GREGORY OF NYSSA
ANSWER TO EUNOMIUS'
SECOND BOOK
PART 2

"But God," he says, "gave the weakest of terrestrial things a share in the most honourable names, though not giving them an equal share of dignity, and to the highest He imparted the names of the lowest, though the natural inferiority of the latter was not transferred to the former along with their names." We quote this in his very words. If they contain some deep and recondite meaning which has escaped us, let those inform us who see what is beyond our range of vision--initiated as they are by him in his esoteric and unspeakable mysteries. But if they admit of no interpretation beyond what is obvious, I scarcely know which of the two are more to be pitied, those who say such things or those who listen to them. To the weakest of terrestrial things, he says, God has given names in common with the most honourable, though not giving them an equal share of dignity. Let us examine what is meant by this. The weakest things, he says, are dignified with the bare name belonging to the honourable, their nature not corresponding with their name. And this he states to be the work of the God of truth--to dignify the worse nature with the worthier appellation! On the other hand, he says that God applies the less honourable names to things superior in their nature, the nature of the latter not being carried over to the former along with the appellation. But that the matter may be made plainer still, the absurdity shall be shown by actual instances. If any one should call a man who is esteemed for every virtue, intemperate; or, on the other hand, a man equally in disrepute for his vices, good and moral, would sensible people think him of sound mind, or one who had any regard for truth, reversing, as would be the case, the meanings of words, and giving them a non-natural signification? I for my part think not. He speaks, then, of things relating to God, out of all keeping with our common ideas and with the holy Scriptures. For in matters of ordinary life it is only those who are unsettled by drink or madness that go wrong in names, and use them out of their proper meaning, calling, it may be, a man a dog, or vice versa. But Holy Scripture is so far from sanctioning such confusion, that we may clearly hear the voice of prophecy lamenting it. "Woe unto him," says Isaiah, "that calls darkness light, and light darkness, that calls bitter sweet, and sweet bitter(7)." Now what induces Eunomius to apply this absurdity to his God? Let those who are initiated in his mysteries say what they judge those weakest of terrestrial things to be, which God has dignified with most honourable appellations. The weakest of existing things are those animals whose generation takes place from the corruption of moist elements, as the most honourable are virtue, and holiness, and whatever else is pleasing in the sight of God. Are flies, then, and midges, and frogs, and whatever insects are generated from dung, dignified with the names of holiness and virtue, so as to be consecrated with honourable names, though not sharing in such high qualities, as saith Eunomius? But never as yet have we heard anything like this, that these weak things are called by high-sounding titles, or that what is great and honourable by nature is degraded by the name of any one of them. Noah was a righteous man, saith the Scripture, Abraham was faithful, Moses meek, Daniel wise, Joseph chaste, Job blameless, David perfect in patience. Let them say, then, whether all these had their names by contraries; or, to take the case of those who are unfavourably spoken of, as Nabal the Carmelite, and Pharaoh the Egyptian, and Abimelech the alien, and all those who are mentioned for their vices, whether they were dignified with honourable names by the voice of God. Not so! But God judges and distinguishes His creatures as they are in nature and truth, not by names contrary to them, but by such appropriate appellations as may give the clearest idea of their meaning.

This it is that our strong-minded opponent, who accuses us of dishonesty, and charges us with being irrational in judgment,--this it is that he pretends to know of the Divine nature. These are the opinions that he puts forth respecting God, as though He mocked His creatures with names untrue to their meaning, bestowing on the weakest the most honourable appellations, and pouring contempt on the honourable by making them synonymous with the base. Now a virtuous man, if carried, even involuntarily, beyond the limits of truth, is overwhelmed with shame. Yet Eunomius thinks it no shame to God that He should seem to give a false colour to things by their appellations. Not such is the testimony of the Scriptures to the Divine nature. "God is long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth," says David(8). But how can He be a God of truth Who gives false names to things, and Who perverts the truth in the meanings of their names? Again, He is called by him a righteous Lord(9). Is it, then, a righteous thing to dignify things without honour by honourable names, and, while giving the bare name, to grudge the honour that it denotes? Such is the testimony of these Theologians to their new-fangled God. This is the end of their boasted dialectic cleverness, to display God Himself delighting in deceit, and not superior to the passion of jealousy. For surely it is no better than deceit not to name weak things, as they are in their true nature and worth, but to invest them with empty names, derived from superior things, not proportioning their value to their name; and it is no better than jealousy if, having it in His power to bestow the more honourable appellation on things to be named for some superiority, He grudged them the honour itself, as deeming the happiness of the weak a loss to Himself personally. But I should recommend all who are wise, even if the God of these Gnostics(1) is by stress of logic shown to be of such a character, not to think thus of the true God, the Only-begotten, but to look at the truth of facts, giving each of them their due, and thence to deduce His name. "Come, ye blessed," saith our Lord; and again, "Depart, ye cursed(2)," not honouring him who deserves cursing with the name of "blessed," nor, on the other hand, dismissing him who has treasured up for himself the blessing, along with the wicked.

But what is our author's meaning, and what is the object of this argument of his? For no one need imagine that, for lack of something to say, in order that he may seem to extend his discourse to the utmost, he has indulged in all this senseless twaddle. Its very senselessness is not without a meaning, and smacks of heresy. For to say that the most honourable names are applied to the weakest things, though not having by nature an equal apportionment of dignity, secretly paves the way, as it were, for the blasphemy to follow, that he may teach his disciples this; that although the Only-begotten is called God, and Wisdom, and Power, and Light, and the Truth, and the Judge, and the King, and God over all, and the great God, and the Prince of peace, and the Father of the world to come, and so forth, His honour is limited to the name.

He does not, in fact, partake of that dignity which the meaning of those names indicates; and whereas wise Daniel, in setting right the Babylonians' error of idolatry, that they should not worship the brazen image or the dragon, but reverence the name of God, which men in their folly had ascribed to them, clearly showed by what he did that the high and lofty name of God had no likeness to the reptile, or to the image of molten brass--this enemy of God exerts himself in his teaching to prove the very opposite of this in regard to the Only-begotten Son of God, exclaiming in the style which he affects, "Do not regard the names of which our Lord is a partaker, so as to infer His unspeakable and sublime nature. For many of the weakest things are likewise invested with names of honour, lofty indeed in sound, though their nature is not transformed so as to come up to the grandeur of their appellations." Accordingly he says that inferior things receive their honour from God only so far as their names go, no equality of dignity accompanying their appellations. When, therefore, we have learned all the names of the Son that are of lofty signification, we must bear in mind that the honour which they imply is ascribed to Him only so far as the words go, but that, according to the system of nomenclature which they adopt, He does not partake of the dignity implied by the words.

But in dwelling on such nonsense I fear that I am secretly gratifying our adversaries. For m setting the truth against their vain and empty words, I seem to myself to be wearing out the patience of my audience before we come to the brunt of the battle. These points, then, I will leave it to my more learned hearers to dispose of, and proceed with my task. Nor will I now notice a thing he has said, which, however, is closely connected with our inquiry; viz. that these things have been so arranged that human thought and conception can claim no authority over names. But who is there that maintains that what is not seen in its own subsistence has authority over anything? For only those creatures that are governed by their own deliberate will are capable of acting with authority. But thought and conception are an operation of the mind, which depends on the deliberate choice of those who speak, having no independent subsistence, but subsisting only in the force of the things said. But this, he says, belongs to God, the Creator of all things, who, by limitations and rules of relation, operation, and proportion, applies suitable appellations to each of the things named. But this either is sheer nonsense, or contradicts his previous assertions. For if he now professes that God affixes names suitable to their subjects, why does he argue, as we have seen that God bestows lofty names on things without honour, not allowing them a share in the dignity which their names indicate, and again, that He degrades things of a lofty nature by names without honour, their nature not being affected by the meanness of their appellations? But perhaps we are unfair to him in subjecting his senseless collocation of phrases to such accusations as these. For they are altogether alien to any sense (I do not mean only to a sense in keeping with reverence), and they will be found to be utterly devoid of reason by all who understand how to form an accurate judgment in such matters. Since, then, like the fish called the sea-lung, what we see appears to have bulk and volume, which turns out, however, to be only viscous matter disgusting to look at, and still more disgusting to handle, I shall pass over his remarks in silence, deeming that the best answer to his idle effusions. For it would be better that we should not inquire what law governs "operation," and "proportion," and "relation," and who it is that prescribes laws to God in respect to rules and modes of proportion and relation, than that, by busying ourselves in such matters, we should nauseate our hearers, and digress from more important matters of inquiry.

But I fear that all we shall find in the discourse of Eunomius will turn out to be mere tumours and sea lungs, so that what has been said must necessarily close our argument, as his writings will supply no material to work on. For as a smoke or a mist makes the air in which it resides heavy and thick, and incapacitates the eye for the discharge of its natural function, yet does not form itself into so dense a body that he who will may grasp and hold it in his palms, and offer resistance to its stroke, so if one should say the same of his pompous piece of writing, the comparison would not be untrue. Much nonsense is worked up in his tumid and viscous discourse, and to one not gifted with over-much discernment, like a mist to one viewing it from afar, it seems to have some substance and shape, but if you come up to it and scrutinize what is said, the theories slip from your hold like smoke, and vanish into nothing, nor have they any solidity or resistance to oppose to the stroke of your argument. It is difficult, therefore, to know what to do. For to those who like to complain either alternative will seem objectionable; whether, leaping over his empty wordiness, as over a ravine, we direct the course of our argument to the level and open country, against those points which seem to have any strength against the truth, or form our absurd battle along the whole line of his inanities. For in the latter case, to those who do not love hard work, our labour, extending over some thousands of lines to no useful purpose, will be wearisome and unprofitable. But if we attack those points only which seem to have some force against the truth, we shall give occasion to our adversaries to accuse us of passing over arguments of theirs which we are unable to refute. Since, then, two courses are open to us, either to take all their arguments seriatim, or to run through those only which are more important--the one course tedious to our hearers, the other liable to be suspected by our assailants--I think it best to take a middle course, and so, as far as possible, to avoid censure on either hand. What, then, is our method? After clearing his vain productions, as well as we can, of the rubbish they have accumulated, we will summarily run through the main points of his argument in such a way as neither to plunge needlessly into the profundities of his nonsense, nor to leave any of his statements unexamined. Now his whole treatise is an ambitious attempt to show that God speaks after the manner of men, and that the Creator of all things gives them suitable names, indicative of the things themselves. And, therefore, opposing himself to him who contended that such names are given by that rational nature which we have received from God, he accuses him of error, and of desertion from his fundamental proposition: and having brought this charge against him, he uses the following arguments in support of his position.

Basil, he says, asserts that after we have obtained our first idea of a thing, the more minute and accurate investigation of the thing under consideration is called conception. And Eunomius disproves this, as he thinks, by the following argument, that where this first, and this second notion, i.e. one more minute and accurate than the other, are not found, the operation which we call thought and conception does not find place. Here, however, he will be convicted of dishonesty by all who have ears to hear. For it was not of all thought and conception that our master (Basil) laid down this definition, but, after making a special subdivision of the objects of thought and conception (not to encumber the question with too many words), and having made this part clear, he left men of sense to reason out the whole from the part for themselves. And as, if any one should say that we get our definition of an animal from considering a number of animals of different species, he could not be convicted of missing the truth in making man an instance in point, nor would there be any need to correct him as deviating from the fact, unless he should give the same definition of a winged, or four-footed, or aquatic animal as of a man, so, when the points of view from which we may consider this conception are so many and various, it is no refutation of Basil's statement to say that it is improperly so called in one case because there is another species. Accordingly, even if another species come under consideration, it by no means follows that the one previously given is erroneously so called. Now if, says he, one of the Apostles or Prophets could be shown to have used these names of Christ, the falsehood would have something for its encouragement. To what industrious study of the word of God on the part of our opponent do not these words bear testimony! None of the Prophets or Apostles has spoken of our Lord as Bread, or a Stone, or a Fountain, or an Axe, or Light, or a Shepherd! What, then, saith David, and of whom? "The Lord shepherds me." "Thou Who shepherdest Israel, give earn." What difference does it make whether He is spoken of as shepherding, or as a Shepherd? And again, "With Thee is the Well of life(4)." Does he deny that our Lord is called a "Well"? And again, "The Stone which the builders rejected(5)." And John, too,--where, representing our Lord's power to uproot evil under the name of an axe, he says, "And now also the Axe is laid to the root of the trees(6)"--is he not a weighty and credible witness to the truth of our words?

And Moses, seeing God in the light, and John calling Him the true Light(7), and in the same way Paul, when our Lord first appeared to him, and a Light shone round about him, and afterwards when he heard the words of the Light saying, "I am Jesus, Whom thou persecutest(8),"--is he not a competent witness? And as regards the name "Bread," let him read the Gospel and see how the bread given by Moses, and supplied to Israel from heaven, was taken by our Lord as a type of Himself: "For Moses gave you not that Bread, but My Father giveth you the true Bread (meaning Himself) which cometh down from heaven and giveth life unto the world(9)." But this genuine hearer of the law says that none of the Prophets or Apostles has applied these names to Christ. What shall we say, then, of what follows? "Even if our Lord Himself adopts them, yet, since in the Saviour's names there is no first or second, none more minute or accurate than another, for He knows them all at once with equal accuracy, it is not possible to accommodate his (Basil's) account of the operation of conception to any of His names."

I have deluged my discourse with much nonsense of his, but I trust my hearers will pardon me for not leaving unnoticed even the most glaring of his inanities; not that we take pleasure in our author's indecorum, (for what advantage can we derive from the refutation of our adversaries' folly?) but that truth may be advanced by confirmation from whatever quarter. "Since," says he, "our Lord applies these appellations to Himself, not deeming any one of them first, or second, or more minute and accurate than the rest, you cannot say that these names are the result of conception." Why, he has forgotten his own object! How comes he by the knowledge of the words against which he declares war? Our master and guide had made mention of an example familiar to all, in illustration of the doctrine of conception, and having explained his meaning by lower illustrations, he lifts the consideration of the question to higher things. He had said that the word "corn," regarded by itself, is one thing only as to substance, but that, as to the various properties we see in it, it varies its appellations, being called seed, and fruit, and food, and the like. Similarly, says he, our Lord is in respect to Himself what He is essentially, but when named according to the differences of His operations, He has not one appellation in all cases, but takes a different name according to each notion produced in us from the operation. How, then, does what he says disprove our theory that it is possible for many appellations to be attached with propriety, according to the diversity of His operations, and His relation to their effects, to the Son of God, though one in respect of the underlying force, even as corn, though one, has various names apportioned to it, according to the point of view from which we regard it? How, then, can what is said be overthrown by our saying that Christ used all these names of Himself? For the question was not, who ascribed them, but about the meaning of the names, whether they denote essence, or whether they are derived from His operations by the process of conception. But our shrewd and strong-minded opponent, overturning our theory of conception, which declares that it is possible to find many appellations for one and the same subject, according to the significances of its operations, attacks us vigorously, asserting that such names were not given to our Lord by another. But what has this to do with the case in point? Since these names are used by our Lord, will he not allow that they are names, or appellations, or words expressive of ideas? For if he will not admit them to be names, then, in doing away with the appellations, he does away at the same time with the conception. But if he does not deny that these words are names, what harm can he do to our doctrine of conception by showing that such titles were given to our Lord, not by some one else, but by Himself? For what was said was this, that, as in the instance of corn, our Lord, though substantively One, bears epithets suitable to His operations. And as it is admitted that corn has its names by virtue of our conception of its associations, it was shown that these terms significative of our Lord are not of His essence, but are formed by the method of conception in our minds respecting Him. But our antagonist studiously avoids attacking these positions, and maintains that our Lord received these names from Himself, in the same way as, if one sought for the true interpretation of the name "Isaac," whether it means laughter(1), as some say, or something else, one of Eunomius' way of thinking should confidently reply that the name was given to him as a child by his mother but that, one might say, was not the question, i.e. by whom the name was given, but what does it mean when translated into our language? And this being the point of the inquiry, whether our Lord's various appellations were the result of conception, instead of being indicative of His essence, he who thus seeks to demonstrate that they are not so derived because they are used by our Lord Himself,--how can he be numbered among men of sense, warring as he does against the truth, and equipping himself with such alliances for the war as serve to show the superior strength of his enemy?

