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SECTION II. Of the new Language introduced at and after the Council
New ideas always require new terms; and unfortunately, the nice distinctions which were now made with respect to the doctrine of the Trinity, required more words than had ever been used by theologians before ; nor was there any thing in the Greek philosophy to correspond to the distinctions that were now to be expressed. Besides, the Latin tongue was much less copious than the Greek; and this afforded a new source of embarrassment and contradiction among those who wished to say the same thing:
To express the difference between the three persons, it was necessary to have one term which might be applied to them all, and another to each of them separately; for though they were one in a certain respect, that is, as God, they must be called three in another, that is, as persons in the Godhead. The two terms that were candidates for this latter office in the Greek language were ourla and UTOSTAOIS, essence and hypostasis, and though it was acknowledged, that in the Greek philosophy these words had been used without any difference, it was thought necessary to make a distinction between them now. Theodoret, after observing that, " in the external philosophy there was no difference between essence and hypostasis, says, that with the fathers they differed as common and particular, or as genus and species, or individual.” * Socrates, however, says, that “ the word hypostasis was not used by the ancient philosophers, but that by the moderns it was always used for essence.” +
Before the Arian controversy it had, as I have observed, been uniformly said by the orthodox, that the Father and the Son were different in their essence. Origen expressly says this, as well as that the Son was subject to the Father. I Also Athanasius, in his fifth oration against the Arians, maintains that essence and hypostasis mean the same thing. The
* Καλα δε γε την των σαλερων διδασκαλιαν, ήν εχει διαφοραν το κοινον υπερ το ιδιον, η το γενος υπερ το ειδος, η το ατομων, ταυτην η εσια προς την υποςασιν εχει. Dial. i. Opera, IV. p. 4. (P.)
+ Ισεον μενλοι οτι ει και οι παλαιοι φιλοσοφοι την λεξιν παρελιπον, αλλα ομως οι νεωτεροι των φιλοσοφων συνεχως αντι της ασιας, τη λεξει της υποτασεως απεχρησαν7ο. Hist. L. iii. Č. vii. p. 180. (P.)
1 Ει γαρ έτερος, ως εν αλλοις δεικνυται, κατ' εσιαν, και υποκειμενος εςιν ο υιος του watpog. De Oratione, p. 48. (P.)
author of a treatise ascribed to him says, “Whoever asserts that there are three hypostases, that is, three substances, he, under the name of piety, asserts three natures ;" * and this according to the orthodox constituted the Polytheism of the Arians. “ Accordingly, it was agreed,” says Sozomen, “ in a council held at Alexandria, which Athanasius attended, that the word essence should be avoided, except in disputing with the Sabellians.”+ It was also maintained in the Council of Sardica at which Athanasius was present, that's there is one essence of the Father, Son, and Spirit, which essence the heretics call hypostasis.” I
It was with respect to this difference about essence and hypostasis, that Gregory Nazianzen says, “ It was ridiculous, though lamentable, that so small a difference in words should occasion a difference in faith ;' and that “ Athanasius, perceiving it was a difference in words only, having addressed both parties with gentleness and good nature, and after carefully examining the meaning of the words, when he found that the two parties did not differ in sense, gave them liberty with respect to words, but held them strictly bound with respect to the things signified by them.”
The Latins having no terms to express both essence and hypostasis, as is observed by Gregory Nuzianzen, || used the word substance to express both; and, accordingly, they were msich chagrined at the Greeks for making any difference between them. Jerome expresses his resentment on this subject, saying, that, “ in the secular schools they had no difference; and who,” says he, “ will dare to say there are three substances ? Let it suffice us to say there is one substance, and three subsisting persons, perfectly equal and co-eternal. Let us say nothing of three hypostases, but keep to one.”* Austin also thought that no difference should be made between essence and hypostasis, and said, that in Latin they said, indifferently, that there was one essence or substance, and three persons. † This is likewise asserted by Gregory Nazianzen, in the passage quoted above.
Quisquis autem tres ÚTOFADES dicit, id est, tres substantias, is, sub nomine pietatis, tres naturas conatur asserere. Opera, ΙΙ. p. 581. (Ρ.)
+ Εν τουτο δε πολλων πολεων επισκοποι συνελθονίες εις Αλεξανδριαν αμα Αθανασια και Ευσεβια, τα δεδογμενα εν Νικαια κρατύνεσιν ομοεσιον τε τω πατρι και το υιω το αγιον πνευμα ομολογησαν και τριαδα ωνομασαν" ου μονο το σωματι, αλλα και ψυχη τελειον χρηναι δοξαζειν ανθρωπον, όν ο Θεος λογος ανελαβεν, εισηγησανίο, καθα και τους παλαι εκκλησιαςικοις φιλοσοφοις εδοκει επει δε η σερι της εσιας και υποφασεως ζητησις τας εκκλησιας εταρατίε, και συχναι σερι τελων εριδες και διαλεξεις ησαν, εν μαλα σοφως μοι δοκεσιν όρισαι, μη εξ αρχης ευθυς επι Θεου τελους χρησθαι τοις ονομασι, πλην ηνικα τις την Σαβελλια δοξαν εκβαλλειν επειρωθο. L. v. C. xii. p. 198. (Ρ.)
