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Sermon Podcast | Audio | Video : Christian Books : Chapter IV.--Proof of the Catholic Sense of the Word Son. Power, Word or Reason, and Wisdom, the names of the Son, imply eternity; as well as the Father's title of Fountain. The Arians reply, that these do not formally belong to the essence of the Son, bu

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Chapter IV.--Proof of the Catholic Sense of the Word Son. Power, Word or Reason, and Wisdom, the names of the Son, imply eternity; as well as the Father's title of Fountain. The Arians reply, that these do not formally belong to the essence of the Son, bu

15. This then is quite enough to expose the infamy of the Arian heresy; for, as the Lord has granted, out of their own words is irreligion brought home to them . But come now and let us on our part act on the offensive, and call on them for an answer; for now is fair time, when their own ground has failed them, to question them on ours; perhaps it may abash the perverse, and disclose to them whence they have fallen. We have learned from divine Scripture, that the Son of God, as was said above, is the very Word and Wisdom of the Father. For the Apostle says, Christ the power of God and the Wisdom of God ;' and John after saying, And the Word was made flesh,' at once adds, And we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth ,' so that, the Word being the Only-begotten Son, in this Word and in Wisdom heaven and earth and all that is therein were made. And of this Wisdom that God is Fountain we have learned from Baruch, by Israel's being charged with having forsaken the Fountain of Wisdom. If then they deny Scripture, they are at once aliens to their name, and may fitly be called of all men atheists , and Christ's enemies, for they have brought upon themselves these names. But if they agree with us that the sayings of Scripture are divinely inspired, let them dare to say openly what they think in secret that God was once wordless and wisdomless ; and let them in their madness say, There was once when He was not,' and, before His generation, Christ was not ;' and again let them declare that the Fountain begat not Wisdom from itself, but acquired it from without, till they have the daring to say, The Son came of nothing;' whence it will follow that there is no longer a Fountain, but a sort of pool, as if receiving water from without, and usurping the name of Fountain .

16. How full of irreligion this is, I consider none can doubt who has ever so little understanding. But since they mutter something about Word and Wisdom being only names of the Son , we must ask then, If these are only names of the Son, He must be something else beside them. And if He is higher than the names, it is not lawful from the lesser to denote the higher; but if He be less than the names, yet He surely must have in Him the principle of this more honourable appellation; and this implies his advance, which is an irreligion equal to anything that has gone before. For He who is in the Father, and in whom also the Father is, who says, I and the Father are one ,' whom he that hath seen, hath seen the Father, to say that He has been exalted by anything external, is the extreme of madness. However, when they are beaten hence, and like Eusebius and his fellows, are in these great straits, then they have this remaining plea, which Arius too in ballads, and in his own Thalia , fabled, as a new difficulty: Many words speaketh God; which then of these are we to call Son and Word, Only-begotten of the Father ?' Insensate, and anything but Christians ! for first, on using such language about God, they conceive of Him almost as a man, speaking and reversing His first words by His second, just as if one Word from God were not sufficient for the framing of all things at the Father's will, and for His providential care of all. For His speaking many words would argue a feebleness in them all, each needing the service of the other. But that God should have one Word, which is the true doctrine, both shews the power of God, and the perfection of the Word that is from Him, and the religious understanding of them who thus believe.

17. O that they would consent to confess the truth from this their own statement! for if they once grant that God produces words, they plainly know Him to be a Father; and acknowledging this, let them consider that, while they are loth to ascribe one Word to God, they are imagining that He is Father of many; and while they are loth to say that there is no Word of God at all, yet they do not confess that He is the Son of God, -- which is ignorance of the truth, and inexperience in divine Scripture. For if God is Father of a word at all, wherefore is not He that is begotten a Son? And again, who should be Son of God, but His Word? For there are not many words, or each would be imperfect, but one is the Word, that He only may be perfect, and because, God being one, His Image too must be one, which is the Son. For the Son of God, as may be learnt from the divine oracles themselves, is Himself the Word of God, and the Wisdom, and the Image, and the Hand, and the Power; for God's offspring is one, and of the generation from the Father these titles are tokens . For if you say the Son, you have declared what is from the Father by nature; and if you think of the Word, you are thinking again of what is from Him, and what is inseparable; and, speaking of Wisdom, again you mean just as much, what is not from without, but from Him and in Him; and if you name the Power and the Hand, again you speak of what is proper to essence; and, speaking of the Image, you signify the Son; for what else is like God but the offspring from Him? Doubtless the things, which came to be through the Word, these are founded in Wisdom' and what are founded in Wisdom,' these are all made by the Hand, and came to be through the Son. And we have proof of this, not from external sources, but from the Scriptures; for God Himself says by Isaiah the Prophet; My hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand hath spanned the heavens .' And again, And I will cover thee in the shadow of My Hand, by which I planted the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth .' And David being taught this, and knowing that the Lord's Hand was nothing else than Wisdom, says in the Psalm, In wisdom hast Thou made them all; the earth is full of Thy creation .' Solomon also received the same from God, and said, The Lord by wisdom founded the earth ,' and John, knowing that the Word was the Hand and the Wisdom, thus preached, 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 by Him, and without Him was not anything made .' And the Apostle, seeing that the Hand and the Wisdom and the Word was nothing else than the Son, says, God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the Fathers by the Prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed Heir of all things, by whom also He made the ages .' And again, There is one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through Him .' And knowing also that the Word, the Wisdom, the Son Himself was the Image of the Father, he says in the Epistle to the Colossians, Giving thanks to God and the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in light, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son; in whom we have redemption, even the remission of sins; who is the Image of the Invisible God, the First-born of every creature; for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him; and He is before all things, and in Him all things consist .' For as all things are created by the Word, so, because He is the Image, are they also created in Him . And thus anyone who directs his thoughts to the Lord, will avoid stumbling upon the stone of offence, but rather will go forward to the brightness in the light of truth; for this is really the doctrine of truth, though these contentious men burst with spite , neither religious toward God, nor abashed at their confutation.

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