Then going farther, as if his object were thus far attained, he takes up other charges against us, more difficult, as he thinks, to deal with than the former, and with many preliminary groans and attempts to prejudice his hearers against us, and to whet their appetite for his address, accusing us withal of seeking to establish doctrines savouring of blasphemy, and of ascribing to our own conception names assigned by God (though he nowhere mentions what assignment he refers to, nor when and where it took place), and, further, of throwing everything into confusion, and identifying the essence of the Only-begotten with his operation, without arguing the matter, or showing how we prove the identity of the essence and the operation, he winds up with the same list of charges, as follows: "And now, passing beyond this, he (Basil) asperses even the Most High with the vilest blasphemies, using at the same time broken language, and illustrations wide of the mark." Now prior to inquiry, I should like to be told what our language is "broken" from, and what mark it is "wide of"; not that I want to know, except to show the confusion and obscurity of his address, which he dins into the ears of the old wives among our men, pluming himself on his nice phrases, which he mouths out to the admirers of such things, ignorant, as it would seem, that in the judgment of educated men this address of his will serve only as a memorial of his own infamy.

But all this is beside our purpose. Would that our charges against him were limited to this, and that he could be thought to err only in his delivery, and not in matters of faith; since it would have been of comparatively little importance to him to be praised or blamed for expressing himself in one style or another. But however that may be, the sequel of his charges against us contains this in addition: "Considering the case of corn (he says), and of our Lord, after exercising his conceptions in various ways upon them, he(2) declares that even in like manner the most holy essence of God admits of the same variety of conception." This is the gravest of his accusations, and it is m prosecuting this that he rehearses those heavy invectives of his, charging what we have said with blasphemy, absurdity, and so forth. What, then, is the proof of our blasphemy? "He(3) has mentioned" (says Eunomius) "certain well-known facts about corn,--perceiving how it grows, and how when ripe it affords food, growing, multiplying, and being dispensed by certain forces of nature--and, having mentioned these, he adds that it is only reasonable to suppose that the Only-begotten Son also admits of different modes of being conceived of(4), by reason of certain differences of operation, certain analogies, proportions, and relations. For he uses these terms respecting Him to satiety. And is it not absurd, or rather blasphemous, to compare the Ungenerate with such objects as these?"--What objects? Why, corn, and God the Only-begotten! You see his artfulness. He would show that insignificant corn and God the Only-begotten are equally removed from the dignity of the Ungenerate. And to show that we are not treating his words unfairly, we may learn his meaning from the very words he has written. "For," he asks, "is it not absurd, or rather blasphemous, to compare the Ungenerate with these?" And in thus speaking, he instances the case of corn and of our Lord as on a level in point of dignity, thinking it equally absurd to compare God with either. Now every one knows that things equally distant from a given object are possessed of equality as regards each other, so that according to our wise theologian the Maker of the worlds, Who holds all nature in His hand, is shown to be on a par with the most insignificant seed, since He and corn to the same degree fall short of comparison with God. To such a pitch of blasphemy has he come!

But it is time to examine the argument that leads to this profanity, and see how, as regards itself, it is logically connected with his whole discourse. For after saying that it is absurd to compare God with corn and with Christ, he says of God that He is not, like them, subject to change; but in respect to the Only-begotten, keeping silence on the question whether He too is not subject to change, and thereby clearly suggesting that He is of lower dignity, in that we cannot compare Him, any more than we can compare corn, with God, he breaks off his discourse without using any argument to prove that the Son of God cannot be compared with the Father, as though our knowledge of the grain were sufficient to establish the inferiority of the Son in comparison with the Father. But he discourses of the indestructibility of the Father, as not in actuality attaching to the Son. But if the True Life is an actuality, actuating itself, and if to live everlastingly means the same thing as never to be dissolved in destruction, I for myself do not as yet assent to his argument, but will reserve myself for a more proper occasion. That, however, there is but one single notion in indestructibility(5), considered in reference to the Father and to the Son alike, and that the indestructibility of the Father differs in no respect from that of the Son, no difference as to indestructibility being observable either in remission and intension, or in any other phase of the process of destruction, this, I say, it is seasonable both now and at all times to assert, so as to preclude the doctrine that in respect of indestructibility the Son has no communion with the Father. For as this indestructibility is understood in respect of the Father, so also it is not to be disputed in respect of the Son. For to be incapable of dissolution means nearly, or rather precisely, the same thing in regard to whatever subject it is attributed to. What, then, induces him to assert, that only to the Ungenerate Deity does it belong to have this indestructibility not attaching to Him by reason of any energy, as though he would thereby show a difference between the Father and the Son? For if he supposes his own created God destructible, he well shows the essential divergence of natures by the difference between the destructible and the indestructible. But if neither is subject to destruction,--and no degrees are to be found in pure indestructibility,--how does he show that the Father cannot be compared with the Only-begotten Son, or what is meant by saying that indestructibility is not witnessed in the Father by reason of any energy? But he reveals his purpose in what follows. It is not because of His operations or energies, he says, that He is ungenerate and indestructible, but because He is Father and Creator. And here I must ask my hearers to give me their closest attention. How can he think the creative power of God and His Fatherhood identical in meaning? For he defines each alike as an energy, plainly and expressly affirming, "God is not indestructible by reason of His energy, though He is called Father and Creator by reason of energies." If, then, it is the same thing to call Him Father and Creator of the world because either name is due to an energy as its cause, the results of His energies must be homogeneous, inasmuch as it is through an energy, that they both exist. But to what blasphemy this logically tends is clear to every one who can draw a conclusion. For myself, I should like to add my own deductions to my disquisition. It is impossible that an energy or operation productive of a result should subsist of itself without there being something to set the energy in motion; as we say that a smith operates or works, but that the material on which his art is exercised is operated upon, or wrought. These faculties, therefore, that of operating, and that of being operated upon, must needs stand in a certain relation to each other, so that if one be removed, the remaining one cannot subsist of itself. For where there is nothing operated upon there can be nothing operating. What, then, does this prove? If the energy which is productive of anything does not subsist of itself, there being nothing for it to operate upon, and if the Father, as they affirm, is nothing but an energy, the Only-begotten Son is thereby shown to be capable of being acted upon, in other words, moulded in accordance with the motive energy that gives Him His subsistence. For as we say that the Creator of the world, by laying down some yielding material, capable of being acted upon, gave His creative being a field for its exercise, in the case of things sensible skilfully investing the subject with various and multiform qualities for production, but in the case of intellectual essences giving shape to the subject in another way, not by qualities, but by impulses of choice, so, if any one define the Fatherhood of God as an energy, he cannot otherwise indicate the subsistence of the Son than by comparing it with some material acted upon and wrought to completion. For if it could not be operated upon, it would of necessity offer resistance to the operator: whose energy being thus hindered, no result would be produced. Either, then, they must make the essence of the Only-begotten subject to be acted upon, that the energy may have something to work upon, or, if they shrink from this conclusion, on account of its manifest impiety, they are driven to the conclusion that it has no existence at all. For what is naturally incapable of being acted upon, cannot itself admit the creative energy. He, then, who defines the Son as the effect of an energy, defines Him as one of those things which are subject to be acted upon, and which are produced by an energy. Or, if he deny such susceptibility, he must at the same time deny His existence. But since impiety is involved in either alternative of the dilemma, that of asserting His non-existence, and that of regarding Him as capable of being acted upon, the truth is made manifest, being brought to light by the removal of these absurdities. For if He verily exists, and is not subject to be acted upon, it is plain that He is not the result of an energy, but is proved to be very God of very God the Father, without liability to be acted upon, beaming from Him and shining forth from everlasting.

But in His very essence, he says, God is indestructible. Well, what other conceivable attribute of God does not attach to the very essence of the Son, as justice, goodness, eternity, incapacity for evil, infinite perfection in all conceivable goodness? Is there one who will venture to say that any of the virtues in the Divine nature are acquired, or to deny that all good whatsoever springs from and is seen in it? "For whatsoever is good is from Him, and whatsoever is lovely is from Him(6)." But he appends to this, that He is in His very essence ungenerate too. Well, if he means by this that the Father's essence is ungenerate, I agree with what is said, and do not oppose his doctrine: for not one of the orthodox maintains that the Father of the Only-begotten is Himself begotten. But if, while the form of his expression indicates only this, he maintains that the ungeneracy itself is the essence, I say that we ought not to leave such a position unexamined, but expose his attempt to gain the assent of the unwary to his blasphemy.

Now that the idea(7) of ungeneracy and the belief in the Divine essence are quite different things may be seen by what he himself has put forward. God, he says, is indestructible and ungenerate by His very essence, as being unmixed and pure from all diversity and difference. This he says of God, Whose essence he declares to he indestructibility and ungeneracy. There are three names, then, that he applies to God, being, indestructibility, ungeneracy. If the idea of these three words in respect of God is one, it follows that the Godhead and these three are identical. Just as if any one, wanting to describe a man, should say that he was a rational, risible, and broad-nailed creature; whereupon, because there is no essential variation from these in the individuals, we say that the terms are equivalent to each other, and that the three things seen in the subject are one thing, viz. the humanity described by these names. If, then, Godhead means this, ungeneracy, indestructibility, being, by doing away with one of these he necessarily does away with the Godhead. For just as we should say that a creature which was neither rational nor risible was not man either, so in the case of these three terms (ungeneracy, indestructibility, being), if the Godhead is described by these, should one of the three be absent, its absence destroys the definition of Godhead. Let him tell us, then, in reply, what opinion he holds of God the Only-begotten. Does he think Him generate or ungenerate? Of course he must say generate, unless he is to contradict himself. If, then, being and indestructibility are equivalent to ungeneracy, and by all of these Godhead is denoted, to Whom ungeneracy is wanting, to Him being and indestructibility must needs be wanting also, and in that case the Godhead also must necessarily be taken away. And thus his blasphemous logic brings him to a twofold conclusion. For if being, and indestructibility, and ungeneracy are applied to God in the same sense, our new God-maker is clearly convicted of regarding the Son created by Him as destructible, by his not regarding Him as ungenerate, and not only so, but altogether without being, through his inability to see Him in the Godhead, as one in whom ungeneracy and indestructibility are not found, since he takes the ungeneracy and indestructibility to be identical with the being. But since in this there is manifest perdition, let some one counsel these unhappy folk to turn to the only course which is left them, and, instead of setting themselves in open opposition to the truth, to allow that each of these terms has its own proper signification, such as may be seen still better from their contraries. For we find ungenerate set against generate, and we understand the indestructible by its opposition to the destructible, and being by contrast with that which has no subsistence. For as that which was not generated is called ungenerate, and that which is not destructible is called indestructible, so that which is not non-existent we call being, and, conversely, as we do not call the generate ungenerate, nor the destructible indestructible, so that which is non-existent we do not call being. Being, then, is discernible in the being this or that, goodness or indestructibility in the being of this or of that kind, generacy or ungeneracy in the manner of the being. And thus the ideas of being, manner, and quality are distinct from each other.

But it will be well, I think, to pass over his nauseating observations (for such we must term his senseless attacks on the method of conception), and dwell more pleasurably on the subject matter of our thought. For all the venom that our disputant has disgorged with the view of overthrowing our Master's speculations in regard to conception, is not of such a kind as to be dangerous to those who come in its way, however stupid they may be and liable to be imposed on. For who is so devoid of understanding as to think that there is anything in what Eunomius says, or to see any ingenuity in his artifices against the truth when he takes our Master's reference to corn (which he meant simply by way of illustration, thereby providing his hearers with a sort of method and introduction to the study of higher instances), and applies it literally to the Lord of all? To think of his assertion that the most becoming cause for God's begetting the Son was His sovereign authority and power, which may be said not only in regard to the universe and its elements, but in regard to beasts and creeping things; and of our reverend theologian teaching that the same is becoming in our conception of God the Only-begotten--or again, of his saying that God was called ungenerate, or Father, or any other name, even before the existence of creatures to call Him such, as being afraid lest, His name not being uttered among creatures as yet unborn, He should be ignorant or forgetful of Himself, through ignorance of His own nature because of His name being unspoken! To think, again, of the insolence of his attack upon our teaching; what acrimony, what subtlety does he display, while attempting to establish the absurdity of what he (Basil) said, namely that He Who was in a manner the Father before all worlds and time, and all sensitive and intellectual nature, must somehow wait for man's creation in order to be named by means of man's conception, not having been so named, either by the Son or by any of the intelligent beings of His creation! Why no one, I imagine, can be so densely stupid as to be ignorant that God the Only-begotten, Who is in the Father(8), and Who seeth the Father in Himself, is in no need of any name or title to make Him known, nor is the mystery of the Holy Spirit, Who searcheth out the deep things of God(9), brought to our knowledge by a nominal appellation, nor can the incorporeal nature of supramundane powers name God by voice and tongue. For, in the case of immaterial intellectual nature, the mental energy is speech which has no need of material instruments of communication. For even in the case of human beings, we should have no need of using words and names if we could otherwise inform each other of our pure mental feelings and impulses. But (as things are), inasmuch as the thoughts which arise in us are incapable of being so revealed, because our nature is encumbered with its fleshly surrounding, we are obliged to express to each other what goes on in our minds by giving things their respective names, as signs of their meaning.

But if it were in any way possible by some other means to lay bare the movements of thought, abandoning the formal instrumentality of words, we should converse with one another more lucidly and clearly, revealing by the mere action of thought the essential nature of the things which are under consideration. But now, by reason of our inability to do so, we have given things their special names, calling one Heaven, another Earth, and so on, and as each is related to each, and acts or suffers, we have marked them by distinctive names, so that our thoughts in regard to them may not remain uncommunicated and unknown. But supramundane and immaterial nature being free and independent of bodily envelopment, requires no words or names either for itself or for that which is above it, but whatever utterance on the part of such intellectual nature is recorded in Holy Writ is given for the sake of the hearers, who would be unable otherwise to learn what is to be set forth, if it were not communicated to them by voice and word. And if David in the spirit speaks of something being said by the Lord to the Lord(1), it is David himself who is the speaker, being unable otherwise to make known to us the teaching of what is meant except by interpreting by voice and word his own knowledge of the mysteries given him by Divine inspiration.

