A Treatise Of Novatian Concerning The Trinity by Novatian
Chapter XIII. Argument.--That the Same Truth is Proved from the Sacred Writings of the New Covenant.
And thus also John, describing the nativity of Christ, says: |The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.| For, moreover, |His name is called the Word of God,| and not without reason. |My heart has emitted a good word;| which word He subsequently calls by the name of the King inferentially, |I will tell my works to the King.| For |by Him were made all the works, and without Him was nothing made.| |Whether,| says the apostle, |they be thrones or dominations, or powers, or mights, visible things and invisible, all things subsist by Him.| Moreover, this is that word which came unto His own, and His own received Him not. For the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.| Moreover, this Word |was in the beginning with God, and God was the Word.| Who then can doubt, when in the last clause it is said, |The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,| that Christ, whose is the nativity, and because He was made flesh, is man; and because He is the Word of God, who can shrink from declaring without hesitation that He is God, especially when he considers the evangelical Scripture, that it has associated both of these substantial natures into one concord of the nativity of Christ? For He it is who |as a bridegroom goeth forth from his bride-chamber; He exulted as a giant to run his way. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and His return unto the ends of it.| Because, even to the highest, |not any one hath ascended into heaven save He who came down from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven.| Repeating this same thing, He says: |Father, glorify me with that glory wherewith I was with Thee before the world was.| And if this Word came down from heaven as a bridegroom to the flesh, that by the assumption of flesh He might ascend thither as the Son of man, whence the Son of God had descended as the Word, reasonably, while by the mutual connection both flesh wears the Word of God, and the Son of God assumes the frailty of the flesh; when the flesh being espoused ascending thither, whence without the flesh it had descended, it at length receives that glory which in being shown to have had before the foundation of the world, it is most manifestly proved to be God. And, nevertheless, while the world itself is said to have been founded after Him, it is found to have been created by Him; by that very divinity in Him whereby the world was made, both His glory and His authority are proved. Moreover, if, whereas it is the property of none but God to know the secrets of the heart, Christ beholds the secrets of the heart; and if, whereas it belongs to none but God to remit sins, the same Christ remits sins; and if, whereas it is the portion of no man to come from heaven, He descended by coming from heaven; and if, whereas this word can be true of no man, |I and the Father are one,| Christ alone declared this word out of the consciousness of His divinity; and if, finally, the Apostle Thomas, instructed in all the proofs and conditions of Christ's divinity, says in reply to Christ, |My Lord and my God;| and if, besides, the Apostle Paul says, |Whose are the fathers, and of whom Christ came according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for evermore,| writing in his epistles; and if the same apostle declares that he was ordained |an apostle not by men, nor of man, but by Jesus Christ;| and if the same contends that he learned the Gospel not from men or by man, but received it from Jesus Christ, reasonably Christ is God. Therefore, in this respect, one of two things must needs be established. For since it is evident that all things were made by Christ, He is either before all things, since all things were by Him, and so He is justly God; or because He is man He is subsequent to all things, and justly nothing was made by Him. But we cannot say that nothing was made by Him, when we observe it written that all things were made by Him. He is not therefore subsequent to all things; that is, He is not man only, who is subsequent to all things, but God also, since God is prior to all things. For He is before all things, because all things are by Him, while if He were only man, nothing would be by Him; or if all things were by Him, He would not be man only, because if He were only man, all things would not be by Him; nay, nothing would be by Him. What, then, do they reply? That nothing is by Him, so that He is man only? How then are all things by Him? Therefore He is not man only, but God also, since all things are by Him; so that we reasonably ought to understand that Christ is not man only, who is subsequent to all things, but God also, since by Him all things were made. For how can you say that He is man only, when you see Him also in the flesh, unless because when both aspects are considered, both truths are rightly believed?