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St Cyril of Alexandria Commentary on John (Fifth Part)

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Page 28

For what reason are we saying such things as this? We confess that our object is to show that those who hold such blasphemous opinions rob the Son of the Godhead which is His by nature, when they (as we have already explained) ascribe to Him nothing more than a non-essential relationship to God the Father. Else why do they put forward ourselves in illustration of their argument, and say: "Even as we have our substance in no way mingled with His, while we are in Him; so also He Himself has His essence entirely different from God, although He is said to be in Him "? Is not their craftiness patent to all men? Will not any one be right in saying that the man who vomited forth such an abominable statement as this must surely be one of the "mockers" announced beforehand by the Spirit? For what does Jude, the disciple of the Saviour, write to us in his epistle? But ye, beloved, remember ye the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they said to you, that in the last time there shall come mockers, walking after their own ungodly lusts. These are they who make separations, sensual, having not the Spirit. For no man whatsoever, who speaks in the Holy Spirit, will say anything against the glory of the Only-begotten. For I maintain that this is just the same as saying: Jesus is anathema. On the other hand, sensual and worthless men, and those whose hearts are devoid of the Holy Spirit, make separations between the Father and the Son; asserting that the latter is as essentially and completely severed from the former as are created things and each of the works made by Him, and believing Him to be in the Father only in the same way that we are in Him.

And that they who have dared to write such things have thereby reached the furthest verge of folly, let us if you please proceed to show in another way, as is quite possible, from the Divine Scripture; and let us hasten to prove to our hearers that we are in the Son in one way, whereas the Son is in His own Father in another way. For one person is not a likeness of another's substance when he conforms himself to that other by the exercise of a virtuous will, nor is he on that account said to be in the other; but when he is in natural identity with the other, and possesses one essence with him. And let the most wise John be called in as a witness for us on this point, since he says: Yea, and our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. How then, pray, do they say, and in what manner do they think fit to assert, that we have fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ? For if we are considered to be in Them, as having our own essence commingled with the Divine nature, that is, with the Father and the Son, and if the expression "fellowship" does not rather refer to the similarity of our wills; how can we have it with the Father and with the Son, when (according to these heretics) the Father and the Son are not Consubstantial? For in that case we must hold opinions worthy of ridicule, and say that we have cleft our own nature asunder into two parts, and given one half to the Father and the other to ourselves and to the Son, and thus we consider ourselves to be in Them. Or else we must reject such absurdity of statement, and say that by doing our best to make our own disposition brightly radiant through the exercise of a virtuous will and through conformity to the Divine and ineffable beauty, we obtain for ourselves the grace of fellowship with Them. But shall we therefore say that the Son is in the Father after a similar manner to this, and that He only possesses a non-essential and artificially-added fellowship with the One Who begat Him? And yet, if so, why in the world does He wish, through the similarity and indeed identity of their works, to lead our mind to feel the necessity of believing without any hesitation that He is Himself in the Father, and that He again has also the Father in Himself? For is it not seen by every one to be perfectly evident and true that, wishing the brilliancy of His deeds to be investigated by us, He shows Himself equal in strength to His own Father, as if the severance as regards essence and the difference as to nature no longer maintained their position; since both Himself and the Father glorify themselves by similar achievements"?

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