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.
The systematic discussion of syllables is derived from heathen philosophy.
5. They have, however, been led into this error by their close study of heathen writers, who have respectively applied the terms "of whom" and "through whom" to things which are by nature distinct. These writers suppose that by the term "of whom" or "of which" the matter is indicated, while the term "through whom" or "through which" represents the instrument, or, generally speaking, subordinate agency? Or rather--for there seems no reason why we should not take up their whole argument, and briefly expose at once its incompatibility with the truth and its inconsistency with their own teaching--the students of vain philosophy, while expounding the manifold nature of cause and distinguishing its peculiar significations, define some causes as principal, some as cooperative or con-causal, while others are of the character of "sine qua non," or indispensable?
For every one of these they have a distinct and peculiar use of terms, so that the maker is indicated in a different way from the instrument. For the maker they think the proper expression is "by whom," maintaining that the bench is produced "by the carpenter; and for the instrument "through which," in that it is produced "through" or by means of adze and gimlet and the rest. Similarly they appropriate "of which" to the material, in that the tiring made is "of" wood, while "according to which" shews the design, or pattern put before the craftsman. For he either first makes a mental sketch, and so brings his fancy to bear upon what he is about, or else he looks at a pattern previously put before him, and arranges his work accordingly. The phrase "on account of which" they wish to be confined to the end or purpose, the bench, as they say, being produced for, or on account of, the use of man. "In which" is supposed to indicate time and place. When was it produced? In this time. And where? In this place. And though place and time contribute nothing to what is being produced, yet without these the production of anything is impossible, for efficient agents must have both place and time. It is these careful distinctions, derived from unpractical philosophy and vain delusion, which our opponents have first studied and admired, and then transferred to the simple and unsophisticated doctrine of the Spirit, to the belittling of God the Word, and the setting at naught of the Divine Spirit. Even the phrase set apart by non-Christian writers for the case of lifeless instruments or of manual service of the meanest kind, I mean the expression "through or by means of which," they do not shrink from transferring to the Lord of all, and Christians feel no shame in applying to the Creator of the universe language belonging to a hammer or a saw.