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the Word and of the Holy Ghost, by which the Catholic faith is much strengthened, and the Father, the Son and the HolyGhost are proved to be one and the same substance of the Deity.” By these words he not obscurely alludes to the Marcionites or Arians, who designedly erased this verse from all the copies they could get into their hands; for they well understood that by that one testimony their cause was undone. With a like perfidy, St. Ambrose, (lib. ii de spiritu sancto cap. 10.) reproachcs the Arians, who had expunged these words from the Scriptures: “Because God is a Spirit,” “ Which passage, says the holy doctor addressing the Arians, you so well know to be understood of the Holy Ghost, that you have erased it from the copies of your scriptures, and would to God! you had only expunged it from your's and not also from those of the church.”
CXX. But Unitarians, forced as they are by the above authorities to admit the genuineness of this palmary text, still expect to come off victorious. Let it be so as you pretend, say they, let the said passage be authentic, still our cause remains antouched ; for the unity of which there is question in that seventh verse, is a unity not of essence and nature, but only of will and consent, an unity like unto that which Christ asked for his disciples, in St. John xvii, saying, “ that they all may be one as thou art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us;" but Christ assuredly did not ask here a unity of essence and nature with the Father, of which they were incapable, but only a unity of charity and concord, therefore Christ himself had no other unity with the Father than that of charity and concord.
To this we answer that Christ did not ask for his disciples the unity of nature, but the unity of charity and concord, of which only they were capable, and that the particle as does not always import a perfect equality, but any similitude or likeness whatsoever, as it is clear from this passage, Matth. v. 48. “Be ye therefore, perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect."
CXXI. The Unitarian not yet satisfied, urges further, and pretends that the unity, of which the 7th verse of St. John is speaking, is nothing more than a unity of testimony, like unto that, of which direct mention is made in the 8th verse, “ And there are three that give testimony on earth ; the Spirit, and the Water, and the Blood ; and these three are one:” that is to say, one, not in essence, but in testimony ; because they equally give testimony of Christ that he is the truth. Therefore, the Father, and the Word, and the Holy Ghost are said to be one, because they conspire in one and the same testimony about Christ.
The answer will be quite easy, if we contrast the two texts with each other. The 8th verse in the Greek text runs thus, 66 x oi traño sis tò év cíos :” And these three are into one. On the contrary, of the Father, of the Word, and of the Holy Ghost, it is said in the 7th verse, “ rij oTTOS os tgtis sv síos" and these three are one.” The true and genuine meaning, therefore, of the 7th and 8th verses is pointed out by the very different wording of the texts, and can be no other than this: there are six that give testimony to Christ that he is the Son of God and the true Messiah: three in Heaven, and three upon earth. In heaven the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three, as to understanding, essence, and testimony are one; three on earth, viz: the water of baptism which washes away sins; the Blood, which was shed in the passion of Christ, and by which the world was redeemed; and the gifts of the Holy Ghost, which were so abundantly communicated to the faithful: and these three witnesses are one thing, as to the perfect concord of their testimony.
Sixth proof, from the authority of the Fathers of the Church.
CXXII. There is no tenet in the Christian doctrine, on which the fathers of the church are more explicit and unanimous than the trinity of persons and the unity of nature in God.
In the first age of the church this mystery is clearly taught by St. Clement of Rome in his epistle to the Corinthians.
In the second age by St. Justin in his second apology for the Christians, by St. Polycarp, disciple of St. John the Evangelist, in the prayer which he addressed to God before his martyrdom, by Athenagoras in his legation for the Christians.
In the third age by St. Irenæus every where in his books against heresies; by Tertullian in his book against Praxeas; by St. Gregory Thaumaturgus in his profession of faith ; by St. Dionysius of Alexandria in his epistle against Paul of Samosata ; by St. Dionysius, Pontiff of Rome, in his epistle against the Sabellians, which St. Athanasius relates in his book on the decrees of the Council of Nice. And these fathers, without controversy, flourished before the Council of Nice.
After the time of the Council of Nice, in the very great number of fathers, we scarce are able to meet with one, that has not professed his faith on the present mystery in an am. ple and unequivocal manner. St. Athanasius in his books on the synods and on the decrees of the Council of Nice, in his oration against the Arians, &c. St. Hilary in his books on the Trinity, on the Psalms, on St. Matthew, &c. St. Basil in his book on the Holy Ghost, in his work against Eunomius, in his book against the Sabellians, the Arians, the Anomæans. St. Gregory Nazanzien in his oration against the Eunomians.St. Gregory Nyssen in the books on the Mystery of the Trinity. St. Ambrose, in his book on the Holy Ghost, and in another on faith. St. Augustin in his books on the Trinity, and against Maximinus, &c. St. Cyril of Alexandria in his works against Julian the apostate, &c.
