Early Church Fathers
41 Afterwards of Antioch, and then 8th Bishop of Constantinople (360-370), one of the most influential of all the Arians. He it was who procured for Eunomius the bishopric of Cyzicus (359). (The latter must indeed have concealed his views on that occasion, for Constantius hated the Anomoens).
42 A town of Commagene.
43 Proverbs xxvii. 2.
44 `The metropolitan remained unshaken. The rough threats of Modestus succeeded no better than the fatherly counsel of Enippius.0' Gwatkins Arians.
45 Other words of Basil, before Modestus at Caesarea, are also recorded; "I cannot worship any created thing, being as I am God's creation, and having been bidden to be a God."
46 This cook is compared to Nabuzardan by Gregory Naz. also (Orat. xliii. 47). Cf. also Theodoret, iv. 19, where most of these events are recorded. The former says that `Nabuzardan threatened Basil when summoned before him with the maxaira of his trade, but was sent back to his kitchen fire.0'
47 Modestus, the Lord Lieutenant or Count of the East, had sacrificed to the images under Julian, and had been re-baptized as an Arian.
48 there is the Supreme and Absolute Being, and another Being existing through the First, but after It. The language of this exposition of Eunomius is Aristotelian: but the contents nevertheless are nothing more nor less than Gnosticism, as Rupp well points out (Gregors v. Nyssa Leben und Meinungen, p. 132 sq.). Arianism, he says, is nothing but the last attempt of Gnosticism to force the doctrine of emanations into Christian theology, clothing that doctrine on this occasion in a Greek dress. It was still an oriental heresy, not a Greek heresy like Pelagianism in the next century.
Rupp gives two reasons why Arianism may be identified with Gnosticism.
1. Arianism holds the Logoj as the highest being after the Godhead, i.e. as the prwtotokoj thj ktisewj, and as merely the mediator between God and Man: just as it was the peculiar aim of Gnosticism to bridge over the gulf between the Creator and the Created by means of intermediate beings (the emanations).
2. Eunomius and his master adopted that very system of Greek philosophy which had always been the natural ally of Gnosticism: i.e. Aristotle is strong in divisions and differences, weak in `identifications:0' he had marked with a clearness never attained before the various stages upwards of existencies in the physical world: and this is just what Gnosticism, in its wish to exhibit all things according to their relative distances from the 'Agennhtoj, wanted.
Eunomius has in fact in this formula of his translated all the terms of Scripture straight into those of Aristotle: he has changed the ethical-physical of Christianity into the purely physical; pneuma e.g. becomes ousia: and by thus banishing the spiritual and the moral he has made his 'Agennhtoj as completely `single0' and incommunicable as the to prwton kinoun akinhton (Arist. Metaph. Xll. 7).
49 i.e. of the equality of Persons.
50 i.e. for the Persons.
51 Eccles. vii. 16.
52 Psalm viii. 6-8.
53 Psalm xlvii. 3 (LXX.).
54 John x. 30; 2 Cor. xiii. 13.
55 he declares Him to be a work of both Persons. With regard to Gregory's own belief as to the procession of tile Holy Spirit, it may be said once for all that there is hardly anything (but see.p. 99, note 5) clear about it to be found in his writings. The question, in fact, remained undecided until the 9th century, the time of the schism of the East and West. But here, as in other points, Origen had approached the nearest to the teaching of the West: for he represents the procession as from Father and Son, just as often as from one Person or the other. Athanasius dues certainly say that the Spirit `unites the creation to the Son, and through the Son to the Father,0' but with him this expression is not followed up: while in the Roman Church it led to doctrine. For why does the Holy Spirit unite the creation with God continuously and perfectly? Because, to use Bossuet's words, "proceeding from the Father and the Son He is their love and eternal union." Neither Basil, nor Gregory Nazianzen, nor Chrysostom, have anything definite about the procession of the Third Person.
56 kataghptikhj efodou-h kataghymj. These words are taken from the Stoic logic, and refer to the Stoic view of the standard of truth. To the question, How are true perceptions distinguished from false ones, the Stoics answered, that a true perception is one which represents a real object as it really is. To the further question, How may it be known that a perception faithfully represents a reality, they replied by pointing to a relative nor an absolute test-the degree of strength with which certain perceptions force themselves upon our notice. Some of our perceptions are of such a kind that they at once oblige us to bestow on them assent. Such perceptions produce in us that strength of conviction which the Stoics call a conception. Whenever a perception forces itself upon us in this irresistible form, we are no longer dealing with a fiction of the imagination but with something real. The test of irresistibility (kataghyij) was, in the first place, understood to apply to sensations from without, such sensations, according to the Stoic view, alone supplying the material for knowledge. An equal degree of certainty was, however, attached to terms deduced from originally true data, either by the universal and natural exercise of thought, or by scientific processes of proof. It is katagehyeij obtained in this last way that Gregory refers to, and Eunomius was endeavouring to create in the supra-natural world.
