Abbildungen der Seite

since time began. Bishop Bull himself has omitted Lucian, in his list of writers who testify in favour of eternal generation. Opp. pp. 200—203. .


was bishop of Tyre about the end of the third Century. Only fragments of his works are preserved; and these principally by Photius, in his Bibliotheca. (Cod. 234— 237.)

In his Treatise Ilege twv yevrov, he says, “The beginning we must say, is the Father and Maker of all; from which

sprung the most just Logos."* In his Symposium, he call the Logos “the first begotten of God -who was before the ages,” (or worlds, or perhaps Eons.]7

In another passage, he speaks of him, as “the most exalted and ancient of the Eons, and the first (or head] of archangels.”

Yet this same Methodius, who speaks so exactly in the dialect of Justin, Athenagoras, and others of like sentiments, is cited by Bishop Bull, as clearly teaching the doctrine of eternal generation. 66 Methodiusaeternam Filii ex Patre generationem, verbis veluti Solis radio descriptis, praedicat.” Opp. p. 200. § 7.

What is the evidence ? After quoting the passage adds;

* Την μεν αρχην, αφ' ης αναβλαστησεν ο ορθοτατος λογος, τον narnya xal nointnu twv oluv qataov. Photii Biblotb. ed. Schott.

p. 939.

f Πρωτογονος του θεου- ó Too TWV alwvwv. Sympos. p. 79. edit. Combefisii.

- ην γαρ πρεπωδεστατον τον πρεσβυτατον των αιώνων, και FOWTov Tow ao xayyelow. Ibid. Sympos. p. 79.

from the second Psalm, Thou art my Son, &c, Methodius

“We may observe, that the Son is here spoken of indefinitely and without limitation as to time; For thou art my Son, said the Father to him, not Thou hast become so; thus shewing that his filiation was not newly acquired, and also that he who before existed would not come to an end, but that he always is existent.*

But how he found here the verba veluti Solis radio descripta, I am unable to say. I find no more than what Justin or Tertullian asserts; viz, that his filiation was very ancient, i. e. antemundane; and that he always existed, i. e. as Logos evduateros. The passage first cited shows, with much probability, that Methodius embraced the scheme of the innate Logos, and of his antemundane birth; and if so, what he has said, in the passage cited by Dr. Bull, is easily explained, without any recurrence to the doctrine of eternal generation; while on the other hand, all the quotations from him compared together, render it quite improbable that he embraced the opinion, which the Bishop ascribes to him.

Turning now to the Latin Church again, we light first upon


A distinguished orator and bishop at Carthage, about the middle of the third Century. This father was much more engaged about practical piety than doctrinal knowledge; and his works seldom present us with any

close investigation. He calls the Word and Son of God, “ his power, his understanding, his wisdom, and his glory.”+

* Photii Biblioth. Cod. 237.
| De Idolorum vanitate, p. 228. edit. Baluz.

The only passage, that I have been able to find, where is any

direct intimation of Cyprian's opinion in respect to the generation of the Logos, is the application to him of a quotation out of Sirach 24 : 3; (which book he regarded as canonical.) He quotes it thus: “I came forth from the mouth of the most High, the first born before every creature.9* The manner in which he has turned this


and the fact that he cherished a high respect for Tertullian, and a warm attachment to him, renders it not improbable, as Martini supposes, that he entertained sentiments similar with his.

[ocr errors]


Who wrote a little after the close of the third century, testifies abundantly to his belief that Christ is truly God; but has no passage that I am able to find, where his opinion respecting the point in question is stated.

Passing now from the African Churches to the Italian, we find


Who composed a treatise, about A. D. 256, against Sabellianism. Cyprian, who was very strongly opposed to him, in so far as he embraced the opinion that lapsed Christians were not to be readmitted to Christian communion, concedes, at least tacitly, that he was not heterodox, in his view, on the subject of the Trinity. (Epist.

* Ego ex ore Altissimi prodii, primogenita ante omnem creaturam. Testim. adv. Jud. Lib. II. c. 1. In the Greek, the passage runs thus ; Εγω απο στοματος υψίστου εξηλθον. .

76.) Sozomen testifies directly, that he was heretical oply on the point already mentioned.* We may

well suppose, then, that he has represented, in the Treatise just mentioned, the usual opinions of his time, among the Latin Churches. Let us hear him.

“God the Father-creator—unoriginated, invisible, immense, immortal, eternal, the only God -from whom, when he pleased, the Word his Son was born; which one must not understand of a sound from the

percussion of the air, nor of a voice forced from the lungs, but of a power (virtutis) substantially produced from God- -Therefore, when the Father willed it, he proceded from the Father who was in the Father, &c.”+

This is in entire accordance with Tertullian, and the earlier Greek Fathers already quoted.

. Among the writers of the Italian Church,


Is probably to be reckoned. It is a common opinion that he originated froin Numidia; principally because Jerome aserts, that Arnobius was his teacher. But his Latin style seems strongly to vouch for it, that he was a native of Italy ; for it is very refined, compared with that of the African writers. He was a teacher of rhetoric in Nicomedia, for a considerable part of his life ; and in A. D. 314 or 315, was called by the emperor Constantine the Great, to be the tutor of his son Crispus.

Let us hear him, respecting the point in question. * Sozomen, Lib. VI. c. 24. Novatos τους μεταμελομενους επι τοις αμαρτημασι εις κοινωνιαν πρoσιετο. Και τουτο μονον εκαινοτομεί. .

† Opp. edit. Rigalt. Cap. 31. p. 740.

“ In what manner did God procreate [the Son?] The divine work cannot be understood and fully explained by any one ; but still, the holy Scriptures teach us, by admonishing us, that the Son of God is the Word of God, and that other angels are spirits [breaths.] For a word is breath uttered with a voice signifying something. But since a word and a breath are uttered through different organs, (e. g. the breath proceedst hrough the nostrils, and the word through the mouth,) there is, a great difference between the Son of God and the other angels. They proceeded from God as silent breaths; for they were not created to instruct, but to perform ministerial service. He, indeed, although a spirit too, yet proceeded from the mouth of God, with a noise and sound, j. e, as a word, for the reason he was about to use his voice in addressing the people, i. e. he was to be a teacher of divine doctrines. With propriety, therefore, he is called the Word of God, because God, by his indescribable power, formed into the image of his own majesty, the vocal spirit which proceeded from his mouth, who was conceived, not in the womb but in the mind, and who Aourishes with his own understanding and wisdom, &c.”*

* Quomodo igitur procreavit ?-illum Dei filium Dei esse sermonem, itemque caeteros angelos Dei spiritus esse. Nam sermo est spiritus cum voce aliquid significante prolatus. Sed tamen, quoniam spiritus et sermo diversis partibus proferuntur, (siquidem spiritus paribus, ore sermo procedit,) magna inter hunc Dei filium et caeteros angelos differentia est. Illi enim ex Deo taciti spiritus exierunt; quia non ad doctrinam Dei tradendam, sed ad ministerium creabantur. Ille vero, cum sit ipse spiritus, tamen cum voce et sono ex Dei ore processit sicut verbum, scilicet ea ratione, quia voce ejus ad populum fuerat usurus, i. e. quod ille magister futurus esset doctrinae Dei, &c." lastitutt. IV. c. 8.

« ZurückWeiter »