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every creature, the Wisdom, and the Word, and the power of God, before the ages, not by foreknowledge, but in substance and in person, God, the Son of God, as we have learned in the Old and the New Testament, we confess and preach. But whoever says the contrary, that the Son of God was not before the constitution of the world, and who says that to believe and confess him to be God, is nothing else but to preach two Gods, and who preaches that the Son of God is not God-such an one we judge to be alien from the ecclesiastical rule of faith, and all the Catholic Churches agree with us. For of him it is written : 'Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom,' &c.
The whole of this epistle, which is very long, consists of an extensive discussion of Scripture, establishing, on the single authority of the Sacred Volume, the whole Trinitarian doctrine.
From the fifth Book of Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. chap. 23. of Rev. Mr. Cruse's translation, p. 213. we insert the following passage, which bears directly on the point in question.
In a work written against the heresy of Artemon,’ saith Eusebius, which heresy Paul of Samosata again attempted to revive among us, there is a narrative well adapted to the history we are now investigating. This writer, not long since, in refuting the heresy mentioned,
πρὸ αἰώνων ὄντα, ου προγνώσει· ἀλλ ̓ ὀυσίᾳ καὶ ὑποστάσει Θεὸν, Θεοῦ υἱὸν ἔντε πάλαιᾳ καὶ νέᾳ διαθήκῃ ἐγνωκότες ὁμολογοῦμεν καὶ κηρύσσομεν· ὁς δ ̓ ἂν ἀντιμάχεται τὸν ὑιὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ Θεὸν μὴ εἶναι πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμε, πιστεύειν και όμολογεῖν φάσκων δύο Θεούς καταγγέλλεσθαι, ἐὰν ὁ ὑιὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ θεὸς κηρύσσηται, τοῦτον ἀλλότριον τοῦ εκκλησιαστικοῦ κανόνος ἡγόνμεθα, καὶ πᾶσαι ὧι καθολικαὶ ἐκκλησίαι συμφωνοῦσιν ἡμῖν· περὶ γάρ τούτε γέγραπται· ὁ θρόνος σου ὁ Θεὸς εις τὸν ἀιῶνα τοῦ αιωνος· ῥάβδος ἐυθύτητος ἡ ῥάβδος τῆς βασιλείας σου. κ. τ. λ.
which asserts that Christ is a mere man, since its leaders wish to boast as if it were the ancient doctrine, besides many other arguments that he adduces in refutation of their impious falsehood, gives the following account: For they assert,' says he, that all those primitive men, and the Apostles themselves, both received and taught these things as they are now taught by them, and that the truth of the Gospel was preserved until the time of Victor, who was the thirteenth Bishop of Rome from Peter. But that from his successor Zephyrinus, the truth was mutilated. And perchance what they say might be credible, were it not that the holy Scriptures contradict them and then, also, there are works of certain brethren older than Victor's times, which they wrote in defence of the truth, and against the heresies then prevailing. I speak of Justus, and Miltiades, and Tatian, and Clement, and many others, in all of which the Divinity of Christ is asserted. For who knows not the works of Irenæus and Melito, and the rest, in which Christ is announced as God and man? Whatever psalms and hymns were written by the brethren from the beginning, celebrate Christ, the Word of God, by asserting his Divinity. How, then, could it happen, since the doctrine of the Church has been proclaimed for so many years, that those until the time of Victor preached the Gospel after this manner. And how are they so devoid of shame to utter these falsehoods against Victor, well knowing that Victor excommunicated that currier Theodotus, the leader and father of this God-denying apostacy, as the first one that asserted Christ was a mere man. For had Victor entertained the sentiments which their impious doctrine promulgates, how could he have expelled Theodotus the inventor of this heresy?'
Let these extracts, out of volumes of similar testimony,
suffice to show that the Christian Fathers before the Council of Nice, believed in the Trinity, and rested their belief on the Bible, using the same arguments, in substance, which are used at the present day. We shall now apply to the history of that celebrated Council, in order to ascertain whether the very same principle was not adopted there.
The long and elaborate address of the Emperor Constantine before the Council, has been preserved, in which he maintains strongly the orthodox doctrine, and concludes in these words:
(e) The books of the Evangelists and Apostles, as also the oracles of the ancient Prophets, teach us evidently what we ought to think of the Deity. All seditious contention, therefore, being driven away, let us determine the matters in dispute, by the testimonies of the divinely inspired Scriptures.' (Mansi. Concil. tom. 2. 817.)
Now let us ask, where should Constantine, a convert from heathenism, learn to recommend an appeal to Scripture as the only authority on this very question, if such were not the universal doctrine of his day? The opposition of the Arians to the Trinity, as including the proper Deity of Christ and of the Holy Spirit, was the very cause why Constantine assembled this Council. And if the orthodox Fathers were accustomed to defend their doctrine by any other authority than that of Scripture, how should. Constantine, their patron, recommend that Scripture alone should decide the question? In precise accordance to his advice, accordingly, we find the Council of Nice declaring as follows: (Comment. Gelas. Cyzicen. cap. 12. apud. Mansi. Concil. tom. 2. p. 825.)
(e) Ευαγγελικαὶ γὰρ βίβλοι, καὶ ἀποστολικαὶ, καὶ τῶν παλαιῶν προφητῶν τὰ θεσπίσματα σαφῶς ἡμᾶς ἅπερ χρη περὶ τοῦ θείου φρονεῖν ἐκπαιδεύουσι τὴν πολεμοποιὸν οὖν ἀπελάσαντες ἔριν, ἐκ τῶν θεοπνεύστων λόγων λάβωμεν τῶν ζητουμένων την λύσιν,
(f)· The Deity is not one person, as the Jews suppose, but three persons, truly subsisting, and not in name alone, and this is set forth BY MANY TESTIMONIES IN THE OLD AND THE NEW TESTAMENT. For the Old Testament, revealing the truth in a corporeal manner, exhibited the Word as if speaking, but the New Testament demonstrated him to be God the Word, according to that passage, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' &c.
