-begotten Son, and confess also the Son, 
a Son by no partition or extension or pro- 
cession, but born of Him, as Son of Father, 
ineffably and incomprehensibly, and retaining 
the fulness of that Godhead from which and 
in which He was born as true and infinite 
and perfect God. This is what the fulness 
of the Godhead means. If any of these things 
be lacking, there will not be that fulness which 
was pleased to dwell in Him. This is the 
message of the Son, His revelation to men 
in their ignorance. The Father is glorified 
through the Son when men recognise that 
He is Father of a Son so Divine. 

1 8. The Son, wishing to assure us of the 
truth of this, His Divine birth, has appointed 
His works to serve as an illustration, that from 
the ineffable power displayed in ineffable deeds 
we may learn the lesson of the ineffable birth. 
For instance, when water was made wine, and 
five loaves satisfied five thousand men, beside 
women and children, and twelve baskets were 
filled with the fragments, we see a fact though 
we cannot understand it; a deed is done, 
though it baffles our reason ; the process can- 
not be followed, though the result is obvious. 
It is folly to intrude in the spirit of carping, 
when the matter into which we enquire is such 
that we cannot probe it to the bottom. For 
even as the Father is ineffable because He 
is Unbegotten, so is the Son ineffable because 
He is the Only-begotten, since the Begotten 
is the Image of the Unbegotten. Now it is 
by the use of our senses and of language 
that we have to form our conception of an 
image; and it must be by the same means 
that we form our idea of that which the image 
represents. But in this case we, whose facul- 
ties can deal only with visible and tangible 
things, are straining after the invisible, and 
striving to grasp the impalpable. Yet we take 
no shame to ourselves, we reproach ourselves 
with no irreverence, when we doubt and criti- 
cise the mysteries and powers of God. How 
is He the Son? Whence is He? What did 
the Father lose by His birth? Of what por- 
tion of the Father was He born ? So we ask ; 
yet all the while there has been confronting 
us the evidence of works done to assure us 
that God's action is not limited by our power 
of comprehending His methods. 

19. You ask what was the manner in which, 
as the Spirit teaches, the Son was born? 
I will put a question to you as to things 
corporal. I ask not in what manner He 
was born of a virgin ; I ask only whether 
her flesh, in the course of bringing His flesh 
to readiness for birth, suffered any loss. As- 

suredly she did not conceive Him in the 
common way, or suffer the shame of human 
intercourse, in order to bear Him : yet she 
bore Him, complete in His human Body, 
without loss of her own completeness. Surely 
piety requires that we should regard as possible 
with God a thing which we see became pos- 
sible through his power in the case of a human 
being 3. 

20. But you, whoever you are that would 
seek into the unsearchable, and in all serious- 
ness form an opinion upon the mysteries and 
powers of God ; — I turn to you for counsel, 
and beg you to enlighten me, an unskilled and 
simple believer of all that God says, as to 
a circumstance which I am about to mention. 
I listen to the Lord's words and, since I be- 
lieve what is recorded, I am sure that after His 
Resurrection He offered Himself repeatedly in 
the Body to the sight of multitudes of un- 
believers. At any rate, He did so to Thomas 
who had protested that he would not believe 
unless he handled His wounds. His words are, 
Unless I shall see in His hands the print of the 
nails, and put my finger into the place of the 
nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will 
not believe*. The Lord stoops to the level 
even of our feeble understanding; to satisfy 
the doubts of unbelieving minds He works 
a miracle of His invisible power. Do you, my 
critic of the ways of heaven, explain His action 
if you can. The disciples were in a closed 
room ; they had met and held their assembly 
in secret since the Passion of the Lord. The 
Lord presents Himself to strengthen the faith 
of Thomas by meeting his challenge ; He gives 
him His Body to feel, His wounds to handle. 
He, indeed, who would be recognised as having 
suffered wounds must needs produce the body 
in which those wounds were received. I ask at 
what point in the walls of that closed house 
the Lord bodily entered. The Apostle has 
recorded the circumstances with careful pre- 
cision ; Jesus came when the doors were shut, 
and stood in the midst 5 . Did He penetrate 
through bricks and mortar, or through stout 
woodwork, substances whose very nature it is 
to bar progress ? For there He stood in bodily 
presence; there was no suspicion of deceit. 
Let the eye of your mind follow His path as 
He enters ; let your intellectual vision accom- 
pany Him as He passes into that closed dwell- 

3 This is an argument against the objection that God, if 
Christ is His Son, must have suffered loss. If God is His Father 
and the sole source of His existence, Christ must have come 
into being by separation from the Father ; i.e. the Father must 
have suffered diminution and lost His completeness. The answer 
is that a woman — and a fortiori the Virgin, who was the only 
human parent of Christ — suffers no loss of bodily completeness 
through becoming a mother. There is no allusion to the belief ia 
the perpetual virginity of the Mother of our Lord. 

4 St. John zz. 35. S lb. xx. 26. 

F 2 



ing. There is no breach in the walls, no door 
has been unbarred ; yet lo, He stands in the 
midst Whose might no barrier can resist. You 
are a critic of things invisible ; I ask you to ex- 
plain a visible event. Everything remains firm 
as it was ; no body is capable of insinuating 
itself through the interstices of wood and stone. 
The Body of the Lord does not disperse 
itself, to come together again after a dis- 
appearance; yet whence comes He Who is 
standing in the midst? Your senses and your 
words are powerless to account for it ; the fact 
is certain, but it lies beyond the region of 
human explanation. If, as you say, our ac- 
count of the Divine birth is a lie, then prove 
that this account of the Lord's entrance is 
a fiction. If we assume that an event did not 
happen, because we cannot discover how it 
was done, we make the limits of our under- 
standing into the limits of reality. But the 
certainty of the evidence proves the falsehood 
of our contradiction. The Lord did stand in 
a closed house in the midst of the disciples ; 
the Son was born of the Father. Deny not 
that He stood, because your puny wits cannot 
ascertain how He came there ; renounce a dis- 
belief in God the Only-begotten and perfect 
Son of God the Unbegotten and perfect Father, 
which is based only on the incapacity of sense 
and speech to comprehend the transcendent 
miracle of that birth. 

21. Nay more, the whole constitution of 
nature would bear us out against the impiety 
of doubting the works and powers of God. 
And yet our disbelief tilts even against obvious 
truth ; we strive in our fury to pluck even God 
from His throne. If we could, we would climb 
by bodily strength to heaven, would fling into 
confusion the ordered courses of sun and stars, 
would disarrange the ebb and flow of tides, 
check rivers at their source or make their 
waters flow backward, would shake the foun- 
dations of the world, in the utter irreverence 
of our rage against the paternal work of God. 
It is well that our bodily limitations confine us 
within more modest bounds. Assuredly, there 
is no concealment of the mischief we would do 
if we could. In one respect we are free ; and 
so with blasphemous insolence we distort the 
truth and turn our weapons against the words 
of God. 

22. The Son has said, Father, I have mani- 
fested Thy Name unto men. What reason is 

diero for denunciation or fury here? Do you 
deny the Father? Why, it was the primary 
purpose of the Son to enable us to know the 
Father. But in fact you do deny Him when, 
according to you, the Son was not born of" 
Him. Yet why should He have the name of 
Son if He be, as others are, an arbitrary 

creation of God ? I could feel awe of God as 
Creator of Christ as well as Founder of the 
universe ; it were an exercise of power worthy 
of Him to be the Maker of Him Who made 
Archangels and Angels, things visible and 
things invisible, heaven and earth and the 
whole creation around us. But the work which 
the Lord came to do was not to enable you 
to recognise the omnipotence of God as Creator 
of all things, but to enable you to know Him 
as the Father of that Son Who addresses you. 
In heaven there are Powers beside Himself, 
Powers mighty and eternal ; there is but one 
Only-begotten Son, and the difference between 
Him and them is not one of mere degree of 
might, but that they all were made through 
Him. Since He is the true and only Son, let 
us not make Him a bastard by asserting that 
He was made out of nothing. You hear the 
name Son ; believe that He is the Son. You 
hear the name Father; fix it in your mind that 
He is the Father. Why surround these names 
with doubt and illwill and hostility? The 
things of God are provided with names which 
give a true indication of the realities ; why force 
an arbitrary meaning upon their obvious sense? 
Father and Son are spoken of; doubt not that 
the words mean what they say. The end and 
aim of the revelation of the Son is that you 
should know the Father. Why frustrate the 
labours of the Prophets, the Incarnation of 
the Word, the Virgin's travail, the effect of 
miracles, the cross of Christ? It was all 
spent upon you, it is all offered to you, that 
through it all Father and Son may be mani- 
fest to you. And you replace the truth by 
a theory of arbitrary action, of creation or 
adoption. Turn your thoughts to the war- 
fare, the conflict waged by Christ. He de- 
scribes it thus : — Father, I have manifested 
Thy JVame unto men. He does not say, Thou 
hast created the Creator of all the heavens, or 
Thou hast made the Maker of the whole earth. 
He says, Father, I have manifested Thy JVame 
unto men. Accept your Saviour's gift of 
knowledge. Be assured that there is a Father 
Who begat, a Son Who was born ; born in the 
truth of His Nature of the Father, Who is. 
Remember that the revelation is not of the 
Father manifested as God, but of God mani- 
fested as the Father. 

23. You hear the words, I and the Father are 
one 6 . Why do you rend and tear the Son away 
from the Father ? They are a unity : an ab- 
solute Existence having all things in perfect 
communion with that absolute Existence, from 
Whom He is. When you hear the Son saying, 
I and the Father are one, adjust your view of 

* St. John x. 30. 



facts to the Persons ; accept the statement which 
Begetter and Begotten make concerning Them- 
selves. Believe that They are One, even as They 
are also Begetter and Begotten. Why deny the 
common nature? Why impugn the true Divi- 
nity ? You hear again, The Father in Me, and I 
in the Father ?. That this is true of Father and 
of Son is demonstrated by the Son's works. 
Our science cannot envelope body in body, or 
pour one into another, as water into wine ; but 
we confess that in Both is equivalence of power 
and fulness of the Godhead. For the Son has 
received all things from the Father; He is the 
Likeness of God, the Image of His substance. 
The words, Image of His substance*, discriminate 
between Christ and Him from Whom He is, 
but only to establish Their distinct existence, 
not to teach a difference of nature ; and the 
meaning of Father in Son and Son in Father 
is that there is the perfect fulness of the God- 
head in Both. The Father is not impaired by 
the Son's existence, nor is the Son a mutilated 
fragment of the Father. An image implies its 
original ; likeness is a relative term. Now 
nothing: can be like God unless it have its 
source in Him ; a perfect likeness can be 
reflected only from that which it represents ; 
an accurate resemblance forbids the assump- 
tion of any element of difference. Disturb not 
this likeness ; make no separation where truth 
shews no variance, for He Who said, Let us 
make man after our image and likeness 1 *, by 
those words Our likeness revealed the existence 
of Beings, Each like the Other. Touch not, 
handle not, pervert not. Hold fast the Names 
which teach the truth, hold fast the Son's 
declaration of Himself. I would not have you 
flatter the Son with praises of your own in- 
vention ; it is well with you if you be satisfied 
with the written word. 

24. Again, we must not repose so blind 
a confidence in human intellect as to imagine 
that we have complete knowledge of the 
objects of our thought, or that the ultimate 
problem is solved as soon as we have formed 
a symmetrical and consistent theory. Finite 
minds cannot conceive the Infinite ; a being 
dependent for its existence upon another 
cannot attain to perfect knowledge either of 
its Creator or of itself, for its consciousness of 
self is coloured by its circumstances, and 
bounds are set which its perception cannot 
pass. Its activity is not self-caused, but due to 
the Creator, and a being dependent on a 
Creator 1 has perfect possession of none of its 
faculties, since its origin lies outside itself. 
Hence by an inexorable law it is folly for that 
being to say that it has perfect knowledge of 

7 St. John x. 38. 8 Heb. i. 3. 

1 Omitting in aliud. 

9 Gen. i. 26. 

any matter ; its powers have limits which it 
cannot modify, and only while it is under the 
delusion that its petty bounds are coterminous 
with infinity can it make the empty boast of 
possessing wisdom. For of wisdom it is in- 
capable, its knowledge being limited to the 
range of its perception, and sharing the im- 
potence of its dependent existence. And 
therefore this masquerade 2 of a finite nature 
boasting that it possesses the wisdom which 
springs only from infinite knowledge earns the 
scorn and ridicule of the Apostle, who calls its 
wisdom folly. He says, For Christ sent me 
not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel, not in 
the language of wisdom, lest the cross of Christ 
should be made void. For the word of the cross 
is foolishness to them that are perishing, but unto 
them that are being saved it is the power of God. 
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of 
the wise and the understanding of the prudent 
I will reject. Where is the wise? Where is 
the scribe ? Where is the enquirer of this world ? 
Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this 
world 1 For seeing that in the wisdom of God 
the world through its wisdom knew not God, 
God decreed through the foolishness of preaching 
to save them that believe. For the Jews ask for 
signs and the Greeks seek after wisdom, but we 
preach Christ crucified, unto Jews indeed a 
stumbling-block and to Gentiles foolishness, but 
unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, 
Christ the power of God and the ivisdom of God. 
Because the weakness of God is stronger than 
men, and the foolishness of God is wiser than 
men 3. Thus all unbelief is foolishness, for it 
takes such wisdom as its own finite perception 
can attain, and, measuring infinity by that 
petty scale, concludes that what it cannot 
understand must be impossible. Unbelief is 
the result of incapacity engaged in argument. 
Men are sure that an event never happened, 
because they have made up their minds that 
it could not happen. 

25. Hence the Apostle, familiar with the 
narrow assumption of human thought that 
what it does not know is not truth, says that 
he does not speak in the language of know- 
ledge, lest his preaching should be in vain. To 
save himself from being regarded as a preacher 
of foolishness he adds that the word of the 
cross is foolishness to them that perish. He 
knew that the unbelievers held that the only 
true knowledge was that which formed their 
own wisdom, and that, since their wisdom was 
cognisant only of matters which lay within 

» Substitutio : this word seems, except in technical senses of 
the law, to be very late and very rare. The only meaning, and 
that one not attested in the dictionaries, which will suit this 
passage, seems to be that of the jackdaw dressed in peacock'* 

3 1 Cor. i. 17 — 25. 



their narrow horizon, the other wisdom, which 
alone is Divine and perfect, seemed foolishness 
to them. Thus their foolishness actually con- 
sisted in that feeble imagination which they 
mistook for wisdom. Hence it is that the very 
things which to them that perish are foolish- 
ness are the power of God to them that are 
saved ; for these last never use their own in- 
adequate faculties as a measure, but attribute 
to the Divine activities the omnipotence of 
heaven. God rejects the wisdom of the wise 
and the understanding of the prudent in this 
sense, that just because they recognise their 
own foolishness, salvation is granted to them 
that believe. Unbelievers pronounce the ver- 
dict of foolishness on everything that lies 
beyond their ken, while believers leave to the 
power and majesty of God the choice of the 
mysteries wherein salvation is bestowed. There 
is no foolishness in the things of God ; the 
foolishness lies in that human wisdom which 
demands of God, as the condition of belief, 
signs and wisdom. It is the foolishness of the 
Jews to demand signs; they have a certain 
knowledge of the Name of God through long 
acquaintance with the Law, but the offence of 
the cross repels them. The foolishness of the 
Greeks is to demand wisdom ; with Gentile 
folly and the philosophy of men they seek 
the reason why God was lifted up on the 
cross. And because, in consideration for the 
weakness of our mental powers, these things 
have been hidden in a mystery, this foolishness 
of Jews and Greeks turns to unbelief; for they 
denounce, as unworthy of reasonable credence, 
truths which their mind is inherently incapable 
of comprehending. But, because the world's 
wisdom was so foolish, — for previously through 

God's wisdom it knew not God, that is, the 
splendour of the universe, and the wonderful 
order which He planned for His handiwork, 
taught it no reverence for its Creator — God 
was pleased through the preaching of foolish- 
ness to save them that believe, that is, through 
the faith of the cross to make everlasting life 
the lot of mortals; that so the self-confidence 
of human wisdom might be put to shame, and 
salvation found where men had thought that 
foolishness dwelt. For Christ, Who is foolish- 
ness to Gentiles, and offence to Jews, is the 
Power of God and the Wisdom of God ; be- 
cause what seems weak and foolish to human 
apprehension in the things of God transcends 
in true wisdom and might the thoughts and 
the powers of earth. 

26. And therefore the action of God must 
not be canvassed by human faculties ; the 
Creator must not be judged by those who are 
the work of His hands. We must clothe our- 
selves in foolishness that we may gain wisdom ; 
not in the foolishness of hazardous conclusions, 
but in the foolishness of a modest sense of our 
own infirmity, that so the evidence of God's 
power may teach us truths to which the argu- 
ments of earthly philosophy cannot attain. 
For when we are fully conscious of our own 
foolishness, and have felt the helplessness and 
destitution of our reason, then through the 
counsels of Divine Wisdom we shall be ini- 
tiated into the wisdom of God ; setting no 
bounds to boundless majesty and power, nor 
tying the Lord of nature down to nature's 
laws ; sure that for us the one true faith con- 
cerning God is that of which He is at once the 
Author and the Witness. 


i. The earlier books of this treatise, written 
some time ago, contain, I think, an invincible 
proof that we hold and profess the faith in 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which is taught 
by the Evangelists and Apostles, and that no 
commerce is possible between us and the 
heretics, inasmuch as they deny uncondition- 
ally, irrationally, and recklessly, the Divinity 
of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet certain points 
remained which I have felt myself bound to 
include in this and the following books, in 
order to make our assurance of the faith even 
more certain by exposure of every one of their 
falsehoods and blasphemies. Accordingly, we 
will enquire first what are the dangers of their 
teaching, the risks involved by such irrever- 
ence ; next, what principles they hold, and 
what arguments they advance against the 
apostolic faith to which we adhere, and by 
what sleight of language they impose upon 
the candour of their hearers ; and lastly, by 
what method of comment they disarm the 
words of Scripture of their force and meaning. 

2. We are well aware that neither the speech 
of men nor the analogy of human nature can 
give us a full insight into the things of God. 
The ineffable cannot submit to the bounds 
and limits of definition ; that which is spiritual 
is distinct from every class or instance of 
bodily things. Yet, since our subject is that 
of heavenly natures, we must employ ordinary 
natures and ordinary speech as our means of 
expressing what our mind apprehends ; a 
means no doubt unworthy of the majesty of 
God, but forced upon us by feebleness of our 
intellect, which can use only our own circum- 
stances and our own words to convey to others 
our perceptions and our conclusions. This 
truth has been enforced already in the first 
book 1 , but is now repeated in order that, in 
any analogies from human affairs which we 
adduce, we may not be supposed to think of 
God as resembling embodied natures, or to 
compare spiritual Beings with our passible 
selves, but rather be regarded as advancing 
the outward appearance of visible things as 
a clue to the inward meaning of things in- 

3. For the heretics say that Christ is not 
from God, that is, that the Son is not born 

S 19. 

from the Father, and is God not by nature 
but by appointment ; in other words, that He 
has received an adoption which consists in the 
giving of a name, being God's Son in the 
sense in which many are sons of God ; again, 
that Christ's majesty is an evidence of God's 
widespread bounty, He being God in the 
sense in which there are gods many; although 
they admit that in His adoption and naming 
as God a more liberal affection than in other 
cases was shewn, His adoption being the first 
in order of time, and He greater than other 
adopted sons, and first in rank among the 
creatures because of the greater splendour 
which accompanied His creation. Some add, 
by way of confessing the omnipotence of God, 
that He was created into God's likeness, and 
that it was out of nothing that He, like other 
creatures, was raised up to be the Image of 
the eternal Creator, bidden at a word to spring 
from non-existence into being by the power 
of God, Who can frame out of nothing the 
likeness of Himself. 

4. Moreover, they use their knowledge of 
the historical fact that bishops of a former 
time have taught that Father and Son are of 
one substance, to subvert the truth by the 
ingenious plea that this is a heretical notion. 
They say that this term ' of one substance,' in 
the Greek homoousion, is used to mean and 
express that the Father is the same as the 
Son ; that is, that He extended Himself out 
of infinity into the Virgin, and took a body 
from her, and gave to Himself, in the body 
which He had taken, the name of Son. This 
is their first lie concerning the homoousion. 
Their next lie is that this word homoousion 
implies that Father and Son participate in 
something antecedent to Either and distinct 
from Both, and that a certain imaginary sub- 
stance, or ousia, anterior to all matter what- 
soever, has existed heretofore and been di- 
vided and wholly distributed between the Two ; 
which proves, they say, that Each of the Two 
is of a nature pre-existent to Himself, and 
Each identical in matter with the Other. And 
so they profess to condemn the confession of 
the homoousion on the ground that that term 
does not discriminate between Father and 
Son, and makes the Father subsequent in time 
to that matter which He has in common with 
the Son. And they have devised this third 



objection to the word homoousion, that its 
meaning, as they explain it, is that the Son 
derives His origin from a partition of the 
Father's substance, as though one object had 
beer cut in two and He were the severed 
portion. The meaning of ' one substance,' 
they say, is that the part cut off from the 
whole continues to share the nature of that 
from which it has been severed ; but God, 
being impassible, cannot be divided, for, if 
He must submit to be lessened by division, 
He is subject to change, and will be rendered 
imperfect if His perfect substance leave Him, 
to reside in the severed portion. 

5. They think also that they have a com- 
pendious refutation of Prophets, Evangelists 
and Apostles alike, in their assertion that the 
Son was born within time. They pronounce 
us illogical for saying that the Son has existed 
from everlasting; and, since they reject the 
possibility of His eternity, they are forced to 
believe that He was born at a point in time. 
For if He has not always existed, there was 
a time when He was not; and if there be 
a time when He was not, time was anterior 
to Him. He who has not existed everlastingly 
began to exist within time, while He Who is 
free from the limits of time is necessarily 
eternal. The reason they give for their re- 
jection of the eternity of the Son is that His 
everlasting existence contradicts the faith in 
His birth ; as though by confessing that He 
has existed eternally, we made His birth im- 

6. What foolish and godless fears ! What 
impious anxiety on God's behalf! The mean- 
ing which they profess to detect in the word 
homoousion, and in the assertion of the eternity 
of the Son, is detested, rejected, denounced 
by the Church. She confesses one God from 
Whom are all things ; she confesses one Jesus 
Christ our Lord, through whom are all things ; 
One from Whom, One through Whom ; One 
the Source of all, One the Agent through 
Whom all were created. In the One from 
Whom are all things she recognises the Ma- 
jesty which has no beginning, and in the One 
through Whom are all things she recognises 
a might coequal with His Source; for Both 
are jointly supreme in the work of creation 
and in rule over created things. In the Spirit 
she recognises God as Spirit, impassible and 
indivisible, for she has learnt from the Lord 
that Spirit has neither flesh nor bones 2 ; a 
warning to save her from supposing that God, 
being Spirit, could be burdened with bodily 
suffering and loss. She recognises one God, 
unborn from everlasting ; she recognises also 

one Only-begotten Son of God. She confesses 
the Father eternal and without beginning ; 
she confesses also that the Son's beginning is 
from eternity. Not that He has no beginning, 
but that He is Son of the Father Who has 
none ; not that He is self-originated, but that 
He is from Him Who is unbegotten from 
everlasting ; born from eternity, receiving, that 
is, His birth from the eternity of the Father. 
Thus our faith is free from the guesswork of 
heretical perversity ; it is expressed in fixed 
and published terms, though as yet no reasoned 
defence of our confession has been put forth. 
Still, lest any suspicion should linger around 
the sense in which the Fathers have used the 
word homoousion and round our confession of 
the eternity of the Son, I have set down the 
proofs whereby we may be assured that the 
Son abides ever in that substance wherein He 
was begotten from the Father, and that the birth 
of His Son has not diminished ought of that 
Substance wherein the Father was abiding ; 
that holy men, inspired by the teaching of 
God, when they said that the Son is homoousios 
with the Father pointed to no such flaws or 
defects as I have mentioned 3. My purpose 
has been to counteract the impression that 
this ousia, this assertion that He is homo- 
ousios with the Father, is a negation of the 
nativity of the Only-begotten Son. 

7. To assure ourselves of the needfulness 
of these two phrases, adopted and employed 
as the best of safeguards against the heretical 
rabble of that day, I think it best to reply 
to the obstinate misbelief of our present 
heretics, and refute their vain and pestilent 
teaching by the witness of the evangelists and 
apostles. They flatter themselves that they 
can furnish a proof for each of their proposi- 
tions ; they have, in fact, appended to each 
some passages or other from holy Writ ; 
passages so grossly misinterpreted as to en- 
snare none but the illiterate by the semblance 
of truth with which perverted ingenuity has 
masked their explanation. 

8. For they attempt, by praising the God- 
head of the Father only, to deprive the Son of 
His Divinity, pleading that it is written, Hear, 
O Israel, the Lord thy God is One *, and that 
the Lord repeats this in His answer to the 
doctor of the Law who asked Him what was 
the greatest commandment in the Law; — 
Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One s. 
Again, they say that Paul proclaims, For there 
is One God, and One Mediator beiween God 
and men 6 . And furthermore, they insist that 
God alone is wise, in order to leave no wisdom 
for the Son, relying upon the words of the 

St. Luke xxiv. 39. 

