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a multiplicity of Gods; on which account it might be thought to require less caution to teach this favourite doctrine to them. But then, for the same reason for which it was thought improper for Moses and the prophets to teach it to the Jews, in the former periods of their history, when they were in danger of falling into idolatry, it was equally impro. per to insist upon it with the Gentiles, lest they should have been encouraged to persevere in the same system. Also, after they were brought to the worship of one God, they would have been no less averse to such a doctrine as the Trinity than the Jews. On this account it was not less hazardous, according to Chrysostom, to teach the doctrine of the divinity of Christ to the Gentiles than it had been to the Jews.
In the passage, part of which I have quoted above, [p. 418,] after observing, that if the apostles had not conducted themselves in this cautious manner with respect to the Jews, their whole doctrine would have appeared incredible to them, he adds, “ And at Athens Paul calls him” (Jesus)
simply a man, and nothing farther, and for a good reason : for if they often attempted to stone Christ himself, when he spake of his equality with the Father, and called him on that account a blasphemer, they would hardly have received this doctrine from fishermen, especially after speaking of him as crucified. And why do I speak of the Jews, when at that time even the disciples of Christ himself were often disturbed and scandalized at him, when they heard sublime doctrines ? On which account he said, [John xvi. 12,] • I have many things to say to you, but ye cannot bear them now.' ' And if they could not bear these things, who had lived so long with him, and had received so many mysteries, and seen so many miracles, how could men, who were then first taken from their altars, idols, and sacrifices, and cats, and crocodiles, (for such was the worship of the Heathens,) and being then first brought off from these abominations, readily receive sublime doctrines ?" *
Εν δε Αθηναις και ανθρωπον αυλον απλως καλει ο Παυλον, ουδε πλεον ειπων εικότως ει γαρ αυτον τον Χριςον διαλεγομενον περι της εις τον πατερα ισοτητον, λιθασαι πολλακις επιχειρησαν, και βλασφημον δια τελο εκαλεν, σχολη γ' αν παρα των αλιεων τελον τον λογον εδεξανίο, και τελο του ταυρου προχωρησανθος. Και τι δει λεγειν τας Ιεδαιες: οπο γε και αυτοι το7ε πολλακις οι μαθηται των υψηλοτερων ακονίες εθορυβενίο και εσκανδαλιζονίο δια τείο και ελεγε, Πολλα εχω λεγειν υμιν, αλλ' ου δυνασθε βαςαζειν αρτι' ει δε εκεινοι ουκ εδυνανίο οι συγΓενομενοι χρονον τοσείον, και τοσείων κοινωνησανίες απορρητων, και τοσαυλα θεασαμενοι θαυμαία, πως ανθρωποι απο βωμων, και ειδωλων, και θυσιων, και αιλερων, και κροκοδειλων, τοιαυλα γαρ ην των Ελληνων σεβασμαία; Και των αλλων των κακων τοιε πρωλον αποσπασθενλες, αθροον τες υψηλος των δογμαλων εδεξανθο λογος. lu Acta, Hom i. Opera, VIII. p. 447. (P.)
Theodoret, commenting on 1 Cor. viii. 6, “ To us there is but one God the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ,” says, “ Here he calls the one, God, and the other, Lord, lest he should give those who were just freed from Heathenism, and had learned the truth, a pretence for returning to their Heathenism and idolatry.
Ecumenius, on the same place, says, “ The apostle speaks cautiously concerning the Father and the Son, calling the Father the one God, lest they should think there were two Gods; and the Son the one Lord, lest they should think there were two Lords. For if he had said God and God, the Greeks, from their ignorance, would have thought it had been Polytheism ; or if he had said Lord and Lord, they would have thought there were many Lords. This is the reason why he now says, that the Father was God, and the Son Lord. For he had premised that with us there was but one God. Had he called both the Father and the Son God, and Lord, he would have been found acting contrary to his own affirmation to the Greeks, and would have appeared to have introduced many Gods and many Lords. Therefore he calls the Father God, and the Son Lord; condescending to the state of novices in the Greeks.” + Again, speaking of God having raised Christ from the dead, he says,
« The apostle herein condescends to them as children, not that Christ was not able to raise himself.”. Theodoret also, in his exposition of 1 Cor. xv. 28, in which the apostle says, that the Son was subject to the Father, says, “ The divine apostle, fearing the evil that might arise from the Grecian mythology, added these things, speaking in low terms for their advantage.”S
According to Ecumenius, those whom John, in his first epistle, addresses as children, were those who were acquainted
* Ενlαυθα μεντοι τον μεν Θεον προσηγορευσε, τον δε κυριον: ίνα μη τους εναγχος της Ελληνικης πλανης απαλλαγεισι, και την αληθειαν μεταμαθεσι, παρασχη προφασιν εις την πολυθεον εξαπατην παλινδρομησαι. In loc. Opera, ΙΙ. p. 158. (Ρ.)
