130 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS

AGAINST PRAXEAS 

  1. In divers ways has the devil shown hostility to the Truth.
At times he has tried to shake it by pretending to defend it.
He is the champion of the one Lord, the Almighty, the creator
of the world, so that he may make a heresy out of the unity. He
says that the Father himself came down into the virgin, himself
was born of her, himself suffered, in short himself is Jesus Christ.
The serpent has forgotten himself: for when he tempted Jesus
Christ after the baptism of John it was as Son of God that he
attacked him, being assured that God has a son at least from
those very scriptures out of which he was then constructing the
temptation : If thou art the Son of God, command that these stones
be made bread
1: again, If thou art the Son of God cast thyself down
from hence, for it is written that he
- the Father, of course - hath
given his angels charge concerning thee, that in their hands they
should bear thee up, lest in any place thou dash thy foot against a 
stone
.2 Or will he accuse the gospels of lying, and say, "Let
Matthew and Luke see to it: I for my part approached God
himself, I tempted the Almighty hand to hand: that was the
reason for my approach, that was the reason for the temptation:
otherwise, if it had been <only> God's son, perhaps I should not 
have demeaned myself < to tempt> him"?  Nay but he himself
rather is a liar from, the beginning,3 and so is any man whom he
has suborned with his own <coin>, like Praxeas. For this person
was the first to import to Rome out of Asia this kind of wrong
headedness-a man generally of restless character, and moreover
puffed up with boasting of his confessorship on account of nothing
more than a mere short discomfort of imprisonment: though 
even if he had given his body to be burned he would have profited
nothing, since he had not the love of God4 whose spiritual gifts 
he also drove out by assault. For at that time the bishop of Rome
was on the point of recognising the prophecies of Montanus and
Prisca and Maximilla, and as a result of that recognition was
offering peace to the churches of Asia and Phrygia; but this man,
by false assertions concerning the prophets themselves and their
churches, and by insistence on the decisions of the bishop's
predecessors, forced him both to recall the letters of peace already 

1 Matt. 4. 3 .  

2 Matt. 4. 6; Ps. 91. 11,12. 

3 Cf. John 8. 44.  

4 1 Cor. 13, 3.


TRANSLATION 131 

issued and to desist from his project of receiving the spiritual gifts.
Thus Praxeas at Rome managed two pieces of the devil's business:
he drove out prophecy and introduced heresy: he put to flight the
Paraclete and crucified the Father. Praxean tares 1 were sown
above the wheat and had germinated here also, while many were
asleep in simplicity of doctrine. Thereafter they were brought
to light, by whom God would, and seemed even to have been
rooted up. In fact the teacher gave security for amendment by
return to his former opinions, and his bond remains in the custody
of the natural men, 2 in whose presence the transaction was then
carried out. After that, silence. I for my part was subsequently 
separated from the natural men by my acknowledgement and
defence of the Paraclete. But those tares had at that time scattered
their seed everywhere, and so for a time it lay hid, deceptively
dissembling its life, and has now burst forth anew. But it shall
also be plucked up anew, if the Lord will, in the time now at my
disposal: if not, then in its due time all counterfeit grain will be
gathered and,. along with other offences, be burned up in un-
quenchable fire. 

   2. And so, after all this time, a Father who was born, a
Father who suffered, God himself the Lord Almighty, is preached
as Jesus Christ. We however as always, the more so now as
better equipped through the Paraclete, that leader into all truth,3
believe (as these do) in one only God, yet subject to this dispensation 
(which is our word for "economy") that the one only God
has also a Son, his Word who has proceeded from himself, by
whom all things were made; and without whom nothing has been
made : 4 that this <Son> was sent by the Father into the virgin
and was born of her both man and God, Son of man and Son of
God, and was named Jesus Christ: that he suffered, died, and
was buried, according to the scriptures,5 and, having been raised
up by the Father and taken back into heaven, sits at the right
hand of the Father 6 and will come to judge the quick and the
dead 7 : and that thereafter he, according to his promise,8 sent
from the Father the Holy Spirit the Paraclete, the sanctifier of the
faith of those who believe in the Father and the Son and the
Holy Spirit. That this Rule has come down from the beginning 

1 Matt. 13. 24. ff. 

2 1 Cor. 2. 14.   

3 John 16. 13.  

4 John 1. 1-3.  

5 1 Cor. 15. 3, 4. 

6 Mark 16. 19.  

7 Acts 10. 42. 

8 John 16. 7. 


132 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

of the Gospel, even before all former heretics, not to speak of
Praxeas of yesterday, will be proved as well by the comparative
lateness of all heretics as by the very novelty of Praxeas of
yesterday. So equally against all heretics let it from now on be
taken as already proven that whatever is earliest is true and 
whatever is later is counterfeit. Still, saving that demurrer, yet
everywhere, for the offensive and defensive equipment of certain
persons, place must be granted also for further discussions, if for
no other reason lest each several piece of wrong-headedness seem
to be condemned not after examination but by previous judgement 
- and in particular this one which supposes itself to possess
truth unadulterated while it thinks it impossible to believe in one
God unless it says that both Father and Son and Holy Spirit are
one and the same: as though the one <God> were not all <these
things> in this way also, that they are all of the one, namely by
unity of substance, while none the less is guarded the mystery of
that economy which disposes the unity into trinity, setting forth
Father and Son and Spirit as three, three however not in quality
but in sequence, not in substance but in aspect, not in power but 
in <its> manifestation, yet of one substance and one quality and
one power, seeing it is one God from whom those sequences and
aspects and manifestations are reckoned out in the name of the 
Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. How they admit of
plurality without division the discussion will show as it proceeds. 

  3. For all the simple people, that I say not the thoughtless and
ignorant (who are always the majority of the faithful), since the
Rule of the Faith itself brings <us> over from the many gods of
the world to the one only true God, not understanding that while
they must believe in one only <God> yet they must believe in
him along with his economy, shy at the economy. They claim
that the plurality and ordinance of trinity is a division of unity - 
although a unity which derives from itself a trinity is not destroyed
but administered by it. And so <people> put it about that by
us two or even three <gods> are preached, while they, they claim,
are worshippers of one God - as though unity irrationally summed
up did not make heresy and trinity rationally counted out 
constitute truth. "We hold", they say, "to the monarchy": and
even Latins so expressively frame the sound, and in so masterly
a fashion, that you would think they understood monarchy as

 


 

TRANSLATION 133 

well as they pronounce it: but while Latins are intent to shout out
" monarchy ", even Greeks refuse to understand the economy.
But if I have gathered any small knowledge of both languages,
I know that monarchy indicates neither more nor less than a
single and sole empire, yet that monarchy because it belongs to
one man does not for that reason make a standing rule that he
whose it is may not have a son or must have made himself his
own son or may not administer his monarchy by the agency of
whom he will. Nay more, I say that no kingdom is in such a
sense one man's own, in such a sense single, in such a sense a
monarchy, as not to be administered also through those other
closely related persons whom it has provided for itself as officers
and if moreover he whose the monarchy is has a son, it is not ipso
facto
divided, does not cease to be a monarchy, if the son also
is assumed as partner in it, but it continues to belong in first
instance to him by whom it is passed on to the son: and so long as
it is his, that continues to be a monarchy which is jointly held
by two who are so closely united. Therefore if also the divine
monarchy is administered by the agency of so many legions and
hosts of angels (as it is written, Ten thousand times ten thousand
stood before him and thousand thousands ministered unto him
),1 yet
has not therefore ceased to belong to one, so as to cease to be a
monarchy because it has for its provincial governors so many
thousand authorities, how should God be thought, in the Son
and in the Holy Spirit occupying second and third place, while
they are to such a degree conjoint of the Father's substance,
to experience a division and a dispersion such as he does not
experience in the plurality of all those angels, alien as they are
from the Father's substance? Do you account provinces and
family connexions and officials and the very forces and the whole
trappings of empire to be the overthrow of it? You are wrong if
you do. I prefer you to busy yourself about the meaning of a fact
rather than the sound of a word. Overthrow of monarchy you
should understand as <taking place> when there is superimposed
another kingship of its own character and its own quality, and
consequently hostile, when another god is introduced to oppose
the Creator, as with Marcion, or many gods according to people
like Valentinus and Prodicus : then is it for the overthrow of the
monarchy when it is for the destruction of the Creator. 

1 Dan. 7. 10.


 

134 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

    4. Yet how can I, who derive the Son from no alien <source>,
but from the Father's substance, <who say> he does nothing
without the Father's will 1 and that he has received from the
Father all authority 2 - how can I in the matter of the faith be
destroying that monarchy which I say has been delivered by the
Father to the Son and is conserved in the Son? Let this be taken
to apply also to the third sequence, for I reckon the Spirit from
nowhere else than from the Father through the Son. Beware
therefore lest you rather are destroying the monarchy, who are
overthrowing that ordinance and dispensation of it which consists
in as many names as God would. But to such a degree does it
abide in its own quality, though a trinity be introduced, that it 
has even to be restored to the Father by the Son, inasmuch as
the apostle writes concerning the last end, When he shall have
delivered up the kingdom to the God and Father. For he must reign
until God put all his enemies under his feet
,3 evidently according to
the psalm, Sit thou at my right hand until I make all thine enemies
the footstool of thy feet
.4 But when all things have been made subject
to him, except him who hath subjected all things to him, then also
he himself will be subjected to him who hash subjected all things to
him, that God may be all things in all
. 5 We see then that the Son
is not prejudicial to the monarchy, although today it is in the Son's
hands, because it is both in its own quality in the Son's hands,
and retaining its own quality will be restored to the Father by the
Son. Thus no one will on this account destroy it by admitting a
Son, when it is agreed both that it has been delivered to him by the
Father and that sometime it is to be restored by him to the Father.
By this one passage of the apostolic epistle we have already been
able to show that Father and Son are two, besides <by deduction>
from the names Father and Son, also from the fact that he who has
delivered the kingdom and he to whom he has delivered it, as
also he who has subjected it and he to whom he has subjected it,
must of necessity be two. 

    5. But seeing they will have it that the two are one, so that the
Father and the Son are to be considered identical, we must also
examine the whole <question> concerning the Son, whether he is,
and who he is, and in what manner he is, and thus the fact itself
will establish its own legality by the advocacy of , the scriptures 

1 John 5. 19.

2 Matt. 28. 18.

3 1 Cor. 15. 24 ff

4 Ps. 110. 1.

5 1 Cor. 15. 27, 28. 


 

TRANSLATION 135 

and the interpretations of them. Certain people affirm that in
Hebrew Genesis begins, In the beginning God made for himself a 
son
.1 Against the ratification of this I am persuaded by other
arguments from God's ordinance in which he was before the
foundation of the world until the generation of the Son. For
before all things God was alone, himself his own world and
location and everything - alone however because there was
nothing external beside him. Yet not even then was he alone : 
for he had with him that Reason which he had in himself - his
own, of course. For God is rational, and reason is primarily in
him and thus from him are all things: and that Reason is his 
consciousness. This the Greeks call Logos, by which expression
we also designate discourse: and consequently our people are
already wont, through the artlessness of the translation, to say
that Discourse was in the beginning with God,2 though it would be
more appropriate to consider Reason of older standing, seeing
that God is [not] discursive from the beginning but is rational even 
before the beginning, and because discourse itself, having its
ground in reason, shows reason to be prior as being its substance. 
Yet even so it makes no difference. For although God had not
yet uttered his Discourse, he always had it within himself along
with and in his Reason, while he silently thought out and ordained 
with himself the things which he was shortly to say by the agency
of Discourse: for while thinking out and ordaining them in
company of his Reason, he converted into Discourse that <Reason>
which he was discussing in discourse. And that you may understand 
this the more easily, observe first from yourself, as from the
image and likeness of God,3 how you also have reason within
yourself, who are a rational animal not only as having been made
by a rational Creator but also as out of his substance having been 
made a living soul.4 See how, when you by reason argue silently
with yourself, this same action takes place within you, while
reason accompanied by discourse meets you at every movement
of your thought, at every impression of your consciousness : 
your every thought is discourse, your every consciousness is
reason: you must perforce speak it in your mind, and while you
speak it you experience as a partner in conversation that discourse
which has in it this very reason by which you speak when you
think in company of that <discourse> in speaking by means of 

1 Gen. 1. 1

2 John 1. 1, 2.

3 Gen. 1. 26.

4 Gen. 2. 7.


 

136 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

which you think. So in a sort of way you have in you as a second
<person> discourse by means of which you speak by thinking
and by means of which you think by speaking: discourse itself
is another than your. How much more completely therefore
does this action take place in God whose image and similitude
you are authoritatively declared to be, that even while silent he
has in himself reason, and in <that> reason discourse. So I have 
been able without rashness to conclude that even then, before the
establishment of the universe, God was not alone, seeing he
continually had in himself Reason, and in Reason Discourse,
which he made another beside himself by activity within himself. 

