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they are mistaken. I have transcribed the passage into the margin, and shall proceed to explain its meaning. After the author had said, “ semper est in Patre,” he immediately adds a sentence which shows that he understood semper, as we say, a parte ante. But withal there is a seeming restriction : “ Sic dico, ut non innatum, sed “ natum probem.” There might be some then, as well as now, who knew not how to distinguish between ETERNITY and self-EXISTENCE. The Sabellians in particular might pretend that the Son, being eternal, must be the self-existent Father himself. It was therefore necessary for the author to guard, in the manner he does, against any such mistake or misconstruction. So Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, while he maintains the strict eternity of the Son, to guard against the invidious misconstruction of the Arians, inserts the like caution 4, “Let no « man,” says he, “mistake eternal, as if it were the same “ with self-existent, as the Arians, having their minds “ blinded, are wont to do.” This may serve for a good comment upon Novatian. To proceed: Novatian adds, “Qui ante omne tempus est, semper in patre fuisse dicen6 dus est.” Here he explains semper by, ante omne tempus. Now this is the very same with him, as if he had said of the Son, “ quod non aliquando cæperit;" as may appear by the account he gives of the eternity of the Father; explaining it by his not being posterior to time : and his having no time before, is the very same with having nothing y preceding. Wherefore, when Novatian speaks afterwards of the Father's being precedent to the Son, he can mean it only in order of nature, not in respect of duration. And this I take to have been the meaning of the Catholic writers, before and after the rise of Arianism, by the phrases ante tempus, apò aiúvwv, apò trávtw atórwy, or the like, as applied to God the Son. So 2 Hilary, in the name of the generality of the Christians of his time, interprets it: so a Alexander of Alexandria, in his letter extant in Theodoret; the b'Sardican Fathers in their synodical epistle; and the c Catholic bishops upon the opening of the council of Ariminum. Thus also we are to understand, mpò hávtwv Tūv aiórow, in the Constantinopolitan creed. The d Arians indeed, equivocating upon the words time and ages, eluded the Catholic sense, still retaining the Catholic expression: but the Ante-Nicene Catholics were sincere, plain, honest men; and do not seem to have known any thing of those subtle distinctions. They understood those phrases as they would be commonly understood by the people; otherwise they would not have used them, without greater caution and reserve. é Sisinnius of the Novatian sect long ago observed, (which confirms what I have been mentioning,) that the ancients never would attribute any beginning to the Son of God, believing him to have been coeternal with the Father. The inquisitive reader may observe the use of those phrases, in the places referred to in the f margin; all of them admitting, most of them requiring, the sense I contend for. I mention not the interpolator of Ignatius's Epistles, an Arian, probably, of the fourth century, or later. To return to Novatian: when he adds, “ tempus « illi assignari non potest;" he does not mean only, that no particular time of the Son's existence is assignable; but, that it was before all time, as himself expounds it, “ ante tempus est,” i. e. strictly eternal; & which agrees with what follows, and makes it sense: “ Semper enim 6 in Patre, ne Pater non semper sit Pater.” What can be more express for the eternity of the Son, than to declare that the Father was never without him? He plainly supposes it absurd to say, that the Father was ever no Father, or, which comes to the same, that ever the Son was not. What follows therefore, in that chapter, of the Father, “ præcedit,” and “ antecedat necesse est,” &c. can only be understood of a priority of nature, b not of time, or duration ; and in this all Catholics agreed. You will excuse my dwelling so long upon Novatian: it was necessary, to clear his sense, and to obviate some i specious pretences, not only against Novatian, but other Catholic writers of whose meaning there is less dispute. From hence may be understood in what sense all the oriental bishops (if the fact be true, relying only on the doubtful credit of k Arius) might teach, apoütéeXew TRỮ vioũ tòy edy
t Hic ergo cum sit genitus a Patre, semper est in Patre. Semper autem sic dico, ut non innatum, sed natum probem; sed qui ante omne tempus est, semper in Patre fuisse dicendus est: nec enim tempus illi assignari potest, qui ante tempus est. Semper enim in Patre, ne Pater non semper sit Pater; quia et Pater illum etiam præcedit, quod necesse est prior sit qua Pater sit: quoniam antecedat necesse est eum, qui habet originem, ille qui originem nescit.
u See p. 87. Vid. etiam Hilar. p. 1166, 1354. Prudent. Apoth. p. 172.
* Nisi forte (quod absit) uliquando esse cæperit, nec super omnia sit, sed dum post aliquid esse cæperit, intra (leg. infra) id sit quod ante ipsum fuerit, minor inventus potestate, dum posterior denotatur etiam ipso tempore. Novat. c. 2. Mark the force of the words, etiam ipso ; intimating that posteriority in time is a low degree of posteriority, and that a thing might be said to be posterior in a higher sense than that; viz. in order of nature, as we term it..
, Id quod sine origine est, præcedi a nullo potest, dum non habet tempus. Ibid. Tempus here manifestly signifies duration, in the largest sense; not time, in the restrained sense, as the Arians afterwards understood it.