All his argument, then, in opposition to the doctrine of conception I think it best to pass over, though he charge with madness those who think that the name of God, as used by mankind to indicate the Supreme Being, is the result of this conception. For what he is thinking of when he considers himself bound to revile that doctrine, all who will may learn from his own words. What opinion we ourselves hold on the use of words we have already stated, viz. that, things being as they are in regard to their nature, the rational faculty implanted in our nature by God invented words indicative of those actual things. And if any one ascribe their origin to the Giver of the faculty, we would not contradict him, for we too maintain mat motion, and sight, and the rest of the operations carried on by the senses are effected by Him Who endowed us with such faculties. 'So, then, the cause of our naming God, Who is by His nature what He is, is referable by common consent to Himself, but the liberty of naming all things that we conceive of in one way or another lies in that thing in our nature, which, whether a man wish to call it conception or something else, we are quite indifferent. And there is this one sure evidence in our favour, that the Divine Being is not named alike by all, but that each interprets his idea as he thinks best. Passing over, then, in silence his rubbishy twaddle about conception, let us hold to our tenets, and simply note by the way some of the observations that occur in the midst of his empty speeches, where he pretends that God, seating Himself by our first parents, like some pedagogue or grammarian, gave them a lesson in words and names; wherein he says that they who were first formed by God, or those who were born from them in continuous succession, unless they had been taught how each several thing should be called and named, would have lived together in dumbness and silence, and would have been unequal to the discharge of any of the serviceable functions of life, the meaning of each being uncertain through lack of interpreters,--verbs forsooth, and nouns. Such is the infatuation of this writer; he thinks the faculty implanted in our nature by God insufficient for any method of reasoning, and that unless it be taught each thing severally, like those who are taught Hebrew or Latin word by word, one must be ignorant of the nature of the things, having no discernment of fire, or water, or air, or anything else, unless one have acquired the knowledge of them by the names that they bear. But we maintain that He Who made all things in His wisdom, and Who moulded this living rational creature, by the simple fact of His implanting reason in his nature, endowed him with all his rational faculties. And as naturally possessing our faculties of perception by the gift of Him Who fashioned the eye and planted the ear, we can of ourselves employ them for their natural objects, and have no need of any one to name the colours, for instance, of which the eye takes cognizance, for the eye is competent to inform itself in such matters; nor do we need another to make us acquainted with the things which we perceive by hearing, or taste, or touch, possessing as we do in ourselves the means of discerning all of which our perception informs us. And so, again, we maintain that the intellectual faculty, made as it was originally by God, acts thenceforward by itself when it looks out upon realities, and that there be no confusion in its knowledge, affixes some verbal note to each several thing as a stamp to indicate its meaning. Great Moses himself confirms this doctrine when he says(2) that names were assigned by Adam to the brute creation, recording the fact in these words: "And out of the ground God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them, and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to an the beasts of the field."

But, like some viscous and sticky clay, the nonsense he has concocted in contravention of our teaching of conception seems to hold us back, and prevent us from applying ourselves to more important matters. For how can one pass over his solemn and profound philosophy, as when he says that God's greatness is seen not only in the works of His hands, but that His wisdom is displayed in their names also, adapted as they are with such peculiar fitness to the nature of each work of His creation(3)? Having perchance fallen in with Plato's Cratylus, or heating from some one who had met with it, by reason, I suppose, of his own poverty of ideas, he attached that nonsense patchwise to his own, acting like those who get their bread by begging. For just as they, receiving some trifle from each who bestows it on them, collect their bread from many and various sources, so the discourse of Eunomius, by reason of his scanty store of the true bread, assiduously collects scraps of phrases and notions from all quarters. And thus, being struck by the beauty of the Platonic style, he thinks it not unseemly to make Plato's theory a doctrine of the Church. For by how many appellations, say, is the created firmament called according to the varieties of language? For we call it Heaven, the Hebrew calls it Samaim, the Roman coelum, other names are given to it by the Syrian, the Mede, the Cappadocian, the African, the Scythian, the Thracian the Egyptian: nor would it be easy to enumerate the multiplicity of names which are applied to Heaven and other objects by the different nations that employ them. Which of these, then, tell me, is the appropriate word wherein the great wisdom of God is manifested? If you prefer the Greek to the rest, the Egyptian haply will confront you with his own. And if you give the first place to the Hebrew, there is the Syrian to claim precedence for his own word, nor will the Roman yield the supremacy, nor the Mede allow himself to be outdone; while of the other nations each will claim the prize. What, then, will be the fate of his dogma when torn to pieces by the claimants for so many different languages? But by these, says he, as by laws publicly promulgated, it is shown that God made names exactly suited to the nature of the things which they represent. What a grand doctrine! What grand views our theologian allows to the Divine teachings, such indeed as men do not grudge even to bathing-attendants! For we allow them to give names to the operations they engage in, and yet no one invests them with Divine honours for the invention of such names as foot-baths, depilatories, towels, and the like--words which appropriately designate the articles in question.

But I will pass over both this and their reading of Epicurus' nature-system, which he says is equivalent to our conception, maintaining that the doctrine of atoms and empty space, and the fortuitous generation of things, is akin to what we mean by conception. What an understanding of Epicurus! If we ascribe words expressive of things to the logical faculty in our nature, we thereby stand convicted of holding the Epicurean doctrine of indivisible bodies, and combinations of atoms, and the collision and rebound of particles, and so on. I say nothing of Aristotle, whom he takes as his own patron, and the ally of his system, whose opinion, he says, in his subsequent remarks, coincides with our views about conception. For he says that that philosopher taught that Providence does not extend through all nature, nor penetrate into the region of terrestrial things, and this, Eunomius contends, corresponds to our discoveries in the field of conception. Such is his idea of determining a doctrine with accuracy! But he goes on to say that we must either deny the creation of things to God, or, if we concede it, we must not deprive Him of the imposition of names. And yet even in respect to the brute creation, as we have said already, we are taught the very opposite (of both these alternatives) by Holy Scripture--that neither did Adam make the animals, nor did God name them, but the creation was the work of God, and the naming of the things created was the work of man, as Moses has recorded. Then in his own speech he gives us an encomium of speech in general (as though some one wished to disparage it), and after his eminently abusive and bombastic conglomeration of words, he says that, by a law and rule of His providence, God has combined the transmission of words with our knowledge and use of things necessary for our service; and after pouring forth twaddle of this kind in the profundity of his slumbers, he passes on in his discourse to his irresistible and unanswerable argument. I will not state it in so many words, but simply give the drift of it. We are not, he says, to ascribe the invention of words to poets, who are much mistaken in their notions of God. What a generous concession does he make to God in investing Him with the inventions of the poetic faculty, so that God may thereby seem to men more sublime and august, when the disciples of Eunomius believe that such expressions as those used by Homer for "side-ways," "rang out," "aside," "mix(4)," "clung to his hand," "hissed," "thumped," "rattled," "clashed," "rang terribly," "twanged," "shouted," "pondered," and many others, are not used by poets by a certain arbitrary licence, but that they introduce them into their poems by some mysterious initiation from God! Let this, too, be passed over, and withal that clever and irresistible attempt, that it is not in our power to quote Scriptural instances of holy men who have invented new terms. Now if human nature had been imperfect up to the time of such men's appearance, and not as yet completed by the gift of reason, it would have been well for them to seek that the deficiency might be supplied. But if from the very first man's nature existed self-sufficing and complete for all purposes of reason and thought, why should any one, in order to establish this doctrine of conception, humour them so far as to seek for instances where holy men initiated sounds or names? Or, if we cannot adduce any instances, why should any one regard it as a sufficient proof that such and such syllables and words were appointed by God Himself?

But, says he, since God condescends to commune with His servants, we may consequently suppose that from the very beginning He enacted words appropriate to things. What, then, is our answer? We account for God's willingness to admit men to communion with Himself by His love towards mankind. But since that which is by nature finite cannot rise above its prescribed limits, or lay hold of the superior nature of the Most High, on this account He, bringing His power, so full of love for humanity, down to the level of human weakness, so far as it was possible for us to receive it, bestowed on us this helpful gift of grace. For as by Divine dispensation the sun, tempering the intensity of his full beams with the intervening air, pours down light as well as heat on those who receive his rays, being himself unapproachable by reason of the weakness of our nature, so the Divine power, after the manner of the illustration I have used, though exalted far above our nature and inaccessible to all approach, like a tender mother who joins in the inarticulate utterances of her babe, gives to our human nature what it is capable of receiving; and thus in the various manifestations of God to man He both adapts Himself to man and speaks in human language, and assumes wrath, and pity, and such like emotions, so that through feelings corresponding to our own our infantile life might be led as by hand, and lay hold of the Divine nature by means of the words which His foresight has given. For that it is irreverent to imagine that God is subject to any passion such as we see in respect to pleasure, or pity, or anger, no one will deny who has thought at all about the truth of things. And yet the Lord is said to take pleasure in His servants, and to be angry with the backsliding people, and, again, to have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and to show compassion--the word teaching us in each of these expressions that God's providence helps our infirmity by using our own idioms of speech, so that such as are inclined to sin may be restrained from committing it by fear of punishment, and that those who are overtaken by it may not despair of return by the way of repentance when they see God's mercy, while those who are walking uprightly and strictly may yet more adorn their life with virtue, as knowing that by their own life they rejoice Him Whose eyes are over the righteous. But just as we cannot call a man deaf who converses with a deaf man by means of signs,--his only way of hearing,--so we must not suppose speech in God because of His employing it by way of accommodation in addressing man. For we ourselves are accustomed to direct brute beasts by clucking and whistling and the like, and yet this, by which we reach their ears, is not our language, but we use our natural speech in talking to one another, while, in regard to cattle, some suitable noise or sound accompanied with gesture is sufficient for all purposes of communication.

But our pious opponent will not allow of God's using our language, because of our proneness to evil, shutting his eyes (good man!) to the fact that for our sakes He did not refuse to be made sin and a curse. Such is the superabundance of His love for man, that He voluntarily came to prove not only our good, but our evil. And if He was partaker in our evil, why should He refuse to be partaker in speech, the noblest of our gifts? But he advances David in his support, and declares that he said that names were imposed on things by God, because it is thus written, "He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names(5)." But I think it must be obvious to every man of sense that what is thus said of the stars has nothing whatever to do with the subject. Since, however, it is not improbable that some may unwarily give their assent to his statement, I will briefly discuss the point. Holy Scripture often-times is wont to attribute expressions to God such that they seem quite accordant with our own, e.g. "The Lord was wroth, and it repented Him because of their sins(6)"; and again, "He repented that He had anointed Saul king(7)"; and again, "The Lord awaked as one out of sleep(8)"; and besides this, it makes mention of His sitting, and standing, and moving, and the like, which are not as a fact connected with God, but are not without their use as an accommodation to those who are under teaching. For in the case of the too unbridled, a show of anger restrains them by fear. And to those who need the medicine of repentance, it says that the Lord repenteth along with them of the evil, and those who grow insolent through prosperity it warns, by God's repentance in respect to Saul, that their good fortune is no certain possession, though it seem to come from God. To those who are not engulfed by their sinful fall, but who have risen from a life of vanity as from sleep, it says that God arises out of sleep. To those who steadfastly take their stand upon righteousness,--that He stands. To those who are seated in righteousness,--that He sits. And again, in the case of those who have moved from their steadfastness in righteousness,--that He moves or walks; as, in the case of Adam, the sacred history records God's walking in the garden in the cool of the day(9), signifying thereby the fall of the first man into darkness, and, by the moving, his weakness and instability in regard to righteousness.

But most people, perhaps, will think this too far removed from the scope of our present inquiry. This, however, no one will regard as out of keeping with our subject; the fact that many think that what is incomprehensible to themselves is equally incomprehensible to God, and that whatever escapes their own cognizance is also beyond the power of His. Now since we make number the measure of quantity, and number is nothing else than a combination of units growing into multitude in a complex way (for the decad is a unit brought to that value by the composition of units, and again the hundred is a unit composed of decads, and in like manner the thousand is another unit, and so in due proportion the myriad is another by a multiplication, the one being made up to its value by thousands, the other by hundreds, by assigning all which to their underlying class we make signs of the quantity of the things numbered), accordingly, in order that we may be taught by Holy Scripture that nothing is unknown to God, it tells us that the multitude of the stars is numbered by Him, not that their numbering takes place as I have described, (for who is so simple as to think that God takes knowledge of things by odd and even, and that by putting units together He makes up the total of the collective quantity?) but, since in our own case the exact knowledge of quantity is obtained by number, in order, I say, that we might be taught in respect to God that all things are comprehended by the knowledge of His wisdom, and that nothing escapes His minute cognizance, on this account it represents God as "numbering the stars," counselling us by these words to understand this, viz. that we must not imagine God to take note of things by the measure of human knowledge, but that all things, however incomprehensible and above human understanding, are embraced by the knowledge of the wisdom of God. For as the stars on account of their multitude escape numbering, as far as our human conception is concerned, Holy Scripture, teaching the whole from the part, in saying that they are numbered by God attests that not one of the things unknown to us escapes the knowledge of God. And therefore it says, "Who telleth the multitude of the stars," of course not meaning that He did not know their number beforehand; for how should He be ignorant of what He Himself created, seeing that the Ruler of the Universe could not be ignorant of that which is comprehended in His power; which includes the worlds in its embrace? Why, then, should He number what He knows? For to measure quantity by number is the part of those who want information. But He Who knew all things before they were created needs not number as His informant. But when David says that He "numbers the stars," it is evident that the Scripture descends to such language in accordance with our understanding, to teach us emblematically that the things which we know not are accurately known to God. As, then, He is said to number, though needing no arithmetical process to arrive at the knowledge of things created, so also the Prophet tells us that He calleth them all by their names, not meaning, I imagine, that He does so by any vocal utterance. For verily such language would result in a conception strangely unworthy of God, if it meant that these names in common use among ourselves were applied to the stars by God. For, should any one allow that these were so applied by God, it must follow that the names of the idol gods of Greece were applied by Him also to the stars, and we must regard as true all the tales from mythological history that are told about those starry names, as though God Himself sanctioned their utterance. Thus the distribution among the Greek idols of the seven planets contained in the heavens will exempt from blame those who have erred in respect to them, if men be persuaded that such an arrangement was God's. Thus the fables of Orion and the Scorpion will be believed, and the legends respecting the ship Argo, and the Swan, and the Eagle, and the Dog, and the mythical story of Ariadne's crown. Moreover it will pave the way for supposing God to be the inventor of the names in the zodiacal circle, devised after some fancied resemblance in the constellations, if Eunomius is right in supposing that David said that these names were given them by God.