    6. This function and this ordinance of the divine consciousness
is in the scriptures also displayed under the name of Wisdom.
For what is wiser than the Reason or Discourse of God? So
listen also to Wisdom, established as a second person. First,
The Lord created me as the beginning of his ways for his works'
sake, before he made the earth, before the mountains were set in
their places; yea, before all the hills he begat me
1 - establishing
and begetting, of course, in his own consciousness. Afterwards
observe her, by the fact of being separate, standing by him: When
he was preparing the heaven
, she says, I was present with him, and
as he made strong above the winds the clouds on high, and as he
made safe the fountains of
<the earth> which is under heaven, I was
with him as a fellow-worker, I was she in whose presence he delighted;
for daily did I delight in his person
. For when first God's will
was to produce in their own substances and species those things
which in company of Wisdom and Reason and Discourse he had
ordained within himself, he first brought forth Discourse, which
had within it its own inseparable Reason and Wisdom, so that
the universe of things might come into existence by the agency of 
none other than him by whose agency they had been thought out
and ordained, yea even already made as far as concerns the 
consciousness of God: for this <only> they lacked, to be openly also
recognised and apprehended in their own species and substances. 

    7. At that point therefore Discourse also itself receives its
manifestation and equipment, namely sound and voice, when God
says, Let there be light.2 This is the complete nativity of Discourse,
when it comes forth from God: it was first established by him 

1 Prov. 8. 22 ff. 

2 Gen. 1. 3.


 

TRANSLATION 137

for thought under the name of Wisdom - The Lord established
me as the beginning of his ways
1: then begotten for activity - When
he prepared the heaven I was present with him
2 : thereafter
causing him to be his Father by proceeding from whom he became
Son, the first-begotten as begotten before all things,3 the only-
begotten as alone begotten out of God in a true sense from the
womb of his heart, according as the Father himself testifies,
My heart hath disgorged a good Discourse
4 : and to him thenceforth
us he rejoices in his person <the Father> himself rejoicing <says>,
Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee
,5 and, Before the
daystar I begat thee
.6 So also the Son in his own person, under
the name of Wisdom, confesses the Father, The Lord established
me as the beginning of his ways for his works' sake, yea before the
hills he begat me
.7 For if in this place it appears that Wisdom says
she was established by the Lord for the sake of his works and
ways, but elsewhere it is revealed that by Discourse were all 
things made and without him was not anything made,8 as also
again By the Discourse of the Lord were the heavens confirmed, and
all their host by his Spirit
9 - that Spirit of course which was
present in Discourse - it is clear that it is one and the same function,
now under the name of Wisdom, now under the designation of
Discourse, which received the beginning of ways for God's works'
sake, which confirmed the heaven, by which all things were made
and without which nothing was made. And enough of that, for
evidently under the name of Wisdom and of Reason and of the
whole divine mind and spirit <we are to understand> Discourse,
who became Son of God when by proceeding from him he was
begotten. " So", you say, "you postulate that Discourse is a sort of 
substance, consisting of spirit and wisdom and reason." Certainly.
For you refuse to consider him substantive in objectivity, as being
a substance which is himself, that <thus> he may be seen to be an  
object and a person, and so may be capable, inasmuch as he
is another beside God, of causing there to be two, the Father and
the Son, God and the Word 10 : for what, you will say, is a word
except voice and oral sound and (as the grammarians' tradition
has it) smitten air intelligible in the hearing, for the rest an empty

1 Prov. 8. 22. 

2 Prov. 8. 27. 

3 Col. 1. 15 : John 1. 18. 

4 Ps. 45. 1. 

5 Ps. 2. 7. 

6 Ps. 110. 3. 

7 Prov. 8. 22. 

8 John 1. 3. 

9 Ps. 33. 6. 

10 From now onwards we translate sermo, which we have 
hitherto represented by "discourse", by its usual English 
equivalent, "the Word"


 

138 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

something, void and incorporal ? But I affirm that from God 
nothing void and empty can have come forth - for he is not void
and empty from whom it has been brought forth: and that that
cannot lack substance which has proceeded from so great a
substance and is the maker of such great substances - for he
himself is the maker of things which were made through him. 
How can he be nothing without whom no thing was made, so that
one void should have wrought solid things, and one empty full
things, and one incorporal corporal things? For although at times
something can be made which is the opposite of that whereby it
is made, yet by what is empty and void nothing can be made. 
<Can you describe as> an empty and void object that Word
of God whom scripture calls the Son, who also is designated 
God - And the Word was with God and the Word was God? 1  
It is written, Thou shalt not take the name of God ,for an empty
thing
.2 Certainly this is he who, being in the form of God, thought
it not robbery to be equal with God
.3 In what form of God?
Evidently in some form, not in none: for who will deny that God
is body, although God is a spirit ? 4 . For spirit is body, of its
own kind, in its own form. Moreover if those invisible things,5  
whatever they are, have in God's presence both their own body
and their own shape by which they are visible to God alone, how
much more will that which has been sent forth from his substance
not be devoid of substance. Whatever therefore the substance of
the Word was, that I call a Person, and for it I claim the name
of Son: and while I acknowledge him as Son I maintain he is
another beside the Father. 

    8. If anyone thinks that hereby I introduce some "projection",
that is, prolation of one thing from another, as Valentinus does
who produces aeon from aeon one after another, in the first place 
I shall say to you, "The Truth does not abstain from using that
word and the fact and the origin represented by it, on the ground
that heresy uses it: nay rather, heresy has taken over from the
Truth that which it might build up into its own lie". Was the
Word of God brought forth, or not? Meet me on that ground.
If he was brought forth, acknowledge "projection" as the Truth  
understands it, and let heresy beware what it has copied from the 

1 John 1. 1. 

2 Exod. 20. 7. 

3 Phil. 2. 6.

4 John 4. 24. 

5 Rom. 1. 20.


 

TRANSLATION 139

Truth. The question now before us is who uses, and in what
sense he uses, any fact and the term that denotes it. Valentinus
secludes and separates his "projections" from their originator,
and places them so far from him that an aeon is ignorant of its
father: at length it desires to know him and is unable, in fact it
is almost consumed and dissolved into residuary substance.
But with us the Son alone knows the Father,1 and himself has
declared the bosom of the Father, 2 and has both heard and seen
all things in the Father's presence 3: and whatsoever things
he has been commanded by the Father, those he also speaks 4:
and has accomplished not his own will but the Father's,5 which
he knew intimately, yea from the beginning. For who knows
the things which be in God, except the Spirit who is in him? 6  
But the Word consists of spirit, and (so to speak) spirit is the body
of the Word. Therefore the Word is always in the Father, as he
says, I am in the Father 7 : and always with God, as it is written,
And the Word was with God8: and never separate from the
Father or other than the Father, because, I and the Father are 
one
.9 This will be the Truth's "projection", the guardian of
unity, that projections by which we say that the Son was brought
forth from the Father, but not made separate. For God brought
forth the Word, as also the Paraclete teaches, as a root brings
forth the ground shoot, and a spring the river, and the sun its
beam: for these manifestations also are "projections" of those
substances from which they proceed. You need not hesitate to
say that the shoot is son of the root and the river son of the spring
and the beam son of the sun, for every source is a parent and
everything that is brought forth from a source is its offspring - 
and especially the Word of God, who also in an exact sense has
received the name of Son: yet the shoot is not shut off from the
root nor the river from the spring nor the beam from the sun, any
more than the Word is shut off from God. Therefore according
to the precedent of these examples I profess that I say that God
and his Word, the Father .and his Son, are two: for the root
and the shoot are two things, but conjoined; and the spring and
the river are two manifestations, but undivided; and the sun
and its beam are two aspects, but they cohere. Everything that

1 Matt. 11. 27.

2 John 1. 18.

3 John 8. 38.

4 Cf. John 14. 31.

5 John 6. 38.

6 Cf. 1 Cor. 2. 11.

7 John 14. 11 .

8 John 1. 1.

9 John 10. 30. 


 

140 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

proceeds from something must of necessity be another beside
that from which it proceeds, but it is not for that reason separated
from its. But where there is a second <one> there are two,
and where there is a third there are three. For the Spirit is
third with God and <his> Son, as the fruit out of the shoot is
third from the root, and the irrigation canal out of the river
third from the spring, and the illumination point out of the beam
third from the sun: yet in no respect is he alienated from that
origin from which he derives his proper attributes. In this way
the Trinity, proceeding by intermingled and connected degrees
from the Father, in no respect challenges the monarchy, while
it conserves the quality of the economy.

    9.  Remember at every point that I have professed this rule,
by which I testify that Father and Son and Spirit are unseparated
from one another, and in that case you will recognise what I
say and in what sense I say it. For look now, I say that the
Father is one, and the Son another, and the Spirit another (every
unlearned or self-willed person takes this statement in bad part,
as though it proclaimed diversity and because of diversity
threatened a separation of Father and Son and Spirit: but I am
bound to make it, so long as they maintain that Father and Son
and Spirit are identical, favouring the monarchy at the expense
of the economy), riot however that the Son is other than the Father
by diversity, but by distribution, not by division but by distinction, 
because the Father is not identical with . the Son, they even
being numerically one and another. For the Father is the whole
substance, while the Son is an outflow and assignment of the
whole, as he himself professes, Because my Father is greater
than I
1: and by him, it is sung in the psalm, he has also been
made less, a little on this side of the angels.2 So also the Father
is other than the Son as being greater than the Son, as he who
begets is other than he who is begotten, as he who sends is other
than he who is sent, as he who makes is other than he through
whom a thing is made. It suits my case also that when our
Lord used this word regarding the person of the Paraclete, he
signified not division but ordinance: for he says, I will pray
the Father and he will send you another advocate, the Spirit of
truth
.3 Thus the calls the Paraclete other than himself, as we say 

1 John 14. 28. 

2 Ps. 8. 6. 

3 John 14. 16.


 

TRANSLATION 141

the Son is other than the Father, so as to display the third sequence 
in the Paraclete as we the second in the Son, and so to preserve
the economy. Is not the very fact that they are spoken of as
Father and Son <a statement that they are> one thing beside
another? Surely all facts will correspond with their designations,
and diversity of designation can by no means be confused, since
neither can < the diversity> of the things of which they are the 
designations. " Is" is " is" , and " not" is "not": for what is
more than this is on the side of evil
.1

    10. Thus <one> "is" either father or son, and day is not
identical with night, nor is the Father identical with the Son
in the sense that both are one <person> and each is both <terms
of the relationship>, as those very silly monarchians will have
it. He himself, say they, made himself his own son. Nay,
but father makes son, and son makes father, and those who
become what they are by relationship with one another cannot 
by any means so become by relationship with themselves, as
that a father should make himself his own son or a son cause
himself to be his own father. The rules God has made, he himself
observes. A father must have a son so as to be a father, and a
son must have a father so as to be a son. For to have is one thing,
to be is another: for example, to be a husband I must have a
wife, I shall not be my own wife. So also, that I may be a father
I have a son, I shall not be my own son: and that I may be a son
I have a father, I shall not be my own father. For if I have those
things that make me <what I am> I shall be <what I am>, a father
if I have a son, a son if I have a father. Moreover, whatever of
those I am, I have not that which I myself am, no father since
I shall be the father, no son since I shall be the son. To what
degree I must have one of these things so as to be the other, to
that degree if I am both I cease to be the one because I have not
the other. For if I am son who also am father, I already have no
son but am myself son. But as not having a son because I am
myself the son, how shall I be a father? For I must have a son
so as to be a father, and consequently I am no son, because I have
no father and father makes son. Equally, if I am father who also
am son, already I have no father but am myself father. But as not
having a father because I myself am the father, how shall I

1 Matt. 5. 37.


 

142 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS

be a son? For I must have a father so as to be a son, and 
consequently I shall be no father, because I have no son and son
makes father. This will be the sum of the devil's ability, to make
the two mutually destructive, while by locking up both in one
to please the monarchy he causes neither <father nor son> to be
had, with the result that <God> is no father as not having a son,
and the Sony is no son as equally having no father: for so long
as he is the Father he will not be the Son. This is how these
maintain the monarchy, who retain neither the Father nor the Son.
"But", they says, "to God nothing is difficult." Who does
not know it? and who is not aware that things impossible with the
world are possible with God
? 1 Also God hath chosen the foolish
things of the world to confound the things that are wise
.2 We have
read it all. "Consequently", they say, "it was not difficult for
God to make himself both father and son, contrary to the law,
traditional in human affairs: for it was not difficult for God,
contrary to nature, to cause the barren woman to bear - or even
the virgin." Certainly nothing is difficult for God: but if in our
assumptions we so rashly make use of this judgement, we shall
be able to invent any manner of thing concerning God, as that
he has done it, on the ground that he was able to do it. But we
must not, on the ground that he can do all things, for that reason
believe that he has done even what he has not done, but must
enquire whether he has done it. God could, if he had wished,
have equipped men with wings for flying - a faculty he has
also provided kites with: yet, because he could, he did not as a
matter of course also do it. He could at once have blotted out
of existence both Praxeas and all heretics alike: yet he has not,
because he could, blotted them out. For there had to be kites,
and heretics,3 and the Father had to be crucified. On this reckoning 
there will be something even difficult for God, that in fact
which he has refrained from doing, not because he could not
but because he would not. For God's power is his will, and
his inability is his absence of will: and what his will was, that
was in his power, and he has shown what it wash. Therefore,
because if he wished he could have made himself his own son,
and because if he could he did it, you will prove that he could
have done it and wished to do it only when you have proved that
he did do it.

1 Matt. 19. 26. 

2 1 Cor. 1. 27. 

3 1 Cor. 11. 19.


