St. Hilary Reproves the Protestants
June 10, 2010 Leave a comment
On the Trinity, Book VIII:
10. Now the contradiction of fools always serves to prove their folly, because with regard to the faults which they contrive by the devices of an unwise or crooked understanding against the truth, while the latter remains unshaken and immovable the things which are opposed to it must needs be regarded as false and foolish. For heretics in their attempt to deceive others by the words, I and the Father are ones, that there might not be acknowledged in them the unity and like essence of deity, but only a oneness arising from mutual love and an agreement of wills–these heretics, I say, have brought forward an instance of that unity, as we have shewn above, even from the words of our Lord, That they all may be one, as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us. Every man is outside the promises of the Gospel who is outside the faith in them, and by the guilt of an evil understanding has lost all simple hope. For to know not what thou believest demands not so much excuse as a reward, for the greatest service of faith is to hope for that which thou knowest not. But it is the madness of most consummate wickedness either not to believe things which are understood or to have corrupted the sense in which one believes.
11. But although the wickedness of man can pervert his intellectual powers, nevertheless the words retain their meaning. Our Lord prays to His Father that those who shall believe in Him may be one, and as He is in the Father and the Father in Him, so all may be one in Them…
12. But because it is proper to the Father alone and the Son that They should be one by nature because God is from God, and the Only-begotten from the Unbegotten can subsist in no other nature than that of His origin; so that He Who was begotten should exist in the substance of His birth, and the birth should possess no other and different truth of deity than that from which it issued; for our Lord has left us in no doubt as to our belief by asserting throughout the whole of the discourse which follows the nature of this complete unity. For the next words are these, That the world may believe that Thou didst send Me. Thus the world is to believe that the Son has been sent by the Father because all who shall believe in Him will be one in the Father and the Son. And how they will be so we are soon told,–And the glory which Than hast given Me I have given unto them. Now I ask whether glory is identical with will, since will is an emotion of the mind while glory is an ornament or embellishment of nature. So then it is the glory received from the Father that the Son hath given to all who shall believe in Him, and certainly not will. Had this been given, faith would carry with it no required, for a necessity of will attached to us would also impose faith upon us. However He has shewn what is effected by the bestowal of the glory received, That they may be one, even as We are one. It is then with this object that the received glory was bestowed, that all might be one. So now all are one in glory, because the glory given is none other than that which was received: nor has it been given for any other cause than that all should be one. And since all are one through the glory given to the Son and by the Son bestowed upon believers, I ask how can the Son be of a different glory from the Father’s, since the glory of the Son brings all that believe into the unity of the Father’s glory. Now it may be that the utterance of human hope in this case may be somewhat immoderate, yet it will not be contrary to faith; for though to hope for this were presumptuous, yet not tO have believed it is sinful, for we have one and the same Author both of our hope and of our faith. We will treat of this matter more clearly and at greater length in its own place, as is fitting. Yet in the meantime it is easily seen from our present argument that this hope of ours is neither vain nor presumptuous. So then through the glory received and given all are one. I hold the faith and recognise the cause of the unity, but I do not yet understand how it is that the glory given makes all one.
13. Now our Lord has not left the minds of His faithful followers in doubt, but has explained the manner in which His nature operates, saying, That they may be one, as We are one: I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in one. Now I ask those who bring forward a unity of will between Father and Son, whether Christ is in us to-day through verity of nature or through agreement of will. For if in truth the Word has been made flesh and we in very truth receive the Word made flesh as food from the Lord, are we not bound to believe that He abides in us naturally, Who, born as a man, has assumed the nature of our flesh now inseparable from Himself, and has conjoined the nature of His own flesh to the nature of the eternal Godhead in the sacrament by which His flesh is communicated to us? For so are we all one, because the Father is in Christ and Christ in us. Whosoever then shall deny that the Father is in Christ naturally must first deny that either he is himself in Christ naturally, or Christ in him, because the Father in Christ and
Christ in us make us one in Them. Hence, if indeed Christ has taken to Himself the flesh of our body, and that Man Who was born froth Mary was induced Christ, and we indeed receive in a mystery the flesh of His body–(and for this cause we shall be one, because the Father is in Him and He in us), — how can a unity of will be maintained, seeing that the special property of nature received through the sacrament is the sacrament of a perfect unity?
17. I have dwelt upon these facts because the heretics falsely maintain that the union between Father and Son is one of will only, and make use of the example of our own union with God, as though we were trailed to the Son and through the Son to the Father by mere obedience and a devout will, and none of the natural verity of communion were vouchsafed us through the sacrament of the Body and Blood; although the glory of the Son bestowed upon us through the Son abiding in us after the flesh, while we are united in Him corporeally and inseparably, bids us preach the mystery of the true and natural unity.