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they should have abandoned their original and favourite doctrine, is it probable that they would have been so extremely active and successful in the propagation of their new opinion, and withal have found the Gentiles so very pliant as to have been able to induce the generality of them to make the same change, when at the same time they are known to have had but little connexion, and indeed but little respect for each other? Is a period of eighty years naturally sufficient for these two successive changes ?
But if we take another well-authenticated circumstance, we shall be obliged to reduce this short space (too short as it already is for the purpose) to one still shorter. Hegesippus, as explained by Valesius, in his notes on Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, says, that the church of Jerusalem continued a virgin, or free from heresy, till the death of Simeon, who succeeded James the Just, that is, till the time of Trajan, or about the year 100, or perhaps 110; for his reign began A. D. 98, and ended A. D. 117. Knowing, therefore, from other circumstances, what this purity of Christian faith was, and what Hegesippus must have known it to be, we have only the space of forty, or perhaps thirty, years for so great a change. So rapid at that particular period must have been that movement which we find by experience to be naturally one of the very slowest in the whole system of nature, viz. the revolution of opinions in great bodies of men. Can it then be thought probable that, considering the Jewish and Gentile Christians as one body, the generality of them should have abandoned the doctrine of the simple humanity of Christ, in the time of Justin Martyr?
On the contrary, it is certainly not at all improbable, that the more learned and philosophical of the Christians, beginning to be ashamed of a crucified man for their Saviour, and firmly believing the doctrine of the pre-existence of all souls, and of their descent into human bodies, should have begun to fancy that Christ must have had some origin superior to that of other men ; that this should first of all produce the opinions of the Gnostics, who thought that the Christ, who came down from heaven, was quite distinct from the man Jesus, and felt nothing of his paips or sorrows; or that these opinions being rejected through the authority of the apostles, the generality of Christian teachers or bishops (many of whom were educated in the Platonic school at Alexandria) should afterwards apply the Platonic doctrine of the logos to the same subject, and that by their influence, opinions leading to the deification of Christ should gradually gain ground
among the common people. But this must have been a work of time, so that the majority of Christians could hardly have been infected with these principles so early as the time of Justin Martyr. *
Irenæus, who wrote forty years after Justin, makes no mention of any Gentile Unitarians, in his works against heresy, but only of the Ebionites ; † and what he says of them is a very small proportion of the whole of his work. And almost all the orthodox fathers, both before and after the Council of Nice, make laboured apologies for their seeming to teach the doctrine of more Gods than one. This circumstance is a sufficient indication that the Trinitarians were then the minority; as their violence and insolence afterwards shews, that, if they were not the majority, at least they had the advantage of power in their favour.
As the advocates for the doctrines of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ, advanced them with caution and with apology, as being sensible that they were not likely to be well received; so, on the other hand, it appears that the Unitarians did express the greatest dread of them, as the introduction of polytheism. Several instances of this have been produced already, and others will appear in different connexions, especially when I shall shew the zeal with which the ancient Unitarians defended their tenets. But I shall in this place introduce a few others.
Origen says, “ Because it is probable that some will be offended with our saying, that the Father being called the only true God, there are other Gods besides him partaking of his divinity”- Novatian speaks of the Unitarians as scandalized at the doctrine of the divinity of Christ." And the state of things was not different about the time of the Council of Nice. Eusebius, in his controversy with Marcellus, says, “ If they are afraid of making two Gods”-. || “ Some, for fear of introducing a second God, make the Father and the Son the same.” “ Marcellus, for fear of saying there * See Vol. XVIII. pp. 18, 19.
+ See ibid. pp. 187, 188. 1 Αλλ' επει εικος προσκοψειν τινας τοις ειρημενοις, ενος μεν αληθινε Θεου του πατρος απαγΓελλομενου, παρα δε τον αληθινον Θεον Θεων πλειονων τη μετοχη του Θεου γινομενων. Comment. II. p. 47. (P.)
§ “ Sed quia obluctantes adversus veritatem semper hæretici sinceræ traditionis, et catholicæ fidei controversiam solent trahere, scandalizati in Christum quod etiam Deus et per scripturas adseratur, et à nobis hoc esse credatur, merito à nobis, ut omnis à fide nostra auferri possit hæretica calumnia, de eo quod et Deus sit Christus, sic est disputandum, ut non impediat scriptura veritatem." Cap. xxx. p. 155. (P.)
| Ει δε φοβον αυτοις εμπoιει, μη ση αρα δυο Θεους αναγορευειν δοξαι. Εo. Τheol. L. i. C.ii. p. 69. (P.)
