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Against Praxeas by Tertullian

Chapter XXII.--Sundry Passages of St. John Quoted, to Show the Distinction Between the Father and the Son. Even Praxeas' Classic Text--I and My Father are One--Shown to Be Against Him.

Again, whose doctrine does He announce, at which all were astonished? Was it His own or the Father's? So, when they were in doubt among themselves whether He were the Christ (not as being the Father, of course but as the Son), He says to them |You are not ignorant whence I am; and I am not come of myself, but He that sent me is true, whom ye know not; but I know Him, because I am from Him.| He did not say, Because I myself am He; and, I have sent mine own self: but His words are, |He hath sent me.| When, likewise, the Pharisees sent men to apprehend Him, He says: |Yet a little while am I with you, and (then) I go unto Him that sent me.| When, however, He declares that He is not alone, and uses these words, |but I and the Father that sent me,| does He not show that there are Two -- Two, and yet inseparable? Indeed, this was the sum and substance of what He was teaching them, that they were inseparably Two; since, after citing the law when it affirms the truth of two men's testimony, He adds at once: |I am one who am bearing witness of myself; and the Father (is another,) who hath sent me, and beareth witness of me.| Now, if He were one -- being at once both the Son and the Father -- He certainly would not have quoted the sanction of the law, which requires not the testimony of one, but of two. Likewise, when they asked Him where His Father was, He answered them, that they had known neither Himself nor the Father; and in this answer He plainly told them of Two, whom they were ignorant of. Granted that |if they had known Him, they would have known the Father also,| this certainly does not imply that He was Himself both Father and Son; but that, by reason of the inseparability of the Two, it was impossible for one of them to be either acknowledged or unknown without the other. |He that sent me,| says He, |is true; and I am telling the world those things which I have heard of Him.| And the Scripture narrative goes on to explain in an exoteric manner, that |they understood not that He spake to them concerning the Father,| although they ought certainly to have known that the Father's words were uttered in the Son, because they read in Jeremiah, |And the Lord said to me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth;| and again in Isaiah, |The Lord hath given to me the tongue of learning that I should understand when to speak a word in season.| In accordance with which, Christ Himself says: |Then shall ye know that I am He and that I am saying nothing of my own self; but that, as my Father hath taught me, so I speak, because He that sent me is with me.| This also amounts to a proof that they were Two, (although) undivided. Likewise, when upbraiding the Jews in His discussion with them, because they wished to kill Him, He said, |I speak that which I have seen with my Father, and ye do that which ye have seen with your father;| |but now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth which I have heard of God;| and again, |If God were your Father, ye would love me, for I proceeded forth and came from God,| (still they are not hereby separated, although He declares that He proceeded forth from the Father. Some persons indeed seize the opportunity afforded them in these words to propound their heresy of His separation; but His coming out from God is like the ray's procession from the sun, and the river's from the fountain, and the tree's from the seed); |I have not a devil, but I honour my Father;| again, |If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me, of whom ye say, that He is your God: yet ye have not known Him, but I know Him; and if I should say, I know Him not, I shall be a liar like unto you; but I know Him, and keep His saying.| But when He goes on to say, |Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad,| He certainly proves that it was not the Father that appeared to Abraham, but the Son. In like manner He declares, in the case of the man born blind, |that He must do the works of the Father which had sent Him;| and after He had given the man sight, He said to him, |Dost thou believe in the Son of God?| Then, upon the man's inquiring who He was, He proceeded to reveal Himself to him, as that Son of God whom He had announced to him as the right object of his faith. In a later passage He declares that He is known by the Father, and the Father by Him; adding that He was so wholly loved by the Father, that He was laying down His life, because He had received this commandment from the Father. When He was asked by the Jews if He were the very Christ (meaning, of course, the Christ of God; for to this day the Jews expect not the Father Himself, but the Christ of God, it being nowhere said that the Father will come as the Christ), He said to them, |I am telling you, and yet ye do not believe: the works which I am doing, in my Father's name, they actually bear witness of me.| Witness of what? Of that very thing, to be sure, of which they were making inquiry -- whether He were the Christ of God. Then, again, concerning His sheep, and (the assurance) that no man should pluck them out of His hand, He says, |My Father, which gave them to me, is greater than all;| adding immediately, |I am and my Father are one.| Here, then, they take their stand, too infatuated, nay, too blind, to see in the first place that there is in this passage an intimation of Two Beings -- |I and my Father;| then that there is a plural predicate, |are,| inapplicable to one person only; and lastly, that (the predicate terminates in an abstract, not a personal noun) -- |we are one thing| Unum, not |one person| Unus. For if He had said |one Person,| He might have rendered some assistance to their opinion. Unus, no doubt, indicates the singular number; but (here we have a case where) |Two| are still the subject in the masculine gender. He accordingly says Unum, a neuter term, which does not imply singularity of number, but unity of essence, likeness, conjunction, affection on the Father's part, who loves the Son, and submission on the Son's, who obeys the Father's will. When He says, |I and my Father are one| in essence -- Unum -- He shows that there are Two, whom He puts on an equality and unites in one. He therefore adds to this very statement, that He |had showed them many works from the Father,| for none of which did He deserve to be stoned. And to prevent their thinking Him deserving of this fate, as if He had claimed to be considered as God Himself, that is, the Father, by having said, |I and my Father are One,| representing Himself as the Father's divine Son, and not as God Himself, He says, |If it is written in your law, I said, Ye are gods; and if the Scripture cannot be broken, say ye of Him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, that He blasphemeth, because He said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not; but if I do, even if ye will not believe me, still believe the works; and know that I am in the Father, and the Father in me.| It must therefore be by the works that the Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father; and so it is by the works that we understand that the Father is one with the Son. All along did He therefore strenuously aim at this conclusion, that while they were of one power and essence, they should still be believed to be Two; for otherwise, unless they were believed to be Two, the Son could not possibly be believed to have any existence at all.
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