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THE TESTIMONY OF HISTORY IN FAVOUR | mystery of the blessed Trinity, Father, Son, and OF TRINITARIAN DOCTRINE*.
Holy Ghost, has invariably brought upon the re
jectors or corruptors the jealousy and censure of BY THE Rev. J. S. BROAD, M.A.
the church, and frequently led to their being cut
off from its communion; if, in a word, we can Incumbent af St. George's, Newcastle-under-Lyme. show that what is now believed as the truth on
this subject by the general body of Christians, No. 1.
whether conformists or not, has been the faith of “ The general reception of an opinion among all churches the church catholic in and from the days of was esteemed a proof that it had been originally taught by the apostles of our Lord, we have gone far the apostles and their successors." - TOWNSEND.
to prove that what we believe is indeed the
truth of God. For, though the mere fact of the AMONG the various indications of man's corrup- prevailing belief of men in reference to a doction and folly which meet us on every hand, trine will not, of itself and always, prove its nothing seems more remarkable than his dislike truth, seeing that man is a corrupt and erring to the revealed method of salvation. The errors being, yet, in such a case as this, it is a strong which have prevailed concerning the nature and corroborate evidence for truth. If a community, work of our divine Redeemer within the church such as the church of Christ, professing to be have been productive of far greater evil than the founded by certain individuals as teachers inspired opposition of the most furious enemy from without; and commissioned by their great Head, has uniand they prove how unwilling the human heart is formly and jealously maintained certain doctrines to submit to the righteousness of God, and to bring received from those teachers as the standard of its "every thought into captivity to the obedience faith, and as uniformly repudiated all departures of Christ." The remedy provided by divine from that standard, then we have the strongest mercy and love for the healing of men has been reasons for believing that we are following in the so adulterated as to prove an aggravation of their very pathway of divine truth opened for us by disease; and that gracious Being, who loved us the apostles in their inspired writings, and so even to suffering and death, has been made the by our Lord and Saviour himself. And such is subject of bitter controversy, and the occasion of the fact. It is not mere supposition or assumpfurious hatred and strife. Even in the earliest tion, but the stern testimony of history. Let us ages of the church, in the times of the apostles take a rapid glance at the main features of the themselves, we find traces of this proneness to case, and draw such conclusions from thcm as the error concerning the person of Christ and of the review will warrant. Our object will not be to sanctifying Spirit; and we need not marvel, there- show that the church has been free from error on fore, that it has prevailed, more or less, in all this great subject, but that it has not been conages which have followed.
taminated with it to such an extent as t'ı alter its While, however, we are constrained to acknow- scriptural character as “the pillar and ground of ledge and lament this prevalence of heresy on so truth.”. vital a subject-a prevalence which St. Pault In the writings of St. John, the last survivor himself taught us to expect—it is no less remark of the little band of apostles, we find manifest inable and encouraging to know that such heresy dications of early corruption of Christian doctrine has invariably been confined to small and repu- in some professors of the faith. St. Paul, indeed, diated sections of the church. Even the Arian before his brother apostle, had spoken of some heresy in the fourth century, which at one parti- who had “erred concerning the faith ;” but the cular time obtained a goodly number of suppor- latter gives us fuller intimations, in what shape ters and great power, could not hide the light of error had been introduced into the infant church. the truth ; and it remained a striking fact, borne His first general epistle is strong and express out by the strongest evidence of ecclesiastical his- upon the duty of a full and open confession of tory, that the belief of the great body of Chris- Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God; plainly tians—the all but universal doctrine of the church, using the latter expression in its highest and most if not in all times and places, certainly in the sublime sense. There had evidently been some purest times—has been in favour of what is com- attempts to lower the dignity of the Saviour, and monly understood as the orthodox doctrine of the to draw such distinction between the Father and Trinity.
the Son as would deny the divinity of the Son. Into this fact, this strong support arising from His gospel was not written until some years after the testimony of history, we are now to inquire. (probably about the year 97); and here we find Its importance can hardly be overrated. The him combating the erroneous notions which had opposers of Trinitarian doctrine would fain have been broached respecting the Lord Jesus. He us to believe that it is comparatively new, and does not, indeed, specify any corruptions by name; has been gradually introduced into the church by but there can be no doubt in the mind of any one man. If, then, we can show that it has been acquainted with the history of the church at the cordially received, and earnestly contended for, by end of the first century, tảat in the introduction the overwhelming majority of the Christian com- to his gospel he had in view the heresies of the munity; that the wisest and holiest men in the Cerinthians and other Gnostics. In that most church have been its devoted upholders; that the sublime and important portion of scripture, rejection or corruption of the faith touching the we have an account of the Saviour altogether This hasty sketch of the Trinitarian controversy was
different from that which is given by the other drawn up at the request of some members of a clerical evangelists; so peculiar in itself, and so adapted society, and read at one of their monthly meetings. in its phraseology to meet the specific errors of the † 1 Cor. xi. 19.
