A Treatise Of Novatian Concerning The Trinity by Novatian
Chapter XII. Argument.--That Christ is God, is Proved by the Authority of the Old Testament Scriptures.
Why, then, should we hesitate to say what Scripture does not shrink from declaring? Why shall the truth of faith hesitate in that wherein the authority of Scripture has never hesitated? For, behold, Hosea the prophet says in the person of the Father: |I will not now save them by bow, nor by horses, nor by horsemen; but I will save them by the Lord their God.| If God says that He saves by God, still God does not save except by Christ. Why, then, should man hesitate to call Christ God, when he observes that He is declared to be God by the Father according to the Scriptures? Yea, if God the Father does not save except by God, no one can be saved by God the Father unless he shall have confessed Christ to be God, in whom and by whom the Father promises that He will give him salvation: so that, reasonably, whoever acknowledges Him to be God, may find salvation in Christ God; whoever does not acknowledge Him to be God, would lose salvation which he could not find elsewhere than in Christ God. For in the same way as Isaiah says, |Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and ye shall call His name Emmanuel, which is, interpreted, God with us;| so Christ Himself says, |Lo, I am with you, even to the consummation of the world.| Therefore He is |God with us;| yea, and much rather, He is in us. Christ is with us, therefore it is He whose name is God with us, because He also is with us; or is He not with us? How then does He say that He is with us? He, then, is with us. But because He is with us He was called Emmanuel, that is, God with us. God, therefore, because He is with us, was called God with us. The same prophet says: |Be ye strengthened, ye relaxed hands, and ye feeble knees; be consoled, ye that are cowardly in heart; be strong; fear not. Lo, our God shall return judgment; He Himself shall come, and shall save you: then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear; then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be eloquent.| Since the prophet says that at God's advent these should be the signs which come to pass; let men acknowledge either that Christ is the Son of God, at whose advent and by whom these wonders of healings were performed; or, overcome by the truth of Christ's divinity, let them rush into the other heresy, and refusing to confess Christ to be the Son of God, and God, let them declare Him to be the Father. For, being bound by the words of the prophets, they can no longer deny Christ to be God. What, then, do they reply when those signs are said to be about to take place on the advent of God, which were manifested on the advent of Christ? In what way do they receive Christ as God? For now they cannot deny Him to be God. As God the Father, or as God the Son? If as the Son, why do they deny that the Son of God is God? If as the Father, why do they not follow those who appear to maintain blasphemies of that kind? unless because in this contest against them concerning the truth, this is in the meantime sufficient for us, that, being convinced in any kind of way, they should confess Christ to be God, seeing they have even wished to deny that He is God. He says by Habakkuk the prophet: |God shall come from the south, and the Holy One from the dark and dense mountain.| Whom do they wish to represent as coming from the south? If they say that it is the Almighty God the Father, then God the Father comes from a place, from which place, moreover, He is thus excluded, and He is bounded within the straitnesses of some abode; and thus by such as these, as we have said, the sacrilegious heresy of Sabellius is embodied. Since Christ is believed to be not the Son, but the Father; since by them He is asserted to be in strictness a bare man, in a new manner, by those, again, Christ is proved to be God the Father Almighty. But if in Bethlehem, the region of which local division looks towards the southern portion of heaven, Christ is born, who by the Scriptures is also said to be God, this God is rightly described as coming from the south, because He was foreseen as about to come from Bethlehem. Let them, then, choose of the two alternatives, the one that they prefer, that He who came from the south is the Son, or the Father; for God is said to be about to come from the south. If the Son, why do they shrink from calling Him Christ and God? For the Scripture says that God shall come. If the Father, why do they shrink from being associated with the boldness of Sabellius, who says that Christ is the Father? unless because, whether they call Him Father or Son, from his heresy, however unwillingly, they must needs withdraw if they are accustomed to say that Christ is merely man; when compelled by the facts themselves, they are on the eve of exalting Him as God, whether in wishing to call Him Father or in wishing to call Him Son.