Since, then, it is monstrous to regard God as the inventor of such names, lest the names even of these idol gods should seem to have had their origin from God, it will be well not to receive what has been said without inquiry, but to get to the meaning in this case also after the analogy of those things of which number informs us. Well, since it attests the accuracy of our knowledge, when we call one familiar to us by his name, we are here taught that He Who embraces the Universe in His knowledge not only comprehends the total of the aggregate quantity, but has an exact knowledge of the units also that compose it. And therefore the Scripture says not only that He "telleth the number of the stars," but that "He calleth them all by their names," which means that His accurate knowledge extends to the minutest of them, and that He knows each particular respecting them, just as a man knows one who is familiar to him by name. And if any one say that the names given to the stars by God are different ones, unknown to human language, he wanders far away from the truth. For if there were other names of stars, Holy Scripture would not have made mention of those which are in common use among the Greeks, Esaias saying(1), "Which maketh the Pleiads, and Hesperus, and Arcturus, and the Chambers of the South," and Job making mention of Orion and Aseroth(2); so that from this it is clear that Holy Scripture employs for our instruction such words as are in common use. Thus we hear in Job of Amalthea's horn(3), and in Esaias of the Sirens(4), the former thus naming plenty after the conceit of the Greeks, the latter representing the pleasure derived from hearing, by the figure of the Sirens. As, then, in these cases the inspired word has made use of names drawn from mythological fables, with a view to the advantage of the hearers, so here it freely makes use of the appellations given to the stars by human fancy, teaching us that all things whatsoever that are named among men have their origin from God--the things, not their names. For it does not say Who nameth, but "Who maketh Pleiad, and Hesperus, and Arcturus." I think, then, it has been sufficiently shown in what I have said that David supports our opinion, in teaching us by this utterance, not that God gives the stars their names, but that He has an exact knowledge of them, after the fashion of men, who have the most certain knowledge of those whom they are able, through long familiarity, to call by their names.

And if we set forth the opinion of most commentators on these words of the Psalmist, that of Eunomius regarding them will be still more convicted of foolishness. For those who have most carefully searched out the sense of the inspired Scripture, declare that not all the works of creation are worthy of the Divine reckoning. For in the Gospel narratives of feeding the multitudes in the wilderness, women and children are not thought worthy of enumeration. And in the account of the Exodus of the children of Israel, those only are enumerated in the roll who were of age to bear arms against their enemies, and to do deeds of valour. For not all names of things are fit to be pronounced by the Divine lips, but the enumeration is only for that which is pure and heavenly, which, by the loftiness of its state remaining pure from all admixture with darkness, is called a star, and the naming is only for that which, for the same reason, is worthy to be registered in the Divine tablets. For of His adversaries He says, "I will not take up their names into my lips(5)."

But the names which the Lord gives to such stars we may plainly learn from the prophecy of Esaias, which says, "I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine(6)." So that if a man makes himself God's possession, his act becomes his name. But be this as the reader pleases. Eunomius, however, adds to his previous statement that the beginnings of creation testify to the fact, that names were given by God to the things which He created; but I think that it would be superfluous to repeat what I have already sufficiently set forth as the result of my investigations; and he may put his own arbitrary interpretation on the word Adam, which, the Apostle tells us, points prophetically to Christ(7). For no one can be so infatuated, when Paul, by the power of the Spirit, has revealed to us the hidden mysteries, as to count Eunomius a more trustworthy interpreter of Divine things--a man who openly impugns the words of the inspired testimony, and who by his false interpretation of the word would fain prove that the various kinds of animals were not named by Adam. We shall do well, also, to pass over his insolent expressions, and tasteless vulgarity, and foul and disgusting tongue, with its accustomed fluency going on about our Master as "a sower of tares," and about "a deceptive show(3) of grain, and the blight of Valentinus, and his grain piled in our Master's mind": and we will veil in silence the rest of his unsavoury talk as we veil putrefying corpses in the ground, that the stench may not prove injurious to many. Rather let us proceed to what remains for us to say. For once more he adduces a dictum of our Master(9), to this effect. "We call God indestructible and ungenerate, applying these words from different points of view. For when we look to the ages that are past, finding the life of God transcending all limitation, we call Him ungenerate. But when we turn our thoughts to the ages that are yet to come, Him Who is infinite, illimitable, and without end, we call indestructible. As, then, that which has no end of life is indestructible, so that which has no beginning we call ungenerate, representing things so by the faculty of conception."

I will pass over, then, the abuse with which he has prefaced his discussion of these matters, as when he uses such terms as "alteration of seed," and "teacher of sowing," and "illogical censure," and whatever other aspersions he ventures on with his foul tongue. Let us rather turn to the point which he tries to establish by his calumnious accusation. He promises to convict us of saying that God is not by His nature indestructible. But we hold only such things foreign to His nature as may be added to or subtracted from it. But, in the case of things without which the subject is incapable of being conceived by the mind, how can any one be open to the charge of separating His nature from itself? If, then, the indestructibility which we ascribe to God were adventitious, and did not always belong to Him, or might cease to belong to Him, he might be justified in his calumnious attack. But if it is always the same, and our contention is, that God is always what He is, and that He receives nothing by way of increase or addition of properties, but continues always in whatsoever is conceived and called good, why should we be slanderously accused of not ascribing indestructibility to Him as of His essential nature? But he pretends that he grounds his accusation on the words of Basil which I have already quoted, as though we bestowed indestructibility on God by reference to the ages. Now if our statement were put forward by ourselves, our defence might perhaps seem open to suspicion, as if we now wanted to amend or justify any questionable expressions of ours. But since our statements are taken from the lips of an adversary, what stronger demonstration could we have of their truth than the evidence of our opponents themselves? How is it, then, with the statement which Eunomius lays hold of with a view to our prejudice? When, he says, we turn our thoughts to the ages that are yet to be, we speak of the infinite, and illimitable, and unending, as indestructible. Does Eunomius count such ascription as identical with bestowing? Yet who is such a stranger to existing usage as to be ignorant of the proper meaning of these expressions? For that man bestows who possesses something which another has not, while that man ascribes who designates with a name what another has. How is it, then, that our instructor in truth is not ashamed of his plainly calumnious impeachment? But as those who, from some disease, are bereft of sight, are unseemly in their behaviour before the eyes of the seeing, supposing that what is not seen by themselves is a thing unobserved also by those whose sight is unimpaired, just such is the case of our sharp-sighted and quick-witted opponent, who supposes his hearers to be afflicted with the same blindness to the truth as himself. And who is so foolish as not to compare the words which he calumniously assails with his charge itself, and by reading them side by side to detect the malice of the writer? Our statement ascribes indestructibility; he charges it with bestowing indestructibility. What has this to do with our statement? Every man has a right to be judged by his own deeds, not to be blamed for those of others; and in this present case, while he accuses us, and points his bitterness at us, in truth he is condemning no one but himself. For if it is reprehensible to bestow indestructibility on God, and this is done by no one but himself, is not our slanderer his own accuser, assailing his own statements and not ours? And with regard to the term indestructibility, we assert that as the life which is endless is rightly called indestructible, so that which is without beginning is rightly called ungenerate. And yet Eunomius says that we lend Him the primacy over all created things simply by reference to the ages.

I pass in silence his blasphemy in reducing God the Only-begotten to a level with all created things, and, in a word, allowing to the Son of God no higher honour than theirs. Still, for the sake of my more intelligent hearers, I will here give an instance of his insensate malice. Basil, he says, lends God the primacy over all things by reference to the ages. What unintelligible nonsense is this! Man is made God's patron, and gives to God a primacy owing to the ages! What is this vain flourish of baseless expressions, seeing that our Master simply says that whatever in the Divine essence transcends the measurable distances of the ages in either direction is called by certain distinctive names, in the case of Him Who, as saith the Apostle, hath neither beginning of days nor end of life(1), in order that the distinction of the conception might be marked by distinction in the names. And yet on this account Eunomius has the effrontery to write, that to call that which is anterior to all beginning ungenerate, and again that which is circumscribed by no limit, immortal and indestructible, is a bestowing or lending on our part, and other nonsense of the kind. Moreover, he says that we divide the ages into two parts, as if he had not read the words he quoted, or as if he were addressing those who had forgotten his own previous statements. For what says our Master? "If we look at the time before the Creation, and if passing in thought through the ages we reflect on the infinitude of the Eternal Life, we signify the thought by the term ungenerate. And if we turn our thoughts to what follows, and consider the being of God as extending beyond all ages, we interpret the thought by the word endless or indestructible." Well, how does such an account sever the ages in twain, if by such possible words and names we signify that eternity of God which is equally observable from every point of view, in all things the same, unbroken in continuity? For seeing that human life, moving from stage to stage, advances in its progress from a beginning to an end, and our life here is divided between that which is past and that which is expected, so that the one is the subject of hope, the other of memory; on this account, as, in relation to ourselves, we apprehend a past and a future in this measurable extent, so also we apply the thought, though incorrectly, to the transcendent nature of God; not of course that God in His own existence leaves any interval behind, or passes on afresh to something that lies before, but because our intellect can only conceive things according to our nature, and measures the eternal by a past and a future, where neither the past precludes the march of thought to the illimitable and infinite, nor the future tells us of any pause or limit of His endless life. If, then, it is thus that we think and speak, why does he keep taunting us with dividing the ages? Unless, indeed, Eunomius would maintain that Holy Scripture does so too, signifying as it does by the same idea the infinity of the Divine existence; David, for example, making mention of the "kingdom from everlasting," and Moses, speaking of the kingdom of God as "extending beyond all ages," so that we are taught by both that every duration conceivable is environed by the Divine nature, bounded on all sides by the infinity of Him Who holds the universe in His embrace. For Moses, looking to the future, says that "He reigneth from generation to generation for evermore." And great David, turning his thought backward to the past, says, "God is our King before the ages(2),'' and again, "God, Who was before the ages, shall hear us." But Eunomius, in his cleverness taking leave of such guides as these, says that we talk of the life that is without beginning as one, and of that which is without end as quite another, and again, of diversities of sundry ages, effecting by their own diversity a separation in our idea of God. But that our controversy may not grow to a tedious length, we will add, without criticism or comment, the outcome of Eunomius' labours on the subject, well fitted as they are by his industry displayed in the cause of error to render the truth yet more evident to the eyes of the discerning.

For, proceeding with his discourse, he asks us what we mean by the ages. And yet we ourselves might more reasonably put such questions to him. For it is he who professes to know the essence of God, defining on his own authority what is unapproachable and incomprehensible by man. Let him, then, give us a scientific lecture on the nature of the ages, boasting as he does of his familiarity with transcendental things, and let him not so fiercely brandish over us, poor ignorant individuals, the double danger of the dilemma involved in our reply, telling us that, whether we hold this or that view of the ages, the result must be in either case an absurdity. For if (says he) you say that they are eternal, you will be Greeks, and Valentinians(3), and uninstructed(4): and if you say that they are generate, you will no longer be able to ascribe ungeneracy to God. What a terribly unanswerable attack! If, O Eunomius, something is held to be generate, we no longer hold the doctrine of the Divine ungeneracy! And pray what has become of your subtle distinctions between generacy and ungeneracy, by which you sought to establish the dissimilarity of the essence of the Son from that of the Father? For it seems from what we are now being taught that the Father is not dissimilar in essence when contemplated in respect of generacy, but that, in fact, if we hold His ungeneracy, we reduce Him to non-existence; since "if we speak of the ages as generate, we are driven to relinquish the Ungenerate. But let us examine the force of the argument, by which he would compel us to allow this: absurdity. When, says he, those things by comparison with which God is without beginning are non-existent, He Who is compared with them must be non-existent also. What a sturdy and overpowering grip is this! How tightly has this wrestler got us by the waist in his inextricable grasp! He says that God's ungeneracy is added to Him through comparison with the ages. By whom is it so added? Who is there that says that to Him Who hath no beginning ungeneracy is added as an acquisition through comparison with something else? Neither such a word nor such a sense will be found in any writings of ours. Our words indeed carry their own justification, and contain nothing like what is alleged against us; and of the meaning of what is said, who can be a more trustworthy interpreter than he who said it? Have not we, then, the better title to say what we mean when we speak of the life of God as extending beyond the ages? And what we say is what we have said already in our previous writings. But, says he, comparison with the ages being impossible, it is impossible that any addition should accrue from it to God, meaning of course that ungeneracy is an addition. Let him tell us by whom such an addition has been made. If by himself, he becomes simply ridiculous in laying his own folly to our charge: if by us, let him quote our words, and then we will admit the force of his accusation.

But I think we must pass over this and all that follows. For it is the mere trifling of children who amuse themselves with beginning to build houses in sand. For having composed a portion of a paragraph, and not yet brought it to a conclusion, he shows that the same life is without beginning and without end, thus in his eagerness working out our own conclusion. For this is just what we say; that the Divine life is one and continuous in itself, infinite and eternal, in no wise bounded by any limit to its infinity. Thus far our opponent devotes his labours and exertions to the truth as we represent it, showing that the same life is on no side limited, whether we look at that part of it which was before the ages, or at that which succeeds them. But in his next remarks he returns to his old confusion. For after saying that the same life is without beginning and without end, leaving the subject of life, and ranging all the ideas we entertain about the Divine life under one head, he unifies everything. If, says he, the life is without beginning and without end, ungenerate and indestructible, then indestructibility and ungeneracy will be the same thing, as will also the being without beginning and without end. And to this he adds the aid of arguments. It is not possible, he says, for the life to be one, unless indestructibility and ungeneracy are identical terms. An admirable "addition" on the part of our friend. It would seem, then, that we may hold the same language in regard to righteousness, wisdom, power, goodness, and all such attributes of God. Let, then, no word have a meaning peculiar to itself, but let one signification underlie every word in a list, and one form of description serve for the definition of all. If you are asked to define the word judge, answer with the interpretation of "ungeneracy"; if to define justice, be ready with "the incorporeal" as your answer. If asked to define incorruptibility, say that it has the same meaning as mercy or judgment. Thus let all God's attributes be convertible terms, there being no special signification to distinguish one from another. But if Eunomius thus prescribes, why do the Scriptures vainly assign various names to the Divine nature, calling God a Judge, righteous, powerful, long-suffering, true, merciful and so on? For if none of these titles is to be understood in any special or peculiar sense, but, owing to this confusion in their meaning, they are all mixed up together, it would be useless to employ so many words for the same thing, there being no difference of meaning to distinguish them from one another. But who is so much out of his wits as not to know that, while the Divine nature, whatever it is in its essence, is simple, uniform, and incomposite, and that it cannot be viewed under any form of complex formation, the human mind, grovelling on earth, and buried in this life on earth, in its inability to behold clearly the object of its search, feels after the unutterable Being in divers and many-sided ways, and never chases the mystery in the light of one idea alone. Our grasping of Him would indeed be easy, if there lay before us one single assigned path to the knowledge of God: but as it is, from the skill apparent in the Universe, we get the idea of skill in the Ruler of that Universe, from the large scale of the wonders worked we get the impression of His Power; and from our belief that this Universe depends on Him, we get an indication that there is no cause whatever of His existence; and again, when we see the execrable character of evil, we grasp His own unalterable pureness as regards this: when we consider death's dissolution to be the worst of ills, we give the name of Immortal and Indissoluble at once to Him Who is removed from every conception of that kind: not that we split up the subject of such attributes along with them, but believing that this thing we think of, whatever it be in substance, is One, we still conceive that it has something in common with all these ideas. For these terms are not set against each other in the way of opposites, as if, the one existing there, the other could not co-exist in the same subject (as, for instance, it is impossible that life and death should be thought of in the same subject); but the force of each of the terms used in connection with the Divine Being is such that, even though it has a peculiar significance of its own, it implies no opposition to the term associated with it. What opposition, for instance, is there between "incorporeal" and "just," even though the words do not coincide in meaning: and what hostility is there between goodness and invisibility? So, too, the eternity of the Divine Life, though represented under the double name and idea of "the unending" and "the unbeginning," is not cut in two by this difference of name; nor yet is the one name the same in meaning as the other; the one points to the absence of beginning, the other to the absence of end, and yet there is no division produced in the subject by this difference in the actual terms applied to it.

