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.»c •'Vv 

4. t 




A N 


O F 





' , . 














O P T H E 



TH E Hiftory of the Unitariaa Doc- 
trine, continued. Page i 


Of the DoStrine of the Miraculous Conception^ 


S E C T I O N I. 

Of the Nature and Importance of the DpSrine 
of the Miraculous Conception. 8 


^be Opinions of the Cbrifttan Fathers con-^ 
ceming the life of the Miraculous Concep-* 
tion* - * (:\ - - 26 

A 2 SEC- 

iv C O N T E N T *S. 


A View of the Arguments in Favour of the 
Miraculous Conception^ and of the hijiori'- 
cal "Evidence by which its Credibility Jhould 
be afcertained. - - 56 


Heafons for thinking that the Miraculous Con^ 
caption was not knoivn^ or believed^ in very 
early Times. - - 64 


The internal Evidence for the Credibility of 
the Miraculous Conception cbnjidered. 1 00 


Confiderations relating to the Roman Cenfus^ 
mentioned by Luke. * - 1 24 


Suppofed ^llufons to the Miraculous Concep- 
tion in the Scriptures. - - 138 




ObjeStions to the Miraculous Conception by the 

' ancient Unbelievers^ and the jinfwers of the 

Chrijlian Fat her § to them. 1 5 1 


Of fomc Controverfies which had a near 
Relation to the Trinitarian or Unitarian 
Dodlrine. - - - 165 


Of the Arian Controverfy. - ibi4» 


Of the antecedent Caufes of the Arian Doc-^ 
trine. - . - ^73 


Of the Tenets of the Ancient Arians. 193 


The Arguments of the Ancient Arians. 199 




Of the Arguments of the Orthodox againft the 
Arians, - - . 211 


General Obfervations on the Arian ContrO' 
verfy, - - - 231 


Of the Nejlorian Controverjy - 239 


An Account of the Frifcillianifis and Pauli- 
cians. - - - 263 



A connedled View of all the principal Articles 
in the preceding Hijiory. 273 


An Account of the Remains of the Oriental, 
or Platonic Pbilofophy^ in modern fyjlems of 
Chrijiianity . - - 288 





Maxims of Htftorical Crlttcifm. 294 


Afummary Fiew oftbt Evidence for the pri^ 
mitive Cbrifiians having held the DoSirine 
ofthefimple bumatdty qfCbrift. 303 

/V. ^^ SECTION V. 



Some of tbe XJfes that may be derived from. \ 
the Confderation (f the SubjeB of this 
IFork. ... 300 


Oftbeprefent State of Things with reJ^eSl ta 
tbe Trinitarian and Arian Controverfes. 


Articles omitted to be inferted in their proper 
Places. • . - 337 

5i^ Names of tbe principal Perfons mentioned 
in this Work^ ivitb the Times in which they 
fived^ in the order of the Alphabet. 350 

X An 


An Account of the 'Editions of the Ancient 
Writers quoted in this Work. ^55 

Titles of all the Books and Chapters contained 
in this Work. - - 366 

Texts of Scripture illujlrated^ or particu^ 
larly referred to^ in this Work. 375 

An Alphabetical Index to all the Tour Vo^ 
lumes. - f* - 377 


* • 








Of the DoSlrine of the Miraculous Conception. 

HAVING coniidered the great prin-- 
ciples OQ which all the unitarians 
of antiquity were agreed^ viz. the 
doiftrincs of the unity of God ^ and the Jifnple 
humanity of Cbriji^ with the arguments by 
which they fupportcd them« I fhall now 
coofider an article with rcfpcA to which 
Vol. IV. B they 

X / 

2 Of the Dodlrine of the Book III. 

they held different opinionsv viz. the mira^ 
culous conception of Chriji^ fairly laying be- 
fore my readers all that I could colledt 
concerning it, that they may be able to 
form their own judgment. I had thought 
to have made fome remarks on this fub- 
jedt, in my Hijiory of the Corruptions of 
Chriflianity^ but I did not do it there, be- 
caufe at that time I had not fufficiently 
coafidered it. But having now given to 
it all the attention of which I think I am 
capable, I fhall with grc^t franknefs lay 
open the whole ftate of my mind with 
refpedl to it. From the fame premifcs 
different perfons will draw different con- 

Many, T doubt not, will be alarmed at 
fo free a difcuffion of a doftrine which is 
is held facred by almofl all the chriftiaa 
world; the miraculous conception of Jefus 
appearing to them tcr refl upon the fame 
authority with every other fadl in the gof- 
. pel hiftory, and therefore involving in its 
confequences the truth of chriftianity it- 
felf. I am fully apprized of the fituation 


CttAP* XX. Mifaculous ConceptlcH, j 

in which I Write, and of the load of cenfdfe 
that I am fure to bring upon myfdf by iti w 
Many of my beft friends^ thofe who think I 
have hitherto been a zealous and fiiccefsful 
advocate for truth, will think that I am 
now going too, far, and even rifking what 
has been already gained* Td thefc I would 
fuggeft the following confiderations* 

1 ♦ Calling in queftion the truth of tha 
miraculous conception cannot appear vaott 
alarming to themy than the dodtrine of tha 
fimple humanity of Chrift now does to 
others^ who are as fincere friends to the 
gofpel as themfelves ; and, in this bufi-i 
nefs, \ cannot give greater offence than\ I ^ 
' did when I wrote againft the dodrinc of f^ 
a fouU and fcrupled not to declare myfelf ^-^ 
a materialiji* 

2. An alarm may be of ufe to excit« 
attention to a fubjeft 3 and when the firft 
confternation is over, thofe who wefe the 
moft ftartled will recover themfelves^ and 
confider the arguments difpaflionately^ and 
with a temper more proper for the difco* 

. B a very 

4 Ofthe Doarine of the Book III. 

very of truth. No man at this day can 
give molce oficnce, or render himfelf more 
obooxious, even to chriflians, than the 
apoiUe P^ul did, by preaching the gof- 
pcl to the unciroumcifed Gentiles. Nei- 
ther himfelf, nor even his memory, ever 
furvived the cdium that he brought upon 
himfelf by this means, with the generality 
of the Jewifti chriftians. His principal 
objed, in m^ny of his epiftles, is to jufVify 
himfelf in this refped. But though he 
vras fupported by reafon, and an efpecial 
commiffion from God/ he wrote in vain. 
Now, with refpefl: to fortitude in bearing 
fufFeritags of this kind, in the cauie of truth, 
or which is the fame thing to me, what I 
ferioufly think to be fo, I would not be be- 
hind St. Paul, or any man- I have been 
^r trained to it, and I hope the difcipline has 
not been loft upon me. 

3 . I would farther obfcrve, that all thofe 
to whom it can be worth my while tomake 
an apology, think as I do with refpeft to 
the fcriptures^ viz. that th^ w^e^ written 


CtaA\p. ^X. Miraculous Conaption. 5 

whficmt any panictiliar infpiration, by men -^ 
who wrote irccording to the bcft of their 
knowledge, atid who from their circum- 
ibnces could not be mifbken with refpeft 
to the greater fadls^ of which they were 
proper wifuej/es, but (like other men, fub- 
jed to prejudice) might be liable to adopt 
a hafty and ill-grounded opinion concern- 
ing things which did not fall within the 
compafs of their own knowledge, and 
which had no connexion with any thing 
that was fo ; and fuch I hold the miracu- 
lous conception to be. We ought all of 
ns, therefore, to confidcr ourfelves as fully 
at liberty to examine with the gteateft ri- 
gour, both the reafonings of the writers, 
and the ^^xtof Which we fiiid any account 
in their writings, that, judging by the 
rules of jtill criticifin, we may diftinguifh 
What may be depended upon, from what 
may not. It may, perhaps, however, appear 
probable, that neither Matthew nor Luke 
wrote any thing about the miraculous con- 
ception, efpecially the former. 

B 3 4. Laftly, 

v.-* V 

6 Of the DoSlrine of the Book III. 

4. Laftly, I would obfervc, that though 
fit prefent there are but few who difbelievc 
the miraculous conception, there have air- 
ways, I bejieye, been fome^ and thofe mea 
pf learning and charaftcr among chriftians, 
whp bav? thought as \ am now inclined 
/\ to 4p with refpedt to it, I have feen a 
fmall trad of Mr. Elwall's, written aboqt 
fi3(ty years ago, the defign of which was 
to ^ifprove it. It inade no impreffion upon 
pie at the time, ^nd I have not been able 
to procure it fince. Dr. E^ton, 4 learned 
^nd refpedlable difleqting minifter, late of 
Nottingham, though he never wrote qpoa 
the fubjedt, is well known by his acquaint- 
ance to have been decidedly pf the fame opi- 
pion with Mr. Elwall; and fo have been, an4 
are, fcveral others, ipferior to none that bear 
^he chriftian nam? for underftanding, learn^p 
Pg» or probity. To my certain knowledge, 
the number of fuch perfons is encreafing^ 
^qd feveral of them think it to be a matter 


pf great confequence, that a do<3:rine which 
they regard as a difgre^it to the chriftian 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. Jr 

fchemc, fhould be exploded. They al fo ^*fc— Ld 
think it far better that this fhould be done 
by chriftians themfelves, than by unbe^ 
lievers, who may fay that we never give 
up any idle notion, till we can maintain 
it no longer. 

Having premifed thus much, 1^ proceed 
to the confideration of the fubjeft before 
me, and I Ihall do it with the greateft free- 
dom, and as far as I can judge concerning 
myfelf, with perfect impartiality, Ob- 
ferving that, though I frankly acknowledge 
the argulhents againji the miraculous con- 
ception confiderably preponderate in my 
mind at prefent, I (hall notformanabfolutely 
decided opinion, till I fhall have had ^^ 
opportunity of feeing what weight may be 
thrown into the oppofite fcale, by any per- 
fons who fhall candidly examine what they 
will find advanced in this chapter. 

B 4 S E C^ 

Oftbt Dofhine oftU Book III^ 


Of the Nature and Importance of the DoSrint 
of the Miraculeuf Conception* 

TN the firft place I would obferve, that the 

importance of this do€lrinehas been un- 

reafonably magnified in modern times. It 

is one on which the ancient unitarians held 


oppofite opinions^ without, as far as ap« 
pears, having ever thought the worfe of one 
tnother on that account; and, therefore, 
there can be no rcafon why we (hould not 
eyercife the fame mutual candour at this 
day. The value of the gofpel depends not at 
all upon any idea that we may have con- 
cerning the perjcn of Cbrift. All that wc 
ought to regard is the objeii cj bis mijlon^ 
and the authority with w hich his dodtrine 
was promulgated. The doctrine of immor- 
tality, which is the great objcdk of the whole 
revealed will of Grd, is juft as acceptable 
to mCi from the moudi of the fon of Jofcph 

1 and 

CHAt. XX. Miracttldtts CimeipJioh, $ 


and Mary, as from the mouth of any mAti 
created for tht porpofc, from thai of &A 
angel, or from the voice of God himlblf 
fpeaking from heaven. 

When the dodrine of the mifaculoai 
conception is not particularly attended to, 
we all readily fay, that it is the belief ot 
the doHrines, the miraclet^ the deaths and 
the refwrre^ion of Chrift, that makes the 
cbriftian ; and alfo that the fewer things of 
an extraneous nature^ that we conned with 
thefe, and maintain to be infeparable from 
them, the better ; efpccially if wfc thereby 
make the defence of chridiauity the eafier. 
And certainly no circumf^ance rdating to 
the iitfA of ChriH has any more connec- 
tion with the articles above mentioned, 
than the opinion of his having been a tall or 
fhort man, of a fair or a dark complexion* 
It does not at all concern us to know how 
Chrift came into the world, but what he 
taught when he was in it, and what he did 
and fuffered, as a proof of the authority by 
which he taught it. Every man, therefore, 
who believes that Chriil had a divine com- 


lo . Of the Bo3rine of the Book IFL 

miffion to teach the great dodrines of a re- 
furredion, and of a life to come, is as much 
a chriAian, and has as ftrong motives to go* 
vern his life by the precepts of chriftianity, 
as he who like wife believes that he was 
without father, or without mother, that he 
was the maker of the world, or the eternal 
God himfelf. Such articles of faith as 
thefc can only ferve to puzzle, to amaze, 
and confound men ; but they -have no ten- 
dency to mend the heart or the life, 

I would farther obferve, that the doc- 
trine of the miraculous conception itfelf is 
not, in faft, of any more confcquence to the 
Socinian, than it is to the Arian, or even 
the AthanaHan hypothecs. For it is no im- 
pediment to the union of the Arian or 
Athanafian logos to the human nature of 
Chrift, that his body was derived from Jo- 
icph. For any thing that we can judge, a 
body produced in the natural way, was juft 
as proper for the refidence of this heavenly 
inhabitant, as one made on purpofe« And 
if, on any fcheme, it was fit that Chrift 
ibould have human nature at all, it may 

% be 


Chap. XX, Miraculous Conception. 1 1 

be fuppofcd to have been eq\ially fit that 
he (hould have fa proper human nature^ 
differing as little as poffible from that of 
his brethren. There is, therefore, no more 
reafon why the Arian, or the Athanafian, 
fhould be more attached to the belief of 
the miraculous conception than the Soci- 
nian. The dodlrine itfelf connedls equally 
well, or equally ill, with any particular 
hypothefis concerning the nature of Chrift. 
It may be imagined to be more honour'- 
able to Chrift to have come into the world 
without the help of a man than with it i 
but this is an affair of imagination only. And, 
for the very fame reafon, it might have 
been imagined to be ftill more honourable 
to him, to have come into the world with- 
out the inftrumentality of either woman or 
inan, and that the fecond Adam fhould have 
come fiiom the hands of God as immediately 
as the. firft. Ideas no better than thefe' 
gave rife to the dodrine of the Gnoflics. 
For they meant to do honour to Chrifl ; 
Snd therefore we fhould be on our guard 
ggainll them, But even admitting ideas of 


1 8 t>ttf>^ Jbbff^tMe tfthe Book HI. 

this )l\tA t6 lAVe fotne weight, is it n6t, ih 
faft, jud U hnihiliatihg to hftVe 4 iMtber^ 
as it is «o have zfofber ; fot it is tibthifig 
ttttrt thaYi tht ^oi^ that is co n cerne d ih 

W« fiiould likeWiJ^ tteend a little t6 thfe 
f dHis of the Jtws, as wtll as to our own, on 
this iubjed. N6w^ the dodrint of die 
Meiiith being the proper Ton of Jofeph, a 
lineal defcendant from Davids will cfertain^ 
\j be tnbre acceptablfc to them, than that of 
bis having had a miraculous conception. 
For> though we may fancy that this cir- 
cumAance reflefts more honour upon him t 
yet, in the eye of a Jew, he mud, on that 
very account, appear to be lefs accurately 
defcribed by their ancient prophets i though 
any dodrine which makes Chrift to have 
been properly and (imply a man, in what- 
ever manner he was maJe fo, muft be infi- 
nitely more acceptable to them than the 
opinion of his having had a nature entirely 
different from that of man. I own, how- 
ever, that the expectations of the Jews 
(any farther than they have a real founda- 
tion in the prophecies) ought not by ally 


Chap. XX. NRraculaus CQnciptiQM. 1 3 

naeans to determine our jodgment in tba 
caie^ (b as to weigh againfl any proper zx^ 
gument that nuy be alledged on the ot^er 

Should I have any controverfy with a 
Jew, 1 (hould not feel myfelf at all embar-i 
rafled with this circumftance of the ^inu 
culous conception 1 as I (hould not heiitatc 
to follow the example of the candid Juitin 
Martyr with refpeft to it; tiling him* 
that he was at full liberty to think as ho 
fhould fee reafon to do on that fabjp^ ; and 
that he might be ^s good a cbriAian as tbd 
Ebionites were belbrrhi^ though bo (hould 
believe no more of the ittiraculoiis conccp- 
tion than they had done. 

Indeed^ with Fcfpe& to the importance^ 
the qucftton in it(elf, thece are fcwt I iaOf^ 
gtae, bat would be ready, ejgu^ugh to agrta 
with me» if they did not iaagioe. that axijkf* 
belief of this article would aflfcd the crati.- 
bility of t^e reft of the gofpcl hiftoiy . But 
there is an argument oi fa3 (whi(^h is the 
flrangeft gif all arguments) dice^y agaiaft 
them. Far the Bb^nites9 who diid di^B>f« 


1 4 Of the DdSrine of the Book IIL 

lieve the miraculous conception, were as . 
firm believers in the reft of the gofpel hif- 
tory as other chriftians. And, befides» if 
we coniider the nature of this apprehenfion, 
it will ap(>ear to be founded on a miftake i 
becaufe the evidence for the miraculous 
conception, and that for the public life, 
miracles, death, and refurredion of Chrift:, 
are exceedingly different; fo that a total 
failure in the evidence for the one, will not 
affedl the credibility of the other. 

With the miraculous conception a few 
perfons only could be acquainted ; and we 
have not the tedimony of any of thofe few, 
much lefs is it in our power to compare the 
evidence of one with that of others of 
them. Who were the perfons that in- 
formed Matthew and Luke concerning it, . 
we cannot tell, nor through how many 
hands the (lory was tranfmitted before it 
came to them ; admitting, for the prefent, 
that the introduAions to their gofpels were 
written by themfclves. Whereas the great 
events, fubfequent to the preaching of John 
the Baptiil, baye not only the teftimony of 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception^ l$ 

the writers themfelves, but that of all the 
inhabitants of Judea, and of the ftrangers re- 
fiding in it. For, aS Paul fays, ^* Thefe 
'*• things were not done in a corner/' And 
to give the gofpel hiftory'its juft degree o^ 
credibility, we muft fimply confidei; the 
writers as credible witnejfes of what came tq 
their knowledge, without any regard tp 
their fuppofed injpiration^ which will nevef 
make any impreflion on unbelievers. On 
©o other ground /hall we ever produce a 
jufl: and rational defence of this moft im-. 
portant hiftory. 

Setting afide all notions of infpiration^ we 
fhould judge of the gofpel hiftory as we da 
of any other. Now, no ^^rfon, I appre- 
hend, lays the lefs ftrefs on the hiftory of 
Livy, with refpedl to events near to his own 
time, becaufe his account of Romulus and 
Remus is thought to 'be fabulous. Ma'k- 
,ing myfelf, therefore, perfedly eafy^as to aU 
the poffible confequenccs of this difcuflidn,, 
I fhall, with perfect freedom, confider the 
evidence for the miraculous conception as 
an article of hifiory^ and flialL, with as much 


1 6 Of the DoStrinc of the. Book IIL 

c^e as I can> ftate the arguments for and 
againft it« 

It has been more particularly faid^ thatt 
(itppofing Luke to bare been the author of 
the introdu(^ion to his gofpel^ we may^ 
with the fame reafon, withhold ouraflent to 
any circumftance in our Saviour's hiftory» 
t^iat has been recorded by him only ; for 
inftancet the account of the raifing the 
widow's fon at.Nain, and the miHlon of the 
i(:venty difciples^ as to this of the miracu^ 
Iqiis conception. But this goes both upon 
the fuppofition of his being a competent 
witnefs to them all alikje i and» 'alfo, of 
there being nothing more extraordinary in 
the latter ca(c than in the two former ^^ 
^jK.^Ltfe?Sy in both theip relpeds, there is a 
temarkjible difference between them* 

The railing of the widow's fon* *nd the ^ 
fiwAwo of the Seventy» fell within the term 
Qf the public life of Chrift, of thcrtraafac-* 
tipoa of which there were thoufuids of 
witneiTes i and Luke himielf, being gene- 
rally faid to have bec0 one of tbefeventj^ and 
coofegucptjy to have attended upon Chriil 

•''•" - during 

Ch a p . XX . Miraculous Conceptkn. \ j 

during his miniftfy, might have been an 
eye-witnefs of what he relates; whpreas he 
caniiot be faid to have been in circuqi-* 
ftances to bear tejiimony to the miraculous 
conception at all^and^ as I havefaid^ through 
what hands the ftory came to him we are 
not told. They might, therefore, be very 
well, or very ill informed concerning it. 

Both the raifing of the widow's fba, and 
the miflion of the feventy, befides falling 


within the public life of Chrift, are events 
fimilar to tjjofe for which we have the 
tcftimony of the other evangelifts; the 
widow's fon not being the only perfon that 
Jefus raifed to life, nor the feventy difciples 
the only miflion that he fent out. Whereas 
the miraculous conception was* a miracle 
abfolutely fingular in its nature, there being 
nothing like it in the hiftory of the Old or 
New Teftament. And what mgkes flill more 
againft the credibility of it is, that i,t does 
not appear to be adapted to anfwer any godd 
purpofe W^hatever \ but, on the contrary, a 
snanifeilly bad one, in making our Saviour's 
yoL* IV. C meffiah. 

1 8 Of the Doifrifie of the Boo k II I . 

mefiiahfliip too food, and too generally 
known, or cxpoling his mother to unde* 
ferved reproach. 

On the whole, therefore, we may very 
readily admit the credibility of Luke's ac- 
count of the raifing of the widow's fon, and 
of the miflibn of the feventy difciples, and 
reject that of the miraculous conception, 
though related by the fame hiftorian. 

The prefumptive evidence of any doftrinc 
depends upon the nature of it ; and this 
fliould be confidered before the direSl evi^ 
dence. For it is univerfally acknowledged, 
that the lefs feafon there is to expe<9: any 
particular event, the ftrongcr evidence it 
requires. A flight evidence is fujfficicnt 
to certify us of fuch fa<3:s as happen every 
day, or very frequently. Miracles require 
much ftronger evidence ; and, accordingly, 
fuch evidence has always been provided. 

Again, in miracles there is a gradation, 
and fome of them being more extraordi- 
nary, and lefs probable, aprtoriy than others, 
require evidence proportionably more cir- 


CttAP. XX. Miraculous Conception, 19 

eumftantial, and lefs liable to exception. 
Thus the refurredtion of our Saviour, the 
moft extraordinary, and, a prijori^ being the 
moft improbable of all events, approaching 
the neareft to an impoffibility, the evidence 
of it is remarkably circumftantial ; in confe- 
quence of v^hich there is not, perhaps, any 
faftjn all ancient hiflory, fo perfedlly cre- 
dible, according, to the moft eftabliflhed 
rules of jividence, as it is* And the argu- 
ments, a priori^ in this cafe, are as ftriking 
as thofe which may be called the arguments 
^ pofieriori^ or the proper hiftorical proof* 
Becaufe we are able to fee the importance of 
the fa£t, the evidence of which required to 
be fo exceedingly clear. Chrift, coming 
to give mankind the fullcft aflurance of an 
univerfal refurredlion, it was obvioufly ne- 
ceffary, at leaft highly defirahle, that, be- 
fides folemnly announcing the dod:rine, and 
confirming it by miracles, he fliould him- 
felf a(Sually die and rife again, as a proof of 
it. Accordingly, we find, that Chrift did 
reft the evidence of his divine miffion in a 
particular manner, on the event of his re- 
/ , C 2 furredtion. 


20 Of the Do^rine of the Book III. 

furreftion. Wc, therefore, fee clearly, ^r^^ 
it behoved Chrijl both to die^ and to rife again 

from the dead. 

Now are we able to difcover any reafon 
why Chrift fhould be born of a virgin, ra- 
ther than in the ufual way ? Can we con- 
ceiye it to have been at all neceflary, or ad- 
vantageous to the great objedt of his mif- 
fion, or to qualify him for fulfilling it ? I 
think I may anfwer for all unitarians, that, 
u priori^ we fliould rather have thought 
otherwife, viz. that there would have been 
a greater propriety in his being, in this, as 
well as in all other refpeds, what other 
men are. For then, having had no natural 
advantage over us, his refurredlion would 
have been calculated to give us the greater 

^ alTurance of our own. Whereas, his com- 
ing into the world in a manner fo very dif- 
ferent from that of other meU;, might create 
a fufpicion that there was fome other ef- 
fential difference between him and other 
men ; and, therefore, that his nature might 
be fubjedl to other laws than thofe of ours. 



Chap. XX* Miraculous Conception. 2 1 

On this account, I am confident/ that, 
had mankind been defired to name a proper 
reprefentative oi themfelves, in whom they 
fhould fee exhibited what was to befal 
themfelves, they would have phafen a man 
born as themfelves had been. A priori^ 
therefore, it mud have appeared lefs pro- 
bable, that Chrift, being fent on fuch a 
miffion as his was^ fhould be born of a vir- 
gin, than that he fliould be born like other 
men ; as it might have been fufpefted, that 
he would not have been produced in this 
manner, if it had not been for the fake of 
giving him fuch advantages in point of con- -""^-^ lj 
llitution, as men born in the ufual way 
cannot naturally have. His example, there- 
fore, is, in all refpefts, lefs properly pro- 
pofed to us, and his refurreition affords lefs 
ground for our expedlation that we alfo 
fhall be raifed to immortal life ^ fince any 
peculiar conftitution of nature may have un- 
known peculiar privileges. 
In the fcriptures, mankind are generally 
apprized of the reafons of all the great mea- 

C 3 furc$ 


aa Of the DoSlrine of the Book III, 

fares that God has been pleafed to take 
with rcfpcdl to thccn. Our Saviour informs 
his difciples very particularly wby it was 
expedient that he ihould die, and leave 

C-^ them for 'a time ; afluring them that it wa$ 
for their own advantage, &ۥ and with re- 
fpcft to thofe rcufons which they were not 
at that time qualified to enter into, he 
plainly told them, that they were not ; an4 
that, for that reafon, the communication of 
more knowledge to them was deferred. 

Now, arc any reafons given us in the 
fcriptures, to lliow us that it was more 
proper that Chrift was to be born of a 
virgin, than in the ufual way ? Or, is it 
there faid, that there was a reafon for it, 
but that men were not qualified to under* 
(land it. Neither of tbefe is the caie^ 
and what is particularly remarkable, a thing 
of this extraordinary kind is not fo much 
as mentioned^ or in the moft diftaot man* 
ner alluded to, by Chrift himfelf, or by any 

/-^ writer in the New Teflament ; fo that, if 
the doctrine be true, it does not appear to 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 23 

have aafwercd any end whatever. And it 
is by no means analogous to the ufual con^ 
duA of Divine Providence, to t^ke extraor- 
dinary meafures without a proportionable 
objed: and ufe. It is no where faid, that 
God honoured mankind fo far, as either to 
itJiA. X person of a higher rank than man, 
to be bis< mcffenger to them, or to make a 
man-,-in5 an extraordinary way, for that pur- 
pofe f tbat more dignity might be given to 
his charader, aad greater attention fecured 
to hlil^j. 

There is only one expreflion in the whole 
New Teftament, that is capable of being 
feid hold of, as^ in the moft diftant man- 
ner, alluding to the miraculous conception, 
wirich i«, Paul fpeaking of Chrift, Gal. iv, 
4. as mude of woman^ as well as ma4e under 
the law. But the flighteft knowledge of 
the fcripfure phrafeology may fatisfy us, 
that this is only fynoymous to the term? man^ 
Job fays, ch. xiv. 1. Man that is born of a 
woman is offewda^j&cc. and again, chap. 
XXV. 4. How can he he chan that is born of 

C 4 a woman ^ 


I 24 Of the DoSlrine of the Book III. 

a woman., Our Saviour, alfo fays. Matt, xi.* 
1 1 . Among them that are born of women ^ 
there is none greater than John the Baptiji. 
To be horn of women ^ therefore, or made of a 
woman^ and to be a man, or a human beings 
is the fame thing. 

According to all appearance, therefore^ 
if the dodtrinc of the miraculous concep* 
tipn be true, God wrought a moft extraor* 
' dinary miracle without any proper obje<9: 
or nfe. Nay, as far as we can judge, fuch a 
pretenfion as that of a miraculous birth, un- 
lefs it had been much more particularly 
authenticated than the gofpel hiftory repre^ 
fents this to have been, muft have operated 
greatly to the prejudice of our Saviour** 
charadler, and confequently mufl have ob- 
ftruifted the end of his mifEon. For without 
the moft circumftantial evidence, for which 
no provifion was made, the ftpry of the 
miraculous conception would never have 
been believed by the Jews. And does not 
this circumftance render the wifdom of the 
O fpberoe very queftionable? For, though it 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 25 

muft always be acknowledged, that the 
ways of God, even with refped to men, 
may be infcrutable to men , yet, when no- 
thing is faid of fuch wifdom, and no fuch 
fabmiffion of our judgments is required of 
' us, the fadts from which fuch myfterious 
conduA is inferred, ought not to be ad- 
mitted without proportionably dear evt«- 


iS Of the TyoSlrlne of the Book in.' 

S iE C T I Q N II. 

lihi O^nkns of the Qhrifiian Fathers concern^ 
. ing the life of the Miraculmis Conception^ . 

A S the fcriptures fay nothing at all on 
this fubjedt, and reafdn is equally filent, - 
let us hear what the Fathers have faid; ana 
we {hall find, that they were far from being 
at any lofs for good reafons, as they thought 
them, for Chrift's coming into the world 
in that extraordinary manner ; and certainly 
a natural birth would by no means have fo 
well fuited their hypothefes. But, unhap- 
pily, all their fchemes are fuch as unitarians 
would rejed:, and therefore they will not 
tend to make the thing more credible to 

Juftin Martyr fays, that " Chrift was 
** born of a virgin, that by the fame means 
**^,that difobedience came by the ferpent, by 
** the fame means it fliould be terminated. 
" For Eve, being a virgin, and uncorrupt, 
** conceiving the logos [word] of the fer-^ 
** pent, brought forth difobedience and 

*^ death : 

Chap. XX- Miraculous Conception^ 27 

<** death ; but the virgin Mary, receiving- 
^* faith and favour, when the angel Ga- 
*' briel faid that the fpirit of the Lord- 
'^ fliQuld conqie upon her, and the power: 
** of the higheft overfhadow her, wherefore 
'* that holy thing that Ihall be born of 
** thee is the Son of God, anfvvercd, Be it 
*' unto me according to thy word. And 
^* of her was born he, concerning whornt 
^ ^* we have fhown that fo niany fcriptures 
** liavc fpoken ; by whom God deftroys the 
^* ferpent, and angels, and men. who re- 
*' femble him, and produces a deliverance 
*' from death for thofe who repent of their 
*• evil deeds, and believe in him*." Thus,.^ 
as Cyril of Jerufalem fays, *^ As death came 

* Kai 3i<% Tu^ naa^evH av^^coTro^ ysyovevxi^ ivcc xcu Si* nf oSa n 
aTTO m o^£ug naagafton tjjv apx'^ s?\afoe^ 3ii» rotuhg Tn^ oSs hm xala^ 
T^iv AajSu. Hap^EV®^ yap uaa Ei/a xaa a^opQ-y tov Xoyoy rov 
aTTO T8 o^sa; (Tu»JxQii7a^ 's^apaxortv xat ^avdlov elstis, Uiriv h 
Kcu x^^^ T^^aaa Mapta ri 'siag^ev&'y evoeyleXi^ofASVH avlyj Ta^^iriX 
ayFe?^ oil 'ssvbu/jux wj^ih vk avlrfv sTreT^vjelat . hm ^uvafxig v^irn 
^icrjiiaKTSi aulnv-i 3io hoi yEwcoiJLsvov £| aulng ayiov frt mo; ^eh, aTre- 
K^ivoSoy yBvoS'o fJLOi xalx to ^fjt>x as. Kau 5i« toJ/hj ysy evvi]lM 
aviog ism *^ TOffovla? ypapo^ aTro^s^afAev ei^^oii^ Si 8 o ^sog rov re 
c^iVt xai rag OfMia^elflag ayyeT^g^ kou acv^^coTTug^ KolaTwsi^ a'TCOLyKoL- 
yuv Jjs T8 ^avccla toi; ^idayiyucKUffiv a'KQ twv ^ai/Awv, km HjirevaJLV 
iti mIoV} s^aiSat. Dial, pars 2. p- 354. 

1 *'hy 

i w 


2S O/t&e DoSlrine of the Book III. 

"•* by the virgin Eve, fo it was neceflary 
•* that life (hould be brqught by a virgin 5 or 
" rather, out of a virgin */' It was, however, 
another analogy in this hiftory that ftruck 
Ambrofe. . He fays, *' Adam was made of 
•* the virgin earth, a.nd Chrift was .from a 
*• virgin •f'/' 

Maximus Taurinenfis improves upon this 
idea ; faying, that '• as Adam was produce4 
from the pure earth, fo is Chrift produced 
from a pure virgin/* He alfo, alluding 
toPf.xxii.6. obferves, that worms were bred 
in the pure manna, to which he compares the 
virgin Mary, What ufe he makes of the/c 
comparifons may be feen in the extpa<5l which 
1 make from this writer in the notes J. The 

Xov ?£ EX 'sra^^tvBy favwca tw fcwiv. Cat. 12. p. i55* 

+ Ex terra virgine Adam, Chriflus ex virgine. la 
Luc^ cap. 4^ Opera, vol. 2. p. 59. 

X S<jd magis iilum accipiendum puto (Juoniam vermis 
niilla jextrinfecus admixiione alieni corporis, fed de fola 
ct pura terra prccreatur, ideo ilium comparat cum domi* 
>io, quoniam ct ipfe falvator de fola et pura Maria g^ne- 
ratur. Legimus etiam in libris Moyfi de manna vermi- 
culos procreates; digna plane ct jufta ccmparatio. Si- 
quidem dc manna vermiculus gignitur, et dominus Chrif- 
tus de virgine procreatur, quin potius ipfam Mariam 



Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 29 

fame writer fays, that God could not be 
born other wife than of a woman only. 
** He was born," he fays, ** of a pure vir- 
^* gin, that the human birth might prove 
** him to be a man, and the virgin fhew 
*' that he was God. For as flefli can only 
** be generated from flefh, fo the flcih of 
^* God could not come, except from a fe- 
** male, y^ithout the help of a man *.*' All 
that we need fay to thefe ingenious ana- 
logies, is that the fcriptures fay nothing 
about them ; and 1 fuppofe that thofe who 
are now advocates for the miraculous con- 
ception will have Kttle to fay in their 

manna dixerim, quia eft fubtilis, fplendida, fuavis euvirgo, 
quse.velut cselitus veniens cun<^is ecclefiarum populis 
cibum dulciorcm melle defiuxit, quern qui edere ac man"* 
ducare neglexerit, vitam in femet ipfo habere non poterit, 
ficut ipfe dominus ait. Niil quis manducaverit meam. 
carnem, et biberit meum fanquinem, non habebit vium 
in femetipfo. Opera, p. 209. 

* £c natus fane ab inta6la eft foemina, ut eum paritet 
et hominem teftaretur partus humanus, et dcum probaret 
sBterna virginitas. Nam ficut non poterat niil caro doi 
carne nafci : ita nbn poterat del caro de fcemineo titers 
niil fine geuerante prodire* Ibid* p. 19$. 

A rcafoa 

3-0 OftheDoSinnedfthe' Book IlL 

A rcJafori quite diiFerent from the former, 
and no lefs ingenious, is given by Ladan- 
tius. " God the Father himfelf/' fays he^ 
'* being both the origin and principle of 
*' things, becaufehehas no parents,' is truly 
^* called by Trifmegiftus, asra7«f [without 
«* father] and a^% [without mother].-— 
^< Wherefore his fon ought alfo to be born 
M twice, that he might be without father 
** and without mother. In his firft fpiri* 
*' tual birth he was without mother, be- 
*' caufe he was generated by God the Fa- 
*< ther only, without the affiftance of a 
*' mother. In his fecond carnal birth he 
*' was without father, becaufe he was ge- 
*< nerated in the virgin's womb, without 
** the affiftance of a father ; that, having a 
*• middle fubftancc between God and man, 
" he might lead our frail and weak nature, . 
** as it were by the hand, to immortality */' 

* Ipfc enim pater deus, et origo, et principium rerum, 
quoniam parentibus caret, rt^a76;f,-atque o/t^ti/^)^ aTrifme- 
gifto veriflime nominatur ; quod ex iiullo fit procreatu^. ^ 
Idcirco etiam filium bis nafci oportuit, ut ipfe fieret a^xraliip 
atque ofdfnlaf. In prima enim nativitate fpiritali afajlatf fuit i 
qui fine officio matris, a folo dec patre generatus eft. In 


C H A p. XX. Miraculous Conception. 3 1 

With refpeS to the latter part of this rea*^ 
foning, it might be retorted, that if it was 
neccffary that Chrift fhould be. both God 
and man, he fhould have been both proper 
God and proper man, i. e. a man born and 
conftituted like other men. 

Auftin, whofe genius feldom fails him, 
is not fo happy in his folution of this diffi- 
culty as he is in that of fomc others. He 
fays, " The falvation of the female fex was 
** intended, becaufc Chrift was a man, borg^^ 
** of a woman only*/' I fuppofe, how- 
ever, he mufl have meant, that Chrift would 

take care of the men for his own fake, and 


of the women for the fake of his mother. 
Had he had a father as well as a mother, he 

fecunda vero carnali aTrala^ fuit 5 quoniam fine patris offi- 
cio, virginal! uteroprocreatus eft j ut mediam inter deum 
et hominem fubflantiam gerens, noftram hanc fragilem, 
imbecillemque naturam qiiafi manu ad immortalicatem 
poffet educere. Faftus eft et dei filius per fpiritum, et 
hominis per carnem, id eft, et deus, et homo. Inflit. 
lib. 4. fefl:. 13. p. 388. 

* Ergo qua virum oportebat fi^fcipere^ qui fexus hono- 
rabilior eft, confequens erat ut feminei fexus liberatio hinc 
appareret, quod ille vir de femina natus eft. Queftiones, 
Opera, vol. 4« p* 536. 


32 Of the DoSirine of the BooK IIL 

might have taken more than an equal care 
of the male fex. He fays, tjbat " Chrif!: 
" was born of a woman only, that neither 
" fex might defpair* For had he been a 
** man, Which was neceffary, but not born 
** of woman, the women might have de- 
** fpaired of themfelves, recoUefting their 
*' firft offence, becaufe the firft man was 
** deceived by a woman/' His illuftra- 
t ion of this argument, part of which may 
be k^Vi in the notes, is curious^. 

* Sed hoc nobis oftendit, ut fcilicet in nullo fexu de fe 
defperaret humana creatura. Sexus enim humanus, ma- 
rium eft et fceminarum. Si ergo vir exiftens, quod utiqud 
efle debereti non nafceretur ex fcemina, defperarent de fe 
foeminae, memores primi peccati fui, quia per foeminam 
deceptus eft primus^homo, et omnino nullam fe fpem ha« 
here in Chrifto arbitrarentur. Venit ergo vir fexumprae- 
eligere virilem, et natus ex fcemina fexum confolari fcemi- 
neum, tanquam alloquens et dicens : ut noveritis quod noa 
del ^reatura mala eft, fed voluptas prava pervertit earn, in 
principio cum feci hominem, mafculum et foeminam feci. 
Non creaturam damno, quam feci. Ecce natiis fum vir, 
eccc natus ex fcemina. 'Non ergo creaturam damno, 
quam feci : fed peccata, quae non feci, Uterque fexus 
i^ideat honorem fuum : et uterque confiteatur iniquitatei^ 
fuam : et uterque fperet falutem. Ser. 63. Opera, Sup. 
p. 238. 

7 A much 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 3 3 

A much more plaufible reafon than any 
of the preceding is that which fuppofcs 
that the greatnefs and fan<ftity of Chrift's 
charader, fo much fuperior to that of other 
men, required that he fliould not be born 
as other men are. Of this nature is that 
of Irenaeus, who fays, ** If Chrift had been 
'* born of Jofeph, what could he have done 
•^ more than Solomon, or Jofeph, or David, 
** when he was produced fn the fame man-' 
*' ner, and their proper offspring/' He 
adds, that " he could not have been the 
" proper fon of God, and therefore not a 
** king, if he had been the fon of Jofeph^ 
^* nor the heir, according to Jeremiah*/* 

Lactantlus, not contenting himfelf with, 
his former reafon, fays, ** that it might be 
*' certain that he was fent of God, it be- 

* Si enim Jofeph filius efTet, quemadmodum plus pote- 
rat quam Salomon, aut plus quaiti Jonas habere, aut plus 
efTe David, cum eiTet ex ead<;m feminatione generatus, et 
proles exiftens ipforum ? Ut quid et beatum diccbat Pe- 
trum, quod eum cognofccret effc filium dei vivi ? Super 
hsec autem nee rex efle poflet, fi quidem Jofeph filius fu- 
iffet; nee haercs, fecundum Hieremiam. Lib. 3. cap. 
29. p. 258. 

Vol. IV. D '' hoved 

24 Of the DoSrine of the Book III, 

*^ hoved him not to be born as men arc 
*^ born, from two human parents ; but that 
*' it might appear that he was a heavenly 
** perfon in man, he was created without 
*' the afliftance of a father*/' *' He ought," 
fays Cyril of Alexandria, ** to have fuch a 
** birth, I mean his earthly birth, of a wo- 
*^ man, that his prefence and manifeftation 
" to the world might have fomething in it 
*^ worthy of a God*!*." 

** For the very reafon that you doubt,*' 
fays Chryfoftom, ** for that reafon believe. 
** It is not becaufe marriage is a bad thing,^ 
^* but becaufe virginity is a better ; and it 
*' behoved the Lord of all to have a more 
*^ fplendid entrance into the world than 
^^ ours ; for it was the entrance of a king. 

* Sed tamen, ut certum efTet, a deo mifTum ; non ita 
ilium nafci oportuit, ficut homo nafcitur, ex mortal! utro. 
que concretus ; fed ut appareret, etiam in homine ilium 
efie coeleftem, creatus eft fine opera genitoris. Inftit. lib. 
4, feS. 20. p. 430. 

\ £$£{ 7ce^ E^cf roiaulnv oujla yBVB^^cu mv a'Trols^iv^ rrfv xcila cotptx 
frifju KM ZK yyvauHOit iv £%>} to GsoTTfiTreg n sig rov hoc/mv aula ma- 

f oJ©- XM avcdBtiig. Cgntra Julianum, lib, 8. Juliani Ope^ 
ra, vol, 2. p» 279. 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 35 

*' He ought both to agree, and to differ, 
•' with us in our birth ; and both thefe 
** things have taken place. He ought to 
^* be born of a woman, in common with 
'* us ; but to be born without marriage is 
** greater than us*/' 

All this might do tolerably well, if 
Chrift was to have been any thing more 
than a man, or to hdve done fomething 
more than man could do, or than it was 
proper that man fhould be the inftrument 
of doing. But what is this to thofe who 
think that there was a greater propriety in 
Chrift being precifely a man, and his office 
fuch as that there would have been the 
greateft propriety in its being filled by a 


No more will an unitarian acquiefce in 
the following reafon of M. Caleca. ■ ■ 

* fire 3i amreigt 3i avio 'zrircye, an e<7r£idri kokov o yafAo;^ aM 
£;r6iSn m^sitIuv n 'aa^^ma . tuv 3e ts xqivh 'mavlav itaTToia Burohv ct^ 

Voiy«v«v, viijuv TYi; yvmo'eu^t xcti s^T^P^x^^^ '"^5 •nfiile^oig . «cv ofjt** 
fole^a rotula ysyove. Kai oTTug okhs . to fXBv yap aTTo (/.rii^a^ yeve^ 
a^au Koivov 'ss^og myuxg • to 3e X'^^^g yayim ysv£<T^ai (jt^iiqvt yi *«d 
nuag. In Gen. 25. Opera, vol. ii. p. 685. 

D 2 '' Chrift 

36 Of the DoSlrine of the Book III. 

** Chrift was born of a virgin, that he might 
** both be born without original fin, and 
"live without fin*;" becaufe they think 
it is rather defirable that Chrift (hould be 
of a nature as liable to Jin as other men ; that 
in all things he might be like his brethren, 
and be tempted as they were^ though he did 
not yield to any temptation. 

Auftin thought it was proper that Chrift 
fhould be exempt from original fin, and ac^ 
cordingly he believed that he was fo, and that , 
his being born of a virgin was the caufe of 
that fingular exemption. If any perfon wi(h 
to know the principle on which he argued, he 
will find it in the following fcntence. Nulla 
igitur voluptate carnalis concupifcentiae fe- 
minatus, five conceptus eft, et ideo nullum 
peccatum originaliter trahens, &c. Enchy- 
ridion, cap. 41. Opera, vol. 3. p. 167, 214. 

Fulgentius enlarges upon this idea of 
Auftin, fliewing why, in the ordinary way, 
men cannot be born without fin ; and 
therefore that Chrift was born in an extra- 

lopim; ofMxpliag' *^ ^co^ia^imcuj ars fjinhfAiav afjuxpuxv ev au% • ' 

Bvps^nvM* Combefis^, vol. 2. p. 264. 


Chap. XX . Miraculous Conception . 37 

Qfdinary way, that he might take away that 



Leo the Great fays, *' Chrift was born 
** of a virgin, that the contagion of human 
** feed ceafing, the neiy. man might have a 
** true human nature, and yet be abfolutely 
" pure -f/' I ihall fubjoin, in the notes, 

* Et quia dum ftbi invicem vir mulierque mifcentur ut 
filios generent, fine libidiqe non eft parentum concubitus ; 
ob hoc filiorum ex eorum carne nafcentium non poteft 
fine peccato efife conceptus, ubi peccatum in p^irvulos non 
tranfinittit propagatio, fed libido. — Q^ii ut illud peccatum 
quod in concubitu mortalis carnis generatio humana con- 
traxit, auferet, conceptus eft novo more, deus incarnatus 
in matre virgine, fine coitu viri, fine libidine, concipientis 
virginis : ut per deum hominem, quem abfi;]ue libidinc 
conceptum inviolatus edidit virginis uterus, ablueretur pec- 
catum, quod nafcentes trahunt omnes homines : quibus 
in corpore mortis hujus talis eft nafcendi conditio, ut ma- 
tres eorum foecunditatis opus implere non poffint, nifi prius 
virginitatem carnis amiferint. Solus igitur abftulit pecca- 
tum conceptionis, atque nativitatis humanae deus unige- 
nitus, qui dum concipfretur, veritatem carnis accepit ex 
virgine, et cum nafcereretur, integritateni virginitatis fcr- 
vavit in matre. De fide, cap. 2. p. 487. 

f Creator ac dominus omnium rerum dignatus eft unus 
efle mortalium, eleSa fibi matre quam fecerat, quae falva 
integritate, virginea, corporcae eflfet tantum miniftra fiib- 
ftantiae, ut humani feminis ceflante contagio, |iovo homini 
ctpuritas in eflet, et Veritas. De Nativitate Domini Ser. 4. 
Opera, Pf 17. 

D 3 ,^ another 


58 Of tie Dodirine of the. Book III, 

another paflagc from this writer, in whicb 
he argues more at large on the fubjedl *. 

Hilary imagined that thebodyofCh rift was 
exempt from the fenfatjon of pain, and this 
he afcribed to his nliraculous conception ^, 
How this circumftance gave him that pri- 
vilege, he does not fay. But what is all this 
curious reafdning to thofe who think that 
all men are born free from original fin, ancj 

* Superbia hoflis antiqui non immerito flbi in otniieii; 
homines jus tyranicum vindicabat, nee indebito dominatu 
premebat : quos a Jiiandato del fpontaneos in obfequiuni 
iuae voluntatis illexerat. Non itaque juRc omitteret origi- 
nalem dedititii generis fervitutem, nifi de eo quod fubege- 
rat vinceretur. Quod ut iicret fine viri}i femine edi- 
tus eft Chriftus ex virgin^, quam non humanus coitus fec( 
fpiritus fandus fpecundavit. £t cum omnibus matribus 
non fiat fine peccati forde conceptio, baec ipde purgatio- 
nem traxit unde concepit. Quo enim paterni feminis tranf- 
fuiio non pervenit peccati fe illic rubigo non mifcuitf 
Inviolata virginitas concupilcentiam," nefcivit fubftantiam 
miniftravit. AfTumpta eft de matre hominis natura, non 
culpa. Creata eft forma fervi fine conditione virili, qui^ 
novus homo fie contemperatus eft veteri, ut et vcritatem 
fufciperet generis, et vitium excluderet vetufta^is. Opera, 
p. 14. 

