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Father, and the deity of the Son, but does not assert the deity of the Holy Ghost—and why is it that the earliest charge against the philosophizing Christians was that of introducing a second God, if there was already a second divine person acknowledged, and therefore the true charge should have been that of introducing a third ? It is remarkable that the same very learned writer, the late Professor Burton, who is the great Trinitarian authority upon these subjects, after having resolved the absence of controversy into the possible absence of doubt as to the deity of the holy Ghost, records the very first instance in which the Holy Spirit is introduced into a doxology of the Church as taking place in the fourth century. He quotes Philostorgius the Arian historian, who declares, “that Flavianus of Antioch, having assembled a number of monks, was the first to shout out, Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the holy Spirit; for before his time some had said, Glory to the Father, through the Son in the holy Spirit, which was the expression in most general use; and others, Glory to the Father, in the Son and holy Spirit."* Gibbon relates this matter thus. He is speaking of a temporary triumph of the Arians over the Athanasians, and of the means employed by the Athanasian laity to manifest their unwilling acceptance of the Arian Bishops. « The Catholics,” says the historian, “ might prove to the world, that they were not involved in the guilt and heresy of their ecclesiastical governor, by publicly testifying their dissent, or by totally separating themselves from his communion. The first of these methods was invented at Antioch, and practised with such success, that it was soon diffused over the Christian world. The doxology, or sacred hymn, which celebrates the glory of the Trinity, is susceptible of very nice, but material inflections; and the substance of an orthodox or heretical creed, may be expressed by the difference of a disjunctive or
See Forrest on the origin and progress of the Trinitarian Theology, p. 40.
a copulative particle. Alternate responses, and a more regular psalmody were introduced into the public Service by Flavianus and Diodorus, two devout and active laymen, who were attached to the Nicene faith. Under their conduct, a swarm of monks issued from the adjacent desert, bands of well-disciplined singers were stationed in the cathedral of Antioch, the Glory to the Father, and the Son, AND the Holy Ghost, was triumphantly chaunted by a full chorus of voices : and the Catholics insulted, by the purity of their doctrine, the Arian prelate, who had usurped the throne of the venerable Eustathius." Out of such disorders in the Church, from the rebellious device of laymen to insult an heretical Bishop, sprung the doxology of our present creeds.
It is very instructive to look a little closely into some of the passages from the early Fathers which are brought by Trinitarians as evidence of the recognition of their doctrines by the primitive Church. There is unquestionably much vague language that will readily coalesce with the conceptions of a modern orthodox believer ; but as soon as you examine with any strictness, you find that though they use language very loosely, nothing could be further from their modes of thinking than modern orthodoxy. For instance, we find the Son and the Holy Spirit mentioned as objects of a Christian’s reverence—but it is very remarkable how many of these cases occur when the writers are defending themselves against a charge of Atheism, as if they were desirous when repelling such charge to show how many sources of veneration their religion disclosed. The early Christians who believed in only one God were called Atheists by the Heathens. To believe in only one God was in their estimation the next thing to believing in none at all. Those who believed in many gods were likely enough to call the Christians Atheists, just as in the present day lecturers in Christ Church call Unitarianism a God denying Heresy.* In vindicating them
. See the Rev. F. Ould's dedication of his Lecture.
selves against this dangerous calumny the early Christians were naturally led to extend rather than to diminish their objects of worship, and accordingly in a passage quoted by Professor Burton, from the earliest Father on whom dependence can be placed, we find not only the Son and the Spirit, but interposed between the Son and the Spirit, the angels of Heaven, associated together in their reverence. Hence the passage is quoted by Roman Catholics in support of the worship of Angels. And if it is good for the one purpose, it is equally good for the other; nay, if it is any proof of the separate deity of the Holy Spirit, it is equally proof of the deity of the angels who are mentioned before him. The passage is from Justin Martyr whom Professor Burton places A. D. 150. “ Hence it is that we are called Atheists: and we confess that we are Atheists with respect to such reputed gods as these : but not with respect to the true God, the Father of justice, temperance, and every other virtue, with whom is no mixture of evil. But Him, and the Son who came from Him and gave us this instruction, and the host of the other good angels which attend upon and resemble them, and the prophetic Spirit we worship and adore, paying them a reasonable and true honour, and not refusing to deliver to any one else, who wishes to be taught, what we ourselves have learnt."* There is another passage from Justin Martyr, also given by Burton as evidence of the early recognition of the Trinity, but which is manifestly nothing more than the natural anxiety of the writer when meeting a charge that perilled his life, the charge of Atheism, to show the full extent of his sentiments of reverence. “ That we are not Atheists,” says Justin Martyr, “who would not acknowledge, when we worship the Creator of this Universe, and Jesus Christ who was our instructor in these things, knowing him to be the Son of this true God, and assigning to him the Second place. And I shall prove presently, that we honour the prophetic Spirit in
• Burton, Theol. Works, vol. ii. 2nd part, p. 16.