3 In§4. 

4 Deut. vi. 4. 

6 1 Tim. ii. 5. 

5 St. Mark xii. 29. 


Apostle, Now to Him that is able to stablish 
you according to my gospel and the preaching of 
Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the 
mystery which hath been kept in silence through 
age-long times, but now is manifested through 
the scriptures of the prophets according to the 
commandment of the eternal God Who is made 
known unto all nations unto obedience of faith ; 
to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to 
Whom be glory for ever and ever 7 . They argue 
also that He alone is true 8 , for Isaiah says, 
They shall bless Thee, the true God$, and the 
Lord Himself has borne witness in the Gospel, 
saying, And this is life eternal that they should 
know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus 
Christ Whom Thou hast sent x . Again they 
reason that He alone is good, to leave no 
goodness for the Son, because it has been said 
through Him, There is none good save One, even 
God 2 ; and that He alone has power, because 
Paul has said, Which in His own times He shall 
shew to us, Who is the blessed and only Poten- 
tate, the King of kings and Lord of lords 3. 
And further, they profess themselves certain 
that in the Father there is no change nor 
turning, because He has said through the 
prophet, I am the Lord your God, and L am not 
changed 1 ', and the apostle James, With Whom 
there is no change s / certain also that He is the 
righteous Judge, for it is written, God is the 
righteous Judge, strong and patient 6 ; that He 
cares for all, because the Lord has said, speak- 
ing of the birds, And your heavenly Father 
feedeth them 7, and, Are not two sparrows sold 
for a farthing ? And not one of 'them falleth upon 
the ground ivithout the will of your Father ; but 
the very hairs of your head are numbered*. 
They say that the Father has prescience of all 
things, as the blessed Susanna says, O eternal 
God, that knowest secrets, and knowest all things 
before they be 9 • that He is incomprehensible, 
as it is written, The heaven is My throne, and 
the earth is the footstool of My feet. What 
house will ye build Me, or what is the place of 
My rest ? For these things hath My hand made, 
and all these things are mine x ; that He con- 
tains all things, as Paul bears witness, For in 
Hitn we live and move and have our being 2 , 
and the Psalmist, Whither shall I go from Thy 
Spirit, and whither shall L ply from Thy face 1 
Lf L climb up into heaven, Thou art there ; if I 
go down to hell, Thou art present. Lf L take 
my wings before the light and dwell in the 
uttermost parts of the sea, eve?i thither Thy hand 

7 Rom. xvi. 25 — 27. 

8 Omitting solus innascibilis et, which are out of place here. 

9 Is. lxv. 16. x St. John xvii. 3. a St. Mark x. 18. 
3 1 Tim. vi. 15. 4 Mai. iii. 6. 5 i. 17. 

6 Ps. vii. 12. 7 St. Matt. vi. 26. _ 8 lb. x. 29, 30. 
9 Susanna (Daniel xiii.) 42. x Isai. Ixvi. 1, 3. 
2 Acts xvii. 28. 

shall lead me and Thy right hand shall hold 
me* ; that He is without body, for it is written, 
For God is Spirit, and they that worship LLim 
nutst worship in spirit and in truth */ that He 
is immortal and invisible, as Paul says, Who 
only hath immortality^ and dwclleth in light 
unapproachable, whom no tnan hath seen nor 
can see s, and the Evangelist, No one hath seen 
God at any time, except the Only-begotten Son, 
which is in the bosom of the Father 6 ; that He 
alone abides eternally unborn, for it is written, 
/ Am That L Am, and Thus shall thou say to 
the children of Lsrael, L Am hath sent rne unto 
you 7, and through Jeremiah, O Lord, Who art 

9. Who can fail to observe that these state- 
ments are full of fraud and fallacy ? Cleverly 
as issues have been confused and texts com- 
bined, malice and folly is the character indel- 
ibly imprinted upon this laborious effort of 
cunning and clumsiness. For instance, among 
their points of faith they have included this, 
that they confess the Father only to be un- 
born ; as though any one on our side could 
suppose that He, Who begat Him through 
Whom are all things, derived His being from 
any external source. The very fact that He 
bears the name of Father reveals Him as the 
cause of His Son's existence. That name of 
Father gives no hint that He who bears it is 
Himself descended from another, while it tells 
us plainly from Whom it is that the Son is 
begotten. Let us therefore leave to the Father 
His own special and incommunicable property, 
confessing that in Him reside the eternal 
powers of an omnipotence without beginning. 
None, I am sure, can doubt that the reason 
why, in their confession of God the Father, cer- 
tain attributes are dwelt upon as peculiarly and 
inalienably His own, is that He may be left 
in isolated possession of them. For when 
they say that He alone is true, alone is right- 
eous, alone is wise, alone is invisible, alone is 
good, alone is mighty, alone is immortal, they 
are raising up this word alone as a barrier to 
cut off the Son from His share in these attri- 
butes. He Who is alone, they say, has no 
partner in His properties. But if we suppose 
that these attributes reside in the Father only, 
and not in the Son also, then we must believe 
that God the Son has neither truth nor wisdom ; 
that He is a bodily being compact of visible 
and material elements, ill-disposed and feeble 
and void of immortality ; for we exclude Him 
from all these attributes of which we make the 
Father the solitary Possessor. 

3 Ps. exxxix. 6 — g (exxxviii. 7 — 10). 
S 1 Tim. vi. 16. ' 6 St. John i. 18. 
8 i. 6 (LXX). 

4 St. John iv. 24. 
7 Exod. iii. 14. 



10. We, however, who propose to discourse 
of that most perfect majesty and fullest Divinity 
which appertains to the Only-begotten Son of 
God, have no fear lest our readers should 
imagine that amplitude of phrase in speaking 
of the Son is a detraction from the glory of 
God the Father, as though every praise as- 
signed to the Son had first been withdrawn 
from Him. For, on the contrary, the majesty 
of the Son is glory to the Father ; the Source 
must be glorious from which He Who is worthy 
of such glory comes. The Son has nothing 
but by virtue of His birth ; the Father shares 
all veneration received by that birthright. 
Thus the suggestion that we diminish the 
Father's honour is put to silence, for all the 
glory which, as we shall teach, is inherent in 
the Son will be reflected back, to the increased 
glory of Him who has begotten a Son so great. 

i r. Now that we have exposed their plan of 
belittling the Son under cover of magnifying 
the Father, the next step is to listen to the 
exact terms in which they express their own 
belief concerning the Son. For, since we have 
to answer in succession each of their allegations 
and to display on the evidence of Holy Scrip- 
ture the impiety of their doctrines, we must ap- 
pend, to what they say of the Father, the deci- 
sions which they have put on record concerning 
the Son, that by a comparison of their confession 
of the Father with their confession of the Son 
we may follow a uniform order in our solution 
of the questions as they arise. They state as 
their verdict that the Son is not derived from 
any pre-existent matter, for through Him all 
things were created, nor yet begotten from 
God, for nothing can be withdrawn from God ; 
but that He was made out of what was non- 
existent, that is, that He is a perfect creature 
of God, though different from His other crea- 
tures. They argue that He is a creature, 
because it is written, The Lord hath created 
Me for a beginning of His ways 9 • that He is 
the perfect handiwork of God, though different 
from His other works, they prove, as to the 
first point, by what Paul writes to the Hebrews, 
Being made so much better than the angels, as 
He possesseth a more excellent name than they ', 
and again, Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers 
of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and 
High Priest of our confession, Jesus Christ, who 
is faithful to Him that made Him 2 . For their 
depreciation of the might and majesty and 
Godhead of the Son they rely chiefly on His 
own words, The Father is greater than I*. 
But they admit that He is not one of the com- 
mon herd of creatures on the evidence of All 

t ProT. viii. i 

» Heb. i. 4. 
3 St. John xiv. 28. 

' lb. iii. i. 

things were made through Him*. And so they 
sum up the whole of their blasphemous teach- 
ing in these words which follow : — 

12. "We confess One God, alone unmade, 
alone eternal, alone unoriginate, alone true, 
alone possessing immortality, alone good, alone 
mighty, Creator, Ordainer and Disposer of all 
things, unchangeable and unalterable, righteous 
and good, of the Law and the Prophets and 
the New Testament. We believe that this 
God gave birth to the Only-begotten Son 
before all worlds, through Whom He made 
the world and all things; that He gave birth 
to Him not in semblance, but in truth, follow- 
ing His own Will, so that He is unchangeable 
and unalterable, God's perfect creature but 
not as one of His other creatures, His handi- 
work, but not as His other works ; not, as 
Valentinus maintained, that the Son is a de- 
velopment of the Father; nor, as Manichseus 
has declared of the Son, a consubstantial part 
of the Father; nor, as Sabellius, who makes 
two out of one, Son and Father at once ; nor, 
as Hieracas, a light from a light, or a lamp 
with two flames ; nor as if He was previously 
in Joeing and afterwards born or created afresh 
to be a Son, a notion often condemned by 
thyself, blessed Pope s , publicly in the Church 
and in the assembly of the brethren. But, 
as we have affirmed, we believe that He was 
created by the will of God before times and 
worlds, and has His life and existence from 
the Father, Who gave Him to share His own 
glorious perfections. For, when the Father 
gave to Him the inheritance of all things, 
He did not thereby deprive Himself of attri- 
butes which are His without origination, He 
being the source of all things. 

13. "So there are three Persons, Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost. God, for His part, 
is the cause of all things, utterly unoriginate 
and separate from all ; while the Son, put 
forth by the Father outside time, and created 
and established before the worlds, did not 
exist before He was born, but, being born 
outside time before the worlds, came into 
being as the Only Son of the Only Father. 
For He is neither eternal, nor co-eternal, nor 
co-uncreate with the Father, nor has He an 
existence collateral with the Father, as some 
say, who 6 postulate two unborn principles. 
But God is before all things, as being indi- 
visible and the beginning of all. Wherefore 
He is before the Son also, as indeed we have 
learnt from thee in thy public preaching. In- 
asmuch then as He hath His being from God, 
and His glorious perfections, and His life, 

4 Sl John 

* 3 ' 

Omitting aut aliqui. 

5 Of Alexandria. 



and is entrusted with all things, for this reason 
God is His source, and hath rule over Him, 
as being His God, since He is before Him. 
As to such phrases as from Him, and from the 
womb, and I we?it out from the Father and am 
come, if they be understood to denote that the 
Father extends a part and, as it were, a de- 
velopment of that one substance, then the 
Father will be of a compound nature and 
divisible and changeable and corporeal, ac- 
cording to them ; and thus, as far as their 
words go, the incorporeal God will be sub- 
jected to the properties of matter 7." 

14. Such is their error, such their pestilent 
teaching ; to support it they borrow the words 
of Scripture, perverting its meaning and using 
the ignorance of men as their opportunity of 
gaining credence for their lies. Yet it is cer- 
tainly by these same words of God that we 
must come to understand the things of God. 
For human feebleness cannot by any strength 
of its own attain to the knowledge of heavenly 
things ; the faculties which deal with bodily 
matters can form no notion of the unseen 
world. Neither our created bodily substance, 
nor the reason given by God for the purposes 
of ordinary life, is capable of ascertaining and 
pronouncing upon the nature and work of 
God. Our wits cannot rise to the level of 
heavenly knowledge, our powers of perception 
lack the strength to apprehend that limitless 
might. We must believe God's word con- 
cerning Himself, and humbly accept such in- 
sight as He vouchsafes to give. We must make 
our choice between rejecting His witness, as 
the heathen do, or else believing in Him as 
He is, and this in the only possible way, by 
thinking of Him in the aspect in which He 
presents Himself to us. Therefore let private 
judgment cease ; let human reason refrain from 
passing barriers divinely set. In this spirit 
we eschew all blasphemous and reckless asser- 
tion concerning God, and cleave to the very 
letter of revelation. Each point in our enquiry 
shall be considered in the light of His in- 
struction, Who is our theme; there shall be 
no stringing together of isolated phrases whose 
context is suppressed, to trick and misinform 
the unpractised listener. The meaning of 
words shall be ascertained by considering the 
circumstances under which they were spoken ; 
words must be explained by circumstances, 
not circumstances forced into conformity with 
words. We, at any rate, will treat our subject 
completely; we will state both the circum- 
stances under which words were spoken, and 

7 This Epistle of Arius to Alexander is translated substantially 
as in Newman's Avians of the Fourth Century, ch. II., § 5, 
though there are differences of some importance between Hilary's 
Latin version and the Greek in Athanasius dt Synodis, § 16, 
from which Newman's version is made. 

the true purport of the words. Each point 
shall be considered in orderly sequence. 

15. Their starting-point is this; We confess, 
they say, One only God, because Moses says, 
Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One 8 . But 
is this a truth which any one has ever dared 
to doubt? Or was any believer ever known to 
confess otherwise than that there is One God 
from Whom are all things, One Majesty which 
has no birth, and that He is that unoriginated 
Power? Yet this fact of the Unity of God 
offers no chance for denying the Divinity of 
His Son. For Moses, or rather God through 
Moses, laid it down as His first command- 
ment to that people, devoted both in Egypt 
and in the Desert to idols and the worship of 
imaginary gods, that they must believe in One 
God. There was truth and reason in the 
commandment, for God, from Whom are all 
things, is One. But let us see whether this 
Moses have not confessed that He, through 
Whom are all things, is also God. God is 
not robbed, He is still God, if His Son share 
the Godhead. For the case is that of God 
from God, of One from One, of God Who is 
One because God is from Him. And con- 
versely the Son is not less God because God 
the Father is One, for He is the Only-begotten 
Son of God ; not eternally unborn, so as to 
deprive the Father of His Oneness, nor yet 
different from God, for He is born from Him. 
We must not doubt that He is God by virtue 
of that birth from God which proves to us 
who believe that God is One ; yet let us see 
whether Moses, who announced to Israel, 
The Lord thy God is One, has also proclaimed 
the Godhead of the Son. To make good our 
confession of the Divinity of our Lord Jesus 
Christ we must employ the evidence of that 
same witness on whom the heretics rely for the 
confession of One Only God, which they 
imagine to involve the denial of the Godhead 
of the Son. 

16. Since, therefore, the words of the 
Apostle, One God the Father, from Whom are 
all things, and one Jesus Christ, our Lord, 
through Whom are all things'), form an ac- 
curate and complete confession concerning 
God, let us see what Moses has to say of the 
beginning of the world. His words are, And 
God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst 
of the water, and let it divide the water from the 
water. And it was so, and God made the fir- 
mament, and God divided the water through the 
midst x . Here, then, you have the God from 
Whom, and the God through Whom. If you 
deny it, you must tell us through whom it was 
that God's work in creation was done, or else 

8 Deut. ri. 4. 

9 1 Cor. Tiii. 6. 

1 Gen. i. 6, 7. 

7 6 


point for your explanation to an obedience 
in things yet uncreated, which, when God said 
Let there be a firmament, impelled the firma- 
ment to establish itself. Such suggestions are 
inconsistent with the clear sense of Scripture. 
For all things, as the Prophet says 2 , were 
made out of nothing ; it was no transfor- 
mation of existing things, but the creation 
into a perfect form of the non-existent. 
Through whom ? Hear the Evangelist : All 
things were made through Him. If you ask 
Who this is, the same Evangelist will tell you : 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word 
was with God, and the Word was God. He 
was in the beginning with God. All things 
were made through Him 3. If you are minded 
to combat the view that it was the Father 
Who said, Let there be a firmament, the prophet 
will answer you : He spake, and they zvere 
made ; He commanded, and they were created*. 
The recorded words, Let there be a firmament, 
reveal to us that the Father spoke. But in 
the words which follow, And it was so, in the 
statement that God did this thing, we must 
recognise the Person of the Agent. He spake, 
and they were made ; the Scripture does not 
say that He willed it, and did it. He com 
manded, and they zvere created ; you observe 
that it does not say they came into existence, 
because it was His pleasure. In that case 
there would be no office for a Mediator be- 
tween God and the world which was awaiting 
its creation. God, from Whom are all things, 
gives the order for creation which God, 
through Whom are all things, executes. Un- 
der one and the same Name we confess Him 
Who gave and Him Who fulfilled the com- 
mand. If you dare to deny that God made 
is spoken of the Son, how do you explain 
All things were made through Him ? Or the 
Apostle's words, One Jesus Christ, our Lord, 
through Whom are all things ? Or, He spake, 
and they were made ? If these inspired words 
succeed in convincing your stubborn mind, 
you will cease to regard that text, Hear, O 
Israel, the Lord thy God is One, as a refusal 
of Divinity to the Son of God, since at the 
very foundation of the world He Who spoke 
it proclaimed that His Son also is God. But 
let us see what increase of profit we may draw 
from this distinction of God Who commands 
and God Who executes. For though it is 
repugnant even to our natural reason to sup- 
pose that in the words, He com?nanded, and 
they were made, one single and isolated Person 
is intended, yet, for the avoidance of all 
doubts, we must expound the events which 
followed upon the creation of the world. 

• a Mace. vii. a8. 3 St. John i. 1—3. 

4 Ps clxviii. 5. 

17. When the world was complete and its 
inhabitant was to be created, the words 
spoken concerning him were, Let Us make 
man after Our image and likeness s. I ask 
you, Do you suppose that God spoke those 
words to Himself? Is it not obvious that He 
was addressing not Himself, but Another? 
If you reply that He was alone, then out of 
His own mouth He confutes you, for He says, 
Let Us make man after Our image and likeness. 
God has spoken to us through the Lawgiver in 
the way which is intelligible to us ; that is, He 
makes us acquainted with His action by 
means of language, the faculty with which He 
has been pleased to endow us. There is, 
indeed, an indication of the Son of God 6 , 
through Whom all things were made, in the 
words, And God said, Let there be a firmament, 
and in, And God made the firmament, which 
follows : but lest we should think these words 
of God were wasted and meaningless, sup- 
posing that He issued to Himself the com- 
mand of creation, and Himself obeyed it, — 
for what notion could be further from the 
thought of a solitary God than that of giving 
a verbal order to Himself, when nothing was 
necessary except an exertion of His will? — 
He determined to give us a more perfect 
assurance that these words refer to Another 
beside Himself. When He said, Let Us make 
man after Our image and likeness, Plis indi- 
cation of a Partner demolishes the theory of 
His isolation. For an isolated being cannot 
be partner to himself; and again, the words, 
Let Us make, are inconsistent with solitude, 
while Our cannot be used except to a com- 
panion. Both words, Us and Our, are in- 
consistent with the notion of a solitary God 
speaking to Himself, and equally inconsistent 
with that of the address being made to a 
stranger who has nothing in common with the 
Speaker. If you interpret the passage to mean 
that He is isolated, I ask you whether you 
suppose that He was speaking with Himself? If 
you do not understand that He was speaking 
with Himself, how can you assume that He 
was isolated ? If He were isolated, we should 
find Him described as isolated ; if He had 
a companion, then as not isolated. I and 
Mine would describe the former state ; the 
latter is indicated by Us and Our. 

18. Thus, when we read, Let Us make fnan 
after Our image and likeness, these two words 
Us and Our reveal that there is neither one 
isolated God, nor yet one God in two dis- 
similar Persons ; and our confession must be 
framed in harmony with the second as well 
as with the first truth. For the words our 

-prove that there is 

image — not 



5 Gen. i. 26. 

6 Reading Filii. 



one nature possessed by Both But an argu- 
ment from words is an insufficient proof, 
unless its result be confirmed by the evidence 
of facts ; and accordingly it is written, And 
God made man ; after the image of God made 
He him? J If the words He spoke, I ask, were 
the soliloquy of an isolated God, what meaning 
shall we assign to this last statement ? For in 
it I see a triple allusion, to the Maker, to 
the being made, and to the image. The being 
made is man ; God made him, and made him 
in the image of God. If Genesis were speaking 
of an isolated God, it would certainly have 
been And made him after His own image. But 
since the book was foreshowing the Mystery 
of the Gospel, it spoke not of two Gods, but 
of God and God, for it speaks of man made 
through God in the image of God. Thus we 
find that God wrought man after an image 
and likeness common to Himself and to God ; 
that the mention of an Agent forbids us to 
assume that He was isolated; and that the 
work, done after an image and likeness which 
was that of Both, proves that there is no 
difference in kind between the Godhead of 
the One and of the Other. 

19. It may seem waste of time to bring 
forward further arguments, for truths concern- 
ing God gain no strength by repetition ; a 
single statement suffices to establish them. 
Yet it is well for us to know all that has been 
revealed upon the subject, for though we are 
not responsible for the words of Scripture, yet 
we shall have to render an account for the 
sense we have assigned to them. One of the 
many commandments which God gave to Noah 
is, Whoso sheddeth man's blood, for his blood 
shall his life be shed, for after the image of 
God made 1 man 8 . Here again is the distinc- 
tion between likeness, creature, and Creator. 
God bears witness that He made man after 
the image of God. When He was about to 
make man, because He was speaking of Him- 
self, yet not to Himself, God said, After our 
image; and again, after man was made, God 
made man after the image of God. It would 
have been no inaccuracy of language, had He 
said, addressing Himself, I have made man 
after Aly image, for He had shewn that the 
Persons are one in nature by, Let us make 
man after Our image*. But for the more 
perfect removal of all doubt as to whether 
God be, or be not, a solitary Being, when He 
made man He made him, we are told, After 
the image of God. 

20. If you still wish to assert that God the 
Father in solitude said these words to Him 
self, I can go with you as far as to admit the 

7 Gen. i. 27. 

8 lb. ix. 6. 

9 i.e. by the word Our. 

possibility that He might in solitude have 
spoken to Himself as if He were conversing 
with a companion, and that it is credible that 
He wished the words / have made man after 
the image of God to be equivalent to I have 
made man after My ozcn image. But your own 
confession of faith will refute you. For you 
have confessed that all things are from the 
Father, but all through the Son ; and the 
words, Let Us make man, shew that the Source 
from Whom are all things is He Who spoke 
thus, while God made him after the image of 
God clearly points to Him through Whom the 
work was done. 

21. And furthermore, to make all self- 
deception unlawful, that Wisdom, which you 
have yourself confessed to be Christ, shall con- 
front you with the words, When He was estab- 
lishing the fountains under the heaven, when He 
7i>as making strong the foundations of the earth. 
L was with Him, setting them in order. It was 
I, over Whom He rejoiced. Moreover, I was 
daily rejoicing in His sight, all the ivhile that 
He was rejoicing in the world that He had made, 
and in the sons of men x . Every difficulty is 
removed ; error itself must recognise the truth. 
There is with God Wisdom, begotten before 
the worlds ; and not only present with Him, but 
setting in order, for She was with Him, setting 
them in order. Mark this work of setting in 
order, or arranging. The Father, by His com- 
mands, is the Cause ; the Son, by His execu- 
tion of the things commanded, sets in order. 
The distinction between the Persons is marked 
by the work assigned to Each. When it says 
Let us make, creation is identified with the 
word of command ; but when it is written, I 
was with Him, setting them in order, God 
reveals that He did not do the work in iso- 
lation. For He was rejoicing before Him, 
Who, He tells us, rejoiced in return ; Moreover, 
I was daily rejoicing in His sight, all the while 
that He was rejoicing in the luorld that He had 
made, and in the sons of ?nen. Wisdom has 
taught us the reason of Her joy. She rejoiced 
because of the joy of the Father, Who rejoices 
over the completion of the world and over the 
sons of men. For it is written, And God saw 
that they were good. She rejoices that God is 
well pleased with His work, which has been 
made through Her, at His command. She 
avows that Her joy results from the Father's 
gladness over the finished world and over the 
sons of men ; over the sons of men, because 
in the one man Adam the whole human race 
had begun its course. Thus in the creation of 
the world there is no mere soliloquy of an 
isolated Father; His Wisdom is His partner 

1 Prov. viii. 28—31. 



in the work, and rejoices with Him when their 
conjoint labour ends. 

22. I am aware that the full explanation of 
these words involves the discussion of many 
and weighty problems. I do not shirk them, 
but postpone them for the present, reserving 
their consideration for later stages of the en- 
quiry. For the present I devote myself to that 
article of the blasphemers' faith, or rather 
faithlessness, which asserts that Moses pro- 
claims the solitude of God. We do not forget 
that the assertion is true in the sense that there 
is One God, from Whom are all things ; but 
neither do we forget that this truth is no 
excuse for denying the Godhead of the Son, 
since Moses throughout the course of his writ- 
ings clearly indicates the existence of God and 
God. We must examine how the history of 
God's choice, and of the giving of the Law, 
proclaims God co-ordinate with God. 