“Οι δε, φοβα το δοκειν δεύτερον εισηγεισθαι Θεον, τον αυθον ειναι πατερα και υιον ORTA VEYOU. lbid, c.ü. n. 62. (P)
are two Gods, denies the Son to be a separate person. And again, “ But you are dreadfully afraid lest you should be obliged to acknowledge two hypostases of the Father and Son.”+
In short, it appears that the ancient Unitarians entertained the same dread of the doctrine of the divinity of Christ, that the Trinitarians of this day do of that of his simple humanity ; a proof that each of them had been brought up in the persuasion of the opinions they held, being the doctrine of their ancestors, and of the apostles. In this the ancient Unitarians could not be mistaken, but the Trinitarians of the present age may very well be so. Whether, therefore, we consider the feelings of the Unitarians, or those of the Trinitarians of the early ages, we perceive evident traces of the former maintaining an old opinion, and the latter a new one.
OBJECTIONS TO THE PRECEDING STATE OF THINGS
That I may conceal nothing from my readers that can tend to throw any light on this subject, I shall fairly state every objection that I have yet met with, to any part of the evidence that I have produced.
“Ο μεν γαρ, δεει το μη δυο Θεος ειπειν, την αρνησιν το υιε σρεβαλλείο, την υποτασιν αθείων αυτ8. .
Ec. Theol. c. x. p. 69. (P.) * Αλλα αγωνιας μη δυο Θεους αναγκη παραδεξασθαι τον δυο υποφασεις πατρος και μια Ervai Guoroyavia. Ibid. L. ii. C. vii. p. 109. (P.)
1 Γαιο τινος πρεσβυθερα εν Ρωμη διατριβοντος, ον φασι συνλαξαι και τον λαβυρινθον.Τον λαβυρινθον τινες επεγραψαν Ωριγενες, επει Γαιε εςι ποιημα. Bib. Sect. xlviii. p. 35. (P.)
reader, I shall quote the passage in which it is contained at full length.
“ Artemon made Christ a mere man. They who hold this doctrine pretend that it is very ancient; for they say, that all the primitive Christians, and the apostles themselves, received and taught it, and that the truth was preserved till the time of Victor, the thirteenth bishop of Rome from Peter, but that it was corrupted in the time of his successor Victorinus. This might appear probable, if, in the first place, the sacred Scriptures were not against it; and if there were not writings of Christians now extant, older than the time of Victor, which they wrote against the Heathens and against heresies. I mean those of Justin, Miltiades, Tatian, Clemens, and many others, in all of which Christ is spoken of as a God. Who is unacquainted with the writings of Irenæus, Melito, and others, speaking of Christ as God and man? How many psalms and hymns also are there, written by Christians from the beginning, in which Christ is celebrated as a God !-How were they not ashamed to speak thus falsely of Victor, knowing very well that Victor excommunicated Theodotus, the leader and father of that God-denying heresy, who first said, that Christ was a mere
In these passages we have an account of the claims of the ancient Unitarians to the high antiquity of their doctrine. And it has been seen that, by the general acknowledgment of the fathers, and of Eusebius himself, among the rest, that the first doctrine that was taught by the apostles, was that of the simple humanity of Christ; and that his divinity was very little known till it was published by John, after the death of the other apostles. Eusebius, therefore, denying it in this case, is not at all to be regarded, since it is contrary to all
* Την γαρ τοι δεδηλωμενην αιρεσιν, ψιλον ανθρωπον γινεσθαι τον σωτηρα φασκισαν, ου προ πολλου νεωτερισθεισαν διευθυνων. Επειδη σεμνυνειν αυτην ώς αν αρχαιαν οι ταυλης ηθελον εισηγηθαι. Φασι γαρ τες μεν προτερες απανίας και αυτες τις αποστολες παρειληφεναι τε και δεδιδαχεναι ταυλα, και νυν ετοι λεγεσι και τεληρησθαι την αληθειαν το κηρυγμαίος μεχρι των Βικτορος χρονων, ος ην τρισκαιδεκαλος απο Πετρε εν “Ρωμη επισκοπος" απο δε του διαδοχι αυ7a Ζεφυρινο, παρακεχαραχθαι την αληθειαν" ην δ' αν τυχον πιθανον το λεγομενον, ει μη πρωτον μεν αντεπιπλον αυθοις αι θειαι γραφαι" και αδελφων δε τινων εςι γραμμαία πρεσβυτερα των Βικτορος χρονων, α εκεινοι προς τα εθνη υπερ της αληθειας, και προς τας το7ε αιρεσεις εγραψαν λεγω δε Ιεςινε και Μιλτιαδα και Ταλιανα και Κλημενος και έτερων πλειονων εν οις άπασι θεολογείται ο Χριςος τα γαρ Ειρηναις τε και Μελίλωνος και των λοιπων τις αγνοει βιβλια, Θεον και ανθρωπος καταγfέλλονία τον Χριςον; Ψαλμοι δε οσοι και φδαι αδελφων απαρχης υπο πιςων γραφεισαι, τον λογον του Θεου τον Χριςον υμνεσι θεολογονίες.
