Page images

of Christ; and indeed, according to his account, it was a very dangerous and hazardous topic. Now,” says he, “ let us awake, and arise. Behold the gates are open to us, but let us enter with great regularity, and with trembling; first passing the outer court. What is the outer court? The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. What is that you say?" says the hearer. “ You promised to discourse concerning the only-begotten Son of God, and now you talk of David, a man who lived a thousand generations ago, and say, that he was his father and ancestor.'

“ Hold,” (says the evangelist,) - and do not expect to learn every thing immediately; but slowly, and by degrees : for you are yet in the outer court, and only near the gate ; and why are you in haste to get into the innermost recess? You have not yet well examined all that is without: for I do not as yet relate to you the generation itself; nor indeed shall I do it after this ; for it is inexplicable and ineffable."

Then reciting the dread that the prophet Isaiah had of the subject, which led him to exclaim, ss Who shall declare his generation ?” he says, “ It is not my business to treat of this generation, but of the earthly one, of which there were ten thousand witnesses ; and concerning this I shall so discourse as the gifts of the Spirit shall enable me: for I cannot even declare this with perfect clearness; for even this is very fearful. Do not, therefore, think that you hear a small thing, when you hear even this generation ; but raise your whole soul, and be full of horror when you hear that God is come upon earth ;" and then he proceeds to describe at large all the awfulness of the incarnation, and the miraculous conception. * But this was far short of the eternal generation from the Father.

και τειραποδων, και ερπετων και φυτων και σπερματων και φως ηρων και βρωματων και λοιπης κτισεως. .

Εγω δε παντα τα απο χρονο και εν χρονο γινομενα καταλειψας λαλησω σερι του αχρονα και ακτινο, του προ πανίων των αιωνων εκ τε πατρος αρρηίως γεννηθενιος Θεου λογου, περι δυ Μωσης ουτος ειπειν ουκ ισχυσεν εγω δε σανία ισχυω εν τω ενδυναμανλι με Χρις. .

Ταυλα εν εαυτο σκεπτομενος και αποςολος Ιωαννης και τον γραφικών καλαμον εν τη χειρι κατεχων, και εννοων πως της θεολογιας αρξηίαι, χαιρων μεν τη ψυχη, τρεμαν δε τη χειρι, μεταρσιος γινείαι, και το σωμαίι εν Εφεσο ων, τη καθαρα καρδια τα πνευματι μετεωρος υπηρχε, και εκ τε πατρικα κολπα την θεολογιας αλιευσας, το σωμαλι κατω εγραφεν, Εν apxin my é horou. De Johanne, Opera,,VI. pp. 606, &c. (P.)

Διαναςωμεν τοινυν και μη καθευδωμεν, ιδε γαρ δρω τας αυλας ημιν ανοιγομενας αλλ' εισιωμεν μεία ευλαξιας απασης και τρομε, των προθυρων αυτων ευθεως επιβαίνοντες. Τινα ပ်း

ταυλα τα προθυρα; Βιβλών γενεσεως Ιησε Χριςο υιε Δαβιδ υια Αβρααμ. Τι λεγεις; Περι του μονογενές υιε τε Θεου διαλεξασθαι επηγειλω, και το Δαβιδ μνημονευεις, ανθρωπο μετα μυριας γενεας γενομενα και αυτος ειναι φης, και πατερα και προγονον επισχες, και μη πανία αθροως ζηλει μαθειν, αλλ' ηρεμα και κατα μικρον εν γαρ τους προθυροις εςηκας ετι

[ocr errors]

« Do not think,” says this writer, « that you understand every thing, when you are informed that he was conceived by the Spirit; for there are many things of which we are yet ignorant, and which we have to learn; as how he who is infinite can be comprehended in a woman ; how he who sustains all things can be carried about by her; how a virgin can bring forth, and remain a virgin.”*

On this subject, which affords so much scope for eloquence, Epiphanius writes as follows: « W herefore the Blessed John coming, and finding men employed about the humanity of Christ, and the Ehionites being in an error about the earthly genealogy of Christ, deduced from Abraham, carried by Luke as high as Adam, and finding the Cerinthians and Merinthians maintaining that he was a mere man, born by natural generation of both the sexes, and also the Nazarenes, and many other heresies ; as coming last, (for he was the fourth to write a gospel,) began as it were to call back the wanderers, and those who were employed about the humanity of Christ; and seeing some of them going into rough paths, leaving the strait and true path, cries, Whither are you going, whither are you walking, who tread a rough and dangerous path, leading to a precipice?

