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- 186 been insinuated, that here in fact is the rise of our doctrine of the Trinity; that it originated in Origin's allegorical Trinity ; that those Perfections of the one Person of God came, in an age of error, to be transformed, in the human imagination, into real personalities in God, and confirmed as such by an erroneous council! All this has been contidently suggested.
I believe this suggestion to be without foundation. We have found the doctrine of the Trinity throughout the sacred oracles. And we have seen this doctrine held, as now held by Trinitarians, long before the age of Origin, and from the days of the apostles. I much doubt the correctness of Origin's having held to such an allegorical Trinity. We indced find one hint of it in Mosheim : (vol. i p. 334.) Not when treating of Origin ; (for no such account is given of him. there;) but when treating of the contentions, which arose in Africa in the fourth century, long after Qrigin's death. Here Mosheim for once says, “ In Egypt, and the adjacent countries, the greater part embraced in this, as well as in other matters, the opinion of Origin ; who beld, that the Son was in God, what reason is in man; and that the Holy Ghost is nothing more, than the divine energy or active force." I will state my reasons for disbelieving this account given of Origin. And these reasons may throw further light on our subject.
1. Such an idea concerning Origin does not appear, in the accounts given of him, by Mosheim, Milner, H. Adams, nor any author I have ever seen, except in the above hint in Mosheim,. upon events long after Origin's death, and when speaking of the African contentions.
2. The claiming of Origin, by those Africans, as their precursor in their peculiar sentiments,
might be enough to lay a foundation for the historian, when speaking of those contentions, to make the foregoiny remark. He might speak it as he did, upon their assertion of it. And that they did thus claim Origin, I make no doubt. For
3. Origin, on account of his fame, was erroneously claimed by various of the sectarians of the fourth century. So Mosheim himself informs, vol. i. page 366. " The Arians, who were sagacious in searching for succours on all sides, to maintain their sect, affirmed that Origin had adopted their opinion. But several writers of the first learning and note, (adds Mosheim) opposed this report, and endeavored to vindicate the honor of their master from these injurious insinuations." The most eminent of these apologists for Origin was Eusebius, bishop of Cesarea, as appears from his learned work, entitled, “ An apology for Origin.” This Eusebius himself held to a distinct personality, and to the eternity, of Christ. Would he then have undertaken thus for Origin, had Origin been so essentially different from himself in this particular ? Mosheim says again.* 6. Ruflinus, in his apology for Origin, alleges, that his writings were maliciously falsified by the beretics; and that in consequence thereof, many errors were attributed to him, which he did not adopt. And that the opinions, in which he differed from the Church, were proposed by him only as curious conjectures." The Nitrian monks were ordered to give up the productions of Origin. They refused; alleging, “ that the passages, in the writings of this holy and venerable man, which seemed to swerve from the truth, were inserted in them by ill-designing heretics; and that the few things, worthy of censure, were not sufficient to justify the condemnation of the rest."
* Vol. 1. p. 233.
+ Mosheim, vol. 1. p. 318.
Bishop Horsley asserts the same things relative to Origin, in his Tracts.
4. It is but fair, that Origin should speak for himself upon this point. In Ruffinus upon Origin, we have these words of Origin; “ Therefore concerning God; i. e. concerning the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost." Let us read this sentence of Origin in the language of the aforenoted sentinent attributed to him by those Africans. " Therefore concerning God, i.e. concerning that part of God, which is aside from his reason, and concerning his reason ; and his energy, or active force." Could this be the meaning of that noted father? Again. Origin says; “ These things saith the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. For who is the Almigthy, that is to come, but Christ ??'* By this Almighty, who is to comé, could Origin mean only that in God, which - reason is in man? Vile absurdity! Origin against Celsus says, “ Celsus thinks there is no other Divinity in the human body, which Christ carried about, than in Homer's fables." And again. “ In that we do sharply accuse the Jews, (the infidel Jews after the apostolic age) that they did not believe their own prophets, who in many places did testify that he (Christ) is God, God, and the Father of all.”+ Again. Celsus said, the Christians worshipped an upstart. Origin acknowledged they worshipped Jesus ; but denies that they worshipped a mere man, or one of the ministers of God. He declared Christ's unity with the Father ; and adds; 6. Therefore we worship one God, the Father and the Son.” Speaking of the heavenly hosts crying “Holy, holy, holy,” Isai. vi. 3 ; Origin says, “ They are not content to say it once or
* Con. Mag. vol. VI. p. 315.
† View of Heresies, p. 70.
twice; but take the perfect number of the Trinity, thereby to declare the manifold holiness of God; which is a repeated intercommunion of a threefold holiness ; the holiness of the Father, the holiness of the only begotten Son, and of the Holy Ghost."* Do those things look like Origin's holding to the aforenoted allegorical Trinity? They speak no such language ; nor do they admit of such a sentiment.
Mosheim, in a note, intimates, that Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, the antagonist of Arius, fol. lowed the manner of Origin in explaining the doctrine of the three Persons. Hence one late writer labors to prove, that Alexander, and his successor Athanasius, both held only to that allegorical Tri. nity before noted, as ascribed to Origin. But surely, if Alexander, and his successor Athanasius, agreed with Origin, the latter held to more than an allegorical Trinity. We cannot doubt but Alexander and Athanasius were agreed upon this point. But of Alexander, Mosheim informs, that he “ maintained among other things, that the Son was not only of the same eminence and dignity, but also of the same essence with the Father.” Is this holding, that the Son is the same in God, that reason is in man? It is making Christ a real Person, distinct from, and equal with the Father. Arius understood Alexander thus. Hence he rose in opposition. Arius held that Christ had a beginning; that he was created; that he was a kind of middle link between God and Angels. Alexander opposed this scheme, as fatal heresy. Arius, writing to Eusebius of Nicomedia, after sadly complaining of persecution, (a complaint most common with heretics !) he undertakes to give a specimen
* Jones, p. 105.
of Alexander's preaching upon the point of their controversy ; or concerning the Deity of Christ ; " Who publicly says, (says Arius of Alexander,) Always God, always the Son : At the same time the Father ; at the same time the Son : The Son co-exists with God, without being begotten : He is always begotten ; yet unbegotten : God does not precede the Son in thought, not for a moment : Always God; always the Son :”—No doubt Arias talks here like one in a party pet. But much we learn from this specimen relative to the real sentiments of Alexander; and the orthodox of that day. We learn, that with him, Christ was a distinct Person from the Father; and yet is truly God : That though he is said to have been begotten; yet it is not that his Divinity was ever produced ; that the Father does not precede the Son, not a moment ; that their two Persons were from eternity. All this Ariųs understood his antagonist to preach ; and he knew his sentiments. Arius proceeds to inforin, that when some said (meaning his own party) that God, who had no beginning, existed before the Son, they were condemned.
I shall here digress a little from the point in hand. We here learn, from Arius himself, the very ground, on which his heresy was condemned. It was because he held that God existed before the Son ; the Son being produced and dependent. If any doubt whether this statement be correct, let Arius himself decide it. He adds, “ We are persecuted, because we say the Son hath a beginning.' Here then was the very point of the Arian controversy. It was not, as some would now insinuate, simply concerning the mode of the production of the divine Person of Christ; whether he was created ; or begotten ? as though both sides granted that he was produced, and dependent ; but one