* Διο και έτως ασφαλως τε πατρος και το υιο εμνησθη" τον μεν πατερα ειπων ενα Θεον, ένα μη δυο θεους νομισωσι, τον και υιον ενα κυριον, ίνα μη δυο κυριος νομισωσιν ει γαρ ειπε Θεον και Θεον, πολυθειαν αν εξ απειριας ενομισαν Ελληνες, η Κυριον και Κυριον, πολυκυριοτητα αν ενομισαν ώςε και το νυν ειπειν Θεον σαιερα, και κυριον τον υιον αυτη η αιτια ην γαρ υποσχομενος παρ' ημιν ενα Θεον ειναι ει 8ν ειπεν και τον παθερα και τον υιον, Θεον η Κυριον, παλιν ευρισκείο τη οικεια υποσχεσει οσον προς Ελληνας ενανλιεμενος, και πολυθειαν η πολυκυριοτητα κατα το φαινομενον εισαγων" Διο Θεον ειπων τον πατερα, κυριον ειπε τον υιον τη νηπιοτηι συγκαταβαινων των Ελληνων. Opera, I. p. 492. (Ρ.)
1 “Ο δε Θεος και τον κυριον ηγειρεν. Eτι νηπιους εσιν, εδει συγκαλαβαινειν, και προς την νηπιοτητα αυτων λαλειν" μη θορυβηθης ακεσας ότι ο Θεος τον Χριςον ηγειρεν ου γαρ επει ουκ ισχυσεν εαυτον εγειραι, τελο φησιν. Ιbid. p. 469. (Ρ.)
και “Ο μεν ουν θειος αποςολος την εκ της Ελληνικής μυθολογιας φυομενην υφορωμενος βλαδην, ταυλα προς εθεικε, ταπεινοθεροις χρησαμενος λογους δια την εκεινων ωφελειαν. Opera, 11. p. 201. (Ρ.)
with the humanity of Christ only, as the grown men were those who knew his divinity. Of the latter he says, that “ they knew him that was from the beginning. But who is from the beginning, but God the logos, who was in the beginning with God?” He represents him as explaining his own meaning in the following manner: “Since I know that you will 'receive my writings according to the difference in your ages, I must measure my doctrine according to your ages, and discourse with some as children who know the Father;" he means God the Father only; “but to others as fathers, who know more than the children, and not as the Father only, but as without origin and unsearchable, for he was in the beginning. To these I must address more perfect discourses."* Inconsistently, however, with this, he says, that “ by those who deny the Son, in this epistle, are meant they who say that Christ was a mere man;" and yet he says, that “ by those who denied that Jesus was the Christ, were meant the Gnostics.”
Theophylact, commenting on 1 Cor. i. 9, says, “Since Paul was writing to the Greeks, who worshipped many gods and many lords, on this account he does not call the Son God, lest they should think there were two Gods, as being accustomed to Polytheism. Nor did he call the Father Lord, lest they should think there were many Lords. For the same reason he made no mention of the Holy Spirit, sparing the weakness of his hearers; as the prophets do not mention the Son clearly, on account of the Jews, lest they should think of a generation with passion.”ť In his commentary on Col. i. 12, he observes, that " Paul mentions 'giving thanks unto the Father' only. He does the same, he says, “in the Epistle to the Corinthians, bringing them gradually to the doctrine concerning the Son.”
* Oις και εχειν την γνωσιν τα απ’ αρχης μαρτυρει· τις δε και απ’ αρχης; Ει μη ο Θεος λογος, ος ην εν αρχη προς τον Θεον. Επει ουν φησιν έτως υμας οιδα, κατα τας των ηλικιων διαφορας δεξoμενες τα παρ' εμε γραφομενα, αναγκη κάμε παραμετρησαι τη διαθεσει της ηλικιας υμων την διδασκαλιαν, και τοις μεν, ως παιδιοις επεγνωκοσι τον πατερα (λεγει δε τον Θεον) διαλεχθηναι: τοις δε, ως πατρασιν, οι πλεον εχεσι των παιδιων κατα την γνωσιν, το μη ως πατερα μονον επεγκωκεναι, αλλα και ως αναρχος και αδιεξιτηλος ην γαρ εν αρχη τείοις δε και τελειωθερων αξιαν παραθεσιν ποιησασθαι λογων. In Johan. Opera, II. 570. (P.)
1 Αλλ' επειδη προς Ελληνας ην ο λογος αυτω, πολυθειαν πρεσβευονίας και πολυκυριοληλα δια τελο, ουτε και τον υιον Θεον ειπεν, ίνα μη δυο Θεους νομισωσιν" ατε πολυθεια ενειθισμενοι ουτε και τον πατερα κυριον, ίνα μη πολλες κυριος και παρ' ημιν ειναι δοξωσι. Δια ταύτην δε την αιτιαν, ουδε τα πνευμαλος εμνησθη ενταυθα, φειδομενος της ασθένειας των ακροντων ώσπερ και οι προφηται το υιε σαφως ου μεμνηνται, δια τας Ιεδαιες, ένα μη εμπαθη νομισωσι Thu yeymous. . Opera, II. p. 226. (P.)
