Hilary - Damascus







3 This volume of the series of Nicene Fathers has been unfortunately delayed, when I consented in the first instance to edit the volume, it was with the distinct understanding that I could not myself undertake the translation, but that I would do my best to find translators and see the work through the press. It has been several times placed in the hands of very competent scholars; but the fact that work of this kind can only be done in the intervals of regular duties, and the almost inevitable drawback that the best men are also the busiest, has repeatedly stood in the way and caused the work to be returned to me. That it sees the light now is due mainly to the zeal, ability, and scholarship of the Ap E. W. Watson. It was late in the day when Mr. Watson first undertook a share in the work which has since then been constantly increased. He has co-operated with me in the most loyal and efficient manner; and while I am glad to think that the whole of the Introduction and a full half of the translation are from his hand, there is hardly a page (except in the translation of the De Synodis, which was complete before he joined the work) which does not owe to him many and marked improvements. My own personal debt to Mr. Watson is very great indeed, and that of the subscribers to the series is, I believe, hardly less.

For the translator of Hilary has before him a very difficult task. It has not been with this as with other volumes of the series, where an excellent translation already existed and careful revision was all that was needed. A small beginning had been made for the De Trinitate by the late Dr. Short, Bishop of Adelaide, whose manuscript was kindly lent to one of the contributors to this volume. But with this exception no English translation of Hilary’s works has been hitherto attempted. That which is now offered is the first in the field. And it must be confessed that Hilary is a formidable writer. I do not think that I know any Latin writer so formidable, unless it is Victorinus Afer, or Tertullian. And the terse, vigorous, incisive sentences of Tertullian, when once the obscurities of meaning have been mastered, run more easily into English than the involved and overloaded periods of Hilary. It is true that in a period of decline Hilary preserves more than most of his contemporaries of the tradition of Roman culture; but it is the culture of the rhetorical schools at almost the extreme point of their artificiality and mannerism. Hilary was too sincere a man and too thoroughly in earnest to be essentially mannered or artificial; but his training had taken too strong a hold upon him to allow him to express his thought with ease and simplicity. And his very merits all tended in the same direction. He has the copia verborum; he has the weight and force of character which naturally goes with a certain amplitude of style; he has the seriousness and depth of conviction which keeps him at a high level of dignity and gravity but is unrelieved by lighter touches).

We must take our author as we find him. But it seems to me, if I am not mistaken, that Mr. Watson has performed a real feat of translation in not only reproducing the meaning of the original but giving to it an English rendering which is so readable, flowing, and even elegant. I think it will be allowed that only a natural feeling for the rhythm and cadence of English speech, as well as for its varied harmonies of diction, could have produced the result which is now laid before the reader. And I cherish the hope, that although different degrees of success have doubtless been attained by the different contributors at least no jarring discrepancy of style will be felt throughout the volume. It will be seen that the style generally leans to the side of freedom; but I believe that it will be found to be the freedom of the scholar who is really true to his text while transfusing it into another tongue, and not the clumsy approximation which only means failure.

Few writers deserve their place in the library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers more thoroughly than Hilary. He might be said to be the one Latin theologian before the age of St. Augustine and St. Leo. Tertullian had a still greater influence upon the writers who followed him. He came at a still more formative and critical time, and the vis vivida of his original and wayward genius has rarely been equalled. But the particular influence which Tertullian exerted in coining the terms and marking out the main lines of Latin theology came to him almost by accident. He was primarily a lawyer, and his special gift did not lie in the region of speculation. It is a strange fortune which gave to the language on which he set his stamp so great a control of the future. The influence of Hilary on the other hand is his by right. His intercourse with the East had a marked effect upon him. It quickened a natural bent for speculation unusual in the West. The reader will find in Mr. Watson’s Introduction a description and estimate of Hilary’s theology which is in my opinion at once accurate, candid and judicious. No attempt is made to gloss over the defects, especially in what we might call the more superficial exegesis of Hilary’s argument; but behind and beneath this we feel that we are in contact with a very powerful mind. We feel that we are in contact with a mind that has seized and holds fast the central truth of the Christian system, which at that particular crisis of the Church’s history was gravely imperiled. The nerve of all Hilary’s thinking lies in his belief, a belief to which he clung more tenaciously than to life itself, that Christ was the Son of God not in name and metaphor only, but in fullest and deepest reality. The great Athanasius himself has not given to this belief a more impressive or more weighty expression. And when like assaults come round, as they are constantly doing, in what is in many respects the inferior arena of our own day, it is both morally bracing and intellectually helpful to go back to these protagonists of the elder time.