time, such as we know them to have been, that
we cannot hesitate in discovering his object. It | doctrine on these momentous points. While they
of the fathers who suffered martyrdom under The persons holding these heresies were not Trajan ; I mean Ignatius in his epistles to the allowed to remain in the church. Those who had churches : whether he speaks of the corrupters of rule in spiritual things did not recognize any such Christian doctrine, or addresses his people as as the faithful of the Lord. The test of Chris-believers in Christ, under the sanctifying influtian discipleship was an acknowledgment of the ence of the Holy Spirit, it is as one who firmly divine character of Christ; at least, such as that believed in the full godhead of the blessed Three, which Pbilip required of the Ennuch (Acts viii. and was convinced that his people did the same. 37). "I believe that Jesus is the Son of God; And it may be observed, in passing, that the lives or, more fully, “I believe in God, the Father, of these Christians, in general, corresponded with the Son, and the Holy Ghost ; ” in reference, no their profession: the fruits which they brought doubt, to the form of baptism appointed by our forth were just what might be expected from Lord. The former was probably the first simple their faith. For, though some have spoken, and confession of faith ; but there is good ground for still speak, of the doctrine we contend for, as supposing that the latter, even in a yet fuller form, being only speculative, it will be found of deep was employed at an early period as the profession experimental and practical concern. The personal of all catechumens upon their admission into the comfort and the practical holiness of the Christian Christian fold. And these more simple creeds were materially depend upon his holding and cherishing gradually enlarged and expanded, as circum- what we believe to be the truth of the gospel on stances required, into the other forms which we this vital subject. The orthodox Christians were, have still existing, or which we read of as for the most part, persons of holy lives; and, having been in use, as various errors arose, and though they were accused, by their heathen oppocalled for them touching the nature and character sers, of gross and unnatural crimes, those crimes of the Godhead.
have never been proved against them; and their It can, I think, hardly be denied that the being charged with them may, without difficulty, carliest and best writers of the Christian church be accounted for from the peculiar character were truly orthodox on the points involved of their doctrines, and worship, and practice in Trinitarian doctrine. We have but to read (See, among other writers, Cave, Prim. Christithe remains of those who are called the apos- anity; and "Greswell, on the Parables). It is tolical fathers (all comprised in a volume or two) admitted by Pliny, in the letter before mento be assured that they, held one and the same tioned, that he found nothing criminal in the
Christians, except what he calls their superstition; / the immortal, and heavenly God, who rules on that is, their religion. It is not improbable, more high ; the Son of the Father, the Spirit proover, as it has been observed, that the evil prac- ceeding from the Father, One of Three and Three tices of the Gnostics may have contributed to the of One." And in what manner this was regarded calumnious charges laid at the door of the by the heathen is plain from his reply, that he orthodox.
could not understand “how one could be three, It is not to be denied that the Gnostic heresy or three one.” When it is considered that the grew and increased : it was, in a sense, like dialogue was written expressly to throw legion ; for it was multiform and various. In contempt upon the Christian mysteries, we can the second century, Valentinus formed a system hardly be far wrong in concluding that the sense in out of the different notions which had been which the doctrine in question was regarded was broached by his predecessors, culling from them, no other than that wbich has been represented. and condensing them into his own plan. Still these were not the errors of the church of Christ; aud to meet and counteract them, and also to defend the faith against the heathen, different
Poetry. works were written by men of eminence and talent. From these works, such at least as remain
HYMN. of them, we may still learn what was the true doctrine of Christianity. We find Justin Martyr,
(For the Church of England Magazine). for instance, in his first apology, affirming of himself and fellow Christians, that they worshipped, As still along life's lengthen'd road adored, and honoured the Father, and the Son,
I plod my weary way, and the prophetic Spirit, in spirit and in truth.
