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tell me something incredible, and almost impossible, that God could be born and become a man.” *
Celsus objected to the “impossibility of God becoming man.” + « God, O Jews and Christians, or the Son of God, never descended, or could descend." I " The conceited Greeks,” says Clemens Alexandrinus, “think it fabulous, that the Son of God should speak by man, that God should have a Son, and that he should suffer; and having this prejudice, they are prevented from believing.” § “ You say,” say Lactantius, “ it is impossible that any thing should be taken from an immortal being. You say it is unworthy of God to become a man, and to load himself with the infirmities of the flesh, so as to subject himself to passions, pain and death."
Athanasius strongly expresses this objection to the incarnation of the Son of God. “ The Jews,” says he, “ reproach us for it, the Gentiles laugh at it, but we adore it.” “They urge us,” he says, with Heathenish and Jewish blasphemies, laughing at the mystery of the mission of the logos, and the incarnation." ** “Some, thinking with Heathens and Jews, not admitting that God was incarnate, but endeavouring to comprehend by huinan reasoning and philosophy, things that are incomprehensible, as how that which is incorporeal can be born, how it can proceed, and where can be that which is every where, and contains all things, and fills all things ; from this arguing about how and where, they go into infidelity.”It Libanius ridiculed the Christians for making a man of Palestine a god, and the son of God. *
* Απιςον γαρ και αδυνατον σχεδον πραγμα επιχειρεις αποδεικνύναι, ότι δεν υπεμεινε γεννηθηναι, και ανθρωπογενεσθαι. Ρ. 283. (Ρ.)
+ “Οτι ητοι ως αληθώς μεταβαλλει ο Θεο», άσπερ ετοι φασιν εις σωμα θνητον, και προειρηται το αδυνατον. Origen, Contra Celsum, L. iv. p. 171. (Ρ.)
1 Θεο: μεν, ώ Ιεδαιοι και Χριςιανοι, και Θεε ταις εδεις οτε καθηλθεν, οτε κατηλθοι. Ibid. L. ν. p. 281. (Ρ.)
και Μυθωδες γαρ ηγενίαι οι δοκησισοφοι, δια τα ανθρωπο υιον Θεου λαλειν, υιον τε εχειν τον Θεον, και δη και πεπονθεναι τελον· όθεν αντες ή προληψις της οιησεως αναπειθει απιςειν. Strom. L. i. p. 313. (P.)
11 “ Negant fieri potuisse, ut naturæ immortali quicquam decederet. Negant denique Deo dignum, ut homo fieri vellet, seque infirmitate carnis oneraret; ut passiouibus, ut dolori, ut morti se ipse subjecerit." Instit. L. iv. Sect. xxii. p. 424. (Ρ.) Η “Ην Ιεδαιοι μεν διαβαλλασιν, Ελληνες δε χλευαζεσιν, ημεις δε προσκυνομεν.
De Incarnatione, Opera, I. p. 53. (P.)
* Αλλα, τε Ελληνικας ημιν ανίιλογιας κινεσι, και τας εξ Ιεδαιων βλασφημιας επιφερεσι, χλευαζονίες το μυςηριον της αποστολης το λογα και σαρκωσεως. Contra Sabellium, Opera, I. p. 668. (Ρ.)
11 Ταυτα και νυν ζηλεσι τινες Ελληνικής και Ιεδαικην νοσον νοσενίες, και μη παραδεχομενοι, μηδε πιςευονίες όλως σωμαλεσθαι Θεον, αλλο λογισμοις ανθρωπινοις, και φιλονεικεια, και φιλοσοφια Ελληνικη γνωναι, και καλαλαβειν μαλλον βελομενοι τα μεγαλα και ακαταληπλα, πως γενναται το ασωματoν πως δε και προεισε και σε o πανταχο ων, και παντα περιεχων, και παντα πληρων, και εκ τ8 σως, και όπως, εις απιςειαν εχωρησαν, και αντι γεννησεως επλασαντο σαιησιν, και αντι προοδε κτισιν, και παροδον κατεσκευασαν. Unum esse Christum, Opera, I. p. 665. (P.)