Such is our position; our adversary's, with regard to the precise meaning of this term(5), is such as can derive no help from any reasonings; he only spits forth at random about it these strangely unmeaning and bombastic expressions(6), in the framework of his sentences and periods. But the upshot of all he says is this; that there is no difference in the meaning of the most varied names. But we must most certainly, as it seems to me, quote this passage of his word for word, lest we be thought to be calumniously charging him with something that does not belong to him. "True expressions," he says, "derive their precision from the subject realities which they indicate; different expressions are applied to different realities, the same to the same: and so one or other of these two things must of necessity be held: either that the reality indicated is different (if the expressions are), or else that the indicating expressions are not different." With these and many other such-like words, he proceeds to effect the object he has before him, excluding from the expression certain relations and affinities(7), such as species, proportion, part, time, manner: in order that by the withdrawal of all these "Ungeneracy" may become indicative of the substance of God. His process of proof is in the following manner (I will express his idea in my own words). The life, he says, is not a different thing from the substance; no addition may be thought of in connection with a simple being, by dividing our conception of him into a communicating and communicated side; but whatever the life may be, that very thing, he insists, is the substance. Here his philosophy is excellent; no thinking person would gainsay this. But how does he arrive at his contemplated conclusion, when he says, "when we mean the unbeginning, we mean the life, and truth compels us by this last to mean the substance"? The ungenerate, then, according to him is expressive of the very substance of God. We, on the other hand, while we agree that the life of God was not given by another, which is the meaning of "unbeginning," think that the belief that the idea expressed by the words "not generated" is the substance of God is a madman's only. Who indeed can be so beside himself as to declare the absence of any generation to be the definition of that substance (for as generation is involved in the generate, so is the absence of generation in the ungenerate)? Ungeneracy indicates that which is not in the Father; so how shall we allow the indication of that which is absent to be His substance? Helping himself to that which neither we nor any logical conclusion from the premises allows him, he lays it down that God's Ungeneracy is expressive of God's life. But to make quite plain his delusion upon this subject, let us look at it in the following way; I mean, let us examine whether, by employing the same method by which he, in the case of the Father, has brought the definition of the substance to ungeneracy, we may not equally bring the substance of the Son to ungeneracy.

He says, "The Life that is the same, and thoroughly single, must have one and the same outward expression for it, even though in mere names, and manner, and order it may seem to vary. For true expressions derive their precision from the subject realities which they indicate; different expressions are applied to different realities, the same to the same; and so one or other of these two things must of necessity be held; either that the reality indicated is quite different (if the expressions are), or else that the indicating expressions are not different;" and there is in this case no other subject reality besides the life of the Son, "for one either to rest an idea upon, or to cast a different expression upon." Is there, I may ask, any unfitness in the words quoted, which would prevent them being rightly spoken or written about the Only-begotten? Is not the Son Himself also a "Life thoroughly single"? Is there not for Him also "one and the same" befitting "expression," "though in mere names, and manner, and order He may seem to vary"? Must not, for Him also, "one or other of these two things be held" fixed, "either that the reality indicated is quite different, or else that the indicating expressions are not different," there being no other subject reality, besides his life, "for one either to rest an idea upon, or to cast a different expression upon"? We mix up nothing here with what Eunomius has said about the Father; we have only passed from the same accepted premise to the same conclusion as he did, merely inserting the Son's name instead. If, then, the Son too is a single life, unadulterated, removed from every sort of compositeness or complication, and there is no subject reality besides this life of the Son (for how in that which is simple can the mixture of anything foreign be suspected? what we have to think of along with something else is no longer simple), and if the Father's substance also is a single life, and of this single life, by virtue of its very life and its very singleness, there are no differences, no increase or decrease in quantity or quality in it creating any variation, it needs must be that things thus coinciding in idea should be called by the same appellation also. If, that is, the thing that is detected both in the Father and the Son, I mean the singleness of life, is one, the very idea of singleness excluding, as we have said, any variation, it needs must be that the name befitting the one should be attached to the other also. For as that which reasons, and is mortal, and is capable of thought and knowledge, is called "man" equally in the case of Adam and of Abel, and this name of the nature is not altered either by the fact that Abel passed into existence by generation, or by the fact that Adam did so without generation, so, if the simplicity(1) and incompositeness of the Father's life has ungeneracy for its name, in like manner for the Son's life the same idea will necessarily have to be attached to the same utterance, if, as Eunomius says, "one or other of these two things must of necessity be held; either that the reality indicated is quite different, or else that the indicating expressions are not different."

But why do we linger over these follies, when we ought rather to put Eunomius' book itself into the hands of the studious, and so, apart from any examination of it, to prove at once to the discerning, not only the blasphemy of his opinion, but also the nervelessness of his style(2)? While in various ways, not going upon our apprehension of it, but following his own fancy, he misinterprets the word Conception, just as in a night-battle nobody can distinguish friend and foe, he does not understand that he is stabbing his own doctrine with the very weapons he thinks he is turning upon us. For the point in which he thinks he is most removed from the church of the orthodox is this; that he attempts to prove that God became Father at some later time, and that the appellation of Fatherhood is later than all those other names which attach to Him; for that He was called Father from that moment in which He purposed in Himself to become, and did become, Father. Well, then, since in this treatise he is for proving that all the names applied to the Divine Nature coincide with each other, and that there is no difference whatever between them, and since one amongst these applied names is Father (for as God is indestructible and eternal, so also He is Father), we must either sanction, in the case of this term also, the opinion he holds about the rest, and so contravene his former position, seeing that the idea of Fatherhood is found to be involved in any of these other terms (for it is plain that if the meaning of indestructible and Father is exactly the same, He will be believed to be, just as He is always indestructible, so likewise always Father, there being one single signification, he says, in all these names): or else, if he fears thus to testify to the eternal Fatherhood of God, he must perforce abandon his whole argument, and own that each of these names has a meaning peculiar to itself; and thus all this nonsense of his about the Divine names bursts like a bubble, and vanishes like smoke.

But if he should still answer with regard to this opposition (of the Divine names), that it is only the term Father, and the term Creator, that are applied to God as expressing production, both words being so applied, as he says, because of an operation, then he will cut short our long discussion of this subject, by thus conceding what it would have required a laborious argument on our part to prove. For if the word Father and the word Creator have the same meaning (for both arise from an operation), one of the things signified is exactly equivalent to the other, since if the signification is the same, the subjects cannot be different. If, then, He is called both Father and Creator because of an operation, it is quite allowable to interchange the names, and to turn one into the other and say that God is Creator of the Son, and Father of a stone, seeing that the term Father is to be devoid of any meaning of essential relation(3). Well, the monstrous conclusion that is hereby proved cannot remain doubtful to those who reflect. For as it is absurd to deem a stone, or anything else that exists by creation, Divine, it must be agreed that there is no Divinity to be recognized in the Only-begotten either, when that one identical meaning of an operation, by which God is called both Father and Creator, assigns, according to Eunomius, both these terms to Him. But let us hold to the question before us. He abuses our assertion that our knowledge of God is formed by contributions of terms applied to different ideas, and says that the proof of His simplicity is destroyed by us so, since He must partake of the elements signified by each term, and only by virtue of a share in them can completely fill out His essence. Here I write in my own language, curtailing his wearisome prolixity; and in answer to his foolish and nerveless redundancy no sensible person, I think, would make any reply, except as regards his charging us with "senselessness." Now if anything of that description had been said by us, we ought of course to retract it if it was foolishly worded, or, if there was any doubt as to its meaning, to put an irreproachable interpretation upon it. But we have not said anything of the kind, any more than the consequences of our words lead the mind to any such necessity. Why, then, linger on that to which all assent, and weary the reader by prolonging the argument? Who is really so devoid of reflection as to imagine, when he hears that our orthodox conceptions of the Deity are gathered from various ways of thinking of Him, that the Deity is composed of these various elements, or completes His actual fulness by participating in anything at all? A man, say, has made discoveries in geometry, and this same man, let us suppose, has made discoveries also in astronomy, and in medicine as well, and grammar, and agriculture, and sciences of that kind. Will it follow, because there are these various names of sciences viewed in connection with one single soul, that that single soul is to be considered a composite soul? Yet there is a very great difference in meaning between medicine and astronomy; and grammar means nothing in common with geometry, or seamanship with agriculture. Nevertheless it is within the bounds of possibility that the idea of each of these sciences should be associated with one soul, without that soul thereby becoming composite, or, on the other hand, without all those terms for sciences blending into one meaning. If, then, the human mind, with all such terms applied to it, is not injured as regards its simplicity, how can any one imagine that the Deity, when He is called wise, and just, and good, and eternal, and all the other Divine names, must, unless all these names are made to mean one thing, become of many parts, or take a share of all these to make up the perfection of His nature?

But let us examine a still more vehement charge of his against us; it is this: "If one must proceed to say something harsher still, he does not even keep the Divine substance pure and unadulterated from inferior and contradictory elements." This is the charge, but the proof of it is,--what? Observe the strong professional attack! "If He is imperishable only by reason of the unending in His Life, and ungenerate only by reason of the unbeginning, then wherein He is not imperishable He is perishable, and wherein He is not ungenerate He is generated." Then returning to the charge, he repeats, "He will then be, as unbeginning, at once ungenerate and perishable, and, as unending, at once imperishable and generated." Such is his "harsher" statement, which, according to his threat, he has discharged against us, to prove that we say that the Divine substance is mingled with contradictory and even inferior elements. However, I think it is plain to all who keep unimpaired within themselves the power of judging the truth, that our Master has given no handle at all, in what he has said, to this calumniator, but that the latter has garbled it at will, and then, playing at arguing, has drawn out this childish sophistry. But that it may be plainer still to all my readers, I will repeat that statement of the Master word for word, and then confront Eunomius' words with it. "We call the Universal Deity" (he says) "imperishable and ungenerate, using these words with different applications(4) of thought; for when we concentrate our view upon the ages behind us, we find the life of the Deity transcending every limit, and so name Him 'ungenerate'; but when we turn our thoughts upon the ages to come, we call the infinite in Him, the boundless, the absence of all end to His living, 'imperishability.' As, then, this endlessness is called imperishable, so too this beginninglessness is called ungenerate; and we arrive at these names by Conception." Such are the Master's words, and by them he teaches us this: that the Divine Life is essentially single and continuous with Itself, starting from no beginning, circumscribed by no end; and that the intuitions which we possess regarding this Life it is possible to make clear by words. That is, we express the never having come from any cause by the term unbeginning or ungenerate; and we express the not being circumscribed by any limit, and not being destroyed by any death, by the term imperishable, or unending; and this absence of cause, he defines, makes it right for us to speak of the Divine life as existing ungenerately; and this being without end we are to denote as imperishable, since anything that has ceased to exist is necessarily in a state of annihilation, and when we hear of anything annihilated, we at once think of the destruction of its substance. He says then, that One Who never ceases to exist, and is a stranger to all destruction and dissolution, is to be called imperishable.

What, then, does Eunomius say to this? "If He is imperishable only by reason of the unending in His Life, and ungenerate only by reason of the unbeginning, then wherein He is not imperishable He is perishable, and wherein He is not ungenerate He is generated." Who conceded to you this, Eunomius, that the imperishability is not to be associated with the whole life of God? Who ever divided that Life into two parts, and then put particular names to each half of the Life, so that to the division which the one name fitted the other could not be said to apply? This is the result of your dialectic sharpness; to say that the Life which has no beginning is perishable, and that what is imperishable cannot be associated with what is unbeginning! It is just as if, when one had said that man was rational, as well as capable of speculation and knowledge, attaching each phrase to the subject of them according to a different application and idea, some one was to jeer, and to go on in the same strain, "If man is capable of speculation and knowledge, he cannot, as regards this, be rational, but wherein he is capable of such knowledge, he is this and this only, and his nature does not admit of his being the other"; and reversely, if rational were made the definition of man, he were to deny in this case his being capable of this speculation and knowledge; for "wherein he is rational, he is proved devoid of mind." But if the ridiculousness and absurdity in this case is plain to any one, neither in that former case is it at all doubtful. When you have read the passage from the Master, you will find that his childish sophistry will vanish like a shadow. In our case of the definition of man, the capability of knowledge is not hindered by the possession of reason, nor the reason by the capability of knowledge: no more is the eternity of the Divine Life deprived of imperishability, if it be unbeginning, or of beginninglessness, if we recognize its imperishability. This would-be seeker after truth, with the artifices of his dialectic shrewdness, inserts in our argument what comes from his own repertoire; and so he fights with himself and overthrows himself, without ever touching anything of ours. For our position was nothing but this; that the Life as existing without beginning is styled, by means of a fresh Conception, as ungenerate: is styled, I say, not, is made such; and that we mark the Life as going on into infinity with the appellation of imperishable; mark it, I say, as such, not, make it such; and that the result is, that while it is a property of the Divine Life, inherent in the subject, to be infinite in both views, the thoughts associated with that subject are expressed in this way or in that only as regards that particular term which indicates the thought expressed. One thought associated with that life is, that it does not exist from any cause; this is indicated by the term "ungenerate." Another thought about it is, that it is limitless and endless; this is represented by the word imperishable. Thus, while the subject remains what it is, above everything, whether name or thought, the not being from any cause, and the not changing into the non-existent, are signified by means of the Conception implied in the aforesaid words.

What, then, out of all that we have said, has stirred him up to this piece of childish folly, in which he returns to the charge and repeats himself in these words: "He will, then, be, as unbeginning, at once ungenerate and perishable, and, as unending, at once imperishable and generated." It is plain to any possessing the least reflection, without our testing this logically, how absurdly foolish it is, or rather, how condemnably blasphemous. By the same argument as that whereby he establishes this union of the perishable and the unbeginning, he can make sport of any proper and worthily conceived name for the Deity. For it is not these two ideas only that we associate with the Divine Life, I mean, the being without beginning, and the not admitting of dissolution; but It is called as well immaterial and without anger, immutable and incorporeal, invisible and formless, true and just; and there are numberless other ways of thinking about the Divine Life, each one of which is announced by an expressive sound with a peculiar meaning of its own. Well, to any name--any name, I mean, expressive of some proper conception of the Deity--it is open for us to apply this method of unnatural union devised by Eunomius. For instance, immateriality and absence of anger are both predicated of the Divine Life; but not with the same thought in both cases; for by the term immaterial we convey the idea of purity from any mixture with matter, and by the term "without anger" the strangeness to any emotion of anger. Now in all probability Eunomius will run trippingly over all this, and have his dance, just as before, upon our words. Stringing together his absurdities in the same way, he will say: "If wherein He is separated from all mixture with matter He is called immaterial, in this respect He will not be without anger; and if by reason of His not indulging in anger He is without anger, it is impossible to attribute to him immateriality, but logic will compel us to admit that, in so far as He is exempt from matter, He is both immaterial and wrathful;" and so you will find the same to be the case in respect to his other attributes. And if you like we will propound another pairing of the same, i.e. His immutability and His incorporeality. For both these terms being used of the Divine Life in a distinct sense, in their case also Eunomius' skill will embellish the same absurdity. For if His being always as He is is signified by the term immutable, and if the term incorporeal represents the spirituality of His essence, Eunomius will certainly say the same here also, that the terms are irreconcilable, and alien to each other, and that the notions which our minds attach to them have no point of contact one with the other; for in so far as God is always the same He is immutable, but not incorporeal; and in regard to the spirituality and formlessness of His essence, while He possesses attributes of incorporeality, He is not immutable; so that it happens that when immutability is considered with respect to the Divine Life, along with that immutability it is established that It is corporeal; but if spirituality is the object of search, you prove that It is at once incorporeal and mutable.

