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given it to all that oppose their Roman Chief and Bishop, and to this day never afford us Protestants any other appellation. Let us not use two different measures : let us put the same favourable construction upon a conscientious dissent from the doctrine of the Trinity, or whatever has had the good fortune to be espoused by the majority and counted orthodox, in former times, or in our own, and then we shall abandon the name of heretic entirely, as most unjustly fixed upon those who differ from others on such just grounds; or else, if we will continue to use it, it will cease to be a name of reproach, and become honourable to the wearer, as it was to the apostle Paul; Acts xxiv., 14: I confess
thee (saith he, in his defence before the Roman governor) that after the way which they call heresy, 80 worship I the God of my Fathers.
Christians, for some Ages after Christ, were
wholly Antitrinitarians. A very general persuasion hath been entertained, though nothing can be farther from the truth, that those who have been dissatisfied from the first with the doctrine of a Trinity in Unity, and have objected to it, have been only a few whimsical, conceited, obstinate persons, the followers of one Arius, who lived near 1500 years ago; or of Socinus, who was only of yes
terday, in the time of our forefathers.. Authorities of men are nothing; it is holy scripture alone which can decide this important point, and to that we must make our final appeal. But if the matter is to be put to the vote as it were, it is absolutely necessary that the less learned should be told, what upon inquiry will be found to be undeniably true, viz. that the Fathers of the first three centuries, and consequently,* all
Of this, the Creed called the Apostles', and the other creeds of those early times, are a pregnant proof. A collection of these creeds is to be found in Lord King's “ Inquiry into the Worship of the primitive Church," pp. 58–64. And it no less appears from the additions made to these creeds in aster-time.
See also this fact proved, especially with regard to the Arian sentiments of the Ante-Nicene fathers; and the objections of Bull and Waterland, confuted with accumulated evidence by Whitby, Dissert. de Script. Interpret.; Disquisitiones modesta in Bulli Defens. Fid. Nicen. and his Reply to Dr. Waterland's objections against his Disquisitiones modestæ. - Part i. ii. This most learned and excellent person was prevented by death, from publishing a very singular work, but gave an express order for its being printed, entitled ΥΣΤΕΡΑΙ ΦΡΟΝΤΙΔΕΣ, or, The Last Thoughts of Dr. Whitby ; containing his correction of several passages in his Commentary on the New Testament; and accordingly it came out the year after his death, in 1727. In this he asserts and proves, contrary to what he had before maintained, that Christ was not God of the same essence with the Father, but created by the will and power of the Father, receiving life and all things from him ; and that he was to be
Christian people, for upwards of three hundred years after Christ, till the Council of Nice, were
called God, only on account of the power and authority which he had from the Father. The Work begins in these words : “ It is observable from Scripture, and from the Fathers of the first three centuries, that whatsoever our blessed Lord is said to have, as to his nature, or his attributes, he is said to have by the donation of the Father; or, as received from the Father : 0.g. He has his life from the Father : for, as he himself saith, As the living Father sent me, and I live by the Father, so," &c. John vi. 57. The Preface to his Retractation, as he calls it, is thus introduced: “ It is rightly and truly observed by Justin Martyr, in the beginning of his Exhortation to the Greeks, that an exact scrutiny into things, doth often produce conviction; that those things which we once judged to be right, are, after a more diligent inquiry into truth, found to be far otherwise. And truly I am not ashamed to say, this is my very case. For when I wrote my Commentaries on the New Testament, I went on (too hastily I own) in the common beaten road of other reputed orthodox divines: conceiving that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, in one complex notion, were one and the same God, by virtue of the same individual essence communicated from the Father. This confused notion, I am now fully convinced by the arguments I have offered here, and in the Second Part of my Reply to Dr. Waterland, to be a thing impossible, and full of gross absur. dities and contradictions.”—N. B. i have made these citations from this pamphlet, as it is very scarce. It ought to be bound up with the Doctor's Commentaries on the New Testament, in justice to him, and that his reader may have his maturést thoughts on the important subject, whether Christ was the supreme God, or a creature.
generally Unitarians, what is now called either Arian or Socinian ; i. e, such as held our Saviour Christ to derive life, and being, and all his powers from God: though with different sentiments concerning the date of his original dignity and nature.
By what Means the Doctrine of the Trinity
They should be told, that after this, for a course of between three and fourscore years, sometimes the Arian, sometimes the Athanasian, was the prevailing doctrine, according as the reigning emperor happened to be a favourer of the one or the other opinion: till at length “ Theodosius the Great,* (in Mosheim's words,
* The pious stratagem of Saint Amphilochius, a bishop of those times, to instigate Theodosius to this inhuman work, deserves to be recorded. He affected one day, in the emperor's presence, some very disrespectful and improper behaviour towards his son Arcadius, who had lately been declared Augustus. The emperor, highly incensed at it, ordered him to be immediately turned out of the palace. Upon which, the bishop, in a set speech, retorted upon him; “ Sir, you cannot bear a little slight put upon your son, and are even enraged when he is not treated with due respect: doubt not but the God of the universe still more abhors those who blaspheme his only son." The emperor hearing this reproof, called him back, and begged his pardon, and soon after set on foot the persecution of the Arians. Un. happy the princes, who, like Theodosius, Louis XIV. or our
Vol. I. Cent. iv. p. 342,) raised the secular arm against the Arians with a terrible degree of violence, drove them from their churches, enacted laws, whose severity exposed them to the greatest calamities, and rendered, throughout his dominions, the decrees of the Council of Nice triumphant over all opposition ; so that the public profession of the Arian doctrine was confined to the barbarous and unconquered nations, such as the Burgundians, Goths and Vandals.”
Still to take off undue prejudices against the Unitarian doctrine, as if it were a singularity or novelty only of late days, it should be farther inculcated, that for several centuries, till silenced and subdued by violence, many princes and states in Europe, that were not in subjection to the empire, continued to profess the Arian doctrine. “ Towards the commencement of this (the sixth) century (saith the same historian, Vol. I. p. 467,) the Arians were triumphant in several parts of Asia, Africa and Europe. Many of the Asiatic bishops favoured them secretly, while their opinions were openly professed, and their cause maintained by the Vandals in Africa, the Goths in Italy, the Spaniards, the Burgundians, the Suevi, and the greatest part of the Gauls. The triumphs of the Arians however,
James II. are under the controul of priests and churchmen, and made the tools and implements of their impotent pas. sions and vengeance, and little mean superstition !