Be thou at hand, O faithful God, The same may be said of others : they leave us at
My succour and my stay. no loss to discover that those who “professed and
However bright the sun may shine, called themselves Christians,” were not only be
Dark thunder-clouds are near: lievers in the godhead of the Lord Jesus, but The hand that rules the storm is thine, stedfastly worshipped a supreme tri-unity, Father,
Let that allay my fear. Son, and Holy Ghost.
It was about the middle of the second century However sweet the honied cup, that the term " Trinity” was first used by Theo
Gall at the bottom lies : philus, bishop of Antioch ; not indeed in a strict O Lord, if I must drink it up, and formal manner, but rather incidentally and
Thy grace a balm supplies. illustratively. It seems probable that, in using
Whate'er may be my varied lot, such a term, he bad in view various expressions
Be it content or care,
But give me strength to bear
Humility in joy : formally in writing on the subject in question, but
Then take thy wearied servant home, in a statement of the typical character, as he
Where bliss knows no alloy expresses it, of the days of creation. But, in Where grief and care no more molest, thus using the term, be did not lose sight of the
Nor pain, nor death is known, Unity: nothing was farther from his intention But the freed soul is wholly blest than to give any canction to the notion of there
In thee, and thee alone. being three Gods. I am aware that Theophilus has been suspected of derogating, in a certain passage, from the eternity of the Son; but I think his expression applies rather to the mode
FROM THE PERSIAN OF UNWARREE. of generation than to the actual divinity of the second Person of the Godhead. In adopting the
As I trode the dark path of the valley of tears, word thus introduced, and in employing it to
I encountered the warrior-Death! meet the Sabellian and other heresies which after
And I rushed to the combat, dismayed by no fears,
Though with struggling and shortened breath. wards rose, the church gave not the least countenance to the notion of a plurality of Gods, as is For I knew, in the conflict of mortal strife, abundantly evident from the language employed by
| alone should the conqueror be; the soundest writers of the times, and the consulta- I should win in the battle eternal life, tions and decrees of councils which were held He the spoils of mortality. from time to time. And here it may not be amiss to notice an incidental confirmation of the doctrine, which is to be found in one of the dialogues of the pagan writer, Lucian-or at least in one London: Published for the Proprietors, by EDWARDS ascribed to him—from which we may gather what and HUGHES, 12, Ave-Maria Lane, St. Paul's; and to be was really the professed faith of the church at procured, by order, of all Booksellers in Town and Country. the period when it was written (about A.D. 176). A Christian is introduced, who proposes to the heathen that he should renounce his pagan Jupi
PRINTED BY JOSEPH ROGERSON, ter, and adopt the Christian Deity" the great, 24, NORFOLK-STREET, STRAND, LONDON.
THE MIRACULOUS DRAUGHT OF FISHES. at Brussels; and several of them were lost or de
stroyed. Some, however, escaped this fate, and EVERY one has heard of the cartoons in the were purchased by Rubens for king Charles I. palace of Hampton-court. The word "cartoon” After the dethronement and death of that accomis used by artists to signify the full-sized drawings plished monarch, his royal collections were disor studies, made in chalks, or body-colour, prepa- persed; but the cartoons were secured, by Cromratory to any great work to be executed in oil-well's particular command, it is said, for the colour or fresco, or to be copied on tapestry. country At the restoration they were again
The finest specimens known are the work of neglected and injured, having been sent to MortRaffaelle d’Urbino, which were sent to Flanders lake to have once more copies made of them in in the reign of pope Leo X. for two sets of tapestry tapestry. William III. repaired them, and built to be completed from them. These cartoons, ori- a gallery at Hampton-court for their reception. ginally twenty-five in number, were left neglected George ili, removed them first to BuckinghamTOL. XXV.
house and afterwards to Windsor-castle; but they allowed to broach their errors with impunity; have since been restored to Hampton-court, where those errors were made the subject of earnest inthey now remain.
quiry by the church, as the keeper and guardian The subjects of these celebrated pictures are of divine truth, in councils convened for the purscriptural. The one here presented to the reader pose; and, in most cases, its censures were prorepresents the remarkable history recorded in Luke nounced upon them, and in some instances the v. (being the gospel for the fifth Sunday after parties were deposed from their spiritual functions, Trinity). The moment of time selected by the A remarkable proof of ecclesiastical jealousy and artist is that when Peter, astonished at the mi- vigilance occurs in the case of Dionysius, bishop raculous draught of fishes, and convinced that he of Alexandria, who, in his earnest zeal in defendwho could exert such supernatural power must be ing. Trinitarian doctrine, had dropped certain indeed a divine Person, “fell down at Jesus' doubtful or suspicious expressions. He was at knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful once accused to his namesake, bishop of Rome; man, O Lord."