57 1 Timothy i. 15.
58 There is of course reference here to John i. 3: and Eunomius is called just below the `new theologian,0' with an allusion of S. John, who was called by virtue of this passage essentially o qeologoj.
59 this school of the new circumcision. This accusation is somewhat discounted by Gregory's comparison of Eunomius elsewhere to Bardesanes and Marcion, to the Manichees, to Nicholaus, to Philo (see Book XI. 691, 704, VI. 607, and especially VII. 645), and by his putting him down a scholar of Plato. But a momentary advantage, calculated in accordance with the character and capacities of the great mass of Gregory's audience, could not be lost. The lessons of Libanius, the rhetorician, had not been thrown away on Gregory.
60 Colossians i. 16.
61 i.e. according as each inclines more or less to the First Good.
62 uncreate intelligible nature is far renewed from such distinctions. This was the impregnable position that Athanasius had taken up. To admit that the Son is less than the Father, and the Spirit less than the Son, is to admit the law of emanation such as hitherto conceived, that is, the gradual and successive degradation of God's substance; which had conducted oriental heretics as well as the Neoplatonists to a sort of pantheistic polytheism. Arius had indeed tried to resist this tendency so far as to bring back divinity to the Supreme Being; but it was at the expense of the divinity of the Son, Who was with him just as much a created Intermediate between God and man, as one of the Aeons: and Aetius and Eunomius treated the Holy Ghost also as their master had treated the Son. But Arianism tended at once to Judaism and, in making creatures adorable. to Greek polytheism. There was only one way of cutting short the phantasmagoria of divine emanations, without having recourse to the contradictory hypothesis of Arius: and that was to reject the law of emanation, as hitherto accepted, altogether. Far from admitting that the Supreme Being is always weakening and degrading Himself in that which emanates from Him, Athanasius lays down the principle that He produces within Himself nothing but what is perfect, and first, and divine: and all that is not perfect is a work of the Divine Will, which draws it out of nothing (i.e. creates it), and not out of the Divine Substance. This was the crowning result of the teaching of Alexandria and Origen. See Denys (De la Philosophic d'Origene, p. 432, Paris, 1884).
63 But He is not begotten. Athanasian Creed.
64 Luke x. 18.
65 thj zwopoiou dunamewj.
66 tou pantoj. It is worth while to mention,once for all, the distinction in the names used by the Stoics for the world, which had long since passed from them into the common parlance. Including the Empty, the world is called to pan, without it, olon (to olon, ta ola frequently occurs with the Stoics). The pan, it was said, is neither material nor immaterial, since it consists of both.
67 Ti gar baptizontai eij Xriston. This throws some light on the much discussed passage, `Why are these baptized for the dead?0' Gregory at all events seems here to take it to mean, `Why are they baptized in the name of a dead Christ?0' as he is adopting partially S. Paul's words, 1 Cor. xv. 29; as well as Heb. xi. 1 above.
69 Cf. Gregory's theory of human perfection; De anima et Resurrectione, p. 229, 230. `The All-creating Wisdom fashioned these souls, these receptacles with free wills, as vessels as it were, for this very purpose, that there should be some capacities able to receive His blessings, and become continually larger with the inpouring of the stream. Such are the wonders that the participation in the Divine blessings works; it makes him into whom they come larger and more capacious. ...The fountain of blessings wells up unceasingly, and the partaker's nature, finding nothing superfluous and without a use in that which it receives, makes the whole influx an enlargement of its own proportions. ...It is likely, therefore, that this bulk will mount to a magnitude wherein no limit checks the growth.
70 Proverbs viii. 22 (LXX). For another discussion of this passage, see Book II. ch. 10 (beginning) with note.
71 Proverbs viii, 27 (LXX).
72 in the Canon. (Oehler's stopping is here at fault, i.e. he begins a new paragraph with 'Ekdexetai ton logon touton o Pauloj). We need not speculate whether Gregory was aware that the Epistle to the Colossians (quoted below) is an earlier `Gospel0' than S. John's.
73 Coloss. i. 16.