Such are the clever discoveries of Eunomius against the truth. For what need is there to go through all his argument with trifling prolixity? For in every instance you may see an attempt to establish the same futility. For instance, by an implication such as that above, what is true and what is just will be found opposed to each other; for there is a difference in meaning between truth and justice. So that by a parity of reasoning Eunomius will say about these also, that truth is not injustice, and that justice is absent from truth; and it will happen that, when in respect of God we think of His being alien to injustice, the Divine Being will be shown to be at once just and untrue, while if we regard His being alien to untruth, we prove Him to be at once true and unjust. So, too, of His being invisible and formless. For according to a wise reasoning similar to that which we have adduced, it will not be permissible to say either that the invisible exists in that which is formless, or to say that that which is formless exists in that which is invisible; but he will comprise form in that which is invisible, and so again, conversely, he will prove that that which is formless is visible, using the same language in respect of these as he devised in respect to that which is imperishable and unbeginning, to the effect that when we regard the incomposite nature of the Divine Life, we confess that it is formless, yet not invisible; and that when we reflect that we cannot see God with our bodily eyes, while thus admitting His invisibility, we cannot admit His being formless. Now if these instances seem ridiculous and foolish, much more will every sensible man condemn the absurdity of the statements, starting from which his argument has logically brought him to such a pitch of absurdity. Yet he carps at the Master's words, as wrong in seeing that which is imperishable in that which is unending, and that which is unending in that which is imperishable. Well, then, let us also have our sport, in a manner something like this cleverness of Eunomius. Let us examine his opinion about these two names aforesaid, and see what it is.

Either, he says, that which is endless is distinct. in meaning from that which is imperishable, or else the two must make one. But if he call both one, he will be supporting our argument. But if he say that the meaning of the imperishable is one thing, and that that of being unending is another, then of necessity, in the case of things differing from each other, the force of the one cannot be equivalent to the force of the other. If, then, the idea of the imperishable is one, and that of being endless is another, and each of these is what the other is not, neither will he grant that the imperishable is unending, nor that the unending is imperishable, but the unending will be perishable, and the imperishable will be terminable. But I must beg my readers not to turn a ridiculous method of condemnation against us. We have been compelled to adopt such a sportive vein against the mockeries of our opponent, that we might thereby break through the puerile toil of his sophistries. But if it would not be too wearisome to my readers, it would not be out of place again to set forth what Eunomius says in his own words. "If," says he, "God is imperishable only by reason of the unending in His Life, and ungenerate only by reason of the unbeginning, then wherein He is not imperishable He is perishable, and wherein He is not ungenerate He is generated." Then returning to the charge, he repeats, "He will then be, as unbeginning, at once ungenerate and perishable: and, as unending, at once imperishable and generated;" for I pass over the superfluous and unseasonable remarks which he has interspersed here, as in no way contributing to the proving of his point. Now I think it is easy for any one to see, by his own words, that the drift of our argument has no connection whatever with the accusation which he lays against us. "For we call the God of the universe imperishable and ungenerate," says the Master, "using these words with different applications." "His transcending," he continues, "every limit of the ages, and every distance in temporal extension, whether we consider the previous or the subsequent, this absence of limit or circumscription on either hand in the Eternal Life we mark in the one case with the name of imperishability, and in the other case with the name of ungeneracy." But Eunomius would make out that we say that the being without beginning is His essence, and again that the being without end is His essence, as though we brought forward two contradictory segments of essence; and in this way he establishes an absurdity, and while laying down, and then fighting against, positions of his own, and reducing notions of his own concoction to an absurdity, he lays no hold on our argument in any single point. For that God is imperishable only wherein His Life is unending, is his statement, not ours. In like manner, that the imperishable is not without beginning, is an invention of that same subtle cleverness which would constitute a negative attribute an essence; whereas we do not define any such negative attribute as an essence. Now it is a negative attribute of God, that neither does the Life cease in dissolution, nor did It have a commencement in generation; and this we express by these two words, imperishability and ungeneracy. But Eunomius, mixing up his own folly with our teaching, does not seem to understand that he is publishing his own disgrace by his calumnious accusations. For, in defining ungeneracy as an essence, he will logically arrive at the same pitch of absurdity which he ascribes to our teaching. For as beginning means(5) one thing, and end means another, by virtue of an intervening extension, if any one allow the privation of the first of these to be essence, he must suppose His Life to be only half subsisting in this being without beginning, and not to extend further, by virtue of His nature, to the being without end, if ungeneracy be regarded as itself His nature. But if any one insist that both are essence, then, according to the definition put forward by Eunomius, each of these terms must necessarily, by virtue of its inherent meaning, be counted as essence, being just as much as, and no more than, is indicated by the meaning of the term; and thus the argument of Eunomius will not be without force, inasmuch as that which is without beginning does not involve the notion of being without end, and vice versa, since according to his account each of the things mentioned is an essence, and there is no confusion between the two in their relation to each other, the notion of beginning being different to that of ending, while the words which express privation of these also differ in their significations.

But that he himself also may be brought to the knowledge of his own trifling, we will convict him from his own statements. For in the course of his argument he says that God, in that He is without end, is ungenerate, and that, in that He is ungenerate, He is without end, as if the meanings of the two terms were identical. If, then, by reason of His being without end He is ungenerate, and the being without end and ungenerate are convertible terms, and he admits that the Son also is without end, by a parity of reasoning he must necessarily admit that the Son is ungenerate, if (as he has said) His being without end and His being without beginning are identical in meaning. For just as in the ungenerate he sees that which is without beginning, so he allows that in that which is without end also he sees that which is without beginning. For otherwise he would not have made the terms wholly convertible. But God, he says, is ungenerate by nature, and not by contrast with the ages. Well, who is there that contends that God is not by nature all that He is said to be? For we do not say that God is just, and almighty, and Father, and imperishable, by contrast with the ages, nor by His relation to any other thing that exists. But in connection with the subject itself, whatever He may be in His nature, we entertain every idea that is a reverent idea; so that supposing neither ages, nor any other created thing, had been made, God would no less be what we believe Him to be, being in no need of the ages to constitute Him what He is. "But,"says Eunomius, "He has a Life that is not extraneous, nor composite, nor admitting of differences; for He Himself is Life eternal by virtue of that Life itself immortal, by virtue of that immortality imperishable." This we are taught respecting the Only-begotten. as well; nor can any one impugn this teaching without openly opposing the declaration of S. John. For life was not brought in from without upon the Son either (for He says, "I am the Life(6) "), nor is His Life either composite, nor does it admit difference, but by virtue of that life itself He is immortal (for in what else but in life can we see immortality?), and by virtue of that immortality He is imperishable. For that which is stronger than death must naturally be incapable of corruption.

Thus far our argument goes with him. But the riddle with which he accompanies his words we must leave to those trained in the wisdom of Prunicus(7) to interpret: for he seems to have produced what he has said from that system. "Being incorruptible without beginning, He is ungenerate without end, being so called absolutely, and independently of aught beside Himself." Now whoever has purged ears and an enlightened understanding knows, even without my saying it, that beyond the jingle of words produced by their extraordinary combination, there is no trace of sense in what he says; and if any shadow of an idea could be found in such a din of words, it would prove to be either profane or ridiculous. For what do you mean when you say that He is without beginning as being without end, and without end as being without beginning? Do you think beginning identical with end, and that the two words are employed in the same sense. just as the appellations Simon and Peter represent one and the same subject, and on this account, in accordance with your thinking beginning and end the same, did you, combining under one signification these two words which denote privation of each other,--end, I mean, and beginning,--and taking the being without end as convertible with the being without end, blend and confound one word with the other; and is this the meaning of such a mixing up of words, when you say that He is ungenerate as being without end, and that He is without end as being ungenerate? Yet how is it that you did not see the profanity as well as the ridiculous folly of your words? For if by this novel confusion of the words they are made convertible, so that ungenerate means ungenerate without end, and that which is without end is such ungenerately, it follows by necessity that that which is without end must needs be so as being ungenerate: and thus it comes to pass, my good friend, that your much-talked-of ungeneracy, which you say is the only characteristic of the Father's essence, will be found to be shared with whatever is immortal, and to be making all things con-substantial with the Father, because it is alike apparent in all things whose life, by reason of their immortality, goes on to infinity, archangels, that is, angels, human souls, and, it may be also, in the Apostate host, the Devil and his dmons. For if that which is without end, and imperishable, must also by your argument be ungenerately imperishable, then in whatsoever is without end and imperishable there must be connoted ungeneracy. These are the absurdities into which those men fall who, before they have learnt what it is fitting for them to learn, only publish their own ignorance by what they attempt to teach. For if he had any faculty of discernment, he would not be ignorant of the peculiar sense inherent in his terms, "without beginning," and "without end," and that the term without end is common to all things whose life we believe capable of extension to infinity, while the term without beginning belongs to Him alone Who is without originating cause, How, then, is it possible for us to regard that which is common to them all, as equivalent to that which is believed by all to be a special attribute of the Deity alone, so that we thereby either extend ungeneracy to everything that shares in immortality, or else must not allow immortality to any one of them, seeing that the being without end is to belong only to the ungenerate, and vice versa, the being ungenerate is to belong only to that which is without end? Thus everything without end would have to be regarded as ungenerate.

But let us leave this, and along with it the usual foul deluge of calumny in his words; and let us go on to his subsequent quotations (of Basil). But I think it would perhaps be well to pass without examination over most of these subsequent words. For in all of them he shows himself the same, not grappling with that which we have really said, but only inventing for himself points for refutation which he pretends are taken from our statement. To go carefully through these would be pronounced useless by any one possessed of judgment; for any understanding reader of his book can from his very words perceive his scurrility. He says that God's Glory is prior to our leader's "conception." We too do not deny that. For God's glory, whatever we are to think of it. is prior not only to this present generation of ours, but to all creation; it transcends the ages. What, then, is gained for his argument from this fact, that God's glory is conceded to be superior not only to Basil, but to all the ages? "Yes, but this name is His glory," he says. But pray tell us, in order that we may assent to this statement, who has proved that the appellation is identical with the glory? "A law of our nature," he replies, "teaches us that, in naming realities, the dignity of the names does not depend on the will of those who give them." What is this law of nature? And how is it that it is not in force amongst all? If nature had really enacted such a law, it ought to have authority amongst all who share the common nature, just as the other things peculiar to that nature have. If, in fine, it was the law of nature that caused the appellations to spring up for us from the objects, just as her plants spring up from seeds and roots, and she did not entrust the significant naming of each of the subjects to the choice of those who had to indicate the objects, then all mankind would be of one tongue. For if the names imposed upon these objects did not vary, we should not differ from one another in the department of speech. He says it is "a holy thing, and most closely connected with the designs of Providence. that their sounds should be imposed upon realities from a source above us." How, is it, then, that the Prophets were ignorant of this holy thing, and were not instructed in this design of Providence, who according to your account did not make God at all of this Ungeneracy? How, too, is it that the Deity Himself never knew of this kind of holiness, when He did not give names from above to the animals which He had formed, but gave away this power of name-giving to Adam? If it is closely connected with the designs of Providence, as Eunomius says, and a holy thing, that their sounds should be imposed from above upon realities, it is certainly an unholy thing, and an unfitting thing, that these names should have been fitted to the things that are by any here below. "But the universal Guardian," he says, "thought it right to engraft these names in our minds by a law of His creation." And how was it, then, if these were engrafted in the minds of men, that from Adam onward to your transgression no fruits of this folly were produced, grafted as they were, according to you, in those minds, so that ungeneracy should be the name of the Father's essence? Adam and all in succession after him would have pronounced this word, if such had been grafted by God in his nature. For as all that now grows upon the earth continues always, owing to a transmission of its seed from the first creation, and not one single seed at the present time innovates upon the natural form, so this word, if it had been, as you say, grafted by God in our nature, would have sprung up along with the first utterances of the first-formed human beings, and would have accompanied the line of their posterity. But seeing that this word did not exist at the first (for no one in former generations and up to the present ever uttered such a word, except this man), it is plain that it is a bastard invention, that has sprung up from the seed of tares, not from that good seed which God has sown, to use evangelic words, in the field of our nature. For all the things that characterize our common nature do not have their beginning now, but appeared with that nature at its first formation; such, for instance, as the operation of the senses, the appetitive, or contrary, instinct of the man with regard to anything, and other generally acknowledged accompaniments of his nature, none of which a particular epoch has introduced amongst those born in it; but our humanity is preserved continually, from first to last, within the same circle of qualities, losing none which it had at the beginning, any more than it acquires any which it had not then. But just as, while sight is a faculty common to our nature, scientific observation comes by training to those who have devoted themselves to some science (it is not every one, for instance, who can observe with the theodolite, or prove a theorem by means of lines in geometry, or do anything else, where art has introduced, not mere sight, but a special use of sight), so too, while one might pronounce the possession of reason to be a common property of humanity united to the very essence of our nature from above, the invention of terms significative of realities is the work of men who, possessing from above the power of reason, are continually finding out, according as they wish for them towards the elucidation of that which they plainly see, certain words expressive of these things. "But if these views are to prevail," says he, "one of two things is proved; either that conception is anterior to those who conceive, or that the names naturally befitting the Deity, and pre-existent to everything, are posterior to the beginning of man." Ought we to continue the fight against such assertions, and join issue with such manifest absurdity?

But who, pray, is so simple as to be harmed by such arguments, and to imagine that if names are once believed to be an outcome of the reasoning faculty, he must allow that the utterance of names is anterior to those who utter them, or else that he must think he is sinning against the Deity, in that every man continues to name the Deity, according as each after birth is capable of conceiving Him? As to this last supposition, it has been already explained that the Supreme Being has no need Himself of words as delivered by a voice and a tongue; and it would be superfluous to repeat what would only encumber the argument. In fine, a Being Whose nature is neither lacking nor redundant, but simply perfect, neither fails to possess anything that is necessary, nor possesses what is not necessary. Since, then, we have proved previously, and all thinking men unanimously agree, that the calling by names is not a necessity of the Deity, no one can deny the extreme profanity of thus assigning to Him what is not a necessity.

