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modes of answering the Gnostics, if it had not been supposed that Peter and Clement, though no philosophers, were at least Unitarians. • To the passages quoted from this work before, I shall here add another, in which, contrary to the orthodox doctrine of the world not having been made by God himself, but by the logos, and without noticing any such doctrine, he gives a fine enumeration of the attributes of the one true God, and represents him as the demiurgus, the immediate maker of the world, and all the several parts of it, the heavens and the heavenly bodies, the earth and water, mountains and seas, fountains and fruits, &c. &c.
Dr. Lardner: 'observes, that the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions " may deserve a more particular examination than has yet been given them.”+ And, indeed, in the view in which I have mentioned them, and also in many others, they are justly entitled to it; as they contain a particular account of the opinions of those times, especially of the manner in which Christianity was treated and defended by philosopliers. More may be learned concerning the theology and philosophy of those times, from this single work, than from many others. It is true that the philosophical doctrines in it are absurd enough ; but the age afforded no better, and they are exhibited in a very pleasing dress.
SECTION II. Direct Evidence in Favour of the Gentile Christians having
been generally Unitarians. But there is no occasion to argue in this manner from circumstances and the nature of the thing, since it appears from the evidence of all history, so as never to have been questioned by any writer of reputation, that the Unitarians had not any places of worship separate from those of other Christians in early times. It was allowed by Mosheim, a zealous Trinitarian, who says, " However ready many have been to embrace this erroneous doctrine, it does not appear that this sect formed to themselves a separate place of worship, or removed themselves from the ordinary assemblies of Christians." + But does it not also follow from the same fact, that these Unitarians were not expelled from Christian societies by others, as they certainly would have been, if they had been considered as heretics?
Διο, ω τεκνον Κλημης, επεχε, μη αλλο τι φρονησης περι τε Θεου, η ότι αυτος μονο- εςιν Θεος, και κυριο», και πατηρ, αγαλος και δικαιο», δημιεργος, μακροθυμος, ελεημων, τροφευς ευεργελης, φιλανθρωπιας νομιλευων, αγνειαν συμβελευων, αιωνιόν, αιωνιες ποιων, ασυγκριτο», ταις των αγαθων ψυχαις οικιζομενο», αχωρητών και χωρεμενος, εν απειρω τον μεγαν αιωνα ως κεντρον πηξας, ο ερανον εφαπλωσας, και γην πιλωσας, υδωρ ταμιευσας, αςρα εν αρανω διαθεις, πηγας γης βρυσας, καρπες εκφυσας, ορη ύψωσας, θαλασσαν περιορισας, ανεμες τε και πνευμαία διαλαξας και το περιεχον σωμα εν απειρω πελαγει πνευμαίι βελης espanns ao pale ajeros. Hom, ji. Sect. xlv. p. 632. (P.)
* Credibility, Il. p. 504. (P.) Works, 11. pp. 358, 359.
“In former times," says Nicephorus, “all who were called Christians, though they held different opinions, being considered in the same light by the Gentiles, and suffering from them, made little account of their differences, while they were exposed to equal hardships, on which account they easily joined in the common assemblies; and having frequent intercourse, while they were few in number, did not divide into parties.”+ In these circumstances, however, the Gnostics held separate assemblies, and as the violence of persecution did not make the orthodox receive them into their assemblies, so peither would they have admitted the Unitarians, if they had been at all obnoxious to them.
That Unitarians were included among those who, holding different opinions, were considered by the orthodox as fellowchristians, is evident from the following passage of Origen; but it will be more evident from other passages which I shall have occasion to quote from him hereafter. It is only to be observed, that the Unitarians are here described as being Patripassians ; but these were only the more philosophical of the Unitarians, as I shall shew in its proper place." It is allowed,” he says, “that as in the great multitude of believers, who admit of difference of opinion, there are some who say that the Saviour is God over all ; but we do not say so, who believe him when he said, My Father is greater than I?""
Eusebius, describing two sorts of heretics, one of whom denied the humanity of Christ, and the other his pre-existence and divinity, says, that the former were out of the church; but he is so far from 'saying the same of the latter, that he particularly complains that Marcellus, one of them, even presided in it, being then bishop of Ancyra.
* Eccles. Hist. I. pp. 190, 191. (P.) Cent. ii. Pt. ii. Ch. v. Sect. xx.
+ Επι μεν γαρ των ανω χρονων όσοι κλησει Χριςο εσεμνυνονθο, ει και διαφοροι ταις δοξαις ησαν, ισοι σανίες προς των τα Ελληνων θαυμαζονίων ενομιζονίο και κακως εξ εκεινων σας. χονlες, απολυπραγμονηλον το διακρινεσθαι ειχον, κοινας υφισαμενοι συμφορας δια τι και ραςα καθ' εαυθες συνιονίες, εκκλησιαζον πυκνην τε την όμιλαν εχοντες, ει δε ολιγοι ησαν, opws OUK EBS Worla denutno ar. Hist. L. viii. C. lii. I. p. 661. (P.)
