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more highly than they did of the common people, we should probably never have known from them what their opinions and feelings were. But, happily for us, these writers thought meanly of the common people, and speaking of them with contempt or pity, have, without design, given us very useful and valuable lights into this very important circumstance in the history of their times.

I shall now give an account of the manner in which the doctrines of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ were first proposed by the most learned and distinguished persons of their age; and we shall find that it was with much diffidence, and the air of an apology, as if they were sensible that the doctrines were new, and might not easily recommend themselves. For this purpose 1 shall, in the first place, produce an extract from the writings of Justin Martyr, who was probably the first who publicly maintained these doctrines.

He represents Trypho as saying concerning the doctrine of the incarnation, “ It is so extraordinary, that it can never be proved. That this Christ was a God, existing before the ages, and then born a man, is not only extraordinary, but ridiculous. To this I answered, I know that this doctrine appears strange, and especially to those of your race,”* that is, to the Jews. It is evident from this passage, that Justin thought that this doctrine would appear strange to others, besides the Jews; and, as he proceeds, it will appear that he took care not to lay too much stress on this new doctrine, lest he should not be able to prove it satisfactorily.

“ It will not follow that he is not the Christ, though I should not be able to prove that he pre-existed as God, the son of Him that made all things, and that he became a man by the virgin ; it being proved that he is the Christ, the Son of God, whoever he was ; though I should not prove that he pre-existed, but was a man of the same passions with ourselves, having flesh, and being subject to his Father's will. It will be right to say, that in this only I have been mistaken, and not that he is not the Christ, though he should appear to be a man born as other men are, and to be made Christ by election. For there are some of our race, who acknowledge him to be Christ, but hold that he was a man

* Παραδοξος τις γαρ ποτε και μη δυναμενΘ- όλως αποδειχθηκαι δοκει μοι ειναι το γαρ λεγειν σε, προϋπαρχειν Θεον ονία προ αιωνων τε7ον τον Χριςον, ειλά και γεννηθηναι ανθρωπον γενομενον υπομειναι, και ότι ουκ ανθρωπος εξ ανθρωπε, ου μονον παραδοξον δοκει μοι ειναι, αλλα και μωρον. Κάγω αρoς ταυλα ειρην, οιδ' ότι παραδοξα και λογον δοκει ειναι, και μα

born like other men. With them I do not agree, nor should I do so, though ever so many, being of the same opinion, should urge it upon me; because we are commanded by Christ himself, not to obey the teachings of men, but what was taught by the holy prophets and himself.” Trypho says, “ They who say that he was a man, born like other men, and that he became Christ by election,” that is, the appointment of God, “ seem to hold a doctrine more credible than yours. For all of us expect that Christ will be a man, born like other men, and that Elias will come to anoint him. If, therefore, this person be the Christ, he must by all means be a man boru like other men.” *

This diffidence of Justin's agrees remarkably well with the supposition, that the Unitarians were originally no less than the whole body of Christians, and that the Trinitarians were the innovators, appearing at first modest and candid, as was natural while they were a small minority, though they grew bold and imperious when they became the majority.

Independently of any nice construction of this passage, we may safely say, that if the doctrine of the simple humanity of Christ had not been at least a very general opinion in the time of Justin, he would never have spoken of it with so much tenderness and respect as he has done, considering how very different it was from his own opinion, his defence of which has sufficiently the appearance of an apology. He even intimates some degree of doubt with respect to his opinion, when he says that, if he should not be able to prove it, the fundamental doctrine of Christianity, viz. that of the messiahship of Jesus, would not be affected by it. Why should he provide this retreat, if he had not had some secret suspicion of the ground on which he stood ? He calls the Unitarians some, as if they were the minority ; but the term is indefinite, and may apply to the majority; and from the complexion of the whole passage, I have no doubt but that Justin was aware that it was so, and that with a view to this, he added, that he should not be influenced by that consideration.