23. After God had often spoken with Abra- 
ham, Sarah was moved to wrath against Hagar, 
being jealous that she, the mistress, was barren, 
while her handmaid had conceived a son. 
Then, when Hagar had departed from her 
sight, the Spirit speaks thus concerning her, 
And the angel of the Lord said unto Hagar, 
Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under 
her hands. And the angel of the Lord said 
unto her, L will multiply thy seed exceedingly, 
and it shall not be numbered for multitude, and 
again, And she called the Name of the Lord that 
spake with her, Thou art God, Who hast seen 
me 2 . It is the Angel of God Who speaks 3, 
and speaks of things far beyond the powers 
which a messenger, for that is the meaning of 
the word, could have. He says, L will multiply 
thy seed exceedingly, and it shall not be numbered 
for multitude. The power of multiplying na- 
tions lies outside the ministry of an angel. 
Yet what says the Scripture of Him Who is 
called the Angel of God, yet speaks words 
which belong to God alone? And she called 
the Name of the Lord that spake with her, 
Thou art God, Who hast seen me. First He is 
the Angel of God; then He is the Lord, for 
She called the Name of the Lord ; then, thirdly, 
He is God, for Thou art God. Who hast seen me. 
He Who is called the Angel of God is also 
Lord and God. The Son of God is also, 
according to the prophet, the Angel of great 
counsel*: To discriminate clearly between the 
Persons, He is called the Angel of God ; He 
Who is God from God is also the Angel of 

» Gen. xvi. 9, io ; 13. 

3 The parenthesis which follows: ' Now angel of God hxs two 
•enses, that of Him Who is, and that of Him Whose He is,' 
interrupts the sense and seems quite out of place. The same 
distinction in the case of the word Spirit, in 1'ook II. § 32 may be 

a Isaiah ix. 6 (LXX). 

God, but, that He may have the honour which 
is His due, He is entitled also Lord and God. 

24. In this passage the one Deity is first 
the Angel of God, and then, successively, Lord 
and God. But to Abraham He is God only. 
For when the distinction of Persons had first 
been made, as a safeguard against the delusion 
that God is a solitary Being, then His true and 
unqualified name could safely be uttered. And 
so it is written, And God said to Abraham, 
Behold Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son, and 
thou shall call his name Lsaac ; and L will 
establish My covenant with him for an ever- 
lasting cove?iant, and with his seed after him. 
And as for Lshmael, behold, L have heard thee 
and have blessed him, and 7vill multiply him 
exceedingly ; ttvelve nations shall he beget, and 
L 7vill make him a great nation 5 . Is it possible 
to doubt that He Who was previously called 
the Angel of God is here, in the sequel, spoken 
of as God? In both instances He is speaking 
of lshmael ; in both it is the same Person Who 
shall multiply him. To save us from sup- 
posing that this was a different Speaker from 
Him who had addressed Hagar, the Divine 
words expressly attest the identity, saying, And 
L have blessed him, and zvill multiply him. The 
blessing is repeated from a former occasion, 
for Hagar had already been addressed ; the 
multiplication is promised for a future day, for 
this is God's first word to Abraham concerning 
lshmael. Now it is God Who speaks to Abra- 
ham ; to Hagar the Angel of God had spoken. 
Thus God and the Angel of God are One ; He 
Who is the Angel of God is also God the Son 
of God. He is called the Angel because He 
is the Angel of great counsel ; but afterwards He 
is spoken of as God, lest we should suppos 
that He Who is God is only an angel. Let us 
now repeat the facts in order. The Angel of 
the Lord spoke to Hagar ; He spoke also to 
Abraham as God. One Speaker addressed 
both. The blessing was given to lshmael, and 
the promise that he should grow into a great 

25. In another instance the Scripture re- 
veals through Abraham that it was God Who 
spoke. He receives the further promise of 
a son, Isaac. Afterwards there appear to 
him three men. Abraham, though he sees 
three, worships One, and acknowledges Him 
as Lord. Three were standing before him, 
Scripture says, but he knew well Which it was 
that he must worship and confess. There was 
nothing in outward appearance to distinguish 
them, but by the eye of faith, the vision of 
the soul, he knew his Lord. Then the Scrip- 
ture goes on, And He said unto him, I wih 

5 Gen. xvii. ig, 10. 



certainly return unto thee at this time hereafter, 
and Sarah thy wife shall have a son 6 ; and 
afterwards the Lord said to Him, / will not 
conceal from Abraham My servant the things 
that I will do i ; and again, Moreover the Lord 
said, The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is filed 
up, and their sins are exceeding great*. Then 
after long discourse, which for the sake of 
brevity shall be omitted, Abraham, distressed 
at the destruction which awaited the innocent 
as well as the guilty, said, /// no wise wilt 
Thou, Who judgest the earth, execute this judg- 
ment. And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom 
fifty riglifeous within the city, then L will spare 
all the place for their sokes'*. Afterwards, 
when the warning to Lot, Abraham's brother, 
was ended, the Scripture says, And the Lord 
rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brim- 
stone and fire from the L.ord out of heaven' 1 ; and, 
after a while, And the Lord visited Sarah as 
He had said, and did unto Sarah as He had 
spoken, and Sarah conceived and bare Abraham 
a son in his old age, at the set time of which 
God had spoken to him 2 . And afterwards, 
when the handmaid with her son had been 
driven from Abraham's house, and was dread- 
ing lest her child should die in the wilderness 
for want of water, the same Scripture says, 
And the Lord God heard the voice of the lad, 
where he was, and the Angel of God called to 
Hagar out of heaven, and said u?ito her, What 
is it, Hagar ? Fear not, for God hath heard 
the voice of the lad from the place where he is. 
Arise, and take the lad, and hold his hand, 
for L will make him a great nation 3. 

26. What blind faithlessness it is, what dul- 
ness of an unbelieving heart, what headstrong 
impiety, to abide in ignorance of all this, or 
else to know and yet neglect it! Assuredly 
it is written for the very purpose that error 
or oblivion may not hinder the recognition 
of the truth. If, as we shall prove, it is im- 
possible to escape knowledge of the facts, 
then it must be nothing less than blasphemy 
to deny them. This record begins with the 
speech of the Angel to Hagar, His promise 
to multiply Ishmael into a great nation and 
to give him a countless offspring. She listens, 
and by her confession reveals that He is Lord 
and God. The story begins with His appear- 
ance as the Angel of God; at its termination 
He stands confessed as God Himself. Thus 
He Who, while He executes the ministry of 
declaring the great counsel is God's Angel, is 
Himself in name and nature God. The name 
corresponds to the nature; the nature is not 
falsified to make it conform to the name. 

6 Gen. xviii. 10. 
1 lb. xix. 24. 

7 lb. 17. 8 lb. ao. 

2 lb. xxi. 1, 2. 

9 lb. 25, 26. 
3 lb. 17, 18. 

Again, God speaks to Abraham of this same 
matter; he is told that Ishmael has already 
received a blessing, and shall be increased 
into a nation; / have blessed him, God says. 
This is no change from the Person indicated 
before; He shews that it was He Who had 
already given the blessing. The Scripture has 
obviously been consistent throughout in its 
progress from mystery to clear revelation ; it 
began with the Angel of God, and proceeds 
to reveal that it was God Himself Who hail 
spoken in this same matter. 

27. The course of the Divine narrative is 
accompanied by a progressive development 
of doctrine. In the passage which we have 
discussed God speaks to Abraham, and pro- 
mises that Sarah shall bear a son. Afterwards 
three men stand by him; he worships One 
and acknowledges Him as Lord. After this 
worship and acknowledgment by Abraham, 
the One promises that He will return hereafter 
at the same season, and that then Sarah shall 
have her son. This One again is seen by 
Abraham in the guise of a man, and salutes 
him with the same promise. The change is 
one of name only ; Abraham's acknowledgment 
in each case is the same. It was a Man whom 
he saw, yet Abraham worshipped Him as 
Lord ; he beheld, no doubt, in a mystery the 
coming Incarnation. Faith so strong has not 
missed its recognition; the Lord says in the 
Gospel, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see 
My day ; and he saw it, and was glad*. To 
continue the history; the Man Whom he saw 
promised that He would return at the same 
season. Mark the fulfilment of the promise, 
remembering meanwhile that it was a Man 
Who made it. What says the Scripture ? And 
the Lord visited Sarah. So this Man is the 
Lord, fulfilling His own promise. What follows 
next? And God did unto Sarah as He had 
said. The narrative calls His words those 
of a Man, relates that Sarah was visited by 
the Lord, proclaims that the result was the 
work of God. You are sure that it was a Man 
who spoke, for Abraham not only heard, but 
saw Him. Can you be less certain that He 
was God, when the same Scripture, which had 
called Him Man, confesses Him God? For 
its words are, And Sarah conceived, and bare 
Abraham a son in his old age, and at the set 
time of which God had spoken to him. But 
it was the Man who had promised that He 
would come. Believe that He was nothing 
more than man ; unless, in fact, He Who came 
was God and Lord. Connect the incidents. 
It was, confessedly, the Man who promised 
that He would come that Sarah might con- 

* St. John viii. s6. 



ceive and bear a son. And now accept in- 
struction, and confess the faith ; it was the 
Lord God Who came that she might conceive 
and bear. The Man made the promise in the 
power of God ; by the same power God fulfilled 
the promise. Thus God reveals Himself both 
in word and deed. Next, two of the three 
men whom Abraham saw depart; He Who 
remains behind is Lord and God. And not 
only Lord and God, but also Judge, for Abra- 
ham stood before the Lord and said, In no 
wise shalt Thou do this thing, to slay the righ- 
teous with the wicked, for then the righteous 
shall be as the wicked. In no wise wilt Thou, 
Who judges t the whole earth, execute this judg- 
ment*. Thus by all his words Abraham in- 
structs us in that faith, for which he was 
justified ; he recognises the Lord from among 
the three, he worships Him only, and con- 
fesses that He is Lord and Judge. 

28. Lest you fall into the error of supposing 
that this acknowledgment of the One was 
a payment of honour to all the three whom 
Abraham saw in company, mark the words 
of Lot when he saw the two who had departed ; 
And when Lot saw them, he rose up to meet 
them, and he bowed himself with his face toward 
the ground ; and he said, Behold, my lords, 
turn in to your servant' 's house 6 . Here the 
plural lords shews that this was nothing more 
than a vision of angels ; in the other case the 
faithful patriarch pays the honour due to One 
only. Thus the sacred narrative makes it 
clear that two of the three were mere angels ; 
it had previously proclaimed the One as Lord 
and God by the words, And the Lord said unto 
Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, 
Shall I then bear a child 1 But L am grown 
old. Is anything from God impossible ? At 
this season I will return to thee hereafter, and 
Sarah shall have a son 7. The Scripture is 
accurate and consistent; we detect no such 
confusion as the plural used of the One God 
and Lord, no Divine honours paid to the two 
angels. Lot, no doubt, calls them lords, while 
the Scripture calls them angels. The one 
is human reverence, the other literal truth. 

29. And now there falls on Sodom and 
Gomorrah the vengeance of a righteous judg- 
ment. What can we learn from it for the 
purposes of our enquiry ? The Lord rained 
brimstone and fire from the Lord. It is The 
Lord from the Lord ; Scripture makes no dis- 
tinction, by difference of name, between Their 
natures, but discriminates between Themselves. 
For we read in the Gospel, The Father judgeth 
no man, but hath given all judgment to the 

» Gen. xviii. 25. « lb. xix. i, a. 7 lb. xviil. 13, 14. 

Son 8 . Thus what the Lord gave, the Lord 
had received from the Lord. 

30. You have now had evidence of God the 
Judge as Lord and Lord; learn next that 
there is the same joint ownership of name 
in the case of God and God. Jacob, when 
he fled through fear of his brother, saw in his 
dream a ladder resting upon the earth and 
reaching to heaven, and the angels of God 
ascending and descending upon it, and the 
Lord resting above it, Who gave him all the 
blessings which He had bestowed upon Abra- 
ham and Isaac. At a later time God spoke 
to him thus : And God said unto Jacob, Arise, 
go up to the place Bethel, and dwell there, and 
make there an altar unto God, that appeared 
7inio thee when thou fleddest from the face of thy 
brother*. God demands honour for God, and 
makes it clear that that demand is on behalf 
of Another than Himself. He who appeared 
to thee when thou fleddest are His words : He 
guards carefully against any confusion of the 
Persons. It is God Who speaks, and God 
of Whom He speaks. Their majesty is as- 
serted by the combination of Both under 
Their true Name of God, while the words 
plainly declare Their several existence. 

31. Here again there occur to me consider- 
ations which must be taken into account in 
a complete treatment of the subject. But the 
order of defence must adapt itself to the order 
of attack, and I reserve these outstanding 
questions for discussion in the next book. 
For the present, in regard to God Who de- 
manded honour for God, it will suffice for me 
to point out that He Who was the Angel of 
God, when He spoke with Hagar, was God 
and Lord when He spoke of the same matter 
with Abraham ; that the Man Who spoke with 
Abraham was also God and Lord, while the 
two angels, who were seen with the Lord and 
whom He sent to Lot, are described by the 
prophet as angels, and nothing more. Nor 
was it to Abraham only that God appeared 
in human guise ; He appeared as Man to 
Jacob also. And not only did He appear, 
but, so we are told, He wrestled ; and not 
only did He wrestle, but He was vanquished 
by His adversary. Neither the time at my 
disposal, nor the subject, will allow me to 
discuss the typical meaning of this wrestling. 
It was certainly God Who wrestled, for Jacob 
prevailed against God, and Israel saw God. 

32. And now let us enquire whether else- 
where than in the case of Hagar the Angel 
of God has been discovered to be God Him- 
self. He has been so discovered, and found to 
be not only God, but the God of Abraham 

8 St. John r. 22. 

9 Gen. xxxv. c. 



and of Isaac and of Jacob. For the Angel 
of the Lord appeared to Moses from the 
bush ; and Whose voice, think you, are we 
to suppose was heard ? The voice of Him 
Who was seen, or of Another ? There is no 
room for deception ; the words of Scripture 
are clear : And the Angel of ike Lord appeared 
unto him in a flame of fire from a bush, and 
ngain, The Lord called unto him from the bush, 
Moses, Moses, and he answered, What is it? 
And the Lord said, Draw not nigh hither, put 
off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place 
whereon thou standest is holy ground. And 
He said unto him, L am the God of Abraham, 
and the God of Lsaac, and the God of Jacob l . 
He who appeared in the bush speaks from 
the bush ; the place of the vision and of the 
voice is one ; He Who speaks is none other 
than He Who was seen. He Who is the 
Angel of God when the eye beholds Him, 
is the Lord when the ear hears Him, and the 
Lord Whose voice is heard is recognised as the 
God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob. 
When He is styled the Angel of God, the fact 
is revealed that He is no self-contained and 
solitary Being : for He is the Angel of God. 
When He is designated Lord and God, He 
receives the full title which is due to His 
nature and His name. You have, then, in 
the Angel Who appeared from the bush, Him 
Who is Lord and God. 

33. Continue your study of the witness 
borne by Moses; mark how diligently he 
seizes every opportunity of proclaiming the 
Lord and God. You take note of the passage, 
Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One' 2 . 
Note also the words of that Divine song of 
his ; See, See, that L am the Lord, and there 
is no God beside Me*. While God has been 
the Speaker throughout the poem, he ends 
with, Rejoice, ye heavens, together with Him, 
and let all the sons of God praise Him. Re- 
joice, O ye nations, with His people, and let 
all the Angels of God do Him honour ♦. God 
is to be glorified by the Angels of God, and 
He says, For I am the Lord, and there is no 
God beside Me. For He is God the Only- 
begotten, and the title ' Only-begotten ' ex- 
cludes all partnership in that character, just 
as the title ' Unoriginate ' denies that there 
is, in that regard, any who shares the character 
of the Unoriginate Father. The Son is One 
from One. There is none unoriginate except 
God the Unoriginate, and so likewise there 
is none only-begotten except God the Only 
begotten. They stand Each single and alone, 
being respectively the One Unoriginate and 

1 Exod. iii. 2, 4 — 6. 


» Deut. vi. 4. 
4 lb. 43 (LXX.) 

3 lb. xTxii. 39. 

the One Only-begotten. And so They Two 
are One God, for between the One, and the 
One Who is His offspring, there lies no gulf 
of difference of nature in the eternal Godhead. 
Therefore He must be worshipped by the sons 
of God and glorified by the angels of God. 
Honour and reverence is demanded for God 
from the sons and from the angels of God. 
Notice Who it is that shall receive this honour, 
and by whom it is to be paid. It is God, and 
they are the sons and angels of God. And 
lest you should imagine that honour is not 
demanded for God Who shares our nature 5, 
but that Moses is thinking here of reverence 
due to God the Father, — though, indeed, it 
is in the Son that the Father must be hon- 
oured — examine the words of the blessing 
bestowed by God upon Joseph, at the end 
of the same book. They are, And let the 
things that are well-pleasing to Him that ap- 
peared in the bush come upon the head and 
crown of Joseph 6 . Thus God is to be wor- 
shipped by the sons of God; but God Who 
is Himself the Son of God. And God is to 
be reverenced by the angels of God ; but God 
Who is Himself the Angel of God. For God 
appeared from the bush as the Angel of God, 
and the prayer for Joseph is that he may 
receive such blessings as He shall please. 
He is none the less God because He is the 
Angel of God; and none the less the Angel 
of God because He is God. A clear indi- 
cation is given of the Divine Persons ; the 
line is definitely drawn between the Unbegot- 
ten and the Begotten. A revelation of the 
mysteries of heaven is granted, and we are 
taught not to dream of God as dwelling in 
solitude, when angels and sons of God shall 
worship Him Who is God's Angel and His 

34. Let this be taken as our answer from 
the books of Moses, or rather as the answer 
of Moses himself. The heretics imagine that 
they can use his assertion of the Unity of God 
in disproof of the Divinity of God the Son ; 
a blasphemy in defiance of the clear warning 
of their own witness, for whenever he confesses 
that God is One he never fails to teach the 
Son's Divinity. Our next step must be to 
adduce the manifold utterance of the prophets 
concerning the same Son. 

35. You know the words, Hear, O Israel, 
the Lord thy God is One; would that you knew 
them aright ! As you interpret them, I seek 
in vain for their sense. It is said in the Psalms, 
God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee ">. Impress 
upon the reader's mind the distinction between 

5 Dei naturalis : cf. Book ix. § 39. 6 Dent xxxiii. 16. 

7 Ps. xlv. 7 (xliv. 8). 



the Anointer and the Anointed; discriminate 
between the Thee and the Thy : make it clear 
to Whom and of Whom the words are spoken. 
For this definite confession is the conclusion 
of the preceding passage, which runs thus ; 
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the 
sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou 
hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity. 
And then he continues, Therefore God, Thy 
God, hath anointed Thee. Thus the God of 
the eternal kingdom, in reward for His love 
of righteousness and hatred of iniquity, is 
anointed by His God. Surely some broad 
difference is drawn, some gap too wide for 
our mental span, between these names ? No ; 
the distinction of Persons is indicated by Thee 
and Thy, but nothing suggests a difference of 
nature. Thy points to the Author, Thee to 
Him Who is the Author's offspring. For He 
is God from God, as these same words of the 
prophet declare, God, Thy God, hath anointed 
Thee. And His own words bear witness that 
there is no God anterior to God the Un- 
originate; Be ye My witnesses, and I am wit- 
ness, saith the Lord God, and My Servant 
Whom I have chosen, that ye may know and 
believe and understand that I am, and before 
Me there is no other God, nor shall be after Me 8 . 
Thus the majesty of Him that has no be- 
ginning is declared, and the glory of Him 
that is from the Unoriginate is safeguarded ; 
for God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee. That 
word Thy declares His birth, yet does not 
contradict His nature 9; Thy God means that 
the Son was born from Him to share the 
Godhead. But the fact that the Father is 
God is no obstacle to the Son's being God 
also, for God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee. 
Mention is made both of Father and of Son ; 
the one title of God conveys the assurance 
that in character and majesty They are One. 

36. But lest these words, For I am, and 
before Me there is no other God, nor shall be 
after Ale, be made a handle for blasphemous 
presumption, as proving that the Son is not 
God, since after the God, Whom no God 
* precedes, there follows no other God, the 
purpose of the passage must be considered. 
God is His own best interpreter, but His 
chosen Servant joins with Him to assure us 
that there is no God before Him, nor shall 
be after Him. His own witness concerning 
Himself is, indeed, sufficient, but He has 
added the witness of the Servant Whom He 
has chosen. Thus we have the united tes- 
timony of the Two, that there is no God before 
Him ; we accept the truth, because all things 

8 Is. xliii. 10. 

9 His human nature also ; cf. next f, and Book xi. § 18. 

are from Him. We have Their witness also 
that there shall be no God after Him ; but 
They do not deny that God has been born 
from Him in the past. Already there was 
the Servant speaking thus, and bearing witness 
to the Father ; the Servant born in that tribe 
from which God's elect was to spring. He 
sets forth also the same truth in the Gospels : 
Behold, My Servant Whom I have chosen, My 
Beloved in Whom My soul is well pleased 1 . 
This is the sense, then, in which God says, 
There is no other God before Me, nor shall 
be after Me. He reveals the infinity of His 
eternal and unchanging majesty by this as- 
sertion that there is no God before or after 
Himself. But He gives His Servant a share 
both in the bearing of witness and in the 
possession of the Name of God. 

37. The fact is obvious from His own words. 
For He says to Hosea the prophet, I will 
no more have mercy upon the house of Israel, 
but will altogether be their enemy. But I will 
have mercy upon the children of Judah, and will 
save them in the Lord their God 2 . Here God 
the Father gives the name of God, without 
any ambiguity, to the Son, in Whom also He 
chose us before countless ages. Their God, 
He says, for while the Father, being Unori- 
ginate, is independent of all, He has given 
us for an inheritance to His Son. In like 
manner we read, Ask of Me, and I will give 
Thee the Gentiles for Thine inheritance 3 . None 
can be God to Him from Whom are all things 4 , 
for He is eternal and has no beginning ; but 
the Son has God, from Whom He was born, 
for His Father. Yet to us the Father is God 
and the Son is God; the Father reveals to 
us that the Son is our God, and the Son 
teaches that the Father is God over us. The 
point for us to remember is that in this passage 
the Father gives to the Son the name of God, 
the title of His own unoriginate majesty. But 
I have commented sufficiently on these words 
of Hosea. 

38. Again, how clear is the declaration made 
by God the Father through Isaiah concerning 
our Lord ! He says, For thus saith the Lord, 
the holy God of Israel, Who made the things 
to come, Ask me concerning your sons and your 
daughters, and concerning the zvorks of My 
hands command ye Me. I have made the earth 
and man upon it, I have commanded all the 
stars, I have raised up a King with righteous- 
ness, a?id all His zvays are straight. He shall 
build My city, and shall turn back the captivity 
of My peopte, not for price nor reward, saith 
the Lord of Sabaoth. Fgypt shall labour, 

« St. Matt. xii. 18. Hos. i. 6, 7. 3 Ps. ii. 8. 

4 i.e. We cannot say Thy Cod of the Father. 



and the merchandise of the Ethiopians and 
Sabeans. Men of stature shall come over unto 
Thee and shall be Thy servants, and shall 
follozv after Thee, bound in chains, and shall 
worship Thee and make supplication unto Thee, 
for God is in Thee and there is no God beside 
Ihee. For Thou art God, and we knew it not, 
O God of Israel, the Saviour. All that resist 
Him shall be ashamed and confounded, and sha'l 
walk in confusion 5 . Is any opening left for 
gainsaying, or excuse for ignorance ? If blas- 
phemy continue, is it not in brazen defiance that 
it survives? God from Whom are all things, 
Who made all by His command, asserts that 
He is the Author of the universe, for, unless 
He had spoken, nothing had been created. 
He asserts that He has raised up a righteous 
King, who builds for Himself, that is, for God, 
a city, and turns back the captivity of His 
people, for no gift nor reward, for freely are 
we all saved. Next, He tells how after the 
labours of Egypt, and after the traffic of Ethio- 
pians and Sabeans, men of stature shall come 
over to Him. How shall we understand these 
labours in Egypt, this traffic of Ethiopians and 
Sabeans ? Let us call to mind how the Magi 
of the East worshipped and paid tribute to the 
Lord ; let us estimate the weariness of that 
long pilgrimage to Bethlehem of Judah. In 
the toilsome journey of the Magian princes 
we see the labours of Egypt to which the 
prophet alludes. For when the Magi exe- 
cuted, in their spurious, material way, the duty 
ordained for them by the power of God, the 
whole heathen world was offering in their 
person the deepest reverence of which its 
worship was capable. And these same Magi 
presented gifts of gold and frankincense and 
myrrh from 6 the merchandise of the Ethio- 
pians and Sabeans ; a thing foretold by another 
prophet, who has said, The Ethiopians shall 
fall down before His face, and His enemies 
shall lick the dust. The Kings of Tharsis 
shall offer presents, the Kings of the Arabians 
and Sabeans shall bring gifts, and there shall 
be given to Him of the gold of Arabia 7. The 
Magi and their offerings stand for the labour 
of Egypt and for the merchandise of Ethio- 
pians and Sabeans; the adoring Magi repre- 
sent the heathen world, and offer the choicest 
gifts of the Gentiles to the Lord Whom they 

39. As for the men of stature who shall 
come over to Him and follow Him in chains, 
there is no doubt who they are. Turn to the 
Gospels ; Peter, when he is to follow his 
Lord, is girded up. Read the Apostles: 

S Is. xlv. h— 16. 6 Reading ex for et. 