And yet, although Hilary is thus one of the chief builders up of a metaphysical theology in the West-although, in other words, he stands upon the direct line of the origin of the Quicumque vult, it is well to remember that no one could be more conscious than he was of the inadequacy of human thought and human language to deal with these high matters. The accusation of intruding with a light heart into mysteries is very far from touching him. “The heretics compel us to speak where we would far rather be silent. If anything is said, this is what must be said,” is his constant burden. In this respect too Hilary affords a noble pattern not only to the Christian theologian but to the student of theology, however humble.

It has been an unfortunate necessity that use has had to be made almost throughout of an untrustworthy text. The critical edition which is being produced for the Corpus Scriptorum Eccelesiasticorum Latinorumof the Vienna Academy does not as yet extend beyond the Commentary on the Psalms (S. Hilarii Ep. Pictaviensis Tract. super Psalms, recens. A. Zingerle, Vindobonae, MDCCCXCI). This is the more to be regretted as the mss. of Hilary are rather exceptionally early and good. Most of these were used in the Benedictine edition, but not so systematically or thoroughly as a modern standard requires. It is impossible to speak decidedly about the text of Hilary until the Vienna edition is completed.

The treatise De Synodis was translated by the Ap L. Pullan, and has been in print for some time. The Introduction and the translation of De Trinitate i.-vii. are the work of Mr. Watson. Books 8,and 12,were undertaken Mr. E. N. Bennett, Fellow of Hertford, and Books ix.-xi. by the Ap S. C. Gayford, late Scholar of Exeter. The specimens of the Commentary on the Psalms were translated by the Ap H. F. Stewart, Vice-Principal of the Theological College, Salisbury, who has also made himself responsible for the double Index.

A word of special thanks is due to the printers, Messrs. Parker, who have carried out their part of the work with conspicuous intelligence and with the most conscientious care.—W). Sanday

Christ Church,Oxford,July 12, 1898).



Chapter I.—The Life and Writings of St. Hilary of Poitiers.

St. Hilary of Poitiers is one of the greatest, yet least studied, of the Fathers of the Western Church. He has suffered thus, partly from a certain obscurity in his style of writing, partly from the difficulty of the thoughts which he attempted to convey. But there are other reasons for the comparative neglect into which he has fallen. He learnt his theology, as we shall see, from Eastern authorities, and was not content to carry on and develop the traditional teaching of the West; and the disciple of Origen, who found his natural allies in the Cappadocian school of Basil and the Gregories1 , his juniors though they were, was speaking to somewhat unsympathetic ears. Again, his Latin tongue debarred him from influence in the East, and he suffered, like all Westerns, from that deep suspicion of Sabellianism which was tooted in the Eastern Churches. Nor are these the only reasons for the neglect of Hilary. Of his two chief works, the Homilies2 on the Psalms, important as they were in popularising the allegorical method of interpretation, were soon outdone in favour by other commentaries; while his great controversial work on the Trinity suffered from its very perfection for the purpose with which it was composed. It seems, at first sight, to be not a refutation of Arianism, or of any particular phase of Arianism, but of one particular document, the Epistle of Arius to Alexander, in which Arian doctrines are expressed; and that a document which, in the constantly shifting phases of the controversy, soon fell into an oblivion which the work of Hilary has nearly shared. It is only incidentally constructive; its plan follows, in the central portion, that of the production of Arius which he was controverting, and this negative method must have lessened its popularity for purposes of practical instruction, and in competition with such a masterpiece as the De Trinitate of St. Augustine. And furthermore, Hilary never does himself justice. He was a great original thinker in the field of Christology, but he has never stated his views systematically and completely. They have to be laboriously reconstructed by the collection of passages scattered throughout his works; and though he is a thinker so consistent that little or no conjecture is needed for the piecing together of his system, yet we cannot be surprised full justice has never been done to him. He has been regarded chiefly as one of the sufferers from the violence of Constantius, as the composer of a useful conspectus of arguments against Arianism, as an unsuccessful negotiator for an understanding between the Eastern and Western Churches; but his sufferings were as nothing compared to those of Athanasius, while his influence in controversy seems to have been as small as the results of his diplomacy. It is not his practical share, in word or deed, in the conflicts of his day that is his chief title to fame, but his independence and depth as a Christian thinker. He has, indeed, exerted an important influence upon the growth of doctrine, but it has been through the adoption of his views by Augustine and Ambrose; and many who have profited by his thoughts have never known who was their author.

