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Arguments of the ancient Unitarians from

HAVING stated what the principles of

the ancient unitarians were, I shall in the next place, give a view of the arguments by which they defended them; and as some of these were drawn from the principles of reason, and others from the scriptures, I shall mention the former in the first place. But in this I need not infist upon their capital argument, viz. that the doctrine of the divinity of Christ and of the trinity, is an infringement of the great doctrine of natural and revealed religion, the unity of God. This has appeared sufficiently already. Also many of their other arguments have been mentioned in the replies of their trinitarian adversaries. I shall, therefore, only recite such others as have happened to occur separately.


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That the ancient unitarians were much addicted to reasoning, and that they often disputed with great acuteness and subtility, so as to puzzle their opponents, may be inferred from what is said of them by Eusebius, viz. that “ they neglected the

• scriptures, and reasoned in fyllogisms *.” No doubt they did reason, and probably in the syllogistic form, as was the custom with logicians, and I doubt not very closely and justly; but it will be seen that they were far from neglecting the scriptures.

According to the most ancient doctrine of the generation of the Son, there was a time when the Father was simply one, and had not generated this Son. Upon this idea, Marcellus said that, “if it be a per-. “ fection in the Father to have a Son, he “ was imperfect while he was without

one ti”

* Ου τι αι θειαι λεγε σι γραφαι ζηλενίες, αλλ' οποιον σχημα συλλογισμα εις την της αθεσίήθος ευρεθη συνασιν, φιλοπονως ασκείες. - Hift. lib. 8. cap. 28. p. 253.

+ Ει γαρ αει τελειος ο θεος, και παρεσιν αυθω δυναμις τα σαθερα αυλον ειναι, και καλον αυθον ειναι σταθερα τα τοιχία υιε, αναβαλλείαι,, και εαύλον τα καλά τηρισκει, και ως εσιν ειπειν, εξ και δυναται σαλης Contra Marcellum, lib. I. p. 22.


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To the doctrine of divine generation in general, the objection was, that the divine essence must then be corporeal. “Marcellus faid, that, if the Son be a probole,or production, “ from the Father, and he be “his offspring, like the offspring of other

living creatures, both the being pro“ ducing, and the being produced, must be

corporeal *.”

That the Son, who was generated froin the Father, was allowed by those who first advanced that doctrine to be inferior to the Father, the most abundant proof has been given. Afterwards all this was retracted, But the unitarians retorted it upon them,

, “ The enemies of truth,” says Chrysostom,

urge that, if the Son be equal to the “ Father, why did not the Father become «c incarnate ? As it was the Son who took “ the form of a fervant, is it not plain that " he is inferior. But if on this account “ he took human nature, the Spirit, who,

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1 Ει γαρ προβολη εσιν ο υιος τα παίρος, και γεννα μεν εξ αυλα οποια τα τω ζωων γεννημαία, αναγκη σωμα ειναι τον προβαλλονία και TOV po CeBanjevov. Contra Marcellum, lib. 1. p. 22. Vol. III. Еe


they say (though we do not acknowledge

this) is inferior to the Son, should have “ been incarnate *.”

The trinitarians, giving a reason for the mystery of the incarnation, held that the divinity gave a value to the sufferings of the human nature to which it was united. But the unitarians urged the absurdity of this; saying, according to Theodoret, “ If a man

only suffered, it was a man that saved

ust." This is an argument to which the orthodox have always made very lame replies. They have never chose to say that the deity of Christ suffered, or that it partook of the sufferings of the human nature. Consequently, if it was only man that suffered, the satisfaction made by that suffering could only be finite; and in fact,

* Και γαρ και τελο περιφερεσιν οι της αληθειας εχθροι, λεγονίες; διι ει ισος ην τω γεγεννιόλι, τινος ενεκεν ο πατηρ εκ ανέλαβε σαρκα, αλλ' υιος υπεδυ την τε δελε μορφης και αρα εκ ευδηλού, όλα επειδη καλαδεεςερος ην και και μην ει δια τέλο την ημετεραν υπεδυ φυσιν, το πνευμα, ο φασιν αυθοι τε μια ελατίoν ειναι (ε γαρ αν ημεις ειποιμεν) εκεινο capuw Invat edel.' Ser. 51. Opera, vol. 5. p. 697.

+ Ανθρωπος εν ημιν παρεσχε την σωτηριαν. Dial. 3. Opera, vol 4. p. 116.


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could extend no farther than the sufferings

other man.
Novatian says, in proof of the divinity
of Christ, “ if he be only a man, why is he
every where invoked, since it is the na-
“ ture not of man, but of God, to be pre-
“ sent in every place * ?” But whatever
might be the case in the time of Novatian
(when what he says could not be true of any
besides the trinitarians) this certainly was
not the practice even with them in the
time of Origen, who flourished not more
than twenty years before him. This has
been sewn already, and therefore this uni-
versal practice might have been urged, and
probably was urged, by the ancient unita-
rians, as an argument in their favour. Aca
cording to Origen, the custom of christians
was to pray to God through Christ +. And

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* Si homo tantummodo Christus ; quomodo abest ubique invocatus, cum hæc hominis natura non fit, fed dei, ut adesse omni loco poffit? Cap. 14. p. 45.

και Θρησκευομεν εν τον σαθερα της αληθειας, και τον υιον την αληθειαν, ολα δυο τη υποτασει πραγματα, εν δε τη ομονοια, και τη συμφωνια, και τη ταυλοθήlε 18 βελημάθος. Ad Celsum, lib. 8.


P. 386.

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