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conditionsø of the doctrine, however, the divinity of Christ, and the unity of God, the latter was much more earnestly insisted on in the early times. The divinity of our Lord was, on the whole, too plain a truth to dispute; but in proportion as it was known to the heathen, it would seem to them to involve this consequence,—that, much as the Christians spoke against polytheism, still, after all, they did admit a polytheism of their own instead of the Pagan. Hence the anxiety of the Apologists, while they assail the heathen creed on this account, to defend their own against a similar charge. Thus Athenagoras, in the passage lately referred to, says; “Let no one ridicule the notion that God has a Son. For we have not such thoughts either about God the Father or about the Son as your poets, who, in their mythologies, make the Gods no better than men. But the Son of God is the Word of the Father [as Creator] both in idea and in active power .... the Father and the Son being one. The Son being in the Father, and the Father in the Son, in the unity and power of the Spirit, the Son of God is the Mind and Word of the Father.” Accordingly, the divinity of the Son being assumed, the early writers are earnest in protecting the doctrine of the Unity; protecting it both from the materialism of dividing the Godhead, and the paganism of separating the Son and Spirit from the
6 Son and Word, “ of God” and “in God,” however, imply each cther. “If not Son, neither is He Word : if not Word, neither is He Son." Athan. Orat. iv. 24. “ The Son's Being, because of the Father, is there. fore in the Father.” Athan. iii. 3. “Quia Verbum ideo Filius.” August. n Psalm. vii. 14, § 5.] i idéą kaì èvepyela, as at p. 175.
Father. And to this purpose they made both the “of God," and the “in God,” subservient, in a manner which shall now be shown.
First, the “ in God.” It is the clear declaration of Scripture, which we must receive without questioning, that the Son and Spirit are in the one God, and He in Them. There is that remarkable text in the first chapter of St. John which says that the Son is “in the bosom of the Father.” In another place it is said that “the Son is in the Father and the Father in the Son.” (John xiv. 11.) And elsewhere the Spirit of God is compared to “ the spirit of a man which is in him” (1 Cor. ii. 11). This is, in the language of theology, the doctrine of the coinherences; which was used from the earliest times on the authority of Scripture, as a safeguard and witness of the Divine Unity. A passage from Athenagoras to this purpose has just been cited. Clement has the following doxology at the end of his Christian Instructor. “To the One Only Father and Son, Son and Father, Son our guide and teacher, with the Holy Spirit also, to the One in all things, in whom are all things, &c. . . to Him is the glory, &c.” And Gregory of Neocæsarea, if the words form part of his creed, “In the Trinity there is nothing created, nothing subservient, nothing of foreign nature, as if absent from it once, and afterwards added. The Son never failed the Father, nor the Spirit the Son, but the Trinity remains evermore unchangeable, unalterable.” These authorities belong to the early Alexandrian school. The Ante-Nicene school of Rome is still more explicit. Dionysius of Rome says, “We must neither distribute
8 nepixápnous, or circumincessio.
into three divinities the awful and divine Unity, nor diminish the dignity and transcendant majesty of our Lord by the name of creature, but we must believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Christ Jesus His Son, and in the Holy Spirit; and believe that the Word is united with the God of the universe. For He says, I and the Father are One; and, I am in the Father, and the Father in Me. For thus the Divine Trinity and the holy preaching of the monarchia will be preserved."
This doctrine of the coinherence, as protecting the Unity without intrenching on the perfections of the Son and Spirit, may even be called the characteristic of Catholic Trinitarianism as opposed to all counterfeits, whether philosophical, Arian, or Oriental. One PostNicene statement of it shall be added. “If any one truly receive the Son, says Basil,“ he will find that He brings with Him on one hand His Father, on the other the Holy Spirit. For neither can He from the Father be severed, who is of and ever in the Father; nor again from His own Spirit disunited, who in It operates all things. . . For we must not conceive separation or division in any way; as if either the Son could be supposed without the Father, or the Spirit disunited from the Son. But there is discovered between them some ineffable and incomprehensible, both communion and distinction?.”
9 Shortly before he had used the following still stronger expressions : ηνώσθαι γάρ ανάγκη τω Θεώ των όλων τον θείον Λόγον εμφιλοχωρείν δε TQ Q kal èvdialto bat del To Aglov Ilveüua. The Ante-Nicene African school is as express as the Roman. Tertullian says, “Connexus Patris in Filio, et Filii in Paracleto, tres efficit cohærentes, qui tres unum sint, non unus.” Bull, Defens. ii. 6, § 4; 12, § 1. 11; iv. 4, 12, § 1. 11; iv. 4, § 10. 1 Petav. iv. 16, § 9. The Semi-Arian creed, called Macrostichos,
Secondly, as the “in God” led the Fathers to the doctrine of the coinherence, so did the “of God” lead them to the doctrine of the monarchia”; still, with the one object of guarding against any resemblance to Polytheism in their creed. Even the heathen had shown a disposition, designedly or from a spontaneous feeling, to trace all their deities up to one Principle or arche; as is evident by their Theogonies. Much more did it become that true religion, which prominently put forth the Unity of God, jealously to guard its language, lest it should seem to admit the existence of a variety of original Principles. It is said to have been the doctrine of the Marcionists and Manichees, that there were three unconnected independent Beings in the Divine Nature. Scripture and the Church avoid the appearance of tritheism, by tracing back, (if we may so say,) the infinite perfections of the Son and Spirit to Him whose Son and Spirit They are. They are, so to express it, but the new manifestation and repetition of the Father; there being no room for numeration or comparison between Them, nor any resting-place for the contemplating mind, till They are referred to Him in whom They centre. On the other hand, in naming the Father, we imply the Son and Spirit, whether They be named or not“. Without this key, the language of Scripture is perplexed in the extreme 5. Hence it is, that the Father is called “the only God," at a time when our Lord's name is also mentioned, John xvii. 3, 1 Tim. i. 16, 17, as if the Son was but the reiteration of His Person, who is the Self-Existent, and therefore not to be contrasted with Him in the way of number. The Creed, called the Apostles', follows this mode of stating the doctrine; the title of God standing in the opening against the Father's name, while the Son and Spirit are introduced as distinct forms or modes, (so to say,) of and in the One Eternal Being. The Nicene Creed, commonly so called, directed as it is against the impugners both of the Son's and of the Spirit's divinity, nevertheless observes the same rule even in a stricter form, beginning with a confession of the “ One God.” Whether or not this mode of speaking was designed in Scripture to guard the doctrine of the Unity from all verbal infringement (and there seems evidence that it was so, as in 1 Cor. viii. 5, 6,) it certainly was used for this purpose in the primitive Church. Thus Tertullian says, that it is a mistake “ to suppose that the number and arrangement of the Trinity is a division of its Unity; inasmuch as the Unity drawing out the Trinity from itself,
drawn up at Antioch A.D. 345, which is in parts unexceptionable in point of orthodoxy, contains the following striking exposition of the Catholic notion of the coinherence. “Though we affirm the Son to have a distinct existence and life as the Father has, yet we do not therefore separate Him from the Father, inventing place and distance between Their union after a corporeal manner. For we believe that they are united without medium or interval, and are inseparable.” And then follow words to which our language is unequal : Óxov mèo ToŮ Harpòs éveotepviouévov τον Υιόν όλον δε του Υιού εξηρτημένου και προσπεφυκότος τω Πατρί, kad móvou Tois tratpúois kó, Trois åvanavouévou dinvec@s. Bull, Defens, iv. 4, § 9.
2 [Vid. Athan. Tr. p. 45, c., p. 513, e.] 3 Cudw. Intell. Syst. 4, § 13.