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issue of the dispute: for it is well known, that the Platonists were the bitterest enemies which the Christians had to encounter. It is true, that they charged the Christians with borrowing from Plato; and these were the same points which the Christians charged Plato with borrowing from Moses : but the later Platonists never ceased their attacks upon the Christians, for corrupting, as they said, the doctrines of Plato: and when the gospel at length triumphed over heathenism, the Platonists were the last to defend the breach, and many of them died still combating for their expiring cause All this might lead us to imagine that the Platonic philosophy and Christianity were considered to have points of resemblance: but that man would be bold indeed, who with so many proofs of disagreement before him, would decide, without well weighing the question, that the Christians borrowed from the Platonists. One point is quite certain, that those who have brought the charge in modern times differ entirely from the Platonists of the four first centuries. These philosophers asserted, that the Christians had taken their doctrine of the Logos from Plato, but they reproached them for using it in a totally different sense d.
Our modern opponents have changed the form of the accusation, and say,
«I need only mention the γειν τον υιόν του Θεού είναι αυτοnames of Porphyry, Sopater, Nóyov, and for making Christ Edesius, Maximus, Marinus, ου λόγον καθαρών και άγιον, αλλά Isidorus of Gaza, and Ammo- kaì äv@pwnov åtipóratov (II. 31. nius; the two last of whom, p.413.) He says also that the even in the sixth century, ex Christians spoke of the Son of erted themselves in attacking God, because the ancients had Christianity.
called the world the Son of d Celsus abuses the Chris. God. (VI. 47. p. 669.) tians, ως σωφιζομένοις εν τω λέ
that the preexistence and divinity of the Logos were never heard of in the time of the apostles; that it was invented for the first time by Justin Martyr, who took it from the Platonists. It is plain, that the two charges are wholly different, and in fact quite incompatible: the first I conceive to have a groundwork of truth, the latter to be totally false.
Of all the charges which have been repeated by one writer after another, and apparently with little consideration, none is more easy to be refuted than that which makes Justin Martyr the inventor of a new doctrine, and the corrupter of Christianity. I cannot trace this opinion to any earlier author than Zuicker, a Prussian Socinian, who lived in the seventeenth century; and he publicly maintained, that Simon Magus and the Gnostics invented a new doctrine concerning the Logos, totally different from that of the apostles concerning Christ; and that at length Justin Martyr, through his attachment to Platonism, introduced this doctrine into the church. Our own country has produced another writer, and almost in our own times, who has embraced this opinion, and confidently pronounced that Justin Martyr is the first Christian writer, who adopted the doctrine of the permanent personality of the Logos. But Priestley has gone much further than
e Zuicker made this asser- of Orpheus. 3. The Platonic tion in the Irenicum Irenicorum, philosophy. 4. A remnant of published in 1658. p. 17, 18. attachment to heathenism. 5. He assigns six principal causes The custom of deifying men. which led Justin Martyr to in- 6. A superstitious proneness to troduce his new doctrines of worship one who was merely Christ and the Logos: 1. The a man. See Bull's Primitiva et heresy of Simon Magus. 2. The Apost. Trad. and Nelson's Life verses forged under the name of Bull, §. 69. p. 336. ed. 1827.