+ Sed non habens naturam dolendi, dum et )iominis 
habitus eft, et prigo non hominis eft, nato eo de concept 
tione fpiritus fanfti, De Trinitate, hb. 16. p. ^^f>. 

Chap. XX, Miraculous Conc^tion. 39 

that the body of Chrift was nb more ex- 
empt from the feeling of pain than ours are ! 
Such are the reafonings that I have found 
advanced by the Fathers concerning the 
miraci^lous conception^ and the final caufe 
of it ; and it was a circumftance of which 
they made no fmall boaft. ** What righte^ 
" ous perfon,'* fays the great Athanafius, 
** what holy prophet, or patriarch, in all 
" the facred writings, was born of a virgia 
" only; or what woman was fufficlent for the 
*' conception of a man, without a man* ?" 
*'When Chrift/' fays Conftantine, in hfe 
oration before the Fathers of the council of 
Nice^ *^ Was to live among men, he , in- 
"vented a new way of being born; for 
** there was a conception without marriage, 
'* a delivery of a pure virgin, and a young 
*'* woman Was the mother of God +." 

j^ ayim 's^po^m, >tj 'mcilpiapxfoy £« 'srap^evH (Aom ^<^X^ 'fw t» erw- 
fAeSoq yt9€(Tiv ; » rig yvvn X^P^ avJpof, avlapwug yryovt t^f oj (TiKOdiv 
avBpairciv. De Incarnatione, Opera, vol. i. p. 88. 

-f- Ettei h mxTftuKO) cafjLoli mXtvTtaietv^ ev re yn Xf^i^ ifJis?\Xe^ 
rviiXS^iagriilo cmculaoTig^ voOnv riva yevs^tv esuHn sfMixamfxIo, X^f'5 
ya^lci yccfjuiiv^ <ruh>:n^ig • x^ ayvrii isof^ioti tiMiOvia* ^ Sfs fAi^p 
MOfiyf, Cap. U- p. 689. 

D 4 ^* Who," 

40 Of the DoSlrine of the Book III, 

** Who/* fays Proclus, *' has ever fccn 
'^ or heard, that an infinite God inhabited 
*' a matrix, and that he whom the heavens 
** cannot receive, fhould not be flraitened in a 
^* virgin's wpmb. Well may we call this 
** womb larger than the whole creation *•*' 
** The trinity/' fays Maximus Taurinenfis, 
^* has efFe<aed three wonderful kinds of birth, 
** Adam from the duft of the ground. Eve 
*^ from the fide of Adam, and Chrift from a 
" virgin •f-/' It is remarkable, that the au- 
thor of the epiftle to the Hebrews makes 
no fuch boafts as thefe, though he feems*to 
have been intent on bringing together every 
circumftance that he could think would re- 
fled; honour oil Chrift. Great ufc, how- 
ever was made of this circumftance by the 

* *Vig ciSs, Ttg TViSffiv^ oli ptA^pav o ^£0; aTrepiypafrlosg onmrtv; nou 
ov upavog UK Exa)pYio'E, ya^^ mg vApSevs ax erewx^p^^* A£i% 
iib)/ji£v yarsfav 'jaxoSulepoaf nui uliffsug. Horn, in Nativitatem 
Pomini, p. 149, 

f Tres valde mirabilps nafcendi fpecies operatum^repe- 
ries trinitatem. £t prima eft quidem, quod Adam figu« 
ratus ex limo eft : fecunda quod mulier formata de naaf- 
culo : tertia, quae et coeleftis eft, quod Chriftus proccffit ex 
virgine. Op^ra, p. 196. 


Chap^XX. Miraculous Conception. 41 

chriftlan Fathers, in anfwering the objec- 
tions that were made tO the meannefs of 
Chrift's birth. " If it appears to weak 
** fenfes,'' fays Maximus Taurinenlis, *• un- 
** worthy of the Son of God to be born of 
** a woman, confider that it was a virgin 
^* that brought him forth */' This, how- 
ever, would not fatisfy the Gnoftics. Manes 
thought it unworthy of the majefty of the 
Son of God to go into the womb of a woman; 
et fortir enfuite avec toutes les ordures, qui 
accompagnent Tenfantement. Beaufobre, 
Hift. de Manecheifme, voL i.p, ^^^. Even 
the orthodox chriftians could not help being 
affeifted with this confideration. Pafcha- 
fius, the author of the dodlrinc of tran- 
fubftantiation, thought that it was unworthy 
of Chrift to be born of a woman, &c. Ibid, 
vol. 2. p. 526. 

My readers having heard a variety of in- 
genious conjeftures concerning the reafons 
for this extraordinary meafure of divine 

* Quod fi tibi fenfuum tuorum fragilitatc minus dig- 
num videtur filium dei natum de fcemina credere^ virginem 
cogita peperiffct Opera, p. 197. 

prpyi- . 

42 Of the DoSirine of the Book III. 

providence, may, perhaps, be able to fug^ 
geft one for themfelves ; but I own that, un* 
fatisfadlory as they appear to me, 1 am not 
^ble to affign any better* 

That the circumftance of Chrift pretend^ 
ing to a miraculous birth would have had 
an unfavourable e£fe£t on his charadter and 
credit in his life-time, all the Fathers, who 
fpeak of it, readily acknowledge j and the 
charadter of his mother, they fay, would 
have fullained an irreparable injury. They 
alfo acknov/ledge that, even had the fad 
been known and proved, the great objefi: of 
his miffion would have been in great danger 
6f being defeated ; as it was of the greateft 
importance to the fuccefs of the fcheme, 
that Chrift (hould not be known to be the 
Mefliah at fo early a period. For they ima* 
gined, that it was quite neceffary that the 
•devil fliould be kept in ignorance of his 
rank and true charadter. 

This is the reafon which they give, why 
Mary, though defigned to bring forth Jefus 
\vhile fhe was a virgin, (hould have a nomi- 
nal hufband. For they fay that, as the de- 

Chap* XX. Miraculous Conception. 43 

vil knew that the Meffiah was to be born 
of a virgin, he would, if fhe had not been 
jnarried, have fufpefted that her child had 
been the perfon, and would have exerted 
Jiimfelf to defeat the objed: of his miffion* 
This hypothefi$ impHes a high idea of the . — j 
powef of the devil ; but, withal, a very low 
one of his penetration and fagacity, or that 
he was ill fetved by his fpies. Such is not 
at prefent the idea of the devil with thofe 
who believe his real exiftence; 

A& the notions of the Fathers are a matter 
of fome curiofity, at leaft, I {hall lay before 
my readers fome of their thoughts and rea- 
fonings on this fubjed:, Origen, who fays, 
that ** the Jews thought Chrift to be the fon 
^' of Jofeph and Mary *," fays, that ^' they 
^* would not have believed Jcfus, if he had 
^^ faid that he was the fon of Mary only •}• ." 
*' Our Lord,'* fays Ambrofe, ** rather chofe 
*• that his origin fhould be unknown, than 

* flov7o 2jv cvSiov ^ivau laorn^ xou Mapiag vm. Comment, 
vol. I. p. 223. 

■\ Dicebant autem qui mirabantur, ignari ilium efle 
filium virginis, ne credituri quidem fi di<Sus fuiffet filius 
yirginis; Opera, vpU 2. p. 13. 

*^ that 

44 " Of the DoSlrine of the Book III» 

'< that his mother's chaftity ihould be 
** queftioned *•" 

But the perfon who has written themoft 
largely on this fubjcft is Chryfoftom, and 
the following extraft from him will (hew, 
in a very clear light, of what importance it 
was imagined to be, that the miraculous 
conception fhould be concealed from the 
Jews. But it does not feem to have occurred 
to any of thefe Fathers, that every reafon for 
this concealment is an argument againil the 
propriety and wifdom of the meafure itfelf ; 
and therefore an argument againft the truth 
ofthefaft: for, certainly a circumftance 
which they acknowledge to have been fo 
highly improbable, and of apparent differ- 
vice to the fcheme of chriftianity, requires 
very clear and ftrong evidence of its truth. 
** Why is there an account of the genealogy 
'* of Jofephywhohad nothing to do with the 
** generation of Chrift? I have mentioned one 
'* reafon, but I muft mention another more 

* Maluit autem dominus allquos de fui ortu, quam de 
matris pudore dubitare. In Luc. lib. 2. Opera, vol. 2. 
p. 17. 

*' myfterious. 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 45 

«* myflerious. What then is it? He would 
** not have it known to the Jews, after the 
** birth, that Chrift was born of a virgin. 
** Be not alarmed at this extraordinary cir- 
** cumftance. The reafon is not mine, but 
'* that of our fathers, eminent and diftin- 
" guifhed men. For if Chrift from the 
** beginning concealed many things, calling 
•• himfclf the/on of man^ and did not al- 
** ways difcover his equality with the Fa- 
" thcr, why (hould you wonder that he 
" concealed this, managing it as a great and 
** wonderful thing, to prefcrve the virgin, 
•* and cover her from wicked fufpicion. 
** For if this had been known to the Jews 
'• from the beginning, they would have 
«« ftoncd the virgin, abufing her for what 
" would be faid, and have condemned her 
•* for adultery. If they impudently abufed 
** him for works, of which they had many 
•* examples in the Old Teftament (for 
'* when he caft out demons, they called him 
'^ a demoniac, and when he healed on the 
•* Sabbath day they thought him an enemy 
** of God, though the Sabbath had often 

«^ been 

46 Of the DoSirine of the Book TIL 

** been broken before) what would they 
^* have faid, if this had been reported ! For 
** they had feen nothing of the kind in all 
** preceding time. For if, after fo many 
** miracles, they called him the fon of Jo* 
** feph, how could they have believed, be- 
*• fore his miracles, that he. was the fon of a 
*' virgin ?" 

** On this account, Jofeph has his ge- 
** nealogy inferted, and he married the vir- 
** gin. For when Jofeph, who was a good 
*' man, flood in need of many things, as of 
*' an angel, a vifion, and the teftimony of 
** prophecy, in order to believe the fadl, 
** how would the Jews, who were fo cor- 
*' rupt, and fo hoftilely difpofed towards 
** him, have received the fufpicion ? They 
'* would have been very much difturbed at 
^* a thing fo ftrange and new, the like of 
** which they never heard of in the time of 
*^ their anceftors. He who is once per- 
** fuaded that Chrift is the Son of God, has 
** no doubt on this fubjedt ; but he who 
*' confiders him as a deceiver, and an ene- 
*^ iny of God, how would he hot be more 

'* fcandalized 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 47 

" fcandalized on this account, and have 

" been led to this fufpicion (viz. of adul- 

*^ tery). On this account, neither did the 

** apoftles at firft fpeak of this, but rather 

*^ difcourfed largely concerning his refur- 

*• reftion. For of this there were examples 

** in former times, though not in all re- 

^* fpe£ts the iame ; but they had never 

^ heard of a perfon being born of a vir- 

** gin. Nor did his mother dare tp meui- 

'* tion this : for obferve how flie fays. Be-* 

** hold^ thy father and I have /ought thee. 

** For if this had been fufpedted, he would 

*Vnot have been thought to be the fon 

V of David ^ and this not being admitted, 

*^ many mifchiefs would have arifen. On 

** this account, neither did the angels men- 

** tion this, except to Mary and Jofeph only, 

*' but not to the fhepherds, though they 

f* acquainted them with his being born 

# M 

lE>iUv ^ Kai fjuav fAtv aOiav st^Twofjav rUrt. Avayxaiov 3k xcu mv 

sriv auk ; aft sSayJlo TOig Itiimoii nvai hi^^ov nsa^a tqv tuv oj^wv 
Hcu^QV^ oil EH nffo^Bsva yiymiou o Xf^^og. Ax^ yon iofy^€t<rS£ 
fjfpog TO ^apa^oiw th ^yofAiva, Oy S$ yof (/Mi q >Joyci^ gO^m 

48 Of the DoSirine of the Book III. 

Jerom argues very much in the fame 
manner on the fubjeft, giving three reafons 
why Mary was married to Jofeph. Firft, 
*' that by means of the genealogy of Jofeph, 

'soQsgav vfAds^uv^ ^auixeerav xou STruryifMy avi^m, £{ ya^ woMa 
pwso'Hiaa'af £| £Cf %>}^« f^iov cw^^utth xa>^v eoojlov^ nai a^z rrtv ^pb; to¥ 

Tiilo awtataoun te, m^ ^ou/fMcrov ri mm (jLsya oikovoixuv ; xai 'tjoiw 
hav/Mtrov fYHTii TO iiaa-u^oa mv 'aro^Scvov, j^ vtto^io^ wKoC^O^oeph 
vou luowifai. , E< ya^ tb7o e| afX*J^ toi$ In^Motg yeyove xoSain^ov^ 
av xaleTu^a-av^ T>jv 'ma^^evov Hcodipyiivlei, T« >^£yofjLeva^ xj fJLOixiuxg 
cwkv vcptvav av. E< ya^ UTtep roav oT^cdv, av 'sso»aKti j^ i/^oJeiy- 
yiaiu «%ov £v vrn mcx>ata<i ^avs^to^ we^xsvJwv (Kai ya^ £*«3)j ScU^ 
fiovof £|£^a^f, ^oufMvuvla sxaT^avi x) BVEiin zv (raQ^eila ^B^a'7rBUcrw% 
avli^sov iiVM epofjutov, x} rot ye mo>0^aHi^ xj 's^pole^ov b>jj% to O'oQQa* 
lov) Ti nk ocf Bi'ffov Tiila ^e%S£v7©" ; 3y yap iix^v 's^avla tov ^po 
riils cruvayoivi^ofjawv aJloig koi^ov^ ahTToJe ri roialov eveyjcovla, E< 
ya^ fjiela roffaijlct (rnfAsia ill avlav m laxrnf sxaXsv [uiov^ 'sjag av 
fBspo tm (mf/jEiav emreuaav oli x^ vc ^sja^^eva rv ; '^la ^ thIo 2^ yevsa^ 
>^si1ai^ )y fmrsvilai tuv '^of^evov, Otth ya^ luai/ip jc^ iixaio^ 
Cuv 3^ ^avfjLarog avm^ *sjo7^Kuy ehn^ are ^iaa^au %d yeytvfi/AEVW% 
3^ ayfiXSt iy Tng Si* oveipcQm o^eog^ )y rrig aTTO rav 'sr^o^m (laf*^ 
lu^iag^ 'aog av 01 Iniaioi }y cxaioi ovleg 19 i^ief^a^fASvoit ^ *sn>i£fuu^ 
^a Tcpog aJlov expvleg raulm av ma^e^e^avlo rrtv i/Trovoiav ; cpoifa 
ya^ atHng SfAiT^ ^^eiv to Ievov )d liavm^ )^ to fAehTrole ti toiSw 
lucvi^E anon ma^oae^aa^ai em tw ^ss^oyovm avyLQe^mog* O (A£9 yag 
a^rol 'sreicr^eig oli th Se« mog crtf, ah weft rsia >^ivov af/L^iffCi^eiit 
«X^' ^ ^^ ^ 'SJXavov j^ avIAeov aulov etvai vofju^avt tffag sx otf 
WKO TiHa HOI sffHavSdTna^ fjieiiovag-t xai 'spog SKemw aiSrtyr^ ti)9 
wrovoMHf I %a Ts7o sde 01 anofoh^i vafa Tuv ptf x»v ei&wg tSo xetb^ 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 49 

*•* to whom Mary was related, it might ap- 
" pear that he was defccndcd from David. 
*• Secondly, left, according to the law of 
** Mofes, (he fhould have been floned as aii 
** adultrefs. Thirdly, that, in their jour- 
•• ney to Egypt, (he might have the com- 
** fort of a guardian, rather than that of a 
•• hufhand." '' Who,'' fays he, *' at that 
** time would have believed the vii^gin, if 
•* flie had told them that the angel Gabriel 
*' came to her, and that fhe had conceived 
** by the Holy Spirit, and would not ra- 
** ther have condemned her after the ex- 
** ample of Sufannah; when, at this very 
** day, when all the world believes it, the 
^* Jews ftill cavil?" He afterwards fays, 

■tvuh\ Tovlrii t/TTohiy/jLola nv sv roi; EiA7r§oa^£v %foj/oif . ei km fjm 
roiavlac. Oli 3e sk zra^Bsvn ycyovfv, s crw/ex^^ Xsyaciv. Am* jfJk 
auh vt f4,^n^ f|evEy««y ti/?o f7oAftticr£v. O^a yav km "sjpog aulov ri 
ptKrtp [u 'srafSev®"] i^a vya km o vak^ an sMuf^^v as. Ei ya^ 
Ti3o ««rft)9r7eMSu, hS' arrs AaSiS" ?^i7rov svofxia^n mou uiog . tsTs Sir 
-fc)i vofAta^svlo;^ ^o>Ja, av iiex^ '^^ ^%^ HMia. \ Aia nflo 8^e oi I 
ayysXoi rotvla Hyaaa, A>J\a m Ma^ia /Mvn nai toj laai^ [^isa^a- 
.fncrov] TQig Je ^oifieffiy EvayyE^^fofjuvoi to ygyEm/Afvov, s«e?i Tif7a 
*B^cffe^xav. In M^tt. Horn. i. Opera, vol. 7. p. 20, &c. 

. Vol. IV. ^ E that 

50 Of the DoSirine of the Book IIL 

that " except Jofeph the hufband, Mary 
** herfelf, and a very few others^ who 
** might hear it from them, all perfbns 
** confidcred Jefus as the fon of Jofeph ; fo 
•• that the evangelifts, exprefling the com- 
** mon opinion, called Jofeph the father of 
** our Saviour*." 

I think it is hardly pofHble to read thefe 
paiTages, in which the inconvenience that 
would have attended the difcovery of the 
miraculous conception are very ftrongly 
dnd naturally defcribed, without feeling that 

* Ut per genealogiam Jofeph, cui Maria cognata crat, 
origo quoque Mariae monftraretur : fecundo, nc juxta le- 
gem Moyfis, ut adultera lapidaretur a populo : tertio, utad 
£gyptum fugiens, haberet folatium cuftodis, potius quam 
mariti. Quis enim in tempore illo virgin! credidiflet, de 
fan£i:o earn fpiritu concepifle, venifTe ad earn angelum Ga* 
brielem dei, detuliile mandatum, ac non magis, quafi adul* 
teram, juxta exemplum Sufannae fententix omnium con- 
demnaflent : cum hodie, toto jam credente mundo, agrgu- 
mententur Judaei. Denique, cxcepto Jofeph, et Eliza- 
bet, et ipfa Maria, paycifque admodum, fi quos ab his au« 
diiTe poflfumus exiftimare, omnes Jefum filium exiftimabaii| 
Jofeph, in tantum, ut etiam evangeliftae, opinionem vuTgi 
exprimentes, quae vera hiftoriae lex efl, patrem cum dixe- 
rint falvatoris. Ad Helvidium, Opera, vol. %. p. 310* 


Cli A p. XX. Miraculous Conception. 5 1 

the ftory itfeff is an incumbrance on the 
* chriftian fcheme, and that it would at leaft 
have appeared to more advantage without it* 
That it was neceflary that the miracu^ 
loijs conception of Jefus fhould be con- 
cealed from the devil, is a thought that is 
always afcribed to Ignatius, and it appears 
in the epiftles that go by his name, as was 
quoted^ voL 3. p. 80. but it continued to be 
the ferious belief of all the Fathers who 
have mentioned the fubjedt. Bafil fays, 
** Mary was married to Jofeph, that the 
*Mevil might not fufpedt that (he was a 
** virgin For he knew that Chrift was to 
^* be born of one, and that he was to put 
** an end to his power *." Ambrofe fays, 
that *' Mary conceived by a miracle, left 

'Tov a^%oy7a m cumog mlis tuv 'sra^^mav rng Ma^uxg «* th laanp 
e^evom^ lAvr\Tua . oiov£i ya^ fulsoj^icrfiog ra tsovin^a to <rx;nfjut rng 

ap H rmffB TH ^po^H T^yovlog . iSs )1 'sra^^svog ev yar^i hrt^iiai 
KOi Te^elau viov . aTre^mcoXr^ w iia ms t^wiTEiag o sTnia}^ mg 
wof^fwo^ . tiisi yoL^ K(xla>M<rtv rng iSia^ «f%>»f W 3xa cra^xog 
ffjn^avEiav t« kv^ih yevn(70fj(^vnv. Hom.. 25. Opera, vol. i. 


E a . " *^thc 

52 Of the Dc^rine of the Book III. 

** the princes of this world fliould not have 

** crucified Chrift for our falvation ♦." 

His idea, probably was, that the devil 

would not then have inftigattd Judas to 

betray him, or his enemies to crucify him. 

Chryfoftom fays, that ** Chrift was both 

** born of a virgin, and fufFered on the 

*' crofs, that the devil might be taken with 

** his own arts ; for that Eve was a virgin, 

*^ when flie v/as feduced, and eat of the 

*' tree of good and evil-f-." 

Leo the Great fays, that " Chrift's 
*' chufing to be born of a virgin, was an 
** inftance of profound wifdom ; that the 
*' devil might be ignorant that the falva- 
** tion of men was born into the world; 
*^ and that the fpiritual conception being 

* Sciebat enim jam tunc gratia plena, fpiritu divinitatis 
afflata, quia fi hunc hujus faecnli principes agnoviffent, 
numquam pro falute noftra crucifixifl'ent. De Purifica- 
tione S. Mariae, Opera, vol. 5. p. 638. 

Ta €rvfAQo>M ; opa TOivuv "sscog t^ tyi; viKy^g aula ZFo^^iv ytyovE wa^aSta . 
avlt rng Ei/aj n Ma^ :a, avli ra |i/^ m ei^evat yvwrov xa^a )^ tiovijpg 
TO ^UT^ov m ^av^a^ avii m Zavala m AoafA izo'TCoim®' ^oofakq^ 

In Pafch. Opera, vol. 6. p. 643. 

** concealed 



Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 53 

** concealed, he might believe that he who 
^* did not appear different from other men, 
** was born like other men *." 

'* The virginity of Mary," fays Damaf^ 
ceniis, '* her delivery, and the death of 
** Chrift, were all concealed from the de- 
** vil," quoted from Ignatius -f-. ** Mary// 
fays Theophylaft, '* was married, that by 
** this means fhe might deceive the deviU 
** For the devil having heard that a virgin 
** would be with child, obferved the vir- 
" gins. She, therefore, married Jofeph 
" to deceive the deceiver J." * 

* Hoc ipfum et autem quod Chriftus nafci elegit ex 
virgine, nonne apparet altiflimae fuifle rationis j ut fciUcet 
natam humani generis falutem diabolus ignoraretj ut, 
fpiritali latente conceptu, quern nonalium videret quani 
alios, non alitor crederet natum effe quam ceteros. De 
Nativitate, Ser. 4. Opera, p. 14. 

KM TOK®- aulvi;^ ofjLOia; km o ^avc^log %f ira, r^xa fJiurvi^ia Kprnryrig^ 
a riva tv mvx^a $£« sTT^ax^yi* De Mariae Nativitate, Or. 3. 
Opera, p. 576. 

J AfjLa 3e, x) iva \xS>i tov SiaffoXov, ^ict thIo tymifltv^ * ya^ 
iiaQoy^oq aKHo-ag oli n 'sra^^svog ev yarpi eIe/, sTTskpu rag "srag^mg* 

In Matt, cap, i. Opera, vol- i. p. 8. 

E 3 Maximus 

54 Of the Doarine cfthe Book III. 

Maximus Taurinenfis makes a curious 
foliloquy for the devil, on the birth of 
Chrift, which implies that he had heard of 
the pretenfion to a miraculous conccptiont 
but did not give entire credit to it. *< Who 

* is this," fays he, *' that is come into the 

* world unknown to me, I know that he 
'is born of a woman, but I do not know 

* how he was conceived. I fee the mo- 

* ther, but I cannot trace the father. 

* And what adds to my altonifliment,, the 

* mother pretends that (he brought him 
^ forth in fome unufual manner, and that 

* (he is a virgin/* Then defcribing the 
pcrfe<9: purify of Chrift's nature, he e3i» 
claim?, 'f What (hall I do ? Whither ihM. 

I turn myfelf ? I find that I have to do 
with one who is ftronger than I am. 
I believe he intends to reign in my king* 
f dpm. I fear left he (hould be a god, 
who is ab(blutely without ftain. But if 
he was a god, how could he bear the in- 
dignity of being born of a woman ? How 
could he be content with the cradle arid 
fwaddling clothes ? Who cpuld believe 

'• the 


Chap. XX. Miraculous ^Conception. ' ^^ 

** the wailing of an infant in a God ; and 
** to whom does it not appear ridiculous 
*' that God fhould be fed with a woman's 
** milk. Befides he is hungry, and it is 
** repugnant to reafon that God fhould be 
** hungry *." 

* Quis ifte eft qui nefciente me hunc ingrelTus eft 
mundum ? Novi quidem de femina natus ieft, fed nefcio 
unde conceptus. Adat ecce mater, fed patrem inveftigare 
non poiTum. Partum video, fed non agnofco nafcentem, 
et quod ftupori meo accrefcit, inconfueta lege pariendi 
etiam edito filio mater exuitat, ut virgo.~-Quid agam i 
Quo me convertam ? Fortiorem fentio : puto ilium ia 
regno meo vdleregnare, ne forte deus fit ifte quem nullum 
poteft maculare deli£i:um. Sed fi deus eiTet, quomodo 
indignitates partus feminei fuftineret ? Quomodo efTet 
cunis pannifque contentus ?. Quis credere poffit infantiae 
vagttus in deo, cui non audienti ridiculum eft deum femi- 
neo la£te nutriri ? Poft omnia ecce efiirit, cum utique 
efurire deum ratio nulla perfuadeat. Opera, p. 206. 

E4 SEC- 

5^ * OftheDoSirineofthe Book III. 


A View of the Arguments In Favour of the ' 
Miraculous Conception^ and of the hijiorif 
cal Evidetice by which its Credibility Jhould 
be ajcertained. 

TJ AVING thu8 ftated the nature of the 
fa6t, the credibility of which I propofe 
to difcuf^, and fhewn the appearance that it 
has a priori^ which is of confiderable mo- 
ment with refpedt to the evidence that is 
neceffary to eftablifti its authenticity; I 
fhall proceed to ftate the evidence for and 
againfl it, with as much impartiality as I 
can. This is all that is of any confequence 
to the reader. He muft then, and he cer- 
tainly will^ jiidge for himfelf. 

The whole ftrength of the evidence in 
favour of the miraculous conception is ex- 
prefled in a few words. The thing itfelf 
appears a priori to be highly improbable, 


Ch A p • X X . Miraculous ConceptkfK ^j 

and the report of it muft have operated un- 
favourably with refped: to the credit of 
chriftianity, and it is never argued from, or, 
fo much as alluded ta, as of any ufe in the 
fchcme, or as a part of it, in all the New 
Teftament. But the teftimony of the evan^ 
gelifls Matthew and Luke, is exprefsly in 
its favour. Their hiftories are likewifc 
fuppofed to be the earlieft accounts of our 
Saviour's life ; and Luke fays that he took 
particuliar pains to trace the hiftory to ita 
fource, from thofe who were beft qualified 
to give him information* 

This pofitive teftimony, very circumftan-* 
tially related, by perfons of fuch refpedlable 
charatSers, to fay nothing of their fup- 
pofed irifpiratkn^ is certainly entitled to thq 
greateft credit. It may be faid, What evi- 
dence can be ftronger in favour of any 
event, than its being recorded by cotem-.- 
porary hiftorians, whofe writings werepub- 
lifhed in their own life-time ? If this part 
of the gofpel hiftory be fabulous, why inay 
not the whole be fo, fince it is all related 
by the fame evangelifts ? Is it not, there- 

, fore. 

58 Of the Boarine of the Book III. 

fore, to undermine the credit of the whole 
gofpel hiftory, to endeavour to weaken that 
of fo confidcrable a part of it ? 

This, I think, is all that can be advanced 
in favour of the miraculous conception, 
fetting afide all idea of the infpiration of 
the writers, to which, Lown, I (hould pay 
no attention. I confider Matthew and 
Luke as fimply hijlorians^ whofe credit muft 
be determined by the circumilances in 
which they wrote, and the nature of the 
fafts which they relate. And before I con* 
fider the evidence that may be alledged 
againft the faft which they have recorded, 
or are fuppofed to have recorded, I flhall 
make one obfervation, which, is of the 
greateft importance with refpeft to hifto- 
rical evidence, and which is always allowed 
its full weight with regard to all other hif- 
tories. And it appears tome, that it is our 
backwar^inefs to confider the gofpel hifto^ 
rians in the fame light in which we do other 
hiftorians (notwithftanding the dodlrinc of 
their infpiration is nominally given upijf 
that prevents our forming a right eftipiate 

Ghap. XK. Miraculous Conception. 59 

in this particular cafe. In any other fimi- 
lar cafe, I apprehend, we fhould decide 
much more readily than the boideft of us 
feel ourfclves difpofed to do here. 

The obfervation which I would now 
make, and which I wifh to imprefs upon 
my reader, is this;, that fully to cftablifli 
the credibility of any fadt, it muft not only 
be recorded by cotemporary hiftorians, but 
it muft alfo appear not to have beeh con- 
. tradided by thofe who were cotemporary 
with the hiftorians, and who may be fup- 
pofed to have been as good judges as the 
hiftorians themfelves. Still lefs will the 
fingle circumftance of an event being re- 
corded by cotemporary hiftorians, avail to 
cftablifti the credit of it, if it appear not 
to have been believed by thofe who may 
be fuppofed to have been favourably in- 
clined to the belief of it, and to have 
wiftied it to be true. 

Let us fuppofe that we fhould now re- 
cover a copy of the hiftory of Livy, con- 
taining an account of the tranfadtions of 
his own time, or fo.near to it, that it could 


6o Of the DoBlrine of the Book Ilf . 

not be doubted, but that it was in his power 
to have procured good information con-, 
cerning what he wrote ; and that we fhould 
find in this copy of his hiftory, that Cleo- ' 
patra, inftead of dying by the bite of an afp 
in Egypt, was brought by Auguftus tQ 
Rome, and publicly married to him. The 
ftory would not, at this day, gain any cre- 
dit. We might not be able to deny that 
Livy wrote the account, but we fhould im- 
mediately fay ; if it was true, why does it not 
appear to have been believed at the time? 

Suppofing, farther, that we fhould dif- 
cover another Roman hiftory, viz. that 
-of Salluft, which fhould contain the fame 
account; ftill, if v/e faw no reafon to think 
that it was believed at Rome, where the 
fcene of the tranfaftion was laid, we cer- 
tainly fhould not believe it now ; nor 
would even ten or twelve hiftorians, agree- 
ing ever fo well in their accounts, make us 
believe it , unlefs it fhould appear to us, 
that it was generally believed at the time. 
We might not be able to account for the 
mifapprehcnfions and miflakes of the hiflo- 

rians ; 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 6 1 

rians ; but, in faft, their evidence would 
only be confidered as that of ten or twelve 
men, oppofed to the evidence of more than 
ten or twelve millions. 

However, if the credit of Livy and Sal- 
luft was fo well eftablifhed, that we could 
not believe that they would aflert as a fad:, 
what they might eaiily have known not to 
be fo ; we fiiould fay that, though we had 
no method of accounting for fuch a narra- 
tion being found in the copies of their 
works, which have come down to us, we 
were fatisfied that they were not of their 
compofition. Paflages, we might fay, like 
that in Jofephus concerning ChriiT:, may 
have got into the works of more refpedt- 
able writers (as a comparifon of circum- 
jftances fufficiently proves ) without our 
being able to fay when^ or by wbonty the 
books were corrupted. And if we had any 
evidence that there were, in early times, 
copies of the entire hiftories of Livy and 
Salliift, in which nothing was faid of the 
marriage of Auguftus to Cleopatra, nothing 
farther, I imagine, would be wanting to our 
intire fatisfadtion on the fubjefl:'. 

1 Now 

62 yj ii?e DoSfrine of the Book III. 

Now thcfe very material obfervationsi 
and fcveral others, apply to the cafe before 
us. It is true that we do find the ftory of 
the miraculous conception in the received 
gofpels of Matthew and Luke ; and it i$ 
alnioft certain that they were there in the 
time of Juftin Martyr. But it is no lefs 
certain, that there were in early times gof- 
pels of Matthew, and of Luke too, which 
did not contain that ftory ; and there is 
fufficient reafon to think, that the great 
body of Jewifli chriftians, who were co- 
temporary with the apoftles, did not be- 
lieve it. It was probably a long time be- 
fore it gained any credit at all with any of 
their pofterity, and it is probable that it 
never did fo with the generality of them* 
It is certain that fome very learned perfons, 
and therefore, probably, the moft inquifi- 
tive among them, and who wrote exprefsly 
on the fubjeft, never belifeved it ; and yet 
no good reafon can be given why a hiftory 
which has the appearance of being greatly 
to the credit of the founder of their reli- 
gion, (hould not have been believed by 
them, as well as by other chriftians. 

A cir- 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 63 

A circumftance of greater weight than 
even this is, thlt the Gnoftics of that age, 
to whofejpeculiar fyftems the dodlrine of 
the miraculous conception could not but 
h^irfe appeared exceedingly favourable, did 
likewife rejedl it as fabulous. If thefe par- 
ticulars can be well fupported, it muft ap- 
pear that fomething is wanting to the full 
credibility of this part of the gofpel hif^ 
tory I and it will be farther weakened, if 
any ciroumftances can be pointed out that 
affedl the authenticity of the introdudlions 
to the gofpels of Matthew and Luke. Such 
fadts of this kind, and fuch observations as 
have occurred to me on the fubject, I now 
proceed to lay before my readers. 

^t C^ 

64 Of the Dcdlrine of the Book IIJL 


Reafons for thinking that the Miraculous 
Conception was not known, or believed^ in 
very early times. 

'Tp HAT the miraculous conccptioa 
of our Saviour was not known^ and 
of courfe not believed^ during the time of 
his public miniftry, will, I imagine, be 
allowed by all perfons ; and this of it^ 
felf is a circumftance not very favourable 
to its truth. For though there might be 
reafons why it fiiould be concealed from 
the enemies of Jefus (as it might be fup- 
pofed to amount to a declaration of his 
being the Meffiah) there does not feem to 
have been any reafon why it fliould have 
been concealed from his friends, as it would 
have tended to ftrengthen their faith in his 
divine miflion. Befides, as Jofeph and Mary 
were not enjoined fecrecy on this head, 
they would naturally fpeak of fo wonderful 

a thing 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 6^ 

a thing as that of a virgin being with child, 
at leaft to their pious friends, who would 
give them credit for it ; and if it had been 
believed by them, is it not probable that 
more refped: would have been paid to Jefus 
during his infancy and childhood ? 

If there had been any perfons of property 
among them, they would hardly have.fiif- 
fered fo extraordinary a child as this to 
have followed the occupation of a common 
carpenter, which Jefus is thought to have 
done till he was thirty years of age. If the 
account of -Luke be true, the ftory of this 
mifaculous conception could not well have 
been a fecret. According to him it muft 
have been known not only to Jofeph and 
Mary, but alfo to Zacharias and Elizabeth, 
if not to Simeon and Anna ; the latter of 
whom is faid to have fpoken of him to all 
them that looked for redemption in Jerufalem. 
Luke ii. 38. Now, as none of thefe per- 
fons are faid to liave made any fecret of 
what they knew, wq may fafely conclude, 
that, by fome. means or other, it would 
certainly get abroid ; and a faft of this ex- 
- Vol, IV. F traordinary 


66 Of the DoSirine of the Book III. 

traordinary kind, or even a pretenfion^ 
would never have been forgotten. All the 
country would have had their eyes upon 
any child that had been faid to have beea 
produced in this manner, and would never 
have loft fight of him. 

Suppofing^ however, that this faft had 
been a fecrct between Jofeph and Mary 
only, and that they had agreed to keep it 
to themfelves, fo that upon the death of 
Jofeph, it would have remained in the 
breaft of Mary alone, it cannot have been 
fuppofed to have been unknown to Jefus 
himfelf, after he was fully illuminated with 
refpeift-to every thing that related to his 
chara£ter and office; and it muft at fome 
time or other have been communicated by 
her, or by him, to his difciples. But if 
we attend to the hiftory, we fhall find it 
extremely difficult to fix upon any parti- 
cular time when the great fecret was made 
known to them. For we perceive no trace 
of their ever having known it at all ; there 
not being, as I have obferved before, the 
leaft mention of it, or the moft obfcure re- 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 6j 

fercnce to it, in all the fubfequent gofpel 
hiftory, or in any of the writings of the 
apoftles ; fo that, if it was 'z fadt, it was, 
to all appearance, a moft extraordinary mi- 
racle, without the fmallelt ufe or effedt; 
fince the difcovery of it excited no furprize, 
nor left any impreflion by which it can be 

As foon as we certainly knovy that chrif- 
tians did believe the miraculous conception 
of Jefus, it was particularly pbjeded to by 
Jews and heathens, almoft as much as the 
doftrine of his divinity ; and this obliged 
the chriftians who believed it, to have re- 
courfe to various arguments to defend it, 
and make it appear credible, as I (hall (hew 
hereafter ; but we neither hear of the preten* 
Jiprit the obje^ions, or the defences in the life- 
time of the apoftles. Now why do we hear 
fo much about the miraculous conception 
in the time of the Fathers, and find fo much 
faid of it in their writings, and nothing at 
all about it in any earlier period, if the 
thing itfelf had been known and pretended 
to ? Would not the fime caufes have pro- 

^ F 2 duced 

68 Of the DoSlnne of the Book IIL 

duced the fame effeds, if they had really 
exifted? And if the pretcnfion had not 
been advanced in the age of the apoftles, 
it would come too late afterwards, as it 
would be impoffible then to authenticate 
the fad. 

It is plain that Jefus was thought to be 
the legitimate fon of Jofeph and Mary by 
the Jews in general, and efpecially by the 
people of Nazareth, where he and his pa- 
rents lived. For the worft that his coun- 
trymen, envious of his reputation, could 
fay of him was, that he vvas the fon of a 
carpenter, and that his father, mother, 
brothers, and fifters, were all known tq 
them. This was about thirty years after 
liis birth. Now, had Mary been with 
child when fhe came to live with her huf- 
band, and Jefus had confequently been born 
too foon after their cohabitation, it could 
hardly have failed to be noticed, and would 
probably have been recolledted when he 
began to diftinguifh himfelf; fo that we 
may be faid to have the evidence of the 
inhabitants of the place in which he lived, 

. I that 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception* 69 

that he was the proper and legitimate fon 
of Jofcph and Mary. Origen, indeed, 
fuppofes that the Jews meant to reproach 
Chrift with his pretenfion to being born of 
^virgin, when they told him (John viii. 41,) 
that they were not born of fornication^ . But 
I believe he is fingutar in this fuppofition. 
Rut the principal objedtion to the ftory 
IS that, at whatever time it was communi* 
catcd, by Jefus or Mary, to the apoftles, 
or by them tb the reft of the difciples (con- 
cerning which nothing can be collected 
from the hiftory) it does not appear to have 
gained any credit Jn that age. Fojf it is 
certain that it was not believed by the great 
body, and probably the whole number of 
the Jewifli chriftians in the age fubfequent 
to that of the apoftles ; fo that they either 
had not been taught any fuch dodlrine by 
them, or if they had heard of it, they did 

fisv at wccg^evH yeymnu^ai'i m 's^o^eiotg 3e yeysyvniJLH'o;<t xat Sia ro 
aux^iv TO EK 'Sja^^tva yEyewn<T^ai Xcywv 6v« nsdit^oL tx^ l^vov tov 
S£oy> Tm ofMXoyavlm tov ftsdH^a ^E0V^ 8x apm^ixvoiv im av^paTTOv 
^ale^oi, Comnient. voK 2< p* 3030 

F 3 not 

70 Of the Dc^rine of the Book III. 

not think the account fufficiently authen* 


The miraculous conception was a thing 
which none of the apoftles could haveaffertcd 
of their own knowledge ; and if they had 
no particular evidence^ or revelation concern- 
ing it (of which nothing is faid) many of 
the early Jewi(h chriftians were as good 
judges in the cafe as thcmfelves. Had the 
fubjeft been then much talked of, or had it 
been mentioned at all in the life time of 
Mary, care would^ no doubt, have been 
taken to interrogate her with refpeft to it ; 
^nd her teltimony, folemnly given, would 
hardly have been difputed. That this, 
therefore, was not done, and the credibility 
of the fadt eftabliftied in that age, affords 
the ftrongeft prefumption that the ftory of 
the miraculous conception had not ' been 
beard of in the life-time of Mary, or indeed 
in that of the apoftles. If it had, we can 
hardly fuppofe but that all doubt with re- 
fpedl to it would have been precluded. 

Had this remarkable hiftory been im- 
parted to the early Jewifti chriftians with 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Concepiio/i. 71 

fuch circumftances as would have rendered 
it credible, we can imagine no reafon why 
it ihould not have been univerfally received 
in that age, and have been tranfmitted as an 
unqueftionable truth to all pofterity. For, 
being the difciples of Chrift, it may be fup- 
pofed that they would have been pleafed 
with a circumftance fo much to his ho- 
nour; the very principle on which, I doubit 
not, the belief of it did gain ground at 
length. Had it been thought credibly at 
thiit time, the fame caufes which eftablilh- 
ed the belief of it afterwards, would have 
e)flFedted it in a more early period. 

That very many of the Jcwifli chriftians, 
who were generally called Ebionkes, did 
not believe the miraculous conception, has 
the unanimous teftimony of all who fpcak 
of them, even in the lateft periods. It 
may, therefore, be prefumed, that this dif- 
belief was more general, and probably uni- 
verfal, in an earlier age. Juftin Martyr, 
who is the firft chriflian writer that men- 
tions them at. all, gives no hint of there 
being any among them who did believe it 4 

F 4 npr 

72 Of the Dodlrine of the Book III. 

nor indeed does Irenaeus, who mentions 
them feveral timcs^ and who wrote near the 
clofe of the fecond century. He fpeaks of 
the Ebionites in general, as ** vain, not ad- 
*' mitting the union of God and man by 
** faith, as perfevering in the old leaven of 
** generation, and not underftanding that 
*' the fpirit came upon Mary, and that the 
^^ power of the higheft oyerljiaddowed 


So far, therefore, we have no pvidence of 
any of the Jewifli chriftians believing the 
miraculous conception. Alfo, till this 
time, and long after, they do not appear to 
have been known to the Greeks by any 
other name than that of Ebionites. Qri- 
gen exprefsly informs us, that in his 
time all the the Jpwiih chriftians went by 
that name. He is the firft wTiter froqi 
whom wp learn that any of them believed 
the mirapulous conception ; and . he wro^e 

• Vani autem et Ebioi;iaei, unitionern dei et hominis per 
fidem non recipientes in ^uam animam, fed in veteri gc- 
nerationis perfeverantes ^fermento J neque intelligere vo- 
lentes quoniam fpiritus fanftus advenit in Mariam, et vjr- 
tus altiffimi obumbfavit cam. Lib, 5. cap. i. p. 394. 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 73 

about the middle of the third century. 
*^ When you fee/' fays he, ** the faith of the 
*• Jewifh believers in our Saviour, fome of 
** whom think himi to have been the fon 
*' of Jofeph and Mary, and others of Mary 
** and the Holy Spirit, but without ac- 
** knowledging his divinity, &c+." 

Eufebius, who fpeaks of no Jewifli chrif- 
tians, but fuch as were called Ebionites, in 
one place, makes the fame diftindion among 
them that Origen does ^ but in another 
place he fpeaks of the Ebionites in general 
as difbeliving the miraculous conception. 
So that in his time, that is about a hundred 
years after Origen, a great proportion of 
them, probably a majority of them, conti- 
nued unbelievers in the miraculous con- 
ception, notwithftanding they muft have 
had before them all the evidence in favour 
of it that .we can pretend to have. And as, 
in after ages, when it was imagined that 

' " •^KoM iTtav i3r5 Tfflv aTTo laictmv ^aireuoCiuv ei; rov Iykthv tw 'mm 
TH CcSln^o^ 'SJiTiVt oIe f/.ev gx, ^apiag xai th IcoaTi^ oiofisvuiv aJlov etvaiy 
oli ^i ex Mapiag fxtv fiovr]; km th ^ea wvevfjiaio^t a fAtiv Hca'/Msla rn; 
tst^i cwIh SsoAoyia^, o-vf/Ei zico; SQ- o Tuf>^i T^ysSo, In Matth. 

Comment. yoI. i. p. 427. 


74 Of the DoSirine of the Book \U. 

there was fome diftindtion between the 
Ebionites and Nazarenes, the Ebionites 
were always defcribed as believing Chrift 
to be the fpn of Jofeph, and the Nazarenes 
are no where faid to believe the contrary, 
we fecm to be authorifed to conclude, that 
the great majority of Jewifh chriftians 
always continued unbelievers in this doc- 
trine. Tertullian confidcred it as an 
anfwer tb the Ebionites, that Chrift is 
faid to be born not of blood, nor of 
the will of man, but of God *. He muft, 
therefore, have confidered them as denying 
the miraculous conception. Auftin, de- 
fcribing Ae Ebionites, fays cxprefsly, that 
they denied it ; and though he makes an- 
other fe(Sf of the Nazarenes, he does not fay 
that they believed it +. 

That there was any real difference between 
the Ebionites and Nazarenes has been fhewn 
to be an ipinion void of all foundation. But 

* Et non ex fanguine, rieque ex carnis et viri voluntate, 
fed ex deo natus e(i, Hebioni refpondit. Pe Came Cbrifti, 
feft. 24. Opera, p. 325. 

•f Natus eft ergo dci filius ex homine, et non per ho- 
minem, id eft, non ex viri coitu ficut Ebion dicit. D$ 
Dtfinitionibus, cap. %. Opera, vol. 3. p. 195. 



Chap. XX. Miraculous Qmception. 75 

if there was any difference between them, 
Epiphanius fays, that he did not know that it 
confifted in this. And if, as he fays, '* the 
** Nazarenes held dodtrines fimilar to thofc 
*' of the Ccrinthians *," he probably fup- 
pofed that they believed the miraculous con- 
ception; becaufe the Cerinthians, being 
Gnoftics, had no other opinion that Epi- 
phanius would call heretical (except that 
concerning the obligation of the law of 
Mofes) in which they could agree with the 
Nazarenes. For the Cerinthians, like all 
the other early Gnoftics, were unbelievers 
in the miraculous conception. 

The Ebionites were not without men of 
learning and enquiry among them ; and of 
thefe Symmachus (whofe tranflation of the 
Old Teftament into Greek, is quoted with 
the higheft refped: by Origen, EufebiuSj 
and all the ancients) defended this particu- 
lar opinion of the Ebionites. We have no 
account of any of his arguments ; but that 
a man of his learning, and refpedlable cha- 
radler, about the end of the fecond century, 
with all the evidence before him that we 

* Ka6a yap tptv^ avyxpovoi yitrav a}^}joi^, xou qjLOia KShinvlat 
ja ffovr\fAcSa, Hser. ^9. Opera, vol. i. p. 117. 


