Augustin - Trinity 114
114 14. In these and like testimonies of the divine Scriptures, by free use of which, as I have said, our predecessors exploded such sophistries or errors of the heretics, the unity and equality of the Trinity are intimated to our faith. But because, on account of the incarnation of the Word of God for the working out of our salvation, that the man Christ Jesus might be the Mediator between God and men,50 many things are so said in the sacred books as to signify, or even most expressly declare, the Father to be greater than the Son; men have erred through a want of careful examination or consideration of the whole tenor of the Scriptures, and have endeavored to transfer those things which are said of Jesus Christ according to the flesh, to that substance of His which was eternal before the incarnation, and is eternal. They say, for instance, that the Son is less than the Father, because it is written that the Lord Himself said, “My Father is greater than I.”51 But the truth shows that after the same sense the Son is less also than Himself; for how was He not made less also than Himself, who “emptied52 Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant?” For He did not so take the form of a servant as that He should lose the form of God, in which He was equal to the Father. If, then, the form of a servant was so taken that the form of God was not lost, since both in the form of a servant and in the form of God He Himself is the same only-begotten Son of God the Father, in the form of God equal to the Father, in the form of a servant the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; is there any one who cannot perceive that He Himself in the form of God is also greater than Himself, but yet likewise in the form of a servant less than Himself? And not, therefore, without cause the Scripture says both the one and the other, both that the Son is equal to the Father, and that the Father is greater than the Son. For there is no confusion when the former is understood as on account of the form of God, and the latter as on account of the form of a servant. And, in truth, this rule for clearing the question through all the sacred Scripturesis set forth in one chapter of an epistle of the Apostle Paul, where this distinction is commended to us plainly enough. For he says, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and was found in fashion53 as a man.”54 The Son of God, then, is equal to God the Father in nature, but less in “fashion.”55 For in the form of a servant which He took He is less than the Father; but in the form of God, in which also He was before He took the form of a servant, He is equal to the Father. In the form of God He is the Word, “by whom all things are made;”56 but in the form of a servant He was “made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.”57 In like manner, in the form of God He made man; in the form of a servant He was made man. For if the Father alone had made man without the Son, it would not have been written, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”58 Therefore, because the form of God took the form of a servant, both is God and both is man; but both God, on account of God who takes; and both man, on account of man whois taken. For neither by that taking is the one of them turned and changed into the other: the Divinity is not changed into the creature, so as to cease to be Divinity; nor the creature into Divinity, so as to cease to be creature.
Christ Will Not So Give Up the Kingdom to the Father, as to Take It Away from Himself. The Beholding Him is the Promised End of All Actions. The Holy Spirit is Sufficient to Our Blessedness Equally with the Father.
115 15. As for that which the apostle says, “And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him:” either the text has been so turned, lest any one should think that the “fashion”59 of Christ, which He took according to the human creature, was to be transformed hereafter into the Divinity, or (to express it more precisely) the Godhead itself, who is not a creature, but is the unity of the Trinity,—a nature incorporeal, and unchangeable, and consubstantial, and co-eternal with itself; or if any one contends, as some have thought, that the text, “Then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him,” is so turned in order that one may believe that very “subjection” to be a change and conversion hereafter of the creature into the substance or essence itself of the Creator, that is, that that which had been the substance of a creature shall become the substance of the Creator;—such an one at any rate admits this, of which in truth there is no possible doubt, that this had not yet taken place, when the Lord said, “My Father is greater than I.” For He said this not only before He ascended into heaven, but also before He had suffered, and had risen from the dead. But they who think that the human nature in Him is to be changed and converted into the substance of the Godhead, and that it was so said, “Then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him,”—as if to say, Then also the Son of man Himself, and the human nature taken by the Word of God, shall be changed into the nature of Him who put all things under Him,—must also think that this will then take place, when, after the day of judgment, “He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father.” And hence even still, according to this opinion, the Father is greater than that form of a servant which was taken of the Virgin. But if some affirm even further, that the man Christ Jesus has already been changed into the substance of God, at least they cannot deny that the human nature still remained, when He said before His passion, “For my Father is greater than I;” whence there is no question that it was said in this sense, that the Father is greater than the form of a servant, to whom in the form of God the Son is equal. Nor let any one, hearing what the apostle says, “But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted which did put all things under Him,”60 think the words, that He hath put all things under the Son, to be so understood of the Father, as that He should not think that the Son Himself put all things under Himself. For this the apostle plainly declares, when he says to the Philippians, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue61 all things unto Himself.”62 For the working of the Father and of the Son is indivisible. Otherwise, neither hath the Father Himself put all things under Himself, but the Son hath put all things under Him, who delivers the kingdom to Him, and puts down all rule and all authority and power. For these words are spoken of the Son: “When He shall have delivered up,” says the apostle, “the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down63 all rule, and all authority, and all power.” For the same that puts down, also makes subject.
