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flourished at no great distance of time from Athanasius, the celebrated Ambrose, bishop of Milan, who, in answer to the Arian inference, which has only a semblance of weight, “ that the Son, being begotten, cannot be of the same nature with the

Father, who is unbegotten,says, “ that the dis“ tinction of begotten and unbegotten, belongs not to “ the nature, but to the person'."

If, however, the ancients were of different opinions, as to the “unde et quomodo” of “genera* tion,' the moderns are not free from the charge of equal diversity on the same subject. Dr Felton, one of the preachers at Lady Moyer's lecture, writes thus : “ He is the Son, not of the Deity, or divine

essence at large, for that neither begetteth, nor " is begotten, but of the Father, in that essence, “ who begetteth the Son also in the same.” Dr Bull, on the other hand, maintains, that the di

vine essence is generated;" and, quoting Luther and Melancthon, as condemning the contrary opinion, calls it, further, Sabellianism, to say that, “ it " is the person only that generates, and is generat" ed ".'

Having no desire to espouse either side of the question, I feel unconcerned in the sad contrariety of sentiment, to which it has given birth. My view

of

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i De Incarnatione, ch, 9. n. 97. - See Sermons, Serm. VI.

3 Defensio, Sect. 4. c. 1. $ 7.9.

of the matter is, that, as the question can be, and has been expounded by learned and good men, both ancient and modern, in such jarring, and oftentimes to me unintelligible, senses_it is no better than the puzzling consequence of an ambiguous doctrine ; not, in my estimation, fairly deducible from the language of Scripture, and therefore not worthy of the theological student's regard. Indeed from the knowledge which, on this subject, my circumscribed course of study has afforded me, I have been led to commiserate the christian church, especially the Grecian part of it, throughout the whole of the fourth century; delivered, it is true, from those dreadful persecutions, with which, for three hundred years, its members had been assailed: but, what was more calamitous and vexatious, attacked now in the fundamentals of “ faith once delivered to the Saints,” by the boldest, and most ingeniously supported heresy which had ever appeared : while, alas ! that faith was necessarily to be defended by a new sort of metaphysical argumentation, which the subtlety of enemies, more than the inclination of friends, or the nature of the subject itself, had introduced. Often did I wonder how the original faith, in the article of our Saviour's Deity, had been preserved, during this period of scholastic disputation ; until I met with an observation, made, if I remember well, by Hilary of Poictiers, a contemporary writer, who ascribes its preservation, amidst the fierceness of clerical wrangling, to indisposition or incapacity, on the part of the laity, to enter into the merits of the contest insomuch, that by them (the laity) was the primitive and unadulterated faith retained, as exhibited in the record of Scripture, and handed down, by a successive tradition, through purer and simpler times.

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But, whether the merit of this observation does, or does not attach to Hilary, I cannot refrain from laying before the reader the following animated declaration, contéssedly made by that great man—“I “ take the Lord of heaven and earth to witness, that “ without having heard either the one or the other, “ I have always believed both; that by ' HOMOIOU

sios,' we must understand · HOMOOUSIOS ;' because nothing can be like, according to nature,

which is not of the same nature. Baptized of “ a long time, and having been a bishop a good

while, I have not heard the faith of Nice spoken of, till upon the point of my exile ; but the gospels and writings OF THE APOSTLES have given me " the meaning of these terms"." The exile of which he here speaks, took place in the year 356, when he was banished from Poictiers in France, to Phrygia in Asia ; where he mantully supported the catholic cause for four years. At last the Arians, to be rid of such a troublesome stranger, got him sent back to his own diocese. Now this happened thirty years after the Council of Nice ; during which period, however, it seems no less strange than true, that the Nicene creed had not been promulgated in France ! This were almost incredible, if not duly attested by a man of such worth and known veracity as Hilary. Perhaps his words may be construed to a meaning different from what I have assigned to them ; yet the conclusion of his declaration must still be allowed to have but one meaning and construction : viz. that the belief of the real Deity of Jesus Christ may be learned from the Gospels and writings of the apostles, without any critical enlargement, or subtle definition of its particular mode'.

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I See Hilar. de Synodis.—which book he wrote, while the jangling about homoiousios,' of like substance, and' homoousios,' of the same substance, was on foot ; and while the fluctuating principles of the Emperor Constantius were displayed, in harassing the bishops, on both sides, with Synods here and there, to little purpose,

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* It may here be remarked, that Hilary, during his four years converse among Greeks, seems to have adopted somewhat of their modes of expression. Thus, in his work de Trinitate, we find two new. coined vocables-" nascibilitas," and " innascibilitas," answering exactly to the Greek yiwaris, and ayeunoi; although from the idiom of the Latin, not so liable to subtilizing as the Greek terms.

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LETTER VII.

IN the fourth century, the age of controversial persecution, flourished Photinus, bishop of Sirmium. Although the accounts which we have of him, and of his doctrines, are both various and contradictory, it seems proper, (as his authority, on the subject under discussion, has been sometimes appealed to), that he should not be passed over in silence. Abbé Fleury, in his Church History, charges him with espousing and blending together the errors of Sabellius and Samosatenus. Mr Collier, in his Dictionary, does the same. On the other hand, Bishop Stillingfleet, in his Vindication of the doctrine of the Trinity, gives a very different representation of Photinus's principles. For he adduces four respectable authorities, in proof of what Photinus held, on the subject of our blessed Saviour. Ist, Headduces Athanasius, as asserting that Photinus' belief was, “ that the Logos was before all ages, but not Christ,

or the Son of God; which divine word was partly internal, and so was ever with God, and part

ly external, when it was communicated to the per" son of Christ, whereby he became the Son of

God.”

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