76 Of the DoSlrine of the Book III. 

can have in favour of it, and probably much 
more than we now have againft it, fhould 
write in defence of his opinion, is, of itfelf, 
4ifaSl of confidcrable confequence. That 
his opinion was overborne, notwithftanding 
his defence of it, will not make an unitarian 
think the worfe of it, as the unitarian doc- 
trine itfelf was overborne; and it was pro- 
bably the operation of the fame general 
caufes that was fatal to both the fimple and 
the proper humanity ; meaning by proper 
humanity f that Jefus had a human father, as 
well as a mother. 

This work of Symmachus does not appear 
to have been fcen by Eufebius; but he 
mentions it as having been in the poffef- 
lion of Origen. •' Symmachus,'' he fays, one 
** of the interpreters of the fcriptures, was an 
** Ebionite; and the Ebionite herefy is that 
** of thofe who fay, that Chrift was born 
** of Jofeph and Mary, fuppofing him to be 
** a mere man. There are now commenta* 
** ries of this Symmachus, in which it is 
" faid that, eagerly difputing about the 
** gofpel of Matthew he defends that herefy. 
** And thcfe commentaries of Symmachus, 

** Origin, 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conaption. jj 

** Origen, together with' other interpreta- 
*' tions of fcripture by the fame author, faid 
** he received of one Juliana, to whom they 
*' came by fucceflion from Symmachus hinj- 
«< felf*.'* Jerom and Nicephorus call this 
work of Symmachu5i a Commentary on tho 
gofpel of Matthew. That the Nazarenes 
did not differ from the Ebionites in their 
believing the miraculous conception, may 
be inferred from the former being fome- 
times called Symmachtans. See vol. 3. 
p. 221. of this work. 
- It is well known that the Ebionites^ 



maintained that their copies of this gof- 
pel, which wanted the introdu<3tion, wa& 
the genuine work of the apoftle. And why 
fhould not the Jewifh chriftians be as good 
judges of this, as the Jews in general are ' 

* T«y yt finv egfAnvEulav aJhv Jn aslav inov^ E^kovmov tov S<^< 
ftaxov ysyovevai . ouf£<ri$ 3f snv yituv ESidJVouojv hIu Ka>Mfji.wi^ ruv TOf. 
Xfifov e| laayip ^ Ma^iag ysyovivain ^oLtTKoylav ^J/iAov te avSpw^rov 
u9rBt\n^olci)V cuflov^ xj rov vofMV Xf^fVM la^aHcSispov (pu^^rleiv aTiffxypi* 
^OfAEVcuv. cog wi )C) SK rng 'tjpotr^iv iropiag syvtofASV . '^ vTrofjLvnfAola & 
T« XvfAfAaxa sicteIi vuv ^spilai ' ev oi; ^qhei "sspog to Kctia Ma?da<oy 
aTTGluvo/xsvo; evalyi?^ov^ tjjv ^£^n?MfJi£vnv cupso'iv xpalweiv . rauia Jc o 
ilpiyeviK fjtela iy a»MV u; rag y^a^ag s^f/.rveiuv ns 2i//i^;^, ay* 
fMivEt 'srap InT'^iavYig rivog siXrt^vai ' rnv jy pi<n *sa^ avla Sy/^fwy^' 
TOf j9<f AjTf JiaJflcwSof*. Hift. lib. ^. cap. 17. p. 278. 



78 Of the Do6irine of the Book Xlh 

allowed to have been with refpeft to the 
writings of Mofes ? The general opinion 
is, that Matthew wrote his gofpel in He- 
brew for their ufe, as Mofes did his books. 

Jerom fays, that the gofpel ufed by the 
Nazarenes and Ebionites, was ** by mpji 
** [plerifque] called the authentic gofpel of 
** Matthew ♦/* Now, as there can be no 
doubt of the Nazarenes and Ebionites them- 
jfelves confidering this gofpel as the au- 
thentic gofpel of Matthew, it may be fup- 
pofed, that many of the Gentiles alfo had 
the fame opinion. And though the copy 
that Jerom tranflated had part of the two 
firft chapfers, and therefore probably the 
whole j yet, as we learn from Epiphanius, 
ihat that gofpel began at the third chapter, 
and we know from Origen, that all the Gen-- 
tile chriftiansdid not believe the miraculous 
conception ; it is probable that the Hebrew 
<gofpel, ufed by the Ebionites, even with- 
out the introdudlion, was thought by many 
of the Gentiles to be the whole of the ge- 

^ * Inevangelio, quo utuntur Nazareni et Ebionitae, quod 
nuper in Gr^cum de Hebraco fermonc .traiiftulimus ct 
quod vocatur a plerifque Matthaei authenticum» &c. In 
Matt. cap. 12. Opera, vol. 6. p. 2i. 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 79 

nuine work of Matthew. Indeed, they 
could hardly be unbelievers in the miracu* 
lous conception, and admit it to be authen** 

If, however, it be thought that the 
Ebionites were unbelievers in the miracu-. 
lous conception, at the famfe that they 
thought it to have been recorcjied by Mat- 
thew, the evidence againft the credibility of 
it, will be much ftrcngthened. It will be 
taken for granted that the Jewifli chriftians, 
who were fo fond of Matthew, as to admit 
ho other gofpel befides his, would not 
entertain an opinion fo different from 
his, without having taken the greateft paina 
to examine into the matter, and confe- 
quently not without having had very good 
reafons to think that he had been too cre- 
dulous in what he had written. And 
ifcough we cannot, at this dlftance of 
time, difcover what their reafons wcre> 
yet, as they were in the mo/t favourable 
lituation for examining into the truth of 
the faft, we cannot but think that their 
reafons muft have been very ftrong ones. 

2 All 

8o Of the Dodlrine of the Book III. 

All Jews, no doiibt, in confequence of 
having expected a mere man, born as other 
men are, for their Meffiah, would at firji 
be averfe to fuppofing any other concerning 
Chrift. But having got over a much 
greater prejudice, viz. that of the Mefliah 
being a temporal prince , it can hardly be 
conceived that then the circumftance of his 
miraculous birth, though originally equally 
unexped:cd, would be received with much 
difficulty, if it had been tolerably well au- 
thenticated. For, being aftually chrif- 
tians, they would be within the influence 
of another prejudice, which would tend to 
counteradl the former; a miraculous con- 
ception being a circumftance highly ho- 
nourable to their mafter. In this way, as 
I have obferved, I doubt not, the belief of 
the miraculous conception did at length 
make its way among the Jewifli chriftiansij 
fo that, by the time of Origen, part of 
them gave credit to the ftory. 

What proportion the believers in the 
miraculous conception bore to the reft, we 
cannot tell. Had the account of Origen 



Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 8i 

been the firft, and the only one that wc 
had of the matter, and he himfelf been in-» 
different to either opinion, it might have 
been fuppofed, that the two kinds of Ebio- 
nitcs he mentions were nearly equal in 
point of numbers. But Origen himfelf 
being a believer in the miraculous concep- 
tion, and his being the firft account oi any 
Ebionites believing it, the cafe^is very difn 
ferent. I cannot help thinking that thefe 
were always few, and that by far the greateft 
part of the Jewiih chriftians never gave 
afiy credit to the ftory. 

It may be faid, that the general unbelief 
of the Jews, in and after our Saviour's 
time, with refped: to the miraculous concept 
tion, may be accounted for on the fuppofi- 
tion of its not having been generally known, 
and its tranfpiring gradually from the few 
who were in the fecret. This, I would 
obferve, goes upon the idea of its being a 
thing, the knowledge of which was thought 
to be of no confequence to the fcheme of 
fhriftianity, and therefore, leaves us to afk, 
why fo great a miracle was provided to an- 
fwer no great end ? But that this, was 

Vol, IV, G always^^ 

82 Of the BoBrine of the Book IIL 

always confidercd as a miracle of a very 
extraordinary ^kind, is evident from its be- 
ing perpetually obje<5ted to by the Jfews, 
more than any other circiimftance in the 
gofpel hiftory. Aad as it was always parti- 
cularly objedled to by unbelic^vers, thofe who 
were believers would, no doubt, think them- 
felves particularly interefted in maintaining 
its authenticity. If, therefore, it had been 
in their power fully to afcertain fo very re- 
markable a fa6t, they certainly would not 
have failed to do lU 

How reluctantly foever unbelievers might 
admit the evidence for a fadt of this kind, 
all chriftians muft have been fufficiently 
pre-difpofed to believe a thing, which, they 
would naturally enough think, did fo much 
honour to the founder of their religion. No 
reafon, therefore, can be imagined for chrif- 
tians not univerfally believing the miracu- 
Ipus conception, but fome confiderable de- 
ficiency in the evidence for it. Many 
perfons would eagerly catch at fuch a ftory 
as this, and believe it upon infufficient evi- 
dence. And yet we find that this ftory,* 
long after it9 firft promulgation, and when 
3 there 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 83 

there had been time enough to examine 
into it, was not only laughed at by unbe« 
lievers, but rejedled by thofe chriftians who 
had the beft opportunity of fatisfying them- 
felves concerning it. 

Had the miraculous conception been con« 
ceived to be a matter of no importance^ 
the Jewifh chriftians not believing it might 
be accounted for on the fuppofltion of 
. their never having given much atten-^ 
tion to it* But a thing that adually ex^ 
pofed them to m^uch reproach and ridi- 
cule, could not but engage their atten- 
tion. In their circumftances they would 
not fail to examine and re-examine the evi- 
dence, and with a difpofition of mind fa-^ 
vourable enough to the belief of it, efpe- 
cially if they had thought it to be recorded 
by fuch a perfon as the apoftle Matthew, 
for whom they always entertained the higheft 
refpeft. As to Luke, his having been a 
companion of Paul might perhaps have 
given them a diilike to him. 

But the very idea of the apoftles conceal- 
tng any thing that they knew concerning the 
hiftory of their mafter, is altogether un- 

G z fuitable 



84 Gf the DoElrine of the BooK.IlL 

foitable to their charafter and general cop- . 
duft. They were meri of too great iim- 
plicity for a fcheme of this kind; and in- 
deed it feems to have been contrary to their 
exprefs inftrudions ; as they were ordered 
to publifli in the moft open manner all 
that they knew concerning Chrift, without 
any referve whatever. Matt.x, 26. ^T^tfrtf 
is nothing covered that J}:all not be revealed^ 
and nothing hidy that Jljall not be known. 
What I tell you in darknefs, that /peak ye An 
light ; and nvhat ye hear in the tar^ that 
preach ye upon the hoiife tops. . .. 

. The difbelief of the miraculous concep- 
tion was by no means confined to the Jewifli 
chriftians. It extended likewife ; to . the 
. Gentile converts, probably the majority of 
them, even in the time of Juftin Martyr, 
For all the Gentile chriftians that he fpeaics 
of, as being unitarians at all, he confidered 
as holding the fame opinion on this fubjeft, 
that is afcribed to the Jewifh chriftians, 
viz. that Jefus was a man born of man^ or 
the fon of Jofeph as well as of Mary \ an4 
independently of any rigorous conftruiftion 
of his language, the refpedl with which he 
I fpeak$ 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 85 

/peaks of them fufficiently proves that their 
numbers muft have been confiderable. 

; However, as in this part of his. work, 
Juftin is defending his peculiar opinion of 
the pre-exijlence of Chriji^ we cannot con- 
clude that he confidered all thofe who de* 
nied his dodrine on this fubjed:, as agreeing, 
among themfelves with refped: to the cir- 
cumftances of the birth of Chrift. That 
was a thing which he had no occafion to 
attend to at that time; but as, in defcrib- 
ing the unitarians in general, Jews and 
Gentiles, he mentions it as their opinion, 
that Jefus was the fon of Jofeph, it is natu-^ 
ral to conclude that, in his time, it was the 
opinion of the majority of them. . Had it 
been the opinion of the minority only, he 
would hardly have mentioned that circum- 
itance in a general charaSler. 

Nor will this t)e thought improbable, 
when it is confidered, that though the be- 
lief of the miraculous conception certainly 
kept gaining ground, as we!l as that of the 
pre exiftence and divinity of Chrift, fome, 
and probably a confiderable mimber (or 
they would hardly have been mentioned at 

G 3 all) 

^6 Of the Doarine of the Book Ill- 

all) remained to the time of Origen, who 
wrote near a hundred years after Juftia 
Martyr. Origen comparing the blind beg- 
gar near Jericho to the poor beggarly Jcwiffi 
chriftians^ who believed Chrift to be the 
fon of Jofeph and Mary, fays, that ** thoib 
*^ who rebuked him, reprefented the Gen- 
^* tiles, who, excepting a few, believed that 
** he was born of a virgin *." Had fao 
himfelf been of this opinion, he mighty 
perhaps, have fpoken of them vrith more 
refped in point of numbers, a$ well as oa 
other accounts. 

In another pa0age, he alfo fpeal(s of fome 
chriftians who denied the miraculous con* 
ception, but he does not fay whether they 
were Jews or Gentiles, though I think it is 
moft probable that he meant the Jatler. 
f^ Perfons,'' he fays, ** may believe, and not 
"believe ^% the fame tinae/' and he in- 

ECtavam xai 'm^x^^ v^f< t>iv st^ Inanv orinv, rrif atro ruf t&iwh 
tiiivEi »map oyuysg aTravIs^ vnTnTEunourw aulov sk ma^eva yiyevf- 
ff^cttt KM (TrQifMffiv iva ciurnvryi. ro) oiOfjLsva euXov ex avrepfJuHog opJ^^ 
MR ymuxof tofm^ xcilafycvloi ro ymg cmo th Aofff^. In Matt. 
PommcnL vol. }• p. 426. 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. ^7 

Aances in " thofe who believe in Jefus 
*' crucified by Pilate in Judea, but do not 
^* believe that he was born of a virgin ^ and 
'* alfo ia thofe who believed in his mira- 
'' clesy but did not believe that he was the 
^^ ion of him that made the heavens and the 

Irenaeus, in his Glofs (for fuch it is) upon 
the creed, inferts the article concerning the 
miraculous conception, as what was univer- 
ially received in his time. But this could not 
be the cafe, fince, according to the evidence 
of Origen, there were even Gentile chriftians 
who difbelieved it after his time. Indeed I 
believe it is the general opinion of learned 
chriftians^ that the apoftles took no great 
care to inculcate this dodrine, but chiefly 

* Kcu smrfvrov ei iuvcSai rtf ru aiSiu idk Tmt fAS¥ sTTimav vi* 
reimvt tceSa % ilt^av fjsn mireyeiv • otys 'mafahiy/4fi3®' iv&cs9^ oi «x- 
s^vovIe; fjLSf Bi; rov em TLoviiH ILXofe In^m iraeapuf/tBwv ev m hsidtxt 
fxn wtrsmleg ik eig rov ytytmifmcv vc MapuK rns vafSfiw, 83m a; 

^mncrcfvla £v th Ivicua ra canyeyfafA/Jisva rtpdlo^^ ^ OTy^Cfa hif^inf 
pm 'mrEmleg h ^g rov haru utof th vonufsfUg rw apavqv n^ rm 79^ 
8f Toy vireuH<n^'i^ s *mrsimn . <sra^fv re muoi virEVoflBf iisv it^ r&f 
valepa hvTH %f ir», fdn vprsmJef sig rov ^yunfyov. Mat wopShof rnh 
mctSog^ sTof e<; rev aulov mtmnmf wu tf virtusn, Coizuneatt 
vol. 2. p. 322. 

G 4 urged 

88 Of the DoBrine of the Book IH^ 

urged articles of greater moment. Among 
others, I (hall give in the margin the opi- 
nion of Bifliop Bull to this purpofe *. 

The author of the Appendix to Tcrttil-^ 
lia^n's treatife, De Prafcriptiane, fays, ♦• that 
*' Theodotus believed the miraculous con- 
*^ ception -f-/' But, according to Epipha* 

* Quid vero de ea, quse paflionem, mortem, refurrec- 
tlonem, &c. praecedit, conceptione Jefu Chrifti ex fpirku 
fando, et nativitate ex Maria- virgine ftatuendum ? An 
illam quoque jam inde ab initio Judsei ac Gentiles ante 
baptifmum fpnt profeili } Equidem de ipfis chriftianae ^c- 
clefiae primordiis aliquantulum dubito, quod in nullo cate- 
cheticorum, qui in aftis apoftolorum extant, fermonuixi, 
ulla vel conceptionis ex virtute fpiritus fan£ii fine virili 
femine, vel n^tiyitatis ex Maria virgine fa£la fit mentio 
quodque nee yniverfe apoftolos cam Judaeis vel Ethnicit 
praedicafie, neque hos illofve contra ipfam difputaffe, ibi- 
dem legamus : uti quidem d^ refurreSione Cbri(H fadum 
conflat. Haud vane igitur augurari licet, hujus myilerii 
propalationem pleniori evangelii expofitioni pott baptif- 
mum refervatam fuifle : vel quod omnibus in vpiverfumf 
tanv Ifraelitis quam reliquis mortalibus, plane impoffibilis 
videretur virginis citra maris concubitum partus (vide 
Juftini M. Dial, cum Try phone loco infra, cap. 7, {tSt. 4. 
citato) vel quod non aeque neceflaria putarctur fupernatu- 
ralis Chrifti conceptionis ac nativitatis notitia, ac pai&onis 
atque refurreSionis ejus fides. Opera, p. 339, 

* Accedit his Theodotus baereticus Byzantius qui — doc- 
(rinam eam introduxit qua Cbriftum homip^m tantizm"" 


Chap. XX, Miraculous Conception. 89 

nius, his followers believed that ** Chrift 
" was a mere man, born of the feed of 
*' man *.'* And this is not improbable, as 
Theodotus was prior to Origen; though 
I own Epiphanius is not the bed: au« 
.thority, and it is contradicted by other 
accounts. But fome of the followers of 
Theodotus might believe the m^iraculons 
conception, and others might not. 

I think it very probable, that the difci- 
pies of Paulus Samofatenfis, and if fo, the 
generality of the Gentile unitarians of 
his time difbelieved the miraculous concep- 
tion, and paid no regard to the introdud:ion 
to the gofpel of Luke, any more than that 
of Matthew ; becaufe, according to Atha- 
nafius, he fuppofed Chrift to have been born 
at Nazareth -f-. Had he received the intro- 

modo diceret, deum autem ilium negareti ex fpiritu qui* 
dem fanSo natum ex virgine, fed hominem folitarium at« 
que nudum, nulla alia prae ceteris, nifi fola juftitias autho* 
ritate. Opera, p. 223. 

* Kai 01 aac auk ffpra&t^eg Qedioliaifoi^ ^i}\09 a3&fcmo¥ faamh 
Tig mau rov xp<^^i xot st^ tr^ffficOog avijpog yr/iyvfff^. Haen S4« 
Opera, vol. i. p. 463. 

t De Adv^ntu. j.G. Opera, voL i. p. 635* 637, 



po Of the DoSfrifie of the Book IIL 

duftion to the gofpel of Luke, he would 
naturally have faid, that Chrift had no tx^ 
iftence before his birth at Bethlehem, ra- 
ther than Nazareth. 

It is not improbable, but that there were 
ifome who difbelieved the miraculous con* 
ception in' the time of Athanafius ; as he 
fays, ^* I wonder how they have dared to 
*^ fay that Chrift was a man in the courfe 
f* of nature */* The tenfe of the verb that 
he makes ufe of, rather leads us to fuppofe^ 
that he is fpeaking of a fed that then conti- 
nued to fubfift. 

It fhould feem that there were fome in 
the time of Cyril of Jerufalem, who believ- 
ed that Chrift was the fon of Jofeph ; and 
as they are oppofed to the heretics^ it is moft 
probable that they were not Gnoftics, but 
proper Gentile unitarians. '* Let us not/* 
fays he, *' bear with the heretics, who teach 
^* the appearance by phantafm only. Let 

^ AfAS>ja noMBivo rs^avfioocei^ tBon; ehu^ uav twonom rihhfMiwatcnv 
ik ^vrta>^ cntdh!^ y«y£v»tei exv^poTtoq . ti xcu ^ w 'mptik itjf 

pc Divioitatc Chrifti, Opera, vol. f. p. 164, 

*^ us 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 91 

** us likewife dcfplfe thofc who fay that the 
•« birth was from man and woman, and dare 
^* to fay that he was the fon of Jofcph and 
** Mary *." It is evident from thefe fads, 
that we cannot infer from Irenaeus inferr- 
ing the article of the miraculous conceptioil 
in his glofs on the Creed, that it was the 
belief of all chriflians. Like Tertullian 
after him, he muft have put into it the ar- 
ticles of his own faith. 

That any of the Gnoftics fhould difbelievc 
the miraculous conception, is a fadfc more 
extraordinary, and more unfavourable to the 
credibility of it, than the difbelief of it by' 
any of the catholic chriftians, Jews, or Gen«* 
tiles; becaufe this doctrine would have 
fuited remarkably well with their other ^ 
principles. In reality, the belief of the 
miraculous conception might have been 
inore naturally expe<3:ed of them, than of 
any perfons of that age. They did not, 
indeed, with Juftin Martyr, and the ortho- 

^istffMoiluv • HcHMrli/crafiBv mm rotf T^eyovkn €| ca^^ uai ywiautog aveu 

^. Cat, 12. Opera, p. 164, 


gz Of the Vo^rine of the Book IIL 

/dox, believe that Chrift was the maker of 
the world; but they thought him to have 
been a pre-exiftent intelligent being, equal 
in power, and fupedor in goodnefs, to him 
that made the world; and one who was. 
fent to redify the evils that had been intro«^ 
jfiuced by the being that made it; and 
therefore they v/ould as naturally incline to 
believe that he had a birth fuited to his- 
high rank as the orthodox themfelves. 
They who thought that Chrift derived no- 
thing even from his mother, muft have 
thought a father quite fuperfluous. That 
they did not embrace this opinion,- there- 
fore, could be owing to nothing but their not 
finding fufficient hiftorical evidence for it. 
That all the oiore early Gnoftics did be- 
lieve Jefus to have been the fon of Jofeph^ 
is afferted by all who make any mention of 
their opinions. The carlieft of them were 
the Cerinthians, and the earlieft writer who. 
mentions them by name is Irenasus : I 
fhall, therefore, begin with his teftimbny 
concerning them. '* Cerinthus," fays he, 
** who was of Afia, held that the world was 
^* not made by the principal God, but by a 

^* power 

pHAP. XX, Miraculous Conception. 93 

*' power very diftant from him, and who 
<< was ignorant of the true God j that Jefu^ 
** was not born of a virgin, for that he held- 
•« to be impoffible, but was the fon of Jo- 
•• feph and Mary ; th^t he was like other 
•« men, but excelled them in virtue ; that 
«* after his baptifm, the Chrift defcended 
** into him, in. the form of a dove ; that he 
*f then announced the unknown Father, 
** and wrought miracles -, that at length the , 
•* Chrift left Jefus, who fuftered and rofc 
•* again, but that the Chrift was impaffible*.'* 

What Irenaeusfays concerning Cerinthos^ ' 
the firft of the Gnoftics, Theodoret and 

* Et Cerinthus autem quidam in Afia, non a primo deo 
faflum effe mundum docuit, fed a virtutc quadam valde 
feparata, et diftante ab ea principalitate quae eft fuper uni- 
verfa, et ignorante eum qui eft fuper omnia dcum. Je^ 
fum autem fubjecic, non ex virgine natum (impofiibili 
cnim hoc ei vifum eft) fuifle autem eum Jofeph et Mariae 
filium, fimiliter ut reliqui omnes homines, et plus potuiffc 
juftitia, et prudentia, et fapientia ab omnibus. Ei poft bapi^ 
tifmum defceridifle in eum, ab ea principalitate qui eft 
fuper omnia, Chriftum figura columbse ; et tunc annun- 
ciafle incognitum patrem, et virtutes perfecifle, in fine 
autem revolaffe itcrum Chriftum de Jefu, et Jefum pafllim- 
effe, ct refurrexifle : Chriftum autem impafSbilem perfe- 
verafle, exiftentem fpiritalem. Lib. i. cap. 25. p. 102* 


94 Of the DoSlrine of the Book III. 

others fay concerning Simon, Menander, 
Cerdon, and Marcion, the next in order of 
time, except that Simon, who was impro- 
perly ranked among chriftians, preceded 
him. ** Simon," fays Theodoret, " Menan- 
*' der, Cerdon, and Marcion, deny the in- 
*^ carnation, and call the miraculQus con« 
** ception a fable : but Valentin us, Bafi- 
** lides, Bardefanes, Armonius, and thofe of 
** that clafs, admit the miraculous concep- 
** tion and the birth ; but they fay that 
** the God logos received nothing from the 
** virgin, but paffed through her as through 
** a pipe ; and that he appeared to men a$ 
** a phantafm, feeming only to be a man, 
^' as he had appeared to Abraham and to 
** others of the ancients */' 

Theodoret here fays, that Valentinus and 
Bafilides, who preceded him, admitted the 

vaffiv Ofvwlai rwf evai&^a'jnariV', Kai mv sk nffuf^svH yewnartv fw^o.^ 
hoyiav aTTOKuTmo'i. Ba^evlivos h^ KexiBa(Ti?^i^Yig^ km Bofih^Mfng^ 
KM A^fjuvio;^ KM 01 rniw (rvfjifM^uxgi ^exovku fiev mg 'SFo^^eva tw 
Ki/nffiVt Kai Tov TOKov ' nhv h rov Seov ?^av ek mg 'ma^bsva 's^oazi* 
ijifevM fMTiVy of>XoL 'aa^^ov riva 3e mjIyi^ coo-tts^ ^la auXrivog *sroYi' 
ffOff^M^ ziti^osmM it rtai avd^a)7roig ^osSImtux. x^ncrdiAivoVt xat io^otg 
Slim txi&fe9irog cv r(dvo» a^dn Ta A€^aafA% km riariv a7<^ig rov nsa- 
^samv, Ep. 145^ Opera, vol. 3. p. 1023. 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 95 

miraculous conception ; but an earlier, and, 
therefore, a better authority, fays the con- 
trary. For the Valentinians, as well as the 
Ebionites, are ranked among thofe who 
difbelieved the miraculous conception by 
Pamphilus the Mart}^r*. And if Vai^entinus 
did not believe the miraculous conception, 
it is probable that Bafilides did not, as he is 
fometimes called the mafter of Valentinus. 
Beaufobre fays, it does not appear whether 
Bafilides believed the miraculous concept 
tion, or not. Hiftoire de Manicheifme, 
vol. 2. p. 28. " 

That Carpocrates diflbelieved the mi^a* 
culous conception is univerfally admitted. 
** Carpocrates," fays Irenaeus, ** held that 
** the world was made by inferior angels ; 
'* that Jefus was the fon ofjofeph, but 
** that his foul was firm and holy+.'* " Cc- 

* Sive fecundum eos, que dicunt eum ex Jofeph et Ma- 
ria natum, ficut funt Ebionitse et Valentiniani. Hiero^ 
nymi Opera, vol. g. p. 117. Originis Opera, vol. i. p. 

f Carpocrates autem et qui ab eo, mundum quideih 
et ea quae in^eo funt, ab angelis multo inferiortbus ingentto 
patre ^um efic dicunt* Jefum autem e Jofeph natum^, 


96 Of the DoSlrine of the Book III. 

^^ rinthus and Carpocrates/' fays Epipha- 
nius," ufed the fame gofpel with the Ebio- 
** nites, and endeavoured to prove from the 
** genealogy that Chrift is the fon of Jo-« 

** feph and Mary*/' Theodoret alfo fays, 
that " Carpocrates believed that Jefus was 
•* born of Jofeph and Mary, like other 
** men-f." 

Thus it appears, that the earliefl: and 
moft diftinguifhed of the Gnoftics agreed 
with the ancient unitarians, in dilbelieving 
the miraculous conception. Now, what 
could bring perfons fo oppofite to each 
other, as the unitarians and Gnoftics are 
always reprefented to have been, to agree in 
this one thing, but fuch hiftorical evidence 
as was independent of any particular fyftem 

et qui fimilis reliquis hotninibus fuerit, diftafTe a reliquis 
fecundum id, quod anima ejus firma, et munda cum eflet, 
commemorata fuerit. Lib. i. cap. 24. p. 99. 

*zsap avioig evayye^iw^ cltto th); a^x>i5 m naix M(xJ^aiov svayye>ait 
fc« rng yma>^ioig ^nT^at ^(x^irav ek aTTs^/jLcilog Iuay\f> km Magiof 
«v«i Tov xf^fov. Har. 30. Opera, vci. i. p. 138. 

oW^tj ovSfwffwj 'arap^Xiicriwj, Hacr. Fab. lib. i. cap. 5. 
Opera, vol. 4. p. 1961 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. gj 

of chriftian faith i and which, in the cafa 
of the Gnoftics, muft have been fo ftrong, 
.as to overbear the natural influence of their 

With refped: to the unitarians, it may be 
faid, that many of them, having been Jev^s, 
who had expedled that their Mefliah would 
be a mere man, born as other men are, and 
efpecially a proper defcendant from David, 
would not, without particular evidence, 
admit that he had any other kind of birth ; 
and that the gentile unitarians, having 
learned chriftianity of them, would natu- 
rally adopt their opinion ; though, I doubt 
not, but that the idea of aggrandizing the 
founder of their religion, which was fo ea- 
gerly catched at in thofe times, would fooa 
overbear the influence of that Jewifh pre-^ 
judice. But the Gnoftics, who did not 
believe that Chrifl: had any proper birth at 
all, but -merely pafled through his mother 
(to ufe their own favourite comparifon) as 
water through a pipe, would naturally wifl) 
that it might be done in fuch a manner, as 
might be imagined (and the whole was an 
' Vol. IV. H aflfair- 

98 Of the BoSirine of the Book IlL 

affair of imagination) to be in the leaft de- 
grading manner. And that, in that age, 
it ijoas fuppofcd to be lefs degrading to be 
born of a virgin, than in the common way, 
is evident from what I have already quoted 
concerning their fentiments and ideas. 

On what grounds or principles, or from 
what authority^ the ancient Jewifti cbrif- 
tians, and many of the Gentiles, as well 
as the Gnoftics, dilbelieved the miraculous 
conception, we can only conjedlure, as their 
writings oh this, as well as on all other 
fabjedls, are long fince buried in oblivion # 
But the faSl of fo general a difbelief, both of 
the unitarian chriflians and the Gnoftics, 
at firft univerfal, and giving way to the 
prefent popular opinion (which may eafily 
be accounted for from the very general dif- 
pofition to magnify the perfonal dignity of 
Chrift, whofe meannefs was continually ob- 
jeifted to them) very flowly, cannot, I think, 
be accounted for without fuppofing fome 
confiderable defedl in the original evidence. 
Otherwife, it could not but, in the circum- 
ftances of the primitive chriftians, have very 


C H A P • XX. Miraculous Conception ^ 9 9 

foon and univerfally eftablifhed itfelf. And 
the queftion now befoi'e us is fimply this, 
vi^. whether it be eafier to account for the 
exiftence of this fad:, viz. the general, and, 
to appearance, univerfal difbelief of the mi- 
raculous conception, at the only period in 
which it was poffible fully to authenticate 
it, or the exiftence of the prefent records 
of it, viz. the introdudtions to the gofpels 
of Matthew and Luke, at fo early a period 
as that to which they may certainly be 
traced, without fuppofing the hiftory they 
contain to be au then tic ^ 

In order to throw fome farther light upon 
the fubjedt, I fhall now freely confider the 
circumftances of this ftory, which has been 
fo differently received ; appearing to have 
gained no credit at firft, but, by a flow pro- 
cefs, to have come at length to be held ab- 
folutely facred. 

H 2 SEC- 

100 Of the DoSirine of the Book III. 


The internal Evidence for the Credibility of 
the Miraculous Conception confdered. 

IN comparing the four gofpels, we can- 
not but tie ftruck with the remarkable 
difference between thofe of Matthew and 
Luke, and thofe of Mark and John, in this 
refped:; neither of the latter giving the 
leaft hint of a miraculous' conception. And 
yet it might well be thought that, if any 
part of the hiftory required to 'be particu- 
larly authenticated, by the teftimony of 
different hiflorians, it was this ; and many 
things of far lefs confequence are recorded 
by them all, and very circumflantially. 
With refped: to John, it may, indeed, be 
faid, that as he knew that Matthew and 
Luke had recorded the circumftances of the 
miraculous conception, he had no occafion 
to do it. 

But what fhall we fay with refped: to 
Mark ? If he was an epltomizer of Mat- 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. loi 

chew, as fome have fuppofcd, but of which 
I own I have feen no fufficient evidence, 
how came he to leave out the whole of the 
two firft chapters? And if he was, as I 
think moft probable, an original writer, 
how came he to give no account at all of 
the miraculous conception, on the fuppo- 
fition that he really knew of it ? He could 
not tell that any other perfon of equal cre-r 
iiit would write the hiftory 5 and, there- 
. fore, as he did undertake it, he would cer- 
tainly infert in it whatever he thought to 
be of principal importance. Confequently, 
he muft cither have never, heard of the 
ftory, or have thought it of no importance. 
But it is of fuch a nature, that no perfon, 
believing it to be true, ever did, or ever 
could, confider it as of no importance. It 
was a Angular and moft extraordinary mea- 
fure in divine providence, and could not 
but be confidered as having fome great ob- 
jed: and end, whether we (hould be able to 
difcover it or not. It was, therefore, fuch 
a fad: as no hiftorian could overlook ; and 
it ni>^y, therefore, be prefumed, that Mark 

H 3 had 

102 OftBeDohrine of the Book IH^ 

ha4 cither never heard of it, or that he di4 
not believe it- 

If we only take away the two firft chap- 
ters of the gofpels of Matthew and Luke, 
and change a very few words in the verfes 
that follow them., we fhall find very proper 
beginnings for them both, and exadtly cor- 
refponding to that natural and fipiplc one 
of Mark. For they will then begin with an 
account of the preaching of John the Bap«r 
tift ; as, in fa(3:, the gofpel of John likc-r 
wife does, after a ihort introdudion con- 
cerning the meaning of the word logoSj^ 
which was, probably, much talked of af 
that time. 

Does not this circumftance give us fome 
fufpicion that both thefe gofpels of Mat- 
thew and Luke might originally have been 
publiflied without thofe introdudtions; that 
the Hebrew copy of the gofpel of the Ebio- 
nites, which was that of Matthew without 
the two firft chapters (and which they main- 
tained to be the genuine gofpel of Matthew) 
might be all that Matthew himfelf ever 
wrote J that the copy of Luke's gofpel, 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 103 

which Marcion had, and which begarl, as 
Epiphanius fays*, at the third chapter,' 
was all that Luke wrote; that the in-^ 
trodu£jtiom were written afterwards by other 
perfons ; and that they were firft an- 
nexed to the gofpels by. thofe who ad- 
mired them, and were afterwards copied, as 
proper parts of them. Suppofing this to 
have been done, though it fhould not have 
been before the ancient verfions were made, 
they would naturally be tranflated after- 
wards, and be annexed to the verfions, as 
they had been to the originals. 

The Gnoftics in general feem to have 
feleded what they tfSought proper of the 
different books of the New Teftament, 
without regard to their authenticity. But 
it appears, from Tertullian, to have been the 
real opinion of Marcion (who was unquef- 
tionably a man of learning and ability) that 
Luke's original gofpel contained no account 
of the miraculous conception. For this 

ila^e Taulnv ' sv ra 'mevlexMhHoOo) e7s< TiSe^ta KjOUffOf®'. Haer. 
42. Opera, voL i. p. 312* 

H 4 writer, 

I04 Of the DoSlrlne of the Book III. 

writer, in his book againft the Marcionites, 
fays, concerning the two copies of Luke's 
gofpel, his own and Marcidn's ; ** I fay 
*^ that mine is the true copy; Marcion,, 
** that his is fo. I affirm that Marcion'p 
** copy is adulterated ; he, that mine is 
/* fo." He adds, that his own copy was 
the more ancient, becaufe Marcion him- 
felf did, for fome time, receive it*. But 
this he might do, till, on examination^ 
he thought he faw fufficient reafon to re- 
ject it. 

How improbable foever this hypothefis 
may appear at firft fight,, no perfon can 
well doubt of fomethirig of the fame na- 
ture having taken place with refpedl to fe- 
veral pafTages in the books of fcripture, 
even where we have no evidence whatever 
from hiftory, from manufcripts, or from 
ancient verfions, of the paffages having 

* Funus ergo ducendus eft contentionis, pari hinc inde 
nifu flufluante. Ego meum dico verum, Marcion fuum. 
Ego Marcionis adfirmo adulteratum, Marcion meum. — 
Adeo antiquiu§ Marcion eft, quod eft fecundum nos, V|t 
et ipfe illi Marcion aliquando crediderit. Lib. 4. cap. 4. 


C H A P . XX • Miraculous Conception. i o 5 

ever been what we now take it for granted 
they originally were. This, I think, to 
have been the cafe with refpedk to the word 
•ara<r%a, John vi, 4. Biftiop Pearce fuppofes r ] 
the whole verfe, and many others, to have 
been interpolations ; and the famous verfe, 
I John, v. 7. concerning the three that bear 
record in heaven^ has been fufficiently proved 
to have come into the epiftle in this unau- . 
thorized manner ; and had it been done in 
an early period, there would have appeared 
no more reafon to have fufpedted the ge- 
nuinenefs of it, than there now does that 
of the introductions to the gofpels of Mat- 
thew and Luke. 

This was indifputably the cafe with the 
gofpel of the Ebionites itfelf ; for, accord- 
ing to the moft unfufpeded evidence, it 
was the gofpel of Matthew beginning at the 
third chapter; but that copy oftheEbio- 
nites gofpel, which Jerom faw, had, at 
leaft, the fecond chapter ; for he quotes a 
paffage from it. It is very poffible, there- 
fore, that there might have been copies of 
the Greek gofpel of Matthew, without the 



1 06 Of the DoSirine of the Book III. 

two firft chapters, as well as fome of the 
Hebrew copies with them. 

As the Ebionites were not wanting in 
their refpeft for Matthew, or his gofpel, it 
is not to be fuppofed that they would have 
rcjefted the introdudion, if they had really 
thought it to be bisy even if they had not 
thought the hiflory contained in it intitled 
to full credit. I, therefore, fee no reafon 
why they (hould leave it out entirely, but 
that they did not admit its authenticity : 
and, certainly, as I have faid before, they 
for whofe ufe that gofpel was particularly 
written, and in whofe language it was pro- 
bably firft publifhed, muft be allowed to 
have been the beft judges of it. 
^ It favours the idea of the two firft chap*- 

) ters of Matthew's gofpel not properly bc'- 
longing to the reft, that they have a kind 
oifeparate title ^ viz. the book of the genera-^ 
tion of Jefus Chriji, to which the hiftory 
of the miraculous conception, and the cir- 
cumftances connedted with it, are an ap- 
pendage, and together with it make a kind 
of preamble to the proper hiftory of the 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 107 

gofpcl» which begins with* the account of 
the baptifm of John, 

As to the gofpel of Luke, though it 
ihould not be fuppofed that the copy which 
Marcion made ufe of (which wanted the 
(wo fivd chapters) affords any prefumptioni 
that the original was without them, yet the 
authority of this writer is certainly lefs 
than that of an apoftle j and careful as he 
was to colledl the particulars of the hiftory 
from the very beginning, he might poflibly 
have been mifinformed with refpeft to the 
early part of it^ and have taken up that 
fplendid part of his narrative too l)aftily. 
Had the work of Symmachus been extant, 
we (hould, no doubt, iiave known much 
more concerning the fubject. Between the 
time of the publication of the gofpels, and 
that of Juftin Martyr, who is the firft wri- 
ter that mentions the miraculous concept 
tioa, there was an interval of about eighty 
years j and in this fpace of time it is pof- 
iible that additions to the gofpel hiftory 
of this kind (which did not affeft the great 
and public ;ranfadtions) might have been 



io8 Of the Do5irine of the Book III. 

made and have been annexed to fome of the 
copies, though not to them all. 

Some doubt with refpedt to the authen- 
ticity of the introduction to Matthew's 
gofpel arifes from the genealogy being 
omitted in the Harmony of Tatian. He 
was a difciple of Juftin Martyr, in whofe 
writings, as I have obferved, we have the 
firft certain mention of the miraculous con- 
ception ; but after the death of his mailer, 
he became the founder of a fedl much rc- 
fembling thofe of the Gnoftics. His Har- 
mony is not now extant ; but we have the 
following account of it in Theodoret: " He. 
*' compofed a gofpel called ^ta rscr^a^av, or of 
^\the jour^ having cut off the genealo- 
^^ gies, and every thing that fliews that ^ 
^* our Lord was of the feed of David ac- 
** cording to the flefh. This gofpel was 
'* ufed not only by thofe of his fedt, but 
** alfo by thofe who followed the doftrine 
'* of the apoftles ; not perceiving the arti- 
*' fice of the compofition, but ufing it, 
*^ through fimplicity, as a compendious 
'^ work. I found more than two hundred 


C tt A p . XX . Miraculous Conception. 109 

•* of thefe books, much refpeded in the 
•* churches ; but,' having collefted them 
*• all, I removed them, and introduced the 
** gofpels of the four evangelifts*/' 

All that we can certainly infer from this 
account of Theodoret is,v that T^atian did 
not infert any genealogy of Chrift in. his 
Harmony, and I believe fao other harmonift 
ever omitted fo important an article in the 
gofpel hiftory. This is a circumftance that 
afFed:s the authenticity oi-th^ genealogy only, 
diredlly, and the reft of the introduSlion^ 
containing the hiftory of the miraculous 
conception, indireftly, as fuppofed to be 
conned:ed with the genealogy. As Epi- 
phanius fays, that Tatiaa's gofpel was fome- 
times called the gojpel according to the He^ 

* Oulo^ xj TO Ji« r£(T(Ta^m Ka>^fi£vov (Tuvle^£iHev evayyehovi Toig 
TB y£V£a7^yi(xg 'sjspmo^ag^ xj Ta a>0^ otra £k JTrsffjuxlog Aa^ii aotla 
copKa ysyewKfAtvov rov kv^iov S£ixvv(nv^ ex^^^^^ ^^ nsJaj'^ » fjLowv oi 
Tng sxeiim cufMi/a^iot^^ a»^ >^ oi roig a7roTO)\iKOig BTTOfjLSvoi d^oyfAUffi^ 
TYiv rrig ffw^rmi jcaxa^iav tsk €yvax6kg-i aXX' ceTi'KdTt^Qv u; auvlo(XQt 
rcii jSi^Atw p^^rjcra/AEvor . £u^ov Jk xccyca w^siaj n oiaxo<Tiag jSi^Xsf rot- 
aJlag ev raig 'na^ Vfjuv £jcKy^Yi(nai; rilifjLYifA.£vagi . km ^aaag away a- 
yuv aTTB^Efjiriv, xj ra ruv TErla^osv £vayytSiTm avl^iayiyayov ei/ayyt- 
24a. Haer, Fab. lib. i. cap. 20. Opera, vol. 4. p; 208. 



no Of the Dodirine of the Book HI* 

brews 9 and he was a Syrian, it is not impro- 
bable, as Mr, Jones obferves, that he might 
have been one of the icQ, of the Hebrew 
chriftians; and, therefore, it will be more 
probable that he omitted both the genea- 
logy and the account of the miraculous 
conception, becaufe he thought them not 
to be depended upon. 

As Tatian had no genealogy of Chrift in 
his gofpel, he mull have omitted that of 
Luke, as well as that of Matthew ; and 
though that of Luke is not in the two firfi: 
chapters, it is inferted in a place where it 
is not at all wanted, but has much the 
JT ^ appearance of, an interpolation, and there^ 
fore might have been written by the au- 
thor of the introduSlion^ fuppofing neither 
of them to have been written by Luke. 

If we read the gofpels of jVIatthew and 
Luke without the two firft chapters, we 
ihall not find the want of them ; as in the 
fubfequent hiftory, there is no reference to 
them, and fome things that are rather incon- 
fiftent with them. Thus, whenever either 
of thefe two writers fpeak of Jefus being 
3 called 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. iii 

called the Jon ofjofeph^ as well as of Mary, 
after he came into public life, they never 
make any remark upon it, or objection to 
it. Mary herfelf is reprefented by Lukei, 
chap. li. ^'^. as faying to Jefus, Thy father 
and I have fought thee farrowing ; and from 
this paflage, Cyril of Jerufalem iays, that 
** fome heretics endeavoured to prove that 
** Chrift had a Father as well as a mo- 
'* ther*." 

But it may be replied, that having re- 
lated the hiftory of the miraculous con- 
ception fo much at large before, he had no 
occafion to introduce any explanation after- 
wards ; and as to Mary, fhe, perhaps, fpoke 
what Luke mentions in a mixed company, 
and might not chufe to inform them that 
Jefus had no father. Still, however, I 
think it would not have been unnatural for 
both Matthew and Luke to have referred to 
the hiftory of the miraculous conception 
on fome particular occafions, as when they 

* Km w *ac8Yip auia xou n fn9n^ aula ^auuaiovlef . oTrtg aa^ 
vaiajiv ai^o'iciluv 'aaiSe;^ eI avipog atHov hoi ywaixo^ ytytwno'^a^ 

xryoiJ?£«. Cat, 7. Opera, p. io6. r „ ^ 


112 Of the DoSirine of the Book III* 

gave an^ accdunt of his being defpifed for 
being the fon of a carpenter. This, at leaft^ 
might have been expeded of Maxk and 
John, who had given no hiftory of the mi- 
raculous conception at all. 

The very genealogies in the gofpels of 
Matthew and Luke amount alfo to a con- 
futation of the hypothefis adopted by thofe 
writers : and, therefore, (hould feem to be^ ' 
the work of other hands than thofe who 
wrote the gofpels. And that of Matthew 
may v^ell be fuppofed to have been written 
by one perfon, and the rert of the two chap- . 
r^ ters by another. For, of what confequence 
^" was it to give the genealogy of Jofeph for 
that of Jefus, when, according to thero^ 
Jefus was no more defcended from Jofeph, 
than he was from Herod. 

The genealogy of Luke has by fome 
moderns been fuppofed to be that of Mary, - 
becaufe fome Jewifh rabbi has called her 
the daughter of Heli, But that rabbi was 
probably too late to know^ any thing of the 
matter; and he might call her fo as the 
wife of Jofeph, who was faid to be the 


Chap. XX . Miraculous Conception. 113 

fon of Heli ; and the genealogy in Matthew 
has always been fuppofed to be that of Jo- \^ 
i?ph himfelf. However, the hypothefis of 
the ancients was quite different from that of 
the moderns ; for, according to them, both 
the genealogies are thofe of Jofeph, that in 
Matthew by natural defcent^ he being the 
proper fon of Jacob, and that in Luke by 
law*, Heli, the fuppofed brother of Jacob, 
dying without iflue, and Jacob taking his 
V/ife, and having by her Jofeph. Thus 
Eufebius, on the authority of Afficanus, 
(whofe authority is quite uncertain) fays, 
that '* Jofeph was the fon of Heli by law, 
** and of Jacob by nature * ;" " Jacob and 
*' Heli being brothers -f*/' 

Jerom fays, that *' Jofeph's genealogy is 
*' mentioned, becaufe it was not the cuftom 
** of the fcriptures to reckon genealogies 

no, fsa^oChoJ^m^ eymYKrev el cxv%g r^ilcv rov l(ixm(p ' xcSa ^uavf fiev 
taJla^ Hai xdHa Xoyov . 3io hcu ysypafjriat ' laxuS 3e syewno'B rovla- 
OTif • Hola voiMv ie th 'Hh uiog w ' aceiva yap o IcucuS oit'h^. m^ 
cQnTvfTt awBpfjuz, Hift* lib. I. cap. 7* p* 23. 
+ Ibid. p. 25. 

