Page images

be too curiously inquired into, or too rigorously interpreted; but to be understood JEONGETÕç. In the whole they have a very good meaning, and were founded in the belief of a coessential and coeternal Trinity.

From what hath been said, I presume it is evident that there was no difference at all, in the main of the doctrine, between these and the other Catholic writers; but a different manner only of expressing the same things. The question was not whether the hypostasis, or Person, of the Son was from all eternity, coeval with the Father, and consubstantial with him; in that they all perfectly agreed. Nor was there any difference about the procession : for the blatter writers acknowledged it, as well as those before them; and made it temporary and voluntary, as those did. But the question was, whether the Son's eternal coexistence (I should rather say the coeternal existence of the Abyos) should be deemed sonship and filiation or no; or whether the procession might not more properly be so styled. Tertullian (and perhaps others) was of opinion that this latter was e perfecta nativitas Sermonis, the perfect nativity or birth of the Word; who had been, as it were, quiescent and unoperating from all eternity, till he came forth to create the world. And d Hippolytus carried this notion so far, as to think the filiation not completed till he had run through the last sort of sonship, in becoming man. All this is true, in some sense, and when rightly explained. But other Fathers, thinking this way of speaking liable to abuse and misconstruction; and considering, probably, that the Móyos, or Word, might e properly be

• Vid. Bull. Def. F. N. sect. iii. c. 9. • Contr. Prax. c. 8.

& Contr. Noet. c. xv. p. 17. OÜrs gåg ãouqxos xai x«J' iepròn é dóyos rédelos hy viòs, xuí tou réactos nóyos üv povozsvás. It is remarkable, that he makes the Son perfectly povoysuns, though not perfectly viòs, before the incarnation. Others might perhaps reason, in like manner, with regard to the agobasvois ; thinking him to have been aóyos, or reovorysvos, before it, but not viós.

• Omnis origo parens est ; omne quod ex origine profertur, progenies est. Tertull. contra Prax. c. 8. See Novat. above, p. 100. VOL. I.


called Son, in respect of that eternal existence which he ever enjoyed in and from the Father, as the head, root, fountain, and cause of all; they chose to give that the name of generation : and to call the other two fcondescensions, manifestations, proceeding forth, or the like. So we have seen it in Methodius, before cited for the eternal generation : and he very probably had the notion from 8 Justin Martyr; who, in like manner, interprets generation, in the secondary sense, by manifestation. And even h Hippolytus, as before observed, explains the procession, or generation of the Son, a little after the creation, by manifestation of him.

After Arius arose, the Catholics found it highly necessary to insist much on the eternal generation. For, the Arians, taking advantage of it, that the temporary condescension of the Son, to create the world, had been often called his generation, were for looking no higher; but artfully insinuated that this was the first production of him; and that it was absurd to talk of the Son's existing before he was begotten: in opposition to which pretence we find the Nicene Fathers anathematising such as should say, that the “i Son existed not before he was begotten;"

Isuvą pày egy sj ó ñados Thy aúnńy. Eus. Eccl. Th. 1. i. c. 12. p. 73.
ľx Tivos Úráexoy viós içiy értive, if où x .4. Athan. Orat. iv. p. 628.

f It is observable that Justin Martyr applies the word opolánaw to the lat. ter of them, as well as to the former. Dial. 228. Jebb.

And, in like manner, Clement of Alexandria uses oposadãy of both, p. 654. and Hippolytus, of the latter. Contr. Noet. c. 17.

& On the words “ Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee,” he comments thus : Tórs géneru alltoū abywy gyévsoIeen toñs dv. páros, igórov grâois aúrī špedas giveo I. Dial. p. 270. ed. Jebb.

A Τον ίδιον νύν αυτό μόνο πρότερον ορατόν υπάρχοντα, το δε γινομένω κόσμο αόpector övra, ogu Tòy rg1cm. C. x. p. 13. A little before he had said, Tây di yuropéywy αρχηγών και σύμβολον και εργάτην εγέννα λόγον, δν λόγον έχων εν εαυτώ αόρασόν σε Övrce, zs x Tilomérau xóopegs, åparòn troisi, argorígues Parrillo PDeyyópsvos, xai pās ir Owròs yanvār.

The words of Zeno Veronensis may be added, as a good comment upon the former. Cujus (Patris) ex ore, ut rerum natura, quæ non erat, fingeretur, prodivit unigenitus Filius, cordis ejus nobilis inquilinus : exinde visibilis effectus, quia humanum genus visitaturus erat, &c.

i 'H» TOTS Őrs o'x nv, ved at prin yayındñvous oux viv.