7 Ps. Loci, (lxxii.) 9, ro. 

Paul, the servant of Christ, boasts of his 
bonds. Let us see whether this ' prisoner 
of Jesus Christ' conforms in his teaching 
to the prophecies uttered by God concerning 
God His Son. God had said, They shall make 
supplication, for God is in Thee. Now mark 
and digest these words of the Apostle : — God 
was in Christ, reconciling the world to Him- 
self*. And then the prophecy continues, And 
there is no God beside Thee. The Apostle 
promptly matches this with For there is one 
Jesus Christ, our Lord, through Whom are 
all things'). Obviously there can be none 
other but He, for He is One. The third 
prophetic statement is, Thou art God, and we 
knew it not. But Paul, once the persecutor 
of the Church, says, Whose are the fathers, 
from Whom is Christ, Who is God over all 1 . 
Such is to be the message of these men in 
chains ; men of stature, indeed, they will be, 
and shall sit on twelve thrones to judge the 
tribes of Israel, and shall follow their Lord, 
witnesses to Him in teaching and in martyr- 

40. Thus God is in God, and it is God in 
Whom God dwells. But how is Tliere is no 
God beside Thee true, if God be within Him ? 
Heretic ! In support of your confession of 
a solitary Father you employ the words, There 
is no God beside Me; what sense can you 
assign to the solemn declaration of God the 
Father, There is no God beside Thee, if your 
explanation of There is no God beside Me be 
a denial of the Godhead of the Son? To 
whom, in that case, can God have said, There 
is no God beside Thee J You cannot suggest 
that this solitary Being said it to Himself. 
It was to the King Whom He summoned that 
the Lord said, by the mouth of the men of 
stature who worshipped and made suppli- 
cation, For God is in Thee. The facts are 
inconsistent with solitude. In Thee implies 
that there was One present within range, if 
I may say so, of the Speaker's voice. The 
complete sentence, God is in Thee, reveals not 
only God present, but also God abiding in 
Him Who is present. The words distinguish 
the Indweller from Him in Whom He dwells, 
but it is a distinction of Person only, not of 
character. God is in Him, and He, in Whom 
God is, is God. The residence of God cannot 
be within a nature strange and alien to His 
own. He abides in One Who is His own, 
born from Himself. God is in God, because 
God is from God. For Thou art God, and we 
knew it not, O God of Israel, the Saviour. 

41. My next book is devoted to the refuta- 
tion of your denial that God is in God ; for the 

3 Cor. t. 19. 

9 i Cor. viii. 6. 

1 Rom. ix. s. 

G 2 

3 4 


prophet continues, All that resist Him shall 
be ashamed and confounded and shall walk in 
confusion. This is God's sentence, passed 
upon your unbelief. You set yourself in op- 
position to Christ, and it is on His account 
that the Father's voice is raised in solemn 
reproof; for He, Whose Godhead you deny, 
is God. And you deny it under cloak of 
reverence for God, because He says, There is 
no other God ^beside Me. Submit to shame 
and confusion ; the Unoriginate God has no 
need of the dignity you offer; He has never 
asked for this majesty of isolation which you 
attribute to Him. He repudiates your officious 
interpretation which would twist His words, 
There is no other God beside Me, into a denial 
of the Godhead of the Son Whom He begat 
from Himself. To frustrate your purpose of 
demolishing the Divinity of the Son by assign- 
ing the Godhead in some special sense to 
Himself, He rounds off the glories of the 
Only-begotten by the attribution of absolute 
Divinity : — And there is no God beside Thee. 
Why make distinctions between exact equi- 
valents? Why separate what is perfectly 
matched ? It is the peculiar characteristic of 
the Son of God that there is no God beside 
Him ; the peculiar characteristic of God the 
Father that there is no God apart from Him. 
Use His words concerning Himself; confess 
Him in His own terms, and entreat Him as 
King ; For God is in Thee, and there is no God 
beside 2'hee. For Thou art God, and we knew 
it not, O God of Israel, the Saviour. A con- 
fession couched in words so reverent is free 
from the taint of presumption : its terms can 
excite no repugnance. Above all, we must 
remember that to refuse it means shame and 
ignominy. Brood in thought over these words 
God ; employ them in your confession of 
Him, and so escape the threatened shame. 
For if you deny the Divinity of the Son of 
God, you will not be augmenting the glory 
of God by adoring Him in lonely majesty ; 
you will be slighting the Father by refusing to 
reverence the Son. In faith and veneration 
confess of the Unoriginate God that there 
is no God beside Him ; claim for God the 
Only-begotten that apart from Him there is 
no God. 

42. As you have listened already to Moses 
and Isaiah, so listen now to Jeremiah in- 
culcating the same truth as they : — This is out- 
God, and there shall be none other likened unto 
Him, Who hath found out all the way of 
knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His 
servant and to Israel His beloved. Afterward 
did He shew Himself upon earth and dwelt 
among men 2 . For previously he had said, 

a Baruch iii. 35—37. 

And He is Man, and Who shall know Him 3 ? 
Thus you have God seen on earth and dwelling 
among men. Now I ask you what sense you 
would assign to No one hath seen God at any 
time, save the Only-begotten Son, which is in the 
bosom of the Father*, when Jeremiah proclaims 
God seen on earth and dwelling among men ? 
The Father confessedly cannot be seen except 
by the Son ; Who then is This who was seen 
and dwelt among men ? He must be our God, 
for He is God visible in human form, Whom 
men can handle. And take to heart the 
prophet's words, There shall be none other 
likened to Him. If you ask how this can 
be, listen to the remainder of the sentence, 
lest you be tempted to deny to the Father 
His share of the confession, Hear, O Israel, 
the lord thy God is One. The whole passage 
is, There shall be none likened unto Him, Who 
hath found out all the way of knowledge, and 
hath given it unto Jacob His servant and to 
Israel His beloved. Afterward did He shew 
Himself upon earth and dwelt among men. 
For there is one Mediator between God and 
Men, Who is both God and Man ; Mediator 
both in giving of the Law and in taking of 
our body. Therefore none other can be 
likened unto Him, for He is One, born from 
God into God, and He it was through Whom 
all things were created in heaven and earth, 
through Whom times and worlds were made. 
Everything, in fine, that exists owes its exist- 
ence to His action. He it is that instructs 
Abraham, that speaks with Moses, that testi- 
fies to Israel, that abides in the prophets, that 
was born through the Virgin from the Holy 
Ghost, that nails to the cross of His passion 
the powers that are our foes, that slays death 
in hell, that strengthens the assurance of our 
hope by His Resurrection, that destroys the 
corruption of human flesh by the glory of 
His Body. Therefore none shall be likened 
unto Him. For these are the peculiar powers 
of God the Only-begotten ; He alone was born 
from God, the blissful Possessor of such great 
prerogatives. No second god can be likened 
unto Him, for He is God from God, not born 
from any alien being. There is nothing new 
or strange or modern created in Him. When 
Israel hears that its God is one, and that 
no second god is likened, that men may deem 
him God, to God Who is God's Son, the 
revelation means that God the Father and 
God the Son are One altogether, not by con- 
fusion of Person but by unity of substance. 
For the prophet forbids us, because God the 
Son is God, to liken Him to some second 

3 Jer. xvii. 9 (LXX.). 

4 St. John i. it. 


i. Our reply, in the previous books, to the 
mad and blasphemous doctrines of the heretics 
has led us with open eyes into the difficulty 
that our readers incur an equal danger whether 
we refute our opponents, or whether we. for- 
bear. For while unbelief with boisterous ir- 
reverence was thrusting upon us the unity of 
God, a unity which devout and reasonable 
faith cannot deny, the scrupulous soul was 
caught in the dilemma that, whether it asserted 
or denied the proposition, the danger of blas- 
phemy was equally incurred. To human logic 
it may seem ridiculous and irrational to say 
that it can be impious to assert, and impious 
to deny, the same doctrine, since what it is 
godly to maintain it must be godless to dis- 
pute ; if it serve a good purpose to demolish 
a statement, it may seem folly to dream that 
good can come from supporting it. But human 
logic is fallacy in the presence of the counsels 
of God, and folly when it would cope with the 
wisdom of heaven ; its thoughts are fettered 
by its limitations, its philosophy confined by 
the feebleness of natural reason. It must be 
foolish in its own eyes before it can be wise 
unto God ; that is, it must learn the poverty 
of its own faculties and seek after Divine 
wisdom. It must become wise, not by the 
standard of human philosophy, but of that 
which mounts to God, before it can enter into 
His wisdom, and its eyes be opened to the 
folly of the world. The heretics have in- 
geniously contrived that this folly, which passes 
for wisdom, shall be their engine. They em- 
ploy the confession of One God, for which 
they appeal to the witness of the Law and 
the Gospels in the words, Hear, O Israel, the 
Lord thy God is One '. They are well aware 
of the risks involved, whether their assertion 
be met by contradiction or passed over in 
silence ; and, whichever happens, they see an 
opening to promote their heresy. If sacred 
truth, pressed with a blasphemous intent, be 
met by silence, that silence is construed as 
consent; as a confession that, because God 
is One, therefore His Son is not God, and 
God abides in eternal solitude. If, on the 
other hand, the heresy involved in their bold 
argument be met by contradiction, this op- 
position is branded as a departure from the 

1 Deut. vi. 4 ; St. Mark xii. ag. 

true Gospel faith, which states in precise 
terms the unity of God, or else they cast 
in the opponent's teeth that he has fallen into 
the contrary heresy, which allows but one 
Person of Father and of Son 2 . Such is the 
deadly artifice, wearing the aspect of an at- 
tractive innocence, which the world's wisdom, 
which is folly with God, has forged to beguile 
us in this first article of their faith, which 
we can neither confess nor deny without risk 
of blasphemy. We walk between dangers on 
either hand ; the unity of God may force us 
into a denial of the Godhead of His Son, or, 
if we confess that the Father is God and the 
Son is God, we may be driven into the heresy 
of interpreting the unity of Father and of Son 
in the Sabellian sense. Thus their device 
of insisting upon the One God would either 
shut out the Second Person from the God- 
head, or destroy the Unity by admitting Him 
as a second God, or else make the unity 
merely nominal. For unity, they would plead, 
excludes a Second ; the existence of a Second 
is destructive of unity ; and Two cannot be 

2. But we who have attained this wisdom 
of God, which is folly to the world, and 
purpose, by means of the sound and saving 
profession of true faith in the Lord, to unmask 
the snake-like treachery of their teaching; 
we have so laid out the plan of our under- 
taking as to gain a vantage ground for the 
display of the truth without entangling our- 
selves in the dangers of heretical assertion. 
We carefully avoid either extreme ; not deny- 
ing that God is One, yet setting forth dis- 
tinctly, on the evidence of the Lawgiver who 
proclaims the unity of God, the truth that 
there is God and God. We teach that it is 
by no confusion of the Two that God is One ; 
we do not rend Him in pieces by preaching 
a plurality of Gods, nor yet do we profess 
a distinction only in name. But we present 
Him as God and God, postponing at present 
for fuller discussion hereafter the question 
of the Divine unity. For the Gospels tell us 
that Moses taught the truth when he pro- 
claimed that God is One ; and Moses by his 
proclamation of One God confirms the lesson 
of the Gospels, which tell of God and God. 

 Reading recidtrttv*. 



Thus we do not contradict our authorities, 
but base our teaching upon them, proving 
that the revelation to Israel of the unity of 
God gives no sanction to the refusal of Divinity 
to the Son of God ; since he who is our 
authority for asserting that there is One God 
is our authority also for confessing the God- 
head of His Son. 

3. And so the arrangement of our treatise 
follows closely the order of the objections 
raised. Since the next article of their blas- 
phemous and dishonest confession is, We 
confess One true God^, the whole of this second * 
book is devoted to the question whether the 
Son of God be true God. For it is clear that 
the heretics have ingeniously contrived this 
arrangement of first naming One God and then 
One true God, in order to detach the Son 
from the name and nature of God ; since the 
thought must suggest itself that, truth being 
inherent in the One God, it must be strictly 
confined to Him. And therefore, since it is 
clear beyond a doubt that Moses, when he 
proclaimed the unity of God, meant therein to 
assert the Divinity of the Son, let us return to 
the leading passages in which his teaching is 
conveyed, and enquire whether or no he wishes 
us to believe that the Son, Who, as he has 
taught us, is God, is also true God. It is clear 
that the truth, or genuineness, of a thing is 
a question of its nature and its powers. For 
instance, true wheat is that which grows to 
a head with the beard bristling round it, which 
is purged from the chaff and ground to flour, 
compounded into a loaf and taken for food, 
and renders the nature and the uses of bread. 
Thus natural powers are the evidence of truth ; 
and let us see, by this test, whether He, Whom 
Moses calls God, be true God. We will defer 
for the present our discourse concerning this 
One God, Who is also true God, lest, if I fail 
at once to take up their challenge and uphold 
the One True God in the two Persons of 
Father and of Son, eager and anxious souls be 
oppressed by dangerous doubts. 

4. And now, since we accept as common 
ground the fact that God recognises His Son 
as God, I ask you : how does the creation of 
the world disprove our assertion that the Son 
is true God ? There is no doubt that all things 
are through the Son, for, in the Apostle's 
words, All things are through Him, and in 
Him*. If all things are through Him, and all 
were made out of nothing, and none otherwise 
than through Him, in what element of true 
Godhead is He defective, Who possesses both 

3 From the beginning of the Arian Creed, Book iv. § 12. 

4 The first three books are regarded as preliminary. The 
direct refutation began with Book iv. 

5 Col. i. 16. 

the nature and the power of God ? He had at 
His disposal the powers of the Divine nature, 
to bring into being the non-existent and to 
create at His pleasure. For God saw that they 
were good 6 . 

5. When the Law says, And God said, Let 
there be a firmament, and then adds, And God 
made the firmament, it introduces no other 
distinction than that of Person. It indicates 
no difference of power or nature, and makes 
no change of name. Under the one title of 
God it reveals, first, the thought of Him Who 
spoke, and then the action of Him Who 
created. The language of the narrator says 
nothing to deprive Him of Divine nature and 
power; nay rather, how precisely does it in- 
culcate His true Godhead. The power to give 
effect to the word of creation belongs only 
to that Nature with Whom to speak is the 
same as to fulfil. How then is He not true 
God, Who creates, if He is true God, Who 
commands? If the word spoken was truly 
Divine, the deed done was truly Divine also. 
God spake, and God created; if it was true 
God Who spake, He Who created was true 
God also ; unless indeed, while the presence of 
true Godhead was displayed in the speech of 
the One, its absence was manifested in the 
action of the Other. Thus in the Son of God 
we behold the true Divine nature. He is God, 
He is Creator, He is Son of God, He is omni- 
potent. It is not merely that He can do 
whatever He will, for will is always the con- 
comitant of power ; but He can do also what- 
ever is commanded Him. Absolute power is 
this, that its possessor can execute as Agent 
whatever His words as Speaker can express. 
When unlimited power of expression is com- 
bined with unlimited power of execution, then 
this creative power, commensurate with the 
commanding word, possesses the true nature 
of God. Thus the Son of God is not false 
God, nor God by adoption, nor God by gift of 
the name, but true God. Nothing would be 
gained by the statement of the arguments by 
which His true Godhead is opposed. His 
possession of the name and of the nature of 
God is conclusive proof. He, by Whom all 
things were made, is God. So much the 
creation of the world tells me about Him. 
He is God, equal with God in name ; true 
God, equal with true God in power. The 
might of God is revealed to us in the creative 
word ; the might of God is manifested also 
in the creative act. And now again I ask by 
what authority you deny, in your confession 
of Father and Son, the true Divine nature of 

6 i.e. His freedom of action is proved by His satisfaction with 
the result. 



Him Whose name reveals His power, Whose 
power proves His right to the Name. 

6. My reader must bear in mind that I am 
silent about the current objections through no 
forgetfulness, and no distrust of my cause. 
For that constantly cited text, The Father is 
greater than I, and its cognate passages are 
perfectly familiar to me, and I have my inter- 
pretation of them ready, which makes them 
witness to the true Divine nature of the Son. 
But it serves my purpose best to adhere in 
reply to the order of attack, that our pious 
effort may follow close upon the progress of 
their impious scheme, and when we see them 
diverge into godless heresy we may at once 
obliterate the track of error. To this end we 
postpone to the end of our work the testimony 
of the Evangelists and Apostles, and join 
battle with the blasphemers for the present on 
the ground of the Law and the Prophets, 
silencing their crooked argument, based on 
misinterpretation and deceit, by the very texts 
with which they strive to delude us. The 
sound method of demonstrating a truth is to 
expose the fallacy of the objections raised 
against it ; and the disgrace of the deceiver is 
complete if his own lie be converted into an 
evidence for the truth. And, indeed, the 
universal experience of mankind has learned 
that falsehood and truth are incompatible, and 
cannot be reconciled or made coherent ; that 
by their very nature they are among those 
opposites which are eternally repugnant, and 
can never combine or agree. 

7. This being the case, I ask how a dis- 
tinction can be made in the words, Let Us 
make man after Our own image and likeness, 
between a true God and a false. The words 
express a meaning, the meaning is the out- 
come of thought ; the thought is set in motion 
by truth. Let us follow the words back to 
their meaning, and learn from the meaning 
the thought, and from the thought attain to 
the underlying truth. Thy enquiry is, whether 
He to Whom the words Let Us make man after 
Our own image and likeness were spoken, was 
not thought of as true by Him Who spoke ; 
for they undoubtedly express the feeling and 
thought of the Speaker. In saying Z<?/ Us 
make, He clearly indicates One in no discord 
with Himself, no alien or powerless Being, 
but One endowed with power to do the thing 
of which He speaks. His own wo/ds assure 
us that this is the sense in which we must 
understand that they were spoken. 

8. To assure us still more fully of the true 
Godhead manifested in the nature and work 
of the Son, He, Who expressed His meaning 
in the words I have cited, shews that His 
thought was suggested by the true Divinity 

of Him to Whom He said, After Our own image 
and likeness. How is He falsely called God, 
to Whom the true God says, After Our own 
image and likeness ? Our is inconsistent with 
isolation, and with difference either in purpose 
or in nature. Man is created, taking the 
words in their strict sense, in Their common 
image. Now there can be nothing common 
to the true and to the false. God, the Speaker, 
is speaking to God ; man is being created in 
the image of Father and of Son. The Two 
are One in name and One in nature. It is 
only one image after which man is made. 
The time has not yet come for me to discuss 
this matter; hereafter I will explain what is 
this image of God the Father and of God the 
Son into which man was created. For the 
present we will stick to the question, was, or 
was not, He true God, to Whom the true God 
said, Let Us make man after Our own image and 
likeness ? Separate, if you can, the true from 
the false elements in this image common to 
Both ; in your heretical madness divide the 
indivisible. For They Two are One, of 
Whose one image and likeness man is the 
one copy. 

9. But now let us continue our reading 
of this Scripture, to shew how the consistency 
of truth is unaffected by these dishonest ob- 
jections. The next words are, And God tnade 
man; after the image of God ?nade He him. 
The image is in common ; God made man 
after the image of God. I would ask him 
who denies that God's Son is true God, in 
what God's image he supposes that God made 
man ? He must bear constantly in mind that 
all things are through the Son; heretical 
ingenuity must not, for its own purposes, 
twist this passage into action on the part 
of the Father. If, therefore, man is created 
through God the Son after the image of God 
the Father, he is created also after the image 
of the Son ; for all admit that the words 
After Our image and likeness were spoken to 
the Son. Thus His true Godhead is as ex- 
plicitly asserted by the Divine words as mani- 
fested in the Divine action ; so that it is God 
Who moulds man into the image of God, Who 
reveals Himself as God, and, moreover, as true 
God. For His joint possession of the Divine 
image proves Him true God, while His 
creative action displays Him as God the Son. 
10. What wild insanity of abandoned souls ! 
What blind audacity of reckless blasphemy! 
You hear of God and God; you hear of 
Our image. Why suggest that One is, and 
One is not, true God ? Why distinguish be- 
tween God by nature and God in name? 
Why, under pretext of defending the faith, 
do you destroy the faith ? Why struggle to 



pervert the revelation of One God, One true 
God, into a denial that God is One and true ? 
Not yet will I stifle your insane efforts with 
the clear words of Evangelists and Prophets, 
in which Father and Son appear not as one 
Person, but as One in nature, and Each as 
true God. For the present the Law, unaided, 
annihilates you. Does the Law ever speak 
of One true God, and One not true? Does 
it ever speak of Either, except by the name 
of God, which is the true expression of Their 
nature ? It speaks of God and God ; it speaks 
also of God as One. Nay, it does more than 
so describe Them. It manifests Them as 
true God and true God, by the sure evidence 
of Their joint image. It begins by speaking 
of Them first by their strict name of God ; 
then it attributes true Godhead to Both in 
common. For when man, Their creature, is 
created after the image of Both, sound reason 
forces the conclusion that Each of Them is 
true God. 

ii. But let us travel once more in our 
journey of instruction over the lessons taught 
in the holy Law of God. The Angel of God 
speaks to Hagar ; and this same Angel is God. 
But perhaps His being the Angel of God 
means that He is not true God. For this 
title seems to indicate a lower nature ; where 
the name points to a difference in kind, it 
is thought that true equality must be absent. 
The last book has already exposed the hollow- 
ness of this objection ; the title of Angel in- 
forms us of His office, not of His nature. I 
have prophetic evidence for this explanation ; 
Who maketh His angels spirits, and His 
ministers a flaming firei. That flaming fire 
is His ministers ; that spirit which comes, 
His angels. These figures shew the nature 
and the power of His messengers, or angels, 
and of His ministers. This spirit is an angel, 
that flaming fire a minister, of God. Their 
nature adapts them for the function of mes- 
senger or minister. Thus the Law, or rather 
God through the Law, wishing to indicate 
God the Son as a Person, yet as bearing the 
same name with the Father, calls Him the 
Angel, that is, the Messenger, of God. The 
title Messenger proves that He has an office 
of His own ; that His nature is truly Divine 
is proved when He is called God. But this 
sequence, first Angel, then God, is in the order 
of revelation, not in Himself. For we confess 
Them Father and Son in the strictest sense, 
in such equality that the Only-begotten Son, 
by virtue of His birth, possesses true Divinity 
from the Unbegotten Father. This revelation 
of Them as Sender and as Sent is but another 

7 Psaliu civ. (tiii.) 4. 

expression for Father and Son ; not contra- 
dicting the true Divine nature of the Son, 
nor cancelling His possession of the Godhead 
as His birthright. For none can doubt that 
the Son by His birth partakes congenitally 
of the nature of His Author, in such wise that 
from the One there comes into being an in- 
divisible Unity, because One is from One. 

12. Faith burns with passionate ardour ; the 
burden of silence is intolerable, and my 
thoughts imperiously demand an utterance. 
Already, in the preceding book I have de- 
parted from the intended method of my de- 
monstration. I was denouncing that blasphe- 
mous sense in which the heretics speak of 
One God, and expounding the passages in 
which Moses speaks of God and God. I 
hastened on with a precipitate, though devout, 
zeal to the true sense in which we hold the 
unity of God. And now again, wrapped up 
in the pursuit of another enquiry, I have 
suffered myself to wander from the course, 
and, while I was engaged upon the true 
Divinity of the Son, the ardour of my soul 
has hurried me on before the time to make 
the confession of true God as Father and as 
Son. But our own faith must wait its proper 
place in the treatise. This preliminary state- 
ment of it has been made as a safeguard for 
the reader; it shall be so developed and ex- 
plained hereafter as to frustrate the schemes 
of the gainsayer. 

13. To resume the argument ; this title of 
office indicates no -difference of nature, for He, 
Who is the Angel of God, is God. The test 
of His true Godhead shall be, whether or no 
His words and acts were those of God. He 
increases Ishmael into a great people, and 
promises that many nations shall bear his 
name. Is this, I ask, within an angel's power ? 
If not, and this is the power of God, why 
do you refuse true Divinity to Him Who. on 
your own confession, has the true power of 
God ? Thus He possesses the true and perfect 
powers of the Divine nature. True God, in 
all the types in which He reveals Himself for 
the world's salvation, is not, nor ever can be, 
other than true God. 

14. Now first, I ask, what is the meaning 
of these terms, 'true God' and 'not true 
God ' ? If any one says to me ' This is fire, but 
not true fire ; water, but not true water,' I can 
attach no intelligible meaning to his words. 
What difference in kind can there be between 
one true specimen, and another true specimen, 
of the same class ? If a thing be fire, it must 
be true fire ; while its nature remains the same 
it cannot lose this character of true fire. De- 
prive water of its watery nature, and by so 
doing you destroy it as true water; let it 



remain water, and it will inevitably still be 
true water. The only way in which an object 
can lose its nature is by losing its existence ; 
if it continue to exist it must be truly itself. 
If the Son of God is God, then He is true 
God; if He is not true God, then in no 
possible sense is He God at all. If He has 
not the nature, then He has no right to the 
name ; if, on the contrary, the name which 
indicates the nature is His by inherent right, 
then it cannot be that He is destitute of that 
nature in its truest sense. 