 

TRANSLATION 143

    11. But it will be your duty to prove it as openly from the
scriptures as we prove that he made his own Word his Son. For
if he calls him Son, while the Son will be no other than he who
came forth from him, and the Word came forth from him, this
<Word> will be the Son, not he from whom the Wordy came
forth: for he did not himself come forth from himself. Further,
you who identify Father and Son, cause the same one both to
have brought forth from himself that which is God, and as such.
to have come forth. If he could have done so, yet he did not do
so. Or else display the proof which I demand, like mine, that is
that the scriptures so represent the Son as identical with the
Father as among us the Father and the Son are demonstrated in
distinction: in distinction, I say, not in division. Just as I allege
as spoken by God, My heart hath disgorged a good Word,1 against
this do you object that God somewhere said, My heart hath
disgorged myself as a good word, so that he himself may be
both he who disgorged and what he disgorged, himself both
he who brought forth and he who was brought forth, if he himself
is Word and God. Look now, I allege that the Father said to the
Son, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee 2: if you will
have me believe that the Father himself is also the Son, show me
that it is stated elsewhere in this form, The Lord said to himself,
I am my son, today have I begotten myself: consequently also,
Before the daystar have I begotten myself 3 : and, I the Lord have
established myself as the beginning of ways for my works' sake,
yea before all the hills have I begotten myself 4 : and any others
there are in this fashion. Before whose disapproval was God,
the Lord of the universe, afraid of so stating it, if so the fact
was? Or was he afraid of not being believed if he plainly stated
that he was both the Father and the Son? One thing however
he was afraid of, to belie himself the author of truth, and to belie
his own truth.5 And so, believing that God is true, I know that
his statements are consonant with his ordinance, and his ordinance
consonant with his statements. You however would make him a
liar and a deceiver 6 a disappointer of this faith <of mine>, if being
himself his own son he assigned the role of son to another, since
all the scriptures display both the demonstration and the distinctness 
of the Trinity: and from them is derived also our standing

1  Ps. 45. 1. 

2  Ps. 2.7.

3 Cf. Ps. 110. 3.

4 Cf. Prov. 8. 22. 

5 Rom. 3. 4. 

6 1 John 1. 10. 


 

144 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

rule, that speaker and person spoken of and person spoken to
cannot be regarded as one and the same, for as much as neither
wilfulness nor deception befits God as that, being himself the one
spoken to, he should prefer to speak to another and not to himself.
Hear therefore also other words of the Father concerning the Son,
<spoken> through Isaiah: Behold my son whom I have chosen,
my beloved in whom I am well pleased; I will place my spirit upon
him and he will announce judgement to the gentiles
.1 Hear also what
he says to him : It is a great thing for thee to be called my son for
the establishment of the tribes of Jacob and the conversion of the
dispersion of Israel; I have set thee for a light of the gentiles, that
thou mayest be salvation unto the end of the earth
.2 Hear next
also the Son's words concerning the Father: The Spirit of the
Lord is upon me, wherefore he hath anointed me to preach the gospel
to men
.3 Also in a psalm the speaks to the Father concerning
the same <Spirit>: Forsake me not, until I announce thy arm to the
whole generation to come
.4 Also in another <psalm>: Lord, why
are they increased that repress me
? 5 Nay but almost all the
psalms which sustain the role of Christ represent the Son as
speaking to the Father, that is, Christ as speaking to God. Observe
also the Spirit speaking in the third person concerning the Father
and the Son: The Lord said unto my lord, Sit thou at my right
hand until I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet
. 6 Again,
through Isaiah: Thus saith the Lord to my lord Christ.7 Also
through the same <prophet> the Spirit speaks to the Father
concerning the Son: Lord, who hath believed our report, and to
whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have announced 
concerning him like a young boy, like a root in a thirsty land, and there
was no beauty or glory of his
.8 These are a few out of many: for
we make no pretence of turning up the whole of the Scriptures,
since even in one passage at a time we bring to witness their
plenary majesty and authority, and thus have the advantage in
argument in <these> discussions. So in these <texts>, few though
they be, yet the distinctiveness of the Trinity is clearly expounded:
for there is the Spirit himself who makes the statement, the
Father to whom he makes it, and the Son of whom he makes it.
So also the rest, which are statements made sometimes by the
Father concerning the Son or to the Son, sometimes by the Son

1 Is. 42. 1. 

2 Is. 49. 6. 

3 Is. 61. 1.

4 Ps. 71. 18. 

5 Ps. 3. 1. 

6 Ps. 110. 1.

7 Is. 45. 1. 

8 Is. 53. 1 John 12. 38 Rom. 10. 16. 


 

TRANSLATION 145

concerning the Father or to the Father, sometimes by the Spirit,
establish each several Person as being himself and none other.

    12. If you are still offended by the plurality of the Trinity, on
the ground that it is not combined in simple unity, I ask you how
it, is that one only single <person> speaks in the plural, Let us
make man after our image and likeness
,1 when he ought to have said,
Let me make man after my image and likeness, as being one only
single <person>. Also in what follows, Behold, Adam is become as
one of us
,2 he is deceptive or joking in speaking in the plural while
being one and alone and singular. Or was he speaking to the
angels, as the Jews explain it, because they, like you, do not
recognise the Son? Or, because he was himself father-son-spirit,
did he for that reason make himself plural and speak to himself in
the plural? Nay rather, because there already was attached to
him the Son, a second Person, his Word, and a third Person, the
Spirit in the Word, for that reason he spoke in the plural, Let us
make, and Our, and Of us. For in whose company was he making
man, and like whom was he making him? He was speaking with
the Son who was to assume manhood, and the Spirit who was to
sanctify man, as with ministers and mediators in consequence of
the unity of the Trinity. Then again the scripture that follows
distinguishes between the Persons: And God made man, in the
image of God made he him
.3 Why not "his own image", if the
maker was one, and there was none in whose image he was making
him? But there was one in whose image he was making him, the
Son's in fact, who because he was to be the surer and truer man
caused that man to be called his image who at that time had to be
formed of clay, as the image and similitude of the true.4 But also
in the preceding works of the world, how is it written ? At first,
while the Son is not yet on the scene, And God said, Let there be
light, and it was made
.5 The Word himself is in first instance the
true light that lighteneth the man that cometh into this world
6 and
through him also the mundane light comes to bed. But from
then on in the Word, <that is>, with Christ as assistant and
minister, God wished things to be made, and God made them: 
And God said, Let a firmament be made, and God made a firma-
ment
7: And God said, Let lights be made, and God made the greater

1 Gen. 1. 26. 

2 Gen. 3. 22. 

3 Gen. 1. 27.

4 Heb. 9. 24. 

5 Gen. 1. 3. 

6 John 1. 9.

7 Gen. 1. 6, 7.


 

146 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

and the lesser light.1 So also the rest of things the very same one
made as made the earlier, that is, the Word of God by whom all
things were made and without whom nothing was made
.2 And if he
himself is God, as John says - the Word was God 3 - you have two,
one commanding a thing to be made, another making it. But
how you must understand "another" I have already professed,
in the sense of person, not of substance, for distinctiveness, not
for division. Yet although I always maintain one substance in
three who cohere, I must still, as a necessary consequence of the
meaning <of the passage>, say that he who commands is other
than he who makes. For he would not be commanding if he
himself were making while commanding things to be made.
Yet he did command <them to be made> by him, since he would
not have commanded himself if he had been one <alone>: or he
would have made them without command, for he would not have
waited to command himself.

    13. "Consequently", you say, "if God spake and God made,
if one God spake and another made, two gods are preached."
If you are so stubborn, keep on thinking so for a time. And, to
give you more cause to think it, hear how also in a psalm two are
called gods: Thy throne, O God, is for ever, a sceptre of direction
is the sceptre of thy kingdom ; thou hast loved righteousness and
hatest iniquity, wherefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee
.4
If he is speaking to God, and to God anointed by God, here also
he affirms that two are gods. Concerning this also Isaiah <speaks>,
regarding the person of Christ, And the Sabaans, men of stature,
shall come over unto thee and shall follow after thee with their hands
in chains and shall worship thee because God is in thee; for thou art
our God and we knew it not, O God of Israel
.5 For here also, by
saying God is in thee, and Thou O God, he sets forth two, him
who was in Christ, and Christ himself. It is of more moment
that in the Gospel you will find the same number: In the beginning
was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God
6:
there is one who "was", and another "within whom" he was.
Also I read the name Lord applied to two: The Lord said unto
my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand
.7 And Isaiah says this: Lord,
who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord

1 Gen. 1. 14,16.

2 John 1. 2. 

3 John 1. 1.

4 Ps. 45. 6, 7.

5 Is. 45. 14. 

6 John 1. 1.

7 Ps. 110. 1.


 

TRANSLATION 147 

revealed? 1 For he would have said "thy arm", not "arm of
the Lord", unless he had wished us to understand Lord the
Father and Lord the Son. Also Genesis, of still older date:
And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire
out of heaven from the Lord
.2 Either deny that these things are
written, or who are you that you should think they must not be
accepted as they are written, especially those which have their
meaning not in allegories and parables but in clearly defined and
simple statements? But if you are of those who on one occasion
did not tolerate our Lord when he showed himself to be the Son
of God, for fear of having to believe that he is the Lord,3 recollect,
along with them that it is written, I said, Ye are gods and sons of
the Most High
4; and, God standeth in the congregation of the gods 5
so that, if scripture has not been afraid to pronounce to be gods
those men who by faith have been made sons of God, you may
know that much more has it by right applied the name of God and
Lord to the true and only Son of God. "Therefore", you say,
"I will challenge you, today also by the authority of those
scriptures consistently to preach two gods and two lords."
God forbid. For we, who by the grace of God examine both the
occasions and the intentions of the scriptures, especially as being
disciples not of men but of the Paraclete, do indeed specify two,
the Father and the Son, and even three with the Holy Spirit,
according to that calculation of the economy which makes plurality,
lest, as your selfwill imports, the Father himself be believed
to have been born and to have died - which is not lawful to
be believed, seeing it has not been so delivered. Yet "two gods"
or " two lords" we never let issue from our mouth: not but that
both the Father is God and the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is
God, and each several one <of them> is God; but that of old time
two were preached as Gods and two as Lords, so that when Christ
came he should both be recognised as God and have the name of
Lord, because he is the son of <him who is> God and Lord.
For if there were found in the scriptures one Person both of God
and of the Lord, rightly would Christ not have been admitted
to the name of God and Lord (because none other besides one
God and one Lord was preached), and it would have come about
that the Father himself would have seemed to have come down

1 Is. 53. 1. 

2 Gen. 19. 24. 

3 John 10. 33.

4 Ps. 82. 6. 

5 Ps. 82. 1.


 

148 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

<from heaven> (because we were reading of one God and one
Lord), and darkness would have fallen upon his whole economy
which was designed and administered for material of faith. But
when Christ came and was known by us as being he who of old
time had caused plurality by being made a second beside the
Father, and a third along with the Spirit, and now that through
him the Father was more fully made manifest, the name of God
and of Lord was reduced again to union: with the result that,
since the gentiles were passing over from a multitude of idols to
the one only God, a difference was established between
worshippers of one divinity and worshippers of many. For
it was necessary also that Christians should shine in the
world as sons of light,1 while worshipping and calling upon the
name of the light of the world,2 one God as also one Lord. 
Otherwise, if as a result of the private knowledge by which we know
that the name of God and of Lord is applicable to both Father
and Son and Spirit, we had been calling upon the name of gods
and lords, we should have put out our candle 3 by being also less
bold in face of martyrdom; for at every turn - opportunity would
lie open for us to escape by immediately swearing by gods and
lords, as do certain heretics whose gods are more than one.
Consequently I shall in no case say either "gods" or "lords", but
shall follow the apostle, with the result that if the Father and the
Son are to be mentioned together, I call the Father "God"
and name Jesus Christ " the Lord ".4 But Christ by himself  I
shall be able to call God, as does the same apostle <when> he
says, Of whom is Christ, who is God over all, blessed for evermore.5
For also the sun's beam, when by itself, I shall call "the sun":
but when naming the sun, whose the beam is, I shall not
immediately call the beam "the sun". For though I make two
suns, yet the sun and its beam I shall count as two objects, and
two manifestations of one undivided substance, in the same sense
as <I count> God and his Word, the Father and the Son.