116 16. Neither may we think that Christ shall so give up the kingdom to God, even the Father, as that He shall take it away from Himself. For some vain talkers have thought even this. For when it is said, “He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father,” He Himself is not excluded; cause He is one God together with the Father. But that word “until” deceives those who are careless readers of the divine Scriptures, but eager for controversies. For the text continues, “For He must reign, until He hath put all enemies under His feet;”64 as though, when He had so put them, He would no more reign. Neither do they perceive that this is said in the same way as that other text, “His heart is established: He shall not be afraid, until He see His desire upon His enemies.”65 For He will not then be afraid when He has seen it. What then means, “When He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father,” as though God and the Father has not the kingdom now? But because He is hereafter to bring all the just, over whom now, living by faith, the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, reigns, to that sight which the same apostle calls “face to face;”66 therefore the words, “When He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father,” are as much as to say, When He shall have brought believers to the contemplation of God, even the Father. For He says, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.”67 The Father will then be revealed by the Son, “when He shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and all power;” that is, in such wise that there shall be no more need of any economy of similitudes, by means of angelic rulers, and authorities, and powers. Of whom that is not unfitly understood, which is said in the Song of Songs to the bride, “We will make thee borders68 of gold, with studs of silver, while the King sitteth at His table;”69 that is, as long as Christ is in His secret place: since “your life is hid with Christ in God; when Christ, who is our70 life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.”71 Before which time, “we see now through a glass, in an enigma,” that is, in similitudes, “but then face to face.”72
117 17. For this contemplation is held forth to us as the end of all actions, and the everlasting fullness of joy. For “we are the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”73 For that which He said to His servant Moses, “I am that I am; thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me to you;”74 this it is which we shall contemplate when we shall live in eternity. For so it is said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.”75 This shall be when the Lord shall have come, and “shall have brought to light the hidden things of darkness;”76 when the darkness of this present mortality and corruption shall have passed away. Then will be our morning, which is spoken of in the Psalm, “In the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will contemplate Thee.”77 Of this contemplation I understand it to be said, “When He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father;” that is, when He shall have brought the just, over whom now, living by faith, the Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, reigns, to the contemplation of God, even the Father. If herein I am foolish, let him who knows better correct me; to me at least the case seems as I have said.78 For we shall not seek anything else, when we shall have come to the contemplation of Him. But that contemplation is not yet, so long as our joy is in hope. For “hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it,”79 viz. “as long as the King sitteth at His table.”80 Then will take place that which is written, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy.”81 Nothing more than that joy will be required; because there will be nothing more than can be required. For the Father will be manifested to us, and that will suffice for us. And this much Philip had well understood, so that he said to the Lord, “Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” But he had not yet understood that he himself was able to say this very same thing in this way also: Lord, show Thyself to us, and it sufficeth us. For, that he might understand this, the Lord replied to him, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” But because He intended him, before he could see this, to live by faith, He went on to say, “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?”82 For “while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: for we walk by faith, not by sight.”83 For contemplation is the recompense of faith, for which recompense our hearts are purified by faith; as it is written, “Purifying their hearts by faith.”84 And that our hearts are to be purified for this contemplation, is proved above all by this text, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”85 And that this is life eternal, God says in the Psalm, “With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation,”86 Whether, therefore, we hear, Show us the Son; or whether we hear, Show us the Father; it is even all one, since neither can be manifested without the other. For they are one, as He also Himself says, “My Father and I are one.”87 Finally, on account of this very indivisibility, it suffices that sometimes the Father alone, or the Son alone, should be named, as hereafter to fill us with the joy of His countenance.
