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They accordingly assign to God the Father , as though it were His distinctive portion and lot, the phrase of Whom; to God the Son they confine the phrase by Whom; to the Holy Spirit that of in Whom, and say that this use of the syllables is never in terchanged, in order that, as I have already said, the variation of language may indicate the variation of nature. Verily it is sufficiently obvious that in their quibbling about the words they are endeavouring to maintain the force of their impious argument.

By the term of whom they wish to indicate the Creator; by the term through whom, the subordinate agent or instrument; by the term in whom, or in which, they mean to show the time or place. The object of all this is that the Creator of the universe may be regarded as of no higher dignity than an instrument, and that the Holy Spirit may appear to be adding to existing things nothing more than the contribution derived from place or time.

They have, however, been led into this error by their close study of heathen writers, who have respectively applied the terms of whom and through whom to things which are by nature distinct. These writers suppose that by the term of whom or of which the matter is indicated, while the term through whom or through which represents the instrument, or, generally speaking, subordinate agency.

Or rather — for there seems no reason why we should not take up their whole argument, and briefly expose at once its incompatibility with the truth and its inconsistency with their own teaching — the students of vain philosophy , while expounding the manifold nature of cause and distinguishing its peculiar significations, define some causes as principal, some as cooperative or con-causal, while others are of the character of sine qua non , or indispensable.

For every one of these they have a distinct and peculiar use of terms, so that the maker is indicated in a different way from the instrument. For the maker they think the proper expression is by whom, maintaining that the bench is produced by the carpenter; and for the instrument through which, in that it is produced through or by means of adze and gimlet and the rest.

Similarly they appropriate of which to the material, in that the thing made is of wood, while according to which shows the design, or pattern put before the craftsman. For he either first makes a mental sketch, and so brings his fancy to bear upon what he is about, or else he looks at a pattern previously put before him, and arranges his work accordingly.

The phrase on account of which they wish to be confined to the end or purpose, the bench, as they say, being produced for, or on account of, the use of man. In which is supposed to indicate time and place. When was it produced? In this time. And where? In this place. And though place and time contribute nothing to what is being produced, yet without these the production of anything is impossible, for efficient agents must have both place and time. It is these careful distinctions, derived from unpractical philosophy and vain delusion, which our opponents have first studied and admired, and then transferred to the simple and unsophisticated doctrine of the Spirit , to the belittling of God the Word , and the setting at naught of the Divine Spirit.

Even the phrase set apart by non- Christian writers for the case of lifeless instruments or of manual service of the meanest kind, I mean the expression through or by means of which, they do not shrink from transferring to the Lord of all, and Christians feel no shame in applying to the Creator of the universe language belonging to a hammer or a saw. We acknowledge that the word of truth has in many places made use of these expressions; yet we absolutely deny that the freedom of the Spirit is in bondage to the pettiness of Paganism.

On the contrary, we maintain that Scripture varies its expressions as occasion requires, according to the circumstances of the case. But these men, to the end, as we have already remarked, that they may establish the difference of nature, have laid down the law that this phrase befits the Father alone. This distinction they have originally derived from heathen authorities, but here they have shown no faithful accuracy of limitation. To the Son they have in conformity with the teaching of their masters given the title of instrument, and to the Spirit that of place, for they say in the Spirit , and through the Son.

There is one nature of Cause; another of Instrument; another of Place.

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So the Son is by nature distinct from the Father , as the tool from the craftsman; and the Spirit is distinct in so far as place or time is distinguished from the nature of tools or from that of them that handle them. That through whom is said also in the case of the Father, and of whom in the case of the Son and of the Spirit. After thus describing the outcome of our adversaries' arguments, we shall now proceed to show, as we have proposed, that the Father does not first take of whom and then abandon through whom to the Son; and that there is no truth in these men's ruling that the Son refuses to admit the Holy Spirit to a share in of whom or in through whom, according to the limitation of their new-fangled allotment of phrases.

There is one God and Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things.

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Yes; but these are the words of a writer not laying down a rule, but carefully distinguishing the hypostases. The object of the apostle in thus writing was not to introduce the diversity of nature, but to exhibit the notion of Father and of Son as unconfounded. That the phrases are not opposed to one another and do not, like squadrons in war marshalled one against another, bring the natures to which they are applied into mutual conflict, is perfectly plain from the passage in question.

The blessed Paul brings both phrases to bear upon one and the same subject, in the words of him and through him and to him are all things. The apostle has just quoted from the prophecy of Isaiah, Who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor, and then goes on, For of him and from him and to him are all things.

That the prophet is speaking about God the Word , the Maker of all creation, may be learned from what immediately precedes: Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord , or being his counsellor has taught him? So is it in the passage in question, Who has directed [lxx. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all things. Well then did the apostle add Of him and through him and to him are all things. Through Him all things have their continuance and constitution, for He created all things, and metes out to each severally what is necessary for its health and preservation. But if our adversaries oppose this our interpretation, what argument will save them from being caught in their own trap?

For if they will not grant that the three expressions of him and through him and to him are spoken of the Lord, they cannot but be applied to God the Father. Then without question their rule will fall through, for we find not only of whom, but also through whom applied to the Father.