    14. Once more, we have the support, in our vindication of the
duality of the Father and the Son, of that rule which has defined
God as invisible. For when Moses in Egypt had expressed a
desire for the sight of God, saying, If therefore I have found grace
in thy sight shew thyself to me that I may knowledgeably see thee
,6

1 Eph. 5. 8. 

2 John 8. 12. 

3 Cf. Ps. 18. 28.

4 Rom. 1. 7. 

5 Rom. 9. 5. 

6 Exod. 33. 13.


 

TRANSLATION 149 

<God> said, Thou canst not see my face, for a man will not see my .
face and live
1 - that is, he who, sees it will die. For we find that
God was seen, even by many, yet that none of those who had seen 
him died-that God was seen, of course, according to men's 
capacity, not according to the fulness of his divinity. For
patriarchs are related to have seen God, as Abraham and Jacob,
and prophets, as Isaiah, as Ezekiel, yet they did not die. Therefore
they either ought to have died, if they had seen him - for no man 
will see God and live: or, if they saw God and did not die, the
scripture says falsely that God said, If a man sees my face he shall
not live
2: or else the scripture speaks falsely when it alleges that
God was seen. So then it will be another who was seen, for it is
impossible for the same one who was seen, to be characterised
as invisible: and it will follow that we must understand the Father
as invisible because of the fulness of his majesty, but must acknow-
ledge the Son as visible because of the enumeration of his deriva-
tion, just as we may not look upon the sun in respect of the total
of its substance which is in the sky, though we can with our eyes
bear its beam because of the moderation of the assignment which
from thence reaches out to the earth. Here one of our adversaries
will wish to contend that the Son also is invisible as Word and
as Spirit, and, maintaining that the Father and the Son are in like
case, to affirm rather that Father and Son are one and the same.
But we have deposed that the scripture, by its distinguishing of
visible and invisible, advocates a difference. For they also add
this to their quibbling, that if on that occasion it was the Son
speaking toMoses3 he pronounced his own face visible to no
man, because of course he was the invisible Father himself under
the name of Son. And consequently they wish the visible one
and the invisible one to be taken as identical, in the same way
as < they wish> Father and Son <to be taken as> identical, because
also a little earlier, before he refused Moses < the sight of> his
face, it is written that the Lord spake to Moses face to face as a
man speaks to his friend, 4 and furthermore that Jacob says, I have 
seen the Lord face to face
5: consequently the same one is visible
and invisible: and because the same one has both attributes,
therefore also the invisible Father is himself visible, as being also
Son. As though the explanation of the scripture which we offer

1 Exod. 33. 20. 

2 Exod. 33. 20. 

3 Exod. 33. 20.

4 Exod. 33. 11. 

5 Gen. 32. 30.


 

150 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

did not, leaving the Father out of question, befit the Son in his
own visibility. For we say that the Son also on his own account is,
as Word and Spirit, invisible even now by the quality of his
substance; but that he was visible before the incarnation in the 
manner in which he says to Aaron and Miriam, Although there be
a prophet among you, I shall become known to him in a vision and
shall speak to him in a dream; not as with my servant Moses shall I
speak to him mouth to mouth in manifestation
1 - that is, in truth - 
and not in an enigma - that is, not in imagination: as also says the
apostle, Now we see as in a mirror in an enigma, but then face to
face
. Therefore since for Moses he reserves for the future the
sight of himself and conversation with himself face to face (for
this was fulfilled afterwards when he withdrew into a mountain,
as we read in the Gospel that Moses was seen talking with him),3
it is clear that always aforetime God - that is, the Son of God - 
was seen in a mirror and an enigma and a vision and a dream,
both by prophets and patriarchs and Moses himself till that time:
and if perchance the Lord did speak in visual presence, yet a
man would not see his face as he really is, but only perchance in a
mirror and in an enigma. Lastly, if the Lord spoke to Moses in
such sort that Moses knew his face from near to, why does he
immediately at the same moment ask to see his face, which if he
had seen he would not ask to see? Equally, why does the Lord
deny that his face can be seen,4 though he had let him see it, if
indeed he had let him see it? Or what face of God is that, the 
sight of which is refused? If there was <a face> which was seen - 
I have seen, says Jacob, God face to face and my life is preserved 5
there must be another face which slays if it is seen. Or is it that
the Son indeed was seen - albeit in face, yet even this in a vision
and a dream and a mirror and an enigma, because Word and Spirit
cannot be seen except in imaginary aspect - yet by his face he
means the invisible Father? For who is the Father? Shall he be
the Son's face, on account of the authority which he obtains as,
begotten of the Father? For is it not of some greater personage
that it befits one to say, " That man is my face", or " He gives
me face" ? The Father, he says, is greater than I 6 : therefore the
Father will be the Son's face. For also what says the scripture?
The spirit of his countenance, Christ the Lord.7 Therefore if Christ

1 Num. 12. 6. 

2 1 Cor. 13. 12.

3 Matt. 17. 3 : Mark 9. 4 : Luke 9. 30. 

4 Exod. 33. 20.

5 Gen. 32. 30. 

6 John 14. 28. 

7 Lam. 4. 20.


 

TRANSLATION 151 

is the spirit of the Father's countenance, rightly has the Spirit
pronounced him whose the countenance is, namely his Father,
to be his face - evidently because of their unity. Can you be
surprised if the Father can be understood to be the Son's face,
when he is his head? For the head of Christ is God.1

    15 . If I do not clear this point by enquiries made of the old
scriptures, I shall take from the New Testament confirmation of
our interpretation, lest whatever I account to the Son you 
immediately claim for the Father. For both in the gospels and in the
apostles I discover God visible and invisible, with an evident
personal distinction betwen these two qualities. John as it were
cries out, No man hath seen God at any time 2 - clearly not in the
past, for he has precluded question of time by saying that God
was never seen. The apostle also confirms this, <speaking> of
God whom no man hath seen, nor can he be seen 3 - obviously because
he who sees him will die. Those very same apostles testify both
that they have seen Christ and that they have handled him.4
Consequently if Christ is himself both Father and Son, how is he
both seen and unseen? So as to confer upon one <Person> this
diversity of "seen" and "unseen", our adversary will argue that
both are rightly spoken, since he wash visible in the incarnation
but invisible before the incarnation; and that consequently the
Father, invisible before the incarnation, is the same <Person> as
the Son, visible in the incarnation. And yet, if the same <Person>
was invisible before the incarnation, how is it he is found to have
been seen also aforetime before the incarnation? Equally, if the
same <Person> is visible after the incarnation, how is he even now
pronounced invisible by the apostles, unless there is one whom,
aforetime seen in an enigma, the incarnation his made more fully
visible - the Word in fact, who also was made flesh 5 - and another
whom no one hath ever seen 6 - the Father in fact, whose the Word
is? Once for all let us examine who it was the apostles saw. That
which we have seen
, says John, which we have heard, have seen
with our eyes, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life
.7
For the Word of life was made flesh, and was heard and seen and
handled because <he was> flesh, <the same> who before the
incarnation as Word only was in the beginning in the presence of

1 1 Cor. 11. 3. 

2 John 1. 18. 

3 1 Tim. 6. 16.

4 1 John 1. 1 : 1 Cor. 9. 1. 

5 John 1. 14. 

6 1 Tim. 6. 16.

7 1 John 1. 1. 


 

152 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

God the Father, not the Father in the presence of himself. For
although the Word was God, yet he was <God> in the presence
of God, because he was God from God, because he was along with
the Father, in the Father's presence. And we beheld his glory,
<the glory> as of the only-begotten of the Father 1 - evidently of
course the glory of the visible Son, glorified by the invisible
Father. And consequently, because he had said that the Word of
God was God, so as not to assist our adversaries' assumption
as that he had seen the Father himself, but so as to distinguish
between the invisible Father and the visible Son, he adds of
superfluity, No one hath seen God at any time.2 Which God?
The Word? Nay but, it was said before, We have seen and heard
and handled, of the Word of life
.3 But which God? Evidently
the Father, in whose presence the Word, the only-begotten Son,
who himself hath declared the bosom 4 of the Father, was God. He
himself was both heard and seen, and lest he should be taken for a
phantom was even handled. Him also Paul had sight of, yet he
saw not the Father. Have I not, he says, seen Jesus ? 5 But he
also has applied to Christ the name of God: Whose are the fathers,
and out of whom is Christ according to the flesh, who is God over all,
blessed for ever
6. He also presents as visible the Son of God, that
is, the Word of God, because he who was made flesh is called
Christ.7 But of the Father <he says> to Timothy, Whom no man
hath seen nor can see
8 : and he piles it up even more, Who alone
hath immortality and dwelleth in light unapproachable
9 : and of
him he had previously said, To the king eternal, immortal, invisible,
the only God
,9 so that to the Son we might ourselves also ascribe
the contrary, mortality and approachability. Him also he testifies
to have died according to the scriptures, and to have been seen
of himself last of all 10 - evidently by means of approachable light: 
though even that he did not. experience without danger to his
sight,11 as neither did Peter and John and James without danger to
their reason and without astonishment,l2 and if they had seen,
not the glory of the Son who was to suffer, but the Father, I
think they would have died on the spot: for no one will see God
and live. As this is so, our case stands, that from the beginning
he always was seen who was seen at the end, and that he was not 

1 John 1. 14. 

2 John 1. 18. 

3 1 John 1. 1.

4 John 1. 18. 

5 1 Cor. 9. 1. 

6 Rom. 9. 5.

7 Gal. 3. 1. 

8 1 Tim. 6. 16. 

9 1 Tim. 1. 17.

10 1 Cor. 15. 3, 8. 

11 Acts 9. 8. 

12 Matt. 17. 6.


 

TRANSLATION 153 

seen at the end who from the beginning had not been seen, and
that thus there are two, one seen and one unseen. Therefore it
was the Son always who was seen and the Son always who 
conversed and the Son always who wrought, by the authority and will
of the Father; because The Son can do nothing of himself, unless he
have seen the Father doing it
1 -doing it, of course, in his 
consciousness. For the Father acts by consciousness, whereas the
Son sees and accomplishes that which is in the Father's con-
sciousness. Thus all things were made by the Son, and without
him nothing was made.

    16. And think not that solely the works of the world were
made by the Son,, but those also which from then on were per-
formed by God. For the Father, who loveth the Son and hath
delivered all things into his bosom
,2 right from the beginning 
loves him, and from the beginning has delivered them. Ever
since from the beginning the Word was with God and the Word was
God
,3 and to him was given by the Father all power in heaven
and in earth
,4 The Father judgeth no man, but hath delivered all
judgement to the Son
,5 yes, from the beginning: for when he says
"all power" and "all judgement", and that all things were made
by him, and that all things are delivered into his hand, he allows
no exception of time, for they will not be "all" unless they
have been of all time. And so it is the Son who from the beginning
has judged, smashing down the tower of pride and confounding
the tongues,6 punishing the whole world by the violence of the
waters,7 raining down upon Sodom and Gomorrah fire and 
brimstone 8 - the Lord <raining it down> from the Lord. For he it
always was who came down to converse with men, from Adam
even to the patriarchs and prophets,9 always from the beginning
preparing beforehand in dream and in a mirror and in an enigma
that course which he was going to follow out to the end. Thus he
was always also learning how as God to company with men, being
none other than the Word who was to be flesh. But he was learn-
ing with the purpose of laying. a foundation of faith for us, that we
might the more easily believe that the Son of God has come down
into the world, if we knew that something of the sort had previously
been done. For, as things were written, so also they were done,

1 John 5. 19. 

2 John 3. 35. 

3 John 1. 1.

4 Matt. 28. 18. 

5 John 5. 22. 

6 Gen. 11. 7.

7 Gen. 6. 17. 

8 Gen. 19. 24. 

9 Bar. 3. 37.


 

154 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

for our sake upon whom the ends of the world are come.1 Thus also
he already at that time knew human affections, as he was going
to take upon himself also man's substances, flesh and soul, asking
Adam a question as though he did not know - Adam, where art
thou
? 2 - repenting that he had made man,3 as though he had no
foreknowledge; tempting Abraham,4 as though ignorant what is
in a man 5 ; angry, and reconciled with the same persons ; and all
those things which heretics, for the destruction of the Creator,
seize upon as unworthy of God, ignorant that these things befitted
the Son, who was also going to undergo human passions, both
thirst and hunger and tears and nativity itself and death itself, for
this purpose made by the Father a little lower than the angels.6
But the heretics indeed will refuse to count proper even for the
Son things with which you becloud the Father himself, as though
he had himself made himself lower for our sakes, though the
scripture says that one was made lower by another, not himself by
himself. Moreover it is one who was crowned with glory and
honour, and it is another who crowned him, evidently the Father
<crowning> the Son. Besides, how can it be that God Almighty,
that invisible one whom none of men hath seen nor can see, he
who dwelleth in light unapproachable,7 he who dwelleth not in
things made with hands,8 before whose aspect the earth trembleth,9
and the mountains melt as wax,l0 who graspeth the whole world
in his hand like a nest,11 whose throne is the heaven and the earth
his footstool,12 in whom is all space but he not in space, who is
the boundary line of the universe, he the Most High, should have
walked in paradise in the evening looking for Adam,13 should
have shut up the ark after Noah had gone in, 14 should have rested
under an oak with Abraham,15 should have called to Moses from
the burning bush,16 and should have appeared with three others
in the Babylonian king's furnace 17 - although it says he was a
son of man? Certainly these things ought not to have been
believed of the Son of God unless they had been written, and
perhaps not to have been believed of the Father though they had
been written: yet these people bring him down into Mary's womb,

1 1 Cor. 10. 11. 

2 Gen. 3. 9. 

3 Gen. 6, 6.

4 Gen. 22. 1. 

5 John 2. 25. 

6 Ps. 8. 5.

7 1 Tim. 6. 16. 

8 Acts 17. 24. 

9 Joel 2. 20.

10 Ps. 97. 5. 

11 Is. 10. 14. 

12 Is. 66. 1.

13 Gen. 3. 8. 

14 Gen. 7. 16. 

15 Gen. 18. 4.

16 Exod. 3. 4. 

17 Dan. 3. 25.


 

TRANSLATION 155

and set him at Pilate's judgement seat, and shut him up in Joseph's
sepulchre. Hence therefore it is evident that they are astray.
For not knowing that from the beginning the whole course of the
divine ordinance has come down through the Son, they believe
that the Father himself both was seen and conversed and wrought,
and suffered thirst and hunger, in spite of the prophet who says
The eternal God shall never thirst nor hunger at all 1 - and how
much more shall he neither die nor be buried-and that thus the
one God, that is, the Father, has always done those things which 
<in fact> have been performed by <the agency of> the Son.