6. It is not so. The God, the logos, which was begotten by the Father from all eternity, is not from Mary only. He is not from the time of Joseph, he is not from the time of Salathiel, and Zorobabel, and David, and Abraham, and Jacob, and Noah, and Adam ; but “ In the beginning was the logos, and the logos was with God, and the logos was God.' The was, and the was, and the was, do not admit of his having ever not been." +

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

παρ' αυτα τα προπυλαια: τι τοινυν σπευδεις προς τα αδυθα: Βπω τα εξω καλως καλωπλευσας απανία ουδε γαρ εκεινην σοι τεως διηγεμαι την γεννησιν" μαλλον δε ουδε την μετα ταυτα ανεκφραςος γαρ και απορρητος.

Την γενεαν αυτε τις διηγησεται ; Οι τοινυν σερι εκεινης ημιν ο λογος νυν, αλλα περι ταυλης της καλω, της εν τη γη γενομενης, της μετα μυριων μαρτυρων, και σερι ταυλης δε, ας ημιν δυνατον ειπειν δεξαμενoις την τε πνευμαίος χαριν, ουτω διηγησομεθα· ουδε γαρ ταυτην μετα σαφηνιας πασης παρατησαι ενι" επει και αυτη φρικώδεςαλη μη τοινυν μικρα νομισης ακέειν, ταυτην ακρων την γεννησιν" αλλ' ανασησον σε την διανοιας και ευθεως φριξον, ακεσας ότι Θεος επι γης ηλθεν, ουτω γαρ τε7ο θαυμασον και παραδοξον ην, ως και της αγίελες χορον υπερ τείων σησανίας την υπερ της κεμενης επι τελους αναφερειν ευφημιαν. In Μatt. i. Opera, VΙΙ. p. 12. (Ρ.)

Μη δε νομισης το σαν μεμαθηκεναι, εκ πνευματG» ακρων, και γαρ πολλα αγνοεμυ

Και τελο μανθανονίες, οιον σως και απειρο- εν μητρα εςιν; Πως ο σπανία συνεχων κεφορειται υπο γυναικος; Πως τικτει η παρθεν@και μενει παρθενο»; Ιbid. p. 81. (Ρ.)

+ Διο και Ιωαννης ελθων ο μακαρια, και ευρων της ανθρωπος ησχολημενες περι την καλω Χριςε παρεσιαν, και των Εβιωναιων πλανηθενίων δια την ενσαρκον Χριςε γενεαλογιαν, απο Αβρααμ καταγομενην, και Λεκα ακαγομενην αχρι του Αδαμ, ευρων δε Κορινθιανες, και Μερινθιανες, εκ παρατριβης αυτον λεγονίας ειναι ψιλον ανθρωπον, και τους Ναζαραιές, και

[ocr errors]

Jerome says, “ John the apostle, whom Jesus loved, the son of Zebedee, and brother of James, who was beheaded by Herod after the death of Christ, wrote his Gospel the last of all, at the entreaty of the bishops of Asia, against Cerinthus, and other heretics, and especially the doctrine of the Ebionites, then gaining ground, who said that Christ had no being before he was born of Mary, whence he was compelled to declare his divine origin.”*

Ambrose says, “If you inquire concerning his celestial generation, read the Gospel of John.”+ “If there be any other things,” says Austin, " which intimate to the intelligent the divinity of Christ, in which he is equal to the Father, John almost alone has introduced them into his Gospel; as having drank more familjarly and more copiously, the secret of his divinity, from the breast of our Lord, on which he was used to lean at meat.” ! On this account he compares John to an eagle. S “ The other evangelists,” he says, “ who treat of the humanity of Christ, were like animals that walk on the earth; but John, contemplating the power of his divinity more sublimely, flies to heaven with the Lord.”ll “ But now, with an open voice, he says, that he is God, and was always with God, laying open the mystery of God.” αλλας πολλας αιρεσεις, ως κατοπιν ελθων, τελαρτο γαρ δυτος ευαγ[ελλιζεθαι, αρχείαι ανακαλεισθαι, ως ειπειν, τες πλανηθενίας, και ησχολημενες περι την καιω Χρις παράσιαν,

λεγειν αυτοις (ως κατοπιν βαινων, και όρων τινας εις τραχειας οδες κεκλικοίας και αφενίας την ευθειαν και αληθινην, ως ειπειν) Ποι φερεσθε, σοι βαδιζετε, δι την τραχειαν οδον και σκανδαλωδη και εις χασμα φερεσαν βαδιζονίες; Ανακαμψατε.

