August 21, 2019

A Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed #B

By St. AUGUSTINE [354-430] 

For this reason we believe also in His Son,

Jesus PANTO-CREATOR ICON
  1. that is to say, God the Father Almighty’s, His Only Son, our Lord. When you hear of the Only Son of God, acknowledge Him God. For it could not be that God’s Only Son should not be God. What He is, the same did He beget, though He is not that Person Whom He begot. If He be truly Son, He is that which the Father is; if He be not that which the Father is, He is not truly Son. Observe mortal and earthly creatures: what each is, that it engenders. Man besets not an ox, sheep besets not dog, nor dog sheep. Whatever it be that begets, that which it is, it begets. Hold ye therefore boldly, firmly, faithfully, that the Begotten of God the Father is what Himself is, Almighty. These mortal creatures engender by corruption. Does God so beget? He that is begotten mortal generates that which himself is; the Immortal generates what He is: corruptible begets corruptible, Incorruptible begets Incorruptible: the corruptible begets corruptibility, Incorruptible, Incorruptibly: yea, so begets what Itself is, that One begets One, and therefore Only. You know, that when I pronounced to you the Creed, so I said, and so you are bounden to believe believe; that we believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ His Only Son. Here too, when you believe that He is the Only, believe Him Almighty: for it is not to be thought that God the Father does what He will, and God the Son does not what He will. One Will of Father and Son, because one Nature. For it is impossible for the will of the Son to be any whit parted from the Father’s will. God and God; both one God: Almighty and Almighty; both One Almighty.
  2. We do not bring in two Gods as some do, who say, God the Father and God the Son, but greater God the Father and lesser God the Son. They both are what? Two Gods? You blush to speak it, blush to believe it. Lord God the Father, you say, and Lord God the Son: and the Son Himself says, No man can serve two Lords. In His family shall we be in such wise, that, like as in a great house where there is the father of a family and he has a son, so we should say, the greater Lord, the lesser Lord? Shrink from such a thought. If you make to yourselves such like in your heart, you set up idols in the one soul. Utterly repel it. First believe, then understand. Now to whom God gives that when he has believed he soon understands; that is God’s gift, not human frailness. Still, if you do not yet understand, believe: One God the Father, God Christ the Son of God. Both are what? One God. And how are both said to be One God? How? Do you marvel? In the Acts of the Apostles, There was, it says, in the believers, one soul and one heart. There were many souls, faith had made them one. So many thousands of souls were there; they loved each other, and many are one: they loved God in the fire of charity, and from being many they have come to the oneness of beauty. If all those many souls the dearness of love made one soul, what must be the dearness of love in God, where is no diversity, but entire equality! If on earth and among men there could be so great charity as of so many souls to make one soul, where Father from Son, Son from Father, has been ever inseparable, could They both be other than One God? Only, those souls might be called both many souls and one soul; but God, in Whom is ineffable and highest conjunction, may be called One God, not two Gods.
  3. The Father does what He will, and what He will does the Son. Do not imagine an Almighty Father and a not Almighty Son: it is error, blot it out within you, let it not cleave in your memory, let it not be drunk into your faith, and if haply any of you shall have drunk it in, let him vomit it up. Almighty is the Father, Almighty the Son. If Almighty begot not Almighty, He begot not very Son. For what say we, brethren, if the Father being greater begot a Son less than He? What said I, begot? Man engenders, being greater, a son being less: it is true: but that is because the one grows old, the other grows up, and by very growing attains to the form of his father. The Son of God, if He grows not because neither can God wax old, was begotten perfect. And being begotten perfect, if He grows not, and remained not less, He is equal. For that you may know Almighty begotten of Almighty, hear Him Who is Truth. That which of Itself Truth says, is true. What says Truth? What says the Son, Who is Truth? Whatsoever things the Father does, these also the Son likewise does. The Son is Almighty, in doing all things that He wills to do. For if the Father does some things which the Son does not, the Son said falsely, Whatsoever things the Father does, these also the Son does likewise. But because the Son spoke truly, believe it: Whatsoever things the Father does, these also the Son does likewise, and you have believed in the Son that He is Almighty. Which word although ye said not in the Creed, yet this is it that you expressed when you believed in the Only Son, Himself God. Hath the Father anything that the Son has not? This Arian heretic blasphemers say, not I. But what say I? If the Father has anything that the Son has not, the Son lies in saying, All things that the Father has, are Mine. Many and innumerable are the testimonies by which it is proved that the Son is Very Son of God the Father, and the Father God has His Very-begotten Son God, and Father and Son is One God. [Paragraphs 3,4, &5] (Next Conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of Virgin ) #C

Source. Translated by H. Browne. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 3. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1307.htm>

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