But I do not think that we need linger on this, nor minutely examine that which follows. To the more attentive reader, the argument elaborated by our opponent will itself appear in the light of a special pleader on the side of orthodoxy. He says, for instance, that imperishability and immortality are the very essence of the Deity. For my part I see no need to contend with him, no matter whether these qualities aforesaid only accrue to the Deity, or whether they are, by virtue of their signification, His essence; whichever of these two views is adopted, it will completely support our argument. For if the being imperishable only accrues to the essence, the not being generated will also most certainly only accrue to it; and so the idea of ungeneracy will be ejected from being the mark of the essence. If, on the other hand, because God is not subject to destruction, one affirms imperishability to be His essence, and, because He is stronger than death, one therefore defines immortality to be His very essence, and if the Son is imperishable and immortal (as He is), imperishability and immortality will also be the essence of the Only-begotten. If, then, the Father is imperishability, and the Son imperishability, and each of these imperishabilities is the essence, and no difference exists between them as regards the idea of imperishability, one essence will differ from the other essence in no way at all, seeing that in both equally the nature is a stranger to any corruption. Even if he should resume the same method as before, and place us on the horns of his dilemma from which, as he thinks, there is no escape, saying that, if we distinguish that which accrues from that which is, we make the Deity composite, whereas if we acknowledge His simplicity, then the imperishability and the ungeneracy are seen at once to be significative of His very essence--even then again we can show that he is fighting for our side. For if he will have it that God is made composite by our saying that anything accrues to Him, then he certainly cannot eject the Fatherhood either from the essence, but must confess that He is Father by His nature as much as He is imperishable and immortal; and so without intending it he must admit the Son also to partake of that intimate nature; for it will not be possible, if God is essentially Father, to exclude the Son from a relationship to Him thus essential. But if he says that the Fatherhood accrues to God, but is outside the circle of the substance, then he must concede to us that we may say anything we like accrues to the Deity, since the Divine simplicity is in no way marred, if His quality of ungeneracy is made to mean something outside the essence. If, however, he declares that the imperishability and the ungeneracy do mean the essence, and if he insists that these two words are equivalent, since, by reason of the same meaning lying in each, there is no difference between them, and if he thus assert that the very idea of imperishability and ungeneracy is one and the same, the One who is the first of these must necessarily be the second too. But that the Son is imperishable, let us observe, even these men entertain no doubt; therefore, by Eunomius' argument, the Son also is ungenerate, if imperishability and ungeneracy are to mean the same thing. So that he must accept one of two alternatives; either he must agree with us that ungeneracy is other than imperishability, or, if he abides by his assertions, he must in various ways speak blasphemy about the Only-begotten, making Him, for instance, perishable, in order that he may not have to say that He is ungenerate or ungenerate, in order that he may not prove Him perishable.

But now I do not know which it is best to do; to pursue step by step this subject, or to put an end here to our contest with such folly. Well, as in the case of those who are selling destructive drugs, a very slight experiment guarantees to the purchasers the destructive power latent in all the drug, and no one doubts, after he has found out by an experiment its partial deadliness, that the drug sold is entirely of this deadly character, so I think it can be no longer doubtful to reflecting persons that this poisonous dose of argument, of which a specimen has been shown in what we have already examined, will continue throughout to be such as that which we have just refuted. For this reason I think it better not to prolong this detailed dwelling upon his absurdities. Nevertheless, seeing that the champions of this error discover plausibility for it from many quarters, and there is reason to fear lest to have overlooked any of their efforts will be made a specious pretext for misrepresenting us as having shirked their strongest point, I beg for this reason those who follow us out in this work to accompany our argument still, without charging us with prolixity, while it expands itself to meet the attacks of error along the whole line. Observe, then, that he has scarcely ceased weaving in the depths of his slumber this dream about conception before he arms himself again from his storehouse with those monstrous and senseless methods, and turns his argument into another dream much more meaningless than his previous illusion. But we may best know how absurd his efforts are by observing his treatment of "privation"; though to grapple with his nonsense in all its range would require a Eunomius, or one of his school, men who have never spent a thought on serious realities. We will, however, in a concise way run over the heads of it, that while none of his charges is omitted, no meaningless item may help to prolong the discussion to an absurd length.

When, then, he is on the point of introducing this treatment of terms of "privation," he takes upon himself to show "the incurable absurdity," as he calls it, of our teaching, and its "simulated and culpable cautions(8)." Such is his promise; but the proof of these accusations is, what? "Some have said that the Deity is ungenerate by virtue only of the privation of generation; but we say, in refutation of these, that neither this word nor this idea is in any way whatever applicable to the Deity." Let him point out the maintainer of such a statement, if any from the first creation of man to the present day, whether in foreign or in Greek lands, has ever committed himself to such an utterance; and we will be silent. But no one in the whole history of mankind will be found to have said such a thing, except some madman. For who was ever so reeling from intoxication, who was ever so beside himself with madness or delirium, as to say, in so many words, that generation belongs naturally to the ungenerate God, but that, deprived of this natural condition, He becomes ungenerate instead of generated? But these are the shifts of rhetoric; namely, to escape when they are refuted from the shame of their refutation by means of some supposititious characters. It was in this way that he has apologized for that celebrated "Apology" of his, transferring as he did the blame for that title to jurymen and accusers(9), though unable to show that there were any accusers, any trial, or any court at all. Now, too, with the air of one who would correct another's folly, he pretends that he is driven by necessity to speak in this way. This is what his proof of our "incurable absurdity," and our "simulated and culpable caution," amounts to. But he goes on to say that we do not know what to do in our present position, and that to cover our perplexity we take to abusing him for his worldly learning, while we ourselves claim a monopoly of the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Here is his other dream, namely, that he has got so much of the heathen learning, that he appears by means of it a formidable antagonist to Basil. Just so there have been some men who have imagined themselves enthroned with basilicaIs, and of an exalted rank, because the deluded vision of their dreams, born of their waking longings, puts such fancies into their hearts. He says that Basil, not knowing what to do after what has been said, abuses him for his worldly learning. He would indeed have set a high value on such abuse, that is, on being thought formidable because of the abundance of his words even by any ordinary hearer, not to mention by Basil, and by men like him (if any are entirely like him, or ever have been). But, as for his intervening argument, if such low scurrility, and such tasteless buffoonery, can be called argument, by which he thinks he impugns our cause, I pass it all over, for I deem it an abominable and ungracious thing to soil our treatise with such pollutions; and I loathe them as men loathe some swollen and noisome ulcer, or turn from the spectacle presented by those whose skin is bloated by excess of humours, and disfigured with tuberous warts. And for a while our argument shall be allowed to expand itself freely, without having to turn to defend itself against men who are ready to scoff at and to tear to pieces everything that is said.

Every term--every term, that is, which is really such--is an utterance expressing some movement of thought. But every operation and movement of sound thinking is directed as far as it is possible to the knowledge and the contemplation of some reality. But then the whole world of realities is divided into two parts; that is, into the intelligible and the sensible. With regard to sensible phnomena, knowledge, on account of the perception of them being so near at hand, is open for all to acquire; the judgment of the senses gives occasion to no doubt about the subject before them. The differences in colour, and the differences in all the other qualities which we judge of by means of the sense of hearing, or smell, or touch, or taste, can be known and named by all possessing our common humanity; and so it is with all the other things which appear to be more obvious to our apprehension, the things, that is, pertaining to the age in which we live, designed for political and moral ends. But in the contemplation of the intelligible world, on account of that world transcending the grasp of the senses, we move, some in one way, some in another, around the object of our search; and then, according to the idea arising in each of us about it, we announce the result as best we can, striving to get as near as possible to the full meaning of the thing thought about through the medium of expressive phrases. In this, though it is often possible to have achieved the task in both ways, when thought does not fail to hit the mark, and utterance interprets the notion with the appropriate word, yet it may happen that we may fail even in both, or in one, at least, of the two, when either the comprehending faculty or the interpreting capacity is carded beside the proper mark. There being, then, two factors by which every term is made a correct term, the mental exactitude and the verbal utterance, the result which commands approval in both ways, will certainly be the preferable; but it will not be a lesser gain, not to have missed the right conception, even though the word itself may happen to be inadequate to that thought. Whenever then, our thought is intent upon those high and unseen things which sense cannot reach (I mean, upon that divine and unspeakable world with regard to which it is an audacious thing to grasp in thought anything in it at random and more audacious still to trust to any chance word the representing of the conception arising from it), then, I say, turning from the mere sound of phrases, uttered well or ill according to the mental faculty of the speaker, we search for the thought, and that alone, which is found within the phrases, to see whether that itself be sound, or otherwise; and we leave the minuti of phrase and name to be dealt with by the artificialities of grammarians. Now, seeing that we mark with an appellation only those things which we know, and those things which are above our knowledge it is not possible to seize by any distinctive terms (for how can one put a mark upon a thing we know nothing about?), therefore, because in such cases there is no appropriate term to be found to mark the subject adequately, we are compelled by many and differing names, as there may be opportunity, to divulge our surmises as they arise within us with regard to the Deity. But, on the other hand, all that actually comes within our comprehension is such that it must be of one of these four kinds: either contemplated as existing in an extension of distance, or suggesting the idea of a capacity in space within which its details are detected, or it comes within our field of vision by being circumscribed by a beginning or an end where the non-existent bounds it in each direction (for everything that has a beginning and an end of its existence, begins from the non-existent, and ends in the non-existent), or, lastly, we grasp the phnomenon by means of an association of qualifies wherein dying, and sufferance, and change, and alteration, and such-like are combined. Considering this, in order that the Supreme Being may not appear to have any connection whatever with things below, we use, with regard to His nature, ideas and phrases expressive of separation from all such conditions; we call, for instance, that which is above all times pre-temporal, that which is above beginning unbeginning, that which is not brought to an end unending, that which has a personality removed from body incorporeal, that which is never destroyed imperishable, that which is unreceptive of change, or sufferance, or alteration, passionless, changeless, and unalterable. Such a class of appellations can be reduced to any system that they like by those who wish for r one; and they can fix on these actual appellations other appellations "privative," for instance, or "negative," or whatever they like. We yield the teaching and the learning of such things to those who are ambitious for it; and we will investigate the thoughts alone, whether they are within or beyond the circle of a religious and adequate conception of the Deity.

Well, then, if God did not exist formerly, or if there be a time when He will not exist, He cannot be called either unending or without beginning; and so also neither inalterable, nor incorporeal, nor imperishable, if there is any suspicion of body, or destruction, or alteration with regard to Him. But if it be part of our religion to attribute to Him none of these things, then it is a sacred duty to use of Him names privative of the things abhorrent to His Nature, and to say all that we have so often enumerated already, viz. that He is imperishable, and unending, and ungenerate, and the other terms of that class, where the sense inherent in each only informs us of the privation of that which is obvious to our perception, but does not interpret the actual nature of that which is thus removed from those abhorrent conditions. What the Deity is not, the signification of these names does point out; but what that further thing, which is not these things, is essentially, remains undivulged. Moreover, even the rest of these names, the sense of which does indicate some position or some state, do not afford that indication of the Divine nature itself, but only of the results of our reverent speculations about it. For when we have concluded generally that no single thing existing, whether an object of sense or of thought, is formed spontaneously or fortuitously, but that everything discoverable in the world is linked to the Being Who transcends all existences, and possesses there the source of its continuance, and we then perceive the beauty and the majesty of the wonderful sights in creation, we thus get from these and such-like marks a new range of thoughts about the Deity, and interpret each one of the thoughts thus arising within us by a special name, following the advice of Wisdom, who says that "by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionately the Maker of them is seen(1)." We address therefore as Creator Him Who has made all mortal things, and as Almighty Him Who has compassed so vast a creation, Whose might has been able to realize His wish. When too we perceive the good that is in our own life, we give in accordance with this the name of Good to Him Who is our life's first cause. Then also having learnt from the Divine writings the incorruptibility of the judgment to come, we therefore call Him Judge and Just, and to sum up in one word we transfer the thoughts that arise within us about the Divine Being into the mould of a corresponding name; so that there is no appellation given to the Divine Being apart from some distinct intuition about Him. Even the word God (<greek>Qeos</greek>) we understand to have come into usage from the activity of His seeing; for our faith tells us that the Deity is everywhere, and sees (<greek>qeasqai</greek>) all things, and penetrates all things, and then we stamp this thought with this name (<greek>Qeos</greek>), guided to it by the Holy Voice. For he who says, "O God, attend unto me(2)," and, "Look, O God(3)," and, "God knoweth the secrets of the heart plainly(4)," reveals the latent meaning of this word, viz. that <greek>Qeos</greek> is so called from <greek>qeasqai</greek>. For there is no difference between saying "Attend unto," "Look," and "See." Since, then, the seer must look towards some sight, God is rightly called the Seer of that which is to be seen. We are taught, then, by this word one sectional operation of the Divine Being, though we do not grasp in thought by means of it His substance itself, believing nevertheless that the Divine glory suffers no loss because of our being at a loss for a naturally appropriate name. For this inability to give expression to such unutterable things, while it reflects upon the poverty of our own nature, affords an evidence of God's glory, teaching us as it does, in the words of the Apostle, that the only name naturally appropriate to God is to believe Him to be "above every name(5)." That he transcends every effort of thought, and is far beyond any circumscribing by a name, constitutes a proof to man of His ineffable majesty(6).

Thus much, then, is known to us about the names uttered in any form whatever in reference to the Deity. We have given a simple explanation of them, unencumbered with argument, for the benefit of our candid hearers; as for Eunomius' nerveless contentions about these names, we judge it a thing disgraceful and unbecoming to us seriously to confute them. For what could one say in answer to a man who declares that we "attach more weight to the outward form of the name than to the value of the thing named, giving to names the prerogative over realities, and equality to things unequal"? Such are the words that he gives utterance to. Well, let any one who can do so considerately, judge whether this calumnious charge of his against us has anything in it dangerous enough to make it worth our while to defend ourselves as to our "giving to names the prerogative over realities"; for it is plain to every one that there is no single name that has in itself any substantial reality, but that every name is but a recognizing mark placed on some reality or some idea, having of itself no existence either as a fact or a thought.

How it is possible, then, to assign one's gratuities to the non-subsistent, let this man, who claims to be using words and phrases in their natural force, explain to the followers of his error. I would not, however, have mentioned this at all, if it had not placed a necessity upon me of proving our author's weakness both in thought and expression. As for all the passages from the inspired writings which he drags in, though quite unconnected with his object, formulating thereby a difference of immortality(7) in angels and in men, I do not know what he has in his eye, or what he hopes to prove by them, and I pass them by. The immortal, as long as it is immortal, admits of no degrees of more and less arising from comparison. For if the one member of the comparison is, by the force of contrast, to suffer a diminution or privation as regards its immortality, it must needs be that such a member is not to be called immortal at all; for how can that be called absolutely immortal in which mortality is detected by this juxtaposition and comparison? And to think of that fine hair-splitting of his, in not allowing the idea of privation to be unvarying and general, but in asserting, on the contrary, that while separation from good things is privation, the absence of bad things is not to be marked by that term! If he is to get his way here, he will take the truth from the Apostle's words, which say that He "only hath immortality(8)," which He gives to others. What this newly-imported dictum of his has to do with his preceding argument, neither we nor any one else amongst reflecting people are able to understand. Yet because we have not the mental strength to take in these scientific subtleties, he calls us "unscientific both in our judgment as to objects, and in our use of terms"; those are his very words. But all this, as having no power to shake the truth, I pass over without further notice; and also how he misrepresents the view we have expounded of the imperishable, and of the unembodied, namely, that of these terms the latter signifies the undimensional, where the threefold extension belonging to all bodies is not to be found, and the former signifies that which is not receptive of destruction: and also how he says, that "we do not think it right to let the shape of these words be lost by extending them to ideas inapplicable to them, or to imagine that each of them is indicative of something not present or not accruing; but rather we think they are indicative of the actual essence"; all this I deem worthy only of silence and deep oblivion, and leave to the reader to detect for himself their mingled folly and blasphemy. He actually asserts that the perishable is not opposed to the imperishable, and that the privative sign does not mark the absence of the bad, but that the word which is the subject of our inquiry means the essence itself!

