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might otherwise be liable to. The good Fathers, like wise men, at once maintained the equality of nature, which oooóolas expresses, and the unity of the Godhead too. Guarding equally against Arianism and Tritheism, they took all prudent care to preserve the coequality of the two Persons, without dividing the substance, which was what they intended. The learned Doctor e represents this matter somewhat crudely. He observes upon the word in the Nicene Creed, (γεννηθέντα εκ του πατρός μονογενή, τουτέστιν εκ της ουσίας του πατρός,) that the Son was not himself that individual substance, from which he was begotten. This he has so worded, that individual substance, with him, can only signify individual Hypostasis, or Person: and it is very true, that the Son is not that Person, from whom, or of whom, he proceeded: but the substance might be undivided notwithstanding; which is all that any Catholic means by individual substance. “ But their meaning,” he says, “was; he was produced, “ not from any other substance, (as man was formed “ from the dust of the earth,) but after an ineffable man“ ner, from the substance of the Father only.” Here he leaves out the principal thing, which the Arians asserted, and which the Catholics guarded against, viz. not from nothing, not è, oủx ÖvTW. If therefore the Son, according to the Nicene Fathers, was not from any other substance besides the Father's, nor from nothing; it is very plain that (unless they supposed a division of substance, which they absolutely reject) they supposed the Son to be of the same undivided, or individual substance with the Father. As to the supposition of his being produced from any other substance, (as Adam was formed from the dust of the earth,) there was very little occasion to guard against it: the notion is, in itself, too silly for any man to own. The Arians themselves (against whom the creed was contrived) never pretended it, but fexpressly dis
Reply, p. 35. f Memorant Filium Dei neque ex aliqua subjacente materia genitum esse, quia per eum creata omnia sint. Hilar. p. 832.
owned it: their noted tenet was, that the Son was the first thing made. The Nicene Fathers designed, chiefly, to guard against the supposition of the Son's being from nothing, which was what the Arians insisted upon; they and the Catholics equally believing it ridiculous to imagine any substance to have been first made, and then the Son to have been made out of it. Wherefore I humbly conceive, the true reasons why the Nicene Fathers were so very particular in the words, τουτέστιν εκ της ουσίας του Tatpòs, were, & first, tó signify that they understood generation in a proper, and not figurative sense, as the Arians did; and, secondly, withal to h secure the divine unity. For, if the Son were ab extra, and independent of the Father; the alliance, the relation, the unity of the Persons, in the same Godhead, had (upon their principles) been lost, and Ditheism unavoidable.
This may be enough to satisfy you, that whatever the word ouooutlos may commonly signify, yet the Nicene Fathers meant a great deal more than a specific unity; if not by that word, singly considered, yet by that taken together with the rest, which were put in to explain it. The word may indifferently serve to express an equality of nature, whether the Hypostases be undivided, or whether they have a separate existence. It was therefore properly enough applied in the Creed: and care was taken that both generation and consubstantiality should be understood in a sense suitable to things divine ; that is, taking from the idea all that is low, mean, and imperfect; and applying only so much as might comport with the majesty, dignity, and perfections of the adorable and incomprehensible Trinity.
8 Vid. Bull. Def. F. N. p. 114, 115. Eidè įx Toő soll ist jóvos, ás vios yrás σιος-λεχθείη αν είκότως και εκ της ουσίας του Θεού υιός. Αth. p. 228.
h 'Εξ αυτού αληθώς γεγέννηται Θεός εκ Θεού, Θεός αληθινός εκ Θεού αληθινού; ουκ έξωθεν ών, αλλά εκ της αυτού ουσίας. Epiphan. p. 610.
Ούχ ως αρχή εσέρα καθ' εαυτόν υφισώς, εδ' έξωθεν ταύτης γεγονώς, ίνα μή τη ετερότητι, δυαρχία γένηται. Athanas. Οrat. iv. p. 617.
Ovài &AAo; ecos 6 vies, où yào 29ty kawaign. Irat. iii. p. 553.
You seem to be apprehensive, that you must, at length, be obliged to give up the Nicene Creed, as utterly inconsistent with your principles; as indeed it is. And therefore, in the next place, you endeavour to lessen the credit of it; alleging that “ the Council of Antioch before, and “ the Council of Ariminum, and other councils, after, “ (some of them with a greater number of bishops than “ met at Nice,) determined against the pooúcios.” The objection drawn from the determination of the Council of Antioch, about sixty years before the Council of Nice, you find largely answered by i Bishop Bull. They condemned the word, as it had been misunderstood and misapplied by Paul of Samosata; but established the very same doctrine with the Nicene Fathers. I
answer you briefly, upon your own principles. You say, Paul of Samosata 'was condemned for holding oooúcios in the sense of individual consubstantiality, (p. 118.) which, if it be true, was reason good enough for condemning him; as you understand individual, that is, in a Sabellian sense. The remark of Hilary, who goes upon the same supposition which you do, may here be pertinently k cited; and may serve as a sufficient answer. It is observable that Hilary makes the number of bishops in the Antiochian Council no more than eighty; Athanasius, but seventy; Eusebius, an indefinite number; very many. It does not appear that they were near so considerable as the famous Council of Nice of three hundred and eighteen bishops.
