Page images
PDF
EPUB

Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, s reckons it among the singularities of Arius, that he would not own the Father to have been always so; but pretended that God was once no Father, and that the Móyos was produced in time. I observe, that these two things are here joined together, as being explanatory one of the other, according to the reasoning of that age at least. And if the same reasoning held before, as may be probably inferred from

other passages of the ancients, then it will follow that as many as asserted the eternity of the Abyos, or Word, which were all without exception, did implicitly maintain the eternal generation. It appears to have been a maxim in the Church at this time, that is, about the year 315, ten years before the Council of Nice, that the Father was always Father. The same we have seen, about sixty years before, from what has been cited out of Dionysius of Alexandria, and Novatian. The testimony of u Origen, cited by Pamphilus, with others mentioned, carry it up forty years higher, to about the year 210. Irenæus above thirty years higher, to about 173, within less than fourscore years of St. John. Tertullian, betwixt the two last named, seems to have understood this matter differently: for he says plainly, that “s there was a time when the “Son was not;” meaning, as a Son; and that “God “ was not always Father.” And this is agreeable to his principles, who always speaks of the generation as a vo

Oix ési ó Oròs athpñv. daa' jv öts i Otès rating oux ñv. ovx ásì ño o toũ tū aéyos, ára' iš šx örtwy gégovev. Alexand. Ep. apud Socr. E. H. 1. i. c. 6. p. 10. 'Ασεβεσάτης ουν φανείσης της εξ εκ όντων υποθέσεως, ανάγκη τον πατέρα åsì divas Turéga. Alexand. Ep. apud Theod. I. i. c. 4. p. 13.

* The charge brought against Dionysius of Alexandria, and which he cleared himself of, was this: Oix åsi v ó Olos rathe, óx ách viòs, úra' é ušy Osos inte xweis Toll lógov, autós ó viòs oùn vv geir yerindñ, da sve tots Öte xx nu. Athan. Ep. de Sentent. Dionys, p. 253.

• Non enim Deus, cum prius non esset Pater, postea Pater esse cæpit, &c. Pamphil. Apol. p. 877. Comp. Orig. in Joh. p. 44, 45.

* Pater Deus est, et Judex Deus est, non tamen ideo Pater et Judex semper, quia Deus semper. Nam nec Pater esse potuit ante Filium, nec Judex ante delictum. Fuit autem tempus cum et delictum et Filius non fuit. Tertull. contr. Hermog. c. 3.

luntary thing, and brought about in time; as do several other writers. From hence a question may arise, whether there was any difference of doctrine between those writers, or a difference in words only. This is a point which will deserve a most strict and careful inquiry.

The authors who make the generation temporary, and speak not expressly of any other, are these following: Justin, Athenagoras, Theophilus, Tatian, Tertullian, and Hippolytus. Novatian I mention not with them, because he asserted both. Let us then carefully examine what their doctrine was: and that it may be done the more distinctly, let us reduce it to particulars.

1. They asserted the coeternity of the Móyos, or Word, though not considered precisely under the formality of a Son. This, I presume, is so clear a point, that I need not burden my margin with quotations for it. It shall suffice only to refer to the y places, if any should doubt of it. It was a maxim with them, that God was always Aoyixòs, never "Anoyos; that is, never without his Word or Wisdom. So far they agreed perfectly with the other writers, either before, or after, or in their own time. The ancients, supposing the relation of the Abyos to the Father to be as close and intimate as that of thought to a mind, and that this was insinuated in the very name, rightly concluded that the Father could not be "Anoyos, or without the Abyos, any more than an eternal Mind could be without eternal thought 2. Some have pretended that the Ante-Nicene writers, who used that kind of reasoning, meant only an attribute, by the Móyos, and not a real Person. But there is no ground or colour for this pretence, as shall be shown presently. I shall only note here, that the a later writers, who, undoubtedly and confessedly,

y Justin. Martyr. Apol. i. p. 122. Ox. ed. Athenag. Legat. c. x. p. 39. ed. Ox. Theophilus Antioch. p. 82, 129. ed. Ox. Tatian. p. 20, 22. ed. Ox. Vid. Bull. D. F. p. 209. Tertull. contr. Prax. c. v. p. 503. c. 27. Vid. Bull. D. F. p. 245. Hippolyt. contr. Noet. c. 10. p. 13. edit. Fabric.

2 See Bull. D. F. p. 206. See this farther explained, serm. vii. p. 243, &c. · Alex. Epist. Encyc. Ath. Op. vol. i. p. 399. Athanas. vol. i. p. 221, 424,

took the Abyos to be a Person, a real, eternal Person; yet make use of the same maxim, and the very same way of reasoning.

2. They did not mean by the Móyos, or Word, any attribute, power, virtue, or operation of the Father; but a real, subsisting Person: whom they believed to have been always in and with the Father, and distinct from him, before the temporary generation they speak of. If this be well proved, other matters, as we shall see presently, will be easily adjusted.

The learned and judicious b Bishop Bull has sufficiently shown of every author singly, (except Justin, whom he reckons not with them,) that he must be understood to have believed the real and distinct personality of the Son; before the temporary procession, or generation mentioned. His reasonings upon that head, have not been answered, and, I am persuaded, cannot: so that I might very well spare myself the labour of adding any thing farther. But for the sake of such as will not be at the pains to read or consider what, he has said at large, I shall endeavour to throw the substance of it into a smaller compass, in the following particulars; only premising this, that since all these authors went, in the main, upon the same hypothesis, they are the best commentators one upon another; and whatever explication we meet with in any one, two, or three, may reasonably stand for the sense of all; if they have nothing contradictory to it. Now to proceed.