Ουκ εςιν έτως, ουκ εςιν από Μαριας μονον ο Θεος λογου, και εκ πατρα ανωθεν γεγεννημενο», ουκ εςιν απο των χρονων Ιωσηφ τα ταυλης ορμας, ουκ εςιν απο των χρονων Σαλαθιηλ, και Ζοροβαβηλ, και Δαβίδ, και Αβρααμ, και Ιακωβ, και Νωέ, και Αδαμ, αλλ' Εν αρχή ην ο λογος, και ο λογο» ην προς τον Θεον, και Θεος ην ο λογος το δη ην, και ην, και ην ουχ υποδεχεται το μη ειναι αποτε. Hær. Ixix. Sect. xxiii. Opera, I.

Another passage in this writer, in nearly the same words, may be seen, pp. 438, 434. (P.)

" Joannes apostolus quem Jesus amavit plurimum, filius Zebedæi, frater Jacobi postoli, quem Herodes post passionem Domiui decollavit, novissimus omnium, scripsit evangelium, rogatus ab Asiæ episcopis, adversus Cerinthum, aliosque hære. ticos et maxime tunc Ebionitarum dogma consurgens,, qui asserunt Christum ante Mariam non fuisse, unde et compulsus est divinam ejus naturam edicere." Opera, J. p. 279. (P.)

t “ At vero de cælesta generatione si quæris, lege evangelium sancti Joannis." In Luc. C. ii. Opera, II. p. 26. (P.)

1" Et si qua alia sunt quæ Christi divinitatem, in qua æqualis est Patri, recte intelligentibus intiment, pene solus Johannes in evangeliu suo posuit: tanquam de pectore ipsius Domini, super quod discumbere in ejus convivio solitus erat, secretum divinitatis ejus uberius et quodammodo familiarius biberit,De Consensu Evangelistarum, L. i. C. v. Opera, IV. p. 374. (P.)

§ Ibid. pp. 528, 529. (P.)

ll “Cæteri quippe evangelistæ, qui temporalem Christi nativitatem et temporalia ejus facta, quæ gessit in homine, sufficienter exponunt, et de divinitate pauca dixerunt, quasi animalia gressibilia cum Domino ambulant in terra : bic autem pauca de temporalibus ejus gestis edisserens, sed divinitatis potentiam sublimius contemplans, cum Domino ad cælum volat." In Johun. Pref. Opera, IX. pp. 5, 275. (P.)

9 “ Nunc autem aperta voce dicit eum esse Deum, et semper fuisse apud Deum,


p. 747.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

A very particular and copious account of the pre-eminence of John, in consequence of his teaching the doctrines of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ, which had been omitted by the other evangelists, may likewise be seen in the epistle of Paulinus, which I put in the notes.

Cyril of Alexandria says, that “ John was the first who taught more sublime things.”+ Marius Mercator # says, that “the three former evangelists, having spoken of Christ as a man, John shewed him to be God.” Š

Cosmas Indicopleutes, || describing John as theologus, and the chief of the evangelists, says, that “ He wrote to supply the defects of the former evangelists, and especially in preaching clearly the divinity of Christ, making that the foundation of his work, all which had been omitted by the others. Wherefore, beginning at his divinity, he immediately passed to his humanity.”

“ John," says Nicephorus, " did not give an account of the carnal generation of Jesus, but he first taught his divinity; this being reserved for him, as the most worthy, by the Holy Spirit.” **

“Wherefore, John,” says Theophylact, “ began with the divinity of Christ. For whereas others had made no men

“ Idem ultra omnium tempora apostolorum, ætate producta, postremus evangelii scriptor fuisse memoratur, ut sicut de ipso vas electionis ait, quasi columna firmamentum adjiceret fundamentis, ecclesiæ, prioris evangelii scriptores consona auctoritate confirmans, ultimus auctor, in libri tempore, sed primus in capite sacramenti, quippe qui solus è quatuor fluminibus ex ipso summo divini capitis fonte decurrens, de nube sublimi tonat: In principio erat verbum, et verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat verbum: transcendit Moysen, qui usque ad caput mundi et visibilium creaturarum exordia scientiæ terminos, et faciem mentis extendit. Iste et evangelistis cæteris, vel ab humano Salvatoris ortu, vel à typico legis sacrificio, vel à prophetico præcursoris Baptistæ præconio, resurrectionis evangelium exorsis, altius volans penetravit et cælos. Neque in angelis stetit, sed archangelos quoque et omnes desuper creaturas, virtutes, principatus, dominationes, throuos, supergressus, in ipsum se creatorem ardua mente direxit, et ab illa ineffabili generatione ordiens, et coæternum et consubstantialem, et co-omnipotentem, et co-opificem Patri Filium nunciavit." Ad Amandum, p. 213. (P.)