15. But perhaps it will be argued that, 
when the Angel of God is called God, He 
receives the name as a favour, through adop- 
tion, and has in consequence a nominal, not 
a true, Godhead. If He gave us an inade- 
quate revelation of His Divine nature at the 
time when He was styled the Angel of God, 
judge whether He has not fully manifested 
His true Godhead under the name of a nature 
lower than the angelic. For a Man spoke 
to Abraham, and Abraham worshipped Him 
as God. Pestilent heretic ! Abraham con- 
fessed Him, you deny Him, to be God. 
What hope is there for you, in your blas- 
phemy, of the blessings promised to Abraham? 
He is Father of the Gentiles, but not for you ; 
you cannot go forth from your regeneration 
to join the household of his seed, through 
the blessings given to his faith. You are no 
son, raised up to Abraham from the stones ; 
you are a generation of vipers, an adversary 
of his belief. You are not the Israel of God, 
the heir of Abraham, justified by faith; for 
you have disbelieved God, while Abraham 
was justified and appointed to be the Father 
of the Gentiles through that faith wherein he 
worshipped the God Whose word he trusted. 
God it was Whom that blessed and faithful 
Patriarch worshipped then ; and mark how 
truly He was God, to Whom, in His own 
words, all things are possible. Is there any, 
but God alone, to Whom nothing is impos- 
sible? And He, to Whom all things are 
possible, does He fall short of true Divinity ? 

16. I ask further, Who is this God Who 
overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah? For the 
Lord rained f/om the Lord 8 / was it not the 
true Lord from the true Lord ? Have you 
any alternative to this Lord, and Lord? Or 
any other meaning for the terms, except that 
in Lord, and Lord, their Persons are distin- 
guished ? Bear in mind that Him Whom you 
have confessed as Alone true, you have also 
confessed as Alone the righteous Judge?. Now 
mark that the Lord who rains from the Lord, 
and slays not the just with the unjust, and 

8 Gen. xix. 24. 

9 Book iv. § 12. The latter expression is cited inaccurately. 

judges the whole earth, is both Lord and also 
righteous Judge, and also rains from the 
Lord. In the face of all this, I ask you 
Which it is that you describe as alone the 
righteous Judge. The Lord rains from the 
Lord ; you will not deny that He Who rains 
from the Lord is the righteous Judge, for 
Abraham, the Father of the Gentiles— but 
not of the unbelieving Gentiles — speaks thus : 
In no wise shalt Thou do this thing, to slay the 
righteous with the wicked, for then shall the 
righteous be as the tvicked. In no wise shalt 
Thou, Who judgest the earth, execute this judg- 
ment 1 . This God, then, the righteous Judge, 
is clearly also the true God. Blasphemer ! 
Your own falsehood confutes you. Not yet 
do I bring forward the witness of the Gospels 
concerning God the Judge ; the Law has told 
me that He is the Judge. You must deprive 
the Son of His judgeship before you can 
deprive Him of His true Divinity. You have 
solemnly confessed that He Who is the only 
righteous Judge is also the only true God; 
your own statements bind you to the ad- 
mission that He Who is the righteous Judge 
is also true God. This Judge is the Lord, 
to Whom all things are possible, the Promiser 
of eternal blessings, Judge of righteous and 
of wicked. He is the God of Abraham, 
worshipped by him. Fool and blasphemer 
that you are, your shameless readiness of 
tongue must invent some new fallacy, if you 
are to prove that He is not true God. 

17. His merciful and mysterious self-revela- 
tions are in no wise inconsistent with His 
true heavenly nature ; and His faithful saints 
never fail to penetrate the guise He has 
assumed in order that faith may see Him. 
The types of the Law foreshew the mysteries 
of the Gospel ; they enable the Patriarch 
to see and to believe what hereafter the 
Apostle is to gaze on and publish. For, 
since the Law is the shadow of things to 
come, the shadow that was seen was a true 
outline of the reality which cast it. God 
was seen and believed and worshipped as 
Man, Who was indeed to be born as Man 
in the fulness of time. He takes upon Him, 
to meet the Patriarch's eye, a semblance 
which foreshadows the future truth. In that 
old day God was only seen, not born, as 
Man ; in due time He was born, as well 
as seen. Familiarity with the human ap- 
pearance, which He took that men might 
behold Him, was to prepare them for the 
time when He should, in very truth, be born 
as Man. Then it was that the shadow took 
substance, the semblance reality, the vision 

1 Gen. xviii. 25. 



life. But God remained unchanged, whether 
He were seen in the appearance, or born in 
the reality, of manhood. The resemblance 
was perfect between Himself, after His birth, 
and Himself, as He had been seen in vision. 
As He was born, so He had appeared ; as 
He had appeared, so was He born. But, 
since the time has not yet come for us to 
compare the Gospel account with that of the 
prophet Moses, let us pursue our chosen 
course through the pages of the Law. Here- 
after we shall prove from the Gospels that 
it was the true Son of God Who was born 
as Man; for the present, we are shewing 
from the Law that it was true God, the Son 
of God, Who appeared to the Patriarchs in 
human form. For when One appeared to 
Abraham as Man, He was worshipped as God 
and proclaimed as Judge ; and when the Lord 
rained from the Lord, beyond a doubt the 
Law tells us that the Lord rained from the 
Lord in order to reveal to us the Father 
and the Son. Nor can we for a moment 
suppose that when the Patriarch, with full 
knowledge, worshipped the Son as God, he 
was blind to the fact that it was true God 
Whom he worshipped. 

1 8. But godless unbelief finds it very hard 
to apprehend the true faith. Their capacity 
for devotion has never been expanded by 
belief, and is too narrow to receive a full 
presentment of the truth. Hence the un- 
believing soul cannot grasp the great work 
done by God in being born as Man to ac- 
complish the salvation of mankind ; in the 
work of its salvation it fails to see the power 
of God. They think of the travail of His 
birth, the feebleness of infancy, the growth 
of childhood, the attainment of maturity, of 
bodily suffering and of the Cross with which 
it ended, and of the death upon the Cross ; 
and all this conceals His true Godhead from 
their eyes. Yet He had called into being 
all these capacities for Himself, as additions 
to His nature ; capacities which in His true 
Divine nature He had not possessed. Thus 
He acquired them without loss of His true 
Divinity, and ceased not to be God when 
He became Man ; when He, Who is God 
eternally, became Man at a point in time. 
They cannot see an exercise of the true God's 
power in His becoming what He was not 
before, yet never ceasing to be His former 
Self. And yet there would have been no 
acceptance of our feeble nature, had not He 
by the strength of His own omnipotent nature, 
while remaining what He was, come to be 
what previously He was not. VVhat blindness 
of heresy, what foolish wisdom of the world, 
which cannot see that the reproach of Christ 

is the power of God, the folly of faith the 
wisdom of God ! So Christ in your eyes is 
not God because He, Who was from eternity, 
was born, because the Unchangeable grew 
with years, the Impassible suffered, the Living 
died, the Dead lives ; because all His history 
contradicts the common course of nature ! Is 
not all this simply to say that He, being God, 
was omnipotent? Not yet, ye holy and vener- 
able Gospels, do I turn your pages, to prove 
from them that Christ Jesus, amid these 
changes and sufferings, is G )d. For the Law 
is the forerunner of the Gospels, and the Law 
must teach us that, when God clothed Himself 
in infirmity, Fie lost not His Godhead. The 
types of the Law are our convincing assurance 
of the mysteries of the Gospel faith. 

19. Be with me now in thy faithful spirit, 
holy and blessed Patriarch Jacob, to combat 
the poisonous hissings of the serpent of un- 
belief. Prevail once more in thy wrestling 
with the Man, and, being the stronger, once 
more entreat His blessing. Why pray for what 
thou mightest demand from thy weaker Oppo- 
nent? Thy strong arm has vanquished Him 
Whose blessing thou prayest. Thy bodily 
victory is in broad contrast to thy soul's 
humility, thy deeds to thy thoughts. It is 
a Man whom thou holdest powerless in thy 
strong grasp ; but in thine eye this Man is true 
God, and Cod not in name only, but in nature. 
It is not the blessing of a God by adoption 
that thou dost claim, but the true God's 
blessing. With Man thou strivest : but face to 
face thou seest God. What thou seest with 
the bodily eye is different far from what thou 
beholdest with the vision of faith. Thou hast 
felt Him to be weak Man; but thy soul has 
been saved because it saw God in Him. 
When thou wast wrestling thou wast Jacob ; 
thou art Israel now, through faith in the 
blessing which thou didst claim. According to 
the flesh, the Man is thy inferior, for a type of 
His passion in the flesh ; but thou canst 
recognise God in that weak flesh, for a sign of 
His blessing in the Spirit. The witness of the 
eye does not disturb thy faith ; His feebleness 
does not mislead thee into neglect of His 
blessing. Though He is Man, His humanity 
is no bar to His being God, His Godhead no 
bar to His being true God; for, being God, 
He must indeed be true 2 . 

20. The Law in its progress still follows the 
sequence of the Gospel mystery, of which it is 
the shadow ; its types are a faithful anticipation 
of the truths taught by the Apostles. In the 
vision of his dream the blessed Jacob saw 
God; this was the revelation ot a mystery, not 

* Omitting et btncdicendo et trans/erendo et nuncupando. 



a bodily manifestation. For there was shown 
to him the descent of angels by the ladder, 
and their ascent to heaven, and God resting 
above the ladder; and the vision, as it was 
interpreted, foretold that his dream should 
some day become a revealed truth. The 
Patriarch's words, The house of God and the gate 
of heaven, shew us the scene of his vision ; and 
then, after a long account of what he did, the 
narrative proceeds thus: And God said unto 
facob, Arise, and go up to the place Bethel, and 
divell there: and make there a Sacrifice unto 
God, that appeared unto thee when thou fieddest 
from the face of Esau 3. If the faith of the 
Gospel has access through God the Son to 
God the Father, and if it is only through God 
that God can be apprehended, then shew us 
in what sense This is not true God, Who 
demands reverence for God, Who rests above 
the heavenly ladder. What difference of na- 
ture separates the Two, when Both bear the 
one name which indicates the one nature ? It 
is God Who was seen; it is also God Who 
speaks about God Who was seen. God cannot 
be apprehended except through God ; even as 
also God accepts no worship from us except 
through God. We could not understand that 
the One must be reverenced, unless the Other 
had taught us reverence for Him ; we could 
not have known that the One is God, unless 
we had known the Godhead of the Other. 
The revelation of mysteries holds its appointed 
course ; it is by God that we are initiated into 
the worship of God. And when one name, 
which tells of one nature, combines the Father 
with the Son, how can the Son so fall beneath 
Himself as to be other than true God? 

31. Human judgment must not pass its 
sentence upon God. Our nature is not such 
that it can lift itself by its own forces to the 
contemplation of heavenly things. We must 
learn from God what we are to think of God ; 
we have no source of knowledge but Himself. 
You may be as carefully trained as you will in 
secular philosophy; you may have lived a life 
of righteousness. All this will contribute to 
your mental satisfaction, but it will not help 
you to know God. Moses was adopted as the 
son of the queen, and instructed in all the 
wisdom of the Egyptians ; he had, moreover, 
out of loyalty to his race avenged the wrong of 
the Hebrew by slaying the Egyptian 4 , and 
yet he knew not the God Who had blessed 
his fathers. For when he left Egypt through 
fear of the discovery of his deed, and was living 
as a shepherd in the land of Midian, he saw 
a fire in the bush, and the bush unconsumed. 

3 Gen. xxxv. i. 

4 This act is used as the evidence of Moses' righteousness. 

Then it was that he heard the voice of God, 
and asked His name, and learned His nature. 
Of all this he could have known nothing except 
through God Himself. And we, in like man- 
ner, must confine ourselves, in whatever we 
say of God, to the terms in which He has 
spoken to our understanding concerning Him- 

22. It is the Angel of God Who appeared 
in the fire from the bush ; and it is God Who 
spoke from the bush amid the fire. He is 
manifested as Angel ; that is His office, not 
His nature. The name which expresses His 
nature is given you as God ; for the Angel of 
God is God. But perhaps He is not true God. 
Is the God of Abraham, then, the God of 
Isaac, the God of Jacob, not true God? For 
the Angel Who speaks from the bush is their 
God eternally. And, lest you insinuate that 
the name is His only by adoption, it is the 
absolute God Who speaks to Moses. These 
are His words : — And the Lord said unto 
Moses, I Am that I Am ; and He said, Thus 
shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, He 
that is hath sent me unto you 5 . God's dis- 
course began as the speech of the Angel, in 
order to reveal the mystery of human salvation 
in the Son. Next He appears as the God of 
Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God 
of Jacob, that we may know the name which is 
His by nature. Finally it is the God that is 
Who sends Moses to Israel, that we may have 
full assurance that in the absolute sense He is 

23. What further fictions can the futile folly 
of insane blasphemy devise ? Do you still per- 
sist in your nightly sowing of tares, predestined 
to be burnt, among the pure wheat, when the 
knowledge of all the Patriarchs contradicts you? 
Nay more : if you believed Moses, you would 
believe also in God, the Son of God ; unless 
perchance you deny that it was of Him that 
Moses spoke. If you propose to deny that, 
you must listen to the words of God : —For 
had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me 
also, for he wrote of Me 6 . Moses, indeed, will 
refute you with the whole volume of the Law, 
ordained through angels, which he received 
by the hand of the Mediator. Enquire whether 
He, Who gave the Law, were not true God ; 
for the Mediator was the Giver. And was 
it not to meet God that Moses led out the 
people to the Mount? Was it not God Who 
came down into the Mount? Or was it, 
perhaps, only by a fiction or an adoption, and 
not by right of nature, that He, Who did all 
this, bore the name of God ? Mark the blare 
of the trumpets, the flashing of the torches, 

5 Exod. iii. 14. 

6 St. John v. 46. 


the clouds of smoke, as from a furnace, rolling 
over the mountain, the terror of conscious 
impotence on the part of man in the presence 
of God, the confession of the people, when 
they prayed Moses to be their spokesman, that 
at the voice of God they would die. Is He, in 
your judgment, not true God, when simple 
dread lest He should speak filled Israel with 
the fear of death ? He Whose voice could not 
be borne by human weakness ? In your eyes 
is He not God, because He addressed you 
through the weak faculties of a man, that you 
might hear, and live ? ? Moses entered the 
Mount ; in forty days and nights he gained 
the knowledge of the mysteries of heaven, and 
set it all in order according to the vision of the 
truth which was revealed to him there. From 
intercourse with God, Who spoke with him, 
he received the reflected splendour of that 
glory on which none may gaze ? his corruptible 
countenance was transfigured into the likeness 
of the unapproachable light of Him, with 
Whom he was dwelling. Of this God he bears 
witness, of this God he speaks ; he summons 
the angels of God to come and worship Him 
amid the gladness of the Gentiles, and prays 
that the blessings which please Him may 
descend upon the head of Joseph. In face of 
such evidence as this, dare any man say that 
He has nothing but the name of God, and 
deny His true Divinity? 

24. This long discussion has, I believe, 
brought out the truth that no sound argument 
has ever been adduced in favour of a dis- 
tinction between One Who is, and One Who 
is not, true God, in those passages where the 
Law speaks of God and God, of Lord and 
Lord. I have proved that these terms are 
inconsistent with difference between Them in 
name or in nature, and that we can use the 
name as a test of the nature, and the nature as 
a clue to the name. Thus I have shewn that 
the character, the power, the attributes, the 
name of God are inherent in Him Whom the 
Law has called God. I have shewn also that 
the Law, gradually unfolding the Gospel mys- 
tery, reveals the Son as a Person by mani- 
festing God as obedient, in the creation of 
the world, to the words of God, and in the 
formation of man making what is the joint 
image of God, and of God ; and again, that in 
the judgment of the men of Sodom the Lord 
is Judge from the Lord ; that, in the giving of 
blessings and ordaining of the mysteries of the 
Law, the Angel of God is God. Thus, in 
support of the saving confession of God as 
ever manifested in the Persons of Father and 
of Son, we have shewn how the Law teaches 

7 Reading viveres. 

the true Godhead by the use of the strict name 
of God ; for, while the Law states clearly that 
They are Two, it casts no shadow of doubt 
upon the true Godhead of either. 

25. And now the time has come for us to 
put a stop to that cunning artifice of heresy, 
by which they pervert the devout and godly 
teachings of the Law into a support for their 
own godless delusion. They preface their 
denial of the Son of God with the words, Hear, 
O Israel, the Lord thy God is One ; and then, 
because their blasphemy would be refuted by 
the identity of name, since the Law speaks of 
God and God, they invoke the authority of the 
prophetic words, They shall bless Thee, the true 
God, to prove that the name is not used in the 
true sense. They argue that these words teach 
that God is One, and that God, the Son of 
God, has His name only and not His nature ; 
and that therefore we must conclude that the 
true God is one Person only. But perhaps 
you imagine, fool, that we shall contradict 
these texts of yours, and so deny that there is 
one true God. Assuredly we do not contradict 
them by a confession conceived in your sense. 
Our faith receives them, our reason accepts 
them, our words declare them. We recognise 
One God, and Him true God. The name 
of God has no dangers for our confession, 
which proclaims that in the nature of the 
Son there is the One true God. Learn the 
meaning of your own words, recognise the 
One true God, and then you will be able to 
make a faithful confession of God, One and true. 
It is the words of our faith which you are turn- 
ing into the instrument of your blasphemy, pre- 
serving the sound and perverting the sense. 
Masquerading in a foolish garb of imaginary wis- 
dom, under cover of loyalty to truth you are 
the truth's destroyer. You confess that God 
is One and true, on purpose to deny the truth 
which you confess. Your language claims 
a reputation for piety on the strength of its 
impiety, for truth on the strength of its false- 
hood. Your preaching of One true God leads 
up to a denial of Him. For you deny that 
the Son is true God, though you admit that 
He is God, but God in name only, not in 
nature. If His birth be in name, not in nature, 
then you are justified in denying His true right 
to the name ; but if He be truly born as God, 
how then can He fail to be true God by 
virtue of His birth ? Deny the fact, and you 
may deny the consequence; if you admit the 
fact, how can He be other than Himself? 
No being can alter its own essential nature. 
About His birth I shall speak presently; 
meantime I will refute your blasphemous 
falsehoods concerning His true Divine nature 
by the utterances of prophets. But I shall 



take care that in our assertion of the One 
true God I give no cover to the Sabellian 
heresy that the Father is one Person with 
the Son, and none to that slander against 
the Son's true Godhead, which you evolve 
out of the unity of the One true God. 

26. Blasphemy is incompatible with wisdom ; 
where the fear of God, which is the beginning 
of wisdom, is absent, no glimmer of intelligence 
survives. An instance of this is seen in the 
heretics' citation of the prophet's words, And 
they shall bless Thee, the true God, as evidence 
against the Godhead of the Son. First, we 
see here the folly, which clogs unbelief in the 
misunderstanding or (if it were understood) 
in the suppression of the earlier part of the 
prophecy : and again we see it in their fraudu- 
lent interpolation of that one little word, not 
to be found in the book itself. This pro- 
ceeding is as stupid as it is dishonest, since 
no one would trust them so far as to accept their 
reading without referring for corroboration to 
the prophetic text. For that text does not 
stand thus : They shall bless Thee, the true 
God, but thus : They shall bless the true God s . 
There is no slight difference between Thee, the 
true God and The true God. If Thee be re- 
tained, the pronoun of the second person 
implies that Another is being addressed ; if 
T'hee be omitted, True God, the object of the 
sentence, is the Speaker. 

27. To ensure that our explanation of the 
passage shall be complete and certain, I cite 
the words in full : — Therefore thus saith the 
Lord, Behold, they that serve Me shall eat, but 
ye shall be hungry, behold, they that serve Me 
shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty, behold, they 
that serve Me shall rejoice with gladness, but 
ye shall cry for sorrow of your heart, and shall 
howl for vexation of spirit. For ye shall leave 
your name for a rejoicing wito My chosen, but 
the Lord shall slay you. But My servants shall 
be called by a new name, which shall be blessed 
upon earth ; and they shall bless the true God, 
and they that swear upon the earth shall swear 
by the true God 9. There is always a good 
reason for any departure from the accustomed 
modes of expression, but novelty is also made 
an opportunity for misinterpretation. The 
question here is, Why, when so many earlier 
prophecies have been uttered concerning God, 
and the name God, alone and without epithet, 
has sufficed hitherto to indicate the Divine 
majesty and nature, the Spirit of prophecy 
should now foretell through Isaiah that the 
true God was to be blessed, and that men 
should swear upon earth by the true God. 
First, we must bear in mind that this discourse 

was spoken concerning times to come. Now, 
I ask, was not He, in the mind of the Jews, 
true God, Whom men used then to bless, and 
by whom they swore ? The Jews, unaware of 
the typical meaning of their mysteries, and 
therefore ignorant of God the Son, worshipped 
God simply as God, and not as Father r ; 
for, if they had worshipped Him as Father, 
they would have worshipped the Son also. 
It was God, therefore, Whom they blessed 
and by Whom they swore. But the prophet 
testifies that it is true God Who shall be 
blessed hereafter ; calling Him true God, 
because the mysteriousness of His Incarnation 
was to blind the eyes of some to His true 
Godhead. When falsehood was to be pub- 
lished abroad, it was necessary that the truth 
should be clearly stated. And now let us 
review this passage, clause by clause. 

28. Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, 
they that serve Me shall eat, but ye shall be 
hungry ; behold, they that serve Me shall drink, 
but ye shall be thirsty. Note that one clause 
contains two different tenses, in order to teach 
truth concerning two different times; They 
that serve Me shall eat. Present piety is re- 
warded with a future prize, and similarly 
present godlessness shall suffer the penalty 
of future thirst and hunger. Then He adds, 
Behold, they that serve Me shall rejoice with 
gladness, but ye shall cry for sorrow of your 
heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit. 
Here again, as before, there is a revelation 
for the future and for the present. They who 
serve now shall rejoice with gladness, while 
they who do not serve shall abide in crying 
and howling through sorrow of heart and 
vexation of spirit. He proceeds, For ye shall 
leave your name for a rejoicing unto My chosen, 
but the Lord shall slay you. These words, 
dealing with a future time, are addressed to 
the carnal Israel, which is taunted with the 
prospect of having to surrender its name to 
the chosen of God. What is this name? 
Israel, of course ; for to Israel the prophecy 
was addressed. And now I ask, What is Israel 
to-day ? The Apostle gives the answer : — They 
who are in the spirit, not in the letter, they 
who walk in the Law of Christ, are the Israel 
of God 2 . 

29. Furthermore, we must form a con- 
clusion why it is that the words cited above, 
Therefore thus saith the Lord, are followed by 
But the Lord shall slay you, and as to the 
meaning of the next sentence, But my 
servants shall be called by a new name, which 
shall be blessed upon earth. There can be 
no doubt that both Therefore thus saith the 

8 Isai. Ixv. 16. 

9 lb. 13—16. 

1 Cf. Book iii. § i 7 . 

* Cf. Rom. ii. 29. 



Lord, and afterwards But the Lord shall slay 
you, prove that it was the Lord Who both 
spoke, and also purposed to slay, Who meant 
to reward His servants with that new name, 
Who was well known to have spoken through 
the prophets and was to be the judge of 
the righteous and of the wicked. And thus 
the remainder of this revelation of the mystery 
of the Gospel removes all doubt concerning 
the Lord as Speaker and as Slayer. It con- 
tinues : — But My servants shall be called by 
a new name, which shall be blessed tipon earth. 
Here everything is in the future. What then 
is this new name of a religion ; a name which 
shall be blessed upon earth ? If ever in past 
ages there were a blessing upon the name 
Christian, it is not a new name. But if this 
hallowed name of our devotion towards God 
be new, then this new title of Christian, 
awarded to our faith, is that heavenly blessing 
which is our reward upon earth. 

30. And now come words in perfect har- 
mony with the inward assurance of our faith. 
He says, And they shall bless the true God, 
and they that swear upon earth shall swear 
by the true God. And indeed they who in 
God's service have received the new name 
shall bless God ; and moreover the God by 
Whom they shall swear is the true God. 
What doubt is there as to Who this true God 
is, by Whom men shall swear and Whom they 
shall bless, through Whom a new and blessed 
name shall be given to them that serve Him ? 
I have on my side, in opposition to the 
blasphemous misrepresentations of heresy, the 
clear and definite evidence of the Church's 
faith ; the witness of the new name which 
Thou, O Christ, hast given, of the blessed title 
which Thou hast bestowed in reward of loyal 
service. It swears that Thou art true God. 
Every mouth, O Christ, of them that believe 
tells that Thou art God. The faith of all 
believers swears that Thou art God, confesses, 
proclaims, is inwardly assured, that Thou art 
true God. 