1 Εςω δε, τινας ως εν πληθει τις ενoνίων, και δεχομενων διαφωνιαν, δια την προπείειαν αποτιθεσθαι τον σωληρα ειναι τον επι πασι Θεον" αλλ' ουτι γε ημεις τοιολον, οι πειθομενοι αυτο λεγονλι, “Ο πατηρ, ο πεμψας με, μειζων με εςι. Λd Celsum, L. viii. p. 987. (Ρ.) See Vol. XVIII. p. 197. (P.)
That Chrysostom considered almost all the Christians as being Unilarians in the age of the apostles has been shewn already [p. 429); and yet he says, that in their time there was no heresy." This, however, could not be strictly true, because there were Gnostics in the time of the apostles; but they were few compared with their numbers afterwards. On this account, it is said by several of the ancients, that heresy began in the time of Adrian, when the most distinguished of the Gnostics made their appearance. Cyprian says, that “the worst of the heresies did not arise till after the time of the apostles.”+
That the common people among Christians were actually Unitarians in the early ages, and believed nothing of the preexistence or divinity of Christ, before the Council of Nice, we have as express a testimony as can be desired in the case. These sublime doctrines were thought to be above their comprehension, and to be capable of being understood and received by the learned only. This we see most clearly in the general strain of Origen's writings, who was himself a firm believer and a zealous defender of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ.
“This," says he,“ we ought to understand, that, as the law was a shadow of good things to come, so is the gospel as it is understood by the generality. But that which John calls the everlasting gospel, and which may be more properly called the spiritual, instructs the intelligent very clearly concerning the Son of God. Wherefore the gospel must be taught both corporeally and spiritually, and when it is necessary, we must preach the corporeal gospel, saying to the carnal, that we know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified. But when persons are found confirmed in the spirit, bringing forth fruit in it, and in love with heavenly wisdom, we must impart to them the logos returning from his bodily state, in that he was in the beginning with God."*
* Των γαρ έτερoδοξων, οι μεν, μη προειναι μηδε προϋπαρχειν τον υιον του Θεου φανές, ανθρωπον ειναι αυτον τοις λοιπους όμοιον υποθεμενοι εξ ανθρωπου, υιοθεσια τελιμησθαι αυλον εφασαν, και τελο δονίες, αθαναλον και αλελευθηθον αυλη τιμην και δοξαν και βασιλειαν αιωνιον ώμολογησαν δι δε τον ανθρωπον αρνησαμενοι υιον ειναι Θεου, Θεον προονία ύφες ησανίο" αλλ' οι μεν της εκκλησιας αλλοτριοι, μεχρι τοσele πλανης ελασαν και δεν της εκκλησιας του Θεου τοσουλους καθηγησαμενος χρόνους, την υπαρξιν αναιρει το υιε το θεου τω αυτα λει7 εργησας Juolasypy. Contra Marcellum, I. p. 39. (P.)
+ Τοίε τoινoν, ηνικα Eκηρυτίον ανθοι καλα την οικεμενην πασαν, αιρεσις εδεμια ην. Ser. Ixi. Opera, V. p. 809. (P.)
* “ Et hoc, cum nondum hæreticæ pestes acriores prorupissent." Epist. i. Opera, pp. 211, 219. (P.)
“Some are adorned with the logos itself, but others with a logos which is a-kin to it, and seeming to them to be the true logos; who know nothing but Jesus Christ and biin crucified, who look at the word made flesh.”+
“There are,” says he, “ who receive the logos which was from the beginning, the logos that was with God, and the logos that was God, as Hosea, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and others who speak of the logos as the logos of the Lord, and the logos that was with Him; but there are others who know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified, the logos that was made flesh, thinking they have entirely embraced the logos when they acknowledge Christ according to the flesh. Such is the multitude of those who are called Christians.”
Again, he says, “The multitudes” (that is, the great mass or body) “ of believers are instructed in the shadow of the logos, and not in the true logos of God, which is in the open heaven.”8
But nothing can be more decisive than the evidence of Tertullian to this purpose, who, in the following passage, which is too plain and circumstantial to be misunderstood by any person, positively asserts, though with much peevishness, that the Unitarians, wbo held the doctrine of the divinity of Christ in abhorrence, were the greater part of Christians in his time.
“The simple, the ignorant, and unlearned, who are always the greater part of the body of Christians, since the rule of faith,” meaning, probably, the Apostles' Creed, “ transfers the worship of many gods to the one true God, not understanding that the unity of God is to be maintained but with the economy, dread this economy; imagining that this number and disposition of a Trinity is a division of the Unity. They, therefore, will have it that we are worshippers of two, and even of three Gods, but that they are the worshippers of one. God only. ,,We, they say, hold the monarchy. Even the Latins have learned to bawl out for the monarchy, and the Greeks themselves will not understand the economy.'