We have omitted, to avoid too great prolixitiy, quoting the very words of the Holy Fathers, but if the leasi doubt were entertained about the correctness of our quotations, their passages shall be given at full length.
Seventh proof, from the authority of the Councils and Synods
of the Church.
CXXIII. St. Dionysius of Alexandria, in a Synod held at · Alexandria, about the middle of the third century, the first council of Antioch, held in the year 264 under the Holy Pon. tiff Dionysius, and the second celebrated in the year 279, proscribed the impious doctrine of Paul of Samosata, and the Ecumenic council of Nice in the year 325, condemned the blasphemy of Arius by these words of the symbol, “ We believe in one God the Father Almighty, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son, born of the Father before all ages, begotten, not made, consubstantial to the Father, and in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and lifegiver."*
This doctrine of the general council of Nice was approved of and confirmed in the famous council of Sardis in the year 347, in the first general council of Constantinople in the year 381, and by other general councils ; in fine, in the symbol which goes under the name of St. Athanasius, although it is generally agreed among the learned, that this father was not the author of i:, but which still is of the greatest authority because of its high antiquity, the faith of the church is thus announced, “ The catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance, for there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost, but the Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.”+
Respecting the above symbols of the general councils of Nice, of Constantinople, and that which bears the name of St. Athanasius, I have only to observe, that from the time
* « Πισέυομεν εις ένα θεόν πατέρα παντοκράτορα, πάντων ορατων τε και αοράτων ποιητών, και εις ενα Κύριον Ιησού Χριστόν, τον υιον τ8 θεά γενη θέντα, εκ του πατρος μονογενή, τετέστιν εκ της Ασίας του πατρός, θεόν εκ τα θεϊ, φώς εκ φωτός, θεόν αληθινον εκ θες αληθινά, γενηθέντα και ποιηθέντα, ομοεσιον τω πατρι, δι και τα πάντα εγένετο, τά τε εν τω έρανω και τα εν τη gyñ . . . xaneis TÒ TvEūLO Tò cy.or." Symbol Nicæn. Socrates lib. 1. Hist. Ecclesiast. cap. 8. Vide Collect. Council, Labbe et Harduin.
† Fides Catholica hæc est, ut unum Deum in Trinitate, et Trinitatem in unitate veneremur, neque confundentes personas, neque substantiam separautes; alia est enim Persona Patris, alia Filii, alia Spiritus Sancti ; sed Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti una est Divinitas, æqualis gloria, coæterna Majestas.
they were edited, they made a part of the public divine worship through the whole Christian world, hence the reader may easily infer, what was the public and solemn belief of the church of Christ for the space of at least 1500 years, and the man, with whom the authority of the whole Christian world, for such a lapse of ages, has less weight than the “ ipse dixit” of a few individuals of the eighteenth century, must be destitute not only of religion, but even of plain common sense.
Eighth proof from the constant and perpetual Tradition of the
CXXIV. This tradition appears first from the incontestable fact, that those who denied the trinity of persons, the divinity of the Son, or of the Holy Ghost, or the unity of the divine nature, were, in all past ages, held by the church of God for heretics: so when Praxeas, towards the end of the second century, came to Rome under Pope Zephirinus, and publicly taught that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost were but one and the same person under three different names, he was compelled to abjure this his impious novelty, as Tertullian relates in his book against Praxeas, first chapter. So the whole church in the second and following ages, rose up against Ebion, Artemon, Paul of Samosata, as we learn from Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria to Alexander, Bishop of Constantinople, as is related by Theodoret.*
The church, therefore, had also professed the same doctrine in the preceding ages, as we may gather from the manner in which the fathers of the council of Antioch speak, “We have resolved to publish in writing, and to explain the faith, which we have received from the beginning, and which we
* 0. warna tho awortodoxeno evoeßão doćno xatnyopšvteo &c. Την θεοτητα τη σωτηροσ ημων αρνεμενοι, και τοισ σασιν ισον ειναι κηρυσGOYTECH" “ Men who contradict tbe holy apostolical doctrine by denying our Saviour's Godhead, and preaching that he is equal to other men." Theodoret lib. 1. cap. 4.