118 18. Neither is the Spirit of either thence excluded, that is, the Spirit of the Father and of the Son; which Holy Spirit is specially called “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive.”88 For to have the fruition of God the Trinity, after whose image we are made, is indeed the fullness of our joy, than which there is no greater. On this account the Holy Spirit is sometimes spoken of as ifHe alone sufficed to our blessedness: and He does alone so suffice, because He cannot be divided from the Father and the Son; as theFather alone is sufficient, because He cannot be divided from the Son and the Holy Spirit; and the Son alone is sufficient because He cannot be divided from the Father and the Holy Spirit. For what does He mean by saying, “If ye love me, keep my commandments; and I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive,”89 that is, the lovers of the world? For “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.”90 But it may perhaps seem, further, as if the words, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter,” were so said as if the Son alone were not sufficient. And that place so speaks of the Spirit, as if He alone were altogether sufficient: “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.”91 Pray, therefore, is the Son here excluded, as if He did not teach all truth, or as if the Holy Spirit were to fill up that which the Son could not fully teach? Let them say then, if it pleases them, that the Holy Spirit is greater than the Son, whom they are wont to call less. Or is it, forsooth, because it is not said, He alone,—or, No one else except Himself—will guide you into all truth, that they allow that the Son also may be believed to teach together with Him? In that case the apostle has excluded the Son from knowing those things which are of God, where he says, “Even so the things of God knoweth no one, but the Spirit of God:”92 so that these perverse men might, upon this ground, go on to say that none but the Holy Spirit teaches even the Son the things of God, as the greater teaches the less; to whom the Son Himself ascribes so much as to say, “But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you.”93
But this is said, not on account of any inequality of the Word of God and of the Holy Spirit, but as though the presence of the Son of man with them would be a hindrance to the coming of Him, who was not less, because He did not “empty Himself, taking upon Him the form of a servant,”94 as the Son did. It was necessary, then, that the form of a servant should be taken away from their eyes, because, through gazing upon it, they thought that alone which they saw to be Christ. Hence also is that which is said, “If ye loved me, ye would rejoice because I said, “I go unto the Father; for my Father is greater than I:”95 that is, on that account it is necessary for me to go to the Father, because, whilst you see me thus, you hold me to be less than the Father through that which you see; and so, being taken up with the creature and the “fashion” which I have taken upon me, you do not perceive the equality which I have with the Father. Hence, too, is this: “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.”96 For touch, as it were, puts a limit to their conception, and He therefore would not have the thought of the heart, directed towards Himself, to be so limited as that He should be held to be only that which He seemed to be. But the “ascension to the Father” meant, so to appear as He is equal to the Father, that the limit of the sight which sufficeth us might be attained there. Sometimes also it is said of the Son alone, that He himself sufficeth, and the whole reward of our love and longing is held forth as in the sight of Him. For so it is said, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”97 Pray, because He has not here said, And I will show the Father also to him, has He therefore excluded the Father? On the contrary, because it is true, “I and my Father are one,” when the Father is manifested, the Son also, who is in Him, is manifested; and when the Son is manifested, the Father also, who is in Him, is manifested. As, therefore, when it is said, “And I will manifest myself to him,” it is understood that He manifests also the Father; so likewise in that which is said, “When He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father,” it is understood that He does not take it away from Himself; since, when He shall bring believers to the contemplation of God, even the Father, doubtless He will bring them to the contemplation of Himself, who has said, “And I will manifest myself to him.” And so, consequently, when Judas had said to Him, “Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”98 Behold, that He manifests not only Himself to him by whom He is loved, because He comes to him together with the Father, and abides with him.