Vol. IV. I •* according 


114 . Of the DoSlrine of the Book III; 

** according to women *." But on this 
principle the genealogy was a mere decep*. 
tion; and had the Jews known how the 
cafe flood, it would have given them no fort 
of fatisfadion. It could not, therefore, 
have apfwered the end for which it was in- 
ferted. For, no doubt, the Jews under- 
flood the prophecies concerning the defcent 
of the Meffiah from David, to mean that he 
fhould be the fon of fome man who fhould 
be lineally defcended from, David. The 
infertion.of any daughter of David vrould, 
in their opinion, have vitiated the whole 
genealogy. They mud, therefore, have 
coniidered one of thefe genealogies as 4i- 
reftly contradicting the other, 
; Aullin has a peculiar method of folving 
this difficulty. He fays, that ** Jefus was^ 
** the proper child of Jofeph as well as of 
'* Mary, becaufe the holy fpirit gave him 
** to them both ; both of them being ordcr- 
*' ed by the angel to give a name to the 

* Cui primum refpondebimus non effe confuetudinis fcrip- 
turarum, ut mulierum in generationibus ordo tcxatur. In 
Matt, cap, I, Opera, vol. 6. p. i. 

•< child; 

CbAP. XX. Miraculous Conception i 115 

^^ child 5 and by this/' he fays, " the au- 
•* thority of the parent is declared ♦4" 

The Jews make it a ferious objedion to p 
the mefliahihip of Jefus^ that, according to ^ 
the genealogies of Matthew and Luke^ he 
does not appear to have been defcended from 
David, or even from Judah ; fiilce it is only 
the genealogy of Jofcph, his reputed father, 
that is given^ and not his own, or his mo« 
thefts, ** Obferve/' fays the author of iV/za:^ 
ebon vetus, " how they confute themfelves ; 
** for if, as they fay, Jefus had no father, how 
^* can he be defcended from the ftock of Da- vi 
^* vid. But if the genealogy of Jofeph be ^ 
** given to prove that he was of the houfe of --^ ^ 
** David, Jofeph muft be his father. How 
<< then do you aifert that he had no human 
•• father +fV 

* Spiritus iSanAus in amborum juftitia requiefcens am- 
bobus filium dedit. Sed m eo fexu, qaem parere decebat, 
operatus eft hoc, quod etiam marito nafceretun Itaque 
ambobus dick angelus, ut puero nomen imponant 1 ubi 
parentum declaratur audoritas. Ser. 63. Opera, Sup. 

p. 246. 

i Unde iis conftat Jefum domo Davidica profatum fuiflk ? 

Utiqiic inlibro errorum ipforum nihil tale Ccriptum repe- 

I a ritur. 

1 1 6 Of the Doarine of the Book IIL 

Rabbi Nachmanides fays^^if ** your Mcf- 
** fiah was defcended from David^ meaaing 
** by the mother*8 fide, he could not be the 
** heir of his kingdom, becaufe feoiales do 
*^ not inherit while any male ifliie re- 
•• mains */' 

'^ Both thefe genealogies/' fays Rabbi 
Ifaac, in his Munimenfidei^ *^ belong to Jo* 
^' feph only, and not to Jefus ; for they ixf 
** that Jofeph had no commerce with Miry 

liiur. Nam, Matthaeus et Lucas qui genealogbs texunt, 
Jofephi taDtum, mariti Marix. gcncalogiam tcxunt, quam 
jpA ab Abrahanio dcducuni^ hoc niodo« Abraham gniiie 
Ifaacuro, Ifaacus genuit Jacobum, ct rcliqua^ donet fiai* 
unt : Elcafar genuit Mattancm, Mattan genuit Jacobum, 
Jacobus genuit Jofephum, r|)onrum Marix. At Maris 
gcnealogia non rcperitur, in ullo ipronim libro. Nunc 
^utcm difcc, et audi, quomodo propria corundcm diAa ip- 
fo6 mcndacii reos faciant. Qii^kJ A cnim Jefus fine pacic 
gcnitus cfl» ceu didtiunt, ex eo liquido inferimus non liiiflc 
ilium oriundum ex profapia Davidis. Quod fi vcfO jdco 
per Jofephum Jefu genealogia conditur, ut apparcat buoc 
ex domo Davidica dcfccndcrc« rclinquiiur, Jofephum illius 
patrcm fuiflc : quomodo igicur aflcritis, ipfum citri viri 
concubitum genitum cfle ? NizzacLon Vctus, p. ;2« 73. 
* QuoJ fi maxime vcftcr Mrii'.s ex progenie Davidis 
prodiiflct, non tamcn hrrcs rcgnt illius cfle poflet, non 
cnim filix hxrcditatcin adcur.c, cun proles mafcula eA fu- 
pcrfles. P. 53. 



Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 1 17 

^^ his mother ; and as to that of Mary^ it is 
'^ altogether unknown. Thofe, therefore, 
who framed thefe genealogies may be com- 
pared to perfons who plunge into a deep 
*« fea, and bring up nothing but fhells *.'' 
The two hiftories of the miraculous con- 
ception are themfelves remarkably different 
from each other; and though it may be 
poffible to contrive a fcheme, by .which 
they may be reconciled, yet there arc fuch 
capital circumflances in each of the ac- 
counts omitted by the other, as it can 
hardly be fuppofed would have been omit^ 
ted, if the writers bad been acquainted with 


them. Would Luke, for inftance, whoie 
account is fo very circumftantial in other 
refpeds, have omitted all the three remark- 

* Caeterunif ambae hae ineptiffimab genealogiae tantum 
adjofephum, neutiquam vero ad Jefum attinent. Cum 
iMtem ipfi dicants nuaquam tota vita, fua neque ante par- 
turn Jefu, neque deinde a Jofepho Mariam fuifle cognt- 
tarn. Secundum hoc aflertum, Jofephi genealogia, Jefu ni- 
hil quicquam prodeft, imprimis cum genealogia Marise 
prorfus ipfos lateat. Quae, quoniam ita fe habent, fruftra k 
occuparunt conditores harum genealogianun, atque in pro- 
funda pelagi fe demittentesy nil nift tdbm cetulere mani- 
bu6, P. 390. 

I 3 able 



1 1 8 Of/he Doarine of the Book IIL 

able (lories of the vifit of the wife men of 
the eaft, the maffacre of the children, and 
the journey into Egypt ? Or would Mat* 
thew, who has mentioned thefe things, have 
omitted all the particulars of the f^peeches 
of the angels, the (lory of the (hepherds^ 
and the prophecies of Simeon and Anna i 
to fay nothing of the whole hiflory of th^ 
birth of John the Baptift* 

The narrative of Luke is fo far from €•• 
inciding with that of Matthew, that it it 
hardly podible to find in it any room for the 
journey into Egypt. According to Luke^ 
Jefus was prefented at Jerufidem as iboii at 
the days of Mary's purification wer6 ex* 
pired, and then returned direftly to Naau 
reth, without going any more to Beth* 
lehem; where, indeed, it does not appear 
that Jofeph had any habitation, or fricadc | 
fo that the wife men of Matthew, who aie 
fuppo(ed to have found the child at Beth- 
lehcm, muft have arrived in the coontij 
long after Mary had left that pUce. Oa 
the contrary, Matthew muft have fuppofed 
that Jefus was kept at Bethlehem near two 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 119 

years after his birth, and was carried from 
thence into Egypt. 

Indeed^ one cannot help inferring, from 
the account of Matthew, that Jofeph and 
Mary were properly of Bethlehem, that 
they did not fettle in Nazareth till after 
their return from Egypt, and that they then 
made choice of this place, as being out of 
the territory of Archelaus, the fon of He- 
rod. Had Matthew fuppofcd Jefus to have 
been at Nazareth, in Galilee, at the time of 
his perfecution by Herod, he would hardly 
have thought of fending him to Egypt as a 
place of fafety, when, in order to come 
thither, he muft have pafled through the 
whole extent of Herod's dominions 5 but 
would rather have fent him to Tyre, or 
fome part of Syria, bordering upon Galilee. 
On the whole, I cannot help concluding 
that, had the compilers of thefe two very 
different accounts, been both of them well 
informed concerning the fubjeft, it woul4 
have been much more eafy to harmonize 
them than it is at prefcnt. They are now 
fo wholly different from each other, that 

I 4 their 

1 20 Of the Dodirine of the Book III. 

their hiftories might have been thofe of dif- 
ferent perfons. 

If we examine each of the accounts fe- 
parately, paffing over the ftriking incoher^- 
ence between them, a rational chriftian muft 
fee many things in them that he will find 
fome difficulty in reconciling to himfelf« 
They have both, as I cannot help thinking, 
too much the air oifable^ and the application 
of fcripture in the account afcribed to Mat«- 
thew is very far from being fuch as can re- 
commend it. Jefus going into Egypt, and rcr 
turning from it, is made to be the fulfilment 
of a prophecy of Hofea, which is no prophecy 
at all, but fimply the mention of God having 
called his fon, the Ifraelites, as a nation, out 
of that country. And Jefus is to fettle at 
Nazareth, becaufe the Mefiiah was to be a 
Nazarene 3 whereas all that can be imagined 
to give any countenance to this, in the Old 
Teftament is, thai he was to be defpifed and 
rejected of men ; and Nazareth was a defpi* 
cable place. If the writer had any other 
idea, it mud have been more far-fetchedj^ 
and improbable, than this. I fay nothing 

3 to 

CuAif. XX. • Miraculous Conception. 121 

here of the prophecy of Ifaiah, concernirig a 
virgin bearing a fon^ as an account will be 
given of it hereafter. 

As to the ftory of Luke, to fay nothing 
of the long and improbable fpeeches it con* 
-tains, and which could never have beeijt 
tranfmitted with exaftnefs, and the vifion of 
ttngels to the fhepherds (which does not ap- 
pear to have been of any ufe) it implies fuch 
an early declaration of Jefus being the Mef- 
fiah, as is incompatible with the whol^ 
plan of the gofpel hiftory, Jefus carefully 
concealed his being the Melliah from the 
Jews in general ; and it was only at a late 
period in his hiflory that he revealed it to 
the apoflles ; and yet, in this introdudion 
to the gofpel of Luke, it is fuppofed to 
hav« been known with certainty to the pa« 
rents of John, to thofe of Jefus himfelf, to 
the fhepherds, and to the prophets Sitneon 
^nd Anna, none of whom are faid to have 
made any fecret of it, and the laft is iaid 
(chap. iL 28.) to have fpoken of him to all 
who looked for redemption in Ifrael. Had 
^his been the cafe, the eyes of all the coun- 


1 22 Of the DoSirine of the Book IIL 

try mufl: have been fixed on Jefus as the 
promifed Mefliah, and all attempts to con-- 
ceal it^ after his public appearance, would 
have come too late. 

Yet, notwithftanding all this prepara- 
tion, it does not appear that Jefus was at all 
known, or in the lead fufpeSled to be the 
TMeffiah, till after his appearance in the 
charadler of a public teacher, and his work^ 
ing of miracles; and even then his own 
brethren did not immediately believe on 

There are, indeed, feveral inconfiftencies 
in the account of Luke, from which it may 
be gathered, that what could not but be 
known to every body, was, after all, a fecret 
to Jofeph and Mary themfelvcs. After the 
hiftory of the (hepherds, we are told, cap. ii. 
19. that Mary kept all thefe things^ and pan-- 
dered them in her hearty which implies, 
that fhe was at a lofs what to think of them. 
After the declaration of Simeon, we read, 
ver. 33. that Jofeph and his mother marveU 
led at thofe things which werefpoken of him i 
^nd when Jefus was twelve years old, and . 



Cfi At . XX. Miraculous Conception. 123 

told them that he mud be about his father's 
bttiinefs, or at his father's houfe (chap. ii. 
50.) tbcy underftood not the faying that be 
/pake unto them, and Mary kept all tbejefay^ 
ings in her heart. Moreover, after all this 
preparation to announce Jefus, and no other 
perfon, as the Meffiah, yet, when John 
made his appearance the people (Lake ill, 
15.) were in eHpeBatum\ and all men mufed 
im their hearts of John, whether he were 
Chrift or not. Thefe are marks of the ftorjr 
bcmg inconfiftent and ill-digefted. 


124 Of the DoSirine of the . JBqqk IIL:> 

•• * 

» • 

? E C f I O N Vl. 

Confiderations relating to the Roman Cenjus^ 

mentioned by Luie. 

% ■ • ■ 

Tn M E account of the ccnfus fakea by 
•*• order of Auguftus at the fuppoieid 
time of the birth of Chrlft, its i)eing. taken 
by Cyrenius, governor of Syria, and the 
journey of Jofeph and Mary to Bethlehem 
on that occafion, are particularly liable to 
exception, and therefore I fhall treat of 
them in a feparate fe£tion. 

Dr. Lardner, with great labour and 
ingenuity (Credibility, vol. 2. p. 718,) 
has fhewn that by tranfpofing the words, 

the phrafe Avk n airoy^a^ v^ vy&do rvtfionoaH®' 

Tuf Xv^uxg Ki/f£v«, may be rendered,. This was 
the Jirft ajfejfment of Cyrenius, governor of 
Syria ; and had nyefMvog been ufed, inftead of 
fiyeiMveuovi®', this might cafily have been ad- 
mitted. But certainly the natural inter- 
pretation of the phrafe, as the words now 


Chap. Xlt. Miraculous Conception. 125 

ftandy implies that this afleifment was takea 
at the tiin€ that Cyrenius was actually go«- 

. .vcrnor of Syria, which did not take place 
till five years after the death of Herod. 
But, independent of this difficulty, .which 

' has given commentators and critics a great 
dctal of trouble, there are other particulars 
in this account that are extremely impro* 

As Judear was not at that time a province 
of the Roman empire, but had a king of 
its own, though in alliance with Rome^ 
and in a ftate of dependence upon it, the 
Roman cenfus could not regularly extend 
to that country. What the Romans had 
the power of commanding is not the quef- 
tion. They had power, no doubt, to de- 
prive Herod of his kingdom, and to fend a 
governor of their own in his place^ in con- 
fequence of which the country might have 

-7 become fubjeft to the Roman law, and the 
people liable to the cenfus.. But while 
Herod was king, Judea was governed by 
Jewifli laws, and ftibjedt to no taxes but 
fuch isis were impofcd and levied by Jews* 


iz6 . Of the DdSlrtne of the Book III 

Dr. Lardncr has, indeed, ihewn that 
Herod may be faid to have been a trU 
butary prince^ and that the emperor might 
poffibly have an officer of his own refidiog 
in the country^ to take care of his revenues 
from it. But he has himfelf made it fufiB- 
ciently evident, that a cenfus vtras the moft 
odious method of impofing a tax, and there- 
fore that the Romans never had recourfe to 
it, even in the proper provinces of the em- 
pire, except in very particular circumftances. 
He thinks, indeed (p.6 1 8.) thathe has found 
one inftance of it, in the cafe of Cilicia Af« 
pent; but this vtras a very inconiiderablc 
country, and in a later period. I would 
alfo obferve that, though Herod might be 
in difgrace with Auguftus, and the emperor 
might wifh to humble him, it is not pro- 
bable that the people (while the whole 
country was united under one governmejnt, 
and in a very flourifhing flate) would have 
borne fuch an unprecedented infult, with- 
out fuch murmurings as we fhould hare 
heard oft efpecially from Jofephus. This 
writeTi in his account of the c^nius that 


< a*^ ••• 1* b J 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 1^7 

was taken in Judea on its being made a 
proper Roman province, fliews that the 
minds of the Jews were at that time ex- 
ceedingly difpofed to revolt at the meafure; 
and it was taken in no more than ope part 
of the country over which Herod had been 
king. It did not extend to the dominions 
of Herod, the tetrarch of Galilee, thofe of 
Philip, or thofe of Lyfanias. 

Dr. Lardner is of opinion (p. 618.) that 
Jofephus has mentioned this cenfus in the 
time of Herod the Great, in faying " that the 
people of Judea took an oath to be faithful 
to Caefar, and the interefts of the king." But 
he has not proved that this expreflion is 
equivalent to the taking of a cenfus^ and the 
moft natural interpretation of it is, that it 
was an oath of friendfhip and alliance. Be- 
fides, the meafure of taking a Roman cenfus 
in a foreign country, of fuch magnitude as 
Judea then was, was certainly entitled to a 
jnore particular narrative, in fach a hiftory 
as that of Jofephus. We might at leaft 
have expedtjed fomc account of this firft, 
and greater cenfus, in his hiftory^ of the 


128 Of the DoSlrine of the Book III. 

fccond and lefler * and efpecially fome rea* 
fons why the latter gave fo great an alarm> 
and excited fuch dangerous tumults, when 
the former had excited none at all. . 

It is true that Juftin Martyr, and others 
of the Fathers, do mention this cenfus un« 
der Herod the Great, as what the Romans 
would find an account of in their public 
regifters. But fome of them likewifc ap- 
peal to an account of Chrift tranfmitted by 
Pilate to the emperor Tiberius, The pro- 
bability is, that thefe writers, taking it for 
granted that this account of the cenfus in 
the gofpel of Luke was a true one, did not 
fcruple to appeal to it, as what they did 
not doubt would be found to be fo^ But 
we have no account of the fafl: being ve- 
rified by an examination of records. 

Admitting this unprecedented Roman 
cenfus, in a country that was no province 
of the Roman empire, it is certainly highly 
improbable that Jofeph, who lived at Na-^^ 
aareth, fituated three days journey from 
Bethlehem, fhould be obliged to go thither 
on the account of it. A cenfus was an 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conteption. 129 

account of a man's family and pofleflions, 
given in upon oath, withr a fcrutiny, if nc- 
ccffary; and certainly it was mod convenient 
for every man to do this in the place where 
he reiided, and where his account might 
be verified, or checked, by that of his 
neighbours and acquaintance. 

Neither the Romans nor the Jews had 
any intereft in'fuch a manoeuvre as this 
hiftorian fuppofes to have taken place. For 
the troub^e of every man going to the ' 
place where his remote anceftors had lived 
muft have been infinite; to fay nothing of 
the uncertainty of determining what place 
to go to, which muft have been very great. 
For, in this cafe of Jofeph, though Da- 
vid had lived at Bethlehem, his fon So- > 
lomon had not. That the people of Na- 
5Pareth fliould go to Bethlehem, and the 
inhabitants of Bethlehem perhaps to Na- 
zareth, to do nothing but what might have 
becB done by both with much more eafe 
and advantage at their own homes, is there- 
fore not to be fuppofed. 

Vol. IV. K Dr. 

130 Of the Dodtrine of the Book III. 

Dr. Lardner imagines (p. 605.) that Jofeph 
might have had fgme eftate at Bethlehem ; 
but his poverty, his not refiding at the 
place, and efpecially his not being able to 
provide better acconimodations for his w^ife, 
at the time of her delivery, than the ftable 
of an inn there, make this highly impro-* 
bable. Befides this, is it, to be fuppofed 
that a man who had eftate? in different parts 
of a country, fhould be obliged to attend 
at them all, in order to give in an account 
of them, which this conjedure implies ? 
Can this be fhewn to have been done by 
the Romans themfelves ? 

But, admitting that Jofeph, as the pro- 
prietor of an eftate at Bethlehem, fhould 
have been obliged to take a journey of three 
days to attend the cenfus there, what obli- 
gation could there have been upon Mary, 
a woman big with child, and fo near the 
time of her delivery, to take fuch a jour- 
ney? Women, in all circumftances, were 
excufed from attending the three great reli- 
gious feftivals at Jerufalem, though many 

3 ^f 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 131 

of them went thither from choice. But 
no tyranny can be fuppofed to have been fo 
extreme as to compel poor women, in fuch 
critical circumftances, to expofe themfclves 
to fuch hazard, merely to gratify the Ca- 
price of a governor. Belides, as this was 
the firjl cenfus that was taken in the coun- 
try, and was fure to be of itfelf highly un- 
popular, meafures would, no doubt, be ta- 
ken to make it as little burthenfome as 
poffible. Dr. Lardner fays (p. 608.) that both 
Jofeph and Mary might go to Bethlehem 
for reafons that are unknown to us. But it 
mufthave been a very urgent reafon indeed, 
that could carry a woman fo near her time 
of delivery to a place at the diftance of three 
days journey, when the bufinefs to be done 
there could not require the refidence of a 
fingle day. 

It will be faid that this was fo ordered 
by divine providence, that Jefus might be 
a native of Bethlehem. But God, who 
orders all things, generally makes ufe of 
natural means, and therefore, we are not to 
fuppofe that Mary was brought to Bethle- 

K z hem 

J 32 Of the DoSlrine of the Book III. 

hem by means of a cenfus, fo improbably 
impofed, and carried into execution', as this 
muft have been, when the fame end might 
have been accomplifhed in a much more 
natural way. 

It may be faid that Mary's being de- 
livered in fo crouded a place as Bethle-> 
hem muft have been on th^t occafion^ 
would be the means of making the birth 
of Jefus more noticed, efpecially by the 
help of the vifion of angels to the fhepherds 
in that neighbourhood, and the vifit of the 
wife men from the Eaft. But befides the 
many improbabilities attending each of 
thefe ftories (or indeed that of one place 
being more crouded than another, in con- 
fequence of all the people in the country 
going to be enrolled in their, own cities) a 
much greater end» which we certainly know 
to have been a meafure of divine providencej, 
and a great objed: of the policy, as we may 
fay, of Jefus when he came into public life, 
was fure to be defeated by it ; and this wag • 
his Meffiahfhip not being known till his 
miraculous works (hould declare it. 

I A child 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 133 

A child whofe miraculous birth was fo 
circumftanced as that of Jefus is faid to have 
been, would never have been kept out of 
public view afterwards. The nation would 
have undertaken the guardianfliip of their 
young Meffiah; and from that time the reign 
of Herod, who was univerfally hated, would, 
in all probability, have been at an end. A 
regency might have been appointed, but 
he would not have been included in it. 

It may be faid, that the power or policy 
of Herod might have prevented this. But- 
power is always founded upon opinion i 
and if it be confidered what expedations 
the Jews had from their Meffiah, and with 
what eagernefs they never failed to crowd to 
the ftandard of every man who pretended to 
that charafter, we cannot doubt but that 
the people (Herod's own guards, if they 
were Jews, included) would, to a man, have 
worlhipped fo great a rifing fun. Indeed, 
no government could have been fo well 
cftablifhed in that country, as not to have 
been in gr6at danger of being overturned in 
Aich eircumftances. 

Ks A. 

J 34 Of the DoSlrine of the Book III. 

As there is no evidence of Jefus having 
been born at Bethlehem, befides what is 
derived from the introduftions to the gof- 
pels of Matthew and Luke, thofe who do 
not admit their authority muft conclude 
that he was born at Naziareth; Indeed his 
being fo generally called Jefus of Nazareth ^ 
is a proof that, in the opinion of thofe who 
gave him that appellation, he was a pative 
of that place. Had his difciples, in parti- 
cular, really believed that he was born at 
Bethlehem, the native place of David, its 
being fo much more reputable a place than 
Nazareth, and its bearing fuch a relation to 
David, whofe defcendant the Meffiah was 
fuppofed to be, would, no doubt, have de- 
termined them to denominate him from 
thence. It would have been taking a na- 
tural and fair method of removing one great 
odium under which their mafter lay. 

I would farther obferve that, it may per- 
haps be inferred from John ii. i'2. that 
Jefus's mother and the whole family re- 
moved from Nazareth to Capernaum, after 
his firft miracle of changing water into 


Chap. XX . Miraculous Conception . i ^5 

wine. If, therefore Nazareth was not the 
s place of his nativity, there was no reafoti 
why the difciples of Jefus fhould not have 
denominated him from Capernaum, rather 
^than from Nazareth. According to the com- 
mon hypothefis, he had only refided at ei- 
^ ther of the two places ; and though he had 
not lived fo long at Capernaum, yet it was 
•the laji refidence that he had, and that 
from which he came forth into public life i 
and it was by much the more reputable 
place of the two. I, therefore, fee no reafon 
for Chrift being ftiled "Jefus of Nazareth, 
by himfelf and his difciples, but that it 
was confidered as the place of his nativity. 
It appears from Athanafius to have been 
the opinion of Paulus Samofatenfis,and there- 
fore probably, that of the generality of the 
, unitarians of the early ages, that Chrift was 
born at Nazareth ; which, as I have obferv- 
ed, is inconfiftent with their paying any 
regard to the introductions of either Mat- 
thew or Luke's gofpel, or indeed with 
their belief of the miraculous conception, 

K 4 for 

136 Of the Do^rine cftbe Book II !♦ 

for which no authority can be pleaded be- 
fides that of thofe introdudtions, though it 
is aflertcd, that they believed that doftrinc, 
•* Say then," fays Athanafius, '' how do 
** you fay that God was born at Nazareth, 
** teaching that his deity began with his 
'^ birth, according to Paulus Samofatehfis *." 
And again, " Say then, how do you fup*- 
'' pofe that God was born at Nazareth j 
** fince all the heretics are ufed to fay this, 
** as Paul of Samofata, who confefles that 
*^ God was born of a virgin, that he firft 
*^ appeared at Nazareth, and that his being 
** commenced there +." 

Matthew, indeed, fuppofes that, accord- 
ing to a prophecy of Micah (chap. v. 2.) 
the Mcfliah was to be born at Bethlehem. 
But this is po ncceflary inference from the 

7w?oj cog «f%Tiv yevea-eag a^ayii^W?f j xdla TlaUKjv rov ^ofjiAO'dlta^ 
De Adventu Chrifti, Opera^ vol. i. p. 637. 

TYig uTra^^as tw a^xnv zff'^mSla^ Ibid. 


Chap. XX. Miraculotu Conception. 1 37 

the paffage. The meaning of it feems to 
be, that Bethlehem, though a town of no 
great confideration on other accounts, was 
Jionoured by giving birth to David, whofc 
pofterity would make fo great a figure in 
the Jewifti hiftory, efpecially by giving to 
the nation their future great deliverer. 


1 38 Of the Doeirine of the Book III. 


Suppofed Allufions to the Miraculous Con^ 
ception in the Scriptures. 

/n T T T H E N once it is taken for granted 
\J V V that any religious tenet is true, it 
is remarkable how readily the proof of it 
is found in the fcriptures. Examples of 
this muft have occurred to every perfon of 
reflexion; and as they are not without 
their ufe, in teaching us caution, I fhall 
ihew in what manner the Fathers proved 
the dodtrine of the miraculous conception 
from the old Teftanient ; where it is, how- 
ever, certain that no Jew ever learned to 
expedj: fuch a thing. When arguments fail, 


imagination has often been able to dif- 
cover a typCy and this has often given as 
muph fatisfadtion as any reafon whatever. 
I fhall take the paflages in which this doc- 
trine has been alluded to, nearly in t^eip 



Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 139 

Irenaeus fays, that " Mafcs's rod, being 
*/ incarnate in a ferpent, was a type of 
^' Chrift being produced by the aid of the 
** Spirit only, and that he was not the fpn 
^^of Jofeph*/' 

The paflage in the prophecy of Jacob, 
concerning Judah, Gep. Ixix. 9. which we 
render from the prey ^ ^y fon^ thou art gone 
up^ is irt the Seventy, pc&^th from the bud. 
This Epiphanius applies to Chrift, and fays 
that it is a reference to the miracplous 
conception, becaufe it is not «» tntm^Sf^A frorfi 
the feed -f*. 

f* Chrift/' fays Jerom, ^ is called both z 
** worm and a man ; a worm, as the pro- 
^^ phet fays^ Fear not thou worm Jacob ; 

* Propter hocautem et Moyfcs oftendens typum, pro- 
jecit virgam in terram, ut ea incarnata omnem ^gyptib- 
rum^praevaricationem, qu3e infurgebat adverfus dei difpo- 
fitiqnem, argueret et abforberet : et ut ipfi jSEgyptiiteftifi- 
carentuf) quoniam digitus eft dei, qui falutem operatur 
populo, et non Jofeph iSlius. Lib. 3. c. 29. p. 258. 

* H Jg T» Xf *^ yswYicrig Kcfia fua-iv /asv b» yuvouxog rsa^tpz 

xccia TYtv cxv^^co'jrQlnla oucoKn^iag * cog uai loxo)? ^ifi axjin Xeyeij sx 
fxxTH uiE fjLH aveCwf, km hk eiTrev eh (rTTE^fAcH®' avkng, * Haer. 30. 
Opera, vol, I. p. i>6. 

'' and 

1 40 Of the DoHrine of the Book lit, 

** and a man, becaufe he is born of Mary. 
*^ His nativity refembles a worm that is 
*^ bred in wood, which has no father, but 
** only ^ mother*." Jerom is not the only 
writer in whom I have found this obferva- 
tion. Eufebius gives three reafons why 
the Mefliah is called a worniy and not a man^' 
in his Commentary on Pf. xxi. 6. the fe- 
cond of which is, that he was not produced 
like men, from the conjundion of male 
and female -f-. A ray of good fenfe, how- 
ever, appears in Theodoret, on this fij^bjcdt, 
as well as on many others. He fay^^ that 
♦* by a ivonn and no man^ nothing was 

f Chriftus et vermis dicitur, et homo. Vermisi ut ait 
propheta : Noli timere vermis Jacob. E]t homo, quia ex 
Maria natus aiBmi^tur fua nativitas vermi, quia vermis 
qui in ligno nafcitur, non habet patrem niii matrem. Et 
Chriftus ex Maria eft natus abfquc coitu viri. In Pf. xici. 
Opera, vol. 7. p. 24. 

f K^ (x>OsM^ y av siTToig (ncajXnKct avlov avofAoa^cu ai lat ea&gah 
TTDV, Sifls TO fJLr] ofAoia; oiv^coTrotg^ bh (TWH<riag a^^Bvog nai SnAEWtg tjjp 
TY^ aa^uo; yevtaiv sffxyi^^ou> — Ila^im<Tiv olt a xala fvaiv^ aifc Ofiouig 

TQi^ £| a^^svoi kcu %Miag cruvirafjtEVQig * ucu ra rng auk yevi^m^ 
<TuvS(7<silo . ci%£v h n vT^M 'JBo^a TYiV xwvw fv^vf. Montfau^ 
con's Colledlio, vol. i. p« 81, 

*^ meant 

C H A p . XX. Miraculous Conception. 141^ 

*' meant but the meannefs of David." In 
Pf. xxi: Opera, vol. i. p. 477. 

l^hou bidefi me in my mothers womb. Pf. 
cxxxix. 13. is, by Eufebius, applied to 
Chrift, ** whofe miraculous conception was 
** hid from the world*." 

** The bridegroom proceeding from his * 
** chamber^'' fays Jerom, *^ means from the 
■' virgin's womb-f-/' 

David fays, Pf. cxxxix. 1 6. In thy book alt 
my members were written. This book, fays 
Epiphanius, is the virgin's womb J. 

In the fong of Solomon, mention is made 
of a garden that was clofed, chap, iv, 12, 
This many of the Fathers fay muft mean 
the virgin's womb, particularly Ambrofe |[. 

But the capital argument in proof of 
the miraculous conception from the Old 

* Ettei Kola rrpf 'agoShfv o^/^?at^ly cru *ssa>dv ro xxkz yar^o^ nti" 

^rra ayuxg 'ssa^^sva au9\M4^ii> Demonftratio, lib. 20. p. 499. 
f £t quomodo tanquam fponfus procedens de thalamo 
fuo, id eft, virginali utero. In Marc. cap. 1 . Opera, vol.6, 
p. 69. 
X Haer. 30* Opera, vol. i . p. 156. 
II llortus claufus eft virgo. De Inftitut. Virgtnis, cap. 
9. Opera, vol.4, p. 424. 


1 » 

I4Z • Of the DoSlrine of the Book III. 

Teftament, is drawn from If. vii. 14. in' 
which it is faid, a virgin Jhall conceive and 
bear a fon^ &c. but if the prophecy be 
more narrowly infpefted, it will be found to* 
teach no fuch doftrine. The country of 
Judah having been threatened with an inva- 
fion from the kings of Ifrael and Syria, 
Ifaiah affures Ahaz, that in a fhort time he 
fliould be delivered from all apprehenfion of 
danger from that quarter, even before a 
child then conceived, or foon to be con* 
ceived, fliould be of age, to diftinguifli 
good from evil. Behold a virgin conceive th 
and heareth a fon^ and jhe Jhall call his name 
Immanuel. Butter and hofiey Jhall he eat, when 
be Jhall know to refufe the evil, and chufe the 
good. For before this child Jhall know to 
refufe the evil, and to chufe the good, the land 
Jhall become defolate by whofe two kings thou 
art dijlrejfed. Bp. Lowth's Tranflation. 

It is evident, from the circumftances of 
the hiflory, that the prophecy related to an 
event near at hand, and that it had its com- 
plete accomplifliment when the country 
was delivered from the two kings who then 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 143 

threatened it with an invafion ; and it is not 
pretended that any woman at that time had 
a child without a man. It is the quotation ^ 
of this prophecy, and the application of it 
to the miraculous conception of Chrift, in 
the introdudtion to the gofpel of Matthew, 
ch. i. 22. that has made chriftian divines 
imagine that they were under a necefiity of 
defending the common interpretation. But 
the difficulty of defending it makes a very 
ftrong objeftion to the authenticity of that 

All the orthodox Fathers maintained, 
that the word in the Hebrew hd^J^ fignifies 
a proper virgin, and among the reft Origca 
contends for this. In Celfum. lib. 1. p. 27/ 
But the Jews, and Symmachus the £bio« 
nite, who were certainly better judges thaa' 
either the Greek or Latin Fathers, fay, that 
it often fignifies zyoung woman only* Irenseus 
fays, that ** Theodotion of Ephefus, and 
" Aquila of Pontus, both Jewifh profelites, 
*' tranflate it a young woman Jhall hear a 
*^ chili : and that the Ebionites followed 

•• thcra. 

144 Of the BoSlrine of the Bck)K IIL 

" them, believing Jefus to be the fon of , 
« Jofeph *." 

Eufebius has fomcthing curious in hi« 
explanation of this prophecy. He thought 
that the child by the prophetefs was the 
fame with the child Immanuel ; but think- 
ing the Holy Spirit to be the fpcakcr in 
the delivery of the prophecy, he explains 
his going in to the prophetes, by the en* 
trance of the Holy Spirit into the vir- 
gin +• 

Chryfoflom fays, that when Ifaiah fpeaks 

of Chrift as a root out of a dry ground^ 

iSk* n vtavi^ ev yar^i siu^ km Ts^dai viovt a>g OeoSolmf -n^fumuast o 

xcSakoyin^avleg 01 E^iwMOi^ e| lamp aulov yvytmr^M fatntmu 
Lib. 3. cap. 24. p. 253. 

ni^M MOVi avoTHMci); zm ts 'ma^og, nsag av ysvoilo nflo iiaa^ipii 

avlog xupiog^ XEyav^ km fa^ocrrl^ov wpogrrfi/ 'tj^o^tv • aili tb, tym 
aulog 'sspoa't'ktvaofjuxi rn *Bjfo^i^i . nsjpo^iv ya^ ovof/M(ei T/t9 Toy ^^ 
f/LOVsrOi re^OfjL£vnv. ^loi to 'svevfjtotlog ayia fjiilaa-x^v KoQa T09 fn^avla 
mpo; aJlnv * *snf£uiia ayiov EveT^ia-slM em at^ km SwofMg v^rn i gri- 
ffMuureia9i. In If. 8.3. Montfaucon's collcdtio, vol. 2. p-384. 


Ch A p . XX. Miraculous Conception. 145 

the dry ground means the virgin's womb *. 
But this is not the only paifage in Ifaiah 
that has been thought to refer' to the mira- 
culous conception. Epiphanius imagined, 
that when an order was given to the pro- 
phet, ch. viii. 1. to take a great roll, as we 
render it, and which he fuppofcd to be a 
iheet of blank pap£r^ on which nothing was 
written, it was a type of the virgin's womb f. 
In If. xxix. 11. mention is made of a 
Jealed book, given to a man who was ac- 
quainted with letters, who Caiys, I cannot read 
ityforit is Jealed. '* This fealed book,'* 
fays Gregentius, *^ is the virgin Mary, and 
** the man who was acquainted with letters 
** is Jofeph, who had been married, and. had 
** children by a former wife+.'* 

* Ka< iit^^ 'soOav ii^oiJLSv oaHov ag vcuSiov ojg ^i^av ev yn Si^ 
•^6)an . yriv 3k ^t^^casf mv fAnl^av Tisysi mv 'map^svtxnvj ^la to (in 

yafju/jvauiovTEHeiv. In Matt. xxvi. 39. vol. 5. p. 132* 

f Haer. 30. Opera, vd. i. p. 156^ 

X Km aytoq, Mv} Co>>oihi(£' g yap bk avr£^fAc3o^ loatrmp^ &; 0« 
}lO^Juit^it a>^ sjc w/EVfiolo^ ayiH yEye¥]mlai . ^TioXn/u ya^ mt^i avis 
*spofrh^'i KM vTrohiwucov oli ax s^^apn wapci rs lu^nf rt vap^vo;^ 
ra^e ^ncri *. i6^yf<rilai to ta^^ayio'fitvov fii^cv av^pi siiiSli ypofAfjiabt 
— T< TO Pi^cy Bafpayi(rixtvov oTOk n n wofSsv^ «; ^^hto^y rii 
Vol, IV. L wmp j 

146 Of the DoSlrine of the Book IIL 

Ifaiah, in a remarkable prophecy con- 
cerning Chrift, ch. liii. 8. fays. Who Jfjall 
declare his generation. The true meaning 
of this p^ffage it is not eafy to underftand^ 
and the beft critics are by no means agreed 
about it. But Juftin Martyr thought that 
it fignij&ed that *' Chrift fliould not be of 


** the feed of man *." 

There is one more paffage in Ifaiah, 

which Epiphanius imagined to refer to the 
miraculous birth of Chrift, and that is 
chap. Ixvi. 7. Before Jhe travelled JIjs brought 
forth ', before her pains came, JJje was deliver led 
of a man child "f-. For all the ancients be- 
lieved that Mary was delivered without 
pain, the delivery itfelf having been proper- 
ly miraculous. They always compared it 
to Chrift's coming into a room, after his re- 
furrcftion, when the door was fhut \. 

avYip ; la<rn^ tejiIuv . ti 3s ole jy y^afifjtGcli iiS'oli ; raT £rt ya/jui eif 
aXX)i ywouHi tSfQcroiMMaosSli ef n yuvcuxi x) Twva exBtSiiio. Dialogus^ 
p. 45- 

^gyov7®- Tuv ysveav ewls Tig ^irryyiffeiai^ ipi viSi^ xm voew o^uXeIs ok 
m sri yEvsf ovQ^aTra aTrepfjux ; Dial. p. 284. 

+ Haer. 30. Opera, vol. i. p. 144. 

% See Joannis Geomctrae Hymnum in Virginem Deipa« 
ram Bib. Fat. vcl. 8. p. 437* 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 147 

This whimfical notion of Chrift coming 
out of the virgin without any change in 
hafj was derived from the Gnoftics, and, 
like feveral other opinions of theirs, was 
ftftervVards adopted by the catholics. Beau- 
fobre ftys, it was borrowed from the Prote- 
vangelion^ quoted by Cletaens Alexandri- 
nes *. Auftin, in anfwer to a Manichean, 
who thought it degrading to Chrift to pafs 
through a woman at all, compares this paf- 
lage to a ray of light through glafs -f-* 
He calls Mary " a virgin before the birth, 
** in the birth, and after the birth J." 

Theodoret fays, tw waf$fv«>iv iavw « tn avXKn^^u 7jj<roig^ 
tryiyiwnaei^iixfpniccg. Opcra, Vol. 5. p. 20. " A 

*• virgin,'' fays Petrus Chryfologus, *' con- 
** ceives, a virgin brings forth, and re- 
** mains a virgin § /' and Proclus fays, the 

♦ Hiftoire de Manicheifmc, vol. i. p. 362. 
t Ibid. vol. 2. p. 525. 

i Nifi quia Maria virgo ante partum, virgo in partu, 
virgopoft partum. Serm. 14. Opera, vol. 10. p. 598. 

§ Virgo concipit, virgo parturit, virgo permanet. Pc- 
tri Chryfologi, Ser. 117. p. 352. 

L 2 '' babe 

148 Of the DoSirine of the Booijl III. 

** babe left the womb, leaving the gates un- 

** hurt *.*' Laftly, John the Geometrician, 
in his poem on the Virgin Mary, fays, that 
ihe was delivered without painf. 

It was fo much taken for granted, that 
Mary remained a proper virgin after the 
birth of Jefus, that it was ufed as an argu- 
ment againft Photinus, by Theodotus, bSf- 
hop of Ancyra, at the council of Ephefus. 
A mere man, he (aid^ was never born in 
that way J. 

Of this Ambrofe interpretes what Eze- 
kel fays, ch. xliv, 2. of a gate in the 
temple, which he faw in vifion, concern- 
ing which it is faid. It Jhall be Jhut, becauji 

* £|)ixSe yap TO Ppef&'^ xai axspaiHg tsj KOilavAg rn; yarpof 
aicOdTTtv, Horn, in Nativitatem Domini, p. 150. 

f Xia^tyr\ m>oftii Kofxaluv fjLnlip avsu oJWwj. Bib. Pat. vol, 8« 
Ed. Paris, p. 437. 

J "ETTsifn & }^ fuleivog ^Xov cn^poTrov y^sysi rov yeytvyt^fAevov, /of 

Xfyojv ^£« itvM TOMV, xj Tov SK fjoilpog ^posT^oilx^ ovS^w^rov tfTTolAHou 

iinpn/Atvov $£«• Xryglw fxct wv, vu; ^u<ri; avh^p^m iiaiufi^aq vrap^ 

vpcn^ TuCdfA^n^ r/iv vaf^ma» rrs fArilpa; £f i/Xa f ev ojp^afov ; aitvoq 

yap a:Sf«T» fcjfuf, 'sraf^sv®' fAffimHsv, fiinnii Concilia, 

vol, I. pt. 2. p. 390. 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 149 

the Lord God of Ifrael has entered in by it\ 
He alfo proves it from the prophecy con- 
cerning Immanuel, in Ifaiah, ch. vii. faying 
that, according to that prophecy, Mary wa^ 
to brin^ forth ^ as well z^ to conceive^ while 
flie wa3 a virgin \. 

Irenaeus fays, that ** it was with a view 
*' to the virgin's conception, that Daniel 
" fpake of Cbrift as a ftone cut out of 
'* the mountain without hands, or the 
^* hands of man ; not Jofeph, but Mary 
*' only, being concerned in it %*' The 

* Et infra dicit propheta vidiffe fe in monte alto nlmis 
sedificationem civitatis, cuju« portae plurimas fignificanttiri 
jioa tamen claufa defcribitur, de qua fie ait. Porta igitur 
Maria, per quam Chriflus intravit in hunc mundum^ 
quando virginali fufus eft partu, et genitalia virginitati^ 
clauflra non folvit. De Inftitutione Virginia, c, 7. Opera, 
vol. 4. p. 423. 

+ Ecce virgo in utero accipiet, et pariet filium. Non 
enim coneepturam tantumtnodo virginem, fed et paritu-^ 
ram, virginem dixit. Epift. Kb. i, n. Opera, vol. 4. 
p. 186. 

% Propter hoc autem et Daniel praevidens ejus adven^ 
turn, lapidem fme manibus abfcifium adveniife in hunc 
mundum. Non operante m eum Jofeph, fed fola Maria 
co-operante difpofitioni. Lib. 3. cap. 28. p. 258, 

L ^ fame 

152 Of the DoSirine of the Book IIL 

cafe, and the number and choice of wit* 
ncffes in the other, that the hiftory may 
defy all ridicule, and the importance of the 
objeSl made all the precautions proper. 

On the other hand, the pretended cir- 
cumflaoces of the birth of Chrift, though 
no lefs extraordinary, and naturally as ia« 
credible as thofe of his refurredtion, are to- 
tally deftitute of all (imilar evidence ; not 
one perfon who is faid to have been m wit- 
nefs of the fadt, having borne his teftimony 
to it. A miraculous birth is, indeed, a hSt 
of fuch a kind, as muft be peculiarly diffi- 
^cult to prove ; and on this account it was a 
kind of miracle that was not likely to b^ 
chofen by infinite wifdom. 

We hear of no objcdtion being made to 
the miraculous conception in the book of 
Adls, which, as I have obferved, is almoft a 


proof that the pretention to it had not been 
made in the age of the apoftles ; for we 
find that, as foon as it was believed by any 
chriftians, it was objedted to by unbelievers, 
and that chridlanity fwfFered not a little on 
this account, both from Jews and heathens. 


C H A P- X X . Miraculous Conception . 153 

Trypho, in Juftin Martyr's dialogue, was 
much offended at this dodrine, and thought 
it would be extremely unacceptable to his 
countrymen • Had the dialogue been writ- 
ten by a Jew, ?ind not by a chriftian, the 
cenfure would probably have been expreffed 
in ftill ftronger terms. 

According to Origen, Celfus introduced 
a Jew ^* difcourfing with Jefus, and re- 
*^ proaching him on many accounts, but^ 
** efpecially as pretending to be born of a 
^* virgin*/' He makes the Jew fay that 
*^ the mother of Jefus was difmifled by her 
** hulband, the carpenter, on account of 
•* adultery, and being with child by a fol- 
^' dier, called Panthera-j-;*' an idle fiory, 
which is told at full length in a Jewifli 
trad:, entitled Toldos Jefcbu. 

Accoijnts of the objedlions of the Jews 
to the miraculous conception are without 
end, ** Tell the Jew," fays Ifidore Pelu- 
fiota, " who difputes about the divine in- 

* Mck ra^jiot 'a^oa-a'jroTrotBi laiixm avia iioO^PfOfjusm tw Iuo-s, 

fUVH aula TDV BK 'sra^m yevsa-iv. Con, Celfum. lib, i. p. 22. 
t Ibid. lib. I. p. 25, 

3 ** carnation^ 

154 Of the DoSinne of the Book III. 

*' carnation, and fays it is impoffiblc in 
'* human nature to bring forth without 
*' marriage, &c */' ** The Greeks and 
" Jews/' fays Cyril of Jerufalem, ** iniSft 
•• upon it, that it is impoffible that Chrift 
•* fliould be born of a virgin +/' '* Many," 
fays he, '* contradidt, and fay, what fo great 
•' caufe was there that God Hiould defcend 
*' and become man ; and if it be poflible for 
*' the nature of God to become man, how 
•* could a virgin have a child without a 
^' man J/' On account of the infidel Jews," 
fays Proclus, '* I will interrogate the vir- 
** gin. Tell me, O virgin, what made thee 
** a mother before marriage § ?" 

tf-CA^d ^ 7\zyovli^ cli aiuvalov tri fvcsi eD&q',iyxiia 3lxa aynmaii 9J^ 
ffVE^fx^of rsiLSiv. Epift. lib. i. Opera, p. 43. 

^ Akko. ^lourufsaiv Yif/a^ S7\>yiveg te koi lahaoi^ xou faaa^ ok ah" 
vollw w Tov xf ^w ac wa^^vH ycwj^wcw. Cat. 12. p. x6a. 

ewavuT^BfEiv • Hou El iwdlov En zrof^Evcfif TEKEiv ovEu ovJfoj. Ibid. 

p. 150. 

