Obrazy na stronie

to Maximus, bishop of Alexandria, Eusebius* gives this epistle in these words. “Receding from the rule of faith, say they, he passed over to an impious and spurious doctrine; and whereas he was before poor and a beggar, and had no property at all, either left by his parents or acquired by any kind of business, he had now accumulated immense wealth, through crimes, sacrileges, and extortions practised on his brethren. He abolished the psalms that were used to be sung to the honour of our Lord Jesus Christ, as novel and recently composed by men, and had hymns sung to his own praise, on Easter day, by a number of women, in the midst of the church.” He that wishes to know more about the profligacy of his manners, is referred to the epistle just mentioned.

His impious error chiefly consisted in asserting that Christ had not always been, and had not existed before the blessed virgin Mary, and that of course, he was not true God. All this we learn from St. Hilary,t from the above epistle of the second council of Antioch,I and from Marius Mercator.|| This unhallowed system was greedily adopted by the Socinians, and in our days by the Unitarians.

Two councils were held at Antioch against this heresiarch. The first, in the year of our Lord 264, when St. Dionysius filled the chair of St. Peter at Rome. In this council, diligent investigation was made into his doctrine ; but feigning himself orthodox, and giving hopes of amendment, the crafty innovator escaped for this time, the sentence of condemnation; but in the next council of Antioch, assembled against

* Euseb. L. 7. ch. 30. 08 de adoOTHO T8 xavOVOO & CT1 mi@onnecy yo ba did acrylata meteanaudsy, odev det -x. T. 2.- potepov weyno ww xj. στωχοσ-σαρα σατερων ααραλαβων μηδεμιαν ευνοριαν μητε εκ τεχνησ η τινοσ επιτηδευματοσ κτησαμενοσ, νυν εισ νσερβαλλοντα σλετον εληλακεν εξ ανομιων κιεροσυλιων--Ψαλμοσ δε τεσ μεν εισ τον κυριον ημων Ιησεν Χριστον σαυσασ, ωσ δη νεωτερεσ και νεωτερων αν δρων συγγραμματα εισ αυτον δε εν μεση της εκκλησια τη μηγαλη τε Πασχε ημερα ψαλμωδειν γυναικασ σαρασκευων.

+ Lib. de Synodia. Apud. Euseb. Tom. 2. page 128.

him in the year 270, at which eighty bishops were present, “ Paul, the forger of that nefarious heresy at Antioch, was convicted, says Eusebius,* and being manifestly found guilty by all of a false dogma, he was lopped off from the whole Catholic church diffused all over the globe." In his place was chosen Domnus, a man adorned with all that became a bishop. But as he refused to quit the house of the bishop, “ the Empe-, ror Aurelius was applied to, who most judiciously settled the business, by commanding that possession of the house should be given to those, to whom the Italian 'bishops of the Christian religion, and the Roman pontiff should adjudge it. After this manner, this innovator was, with the greatest ignominy, driven out from the church by the secular power." See Eusebius in the place just quoted. With such public and solemn facts staring the Unitarians in the face, it must appear more than surprising to hear them unblushingly assert, that the belief in the divinity of Christ, was not the common doctrine of the primitive ages of the church.

Arius, from whom the Arians came. XC. Arius, born in that part of Lybia, which borders on Egypt, and is subject to Alexandria, as we learn from St. Epiphavius, attacked the divinity of the Eternal Word, Jesus Christ, with unbridled effrontery. He was of a most crafty turn of mind, a lover of novelties, and initiated in all the Dialectic subtleties. He first adhered to the schism of Meletius, but having renounced it, he was ordained deacon by by St. Peter, bishop of Alexandria, but as he returned again to Meletius, he was cut off from the church by the same Peter of Alexandria, with other schismatics ; but having again crept into the church upon the demise of St. Peter, he was ordained priest, and made curate of some parish. At last when he saw that Alexander had been preferred before him

* Euseb. Lib. 7. c. 29. AwgcOgo, xoro aspoo a WAVtwy non ca@wo XATOγνωσθεισ ετεροδοξιαν ο τησ κατα Αντιοχειαν αιρεσεωσ αρχηγοσ, τησ νσο τον ερανον καθολικησ εκκλησιασ ασοκηρυττεται No. IV.