119 19. Will it perhaps be thought, that when the Father and the Son make their abode with him who loves them, the Holy Spirit is excluded from that abode? What, then, is that which is said above of the Holy Spirit: “Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not:but ye know Him; for He abideth with you,and is in you”? He, therefore, is not excluded from that abode, of whom it is said, “He abideth with you, and is in you;” unless, perhaps, any one be so senseless as to think, that when the Father and the Son have come that they may make their abode with him who loves them, the Holy Spirit will depart thence, and (as it were) give place to those who are greater. But the Scripture itself meets this carnal idea; for it says a little above: “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever.”99 (He will not therefore depart when the Father and the Son come, but will be in the same abode with them eternally; because neither will He comewithout them, nor they without Him. But in order to intimate the Trinity, some things are separately affirmed, the Persons being also each severally named; and yet are not to be understood as though the other Persons were excluded, on account of the unity of the same Trinity and the One substance and Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.100
120 20. Our Lord Jesus Christ, therefore, will so deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father, Himself not being thence excluded, nor the Holy Spirit, when He shall bring believers to the contemplation of God, wherein is the end of all good actions, and everlasting rest, and joy which never will be taken from us. For He signifies this in that which He says: “I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man taketh from you.”101 Mary, sitting at the feet of the Lord, and earnestly listening to His word, foreshowed a similitude of this joy; resting as she did from all business, and intent upon the truth, according to that manner of which this life is capable, by which, however, to prefigure that which shall be for eternity. For while Martha, her sister, was cumbered about necessary business, which, although good and useful, yet, when rest shall have succeeded, is to pass away, she herself was resting in the word of the Lord. And so the Lord replied to Martha, when she complained that her sister did not help her: “Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.”102 He did not say that Martha was acting a bad part; but that “best part that shall not be taken away.” For that part which is occupied in the ministering to a need shall be “taken away” when the need itself has passed away. Since the reward of a good work that will pass away is rest that will not pass away. In that contemplation, therefore, God will be all in all; because nothing else but Himself will be required, but it will be sufficient to be enlightened by and to enjoy Him alone. And so he in whom “the Spirit maketh intercession with groanings which cannot be uttered,”103 says, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to contemplate the beauty of the Lord.”104 For we shall then contemplate God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, when the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, so as no longer to make intercession for us, as our Mediator and Priest, Son of God and Son of man;105 but that He Himself too, in so far as He is a Priest that has taken the form of a servant for us, shall be put under Him who has put all things under Him, and under whom He has put all things: so that, in so far as He is God. He with Him will have put us under Himself; in so far as He is a Priest, He with us will be put under Him.106 And therefore as the [incarnate] Son is both God and man, it is rather to be said that the manhood in the Son is another substance [from the Son], than that the Son in the Father [is another substance from the Father]; just as the carnal nature of my soul is more another substance in relation to my soul itself, although in one and the same man, than the soul of another man is in relation to my soul.107
121 21. When, therefore, He “shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father,”—that is, when He shall have brought those who believe and live by faith, for whom now as Mediator He maketh intercession, to that contemplation, for the obtaining of which we sigh and groan, and when labor and groaning shall have passed away,—then, since the kingdom will have been delivered up to God, even the Father He will no more make intercession for us. And this He signifies, when He says: “These things have I spoken unto you in similitudes;108 but the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in similitudes,109 but I shall declare110 to you plainly of the Father:” that is, they will not then be “similitudes,” when the sight shall be “face to face.” For this it is which He says, “But I will declare to you plainly of the Father;” as if He said I will plainly show you the Father. For He says, I will “declare” to you, because He is His word. For He goes on to say, “At that day ye shall ask in my name; and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.”111 What is meant by “I came forth from the Father,” unless this, that I have not appeared in that form in which I am equal to the Father, but otherwise, that is, as less than the Father, in the creature which I have taken upon me? And what is meant by “I am come into the world,” unless this, that I have manifested to the eyes even of sinners who love this world, the form of a servant which I took, making myself of no reputation? And what is meant by “Again, I leave the world,” unless this, that I take away from the sight of the lovers of this world that which they have seen? And what is meant by “I go to the Father,” unless this, that I teach those who are my faithful ones to understand me in that being in which I am equal to the Father? Those who believe this will be thought worthy of being brought by faith to sight, that is, to that very sight, in bringing them to which He is said to “deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father.” For His faithful ones, whom He has redeemed with His blood, are called His kingdom, for whom He now intercedes; but then, making them to abide in Himself there, where He is equal to the Father, He will no longer pray the Father for them. “For,” He says, “the Father Himself loveth you.” For indeed He “prays,” in so far as He is less than the Father; but as He is equal with the Father, He with the Father grants. Wherefore He certainly does not exclude Himself from that which He says, “The Father Himself loveth you;” but He means it to be understood after that manner which I have above spoken of, and sufficiently intimated,—namely, that for the most part each Person of the Trinity is so named, that the other Persons also may be understood. Accordingly, “For the Father Himself loveth you,” is so said that by consequence both the Son and the Holy Spirit also may be understood: not that He does not now love us, who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all;112 but God loves us, such as we shall be, not such as we are, For such as they are whom He loves, such are they whom He keeps eternally; which shall then be, when He who now maketh intercession for us shall have “delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father,” so as no longer to ask the Father, because the Father Himself loveth us. But for what deserving, except of faith, by which we believe before we see that which is promised? For by this faith we shall arrive at sight; so that He may love us, being such, as He loves us in order that we may become; and not such, as He hates us because we are, and exhorts and enables us to wish not to be always.