    17. They have found it easier to think that the Father has
acted in the Son's name than the Son in the Father's though the
Lord himself says, I am come in my Father's name 2: and again, 
to the Father himself <he says>, I have manifested thy name to
men
3 : and the scripture also agrees, Blessed is he that cometh in
the name of the Lord
4 - evidently the Son in the name of the
Father. And the Father's name is God Almighty, the Most High, 
the Lord of hosts, the King of Israel, I am. In as much as the
scriptures so teach, we say that these also have applied to the Son,
and that in these the Son came, and in these always acted, and
thus in himself manifested them to men. All things that the
Father hath
, he says, are mine 5 : and why not also the names?
When therefore you read of God Almighty, and the Most High,
and the God of hosts, and the King of Israel, and I am, beware 
lest by these the Son also is shown to be of his own right God
Almighty as, being the Word of God Almighty and as having
received power over all 6 ; and the Most High as having been by
the right hand of God exalted
,7 as Peter preached in the Acts;
and the Lord of Hosts because all things are subjected to him 
by the Father 8 ; and the King of Israel because to him especially ,
has fallen the lot of that nation 9; and also "I am" because there
are many that are called sons and art not.10 But if they will have it
that Christ's name also is the Father's, they will hear <my answer>
in its proper place. Meantime let this be my ready response
against that which they allege from the Revelation of John, I am
the Lord, who is and who was and is to come, the Almighty
,11

1 Is. 40. 28. 

2 John 5. 43. 

3 John 17. 6.

4 Ps. 118. 26. 

5 John 16. 15. 

6 Matt. 28. 18.

7 Acts 2. 33. 

8 1 Cor. 15. 27. 

9 Deut. 32. 9. 

10 Cf. Rev. 2. 9. 

11 Rev. 1 . 8.


 

156 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

and wherever else they think the designation "Almighty" not
appropriate to the Son: as if he who is to come were not the
Almighty, when the Son of the Almighty is no less almighty than
the Son of God is God.

    18. But they are thrust out of the way of easily seeing in the Son
this partnership in the Father's names by those occasions when
the scripture has stated that God is one alone-as though the same
scripture had not set before us two Gods and Lords, as we have
already shown. Therefore, say they, because we find two as well
as one, consequently both are one <Person>, and the same one
is both Son and Father. Surely the scripture is not in such
jeopardy that you have to come to its rescue by your quibbling
to prevent it from appearing to be contrary to itself: it is correct
both when it states that God is one only and when it reveals
Father and Son as two, and it needs no help but its own. It is
agreed that by it the name of the Son is mentioned: for without
prejudice to the Son it can be right in having defined as one only,
God whose <son> the Son is. For he who has a son does not
cease to be one only, on his own account of course as often as he
is named without his son: and he is named without his son when
he is primarily defined as the first person who must needs be
premised before the name of the son, because the father is first,
recognised, end after the father the son is named. Therefore
there is one God, the Father,1 and besides him there is no other,2
and he himself who introduces this <statement> is denying, not
the Son, but another god: whereas the Son is not another <god>
than the Father. Finally, look at the contexts -of statements like
this, and you will find that their pronouncement has an eye to
makers and worshippers of idols, so that a multitude of false gods
may be ejected by the unity of the divine, the one Gods, who
yet has a Son who, precisely because he is indivisible and 
inseparable from the Father, must be accounted as in the Father
even when his name is not mentioned. And moreover, if he had
mentioned him he would have made him separate - if he had
spoken in this manner, Beside me there is none other except my
Son: for he would have made the Son another <god> by excepting
him from those others who are no gods. Imagine the sun saying,
I am the sun and beside me there is none other except my beam

1 1 Cor. 8. 6. 

2 Is. 45. 5. 


 

TRANSLATION 157 

would you not have remarked adversely upon his futility, as
though the beam were not accounted in the sun? And so <the
statement> that besides himself there is no other god is <made>
on account of the idolatry both of the gentiles and of Israel: also
on account of the heretics, who manufacture idols with words as
the gentiles do with their hands - that is, another God and another
Christ. Therefore even when pronouncing himself one the
Father was serving the Son's interest, lest Christ should be
believed to have come from any other God than him who had
already said, I am God, and other beside me there is not,1 <God>
who reveals himself as one only, yet <one only> with the Son,
with whom also he alone has spread out the heaven.2

    19. Yes, and also this saying of his they will seize upon for a
proof of his singularity. I alone, he says, have spread out the
heaven
3 - alone in respect of the other powers, erecting a barrier
against the guesses of the heretics, who will have it that the world
was built by angels and hostile powers, <heretics> who make the
creator himself either an angel or one suborned for other external
acts, like the making of the world, and ignorant at that. Or if
in their sense he alone spread out the heaven, why do these
<present> heretics perversely assume the exclusion of that singular
Wisdom who says, When he prepared the heaven I was present with
him
? 4 And if one has said, Who hath known the mind of the Lord
and who hath been his counsellor
?,5 evidently he means "besides
Wisdom who was present with him". In him, however, and with
him she fashioned all things, seeing he was not ignorant what he
was doing. But "besides Wisdom" means "besides the Son ",
who is Christ the Wisdom and the Power of God,6 as the apostle
says, he who alone knoweth the mind of the Father: for who
knoweth the things which be in God; except the Spirit which is
in him ? 7 - not which is outside him. There was then one who
made God not alone, except as alone in respect of other gods.
But also let the Gospel be refused <a hearing> because it says that
all things were made by God through the Word, and that without
him was nothing made.8 For, if I mistake not, it is also elsewhere
written, By his Word were the heavens established, and all their
powers by his Spirit
.9 But the Word also, the Power and the

1 Is. 45. 5 : 44. 6. 

2 Is. 44. 24. 

3 Is. 44.24.

4 Prov. 8. 27. 

5 Is. 40. 13: Rom. 11. 34. 

6 1 Cor. 1 . 24.

7 Cf. 1 Cor. 2. 11

8 John 1. 3. 

9 Ps. 33. 6.


 

158 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

Wisdom, will himself be the Son of God. Thus if all things are
by the Son, when he spreads out the heaven also by the Son he
is not alone in spreading it out, except on that reckoning that he
is alone in respect of the other <gods>. And consequently he
immediately speaks concerning the Son: Who else hath cast down
the tokens of the ventriloquists, and divinations away from the heart,
turning the wise backward and making their counsel foolish, 
establishing the words of his Son
? 1- by saying, of course, This is my beloved
Son, hear him
.2 By thus subjoining the Son, he himself is the
interpreter of how he alone has spread out the heaven, that is,
alone with his Son, even as he is one thing with his Son. And
further, it will be the Son's voice <which says> I alone have spread
out the heaven
,3 because by the Word were the heavens established:,
because with the assistance of Wisdom in the Word the heaven
was prepared, and because all things were made by the Word, it
is feasible for the Son also alone to have spread out the heaven,
because he alone ministered to the Father's operation. He also
it will be who says, I am the first, and unto things that are to come
after, I am he
.4 Evidently the Word is the first thing of all: In
the beginning was the Word
,5 and in that beginning he was brought
forth by the Father: whereas the Father, having no beginning, as
having been brought forth by none, as being unborn, cannot be
regarded as first: he who was always alone could have no
<numerical> order. Therefore if their reason for thinking
they must believe the identity of the Father and the Son has been.
that they may prove their case for the unity of God, the unity is
safe of him who, being one, has also a Son himself also no less
<than the Father> included in the same scriptures. If they are,
unwilling for the Son to be accounted a second beside the Father,
lest the second give rise to the expression "two gods", we have
shown that even two Gods are referred to in scripture, and two
Lords: and yet, that they be not offended at that, we are
rendering an account how the expressions "two gods" or "two
lords" are not used, but how the Father and the Son are two,
and this not as a result of separation of substance, but as a result
of ordinance, while we declare the Son indivisible and inseparable
from the Father, another not in quality but in sequence, who,
although he is called God when he is named by himself, yet does

1 Is. 44. 25, 26. 

2 Luke 9. 35. 

3 Is. 44. 24.

4 Is. 41. 4. 

5 John 1. 1. 


 

TRANSLATION 159 

not for that reason make a duality of gods, but one God, by this
very fact that he has to be called God as a result of his unity with
the Father. 

    20. But for the further rebutment of their quibblings we must
pay attention to whatever they will glean from the <new> scriptures
to support their opinion, while they refuse to look at the other
<places> which themselves also observe the rule, and that while
safeguarding the divine unity and the impressiveness of the
monarchy. For as in the old <scriptures> they retain nothing else
but, I am God and other beside me there is not,1 so in the Gospel they
uphold the Lord's answer to Philip, I and the Father are one, 2 and,
He that hath seen me hath also seen the Father, and, I am in the
Father and the Father in me
. 3 To these three citations they wish the
whole appurtenance of both testaments to yield, though the smaller
number ought to be understood in accordance with the greater.
But this is the characteristic of all heretics. For because there are
a few <instances> which can be found among the undergrowth,
they maintain the cause of <these) few against the many and
become advocates of the later against the earlier. But the rule
determined for every subject in earlier instances ever since the
beginning, makes a precedent for the later also-and the same in
the case of the fewer.

    21. See therefore how many <instances> set the precedent for
you even in the Gospel, before Philip's consultation and before all
your quibbling. And to begin with, the very preface of John the
Evangelist shows what he who had to be made flesh had 
aforetime been: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with
God and the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with
God; all things were made through him, and without him was
nothing made
.4 For if this may not otherwise be received than as
it is written, undoubtedly one is revealed who was from the
beginning, and another with whom he was. the reveals one the
Word of God, and God another-though the Word also is God,
but as God's Son, not as the Father: one through whom are all
things, another by whom are all things. But what we mean by
"another" we have already often explained. When we say
" another" we necessarily mean "not the same" : "not the same"

1 Is. 45. 5. 

2 John 10. 30. 

3 John 14. 9, 10, 11.

4 John 1. 1-3. 


 

160 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

however not as separated, another by ordinance, not by division.
He therefore it was who was made flesh, not he whose Word he
was. His was the glory seen, as of the only one of the Father,1 not
as of the Father. He, the only one, has revealed the bosom of
the Father, not the Father his own bosom: for there comes first,
No one hath seen God at any time. 2 Therefore even if he is pointed
out by John as the Lamb of God 3 <he is> not <pointed out as> he
whose beloved he is. Certainly he is always God's Son, not he
whose Son he is. Nathanael immediately perceived this of him,
as also did Peter elsewhere: Thou art the Son of God.4 And that
this they rightly perceived he himself confirms, replying to
Nathanael, Because I said I saw thee under the fig tree, therefore
thou believest
5; and affirming the blessedness of Peter, to whom 
not flesh or blood had revealed what he had perceived, the Father
as well <as the Son>, but the Father who is in heaven.6 And by
this saying he determined the distinction of both Persons, the Son
on earth whom Peter had recognised as God's Son, and the Father
in heaven who had revealed to Peter what Peter had recognised,
that Christ is God's Son. When he has entered into the Temple
he calls it his Father's house,7 as a son <would>. When he speaks
to Nicodemus he says, God so loved the world that he gave his only
Son that every one who believeth in him should not perish but have
everlasting life
8 : and again, For God sent not his Son into the world
to judge the world, but that the world may be saved through him; he
that believeth in him is not judged; he that believeth not in him is,
judged already; because he hath not believed in the name of the only
Son of God
.9 When John moreover was being asked what <he
thought> of Jesus when he was baptizing, he said, The Father hath 
loved the Son and hath delivered all things into his hand; he that
believeth in the Son hath eternal life; he that believeth not in the ,Son
of God shall not see God, but the wrath of God shall abide upon him.
10
Whom moreover did he reveal to the Samaritan woman ? If it
was the Messiah who is called Christ,11 evidently he showed himself
to be the Son, not the Father, for elsewhere also Christ is called 
the Son of God, not the Father. Thereafter to the disciples he
says, Mine it is to do the will of him that sent me, that I may accomplish
his work
. l2 And to the Jews concerning the healing of the paralytic

1 John 1. 14.

2 John 1. 18. 

3 John 1. 29, 36.

4 John 1. 49: Matt. 14. 33 : 16. 6. 

5 John 1. 50. 

6 Matt. 16. 17.

7 John 2. 16. 

8 John 3. 16. 

9 John 3. 17, 18.

10 John 3. 35, 36. 

11 John 4. 25.

12 John 4.34. 


 

TRANSLATION 161 

<he says>, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work 1: "my father
and I " is what a son says. At length for this cause the Jews the
more sought to kill him, not only because he relaxed the sabbath,
but because he called God his Father, making himself equal with
God
.2 Then therefore he said to them, The Son can do nothing
of himself, except he see the Father doing it; for the things which he
doeth, the same also the Son doeth; for the Father loveth the Son
and hath shewn him all things which he hath done, and greater works
than these shall he shew him, that ye may marvel; for as the Father
raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, so also the Son quickeneth
whom he will. For neither doth the Father judge, but hath given all
judgement to the Son, that all may honour the Son as they honour
the Father; he that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father
who sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that he who heareth my
words and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and shall
not come into judgement but hath passed from death into life. Verily
I say unto you, that the hour will come in which the dead shall hear
the voice of the Son of God, and when they have heard shall live;
for as the Father hath eternal life in himself so also hath he given to
the Son to have eternal life in himself, and hath given him to do
judgement with authority, because he is the Son of Man
3 - through
the flesh of course, as he is also Son of God through God's Spirit.
Again he adds, But I have a greater witness than John's; for the
works which the Father hath given me to accomplish, themselves bear
witness concerning me that the Father hath sent me; and the Father
who hath sent me, himself hath borne witness concerning me
.4 But
when he adds, Ye have neither heard his voice at any time nor seen
his form
,5 he confirms <our position> that aforetime it was not the
Father but the Son who was seen and heard. At length he says,
I am come in my Father's name and ye have not received me 6
consequently the Son always was in the name of God and King
and Lord Almighty and Most High. To those moreover who
asked him what they must do he replied, To believe in him whom
God hath sent
.7 He affirms also that he is the bread which the
Father was providing from heaven: consequently that everything
which the Father gave him was coming to him, and that he would
not cast it out, because he had come down from heaven not to do

1 John 5. 17. 

2 John 5. 18. 

3 John 5. 19-27

4 John 5. 36, 37. 

5 John 5. 37. 

6 John 5. 43.

7 John 6. 29.


 

162 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

his own will but the Father's; and that the Father's will was that
he who hath seen the Son and believeth in him may obtain life
and resurrection: further, that no one can come to him except
him whom the Father draweth, and that everyone who had heard
and had learned from the Father was coming to him 1: adding
at this point also, Not that anyone hath seen the Father,2 that he
might show that <he> was the Father's Word by whom men
become taught. But when many go away from him, and he gives
his disciples the chance of going away if they wish, what did
Simon Peter answer? Whither go we? Thou hast the words of
life, and we believe that thou art Christ
.3 Does he meant that
he is the Father, or the Father's Christ?