1 Ημεις δε ταυτην παρειληφαμεν και δεδιδαγμεθα, και ταυλην εχομεν την καθολικης και αποφολικην παραδοσιν και τιςιν και ομολογιαν, μιαν ειναι υποςασιν ήν αυτοι δε αιρετικοι εσιαν προσαγορευεσι, του σατρος και του υιο και αγια πνευμαίος. Theodoreti, Ηist. L. ii. C. viii. p. 81. (Ρ.)
και “Ως λιαν γελοιον η ελεεινον πιςεως εδοξε διαφορα η σερι τον ηχον μικρολογια-Ταυτ' εν όρων και ακεων και μακάριος εκεινο» προσκαλεσαμενΘ- αμφοτερα τα μερη ότωσι πραως και φιλανθρωπως, και τον νουν των λεγομενων ακριβως εξετασας, επειδη συμφρoνοντας ευρε, και ουδεν διερωθας κατα τον λογον, τα ονοματα συγχωρησας, συνδει τους πραγμασι.
Or. Χxii. pp. 395, 396. (Ρ.)
|| Της γαρ μιας ουσιας, και των τριων υποτασεων λεγομενων μεν υφ' ημων ευσεβως το μεν γαρ την φυσιν δηλοι της θεοληλος, το δε τας των τριων ιδιοτηθας, νουμενων δε και παρα τους Ιταλοις όμοιως, αλλ' ου δυναμενoις δια ενοτητα της παρ' αυτοις γλωττης και ονομαίων πενιαν, διελεις απο της ουσιας την υποςασιν, και δια τουτο αντεισαγοσης τα προσωπα ένα μη τρεις ουσιαι παραδειχθωσι. Οr. xxi. p. 395. (Ρ.)
Notwithstanding the dislike that was taken to the word essence, it was thought necessary to make use of it at the Council of Nice, in order to censure the Arians, who held that the Son was created out of nothing; and if the term essence be the same with substance, and the logos be, as the orthodox said, - God of God," or one God made out of another, the term govor@, consubstantial, was, no doubt, very proper to express their idea of his origin, as opposed to that of the Arians. An account of the objections that were made to the use of the term at that time, of the reasons for adopting it, and of the sense in which it was admitted, is thus given by the historian Socrates. He says, that “the term consubstantial was objected to as implying the production of one thing from another, either according to division, or Aurion, or prolation; prolation signifying the production of a branch from a root; fluxion, that of children from a father; and division, the making two or three masses of gold from one; and that the generation of the Son resembles none of these.”
lo defence of the term it was said, that “God is not to be considered as a material being, but as immaterial, intellectual, and incorporeal, and therefore incapable of any bodily affections; and that the subject is to be considered in a divine and hidden manner.” At length, it was interpreted
“ Tota sæcularum literarum schola nihil aliud hypostasin, nisi usiam, novit. Et quis, rogo, ore sacrilego tres substantias prædicabit?-Sufficiat nobis dicere, upam substantiam, tres personas subsistentes, perfectas, æquales, co-æternas. Taceantur tres hypostases : si placet, et una teneatur.” Epist. lvii. Opera, I. p. 417. (P.)
† “ Non audiemus dicere unam essentiam, tres substantias, sed unam essentiam vel substantiam, tres autem personas." De Trinitate, L. V. C. ix. Opera, III. p. 321. (P.) 1 Επει
γαρ εφασαν ομοσιον ειναι, και εκ τινος εςιν, η κατα μερισμoν, η κατα ρευσιν, η κατα προβολην κατα προβολην μεν, ως εκ ριζων βλαστημα κατα δε ρευσιν, ως οι σατρικοι παιδες κατα μερισμων δεις βωλα χρυσιδες δυο ή τρεις κατ' ουδεν δε τελων εςιν ο υιος. Hist. L. i, C. viii. p. 22. (P.)
και Μητε γαρ δυνασθαι την αύλων και νοεραν, και ασωμαίον φυσιν, σωμαίικον τι παθος υφισασθαι θειους δε και απορρητους σημασί, προσήκει τα τοιαυλα νοειν. Ιbid. p. 24. (Ρ.)
to mean “ from no other essence or hypostasis, than that of the Father only;" * so that the mode of production, about which they could not agree, was left undetermined.
The reasoning of Chrysostom on this subject seems to be fair, and to justify the fathers of Nice ; for he says, that
every thing that is generated is always consubstantial with that which generates, not in man only, but in all living creatures, and in plants ;" + that is, every thing produces its like; and the maxim must apply to the case of the Divine Being, as well as to every other; so that if the Son was really produced from the Father, from his own essence, and not created out of nothing, he must necessarily be consubstantial with the Father.