• Και τελο δε ειδεναι εχρην, ότι ώσπερ εςι νομο» σκιαν παρεχων των μελλον7ων αγαθών, υπο το κατ' αληθειαν καταγελλομενο νομο δηλομενων, έτω και ευαγΓελιον σκιαν μυστηριων Χριςε διδασκει, το νομιζομενον υπο πανίων των εντυγχανονίων νοεισθαι. Ο δε φησιν Ιωαννης ευαγfέλιον αιωνιον, οικειως αν λεχθησομενον πνευματικον, σαφως παριςησι τοις νουσι τα σανία ενωπιον περι υιε τε Θεου.--Διοπερ αναγκαιον πνευμαίικως και σωματικως Χριςιανιζειν" και οπε μεν χρη το σωμαίικον κηρυσσειν ευαγΓελιον, φασκονία μηδεν ειδεναι τους σαρκικους η Ιησεν Χριςον και τε7ον εςαυρωμενον, τελον σουηθεον" επαν δε ευρεθώσι κατηρτισ. μενοι το πνευμαίι, και καρποφορείες εν αυτω, ερών/ες τε ερανια σοφιας, μεταδοθεον αυθους του λογου, επανελθονο απο του σεσαρκωσθαι, εφ' ο ην εν αρχη προς τον Θεον. Comment. in Johan. Il. p. 9. (P.) See Vol. Xvin. p. 198.
+ Οι μεν γαρ αυτο το λογο κεκοσμηνίαι. “Οι δε παρακειμενω τινι αυτό, και δοκαντι ειναι αυτο το πρωίφ λογα, οι μηδεν ειδολες, ει μη Ιησεν Χριςον, και τελον εςαυρωμενον, δι των λογον σαρκα ορωνίες. Comment. in Johan. Ι. p. 49. (Ρ.)
1 “Ουτω τοινυν οι μεν τινες μετεχεσιν αυτου του εν αρχη λογου, και προς τον Θεον λογου, και Θεου λογου, ώσπερ Ωσηε και Ησαιας και Ιερεμιας, και ει τις έτερος τοια/ον εαυλον παρεσησεν ως τον λογον κυριο, η τον λογον γενεσθαι προς αυτον έτεροι δε οι μηδεν ειδολες ειμη Ιησεν Χριςον και τελων εσαυρωμενον, τον γενομενον σαρκα λογον, το σαν νομιζονlες ειναι του λογου Χριςον καλα σαρκα μονον γινωσκοσι τελο δε εςι το πλήθος των πεπιςευκεναι νομιζομενων. Ιbid. p. 49. (Ρ.) See Vol. XVIII. pp. 198, 199.
5 Τα δε πληθη των πεπιςενκεναι νομιζομενων τη σκιά του λογου, και ουχι το αληθινό λογω Θεου εν τω ανεωγοίι ουρανω τυγχανονλι, μαθητευεται. Comment. In Johan. ΙΙ. p. 59. (Ρ.)
It is hardly possible in any words to describe the state of things more clearly than Tertullian here does. It is the language of strong feeling and complaint, the clearest of all proofs that he did not mis-state things on that side, as it would have been for the purpose of his argument to have represented the Unitariaus as being inconsiderable on account of their numbers, as well as despicable on account of their want of learning.
Whoever Tertullian meant by the simplices and idiote, for any thing that appears, he meant the whole body of them. His language is general and unlimited. However, I am far from being willing to construe him rigorously, and am ready to allow that some of the simple and unlearned persons he describes might profess to believe the doctrine of the Trinity, though he says nothing of it. But, making all reasonable deductions on this account, he asserts a palpable falsehood, and against himself, if a very great majority of them were not Unitarians.
On the whole, it is impossible not to infer from this passage, that, in the time of Tertullian, the great body of unlearned Christians were Unitarians. Common sense cannot put any other construction on this passage, and Tertullian is far from being singular in this acknowledg
“Simplices enim quippe, ne dixerim imprudentes et idiotæ, quæ major semiper credentium pars est, quoniam et ipsa regula fidei à pluribus diis seculi, ad unicum et Deum verum transfert; non intelligentes unicum quidem, sed cum sua æconomia esse credeudum, ex pavescuut ad economiam. Numerum et dispositionem Trinitatis, divisionem præsununt Unitatis; quando unitas ex semetipsa derivans Trinitatem, non destruatur ab illa, sed admiuistretur. Itaque duos et tres jam jactitaut nobis prædicari, se vero unius Dei cultores præsumunt.- -Quasi non et unitas irration., aliter collecta, bæresim faciat, trinitas rationaliter expensa, veritatem constituat, Monarchiam, inquiunt, tenemus. Et ita sopum vocaliter exprimunt etiam Latini, etiam Opici, ut putes illos tam bene intelligere monarchiam, quam enunciant. Sed monarchiam sopare student Latini, economiam intelligere nolunt etiam Græci." Ad Praxeam, Sect. iv. p. 502. (P.) See Vol. XVIII. p. 191.