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It was customary, as we shall see, to represent the doctrine of the trinity as fome, thing sublime, and of difficult apprehension ; and therefore fit for persons of ripe understanding, and deep reflection; of which on that account, even the christians of the first ages were allowed to be ignorant, and the common people in general, till a much later period. It was natural, therefore, to alledge this, also, as another reason why the Jews, living in the infant age of the world, should not have this sublime and difficult leffon taught them. “ The Jews," says Eusebius, “ were not taught the doc“ trine of the trinity, on account of their “ infant state *.” Basil gives the same accountt. Cyril of Alexandria, says, “ The
επαγέι δε τεοίς, ως πανσοφως ο σωτηρ τοις μεν ρήμασιν εταπεινολογειτο, και την της θεοτητος συνεσελλεν αυγήν, τοις εγοις δε ταυτης της εσκευαζεν ασραηεις, και οι αυτων ιδοκει κηρυττεσθαι της σαιτοκρατορικής δυναμεως το αξιωμα. Photii. Bib. feet, 222. p. 619.
* Και τα νηπιαζοντί των Ιεδαίων λαω. Ec. Theol. lib. 2. cap. 18, p. 130.
+ Ην γαρ τι, ως εoικεν, και προ τα κοσμε τελε, ο τη μεν διανοια ημων εσι θεωρήον, ανισοροίον δε καθελειφθη, δια το τοις εισαγομενος έτι και νηπιoις κατα την γνωσιν ανεπιτηdelov. Bafil, vol. 1. p. 6.
“ doctrine of the trinity was taught in
types only, and not clearly. For what " reason ? Because the light of divine « vision is not easily accessible to those who “ are but lately called to the knowledge os of the truth, and have not their minds " exercised to those speculations *.”
Our Saviour faid that divorces had been allowed to the Jews on account of the hardness of their hearts.
This also is given as a reason by Eusebius, why the Jews were not taught the doctrine of the trinity.
* Ος εν τυποις ει μονον, εχι δε και αισθως, εδιδασκείο: δια ποιαν αίλιαν; οτι τοις αρ1ι κεκλημενοις εις επίγνωσιν αληθειας και εκ ενίριση τους επ αυτη θεωρήμασι την διανοίαν σχεσιν, απροσίον σως ειναι δοκει και εσιν αλήθως, το φως της Seonllos. Contra Jul. lib. 1. Juliani, Opera, vol. 2. p. 19.
+ Οτι προς την σκληροκαρδιας τε Ιεδαιων λαό. Ec. Theol. lib. 2. cap. 20. p. 131.
SECTION III. The Sentiments of the Jews, as expressed by
themselves, on the Subject. HAVING seen what the christian Fa
thers say in general of the ignorance of the Jews concerning the doctrine of the trinity, let us see what the Jews themselves have said on the subject, as far as we are able to collect it, either from the writings of the christian Fathers, or their own.
As the christian Fathers found the doctrine of the trinity obscurely hinted at in the Old Testament, and particularly in the account of the creation, in which God is
repre. sented as saying, Let us make man, we may wish to know what the Jews replied, when they were urged with this argument; and it is remarkable, that their answer was in general the same with that of the unitarian in the Clementines, in reply to Simon, who had urged that very circumstance, as a proof that there were more gods than one. However, there is a variety in the answers given by the Jews to this question, but all of them fuf
ficiently natural, and not improper. Thcodoret says, “ the Jews say that when God “ said let us make man, he used the kingly
style * ;' and this seems to be the most natural interpretation. But according to Tertullian, the Jews said that God addressed himself to the angels. “ Did he speak to
angels, when he said, let us make man, as " the Jews say, who do not acknowledge " the Son ; or, as if he himself was Father,
Son, and Spirit, did he, say they, makę *“ himself more than one, and speak in the
plural number t." This also is the answer which Basil reports. “ The Jews say “ God spake to the angels, when he said, " let us make man,” addressing himself to an unitarian, who he said was “ a Jew pre" tending to be a christiant.” Cyril of
• In Gen. xix. Opera, vol. 1. p. 15.
+ Aut numquid angelis loquebatur, ut Judæi interpretantur, quia nec ipfi filium agnoscunt; an quia ipfe erat pater, filius et spiritus, ideo pluralem se præftans, pluraliter fibi loquebatur. Ad Praxeam, sect. 12. p. 506.
1 Ακκε και συ ο εκ της νεας καθελομης, ο τον Ιεδαισμου αρεσε βενων εν Χριςιανισμα προσποιήσει. τινι λεγει κατ' εικονα stepay. Hom. 8. Opera, vol. 1. p. 105.
Jerumilem fays, that the Jews acknowledged On'y one God the Father *
We m..y form a very good judgment of the sentiments of the Jews on this subject, from the account of a solemn conference between Gregentius, a christian bishop, and Herbanus, a learned Jew, in the presence of an Arabian prince, in the fifth century. As it is the only work of the kind that remains of so early an age, I Mall quote several extracts from it, to fhew how the Jews of that age felt and reasoned.
The Jew expresses his dread of idolatry in very strong terms.
“ The prophet Mofes,” he says, “ if “ teuch, pronounces a dreadful curse
upon “ the children of Israel, from God, the an
gels, and saints, calling in all the ele“ ments under heaven, if we should ever “ receive any other god beside the God of
our Fathers. Why then should you make
any words on the subject; for God him. “ self by the prophets strictly orders us,
read the penta
• Οι το μεν ειναι ενα θεον πατερα καταδεχομαι τους doguari. Cat. 7., p. 102.