Hilary of Poitiers, the most impersonal of writers, is so silent about himself, he is so rarely mentioned l)y contemporary writers-in all the voluminous works of Athanasius he is never once named,-and the ancient historians of the Church knew so little concerning him beyond what we, as well as they, can learn from his writings, that nothing more than a very scanty narrative can be constructed from these, as seen in the light of the general history of the time and combined with the few notices of him found elsewhere. But the account, though short, cannot be seriously defective. Apart from one or two episodes, it is eminently the history of a mind, and of a singularly consistent mind, whose antecedents we can, in the main, recognise, and whose changes of thought are few, and can be followed.

(He was born, probably about the year 300 a.d.3 , and almost certainly, since he was afterwards its bishop, in the town, or in the district dependent upon the town, by the name of which he is usually styled. Other names, beside Hilarius, he must have had, but we do not know them. The fact that he has had to be distinguished by the name of his see, to avoid confusion with his namesake of Arles, the contemporary of St. Augustine, shews how soon and how thoroughly personal details concerning him were forgotten. The rank of his parents must have been respectable at least, and perhaps high; so much we may safely assume from the education they gave him. Birth in the Gallic provinces during the fourth century brought with it no sense of provincial inferiority. Society was thoroughly Roman, and education and literature more vigorous, so far as we can judge, than in any other part of the West. The citizen of Gaul and of Northern Italy was, in fact, more in the centre of the world’s life than the inhabitant of Tome. Gaul was in the West what Roman Asia was in the East, the province of decisive importance, both for position and for wealth. And in this prosperous and highly civilised community the opportunities for the highest education were ample. We know, from Ausonius and otherwise, how complete was the provision for teaching at Bordeaux and elsewhere in Gaul. Greek was taught habitually as well as Latin. In fact, never since the days of Hadrian had educated society throughout the Empire been so nearly bilingual. It was not only that the Latin-speaking West had still to turn for its culture and its philosophy to the literature of Greece. Since the days of Diocletian the court, or at least the most important court, had resided as a rule in Asia, and Greek had tended to become, equally with Latin, the language of the courtier and the administrator. The two were of almost equal importance; if an Oriental like Ammianus Marcellinus could write, and write well, in Latin, we may be certain that, in return, Greek was familiar to educated Westerns. To Hilary it was certainly familiar from his youth; his earlier thoughts were moulded by Neoplatonism, and his later decisively influenced by the writings of Origen4 . His literary and technical knowledge of Latin was also complete5 . It would require wide special study and knowledge to fix his relation in matters of composition and rhetoric to other writers. But one assertion, that of Jerome6 , that Hilary was deliberate imitator of the style of Quintilian, cannot be taken seriously. Jerome is the most reckless of writers; and it is at least possible to be somewhat familiar with the writings of both and yet see no resemblance, except in a certain sustained gravity, between them. Another description by Jerome of Hilary as ‘mounted on Gallic buskin and adorned with flowers of Greece’ is suitable enough, as to its first part, to Hilary’s dignified rhetoric; the flowers of Greece, if they mean embellishments inserted for their own sake, are not perceptible. In this same passage7 Jerome goes on to criticise Hilary’s entanglement in long periods, which renders him unsuitable for unlearned readers. But those laborious, yet perfectly constructed, sentences are an essential part of his method. Without them he could not attain the effect he desires; they are as deliberate and, in their way, as successful as the eccentricities of Tacitus. But when Jerome elsewhere calls Hilary ‘the Rhone of Latin eloquence8 ,’ he is speaking at random. It is only rarely that he breaks through his habitual sobriety of utterance; and his rare outbursts of devotion or denunciation are perhaps the more effective because the reader is unprepared to expect them. Such language as this of Jerome shews that Hilary’s literary accomplishments were recognised, even though it fails to describe them well. But though he had at his command, and avowedly employed, theresources of rhetoric in order that his words might be as worthy as he could make them of the greatness of his theme9 , yet some portions of the De Trinitate, and most of the Homilies on the Psalms are written in a singularly equable and almost conversational style, the unobtrusive excellence of which manifests the hand of a clear thinker and a practiced writer. He is no pedant10 , no laborious imitator of antiquity, distant or near; he abstains, perhaps more completely than any other Christian writer of classical education, from the allusions to the poets which were the usual ornament of prose. He is an eminently businesslike writer; his pages, where they are unadorned, express his meaning with perfect clearness; where they are decked out with antithesis or apostrophe and other devices of rhetoric, they would no doubt, if our training could put us in sympathy with him, produce the effect upon us which he designed, and we must, in justice to him, remember as we read that, in their own kind, they are excellent, and that, whether they aid us or no in entering into his argument, they never obscure his thought. Save in the few passages when corruption exists in the text, it is never safe to assert that Hillary is unintelligible. The reader or translator who cannot follow or render the argument must rather lay the blame upon his own imperfect knowledge of the language and thought of the fourth century. Where he is stating or proving truth, whether well-established or newly ascertained, he is admirably precise; and even in his more dubious speculations he never cloaks a weak argument in ambiguous language. A loftier genius might have given us in language inadequate, through no fault of his own, to the attempt some intimations of remoter truths. We must be thankful to the sober Hilary that he, with his strong sense of the limitations of our intellect, has provided a clear and accurate statement of the case against Arianism, and has widened the bounds of theological knowledge by reasonable deductions from the text of Scripture, usually convincing and always suggestive).

