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literal sense of the word " Son." Instead of this, they maintained that the relation of Father and Son, as such, in whatever sense considered, could not but imply the notion of voluntary originator, and, on the other hand, of a free gift conferred; and that the Son must be essentially inferior to Him, from whose will His existence resulted. Their argument was conveyed in the form of a dilemma :-“Whether the Father gave birth to the Son volens or nolens ?” The Catholics wisely answered them by a counter inquiry, which was adapted to silence, without countenancing, the presumptuous disputant. Gregory of Nazianzus asked them,“ Whether the Father is God, volens or nolens ?” And Cyril of Alexandria, “ Whether He is good, compassionate, merciful, and holy, with or against His choice ? For, if He is so in consequence of choosing it, and choice ever precedes what is chosen, these attributes once did not exist in God.” Athanasius gives substantially the same answer, solving, however, rather than confuting, the objection. “The Arians," he says, “ direct their view to the contradictory of willing, instead of considering the more important and the previous question ; for, as unwillingness is opposed to willing, so is nature prior to, willing, and leads the way to it."
3. Further :-the Arians attempted to draw their conclusion as to the dissimilarity of the Father and the Son, from the divine attribute of the “Ingenerate (unborn or increate), which, as I have already said, was
1 Petav. ii. 5, § 9; vi. 8. 14. [“Generatio non potestatis est, sed nature.” Ambros. Incarn. 79. Η γέννησης φύσεως έργον, η δε κτίσις Den hoews. Damasc. F. O. i. 8, p. 133.]
acknowledged on all hands to be the peculiar attribute of the Father, while it had been the philosophical as well as Valentinian appellation of the Supreme God. This was the chief resource of the Anomeans, who revived the pure Arian heresy, some years after the death of its first author. Their argument has been expressed in the following form :-that “it is the essence of the Father to be ingenerate, and of the Son to be generate; but unborn and born cannot be the same.” The shallowness, as well as the miserable trifling of such disputations on a serious subject, renders them unworthy of a refutation.
4. Moreover, they argued against the Catholic sense of the word “ Son,” from what they conceived to be its materiality; and, unwarrantably contrasting its primary with its figurative signification, as if both could not be preserved, they contended that, since the word must be figurative, therefore it could not retain its primary sense, but must be taken in the secondary sense of adoption.
5. Their reasonings (so to call them) had now conducted them thus far :-to maintain that our Lord was a creature, advanced, after creation, to be a son of God. They did not shrink from the inference which these positions implied, viz. that He had been put on trial as other moral agents, and adopted on being found worthy; that His holiness was not essential, but acquired.
6. It was next incumbent on them to explain in what sense our Lord was the “Only-begotten,” since they refused to understand that title in the Catholic sense of the Homoüsion or consubstantial. Accordingly, while pronouncing the divine birth to be a kind of creation, or an adoption, they attempted to hide the offensiveness of the heretical doctrine by the variety and dignity of the prerogatives, by which they distinguished the Son from other creatures. They declared that He was, strictly speaking, the only creature of God, as being alone made immediately by Him; and hence He was called Only-begotten, as “born alone from Him alone,” whereas all others were made through Him, as the instrument of Divine Power; and that in consequence He was "a creature, but not as being one of the creatures, a birth or production, but not as being one of the produced * ;” that is, to express their sentiment with something of the same ambiguity, "He was not a creature like other creatures.” Another ambiguity of language followed. The idea of time depending on that of creation, they were able to grant that He, who was employed in forming all things, therefore brought time itself into being, and was “before all time;" not granting thereby that He was everlasting, but meaning that He was brought into existence “ timelessly,"independent of that succession of second causes (as they are called), that elementary system, seemingly self-sustained and self-renovating, to the laws of which creation itself may be considered as subjected.
2 Beausobre, Hist. Manich. iii. 7, § 2.
7. Nor, lastly, had they any difficulty either in allow3 Pearson on the Creed, vol. ii. p. 148. Suicer. Thes. verb. povoyevhs.
4 κτίσμα, αλλ' ουχ ώς έν των κτισμάτων γέννημα, αλλ' ουχ ώς έν των γεγεννημένων. .
ing or in explaining away the other attributes of divinity ascribed to Christ in Scripture. They might safely confess Him to be perfect God, one with God, the object of worship, the author of good; still with the reserve, that sacred appellations belonged to Him only in the same general sense in which they are sometimes accidentally bestowed on the faithful servants of God, and without interfering with the prerogatives of the One, Eternal, Self-existing Cause of all things 5.
3. This account of the Arian theology may be suitably illustrated by some of the original documents of the controversy. Here, then, shall follow two letters of Arius himself, an extract from his Thalia, a letter of Eusebius of Nicomedia, and parts of the encyclical Epistles of Alexander of Alexandria, in justification of his excommunication of Arius and his followers 6.
1. “To his most dear Lord, Eusebius, a man of God, faithful and orthodox, Arius, the man unjustly persecuted by the Pope Alexander for the all-conquering truth's sake, of which thou too art a champion, sends health in the Lord. As Ammonius, my father, was going to Nicomedia, it seemed becoming to address this through him; and withal to represent to that deep-seated affection which thou bearest towards the brethren for the sake of God and His Christ, how fiercely the bishop assaults and drives us, leaving no means untried in his opposition. At length he has driven us 'out of the city, as men without God, for dissenting from his public declarations, that, ' As God is eternal, so is His Son: where the Father, there the Son; the Son co-exists in God without a beginning (or birth): ever generate, an ingenerately-generate; that neither in idea, nor by an instant of time, does God precede the Son; an eternal God, an eternal Son; the Son is from God Himself.' Since then, Eusebius, thy brother of Cæsarea, Theodotus, Paulinus, &c. and all the Bishops of the East declare that God exists without origin before the Son, they are made anathema by Alexander's sentence; all but Philogonius, Hellanicus, and Macarius, heretical, ill-grounded men, who say, one that he is an utterance, another an offspring, another co-ingenerate. These blasphemies we cannot bear even to hear ; no, not if the heretics should threaten us with ten thousand deaths. What, on the other hand, are our statements and opinions, our past and present teaching? that the Son is not ingenerate, nor in any way a part of the Ingenerate, nor made of any subject-matter?; but that, by the will and counsel of God, He subsisted before times and ages, perfect God, Only-begotten, unchangeable; and that before this generation, or creation,
5 It may be added that the chief texts, which the Arians adduced in controversy were, Prov. viii. 22. Matt. xix. 17; xx. 23. Mark xiii. 32. John v. 19; xiv. 28. 1 Cor. xv. 28. Col. i. 15; and others which refer to our Lord's mediatorial office (Petav. ii. 1, &c. Theod. Hist. i. 14). But it is obvious, that the strength of their cause did not lie in the text of Scripture.
6 Theodor. Hist. i. 4–6. Socr. i. 6. Athan. in Arian. i. 5. Synod 15, 16, Epiphan. Hær. lxix. 6, 7. Hilar. Trin. iv. 12; vi. 5.
7 The Greek of most of these scientific expressions has been given; of the rest it is as follows :-impious men, å8 éous ; without a beginning or birth, ảyevvntws; ever-generate, å etyevhs ; ingenerately-generate, dyevuntoyevhs; an utterance, épvyń (Psalm xlv. 1); offspring, apoßorh ; coingenerate, ovvayevvntbv; of any subject-matter, & ÚTOKELJévov Tivás.