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into three divinities the awful and divine Unity, nor diminish the dignity and transcendant majesty of our Lord by the name of creature, but we must believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Christ Jesus His Son, and in the Holy Spirit; and believe that the Word is united with the God of the universe. For He says, I and the Father are One; and, I am in the Father, and the Father in Me. For thus the Divine Trinity and the holy preaching of the monarchia will be preservedo'
This doctrine of the coinherence, as protecting the Unity without intrenching on the perfections of the Son and Spirit, may even be called the characteristic of Catholic Trinitarianism as opposed to all counterfeits, whether philosophical, Arian, or Oriental. One PostNicene statement of it shall be added. “If any one truly receive the Son, says Basil," he will find that He brings with Him on one hand His Father, on the other the Holy Spirit. For neither can He from the Father be severed, who is of and ever in the Father; nor again from His own Spirit disunited, who in It operates all things. . . For we must not conceive separation or division in any way; as if either the Son could be supposed without the Father, or the Spirit disunited from the Son. But there is discovered between them some ineffable and incomprehensible, both communion and distinction?.”
9 Shortly before he had used the following still stronger expressions : ηνώσθαι γαρ ανάγκη τω Θεώ των όλων τον θείον Λόγον εμφιλοχωρείν δε τω Θεώ και ενδιαιτασθαι δεί το “Αγιον Πνεύμα. The Ante-Nicene African school is as express as the Roman. Tertullian says, “Connexus Patris in Filio, et Filii in Paracleto, tres efficit cohærentes, qui tres unum sint, non unus.” Bull, Defens. ii. 6, § 4; 12, § 1. 11; iv. 4, 12, § 1. 11; iv. 4, § 10. · Petav. iv. 16, § 9. The Semi-Arian creed, called Macrostichos,
Secondly, as the “in God” led the Fathers to the doctrine of the coinherence, so did the “of God” lead them to the doctrine of the monarchia”; still, with the one object of guarding against any resemblance to Polytheism in their creed. Even the heathen had shown a disposition, designedly or from a spontaneous feeling, to trace all their deities up to one Principle or arche; as is evident by their Theogonies: Much more did it become that true religion, which prominently put forth the Unity of God, jealously to guard its language, lest it should seem to admit the existence of a variety of original Principles. It is said to have been the doctrine of the Marcionists and Manichees, that there were three unconnected independent Beings in the Divine Nature. Scripture and the Church avoid the appearance of tritheism, by tracing back, (if we may so say,) the infinite perfections of the Son and Spirit to Him whose Son and Spirit They are. They are, so to express it, but the new manifestation and repetition of the Father; there being no room for numeration or comparison between Them, nor any resting-place for the contemplating mind, till They are referred to Him in whom They centre. On the other hand, in naming the Father, we imply the Son and Spirit, whether They be named or not*. Without this key, the language of Scripture is perplexed in the extreme 6. Hence it is, that the Father is called “the only God," at a time when our Lord's name is also mentioned, John xvii. 3, 1 Tim. i. 16, 17, as if the Son was but the reiteration of His Person, who is the Self-Existent, and therefore not to be contrasted with Him in the way of number. The Creed, called the Apostles', follows this mode of stating the doctrine; the title of God standing in the opening against the Father's name, while the Son and Spirit are introduced as distinct forms or modes, (so to say,) of and in the One Eternal Being. The Nicene Creed, commonly so called, directed as it is against the impugners both of the Son's and of the Spirit's divinity, nevertheless observes the same rule even in a stricter form, beginning with a confession of the “ One God.” Whether or not this mode of speaking was designed in Scripture to guard the doctrine of the Unity from all verbal infringement (and there seems evidence that it was so, as in 1 Cor. viii. 5, 6,) it certainly was used for this purpose in the primitive Church. Thus Tertullian says, that it is a mistake “ to suppose that the number and arrangement of the Trinity is a division of its Unity; inasmuch as the Unity drawing out the Trinity from itself, is not destroyed by it, but is subservedo.” Novatian, in like manner, says, "God originating from God, so as to be the Second Person, yet not interfering with the Father's right to be called the one God. For, had He not a birth, then indeed when compared with Him who had no birth, He would seem, from the appearance of equality in both, to make two who were without birth’, and therefore two Gods."
drawn up at Antioch A.D. 345, which is in parts unexceptionable in point of orthodoxy, contains the following striking exposition of the Catholic notion of the coinherence. “ Though we affirm the Son to have a distinct existence and life as the Father has, yet we do not therefore separate Him from the Father, inventing place and distance between Their union after a corporeal manner. For we believe that they are united without medium or interval, and are inseparable.” And then follow words to which our language is unequal : όλου μέν του Πατρός ενεστερνισμένου τον Υιόν: όλον δε του Υιού εξηρτημένου και προσπεφυκότος τω Πατρί, και μόνου τους πατρώοις κόλποις αναπαυομένου διηνεκώς. Βull, Defens. iv. 4, § 9.
? [Vid. Athan. Tr. p. 45, c., p. 513, e.] 3 Cudw. Intell. Syst. 4, § 13.
4 Athan. ad Serap. i. 14.
5 Let 1 John v. 20 be taken as an example; or again, 1 Cor. xii. 4-6. John xiv. 16–18; xvi. 7–13.
Accordingly it is impossible to worship One of the Divine Persons, without worshipping the Others also. In praying to the Father, we only arrive at His mysterious presence through His Son and Spirit; and in praying to the Son and Spirit, we are necessarily carried on beyond them to the source of Godhead from which They are derived. We see this
We see this in the very form of many of the received addresses to the Blessed Trinity; in which, without intended reference to the mediatorial scheme, the Son and Spirit seem, even in the view of the Divine Unity, to take a place in our thoughts between the Father and His creatures ; as in the ordinary doxologies “to the Father through the Son and by the Spirit,” or “to the Father and Son in the unity of the Holy Ghost.”
6 Again he says, that “the Trinity descending from the Father by closely knit and connected steps, both is consistent with the monarchia (Unity), and protects the economia (revealed dispensation).”
7 [Or unoriginate; viz. on åyéventos and ăvapxos, in the next Section.]
8 Petav. Præf. 5, § 1. iii. ; $ 8. Dionysius of Alexandria implies the same doctrine, when he declares; “We extend the indivisible Unity into the Trinity, and again we concentrate the indestructible Trinity into the Unity.” And Hilary, to take a Post-Nicene authority, “We do not detract from the Father, His being the one God, when we say also that the Son is God. For He is God from God, one from one; therefore one God, because God is from Himself. On the other hand, the Son is not on that account the less God, because the Father is the one God. For the only-begotten Son of God is not without birth, so as to detract from the Father His being the one God, nor is He other than God, but because He is born of God.” De Trin. i. Vide also Athan. de Sent. Dionys. 17. Bull, Defens. iv. 4, $ 7.
This gives us an insight into the force of expressions, common with the primitive Fathers, but bearing, in the eyes of inconsiderate observers, a refined and curious character. They call the Son, “God of God, Light of Light,” &c., much more frequently than simply God, in order to anticipate in the very form of words, the charge or the risk of ditheism. Hence, also, the illustrations of the sun and his rays, &c., were in such repute; viz. as containing, not only a description, but also a defence of the Catholic doctrine. Thus Hippolytus says, “When I say that the Son is distinct from the Father, I do not speak of two Gods; but, as it were, light of light, and the stream from the fountain, and a ray from the sun'." It was the same reason which led the Fathers to insist upon the doctrine of the divine generation.
9 Bull, Defens. iv. 4, § 5.