2 Audiunt ante tempora'; putant id ipsum, ante tempora, esse quod semper est. Contr. Aux. p. 1266. Comp. Trin. 1. xii. p. 1129, 1136.
a Eccl. Hist. 1. i. c. 4. p. 13. &c. b Apud Theod. E. H. 1. ii. c. 8. p. 80, 81. c Hilar. Fragm. p. 1343. ed. Bened. d See Athanas. vol. i. p. 418. Hilar. 1129. Epiphan. Hær. lxxiv, p. 887. e Socrat. E. H. I. v. c. 10.
f Ignatius ad Magnes. c. vi. p. 22. Justin. Fragm. in Grab. Spic. vol. ii. p. 199. Melito in Cav. H. L. vol. ii. p. 33. Origen. in Pamph. Apolog. Hippolytus Fragm. Fabric. vol. ii. p. 29. Concil. Antioch. contr. Paul. Sam. Lab, tom. 1. Dionys. Alexandr. Resp. contr. Paul. Q. 4. Lucian. Symb. apud Socr. l. ii. c. 10. Apost. Constit. I. viii. c. 5. Vid. etiam Suicer. Thesaur. in voce Aiúy.
s Hilary's words may serve as a comment upon Novatian’s. Quod ante tempus natum est, semper est natum. Quia id quod est ante æternum tempus, hoc semper est. Quod autem semper est natum, non admittit ne ali, quando non fuerit: quia aliquando non fuisse, jam non est semper esse. Hilar. de Trin. p. 1127. b Vid. Origen, apud Pamph. Apolog. p. 230. Zen. Veron. in Exod. Serm. 9.
Whitby, Modest Disq. Pref. p. 29, 30. Proem. p. 5. lib. p. 166. k Apud Theodorit. E. lib. i. c. 5. p. 21.
ávápxws. That it could not be meant in Arius's sense, is sufficiently evident from the determination of the Nicene Fathers, which has infinitely more weight in it than his single testimony, and shows the sense of the whole Church, in a manner, at that time. But enough of this : I shall only remark, before I part with Novatian, that he is an evidence both for the first and second nativity, or generation, of the Son. As he supposes the Son existing before the procession, (which is the voluntary nativity he speaks of,) and preexisting as a ? Son, he cannot be understood otherwise. See this more fully explained in m Bishop Bull. If any other writers, who expressly held an eternal generation, any where speak also of a temporal procession, or nativity, the same may be true of them also. I only give this hint by the way, and pass on.
n Dionysius of Alexandria, who lived about the same time with Novatian, asserts the same doctrine; viz. That the Father was always Father, and never was without his Son; which is the same as to maintain eternal generation, which he afterwards asserts in terms.
• Dionysius, Bishop of Rome, contemporary with the other, declares that “the Son is eternal, and that there “ never was a time when the Son was not;" adding in confirmation of it, that “he is the Word, the Wisdom,
* Sive dum verbum est, sive dum virtus est, sive dum sapientia est, sive dum lux est, sive dum Filius est; non ex se est, quia nec innatus est. That is, he is natus, considered under any capacity ; whether as aóyos, dúvopis, or ropíc, or pãs, or viòs, whether before the procession, or after. This seems to be the most probable construction of the passage; and most consonant to what he had said before. Comp. Athanas. vol. i. p. 222.
m Def. Fid. p. 222.
pou yàve nors Osòs our sy natúpi vàę ding teútw ügrovos är ó Osòs, sira επαιδοποιήσατο. αιώνιον πρόκειται και συνέσιν αυτώ, το απαύγασμα άναρχον και åsiysves. Athan. vol. i. p. 253.
• Ei gère géyovsy viòs, sv Örs oux sro ásì di hy s os šv ta nargi iso, ws airós Anoi, xaà si noyos, xaà copíc, xud dúva pois Xpisós. Apud Athanas. Decret. Syn. N. 232. Ei toivus gézovev ó viðs, vivy őts oủx hy taūTeo jy ápar raigos, öre rougis TOÚTW hr ó Osós• úroTÁTUTON di Toūto. Ibid. This and Novatian's testimony, both of the same age, may serve to illustrate each other.
Methodist the home supposed
6 and the Power of God.” This, though it be express for the eternity of the Son, yet is not full for eternal generation; unless it had been said, “eternal, as a Son.” He might be supposed eternal, as the Abyos, and his sonshịp commence afterwards. And therefore I do not put this among the clear unexceptionable authorities for eternal generation; though hardly any reasonable doubt can be made of it, since he supposed the Father, the Head, Root, Origin, of the Abyog.
P Methodius speaks more close and home to the point. For, upon the words of the Psalmist; “ Thou art my “ Son, this day have I begotten thee;" he comments thus. “It is observable that his being a Son, is here in« definitely expressed without any limitation of time. For " he said, Thou art, not Thou becamest my Son; signifying “ that he did not acquire any new filiation, nor should " ever have an end of his existence, but that he is always “ the same.” He 9 goes on to speak of his after filiation, intimated in the words, “ This day have I begotten - thee;' and observes, that it was more properly a manifestation of him, consonant to what he had said before, that he could not have a new filiation. This may relate either to what I before called his second, or to his third generation : the words are ambiguous, and capable of either sense.
To Methodius I may subjoin Pamphilus, who, while he delivers Origen's sense, in his Apology, does undoubtedly speak his own too. He is very clear and full for the eternal generation, if we may rely on the translator.
P Παρατηρητέον γαρ ότι το μεν υιών αυτών είναι αορίσως απεφήνατο, και άχρόνως tỉ vào vias, auxạ Kẽm, ở, YẾyavas+ ipadvay, tác: gạcrowTop củầy TTuzawkva: της υιοθεσίας, μήτε αυ προϋπάρξαντο τέλος εσχηκέναι, αλλ' είναι αεί τον αυτόν. Apud Phot. Cod. 237. p. 960. Comp. Athanas. Fragm. in Psalm. p. 75. Cyril. Cateches. iii. p. 46. Bened.
9 II goóvta ädn apo tão viávw ly rois šparois, Coutatny xaì rõ xéoue ou yevriños, öönisi, agéofertyvooúpivov yowgiou. Ibid.
* Inter Op. Orig. ed. Basil. p. 877.