^ TOrt^fvs, Ti aE fAtlsfa ^^ T«v 7«n*wv cTrwwf. Horn, in Na? 
tivitatem Domini, p. 152. 

1 This 

Chap, XX. Miraculous Conception. 155 

This was 2 circumftance relating to 
pWiiftianity that did. not efcape the vigi^ 
iaace of Julian. Speaking of the prophecy 
of Jacob copcerning Shiloh, he fays, " This 
'' has nothing tp dp with J^fus, for he is 
*^ not of Judah i fpr, according to you, he 
** wa$ not defcended froni Jofeph, but was 
<* pf the Holy Spirit ; and it is the genea- 
'* Ipgy of Jofeph that ypu carry up to Ju* 
^^ dah. And even this you do not make put 
^* well ; for Matthew and Luke contradid 
^' one another*." 

Let us now fee what the chriftian Fathers 
have faid in order to leflen the difficulty 
attending the doctrine of the miraculous 
conception. Origen fays, " the Greeks 
*' who will not believe that Jcfus was bora 
*' of a virgin, muft be told that the maker 
♦* of all things, in the formation of feveral 

laid {^6}^ ya^ o uo& vfMi un 4 h^<ry\f^ «M* e| ciyui wmHAfSf^ yfr 

f 3M^7e 'sr^otrat Ha}^g. ^S^JEyx^^ou yaf McS^mog kou Aioiaf veft 
Tn; yeveoi)\oyia; cojIh ilafavavkg 'sr^eg ei>>»i7^> Cyril, contra Jul, 
lib, 8. Juliani Opera, vol. 2. p. 253. 

** animals. 

556 Ofibe Boarine of the Book HI. 

animals, has fhewn that what he has done 
' with refpedl to fome, he might have done 

* in others, and even in man. For among 
'« the animals' fome females have no com- 

* mcrce with males^ which naturalifts fay 

* is the cafe with vultures, which are pro- 

* pagated without it. How then is it cx- 
' traordinary, if God, intending to fend a 

divine meffenger to mankind, inftead of 
^* the ufual mode of generation, by the 
^ commerce of man with woman, ihogld 

* employ another method *.'' He pro- 
ceeds to mention Grecian fables, in which 

- fomething of. a fimilar nature was fuppofed 
to have taken place. 

Ruffinus, to make it appear lefs incre- 
dible, fays, *'• the Phoenix is reproduced 

I«<r», oil drifjua^Q'^ tv m tccv ziotKiT^av (aav yevio'ti^ cSkilsy, oil fif 
asHoi pHT^^svii ^waiov nsomdai^ otts^ £^ fvo; ^(aa^ km btt c0^^uv<, icat 
W aviuv tm ov^^aTTm, Eu^i^Hiiai ie riva ran (mnv ^li^a^ fm 
txovia a^fnvof Homiwavt ag 01 ^e^i ium avay^a^czviei XEyacri vifi 
yvTtm " nai t«7o to ?wov xw^ij yuimg aco^ei mv SiaSbxw t«v ycvAw. 
Tt isv 'srapaSblcv, tt ^ti^r&ug ^og ^etcv riva ii^surxO^ «r%x4^n T9 
ytvu rcov av^^ciyTTav, 'sreTroimev^ avii (Tict^fAcSiatsi 7^^^ tj$ bk /ax|ew; 
T4W apf £vav raig yuvui^i ^^aointrai^ a?^ Tf ocrw ytvia^i rov Xflypy 

** without 

Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. 157 

" without a male, and without the con- 
«* jundion of the fexes *.'' " If fome ani- 
*' mals," fays Ladlantius, ** as is well 
** known to all, conceive by the wind, why 
*' fh6uld any perfon think it wonderful 
'* that the virgin fhould be with child by 
" the breath of God, to whom it is eafy to 
«* do whatever he pleafes f ?" *« That the 
'* miraculous conception fhould not appear 
** altogether incredible,'* fays Bafil (almoft 
copying Origen) " even to thofq who do 
•* not readily apprehend what relates to ihe 
"divine oeconomy, God has made fome 
** animals produce their young by the help 

* Et tamen quid mirum videtur, fi virgo conceperit, cum 
orientis avem queni Phsenicem vocant, in tantum fine con- 
juge nafci vel renafci conftet, ut femper una fit, et femper 
fibi ipfi nafcendo vel renafcendo fuccedat ? Apes certe nef- 
cire conjugia, nee foetus nixibus edere, omnibus palum 
eft, fed €t alia nonnulla deprehehdontur fub hujufcemodi 
forte nafcendi. In Symb. Opera, p. I'jb* 

•)• Quod fi animalia quaedam vento, aut aura concipere 
folere, omnibus notum eft ; cur quifquam mirum putet, 
cum fpiritu dei, cui facile eft quicquid velit ^ gravatam eile 
virgine^m dicimus ? Inftit, lib, 4. fcft. la. Opera, p. 383. 


158 Of the Doarine of the Booit IIL 

** of the femak only, without the ufe of the 
*' male, which naturalifls fay is the cafe 
** with the vulture *." 

*' What is the reafon/* fays Chryfoftdm*. 
•* why, when you fee a virgin bring forth 
*' our common Lord, you do not believe it^ 
*' Exercife your underftanding with refped 
" to v^romen who were barren ; that when 
** you fee the womb that was faft clofedj 
** opened by the grace of God, you ftjay 
•' not wonder when you hear that a virgin 
*' ha^ brought forth. Wonder, indeed^ 
*^ and be aftonifhed, but do not difbelieve 
*' the miracle. When a Jew then fays to 
** you, How can a virgin bring forth ^ afk 
'^ hin^i how can a woman that is barr^ and 
*« old have a child. Here are two impedi- 
** merits, age and infirmity, but with refpeft 
** to the virgin there is only one impedi-» 
** ment, viz. that ihe is not married. Lct> 

* YjTEf 3e TK Tw ^af a3b|aty 'vouSiw ytrmrvt ^y\ vodk cmirof tx^^ 
roi; iwrjra^aiviitoi 'ssfi rnv dsiav oucovofjuav iicacsifjixvoig . aOio'e Tna 
T«v ^auv 3»v«»fyof owofjLSva airo iacvh ra SnAfoj, ^wf 15 mq txov ap- 
^mn rJtiirT^OKTni^ aTTolixIstv . touxvla ya^ iropaai nsm yvTTw^ ot ra 
iftfi {«w 'JTfayiMilev^afjUivi, In If. 7. Opera, vol. 2. p. 186. 

*' the 

Chap. XX . Miraculous Conception . 159 

" the barren then prepare the way for the 
•' virgin *." 

Auftin fays, *' If the miraculous cofr- 
** ception be thought incredible becaufe it 
** happened but once, other things like* 
** wife have happened but once," and thus 
he thought the objeftioh anfwered-f'. 

But the bcft anfwer of all, is that which 
is given 'by Cyril of Jcrufalcm. *' The 
** Jews contradict, and will not be [icr*- 

• T<j ay env u otHia ; iva o7av iSVjj tw 'ara^Sfwy ruSaa-av rev koivov 

ns^ mauimoiiav avor/OjMvm ot tyk ra ^eh x^xpthg^i /mi Bau/Jteunis 
mnnav oil 'sra^^svo^ sIske * fjba'KKQv h ^exvfAotffov nai ZHTtKayvQi^ et?0^ 
fm oeTTirrvTYii tw ^owfAodi . o7av «v Ksyn 'ar^ oj tre o I«3awf , 'md^-ektisv i» 
tfiz^^o^ , siTTS ts^oq a^ovi *0(i)g bIsxev ri nt^ot xai ysyrtpccHuux ; ^^ 
yOf xi)?\i/fjtala rols >i^, tOi ri cta^ov tiij m^uuag^ kcu to ax^nroif tuj 
(^(Tta^ ' sm is rvig tffof^svH tv xa^fjux nv^ ro /An /aHoo-xbiv auhff 
yafAit . 'srfooioTToiei roiwv rti *sja^^evta n r«fa. In Gen. Hom» 
49. Opera, vol. 2* p. 684; 

+ Quod fi propterea non creditur quia felnel fa£lum c(t^ 
quaere ab amico quern hoc adhuc movet, utrum nihil invi-^ 
niatur in literis fecularibus quod et femel fadum eft et 
tSLtnen creditum, non fabulofa yanitate, fed ficut cxiftrmafts 
hiftorica fide. Quaere obfecro te. Si enrm tale aliqfitd 
in itlis Uteris inventri negaverit, admonendus eft^ fi autem 
fafTus foerit, foluu qa^ftio eft. Eptft. 7« Ope/a, vol. 2. 
P- 36. . 

" fuadcd 

i6o Of the DoBrine of the Book III. 

«* fuaded by what we fay concerning the 
** rod^' [If. vii. 3.] ** unlefs examples be 
" brought to them of births equally ftrangei 
«* and contrary to nature. I> therefore, 
** queftion them in this manner. Of whom 
** was Eve generated from the beginning ? 
•* What mother conceived her, who had no 
** mother; for the fcripture fays, that flie. 
** was produced from the fide of» Adam ? 
«* Was Eve, therefore, produced from the 
** fide of a male without a mother, and 
** canoot a child be generated from a vir- 
«' gin*3 womb without a man * ?" To 
the fame purpofe Petrus Chryfologus fays, 
«* How can it be wonderful that he (hould 
** inhabit a virgin*s womb, who himfelf 
** made woman from the fide of a man. 
*' He took a man from the womb of a 
^* woman who formed a virgin from the 

yoigy sav fin OfjLoioiQ 'aa^aSb^oig x^ 'aro^a fuiriy trsKr^offw Toiwlpf^ 
s^elaio Toiyuv auiiig ^ag ' ri "Eua e| a^xng en Ttt/®" eyevn&n ; «roMi - 
(jJkf <rwei}^Bv exEivnv tviv ofAifloga ; >^ei h n yfctfn St ex vT^evfOS 
yryovs t« Aidtf/, ; a^a «y ij ftfv Ei/a en my^iv^otq «fO'6v®-, x^ 

7wvafej J Cat. 12. Opera> p. 163. 

«« body 


Chap. XX. Miraculous Conception. i6i 

\^ body of a man ; fo that what appears 
new to you is old with God*." It is 
alfo very prudently and pertinently obferyed 
by Maximus Taurinenfis, " Whofoever is 
** difpofed to examine the works of God, 
V rather than believe them, is influenced by 
*• the flefh, and not by the fpirit. Where- 
** fore, my brethren, let us not difcufs in 
•* what manner God is born of God, but 
** let us believe it. Nor let us retradt the 
*^ miraculous conception, but admire | that 
. •* acknowledging the only begotten Son of 
** God to be both God and man, we may 
•• hold the true heavenly faith unblame- 
*• ablet-" To the fame purpofe Ifidorc 

♦ Quid mirum modo, fi virginis habitavit utero, qui 
mulierem hominis fumpfit ex tatere i Ipfe hominem mu- 
lierij refumfit ex utero, qui virginem viri formavit ex cor- 
pore ; ac perinde, homo, quae tibi videntur nova, deo 
habentur antiqua. Ser. 145. p. 372. 

f Omnis ergo qui opera dei magis vult examinare quam 
credere, non fequitur animae fenfum, fed carnis errorem. 
£t ideo, fratres ! non difcutiamus, qualiter deus de deo 
natus eft, fed crcdamus : nee retradlemus partum virginis, 
fed miremur ; ut unigenitum dei deum et hominem confi« 
tentes, inofFenfam teneamus coeleftis fidei veritatem. Ope- 
ra, p. 195. 

Vol. IV. . M alfc? 

1 6 2 Of the Dodlrine of the Book II I. 

alfo fays, ** Behold therefore a man from 
*^ the earth, and a woman from a man, and 
«* both without the conjundtion of fexcs*." 

The conception of Chrift by a virgin, 
is, no doubt, within the power of God, 
who made man originally ; but as miracles 
are never wrought without a reafon, and 
where a great and good end is to be an- 
fwered by them, we ought not lightly to 
give credit to accounts of miracles for 
which we cannot imagine any good rea- 
fon, and the very report of which is cal- 
culated to expofe chriftianity to ridicule, 
without any neceffity, or conceivable ad- 
vantage. Whether the hiftory of the mi- 
raculous conception of Chrifl: be fo circum- 
ilanced, as that the evidence in favour of it 
is able to overbear the force of this objec- 
tion, and the many others that have been 
ftatcd in this chapter, let the reader now 

All thefe, it is to be obferved, are the 
objedlions of Jews or heathens, and the 

* iJg w avwf tx mj y>if ^ tj y\m etc m av^gog^ jcJ afjupole^i iDf 
[cwowiOi X^i^» £piftt 141. p. 43, 


Chap« XX. Micaculous Conception. 163 

anfwers apply only to the light in which 
it was coi)fidcred by them. What any 
chriftians, who equally tlifbelieved the mi- 
raculous conception^ faid to it« we are no 
where told, though we find that they pub* 
lifhed their objections. That the learned 
Symmachus in particular wrote againft this 
doiftrine, we are informed, but we find not 
a fingle quotation from the book, or that 
it was ever anfwered ; and yet it is not faid 
that it was undeferving of an anfwer. 
- The filence of the chriftian Fathers on 
this fubjed: will be dijSferently interpreted, 
as perfons are dififerently difpofed with re«» 
fpedl to the dodtrine itfelf. All the cir- 
cumftances confidered, it appears to me that 
£0 truly refpeftable a pcrfon as Symmachus 
writing againft the miraculous conception, 
in fo early a period (as early, probably, as 
the belief of it came to be general) and that 
no perfon anfwered his book, are both of 
them remarkable fadts, and both unfavour- 
able to the truth of that part of the hiftory. 
Two of our gofpels, indeed, contain the 
account, but it was not in Uie gofpel that 

M 2 was 

164 Of the DoSlrine, &C4 Book IIL 

was received by Symmachus, and the reft of 
the Ebionites ; and this they, who were 
certainly the beft judges in the cafe, main- 
tained to be the authentic gofpel of Mat- 

Had the work of Symrtiacnus been extant, 
or had the reafons of Paulus Samofatenfis 
and his followers (whofe opinion was proba- 
bly that of the ancient Gentile unitarians in 
general) for believing that Jefus was born 
at Nazareth, and not at Bethlehem, been 
tranfmittcd to. us, together with the re-, 
marks of their adverfaries, we (hould, no 
doubt, have been in poffefiion of materials 
on which we might have founded a^ more 
decifive opinion than we can pretend to do 
at prefent. Wanting thefe important ma- 
terials for forming ?l decifive judgment^ let us' 
hot be wanting in candour in a cafe in which 
all we can fay is, that one probable opinion 
is oppofed to another Icfs probable. 


T H I 



G H R 1ST. 


Of some controversies ow'hich had a 
near relation to the trinita- 
rian or unitarian doctrine. 


Of the Arlan Confroverjy. 

WE have no account of any thing, 
in the whole compafsofeccjefiaf- 
tical hiftory, that ever occafioned 
a greater revolution in the theological ftate 
of the world, than the doctrine of Arius ; 
and the revolution was equally fudden, and 
laftijig. Within much lefs than the life of 

M 3 maij 

. V 

1 66 Of the Arian Controverjy. Book IV» 

man, this dodlrinc, from being wholly 
unknown, overfpread perhaps, one half of 
the chriflian world, and more than dnce bid 
fair for having the kd\ oLgrthodoxy ftampec} 
upon it. In two pretty long reigns, it wajs 
the religion of the Roman court, and it had 
the fandlion of feveral numerous councils : 
and this not long after its condemnatioQ. 
by the famous council of Nice, in tHp 
reign of the emperor Conftantine, Socrate^ 
fays that, upon the publication of the doc- 
trine of Arius, it immediately fprcad from 
Alexandria through all Egypt, Lybia, Thc^ 
bais, arid the other provinces aijd cities; 
and that many perfons of charadler took the 
part of Arius, cfpecially Eufebius of Nico- 
media*. An event of fuch magnitude re- 
quires to be carefully inveftigatcd. 

Before the time of Arius only three fyf- 
tems of chriftianity, or rather three opi- 

*sjo>:k8g 'spog to (•nififia . ucu avaarlElai airo cfjuufH awnOnifo^ ftisym 

7f £%e rnv ovfATraurav AiyvTiiw rs km Ai^unvi kcu rnv earn &vffou!^ * 
fiSfi h MM rag homag BTrmfulo eTTOfx^^ i^ 't^ woxng * av9f>afil&H 
vovio m A^eis ibin 'sr6?o^ /jlbv km a^hoi^ ptc^ra if EvatStOf aibf 
avlsix^o. Hift, lib. i. cap. 6. p. lo. 

I nions 

. .> 


Chap. I. Of the Arian Controverfy. 167 

nions concerning the perfon of Chrift, had 
been the fubjc(3: of difcuffion. The firft 
was that of the unitarians^ who believed 
Chrift to be a mere man, and to have had -~-^ J 
no cxiftence prior to his birth^ in the reign 
of Auguftus. The fecond was that of the 
Gnojiics^ who thought that to this man, or 
fomething that had the appearance of a 
man, was fuper-added a pre-exiftent fuper- 
angelic-fpirit, called theCbriJi. The third 
was the dodlrine of the perfonification of the 
logos, according to which Jefus Chrift, who 
had a body and a foul like other men, had 
alfo a fuperior principle intimately united 
to him. But this principle was nothing 
that had ever been created ; for it was no- 
thing Icfs thaa the logos, or the wifdom and 
power of God the Father, and which, in a 
ftate of perfonification^ had been the imme^ 
diate caufe of the formation pf the uni- 
verfe, and of all the appearances of God in 
the Old Teftament, 

Now we find all at once a doftrinc to- 
tally different from any of the preceding 
fchemc,s, viz. that the intelligent prin-* 

M4 -- pipJe 


1 68 Of the Arian Controvert . Book IV. 

ciple which animated the body of Chrift 
(for it was not thought that he had any 
other foul) was a great pre-exiftent fpirit, 
and created^ like other beings, out of. na^ 
thing ; that this pre-exiftent fpirit, to which 
was ftill given the name of logos, had bcetf 
employed by God in making the univerie, 
and in all the appearances under the Old 
Teftament, and then became the proper 
foul of Jefus Chrift. Such is the outline 
of that doftrine which, from Arius, a pref^ 
byter of the church of Alexandria, obtained 
the name of Ariani/m, and which, with 
fome variation, has continued to be held 
by great numbers of very intelligent chrift 
tians to this day. ' ' 

Of the three fchemes which were prior 
Arianifm, it has the greateft refemblance 
to that of the Gnofti^s, but differs from it 
chiefly in two refpedts. Firft, the Gnoftics 
fuppofed the pre-exiftent fpirit which was 
in Jefus, to have been an emanation from 
the Supreme Being, according to the prin-' 
ciples of the philofophy of that age, which 
made creation out of nothing to be ^ ipj-^ 

poflibility ; 

Chap. I. Of the Arian Controverfy. 1 69 

poffibility; whereas the Arians fuppofed 
this pre-exiftent fpirit to have been pro* 
perly created. But this difference is ra- 
ther philofophical than theological ; be* 
caufe they both agreed in fuppofing that 
this pre-exiftent fpirit had the fame ori- 
gin with that of angels, and other beings 
of a fpiritual nature, fuperior to man. 

Secondly, the Gnoftics fuppofed that this 
pre-exiftent fpirit was not the maker of the? 
world, but was fcnt to reftify the evils 
which had been introduced by the being 
who made it ; whereas the Arians fup- 
pofed that their logos was the being that 
had been employed by God in the making 
of the univerfc, as well as in all his com- 
munications with mankind. 

But even this difference, refpeding the 
nature and office of Chrift, was not of fuch 
a nature as to make any material difference 
in the re/peSi that they entertained for 
Chrift ; both the Gnoftics and the Arians 
agreeing in this, that Chrift was a great 
pre-exiftent fpirit, and that we owe him 
the greateft obligations for his condefcen- 



1 70 Of the Arian Conirovirfy. Book IV, 

fion in coming into this worlds and under« 
taking to redify the abufes that he found 
in it. In fai^, therefore, the influence of 
the two fyftems on the mind muft have 
been nearly the fame. The Gnoftics znd 
the Arians muft alfo have agreed in fome 
meafure with refpeift to the idea of the na- 
ture of mattery and it5 tendency ^o con* 
taminate the mind^ and to impede its 
operations. But in this aU the iyftem« 
which fuppofe that there is an impiat;eria| 
principle in man, the caufe of all ienfar 
tion and thought, mufl be nearly alilo9» 
Athanafius cenfures the Ariaiis as borrowr 
ing from the Gnoftics*. He eyeij (hews 
at large, that they are worfc than ^ th.e 

I do not fay that Arius himfelf was the 
very firft who advanced the dodtrine which 
bears his name; but I find no trace of its 
exiflence prior to what may be called the 
age of Arius. Jerom allows that fome of 
the Antenicene Fathers had given counte* 

* &)ntra Arianos, Or. 2. vol, I. P» 363. Or. 3. p. 39a* 
flbid. p. 414. 


pQAP, I* OftbeArianOontrMirfy. 171 

pance to the Arian dodrine^ ; but this was 
not by advancing his proper do^rinei as I 
^ave Ihewn^ but by incautious expreffioni?^ 
pf jyhich the Arians afterwards took ad- 
yantage. TJie jfirft perfon who is toeh- 
tioned as holding the proper Arian doc-^ 
irine is Lucian of Antioch^ who fufFerecJ 
martyrdom irf A. D. 3 1 ji. For £pipha<^ 
mus fays^ that >* Lucian/ and all the Lo- 
5« cianifls. denied that the Son of God took ft 
?' foulj but had flefh only-f-/' According to 
|Phiioftorgius, Eufebius of Nicomedia, and 
ptber chiefs of the Arians, were the dif--; 
ciples of Lucian, as Maris of Chalcedon, 
Theognis of Nice, Leontius of Antioch, 
Afterius the fophift, and others J, 

* Vel certe antequam in Alexandria quad daemoniunt 
meridlanum Arius nafceretur, innocenter qusedam et mi- 
nus caute loquuti fnnt, et quae non poffunt perverforunt 
bominum caluxnniam declinare. Adv. Ruffi. lib. 2« cap«. ^^ 
Opera, p. 513. 

+ Asxiav^ ri; a^x^ti^i tpc vw ev Xf^^^i Xavravliyu w ytgcvhf 

avJog Akkuxvog.'apoa-faloi pifu v^^oonxw Tii Toiy A^aoiwy ttj{9ijil« 
Haer. 43. feft. i. vol. i. p. 370. 

X Oil 7iil8 T8 fjtet^^ mo>^Jtii fjuv t^ m a?^ //Le&rllag avct' 
y^a^eit oig i^ EvaE^m rov Nixofjoi^eta; x^ Mofiv rov XoXxeSbvo; tj^ 
7ov^iKCuag Qeoyviv crw1a7J«, &c. Hift, lib. 2, cap. 14. p. 484. 


1 7Z Of the, Arian Contrwerjy. Book IV# 

But on the other hand, Alexander, biihop 
of Alexandria, affirms that Lucian adhered 
to Paulus Samofatenfis, and feparated froa\ 
the church. Lardner fays, one might bo 
apt to fufped from Alexander's words, tha( 
Lucian had fucceeded Paul in the epifcopal 
care and overfight of thofe who were of hia 
fentiments at Antioch*. It is thereforci 
doubtful, whether any perfon before Arius. 
himfelf held his doftrine, though it is moft 
probable, that many others about this time,* 
did fo ; their minds, as well as his, having 
been prepared for it in the manner that I 
fhall prefently defcribe. 

Though the appearance of the Arian 
doctrine was fudden, and the alarm which 
it gave to the chriftian world was propor- 
tionably great (which is a proof that it was 
imagined to be quite a new thing, and of a 
very extraordinary and dangerous nature) 
there were feveral pre-exiftent caufes, which 
had gradually prepared the way for it ; and 
thefe I fhall endeavour to explain. 

Credibility, vol. 4 « p. 641. 


Chap. I. Of the Anan Controverjj/, ij^ 


I • 

Of the antecedent Caufes of the Arian Doc^ 


'^HE controverfy with the unitarians had 

led thofe who were called orthodox (by 
which I mean thofe who held the dodlrine 
of the perfonification of the logos) to fpeak 
of Chrift as greatly inferior to the Father, 
of which examples enow have been pro- 
duced. So willing had they been to make 
conceflions to the great body of zealous uni- 
tarians (or fuch were the remains of their 
own unitarian principles) that had they 
confidered Chrift as, in all refpefts, a mere 
creature^ they could not have fpoken of hini 
otherwife than they did. They were cvi-^ ; 
dently afraid of incurring fo much odium 
as they were fenfible they muft have done, 
by fetting up their fecond God as a rival to 
the firft and fupreme God. Their prin- 
ciple of Chrift having been the logos of the 


1 ^4 Of the Arian tontrovirfy, fioofe 1 V^ 

Father certainly led them to confider him 
as being oi the fame nature with the Father^ 
and in all refpe<3:s equal to him ; and it did 
produce this ciFeft afterwards, wheri thd 
obftacle to its operation, in the general 
opinion of the chriftian world, was re- 
moved. But during the great prevalence 
of the doftrines of the unity of God, and 
the inferiority of Chrift to the Father, it 
had been the cuftom of the orthodox to 
fpeak of theiry^cd7»^ G(?^ as the vnzvtfervant 
of the firft. 

Farther, in oppofition to the Patripaf-* 
fians, or the philofophical unitarians, who 
faid that the Father and the Son (meaning 
the divinity of the Father and Son) were 
the fame, the orthodox had been led to 
fpeak of them as being entirely different^ fo 
as fometimes to fay that they were of dif- 
ferent natures j though the language muft 
*have been improperly ufed by thofe who 
confidered Chrift as being derived from the 
very fubfance of the Father, and having 
been his proper wifdom and power. 


Chap. I. Of the Arian Controvert ^ 175 

In confiftency, however, with this Ian- ^ 
guage, fuggcfted by controverfy^ it had been 
the cuftom of the orthodox to fpeak of the 
generation of the Son from the Fathef, as if it 
had been a proper creation^ and as if the Son ' 
had ftood in the very fame relation to the 
Father, with that in which other creatures 
flood to him ; which correfponded very well 
iivith the ideas of the Platonifts, in whofc 
fcale oi principles^ or caufes^ the nous or logos, 
held the fecond place 5 the firft principle 
being ftiled a caufe with refpedt to the 
fecond, as the fecond was with refpedt to 
the vifible world. 

Another circumftance which contributed 
to the rife of Arianifm was the gradual 
influence of the do<ftrine of revelation, con-^ 
cerning creation out of nothings which bad 
been unknown to all the philofophers, who 
had thought that the material world had 
been created out of pre-exiftent matter, and 
that fouls were either emanations from the 
fupreme n\ind, or parts detached from the 
foul of the univerfe. But the apoftlc hav- 
ing faid, Heb. xi. 3. that the world was 


176 Of the Arian Controverfy^ Book IV* 

made «« tw im ^wfiswv^ from things that do not 
appear (fyppofed to be equivalent, to wr«y w 
i^'v^ things that are not^ or out of nothing^ 
the term creation^ on whatever account it 
had been ufed^ would at length fuggeft the 
idea of a creation out of nothing. This 
Athanafius fuppofed to be the meaning of 
Paul in this epiftle; for he makes the 
phrafes from nothings zxi^from that which did 
not appear y to be fynonymous *• In this 
manner would the minds of many be pre- 
pared to pafs from the idea of the perfoni- 
fication of the logos, or the generation of 
the Son from the Father, to that of z, pro- 
per creation. 

Things being in this ftate, the warmth 
of controverfy was fufficient to lead perfons 
whofe real opinions were the very fame, to 
differ, firft in words only, and afterwards 
in reality. And a real difference being 
pnce formed, it would eafily extend itfelf, 

* Kot 'srom^o^ ex rs /iad ov7o; 21^ to mou * timtf k; IlaiA®* 
^ymvm frvri * ^ifBi voHfASv Kokfia'^M ts; auovag fvifjiali Ben • ag 
TO fjLn EHfaivofASvuv ra &^7rotma yiyovsvM* De Incaraationei 
Opera, voK i. p, 55. 


Chap. I. Of the Arian Controverjy. lyy 

by analogies and confequences, on both 
fides. I fliall now enter upon the proof 
of thefe particulars, and then (hew their 
actual operation in the rife and progrefs of 
the Arian controverfy. 

That it had been the cuftom of all the 
Fathers before the council of Nice to fpeak 
of Chrift, though they confidered him as 
the logos^ or the wifdom of the fupreme 
God, as neverthelefs greatly inferior to him, 
has been abundantly proved. I fhall, there- 
fore, proceed to give inftances in which 
thofe of the Fathers, who undoubtedly 
" confidered Chrift as having been the logos 
or wifdom of the Father, and therefore 
properly uncreated^ yet defcribed his gene-^ 
ration in language equivalent to that of a 

proper creation. 

The very term ycwj?^, by which the Fa- 
thers generally cxpreffed the logos becom- 
ing a Son, was the fame that the Platonifts 
had always ufed to diftinguifh a creature 
from the creator, or the thing caufed^ and 
the caufe ; fo that the terms Sc®- and yevwS®- 
had always been oppofed to each other. 

Vol. IV. N . ' X^^s 

178 Of the Arian Controverfy. Book IV. 

Thus Philo fays, " There is no created 
" God ^y for he would want the nccefiary 
"attribute of eternity"^ J' And a writer 
who perfonates Origen makes ytmh. and *7ir« 
generated and created, to be fynonynious ^f-. 

In latisr times, there was a diftindion 
made between y^®- and vsw^'?^, as if the 
former fignified created^ and the latter genC'- 
rated \ but the diftinftion was not very an- 
cient. Tatian makes no difference between' 
TtwJ®- as applied to the produ<3:ion of the 
Son from the Father, and the creation of 
other things by the Son ; but fays that, 
'* the logos being generated in the begin- 
** ning, again generated our world, fafliion- 
** ing the matter of it for himfelf. Mat- 
" ter/* he fays, *^ is not ava^x®^^ without 
** origin^ like God, but ywwiln, generated^ 
*' being produced by the Maker of all 
^* things;};." Alfo the fame word t«?«v, to 

* FeviiIoj ycL^ sSei^ a'Ky^ticL Scoj, aX?uz Sb|>j /aovov, to ovayKOUolalov 
apvi^lJLevog aiJioMa. De Charitate, Opera, p. 699. 

•f- Eyft) gJ £y £?£f 01/ csysmfhy ^sya, >? jnovov tov $£ov . ra & Aof9r«. 
'aavJaty oaa erh ymla hm ulira. Contra Marcionitas, p» 72. 

% OuIe yof ava^x^g n t/Xn, xadaTTs^ ^foj, ah Suz to avafx^ ^ 
avln iffohvaixoi t« ^ew • ymnk 3s «ai »« vtto th ah^ yzyovvut^ fjLom 


Chap. I. Of the Arlan Contrcoerjy. 179 

bring forth ^ is ufed by Synefius of the gene- 
ration of the Son, and the creation of other 
things by the Son*. 

The term correfponding to caufe was 

likewife ufed promifcuoufly with refpe<ft 


to the generation of the Son, and the pro- 
duftion of the creatures. Thus Gregory 
Nyflen makes the terms unbeg'otten and with^ 
out caufe to be fynonymous ^f-. Indeed, it 
Was always allowed that the Son, though 
generated, had a proper caufe ; and, ac- 
cordingly, the word «fx^^ origin^ by which 
the logos was diftinguifhed from the crea- 
tures, was, without fcruple, applied to the 
Father with refpedt to Chrift ; and the 
term avapx^, uncaujed^ was always confidered 
as the incommunicable attribute of the Fa- 
ther, he being the lole fountain of deity ; and 
whenever the fame term is applied to the 

3k uTTo TH isavlav ^Yifju^^ya 'ar^oCc^^n/itfiwi. Ad Graecos, k&» 8. 

P- 23- 

♦ Xoi TEx^svli ^otlYif moa-e rucieiv. Hymn. 6. Opera, p. 343. 

+ Am* ek fxev Trig rs ocyemHa 'm^anYO^iag', to ovbu oulicig mcu tov 
3^; ovofju»(rfjLsvov eiJLaBofjt£9, Contra Eunomium, Or. i2. Ope- 
ra, vol. 2. p. 302. 

N z Son, 

i8o Of the Arian Controverfy. Book IV. 

Son, or the Spirit, it was only meant to' 
fignify that they had lio beginning, not that 
they had no caufe. 

Thus, a writer, whofe work has been 

afcribed to Athanafius, fays, '* the Son is 


^* not a caufe^ but caufed ; fo that the Fa-* 
'* ther is the only caufe, and there are two 
*^ that are caufedj the Son and the Spirit. 
*^ But they are all avafxo*, becaufc they are all 
^* without beginning*." Nicephorus, in 
^* his epiille to Leo, fays, *' Chrift is not 
** without origin with refpedl to the Fa- 
'* ther, who is his origin, as being his 
*' caufe ; but with refpedt to his genera- 
*' tion, he is without origin, being before. 
*^ all ages f." Conftantine alfo, in his 
oration, fays, *^ the Father is the caufcy . 
^' the ^on caufed\y This language, being 

* O ^s vio^ UK Bfiv oulifig, oM* aili<xhg . are yav athog £n fjumg o 
'ETo/jjf • ra Sc ailiaia 3i/o, o woj, xai ro 'ssvvjyta. Opera, vol, 2. 

P 443- 
f Tojv £v rpia^i ^e^fS/AEvwi/, to /a£v, -sraJrif avafx®"i *^ cc¥adt&' 

vjra^X^ . « rap £« t/v®*, ev £flM/7« yof to g/vai ex^' "^^ ^^ ^^^ *^ 

8x avapx®' eft t8 'arol^©- yaf , afx>? yap ws 'srcSiri^t ag aiitov . ei % 

T«v a^ro %pov8 T^afjLCavoig a^X'^, xai avafx^' Zonaras, p. 769. 

:|; Ka9a7fs§ oulia [Xiv wa ^dlvi^' ai7ia7ov o'o viog. Cap, il, 

p. 688. 


Chap. I . Of the Arian Controverfy 1 8 1 

once eftablifhed continued to the lateft 
period. Thus M. Caleca called the Son 

flttW©-, y£vvr3®"i and 7£WM/Lta ^. 

Another circumftance which made way 
for the introduftion of Arianifm, and which 
greatly contributed to embarrafs the ortho- 
dox in the controverfy was, that in order 
to oppofe the Sabellians, they had repre- 
fented the Father and the Son as differing 
ejfentially from each other. Becaufe they 
thought that the Sabellians had confounded 
the three perfons, they, as was natural, made' 
a point of feparating them ; and they did 
it to a greater degree than their principles 
really admitted. For they maintained that 
their very w\a^ ejfencey or nature, was dif- 
ferent; whereas they (hould have contented 
themfelves with faying that they differed ia 
rank, or dignity. But, whereas the Sabelli- 
ans maintained that the three perfons were of 
the fame kcia, ejfence, and were therefore o^strwi, 
confubjlantial to each other, this was pofi- 
tively denied by the orthodox ; and what 

* O Se vio^xsydcu oulicQoq^ yewTilogt yewiyjia, Gombefis Auc- 
tuarium, vol. 2* p. 222. 

N 3 was 

i82 Of the Avian Controverjy. Book IV. 

was particularly unfortunate for theait 
they had pafled a cenfure on this very 
term in the condemnation of Paulus 
Samofatenfis. Thus Athanafius fays, that 
^'* they who condemned Paulus Samofaten- 
^' (is, faid that the Son w^s not confub-v 
f ftantial ^ith the Father *.■' i^afil faya 
the fame, adding, that the reafon why they 
rejefted it was^its implying that God was 
a fubftance that was divifible ^f-. 

The effedl of this circumftance remainec] 
^ long time with the orthodox ; many of 
whom were with great difficulty reqonciled 
to this term, efpecially as it wa$ not a 
fcriptural one, which is acknowledged by 
Athanafius J. Ambrofe fpeaks of fome 

* Am ts, eiKolag svT^MEvJeg to roi lilov (rofifff/ta rs "Zoftoffaltu^ 

Bignfutai fMi uvoL tov x^^^^^ ofMajiov, De Syn. Arml Opera, 
vol. I. p. 919. 

f Em yacp ra oyli 91 ETTt Havha tco 'LcxfxoffoSsi a-uvsyAoilEf^ ^iGaf* 
y^ Tnv Xsltv oq HH tuayj/AOv , E^aa-av yof ixzivoi mv rs ofjioitaw fwm 
nffa^traof swoiav aaiag re hcu rav aii aJk^y as te KafafAB^a^aaaif 
Tnv aaiav nsa^EXEiv rs OfMSO'iii mv 'Brpo<niyopiav Totg sig a 9mgAn* 
Vol. 3. p. 292. 

X Ou >iSyovlis Tov xf^J'cv ofjLO\i<Tm eivou ra $£«. Ei yotg ^ 'TQ 
cvofia Tiiio fnfju fAv\ supriHSvcUy fjnnh avEyvuKsvai ith Tm ayiav ypafm^ 
oX^A 76) &c. De Sententia, Opera, vol. 1. p. 561. 


Ch A p. L Of the Arian Controverfy. 1 85 

who, without being Arians, yet fcrupled to 
iay that the Son was of the fame fubftance 
with the Father, becaufe it was not a fcrip*- 
tural exprcflion. But, he fays, '^ they 
•* ought to be deemed heretics if they did 
*♦ not cxprefsly acknowledge it, and that for 
** the fame reafon they might objeft to the 
«• phrafes God of God, and Light of Light'' r 
Sozomcn fays, that '* the Fathers of the 
•* council of Antioch acknowledged that 
•* the word confubjiantial {^^lumt^) which ap- 
«• peared new and ftrangc to many, was 
cautioufly interpreted by the Fathers, 
and not according to its ufe among the 
" Gentiles, but only in oppoiition to the 
•* fentimcnt of the Arians, that the Son was 
** made out of nothing +." 

• Vcl fi Arianus non cs, ct vcrum £liuin dc vcro patrc 
lutum non fj<3um agnofcisy cur non cum cum patrc unam 
fubftantum dicis ? Fruflra times homo profiteri quod cre- 
dit, ct fruilra credis (i ita non credis, ct mcrito haereticus 
dcnotarts. Dc Filii Diviuiutc, lib. I. cap. 3. Opera, 

vol. 4. p. 2789 279. 

f Orc/( )f TO i'jun t9 ewhn Jiffi {noy ovofxa to tv o^umffiM ^a^iff, 
a7f:i>Mi Tvuy(rMi ma^ to<( vsQ^ajn i^fimttoi^ ffnfjLsuftffm oU iMrr; 
MJtoi rn fra?f 3* c inci iyvmSn^ «) oh oiMioi tiaf Wtov t« wxlpi . ^"le 

N 4 ^r 


184 Of the Arxdn Controwrfy , Book IV. 

DIonyfips, biftiop of Alexandria, in whofc 
Deighbourhood there were many Sabellians, 
and who oppofed them with great vigour, 
as he alfo did Paulus Samofatenfis, made no 
fcruple, as Bafil fays, to affert, in this con- 
troverfy, that *' the Son was of a diffe- 
** rent efTenpe, as well as hypoftafis, from 
^* the Father, th^iit he was inferior in 
*^ power, and lefs in glory*/- Ruffinus 
fays^, that " Dionyfius of Alexandria, in his 
** books againft Sabellius, advanced things 
" of which the Arians too|c advantage \'^ 

%pj(7tv i>>y^iKy^ >ayJ^aviiax to owyia *Ty\q saiai^ sig dvalpoTtrflf Sc tji i| 
UK ovlav 'ssepi th vm aai^ug TO>ifir&evl&- Afcitf . Ilift. lib. 4* 
feft. 4, p. 224. 

* Kai ax elegolyila fiovov ruv UTroroffeav r Asians cDOsa )^ wm; 
iiafo^av^ )^ hvafjLBug ufeoriVi J^ Sbfjij tsapoCKhxxrfm* Epift. 41. 
Opera, vol. 3. p. 60. 

t Dionyfius Alexandrinus epifcopus, eruditiflimus aflcr- 
tor ecclefiafticae fide), cum in quamplurimis intantum uni- 
tatem atque equalitatem trinitatis defendat, ut ipperitiori- 
bus quibufque etiam fecund um Sabellium fenfifie videatur, 
in his tamen libris fuis quos adverfus Sabellii haerefim fcri- 
bit, talia inveniuntur inferta, ut frequenter Ariani auapri- 
tate ipfius fe defendere conentur. Apologia pro Origine, 
Hieronymi, Opera, vol. 8. p. 130. 


Chap. I. Of the Arxan Controverfy. 185 

Though this was nothing more than 
had been faid by others, and efpccially in 
the fanie controverfy ; yet, when, after- 
wards, things had taken a different turn, 
and advantage was taken of this language, 
this Dionyfius came to be conlidered as the 
fountain of Arianifm^ as he is called by Auf- 
tin ♦. Athanafius, however, apologized for 
him, and for the inaccuracy of his expref- 
fions, from the nature of the controverfy in 
which he was engaged. 

For the fame reafons for which the me- 
mory of Dionyfius was reflected upon, fimi- 
lar reproaches fell upon that of Clemens 
Alexandrinus, and that of Origen. But, 
indeed, none of the ancient writers ought 
to have efcaped, fince> for the reafons that 
I have given, they all ufe fimilar language* 
But as thefe two writers have been the mod 
cenfured, 1 fhall give a more particular ac- 
count of the ground of thofecenfurcs. 

Pamphilus the Martyr, in his apology for 
Origen, fays, that '^ Clemens Alexandrinus 

* Ut vult DioniPius fons Arrii. De DefinltionibuK 
Opera, vol. 3. p. 196. 

" called 

1 86 Of the Arian Controverfy. Book IV. 

" called Chrift a creature */' Photius fays, 
that Clemens Alexandrinus, in his Hypo- 
typofes," a work now loft, ** has many 
** right things, but fome things impious 
** and fabulous. He makes the Son a crea- 
*^ turc, fays that the logos was not made 
** flefti, but only feemed to be fo. He fays 
** that the logos, the Son, has the fame name, 
"but that it was not made flefhj for it isf 
** not the paternal logos, but a divine 
** power, or efflux from the logos itfclf ; 
*' being the nous which pervades the hearts 
** of menf .'* ** His Stromata," he fays, 
*' have many things not found, but not fa 

* Clemens quoque alius Alexandrinus, prefbyter et ma- 
gi fter ecclefiae illius, in omnibus pene libris fuis trinitatis 
gloriam atque aeternitatem unam eandemque defignat ; et 
interdum invenimus aliquain libris ejus capitula, in quibus 
filium deicreaturam dicit. Hieroilymi, Opera, vol. g. 
p. 130. 

t Ka« fv ti(Ti iit9 ccijlcov op^ug ioHSt >syefv • ev ria-i Je "SJavlsXug 
£15 aas^sigxai fjaf^u^eig^ T^a; BK(pEpilcu. Kai rov mov Big jGitTfjux 
Hsclayei, Kai fjon trapucDGnvM rov T^ov^ aMuz io^» Aeydcafisv 
HOI viog y^oyog^ ofjuoWfjLag to *mc3^iKtii Xoyo), a>0^ sSs iSaq £nv ^af| 
yevpfjLSvog , a Je fiviv *aal^oiog hoyog^ a>:hct 'imayLxg iig tk . $£«, oiov 
offTopfOia ra yjoya atfla^ vug yn oi^ivog rag rav av&f w^wv xa^iictg 3kx- 
Tfecpoilm^. Bib. S, 109. p. 286. 

** many 

Chap. L Of the Arlan Controvert . 187 

^* many as the Hypotypofes, and in them 
*' he refutes what he had advanced ia thefe^ 
*^ His Pedagogue is quite free from 
** them *•'* 

As Clemens Alexandrinus had been much 
addidted to philofophy, it is very pofliblei 
that when he wrote the Hypotypofes, he 
might retain fome opinions fimilar to thofe 
of the Gnoftics, as the quotation feems to 
indicate. As to the fenfe in which Cle- 
mens might call Chrift a creature ^ it has 
been explained already, and (hewn to be 
fufficiently confiftent with all the ortho- 
doxy of his age ; and as to his error about 
the logos^ it is very poffible that he might 
fpeak favourably, as Juftin Martyr did, of 
the dodtrine of philofophical unitarianifm ; 
or he might have faid what Origen xdid, 
about the logos being in all men. How- 
ever, he certainly confidered the logos that 

* O 3e ILxiJaywy®" £v r^ici To/wrj-^sSb oijaiov ex.'HO'i 'sj§o$ rag 
t'jrolvTFaa'sig hIoi oi >oyoi • Tm te yap fjLsSoucov xou P?ia(rpnfjfMv aim- 
?^ar/fjLevoi 3b|cjv Ka^Tvea(n — Avh ^e n rm Y^f/aSim ^iQ^og maxn ^ 
vyiag iia>afA,^avei . s [xivloi ye (oa'jre^ ou t'proltfTraffeig', ctMa xat w^ 
'yo^^a Tcyv EX« Jirtfwex^^^'' Bib. S. 1 09. p. 287. 


i88 Of the Arlan Controverfy . Book IV. 

was in Chrift, as the proper wifdom of 
the Father, which was all the orthodoxy 
that was known before the council of 

Origen, being a perfon of more reputa- 
tion, and whofe writings were more nu- 
merous than thofe of Clemens Alexandrir 
nus, fufFered more from this kind of cenfurc 
than he has done. Origen certainly called 
Chrift a creature. '* The facred oracles,"^ 


he fays, ** fpcak of Chrift as the oldeft of 
** all the creatures, and by him it was that 
** God fpake, when he faid. Let us make 
^* man */' But whatever expreflions he 
might ufe, he certainly could not diflFer in 
idea from the moft orthodox of his age, fo 
long as he maintained, as he unqueftionably 
did, that Chrift was the proper wifdom of 
the Father. For then he muft have fup- . 
pofed him to have been eternal^ and uncreat^ 
ed^ though perfonificd in time. 

^ UpEffSvldlov ya^ avlov wavlm rav ^f]fjuiiyyifAal(tiv laamv ot %VM 
7^01 . xax av%) rov Seov 'ssspi rvii ts av^oaTTS ^nfjunfiyiag eifvmsim^ 
lioiYKrufAEV av^puTTov kc3 eixov»Hoa o^mjiy rifjislspesv. Ad Celfunit 
fib. 5. p. 257. 


Chap. I. Of the Arian Ccntroverfy. iZg 

On this account, however, he was fcvcrely 
cenfured after the rife of the Arian contro- 
verfy. Epiphanius fays, ** Origen was 
** blamed for calling Chrift a creature^ 
" though he allowed him to be produced 
*' fi:om the fubftance of the Father */' To 
this he adds, that ** he had faid that the Son 
*' could not fee the Father," a phrafe much 
ufed in that age, to exprefs great inferiority 
cither in rank or nature*^ But no language 
can exprefs that inferiority more ftrongly 
than Juftin Martyr, and others, whofe or- 
thodoxy was never called in queftion, have 
repeatedly done. What was meant by the 
phrafe, " not being able to fee^^ may be 
clearly underftood from another paffage of 
Epiphanius, in which he ftates the accufa- 
tion of Origen more diftindtly. *' Origen/* 
he fays, ^* is charged with faying, that, as 
*' the Son could not fee the Father, fo the 
** Holy Spirit could not fee the Son ; alfo 
** the angels cannot fee the Holy Spirit, 

Hxr. 64. Opera, vol. i. p. 527. 