The same principle of Scriptural interpretation appears in the following beautiful and eloquent passage from the answer made by Eusebius Pamphilus, in the name of the other Fathers, to the Arian philosopher, who inquired how the eternal generation of the Son of God could be. ib. p.
(g)· Seek not how, Ο philosopher, for, as we have often repeated to you, and have testified from the beginning of our disputation, you seek to plunge down a precipice, when you strive to investigate what is inscrutable. If it were lawful to seek how the unbegotten Father subsists, then it might be lawful to seek how the begotten Son can be his offspring. But if you do not yet abandon this idle question, 'How can he be begotten?' we counsel you not to seek
(f) ̔Η θεότης ουχ ἓν πρόσωπόν ἐστι, κατά την τῶν Ιουδαίων ὑπόληψιν, ἀλλὰ τρία πρόσωπα καθ ̓ ὑπόστασιν ἀληθινῆν, ουκ ὀνόματι ψιλῶ· δε τοῦτο μαρτυρίαις πολλαῖς ἀπό τε παλαιᾶς καὶ νέας διαθήκης κηρύττεται· ἡ μὲν παλαια κατὰ τὸν σωματικώτερον ἔτι τρόπον διαλεγομένη, λόγον ὡς λαλούμενον παρέστησεν· ἡ δὲ καινη τὸν λόγον Θεὸν ἀπέδειξε, κατὰ τό· ἐν ἀρχῃ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος· κ. τ. λ.
(g) Μη ζήτει πῶς φιλόσοφε· εἰ δέ μη, καθὰ ἤδη διὰ πλειόνων ἔιρηταί σοι, καὶ ἐν ἄρχη τῆς διαλέξεως διεμαρτυράμεθα· ὅτι κρημνίσαι σεαυτὸν σπουδάζεις, διερευναν πειρώμενος τὰ ἀνεξερεύνητα· ἐν μὲν γὰρ ἐνδέχεται ζητεῖν πῶς ὁ ἀγέννητος, ενδέχεται καὶ ζητεῖν πῶς καὶ ὁ γεγεννημένος· ἐκ δὲ οὐ καταλείπεις ζήτησιν, πῶς γεγέννεται· μη ζήτει τὰ ἀνερεύνητα, οὐ γὰρ ἑυρίσκεις· τὰ εὑρισκόμενα ζήτει, καὶ εὑρίσκεις· ἐὰν γὰρ ζητῃς, παρὰ τίνος
what is inscrutable, for you will not find it. For if you
should seek, from what can you learn? From the earth ? It was not in existence. From the sea? The sea was not yet created. From the heavens ? They were not made. From the sun, or moon, or stars ? They were not fashioned. From the Angels or Archangels? They were not yet in being; for the Son himself was the maker of them. But will you ask the ages? The only begotten Son was before all ages. Do not then seek, from these things which were not always in existence, for the knowledge of the mystery which is eternal. The unbegotten Father is ineffable— the Son ineffably begotten of him, is also ineffable. Be silent, therefore, on this question ; “How ?’and leave it to him who begat, and to him who was begotten. For the Father alone knoweth who the Son is, and the Son alone knoweth who the Father is, and he to whom the Son will reveal him, as saith the Scripture,' &c.
But lest it might be supposed that the Council of Nice was so intent upon the Trinity, that they forgot the Unity of God, we add the following passage, where the doctrine is laid down very clearly. See p. 864, of the same work. · The Answer of the Holy Fathers, by Leontius the Bishop.’
(h) ‘Inexplicable, incomprehensible by the mind or thoughts, and not to be penetrated by the human intellect, is that Divine and ineffable Nature, which is above all, and
ἔχεις μαθεῖν ; παρὰ τῆς γῆς; ουχ ὑφίστατο. παρὰ θαλάσσης; ουδέπω ἐκέκτιστο ἡ ἱργά. παρὰ ὀυρανοῦ ; ουκ ἦν ποιηθείς. παρὰ ἡλίου καὶ σελήνης καὶ ἄστρων ; ὀυδέπω δεδημιούργηντο. παρὰ ἀγγέλων καὶ ἀρχαγγέλων ; οὐδέ πω ἦσαν, ἐπείπερ καὶ ἀυτῶν ποιητης ὁ υἱος· ἀλλὰ παρὰ ἀιώνων ; πρὸ αἰώνων ὁ μονογενης. μη ἐξέταζε τὰ μη ἀεὶ ὄντα περὶ τοῦ ἀεὶ ὄντως. ἄῤῥητος, ἀγεννητος ὁ πατήρ· ἄῤῥητος, ἀῤῥήτως γεγεννημένος ἐξ ἀυτοῦ ὁ ὑιός· σιώπησον περί του πῶς, και παραχώρει τετο τῳ λεγεννηκότι, και τῳ γεγεν σημενῳ ὁ γὰρ πατηρ μόνος γινώσκει τὸν ὑιὸν τὶς ἐστι, καὶ ὁ υἱος τὸν πατέρα, καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν βούλεται ὁ υἱὸς ἀποκαλύψαι, καθά φησι τὸ ἐυαγγέλιον ἀυτοῦ.
(h) Ανέκφραστός ἐστιν, ἐπείπερ καὶ ἀπερινόητος, καὶ ἀνεπιλύγιστος, καὶ πάντη ἀνεξιχνίαστος ἡ θεία καὶ ἄῤῥητος ὀυσία ἐκείνη, ἡ τὰ πάντα ὑπές