Well, if the term imperishable or indestructible is not considered by this maker of an empty system to be privative of destruction, then by a stern necessity it must follow that this shape given to the word indicates the very reverse (of the privation of destruction). If, that is, indestructibility is not the negation of destruction, it must be the assertion of something incongruous with itself; for it is the very nature of opposites that, when you take away the one, you admit the other to come in in its place. But as for the bitter task which he necessitates of proving that the Deity is unreceptive of death, as if there existed any one who held the contrary opinion, we leave it to take care of itself. For we hold that in the case of opposites, it makes no difference at all whether we say that something is A, or that it is not the opposite of A; for instance, in the present discussion, when we have said that God is Life, we implicitly forbid by this assertion the thought of death in connection with Him, even though we do not express this in speech; and when we assert that He is unreceptive of death, we in the same breath show Him to be Life.

"But I do not see," he rejoins, "how God can be above His own works simply by virtue of such things as do not belong to Him(9)." And on the strength of this clever sally he calls it a union of folly and profanity, that our great Basil has ventured on such terms. But I would counsel him not to indulge his ribaldry too freely against those who use these terms, lest he should be unconsciously at the same moment heaping insults on himself. For I think that he himself would not gainsay that the very grandeur of the Divine Nature is recognized in this, viz. in the absence of all participation in those things which the lower natures are shown to possess. For if God were involved in any of these peculiarities, He would not possess His superiority, but would be quite identified with any single individual amongst the beings who share that peculiarity. But if He is above such things, by reason, in fact, of His not possessing them, then He stands also above those who do possess them; just as we say that the Sinless is superior to those in sin. The fact of being removed from evil is an evidence of abounding in the best. But let him heap these insults on us to his heart's content. We will only remark, in passing, on a single one of the points mentioned under this head, and will then return to the discussion of the main question.

He declares that God surpasses mortal beings as immortal, destructible beings as indestructible, generated beings as ungenerate, just in the same degree. Is it not, then, plain to all what this blasphemy of a fighter against God would prove? or must we by verbal demonstration unveil the profanity? Well, who does not know the axiom, that things which are distanced to the same amount (by something else) are level with one another? If, then, the destructible and the generated are surpassed in the same degree by the Deity, and if our Lord is generated, it will be for Eunomius to draw the blasphemous conclusion resulting from these data. For it is clear that he regards generation as the same thing as destruction and death just as in his previous discussions he declares the ungenerate to be the same thing as the indestructible. If, then, he looks upon destruction and generation as upon the same level and asserts that the Deity is equally removed from both of them, and if our Lord is generated, let no one demand from ourselves that we should apply the logical conclusion, but let him draw it for himself; if indeed it is true, as he says, that from the generated and from the destructible God is equally removed. "But," he proceeds," it is not allowable for us to call Him indestructible and immortal by virtue of any absence of death and destruction." Let those who are led by the nose, and turn in any direction that each successive teacher pleases, believe this, and let them declare that destruction and death do belong to God, to make it possible for Him to be called immortal and indestructible! For if these terms of privation, as Eunomius says, "do not indicate the absence of death and destruction," then the presence in Him of the things opposite to, and estranged from, these is most certainly proved by this treatment of terms. Each one amongst conceivable things is either absent from something else, or it is not absent: for instance, light, darkness; life, death; health, disease, and so on. In all these cases, if one asserts that the one conception is absent, he will necessarily demonstrate that the other is present. If, then, Eunomius denies that God can be called immortal by reason of the absence of death, he will plainly prove the presence of death in Him, and so deny any immortality in the ease of the universal Deity. But perhaps some one will say that we fix unfairly on his words; for that no one is so mad as to affirm that God is not immortal. But then, when none of mankind possess any knowledge of that which certain people secretly imagine, it is by their words that we have to make our guess about those secret things.

Therefore let us again handle this dictum of his: "God is not called immortal by virtue of the absence of death." How are we to accept this statement, that death is not absent from the Deity though He be called immortal? If he really commands us to think like this, Eunomius' God will be certainly mortal, and subject to destruction; for he from whom death is not absent is not in his essence immortal. But again; if these terms signify the absence neither of death nor of destruction, either they are applied falsely to the God over all, or else they comprise within themselves some different meaning. What this meaning is, our system-maker must explain to us. Whereas we, the people who according to Eunomius are unscientific in our judgment of objects and in our use of terms, have been taught to call sound (for instance), not the man from whom strength is absent, but the man from whom disease is absent; and unmutilated, not the man who keeps away from drinking-parties, but the man who has no mutilation upon him; and other qualities in the same way we name from the presence or the absence of something; manly, for instance, and unmanly; sleepy and sleepless; and all the other terms like that, which custom sanctions.

Still I cannot see what profit there is in deigning to examine such nonsense. For a man like myself, who has lived to gray hairs(1), and whose eyes are fixed on truth alone, to take upon his lips the absurd and flippant utterances of a contentious foe, incurs no slight danger of bringing condemnation on himself. I will therefore pass over both those words and the adjoining passage; this, for instance, "Truth gives no evidence of any union of natures with God." Well, if these words had not been spoken, who ever was there (except yourself) who mentioned a double nature in the Deity at all? You, however, unite each idea of each name with the essence of the Father, and deny that anything externally accrues to Him, centering every one of His names in that essence. Again, "Neither does she write in the statute-book of our religion any idea that is external and fabricated by ourselves." With regard to these words again I shall deprecate the idea that I have quoted them with a view of amusing the reader with their absurdity; rather I have done so with a view to show with what a slender equipment of arguments this man, after rating us for our want of system, advances to take these audacious liberties with the name of Truth. What is he in reasoning, and what is he in speech, that he should thus revel in showing himself off before his hidebound readers, who applaud him as victorious over everybody by force of argument when he has brought these disjointed utterances of his dry bombastic jargon to an end(2). "Immortality," he says, "is the essence itself." But what, then, do you assert to be the essence of the Only-begotten? I ask you that: is it immortality, or is it not? For remember that in His essence also the singleness admits, as you say, of no complexity of nature. If, then Eunomius denies that immortality is the essence of the Son, it is clear what he is aiming at; for it does not require an exceedingly penetrating understanding to discover what is the direct opposite to the immortal. Just as the logic of dichotomy exhibits the destructible instead of the indestructible, and the mutable instead of the immutable, so it exhibits the mortal instead of the immortal. What, therefore, will this setter forth of new doctrine do? What proper name will he give us for the essence of the Only-begotten? Again I put this question to our author. He must either grant that it is immortality, or deny it. If, then, he will not assent to its being immortality, he must assent to the contradictory proposition; by negativing the superior term he proves that it is death. If, on the other hand, he shrinks from anything so monstrous, and names the essence of the Only-begotten also as immortality, he must perforce agree with us that there is in consequence no difference whatever, as to essence, between them. If the nature of the Father and the nature of the Son are equally immortality, and if immortality does not divide itself by any manner of difference, then it is confessed by our foes themselves, that on the score of essence no manner of difference is discoverable between the Father and the Son.

But it is time now to expose that angry accusation which he brings against us at the close of his treatise, saying that we affirm the Father to be from what is absolutely non-existent. Stealing an expression from its context, from which he drags it, as from its surrounding body, into a naked isolation, he tries to carp at it by worrying the word, or rather covering it with the slaver of his maddened teeth. I will therefore first give the meaning of the passage in which our Master explained this point to us; then I will quote it word for word: by so doing the man who intrudes upon(3) the expository work of orthodox writers, only to undermine the truth itself, will be revealed in his true colours. Our Master, in introducing us in his own treatise to the true meaning of ungenerate, suggested a way to arrive at a real knowledge of the term in dispute somewhat as follows, pointing out at the same time that it had a meaning very far removed from any idea of essence. He says that the Evangelist(4), in beginning our Lord's lineage according to the flesh from Joseph, and then going back to the generation continually preceding, and then ending the genealogy in Adam, and, because there was no earthly father anterior to this first-formed creature, saying that he was "the son of God," makes it obvious to every reader's intelligence with regard to the Deity, that He, from Whom Adam was, has not Himself His subsistence from another, after the likeness of the human lives just given. When, having passed through the whole of it, we at last grasp the thought of the Deity, we perceive at the same moment the First Cause of it all. But if any such cause be found dependent on something else, then it is not a first cause. Therefore, if God is the First Cause of the Universe, there will be nothing whatever transcending this cause of all things. Such was our Master's exposition of the meaning of ungenerate; and in order that our testimony about it may not go beyond the exact truth, I will quote the passage.

"The evangelist Luke, when giving the genealogy according to the flesh of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and stepping up from the last to the first, begins with Joseph, saying that he was 'the son of Hell, which was the son of Matthat,' and so by ascending brings his enumeration up to Adam; but when he has come to the top and said, that Seth 'was the son of Adam, which was the son of God,' then he stops this process. As, then, he has said that Adam was the son of God, we will ask these men, 'But God, who is He the son of?' Is it not obvious to every one's intelligence that God is the son of no one? But to be the son of no one is to be without a cause, plainly; and to be without a cause is to be ungenerate. Now in the case of men, the being son of somebody is not the essence(5); no more, in the case of the Deity Who rules the world, is it possible to say that the being ungenerate is the essence."

With what eyes will you now dare to gaze upon your guide? I speak to you, O flock(6) of perishing souls! How can you still turn to listen to this man who has reared such a monument as this of his shamelessness in argument? Are ye not ashamed now, at least, if not before, to take the hand of a man like this to lead you to the truth? Do ye not regard it as a sign of his madness as to doctrine, that he thus shamelessly stands out against the truth contained in Scripture? Is this the way to play the champion of the truth of doctrine--namely, to accuse Basil of deriving the God over all from that which has absolutely no existence? Am I to tell the way he phrases it? Am I to transcribe the very words of his shamelessness? I let the insolence of them pass; I do not blame their invective, for I do not censure one whose breath is of bad odour, because it is of bad odour; or one who has bodily mutilation, beause he is mutilated. Things such as that are the misfortunes of nature; they escape blame from those who can reflect. This strength of vituperation, then, is infirmity in reasoning; it is an affliction of a soul whose powers of sound argument are marred. No word from me, then, about his invectives. But as to that syllogism, with its stout irrefragable folds, in whose conclusion, to effect his darling object, he arrives at this accusation against us, I will write it out in its own precise words. "We will allow him to say that the Son exists by participation in the self-existent(7); but (instead of this), he has unconsciously affirmed that the God over all comes from absolute nonentity. For if the idea of the absence of everything amounts to that of absolute nonentity(8), and the transposition of equivalents is perfectly legitimate, then the man who says that God comes from nothing says that He comes from nonentity." To which of these statements shall we first direct our attention? Shall we criticize his opinion about the Son "existing by participation" in the Deity, and his bespattering those who will not acquiesce in it with the foulness of his tongue; or shall we examine the sophism so frigidly constructed from the stuff of dreams? However, every one who possesses a spark of practical sagacity is not unaware that it is only poets and moulders of mythology who father sons "by participation" upon the Divine Being. Those, that is, who string together the myths in their poems, fabricate a Dionysus, or a Hercules, or a Minos, and such-like, out of the combination of the superhuman with human bodies; and they exalt such personages above the rest of mankind, representing them as of greater estimation because of their participation in a superior nature. Therefore, with regard to this opinion of his, carrying as it does within itself the evidence of its own folly and profanity, it is best to be silent; and to repeat instead that irrefragable syllogism of his, in order that every poor ignoramus on our side may understand what and how many are the advantages which those who are not trained in his technical methods are deprived of. He says, "If the idea of the absence of everything amounts to that of absolute nonentity, and the transposition of equivalents is perfectly legitimate, then the man who says that God comes from nothing, says that He comes from nonentity." He brandishes over us this Aristotelian weapon, but who has yet conceded to him, that to say that any one has no father amounts to saying that he has been generated from absolute nonentity? He who enumerates those persons whose line is recorded in Scripture is plainly thinking of a father preceding each person mentioned. For what relation is Heli to Joseph? What relation is Matthat to Heli? And what relation is Adam to Seth? Is it not plain to a mere child that this catalogue of names is a list of fathers? For if Seth is the son of Adam, Adam must be the father of one thus born from him; and so tell me, who is the father of the Deity Who is over all? Come, answer this question, open your lips and speak, exert all your skill in expression to meet such an inquiry. Can you discover any expression that will elude the grasp of your own syllogism? Who is the father of the Ungenerate? Can you say? If you can, then He is not ungenerate. Pressed thus, you will say, what indeed necessity compels you to say,--No one is. Well, my dear sir, do you not yet find the weak seams of your sophism giving way? Do you not perceive that you have slavered upon your own lap? What says our great Basil? That the Ungenerate One is from no fatlier. For the conclusion to be drawn from the mention of fathers in the preceding genealogy permits the word father, even in the silence of the evangelist, to be added to this confession of faith. Whereas, you have transformed "no one" into "nothing at all," and again "nothing at all" into "absolute nonentity," thereby concocting that fallacious syllogism of yours. Accordingly this clever result of professional shrewdness shall be turned against yourself. I ask, Who is the father of the Ungenerate One? "No one," you will be obliged to answer; for the Ungenerate One cannot have a father. Then, if no one is the father of the Ungenerate, and you have changed "no one" into "nothing at all," and "nothing at all" is, according to your argument, the same as "absolute nonentity," and the transposition of equivalents is, as you say, perfectly legitimate, then the man (i.e. you) who says that no one is the father of the Ungenerate One, says that the Deity Who is over all comes from absolute nonentity!

Such, to use your own words, is the "evil," as one might expect, not indeed "of valuing the character for being clever before one is really such" (for perhaps this does not amount to a very great misfortune), but of not knowing oneself, and how great the distance is between the soaring Basil and a grovelling reptile. For if those eyes of his, with their divine penetration, still looked on this world, if he still swept over mankind now living on the pinions of his wisdom, he would have shown you with the swooping rush of his words, how frail is that native shell of folly in which you are encased, how great is he whom you oppose with your errors, while, with insults and invectives hurled at him, you are hunting for a reputation amongst decrepit and despicable creatures. Still you need not give up all hope of feeling that great man's talons(9). For this work of ours, while, as compared with his, it will be a great thing for it to be judged the fraction of one such talon, has, as regards yours, ability enough to have broken asunder the outside crust of your heresy, and to have detected the deformity that hides within.

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