his predecessor in the boldness of his assertions'. Zuicker was well aware, that the Gospel of St. John was fatal to his hypothesis; and he therefore decided that the beginning of that Gospel was not written by the apostle. This was a bold assertion, but it did not treat with contempt our critical or our reasoning powers. Priestley took a totally different course, and when speaking of the first verses of St. John's Gospel, he says, “ In this celebrated “ passage there is no mention of Christ, and that “ the word Logos means Christ, is not to be taken “ for granted 8.” In another place he even goes so far as to say, “ that the Christians for whom St. “ John wrote his Gospel, never imagined that Christ “ was meant by the Logosh.” We perhaps have a right to assume, when these two writers have recourse to arguments like these, that they found in the Gospel of St. John an insuperable objection to their scheme. Accordingly the one endeavoured to mislead our reason, the other would teach us to dis
i Zuicker was followed by charge in his Dissertations. (vol. Sandius in his Nucleus Historiæ I. p. 764. vol. II. Præf.) The Ecclesiasticæ and Interp. Para editor seems also to be unfair dor. p. 151: the author of Ju- in bringing the same charge dicium Patrum, &c. contra G. against Le Clerc, when he Bulli Def. Fid. Nic. and by quotes his Epistola Critica VII. Souverain, Platonisme devoilé. VIII. IX: though Le Clerc It is needless to specify any seems to have said something particular passages in Priest- of the kind in his Biblioth. Univ. ley's History of the Church, and tom. X. p. 181, 403. Bibl. Choihis History of early Opinions. sie. tom. XII. p. 213. The innovation introduced by & Hist. of early Opinions, Justin Martyr enters into al. vol. I. p. 68. most every argument of both h Ib. III. p. 160. Socinus, tbese works. Mosheim is ac. Crellius, and all the early Socused of having said the same cinians allowed that the Logos by the editor of Justin Martyr: meant Jesus Christ. (Pref. p. x.) but he repels the
card it: for most assuredly if any person will say, that when St. John wrote, The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, he did not mean the same person whom he afterwards speaks of as Jesus Christ, there can be little profit either to learning or religion by carrying on the dispute.
Justin Martyr is evidently fixed upon as the corrupter of Christianity, because he is the earliest of the Fathers who had not conversed with the apostles. Whatever he says therefore cannot be traced to any other of the Fathers : but even in this view of the case, there is much unfairness or assumption in the argument of our opponents. The earliest work of Justin Martyr was written, as I have observed, about the year 140; and in this and all his writings he speaks plainly and unequivocally of the personality of the Logos. Now it is at least a very weak argument, because no earlier writings are now in existence which contain the same doctrine, that therefore there never were any : and the more natural conclusion would be, that Justin Martyr used words and phrases which would be understood by his contemporaries, rather than those which from being new would be unintelligible, or expose him to general reproach. If the doctrine professed by Justin Martyr was not that of the apostles, we must at least allow a few years for its growing into use, and for Justin being able to speak of it as the doctrine everywhere received. But we need not go back many years, to come to the end of the first century, when St. John himself was yet alive; and after the death of that apostle, there would be thousands of persons, who well knew his sentiments, and who would have shrunk with horror from Justin or any
other person, who made innovations in the Gospel. What shall we say of Polycarp, who, as Irenæus informs us, had conversed with many who had seen Christ, had been instructed by the apostles, had been appointed by them to the bishopric of Smyrna, and was the immediate disciple of St. John'? Did not Polycarp know the real doctrines of St. John, or would he have tolerated the slightest change in them ? And yet Polycarp lived to a very advanced age, and is supposed to have been martyred about the year 166, long after the period assigned for the corruption of Christianity by Justin Martyr. It was some years after that period, that he is stated by his disciple Irenæus to have come to Rome, and to have brought back many Christians who had been seduced by Valentinus and Marcion. It is notorious, that these heretics borrowed largely from the Platonic doctrines, from which also we are told that Justin Martyr borrowed: and yet Irenæus, who speaks of Valentinus being condemned by Polycarp, commends Justin for the soundness of his faith. Surely then if any point is capable of demonstration, it is that Polycarp, Justin Martyr, and Irenæus all held the same doctrines. It is also plain that Irenæus everywhere speaks of Christ as the divinely preexisting Logos: Justin Martyr held the same language before and after the arrival of Polycarp at Rome; and Polycarp may be taken as preserving the uniformity of faith from the death of the apostles to late in the second century. If then there ever was a gratuitous assumption, it is this, that Justin Martyr made inroads on the purity
III. 3, 4. p. 176, 177. et apud Eus. V. 20.