31. And thus this passage of prophecy, 
taken with its whole context, clearly describes 
as God both Him Whom we serve for the 
new name's sake, and Him through Whom 
the new name is blessed upon earth. It tells 
us Who it is that is blessed as true God, and 
Who is sworn by as true God. And this is the 
confession of faith made, in the fulness of 
time, by the Church in loyal devotion to 
Christ her Lord. We can see how exactly 
the words of prophecy conform to the truth, 
by their refraining from the insertion of that 
pronoun of the second person. Had the 
words been Thee, the true God, then they 
might have been interpreted as spoken to 

another. The true God can refer to none 
but the Speaker. The passage, taken by itself, 
shews to Whom it refers ; the preceding words, 
taken in connexion with it, declare Who the 
Speaker is Who makes this confession of God. 
They are these : — L have appeared openly to them 
that asked not for Me, and L have been found 
of them that sought Me not. L said, LLere am 
L, unto a nation that called not on My name. 
L have spread out My hands all the day to an 
unbelieving and gainsaying people 3. Could 
a dishonest attempt to suppress the truth be 
more completely exposed, or the Speaker be 
more distinctly revealed as true God, than 
here? Who, I demand, was it that appeared 
to them that asked not for Him, and was found 
of them that sought Him not? What nation 
is it that formerly called not on His name? 
Who is it that spread out His hands all the 
day to an unbelieving and gainsaying people? 
Compare with these words that holy and 
Divine Song of Deuteronomy*, in which God, 
in His wrath against them that are no Gods, 
moves the unbelievers to jealousy against those 
that are no people and a foolish nation. Con- 
clude for yourself, Who it is that makes Him- 
self manifest to them that knew Him not ; 
Who, though one people is His own, becomes 
the possession of strangers; Who it is that 
spreads out His hands before an unbelieving 
and gainsaying people, nailing to the cross the 
writing of the former sentence against us s . 
For the same Spirit in the prophet, whom we 
are considering, proceeds thus in the course 
of this one prophecy, which is connected in 
argument as well as continous in utterance : — 
But My servants shall be called by a new name, 
ivhich shall be blessed upon earth, and they shall 
bless the true God, and they that swear upon 
the earth shall sivear by the true God. 

32. If heresy, in its folly and wickedness, 
shall attempt to entice the simple-minded and 
uninstructed away from the true belief that 
these words were spoken in reference to God 
the Son, by feigning that they are an utterance 
of God the Father concerning Himself, it 
shall hear sentence passed upon the lie by the 
Apostle and Teacher of the Gentiles. He 
interprets all these prophecies as allusions 
to the passion of the Lord and to the times 
of Gospel faith, when he is reproving the 
unbelief of Israel, which will not recognise 
that the Lord is come in the flesh. His 
words are : — For whosoever shall have called 
upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 
How shall they call on Him in Whom they 
have not believed 7 But how shall they believe 

3 Isai. Ixv. 1, 2. 4 Deut. xxxii. ax. 5 Cf. Col. ii. 14 


in Him of Whom they have not heard? And 
how shall they hear without a preacher ? And 
how shall they p teach, except they hare been 
sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the 
feet of them that proclaim peace, of them that 
proclaim good things. But all do not obey the 
Gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath 
believed our report ? So then faith cometh by 
hearing, and hearing through the word. But 
I say, Have they not heard! Yes verily, their 
sound went into all the earth, and their words 
unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did 
not Israel know ? First Moses saith, I will 
provoke you to jealousy against them that are 
no people, and against a foolish nation I will 
anger you. Moreover Esaias is bold, and saith, 
I appeared unto them that seek Me not, I was 
found by them that asked not after Me. But 
to Israel what saith He ? All day long I have 
stretched forth My hands to a people that 
hearken not 6 . Who art thou that hast mounted 
up through the successive heavens, knowing 
not whether thou wert in the body or out of 
the body, and canst explain more faithfully than 
he the words of the prophet ? Who art thou 
that hast heard, and mayst not tell, the ineffable 
mysteries of the secret things of heaven, and 
hast proclaimed with greater assurance the 
knowledge granted thee by God for revela- 
tion ? Who art thou that hast been fore- 
ordained to a full share of the Lord's suffer- 
ing on the Cross, and first has been caught 
up to Paradise and drawn nobler teaching 
from the Scriptures of God than this chosen 
vessel ? If there be such a man, has he been 
ignorant that these are the deeds and words 
of the true God, proclaimed to us by His own 
true and chosen Apostle that we may recog- 
nise in Him their Author? 

33. But it may be argued that the Apostle 
was not inspired by the Spirit of prophecy 
when he borrowed these prophetic words ; 
that he was only interpreting at random the 
words of another man, and though, no doubt, 
everything the Apostle says of himself comes 
to him by revelation from Christ, yet his 
knowledge of the words of Isaiah is only 
derived from the book. I answer that in 
the beginning of that utterance in which it 
is said that the servants of the true God shall 
bless Him and swear by Him, we read this 
adoration by the prophet : — From everlasting 
we have not heard, nor have our eyes seen God, 
except Thee, and Thy works which Thou wilt 
do for them that await Thy mercy''. Isaiah 
says that he has seen no God but Him. For 
he did actually see the glory of God, the 
mystery of Whose taking flesh from the Virgin 

he foretold. And if you, in your heresy, do 
not know that it was God the Only-begotten 
Whom the prophet saw in that glory, listen 
to the Evangelist: — These things said Esaias, 
7vhen he saw His glory, and spake of Him 8 . 
The Apostle, the Evangelist, the Prophet 
combine to silence your objections. Isaiah 
did see God ; even though it is written, No 
one hath seen God at any time, save the Only- 
begotten Son Who is in the bosom of the Father; 
He hath declared Him 9, it was God Whom 
the prophet saw. He gazed upon the Divine 
glory, and men were filled with envy at such 
honour vouchsafed to his prophetic greatness. 
For this was the reason why the Jews passed 
sentence of death upon him. 

34. Thus the Only-begotten Son, Who is 
in the bosom of the Father, has told us of 
God, Whom no man has seen. Either dis- 
prove the fact that the Son has thus informed 
us, or else believe Him Who has been seen, 
Who appeared to them who knew Him not, 
and became the God of the Gentiles who 
called not upon Him and spread out His 
hands before a gainsaying people. And be- 
lieve this also concerning Him, that they who 
serve Him are called by a new name, and 
that on earth men bless Him and swear by 
Him as true God. Prophecy tells, the Gospel 
confirms, the Apostle explains, the Church 
confesses, that He Who was seen is true God ; 
but none venture to say that God the Father 
was seen. And yet the madness of heresy 
has run to such lengths that, while they pro- 
fess to recognise this truth, they really deny 
it. They deny it by means of the new- 
fangled and godless device of evading the 
truth, while making a studied pretence of 
adhesion to it. For when they confess one 
God, alone true and alone righteous, alone 
wise, alone unchangeable, alone immortal, 
alone mighty, they attach to Him a Son 
different in substance, not born from God 
to be God, but adopted through creation 
to be a Son, having the name of God not 
by nature, but as a title received by adoption ; 
and thus they inevitably deprive the Son of 
all those attributes which they accumulate 
upon the Father in His lonely majesty. 

35. The distorted mind of heresy is in- 
capable of knowing and confessing the One 
true God ; the sound faith and reason neces- 
sary for such confession is incompatible with 
unbelief. We must confess Father and Son 
before we can apprehend God as One and 
true. When we have known the mysteries 
of man's salvation, accomplished in us through 
the power of regeneration unto life in the 

6 Rom. x. 13 — 21. 

7 Isai. lxiv. 4. 

8 St. John xii. 41. 

9 lb. i. 18. 

9 6 


Father and the Son, then we may hope to 
penetrate the mysteries of the Law and the 
Prophets. Godless ignorance of the teaching 
of Evangelists and Apostles cannot frame 
the thought of One true God. Out of the 
teaching of Evangelists and Apostles we shall 
present the sound doctrine concerning Him, 
in accurate agreement with the faith of true 
believers. We shall present Him in such 
wise that the Only-begotten, Who is of the 
substance of the Father, shall be known as 
indivisible and inseparable in nature, not in 
Person. We shall set forth God as One, 
because God is from the nature of God. But 
we shall also establish this doctrine of the 
perfect unity of God upon the words of the 
Prophets, and make them the foundations 
of the Gospel structure, proving that there 
is One God, with one Divine nature, by the 
fact that God the Only-begotten is never 
classed apart as a second God. For through- 
out this book of our treatise we have followed 
the same course as in its predecessor ; the 
same methods which proved there that the 
Son is God, have proved here that He is true 
God. I trust that our explanation of each 
passage has been so convincing that we have 
now manifested Him as true God as effectually 
as we formerly demonstrated His Godhead. 
The remainder of the book shall be devoted 
to the proof that He, Who is now recognised 
as true God, must not be regarded as a second 
God. Our disproof of the notion of a second 
God will further establish the unity ; and this 
truth shall be displayed as not inconsistent 
with the personal existence of the Son, while 
yet it maintains the unity of nature in God 
and God. 

36. The true method of our enquiry de- 
mands that we should begin with him, through 
whom God first manifested Himself to the 
world, that is, with Moses, by whose mouth 
God the Only-begotten thus declared Him- 
self; See, see that I am God, and there is no 
God beside Me l . That godless heresy must 
not assign these words to God, the unbegotten 
Father, is clear by the sense of the passage 
and by the evidence of the Apostle who, 
as we have already stated 2 , has taught us 
to understand this whole discourse as spoken 
by God the Only-begotten. The Apostle also 
points out the words, Rejoice, O ye nations, 
with His people^ as those of the Son, and 
in corroboration further cites this : — And there 
shall be a root of Jesse, and One that shall arise 
to rule the nations ; in Him shall tht nations 
trust*. Thus Moses by the words, Rejoice, 

• Deut. xxxii. 39. 2 Book iv. f 33. 

3 Dent xxxii. 43 (Rom xv. 10). 

1 Isai. xi. 10 (Rom. xv. 12). 

O ye nations, with His people indicates Hiui 
Who said, There is no God beside Me; and 
the Apostle refers the same words to our Lord 
Jesus Christ, God the Only-begoiten, in Whose 
rising as a king from the root of Jesse, ac- 
cording to the flesh, the hope of the Gentiles 
rests. And therefore we must now consider 
the meaning of these words, that we, who 
know that they were spoken by Him, may 
ascertain in what sense He spoke them. 

37. That true and absolute and perfect 
doctrine, which forms our faith, is the con- 
fession of God from God and God in God, 
by no bodily process but by Divine power, 
by no transfusion from nature into nature but 
through the secret and mighty working of the 
One nature ; God from God, not by division 
or extension or emanation, but by the opera- 
tion of a nature which brings into existence, 
by means of birth, a nature One with itself. 
The facts shall receive a fuller treatment in 
the next book, which is to be devoted to an 
exposition of the teaching of the Evangelists 
and Apostles ; for the present we must main- 
tain our assertion and belief by means of the 
Law and the Prophets. The nature with 
which God is born is necessarily the same 
as that of His Source. He cannot come into 
existence as other than God, since His origin 
is from none other than God. His nature is 
the same, not in the sense that the Begetter 
also was begotten — for then the Unbegotten, 
having been begotten, would not be Himself — 
but that the substance of the Begotten con- 
sists in all those elements which are summed 
up in the substance of the Begetter, Who is 
His only Origin. Thus it is due to no ex- 
ternal cause that His origin is from the One, 
and that His existence partakes the Unity ; 
their is no novel element in Him, because 
His life is from the Living : no element absent, 
because the Living begot Him to partake His 
own life. Hence, in the generation of the 
Son, the incorporeal and unchangeable God 
begets, in accordance with His own nature, 
God incorporeal and unchangeable; and this 
perfect birth of incorporeal and unchangeable 
God from incorporeal and unchangeable God 
involves, as we see in the light of the reve- 
lation of God from God, no diminution of 
the Begetter's substance. And so God the 
Only-begotten bears witness through the holy 
Moses ; See, see that I am God, and there is 
no God beside Me. For there is no second 
Divine nature, and so there can be no God 
beside Him, since He is God, yet by the 
powers of His nature God is also in Him. 
And because He is God and God is in Him, 
there is no God beside Him ; for God, than 
Whom there is no other Source of Deity, is 



in Him, and consequently there is within Him 
not only His own existence, but the Author of 
that existence. 

38. This saving faith which Ave profess is 
sustained by the spirit of prophecy, speaking 
with one voice through many mouths, and 
never, through long and changing ages, bearing 
an uncertain witness to the truths of revelation. 
For instance, the words which, as we are told 
through Moses, were spoken by God the Only- 
begotten, are confirmed for our better instruc- 
tion by the prophetic spirit, speaking this time 
through those men of stature, — For God is in 
Thee, and there is no God beside Thee. For 
Thou art God, and we knew it not, O God of 
Israel, the Saviour. Let heresy fling itself 
with its utmost effort of despair and rage 
against this declaration of a name and nature 
inseparably joined, and rend in twain, if its 
furious struggles can, a union perfect in title 
and in fact. God is in God and beside Him 
there is no God. Let heresy, if it can, divide 
the God within from the God within Whom 
He is, and classify, Each after His kind, the 
members of that mystic union. For when He 
says God is in Thee, He teaches that the true 
nature of God the Father is present in God 
the Son ; for we must understand that it is 
the God Who is s that is in Him. And when 
He adds, And there is no God beside Thee, 
He shews that outside Him there is no God, 
since God's dwelling is within Himself. And 
the third assertion, Thou art God and we knew 
it not, sets forth for our instruction what must 
be the confession of the devout and believing 
soul. When it has learnt the mysteries of the 
Divine birth, and the name Emmanuel which 
the angel announced to Joseph, it must cry, 
Thou art God, and we knew it not, God of 
Israel, the Saviour. It must recognise the 
subsistence of the Divine nature in Him, in- 

5 Exod. iii. 14. 

asmuch as God is in God, and the non- 
existence of any other God except the true. 
For, He being God and God being in Him, 
the delusion of another God, of what kind 
soever, must be surrendered. Such is the 
message of the prophet Isaiah ; he bears 
witness to the indivisible and inseparable 
Godhead of Father and of Son. 

39. Jeremiah also, a prophet equally in- 
spired, has taught that God the Only-begotten 
is of a nature one with that of God the Father. 
His words are : — This is our God, and there 
shall be none other likened unto Him, Who 
hath found out all the way of knowledge, and 
hath given it unto Jacob His servant, and to 
Israel His beloved. Aftenvard He was seen 
upon earth, and dwelt among men 6 . Why try 
to transform the Son of God into a second 
God ? Learn to recognise and to confess the 
One True God. No second God is likened 
to Christ, and so can claim to be God. He 
is God from God by nature and by birth, 
for the Source of His Godhead is God. And, 
again, He is not a second God, for no other 
is likened unto Him ; the truth that is in Him 
is nothing else than the truth of God. Why 
link together, in pretended devotion to the 
unity of God, true and false, base and genuine, 
unlike and unlike? The Father is God and 
the Son is God. God is in God ; beside 
Him there is no God, and none other is 
likened unto Him so as to be God. If in 
these Two you shall recognise the Unity, 
instead of the solitude, of God, you will share 
the Church's faith, which confesses the Father 
in the Son. But if, in ignorance of the 
heavenly mystery, you insist that God is One 
in order to enforce the doctrine of His isola- 
tion, then you are a stranger to the knowledge 
of God, for you deny that God is in God. 

• Baruch iii. 35—37* 

▼OL. IX. 


i . It is with a full knowledge of the dangers 
and passions of the time that I have ventured 
to attack this wild and godless heresy, which 
asserts that the Son of God is a creature. 
Multitudes of Churches, in almost everv pro- 
vince of the Roman Empire, have already 
caught the plague of this deadly doctrine; 
error, persistently inculcated and falsely claim- 
ing to be the truth, has become ingrained in 
minds which vainly imagine that they are loyal 
to the faith. I know how hardly the will is 
moved to a thorough recantation, when zeal 
for a mistaken cause is encouraged by the 
sense of numbers and confirmed by the 
sanction of general approval. A multitude 
under delusion can only be approached with 
difficulty and danger. When the crowd has gone 
astray, even though it know that it is in the 
wrong, it is ashamed to return. It claims con- 
sideration for its numbers, and has the assur- 
ance to command that its folly shall be ac- 
counted wisdom. It assumes that its size is 
evidence of the correctness of its opinions ; 
and thus a falsehood which has found general 
credence is boldly asserted to have established 
its truth. 

2. For my own part, it was not only the 
claim which my vocation has upon me, the 
duty of diligently preaching the Gospel which, 
as a bishop, I owe to the Church, that has led 
me on. My eagerness to write has increased 
with the increasing numbers endangered and 
enthralled by this heretical theory. There was 
a rich prospect of joy in the thought of mul- 
titudes who might be saved, if they could know 
the mysteries of the right faith in God, and 
abandon the blasphemous principles of human 
folly, desert the heretics and surrender them- 
selves to God ; if they would forsake the bait 
with which the fowler snares his prey, and 
soar aloft in freedom and safety, following 
Christ as Leader, prophets as instructors, 
apostles as guides, and accepting the perfect 
faith and sure salvation in the confession of 
Father and of Son. So would they, in obedi- 
ence to the words of the Lord, He that ho7iour- 
eth not the Son honoureth not the Father ivhith 
hath sent Him f , be setting themselves to honour 
the Father, through honour paid to the Son. 

» St. John v. aj 

3. For of late the infection of a mortal evil 
has gone abroad among mankind, whose ra- 
vages have dealt destruction and death on 
every hand. The sudden desolation of cities 
smitten, with their people in them, by earth- 
quake to the ground, the terrible slaughter 
of recurring wars, the widespread mortality of 
an irresistible pestilence, have never wrought 
such fatal mischief as the progress of this 
heresy throughout the world. For God, unto 
Whom all the dead live, destroys those only 
who are self-destroyed. From Him Who is to 
be the Judge of all, Whose Majesty will 
temper with mercy the punishment allotted 
to the mistakes of ignorance, they who deny 
Him can expect not even judgment, but only 

4. For this mad heresy does deny ; it denies 
the mystery of the true faith by means of 
statements borrowed from our confession, 
which it employs for its own godless ends. 
The confession of their misbelief, which I 
have already cited in an earlier book, begins 
thus : — " We confess one God, alone unmade, 
alone eternal, alone unoriginate, alone true, 
alone possessing immortality, alone good, 
alone mighty." Thus they parade the opening 
words of our own confession, which runs, 
"One God, alone unmade and alone un- 
originate," that this semblance of truth may 
serve as introduction to their blasphemous 
additions. For, after a multitude of words 
in which an equally insincere devotion to 
the Son is expressed, their confession con- 
tinues, " God's perfect creature, but not as 
one of His other creatures, His Handiwork, 
but not as His other works." And again, 
after an interval in which true statements 
are occasionally interspersed in order to veil 
their impious purpose of alleging, as by so- 
phistry they try to prove, that He came into 
existence out of nothing, they add, " He, 
created and established before the worlds, 
did not exist before He was born." And 
lastly, as though every point of their false 
doctrine, that He is to be regarded neither 
as Son nor as God, were guarded impregnably 
against assault, they continue : — " As to such 
phrases as from Him, and from the womb, and 
I went out from the Father and am come, if they 
be understood to denote that the Father ex- 



tends a part and, as it were, a development 
of that one substance, then the Father will 
be of a compound nature and divisible and 
changeable and corporeal, according to them ; 
and thus, as far as their words go, the in- 
corporeal God will be subjected to the pro- 
perties of matter." But, as we are now about 
to cover the whole ground once more, em- 
ploying this time the language of the Gospels 
as our weapon against this most godless 
heresy, it has seemed best to repeat here, 
in the sixth book, the whole heretical docu- 
ment, though we have already given a full 
copy of it in the fourth 2 , in order that our 
opponents may read it again, and compare it, 
point by point, with our reply, and so be 
forced, however reluctant and argumentative, 
by the clear teaching of the Evangelists and 
Apostles, to recognise the truth. The here- 
tical confession is as follows : — 

5. "We confess one God, alone unmade, 
alone eternal, alone unoriginate, alone po- 
sessing immortality, alone good, alone mighty, 
Creator, Ordainer and Disposer of all things, 
unchangeable and unalterable, righteous and 
good, of the Law and the Prophets and the 
New Testament. We believe that this God 
gave birth to the Only-begotten Son before 
all worlds, through Whom He made the world 
and all things, that He gave birth to Him 
not in semblance, but in truth, following His 
own will, so that He is unchangeable and 
unalterable, God's perfect Creature, but not 
as one of His other creatures, His Handiwork, 
but not as His other works ; not, as Valen- 
tinus maintained, that the Son is a develop- 
ment of the Father, nor, as Manichasus has 
declared of the Son, a consubstantial part of 
the Father, nor, as Sabellius, who makes two 
out of One, Son and Father at once, nor, 
as Hieracas, a light from a light, or a lamp 
with two flames, nor, as if He was previously 
in being and afterwards born, or created 
afresh, to be a Son, a notion often condemned 
by thyself, blessed Pope, publicly in the 
Church, and in the assembly of the brethren. 
But, as we have affirmed, we believe that He 
was created by the will of God before times 
and worlds, and has His life and existence 
from the Father, Who gave Him to share His 
own glorious perfections. For, when the 
Father gave to Him the inheritance of all 
things, He did not thereby deprive Himself 
of attributes which are His without origination, 
He being the source of all things. 

6. " So there are three Persons, Father, 
Son and Holy Ghost. God, for His part, 
is the Cause of all things, utterly unoriginate 

2 Reading quarto instead of primo ; but cf. v. § 3. 

and separate from all ; while the Son, put 
forth by the Father outside time, and created 
and established before the worlds, did not 
exist before He was born, but, being born 
outside time before the worlds, came into 
being as the Only Son of the Only Father. 
For He is neither eternal, nor co-eternal, nor 
co-uncreate with the Father, nor has He an 
existence collateral with the Father, as some 
say who postulate two unborn principles. But 
God is before all things, as being indivisible 
and the beginning of all. Wherefore He is 
before the Son also, as indeed we have learnt 
from thee in thy public preaching. Inasmuch 
then as He has His being from God, and His 
glorious perfections, and His life, and is en- 
trusted with all things, for this reason God 
is His Source. For He rules over Him, as 
being His God, since He is before Him. As 
to such phrases as from Hint, and from the 
womb, and I went out from the Father and am 
come, if they be understood to denote that the 
Father extends a part and, as it were, a de- 
velopment of that one Substance, then the 
Father will be of a compound nature and 
divisible and changeable and corporeal, ac- 
cording to them ; and thus, as far as their 
words go, the incorporeal God will be sub- 
jected to the properties of matters." 

7. Who can fail to see here the slimy wind- 
ings of the serpent's track : the coiled adder, 
with forces concentrated for the spring, con- 
cealing the deadly weapon of its poisonous 
fangs within its folds ? Presently we shall 
stretch it out and examine it, and expose 
the venom of this hidden head. For their 
plan is first to impress with certain sound 
statements, and then to infuse the poison 
of their heresy. They speak us fair, in 
order to work us secret harm. Yet, amid 
all their specious professions, I nowhere hear 
God's Son entitled God ; I never hear son- 
ship attributed to the Son. They say much 
about His having the name of Son, but no- 
thing about His having the nature. That 
is kept out of sight, that He may seem to 
have no right even to the name. They make 
a show of unmasking other heresies to conceal 
the fact that they are heretics themselves. 
They strenuously assert that there is One 
only, One true God, to the end that they 
may strip the Son of God of His true and 
personal Divinity. 

8. And therefore, although in the two last 
books I have proved from the teaching of 
the Law and Prophets that God and God, 
true God and true God, true God the Father 

3 The E pis tola A rii ad A lexandrum , repeated from Book. iv. 
§§ 12, 13, where see the notes. The only difference in the text i* 
that this copy omits atone true, at the beginning. 

H 2 



and true God the Son, must be confessed 
as One true God, by unity of nature and not 
by confusion of Persons, yet, for the complete 
presentation of the faith, I must also adduce 
the teaching of the Evangelists and Apostles. 
I must show from them that true God, the 
Son of God, is not of a different, an alien 
nature from that of the Father, but possesses 
the same Divinity while having a distinct 
existence through a true birth. And, indeed, 
I cannot think that any soul exists so witless 
as to fancy that, although we know God's self- 
revelations, yet we cannot understand them ; 
that, if they can be understood, would not 
wish to understand, or would dream that 
human reason can devise improvements upon 
them. But before I begin to discuss the facts 
contained in these saving mysteries, I must 
first humble the pride with which these here- 
tics rebuke the names of other heresies. I 
shall hold up to the light this ingenious cloak 
for their own impiety. I shall shew that 
this very means of concealing the deadliness 
of their teaching serves rather to reveal and 
betray it, and is a widely effectual warning 
of the true character of this honeyed poison. 