1 Ουτω και εν τη προς Κορινθεος ποιει. Ηρεμα δε εμβιβαζει αυτος εις τον περι υιου aonjoy. Ibid. p. 631. (P.)
The same writer, in his commentary on 1 Tim. ii. 5, “ There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus," says, “ He does not speak plainly concerning the deity of Christ, because Polytheism then abounded, and lest he should be thought to introduce many gods; where, though he says, one and one, he does not put them together, and say two, but only one and one. Such is the caution of the Scriptures. On this account he makes no mention of the Spirit, lest he should seem to be a Polytheist."*
Such abundant evidence as this, when there is nothing to oppose to it, (and many more passages to the same purpose might, I doubt not, be collected, if it could be thought that they were at all wanting,) must surely satisfy all the impartial, that, in the opinion of the Christian fathers, the doctrines of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ were considered as being of such a nature, as that it would not have been prudent to risk the communication of them either with Jews or Gentiles, on their first conversion to Christianity. And the plain inference from this is, that the orthodox fathers must necessarily have supposed, that the Christian church in general was at first Unitarian, and that it continued to be so a considerable time. For none of them say or bint when this caution on the part of the apostles ceased; and they represent them as using it in the very latest of their writings, as in those from Paul after his confinement at Rome, and therefore not long before the destruction of Jerusalem. At that time, therefore, they must have thought that the great body of Christians were Unitarians, and without being considered as heretics on that account.
But the most decisive proof of this is their universally concluding, that the doctrines of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ were never taught clearly and explicitly till it was done by John, in the introduction to his Gospel, 7 which they supposed to have been published among the last of the books of the New Testament, and after the death of the other apostles.
* Ουκ ειπε δε φανερως και περι της θεοτητος τα Χριςο, επειδη πολυθεια τοτε εκρατει, και ένα μη νομισθη και αυτος πολλες Θεους παρεισαγειν· οπεγε ουδε το, εις και εις, όταν λεγηται, προσήκει συντιθ εναι, και λεγειν δυο, αλλα εις και εις τοσαυτη γαρ η ευλαβεια της γραφης" δια τε7ο εκ εμνησθη ουδε τα πνευμαίος, ίνα μη δοξη πολυθεος ειναι. Ibid. p. 757. (P.)
+ "<< What none of the other evangelists has taught us,' says Theophylact, he has thundered forth. For as they confined their narratives to what happened to Christ in the body, and speak nothing clearly or expressly of his eternal generation--the great John relates his heavenly generation." Lindsey's Sequel, 1776, pp. 195, 196.
CHAPTER VH. Of John being thought to have been the first who clearly and
boldly taught the Doctrines of the Pre-existence and Divinity of Christ,
As this is an article of considerable consequence, I shall produce a redundance of evidence in support of it; nothing being better calculated to satisfy us, that, in the opinion of the Christian fathers, the doctrines of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ were not generally received in the lifetime of the other apostles; and, therefore, that simple Unitarianism could not have been considered as any heresy in the early ages. These authorities I shall produce, as I have generally done others, nearly in the order of time in which the writers flourished. I shall only first observe, that John seems to have got the title of JeonoyQ, divine, from this circumstance, of his teaching the doctrine of the divine logos, which was supposed to be peculiar to him. * This appellation is given to him in the title to the Book of Revelation. It is mentioned by Athanasius in his Sermo major de Fide, † and also by Cyril of Alexandria. $ For a similar reason Isaiah is styled Theologus by Eusebius, in Isaiah xxiv. 10.8
I shall also remind my reader in this place, that this hypothesis of John having taught the doctrine of the divinity of Christ in the introduction of his Gospel, does not occur in the earliest writers. These being nearer to the source of information, say that John had a view to the Gnostics only, both in his Epistles and the introduction to his Gospel. This was the opinion of Irenæus, who wrote about the year 170.|| The first writer who says that John meant the Unitarians, I believe, was Origen.
“ The popular error," says Mr. Lindsey, "concerning St. John's design in penning his Gospel, seems to have given occasion to that sarcastic censure of him by the emperor Julian, as if by a cunning after-thought he had contrived to bring in Christ as God, which neither Paul por any of the other evangelists had presumed to do. • But that good man John,' says the emperor, perceiving what "multitudes were seized with this frenzy in the cities of Greece and Italy,-he was thereby emboldened to advance that doctrine.' Julian's proof of his accusation brought against our apostle, as Cyril hath preserved it to us, shews great want of candour, and it is. plain he entirely misunderstood his author.” Sequel, pp. 196, 198.
+ Montfaucon's Collectio, II. p. 13. (P.)