+ " Joannes theologus, tonitrui filius, cui divina dignatione concessum, supra dominicum pectus recubuerit, indeque nobis sublimiora ac divina hauserit dogmata: cum excellentem erga nos Dei benignitatem commendare vellet, primumque quæ diviniora sunt dixisset, utpote ista, In principio erat verbum.” Hom., Opera, II. p. 75. (P.)

I "Ami de St. Augustin, écrivit contre les Nestoriens et les Pélagiens, et mourut vers 451." Nouv. Dict. Hist. IV. p. 486.

§ “ Post quam præfationem subdescendens, ut ostenderet quem illi tres evau: gelistæ hominem scripserant, esse etiam Deum.” Opera, p. 165. (P.)

|| " Moine du sixième siècle, voyagea en Ethiopie, et composa une Topographie Chrétienne." Nouv. Dict. Hist. II. p. 313.

I Εξαιρετως δε και σερι της θεοτητος τα Χριςο φανερως κηρυξας, θεμελιον της αυτου συγγραφης αυτω προταξας άπερ απανία παραλελειμμενα τοις άλλοις ην αρξαμενος τοινυν απο της θεοτητος, μετεληλυθεν ευθεως και επι την ανθρωπότητα αυτε. De Mundo, L. v. Montfaucon's Collectio, II. p. 248. (P.)

Της δε θεολογιας καταρχεται, δια τινος κρειττονος προς τα θεια πνευματος ταμιευ.


» *

[ocr errors]

tion of his existence before the ages, he taught that doctrine, Jest the logos of God should have been thought to be a mere man, without any divinity.” Again,” he says, “ John wrote lest men should never think highly concerning Christ, and imagine that he had no being before he was born of Mary, and that he was not generated from God the Father, which was the case with Paulus Samosatensis.”+ John,” he says, “ has more lofty things of Christ than any other of the evangelists, so he has recorded some of a lower nature ; to shew that, as he was God, so he was truly man."$

Lastly, an account of John's teaching the pre-existence and divinity of Christ, may be seen in the orations of Nicetas the Paphlagonian.

The late introduction of the doctrine of the divinity of Christ is observed by the emperor Julian. He says, that " none of Christ's disciples, except John, said that he made the heavens and the earth, and that not clearly and plainly.”||


Reflections on the Subject. After reading these testimonies, so copious and so full to my purpose, and uncontradicted by any thing in antiquity, it is not possible to entertain a doubt with respect to the opinion of the Christian fathers on this subject. They must have thought that the doctrines of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ had not been preached with any effect before the writing of John's Gospel; and, consequently, that before that time the great body of Christians must have been Unitarians; and they are far from giving the least hint of any of them having been excommunicated on that account. On the other hand, the apprehension was, lest those who

Έπει γαρ

οι αλλοι ουκ εμνησθησαν σερι της προ αιωνων υπαρξεως το Θεου λογου, αυτό» εθεολογησε σερι ταυλης, ένα μη νομισθειη ο τε Θεου λογοψιλος ανθρωπος ειναι. In Μatt. Pref. 1. pp. 1, 2. (P.)

* Δεος μεν ην μη ποτε τινες χαμαιπείεις και μηδεν υψηλον νοησαι δυναμενοι, νομισωσι τον Χριςον τοτε πρωθον εις υπαρξιν ελθειν οτε απο Μαριας εγεννηθη, και ουχι προ αιωνων εκ του Πατρος γεννηθηναι, και πανίων σεπονθε Παυλό» ο Σαμοσατευς.

In Johan. C. i. I. p. 553. (P.)

Eπει γαρ σαρα σαντας τες ευαγγελιςας υψηλοτερα σερι του κυρια φθεγξεται, και θεολογει μεγαλα τινα, δια τε7ο και εν τοις σωματικούς πολυ ταπεινοτερα φθεγεται· όθεν και εν τω πενθει πολυ το ανθρωπινον εχειν φησιν, απο τela δεικνύων της σαρκος την αληθειαν, ένα συ μαθης ότι ει δε Θεος ην, αλλα και ανθρωπος ην. In Johan. ii. Ι. p. 726. (Ρ.)

$ Combefis Auctuarium, I. p. 362. (P.)

Η Ως δε υμεις θελετε, τον ερανον και την γην απεργασαμεν εν ου γαρ δη ταυλα τελολμηκε τις ειπειν σερι αυτο των μαθητων, ει μη μον. Ιωαννης, ουδε αυτος σαφως ουδε τρανως. Cyr. Con. Jul. L. yi. Juliani (nere. Il n. 213.

« PreviousContinue »