9. For instance, these heretics would have 
it that the Son of God is not from God ; that 
God was not born from God out of, and in, 
the nature of God. To this end, when they 
have solemnly borne witness to "One God, 
alone true," they refrain from adding "The 
Father." And then, in order to escape from 
confessing one true Godhead of Father and 
of Son by a denial of the true birth, they 
proceed, " Not, as Valentinus maintained, that 
the Son is a development of the Father." 
Thus they think to cast discredit upon the 
birth of God from God by calling it a "de- 
velopment," as though it were a form of the 
Valentinian heresy. For Valentinus was the 
author of foul and foolish imaginations ; be- 
side the chief God, he invented a whole house- 
hold of deities and countless powers called 
aeons, and taught that our Lord Jesus Christ 
was a development mysteriously brought about 
by a secret action of will. The faith of the 
Church, the faith of the Evangelists and 
Apostles, knows nothing of this imaginary 
development, sprung from the brain of a 
reckless and senseless dreamer. It knows 
nothing of the "Depth" and "Silence" and 
the thrice ten aeons of Valentinus. It knows 
none but One God the Father, from Whom 
are all things, and One Jesus Christ, our 
Lord, through Whom are all things, Who 
is God born from God. But it occurred 
to them that He, in being born as God from 
God, neither withdrew anything from the 
Divinity of His Author nor was Himself born 

other than God ; that He became God not 
by a new beginning of Deity but by birth 
from the existing God ; and that every birth 
appears, as far as human faculties can judge, 
to be a development, so that even that birth 
might be regarded as a development. And 
these considerations have induced them to 
make an attack upon the Valentinian heresy 
of development as a means of destroying 
faith in the true birth of the Son. For the 
experience of common life leads worldly wis- 
dom to suppose that there is no great dif- 
ference between a birth and a development. 
The mind of man, dull and slow to grasp 
the things of God, needs to be constantly 
reminded of the principle, which I have 
stated more than once 4 , that analogies drawn 
from human experience are not of perfect 
application to the mysteries of Divine power; 
that their only value is that this comparison 
with material objects imparts to the spirit 
such a notion of heavenly things that we .may 
rise, as by a ladder of nature, to an apprehen- 
sion of the majesty of God. But the birth 
of God must not be judged by such develop- 
ment as takes place in human births. When 
One is born from One, God born from God, 
the circumstances of human birth enable us 
to apprehend the fact ; but a birth which 
presupposes intercourse and conception and 
time and travail can give us no clue to the 
Divine method. When we are told that God 
was born from God, we must accept it as true 
that He was born, and be content with that 
We shall, however, in the proper place dis- 
course of the truth of the Divine birth, as 
the Gospels and the Apostles set it forth. 
Our present duty has been to expose this 
device of heretical ingenuity, this attack upon 
the true birth of Christ, concealed under 
the form of an attack upon a so-called de- 

10. And then, in continuation of this same 
fraudulent assault upon the faith, their con- 
fession proceeds thus : — " Nor, as Manichaeus 
has declared of the Son, a consubstantial part 
of the Father." They have already denied 
that He is a development, in order to escape 
from the admission of His birth ; now they 
introduce, labelled with the name of Mani- 
chaeus, the doctrine that the Son is a portion 
of the one Divine substance, and deny it, 
in order to subvert the belief in God from 
God. For Manichaeus, the furious adversary 
of the Law and Prophets, the strenuous cham- 
pion of the devil's cause and blind worshipper 
of the sun, taught that That which was in the 
Virgin's womb was a portion of the one Divine 

* E.g. i. S 10, iv. i a ; reading turn semel. 



substance, and that by the Son we must 
understand a certain piece of God's substance, 
which was cut off, and made its appearance 
in the flesh. And so they make the most 
of this heresy that in the birth of the Son 
there was a division of the one substance, 
and use it as a means of evading the doctrine 
of the birth of the Only-begotten, and the 
very name of the unity of substance. Because 
it is sheer blasphemy to speak of a birth re- 
sulting from division of the one substance, 
they deny any birth; all forms of birth are 
joined in the condemnation which they pass 
upon the Manichasan notion of birth by sever- 
ance. And again, they abolish the unity of 
substance, both name and thing, because the 
heretics hold that the unity is divisible ; and 
deny that the Son is God from God, by refus- 
ing to believe that He is truly possessed of 
the Divine nature. Why does this mad heresy 
profess a fictitious reverence, a senseless anxi- 
ety ? The faith of the Church does, as these 
insane propounders of error remind us, con- 
demn Manichaaus, for she knows nothing of 
the Son as a portion. She knows Him as 
whole God from whole God, as One from 
One, not severed but born. She is assured 
that the birth of God involves neither im- 
poverishment of the Begetter nor inferiority 
of the Begotten. If this be the Church's own 
imagining, reproach her with the follies of 
a wisdom falsely claimed; but if she have 
learned it from her Lord, confess that the 
Begotten knows the manner of His begetting. 
She has learnt from God the Only-begotten 
these truths, that Father and Son are One, 
and that in the Son the fulness of the God- 
head dwells. And therefore she loathes this 
attribution to the Son of a portion of the one 
substance ; and, because she knows that He 
was truly born of God, she worships the Son 
as rightful Possessor of true Divinity. But, 
for the present, let us defer our full answer to 
these several allegations, and hasten through 
the rest of their denunciations. 

ii. What follows is tnis : — " Nor, as Sabel- 
lius, who makes two out of One, Son and 
Fattier at once." Sabellius holds this in wil- 
ful blindness to the revelation of the Evan- 
gelists and Apostles. But what we see here 
is not one heretic honestly denouncing an- 
other. It is the wish to leave no point of 
union between Father and Son that prompts 
them to reproach Sabellius with his division 
of an indivisible Person; a division which 
does not result in the birth of a second Person, 
but cuts the One Person into two parts, one 
of which enters the Virgin's womb s. But we 

5 Reading virginem. 

confess a birth ; we reject this confusion of 
two Persons in One, while yet we cleave to 
the Divine unity. That is, we hold that God 
from God means unity of nature ; for that 
Being, Who, by a true birth from God, be- 
came God, can draw His substance from no 
other source than the Divine. And since He 
continues to draw His being, as He drew it 
at first, from God, He must remain true God 
for ever ; and hence They Two are One, 
for He, Who is God from God, has no other 
than the Divine nature, and no other than 
the Divine origin. But the reason why this 
blasphemous Sabellian confusion of two Per- 
sons into One is here condemned is that they 
wish to rob the Church of her true faith in 
Two Persons in One God. But now I must 
examine the remaining instances of this per- 
verted ingenuity, to save myself from the repu- 
tation of a censorious judge of sincere en- 
quirers, moved rather by dislike than genuine 
fear. I shall shew, by the terms with which 
they wind up their confession, what is the 
deadly conclusion which they have skilfully 
contrived shall be its inevitable issue. 

12. Their next clause is: — " Nor, as Hier- 
acas, a light from a light, or a lamp with two 
flames, nor as if He was previously in being, 
and afterwards born, or created afresh, to be 
a Son." Hieracas ignores the birth of the 
Only-begotten, and, in complete unconscious- 
ness of the meaning of the Gospel revelations, 
talks of two flames from one lamp. This 
symmetrical pair of flames, fed by the supply 
of oil contained in one bowl, is His illus- 
tration of the substance of Father and Son. 
It is as though that substance were something 
separate from Either Person, like the oil in 
the lamp, which is distinct from the two 
flames, though they depend upon it for their 
existence ; or like the wick, of one material 
throughout and burning at both ends, which 
is distinct from the flames, yet provides them 
and connects them together. All this is a 
mere delusion of human folly, which has 
trusted to itself, and not to God, for know- 
ledge. But the true faith asserts that God 
is born from God, as light from light, which 
pours itself forth without self-diminution, 
giving what it has yet having what it gave. 
It asserts that by His birth He was what He 
is, for as He is so was He born ; that His 
birth was the gift of the existing Life, a gift 
which did not lessen the store from which 
it was taken ; and that They Two are One, 
for He, from Whom He is born, is as Himself, 
and He that was born has neither another 
source nor another nature, for He is Light 
from Light. It is in order to draw men's 
faith away from this, the true doctrine, that 



this lantern or lamp of Hieracas is cast in 
the teeth of those who confess Light from 
Light. Because the phrase has been used 
in an heretical sense, and condemned both 
now and in earlier days, they want to persuade 
us that there is no true sense in which it can 
be employed. Let heresy forthwith abandon 
these groundless fears, and refrain from claim- 
ing to be the protector of the Church's faith 
on the score of a reputation for zeal earned 
so dishonestly. For we allow nothing bodily, 
nothing lifeless, to have a place among the 
attributes of God ; whatever is God is perfect 
God. In Him is nothing but power, life, 
light, blessedness, Spirit. That nature con- 
tains no dull, material elements ; being im- 
mutable, it has no incongruities within it. 
God, because He is God, is unchangeable ; 
and the unchangeable God begat God. Their 
bond of union is not, like that of two flames, 
two wicks of one lamp, something outside 
Themselves. The birth of the Only-begotten 
Son from God is not a prolongation in space, 
but a begetting ; not an extension 6 , but Light 
from Light. For the unity of light with light 
is a unity of nature, not unbroken continua- 

13. And again, what a wonderful example 
of heretical ingenuity is this : — " Nor as if He 
were previously in being, and afterwards born, 
or created afresh, to be a Son." God, since 
He was born from God, was assuredly not 
born from nothing, nor from things non-ex- 
istent. His birth was that of the eternally 
living nature. Yet, though He is God, He 
is not identical with the pre-existing God ; 
God was born from God Who existed before 
Him ; in, and by, His birth He partook of 
the nature of His Source. If we are speaking 
words of our own, all this is mere irreverence ; 
but if, as we shall prove, God Himself has 
taught us how to speak, then the necessity 
is laid upon us of confessing the Divine birth 
in the sense revealed by God. And it is this 
unity of nature in Father and in Son, this 
ineffable mystery of the living birth, which 
the madness of heresy is struggling to banish 
from belief, when it says, " Nor as if He 
were previously in being, and afterwards born, 
or created afresh, to be a Son." Now who 
is senseless enough to suppose that the Father 
ceased to be Himself; that the same Person 
Who had previously existed was afterwards 
born, or created afresh, to be the Son ? That 
God disappeared, and that His disappearance 
was followed by an emergence in birth, when, 
in fact, that birth is evidence of the continuous 
existence of its Author ? Or who is so insane 

6 I.e. aline of lights 

as to suppose that a Son can come into ex- 
istence otherwise than through birth? Who 
so void of reason as to say that the birth of 
God resulted in anything else than in God 
being born? The abiding God was not born, 
but God was born from the abiding God; the 
nature bestowed .in that birth was the very 
nature of the Begetter. And God by His 
birth, which was from God into God, received, 
because His was a true birth, not things new- 
created but things which were and are the 
permanent possession of God. Thus it is 
not the pre-existent God that was born; yet 
God was born, and began to exist, out of and 
with the properties of God. And thus we see 
how heresy, throughout this long prelude, has 
been treacherously leading up to this most 
blasphemous doctrine. Its object being to 
deny God the Only-begotten, it starts with 
what purports to be a defence of truth, to 
go on to the assertion that Christ is born 
not from God but out of nothing, and that 
His birth is due to the Divine counsel of 
creation from the non-existent. 

14. And then again, after an interval de- 
signed to prepare us for what is coming, their 
heresy delivers this assault ; — " While the Son, 
put forth outside time, and created and es- 
tablished before the worlds, did not exist be- 
fore He was born." This " He did not exist 
before He was born " is a form of words by 
which the heresy flatters itself that it gains 
two ends ; support for its blasphemy, and 
a screen for itself if its doctrine be arraigned. 
A support for its blasphemy, because, if He 
did not exist before He was born, He cannot 
be of one nature with His eternal Origin. 
He must have His beginning out of nothing, 
if He have no powers but such as are coeval 
with His birth. And a screen for its heresy, 
for if this statement be condemned, it fur- 
nishes a ready answer. He that did exist, 
it will be said, could not be born; being in 
existence already, He could not possibly come 
into being by passing through the process of 
birth, for the very meaning of birth is the 
entry into existence of the being that is born. 
Fool and blasphemer ! Who dreams of birth 
in the case of Him Who is the unborn and 
eternal ? How can we think of God, Who is % 
being born, when being born implies the pro- 
cess of birth? It is the birth of God the 
Only-begotten from God His Father that you 
are striving to disprove, and it was your pur- 
pose to escape the confession of that truth 
by means of this " He did not exist before 
He was born;" the confession that God, 
from Whom the Son of God was born, did 

7 Exod. iii. 14. 



exist eternally, and that it is from His abiding 
nature that God the Son draws His existence 
through birth. If, then, the Son is born from 
God, you must confess that His is a birth 
of that abiding nature; not a birth of the 
pre-existing God, but a birth of Goil f r om 
God the pre-existent. 

15. But the fiery zeal of this heresy is such 
that it cannot restrain itself from passionate 
outbreak. In its effort to prove, in conformity 
with its assertion that He did not exist before 
He was born, that the Son was born from 
the non-existent, that is, that He was not 
born from God the Father to be God the 
Son by a true and perfect birth, it winds 
up its confession by rising in rage and hatred 
to the highest pitch of possible blasphemy : — 
" As to such phrases as from Him, and from 
the womb, and / went out from the Father and 
am come, if they be understood to denote that 
the Father extends a part, and, as it were, 
a development of that one substance, then 
the Father will be of a compound nature and 
divisible and changeable and corporeal, ac- 
cording to them ; and thus, as far as their 
words go, the incorporeal God will be sub- 
jected to the properties of matter." The de- 
fence of the true faith against the falsehoods 
of heresy would indeed be a task of toil and 
difficulty, if it were needful for us to follow 
the processes of thought as far as they have 
plunged into the depths of godlessness. Hap- 
pily for our purpose it is shallowness of thought 
that has engendered their eagerness to blas- 
pheme. And hence, while it is easy to refute 
the folly, it is difficult to amend the fool, 
for he will neither think out right conclusions 
for himself, nor accept them when offered by 
another. Yet I trust that they who in pious 
ignorance, not in wilful folly bred of self- 
conceit, are enchained by error, will welcome 
correction. For our demonstration of the 
truth will afford convincing proof that heresy 
is nothing else than folly. 

1 6. You said in your unreason, and you 
are still repeating to-day, ignorant that your 
wisdom is a defiance of God, "As to such 
phrases as from Him, and from the womb, and 
I went out from the Father and am come, 1 ' I ask 
you, Are these phrases, or are they not, words 
of God ? They certainly are His ; and, since 
they are spoken by God about Himself, we 
are bound to accept them exactly as they were 
spoken. Concerning the phrases themselves, 
and the precise force of each, we shall speak 
in the proper place For the present I will 
only put this question to the intelligence of 
every reader ; When we see From Himself, 
are we to take it as equivalent to " From 
some one else," or to "From nothing," or are 

we to accept it as the truth ? It is not " From 
some one else," for it is From Himself; that is, 
His Godhead has no other source than God. 
It is not " From nothing," for it is From Him- 
self ; a declaration of the nature from which 
His birth is. It is not " Himself," but From 
Himself ; a statement that They are related 
as Father and Son. And next, when the 
revelation From the womb is made, I ask 
whether we can possibly believe that He is 
born from nothing, when the truth of His 
birth is clearly indicated in terms borrowed 
from bodily functions. It is not because He 
has bodily members, that God records the 
generation of the Son in the words, I bore 
Thee from the womb before the morning star 8 . 
He uses language which assists our under- 
standing to assure us that His Only-begotten 
Son was ineffably born of His own true God- 
head. His purpose is to educate the faculties 
of men up to the knowledge of the faith, by 
clothing Divine verities in words descriptive 
of human circumstances. Thus, when He says, 
From the womb, He is teaching us that His 
Only-begotten was, in the Divine sense, born, 
and did not come into existence by means 
of creation out of nothing. And lastly, when 
the Son said, / went forth from the Father 
and am come, did He leave it doubtful whe- 
ther His Divinity were, or were not, derived 
from the Father? He went out from the 
Father; that is, He had a birth, and the 
Father, and no other, gave Him that birth. 
He bears witness that He, from Whom He 
declares that He came forth, is the Author 
of His being. The proof and interpretation 
of all this shall be given hereafter. 

17. But meanwhile let us see what ground 
these men have for the confidence with which 
they forbid us to accept as true the utterances 
of God concerning Himself; utterances, the 
authenticity of which they do not deny. What 
more grievous insult could be flung by human 
folly and insolence at God's self-revelation, 
than a condemnation of it, shewn in cor- 
rection ? For not even doubt and criticism will 
satisfy them. What more grievous than this 
profane handling and disputing of the nature 
and power of God ? Than the presumption of 
saying that, if the Son is from God, then God 
is changeable and corporeal, since He has 
extended or developed a part of Himself to be 
His Son ? Whence this anxiety to prove the 
immutability of God ? We confess the birth, 
we proclaim the Only-begotten, for so God 
has taught us. You, in order to banish the 
birth and the Only-begotten from the faith of 
the Church, confront us with an unchangeable 

8 Psalm cue. (ex.) 3. 



God, incapable, by His nature, of extension or 
development. I could bring forward instances 
of birth, even in natures belonging to this 
world, which would refute this wretched de- 
lusion that every birth must be an extension. 
And I could save you from the error that 
a being can come into existence only at the 
cost of loss to that which begets it, for there 
are many examples of life transmitted, without 
bodily intercourse, from one living creature to 
another. But it would be impious to deal in 
evidences, when God has spoken ; and the 
utmost excess of madness to deny His au- 
thority to give us a faith, when our worship is 
a confession that He alone can give us life. 
For if life comes through Him alone, must not 
He be the Author of the faith which is the 
condition of that life ? And if we hold Him an 
untrustworthy witness concerning Himself, how 
can we be sure of the life which is His gift ? 

1 8. For you attribute, most godless of here- 
tics, the birth of the Son to an act of creative 
will ; you say that He is not born from God, 
but that He was created and came into ex- 
istence by the choice of the Creator. And the 
unity of the Godhead, as you interpret it, will 
not allow Him to be God, for, since God 
remains One, the Son cannot retain His ori- 
ginal nature in that state into which He has 
been born. He has been endowed, through 
creation, you say, with a substance different 
from the Divine, although, being in a sense the 
Only-begotten, He is superior to God's other 
creatures and works. You say that He was 
raised up, that He in His turn might perform 
the task committed to Him of raising up the 
created world ; but that His birth did not 
confer upon Him the Divine nature. He was 
born, according to you, in the sense that He 
came into existence out of nothing. You call 
Him a Son, not because He was born from 
God, but because He was created by God. 
For you call to mind that God has deemed 
even holy men worthy of this title, and you 
consider that it is assigned to the Son in 
exactly the same sense in which the words, 
/ have said, Ye are Gods, and all of you sons 
oj the Most High 9, were spoken ; that is, that 
He bears the name through the Giver's con- 
descension, and not by right of nature. Thus, 
in your eyes, He is Son by adoption, God by 
gift of the title, Only-begotten by favour, First- 
born in date, in every sense a creature, in no 
sense God. For you hold that His generation 
was not a birth from God, in the natural sense, 
but the beginning of the life of a created sub- 

19. And now, Almighty God, I first must 

9 Psalm lxxxi. (lxxxii.) 6. 

pray Thee to forgive my excess of indignation, 
and permit me to address Thee ; and next to 
grant me, dust and ashes as I am, yet bound in 
loyal devotion to Thyself, freedom of utter- 
ance in this debate. There was a time when 
I, poor wretch, was not; before my life and 
consciousness and personality began to exist. 
It is to Thy mercy that I owe my life ; and 
I doubt not that Thou, in Thy goodness, didst 
give me my birth for my good, for Thou, Who 
hast no need of me, wouldst never have mrde 
the beginning of my life the beginning of evil. 
And then, when Thou hadst breathed into me 
the breath of life and endowed me with the 
power of thought, Thou didst instruct me in 
the knowledge of Thyself, by means of the 
sacred volumes given us through Thy servants 
Moses and the prophets. From them I learnt 
Thy revelation, that we must not worship Thee 
as a lonely God. For their pages taught me 
of God, not different from Thee in nature but 
One with Thee in mysterious unity of sub- 
stance. I learnt that Thou art God in God, 
by no mingling or confusion but by Thy very 
nature, since the Divinity which is Thyself 
dwells in Him Who is from Thee. But the 
true doctrine of the perfect birth revealed that 
Thou, the Indwelt, and Thou, the Indweller, 
are not One Person, yet that Thou dost dwell 
in Him Who is from Thee. And the voices of 
Evangelists and Apostles repeat the lesson, 
and the very words which fell from the holy 
mouth of Thy Only-begotten are recorded, 
telling how Thy Son, God the Only-begotten 
from Thee the Unbegotten God, was born of 
the Virgin as man to fulfil the mystery of my 
salvation ; how Thou dwellest in Him, by 
virtue of His true generation from Thyself, 
and He in Thee, because of the nature given 
in His abiding birth from Thee. 

20. What is this hopeless quagmire of error 
into which Thou hast plunged me ? For I 
have learnt all this and have come to believe 
it ; this faith is so ingrained into my mind that 
I have neither the power nor the wish to 
change it. Why this deception of an unhappy 
man, this ruin of a poor wretch in body and 
soul, by deluding him with falsehoods con- 
cerning Thyself? After the Red Sea had been 
divided, the splendour on the face of Moses, 
descending from the Mount, deceived me. 
He had gazed, in Thy presence, upon all the 
mysteries of heaven, and I believed his vv<. rds, 
dictated by Thee, concerning Thyself. And 
David, the man that was found after Thine 
own heart, has betrayed me to destruction, and 
Solomon, who was thought worthy of the gift of 
Divine Wisdom, and Isaiah, who saw the Lord 
of Sabaoth and prophesied, and Jeremiah con- 
secrated in the womb, before he was fashioned, 



to be the prophet of nations to be rooted out 
and planted in, and Ezekiel, the witness of the 
mystery of the Resurrection, and Daniel, the 
man beloved, who had knowledge of times, 
and all the hallowed band of the Prophets ; 
and Matthew also, chosen to proclaim the 
whole mystery • of the Gospel, first a publican, 
then an Apostle, and John, the Lord's familiar 
friend, and therefore worthy to reveal the 
deepest secrets of heaven, and blessed Simon, 
who after his confession of the mystery was 
set to be the foundation-stone of the Church, 
and received the keys of the kingdom of 
heaven, and all his companions who spoke by 
the Holy Ghost, and Paul, the chosen vessel, 
changed from persecutor into Apostle, who, as 
a living man, abode under the deep sea 2 and 
ascended into the third heaven, who was in 
Paradise before his martyrdom, whose martyr- 
dom was the perfect offering of a flawless faith; 
all have deceived me. 

2i. These are the men who have taught 
me the doctrines which I hold, and so deeply 
am I impregnated with their teaching that no 
antidote can release me from their influence. 
Forgive me, O God Almighty, my powerless- 
ness to change, my willingness to die in this 
belief. These propagators of blasphemy, for 
so they seem to me, are a product of these 
last times, too modern to avail me. It is too 
late for them to correct the faith which I re- 
ceived from Thee. Before I had ever heard 
«lheir names, I had put my trust in Thee, 
had received regeneration from Thee and be- 
come Thine, as still I am. I know that Thou 
art omnipotent ; I look not that Thou 
shouldst reveal to me the mystery of that 
ineffable birth which is secret between Thyself 
and Thy Only-begotten. Nothing is impos- 
sible with Thee, and I doubt not that in 
begetting Thy Son Thou didst exert Thy 
full omnipotence. To doubt it would be to 
deny that Thou art omnipotent. For my own 
birth teaches' me that Thou art good, and 
therefore I am sure that in the birth of Thine 
Only-begotten Thou didst grudge Him no 
good gift. I believe that all that is Thine 
is His, and all that is His is Thine. The 
creation of the world is sufficient evidence 
to me that Thou art wise ; and I am sure 
that Thy Wisdom, Who is like Thee, must 
have been begotten from Thyself. And Thou 
art One God, in very truth, in my eyes ; I 
will never believe that in Him, Who is God 
from Thee, there is ought that is not Thine. 
Judge me in Him, if it be sin in me that, 
through Thy Son, I have trusted too well in 
Law and Prophets and Apostles. 

1 Reading et adomnc. 

2 Cf. 2 Cor. xi. 25. 

22. But this wild talk must cease; the 
rhetoric of exposing heretical folly must give 
place to the drudgery of framing arguments. 
So, I trust, those among them who are cap- 
able of being saved will set their faces towards 
the true faith taught by the Evangelists and 
Apostles, and recognise Him Who is the true 
Son of God, not by adoption but by nature. 
For the plan of our reply must be that of 
first proving that He is the Son of God, 
and therefore fully endowed with that Divine 
nature in the possession of which His Sonship 
consists. For the chief aim of the heresy, 
which we are considering, is to deny that our 
Lord Jesus Christ is true God and truly the 
Son of God. Many evidences assure us that 
our Lord Jesus Christ is, and is revealed to 
be, God the Only-begotten, truly the Son of 
God. His Father bears witness to it, He 
Himself asserts it, the Apostles proclaim it, 
the faithful believe it, devils confess it, Jews 
deny it, the heathen at His passion recognised 
it. The name of God is given Him in the 
right of absolute ownership, not because He 
has been admitted to joint use with others 
of the title. Every work and word of Christ 
transcends the power of those who bear the 
title of sons ; the foremost lesson that we 
learn from all that is most prominent in His 
life is that He is the Son of God, and that 
He does not hold the name of Son as a title 
shared with a widespread company of friends. 

