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<s« should be thought to introduce many ct gods j where, though he fays, one and "one, he does not put them together, and ** fay two, but only one and one. Such is "the caution of the scriptures. • On this "account he makes no mention of the "Spirit, lest he should seem to be a poly"theist*." ■» Such abundant evidence as this, when there is nothing to oppose to it (and many more passages to the fame purpose might, I doubt not, be collected, if it could be thought that they were at all wanting) must surely satisfy all the impartial, that, in the opinion of the christian Fathers, the doctrines of the prc-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 first
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conversion 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 considered 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.
Of 'John being thought to have been the first who clearly and boldly taught the doSlrines of the Pre-existence and Divinity of Christ.
this is an article of considerable consequence, I shall produce a redundance of evidence in support of it j nothing being, better calculated to satisfy us, that, in the opinion of the christian Fathers, the doctrines of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ were not generally received in the life-time of the other apostles; and, therefore, that simple unitarianism could not have been considered as any heresy in the early ages.- These authorities I shall produce, as I have generally done others, nearly in the order of time in which the writers flourished. I shall only first observe, that John seems to have got the title of SEo*oy©-, divine, from this circumstance, of his teaching the doctrine of the divine logos, which was supposed to be peculiar to him. This | appellation