Chrysostom also says, that “many Heathens, when they hear that God was born in the flesh, laugh at us, and disturb and affright the more simple,” † thinking it unworthy of God. I
of the Controversy relating to the Holy Spirit. It is pretty remarkable, that, notwithstanding the doctrine concerning the person of Christ had been the great subject of controversy ever since the promulgation of Christianity, there is no mention made of any difference of opinion concerning the Holy Spirit, that attracted any notice, till after the commencement of the Arian controversy, and even till after the Council of Nice. Basil observes, that “the doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit, which made so much noise in his time, had not been agitated by the ancients; and because they had been all of the same opinion about it, it had not been settled.”] Now as in all this period it will appear that there were great numbers of Unitarians, (they being the majority of the unlearned Christians among the Gentiles, besides the whole body of the Jewish Christians, who did not believe in any divinity except that of the Father,) and this is never objected to them by their adversaries, who do censure them for not admitting the divinity of the Son, it is evident that the divinity of the Spirit had not been acknowledged even by those who had been deemed orthodox.
Even after the rise of the Arian controversy, many persons expressed themselves concerning the Spirit as if it had no proper divinity, at least of a personal nature, without censure, which could not have been the case, if it had been the uniform doctrine of the orthodox, that the Holy Spirit was a proper divine person, equal to the Son, or the Father. We may conclude, therefore, that it was the doctrine of the divinity of the Son which prepared the way for that of the Holy Spirit. But to enable us to judge from facts, I shall produce passages relating to the Holy Spirit from a considerable number of Christian writers, in the order of time in which they wrote.
Επειδη δε και ο σοφισης Λιβανιο» επιχλευαζων, τον εκ Παλαιςινης, φησιν, ανθρωπον, θεον τε, και Θεου παιδα ποιέσιν. Socratis Hist. L. iii. C. xxiii. p. 203. (P.)
+ Επειδη γαρ πολλοι Ελληνων, ακοοντες ότι Θες» ετεχθη εν σαρκι, καταγελωσι, διασυροντες, και πολλες των αφελεςερων θορυβασι και ταρατίεσι. Ser. Xxxi. Opera, V. p. 476. (P.)
Ampetes sq. Ibid. p. 478. (P.) 5 Επειδη δε το νυν ανακυψαν παρα των αει τι καινολομειν επιχειρονίων ζητημα, παρασιωπηθεν τις παλαι, δια το αναλιρρηλον, αδιαρθρωλον κατελειφθη (λεγω δη το περι τα dryle wyevpatos). Epist. ccclxxxvii., Opera, III. p. 382. (P.)
SECTION I. Opinions concerning the Holy Spirit before the Council of Nice.
The sentiments of the Gnostics, with respect to the Holy Spirit, were never, that we find, much complained of. But indeed, we do not know very distinctly what they were, except that, from their general system, it may be concluded, that if they supposed him to be a person at all, he must have been one of their æons, derived, mediately, or immediately, from the Supreme Being; and this agrees with Athanasius's saying, that “ Valentinus thought the Holy Spirit to be of the same rank with the angels." *
We can have no dependence, as I have shewn, upon any arguments from the writings of the apostolical fathers, except that of Clement, who makes no particular mention of the Holy Spirit. In the book ascribed to Hermus, he is
“ Do not offend the Holy Spirit, lest he intreat God, and depart from thee.” † According to this, the Holy Spirit must have been thought to be a creature dependent
Ignatius, if his epistle to the Ephesians be genuine, considered the Holy Spirit as a power rather than as a person ; for he says, awkwardly enough, “ We are raised upwards by the machine of Jesus Christ, which is his cross, using the Holy Spirit as a rope.” I
Justin Martyr, to whom we are indebted for the first rudiments of the doctrine of the divinity of Christ, says but little concerning the Holy Spirit; and from that little, it is not easy to conclude what his real opinion was. But it is
made to say,
Επειδη τον Θεον και τον Χριςον ωνομασεν, είδα τες αγίελες, αναγκη τους αγΓελοις συναριθμεισθαι το πνευμα, της τε αυτων ειναι συστοιχιας αυτο και αγ. ελον ειναι μειζονα των αλλων πρωτον μεν εν της ασεβειας εςιν Ουαλεντινα τείο ευρημα και ουκ ελαθον ετοι τα εκεινε φθεγμομενοι εκεινος γαρ φησι ότι πεμφθεντος τε παρακληλα, συναπεςαλησαν AUTW os viñokowias auto ay lemos. Epist. Ad. Serapion, Opera, I. p. 185. (P.)
