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CHAP. the saints of the Nitrian desart, relinquished, with many a XLVII. tear, his darling prejudice; and bewailed, like an infant, his unlucky conversion, which had stolen away his God, and left his mind without any visible object of faith or devotion.” III. Double III. Such were the fleeting shadows of the Docetes. A nature of - - - conths, more substantial, though less simple hypothesis, was contrived by Cerinthus of Asia,” who dared to oppose the last of the apostles. Placed on the confines of the Jewish and Gentile world, he laboured to reconcile the Gnostic with the Ebionite, by confessing in the same Messiah the supernatural union of a man and a God: and this mystic doctrine was adopted with many fancisul improvements by Carpocrates, Basilides, and Valentine,” the heretics of the Egyptian school. In their eyes, Jesus of Nazereth was a mere mortal, the legitimate son of Joseph and Mary; but he was the best and wisest of the human race, selected as the worthy instrument to restoreupon earth the worshipofthe true and supreme Deity. When he was baptised in the Jordan, the CHRIST, the firstofthe aeons, the Son of God himself, descended on Jesusinthe form of a dove, to inhabit his mind, and direct his actions during the allotted period of his ministry. When the Messiah was delivered into the hands of the Jews, the Christ, an immortal and impassible being, forsook his earthly tabernacle, flew back to the pleroma or world of spirits, and left the solitary Jesus to suffer, to complain, and to expire. But the justice and generosity of such a desertion are strongly questiona13 Ita estin oratione senex mente confuses, eo quod illam avowwowop for imaginem Deitatis, quam proponeresibi in oratione consueveral aboleride suo corde sentiret, ut in amarissimos fletus, crebrosque singulous repente prorumpens, in terram prostratus, cum ejula il validissimo proclamarèt; “ Heune miserum!” tulcrum! a me 10eum meum, et quem nunc teneam non habeo, vel quemadorem, autinterpellem jam mescio. Cassian, Collat. x. 2. 14 St. John and Cerinthus (A. D. 80. Cleric. Hist. Eccles. p. 493.) accidentally met in the public bath of Ephesus; but the apostle fled from the heretic, les: the building should tumble on their heads. This foolish story, reprobated by Dr. Middleton (Miscellaneous Works, vol. ii), is related however by Irenaeus (iii. 3), on the evidence of Polycarp, and was probably suited to the time aud residence of Cerinthus. The obsolete, yet probably the true, reading of 1 John iv. 3... ovel row Invey....alludes to the double nature of that primitive heretic. 15 The Valentinians embraced a complex, and almost incoherent, system. 1. Both Christ and Jesus were acons, though of different degrees; the one acting as the rational soul, the other as the divine spirit of the Saviour. 2. At the time of the passion, they both retired, and left only a sensitive soul and an human body. 3. Even that body was etherial, and perhaps apparent....Such are the laborious conclusions of Mosheim. But I much doubt whether the Latin trans
law” understood Ireuxus,and whether Irneaus and the Valentinians understood themselves.
le; and the fate of an innocent martyr, at first impelled, and chAP. at length abandoned, by his divine companion, might pro- **** voke the pity and indignation of the profane. Their murmurs were variously silenced by the sectaries who espoused and modified the double system of Cerinthus. It was alleged, that when Jesus was nailed to the cross, he was endowed with a miraculous apathy of mind and body, which rendered him insensible of his apparent sufferings. It was affirmed, that these momentary, though real pangs, would be abundantly repaid by the temporal reign of a thousand years reserved for the Messiah in his kingdom of the new Jerusalem. It was insinuated, that if he suffered, he deserved to suffer; that human nature is never absolutely perfect; and that the cross and passion might serve to expiate the venial transgressions of the son of Joseph, before his mysterious union with the Son of God.” IV. All those who believe the immateriality of the soul, IV. Divine
a specious and noble tenet, must confess, from their present." experience, the incomprehensible union of mind and matter. maris. A similar union is not inconsistent with a much higher, or even with the highest degree, of mental faculties; and the incarnation of an aeon or archangel, the most perfect of created spirits, does not involve any positive contradiction or absurdity. In the age of religious freedom, which was determined by the council of Nice, the dignity of Christ was measured by private judgment according to the indefinite rule of scripture, or reason, or tradition. But when his pure and proper divinity had been established on the ruins of Arianism, the faith of the Catholics trembled on the edge of a precipice where it was impossible to recede, dangerous to stand, dreadful to fall; and the manifold inconveniencies of their creed were aggravated by the sublime character of their theology. They hesitated to pronounce; that God himself, the second person of an equal and consubstantial trinity, was manifested in the flesh;" that a being who pervades the uni
16 The heretics abused the passionate exclamation of “My God, my God, “why hast thou forsaken me!” Rousseau, who has drawn an eloquent, but indecent parallel, between Christ and Socrates, forgets that not a word of impatience or despair escaped from the mouth of the dying philosopher. In the Messiah, such sentiments could be only apparent; and such ill-sounding words are properly explained as the application of a psalm and prophecy.