122 22. Wherefore, having mastered this rule for interpreting the Scriptures concerning the Son of God, that we are to distinguish in them what relates to the form of God, in which He is equal to the Father, and what to the form of a servant which He took, in which He is less than the Father; we shall not be disquieted by apparently contrary and mutually repugnant sayings of the sacred books. For both the Son and the Holy Spirit, according to the form of God, are equal to the Father, because neither of them is a creature, as we have already shown: but according to the form of a servant He is less than the Father, because He Himself has said, “My Father is greater than I;”113 and He is less than Himself, because it is said of Him, He emptied Himself;”114 and He is less than the Holy Spirit, because He Himself says, “Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven Him.”115 And in the Spirit too He wrought miracles, saying: “But if I with the Spirit of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.”116 And in Isaiah He says,—in the lesson which He Himself read in the synagogue, and showed without a scruple of doubt to be fulfilled concerning Himself,—“The Spirit of the Lord God,” He says, “is upon me: because He hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek He hath sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives,”117 etc.: for the doing of which things He therefore declares Himself to be “sent,” because the Spirit of God is upon Him. According to the form of God, all things were made by Him;118 according to the form of a servant, He was Himself made of a woman, made under the law.119 According to the form of God, He and the Father are one;120 according to the form of a servant, He came not to do His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him.121 According to the form of God, “As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself;”122 according to the form of a servant, His “soul is sorrowful even unto death;” and, “O my Father,” He says, “if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”123 According to the form of God, “He is the True God, and eternal life;”124 according to the form of a servant, “He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”125 —23. According to the form of God, all things that the Father hath are His,126 and “All mine,” He says, “are Thine, and Thine are mine;”127 according to the form of a servant, the doctrine is not His own, but His that sent Him.128
Some Things Said of Christ According to the Form of God, Other Things According to the Form of a Servant. In What Way It is of Christ to Give the Kingdom, in What Not of Christ. Christ Will Both Judge and Not Judge.
Again, “Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven; neither the Son, but the Father.”129 For He is ignorant of this, as making others ignorant; that is, in that He did not so know as at that time to show His disciples:130 as it was said to Abraham, “Now I know that thou fearest God,”131 that is, now I have caused thee to know it; because he himself, being tried in that temptation, became known to himself. For He was certainly going to tell this same thing to His disciples at the fitting time; speaking of which yet future as if past, He says, “Henceforth I call you not servants, but friends; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you;”132 which He had not yet done, but spoke as though He had already done it, because He certainly would do it. For He says to the disciples themselves, “I have yet many things to say unto you; but ye cannot bear them now.”133 Among which is to be understood also, “Of the day and hour.” For the apostle also says, “I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified;”134 because he was speaking to those who were not able to receive higher things concerning the Godhead of Christ. To whom also a little while after he says, “I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal.”135 He was “ignorant,” therefore, among them of that which they were not able to know from him. And that only he said that he knew, which it was fitting that they shouldknow from him. In short, he knew among the perfect what he knew not among babes; for he there says: “We speak wisdom among them that are perfect.”136 For a man is said not to know what he hides, after that kind of speech, after which a ditch is called blind which is hidden. For the Scriptures do not use any other kind of speech than may be found in use among men, because they speak to men.
Augustin - Trinity 114