I. Before the procession, or generation, of which they

500, 619. et alibi. Greg. Nazianz. Orat. xxxv. p. 574. Greg. Nyss. Cat. Orat. c. 1. Cyrill. I. iv. in Joh. c. 48. Thesaur. p. 12, 23. Damasc. 1. i. Marc. Diadoch. p. 115.

b Defens. F. N. sect. iii. c. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

c Móvos no ó Osòs, xaà ļy autó ó abyos. Theoph. p. 130. Aúrès dè póros üv Todos nv, oörs gåe croyos, ours doopos, ours ådóvatos, oőre bobasutos my. All which words correspond to the several names of the Son or Holy Spirit; abyos, robia, dúvuos, Bouane (ToŨ Targàs) and mean the same thing. Hippolyt. p. 13 contr. Noet. Comp. Greg. Nazianz. Orat. xxxv. p. 574.

Solus autem, quia nihil extrinsecus præter illum, cæterum ne tunc quidem

speak, they suppose the Father not to have been alone; which it is hard to make sense of, if they only meant that he was with his own attributes, powers, or perfections : as much as to say, he was wise, and great, and powerful by himself; therefore he was not alone. Alone, indeed, they own him to have been, with respect to any thing ad extra; but with respect to what was in himself, he was not alone ; not single, but consisting of a plurality, having the Móyos always with him.

2. The same Aóyos, or Word, was always d with him; conversed with him; was, as it were, assisting in council, according to those writers; and therefore, certainly, à distinct Person: It would be very improper to say that God was e in, or with one of his attributes, or consulted with it: all such expressions must denote a distinct personality.

3. The same individual Abyos, who after the procession was undoubtedly a Person, is supposed to have existed before. f Novatian is express. “He who was in the " Father, proceeded from the Father.” It is the same individual Móyos, according to & Theophilus, who is alaFavtos, always, both before and after his procession, with the Father; and therefore, if he was a real Person after, which is not disputed, he must have been so before. That hvery óyos, or Word, which had been from all eternity žvdiétetos, év xapoía Ozoũ, becomes afterwards apopopsxós. If therefore he was ever a Person, he must have been so always. So again: the Abyos that spake to the Prophets, and who was undoubtedly a Person, is the i very same individual Abyos, which was always with the Father; ó del ouunapay attő. Tertullian, who distinguishes between ratio, and sermo, and asserts the former to be eternal, and the latter to be a person ; yet k connects both in one; and makes them, in substance, the very same; the self-same person both : only supposed under different capacities and different names, before and after the procession. It was one and the same hypostasis; once ratio, (according to this writer,) and as such, eternal; afterwards sermo, and as such, la Son. The seeming difference between the ancient Fathers upon this point is easily reconciled, says a m very worthy and learned Prelate of our Church. “ One saith, God was not sermonalis a principio, or his Word did not exist till the creation; “others say, Christ is Móyos áldios, the eternal Word of “ the Father. They may all be understood in a sound “sense, with the help of this distinction. The Word, as “ he is inward speech formed from the eternal Mind, was “ for ever with God: but as God's agent to display and " sound forth the wisdom of God in external works, s as such, he existed not till the creation--the creation

solus. Habebat enim secum, quam habebat in semetipso, rationem suam scilicet. Tertull. contr. Prax. c. V. p. 503.

4 Συν αυτώ γαρ, δια λογικής δυνάμεως, αυτός και ο λόγος, ός ήν εν αυτώ, υπέσTICE. Tatian. c. vii. p. 20. O úsi ovutupwy aura. Theoph. p. 82. Tòy öyru dic Tartós évduáletov in xapdią Osoữ. Id. p. 129. A little after, TOTOY Lixe σύμβουλον, εαυτού νούν και φρόνησιν όντα - τω λόγω αυτού διαπαντός ομιλών. Idem. p. 29.

Si necessaria est Deo materia ad opera mundi, ut Hermogenes existimavit; habuit Deus materiam longe digniorem- Sophiam suam scilicet. Sophia autem Spiritus : hæc illi consiliarius fuit. Tert. contr. Hermog.

• Odos viv sy dexñ. qoy di dgxhv abyou dúvoperv magarń opty. Tat. p. 19.

i Qui in Patre fuit, processit ex Patre. P. 31. Zeno Veronensis, of the following century, expresses it thus: “ Procedit in nativitatem, qui erat an“ tequam nasceretur, in Patre.” Which I add for illustration. Vid. etiam Pseud. Ambros. de Fid. c. ii. p. 349. Prudent. Hymn. xi. p. 44.

6 Page 129. .

They

of this from

Tõmov tèv aóyn éyévinde #popogizóv. Theoph. p. 129. Pūs ir Owròs yevrão, προήκεν τη κτίσει κύριον, τον ίδιον ν&ν αυτώ μόνο πρότερον ορατόν υπάρχοντα. Ηippol. c. x. p. 13. Nộs, ós agobès iv xóoje a ideix voto pois o soő. C. xi. p. 14. Compare Theoph. p. 129. before cited. i Theoph. p. 81, 82.

k In usu est nostrorum--sermonem dicere in primordio apud Deum fuisse, cum magis rationem competat antiquiorem haberi ; quia non sermonalis a principio, sed rationalis Deus etiam ante principium, et quia ipse quoque sermo ratione consistens, priorem eam ut substantiam suam ostendat. Contr. Prax. c. 5. Comp. Origen. in Joh. p. 43, 44.

! See Bull, sect. iji. c. 10.
* Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, Serm. p. 13, 14.

« PreviousContinue »