    22. But whose doctrine does he say it was at which they
marvelled? His own, or the Father's? 4 Likewise when they
were in doubt among themselves whether he were not the Christ - 
evidently not the Father but the Son - he says, Ye both know me
and ye know whence I am, and I am not come of myself, but he is
true that hath sent me, whom ye know not: I know him because I am
with him
.5 He says not, Because I am he, or, I have sent myself,
but, He hath sent me
.6 Also when the Pharisees had sent to attack
him, he said, Yet a little time I am with you, and I go to him that
sent me
.7 But when he says he is not alone - But I, he says, and
the Father that sent me
8 - does he not point to two, as much two
as inseparable? Yea, this was the whole of his teaching, that there
are two, inseparable: since also while citing the law which
confirms the witness of two men, he adds, I bear witness concerning
myself, and the Father who sent me beareth witness concerning me
.9
But if there had been but one <Person>, the same one being both
Son and Father, he would not have made use of the advocacy of
the law which demands belief in the witness not of one but of two. 10
Also when asked where was the Father, when he replied that
neither he nor the Father was known to them, he spoke of two
unknown, though if they had known him they would have known
the Father: not indeed as though he were himself Father and Son,
but because through their indivisibility the one can neither be
known nor unknown without the other. He that sent me, he says,

1 John 6. 32-44. 

2 John 6. 46. 

3 John 6. 66-69.

4 John 7. 15, 16. 

5 John 7. 26-29. 

6 John 7. 32, 33

7 John 7. 33. 

8 John 8. 16. 

9 John 8. 18.

10 John 8. 19.


 

TRANSLATION 163 

is true, and the things which I have heard from him, those also I
speak unto the world
1: and the scripture in a digression explains
that they knew not that he had spoken to them of the Father 2;
though of course they ought to have known that the Father's
words are in the Son, by reading in Jeremiah, And the Lord said to
me, Behold I have put my words in thy mouth
3; and in Isaiah,
The Lord giveth me the tongue of discipline to know when it is right
to speak a word
4; as he himself again says, Then shall ye know that
I am he, and that of myself I speak nothing, but as he hath taught me
so also I speak, because also he is with me that hath sent me
.5 So
much concerning the witness of two <who are> indivisible. Also in
the dispute with the Jews, when chiding them because they wished
to kill him, he says, I speak those things which I have seen with my
Father, and ye do that which ye have seen with your father; and
now ye wish to kill me, a man who hath spoken to you the truth which
he hath heard from God
6 : and, If God were your father ye would
have loved me, for I came forth and am come from God
7 (howbeit
they are not separated, though he said he was come forth, as some
seize upon the chance which this saying gives them: for he came
forth from the Father like the beam from the sun, like the stream
from the spring, like the groundshoot from the seed): and, I
have not a devil, but I honour my Father
8: and, If I glorify myself
my glory is nothing; there is one that glorifieth me, the Father,
who ye say is your God and ye do not know him; but I know him,
and if I shall say, 1 know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you; but
I know him and I keep his word
.9 But when he adds, Abraham saw
my day and rejoiced
,10 he surely shows that aforetime the Son was
seen by Abraham, not the Father. Again, regarding that blind man
he says he must do the Father's works11: and after the restoration
of his eyes he says to him, Dost thou believe in the Son of God ? 12
And when he asked who was he and he pointed out himself, he
evidently pointed out the Son, who he had told him must be
believed in. Thereafter he claims that he is known by the Father
and the Father by him, and that he is loved by the Father because
he lays down his life, because he had received this commandment
from the Father.13 And when asked by the Jews whether he were

1 John 8. 26. 

2 John 8. 27. 

3 Jer. 1. 9.

4 Is. 50. 4. 

5 John 8. 28. 

6 John 8. 38, 40.

7 John 8. 42. 

8 John 8. 49. 

9 John 8. 54, 55.

10 John 8. 56. 

11 John 9. 4. 

12 John 9. 35.

13 John 10. 15, 17. 


 

164 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

himself the Christ (evidently < the Christ> of God,1 for even to the
present day the Jews are hoping for the Christ of God, not the
Father himself, for it is nowhere written that Christ the Father
will come), he says, I speak to you and ye believe not; the works
which I do in the Father's name themselves bear witness concerning
me
.2 What witness? That he of course was he concerning whom
they were asking, that is, the Christ of God. And concerning
his sheep, that no one would snatch them from his hand, he says,
For what the Father hath given me is greater than <they> all; and,
I and the Father are one.3 Here then they wish to make a stand,
these fools, yea blind, who see not, first, that "I and the Father"
is an indication of two; secondly, at the end <of the sentence>,
that "are" is not from the person of one, because it is, spoken in
the plural; and then, that he says "are one <thing>", not "are
one <person> ". For if he had said "are one <person> " he
would have been able to assist their case: for "one <person>" is
apparently an indication of the singular number. Yet when he
says that two, of the masculine gender, are one <thing>, in the
neuter-which is not concerned with singularity but with unity,
with similitude, with conjunction, with the love of the Father
who loveth the Son, and with the obedience of the Son who obeys
the Father's will-when he says, One <thing> are I and the Father, 4 
he shows that those whom he equates and conjoins are two. 
Consequently he adds that he has shown them also many works from
the Father, none of which deserved stoning.5 And so that they 
should not think they ought to stone him on the ground that he
had wished himself to be taken for God himself, that is, tie
Father, because he had said I and the Father are one, by way of 
showing that he is God, the Son of God, not by way of <showing>
that he is God himself, he says, If it is written in the law, I said,
Ye are gods, and the scripture cannot be relaxed, say ye of him whom
the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, that he blasphemeth,
because he said, I am the Son of God? If I do not. the works of my
Father, believe not; but if I do <them> and ye will not believe me,
believe even for the works' sake, and know that I am in the Father and
the Father in me
. 6 By means of the works, then, the Father will
be in the Son and the Son in the Father, and thus by means of the
works we understand that the Father and the Son are one. With

1 John 10. 24. 

2 John 10. 25. 

3 John 10. 28, 29, 30.

4 John 10. 30. 

5 John 10. 32. 

6 John 10. 34-38.

 


 

TRANSLATION 165 

such insistence did he bring all this to light, to the intent that we 
should believe there are two, albeit in one act of power, because
it would be impossible to believe there is a Son otherwise than if
we believe there were two.

    23. After this Martha, confessing him to be the Son of God,1
was no more astray than Peter and Nathanael : though also if she
had been astray she would at once have learned <the truth>. For
the Lord, for the raising up of her brother from the dead, looked 
up to heaven and to the Father and said, Father - evidently a son
<speaks> - I thank thee that thou hearest me always: for the sake of
these multitudes that stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou
hast sent me
.2 Also at the troubling of his soul: And what shall
I say? Father, save me from this hour? Yet for this cause came I
unto this hour. But, Father, glorify thy name
.3 And the Son 
was in that <name>: I am come, he says, in my Father's name.4
Thereafter - of course the Son's word to the Father would have
been enough - behold, of superfluity the Father answers the Son
from heaven; and as he had already testified, This is my beloved
Son in whom I am well pleased, hear him
,5 so here again <he says>,
I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.6 How many Persons
do you think there are, self-opinionated Praxeas, if not as many as 
there are voices? You have the Son on earth, you have the
Father in heaven. That is no separation, but a divine ordinance.
Yet we know that God is even within the depths, and takes up
his position everywhere 7 - though in function and power - and
that the Son also, as inseparable, is with him everywhere. Yet
in the economy itself it was the Father's will that the Son should
be regarded as on earth, but himself in heaven. And thither also
the Son looked up and prayed and made request of the Father 8
where also he taught us to lift ourselves up and pray, Our Father
which art in heaven
9 - though he is also everywhere. This the
Father would have for his abode: The heaven, he says, is my
throne
.10 From this also he made the Son a little less than the
angels by sending him down to earth, yet with the intention of
crowning him with glory and honour by taking him back into
heaven.11 This he was already granting him when he said, I have

1 John 11. 27. 

2 John 11. 41-42.

3 John 12. 27, 28.

4 John 5. 43. 

5 Matt. 17. 5.

6 John 12. 28.

7 Ps. 139. 8. 

8 John 11.41. 

9 Matt. 6. 9.

10 Is. 66. 1. 

11 Ps. 8. 5.


 

166 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

both glorified it and will glorify it.1 The Son makes request from
earth, the Father makes a promise from heaven. Why do you
make both Father and Son a liar? If it is the case that either the
Father was speaking to the Son from heaven while being himself
the Son upon earth, or that the Son was praying to the Father
while being himself the Father in heaven, how is it that the Son
should also, by making request of the Father, make request of
himself, <as he would do> if the Father were the Son, or again
that the Father should, by making a promise to the Son, make a
promise to himself, <as he would do> if <the Son> were the Father?
Though it were the case that we spoke of two divided <from each
other>, as you put it about that we do, yet it were more tolerable
to preach two divided than one chameleon god. Aid so with
reference to those people the Lord next stated, This voice came not
.for my sake but for your sakes
,2 that these <monarchians> also may
believe in both the Father and the Son, each in his own name and
person and location. But once more Jesus cries and says, He that
believeth in me believeth not in me but believeth in him that sent me

because through the Son does one believe in the Father, and the
Father is the authority for believing the Son: And he that
beholdeth me beholdeth him that sent me
- how? surely because,
I have not spoken of myself, but the Father that sent me himself hath
given me commandment what I shall say and what I shall speak 3 -
for, The Lord giveth me the tongue of learning, to know when 1 ought
to speak
4 - The word which I speak, even as the Father hath said
unto me, so also I speak
.5 In what sense this is said the evangelist,
as being that dear disciple John, knew better than Praxeas : and
consequently, himself of his own mind he says, But before the
feast of the Passover Jesus, knowing that all things were delivered
to him by the Father and that he was from God and was going to
God
.6 But Praxeas will have it that the Father himself came forth
from himself and went away to himself, with the result that the
devil put into the heart of Judas the betrayal 7 not of the Son but
of the Father himself - with no benefit either to the devil or to
the heretic, since not even in respect of the Son did the devil
contrive the betrayal with advantage to himself. For he who was
betrayed was the Son of God who was in the Son of Man, as the

1 John 12. 28. 

2 John 12. 30. 

3 John 12. 44-49.

4 Is. 50. 4. 

5 John 12. 50. 

6 John 13. 1, 3.

7 John 13. 2. 


 

TRANSLATION 167 

scripture adds: Now is the ,Son of Man glorified, and God is
glorified in him
.1 What God? Evidently not the Father, but the,
Word of the Father who was in the Son of Man, that is, in the
flesh: and Jesus, who had already been glorified in that <flesh>, 
though but by power and word, <now> says, And God will glorify 
him in himself
2 - that is, the Father <will glorify> the Son, whom,
because he had him in himself though brought low to earth, he
did shortly afterwards by the conquest of death glorify through 
the resurrection.