* Ουκ απoλλυλαι το τοιε7ον ειναι Χριςον τε Θεου, εαν αποδειξαι μη δυναμαι οτι και τρούπηγχεν, υιος του ποιητα των ολων Θεου αν, και γεγενηται ανθρωπος δια της παρθενε. Αλλα εκ πανloς αποδεικνυμενε ότι έτος εςιν ο Χριςος και του Θεου, οςις ελος εςαι, εαν δε μη αποδεικνυω οτι προϋπηρχε και γεννηθηναι ανθρωπον ομοιοπαθης ημιν, σαρκα εχων, καία την τα πατρος βελην, υπεμεινεν, εν τελω πεπλανησθαι με μονον λεγειν δικαιον, αλλα μη αρνείσθαι ότι έτος εςιν ο Χριςος, εαν φαινηται ως ανθρωποι εξ ανθρωπων γεννηθεις, και εκλογη γενομεν. εις τον Χριςον ειναι αποδεικνυεται. Και γαρ εισι τινες, ω φιλοι ελεγον, απο τα ημείερα γενες ομολογενλες αυλον Χριςον ειναι, ανθρωπον δε εξ ανθρωπων γενομενον αποφαινομενοι. Oις ου συνλιθεμαι, ουδ' αν πλεισοι ταυλα μοι δοξασανίες ειπoιεν, επειδη ουκ ανθρωπειους διδαγμασι κεκελευσμεθα υπ' αυτά τα Χριςο πειθεσθαι, αλλα τους δια των μακαριων προφητων κηρυχθεισι και δι' αυτο διδαχθεισι.

Και ο Τρυφων, εμοι μεν δοκασιν, ειπεν, οι λεγονίες ανθρωπον γεγονέναι αυτον, και κατ' εκλογην κεκρισθαι, και Χριςον γεγονεναι, πιθανωλερον υμων λεγειν, των ταυλα απερ φης λεγονίων" και γαρνανίες ημεις τον Χριςον ανθρωπον εξ ανθρωπων προσδοκαμεν γενήσεσθαι, και τον Ελιαν χρισαι αυλον ελθονία εαν δε έτος φαινηθαι αν ο Χριςος, ανθρωπον μεν εξ ανθρωπων

That Justin's language is that of a man who knew that he was advancing a new opinion, is evident, as I said, from the general air and complexion of it; and the more we attend to it, the more sensible we shall be of the justness of this construction.

1. Let it be considered, that in this place, as well as in his writings in general, he labours the proof of the pre-existence of Christ, shewing that it is consonant to the principles of Platonism, and also deducible from the writings of Moses, and other parts of the Jewish Scriptures, without referring to any other writer in support of what he advances.

2. He does not use a single acrimonious expression against those who differed from him with respect to it, which is just as any man would do who should write in defence of a novel, or not very prevalent opinion, and one, of which himself was the principal abettor.

3. He talks of not being overborne by the authority of any number of men, even his fellow-christians, but would adhere to the words of Christ, and the sense of Scripture; which is a style almost peculiar to those whose opinions are either quite novel, or at least not very prevalent.

4. The phrase, “neither do I agree with the majority of Christians, who may have objected to my opinion,” which is nearly the most literal rendering of the passage (though I would not be understood to lay much stress on that circumstance) will naturally be construed to mean that the majority actually did make the objection, or that Justin suspected they might make it.

When I consider these circumstances, and also how apt all persons are to make their own party more numerous than it really is, I am inclined to think that even, if the passage might bear such a construction as that Justin meant to insinuate that the majority were with him, yet that it would not be the most natural construction, or a sufficient authority to conclude that such was the fact. I therefore think that, upon the whole, the passage has all the appearance of an apology for an opinion different from that which in his time was commonly received on the subject.

