Against Praxeas by Tertullian
Chapter XXI.--In This and the Four Following Chapters It is Shewn, by a Minute Analysis of St. John's Gospel, that the Father and Son are Constantly Spoken of as Distinct Persons.
Consider, therefore, how many passages present their prescriptive authority to you in this very Gospel before this inquiry of Philip, and previous to any discussion on your part. And first of all there comes at once to hand the preamble of John to his Gospel, which shows us what He previously was who had to become flesh. |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 by Him, and without Him was nothing made.| Now, since these words may not be taken otherwise than as they are written, there is without doubt shown to be One who was from the beginning, and also One with whom He always was: one the Word of God, the other God (although the Word is also God, but God regarded as the Son of God, not as the Father); One through whom were all things, Another by whom were all things. But in what sense we call Him Another we have already often described. In that we called Him Another, we must needs imply that He is not identical -- not identical indeed, yet not as if separate; Other by dispensation, not by division. He, therefore, who became flesh was not the very same as He from whom the Word came. |His glory was beheld -- the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father;| not, (observe,) as of the Father. He |declared| (what was in) |the bosom of the Father alone;| the Father did not divulge the secrets of His own bosom. For this is preceded by another statement: |No man hath seen God at any time.| Then, again, when He is designated by John (the Baptist) as |the Lamb of God,| He is not described as Himself the same with Him of whom He is the beloved Son. He is, no doubt, ever the Son of God, but yet not He Himself of whom He is the Son. This (divine relationship) Nathanæl at once recognised in Him, even as Peter did on another occasion: |Thou art the Son of God.| And He affirmed Himself that they were quite right in their convictions; for He answered Nathanæl: |Because I said, I saw thee under the fig-tree, therefore dost thou believe?| And in the same manner He pronounced Peter to be |blessed,| inasmuch as |flesh and blood had not revealed it to him| -- that he had perceived the Father -- |but the Father which is in heaven.| By asserting all this, He determined the distinction which is between the two Persons: that is, the Son then on earth, whom Peter had confessed to be the Son of God; and the Father in heaven, who had revealed to Peter the discovery which he had made, that Christ was the Son of God. When He entered the temple, He called it |His Father's house,| speaking as the Son. In His address to Nicodemus He says: |So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.| And again: |For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.| Moreover, when John (the Baptist) was asked what he happened to know of Jesus, he said: |The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.| Whom, indeed, did He reveal to the woman of Samaria? Was it not |the Messias which is called Christ?| And so He showed, of course, that He was not the Father, but the Son; and elsewhere He is expressly called |the Christ, the Son of God,| and not the Father. He says, therefore,| My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work;| whilst to the Jews He remarks respecting the cure of the impotent man, |My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.| |My Father and I| -- these are the Son's words. And it was on this very account that |the Jews sought the more intently to kill Him, not only because He broke the Sabbath, but also because He said that God was His Father, thus making Himself equal with God. Then indeed did He answer and say unto them, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that He Himself doeth; and He will also show Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son also quickeneth whom He will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father, who hath sent the Son. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my words, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life. Verily I say unto you, that the hour is coming, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and when they have heard it, they shall live. For as the Father hath eternal life in Himself, so also hath He given to the Son to have eternal life in Himself; and He hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man| -- that is, according to the flesh, even as He is also the Son of God through His Spirit. Afterwards He goes on to say: |But I have greater witness than that of John; for the works which the Father hath given me to finish -- those very works bear witness of me that the Father hath sent me. And the Father Himself, which hath sent me, hath also borne witness of me.| But He at once adds, |Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape;| thus affirming that in former times it was not the Father, but the Son, who used to be seen and heard. Then He says at last: |I am come in my Father's name, and ye have not received me.| It was therefore always the Son (of whom we read) under the designation of the Almighty and Most High God, and King, and Lord. To those also who inquired |what they should do to work the works of God,| He answered, |This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.| He also declares Himself to be |the bread which the Father sent from heaven;| and adds, that |all that the Father gave Him should come to Him, and that He Himself would not reject them, because He had come down from heaven not to do His own will, but the will of the Father; and that the will of the Father was that every one who saw the Son, and believed on Him, should obtain the life (everlasting,) and the resurrection at the last day. No man indeed was able to come to Him, except the Father attracted him; whereas every one who had heard and learnt of the Father came to Him.| He goes on then expressly to say, |Not that any man hath seen the Father;| thus showing us that it was through the Word of the Father that men were instructed and taught. Then, when many departed from Him, and He turned to the apostles with the inquiry whether |they also would go away,| what was Simon Peter's answer? |To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life, and we believe that Thou art the Christ.| (Tell me now, did they believe) Him to be the Father, or the Christ of the Father?