    24. Clearly there were some who even then did not understand
for Thomas, for a while unbelieving, says, Lord, we know not
whither thou goest, and how know we the way
? And Jesus <said>,
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father
but by me: if ye had known me ye would have known the Father 
also: but from henceforth ye know him and have seen him
.3 And
now we come to Philip, who, bestirred by the hope of seeing the
Father, and not understanding in what sense he had been told
that the Father had been seen, says, Shew us the Father and it
sufficeth us
: and the Lord <said>, Philip, am I so long time with
you and ye do not know me
? 4 <As> who does he say he ought to
have been known by them? For this alone calls for discussion. 
As the Father, or as the Son? If as the Father, let Praxeas tell
us how Christ, having companied so long time with them, could
ever, I say not be understood to be the Father, but even be thought
to be. To us all the scriptures predetermine, the old the Christ
of God, the new the Son of God. This was preached aforetime,
this was stated also by Christ himself, yea now also by the Father
himself openly from heaven confessing the Son and glorifying the 
Son - This is my Son,5 and, I have glorified and will glorify. 6 This
also was believed by the disciples, this also was not believed by
the Jews. Wishing them to believe him to be this he at every 
hour named the Father and set forth the Father and honoured 
the Father. If that is so, it was not the Father who they did not 
know had companied so long time with them but the Son: and
the Lord, upbraiding them for not knowing himself as him 
whom they had not known, clearly wished to be recognised
as he whom he had upbraided them for not recognising in so
long a time, namely the Son. And now it can appear in what sense

1 John 13. 31.

2 John 13. 32. 

3 John 14. 5-7.

4 John 14. 8, 9. 

5 Matt. 17. 5. 

6 John 12. 28. 


 

168 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

it was said, He that seeth me seeth the Father also 1 : of course in
the same sense as above, I and the Father are one.2 Why? Because,
I came forth and am come from God 3; and, I am the way, no one
cometh unto the Father but by me
4; and, No one cometh unto me
except the Father have drawn him
5; and, All things hath the
Father delivered to me
6; and, As the Father quickeneth, so also the
Son
7; and, If ye know me ye know the Father also.8 For 
according to these <texts> he had revealed himself as the deputy of the
Father, by means of whom the Father was both seen in acts and
heard in words and known in the Son ministering the Father's
acts and words: because the Father is invisible, a fact which
Philip also had learned in the Law and ought to have remembered
- No one shall see God and live.9 And consequently he is chidden
for desiring to see the Father as though he were visible, and is
informed that he becomes visible in the Son, in consequence of
acts of power, not in consequence of actual manifestation of his
Person. Further, if by saying He that seeth me seeth the Father,10
he wished the identity of Father and Son to be understood, why
does he add, Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the
Father in me
? 11 For he ought to have added, Believest thou not
that I am the Father? Or why did he enlarge upon it, except
that he made that clear which he wished them to understand,
namely that he was the Son? Further, in saying Believest thou
not that I am in the Father and the Father in me
, 12 he enlarged upon
it for this reason rather, lest, on the ground that he had said He
that hath seen me hath seen the Father also
,13 he might be thought
to be the Father: and this he never wished to be thought to be,
for he always professed to be the Son, and to have come from
the Father. Therefore he also made manifest the conjunction
of the two Persons, so that the Father separately might not, as
though visible, be asked for in open view, and that the Son might
be accepted as he who makes the Father present. And no less
did he explain this also, in what manner the Father was in the
Son and the Son in the Father: The words, he says, that I speak
unto you ,are not mine
- evidently because they are the Father's - 
but the Father abiding in me doeth the works. 14 Therefore the

1 John 14. 9. 

2 John 10. 30. 

3 John 16. 27.

4 John 14. 6. 

5 John 6. 44.

6 Matt. 11. 27.

7 John 5. 21. 

8 John 14. 7. 

9 Exod. 33. 20.

10 John 14. 9. 

11 John 14. 10. 

12 John 14. 10.

13 John 14. 9. 

14 John 14. 10.


 

TRANSLATION 169 

Father, abiding in the Son through works of power and words
of doctrine, is seen through those things through which he abides,
and through him in whom he abides: and from this very fact it
is apparent that each Person is himself and none other, while
he says, I am in the Father and the Father in me. And so he says,
Believe. What? That I am the Father? I think it is not so
written, but, That I am in the Father and the Father in me, or if not,
believe for the very works' sake
1 - those works in fact through which
the Father was seen in the Son, not with the eyes but with the
mind.

    25. After Philip and the whole context of that question, the
things which <follow> down to the end of the gospel continue in
the same kind of discourse, in which the Father and the Son are
distinguished as being each himself. He promises that when
he has ascended to the Father he will also request of the Father
the Paraclete, and will send him, <specifying> another.2 But we
have already explained in what sense the means "another".
Moreover he says, He will take of mine, 3 as I myself have taken of
the Father's. So the close series of the Father in the Son and the
Son in the Paraclete makes three who cohere, the one attached
to the other: And these three are one <thing>, not one <person>,
in the sense in which it was said, I and the Father are one,4 in
respect of unity of substance, not of singularity of number. Take
a further quick glance, and you will find that he whom you
believe to be the Father is called the Father's vine,5 and the
Father the husbandman, just as <you will find> that he who you
think was on earth was by the Son acknowledged to be in heaven
when he lifted up his eyes there and commended his disciples
to the Father.6 But although in this gospel there is no revelation 
of My God, why hast thou forsaken me? 7 or of Father, in thy
hands I lay down my spirit
,8 yet after the resurrection and the glory
of the conquest of death, when, he has put off from him the
necessity of any humility and now could show himself as the
Father to that faithful woman who attempted to touch him as a
result of affection and not of curiosity nor of Thomas's unbelief,
he says, Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father, but
go to my brethren
- and even in this he shows himself the Son, for

1 John 14. 11. 

2 John 14. 16. 

3 John 16. 14.

4 John 10. 30. 

5 John 15. 1. 

6 John 17. 1.

7 Matt. 27. 46 : Mark 15. 34. 

8 Luke 23. 46. 


 

170 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

he would have called them his sons if he had been the Father - 
and tell them, I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God
and your God
.1 Father to Father, and God to God? Or Son to 
Father, and Word to God? Also what reason does the very
conclusion of the gospel set as the seal upon these things that are
written, except, That ye may believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of
God
? 2 Therefore whatever of these things you have thought were
able to be of advantage to you for the demonstration of the
identity of Father and Son, you are striving against the express
judgement of the gospel: for the things were written, not that you 
may believe that Jesus Christ is the Father, but that <you 
may believe that he is> the Son.

    26. On account of Philip's one remark and the Lord's reply
to it we seem to have made a complete study of John's gospel,
so that so many things clearly stated both before it and after it
may not be overturned by one remark, which ought to be inter-
preted in accordance with them all, not in contradiction with
them all and even in contradiction with its own meaning. But,
so as not to lodge <as evidence> other gospels which by <relating>
the Lord's nativity confirm our faith, it is enough that he who was
to be born of the virgin was by the angel messenger himself defined
as the Son of God: The Spirit of God shall come upon thee and
the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee, wherefore that
which shall be born of thee shall be called holy, the Son of God
.3
They will wish to quibble even here, but the truth will prevail.
"Doubtless ", say they, "the Son of God is God, and the power of
the Most High is the Most High ", and they are not ashamed to
assume that which, if it had been so, would have been so written.
For, consideration for whom prevented him from openly stating,
God shall come upon thee and the Most High shall overshadow
thee? For when he said The Spirit of God,4 although God is
spirit, yet since he did not mention God in the nominative case
he wished there to be understood an assignment of the whole
which was to go to the Son's account. This Spirit of God will
be the same as the Word. For as, when John says The Word
was made flesh
,5 we understand also Spirit at the mention of the
Word, so also here we recognise also the Word under the name
of the Spirit. For spirit is the substance of the Word, and word

1 John 20. 17. 

2 John 20. 31.

3 Luke 1. 35.

4 Luke 1. 35. 

5 John 1. 14.


 

TRANSLATION 171 

is an operation of the Spirit, and the two are one <thing>.
Otherwise there will be one whom John declares to have been made
flesh, and another who the angel says will be flesh, if it is not the
case that both the Spirit is the Word and the Word is the Spirit.
As therefore the Word of God is not <God> himself whose
<Word> he is, so the Spirit also, though he is called God, is yet
not <God> himself whose <Spirit> he is called. Nothing in
genitive dependence is that on which it is dependent. Clearly
when a thing is "from him", and is "his" in the sense that it is
from him, it can be a thing which is like him from whom it is and 
whose it is: and consequently the Spirit is God and the Word is
God, because he is from God, yet is not <God> himself from
whom he is. But if the Spirit of God, as being a substantive
thing, will not <be found to> be God himself, but in that sense
God as being from the substance of God himself, in that it is a
substantive thing and a certain assignment of the whole, much
more so the power of the Most High will not be the Most High
himself, because it is not even a substantive thing as the Spirit is,
any more than wisdom or providence: for these are not sub-
stances, but attributes of each several substance. Power is an 
attribute of spirit, and will not itself be spirit. Since then these,
whatever they are, the Spirit of God and his Word and his power,
were conferred upon the virgin, that which is born of her is the
Son of God. This in these gospels he himself testifies that he
is, immediately, as a boy: Know ye not, he says, that I must be in
my Father's
<house> ? 1 This also Satan knew at the temptations
If thou art the Son of God.2 This also later the devils confess: We
know thee who thou art, the Son of God
.3 He himself prays to the
Father.4 When Peter recognises him as the Christ of God he
does not deny it.5 When he rejoices in the Spirit he says to the
Father, I thank thee, Father, that thou hast hid these things from the
wise
.6 In the same passage also he affirms that the Father is
known to none but the Son,7 and that the Son of the Father will
in the presence of the Father confess them that confess him and
deny them that deny him,8 while he introduces the parable of
a son, not a father, who was sent into a vineyard after a number of
servants <had been sent> and was killed by wicked rustics and

1 Luke 2. 49. 

2 Matt. 4. 3, 6.

3 Mark 1. 24.

4 Mark 1. 35. 

5 Luke 9. 20. 

6 Luke 10. 21.

7 Luke 10. 22. 

8 Matt. 10. 32. 


 

172 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

avenged by his father 1: and he even himself knows not the last
day or hour, which is known to the Father alone 2 : and he ordains
for his disciples a kingdom even as he says one has been ordained
for him by his Father 3: and he has power to ask his Father for
legions of angels to help him, if he wished 4: and he cries aloud
that God has forsaken him,5 and places his spirit in the Father's
hands,6 and after the resurrection pledges himself to send to his
disciples the promise of the Father,7 and, lastly, commands them
to baptize unto the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,8 not 
unto one <only>: for not once, but thrice, are we baptized, unto
each several Person at each several name.

    27. But why shall I delay over things so evident, when I
ought to be attacking those <arguments> by which they seek to
cast darkness over <these> evident things? For, convicted on
all sides by the distinctness of the Father and the Son, which we
say is ordained without disturbing the permanence of the union
as of the sun and the beam and of the spring and the river, they
attempt to interpret this <distinctness> in another way, not less
in accordance with their opinion, so as no less than before to 
distinguish Father and Son both in one person, while they say
that the Son is the flesh, that is, the Man, Jesus, while the Father
is the Spirit, that is, God, Christ. These who contend that the
Father and the Son are one and the same, now begin to divide
them rather than to call them one. For if Jesus is one and Christ 
is another, the Son will be one and the Father another, because
Jesus is the Son and Christ is the Father. This sort of monarchy
they perhaps, learned of from Valentinus, to make two of Jesus 
and Christ. But this assumption of theirs has already had its 
point blunted by our previous discussion, because he whom they
make the Father is described as the Word of God, or the Spirit of
God and the power of the Most High: for these are not he to 
whom they are described as belonging, but are from him and
belong to him. Yet they will be refuted also in another way in 
that text. " Behold", they say, " it was announced by the angel,
Therefore that which shall be born of thee shall be called holy, the 
Son of God
9: and so it was flesh that was born, and so the flesh
will be the Son of God." And yet the statement was made con-

1 Matt. 21. 33-41. 

2 Mark 13. 32. 

3 Luke 22. 29.

4 Matt. 26. 53. 

5 Matt. 27. 46 : Mark 15. 34. 

6 Luke 23. 46. 

7 Luke 24. 49.

8 Matt. 28. 19.

9 Luke 1. 35.


 

TRANSLATION 173 

r cerning the Spirit of God. For certainly it was of the Holy Spirit
that the virgin conceived, and what she conceived that she brought
to birth. Therefore that must have been born which was 
conceived and was to be brought to birth, that is, the Spirit, whose
name also shall be called Emmanuel, which is interpreted, God
with us
.1 But flesh is not God, that of it should be said, It shall
be called holy, the Son of God
; but he who as God was born in it,
of whom also the psalm <speaks>, Because God as man was born
in her and hath builded her by the will of the Father
.2 Who, being
God, was born in her? The Word, and the Spirit who with the
Word was born by the Father's will. Therefore the Word is in
flesh; while we must also enquire about this, how the Word was
made flesh, whether as transformed into flesh or as having clothed
himself with flesh. Certainly as having clothed himself. God
however must necessarily be believed to be immutable and 
untransformable, as being eternal. But change of form is a 
destruction of what was there first: for everything that is transformed
into something else ceases to be what it was and begins to be what
it was not. But God neither ceases to be, nor can be anything
else. And the Word is God, and the Word of God abideth for ever,3
evidently by continuing in his own form. Anal if it is not feasible
for him to be conformed <to something else, it follows that he
must be understood to have been made flesh in the sense that he
comes to be in flesh, and is manifested and seen and handled by
means of the flesh 4: because the other considerations also demand
this acceptation. For if the Word was made flesh as the result of
a transformation or mutation of substance, Jesus will then be
one substance <composed> of two, flesh and spirit, a kind of
mixture, as electrum is <composed> of gold and silver: and he
begins to be neither gold (that is, spirit) nor silver (that is, flesh),
seeing that the one thing is changed by the other and a third thing
is brought into being. In that case Jesus will not be God, for
he has ceased to be the Word, since it has become flesh: neither
will his manhood be flesh, for it is not properly flesh, seeing it has
been the Word. Thus out of both things there is neither: there
is some third thing far other than both. Yet we find that he is, not
in genitive dependence, set forth as both God and Man, the
psalm itself making this suggestion, Because God as man was born

1 Matt. 1. 23. 

2 Ps. 87. 5. 

3 Is. 40. 8.

4 1 John 1 . 1, 2.