" nor 


19OJ Of the Aridn Controverjy. Book IV, 

^' nor can men fee angels*/' That injthis 
manner Origen only meant to exprefs infe- 
riority, or a dijfFerence in rank, and not in 
nature, is evident. For, as both men and 
angels are creatures, though of different 
ranks, fo the Father, Son, and Spirit might 
each be God, though they differed in rank 
and dignity; which was the univerfal opi- 
nioiv in the time of Origen. Jerom alfo 
fays, that " the herefy of Origen Was, that 
** the Son was not generated, but made, 
** and that he could not fee the Father f." 

Origen was likewife faid to be heretical 
with refpedt to the Holy Spirit.' Jerom 
iays, that ** Origen 's herefy confided in 
part in placing the Spirit the third in 
dignity and honour after the Father and 
** Son ; and in his faying that he did 

* Xlf a ivvaial opav rov 'EoSz^ol viog-t hm to xyiov 'srvevfia h Sii- 
voIm i^eiv Toy viov . hm 'sraMvi ot cxIye^iOi h im^avlai i^£iv ro ayiov 
fssvzviixy ftai 01 av^p6>7roi a ^uvavlai ihiv tsj afysT^g, Ancoratus» 
fe<ft. 63. Opera, vol. 2. p. 66, 314. 

f Chriftum filium dei non natum efle fed faSum deum, 
patrem per naturam invifibilem etiam a filio non videri. 
Opera, Vol. I. p. 439- ' ' 

2 . ^* not 



Chap. I . Of the Arlan Contro^ierjy, -191 

*' not know whether he was made or not 
** made*." But in this he was very far 
indeed from being fingular. Juftin Martyr, 
Tertullian, and other writers before the 
council of Nice, having cxprefTed them- 
felves in the very fame manner with rcfpeft 
to the Holy Spirit. 

Origen, however, though condemned by 
many, did not want able defenders, Alha- 
nafius, who wrote in defence of Dionyfius, 
likewifc declared himfelf the advocate of 
Origen -f-. Socrates obferves this with re- 
fpedt to Athanafius ; and fays that they who 
condemn Origen, condemn Athanafius alfo;*;. 
That Eufebius fhould defend Origen, is 
not to be wondered at, as he himfelf l^y 

* Tertium dignitate et honore poft patrem ct filhim 
aflerit fpiritum fanftum, de quo cum ignorare fe dicat 
utrum faftus fit an infeftus, &c. Opera, vol. i. p. 440. 

t Syn. Nic. Decretum, Opera, vol. i. p. 277. 

A^siavm hoy 01^^ t^yoM tjj ^^i/>?, fiafu^a rns oixeiag wireu; tov oaH^a 
»a>£iy th; £k£ivH T^ag roig liioig auvaTrlav^ xj T^syav . BaufAarng^ 
^vKTiy <J fi>^7roviSloclog H^Ay£v>if , rnJe "srspi rs via ra $e8 t>j nfjiile^a 
db^n fjLaplv^ei^ ffuvaihov aJlov Xsym ra 'Otxipi . sha^ov av saulag 01 
^o(Jb(Wav7ej ^piytvnv^ ^y^aa-tpiyjiitvlsg j^ tov STTCUvUnv avis A^odfcxam, 
jHiift. lib. 6. cap. 13. p. 329. 


192 Of the Arian Controverjy. Book IV* 

under the fame fufpicion. As Jerom fays, 
•* Eufebius defends Origen, that is, he 
** proves him to have been an Arian*," 
That the writers before Arius had cxprefled 
themfelves in fuch a manner as to give 
advantage to him and his followers, was 
generally allowed. 

Photius, in giving an account of the 
writings of Pierius, fays, that " they con-. 
•* tdn many things contrary to the then 
«* eftabliftied faith of the church, but pcr- 
** haps after the manner of the ancients -f-;" 
meaning, probably, that he exprefled him- 
felf without fufficient caution and accuracy. 

♦ Sex libros, ut ante jam dixi, Eufebius, Czfarienfis 
epifcopus, Arianae quondam fignifer faftionis, pro Ori- 
gine fcripfit, latiffimum, et elaboratum opus : et multis 
teflimoniis approbavit Origtnem juxta fe catholicum, id 
eft, juxta nos Arianum effe. Opera, vol. i. p. 492. 

lO'a^y aTTofauvtlou, Cod. 19* p* 300* 


Chap. I. Of the Anan Controvert. 193 


Of the Tenets of the ancient Arhns. 

T Shall now confidcr what were the teaets 
which the anjcieat Arians avowed, or 
with which they were charged. The prin* 
cipal article, for which no particular au- 
thority can be necefTary, was that Arius. £ukl 
that the Son, logos, or Chritt, was created 
« tm UK ovlav, or, out of nothing 9 like other 
creatures ; and this was certainly very dif- 
ferent from the received dodlrine. For 
all thofe who had the character of ortho- 
dox before him, even including Clemens 
Alexandrinus, and Grigen, held that the 
logos had always been in the Father^ as his 
proper attribute. 

The f^cond article in the Arian creed 

was, that there had been a time wh?n the 

Son was not. This had frequently been 

afferted by the orthodox, and at firft was, I 

Vol, IV. O doubt 

194 Of the Arian Contrmerfy. Book IV» 

doubt not, the univerfal opinion, if by the 
exiftcnce of the Son be meant his perfonal 
exijience, which was fuppofed to have com- 
menced in time 5 but, as an attribute of 
the Father, they maintained that he. had 
always exifted. 

In the third place, the Arians denied 
that Chrifl had any human foul. This is 
aflerted concerning the Arians in general by 
Athanafius*, and by Epiphanius'f. Theo- 
doret afferts the fame of the Arians and 
EuhomiansJ; and fo does Glyca8§. It 
does not appear, from Arius himfelf that 
he aflerted this 5 but it is the ncceflary 

* Afsiog 3e, aafMot fjuvnv *Brpog a'jroK^ufm m; dsdhSog ^fJitiX^yu *. 

aapfu Xsysi ytyovevcuy mv th 'srods; voYiatv^ km rrfv si oSk oMraaWf 
Tjj ^^sohUi nffptxToyeiv To^fiwy, De Ad vent u Chriflif Opera, 
vol. I. p. 636. 

+ Afmlag ^vxnv aulov oof^^mrsicxp ti>^£VM, Haer. 69. Opera, 
vol. I. p. 743. 771. 

X Oi is ra A^»8 i^ 'Etrnfjua f^ovwleg ccofia (jam cxmXnpsvca 
Tov ^for Xoyov facriv^ avlov h rng -^vx^g tv ra a-ufioSi 'tj^iifnCM Tiy 
Xfwav* Ep. 104. Tom. 4. pt. 2. p. 1174. 

§ T«v A^siavuv T^syovlw a^vx^y ^^vcu 'mv ra **f« cafua, 
Annales, pt. 3. p. 244. 


Chap, I* Of the Arian Controverjy. 195 

confequence of his principles, and it was 
univerfally adopted by his followers. Indeed, 
it would have been exceedingly abfurd to 
fuppofe that there were two intelligent 
principles, both created beings, inhabiting 
the fame body. This, however, is a de- 
cifive proof of the novelty of the Arian 
doiSrine, For, as I have o'bferved, all the 
ancients, Origen himfelf included, fuppofed 
that there was a proper human foul in 
Chrift, befides the logos. 

In after times, fome Arians made con- 
ceffions to the orthodox, and on that ac- 
count were called Semiarians. Thus Auf- 
tin fays, that *' fome of the later Arians 
** acknowledged that Chrift had no begin- 
** ning*. The Semiarians in general alfo 
faid, " that though Chrift was not of tht fame 
^^fubfance with the Father^ he was of a like 
^^ fubfiance \ .'^ *' This term, oAw^iwi©-, of like 

* Unde quidam pofteriores Arriani objecerunt iftam 
fentcntiam, faffique funt non ex tempore cccpifle filiumdei. 
De Trinitate, lib. 6. cap. i^ Opera, vol. 3. p. 326. 

Epiphanius, Haer. 73. Opera, vol, i. p^ 845. 

O 2 fubftance;\ 

ig6 Of the Arian Controverjy . B o o k I V, 

^^ fubfiance^' fays Sozomen, '* was intro- 
'* duced by Eufebius, and others of the 
** moft celebrated biihops of the Eaft, as 
'^ preferable, to confubjlantial^ which they 
** faid was rather applicable to corporeal 
^' things^ as animals and plants ; whereas 
" the term of like fubjiance was more appli- 
•* cable to incorporeal things, as God and 

But thefe conceflions were difliked by 
others ; and Aetius, the mailer of Euno- 
miusy maintained that ^^ the fonwas diili- 
** milar to the Father f." Bafil fays, that 
** he was the firft who dared to teach this 
'* doarine+.'' 

* Oi 3e otyjfi Tov Eyyf ftov, jy oP^i rivt^ t«v rok ma rrt9 tu «ri 
Tkoya x) fiioi ^aufjia^OfAmiv imaxcicm iiaipo^av^ ag i^u/Aiv, uott 
ynvlo rn oyunwrm Tie^ctv, ;^ xor* Jicwn cfAoioVy tmef ofMixaicv uvofM(ov • 
Ta fAsv yotq OfAOHo-iov^ STTi ffafjLaQav fw^tcas voeKr^at^ oioy av^fomwf «| 
Tcjv cx>:Kuv (aoiVt Hcu ^tv^gav xau fvim^ otg fl o/mih n fiElaaia xai n 
ytvEffi; Bfi . TO h ofijowaiovj sm aaufAolm, oiov em Sek wn. ayli>av^ 
trnle^H 'TT^og saiflcv voatAsva nart iJiav »<nay. Hift. lib. 3. cap. l8t 

p. 123. 

t Ibid. Lib. 4. cap. 13, p. 147. 

fAOiGv sivcuy HcHa rnv H<rtay^ rov fjLOVoysvn mov tu ^iu xai voil^i* oaa 
y$Yifuif uTfuv, Mioi Sygoj. Ad Eunomium, lib. i. Opera, 
vol, 1. p. 695. 


/ I 

Chap. I. Of the Arian Controverfy. 197 

Such were the tenets of" the Arians, und 
they by no means differed fo much front 
the ^ftabliflied doftrine at the time that 
tjiey were firft advanced, as they did from, 
the orthodoxy which grew out of this con* 
troverfy^ And, accor,dingly, before there 
had been much difputing about it, it ap- 
pears to have been viewed in a very dif- 
ferent light from that in which it appeared 

Alexander, bifliop of Alexandria, . under 
whom the Arian controverfy arofe, after 
hearing many debates on the fubje<ft be- 
tween Arius and his opponents, and after 
havitig called a fynod on the fubjed (the 
queftion appearing to him to be of a doubt- 
ful nature) was at firli diftreffed what part 
to take; favouring fomctimes one fide, and 
fometimes the other, but at length acceded 
to thofe who affirmed that the Son was 
confubftantial with the Father, and co-eter-^' 
nal with him*. 

* AfAp]piTii Je rng (iUvKrea; sit ^0Kis<mg sivou^ WB'jrov^E rt hm 

3k,' roig ofjLoaffiov hou awouim eivat tov viov aTTo^ouwiJitvoig eOelo, 
Sozomen, Hift. lib* i. cap. 15. p. 3S{. 

O 3 Conftantine, 


ipS Of the Atian Controverfy. Book IV. 

. Conftantine, in his letter to Alexander 
and Arius, reprefents the difference be- 
tween them ^8 a thing of no confequence *; 
So little was Alexander himfelf ufed to 
the diftindtions, and the precife phrafeology 
which took place afterwards, that, in his 
letter to Alexander of Conftantinogle upon 
this fubjedt, he calls the Father and Son 
two things, infeparable from each other; 
the very language which had been ufed in 
anfwer to the Sabellians f • 

ole yap tru a AaeI^^ £ sirjleig isapa tm mpsffSulsgav^ Ti Siisrob maroQ 
avlm uTTip raioi 'ro'Tca Tm ev ru vofM) ysypamixvm^ fsaXKm ik tnng 
riyog fAoSous dUnfAcSoi fji/s^ag vuv&awuu Socratis, Hift. lib. u 
cap. 7. p. 16. 

t TlpovosfjLsvoi yocf 9eio^ hatwvM iiiatrKci>^^ oXMi^utv axfitgim 
,'a^ayfJuSot ^uo^ rov nsdiz^at )y rov vioy^ oUa cuSioft cvtoi; xoAgray n 
vdi^g mfioaev. Theodoreti, Hift. lib* z. cap* 4. p. i^. 

?P ^- 

Chap« I. OftheArianControverJy. i^ 

S E C T I a N III. 

T'he Arguments of the ancient Avians. 

WE fhall be aflifled in forming a juft 
idea of the nature of the Arian con-- 
troverfy, by confidering the arguments which 
the ancient Arians ufed in defending their 

, It was probably fome impropriety in the 
language of Alexander, in his difpute with 
Arius^ that g^v« the latter an advantage* 
Alexander was thought by Arius to ad- 
vance fomething too favourable to the Sa« 
bellians^ as he laid great flrefs on the ne- 
ccffity of maintaining the unity of the 
three perfons in the trinity; and it was 
always faid by the ancients^ that this cir« 
cumllance drove Arius into the opppfite 
extreme ; and it was probably the means of 
procuring Arius fo many friends. 

Nicephorus fays^ that almofl all the 


churches in the caft, except that of Jcru- 

O 4 falem^ 

200 Of the Arian Controverfy. Book IV* 

falem, were Arian*. Jcrom, fpeaking of 
the council of Ariminum, fays, that the 
term »<"« was abolifhed, all the world groan- 
ed, and wondered to find itfelf Arian +• 

The orthodox confidered themfelves as 
holding a middle opinion between the Sa- 
bellians and the Amns> the former con- 
founding the three perfons, and the Iktter 
fcparating them too fat 5 the fofmer n)dt7> 
ing too much of the divinity of Chrift, and 
the latter too little. Thus, at leaft, things 
ftood at the beginning of the controvtpfy. 

It is poffiblc that Alexander had ft|)ire* 
fented the Son as vtyBw*)?^, unbegotten^ as wcH 
as the father? fince £ufebias of Nicozms 
dia, inliis^ fetter to Patiliiius of Aiitioch, 
fays, ** Wc rieVer hedrd of two that wcrb 

unbegotten $•" And confidering Chrift 


Af£» vifcjtiisv. Hift. lib. is. cap. 2. vol* 2. p. 225. 

f Tahc ufiae nomen abolitum efi« tunc Nicenae fidei 
damnatio cbnclainata eft. Ihgem'iiit totus x>ri)i8, tt Aria- 
num fe eiTe, miratus eft. Ad Luciferianos, Opera, vol. Y. 
p. 427. . 

X Oil yof Sb ho^anygmila caaMoaiJksvt Theodoriti, Hift. 
lib. X. cap. 6« p, 24. 

Chap« I. Of the Arian Contrav^rfy. 201 

as being the original logos of the Father, 
or his neceffary attribute^ which was cer- 
tainly the orthodox dodrine of the times; 
he was j uilifiable j but coniidering him as 
an a^ual perfon^ the language was evidently 
improper. For thfe commencement of pcm 
Tonality in the Son had always been called 
a generation % and therefore the Father and 
Son had been diftinguifhed from each other, 
by the former being faid to be owwfl®-, xmbe^ 
gotten^ and the latter yaW®-, icgotten^ and 
fometimes ytmiM^ &c. 

But according to more ancient ufagc^ thb. 
terms fty^(^ and ymnl®' had been ufed to 
diftinguifli the Creator and the creature $ and 
the diftinftion between yml®- and wwd®- (as 
if the former fignified created, and the latter 
genifrated) was peculiar to chriftian theology^ 
and, as I have ihewn, was ndt univerfally 
obferved by chriilians. This gave Arias 
an advantage. For if Chrift w?is properly 
7fiv)»i®-, he muft have been a creature i and if 
a creature, he muft have been made as 
other creatures were. Arius^fays, **Iam 
♦* perfecuted, becaafe I faid that the Son 


202 Of the Arian Confraverjy. Book IV. 

•* is made out of nothing, fince he is not 
^f a part of God, nor made out of other 

** matter *." 

Here we fee the proper ground of Arius's 
opinion, and that it was evidently a depar- 
ture from the fundamental principle of efta- 
blifhed orthodoxy. It was a virtual denial 
of the Son being an attribute of the Father, 
Arius, no doubt, faw the abfurdity of the 
received dodlrine concerning the generation 
t>f the Son from the Father, and thought it 
muft imply the taking from him, part of 
his fubftance. He, therefore, argued, that 
fince Chrift was not taken out of the fob- 
ilance of the Father, and it was acknow- 
ledged that he was not made of other maU 
ter, he muft neceffarily have been made out 
of nothing; which was the chriftian doc- 
trine that had taken place of the - greit 
maxim of heathen philofophy, which fop- 
pofed that fuch creation was impoffiblc. 

* Ata Tiilo iiuMOfAtOa^ t^ oli eiTTo^i oil eI ax ovlm irw'.S^^ ^ 
iwKOfMda. Theodoreti Hift» U{)« i. c§p. 5, p. 23. 


Chap. I. Of the Arian Controverfy. 203 

It appears that the Arians ridiculed^ and 
very juftly, the diftindlion which the or-, 
thodox made between creation and generation i 
and therefore Chryfoftom, in reply to them^ 
fays, f* how do you know that to generate 
** and to create^ is the fame thing with 
** God*?" In that age, however, it was 
thought neceflary to lay the greateft ftrefs 
on -the difference between thefe two things, 
as every thing in orthodoxy depended upon 


it. But though the orthodox always faid 
that the Father could generate, and that the 
Son was generated^ ynwi)®-, they would not 
allow that he could not be called ytmfM. Ba- 
fil fays, ** that the Father has generated, 
•* we learn in many places, but that the Son 
•* is ytmiia^ we learn no where f-" This, 
they thought, was putting Chrift upon a 
level with creatures y properly fo called. 

The dodtrine of the derivation of the Son 
from the Father, without diminifhing his 


* IloSfy oi^oj; olt ro jSurat uou ro ymmou tcxulov. De di6lo 
Abraham, Ser. 4. Opera, vol, 6. p. 43. 

t TeymrffCEVM fi£V yaf tov 'srale^af 'sro}0\ax^ h^t^ayfjtsSa . yewtifjia 
h stvM roif viov iihTra xau rnfie^ov ofimoafiiif. Ad Eunomium, 
!ib, 2. Operai vol. i- p. 731- 


204 Of the Arian Controverfy . Book IV. 

fubftance, had certainly been very ill de-' 
fended by the orthodox of the age before 
Arius ; but neverthclefs it was the ortho-^ 
doxy of the age, and of this Arius took a 
very proper advantage, " The Arians^," 
J&yis Hilary, ** derived the Son fron^ no- 
** thing, left the Father (hould be dimi- 
** niflied by the generation of the Son, fo 
** that he would remain lefs perfed*/' 

Arius, in his letter to Alexander, fays, 
** If the phrafe coming forthy and coming 
*^ from the Father^ be underftood by any 
*^ as of a part of the fame fubftanice^ &nd 
** as a probolcy then is the Father a com- 
V pound being, divifible, changeable, arid 
^* a body ; and, as far as in them lies, they 
<* make an incorporeal God to have th6 
^* fame affeftions as a 'bodyl'/' 

* Ne (1 ex patre fit filius, deus fit imminutus in filhim, 
falic;ti nimium, ne patrem Alius ab eo natus evacuet : 
atque idcirco deo in filii creatione fubvehiunt, eum noA 
dc extantibus comparando, ut intra naturae fuse perfedio- 
nem pater, quia nihil ex eo fit genitum, perfeverct. Lib. 
2. p. 23. 

. f Kot « 'n^ SK yar^o;, km to, vc '5ra]f0< ffijXfloy, xai mftety A»;/e«$f®- 
T« oiA.oHO'tfi'i KM ag 'sj^qQoM vtto Tivwv voitlMi aw&ilog iTOa vahft 


Chap. I. Of the Arian Controverjy. 205 

Arius had a ilill more plaufible handle 
againft the orthodox, with refped: to their 
do6trine concerning the Son being of the 
fame fubftance with the Father, becaufe, in 
the controverfy with the Sabellians, this 
language had been conftantly reprobated. 
The Ariansv therefore, had a very good pre-, 
tence for calling the orthodox Sabellians, 
becaufe they adopted their peculiar lan-^ 
guage. *• The Arians," fays Auftin, '^^call 
** us Sabellians, though we do not fay that 
** the Father, Son, and Spirit are one, 
** which the Sabellians did ; but we fay that 
*^ they are of one nature */' ** They who 
*' diflike the word confuhflantialy' fays So- 
crates, " charged thofe who introduced it 
** as favouring the opinion of Sabellius and 

xot '^iotxp(\o<;% KM TfETrlog^ kcu craiia hc3 aulu^ kch to ocov ett cculoig rat 
okoxaQa aufAalt 'srao'Xidv o airufjuzl®' ^£og. Epiphanius, Haer. 
69. vol. I. p. 733- 

* Sed ficuti Arriani Sabellianos nos effe criminantur, 
quamvis non dicamus, unum eumdemque efle patrem et 
filium, et fpiritum fandium, quod Sabelliani dicunt : fed 
dlcimus unam eandemque effe naturam patris, ct filii, ct 
fpiritus fanfti, quod catholici dicunt De Nuptiis, Opera, 
vol. 7. p- 849. 

*' Montanus, 


206 Of the Artan Confroverfy. Book IV. 

** Montanus, and therefore called them 
" blafphemers, as taking away the fubftance 
** of the Son of God ; while they who were 
^* attached to the word confubjiantial^ 
*^ charged the others with polytheifm, and 
** as introducing heathenifm */' But, as I 
have obferved, it was contrary to their pro- 
per principles, that the orthodox ever dif- 
claimed the term confubjiantial. For if the 
Son was the proper reafon of the Father, it 
muft have been right to fay, that he was bf 
the fame fubjiance with him. 

The Arians had no lef? advantage with 
refpedt to their other pofition, viz. that there 
was a time when the Son was not ^, becaafe,with 
regard to his perfonality, this had beea the 
declared opinion of the orthodox before that 
age, and he had never been confidered as 
having exifted from eternity, except as the 
proper logos y or reafon of the Father, without 

Movlava 3b|av eKrrtyiicr^ai auinv mq 'srpoa^exoM^'n; svofju^ov ' i^ Jia- 
1^0 p^aa-^fxag^ f jw^av, ug avaipavlas rnv vTra^^iv th ui« m dn( • 

fwfcfe «5 £?^vicr/Aov u<rayovlag b^bI^s'JqvIo, Hift, lib. 1. cap. 23. 

P- 57- 


Chap. I. Of the Arian Controverfy. 207 

which he wotjld not have been >oy«®-, a ra^ 
tional being. 

Arius, in his letter to Eufebius of Ni- 
comedia, fays concerning Alexander, ** the 
** bifhop violently perfecutes us, mpving 
** every thing againft us, fo as to expel us 
** from the city as atheifts, becaufe we can- 
** not agree with him, when he fays An 
** public, there was always a Father, and 
** always a Son, Father and Son at the fame 
*' time ; that the Son exifts together with 
*• God in an ungenerated ftate^ he was al- 
•* ways generated from him that was unge- 
** nerated. God did not precede the Soa 
^' even a thought, or an atom *." And yet 
in this '"Alexander advanced nothing con- 
trary to the anciently received dodlrine, ex- 
cept in faying, that the generation of the 
fon was from eternity, 

* oil fjisyo^g vfjta^ cxtto^^u )^ txSia>K£i, jy tscalct neOm uxm 
naS rifjiMV o emcrxoTro; ' cog re )y sji^iuiat rifAocg ex mg 'ttoT^ag ^ 
av^pomug aQeagj Evsiin s (rvfipava/AEv aJlo) ^rifAOCux Tisyovli^ aiio Sco;, 
ati mog * afAa iraTnp, ofJia viog * awwtapxj^i ayiwtHa; o vtog ra ^£0, 

euiytmig EffV) cJiwjUoysvrig eav ' hit smvoiaj hie cSopM rm *vp>ayn o 
Beog ruvih. Theodoriti, Hift, lib. i. cap. 5. p. 22. 

2o8 Of the Arian Controverjy. 3ook IV, 

The Arians, however, rejedUng the dif- 
ference between generation and creation, faid, 
according to Athanafius, ** God was not al- 
** ways a Father, and afterwards became fo« 

" The Son was not always . The 

" Son of God was made out of nothing, 
** ^nd there was a time when he was not ; 
^^ that he was not before he was generate 
^* ed *•" Hilary alfo fays, " the Arians 
** take advantage of the expreffion, be was 
♦* not before he was generated, as if the na- 
^* ture of his fubfifting origin was de- 
♦* nied + /' i. e. the principle from which 
he fprung, which exifted in the Father. 

The Arians derived the fame advantage 
from the dodirine of the primitive Fathers, 
that the Father generated the Son v^unta-^ 

•\ OuK Oil Sco; TTcSn^ nvy axx' nv ols ^sog fjtovo; nvy xat itvu fSFcSnf 

7Pf^ Vfs^m Se tTTu ysyovE nsdUn^^ ati asi nv o viog' 'sravlav yap yivOfK* 

vav e^ UK 0]?a)V, Jcai naaflm ovicov AafjLoim xai ^aonyjLolm ysvof/tsvotv, 

xat offjiog T8 ^sa Xo70$ £| hk ovlm yeyovBv ' Hai wf 'sioIb ole ^kw^koi 

SHwsr^ivyem&n. Contra Arianos, Or. i. Opera, voL i. p. 310* 

* Excufationem, dicens : non erat antequam nafcere- 
tur : ut in eo qucxi non fuit antequam nafccretur, natu» 
ram ei fubfiftentis originls denegaret. Lib. 6. p. io6. 


Chap. I. Of the Arian Ccntroverfy. 209 

rily. ** The Arians," fays Epiphanius, 
*• fay, did God generate the Son volunta- 
** rily, or involuntarily ? If we fay invo- 
** luntarily, then we fubjedl God to necef- 
** fity. If voluntarily, we allow that a vo- 

** lition preceded the Son. But thefe 

*' things, he fays, bear no relation to God. 
** He neither generates the Son voluntarily, 
** nor involuntarily; for the divine nature is 
** above all will, and is not fubjeft to time, 
•* or neceflity *•" 

Such were the metaphyfical arguments of 
the ancient Arians. They likewife proved 
from the fcriptures, that Chrift was a crea- 
ture ; and as they fuppofed that the wifdom 
in the book of Proverbs referred to Chrift, 
they laid great ftrefs on its being there faid 
that God created this wifdom. The Arian, 
in Athanafius's difputation, fays, '' but do 

W2f iCoMO/AEV TO SfWV • HOa laV SlTTCOfAiV oil ShXWV, JlJbflt/LtEV oil riv TO 

^t>yiiJta 'ss^Q T8 T^ya, Ovn en h niluv ahv sig Secvi cog vTroKofi^a' 
vfij, CO Hsvoib^e . nsa^a ^sco yap raula hK tuv . »?£ Se^v roivuv syev- , 
yjicjfy, s/e fxn SeP^v, aM vtte^^oM ^vascog, vTTs^^aivst yag ri ^£ia 
(pvtTig Pii>:yy^ kou ax vTroTCiTclik x^ovco^ bis cxvaryxyi ayilocu Ancora** 
tus, kc!t, 51. Opera, vol. 2. p. 55. 

Vol. IV. P " thou 

210 Of the Arian Controverfy . Book IV. 

** thou anfwer me with refpeft to the Lord 
** created me. The Lord acknowledged 
** that he was created by his Father */' 
*' When they are defeated," he fays, ** they 
** have recourfe to the Lord created me in 
*• the beginning of his way "f-.*' They like- 
wife alledged Chrift being called the firjl 
^ born of all the creation \. 

I fhall conclude this article with obferv- 
ing, that, if what Theodoret fays be true, it 
will be probable, that the Arians imagined 
that there was fome thing unfavourable to 
their fentiments in the epiftle to the He- 
brews ; for he fays that they thought it to 
be fpurious §. 

ywravJos totyiov eklia^ai v7fo th iha z^difog* Opera, vol. I, p. 

"[ Ev u ya^ rrrlajvica 'SSBTToi^acriv ev roug ^Bja^oifMMg t» Xeyofh " 
xvpiog EfQia-E fjis a^X'^ cSwv aula ei; tpya otula* Sermo Major, dc 
fide Montfaucon's CollecSio, vol. 2. p. lO. 

X Nomen primogenitus fimpliciorlbus objictentes. 
Coll. I. 15. Cyrilli Alex. Thefaurus, lib. 10. cap. 3. 

§ SavfjLarov ahv ^pucny 01 Tnv aptccvifcnv sio'iiiiXfAsm voo'ov^ naUa 
tm aTToroXtfcav ^sUtIcovIes ypexfjLfMluv^ xcu TnP vfog ES^cuni imroTm 
Tuv T^omm aTTOKpivoilEgy Kai vo^ov raulnv ofiroHoCNmis* Ad. Hcb, !• 

1. Opera, vol. 3- p. 5 12, Ed. Halse. 


C H A p • I • Of the Arian Controverfy. 211 


Of the Arguments of the Orthodox againfi 

the Avians. 

HAVING feen on what principles 
the ancient Arians defended their te- 
nets, and particularly what advantage they 
took of the received language of the ortho- 
dox, I fhall likewife give a view of the light 
in which the orthodox of that age confider- 
cd the principles of Arianifm j by which 
means we fliall have a pretty clear idea of the 
nature of the controverfv. 

The capital argument of the orthodox 
was, that th? Son, being the logos of God, was 
the proper reafon of the Father j and there- 
fore could not have been made out of no- 
thing, but mull: have been from eternity in 
him^ and confubjlantialvfith him. Eufebius 
fays, " the Father produced the Son from 
•^ himfelf *." '' God the Father,'' fays 

♦ Ayloi £| zavln yswYiirag, De Laudibus Con. p. 746. 

P 2 Ruffinus, 

212 Of the Arian Controverfy. Book IV* 

Ruffinus, *' is, therefore, the true God, and 
** the Father of truth, not creating from 
** within, but generating the Son from what 
** he himfelf is, as a wife man generates 
•* wifdom, a righj^eous man righteoufnefs, 
** &c. as light generates fplendor, and as a 
'* man generates a word [or thought]*/' 

Cyril of Alexandria lays, *< If the Arians 
** attack us, and afk whether there be two 
** that are unbegotten, and on our faying 
" there is only one^ and thjlt one- the 
*' Father, they fay that then we make 
** the Son a creature; we anfwer. If the 
** Son be the wifdom, the power, and the 
•* word of the Father ; and the word, wit- 
** dom, and power were always in the Fa- 
•* ther, the Son cannot be faid to be made 
** afterwards ; but he is God of God, and 
** %A/ of light. So that the begotten i» 

* Eft ergo d€us pater verus, tanquam veritatis pater, 
non extrinfecus creans. fed ex eo quod ipfe eft filium ge- 
nerans, id eft, quia fapiens, faplentiam, quia juftus jufti* 
tram, quia fempiternus fempiternum, quia immortalis ii»- 
mortalcm, quia invifibilis invifibilem, quia iux fplendorem 
quiamens verbum. In Symbol. Opera, p. 172. 

«* from 

Qh.Ap.^ I;. Of the Arlan Controverfy. 21 j^ 

** frohi him that is unbegottcn, and from 
" him that was not made, himfelf alfo not 
** made*." 

It was acknowledged by the orthodox, 
that many of the ancient writers had ex- 
prefled themfelves as if they had confidered ' 
Chrift as being a proper creature ; but it 
was obferved, that what was innocent in 
them, was not io afterwards. Bafil fays, 
that ** many words were innocently ufed ia 
** former times, of which the heretics now 
^* take advantage ; as the words creature^ 
*' and a worky &c. t" 

* Si Ariani nos aggrediantur, interrogantes utrum unum 
fit quod ingenitum eft, an duo : ut quum unum certe 
dixerimus, et in patrem id retulcrimus, inter creaturas 
filium Connumerare cogamur : fie refpondere oportet. — 
•Si fapientia et virtus, et verbum patris filius eft, eratque 
Temper in patre verbum, et fapientia et virtus, non eft 
faclus poftea hlius, qui Gc appellatur et fie eft. Sed quern* 
admodum ex deo deus, et de lumine lumen efFulfit : fie 
ex ingenito genitus, hoc eft, ex non h&o non fa£his.- 
Thefaurus, lib. i. cap. i. Opera, voL 2. p. 215. 

t Aio iri x) TffoXKag av £u§oi; tKii puvaf^ to; vuv rot; aifilufpig 
fjLtyiriiv i(j%\n ^zso^exofJ-sva^ , tag ro kIkt/ax^ jy ro '5r«»j/ia» um urt 
Toi^Qv, Epift. 64. Opera, vol. 3. p. loi. 

P 3 G^regory 

214 Of the Artan Controverfy. Book IV. 

Gregory Nazianzcn fays, that ** accord- 
** ing to the doftrine of Arius, Chrift muft 
** not only be a creature, but the meaneft of 
** creatures, being created merely for the 
** fake of creating other things ; and adds, 
** that for the purpofe of creation, the mere 
** will of God was fufficient*.'* 

Another great' advantage which the or- 
thodox had over the Arians arofe from the 
latter confidering Chrift, though a creature, 
as having been the creator of the world, and 
entitled to be called God, and to be wor- 
fliipped. This arofe from their afcribing 
to their created logoSy all that had been 
^fcribed to the uncreated one^ which all the 
ancient Arians, without exception,, did. 
This, the orthodox faid, was fetting up 
another God^zndi incurring the guilt o{ poly* 
theifm y whereas their logas^ they faid, was 
uncreated, and being the logos of the Fa- 

* Ta 3k oil fjuK^a ufii fxvi ftiiafjicila fjuovov^ ah>a t^ nsoeSlw HfitrfM' 
lav nnouig alifjLoie^a^ eiye t^qjv svshsv wjcis^vi^ )y 'mole, oxTTCt^ o^cxva 
f «xvt7>i, 'sr^o T«v TBxv^av 'srp6l£fov hk cf^a^ aV av a>9^^ yevofAtva^ 
ti f/n ri )tli(Tcu it ajlw g?8?^ i&g®-, an m agfCHvlog th Sh^ieo'^ou. 

Or. 13- p. 209^ 



Ghap. L ' OftheArianControverfy. ' 215 

ther, was one with him^ fo that they did hot 
make two different Gods. This charge we 
find from the earlieft ftage of this contro- 
vcrfy to the laft, 

Athanafius reprefents St. Anthony as 
faying ** they, calling the logos which 
** is from the Father a creature^ do not 
** differ from the heathens, who worfhip 
/* the creature initead of the creator */* 
Hilary fays, *' Let the heretics blot out 
** from the gofpel, / am in the Father ^ and 
** the Father in vie^ and I and the Father 
•* are one j that they may either preach tWa 
** Gods, or one God-f-/' In this he has a 
view to both the Arians and the Sabellians, 
Bafil fays, ** they who fay that the only be- 
** gotten is a creature, and then make a god 

* T/xfif yap, ey^ffsi^Ej, x^^^^^^^ ^^^ ' ^^"^oi 3e KliCf/a >^£yQvkg 
rov ZK m 'sjol^og^ viov th $« kJ T^yovt ahv ^la^^acriv b^ijmv Xal^eu^ 
9vls; m kIktbi 'ma^a rov KUaavIa ^wv. Vita Antonii, Opera, 

vol. 2. p. 491. 

f Deleant haeretici evangelicam filii de fe profeffionem : 
ego in patre, et pater in me ; et ego et pater unum fu- 
mus ; ut poffint vel duos decs praedicare, vel folum. Lib. 
7.p. 151^ 

P4 of 


2 1 6 ^f}i>^ Arian Controverfy. Book. IV. 


*^ of him, and worihip him ; by wor^ip- 
** ping the creature rather than the creator, 
*^ evidently introduce heathenifm ; but," 
alluding to the unitarians, *' they who deny 
" the logos to be God of God ^ while they 
'^ confefs the Son in word, they in rea- 
** lity deny his exiftence, and renew Ju- 
^* daifm*." 

** To make a created god," fays Gregory 
Nyflen, ^* is an agreement with the error 
" of the heathens f /' ** The Arians,'* fays 
Epiphanius, '* are the moft impious of all 
*' heretics, who divide the Son from the 
** Father's fubftance, and therefore make 
^* him another prmciple J*'* ** We,'' fays 

♦ Oi /x£v ya^ cfycv Sfa Biveu uyovleg tov /tAOvoyEwj, ty tjomtia, tHa 
mfoawjmlii xj Sgo^oy8v7£5 . gx t« T^^evziv rn kIktbi xJ |M>j t« i3w- 
avli, Tflt Tfl)v cMijvaiv avliH^ug eTreia-ayaaLv . o< Sg tov ex Sf« Sfov ^oyof 

VTra^iiv a^elavlegy tov la^aia-fjLov 'ssah.iv avavtavlai. Horn. 27. 
Opera, vol. i. p. 519. 

t Tft) fjLsv yxq jtiLfov avxTC'Uttlm %sm^ rvii tow iy^vpwv aws&i^ 
ctmyo^®- yivelou. Contra Eunomium, Or. 12. Opera, voK . 
2. p. 3C0. 

J A^eicfjiavSai Se 01 isavlm atn^Zi-dioi^ 01 tov viov avro tw$ 'sralfvat 
mu»s ^lai^ziv^ xat aTroy^pav tq^^mjvIss^ hh o^iaai rev viov oiufhpm 

Chap, I. OftheArianControverfy. 217 

Ambrofe, " fay there is one God, not two, 
^* or thr^e, like the impious herefy of the > 
** Arians, which falls into the very guilt 
" with which it charges others. For he 
** fays there are three Gods, who feparates 
^* the divinity of the trinity*." Agreeably 
to this, Auftin writing againft the Arians, 
quotes. Hear, O IfraeJ, the Lord thy God is 
one Lord, and then fays, '* Why will you 
*' make us two Gods, and two Lords ? You 
** fay that the Father is Lord and God, and 
*' you fay that Chrift is Lord and God. I 
** afk, whether thcfe two are one ? You 
" anfwer, they are two Gods. It remains, 
*^ then, that you ered: temples and images 
*' to them-f-." Fulgentius alfo confidered 

twou Tw nsjti^i^ ah ex mg Hcia; m isctl^oi aulov yey evmr^ou. An- 
coratus, re<S. ii8. Opera, vol.2, p. 120. 

* Unum ergo deum, non duos aut trcs decs dicimus, ut 
impia Arianorum haerefis dum criminatur incurrit. Trcs 
enim deos dicit, qui divinitatem fqparat Trinitatis. Do 
Fide, cap. i. Opera, vol. 4. p. 114. 

•j- Audi Ifrael, dominus deus tuus, deus unus eft. Quid 
nobis vultis facers duos deos et duos dominos ? Dicitis 
dominum patrem, et deum patrem, dicitis dominum 
Cliriftum et deum Chriftum : interrogo, utrura ambo 


^ 1 8 Of the Arian Controverfy, Bbo k IV. 

the Arians as worfe than the Sabellians. 
^' Thefe," fays he, " did ill to join the 
*' divine perfons, but the Arians did worfk 
** to feparate them^." 

It is alfo with great juftice that the or- 
thodox expofed the dodrine of the Arians 
on the idea of a creature being capable of 
creating. Auftin fays, ** If Chrift was made^ 
*' he muft have been made by himfelf ; for 
'* without him was not any thing made 
'* that was made +•'' " If the power of 
** God/' fays Cyril of Alexandria, ** cannot 
<* be received by the nature of a creature, 
'* how can a Son created out of nothing be 
** capable of this, according to you J?" 

fimul unus fit ? Refpondetis, duo dii : fupereft ut eis ct 
templa et idola facialis. Contra Max. Opera, vol.6, 
p. 683. 

* Quia et Sabellius male conjunxit, ct Arrlus fcelera* 
tius feparavit. Adv. Pent. p. 719. 

f IsToli putare faSum effe inter omnia : nam fi et ipfe 
faSus eft, non per ilium fafta funt omnia; fed inter 
cetera faftus eft ipfe, Ser. 3, Opera, fuppl. p. 32. 

X Verum fi capi non poterat dei virtus a natura crea- 
turarum, quomodo creatus a nihilo filius capax ejufdem 
fecundum vos eft ? Thefaurus, lib. 4t cap. 2« Opera, 
vol. I. p. 265. 

Gregory . 

Chap. I, Of the Arian Controverfy. 219 

Gregory Nazianzea emphatically fays, 
** he is not God who is created ; nor can 
*^ he be our mafter, who is our fellow- 
** fervant *. 

Athanafius fays, *' there is no created ma- 
** ker of all things. For all things were 
** made by the logos ; but he could not make 
" all things if the logos him felf had been 
*• made. Nor can angels create, being them- 
** felves created, though Valentinus, and 
** Marcion, and Bafilides think fo, and you 
** are imitators of them/}-/' 

He charges the Arians with diverting 
the Father himfelf of his divinity, by 
depriving him of his logos, and denying 
that he is properly a Father. After fpeak- 
ing of Arianifm as the worll of herefies, 
he fays, " fome err in one refped:, and 

* Ov yoL^ ^eof to hIi^oi^svov^ sJe hcrTTolitcov to o/aoSsAov. Or. 13. 
p. 210. 

f Tojy yaf ysvcfisvcov ahv eti 'sroiiJIiKov ailiov ' nsocvla ya^ 3ia t« 
^078 yiyovEV ' ax, av t^aa-afjusva xj ouIh ra fs^avla^ ei xj aJla 
;^y®- Twv Klicpiuxidjv Yiv * sJe ya^ ah ayye>joi Svifjua^Eiv Simjcovlai 
HlKTfjM ovleg Kou auloi • nav Ova'XEvli}/®'^ km Mapxicov^ kai BawriXciSjjr, 
TOiaula ^povaxTi ' kou V(ji£i; sxsivojv (y^y^lai Tvyxodfiis^ Contra 

Arianos, Or. 3- vol i. p. 392. 

*' Others 

220 Of the Avian Controverjy. Book IV. 

** others in another. Some, like the Jews, 
** fay that the Lord was never incarnate.' 
** This alone, with great madnefs, attacks 
«« the divinity itfelf ; faying, that there is 
^* no logos, and that God is no father*/* 
But this argument feehis to afFeft the uni^ 
tarians as much as the Arians. 

It was on the idea of the Arians fetting 
up two principles of divinity, and thereby 
making more Gods than one, and of the 
Sabellians making no difference between the 
pcrfons of the trinity, that the orthodox 
always reprefentcd themfelves (as I have 
cbferved) as holding the middle between 
two extremes. The idea occurs a thoiifand 
times in their writings. They are con- 
flantly guarding their hearers againft eon^ 
founding the pcrfons with Sabellius, or fe- 
parating them with Arius. Thus Gregory 
Nazianzen fpeaks of the orthodox, as " in 


viHoolf^ov tig aJlnv C'EcWa Tela^^rpis^ y^eyaca^ fjLy\^ oXug eivm rev ^oycy, 

fjLYih Toy ^eov 'sjols^a uvai» Contra Arianos, Or. I. Opera, 
«ul. I. p. 300. 

I •* a middle 

Chap. !• Of the Arian Controverjy. 2ii\ 

•* a middle way between Sabellianifm on 
^* the one hand, an,d Arianifm on the other, 
" the former confounding the perfon^s, and 
*^ the latter dividing them*/' ■ Again, 
fpeaking of the fupreme power, he fays, 
** it confifts of the caufe^ the demiurgus, and 
•* the perfe^er, I mean the Father, Son, and 
** Holy Spirit ; which arc neither fo far 
"^^ removed from each other, as to be fepa- 
** rated by nature, nor fo clofely united as 
** to be circumfcribed within one perfon. 
•* The former is the Arian atheifm, and 
•' the latter the Sabellian f." 

On this principle, he, as well as many 
others, compares the Sabellians to Jews, 
and the Arians to Gentiles. Ifidore Pelu- 

}^ti(pofji,sVt iva [An tw SaCeA^wj waw vo^ija-afiBV ' St ^uzi^h/uuv stg r^ia 
sx(pu>^ Kcu ocMl^ic^ iva (Mi ra A^eih /layaiJtiv. Or. 29. Operat 
p. 489, 

HM ^r.oua^a xcu TsT^vjoia. tu 'aoS^i hsya kou t« via km tw ayjw 
^vsufMli ' a jx^s «7(»5 aWoj?^v aTFEfyilat^ a; ^uasi rsfjtvEa^ • /tiijf 
Su; ETEvuloLh (o; sig ev mpoaaTTov 'Sfe^iy^a^ea^ai. To fAiv yaf rr^ 
Afiiavm^ ro h Tijf "^Sih^doyixng a^eta^ etiv. Or, 24. p. 428. 


22 2 Of the Arian Contro'OerJy. Book IV. 

fiota alfo fays, ^* Let this be faid, that Sa- 
** bellius and the Jews may be filenced, and 
*' tl^pfe that Arius, Eunomiiis, and the 
** Gentiles, may be demolifhed */' 

The orthodox Fathers were perpetually 
complaining of the difficulty they were in 
between the'two extremes of Arianifm and 
Sabellianifm, and of the addrefs which it 
required to keep clear of them both. Hi- 
lary is particularly pathetic on this fubjedl, 
*' I am always/' fays he, ** in danger, al- 
** ways in fear of falling into ftraits, or 
** caverns, or of being entangled in fnares. 
*' For when I preach, according to the law^ 
** the prophets, and the apoftles, that there 
*' is but one God, Sabellius is upon me, 
** ready to feize upon me, and devour me 
*' whole, as a moft delicious morfel ; but 
'* if, preaching againft Sabellius, I deny 
** that there is only one God, and acknow- 
*' ledge that the Son of God is truly God, 

lib. 3. Opera, p. 267. 

'' the 

Chap. I. Of the Artan Conlrcverjy. 223 

'* the new herefy waits for me, and tells* 
*' me that I preach two Gods*/' 

Arianifm was always coniidered as a jtew 
herefy^ and unitarianifm as an old one. Am* 
brofe fays, that " the Arians were the anti- 
** chrifl intended by John, being the laft of 
•* the hereiies, and drawing poifon from 
"them all f." 

Theodoret having diflributed his work 
on heretical fables into five parts, and hav- 
ing mentioned his treating firft of the fedl 
of the Gnoftics, then that of the unitarians, 
from Ebion to Photinus, as holding oppo- 
fite opinions; then thofe who held middle 

* Mihi ver.o, aut in auguftias decidcre, aut in defofia 
incidere, aut plugis illaqueari, fempcr in periculo femper. 
in metu eft. Prxdicaturo enim fecundum legem et pro- 
phetas et apoftolos unum deum, adeft mihi Sabellius, to- 
tum me fub hujus verbi profefSone, tanquam defideratum 
cibum morfu fixviflimotranfvorans. Ncgantpm me rurfunr, 
contra Sabellium, unum deum, et confitentem verum deum, 
dei filium, expe£lat nova hxrcfls, et a me duos dcos ac 
pra;dicari. De Trinitate, lib. 7. p. 131. 

+ Et Joannes dicit haereticos effe antichriftos Arianos 
utique defignans. Haec enim haerefis poft ompes haerefc* 
cappit, et ex omni haertfi veneha coUcgit. Opera, vol. 4. 



2 24 Of the Arian Controverjy. Book IV, 

opinions between them, fays, ** In . the 
'* fourth place I fhall explain the later 
*' herejies^ viz. thofe of Arius and Euno- 
** mius*. 