Πως δε ουκ αιδεναι ταυλα Βικτορος καλαψευδεσθαι· ακριβως ειδολες, οτι Βικ/ωρ τον σκευθεα Θεοδολον τον αρχηγών και παθερα ταυλης της αρνησιθεα αποφασιας, απεκηρυξε της κοινωνίας, πρωθον ειπονία ψιλον ανθρωπον τον Χριςον; Ει γαρ Βικλωρ κατ' αυτες έτως εφρoνει ως η τελων διδασκει βλασφημια, πως αν απεβαλλε Θεoδoλoν τον της αιρεσεως ταύτης “υρείην. Hist. L. v. C. xxviii. p, 252. (P.)
other evidence, and also to the reason of the thing, as I have abundantly proved, unless he had brought some sufficient proof to counteract that evidence. What he has offered of this kind I shall distinctly consider, after I have produced a passage from Theodoret, in which he also mentions the claim of the Unitarians to the antiquity of their doctrine.
66 Artemon," he says, “ taught that Christ was a mere man, born of a virgin, and excelling the prophets in virtue. This, he says, the apostles taught, perverting the sense of the sacred Scriptures, but that those who came after them made a God of Christ, who was not God.” * Jt
also from Eusebius's answer to Marcellus, that he also charged his opponents with holding a new doctrine, and scrupled not to call that doctrine heresy. +
The first argument of Eusebius is, that the sacred Scriptures are against the Unitarians. This, however, is a matter of opinion, in which he might be, and I doubt not was, mistaken. He then mentions the writings of some persons who held the doctrines of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ, viz. Justin, Miltiades, Tatian, and Clemens. But of these, Justin was the oldest, and it is not denied that he did hold those doctrines, being probably the first who advanced them. Who the Clemens is that he mentions, he does not say; but had'it been Clemens Romanus, it is probable that he would have placed him first, the rest being named in the order of time in which they flourished ; and besides, there is nothing in the epistle of Clemens that is in the least favourable to those doctrines. Consequently, it must have been Clemens Alexandrinus that he intended, and therefore the highest antiquity of the doctrine of the divinity of Christ that łusebius could prove, is that of Justin.
Pearson makes no difficulty of contradicting Eusebius in this case.
His opponent, M. Daillé, having said, “ If that account be true," he replies, “ He knew very well that, strictly speaking, it was not true; for he knew many others, long before Theodotus, and not a few even before Ignatius, who taught the same heresy, a catalogue of whom may be seen in Epiphanius,” I and whom he proceeds to mention.
• Τον δε κυριον Ιησεν Χριςον ανθρωπον ειπε ψιλον, εκ παρθενου γεγενημενον, των δε προφηλων αρετη κρειτίoνα ταυλα δε και τις αποστολές ελεγε κεκηρυχεναι, παρερμηνευων των θειων γραφων την διανοιαν, τες δε μετ' εκεινες θεολογησαι τον Χριςον, ουκ ονία Θεον. Ηer. Fab. L. ii. C. iv. Opera, IV. p. 220. (P.)
ή Ψιλον γαρ και το ανθρωπινω λογω ομοιον, ουχι δε υιον αληθως ζωνία και ύφεςωία, τον Χριςον ειναι ομολογειν εθελει, και επειδη ταυλην ειπε επινοεισθαι νυν αιρεσιν, &c. Contra Marcellum, L. i. p. 19. (P.)
“Theodotum novisse rursus pernego. Dallæus ipse dubitanter hæc proponit, si vera sunt, inquit, quæ Caius, sive alius apud Eusebium scriptor vetustissimus