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“ from the Grecian mythology, added these “ things, speaking in low terms for their “ advantage *.”
According to Ecumenius, those whom John, in his first epistle, addresses as children, were those who were acquainted with the humanity of Christ only, as the grown men were those who knew his divinity. Of the latter he says, that “ they knew him “ that was from the beginning. But who “ is from the beginning, but God the logos, " who was in the beginning with God?” He represents him as explaining his own meaning in the following manner : “ Since “ I knew that you will receive my writings “ according to the difference in your ages, I “ must measure my doctrine according to your ages,
and discourse with some as children “ who know the Father,” he means God the Father only; “ but to others as fathers, who “ know more than the children, and not as “ the father only, but as without origin and “ unsearchable, for he was in the begin“ ning. To these I must address more per
* Ο μεν εν θειος αποτελος την εκ της Ελληνικής μυθολογιας φυομενην υφορωμενος βλαβην, ταυλα προςεθεικε, ταπεινόθεριος χρησαμενος
3. p. 201.
« “ fect discourses *.” Inconsistently, however, with this, he says, that “ by those who “ deny the Son, in this epistle, are meant
they who say that Christ was a mere “ man ;” and yet he says, that “ by thofe “ who denied that Jesus was the Christ, were meant the Gnostics.”
Theophylact, commenting on 1 Cor. i. 8. says, “ Since Paul was writing to the « Greeks, who worthipped many Gods, " and many Lords, on this account he “ does not call the Son God, left they " should think there were two Gods, as
being accustomed to polytheism. Nor « did he call the Father Lord, left they
should think there were many Lords. “ For the same reason he made no mention
* Oις και εχειν την γνωσιν τα απ αρχης μαρτυρεί και τις δε ο απ αρχης και ει μη ο θεος λογος, ος ην εν αρχη προς τον θεον. Επει 80 φησιν ετως υμας οιδα κατα τας των ηλικιων διαφορας δεξoμενες τα παρ' εμε γραφομενα, αναικη καμε παραμετρησαι τη διαθεσει της ηλικιας υμων την διδασκαλιαν, και τοις μεν ως παιδιους επεγνωκοσι τον πατερα (λεγει δε τον θεον) διαλεχθηναι. τοις δε ως πατρασιν, οι πλεον εχεσε των παιδιων κατα την γνωσιν, το μη ως πατερα μονον επεγκωκεναι, αλλα και ως αναρχος και αδιεξιτητος . ην γαρ εν αρχη . τείοις δε και τελευθερων αξιον σαραθεσιν ποιησασθαι λογω . In John, Opera, Vol. 2. p. 579.
“ of the Holy Spirit, sparing the weakness “ of his hearers ; as the prophets do not “ mention the Son clearly, on account of “ the Jews, left they should think of a “ generation with passion *.” In his Commentary on i Col. i. 12. he observes, that “ Paul mentions giving thanks to the Fa" ther only. He does the same,” he says, “ in the epistle to the Corinthians, bring“ ing them gradually to the doctrine con“ cerning the Son t."
The fame writer, in his Commentary on ị Tim. ii. 5. There is one God, and one mediator between God and Man, the man Cbrift Fejus, says “ he does not speak plainly “ concerning the deity of Christ, because "“ polytheism then abounded, and left họ
* Αλ' επειδη προς ελληνας ην ο λογος αυλω, πολυθειαν πρεσβευονίας και πολυκυριόζα • δια τεο, δε και τον υιον θεον ειπον, ίνα μη δυο θεος νομισωσιν, αε αολυθεια ενιθισμενοι • ελε και τον πατέρα κυριον, ίνα μη πολλες κυρίες και σας ημιν είναι δοξωσι. Δια ταύτην δε την αίλιαν, δε τε σνευμαλος εμνήσθη ενθαυθα, φείδομενος της αθενειας των ακιονΙων· ωσπερ και οι προφήται τε υιε σαφως και μεμνηνήαι, δια της 18d4185, iva un turan vouiswi Thy JEVGIV. Opera, vol. 2. p. 226.
+ Ουτω και εν τη σος Κορίνθεις σοιεί. Ηρεμα δε ομοιβαζει αυτες εις τον περι υιέ λογον, Vol. 2. p. 631.
e should be thought to introduce many “ gods ; where, though he says, one and “ one, he does not put them together, and say two, but only one and one.
Such is “ the caution of the scriptures. : On this « account he makes no mention of the “Spirit, left he should seem to be a polyu theift * "
Such abundant evidence as this, when there is nothing to oppose to it (and many more passages to the same purpose might, I doubt not, be collected, if it could be thought that they were at all wanting) muft surely satisfy all the impartial, that, in the opinion of the christian Fathers, the doctrines of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ were considered as being of such a nature, as that it would not have been
prudent to risk the communication of them either with Jews or Gentiles, on their firft
• Ουκ ειπε δε φανερως και πέρα της θεοτητος τα χρισε, εσει και πολυθεια τοτε εκρατει, και να μη νομισθη και αυτος πολλες θεας παρεισαγειν. οπεγε δε το, εις και εις, οταν λεγηται, προσήκει συντιθέναι, και λέγειν δυο, αλλά εις και δις. τοσαυτη γαρ η ευλαβεια της γραφής και δια τετο εκ εμνησθα καιδε τα πνευματος, ινα μη δοξη πολυθεος ειμαι.
Vol. 2. P. 757
conversion to christianity. And the plain inference from this is, that the orthodox Fathers must necessarily have supposed, that the christian church, in general, was at first unitarian, and that it continued to be so a considerable time. For none of them say, or hint, when this caution on the
part of the apostles ceased ; and they represent them as using it in the very latest of their writings, as in those from Paul after his confinement at Rome, and therefore not long before the destruction of Jerusalem. At that time, therefore, they must have thought that the great body of christians were unitarians, and without being conGidered as heretics on that account.
But the most decisive proof of this is their universally concluding, that the doctrines of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ were never taught clearly and explicitly till it was done by John, in the introduction to his gospel, which they supposed to have been published among the last of the books of the New Testament, and after the death of the other apostles.
CH A P.