I am, no doubt, influenced in my construction of this particuliar passage by the persuasion that I have, from other independent evidence, that the Unitarians were in fact, the majority of Christians in the time of Justin ; that he therefore knew this to be the case, and could not mean to insinuate the contrary. . Another person having a different persuasion concerning the state of opinions in that age, will naturally be inclined to put a different construction upon this passage.

In this case I only wish that he would suspend his judgment till he has attended to my other arguments, and afterwards he may perhaps see this passage in the same light in which I do.

The word gev@ I think, refers to natural descent; and I therefore conclude that Justin here meant not Christians in general, but Gentile Christians in particular; because, as he is opposing the opinion concerning Christ, which made him to be a man born of men, not to the doctrine of the miraculous conception, but only to his pre-existence, (though I think it probable, that most, if not all, who believed in the simple humanity, were also in that age believers in the natural birth of Christ,) the only idea that he had in his mind, and to which he attended, was that of his simple humanity, and we have positive evidence that this was the doctrine of all the Jewish Christians, so that he could not speak of some of them holding it, and others not. Whereas the Gentile Christians were divided on that subject; and some of them, even later than this, viz. in the time of Origen, held that, in the strictest sense of the expression, Jesus was a man born of man, being the son of Joseph as well as of Mary. I therefore think that Justin meant the Gentile Christians, omitting the Jewish Christians, whose sentiments he might suppose to have been well known to the learned Jew, with whom he was conversing. * It was as if he had said, Not only do those Christians who are of your race, viz. Jews, believe Christ to be a mere man, born as other men are, but there are also some of our race, viz. Gentile Christians, who hold the same opinion.

I shall conclude this article with observing, that, without attending to minute criticisms, it is quite sufficient for my purpose, that these ancient Unilarian Christians, whether they held the miraculous conception or not, whether they were Jews or Gentiles, or whether Justin meant to represent them as, stricly speaking, the majority of Christians, or otherwise, were not treated by him as heretics. t From this circumstance alone, it may be concluded, that they were very numerous, because, whenever Unitarians have not been very numerous, and have not made a respectable figure among Christians, they have always been considered with great abhorrence, and have been cut off from communion with those of the orthodox persuasion.

* See Vol. XVIII. pp. 522, 523. + See Vol. V. pp. 21, 22; XVIII. pp. 16-20, 128-133, 521-524.

With what rancour does Eusebius treat this class of Christians both in his History and in his Treatise against Marcellus of Ancyra, when we know from Athanasius and other authorities, that they were at that time very numerous, (though among the lower classes of people,) and probably in all parts of the Christian world!

When these things are duly considered, it can hardly be imagined but that, let this passage in Justin be construed in any manner that the words can possibly bear, it will be sufficiently to my purpose, and authorize all the use that I have ever made of it. But I can very well spare the passage altogether, thinking that I have evidence enough of my general position without it. *

If we consider the time in which Justin wrote, viz. about A.D. 140, that is, about eighty years after the time of the apostles, and compare it with the account that Tertullian and others give of the state of opinions among the Jews and Gentiles in their time, we can hardly doubt, (whether Justin confesses it or not,) that the doctrine of the simple humanity of Christ must have been the prevailing one in his time. According to the ancient fathers, the Jews, meaning the Jewish Christians, were so fully persuaded concerning the simple humanity of their Messiah, that the apostles did not choose to inform them, except in an indirect manner, that Christ was any thing more than a man, and the Gentiles were drawn by the Jews into the same opinion ; † and though John was supposed to speak more plainly, we find no effect from it.

Since, therefore, it was only an indirect evidence of the divine and superangelic nature of Christ, that the Jewish Christians (by whom the Gospel was communicated to the Gentiles) were ever favoured with; can it be thought probable, so highly averse as the account itself states the Jews to have been to the idea of any super-human nature in Christ, that they should, by their own reasoning alone on the subject, have generally abandoned their favourite doctrine in so short a time as fourscore years ? Or, if from some most unaccountable cause, and without any person of great authority to lead them to it, (for no such authority can we trace,)

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