You next mention the Council of Ariminum, and give a hint of other councils. It would have been but fair to have told us what other councils you meant, which had, as you say, a greater number of bishops than met at Nice. You know, I presume, or at least might know, that you
i Def. F. N. p. 29, &c. See also Mr. Thirlby, Answer to Whiston, p. 103. Defence, p. 96.
k Male intelligitur Homousion : quid ad me bene intelligentem ? Male Homousion Samosatenus confessus est: sed nunquid melius Arii negaverunt? Octoginta episcopi olim respuerunt; sed trecenti et decem octo nuper receperunt. Hilar. de Synod. p. 1200.
cannot name one, besides the Council of Ariminum; which I shall speak to presently.
In your Appendix (p. 154.) you say the determination of the Council of Nice, for the ouoouosos, was rejected by a greater council than that of Nice, met at Jerusalem. But in these few words you have two mistakes ; or, at least, you have said what you cannot prove.
I Eusebius's words, which you refer to, may mean no more than this, that the Council of Jerusalem was the greatest he had known, since the famous one of Nice. Your other mistake is, that “ they rejected the determination of the “ Council of Nice," &c. How doth this appear ? Did they say a word against it? Or did they make any declaration against either the Council of Nice, or the ouoouosov? Not a syllable. But m they received Arius to communion, partly upon the good Emperor's recommendation, who believed him to have recanted, and to have come in to the n true Catholic faith, as established at the Council of Nice; and partly upon Arius's own confession of faith, which was so plausibly worded, that it might easily pass for orthodox, though it wanted the word omogucios. Now, is it not very unacountable in you to call this rejecting the determination for the ouoouosov, when it was only receiving a man, supposed by the Emperor, and perhaps by many of the Council, to have repented of his heresy, and to have embraced every thing that the Nicene Council had determined; the very sense and meaning of ouoouosos itself, though not the word.
Pass we on now to the Council of Ariminum, in the
I De Vita Constant. I. iv. c. 47. p. 454. See Valesius's Notes. m See the history in Socrat. 1. i. c. 33. Sozom. 1. ii. c. 27. Athanas. p. 734.
► Arius swore to the Emperor, calling God to witness, that he believed in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as the whole Catholic Church taught, which the Emperor could take in no other sense, but as it had been lately determined by the Catholic Nicene Fathers. See Sozom. 1. ii. c. 27.
And this may farther appear by the Emperor's putting Arius to the test afterwards, to see whether he really acknowledged the Nicene faith or no. See Socrat. I. i. c. 38. Comp. Phot. Cod. 256. p. 1413.
. Extat. in Sozom. I. ii. c. 27.
year 359, when the Arians had the secular power on their side, and made use of it with all imaginable severity. The whole number of bishops in council are computed at about P 400, and I not above eighty of them Arians. All the Catholics, at first, declared their unanimous adherence to the Nicene Creed; and protested against any new form of faith. All manner of artifices, frauds, and menaces were contrived to bring them and the Arians to something like an agreement. Yet the utmost they could do, was only to bring the Catholics to subscribe a s confession artfully worded in general terms. And no sooner did the Catholic Fathers, after their return home, perceive how they had been imposed upon by ambiguous terms, and overreached by craft and subtilty ; but they t confessed their error, and repented of it with tears. The history of the Council at large is too tedious for me to recite here : it may be seen either in the original authors, Athanasius, Sulpicius Severus, Hilary, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodorit, and Jerome; or with less trouble, and in less compass, in Cave's Life of Athanasius, or lastly in Montfaucon's. When you have well considered the arts and practices of the Arians, much the smaller number, in that Council, you may perhaps see reason to be ashamed of having mentioned it, but no reason for opposing it to the celebrated Nicene Council. While the Council of Ariminum was free, and left to give their real opinions ; the Arians were condemned by a great majority, and their principals deposed. Even, at last, you have no reason to boast of their unanimous agreement to a new faith. It was a verbal agreement only to expressions
p Sulpic. Sev. p. 267. Athanas. p. 720, 749. Maximin the Arian makes the whole number 330. August. Collat. tom. viii. p. 650. 9 Sulpic. Sever. p. 269.
* Hilar. Fragm. p. 1341. • Quæ Catholicam disciplinam, perfidia latente, loqueretur. Sulpic. p. 273. Sonabant verba pietatem, et inter tantă mella præconii, nemo venenum insertum putabat. Hieron. contr. Lucifer.
+ Vid. Ep. Liber. apud Socr. 1. iv. p. 183. Hieron. contr. Lucif. Dial. Sulpic. Sever.