23. I will not weaken the evidence for this 
truth by intermixing words of my own. Let 
us hear the Father, when the baptism of Jesus 
Christ was accomplished, speaking, as often, 
concerning His Only-begotten, in order to 
save us from being misled by His visible body 
into a failure to recognise Him as the Son. 
His words are : — This is My beloved Son, in 
Whom I am well pleased*. Is the truth pre- 
sented here with dim outlines? Is the pro- 
clamation made in uncertain tones ? The 
promise of the Virgin birth brought by the 
angel from the Holy Ghost, the guiding star 
of the Magi, the reverence paid Him in His 
cradle, the majesty, attested by the Baptist, 
of Him Who condescended to be baptized; 
all these are deemed an insufficient witness 
to His glory. The Father Himself speaks 
from heaven, and His words are, This is My 
Son. What means this evidence, not of titles, 
but of pronouns? Titles may be appended to 
names at will ; pronouns are a sure indication 
of the persons to whom they refer. And 
here we have, in This and My, the clearest 
of indications. Mark the true meaning and 
the purpose of the words. You have lead, 

3 St. Matt. iii. 17. 



I have begotten sons, and have raised them 
up*; but you did not read there My sons, 
for He had begotten Himself those sons by 
division among the Gentiles, and from the 
people of His inheritance. And lest we should 
suppose that the name Son was given as 
an additional title to God the Only-begotten, 
to signify His share by adoption in some joint 
heritage, His true nature is expressed by the 
pronoun which gives the indubitable sense 
of ownership. I will allow you to interpret the 
word Son, if you will, as signifying that Christ 
is one of a number, if you can furnish an 
instance where it is said of another of that 
number, This is My Son. If, on the other 
hand, This is My Son be His peculiar de- 
signation, why accuse the Father, when He 
asserts His ownership, of making an unfounded 
claim ? When He says This is My Son, may 
we not paraphrase His meaning thus : — " He 
has given to others the title of sons, but 
He Himself is My own Son ; I have given 
the name to multitudes by adoption, but this 
Son is My very own. Seek not for another, 
lest you lose your faith that This is He. 
By gesture and by voice, by This, and My, 
and Son, I declare Him to you." And now 
what reasonable excuse remains for lack of 
faith ? This, and nothing less than this, it 
was that the Father's voice proclaimed. He 
willed that we should not be left in ignorance 
of the nature of Him Who came to be 
baptized, that He might fulfil all righteous- 
ness ; that by the voice of God we might 
recognise as the Son of God Him Who was 
visible as Man, to accomplish the mystery of 
our salvation. 

24. And again, because the life of believers 
was involved in the confession of this faith, — 
for there is no other way to eternal life than 
the assurance that Jesus Christ, God the Only- 
begotten, is the Son of God — the Apostles 
heard once more the voice from heaven repeat- 
ing the same message, in order to strengthen 
this life-giving belief, in negation of which is 
death. When the Lord, apparelled in splen- 
dour, was sianding upon the Mountain, with 
Moses and Elias at His side, and the three 
Pillars of the churches who had been chosen 
as witnesses to the truth of the vision and the 
voice, the Father spoke thus from heaven : — 
This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well 
pleased ; hear Him s. The glory which they 
saw was not sufficient attestation of His 
majesty ; the voice proclaims, This is My Son. 
The Apostles cannot face the glory of God ; 
mortal eyes grow dim in its presence. The 
trust of Beter and James and John fails them, 

4 Isai. 1. 2. 

5 St. Matt. xvii. 5. 

and they are prostrate in fear. But this solemn 
declaration, spoken from the Father's know- 
ledge, comes to their relief; He is revealed 
as His Father's own true Son. And over and 
above the witness of This and My to His 
true Sonship, the words are uttered, Hear 
Him. It is the witness of the Father from 
heaven, in confirmation of the witness borne 
by the Son on earth ; for we are bidden to 
hear Him. Though this recognition by the 
Father of the Son removes all doubt, yet we 
are bidden also to accept the Son's self- 
revelation. When the Father's voice com- 
mands us to shew our obedience by hearing 
Him, we are ordered to repose an absolute 
confidence in the words of the Son. Since, 
therefore, the Father has manifested His will 
in this message to us to hear the Son, let 
us hear what it is that the Son has told us 
concerning Himself. 

25. I can conceive of no man so destitute 
of ordinary reason as to recognise in each of 
the Gospels confessions by the Son of the 
humiliation to which He has submitted in 
taking a body upon Him, — as for instance His 
words, often repeated, Father, glorify Me 6 , and 
Ye shall see the Son of Man ?, and The Father 
is greater than 7 8 , and, more strongly, Now 
is Aly soul troubled exceedingly 9, and even this, 
My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me^ ? 
and many more, of which I shall speak in due 
time, — and yet, in the face of these constant 
expressions of His humility, to charge Him 
with presumption because He calls God His 
Father, as when He says, Every plant, which 
my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be 
rooted up 1 , or, Ye have made my Father's house 
an house of merchandise 2 . I can conceive of 
no one foolish enough to regard His assertion, 
consistently made, that God is His Father, 
not as the simple truth sincerely stated from 
certain knowledge, but as a bold and baseless 
claim. We cannot denounce this constantly 
professed humility as an insolent demand for 
the rights of another, a laying of hands on what 
is not His own, an appropriation of powers 
which only God can wield. Nor, when He 
calls Himself the Son, as in, For God sent not 
His Son into this world to condemn the zvorld, 
but that the world through Him might be saved '3, 
and in, Dost thou believe on the Son of God*? 
can we accuse Him of what would be an equal 
presumption with that of calling God His 
Father. But what else is it than such an 
accusation, if we allow to Jesus Christ the 
name of Son by adoption only ? Do we not 

6 St. John xvii. 5 ; cf. xiii. 32, xvi. 14, xvii. 1. 

7 St. Matt. xxvi. 64. 8 St. John xiv. 28. 9 lb. xii 27. 
9* St. Matt, xxvii. 46. » lb. xv. 13.  St. John ii. 16. 
3 lb. iii. 17. 4 lb. ix. 35. 



charge Him, when He calls God His Father, 
with daring to make a baseless claim? The 
Father's voice from heaven says Hear Him. 
I hear Him saying, Father, I thank Thee*, and 
Say ye that I blasphemed, because I said, I am 
the Son of God 6 ? If I may not believe these 
names, and assume that they mean what they 
assert, how am I to trust and to understand ? 
No hint is given of an alternative meaning. 
The Father bears witness from heaven, This 
is My Son; the Son on His part speaks of 
My Father's house, and My Father. The 
confession of that name gives salvation, 
when faith is demanded in the question, 
Dost thou believe on the Son of God? The 
pronoun My indicates that the noun which 
follows belongs to the speaker. What right, 
I demand, have you heretics to suppose it 
otherwise ? You contradict the Father's word, 
the Son's assertion ; you empty language of 
its meaning, and distort the words of God into 
a sense they cannot bear. On you alone rests 
the guilt of this shameless blasphemy, that 
God has lied concerning Himself. 

26. And thus, although nothing but a sin- 
cere belief that these names are truly sig- 
nificant, — that, when we read, This is My Son 
and My Father, the words really indicate 
Persons of Whom, and to Whom, they were 
spoken — can make them intelligible, yet, lest 
it be supposed that Son and Father are titles, 
the one merely of adoption, the other merely 
of dignity, let us see what are the attributes 
attached, by the Son Himself, to His name 
of Son. He says, All things are delivered Me 
of My Father, and no one knoweth the Son 
but the Father, neither knoweth any the Father 
save the Son, and he to Whom the Son zvill 
reveal Him ?. Are the words of which we are 
speaking, This is My Son and My Father, 
consistent, or are they not, with No one knoiv- 
eth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth 
any the F~ather save the Son ? For it is only 
by witness mutually borne that the Son can 
be known through the Father, and the Father 
through the Son. We hear the voice from 
heaven ; we hear also the words of the Son. 
We have as little excuse for not knowing the 
Son, as we have for not knowing the Father. 
All things are delivered unto Him ; from this 
All there is no exception. If They possess 
ar. equal might ; if They share an equal 
mutual knowledge, hidden from us ; if these 
names of Father and Son express the relation 
between Them, then, I demand, are They not 
in truth what They are in name, wielders of 
the same omnipotence, shrouded in the same 

S St. John xi. 41. « lb. x. 36. 

7 St. Matt. xi. 27. 

impenetrable mystery? God does not speak 
in order to deceive. The Fatherhood of the 
Father, the Sonship of the Son, are literal 
truths. And now learn how facts bear out 
the verities which these names reveal. 

27. The Son speaks thus: — For the works 
which the Father hath given Me to finish, the 
same works which J do, bear witness of Me 
that the Father hath sent Me ; and the Father 
Himself which hath sent Me hath borne witness 
of Me % . God the Only-begotten proves His 
Sonship by an appeal not only to the name, 
but to the power ; the works which He does 
are evidence that He has been sent by the 
Father. What, I ask, is the fact which these 
works prove? That He was sent. That He 
was sent, is used as a proof of His sonlike 
obedience and of His Father's authority : 
for the works which He does could not 
possibly be done by any other than Him 
Who is sent by the Father. Yet the evidence 
of His works fails to convince the unbelieving 
that the Father sent Him. For He proceeds, 
And the Father Himself which hath sent Me 
hath borne witness of Ale ; and ye have neither 
heard His voice nor seen His shape*. What 
was this witness of the Father concerning 
Him ? Turn over the pages of the Gospels 
and review their contents. Read us other of 
the attestations given by the Father beside 
those which we have heard already ; This is 
My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased, 
and Thou art My Son. John, who heard 
these words, needed them not, for He knew 
the truth already. It was for our instruction 
that the Father spoke. But this is not all. 
John in the wilderness was honoured with 
this revelation ; the Apostles were not to be 
denied the same assurance. It came to them 
in the very same words, but with an addition 
which John did not receive. He had been 
a prophet from the womb, and needed not 
the commandment, Hear Him. Yes ; I will 
hear Him, and will hear none but Him and 
His Apostle, who heard for my instruction. 
Even though the books contained no further 
witness, borne by the Father to the Son, than 
that He is the Son, I have, for confirmation of 
the truth, the evidence of His Father's works 
which He does. What is this modern slander 
that His name is a gift by adoption, His 
Godhead a lie, His titles a pretence? We 
have the Father's witness to His Sonship ; 
by works, equal to the Father's, the Son bears 
witness to His own equality with the Father. 
Why such blindness to His obvious possession 
of the true Sonship which He both claims and 
displays. It is not through condescending 

8 St. John v. 36, 37. 

9 lb. v. 37. 



kindness on the part of God the Father that 
Christ bears the name of Son ; not by holiness 
that He has earned the title, as many have won 
it by enduring hardness in confession of the 
faith. Such sonship is not of right ; it is 
by a favour, worthy of Himself, that God 
bestows the title. But that which is indicated 
by This, and My, and Hear Him, is different 
in kind from the other. It is the true and 
real and genuine Sonship. 

28. And indeed the Son never makes for 
Himself a lower claim than is contained in 
this designation, given Him by His Father. 
The Father's words, This is My Son, reveal 
His nature ; those which follow, Hear Him, 
are a summons to us to listen to the mystery 
and the faith which He came down from 
heaven to bring ; to learn that, if we would 
be saved, our confession must be a copy of 
His teaching. And in like manner the Son 
Himself teaches us, in words of His own, 
that He was truly born and truly came ; — 
Ye neither knozv Me, nor knozu ye whence I 
am, for I am not come of Myself but He that 
sent Me is true, Whom ye know not, but I know 
Him, for I am from Him, and He hath sent 
Me^. No man knows the Father; the Son 
often assures us of this. The reason why 
He says that none knows Him but Himself, 
is that He is from the Father. Is it, I ask, 
as the result of an act of creation, or of a 
genuine birth, that He is from Him? If it 
be an act of creation, then all created things 
are from God. How then is it that none 
of them know the Father, when the Son says 
that the reason why He has this knowledge 
is that He is from Him ? If He be created, 
not born, we shall observe in Him a resem- 
blance to other beings who are from God. 
Since all, on this supposition, are from God, 
why is He not as ignorant of the Father as 
are the others? But if this knowledge of the 
Father be peculiar to Him, Who is from the 
Father, must not this circumstance also, that 
He is from the Father, be peculiar to Him ? 
That is, must He not be the true Son born 
from the nature of God ? For the reason why 
He alone knows God is that He alone is 
from God. You observe, then, a knowledge, 
which is peculiar to Himself, resulting from 
a birth which also is peculiar to Himself. 
You recognise that it is not by an act of 
creative power, but through a true birth, that 
He is from the Father ; and that this is why 
He alone knows the Father, Who is unknown 
to all other beings which are from Him. 

29. But He immediately adds, For I am 
from Him, and He hath sent Me, to debar 

9» St. John vii. 28, 29 

heresy from the violent assumption that His 
being from God dates from the time of His 
Advent. The Gospel revelation of the my stery 
proceeds in a logical sequence ; first He is 
born, then He is sent. Similarly, in the 
previous declaration, we were told of ignor- 
ance T , first as to Who He is, and then as 
to whence He is. For the words, I am from 
Him, and He hath sent Me, contain two 
separate statements, as also do the words, 
Ye neither know Me, nor knozv ye whence I am. 
Every man is born in the flesh ; yet does not 
universal consciousness make every man spring 
from God ? How then can Christ assert that 
either He, or the source of His being, is 
unknown ? He can only do so by assigning 
His immediate parentage to the ultimate 
Author of existence; and, when He has done 
this, He can demonstrate their ignorance of 
God by their ignorance of the fact that He 
is the Son of God. Let the victims of this 
wretched delusion reflect upon the words, 
Ye neither know Me, nor know ye whence I am. 
All things, they argue, are from nothing ; they 
allow of no exception. They even dare to 
misrepresent God the Only-begotten as sprung 
from nothing. How can we explain this ig- 
norance of Christ, and of the origin of Christ, 
on the part of the blasphemers ? The very 
fact that, as the Scripture says, they know not 
whence He is, is an indication of that un- 
knowable origin from which He springs. If 
we can say of a thing that it came into ex- 
istence out of nothing, then we are not ignor- 
ant of its origin ; we know that it was made 
out of nothing, and this is a piece of definite 
knowledge. Now He Who came is not the 
Author of His own being; but He Who sent 
Him is true, Whom the blasphemers know 
not. He it was Who sent Him ; and they 
know not that He was the Sender. Thus the 
Sent is from the Sender ; from Him Whom 
they know not as His Author. The reason 
why they know not Who Christ is, is that 
they know not from Whom He is. None can 
confess the Son who denies that He was born ; 
none can understand that He was born who 
has formed the opinion that He is from no- 
thing. And indeed He is so far from being 
made out of nothing, that the heretics cannot 
tell whence He is. 

30. They are blankly ignorant who separate 
the Divine name from the Divine nature;' 
ignorant, and content to be ignorant. But 
let them listen to the reproof which the Son 
inflicts upon unbelievers for their want of this 
knowledge, when the Jews said that God was 
their Father : — Jf God were your Father, ye 

1 Reading nesciretur ; cf. St. John vii. 28 in § 28. 



would surely love Me; for I went forth from 
God, and am come ; neither am I come of 
Myself but He sent Me 2 . The Son of God 
has here no word of blame for the devout 
confidence of those who combine the confes- 
sion that He is true God, the Son of God, 
with their own claim to be God's sons. What 
He is blaming is the insolence of the Jews 
in daring to claim God as their Father, when 
meanwhile they did not love Him, the Son : — 
If God were your Father, ye would surely love 
Me; for I went forth from God. All, who 
have God for their Father through faith, have 
Him for Father through that same faith where- 
by we confess that Jesus Ghrist is the Son 
of God. But to confess that He is the Son 
in a sense which covers the whole company 
of saints; to say, in effect, that He is one 
of the sons of God ; — what faith is there in 
that? Are not all the rest, feeble created 
beings though they be, in that sense sons? 
In what does the eminence of a faith, which 
has confessed that Jesus Christ is the Son 
of God, consist, if He, as one of a multitude 
of sons, have the name only, and not the 
nature, of the Son? This unbelief has no 
love for Christ ; it is a mockery of the faith 
for these perverters of the truth to claim God 
as their Father. If He were their Father, 
they would love Christ because He had gone 
forth from God. And now I must enquire 
the meaning of this going forth from God. 
His going forth is obviously different from 
His coming, for the two are mentioned side 
by side in this passage, / went forth from God 
and am come. In order to elucidate the 
separate meanings of I went forth from God 
and / am come, He immediately subjoins, 
Neither am J come of Myself, but He sent Me. 
He tells us that He is not the source of His 
own existence in the words, Neither am I come 
of Myself. In them He tells us that He has 
proceeded forth a second time from God 3 , 
and has been sent by Him. But when He 
tells us that they who call God their Father 
must love Himself because He has gone fordi 
from God, He makes His birth the reason 
for their love. Went forth carries back our 
thoughts to the incorporeal birth, for it is 
by love of Christ, Who was born from Him, 
that we must gain the right of devoutly claim- 
ing God for our Father. For when the Son 
says, He that hateth Ale hateth My Father also*, 
this My is the assertion of a relation to the 
Father which is shared by none. On the 
other hand, He condemns the man who 
claims God as his Father, and loves not the 

3 St. John viii. 4a. 3 i.e. in the Incarnation. 

•> St. John xv. 23. 

Son, as using a wrongful liberty with the 
Father's name ; since he who hates Him, 
the Son, must hate the Father also, and none 
can be devoted to the Father save those who 
love the Son. For the one and only reason 
which He gives for loving the Son is His ori- 
gin from the Father. The Son, therefore, is 
from the Father, not by His Advent, but by 
His birth s ; and love for the Father is only 
possible to those who believe that the Son 
is from Him. 

31. To this the Lord's words bear wit- 
ness ; — / will not say unto you that I will 
pray the Father for you, for the Father Himself 
loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and be- 
lieve that I went forth from God, and am come 
from the Father into this world 6 . A complete 
faith concerning the Son, which accepts and 
loves the truth that He went forth from God, 
has access to the Father without need of His 
intervention. The confession that the Son 
was born and sent from God wins for it direct 
audience and love from Him. Thus the nar- 
rative of His birth and coming must be taken 
in the strictest and most literal sense. / went 
forth from God, He says, conveying that His 
nature is exactly that which was given Him 
by His birth ; for what being but God could 
go forth from God, that is, could enter upon 
existence by birth from Him? Then He con- 
tinues, And am come from the Father into this 
world. To assure us that this going forth 
from God means birth from the Father, He 
tells us that He came from the Father into 
this world. The latter statement refers to 
His incarnation, the former to His nature. 
And again, His putting on record first the 
fact of His going forth from God, and then 
His coming from the Father, forbids us to 
identify the going with the coming. Coming 
from the Father, and going forth from God, 
are not synonymous ; they might be para- 
phrased as ' Birth ' and ' Presence,' and are 
as different in meaning as these. It is one 
thing to have gone forth from God, and en- 
tered by birth upon a substantial existence; 
another to have come from the Father into 
this world to accomplish the mysteries of our 

32. In the order of our defence, as I have 
arranged it in my mind, this has seemed the 
most convenient place for proving that, thirdly ?, 
the Apostles believed our Lord Jesus Christ 
to be the Son of God, not merely in name 
but in nature, not by adoption but by birth. 

5 Nativitas here, as normally in Hilary, means the eternal 

6 St. John xvi. 26—28. 

7 Firstly, the Father's witness is given in §§ 23 — 27; secondly, 
he Son's, §§ 28 — 31 ; thirdly, that of the Apostles, §§ 32 — 46. 



It is true that there remain unmentioned many 
and most weighty words of God the Only- 
begotten concerning Himself, in which the 
truth of His Divine birth is set so clearly 
forth as to silence any whisper of objection. 
Yet since it would be unwise to burden the 
reader's mind with an accumulation of evi- 
dence, and ample proof has been already 
given of the genuineness of His birth, I will 
hold back the remainder of His utterances 
till later stages of our enquiry. For we have 
so arranged the course of our argument that 
now, after hearing the Father's witness and 
the Son's self-revelation, we are to be in- 
structed by the Apostles' faith in the true 
and, as we must confess, the truly born Son 
of God. We must see whether they could 
find in the words of the Lord, / went forth 
front God, any other meaning than this, that 
there was in Him a birth of the Divine nature. 
33. After many dark sayings, spoken in 
parables by Him Whom they already knew 
as the Christ foretold by Moses and the Pro- 
phets, Whom Nathanael had confessed as the 
Son of God and King of Israel, Who had 
Himself reproached Philip, in his question 
about the Father, for not perceiving, by the 
works which He did, that the Father was in 
Him and He in the Father; after He had 
already often taught them that He was sent 
from the Father ; still, it was not till they had 
heard Him assert that He had gone forth 
from God that they confessed, in the words 
which immediately follow in the Gospel;— 
His disciples say unto Him, Notv speakest Thou 
plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now there- 
fore we are sure that Thou knoivest all things, 
and needest not that any man should ask Thee ; 
by this we believe that Thou wentest forth from 
God 8 . What was there so marvellous in this 
form of words, Went forth from God, which 
He had used? Had ye seen, O holy and 
blessed men, who for the reward of your faith 
have received the keys of the kingdom of 
heaven and power to bind and to loose in 
heaven and earth, works so great, so truly 
Divine, wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Son of God ; and do ye yet profess that 
it was not until He had first told you that 
He had gone forth from God that ye attained 
the knowledge of the truth ? And yet ye had 
seen water at the marriage turned into the 
marriage wine ; one nature becoming another 
nature, whether it were by change, or by de- 
velopment, or by creation. And your hands 
had broken up the five loaves into a meal 
for that great multitude, and when all were 
satisfied ye had found that twelve baskets 

8 St. John xvi. 29, 30. 

were needed to contain the fragments of the 
loaves ; a small quantity of matter, in the 
process of relieving hunger, had multiplied 
into a great quantity of matter of the same 
nature. And ye had seen withered hands 
recover their suppleness, the tongues of dumb 
men loosened into speech, the feet of the 
lame made swift to run, the eyes of the blind 
endowed with vision, and life restored to the 
dead. Lazarus, who stank already, had risen 
to his feet at a word. He was summoned 
from the tomb and instantly came forth, 
without a pause between the word and its 
fulfilment. He was standing before you, a 
living man, while yet the air was carrying the 
odour of death to your nostrils. I speak not 
of other exertions of His mighty, His Divine 
powers. And is it, in spite of all this, only 
after ye heard Him say, I went forth from God, 
that ye understood Who He is that had been 
sent from heaven ? Is this the first time that 
the truth had been told you without a proverb ? 
The first time that the powers of His nature 
made it manifest to you that He went forth 
from God? And this in spite of His silent 
scrutiny of the purposes of your will, of His 
needing not to ask you concerning anything 
as though He were ignorant, of His universal 
knowledge ? For all these things, done in the 
power and in the nature of God, are evidence 
that He must have gone forth from God. 

34. By this the holy Apostles did not un- 
derstand that He had gone forth, in the sense 
of having been sent, from God. For they had 
often heard Him confess, in His earlier dis- 
courses, that He was sent ; but what they hear 
now is the express statement that He had 
gone forth from God. This opens their eyes 
to perceive from His works His Divine nature. 
The fact that He had gone forth from God 
makes clear to them His true Divinity, and 
so they say, Now therefore we are sure that 
Thou knoivest all things, and needest not that 
any man should ask Thee ; by this we believe 
that Thou wentest forth from God. The reason 
why they believe that He went forth from 
God is that He both can, and does, perform 
the works of God. Their perfect assurance 
of His Divine nature is the result of their 
knowledge, not that He is come from God, 
but that He did go forth from God. Accord- 
ingly we find that it is this truth, now heard 
for the first time, which clenches their faith. 
The Lord had made two statements; I went 
forth from God, and /am come from the Father 
into this world. One of these, / am come 
from the Father into this world, they had often 
heard, and it awakens no surprise. But their 
reply makes it manifest that they now believe 
and understand the other, that is, / went forth 



from God. Their answer, By this we believe 
that Thou iventcst forth from God, is a response 
to it, and to it only ; they do not add, ' And 
art come from the Father into this world.' 
The one statement is welcomed with a de- 
claration of faith ; the other is passed over 
in silence. The confession was wrung from 
them by the sudden presentation of a new 
truth, which convinced their reason and con- 
strained them to avow their certainty. They 
knew already that He, like God, could do all 
things ; but His birth, which accounted for 
that omnipotence, had not been revealed. 
They knew that He had been sent from God, 
but they knew not that He had gone forth 
from God. Now at last, taught by this utter- 
ance to understand the ineffable and perfect 
birth of the Son, they confess that He had 
spoken to them without a proverb. 

35. For God is not born from God by the 
ordinary process of a human childbirth ; this 
is no case of one being issuing from another 
by the exertion of natural forces. That birth 
is pure and perfect and stainless ; indeed, we 
must call it rather a proceeding forth than 
a birth. For it is One from One; no par- 
tition, or withdrawing, or lessening, or efflux, 
or extension, or suffering of change, but the 
birth of living nature from living nature. It 
is God going forth from God, not a creature 
picked out to bear the name of God. His 
existence did not take its beginning out of 
nothing, but went forth from the Eternal ; and 
this going forth is rightly entitled a birth, 
though it would be false to call it a beginning. 
For the proceeding forth of God from God 
is a thing entirely different from the coming 
into existence of a new substance. And though 
our apprehension of this truth, which is in- 
effable, cannot be defined in words, yet the 
teaching of the Son, as He reveals to us that 
He went forth from God, imparts to it the 
certainty of an assured faith. 

36. A belief that the Son of God is Son 
in name only, and not in nature, is not the 
faith of the Gospels and of the Apostles. 
If this be a mere title, to which adoption 
is His only claim ; if He be not the Son 
in virtue of having proceeded forth from God, 
whence, I ask, was it that the blessed Simon 
Bar-Jona confessed to Him, Thou art the