Still, however, the term essence was not relished. The reason of this is more particularly given by Socrates, who says, that “ the word essence, though used with simplicity by the fathers, yet being unknown to the common people, and not being contained in the Scriptures, gave offence; so that it was thought proper to disuse it, and that no mention should be made of the essence of God for the future ; but that it should rather be said, that the Son is like to the Father in all things.”
Notwithstanding the opposition made by the Latin Church, the language adopted by the Council of Nice continued to be in use; though even so late as the time of Basil, the signification of these terms was not so well settled, but that many persons, he says, confounded essence with hypostasis. S
The term Quois, nature, it seems, had been proposed by some, but with respect to the doctrine of the Trinity, Gregory Nazianzen says, that he preferred the word essence. || And in time the term essence was established as the general name, applicable to each of the three persons, and hypostasis was applied to them severally ; * so that it was thought proper to say, that the Trinity consisted of three hypostases in one essence ; and also the term wgor Toy, person, was used as synonymous to hypostasis. † This term was probably borrowed from the Latin persona, which was always used in the Latin Church to denote the difference between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; for they said that there were “ three persons in one Divine essence," or God. This, however, was deviating a little from the original use of the term, which expressed a difference of character, such as the same person might appear in at different times, and therefore savoured a little of Sabellianism.
• Και μη ειναι εξ έτερας τε υποτασεως και Βσιας, αλλ' εκ τε πατρος. Ηist. L. i. C. viji. p. 25. (P.)
+ Τοτο γαρ εχι ταις γραφεις μονον, αλλα και τη κοινη παντων των ανθρωπων δοξη, και τη των πραγμαίων φυσει μαχομενον εςιν ότι γαρ ομοεσιος και γεννηθεις τα γεννησανλι, ουκ επ' ανθρωπων μονον, αλλα και επι ζωων απανίων, και επι δενδρων τελο ιδοι τις αν. Hom. xxxii. Opera, I. p. 406. (P.)
1 To δε ονομα της ασιας δια το απλεςερον υπο των πατερων τεθεισθαι, αγνοεμενον δε υπο των λαων, σκανδαλον φερειν, δια το μηδε τας γραφας τείο σεριεχιεν, η ρεσε τείο περιαιρεθηναι και σανθελως μηδεμιαν μνημην εσιας επι Θεου ειναι τα λοιπά, δια το τας θειας γραφας μηδαμε περι πατρος και υιε εσιας μεμνησθαι ομοιον δε λεγομεν τον υιον το πατρι
Hist. L. ii. C. xxxvii. p. 137. (P.) 5 Επειδη πολλοι το κοινον της ασιας, επι των μυς ικων δογμαίων μη διακρινονίες απο το των υποτασεων λογα, ταις αυλαις συνεμπιπτουσιν υπονοιαις και οιονlαι διαφερειν μηδεν εσιαν DUTOSTAONY deyey. Epist. Opera, 111. p. 68. (P.)
| Hν αν τις ορθως θσιαν μαλλον η φυσιν καλοιη. Or, xlv. p. 717. (Ρ.)
Notwithstanding every thing seemed to be well settled about the meaning of these terms, yet as they were applied to a subject concerning which men could not pretend to have any ideas, they were no more than mere sounds; and those who pretended to see farther into the subject than others, still continued to differ, and even to refine about the use of the terms; and the most ancient signification was not wholly lost sight of. Thus Damascenus says, that “the word hypostasis has two significations, viz. one of mere existence, in which it does not differ from substance, and sometimes that which subsists of itself, by which individuals of the same species are distinguished, as Peter and Paul;" I that is, hypostasis may in one sense be used for essence, to which, as I have observed, it was originally synonymous.
SECTION III. Illustrations of the Doctrine of the Trinity. Having settled this new doctrine of the Trinity, and ascertained the use of the terms in which it was thought proper to express it, I come to give a view of the principal
“ Substantiæ (purews) declaratio videtur sicut compune et universale quiddam esse, nomina vero subsistentiarum singularum (07IOSATEIS) sub illo universale prædi. cantur.” Cyril Alex. De Trinitate, L. i. Opera, II. p. 362. (P.)
* Το μεν έν, τη εσια γιγνωσκονίες, και το αμερις της προσκυνήσεως' τα δε τρια, ταις υποςασεσιν ειτ' αν προσωπους, και τισι φιλον. Gr. Nazianzeni, Opera, Or. xΧxii. p. 520. (P.)
“ Hypostaseos nomea duplicem significationem habet. Interdum enim simplicem existentiam significat. Quo siguificalu inter substantiam et hypostasim nihil interest. Unde etiam nonnulli sanctorum patrum, naturas, hoc est hypostases ipsas appellarunt. Interdum rursus eam, quæ per se est, ac seorsim subsistit, existentiam; qua significatione individuum id quod numero differt, significat, ut Petrum, Paulum, ac certum aliquem equum." Dialectica, C. xlii. Opera, p. 641. (P.)