His training as a writer and thinker had certainly been accomplished before his conversion. His literary work done, like that of St. Cyprian, within a few years of middle life, displays, with a somewhat increasing maturity of thought, a steady uniformity of language and idiom, which can only have been acquired in his earlier days. And this assured possession of literary form was naturally accompanied by a philosophical training. Of one branch of a philosophical education, that of logic, there is almost too much evidence in his pages. He is free from the repulsive angularity which sometimes disfigures the pages of Novatian, a writer who had no great influence over him; but in the De Trinitate he too often refuses to trust his reader’s intelligence, and insists upon being logical not only in thought but in expression. But, sound premises being given, he may always be expected to draw the right conclusion. He is singularly free from confusion of thought, and never advances to results beyond what his premisses warrant. It is only when a false, though accepted, exegesis misleads him, in certain collateral arguments which may be surrendered without loss to his main theses, that he can be refuted; or again when, in his ventures into new fields of thought, he is unfortunate in the selection or combination of texts. But in these cases, as always, the logical processes are not in fault; his deduction is clear and honest.

Philosophy in those days was regarded as incomplete unless it included some knowledge of natural phenomena, to be used for purposes of analogy. Origen and Athanasius display a considerable interest in, and acquaintance with, physical and physiological matters, and Hilary shares the taste. The conditions of human or animal birth and life and death are often discussed11 ; he believes in universal remedies for disease12 , and knows of the employment of anaesthetics in surgery13 . Sometimes he wanders further afield, as, for instance, in his account of the natural history of the fig-tree14 and the worm15 , and in the curious little piece of information concerning Troglodytes and topazes, borrowed, he says, from secular writers, and still to be read in the elder Pliny16 . Even where he seems to be borrowing, on rare occasions, from the commonplaces of Roman poetry, it is rather with the interest of the naturalist than of the rhetorician, as when he speaks in all seriousness of ‘Marsian enchantments and hissing vipers lulled to sleep17 ,’ or recalls 1ucan’s asps and basilisks of the African desert as a description of his heretical opponents18 . Perhaps his lost work, twice mentioned by Jerome19 , against the physician Dioscorus was a refutation of physical arguments against Christianity.

Hilary’s speculative thought, like that of every serious adherent of the pagan creed, had certainly been inspired by Neoplatonism. We cannot take the account of his spiritual progress up to the full Catholic faith, which he gives in the beginning of the De Trinitate, and of which we find a less finished sketch in the Homily on Psalm 61,§ 2, as literal history. It is too symmetrical in its advance through steadily increasing light to the perfect knowledge, too well prepared as a piece of literary workmanship-it is indeed an admirable example of majestic prose, a worthy preface to that great treatise-for us to accept it, as it stands, as the record of actual experience. But we may safely see in it the evidence that Hilary had been an earnest student of the best thought of his day, and had found in Neoplatonism not only a speculative training but also the desire, which was to find its satisfaction in the Faith, for knowledge of God, and for union with Him. It was a debt which Origen, his master., shared with him; and it must have been because, as a Neoplatonist feeling after the truth, he found so much of common ground in Origen, that he was able to accept so fully the teaching of Alexandria. But it would be impossible to separate between the lessons which Hilary had learnt from the pagan form of this philosophy, and those which may have been new to him when he studied it in its Christian presentment. Of the influence of Christian Platonism upon him something will be said shortly. At this point we need only mehtion as a noteworthy indication of the fact that Hilary was not unmindful of the debt, that the only philosophy which he specificany attacks is the godless system of Epicurus, which denies creation, declares that the gods do not concern themselves with men, and deifies water or earth or atoms20 .