t« Noli offendere Spiritum Sanctum, qui in te habitat, ne roget Dominum, et recedat à te." Mand. x. Sect. iii. p. 97. (P.)
1 Αναφερόμενοι εις τα ύψη δια της μηχανης Ιησε Χριςο, ο εςιν ταυρος, σχοινο χρωμενοι TCU W YEUMATI tu dyq. Sect. ix. p. 14. (P.)
probable that he considered the Spirit as a created being, since he represents him as inferior to Christ. “But him, and the Son who comes from him, and teaches us these things, and the hosts of good angels which follow them, and agree with them,” (meaning, perhaps, other valuable truths of an important nature,) “and the prophetic Spirit, we reverence and adore, honouring them in word and deed.” of Christ as “ the Son of the true God, and to be honoured in the second place,” he says,
" we honour the prophetic Spirit in the third place, with the logos.”+
Irenæus seems to have considered the Holy Spirit as a divine influence, and no proper person. “ By the name of Christ,”
we are given to understand one who anoints, one who is anointed, and the unction with which he is anointed. It is the Father who anoints, but the Son is anointed in the Spirit, which is the unction; as the word says by Isaiah, • The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me;' signifying, the Father anointing, the Son who is anointed, and the unction, which is the Spirit.” I
Again, speaking of the fleece of Gideon, which continued dry, he says, “It is a type of the people, who would afterwards be dry, not having the Holy Spirit from God, as Isaiah
says, * And I will order the clouds that they shall not rain upon thee, but in all the earth there shall be dew,' which is the Spirit of God, which descended upon our Lord; the spirit of wisdom and understanding; the spirit of counsel and might; the spirit of knowledge and piety; the spirit of the fear of God, which he would again give to the church, sending the Paraclete from heaven upon all the earth.”
Theophilus gives us no idea of a person, much less a divine one, when he speaks of the “ spirit that moved upon the face of the water, as something imparted to the creation, to vivify it, as the soul does the body, the spirit being something attenuated, imparted to the water, which is thin and fluid also, that the spirit may nourish the water, and the water added to the spirit may nourish all creation, pervading it.”*
* Αλλ' εκεινον τε και τον παρ' αυτο υιον ελθοντα, και διδαξανία ημας ταυλα, και τον των αλλων επομενων και εξομοιομενων αγαθων αγΓελων σραθον, σνευμα τε το προφητικον σεβομεθα, και προσκυνεμεν, λογω και αληθεια τιμωντες. Αpol. i. p. 11. (Ρ.)
+ Υιον αυτε τα ονlως Θεε μαθονίες και εν δευθερα χωρα εχονίες, πνευμα τε προφητικoν εν τριτη ταξει ότι μετα λογω τιμωμεν. Ιbid. p. 19. (Ρ.)
t" lu Christi enim nomine subauditur qui unxit, et ipse qui unctus est, et ipsa unctio in qua unctus est. Et unxit quidem Pater, uuctus est vero Filius, in Spiritu, qui est unctio; quemadmodem per Esaiam ait sermo: “Spiritus Dei super me, propter quod unxit me;' significans et ungentem Patrem, et unctum Filium, et unctionem, qui est Spiritus." L. iii. C. xx. p. 246. (P.)