I do not, indeed, find any fuch pretences 
to high antiquity made by the Arians, as 
the unitarians laid claim to. They only 
appeal to the language of the fcripturcs, 
which all perfons interpret fo as to favour 
their own opinions, and fuch expreffions of 
the orthodox Fathers, efpecially Clemens 
Alexandrinus and Origen, as have been al- 
ready mentioned, and which I have ^ewn 
to be fufficiently agreeable to the ortho- 
doxy of the age in which they lived ; thp 
principles of which were very remote from 
thofe of Arianifm, 

One of the weak fides of the orthodox 
hypothefis, was the ftrefs that was laid upon 
the difference between generation and crea^ 
tion. From this the Arians had derived 
confiderable advantage, efpecially with re- 

* Ev ot TO) rilafo) rag v^ulspa; BTTihiiofiev ai^ea-ei; ' mv A^sm 
fnfM, Kai EwofAia^ xm oaai ixil tKumg ff wjcrav. Opera, vol. 4. 
p. 18^. 


Chap. I. Of the. Art an Cohtroverjy. 225 

fpedt to what is faid concerning wifdom in 
the book of Proverbs, In the tranflation of 
the feptuagint we read the Lord created 
me the beginning of his ways, which certainly 
had the appearance of making this wifdom 
(or Chriji^ fuppofed to be intended by it) 
a creature . In what manner the orthodox 
interpreted this paffage, fo as to evade the 
force of the argument, without rejecting 
the tranflation of the feptuagint, we have 
feen already. Here I fhall only obferve, 
that, notwithftanding the diflike which the 
orthodox had for the tranflations of Aquila, 
Theodotion, and Symmachus, as being uni- 
tarians, they were glad to avail themfelves 
of their interpretation of this pafTage. For 
they rendered it, the Lord possessed me 
the beginning of his ways^ a rendering which 
is much approved by Eufebius */' 

* El ysv T15 BioHfiGoicrculo rov aM% vsv mg Sfcsrvsi/rs yf«^» 
tufoi av mv sS^aucYiv avayvaa-iv h fa^itxjsaracit 'to^ vSurs fit • Sto^c^ 
ah Tfflv T^iTtm ^fAimvlm, tavk rig hex^^m th ?^s|n • avTixa ^ «y o 
figv Axw^o^, xvgiog vcka-aclo fjLS KE<pa>aov twv o^v 'cdAr, Et^nKsv . oh 
llyfAfxaxo;^ m^iog vilfxTalo /*f ap^w qSwy avis . o fe ^S^^tiv^ xuPiOg 
tKk<ralo fME ofxi^ oJy «v7». Ec. Theol. lib. 3. cap. i, p. 152. 

Vol. IV; Ct That 

226 Of the Artan Controverfy. Book IV. 

That the word made does not always im- 
ply a proper creation, the orthodox attempted 
to prove from other paflages of fcripture; 
and the extreme weaknefs of their re'kfon- 
ing may ferve to (hew how much they felt 
themfelves prefled by this argument. Cy- 
fil of Alexandria fays, ** We read that God 
** is made a refuge, but this does not imply 
'' that God was created'^:' That Chrift 
was only, generated^ and not made^ Auftin 
proves from its being faid, •* I'bis day is 
** born unto us a Saviour, not made +/' Hi- 
lary alfo proves that ** Chrift was not made 
•* out of nothing, but was derived from the 
•* fubftance of the Father, becaufe he faid, 
* ' / came forth from the Father \'' 

* * Et fa£lus eft mihi dominus in refugium ? Nunquid 
concedes faftum effc deum. De Trinitate, lib. 4. Opera^ 
vol. 2. p. 422. 

+ Chriftus non faftus fed natus eft, dicente angelo pafto- 
ribus, ecce natus eft vobis hodie falvator qui eft Chriftus 
dominus. Queftiones exN. T. 50. Opera, vol.4, p. 735, 

X Qiiod dixit: ex patre exivi, et veni, utrum ambigui- 
tat^m reliquerit, quin intelligeretur non aliunde quam cx^ 
patre efle quod deus eft. — A patre enim veniffe, et ex dco 
exiiTe, non eft fignificationis ejufdem : et quantum inteifeft 


Chap. I. OftheAr;ianControverJy. 227 

That Chrift had a proper human Jhut, 
having the fame aiFedions with the fouls of 


Other men, the orthodox proved from our 
Saviour being faid to grieve^ and to be in an 
agony, &c. Thus Athanafius,in anfwer to the 
Apollinarians, alledges Chrift being iiJiurbedL 
in Jpirit. *' This/' he fays, *' cannot arife 
*' either from the infeniible body, or thdun- 
*' changeable Godhead *." In another place 
he alledges, againft this^ part of the Arian 
fy ftem, that, according to it, the divinity muft 
have fuiFered and have rifen from the dead-f*. 
" Hovir can any one fay that the body of Chrift 
" was without foul, or without underftanding 

inter nafciet adeffe, tantum a fe uterque fermo difcernitur : 
cum aliud fit a deo in fubftantia nativitatis exifle, aliud fit 
a patre in hunc mundum ad confuii^manda falutis naftrae 
facramenta venifle. Lib.6. p. i08, 

tla^ax^ri h ros 'mevf/Mii o l7j<7-»j ysy^aTrlai . ravlcc Se »?£ cafKog 
avonla cof £<>j, hie S£o7)j7©- ai^e7rl8, a»joL \^y%>i5 "imm ^x^^^i ^i^^' 
fAvmft Hot TafarVo^Evnv, xcu a^/AOvscrav, km votjag iTrai^^stvofxevYiv Tjf 
ma^a^. De Incarnationc, Opera, vol. i. p. 628. 

9\iyzi yeymvait Tnv ra wsAag vona-iv xai tw f| aS^* avaratav^Yi $ec*» ' 
?)ik 'sr^^ayuy To^ftwv* Ibid. p. 635. ^ 

Q^z ^«— Terror, 


2^8 Of the Arian Controverfy. Book IV. 

** — Terror, and grief, and anxiety, are afFcc- 
•* tions of the foul ; labour, and flecp, and 
^' wounds are of the body, the weaknefs of 
" the fiefli */' Epiphanius alfo, in the 
fame controverfy, alledges, but with much 
lefs propriety, i Cpr, ii. 6. P^e have the 
mind of Chriji-f. Fulgentius argues, that 
if Chrift had had only a body, and not a 
foul, he could not have faved more than the 
bodies of men ; but having recovered the 
whole of the loft fheep, and not a part of it 
only, he infers that he was able to favc 
bothj. He alfo cbferves that, if Chrift 

* n«5 3e av >jryoi Tif, a'^v^fiv nai avo>fIov, to (rafxa rs xf/nf— 

v7rvoi% Mai r^timg aoofjLalog-i ca^Mg aa-^ivr,fjLala, Anathemas, as- 
cribed to Gregory Thaumaturgus, Opera, p. 6. 

+ Ancoratus, fe£l. 76. Operg, vol. 2. p. 81. 

X Quapropter cum error ifte animae fimul intelligatur, 
et corporis, fi dei Rlius abfque anima rational! folam accc* 
pit hominis carnem, inferiorem partem illius ovis domum 
retulit, meliorem vero (quod abfit) errori perpetuo dcreli- 
quit: nam manifeflum eft, quoniam hoc rerocavit, quod 
propriishumeris reportavit : fi autem ipfe totam fe profi- 
tetur ovem propriis humeris impofitam reportaffe^ totut 
homo cognofcatur in ChriAo : quoniam tunc eft homini? 
credenda redemptio: fi in filio dei fufcfpt'onis humaUse, id 

Chap." 1. Of the Arian Controverfy. 429 

had not had a human foul, there would have 
been nothing extraordinary in his being 
without fin, as the divinity cannot poflibljj^ 
fin *. That all the orthodox Fathers held 
that Chrift had a proper human foul, as well 
as a human body, I have produced abundant 
evidence. Vol. 2. p. 198. 

Laftly, Athanafius urges the Arians with 
the conformity of their principles to thofe . 
of the Gnoftics, on the idea that, according 
to them, Chrift was a being of- the fame 
nature with the angels. " If," fays he, 
** the Son be not of the things that arc 
*^ made, but of the Father's cflence, the 
** reafoning of the Arians concerning the 
** word made is foolifh ; and if they im- 
** pudently aflert that it is ufed only by 
<« way of comparifon, and that things com* 

eft, ovis illius repprtatae, non defuit plenitudo* Ad Tra* 
fimundum, lib. i. cap. lo. p. 451. 

* Nam fi del filius animam biimanam in carnis fafcep- 

tione non habuit, et hoc beatus Petrus de ejus creditur 
divinitate dixiffe, quid eft, quod pro magno in laudem di- 
citur Chrifti I Quia divinitas ejus immunis efie potuit a 
labe peccati, cum dei fit proprium, non folum non peccare, 
fed etiam a peccato falvare. Ibid. cap. 1 1 . p. 45^. 

Q^ 3 " pared 

2 30 Of the Arian CoMrQverfy. Boo k I V ♦ 

** pared mud be fimilar, fo that- the Son 
*' mutt be of the fame nature with the an- 
•^ gels, they ought to be the more aihamed, 
** as adopting the opinions of Valentinus^ 
*' Carpocrates, and other heretics; of whom 
*' the former faid, that the angels were of 
*' the fame nature \^ith Chrift, and the 
*' latter, that angels were the makers of 
*' the world, for they muft have learned 
** of them to compare the logos of God 
*' with the angels. But they who ima- 
^* gine fuch things are put to fhame by 
*' the Pfalmift, who fays. Who among the 
** Sons of God is like unto the Lord; who 
" among the gods is like unto tbeC) O 
"Lord*?" ,• 

'm§o(paaig . xav ya^ sv niloig ai^x^^^i ^laia^Jlai iffcO^v heynfauy^ 
KptltKog iigna^ca ra ^ria * kai iia tSo zivau to avyxf ivoflEva Ofuynn% 
ors Tov vicv m; rm afysT^v eivou fuaeagy cuffx^^'^ovlcu fis¥ vfoiiys* 
fi£vcog»gra Ova^svlm mm Kaf^ofCfaSH km ran cOO^x^ aif&xm i9lMh 
Iej, xai f^sfyofjLEVoi . m o fi£v ts; afyeXnf o/Mysmg tifvuu ra XP^^ • 
0E Ka^TTOH^cSng a!ye?^g m xoa-fjLH iYifWi^ag £ivm ^nri . «ay>' otSuv 
y«f lacag fxa^ovlsg xai 4ioi^ avyx^ivatTi tov m Sea 7\oyovTQi^ alyOMf* 
2»XX svl^TTYKfovlai Toiaula (pavia^ofjLsm fmafa fitv rs VfJOfeiiii Hyolhg% 
^g oiMie&yffiiM ra xofuo tv vioig Ses;, km ^ig OfAotog ffoi a iioifMUfim 

Con. An Or. 2. p. 363. 


Chap. I. Of the Arian Controverjy. 231 


General Obfervations on the Arian Con-^ 

* troverjy. 

nr^ H U S have I given the beft view that 
I have been able to collcdl of the 
principles on which the Arian controverfy 
was concluded in early times ; and the 
following circumftances clearly prove, that, 
notwithftanding the advantage which the 
Arians derived from the conceffions and 
abfurdities of their antagonifts, their doc- 
trine was really a nonjel one. .AH the or- 
thodox Fathers before the age of Ariqs 
conlidered the logos which made the world, 
and which was the medium of all the di^ 
vine communications to the patriarchs, as 
having been the proper attribute of the 
Father^ and therefore uncreated. They alfo 
all fuppofed that Chrift had a human foul^ 
as well as a human body', and that the logos 

was united to the man^ and not to the body 

0^4 The 

232 Of the Arian Controverfy. Book IV. 

The Arian dodrine, therefore, that Chrift, 

or the logos, was a created fuper-angelic 

fpirit, the creator of the world, and the 

medium of the divine communications to 

the patriarchs, &c. (which all the Arians 

of that age believed ; for, as I have more 

than once obferved, they all transferred to 

their created logos ^ whatever had been fup- 

pofed to have been the office of the uncre^ 

ated one) and that this great fpirit animated 

the body of Jefus in the place of a human 

foul, was altogether a novel doctrine, and 

not older than the age of Arius himfelf. 

As to the dodtrine of Chrift being a pre* 
cxiftent fuper-angelic fpirit, and not the 
creator of the world, or not the medium of 
the divine communications to the patri- 
archs, it is much more novel 5 probably 
not older than a fingle century. In the 
fame predicament alfo is the notion that 
the great powers of this fuper-angelic fpirit 
were in a ftate of fufpenfion, fo that while 
upon earth he was reduced to the condition 
of a mere human foul ; a flrange notion, 
which nothing but the moil infup^rable 


Chap. I • Of the Arian Qontroverjy^ 233 

difficulties attending the original Arian hy- 
pothefis, could have led any man to adopt. 

That the Arian dodlrine, in any form, 
was not older than the^age of Arius, is an 
infuperable objcdlion to its truth, or to its 
being the dodtrine of the fcriptures. For 
they were always admitted to be the rule of 
faith by all chriftians. And certainly thofe 
who lived neareft to the age of the apof- 
tles, for whofe ufe the books of the New 
Tcftament were written, and who had not 
the difficulties that we labour under, of 
learning foreign languages, and inveftigating 
ancient cuftoms and ancient idioms, to em- 
barrafs and miflead them, muft have been 
better qualified to underftand ^the true fenfe 
of fcripture than we are. Can that, then, 
be the true fenfe of fcripture (how much 
foever we, with all the prejudices of edu- 
cation about us, may fancy it to favour any 
particular hypothefis) which, it is evident, 
no perfon in the three firft centuries put 
upon it ? This confideration ought cer- 
tainly to check the confidence of thofe who 
are ever fo well fatisfied that their doftrinp 


:2 34 Of the Avian Controverfy . Book IV. 

is taught in the fcriptures. Much more 
ought it to ftagger thofe whofe opinionft 
had no cxiftcnce before the reformation^ 
which is the cafe with many of the modern 

On the contrary, it cannot be denied^ 
that the great body of the common people 
in early times were properly unitarians^ 
that their doc3:rine exifted and prevailed in 
the time of the apoftles, and that they had as 
great a veneration for the books of the New 
Teftament as we can have at this day; and 
yet they ndver found in them that doctrine 
of the pre-exiftence of Chrift, which many 
now think to be clearly and repeatedly 
taught in them. This is certainly an argu^ 
ment of great weight in favour of the uni- 
tarian interpretations of thofe particular 
texts,which, according to their literal mean- 
ing, feem to favour the dodlrine of pre- 
exiftence, and ought to lead us to fufpeft, 
that it is owing to nothing but our early 
prcjudiccfs, that fuch interpretations, on the 
firft propofal of them, appear unnatural. 


Chap. I. Of the Arian Controverjy. 235 

It is pretty remarkable that the common 
people feem to have taken little or no part in 
the Arian controverfy. For a long time at 
leafl^ it was confined to the bifhops and 
clergy^ Indeed, the Arian dodrine was of 
fuch a nature, that it was* not likely to 
intereft the common people, who were then 
generally unitarians. They who had been 
accuftomed to confider the logos as nothing 
more than the wi/dom and power of God 
(which, we have feen, was the cajfe with all 
the ancient unitarians) could not be fup- 
pofed to take any part in a debate, in whick 
the difputants on both fides agreed that the 
logos was a perfon^ and the difference be- 
tween them was, whether he was created^ or 

Neither does it appear that the AriaR 
doctrine ferved as an intermediate ftage, by 
which the common people, who were uni- 
tarians, were bfought to the trinitarian doc- 
trine, which was univerfally prevalent in af- 
ter ages I though this would not feem to be 
improbable, as it is very common at this 
day for perfons to pafs^ from Athanafi^niAn 

1 to 

236 Of the Arian Controverfy. Hook IV, 

to Arianifm, and then from Arianifm to pro- 
per Unitarianifm. 

It is evident, from the writings of Baiily 
and ' efpecially from his letters, that the 
odium he lay under was chiefly with the 
common people, and that they were unita* 
rians ; and there are many other marks of 
the more ignorant of the common people 
being unitarians in a very late period, bu)t 
none that I have found of their being gene- 
rally Arians. Indeed, there was too much 
oi philofophy in the Arian doftrine for the' 
common people to enter into it. What, a 
prophet was, a prophet mighty in word and 
deed^ they could underftand ; but the doc- 
trine of a created logos t a created creator^ muft 
have appeared ftrange to them; though,' 
perhaps, not quite fo much fo as that of a 
perfonified attribute. 

That the Arian dodrine gave no more 
fatisfadlion to the learned unitarians than 
that of the orthodox, may be concluded 
from the peculiar animofity with which the 
Arians always purfued the unitarians, as we 
fee in the writings of Eufebiusagainft Mar- 


Chap. I. OftJbe Arlan Contrwerfy^ zyj 

cellus, and in the perfccution of Photiaus> 
which was carried on chiefly by Arians. /'**; 
The fame may alfo be inferred from the 
orthodox of that age fpeaking more favour* 
ably of the unitarians than they do of the 

Nor IS this fo much to be wondered at ; 
for, belides the refpedt with, which unita- 
rianifm would be treated as an ancient doc^ 
trincy and ftill held by the generality of the 
common people, the Athanafians thought at 
leaft that they were agreed with the unita- 
rians in an article which was deemed to be 
of much more confequence in that age than 
it was afterwards, which was the prefervn?. 
ing of the unity of God. This the Athana- 


fians maintained that they did, by fuppofing 
the lofros to be what the unitarians faid it 
was, viz. the wifdom and power of God the 
Father^ differing from them only with re- 
fpedl to its perfonification. On the* other 
hand, it has been feen, that they confidered 
the Arians as abfolutely /o/^'Z/S^^j, holding 
the dodtrine of two Gods ; from which 

charge, while the Arians confider Chrift 


238 Of the Arian Controverjy. BboK IV. 

as the maker of the worlds and the obje6i of 
** / prayer^ I do not fee how they can excul- 
pate themfclvcs. No doubt, however, a 
^ " greit part of the animofity of the orthodox 
againft the Arians, arofe from the oppofi- 
tion they met with from them ; there 
being more men of learning among the 
Arians than among the unitarians. 

It is much to be lamented that there are 
no remains of any controverfy between the 
ancient Arians and unitarians, efpecially of 
the conference between Photinus and Bad 
of Ancyra. This would, no doubt, have 
thrown much more light than we now have 
on the fubjed: of thefe differences, and on 
the ilate of ancient opinions in general. 

C H A ?• 

Chap, II. OftheNeJlorianControverfy. 239 


Of the Nejionan Controverjy. 

TH E opinion of Neflonus being 
nearly allied to that of the ancient 
unitarians, it may not be improper to give 
fome account of it, and of the controverfy 
that was occafioned by it. 

The mafter of Neftorius was Theodorus, 
bifhop of Mopfueftia, who is faid to have 
held the fame opinion before him *. From 
what Facundus has faid in his juftification, 
it (hould feem that he was more properly 
an unitarian, fuch as Photinus was. But it 
is probable, that their doftrine was fo much 
alike, that few perfons in that age thought 
there was much difference between them; 
and Theodorus is faid to have had his in- 
Arudion from Diodorus, bifhop of Tarfus, 
while he was aprelbyter at Antioch +. 

* A»a jcj Nsrofw Soy/ici, « j^ 'et^ Nero^ia v?mpx^ M^tftvyo- 
(w/^. Photii. Bib. fed. 39. p. 23. 
\ Lardner, Credibility, vol. 9. p. 351. 


240 Of the 'Nejiorian Controverjy. Book IV, 

Upon the condemnation of Neftorius, 
his partifans, not being able to avail them- 
felves of his writings, publiftied thofe of 
Theodoras, in the Greek, Syrian, Arme- 
nian, and Perfian languages ; alfo an epiftle 
of Ibas, bifhop of Edefla, and fome pieces of 
Theodoret, which they thought favourable 
to them. Thefe were generally denominated • 
the three chapters 5 and it was thought nc- 
ceflfary to hold a particular council for the? 
purpofe of condemning them *. The fame 
is obferved by Juftinian himfelf, in his epif- 
tle-f-. The Neftorians ftill preferve the 
writings of Theodorus with greiat care, and 
confider him as a faint of the firft rank J. 
There muft have been fomething very 
popular in the dodtrine of Ncftorius. Juf- 

♦ See the preface to the works of Juftinian, &c. by. 

t Ob Tive; TO Nffopis wf^ui tnuTrav ifffoavoiafjuwi iia raw vipo- 
iip^fisvavy aulov "Seropiov^ x^ rnv Hoxoit^ioof axjla eto'ctyaynv ejrsx&psff 

Vol. I. p. 6. 

X Moflieim's Hift. vol. 1. p. 2o8, Jortin's Remarks, 
yol. 4* P» 3188. 

tinian OftheNeJiorianControverJy. 241 

tinian fays, that he drew many into error ♦. 
Proclus, in an epiftjc to the Armenians, 
A. D. 435, in which he condemns the er- 
rors of Neftorius and Theodorus of Mop- 
fueftia, did not, as Cave fays, mention the 
name of Theodorus, left he fliould too 
much offend the Armenians, to whom his 
mertiory was dear f . 

Socrates fays, that ^* Neftorlus was ac- 
*^ cufed by many as making Chrift a mere 
*• man, and as introducing the opinion of 
*.* Paulus Samofatenfis and Photinus into 
** the church J/* Marius Mercator alfo 
conllidered the herefy of Neftorius as *f ia 
** part that of Paulus Samofatenfis, in part 
'* that of Ebion, that of Marcellus of An^ 

^'-BToX^s^ 3ia rm oJeSav aJIn crvyyfaf/Lfialav ymdkfm^ Epift* 
p. 124. 

+ Anno 435, data ad Armenos cpiftola, Ncftorii ct 
Theodori Mopfuefteni errores damnavit, intaSo tamea 
Theodori nomine, ne Armenos, quibus cara erat iftius 
memoria, nimis ofFenderet. Hiiloria Lit^r^ri^i vol. x^ 
p. 423. 

T?JV tiQCXifidiav ayav. Lib, 7- cap, 32. p. 38 1, 

Vol. IV. R •' cyra^ 

2\z Of the Neftorian Controverjy^ Book IV. 

** cyra, and Photinus*/' And Theodo- 
rus de Rhaita fays, that '^ Theodoras of 
-** Mopfueftia held Chrift to be a mere ocian, 
** who, by the grace of God, deferved to be 
^' called God f-" '' The Neftorians," fays 
Cyril of Alexandria, *' called Chrift homo 
*^ deiferus^ a man bearing a God^'*^-^^^ amao 
'* adluated and impelled by the deity, and 
^' that he worked miracles by 9 power not 
^* his own § v' and that ** the fonihip 


^* and divinity of Chrift belonged to the 
^* logos only ||/* He like wife fays, that 
** Neftorius afcribed the title oi Jon of God 
*< in one fenfe to the logos, and in another 

^ Aut cui eft, vel fuit, vel erit aliquando poffibile, pes^ 
(crutari omnia, et omnia commemorare, quibus probetur 
xion novella hunc, fed vetere, partim Pauli Sai|iolaiciii« 
partim Ebionis, partim Marcelli Galatae, ct Pbotiiii efle 
eum impietate difiortum. Epift. p. 50. 

f Qui et per gradus promovens, accepta a dco gratia 
promeruit nominari deus. Bib. Pat. vol. 8. p. 6$l« 

X Si quifquam Chriftum deiferum hominem audit di* 
cere, et non magis deum fecundum verjtateiii^ anatli^ 
ma efto. Epift. voL 2. p. 26* 

§ Ibid. 

\ Ibid. p. 51. 

♦• fcufc 

Chap. II. OftheNefiortan Conir$verfy. 243 

** fenfe to him that was born of a womai>*/* 
meaning the one by nature, and the other .by 
adoption. According to Caflian, Neftorius 
faid, it was *^ the Spirit that made Chrift 
** formidable to daemons +." According; 
to Theophylaa, Ncllorius faid, that '' Chrift 
*' was deified after his refurredtion^: ;" 
meaning probably, that he received power 
and glory as a God, in confeq.uence of hij 
fufFerings, which was the doSrine of the 
proper unitarians. 

On the other hand, if we may depend 
on Marius Mercator, Neftorius denied that 
his dodlrine was the fame with that of Pan- 
lus Samofatenfis and Photinus, as they held 

* Neftorius fimulat quidem in exegefibas fuis dicere fe 
quod unus filtus, et unus dominus, fed filiationem ac do- 
minationem ad folum dei verbum rcfcrt.-~-Non ficat 
Neftorius, qui alias deo verbo feparatim^ alias ei qui eiic 
muliere fit, tanquam alteri filio, adfcriBit. Epift. p. 52. 

f Dicis quoque quod fpiritus cum fecerit daemonibus 
metuendum. De Incarnatione, lib, 7. cap. ig. Opera, 
p. jirr. 

• xp'^oj- In John, cap. 6. vol. i. p. 648. 

R z that 

244 OfthtNeJlorianControverfy. BookIV. 

that Chrift had no divinity at all*. He 
faid, ** it was a calumny by which he was 
^* charged with afferting that Chrift was a 
^* mere man ; for that he was God and man+." 
According to Caflian, alfo, Neftorius faid 
that ^^ Chrift was not a man as Adam 
** was J.'* And if wc may prcfumc that thete 
is a faithful reprefentation of the priaciples 
of Neftorius in the dialogue of Maxentius, 
who fays, that " he fuppofed the word of 
^' Cod to have been united to Chrift in the 
** womb of the virgin ||/' he did not in fad: 

differ from the orthodox, except in words. 
But he is much more generally represented 
as approaching to an unitarian. 

^ S|c et qu9 apoftolorum fant praedipabU, et hsretico- 
rum pnidentur cffugies, et m^ime quae font Samofateni 
Pauli atque Photini, quae tu fcire confingens, prorfus ig- 
nons. Nam Paulus et Pbptinus nefcivint iilii deitatem* 
Opera, p. 79. 

t Sed non nudus bomo ChriQus, O caluoiniator, fed 
bomo fimul et deus. Ibid. p.6i. 
t,De Incarnatione, lib. 7. cap. 6. p. 1093. 
I Quia antequam nafcereturi non erat qui fieret domiQiu, 
njBc polleaquam patus eft, fadus eft dominus, fed in ipfa 
prorfus vulva unitione filii del fadlus eft dominus. Bib. 
Fat, vol. 5, p. 532. 


« _ 

C H A p • 1 1. Of the Nejiorian Controverfy. 245 

Glycas fays that Neftorius confidered 
Chrift as a mere man, who received tht 
Spirit at his baptifm*. Juftinian, quot- 
ing the words of Theodorus, reprefents 
him as faying, ^^ It is abfurd to fay that 
** God was born of a virgin ; for what 
*' is that but to fay that he was of the 
*^ feed of David, made of the fubftance 
** of the virgin, and formed in her f.'* 
This is of a piece with the remarkable fpeech 
of Ne():orius, and fix others-, at the council 
of Ephefus, " We cannot call him a God 
** who is only two or three months old %J\ 

Tw rryefjtaviM ^x«y, iva-pvifAUV top Hvpicv sva rmxa^ UfAd^ *« moivw 

tYi; rs 'Bcenaym wfwytahi JwfEOf ymiJtsmiMdloxw* Annalcs, pt. 
3. p. 245- 

i En fAev yog avonlov to rev Stov m tng wflfSwa yeyanfiadm 
Uym ' mlo yog «3b slifov f nv, v en a^rtffAolog caHov 7^«v AaSii:, 
€ft Tng wiag rng vrccgStvn rsltKiAim^ nou cv auk iUj^inaffiMmif 
£pift. p. 38. 

vaiov HM rgifinvaiov M ii/vaiJtau ?J£ytiv ^«y> Clyca Axuialti^ 
pt. 4. p. 261. 

R3 i^ 

2'46 Of the Nejlorian Contraoerjy. BookIV. 

It fliould fcem, however, that Neftorius 
would not exprefsly fay, that ChHJi was not 
God, but only that what leas born of Mary 
was not foi But his enemies drew the 
inference for him. "They," fays Jufti- 
nian, ** who do not acknowledge that the 
** word of God was made fle(h, plainly 
*' make Chrift to be a mere man, and to 
** be the Son of God by favour oply, ac- 
** cording to the herefy of Neftorius, and 
•* his mafter Theodorus*/' 

Caffian more particularly compares the 
opinions of Neftorius and thofe of the unita« 
rians, faying, ^* They maintain that Chrift 
•• was a man born of Mary, and thou the 
*• fame. They fay that Chrift was made a 
•* Saviour at baptifm, thou that he became 
•* the temple of God in baptifm. They do 
^' not deny that he was made God after his 
•^ fufFcrings. Thou denieft that he was 

ii(ri TGv xf *rov >^iAoy atf^^uTTov eivcu^ km udla x»giv ww S» ovofia(sa^ 
^cu 7<syo{iS;^ «? n xoko^oiia Nerofw, Mat &soSo>gH T8 ^iidffna?M 
xvia hsyzi. Epift. p. 14. 

'* fo 

Chap. II. OftheNeJiorianControverfy. 247 

** fo even after his afcenfion */' This was 
making him more heretical than the unita- 
rians. But then Caffian had no authority 
for ,faying that the unitarians held that 
Chrift was God, in any proper fenfe of 
the word, after his fuiFerings. Indeed, if 
he was not God before, it was impofliblc 
that he fhould become fo afterwards. 

From all thefe circumftances, it is poffible 
that Neftorius might confider Chriji to have 
been as much a mere man as the proper uni- 
tarians did, till after his baptifm ; after 
which he faid that the logos (whom he 
perhaps confidered as the fecond perfon in 
the trinity) was united to him, fo that from 
this time he was the fame compound being 
that the orthodox fuppofed him to be. 
Juftinian fays, that ** Neftorius diftin- 
•* guiflied Go J the word from Chriji a iperc 

* Illi folitarium hominem ex Maria natum adferunt, et 
tu Idem. Illi fervatorem aiunt per baptifma Chrifium 
efTe fadum, tu in baptifmo templum dei fa£him. Illi cum 
deum non negant fa6ium poft paffionem, tu liegas eum 
etiam poft afcenfionem. De Incarnationc, lib. 6. cap. 14. 
p. 1066. 

R 4 ** man„ 

248 Of the Hejloxtan Controverfy. Book IV. 

" man, and afcribed to the man only all 
'* the low things that were faid of him*/* 
But it will appear by his own arguments 
in defence of his principles, that whatever 
he might occafionally give out, he differed 
very little from the unitarians. 

It is fomething remarkable that, as the 
Pelagians were charged with being unita- 
rians, or Neftorians ; fo the Neftorians arc 
likewife charged with being Pelagians, af- 
ferting, that ** Adam and Eve were created 
** mortal^ and that none of their poftcrity 
** receive any injury from their tranfgrcf- 
** fion-f-/* The^ who held this dodlrine 

* Oi Se NEfOf iovoi St/0 viH^ ticayav Pa^^f/sm^ »Exc0f i^fcnw^ 
T^ykfft T9V Seov XoyoV't »at Ksx^^^fiewg rev Xfirov 4^i\o¥ oixSfflMrcr, 
ucu fAOva ru av^^aTTu t^ raTrsiva oTrovEfAHO'tY, lEpift. p. 70* 

-f Quseilio contra catholicam iidem apud nonnuUos 
Syrorum, et praecipue in Cilicia, a Theodoro quondam 
cpifcopo oppidi Mopfuefteni jamdudum mota, nunc 
ufque penes paucos eorum adnv)dum roditur, nee ca pa- 
lam profertur fed abipfis qui de ea fornicantur, velut ca* 
tholicis, intra ecdefias interim retinentur, progenitorea 
videlicet humani generis Adam et Evam mortales a deo 
creatos, nee quemquam pofterorum fui praevaricatione 
tranfgrcffi laefiffe, fed fibi untum nocuiffe, fequcmandati 


Chap. II. OftbeNeJiorianConlrmerJy. 249 

are here fuppofed to have been in the 
church. And yet there are extant in the 
tranflation of Mercator, feme fcrmons of 
Neftorius againft Pelagius*. 

If we confider the arguments that Nefto- 
rius is reprefented as making ufe of in the 
defence of his principles, we (hall not find 
that they differed at all from thofe of the 
unitarians. It is not even abfolutely certain 
that he made any trinity in the godhead, or 
that he held the dodtrine of the perfonifi- 
cation of the logos. He certainly did not 
think that there was any proper divinity 
in Chrift, till after his birth, or indeed be- 
fore his baptifm. 

According to Cyril of Alexandria, Nefto- 
rius faid, '* How can he, who cannot be 
*' comprehended, be confined in the womb 
"of a virgin + ?" Urging the words of 
the gofpel, The book of the generation ofjefus 

reos apud deum feciile, alteram penltus nullum. Mar. 
Mercatoris Commonitorium, p. 1. 
* Opera, p. 119, &c, 

f Quomodo qui comprehend! nequit in uterq virginis 
camprehenfus eft. De Incarnatlone, vol. 2. p. 66. 

I Ckrijt, 

250 Of the Nefiorlan Controverfy. Book IV. 

ChriH^ the Jon ff David ^ the fon of Abraham ^ 
he faid, " It is plain that God the word was 
** not the fon of David •." According to 
Marius Mercator, Neftorius fatd^that ** they 
«^ who faid that Mary brought forth a God 
*' gave occafion to the Pagans to reproach 
" chriftianity-j-." Caflian fays, that Ncf- 
tori us affcrted^ with rcfpefl to the virgin 
Mary, that <* no perfon could bring forth 
'* another older than herfelf :{; ;" and that 
^^ no creature could bring forth any thing 

* Liber, inquit, generationis Jcfu Chrifti filii David 
Alii Abrahz. Manifeftum vero eft, quod deus vcrbum non 
fucrit Alius Davidis. £p. vol. 2. p. ar. 

t Qui deum fimplicitur dicit de Maria natum, prino 
omnium nobiliutcm gcntilibus proftituit dogmalii, atque 
exponcns in medium, vituperandum id ridendiuaquc pco- 
ponic* Statim enim pagtnus, cum reprehenfiooe aod* 
piens, quia de Maria deus natus eft, infert advofut chrif* 
tianum. Neceflario enim qui dicic fimilittr de Maria Da- 
tum deum, et non ilium conjunAione duarum natunniai^ 
divinx fcilicet ct bumanx, efle reputaverit, audicC ; ego 
natum et mortuum deum et fepultum adorare non quco. 
Opera, p. 70. 

X Nemo enim, inquis, antiquiorem fe partt. Dvlocar* 
natione, lib. 2. cap. 2 p. 973. 

X '' unlike 

Chap. II. Of the Neftorian Controverjy. 251 

" unlike itfeif *." With this view he al- 
ledged, John ii. i . That which is born of the 
Jlejh isJleJJo'^. 

Like the proper unitarians, Neftorius ar- 
gued from Chrift being called a man ; as 
from Paul faying, By man came deaths and by 
man came alfo the refurreSiion of the deadly ; 
aind from his being called a child^ Take' the 
child and his mother^ and fee into Egypt ^. 
Againft thy holy child J efus^ Herod and P on-* 

* Quod diffimilem fibi res quaelibet parere non poffit* 
De Incarnatione, lib. 2. cap, 2. p. ICS9. 

t Cum deus dicat, quod de carne natuin eft, caro eft, 
quod autem natum. eft de fpiritu; fpiritus eft, ; quomodo 
puerum natum ex foemina non unitione, fed natura, dcum 
aiTeris ? Maxentius in Bib. Pat. vol. 5. p. 521. 

X Qi^ioniam enim inquis, per hommem mors^ ideo et per 
hbminem refurredlio mortuorum.^ Caflian De Incarna« 
tione, lib. 7. cap. 7. p. 1095. 

§ Tolle, inquit, pUerum et matrem ejus, et fugein 
^gyptum, futurum eft enim, ut Herodes quaerat perdere 
puerum. £t rurfus : defun<Sli funt omnes, qui quaerebant 
animam pueri. Nunquid nam di£lum eft. Defun£li 
funt, qui quaerebant animam dei ? Aut: tolle deumet 
fuge in Egyptum ? Maxentius in Bib. Pat. vol. 5. p; 

518. . . . 



252 Of the Nefiorian Controverfy. Book IV. 

tius Pilate have confpired*. He like wife 
urged the abfurdity of fuppofing the logos 
to have been fuckled^ and to increafe in 
wifdom -j-. 

According to Caflian, Neftorius likewifc 
argued from Chrifl: being faid to be jujiijkd 
in ihefpirit %. 

Thcodorus, who preceded Neftorius, faid, 
that being baptized into the name of Chrift 
was no more a proof that Chrift was Godj^ 
than being baptized into the name of Mofes 
is a proof that he was God ; as we learn 
from an extradt from a book of his, pro- 
duced at the council of Conftantinoplc, 

* Convenerunt enim vere in civitate ifta advcrfum fane 
turn puerum tuuni Jefum quern unxifti, Herodes et Pontius 
Pilatus. Maxentius, in Bib. Pat. vol. 5. p. 520. 

\ NeceiTt: eft enim eos qui appropriationis nomen ita 
vexant, ct in diverfum trahunt, deum verbum participem 
conftituere ladationis, et increment! paulatim accept!, timi- 
ditatifque tempore paflionis declarata:, &c. Cyril of Alex- 
andria^ Ep. Opera, vol. s. p. 21. 

:t Jam primum enim hoc quod ais, quia juftitia repte- 
verit quod creatum eft ; et hoc apoftolico vis teftimonio 
^omprobare, quod dicat, apparuit in carne, juftificatus eft 
in fpiritu. De Incarnatione, lib. 7- cap. 18^ p. mo. 

A. D. 

Chap. IL Of the Neftorian Controverjy. ^53 

A. D. 553*. He likewife faid that Tho- 
mas's exclamation. My Lord and my God^ 
was no acknowledgment of the divinity of^ 
Chrift, but an expreilion of praife to God 
for raifing up Chrift from the des^l t« 
Thefe are properly unitarian arguments. 

Neftorius evidently confidered Chrift as 
being a mere man in his fufFerings. ** He 
'* faid he knew no God the word, the maker 
^ of all things, who was impaffible, invi- 
*' fible, and unalterable, and not to bq cir- 
*' cumfcribed, fufFering death on the crofs, 
•* on a vile piece of wood J.*' In reply to 

* Ejufdem Theodori ex commento quod eft in a£^is 
apoAolorum, libro primo, in quo dicit, quod baptizari in 
nomine Jefu Chrifti, fimile eft fcripto illi, quod baptizari 
funt in Moyfe, et vocari chriftianos, fimile eft illi, quod 
vocantur Platonici, et Epicurei, et Manichaei, et Mardo- 
nifiae ab inventoribus dogmatum. Binnii Concilia, vol. a* 
pt. 2. p. 57. 

+ Thomas quidem cum fic credidiffet, dominus meuji et 
deus meus, dicit, non fpfum dominum ct deum dicens 
^non enim refurre^lionis fcientia docebat et deum eile euoi 
qui refurrexit) fed quafi pro miraculofo fa<Sti> deum coU 
laudat; - ^ibid. 

X Quomodo deus verbum omnium conditor, impalpa- 
bilis, invifibilis, inalterabilifque, et circumfcriptioneni non 


254 Of the Neftorian Contrmerfy. Book IV, 

this language of Neftorius, his antagonift 
fcrupled not to talk in a ftyle^that nothing 
but the heat of controverfy would have kd 
him to adopt. ** I anfwer," fays he, " that 
*' the word of God fufFered death on the 
** crofs, in his own flefli, that he might 
*^ deliver us from death and corruption*," 
But when he explained himfelf, he only 
meant that the divine logos, without actu- 
ally feeling any pain, only appropriated to 
itfelf the fufFerings of the body to whicl^ 
it was united, as has been explained before. 
If this account of Neftorius's principles 
and mode of reafoning may be depended 
upon, he did not in fad: differ frdm the 
unitarians ; and the popularity of his doo* 
trine, and the fpread of it in the eaft, may 
be confidered as a proof of the leaning that 
the common people ftill had for their ori- 
ginal principles. Sandius fays. It is.eafy 

fufilnens, in vili ligno crucem pafTus eft et mortem ? Rer 
fpondeo. Verbum dei mortem et crucem in propria caroc 
pafTum efTe dicimus, ut nos a morte et corruptione libcraret 
Cyril of Alexandria, De Incar. Opera, voK 1. p* 66. 

* Ibid. 


Chap. II. Of the NeJlorianControverfy. 255 

to prove that there are five times more Nef? 
torians than papifts. Hift. p, up, Th^y 
were probably in all parts of Europe, as 
well as in Alia. It appears from the pro- 
ceedings of the council of Hifpalis^ A. D. 
657, that there wejfe both Neilorians and 
Eutychians in Spain at that time *• 

If we confider the infwers that were made 
to Neftorius, we fhall find that his oppo- 
nents went upon the fame principle that 
they would have (done in anfwering Paulas 
Samofatenfis or Photinus ; except that his 
making a trinity in the divine Beiog laid 
him open to fome attacks, to^ whicli the 
proper unitarians were not expofed. 

Cafiian treated him as a proper unitarian, 
when, in reply to him, he faid, ** There 

* Tertia decima profecutione breviter narrandum puta- 
vimus, ad refutationem eorundem hapreticorum qui duas 
Ikaturas Chrifti poft unionem delirantes confundunt, etpaf- 
fibilem in eo divinitatis fubftantiam aflerunt. Contra quo- 
rum blafphemias oportet nos in una perfona Chrifti ge- 
minae naturae proprietatem oftendere, paflionemque ejus in 
fola humanitatis fufceptione manifeftare ; ut fi forte aliqui 
ftultorum, hujus fententiae errore decepti funt, dum ifta 
legerint, refipifcant, redlaeque fidei veritatem firmiter tc- 
rieant. Binnii Concilia, vol. 2. pt. 2* p. 329 » 

^* will 


256 Of the Nefiorian Ccntroverjy. Book IV. 

*^ will be no difFerencc between Chrift and 
** the faints, as they had God in them * ;" 
and fo did Theodoret, when he faid, that 
•• Neftorianifm is a denial of the whole 
*^ cBConomy of the Son of God; fince it 
** was not God who undertook it ; for the 
** logos did not empty itfelf, nor aflame the 
^* form of a flavc/' Opera, vol. 5, p. ^y. 
On the fame principle Cyril of Alexandria, 
in anfwer to Neftorius, fays, ** If Chrift 
** was a mere man, how could his death 
*• profit us "f* . " On the fame princi- 
ple alfo an orthodox bifliop in Zonaras, 
charged Neftorius with worfhipping a 
man J. 

But Neftorius being fuppofed to hold 
that there was a proper Son of God in the 
trinity expofed him to the objcdion of 

* Hoc modo ergo nihil inter eum et omnes qui fuerunt 
fandos homines eife afTcris : quia omnes utique fanfii ho- 
miiies deum in fe habuerunt. Dq Incarnatione, lib. 5. cap* 
3. p. 1021. 

hfOTTs (puaiv oaih^aTTTi ^avatlog, Bionii Concilia, voU i^ pt« 
2. p. 'I5. 


CnAV. 11. Of the Nejloridn Controvert . 257 

making two Chrifts^ and two Sons of God, 
of which great advantage 'was taken by his 
opponents *. Theodoret, who was thought 
at one time to favour Neftorius, fays, that 
he fell under the fame cehfure* Becaufe 
he faid that there were two natures in 
Chrift, they charged him with holding 
that there were two Sons -f*. Cyril fays, 
*^ If there be tvvo Sons of God, how 
"is the faith one, and baptifm one, and 
** into which of them are we baptifedf ?'* 
In confequence of making two natures 
in Chrift, which was faid to be making 
two ChrtftSy Neftorius was charged with 
holding z. quaternityf infteadofa trinity)^. 
This quaternity^ confifted of the three per- 

* Annon atque manifeftilfime duos effe Chriflos dicit. 
Cyril of Alexandria, Epift. Opera, vol. 2. p. 48. 

-|* Ax^flc Tw ra; 3yo ^t/o'eij ofjLo>^m rs izavc^H %fir8, Ji/o y^syn^t 
fengvrleivviisg. Epift. 1 45. Opera, vol. 3. p. 1023. • 

X Tiag 3k km fjua 'snrtg i n 'swg ev ro ^7fli<rfjta ; u ya^ mm ivo 
xdia rivocg ei; riva 'airBvofJLSv ; rn; SKStvav af/aSioc^ e^ov av tin ^fywv, 
tig re nvo; ovofjia pe^aTrlia-fM^x ; nai roi paTflia-fjialog oviog swg* 
Binnii Concilia, vol. I. pt. 2. p. 45. 

II Quaproptem trinitatem non quaternitatem adpramus, 
Cyril of Alexandria, Horn. Opera, vol. 2. p. 73. 

Vol- IV. S fon$ 

258 OftheNeJiorianControverfy. Book IV. 

fons in the orthodox trinity, one of which 
was the logos, or the Son, and the fourth 
was Jefus who was born of the virgin. 

Had Ncftorius contented himfelf with 
faying that there were two natures in Chrift, 
there would have been nothing in his doc- 
trine that could juftly have offended thcS 
orthodox of his age; but it was his not 
making a fufficiently perfect and infeparable 
union between the divine and human nature 
of Chrift, that gave the offence. The 
orthodox fuppofed that the hypoftatical union ^ 
as it was afterwards called, commenced at 
the moment of the exigence of the human 
nature, or the very inflrant of the concep- 
tion of Jefus in the womb, and that it was 
never afterwards difTolved, not even by the 
feparation of the foul and body of Chrift 
by death. Whereas Ncftorius coniidered 
Jefus as having been a mere maa till the 
Spirit of God came upon him at his bap- 
tifm ; and alfo that he was a mere man in his 
fufFerings and death. Perhaps they thought 
that after Jefus was grown to be a complete 
man, it was too late for the hypoftatical union 

3 t<> 

Chap. II. OffyNefiotlanControverfy. 259 

to take place. Otherwife, as all depended 
upon that union ^ it, could not, one would 
imagine, have been thought to be of much 
confequence at what time that union took 
place. But as Theodoras is quoted by 
Juftinian, he did not make a fufficiently 
perfed union between the divine and hu- 
man nature of Chrift, For he compared 
it to the union between man and wife*/' 
Juftinian had juft before obferved, that 
Theodorus ufed the term nature^ when he 
ought to have ufed /^r/&^ "f-. 

It is not to my prefent purpofe to 
t^ke any notice of the dodlrine Eutychcs, 
who, in oppofition to the Neftorian doc- 
trine, of two natures in Chrift, held that 
he had only one nature. Both he and 
Apollinarius are faid to have had an opinion 
with refpecft to the body of Chrift, the 
fame with that of fome of the Gnoftics, 

* £i^ T£ oTTfp wf wf im re rs av^o;^ not rn; ywawo; fnaWj »i 
re axili skti 3l^, o^^a cra^i fAia^ eiTTOi/Asv av nai nf/^ei; eix6la>i HcSa 
roy mg evaaeug Tvoyov, «? re nKeli ei<Ti Si/o ^fovmra^ cDOi ev 3n^ow7i 
ru¥ ^ujEuv ^laHEK^iiJLevav. Epifi* p. 74. 

t A'jTohiiavleg rotvw roy iyija-eSn ^eodapov ra$ fyaitg odli mpoff»' 
Trav y^yovJa*, Ibid. 

S 2 viz. 


26o Of the Neftorian Controvert . Book I V* 

viz. that it came from heav^en, and was not 
derived from his mother* This opinion 
is afcribed to him, as well as to Valentinus, 
and Marcion, by Vigilius Martyr*. It ap- 
pears that the orthodox of that age had 
great difficulty in keeping equally clear of 
the two oppofite opinions of Neftorius and 
Eutyches, of which Vigilus Martyr makes 
great complaint f. 

