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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.13 III. Double III. Such were the fleeting shadows of the Docetes. A nature of Cerinthus, more substantial, though less simple hypothesis, was con

trived 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 fanciful improvements by Carpocrates, Basilides, and Valentine, 15 theheretics 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 restore upon earth the worship ofthe true and supreme Deity. When hewas baptised in the Jordan, the CHRIST, the first ofthe zons, the Son of God himself, descendedon Jesus in the 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 questiona

13 Ita est in oratione senex mente confuses, eo quod illam arbgw solop Por imaginem Deitatis, quam proponere sibi in oratione consueverat aboleri de suo corde sentiret, ut in amarissimos fletus, crebrosque singulcus repentè prorumpens, in terram prostratus, cum ejulatù validissimo proclamaret : “ Heu me miserum !” tulerunt a me Deum meum, et quem nunc teneam non habeo, vel quem adorem, aut interpellem jam nescio. 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 Hed from the heretic, lest the building should tumble on their heads. This foolish story, reprobated by Dr. Middleton (Miscellaneots Works, vol. ii), is related however by Irenæus (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.. ôavel Tov 1978y....alludes to the double nature of that primitive heretic.

15 The Valentinians embraced a complex, and almost incoherent, systein. 1. Both Christ and Jesus were æons, though of different degrees; the one acing as the rational coul, 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 ætherial, and perhaps apparent....Such are the laborious conclusions of Mosheim. But I much doubt whether the Latin iranslator understood Irenæus,and whether Irneæus and the Valentinians understood themselves.

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ble; and the fate of an innocent martyr, at first impelled, and CHAP. at length abandoned, by his divine companion, might pro

XLVII. 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. 16

IV. All those who believe the immateriality of the soul, IV. Divine a specious and noble tenet, must confess, from their present of Apolli

incarnation experience, the incomprehensible union of mind and matter. naris. A similar union is not inconsistent with a much higher, or even with the highest degree, of mental faculties; and the incarnation of an æon 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;17 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 (1 Tim. iii. 16); but we are deceived by our modern bibles. The word 8 (which) VOL. VI.


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CHAP. verse, had been confined in the womb of Mary; that his eter-
XLVII. nal 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 ex-
pired on mount Calvary. These alarming consequences
were affirmed with unblushing simplicity by Apollinaris, 19
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 de-
voted to the service of religion. The worthy friend of Atha-
nasius, 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 popu-
lar belief, was defined by his perverse diligence in a tech-
nical 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
Æthiopia. He taught that the Godhead was united or mingled
with the body of a man; and that the Logos, the eternal wis.
dom, 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 0sos (God) at Constantinople in the beginning of the sixth cen.
tury: 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 jour.
nal Britannique, tom. xv. p. 148...190351...390.) I have weighed the argu-
ments, and may yield to the authority of the first of philosophers, who was
deeply skilled in critical and theological studies.

18 For Apollinaris and his sect, see Socrates, 1. ii. c. 46. 1. iii.c. 16. Sozo. men, I. v. c. 18. 1. vi. c. 25. 27. Theodoret, I. v. 3. 10, 11. Tillemont, Me. moires Ecclesiastiques, tom. vii. p. 602...638. Not. p.789...794. in quarto, Venise, 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 hostile ; yet Philostorgius compares him (I. viii. c. 11...15.) to Basil and Gregory.

principle in the meaner actions of animal life. With the mo- CHAP. derate Docetes, he revered Mary as the spiritual, rather than XLVII. 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

dox con

sent and rors of Apollinaris, reduced the Catholics to a seeming verbal disagreement with the double nature of Cerinthus. But instead putes. 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


CHAP. of doctrine, as were least susceptible of doubt or ambiguity. XLVII. The poverty of ideas and language tempted them to ransack

art and nature for every possible comparison, and each comparison misied their fancy in the explanation of an incomparable mystery. In the polemic microscope, an atom is enlarged to a monster, and each party was skilful to exaggerate the absurd or impious conclusions that might be extorted from the principles of their adversaries. To escape from each other, they wandered through many a dark and devious thicket, till they were astonished by the horrid phantoms of Cerinthus and Apollinaris, who guarded the opposite issues of the theological labyrinth. As soon as they beheld the twilight of sense and heresy, they started, measured back their steps, and were again involved in the gloom of impenetrable orthodoxy. To purge themselves from the guilt or reproach of damnable error, they disavowed their consequences, explained their principles, excused their indiscretions, and unanimously pronounced the sounds of concord and faith. Yet a latent and almost invisible spark still lurked among the embers of controversy: by the breath of prejudice and passion, it was quickly kindled to a mighty flame, and the verbal disputes 19 of the Oriental sects have shaken the pil

lars of the church and state. Cyril patri- The name of Cyril of Alexandria is famous in controAlexandria versial story, and the title of saint is a mark that his opinions A. D. 412, and his party have finally prevailed. In the house of his unOct. 18.... A. D. 444, cle, the archbishop Theophilus, he imbibed the orthodox June 27. 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

arch of

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...Bas. nage, 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,

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