17 This strong expression might be justified by the language of St. Paul (1tim. iii. 16); but we aredeceived by our modern bibles. The word 3 (which)
verse, had been confined in the womb of Mary; that his eternal duration had been marked by the days, and months, and years of human existence; that the Almighty had been scourged and crucified; that his impassable essence had felt pain and anguish; that his omniscience was not exempt from ignorance; and that the source of life and immortality expired on mount Calvary. These alarming consequences were affirmed with unblushing simplicity by Apollinaris,” bishop of Laodicea, and one of the luminaries of the church. The son of a learned grammarian, he was skilled in all the sciences of Greece; eloquence, erudition, and philosophy, conspicuous in the volumes of Apollinaris, were humbly devoted to the service of religion. The worthy friend of Athanasius, the worthy antagonist of Julian, he bravely wrestled with the Arians, and Polytheists, and, though he affected the rigour of geometrical demonstration, his commentaries revealed the literal and allegorical sense of the scriptures. A mystery which had long floated in the looseness of popular belief, was defined by his perverse diligence in a technical form; and he first proclaimed the memorable words, “One incarnate nature of Christ,” which are still re-echoed with hostile clamours in the churches of Asia, Egypt, and Aothiopia. He taught that the Godhead wasunited ormingled with the body of a man; and that the Logos, the eternal wisdom, supplied in the flesh the place and office of an human soul. Yet as the profound doctor had been terrified at his own rashness, Apollinaris was heard to mutter some faint accents of excuse and explanation. He acquiesced in the old distinction of the Greek philosophers, between the rational and sensitive soul of man; that he might reserve the Logos for intellectual functions, and employ the subordinate human was altered to Wies (God) at Constantinople in the beginning of the sixth century: the true reading, which is visible in the Latin and Syriac versions, still exists in the reasoning of the Greek, as well as of the Latin fathers; and this fraud, with that of the three witnesses of St. John, is admirably detected by Sir Isaac Newton. (See his two Letters translated by M. de Missy, in the jourmal Britannique, tom, xv. p. 148.190 351.390.) I have weighed the arguments, and may yield to the authority of the first of philosophers, who was deeply skilled in critical and theological studies. 18 For Apollinars and his sect, see Socrates, l. ii. c. 46. l. iii. c. 16. Sozo. men, l. v. c. 18. 1. vi. c. 25. 27. Theodoret, 1. v. 3. 10, 11. Tillemont, Memoires Ecclesiastiques, tom. vii. p. 602.638. Not. p. 789.794 in quarto, vemise, 1732. The contemporary saints always mention the bishop of Laodicea as a friend and brother. The style of the more recent historians is harsh and principle in the meaner actions of animal life. With the mo- chAP. derate Docetes, he revered Mary as the spiritual, rather than **** as the carnal, mother of Christ, whose body either came from heaven, impassible and incorruptible, or was absorbed, and as it were transformed, into the essence of the Deity. The system of Apollinaris was strenuously encountered by the Asiatic and Syrian divines, whose schools are honoured by the names of Basil, Gregory, and Chrysostom, and tainted by those of Diodorus, Theodore, and Nestorius. But the person of the aged bishop of Laodicea, his character and dignity, remained inviolate; and his rivals, since we may not suspect them of the weakness of toleration, were astonished, perhaps, by the novelty of the argument, and diffident of the final sentence of the Catholic church. Herjudgment at length inclined in their favour; the heresy of Apollinaris was condemned, and the separate congregations of his disciples were proscribed by the Imperial laws. But his principles were secretly entertained in the monasteries of Egypt, and his enemies felt the hatred of Theophilus and Cyril the successive patriarchs of Alexandria. V. The groveling Ebionite, and the phantastic Docetes, v. Orthowere rejected and forgotten: the recent zeal against the er- o o rors of Apollinaris, reduced the Catholics to a seeming verbaidis. agreement with the double nature of Cerinthus. But instead P'o' of a temporary and occasional alliance, they established, and we still embrace, the substantial, indissoluble, and everlasting union of a perfect God, with a perfect man, of the second person of the trinity with a reasonable soul and human flesh. In the beginning of the fifth century, the unity of the two natures was the prevailing doctrine of the church. On all sides, it was confessed, that the mode of their co-existence could neither be represented by our ideas nor expressed by our language. Yet a secret and incurable discord was cherished, between those who were most apprehensive of confounding, and those who were most fearful of separating, the divinity, and the humanity, of Christ. Impelled by religious frenzy, they fled with adverse haste from the error which they mutually deemed most destructive of truth and salvation. On either hand they were anxious to guard, they were jealous to defend, the union and the distinction of the two natures, and to invent such forms of speech, such symbols
hostile; yet Philostorgius compares him (I. viii. c. 11...15.) to Basil and Gre-
Cyril patriarch of
of doctrine, as were least susceptible of doubt or ambiguity.
Alexandria versial story, and the title of saint is a mark that his opinions
A. D. 412, Oct. 18.... A. D. 444, June 27.
and his party have finally prevailed. In the house of his uncle, the archbishop Theophilus, he imbibed the orthodox lessons of zeal and dominion, and five years of his youth were profitably spent in the adjacent monasteries of Nitria. Under the tuition of the abbot Serapion, he applied himself to ecclesiastical studies, with such indefatigable ardour, that in the course of one sleepless night, he has perused the four gospels, the catholic epistles, and the epistle to the Romans. Origen he detested: but the writings of Clemens and Dionysius, of Athanasius and Basil, were continually in his
19 I appeal to the confession of two Oriental prelates, Gregory Abulpharagius the Jacobite primate of the East, and Elias the Nestorian metropolitan of Damascus (see Asseman. Bibliothec. Oriental. tom. ii. p. 291. tom. iii. p. 514, &c.), that the Melchites, Jacobites, Nestorians, &c. agree in the doctrine, and differ only in the expression. Our most learned and rational divines...Basnage, Le Clerc, Beausobre, La Croze, Mosheim, Jablonski...are inclined to favour this charitable judgment; but the zeal of Petavius is loud and angry, and the moderation of Dupin is conveyed in a whisper.