21 September 2009

Gregory Nazianzus on the Holy Spirit

DescentOfTheHolySpirit This is a great quote from Gregory Nazianzus on the person of the Holy Spirit:

“XXIX.  This, then, is what may be said by one who admits the silence of Scripture.  But now the swarm of testimonies shall burst upon you from which the Deity of the Holy Ghost  (Luke 1.35; 3.22; 4.1) shall be shown to all who are not excessively stupid, or else altogether enemies to the Spirit, to be most clearly recognized in Scripture.  Look at these facts:—Christ is born; the Spirit is His Forerunner.  He is baptized; the Spirit bears witness.  He is tempted; the Spirit leads Him up (Luke 4.1, 18).  He works miracles; the Spirit accompanies them.  He ascends; the Spirit takes His place.  What great things are there in the idea of God which are not in His power (Acts 2. 4)? 

What titles which belong to God are not applied to Him, except only unbegotten and begotten?  For it was needful that the distinctive properties of the Father and the Son should remain peculiar to them, lest there should be confusion in the Godhead which brings all things, even disorder itself, into due arrangement and good order. 

Indeed I tremble when I think of the abundance of the titles, and how many Names they outrage who fall foul of the Spirit.  He is called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Mind of Christ, the Spirit of The Lord, and Himself The Lord, the Spirit of Adoption, of Truth, of Liberty; the Spirit of Wisdom, of Understanding, of Counsel, of Might, of Knowledge, of Godliness, of the Fear of God. 

For He is the Maker of all these, filling all with His Essence, containing all things, filling the world in His Essence, yet incapable of being comprehended in His power by the world; good, upright, princely, by nature not by adoption; sanctifying, not sanctified; measuring, not measured; shared, not sharing; filling, not filled; containing, not contained; inherited, glorified, reckoned with the Father and the Son; held out as a threat,  the Finger of God; fire like God (to manifest, as I take it, His consubstantiality); the Creator-Spirit, Who by Baptism and by Resurrection creates anew; the Spirit that knows all things, that teaches, that blows where and to what extent He lists; that guides, talks, sends forth, separates, is angry or tempted; that reveals, illumines, quickens, or rather is the very Light and Life; that makes Temples; that deifies; that perfects so as even to anticipate Baptism (As in the case of the Centurion Cornelius, Acts 10. 9), yet after Baptism to be sought as a separate gift; that does all things that God does; divided into fiery tongues; dividing gifts; making Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers; understanding manifold, clear, piercing, undefiled, unhindered, which is the same thing as most wise and varied in His actions; and making all things clear and plain; and of independent power, unchangeable, Almighty, all-seeing, penetrating all spirits that are intelligent, pure, most subtle; and also all prophetic spirits and apostolic in the same manner and not in the same places; for they lived in different places; thus showing that He is unconfined.” Orations 31.29 


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