the third rank, and that we are reasonable in so doing.”* Now let it be recollected that these two passages, extending as far as possible the objects of a Christian's reverence, occur in Justin Martyr's Apology for Christianity against its Gentile oppressors, in which he complains that the Christians were treated as Atheists, and unjustly punished for not worshipping the gods. I shall only quote one other passage exhibiting the modes of thinking respecting the Holy Spirit among the early Fathers. It is from Origen, A. D. 240, perhaps the most eminent of them all, and shows clearly, notwithstanding the frequent vagueness and obscurity of their writings, how far they were removed from modern Trinitarianism, and that their forms of thought were derived from Platonism much more than from Christianity, or more strictly from Platonism engrafted on Christianity. He is speaking of the Son, and commenting on those words at the beginning of St. John's Gospel—" all things were made by him.”
“ If it is true,” says Origen,“ that all things were made by him, we must inquire whether the Holy Ghost was made by him: for as it seems to me, if a person says that the Holy Ghost was made, and if he grants that all things were made by the Logos, he must necessarily admit that the Holy Ghost was also made by the Logos, the latter preceding him in order of time. But if a person does not choose to say that the Holy Ghost was made by Christ, it follows that he must call him unproduced, if he thinks that this passage in the gospel is true. But there may be a third opinion, beside that of admitting that the Holy Ghost was made by the Logos, and that of supposing him to be uncreated, namely, the notion of there being no substantial individual existence of the Holy Ghost distinct from the Father and the Son. We, however, being persuaded that there are three hypostases (persons), the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and believing that nothing is unproduced beside the Father, adopt this as the more pious and the true opinion, that all things being
• Burton, p. 21.
made by the Logos, the Holy Ghost is more honour all of them, and more so in rank than all the things w were made by the Father through Christ. And pernap, is the reason why he is not called the very Son of God, being only one who by nature and origin is Son, viz. the only begotten, who seems to have been necessary to the Holy and to have assisted in forming his hypostasis, not only he might exist, but also that he might have wisdom, a reason, and righteousness, and whatever else we suppose n to have, according to his participation in those qualities which we have before mentioned as attributed to Christ. “ Such,” says Burton, “is this extraordinary, and I must add unfortunate passage of Origen, which I have quoted ac length, and have endeavoured to translate with the utmost fairness. If the reader should decide from it that Origen did not believe in the eternity of the Holy Ghost, he will think that the enemies of Origen were not without grounds when they questioned his orthodoxy. It is not my intention entirely to exculpate him. He is at least guilty of indiscretion in entering upon such perilous grounds and in speculating so deeply upon points which after all must elude the grasp of human ideas and phraseology.” Professor Burton calls this passage “ unfortunate,” for no reason that we can see, except that it discloses too plainly Origen's ignorance of Modern Trinitarianism, and shows too clearly in what sense we are to understand the Platonic language of the Fathers.
There are two modes of proof by which Trinitarians under take to establish the separate existence of the Holy Spirit as a third person in the godhead. The first mode is by interences from such passages of scripture as seem to attribute the titles and offices of deity to the Holy Spirit. The secon method of proof is by independent considerations of Theology which profess to demonstrate the necessity of a third person the godhead in order to compleat the work of man's vation.
initarians say, that Scripture both calls the Holy Spirit