It was, then, as a man of mature age, of literary skill and philosophical training, that Hilary approached Christianity. He bad been drawn towards the Faith by desire for a truth which he had not found in philosophy; and his conviction that this truth was Christianity was established by independent study of Scripture, not by intercourse with Christian teachers; so much we may safely conclude from the early pages of the De Trinitate. It must remain doubtful whether the works of Origen, who influenced his thought so profoundly, had fallen into his hands before his conversion, or whether it was as a Christian, seeking for further light upon the Faith, that he first studied them. For it is certainly improbable that he would find among the Christians of his own district many who could help him in intellectual difficulties. The educated classes were still largely pagan, and the Christian body, which was, we may say, unanimously and undoubtingly Catholic, held, without much mental activity, a traditional and inherited faith. Into this body Hilary entered by Baptism, at some unknown date. His age at the time, his employment, whether or no he was married21 , whether or no he entered the ministry of the Church of Poitiers, can never be known. It is only certain that he was strengthening his faith by thought and study.

(He had come to the Faith, St. Augustine says22 , laden, like Cyprian, Lactantius and others, with the gold and silver and raiment of Egypt; and he would naturally wish to find a Christian employment for the philosophy which he brought with him. If his horizon had been limited to his neighbours in Gaul, he would have found little encouragement and less assistance. The oral teaching which prevailed in the West furnished, no doubt, safe guidance in doctrine, but could not supply reasons for the Faith. And reasons were the one great interest of Hilary. The whole practical side of Christianity as a system of life is ignored, or rather taken for granted and therefore not discussed, in his writings, which are ample enough to be a mirror of his thought. For instance, we cannot doubt that his belief concerning the Eucharist was that of the whole Church. Yet in the great treatise on the Trinity, of which no small part is given to the proof that Christ is God and Man, and that through this union must come the union of man with God, the Eucharist as a means to such union is only once introduced, and that in a short passage, and for the purpose of argument23 . And altogether it would be as impossible to reconstruct the Christian life and thought of the day from his writings as from those of the half-pagan Arnobius. To such a mind as this the teaching which ordinary Christians needed and welcomed could bring no satisfaction, and no aid towards the interpretation of Scripture. The Western Church was, indeed, in an almost illogical position. Conviction was in advance of argument. The loyal practice of the Faith had led men on, as it were by intuition, to apprehend and firmly hold truths which the more thoughtful East was doubtfully and painfully approaching. Here, again, Hilary would be out of sympathy with his neighbours, and we cannot wonder that in such a doctrine as that of the Holy Spirit he held the conservative Eastern view. Nor were the Latin speaking Churches well equipped with theological literature. The two24 great theologians who had as yet written in their tongue, Tertullian and Novatian, with the former of whom Hilary was familiar, were discredited by their personal history. St. Cyprian, the one doctor whom the West already boasted, could teach disciplined enthusiasm and Christian morality, but his scattered statements concerning points of doctrine convey nothing more than a general impression of piety and soundness; and even his arrangement, in the Testimonia, of Scriptural evidences was a poor weapon against the logical attack of Arianism. But there is little reason to suppose that there was any general sense of the need of a more systematic theology. Africa was paralysed, and the attention of the Western provinces probably engrossed, by the Donatist strife, into which questions of doctrine did not enter. The adjustment of the relations between Church and State, the instruction and government of the countless ptoselytes who flocked to the Faith while toleration grew into imperial favour, must have needed all the attention that the Church’s rulers could give. And these busy years had followed upon a generation of merciless persecution, during which change of practice or growth of thought had been impossible; and the confessors, naturally a conservative force, were one of the dominant powers in the church. We cannot be surprised that the scattered notices in Hilary’s writings of points of discipline, and his hortatory teaching, are in no respect different from what we find a century earlier in St. Cyprian. And men who were content to leave the superstructure as they found it were not likely to probe the foundations. Their belief grew in definiteness as the years went on, and faithful lives were rewarded, almost unconsciously, with a deeper insight into truth. But meanwhile they took the Faith as they had received it; one might say, as a matter of course. There was little heresy within the Western Church. Arianismwas never prevalent enough to excite fear, even though repugnance were felt. The Churches were satisfied with faith and life as they saw it within and around them. Their religion was traditional, in no degenerate sense.