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And if this latter phrase indicates nothing derogatory, why in the world should it be confined, as though conveying the sense of inferiority, to the Son? If it always and everywhere implies ministry, let them tell us to what superior the God of glory and Father of the Christ is subordinate. They are thus overthrown by their own selves, while our position will be on both sides made sure.

Suppose it proved that the passage refers to the Son , of whom will be found applicable to the Son. Suppose on the other hand it be insisted that the prophet's words relate to God , then it will be granted that through whom is properly used of God , and both phrases have equal value, in that both are used with equal force of God.

Spirits of Sancti: Book 2 - Love

Under either alternative both terms, being employed of one and the same Person, will be shown to be equivalent. But let us revert to our subject. In his Epistle to the Ephesians the apostle says, But speaking the truth in love , may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body.

And again in the Epistle to the Colossians, to them that have not the knowledge of the Only Begotten, there is mention of him that holds the head, that is, Christ, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered increases with the increase of God. For instance, the Lord says, I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. Similarly we have frequently observed of whom used of the Spirit. He that sows to the spirit, it is said, shall of the spirit reap life everlasting.

It must now be pointed out that the phrase through whom is admitted by Scripture in the case of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost alike. It would indeed be tedious to bring forward evidence of this in the case of the Son , not only because it is perfectly well known, but because this very point is made by our opponents.

We now show that through whom is used also in the case of the Father. Isaiah, moreover, says, Woe unto them that make deep counsel and not through the Lord; and many proofs of the use of this phrase in the case of the Spirit might be adduced.

In the same manner it may also be said of the word in, that Scripture admits its use in the case of God the Father. I shall, therefore, omit any proof of this usage in the case of our Lord and of the Holy Ghost , in that it is notorious. But I cannot forbear to remark that the wise hearer will find sufficient proof of the proposition before him by following the method of contraries.


For if the difference of language indicates, as we are told, that the nature has been changed, then let identity of language compel our adversaries to confess with shame that the essence is unchanged. And it is not only in the case of the theology that the use of the terms varies, but whenever one of the terms takes the meaning of the other we find them frequently transferred from the one subject to the other.

As, for instance, Adam says, I have gotten a man through God , meaning to say the same as from God ; and in another passage Moses commanded. Israel through the word of the Lord, and, again, Is not the interpretation through God? Joseph, discoursing about dreams to the prisoners, instead of saying from God says plainly through God. Inversely Paul uses the term from whom instead of through whom, when he says made from a woman A.

The phrase through a woman would be likely to give rise to the suspicion of mere transit in the generation, while the phrase of the woman would satisfactorily indicate that the nature was shared by the mother and the offspring. The apostle was in no wise contradicting himself, but he showed that the words can without difficulty be interchanged. Since, therefore, the term from whom is transferred to the identical subjects in the case of which through whom is decided to be properly used, with what consistency can these phrases be invariably distinguished one from the other, in order that fault may be falsely found with true religion?

Issue joined with those who assert that the Son is not with the Father, but after the Father. Also concerning the equal glory. Our opponents, while they thus artfully and perversely encounter our argument, cannot even have recourse to the plea of ignorance. It is obvious that they are annoyed with us for completing the doxology to the Only Begotten together with the Father , and for not separating the Holy Spirit from the Son.

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On this account they style us innovators, revolutionizers, phrase-coiners, and every other possible name of insult. But so far am I from being irritated at their abuse, that, were it not for the fact that their loss causes me heaviness and continual sorrow, I could almost have said that I was grateful to them for the blasphemy , as though they were agents for providing me with blessing.

For blessed are you, it is said, when men shall revile you for my sake. Hence it follows that glory should be ascribed to the Father through him, but not with him; inasmuch as with him expresses equality of dignity, while through him denotes subordination. They further assert that the Spirit is not to be ranked along with the Father and the Son , but under the Son and the Father; not coordinated, but subordinated; not connumerated, but subnumerated.

With technical terminology of this kind they pervert the simplicity and artlessness of the faith , and thus by their ingenuity, suffering no one else to remain in ignorance , they cut off from themselves the plea that ignorance might demand.

Let us first ask them this question: In what sense do they say that the Son is after the Father; later in time, or in order, or in dignity? But in time no one is so devoid of sense as to assert that the Maker of the ages holds a second place, when no interval intervenes in the natural conjunction of the Father with the Son. And indeed so far as our conception of human relations goes, it is impossible to think of the Son as being later than the Father , not only from the fact that Father and Son are mutually conceived of in accordance with the relationship subsisting between them, but because posteriority in time is predicated of subjects separated by a less interval from the present, and priority of subjects farther off.

For instance, what happened in Noah's time is prior to what happened to the men of Sodom , inasmuch as Noah is more remote from our own day; and, again, the events of the history of the men of Sodom are posterior, because they seem in a sense to approach nearer to our own day. But, in addition to its being a breach of true religion, is it not really the extremest folly to measure the existence of the life which transcends all time and all the ages by its distance from the present? Is it not as though God the Father could be compared with, and be made superior to, God the Son , who exists before the ages, precisely in the same way in which things liable to beginning and corruption are described as prior to one another?

The superior remoteness of the Father is really inconceivable, in that thought and intelligence are wholly impotent to go beyond the generation of the Lord; and St. John has admirably confined the conception within circumscribed boundaries by two words, In the beginning was the Word. For thought cannot travel outside was, nor imagination beyond beginning.