to the episcopal dignity of Alexandria, bursting with ambition and envy, he broke out into open heresy against the divinity of the Word, in the year of our Lord 317. His error was immediately condemned by Alexander, who had succeeded St. Peter, but not extinguished. Hence Constantine the Great deputed Osius, bishop of Corduba, a prelate of great authority and prudence to Alexandria, in order to extinguish this fire that had just broken out, but to no purpose ; for the audacity and impiety of Arius increasing every day more and more, the Church was compelled to convoke the first of all (Ecu. menical councils, the council of Nice, in Bythinia, in the year of our Lord 325, in which Arius and his adherents were condemned, the divinity of the Eternal Word was asserted, and the word of 89105, consubstantial, inserted in the symbol. The Nicene fathers being struck with horror at this new. impiety, the Arians, with a view of declining the odium of such impi. ous doctrine, undertook to soothe its harshness, and so branched out into three different sects; pure and rigid Arians, Semiarians, and a third class, who were neither the one nor the other. - The Arian doctrine was identically the same with that of the Unitarians, viz. that the Word had not always been, but had been made out of nothing, and that, of course, Christ was a mere creature.*

Photinus. XCI. Photinus, bishop of Smyrna, disciple of Marcellus, of Ancyra, taught,t that Christ, even as the Word, had had his beginning from Mary, and that he had not existed before her, for which impiety he was deposed from his see by Basil, of Ancyra, the chief head of the Semiarians, in a council at Smyrna.

* See the Epistle of Alexander to the bishops of his province, in Socrates lib. 1. Hist. cap. 6. p. 10. et. 11.

+ Marius Victorinus, lib. 2, contra Ariut. S. Leo, Serm. 4. de Nativ. Christi, cap. 6.

Michael Servetus. XCII. Servetus, a Spaniard, and physician by profession, wrote, in the year 1531, seven books, which he entitled, On the Errors of the Trinity. He was such an impious and abandoned wretch, that Bucer did not hesitate to pronounce him from the pulpit worthy to be torn in pieces. Calvin had him condemned and burnt alive, at Geneva, with his writings, in the year 1553, on the 27th day of October.

Valentin Gentilis. XCIII. Servetus had for companion of his impiety, Valen. tin Gentilis, an Italian, who, by a feint repentance, got out of the prison, into which Calvin had thrown him at Geneva, and after having made some stay in Savoy, was called to Poland by Blandrata and Alciatus, and continued there till they fell out among themselves : for Alciatus turned out Mahometan, and Blandrata took up a new impiety of a certain Francis David. Valentin Gentilis, after various flights from country to country, was at last beheaded for his impiety by a decree of the Senate of Berne, in Switzerland.

en The Socinians. XCIV. Lælius Socinus, a nobleman of Sienna in Italy, extended the principles of the reformation, which he had at first imbibed, to such length, as to overthrow the whole system of revelation; for after having thrown off the authority of the church, and having no other rule of faith left than his own reason, he carried it as far as it could go, viz : till he had torn away from the Christian system, all that his reason could not conceive, and, of course, all mysteries, exactly after the same manner and on the same principle, as the Unitarians in our days reject all the mysteries of religion. After various travels and expulsions, he died at last at Zurich in Switzerland, in the year 1562. He was a man of a most petulant genius, of a very intemperate criticism, and extraordinarily fond of dialectic and grammatical quibbles. His nephew, Faustus Socinus, propagated the sect chiefly through Tran

sylvania in Poland. He and his disciples were so detested every where, that they no sooner arrived in any country than they were banished by public authority.*

Socinus imbibed as it were the venom of all former heretics, and endeavoured to revive or resuscitate from their embers, their long-since forgotten errors. His doctrine on the Trinity was as follows: He taught,

XCV. 1st. That in God there were not three distinct persons, but that there was one only God, as to nature and person. The same was taught by Valentinus, Praxeas, Noetus, Sabellius, &c.

2d. That the Father only was that one, supreme, eternal, and immutable God, one not only in nature, but also in person ; that the Word of the Father, or the Son, was a mere creature created out of nothing, although more noble than other creatures. This was the very dogma of the Arians..

3d. That Christ was a pure man, begotten after the common manner of other men, by Joseph and Mary; who of course existed not before he was born of Mary, except in the mind of God by his foreknowledge. Cerinthus, Ebion, Paul of Samosata, and Photinus bad taught the same. »

4th. That Christ notwithstanding may be called God, not indeed as to nature, but as to grace and adoption, on account of the excellent power and virtue with which the Father had endowed him.

5th. That Christ, indeed, was resuscitated by God and sent into the world for the salvation of mankind, but that he did not, properly speaking, atone for the sins of mankind.

6th. That, finally, the Holy Ghost was not a true person in God, but only God's power and efficacy; no two systems can be more like each other than this and the Unitarian are.

I shall conclude this paragraph with the beautiful remark of Eusebius on the jarring sects, which the spirit of error raised from the very commencement of the Church against the above mysteries : “By these artifices the devil did by no

* The remains of Socinus were dug up in 1658, and, being brought to the frontiers of Little Tartary, were, by being discharged froin a cannon, cast disgracefully into the land of the Infidels.

« PoprzedniaDalej »