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this charge, are Athenagoras, Tatian, Theophilus, Hippolytus, and Novatian, as mentioned in the first Chapter.
Now that they did not mean what a superficial reader moght lay to their charge, may be argued, first, from the
arallel language of the Post-Nicenes, as mentioned above, whose orthodoxy no one questions. Next, from the extreme absurdity, not to speak of the impiety, of the doctrine imputed to them; as if, with a more than Gnostic extravagance, they conceived that any change or extension could take place in that Individual Essence, which is without parts or passions, or that the divine generation could be an event in time, instead of being considered a mere expression of the eternal relation of the Father towards the Sono. Indeed, the very absurdity of the literal sense of the words, in whatever degree they so expressed themselves, was the mischief to be apprehended from them. The reader, trying a rhetorical description by too rigid a rule, would attempt to elicit sense by imputing a heresy, and would conclude that they meant by the External or Prophoric Word a created being, made in the beginning of all things as the visible emblem of the Internal or Endiathetic, and the instrument of God's purposes towards His creation. This is in fact the Arian doctrine, which doubtless availed itself in its defence of the declarations of incautious piety; or rather we bave evidence of the fact, that it did so avail itself, in the letter of Arius to Alexander, and from the anathema of the Nicene Creed directed against such as said that “the Son was not before His gennesis.” · Lastly, the orthodoxy of the five writers in question is ascertained by a careful examination of the passages, which give ground for the accusation. Two of these shall here be quoted without comment. Theophilus then says, “God, having His own Word in His womb, begat Him together with His Wisdom” (that is, His Spirit), ruttering them prior to the universe." "He had this Word as the Minister of His works, and did all things through Him. ... The prophets were not in existence when the world was made; but the Wisdom of God, which is in Him, and His holy Word, who is ever present with Him ?.” Elsewhere he speaks of the Word, eternally seated in the heart of God %;" "for,” he presently adds, “before any thing was made, He possessed this Counseller, as being His mind and pro. vidence. And, when He purposed to make all that He had deliberated on, He begat this Word as external to Him, being the First-born antecedent to the whole creation; not, however, Himself losing the Word” (that is, the Internal), “but begetting it, and yet everlastingly communing with ito.”
6 ['ούτε αρχήν έχει η ακατάληπτος αυτού γέννησις ούτε τέλος, ανάρχως, åkatanaúotws, &c. Damasc. F. O. p. 8. Vide Ath. Tr. p. 201, b and c; also p. 284, e.]
In like manner Hippolytus in his answer to Noetus:“God was alone, and there was no being coeval with Him, when He willed to create the world. ... Not that
8 τον λόγον διαπαντός ενδιάθετον έν καρδία θεού. 9 έγέννησε προφορικόν.
He was destitute of reason (the Logos), wisdom or counsel. They are all in Him, He was all. At the time and in the manner He willed, He manifested His Word [Logos], .. through whom He made all things... Moreover He placed over them His Word, whom He begat as His Counseller and Instrument; whom He had within Him, invisible to creation, till He manifested Him, uttering the Word, and begetting Light from Light. . . . And so Another stood by Him, not as if there were two Gods, but as though Light from Light, or a ray from the Sun”.”
And thus closes our survey of Catholic Ante-Nicene theology.
1 Vide Bull, Defens. iii. 7, 8.
THE ARIAN HERESY.
It remains to give some account of the heretical doctrine, which was first promulgated within the Church by Arius. There have been attempts to attribute this heresy to Catholic writers previous to his time; yet its contemporaries are express in their testimony that he was the author of it, nor can any thing be adduced from the Ante-Nicene theology to countenance such an imputation. Sozomen expressly says, that Arius was the first to introduce into the Church the formulæ of the “out of nothing," and the "once He was not,” that is, the creation and the non-eternity of the Son of God. Alexander and Athanasius, who had the amplest means of information on the subject, confirm his testimony'. That the heresy existed before his time outside the Church, may be true,—though little is known on the subject; and that there had been certain speculators, such as Paulus of Samosata, who were simply humanitarians, is undoubtedly true; but they did not hold the formal doctrine of Arius, that an Angelic being had been
1 Soz. i. 15. Theod. Hist, i. 4. Athan. Decr. Nic. 27. de Sent. Dionys. 6.
exalted into a God. However, he and his supporters, though they do not venture to adduce in their favour the evidence of former Catholics, nevertheless speak in a general way of their having received their doctrines from others. Arius too himself appears to be only a partisan of the Eusebians, and they in turn are referable to Lucian of Antioch, who for some cause or other was at one time under excommunication. But here we lose sight of the heresy; except that Origen assails a doctrine, whose we know not?, which bears a resemblance to it;. nay, if we may trust Ruffinus, which was expressed in the very same heterodox formulæ, which Sozomen declares that Arius was the first to preach within the Church.
Before detailing, however, the separate characteristics of his heresy, it may be right briefly to confront it with such previous doctrines, in and out of the Church, as may be considered to bear a resemblance to it.
The fundamental tenet of Arianism was, that the Son of God was a creature, not born of the Father, but, in the scientific language of the times, made “out of nothing.” It followed that He only possessed a super-angelic nature, being made at God's good pleasure before the worlds, before time, after the pattern of the attribute Logos or Wisdom, as existing in the Divine Mind, gifted with the illumination of it, and in consequence called after it the Word and the Wisdom, nay inheriting the title
? [The Rv TOTÈ Őre oùK hv; it might be Tertullian who was aimed at, especially as St. Dionysius of Rome denounces the doctrine also.]
3 Fouk Övtwv; hence the Arians were called Exucontii.