« FöregåendeFortsätt »
making “the Word, and the Holy Ghost only virtues, emanations, or functions of Deity; that a certain energy, or portion of the divine nature was united to the Son of God, the man Christ—and that the Holy Ghost is an energy, or a portion of the Father.”
Dionysius viewed the above scheme to be very abominable ; and “showed (says Milner) by unequivocal testimony, that the Father was not the same as the Son; nor the Son the same as the Father.” The bishop of Rome, fearing that Dionysius had too much given up the Unity of the Trinity, called on him for explanation. This he readily gave.-And, in addition to his having shown, that the Father is not the same as the Son, nor the Son the same as the Father; he said, “ The Father cannot be separated from the Son, as he is the Father ; for that name at the same time establishes the relation : Nei. ther could the Son be separated from the Father; for the word Father implies the union. And the Spirit is in their hands; because it cannot exist without him, who sends it, to him, who bears it. Thus (says he) ue understand the indivisible Unity of the Trinity; and we comprehend the Trinity in the Unity, · without any diminution.” “ This (says Milner) was satisfactory, and was allowed to contain the sense of Christians on the doctrine.” But this account is wholly different from the idea that Dionysius and the Church at that day held, from Origin, to the afore no. ted allegorical Trinity. They held to a real
Trinity of Persons, different, yet one ; equal, without diminution."
Why was Sabellianism, in those days, so alarming to the Church, if Christians generally held that there was no real Trinity of Persons in the Godhead ? The Sabellians illustrated their scheme as follows; As man, though composed of soul and body, is yet but one Person; so God, though he be Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is yet but one real Per.
This scheme, the followers of Christ reprobated. But why, if they had been believers in an allegorical Trinity, as some of late have insinuated ? - Which is a scheme, which takes only the soul of man, to illustrate the Trinity, instead of man's soul and body, as did the Sabellians; and which equally, with the Sabellians, holds to but one real Person in God! The one must have been as great, and as offensive an error, as was the other. And from the alarm in the Church at Sabellianism, we may safely infer, that no such ideas of an allegorical Trinity did prevail among the body of the followers of Christ, in those days.
The truth of the above deduction is established, in the following account. Paul, of Samosata, in the third century, advanced the following sentiment; " that the Sen and the Holy Ghost exist in God in the same manner, as the faculties of reason and activity do in
This is the very scheme, which bas been imputed to Origin, and his followers, as afore noted. A council was assembled, A. D. 269, who condemned Paul of Samosata, and degraded him from his office. This decides, that the insinuations of some in these days, relative to an allegorical Trinity, are not founded in truth.
* Mosheim, vol. i. p. 248.
In the fourth century, Macedonicus, bishop of Constantinople, was tried and banished for his heresy. It was the following: He taught, that the Holy Ghost was only “ a divine energy, diffused through the universe ; and not a Person distinct from the Father and the Son." “ This opinion (adds. Mo. sheim) had '
many partizans in the Asiatic provinces; but the council assembled by Theodosius, A. D. 381, at Constantinople, (to which the second rank among the general councils is attributed,) put a stop, by its authority, to the growing evil.
This treatment of Macedonicus, clearly shows, that the afore noted allegorical Trinity, was not the sentiment of any considerable part (if it were of any individuals) of the ministers of Christ at that period : And also, that a distinct personality was generally, if not universally, ascribed to the Holy Ghest. For the great crime of Macedonicus was a denial of this; and an idea, that the Holy Ghost was only the energy of God personifi. ed; the very thing, which some now with confidence call on us to believe !
'Í'he council of Constantinople might be the first, who by authority fixed the name of Person to each in the holy Trinity. But the idea was clearly understood from the days of the apostles. And what are the I, thou, he, and us, in the Godhead, known through the Bible, but representations of different Persons ? Nothing is found in Mosheim, which appears like his viewing this doctrine, as the work of man! He speaks of it as having received its "finishing touch," as to the manner of expression, in the coun. cil of Constantinople. At the time of this council, errors were prevailing, and the Church was in a decline. But this council was a collection of the best characters then on earth.
It has been esteemed, in point of abilities, piety and weight of character, second to no council of the Christian period, after the apostolic age, except the Nicene. A hint then, that perhaps there never was a worse character given to any council, bearing the Christian name, than has been given to this council, is utterly unfounded, and very injudicious! Before such a hint can be given, a man must forget, or never have known, the numerous corrupt councils under Roman catholic jurisdiction ; as well as forget the respect, that is due to the united wisdom and piety of the followers of Christ on earth at that period ! And the agreement of the above named council, how they would express their views more definitely upon the doctrine of the Trinity, was far from giving their sanction to new doctrines, or doing any thing worthy of censure. The orthodox were compelled, by the subterfuges and equivocations of heretics, to the use of more definite language. But they formed no new doctrine, as some have basely insinuated.
Thus I have endeavoured to ascertain, what was the great question concerning Jesus Christ, after he entered his public ministry on earth; that it did not relate to a derivation of his divine Person from God; but to the truth of his Messiahship; the Messiah being understood to be God : In what sense Jesus Christ is the Son of God: In what sense he was begotten of the Father: That no benefit results from a supposed derivation of Christ's Divinity : That proper Divinity is infinitely incapable of being derived: That Jesus Christ is God underived : That Christ has a bụman soul and body : That the Godhead consists of a Trinity in Unity : And that the fathers of the three first centuries, after Christ, clearly testify in favor of the Trinity, and of the proper Divinity of Christ, essentially as now held by Trinitari.
A LIST of the fatal errors, which it is believed are the legitimate offspring of the denial of the Trinity in God, and of the proper Divinity of Christ, might be furnish