$. Quod erat typus populi, ariditatem futuram prophetans; hoc est, non jam habitaturos eos à Deo Spiritum Sanctum, sicut Esaias ait : « Et nubibus mandabo ne pluant super eam; in omni autem terra fieri ros,' quod est Spiritus Dei,qui descendit in Dominum, spiritus sapientiæ et intellectûs, spiritus consilii et virtutis, spiritus scientiæ et pietatis, spiritus timoris Dei: quem ipsum iterum dedit ecclesiæ, iu omnem terram mittens de cælis Paracletum. L. iii. C. xx. p. 244. (P.)
Athenagoras considered the Holy Spirit as an efflux from the Deity, flowing out and drawn into him again at pleasure, as a beam from the sun.t This was that kind of existence that Justin Martyr says some persons ascribed to the divinity of the Son, and which constituted, as I shall shew hereafter, what may be called the philosophical Unitarianism of that age.
Tertullian seems to have thought that the Holy Spirit was derived from Christ, in the same manner as Christ was derived from God, that is, by a kind of prolation. “ The Spirit,” says he, “is the third from the Father and the Son; as the fruit is the third from the root and the branch; as the rivulet is the third from the fountain and the river, and the apex the third from the sun and its beam. For none of these are separated from their sources, from which they derive their properties ; so the Trinity running, by connected degrees, from the Father, is no hinderance to a monarchy, and yet a protection to the economy.” I
In another passage, he seems to confound the Spirit with the logos, supposing the spirit of God by which the Virgin Mary was overshadowed to have been the word. · By not calling him God directly,” he says, “ he means a portion of the whole, which will obtain the name of the Son. This Spirit of God is the same as the word; as John says,
. The word was made flesh.' We also understand the Spirit when the word is mentioned; for the Spirit is the substance of the word, and the word is the operation of the Spirit, and they two are one.”S Eusebius says, that ayos and avaujece,
Πνευμα δε το επιφερομενον επανω τα υδατος και εδωκεν ο Θεος εις ζωογονησιν τη κτισει, καθαπερ ανθρωπω ψυχην, τω λεπτά το λεπτον συγκερασας το γαρ ανευμα λεπτον και το ύδωρ λεπτον, όπως το μεν πνευμα τρεψη το ύδωρ" το δε ύδωρ συν τω πνευμαίι τρεφη την κτισιν, διϊκνομενον πανταχοσε. L. ii. p. 98. (Ρ.)
t Και τοι και αυτο το ενεργεν τοις εκφωνεσι προφητικως άγιον πνευμα, απορροιαν ειναι φαμεν το Θεό, απορρεον και επαναφερομενον, ως ακτινα ηλιο. Αpol. pp. 84, 218. (Ρ.)
1 “Tertius enim est Spiritus à Deo et Filio, sicut tertius à radice fructus ex frutice; et tertius à foute, rivus ex Aumine; et tertius a sole, apex ex radio. Nihil tamen à matrice alienatur, à qua proprietates suas ducit. Ita Trinitas per consertos et connexos gradus à Patre decurrens et monarchiie nibil obstrepit, et æconomiæ statuni protegit." Ad Pruteam, Sect. viii. p. 504. (P.)
$ “ Tamen non directo Deum nominans, portionem totius intelligi voluit, quæ cessura erat in Filii nomen. Hic Spiritus Dei idem erit sermo. Sicut enim Joanne dicente, sermo caro factus est; spiritum quoque intelligimus in mentione sermonis: ita et hic sermonem quoque agnoscimus in nomine spiritus. Nam et spiritus est substantia sermonis, et sermo operatio spiritus, et duo unum sunt.” Ibid. Sect. xxvi. p. 515. (P.)