and a synod was held concerning him. Dionysius, however, explained his views to the satisfaction of the synod, and the establishment of his own or
thodoxy. Here, then, we have the testimony of THE TESTIMONY OF HISTORY IN PAVOUR history, at an advanced period of the third cenOF TRINITARIAN DOCTRINE.
tury, that Trinitarian doctrine was then held to be
the truth of scripture. BY THE Rev. J. S. BROAD, M.A.,
Sufficient evidence may also be afforded that it
was the uniform practice of the church to offer Incumbent of St. George's, Newcastle-under-Lyme. divine worship to the Son and the Holy Ghost,
as weil as to the eternal Father. He indeed was No. II.
usually acknowledged and addressed (as at “The general reception of an opinion among all churches present) as the Fountain of the Deity; and the was esteemed a proof that it had been originally taught by other two divino Persons as subordinates, but not the apostles and their successors.”—TOWNSEND.
inferior, to him. He was approached through the
merits of the Son, and under the gracious intiuence To enter into an examination, or even to take of the Spirit; but they also were addressed as notice, of all the heresies which sprung up in suc- equally objects of pure worship, and possessed of ceeding years, would be manifestly impracticable all the attributes of divinity. Among other proofs within
the limits of this paper. Only a very few of this fact, we may point to the use of the doxof the most prominent ones can be noticed. Let ology, ascribing equal glory to the Father, the us here observe, that at the end of the second cen- Son, and the Holy Ghost. In the fourth century tury Praxcas promulgated the notion that there a treatise was written by St. Basil, for the very was one nature only in the Godhead, that of the purpose of proving that it had constantly been Father; and that the threefold distinction hitherto employed, not only in private, but also in the used was only a nominal one, the Father being public services of the church. Akin to which called by the names of Son and Spirit, as regarded may be mentioned the constant and unvarying under different points of view.
use of the form of baptism appointed to be ohposed him in a treatise written for the express served by our Lord himself. A very cursory inpurpose, and he it was who introduced the word spection of the various ancient liturgies will satisty person into the controversy, to meet the error in any candid inquirer upon the point, and furnish question. He states most unequivocally, “That satisfactory evidence as to the nature and objects the Father is God; the Son, God; and the Holy of the worship of the early Christian church. But Ghost, God; every one singly; and yet alto- one conclusion, and that altogether favourable to gether make but one God." In little more than the doctrine we are advocating, seems to be dehalf a century afterwards, Sabellius brought for- ducible from these and similar documents. ward his views, and gave name to another modi. Unquestionably the most extensive aggression fication of anti-trinitarian doctrine. He contended upon Trinitarian doctrine was made by the heresy that Jesus was a mere man, but that a certain of Arius, in the fourth and following centuries. energy, or perhaps a portion, of the divine nature The troubles it caused to the church during that had descended upon him, and was united to him :period, and the divisions and bloodshed to which the Holy Ghost be considered likewise not to be it gave rise, are well known. The struggle bea separate person, but a portion of the Father. tween truth and error, between catholic doctrine The only difference between his opinions and those and human opinion, was long and severe; nor of Noctus, who preceded him as a sower of was it until the secular power had been corrupted heresy, appears to have been in this respect, that that the orthodox were forced to give way: the latter supposed the Father himself had as- Arianism did indeed prevail to a great extent, and sumed human nature in Jesus;, whereas Sabellius at certain times usurped the place of the ancient held that it was an energy, or influence, from him verity of the church; but it was not through the which was joined to the Christ. They were fol. force of conviction, but by the power of the owed by Paul, of Samosata, who also contended sword, and the influence of secular patronage. I that the Saviour was only a man, upon whom the need hardly say that Arius took higher ground as reason or wisdom of the Father had descended ; to the nature and person of Jesus than some of the and that the Son and Holy Ghost exist in God in teachers of heresy that had gone before him. lie the same manner as reason and energy do in man. regarded Christ as a creature; but the first and With regard to these and other heresiarchs it will noblest of creatures; and only not only be necessary to remark that they were not substantial with the father. By liis instru