But such a religion could not satisfy ardent and logical minds, like those of St. Hilary and his two great successors, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine. To such men it was a necessity of their faith that they should know, and know in its right proportions, the truth so far as it had been revealed, and trace the appointed limits which human knowledge might not overpass. For their own assurance and for effective warfare against heresy a reasoned system of theology was necessary. Hilary, the earliest, had the greatest difficulty. To aid him in the interpretation of Scripture he had only one writer in his own tongue, Tertullian, whose teaching, in the matters which interested Hilary, though orthodox, was behind the times. His strong insistence upon the subordination of the Son to the Father, due to the same danger which still, in the fourth century, seemed in the East the most formidable, was not in harmony with the prevalent thought of the West. Thus Hilary, in his search for reasons for the Faith, was practically isolated; there was little at home which could help him to construct his system. To an intellect so self-reliant as his this may have been no great trial. Scrupulous though he was in confining his speculations within the bounds of inherited and acknowledged truth, yet in matters still undecided he exercised a singularly free judgment, now advancing beyond, now lingering behind, the usual belief of his contemporaries. In following out his thoughts, loyally yet independently, he was conscious that he was breaking what was new ground to his older fellow-Christians, almost as much as to himself, the convert from Paganism. And that he was aware of the novelty is evident from the sparing use which he makes of that stock argument of the old controversialists, the newness of heresy. He uses it, e.g., in Trin.ii. 4, and uses it with effect; but it is far less prominent in him than in others.

For such independence of thought he could find precedent in Alexandrian theology, of which he was obviously a careful student and, in his free use of his own judgment upon it, a true disciple. When he was drawn into the Arian controversy and studied its literature, his thoughts to some extent were modified; but he never ceases to leave upon his reader the impression of an Oriental isolated in the West. From the Christian Platonists of Alexandria25 come his most characteristic thoughts. They have passed on, for instance, from Philo to him the sense of the importance of the revelation contained in the divine name (He that is. His peculiar doctrine of the impassibility of the incarnate Christ is derived, more probably directly than indirectly, from Clement of Alexandria. But it is to Origen that Hilary stands in the closest and most constant relations, now as a pupil, now as a critic. In fact, as we shall see, no small portion of the Homilies on the Psalms, towards the end of the work, is devoted to the controverting of opinions expressed by Origen; and by an omission which is itself a criticism he completely ignores one of that writer’s most important contributions to Christian thought, the mystical interpretation of the Song of Songs. It is true that Jerome26 knew of a commentary on that Book which was doubtfully attributed to Hilary; but if Hilary had once accepted such an exegesis he could not possibly have failed to use it on some of the numerous occasions when it must have suggested itself in the course of his writing, for it is not his habit to allow a thought to drop out of his mind; his characteristic ideas recur again and again. In some cases we can actually watch the growth of Hilary’s mind as it emancipates itself from Origen’s influence; as, for instance, in his psychology. He begins (Comm. in Mt 5,8) by holding, with Origen and Tertullian, that the soul is corporeal; in later life he states expressly that this is not the case27 . Yet what Hilary accepted from Origen is far more important than what he rejected. His strong sense of the dignity of man, of the freedom of the will, his philosophical belief in the inseparable connection of name and thing, the thought of the Incarnation as primarily an obscuring of the Divine glory28 , are some of the lessons which Origen has taught him. But, above all, it is to him that he owes his rudimentary doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit. Hilary says nothing inconsistent with the truth as it was soon to be universally recognised; but his caution in declining to accept, or at least to state, the general belief of Western Christendom that the Holy Spirit, since Christians are baptized in His Name as well as in that of Father and Son, is God in the same sense as They, is evidence both of his independence of the opinion around him and of his dependence on Origen. Of similar dependence on any other writer or school there is no trace. He knew Tertullian well, and there is some evidence that he knew Hippolytus and Novatian, but his thought was not moulded by theirs; and when, in the maturity of his powers, he became a fellow-combatant with Athanasius and the precursors of the great Cappadocians, his borrowing is not that of a disciple but of an equal.

Hilary - Damascus