 

174. TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

in her, he hath builded her by the will of the Father1: certainly
<we find him set forth> as in every respect Son of God and Son
of man, since <we find him> as both God and Man, without
doubt according to each substance as it is distinct in what itself is,
because neither is the Word anything else but God nor the flesh
anything else but man. Thus also the apostle teaches of both his
substances: Who was made, he says, of the seed of David - here
he will be man, and Son of Man: Who was defined as Son of God
according to the Spirit
2 - here he will be God, and the Word, .
the Son of God: we observe a double quality, not confused but
combined, Jesus in one Person God and Man. I postpone <the
consideration> of "Christ". And to such a degree did there 
remain unimpaired the proper being of each substance, that in him
the Spirit carried out its own acts, that is powers and works and
signs, while the flesh accomplished its own passions, hungering in
company of the devil,3 thirsting in company of the Samaritan
woman, 4 weeping for Lazarus,5 sore troubled unto death 6 - and
at length it also died. But if there had been some third thing, a
confusion of both, like electrum, there would not be in evidence
such distinct proofs of both substances; but the Spirit would
have performed the functions of the flesh and the flesh the
functions of the Spirit, by interchange, or else neither those of
the flesh nor those of the Spirit but those of some third form, by
confusion: yes, either the Word would have died or the flesh
would not have died, if the Word had been converted into flesh,
for either the flesh would have been immortal or the Word mortal.
But because both substances acted distinctively each in its own
quality, therefore to them accrued both their own activities and
their own destinies. Learn therefore with Nicodemus that what
is born in the flesh is flesh and what is born of the Spirit is spirit
.7
Flesh does not become spirit nor spirit flesh: evidently they can
<both> be in one <person>. Of these Jesus is composed, of flesh
as Man and of spirit as God: and on that occasion the angel, in
respect of that part in which he was spirit, pronounced him the
Son of God, reserving for the flesh the designation Son of Man.
Thus also the apostle, in calling him even the mediator of God and
of man,8 confirms <the fact that he is> of both substances. Lastly,

1 Ps. 87. 5. 

2 Rom. 1. 3, 4. 

3 Matt. 4. 2.

4 John 4. 7. 

5 John 11. 35. 

6 Matt. 26. 38.

7 John 3. 6. 

8 1 Tim. 2. 5.


 

TRANSLATION 175

you who interpret " Son of God" as the flesh, show me who the 
Son of Man may be. Or is he to be the Spirit? But you wish the
Spirit to be taken to be the Father himself, since God is spirit
as though, just as the Word is God, God's Spirit might not also be 
God's Word.

    28. And so you make Christ into the Father, you great fool, 
because you do not even examine the very force of this name, if 
indeed " Christ" is a name and not rather a title: for it signifies
"anointed ". Yet "anointed" is no more a name than "clothed"
or "shod ", but is something attributive to a name. If as a result
of some quibbling Jesus were also called "clothed", as he is called
Christ from the sacrament of anointing, would you, as you do
here, call Jesus the Son of God but believe "clothed" to be the 
Father? Now concerning "Christ". If the Father is Christ, the 
Father is anointed, and by some one else at that: or if by himself,
prove it. But that is not the teaching of the Acts of the Apostles in
that cry of the church to God, For in this city have all assembled
together, Herod and Pilate with the gentiles, against thy holy Son
whom thou hast anointed
.l Thus they testified both that Jesus
is the Son of God and that the Son was anointed by the Father:
consequently Jesus will be the same as Christ who was anointed
by the Father, not <the same as> the Father who anointed the Son.
So also Peter: Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly
that God hath made both Lord and Christ
- that is, anointed  - 
this Jesus whom ye crucified.2 But John even brands as a liar him
who has denied that Jesus is Christ,3 and in contrast <says> that
every one who believes that Jesus is Christ is born of God 4
for which reason he also exhorts us to believe in the name of his
Son Jesus Christ, so that, he says, we may have fellowship with 
the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.5 Thus also Paul in 
every place puts God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ: when 
he writes to the Romans he gives thanks to God through our 
Lord Jesus Christ 6; when to the Galatians he represents himself
as an apostle, not from men nor through man, but through Jesus
Christ and God the Father.7 And you have, throughout all his
collected works, <texts> which make statements in this manner 
and set forth as two God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ

1 Acts 4. 27. 

2 Acts 2.36. 

3 1 John 2. 22.

4 1 John 5. 1.

5 1 John 1. 3. 

6 Rom. 1. 8.

7 Gal. 1. 1.


 

176 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS

the Son of the Father, and <say> that Jesus himself is Christ, and,
under another name also, the Son of God. For continually, by
that right by which both names belong to one, that is, the Son of
God, one even without the other belongs to the same one: and if 
"Jesus" alone is written "Christ" also is understood because
Jesus was anointed; while if only "Christ" is written, the same
is also Jesus because the anointed is Jesus. And of these names
one is a proper name which was conferred by the angel, while
the other as an attributive accrues from the anointing, yet only 
so long as Christ is the Son and not the Father. Finally, how
blind is the man who does not understand that if he ascribes the
name of Christ to the Father the presage of another god is implied
in the name of Christ. For if Christ the Father is God who says;
I ascend to my Father and your Father and my God and your God,1
evidently he reveals another father and god above himself. Also
if the Father is Christ, there is another who stablisheth the thunder
and createth the spirit and announceth unto men his Christ
.2 And if
the kings of the earth are stood up and the rulers are gathered together
into one against the Lord and against his Christ
3 there will be 
another lord against whose Christ the kings and rulers are gathered
together. And if Thus saith the Lord to my Lord Christ,4 there
will be another lord who is speaking to Christ the Father. And
when the apostle writes, That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ may
give you the Spirit, of wisdom and knowledge
,5 there will be another
god of Jesus Christ, the bestower of spiritual gifts. Certainly,
so as not to wander over the whole ground, he who raised up Christ
and is also to raise up our mortal bodies,6 will be as it were another
raiser up than the Father who died and the Father who was raised
up, if it is the case that Christ who died is the Father.

    29. Let this blasphemy be silent, be silent. Let it be enough
to say that Christ the Son of God died, and this <only> because it
is so written. For the apostle, while stating not without risk
that Christ died, adds According to the scriptures,7 so as by the
authority of the scriptures to soften the hardness of the state-
ment 8 and avert offence to the hearer. And yet, since in Christ
Jesus there are assessed two substances, a divine and a human, and
it is admitted that the divine is immortal, as that that which is

1 John 20. 17. 

2 Amos 4. 13.

3 Ps. 2. 2.

4 Is. 45. 1.

5 Eph. 1. 17.

6 Rom. 8. 11.

7 1 Cor. 15, 3. 

8 John 6. 60. 


 

TRANSLATION 177 

human is mortal, it is evident in what respect he says he died,
namely in that he is flesh and man and Son of Man, not in that he
is spirit and Word and Son of God. By saying then that Christ
- that is, the anointed - died, he makes it clear that that which
was anointed died, that is, the flesh. "So", you say, "we also
who, by the same reasoning as you, say that the Son <died>, do
not blaspheme against the Lord God ; for we say that he died
not in respect of his divine but of his human substance." Yet
you do blaspheme, not only because you say the Father died but
also because <you say he was> crucified. For by converting Christ
into the Father you blaspheme against the Father with that curse
upon one crucified 1 which by the Law accrues to the Son, because
it was Christ, not the Father, who was made a curse for us.2
Whereas we, when we say that Christ was crucified, curse him not,
but relate the curse of the Law, because neither did the apostle
blaspheme when he said this. But just as a thing said of anyone
of whom it may appropriately be said is said without blasphemy,
so what is not appropriate is blasphemy if it is said. Consequently
neither did the Father suffer with the Son. In fact because they
are ashamed of direct blasphemy against the Father, they hope it
may in this manner be mitigated, while they now admit that
Father and Son are two if indeed in this fashion the Son suffers
while the Father suffers with <him>. In this also are they fools.
For what is "compassion" except "suffering with" another?
Further, if the Father is impassible he is of course incompassible
or if he is compassible he is of course passible. So you do him no
benefit by this fear of yours. For you fear to call passible him
whom you do call compassible. But the Father is just as 
incompassible as the Son also is impassible as regards that state in
which he is God. "But in what way did the Son suffer, if the
Father also did not suffer with him?" The difference begins
from the Son, not from the Father. For also if a river is defiled
by some muddying, although the one substance comes down
from the spring and there is no interruption at the spring, yet
the malady of the river will not attach to the spring: and though
the water which suffers <injury> belongs to the spring, so long as
it suffers not in the spring but in the river it is not the spring that
suffers, but the river which Chas comet from the spring. So also
how could the Spirit of God suffer in the Son? On the ground

1 Deut. 21. 23.

2 Gal. 3. 13.


 

178 TERTULLIAN'S TREATISE AGAINST PRAXEAS 

that <the Spirit> was suffering not in the Father but in the Son,
would it seem that the Father had not suffered? But it is enough
that the Spirit of God suffered nothing on his own account:
because if he did suffer anything in the Son there was a possibility
of the Father suffering with the Son, in the flesh. But this has
<already> been discussed, and no one will deny <our conclusion>:
since neither can we suffer on behalf of God except there be in
us the Spirit of God, who also speaks concerning us the things
which belong to <our> confessorship, while himself not suffering; I
but granting us the ability to suffer.

    30. Otherwise, if you will persist further, I shall be able to give
you a harder answer and to put you in conflict with the statement
of the Lord himself, so as to say, Why do you ask questions about
that <answer>? You have him crying aloud at his passion, My 
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me
? 1 Consequently either
the Son was suffering, forsaken by the Father, and the Father did 
not suffer, seeing he had forsaken the Son: or else, if it was the
Father who was suffering, to what God was he crying aloud? But
this utterance of flesh and soul (that is, of the manhood), not of the 
Word and Spirit (that is, not of God), was sent forth with the
express purpose of showing the impassibility of God who thus
forsook the Son when he delivered his manhood to death. This
was in the apostle's mind when he wrote, If the Father spared not
his Son
.2 This also Isaiah, an earlier <authority> stated: And
the Lord hath delivered him for our iniquities
.3 He forsook in that
he did not spare, he forsook in that he delivered. Yet the Father
did not forsake the Son, since the Son placed his own spirit in the
Father's hands.4 He placed it <there> in short, and straightway
died: for while the spirit remains in the flesh the flesh cannot
die at all. Thus, to be forsaken by the Father was to the Son
death. The Son therefore both dies and is raised up again by the
Father according to the scriptures.5 The Son ascended into the
higher parts of heaven, as he did also descend into the inner parts
of the earth.6 This is he who sitteth at the right hand of the
Father,7 not the Father at his own right hand. This is he whom
Stephen sees, when he is being stoned, still standing at the right
hand of God,8 as thenceforth to sit, until the Father do put all

1 Matt. 27. 46.

2 Rom. 8. 32.

3 Is. 53. 6.

4 Luke 23. 46.

5 1 Cor. 15. 3.

6 Eph. 4. 9.

7 Mark 16. 19. 

8 Acts 7. 55.


 

TRANSLATION 179 

enemies under his feet. 1 This is he who is also to come again above 
the clouds of heaven in like fashion as also he ascended.2 This is
he who meanwhile has poured forth the gift which he has received
from the Father, the Holy Spirit, the third name of the deity and
the third sequence of the majesty, the preacher of one monarchy
and also the interpreter of the economy for those who admit the 
words of his new prophecy, and the leader into all the truth 3 which
is in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit according to the 
Christian mystery.

    31. Moreover this matter is of Jewish faith, so to believe in
one God as to refuse to count in with him the Son, and after the
Son the Spirit. For what <difference> will there be between 
us and them except that disagreement? What need is there of
the Gospel, what is that confidence of the New Testament which
establishes the Law and the Prophets until John,4 unless thereafter
Father and Son and Spirit, believed in as three, constitute one
God? It was God's will to make a new covenant for the very
purpose that in a new way his unity might be believed in through
the Son and the Spirit, so that God who had aforetime been
preached through the Son and the Spirit without being under
stood might now be known in his own proper names and persons.
Therefore let them beware, these antichrists who deny the Father
and the Son 5 : for they do deny the Father while they identify him 
with the Son, and they deny the Son while they identify him with 
the Father, granting them things they are not and taking away
things they are. But he who shall confess that Christ is the Son of 
God
- not the Father - God abideth in him and he in God.6 We
believe the testimony of God by which he hath testified concerning
his Son
: He that hath not the Son hath not life.7 But he has not 
the Son who believes him to be other than the Son. 

1 Ps. 110. 1.

2 Acts 1. 11 : Luke 21. 27.

3 John 16. 13.

4 Matt. 11. 13.

5 1 John 2. 22.

6 1 John 4. 15.

7 1 John 5. 9, 12.

Translated by Canon Ernest Evans and published by SPCK, 1948.
Transcribed by Roger Pearse, 2000.


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