Basil the Great|
On the Holy Spirit
From: Schaff - Wace, (ed)., Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Series II, v. 8, tr. by the Rev. Blomfield Jackson, London 1894.
That Scripture uses the words "in" or "by," (en), in place of "with." Wherein also it is proved that the word "and" has the same force as "with."
58. It is, however, asked by our opponents, how it is that Scripture nowhere describes the Spirit as glorified together with the Father and the Son, but carefully avoids the use of the expression "with the Spirit," while it everywhere prefers to ascribe glory "in Him" as being the fitter phrase. I should, for my own part, deny that the word in [or by] implies lower dignity than the word "with;" I should main-pain on the contrary that, rightly understood, it leads us up to the highest possible meaning. This is the case where, as we have observed, it often stands instead of with; as for instance, "I will go into thy house in burnt offerings," instead of with burnt offerings and "he brought them forth also by silver and gold," that is to say with silver and gold and "thou goest not forth in our armies" instead of with our armies, and innumerable similar passages. In short I should very much like to learn from this newfangled philosophy what kind of glory the Apostle ascribed by the word in, according to the interpretation which our opponents proffer as derived from Scripture, for I have nowhere found the formula "To Thee, O Father, be honour and glory, through Thy only begotten Son, by [or in] the Holy Ghost,"--a form which to our opponents comes, so to say, as naturally as the air they breathe. You may indeed find each of these clauses separately, but they will nowhere be able to show them to us arranged in this conjunction. If, then, they want exact conformity to what is written, let them give us exact references. If, on the other hand, they make concession to custom, they must not make us an exception to such a privilege.
59. As we find both expressions in use among the faithful, we use both; in the belief that full glory is equally given to the Spirit by both. The mouths, how, ever, of revilers of the truth may best be stopped by the preposition which, while it has the same meaning as that of the Scriptures, is not so wieldy a weapon for our opponents,(indeed it is now an object of their attack) and is used instead of the conjunction and. For to say "Paul and Silvanus and Timothy" is precisely the same thing as to say Paul with Timothy and Silvanus; for the connexion of the names is, preserved by either mode of expression. The Lord says "The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost." If I say the Father and the Son with the Holy Ghost shall I make, any difference in the sense? Of the connexion of names by means of the conjunction and the instances are many. We read "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost," and again "I beseech you for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit." Now if we wish to use with instead of and, what difference shall we have made? I do not see; unless any one according to hard and fast grammatical rules might prefer the conjunction as copulative and making the union stronger, and reject the preposition as of inferior force. But if we had to defend ourselves on these points I do not suppose we should require a defence of many words. As it is, their argument is not about syllables nor yet about this or that sound of a word, but about things differing. most widely in power and in truth. It is for this reason that, while the use of the syllables is really a matter of no importance whatever, our opponents are making the endeavour to authorise some syllables, and bunt out others from the Church. For my own part, although the usefulness of the word is obvious as soon as it is heard, I will nevertheless set forth the arguments which led our fathers to adopt the reasonable coarse of employing the preposition "with." It does indeed equally well with the preposition "and," confute the mischief of Sabellius; and it sets forth quite as well as "and" the distinction of the hypostases, as in the words "I and my Father will come," and "I and my Father are one." In addition to this the proof it contains of the eternal fellowship and uninterrupted conjunction is excellent. For to say that the Son is with the Father is to exhibit at once the distinction of the hypostases, and the inseparability of the fellowship. The same thing is observable even in mere human matters, for the conjunction "and" intimates that there is a common element in an action, while the preposition "with" declares in some sense as well the communion in action. As, for instance;-Paul and Timothy sailed to MaCedonia, but both Tychicus and Onesimus were sent to the Colossians. Hence we learn that they did the same thing. But suppose we are told that they sailed with, and were sent with? Then we are informed in addition that they carried out the action in company with one another. Thus while the word "with" upsets the error of Sabellius as no other word can, it routs also sinners who err in the very opposite direction; those, I mean, who separate the Son from the Father and the Spirit from the Son, by intervals of time.
60. As compared with "in," there is this difference, that while "with" sets forth the mutual conjunction of the parties associated, --as, for example, of those who sail with, or dwell with, or do anything else in common, "in" shews their relation to that matter in which they happen to be acting. For we no sooner hear the words "sail in" or "dwell in" than we form the idea of the boat or the house. Such is the distinction between these words in ordinary usage; and laborious investigation might discover further. illustrations. I have no time to examine into the nature of the syllables. Since then it has been shewn that "with" most clearly gives the sense of conjunction, let it be declared, if you will, to be under safe-conduct, and cease to wage your savage and truceless war against it. Nevertheless, though the word is naturally thus auspicious, yet if any one likes, in the ascription of praise, to couple the names by the syllable "and," and to give glory, as we have taught in the Gospel, in the formula of baptism, Father and Son and Holy Ghost, be it so: no one will make any objection. On these conditions, if you will, let us come to terms. But our foes would rather surrender their tongues than accept this word. It is this that rouses against us their implacable and truceless war. We must offer the ascription of glory to God, it is contended, in the Holy Ghost, and not and to the Holy Ghost, and they passionately cling to this word in, as though it lowered the Spirit. It will therefore be not unprofitable to speak at greater length about it; and I shall be astonished if they do not: when they have heard what we have to urge, reject the in as itself a traitor to their cause, and a deserter to the side of tile glory of tile Spirit.