meaning in the sense now explained. However, the Arians might have known that the eternal existence of the Abyos was universally taught, and even by those who asserted a temporal generation. Nor indeed were they ignorant of it; but k they contrived, for a salvo, to maintain, that the Móyos, or Word, which was held to be eternal, was not the same with the Sóyos, or Word, begotten; the former being only the Father's own proper Word, and no substantial thing; the latter a created substance, directly contrary to all antiquity, which has nothing to countenance any such notion of a twofold Abyos. Upon this it became necessary to explain in what sense any temporal generation had been asserted; and to keep up the true Catholic doctrine, which had obtained from the beginning; namely, of the eternal Ayos distinct from the Father; Son of the Father, as partaking of the same divine substance from all eternity ; 'going out from the Father to create the world; and, lastly, condescending to become man: Son, in all these respects, but primarily and chiefly in respect of the first. From the whole we may remark, that an explicit profession of eternal generation might have been dispensed with; provided only that the eternal existence of the Móyos, as a real subsisting pero son, in, and of m the Father, which comes to the same thing, might be secured. This was the point; and this was all. In this all sound Catholics agreed ; and to dispute it was accounted heresy and blasphemy. If any one, disliking the name or the phrase of eternal generation, thinks it better to assert an eternal Word, instead of an eternal Son, meaning thereby a distinct person, and consubstantial with God, whose Word he is,) and refers

See Bull. Def. F. p. 198. Athan. Orat. ii. p. 507. "This is well expressed by the Antiochian Fathers, against Paul of SamoBata ; and by Clement of Alexandria ; Toürov mig súoues oùy tão margi ásì övre, ixtirangursves Tò mateixàv Béampice, após rào xeríow rāvērw. Labb. Conc. tom. i. p. 845. Tíxvon aurê yuhovov, xai xa mporóuov, ürmee ini tince gevinsiny évtævša prije πόμενον, υπό μεγάλης οικονομίας, και αναλογίας το πατρός, δι' ου και τα φανερά και τα ápavñ rê xbous dsompisentas. Clem. Alex. Quis Div. p. 955. Ox. m Vid. Athan. vol. i. p. 222, 619, 628.

the generation to his first and last manifestation, at the creation and incarnation ; there seems to be no farther harm in it, than what lies in the words, and their liableness to be misconstrued, or to give offence. Here therefore every man is left to his own discretion and prudence: only the safer way seems to be, to follow the most general and most approved manner of expression, together with the ancient faith; being, in all probability, the surest means to preserve both. I designedly said, first and last, not first or last. For such as interpret the generation of the last only, stand, I think, n clearly condemned by Scripture; many places whereof can never fairly be accounted for by the miraculous conception solely: besides that from Barnabas and Clemens Romanus, down to the Council of Nice, all the Christian writers speak unanimously of a higher, antecedent sonship; and, generally, even found worship upon it.

I shall just observe to you, in the close of this article, that, from what hath been said, you may know what judgment to make of an assertion of Dr. Clarke's, viz. 66 That the learnedest of the most orthodox Fathers, who 66 asserted the eternal generation of the Son, did yet neverof theless assert it to be an act of the Father's eternal “ power and will." By which the Doctor seems to insinuate, that the good Fathers did not understand eternal in the strict sense. If the learned Doctor can show, that those who maintained only the voluntary and temporary procession of the Son, believed that the Abyos was eternally preexisting in the Father, by an act of his will; or that those who expressly asserted an eternal generation, believed also that it was an arbitrary thing, and might have been otherwise, (which I suppose is the Doctor's sense of an “act of the will,") then he will do something. But as none of his authorities prove any thing like it, it would have been a prudent part, at least, not to have produced them to so little purpose. But enough of this matter: I have, I hope, sufficiently explained myself upon this head; and have therefore the more reason to expect a distinct answer from you, whenever you think proper to reconsider this subject.

n Sane in ista ex Maria Virgine nativitate, suprema et singularis igoxin atque excellentia filiationis Domini nostri adeo non consistit, ut ea ipsa nativitas ad ejus stupendam ruyxatábuon omnino referenda sit. Hoc nos satis aperte docent, si modo a Spiritu Sancto edoceri velimus, multis in locis, S. literæ. Ita semper credidit inde ab ipsis Apostolis Catholica Christi Ecclesia. Bull. J. p. 39. See also Dr. Fiddes, vol. i. b. iv. ch. 2.

Script. Doctr. p. 280. alias 247.

QUERY IX. Whether the divine attributes, Omniscience, Ubiquity, &c.

those individual attributes, can be communicated without the divine essence, from which they are inseparable ?

THE intent of this Query was to prevent equivocations, and to make the next clearer. You agree with me, that the individual divine attributes cannot be communicated without the individual nature in which they subsist. You add, that “ Dr. Clarke, in the 230th page of “ his Replies, hath plainly shown, that individual attributes, divine or not divine, canrot possibly be commu“ nicated at all.” Well then; we know what the Doctor means by “ all divine powers,” in his Scripture Doctrine, (p. 298.) which is one point gained: for when words are stripped of their ambiguity, we may be able to deal the better with them. As to the Doctor's aphorism laid down, (p. 230.) I may have leave to doubt of it; notwithstanding that it is set forth to us with the utmost assurance. It is not unusual with the Doctor to lay down maxims, in relation to this controversy, which himself would not allow at another time, or in another sub-ject. For instance; “ a necessary agents are no causes,”

Whatever proceeds from any being, otherwise than by the will of that being, doth not in truth proceed from that being; but from some other cause or necessity extrinsic and independent of that being. Necessary agents are no causes, but always instruments only in the hand of some other power. Reply, page 227. Compare p. 113.

« PreviousContinue »