* Quoniam Eutychiana haerefis in id impietatis prolapfa 
eft errore, iit non folum verbi et carnis unam credat effe 
naturam, veruni etiam hanc eandem carnem, non de facfo 
Maris virginis corpore adfumptam, fed de ccelo dicaf, 
juxta infandum Valentini et Marcionis errorem fuifle de- 
du<ftam. Contra Eutychen, lib. i; Bib. Pat. vol. 5* 
p. 560. 

f Si enim paululum in utramque partem nutantia vo- 
lueris inferre veftigia, illico capieris. Inter Neftorii ergo 
quondam ecclefiae Conftantinoplitanae, non reftoris fed 
diffipatoris, non pafloris fed praedatoris facrilegum dogma 
ct Eutychetis nefarium et deteflabilem fedam, ita ferpen- 
tinse grafTationis fefe calliditas temperavit, ut utrumque 
fine utriufque periculo plerique vitare non poffint, dxim fi 
quis Neftorii perfidiam damnat Eutychetis putatur errori 
fuccumbere, rurfum dum Eutychianae haerefis impietatem 
deftruit, Neftorii arguitur dogpia erigere* Contra Euty'* 
chen, lib. 1. Bib. Pat. vol. 5, p, 546. 


Chap. If. Of the Nejlorian Controverfy. 261 

What is fomething mor© to my purpof? 
is, the language of Peter Fullo, who diftin- 
guifhed himfelf by an addition to the famous 
trifagion, the fentiment of which was, that one 
of the trinity was crucified for us, as this was 
thought to favour the unitarian dodrine, in 
the form in which it was held by thePatripaA 
fians, or the philofophical unitarians. That 
the divine nature of Chrift fufFered, we have 
feen to have been the language of Cyril 
of Alexandria and others who oppofed Nef- 
torius 5 and therefore it might be thought 
to be the higheft orthodoxy of the times^ 
But extraordinary as it may feem, the Very 
fame expreffions were adopted by thofe who 
were moft highly orthodox, and by the phi- 
lofophical unitarians. Some of his contem- 
poraries fay, ihat Peter Fullo favoured the 
dodtrine of Neftorius and Sabellius. He 
is particularly charged with this by Fauf- 
tus, biihop of Appollonia"^. By Juftin^ a 

fJela/tAE^a, Ta anfjuuvovla nfJi'iVi ugoli n an ^eofi>ssi to 'sjo^oi criaTm^ 
^Ev Oi/aX£v7iv« 3by/>ta avz'haQB^ feat a^Heflcu nsa^ uimv u <rci)%^ioi evav^ 

^pcoTTYi^i^, Kai oil Eig TO Mavixaiftjv Joy/wa, AfEia re, xai A^oX^ivas- 
piH^ Hai liav7^ T8 "SafAOJaleu; 'Bjs^imEX^s* Zonaras, p. 533, 

S 3 bifhop 

262 Of the Nejlorian Controverfy. Book IV. 

bifhop in Sicily, he was charged witb hold:- 
ing the opinion of Paulus Samofatenfis *, 
and by Pope Felix III. with going beyond 
Paulus Samofatenfis, Photinus, and Arte- 
mon-(-. But notwithftanding this, it is 
pretty clear that P. Fullo held a doftrinc 
oppofite to that of Neftorius, viz. that 
Chrift had but one nature, which was the 
divine, and confequently that this divine na- 
ture fufFered ; from which he and his parti- 
sans were called Theopafchites, a word of 
the fame fignification in Greek that Pii/ri- 
pajjians is of in Latin, though they were ap- 
plied to very different kinds of men. Ni- 
cephorus exprefsly afferts, that Peter Fullo 
introduced the Theopafchite dodrine j:* 

* Zonaras, p. 538. 

(lOffoSsag^ 1^ ^aleiva^ t^ AfefAa. Zonaras, p. 543. 

X n^( h tonHms to kot exsivo xcu^s mcu m rm OsosroBOxA^ 
ai^sa-ig avOig nala (uk^qv cofa^ncraa'ay ttg au^ wXnmy mpcm me9 
tua^nv ejrii^wa • fMK^av yag 'BjaucotiABvnif^ ^sCnfog vo^nr toiAv Mtu 
n £| Bxiivs 'BJo>swcsfa>Jog vi^a.^ a^o^polt^w aye^^imis • TCuHns 9t mpm* 
log yemlu^ Hel^of vuivog Byevelo^ u Kvafeug ry to CTftWuytfir • o( rm 
rfia-ayia Vfxvay ag fjLOi km avu^sv ei^ou^ vrpoa^niarf Biiveu ^fftCn^ 
oTrHoTiMim. Hifl. lib; i8. cap. 52. vol. 2. p. 879. 

c ji A p. 

Chap.IIL OftbePrifcilRanifis.^c. ^63 


An Account of the Pfifcillianiji^ and PauH^ 


TVToTwiTHSTANDiNG the oppofition be- 
tween the principles of the unitarians^ 
and thofe of the Gnoftics^ in the early 
ages of chriftianity, they being always con- 
fidered as oppofite herefies^ the former con^ 
fifting chiefly of the common and un- 
learned people, and the latter of the phi- 
lofophical and learned % yet, in the fourth 
century, we find a mixture of both thefe 
fyftems in the Prifcillianifts in the weft, 
and feme time after in the Paulicians in 
the eaft. This mixture, however, did not 
relate to the dodtrine concerning the per^ 
fan of Chrijl (for in that refpeft the tcnett 
of the unitarians, and thofe of the Gnof- 
tics were neceflarily diflFerent and oppofite) 
• but to other opinions belonging, to the fyf- 

5 4 tem 

264 Of the Prifcillianifts Book IV. 

tem of Gnofticifm. As the Prifcillianifts ^ 
and Paulicians, may be faid to have been 
unitarians, I fhall give the beft account that 
I have^heep able to colled: concerning both 
thefe fedls, though I am fenfible that it 
xnuft be very defcftive ; fince their enemies, 
from whom alone we hear any thing of them, 
appear to have been fo violently prejudiced . 
againft them, that what they fay of theiTi 
muft be heatd with great allowance. 

The Prifcillianifts had their name from 
Prifcillian, a perfon of rank and fortune ia. 
Spain, and afterwards bifhop of Abila, who 
is faid to have received his principles from 
one Mark, who came from Memphis, ia 
Egypt, and who is faid to have been a 
Manichaean. The bifhops of Spain taking 
umbrage at the fpread of the dodrinc of 
Prifcillian, procured an order from the em- 
peror Gratian, for his banifhment from that 
country. He was permitted to return, but 
was banifhed a fecond timei and by order 
of the emperor Maximus, was put to death. 
A.D. 384. This cruelty was much ex- 

Chap. III. and Paulicians. 265 

claimed againft by the bifliops of Gaul, 
and of Italy; the opinions of Prifcillian 
fpread much more after this time than 
they had done before, and they continued, 
fays Sandius (Hift. p. 117.) till the twelftk 

That the Prifcillianifts held fome Gnof- . 
tic principles can hardly be doubted, be- 
caufe they are univerfally afcribed to them. 
Leo the Great, their bitter enemy, is juftly 
fufpedted of calumniating them. But if 
there be any colour of truth in his account, 
they muft have confidered matter as the 
caufe of all evil, and have thought unfa- 
vourably of the body. According to him, 
they thought that the devil was not made by 
God, but arofe from chaos and darknefs 
(Opera,p. 167.) they condemned marriage j 
they faid that the bodies of men were made 
by the devil, and they denied the refur- 
reftion. The fouls of men, they faid, 
were of a divine fubftance, and that, having 
offended in heaven, they were fent into 
bodies as a punifhment of their fins. They 


266 Of the Prifcillianijis Book IV. 

moreover faid^ that men are fubje<3: to a 
jftate of neceflity, to the power of theftars, 
and to fin. 

With refpeft to the pcrfon of Chrift, 
Auftin, who is rather a more unexceptionble 
evidence than Leo, fays, that *' they agreed 
** with Sabellius, and maintained, that the 
*' Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were one*/' 
The fame is advanced by Leo, who alfo 
fays, that " they agree with the Arians, in 
•* faying, that the Son is inferior to the Fa- 
** ther ; that there was a time when the Son 
*' was not, before w^hich time God could 
** not be called a Father, and that Chrift is 
** called the Son of God becaufe he was 
** born of a virgin, which,*' he fays, '* they 
** would not have dared to do, if they had 
^^ not drawn in the poifon of Paulus Samo- 
•* fatenfis and Photinus ^J' 

* De Chrifto Sabellianam fedam tenent eundum ipfam 
efTe dicentes ; non folum (ilium, fed etiam patrem, et fpi- 
litum fanflum. dtalogus, Hxr. Opera, voL 6. p. 29. ' 

t Patris, et filii, et fpiritus fandii, itnam atque eandem 
aflerutit efle perfonam ; tanquam idem deus nunc pater nunc 
filius, nunc fpiritus fandus, nominatim nee alius, fit qui 


Chap. III. and PauKcians. z6j 

Prifcillian is charged with faying, that 
the Son of God could not be born; and this 

expreffion of his is particularly cenfured in 
a council held at Toledo, A. D. 438 *• 

That the Prifcillianifts were not, in all 
refpeds, Gnoftics, or Manichaeans, is evi- 
dent from their receiving, according to 
Auftin, all the books of fcripture, and even 
the apochrycal ones ; though he fays they 
mifinterpreted, or perverted them -f*. 

genuit^ alius qui genitus fit, alius qui de utroque procei&t 
— quod blafphemiae genus de Sabellii opinione fump- 
ferunt cujus difcipuli etiam Patripaffiani merito nuncu- 
pantur. Cap. 1. p. 166 Arianorum fufFragantur errori, 
dicentium quod pater fiiio prior fit, quia fuerit aliquando 
fine filio et tunc pater eife coeperit quando filium genuerit. 
Cap. 2. ibid. AiTerunt, ideo, unigenitum did filium del 
quia folus fit natus ex virgine, quod utique non auderent 
dicere nifi Pauli Samofateni et Pbotini virus haufiflfent. 
Cap. 3. Ibid, 

* Ubi Prifcillianus innafcibilem cffe filium dixit, conftat 
hoc contra Nicaenam fidem efTe di£lum : atque ideo Prif- 
cillianum hujus did! authorem, cum ipfius dI6li perverfi- 
tate, et quos male condidit libros, cum ipfo autore cxl^ 
^emno* Binnii Concilia, vol. i. p. 601. 

+ Prifcillianiftae vero accipiunt omnia, et canonica, ct 
apocrypha fimul. Sed quaecunque qua contra cos funt, 


268 Of the Prifcillianijis Book IV. 


The Prifcillianifts were chiefly famous 
for their aufterity and mortifications, and 
therefore they were probably the fame that 
Philafter calls Abjiinentes^ in Gaul, Spain, 
and Aquitain. 

Similar, in many refpeds, to the Prifcil- 
lianijfts in the Wefl, were the Paulicians in 
the eaft, who had their name, as it is faid, 
from one Paul, who adopted and modified 
the dodrine of Manes. But we are as unabk 
to colled; a fatisfadory account of the Pauli* 
cians, as we are of thofe of the Prifcillianifts* 
When this fed arofe is uncertain, but it is 
faid to have been revived by one Conftan-^ 

tine in the feventh century. They were 


cruelly ufed, and almoft fupprefled by fome 
of the Emperors. They were encouraged 
by Nicephorus in the ninth century ; but af- 
ter a *Tiprt interval of reft, they were perfe-i 
cutedwith more violence than ever by Leo 
the Armenian, and the Emprefs Theodora, 
.during this perfecution fome of the Pauli^ 

in fu£ perverGtatis fenfus, aliqUando callida et aftuta, ali« 
quando ridicula et hebeti cxpofitione pervertunt. £pift, 
251. Opera, Sup. p. 480. 


<^HAP, III. and PauUcians. 269 

cians fettled in Bulgaria. But being op- 
preffed there, they took refuge in Italy, and 
other parts of the weft, where they were 
called Patarinij and Cathari^ or Gazan\ and 
in France Albigenjes^ from the town of Albi, 
where a fynod that condemned them was 
held. Of their tenets, under this laft de- 
nomination, an account was given, vol. 3. 
p. 368. But it is very pofliblc that a con- 
fiderable change might have taken place in 
their opinions. *^' ^ 

What they held of the Manichaean fyftem 
does not diftin<ftly appear. ^ Peter of Sicily 
intimates, that they did not own themfelves 
to be Manichaeans *. But they pretended 
to great purity and fimplicity. They re- 
jedled, it is faid, all external ordinances, as 
baptifm and the Lord's fupper, and did not ' 
chufe to call their minifters priejls^ but 
fcribesy or /ecretaries, or companions in tra-^ 
vel +. 

That the PauUcians were unitarians, is 
evident, from their being faid by Thco- 

* Lardner's Credibility, vol. 6. p. 426. 
'f Ibid. p. 427. 


270 Of the Prlfcilliani/is Book IV. 

phanes to deny the incarnation*. Thcy^ 
were numerous^ Sandius fays, in 1 191 *f-« 

Notwithftanding the obfcurity iii which 
this fubjecft is involved, it is fufficiently 
evident, that, among the great numbers 
who feparated themfclves from the com- 
munion of the Catholic church (among 
whom there would,, ho doubt, be a great 
diverfity of opinions in a variety of refpe(9:s) 
and by whatever names they were diftin* 
guifhed in different countries, and different 
ages, there were always many who rejected 
the doftrine of the trinity, and who joined 
the reformers of the fixteenth century. 
But unhappily the great leaders in that re- 
formation, Luther and Calvin, retaining 
that doftrine, and laying great Ilrefs upoii 
it, the anti-trinitarians were in moft places 

X^is^avM m 3e a}<n&£ia Uaoxmcxvot^ oOivs^ fm iuvofASvoi ra fjufoafu 
Eovlav ioy/Aotla va^efjifcuveiv m roiavh M^ofaaet rag o^ao&u; mctft' 
vo^evoVi KmroeHmv rov la^cuof^cva fjic0iafi(ovleg n^ Vfofnh j^ mai- 
7m% i^ Tfpf xeuvoibiiav auls &jr avalpoTPH rn; m a-apiH cmavofuof ts 
Kupia mfjtsuv Irvn xp^T>i a<nralo(jisvoi. Cbronographia| p. 425* 
t Hift. p. 393. 


Chap. III. and PauUcians. 271 

treated as the worft of heretics, and cruelly 

perfccuted by all other denominations of 


For fome time the unitarians, found an 

afylum in Poland, apd they are faid to be at 
prefent in confiderable numbers in TranfyU 
vania, and other provinces in the eaftern 
parts of Europe. But in this country wc 
are very ignorant of the real ftate of chrif- 
tianity in thofe parts. However, as the 
overbearing influence of the church of 
Rome is decreafing every day, and freedom 
of enquiry is encouraged, it may be hoped 
that great numbers of intelligent chriftians, 
who have been fecretly unitarians, will de- 
clare themfelves openly to be fo ; and as 
truth and good fenfe have an infinite ad- 
vantage over abfurdity and error, half a 
century will probably produce a great revo- 
lution in the chriftian world. Men will 
awake from the miferable delufion they have 
been fo long under, as from a dream, and 
wonder at the long continuance of their 
infatuation. Such a hiftory as I. am now 


2y% Of the Pri/cillianifis, &c. Book IV. 

concluding, if it be thought worth while 
to read it at all, will then be perufed with 
aftonifhment ; and if the original writers, 
from which it is collected, were not in 
being, the ftrange tale would gain no cre- 


t m 3 

t H E 



^ conneSied View of all the principal Articles 

in the preceding Hijlory. 

AFTER fo particular a detail as I have 
given in this work of a variety of 
do£irines, and of the arguments by which 
they were fupported, together with the 
caufes of their rife and progrefs, it may not 
be unufeful, at the concluiion of the whole, ^ 
to recite the order in which they arofe and 
fucceeded one another, efpecially as it is a 
hiftory that is particularly complex in its 
own nature, and perhaps unparalleled for- 
Vol. IV, T . the 


i \ — 

274 The Conclufion. Sect. I. 

the greatnefs of the efFefts which the fubjed 
43f it has produced in the world, and the fim* 
plicity of the caufes from which every fuc- 
ceflive ftep in the progrefs of it has arifen. 

The opinions concerning the perfon of 
Jefus Chrift have always been thought, 
though without any fufficient reafon, to be 
of the greateft confequence to chriftianity 
itfelf. Whereas his bufinefs, like that of 
any other prophet, being nothing more 
than to deliver a meffage from God, and to 
confirm it by miracles, it was not, in reality, 
of any confequence whatever, wA<?, or what 
he himfelf was. But, being the founder of 
a new religion, his difciples and followers, 
who bore his name^ foon began to think 
themfelves interefted in the perjonal cbarac^^ 
ter and dignity of their mafter ; and as they 
were frequently reproached with being the 
difciples of a man who was nothing more 
than a crucified malefador, they were foli- 
citous, by every method they could deviie, 
to remove this, reproach. Not content 
with alledging) that though their mafler 
died the death of a malefador^ he had not 


Sect. I. ^be Conclufion. ±j^ 

lived the life of one, that his death had an- 
fwered the greatcft purpofes in the plan of 
divine providence, and that God had fliew* ' 
ed his approbation of him, by railing him 
from the dead (which was certainly fuffi- 
cient for their purpofe) the more learned f^ 
among them availed themfelves of the phi- \ 
lofophy of their age, and faid that Chrift 
was a perfon of much higher rank than he 
appeared to be, even much higher than that 
of any other man. 

Their philofophy taught them that man 
confifts of two principles, or parts, wiz.foul 
and body^ and that the fouls of all men had 
pre-exifted, having been originally unimbo- 
dicd fpirits^ which, for fome reafon or 
other, had been fent down from heaven to 
animate mortal bodies ; that fouls were of 
very different origins, ^ and that fome of 
them which were fent into the world for 
great and particular purpofes, might be im-. 
mediate emanations from the Divine Being ^ » 

himfelf. However, as before this philofo- 
phy was introduced among chriftians,v it, 
was the univerfally received opinion, that 

T 2 . . Chrift 

/ / . •■/ 


/ / . . .''»■/ 1 ,' .- >» ,.',■,•,- 7 • / / . //Li' 

276 The Conclufion. Sect. I. 

Chrift was In himfelf a mere man, and it 
was even generally thought that he was 
born as other men were, viz. of two human 
parents, and that he continued to be no- 
thing more than a mere man, till he was 
of full age, when he was impowered to 
work miracles, and came into public life ; 
all that thefe philofophers could advance at 
firft, with any probability of being attend- 
ed to (and indeed all that they would na- 
turally think of themfelves) was, that fome 
great fuper-angelic fpirit had been fent 
down from heaven, and was attached to the 
man Jefus, or the foul of Jefus, in fome 
fuch manner as it was ufually fuppofed 
that daemons pofTeiTed the fouls of men; 
and that it was this fuper-angelic being 
that was properly tAe Chrifty or the perfon 
fent down, or comroiffioned by God, to 
come into the world for*fo great a purpofc. 
This was the doiftrine of the earlier Gnoftics, 
fuch as Cerinthus. 

But, as it had been the opinion of many, 
that angels were only temporary and un- 
fubftantial forms, in the ihape of men, fd 


Sect. I. T^be Conclufion^ ijy 

as to appear like men to the fenfes^ but that 
they did not really confift of flefh and blood ; 
x)thers of thefe philofophers thought, that 
what was called the man Jefus, was nothing 
more than one of thefe unfubftantial forna« 
of men; fo that the fuper-angelic fpirit, 
or the Chrift^ had no proper body or fqul 
«t all, that it was incapable of feeling, 
and not fubjedl to death. Thefe were 
thofe Gnoftics who were called Docetae; 
and this progrefs had been made in the 
time of the apoftles. 

Prefently after the death of the apoftles, 
and perhaps before that of John, fome of 
thefe philofophers profefling chriftianity, 
introduced more of their fyftem into it; 
^nd confidering matter fo be the fource of 
all evil, and the world to have been the 
work of a malevolent being, they thought 
that this fame evil being, or one of a fimilar 
difpofition, had been the author of the law 
of Mofes, and that the Supreme God, who 
was a being of perfedt goodnefs, had not beta 
known to mankind till Chrift came to re- 
veal him. Alfo holding ma ttir ^nd the 

T3 6ocfy, 

.. -J 

•278 T6e Concliijion. Sect, L 

body^ which was compofed of it, in great 
contempt, they did not believe the /c- 
furredion ; which, indeed, had bqen de« 
nied by all their predeceiTors, in the time 
of the apoftles. 

The dodtrines which contain the outline 
of what was called Gnofticifm (from the 
the holders of them boafting of the fupe- 
riority of their knowledge) having been di- 
redtly oppofed by the apoftles, and treated 
by them with great indignation, the gene- 
rality of chriftians- held the Gnoftics in 
abhorrence, <ponfidered them as bereticSy and 
refufed to admit them into their focieties. 
But the fame caufes continuing to operate, 
chriftians being ftill held in contempt for the 
meannefs of their mafter, and being ftill de- 
firous to remove this reproach, by advancing 
his perfonal rank and dignity, they had re- 
courfe to another method of doing it. 

Having been taught by the Platonic 
philofophers, among whom they received 
their education, that there were three great 
principles in nature, viz. the Supreme 
Being, or the goody his mind f nous J and 


Sect. I. T!be Conclufion. ij^ 

the foul of the worlds and the Jewifh philo-^ 
fophers who had embraced thefe doctrines 
having already advanced, that the fecond of 
thefe principles^ which they denominated 
logos^ was an emanation from the fupreme 
Being, and the caufe of all the appearances 
of God recorded in the Old Teftament, 
fome of which were in the form of men i 
and having alfo taught that it was this logos 
that, by the order of the fupreme Being, 
had made the vifible world ; that he was the 
image of God, his only begotten Son, and 
that he was even entitled to the appellation 
of God in an inferior fenfe of the word ; 
thefe chriftian philo fophers Imagined that 
it was this logos that was united to the man 
Jefus Chrift, and that, on this account, he 
nlight be called God. 

For fome time, however, the more learn- 
ed chriftians contented themfelves with fup- 
pofing, that the union between this divine 
logos and the man Chrift Jefus was only 
temporary. For they held that this divine 
efflux^ which, like a beam of light from the 
fun, went out of God, and was attached to 

T 4 the 

28o ^M Conclufion. Ssct. I, 

the pcrfon of Chrift, to enable him to work 
miracles while he was on earth, was drawn 
into God again when he afcended into hea« 
yen, and had no more occafion to exert a 
miraculous power. This fyftem may be 
called pbibjophical unitarianifmj being that 
which was held by Sabellius, MarcelluSy 
and other learned unitarian chriftians. 

It was afterwards maintained (and Juftiq 
Martyr, who had been a Platonic philofo- 
pher, was perhaps the firft who fuggefted 
the idea) that this union of the logos to the 
perfon of Chrift was not temporary, but per- 
manent. With the Jewifh philofpphers the 
learned chriflians likewife held that this lo« 
gos was emitted from God when he made the 
world, and was the medium of all the divine 
communications under the Old Teftament, 
before he became united to the man Chrift 
Jefus, who, they faid, had alfo a proper hu- 
man foul, as well as a body, like other men. 
For the great body of chriftians haying al- 
ways confidered hini as being a man, the 
philofophers among them did not at firft 
depart fo far from tl^is opinion, as to fay 


k . 1- • 

Sect. I. Xhe Conclufion. 281 

that he had no proper human foul; and 
the logos^ whiph they fpakfc of as being 
united to him, they always reprcfented as 
^n efflux from, or ah attribute of the Father^ 
being his proper wlfdom, poiioer^ and otbep 
operative perfedlions. 

Still, however, out of refpe<9: to the opi- 
nion which prevailed among the unlearned 
chriftians, who knew nothing of this doc- 
trine of the divine logos, but thought 
Chrift to be a man and a prophet, and who 
would have been fhocked at the dodlrine 
of more Gods than one^ the philofophical 
chriftians, though they faid that Chrift, on 
account of the divine logos that was united 
to him, might be called a God^ acknow-* 
Jedged that it was in an inferior fenfe, that 
the divinity, and even the being of the Son, 
was derived from the Father 5 and that 
when the one God was fpoken of, it was the 
Father only (who was the proper fountain 
of deity) that was intended. Nay, in oppo- 
fition to the philofophical unitarians, who 
aflerted that the divinity of the Father, and 
tha^ of the Son, were the very fame, they 


282 The Condujon. Sect. I. 

maintained that they were diiFerent ; fincc 
the Father and the Son could not be faid to 
be of the fame nature. For the Platonic 
philofpphers confidered the nousy or logos^ as 
a middle principle between the fupreme 
God and the foul of the world ; and thqr . 
fome times fpake of it as an intermediate 
principle between God and the world itfelf. 
As it had always been maintained by the 
carlieft platonizing chriftians, that the lo- 
gos came out of God juft before the creation 
of the world, and confequently that there 
had been a time when God was alone, and 
the Son was not 3 and as they had always 
held, that when the Son was produced he 
was greatly inferior to the Father, there 
arofe fome who faid,. that he ought to be 
confidered as a mere creature^ not derived 
from the fubftance of God, but created out 
of nothings as other creatures were. For by 
this time, the chriftian doftrine of a proper 
creation out of nothing had begun to take 
place of the philofophical dodtrine of the 
emanation of fouls from God. Thefe (who 
were the Arians) confidering the logos as 


Sect. I.^ 7heConclufion. 283 

being the intelligent principle in Chrift, 
thought that there was no occafion to fup- 
pofe that he had any other foul. They, 
therefore, faid that Chrift was a fuper-an- ^ 
gelic being, united to a human body ; that 
though he was himfelf created, he was the 
creator of all other things under God, and 
the inftrument of all the divine communi- 
cations to the patriarchs, which had before 
been fuppofed to be the province of the 
uncreated logos. 

In oppofition to the Arians, thofe who, 
from the final prevalence of their dodtrine, 
obtained the name of orthodox and catholics^ 
confidering that the logos had never before 
been reprefented as a creature^ but as the 
proper reafon or wifdorfi of the Father, 
maintained that he muft have always been 
in the Father, and therefore (correfting 
their former language, and carrying their 
principle to its proper extent, which a rc- 
fpedl for the unitarians, now greatly dimi- 
nifhed in number, had hitherto prevented) 
they maintained that he muft be of the 
fame fubftance with the Father, and have 


a84 ^^^ Conclujion. Sect. I. 

been co-eternal with him. In the coiirle of 
the controverfy they were likewife led to 
advance upon their former doftrine, fo as 
to fay, that that adt of the Father, to which 
they gave the name of generation^ had taken 
place ftom eternity, and was not fomething 
that had pafTed juft before the creation of 
the world ; fo that the Son had always 
cxifted as a fon, and the Father as a father ; 
and that there was no difference between 
them, but that of Father and Son, and the 
different offices that belonged to each of 
them refpedlively, as the Father, or the Son. 
This was the flate of things foon after 
the council of Nice, when there arofc a 
controverfy concerning the Holy Spirit^ 
which was faid in the fcriptures to pro* 
ceed from God, or to be-» fent by God^ 
or by Chrifl. On this fubjed: it is re- 
markable, that there had been no cftntro- 
verfy among chriflians before that council^ 
though there had been a difference of opi^ 
nion among them. Some of the Anteni- 
cene Fathers defcribed the Spirit as if they 
had conceived it to be nothing but a po'aer 


Sect. I. The Conclujion. 285 

communicated by God, though others of 
. them fuppofed it tabe z.. per/on^ inferior to 
God, and even to Chrift. For it wis ge* 
nerally aflerted, that the Spirit was one of 
the beings that had been made by Chrift,. 
.without whom, they faid, nothing was made 
that was made. Such dodrine as this did 
certainly pafs without cenfure before the 
council of Nice, and it is the lefs to be 
wondered at, as the third perfon in the 
Platonic trinity, viz. the 4'*'x»f, had never 
been defcribed as having been any part of 
the Supreme Being, or neceflarily belong-* 
ing to him, which the nous^ or logos, had 

There were fome who, while they held 
the permanent perfonality of the Son, thought 
that the Holy Spirit was only an occajional 
efflux from the deity, refembling a beam of 
light from the fun. This opinion alfo was 
not deemed to be heretical. 

From this time, however, thofc who had 
diftinguifhed themfelves the moft by their 
defence of the dodtrine of the confubfiantid^ 
lily of the Son with the Father, did like- 


286 The Conclufion. Sect. I. 

wife maintain both the proper perfonality 
of the Spirit^ and alfo his confubftantiality 
with the Father and the Son. This- doc- 
trine of the confubjlantiality of the three 
divine perfons foon led to that of their per- 
fect equality with refped: to all divine per- 
fections ; and this completed the whole 
fcheme. According to it, though there 
is but one God^ there are three divine perfons, 
each of which fej)arately taken, is perfeSl 
God, though all together make no more than ^ 
one perfedl God; a proportion not only 
repugnant to the plaineft principles of com- 
mon fenfe, but altogether unknown before 
the council of Nice?, as is acknowledged by 
many learned trinitarians. Among others, 
the famous Mr. Jurieu faid, that *^ tbefuo* 
•* damental articles of chriftianity were not 
*' underftood by the Fathers of the three 
^* firft centuries, that the true fyftem begaa 
to be modelled into fome fhape by the 
Nicene biftiops, and was afterwards im- 
** proved by the following fynods and coun- 
** cils." Jortin's Remarks, vol, 3. p. 50. 

A littld> 


Sect. I. The Conclufion. 287 

A little rcfleftion, however, one would 
think, might fatisfy any perfon, that a 
dodtrine which was unknown in the chrif- 
tian church till the fourth century could be 
no genuine dodlrine of chriftianity,. Leafl: 
of all can it be fuppofed, that any novel 
and late dodtrine can be of fo much confe-- 
que nee as that of the trinity has always beca 
conceived to be by thofe who have main* 
tained it. For efFedlual meafures would, 
no doubt, have been taken by divine pro- 
vidence, that every dodtrine of real import-- 
ance to chriftianity fhould be fo clearly 
exprefled, and fo well explained in the 
fcriptures, as that it would not have re-* 
mained undifcovered, or ill underflood, till 
fo late a period as the fourth century. 


288 The Cottclufion. SeCt. If* 



An Account of the Remains of the Oriental^ 
or Platonic Philofophy^ in modern Syjlems of 
Cbrijiianity • 

IN the next place, it may not be unufefal 
to reflect how much remains of the 
oriental or Platonic philofophy in the re- 
ligion that is eftabliihed in the greater 
part of the chriftian world at the prefent 
day, though thofe fyftems themfelves are 
now no more. It is obvious to remark^ 
in the £rft place, that one fingle dodtrine 
common to both thofe fchemes of philo- 
fophy, has been the foundation on which 
almoft every corruption of chriftianity rcfts, 
and this is the belief of an immaterial foul 
in man, capable of fubfifting, and alfo of 
having both fenfation and adion, when the 
body is in the grave. Had this doftrine, 
(countenanced by no appearances in nature, 
but utterly difcordant with them, and alfo 
with the whole fyftem of revelation) never 

3 been 

Sect. II. 7he Conclufion. 289 

been known, it is hardly poffible to fup- 
pofe, that the prc-exiftence of Chrift would 
ever have been imagined, or that any of the 
dodlrines which arofe from it, or art con- 
nedted with it, would have been adopted. 
In this cafe, alfo, we fhould never have 
heard of the worfhip of dead faints, or the 
dodtrine of purgatory, which are among 
the moft enormous abufes of popery. 

Another principle, common to both the 
fyftems of philofophy above mentioned, 
was, that matter is the fource of all evil, a 
doftrine which led either to making light 
of the mod criminal fenfual indulgences^ 
or to that rigour and aufterity which was 
imagined to purify and elevate the foul, by 
neglefting or macerating the body. This 
principle induced numbers of both fexes, 
to feclude themfelves from the world, and 
to pafs their lives in a manner equally ufe- 
lefs to themfelves and others. It alfo gavfr 
rife to the favourite dodtrine of the fupo- 
riority of the unmarried to the married ftate, 
and to the injundion of celibacy on thofe 
who were called /ri^/?/. 

Vol. IV. U The 

290 7be Conclufion. Sect* II. 

The monadic life was alfo gfeaUy pro- 
moted by the Platonic docflripe of the union 
pf the foul to God, attainable by con- 
templation and prayer, whicH was eagerly 
adopted by many chriftians, who thought 
it wife to negle(3: and mortify the body, 
and to give their whole attention to the 

Thefe three dodtrines, viz* that of the 
immateriality of the foul, that of matter 
being the fource of evil, and that of the 
union of the foul to God, by contempla- 
tion and abftradlion from matter, have done 
unfpeakable mifchief to the fcheme of 
chriftianity, afFeding the whole character of 
of it, and almoft every thing in do<£trine, or 
in pradice, relating to it. It may not be 
amifs, however, juft to notice a few other 
things of a lefs general nature, in which 
Gnofticifm, or Platonifm, have left traces 
of themfelves in the creeds of chriftians. 

That the Supreme God was not himfelf 
the maker of the world, was a capital ar- 
ticle in the creed of the Gnoftics, and this 
was alfo a dodtrine of the platonizing 


Sejct.II. ^he ConcJuJton^ 291 

chriftians^ with this difference that, accord- 
ing to the Gnoftics, the maker of the 
world was one of thofe intelligences which . 
was derived, mediately pr immediately, 
from the Supreme Being; whereas, ac- 
cording to the platonizing chriftians, the 
maker of the world was the logos, whiph 
had been an attribute of the Supreme Be- 
ing, The former alfo thought that the 
world was made with a malevolent in ten* 
tion, and the latter with a benevolent one. 
The Arians approached fomething nearer 
to the doftrine of the Gnoftics, than thofe 
who were called catholics, maintaining that 
the world was made by a creature properly 
fo called. For according to that philofo* 
phy from which Gnofticifm was derived, 
all intelligent beings fubordinate to the 
Supreme, were fuppofed to be fo far of the 
fame nature, as to have been derived me- 
diately or immediately from his fubftance, 
though they were not created out of nothing. 
According to both fyftems, the world was 
made by a being who might be called, if 
not an angel, at leaft a fupcr- angelic fpirit, 

U2 And 

2g2 ^he Cottclufion. Sect. II. 

And all the three fyftems, viz. that of the 
Gnoftics, that of the catholics, and that of 
the Arians, go upon this connimon principle, 
that it is unworthy of the Supreme Being 
himfelf to condefcend to do any thing y he 
being fuppofed to be immoveably employed 
in contemplation only, and chiefly that of 
his own perfciftions. 

The DocetsB among the Gnoftics held 
that Chrift had no body, but only the ap- 
pearance of one, and that he was incapable 
of feeling pain. And though the plato- 
nizing chriftians believed that Chrift had a 
proper body, confifting of real flefti and 
blood, fome of them imagined it was in- 
capable of feeling pain, and that in confe- 
quence of its union with the logos, the 
body as well as the foul of Chrift, had va- 
rious privileges fuperior to thofe that were 
pofTefTed by other fouls and bodies ; as that 
befides feeling no pain^ it did not heceifarily 
require the recruits of food or fleep, &c. 
and that it was not liable to corruption. 
It was from the Gnoftics alfo, that the ca- 
tholics derived the whimfical notion of 


Sect. II. ^be Conclufign. 293 

Mary continuing a proper virgin after flic 
was delivered of Jefus, fo that flie was, in 
all refpedts, the very fame that flie had been 
even before the conception ; a doftrine 
which is ftill held facrcd in the church of 

Laftly, it is not abfolutely impofllble, 
but that Auftin might have been fomewhdt 
influenced by, his former Manichaean prin- 
ciples, in forming his dodlrines of pre- 
deftination and reprobation. The Mani- 
(:haeans held that fouls had different origins, 
in confequence of which fome were nccef- 
farily good, and would be faved, and others 
neceffarily wicked, and would be damned. 
And though Auftin thought that all fouls 
were, in themfelves, of the feme nature, it 
was, he faid, the mere arbitrary decree of 
God that made the difference between them 
with rcfpc<a to their future deftination j fo 
that there is fome refemblance between the 
two fyftcms. 

U 3 S ^ C- 

294 ^^^ Conclujion. Sect. III. 

• « 


Maxims of Hijiorical Criticifm. 

ALL reafoning may be reduced to cer- 
tain Jirft principles^ and all propofi- 
tions are more eafily examined by having 
recourfe to them. Mathematicians^ who 
reafon in the moft exaft and rigorous man^ 
ner, always proceed in this way, beginning 
with axioms, the truth of which cannot be 
difputed, and reducing the moft complex 
propofitions to them ; fo that the truth of 
the one can no more be controverted than 
that of the other. In like manner, critics^ 
have laid down what they call canons of 
criticifm^ of which they make a fimilar 

As I wifli to apply a fpecics of reaibn- 
ing equally ftrid to fuch hiftorical dif- 
cuffions as that which is the fubjeft of 
this work, I have likewife drawn up maxims 


SjfiCT. III. TbeConclufion. 395 


of hijlorical criticifm^ the truth of which 
cannot, I think, be controverted, and td 
thofe I wifli to reduce every propofitioa 
that I have advanced that is of an hiftorical 

I have, however, made no generkl iyftemi 
but have only noted fuch particulars as I 
myfeif have had occafion for; and cvea 
this I am far from pretending to. ha^vte ^xc« 
cuted with perfed: accuracy ; but I give it 
as ?ijketcbj to be examined ju: lelfure, and to 
be rectified where it fhall appear • tto be 

Thefe maxims are chsefty adapted to the 
foWovTing fummary view of thofe' argftittWttCtf^ 
which I apprehend eftabliih my -ficinci^ 
pal pofition, viz. that the chriftian churcfii 
was originally unitacian; and therefore I 
have annexed to moft of them the num-> 
ber of that article irv the fummary wmr to 
which they correfpond, that the/ may be 
compared together* I wifh that trihita*^ 
rians and Arians, would in like manner 
reduce into axioms the principles on which 
they proceed, that they may be coiilpared 

U 4 with 

296 ^he Conchijton. Sect. III. 

with thefc; and perhaps wc may by this 
meaos be afliiled in coming to a proper 
iffue in this controverfy. 

When two perfons give different ac- 
counts of things^ that Evidence is to be 
preferred, which is either in itfelf more 
probable, or more agreeable to other cre- 
dible teftimony. 


Neither is entire credit to be given to 
any fet of men with refpe<ft to what is re- 
putable to them, nor to their enemies with 
refpedl to what is difreputable ; but the 
account given by the one, may be balanced 
by that of the other. Summary View, 
No 10. 



In order to eftablifh the credibility of 
any fadt, it muft not only be related by a 
fufficient number of cotemporary withefTes, 
but it muft appear to have been believed by 
their cotemporaries in general. Otherwife, 
the teftimony of a few, will be overba- 
l^ncedrby that of many. 

4* Ac- 

Sect. III. 7he Conclufion. 297 

Accounts of any fet of men given by 
their enemies only, are always fufpicious. 
But the confeffions of enemies, and circum- 
fiances favourable to any body of men, col- 
lefled from the writings of their adver- 
faries, are dieferving of particular regard* 

It is a ftrong argument, againft the cre- 
dibility of any pretended fadt, that it was 
not believed by thofe-who were fo lituated 
as to have been competent judges of its 
truth, and who were at the fame time inr 
terefted to believe it. 

It is natural for men who wifli to fpeak 
difparagingly of any fe6t to undervalue their 
numbers, as well as every thing elfe re- 
lating to them; and it is equally natural 
for thofe who wifli to fpeak refpedfully of 
any party, to reprefent the members of it 
as more numerous than they are. Sum- 
mary View, No. 1 3% 

7. When 


298 . 7be Conclufion. Sect. Ill, 

When pcrfbns form themfelves into fo- 

cietics^ fo as to be diftinguifhable from 
others, they never fail to get fomc parttcu^ 
lar name, either aflumed by themfelves, or 
impofed by others. This is neceffary in 
order to make them the fubjedl of con* 
verfation ; long pcriphrafes in difcourfe 
being very inconvenient. Sununary View, 
No. 8. 

When particular opinions are afcribcd to 
s particular clafs of men, without any diA» 
tinftion of the time when thofc opinion^ ' 
were adopted by them, it may be prc- 
fumed, that they were fuppofcd to hold 
thofe opinions from the time that they re- 
ceived their denomination. Summary Vicwv 
No. 4. 

When a particular defcription is given 

of a clafs of perfons within any period of 

time, any perfon who can be proved to 

have the proper character of one of that 


Sect. III. -^he Conclufim. 295^ 

clafs, may be deemed to have belonged to 
it, and to have enjoyed all the privilges of 
it, whatever they were. Summary View, 
No. 9. 

When an hiftorian,.or writer of any kind, 
profefledly enumerates the feveral^^r/^x be- 
longing to any genus ^ or general body of 
men, and omits any particular fpecies, or 
denomination, which, if it had belonged to 
the genus, he, from his fituation and cir- 
cumllances, was not likely to have over- 
looked, it may be prefun>ed that he did not 
confider that particular fpecies as belonging^ 
to the genus. Summary View, No. 7, 


When any particular dodrine is a necef- 
fary part of a fyftem, and it can be made 
to appear that within a given period that 
doftrine was not known, it may be con- 
cluded that the fyftem had no exiftence 
within that period. Or when any dodrine 
inconfiftent with the fyftem is held in that 
period, it equally proves the fame thing. 
Summary View, No. 17, 18. 

I jz. Great 

300 T'be Conclufion. Sect. IIL 

12. ' 

Great changes in opinion are not ufually 
made of a fudden, and never by great bodies 
of men. That hiftory, therefore, which 
reprefents fuch changes as having been made 
gradually, and by eafy fteps, iis always the 
more probable on that account. Summary 
View, No. 16. 

The common or unlearned people, in 
any country, who do not fpeculate much, 
retain longeft any opinions with which 
their minds have been much imprefTed; 
and therefore, we always look for the oldefl: 
opinions in any country, or any clafs of 
men, among the comnK)n people, and not 
among the learned. Summary View, No* 


If any new opinions be introduced into 
a fociety, they are moft likely to have in- 
troduced them, who held opinions fin^ilar 
to them before they joined that fociety. 
Summary View, No. 15. 

15. If 

Sect. III. The Conclufion. 301 

If any particular opinion has never failed 
to excite. great indignation in all ages and 
nations, where a contrary opinion has been 
generally received, and that particular opi- 
nion can be proved to have exifted in any 
age or country when it did not excite indig- 
nation, it may be concluded that it had 
lyiany partizans in that age or country. For 
the opinion being the fame, it could not of 
it itfelf be more refpeftable ^ and human 
nature being the fame, it could not but have 
been regarded in the fame light, fo long as 
the fame ftrefs was laid on the oppofite opi- 
nion. Summary View, No. i. 11, 12. 

When a time is given, in which any very 
remarkable and interefting opinion was not 
believed by a certain clafs of people, and 
another time in which the belief of it was 
general, the introdudtion of fuch an opinion 
may always be known by the efFeds which 
it will produce upon the minds, and in the 
conduct of men ; by the alarm which it will 
give to fome, and the defence of it by 


302 The Conclufion. Sect. Ill, 

others. If, therefore, no alarm was given, 
and no defence of it was made within any 
particular period, it may be concluded that 
the introduftion of it did not take place 
within that period. Summary View, No. 2, 
3- 6. 

When any particular opinion or pradice 
is necefiarily or cuftomarily accompanied by 
any other opinion or praftice ; if the latter 
be not found within any particular period, 
it may be prefumed that the former did not 
exift within that period.. Summary View, 
No. 5. 

S E C 

Sect. IV. ^he Concltifim. 303 


Afummary View of the 'Evidence for the prU 
mltlve Chrtftians having held the DoSlrine 
ofthefimple Humanity of Chriji. 

I. TT is acknowledged by early writers 
X of the orthodox perfuafion, that two 
kinds of herefy exifted in the times of the 
apoftles, viz. that of thofe whp held that 
Chrift was fimply a man ; and that of the 
Gnoftics. Now the apoftle John animad- 
verts with the greateft feverity upon the 
latter, but makes no mention of the for- 
mer ; and can it be thought probable tha,t 
he would pafs it without cenfure, if he had 
thought it to be an error ; confidering how 
great, and how dangerous an error it has 
always been thought by thofe who liave 
coniidered it as being an error at all ? 
Maxim 15. 

2. The great objeftion that Jews have 
always made to chriftianity in its prcfcnt 


304. ^he Conclufion. Sect. IV. 

ftate Is, that it enjoins the worfhip of more 
gods than one ; and it is a great article with 
the chriftiaii writers of the fecond and fol- 
lowing centuries to anfwer this objcAion. 
But it does not appear in all the book of Aflis, 
in which we hear much of the cavils of the 
Jews (both in Jerufalem and in many parts 
of the Roman empire) that they made any 
fuch objedtion to chriflianity then ; nor do 
the apoftles, either there, or in their cpif- 
tles, advance any thing with a view to fuch 
an objection. It may be prefumed, there- 
fore, that no fuch offence to the Jews had 
then been given, by the preaching of a doc- 
trine fo fhocking to them as that of the 
divinity of Chrifl mull have been. Maxim 
15, 16. 

3. As no Jew had originally any "idea 
of their Meffiah being more than a man, 
and as the apoftles and the firft chriftians 
had certainly the fame idea at firft concern- 
ing J^fus, it may be fuppofed that, if ever 
they had been informed that Jefus was not 
a man, but either God himfelf, or the 
maker of the world under God, we (hould 

Sect. IV. The Conilujon. 3O5 

have been able to trace the time and the r/V- 
cumjiances in which fo great a difcovery was 
made to them ; and that we fhould hare 
perceived the efFedt which it had upon theif 
minds; at lead by fome change in their 
manner of fpeaking concerning him. But 
nothing of this kind is to be found in the 

Gofpels, in the book of Afts, or in any of 
the Epiftles. We perceive marks enow of 
other new views of things, efpecially of the 
call of the Gentiles to partake of the privi* 
leges of the gofpel ; and we hear much of 
the difputes and the eager contention which 
it occafioned. But how much more muit 
all their prejudices have been (hocked by 
the information that a perfon whom they 
firfl took to be a mere man^ was not a man, 
but either God himfelf^ or the maker of the 
world under God ? Maxim i6. 

4* All the Jewifh chriftians, after the 
deflru£tion of Jerufalem, which was im- 
mediately after the age of the apoftles, 
are called Ebionites; and thefe were ia 
the time of Origen, only of two forts^ fome 
of them holding the miraculous conception 

Vol. IV. X of 

3o6 ^be Conclujion. Sect. IV. 

of our Saviour, and others believing that 
he was the fon of Jofeph, as well as of 
Mary. None of them are faid to have 
believed either that he was God, or the 
maker of the world under God. And is it 
at all credible that the body of the Jewifh 
chriftians, if they had ever been inftrudled 
by the apoftles in the dodlrine of the divi- 
nity, or pre-exiftence of Chrift, would fo 
foon, and fo generally, if not univerfally, 
have abandoned that faith ? Maxim 8. 

5. Had Chrift been confidered as God, 
or the maker of the world under God, in 
the early ages of the church, he would na- 
turally have been the proper objeiSt of 
prayer to chriflians ; nay, more fo than God 
the Father, with whomi on the fcheme of 
the dodlrine of the trinity, they mufl have 
known that they had lefs immediate inter- 
courfe. But prayers to Jefus Chrift were 
not ufed in early times, but gained ground 
gradually, with the opinion of Chrift being 
God, and the objedt of worlhip. Maxim \y. 

6. The chriftian Fathers in general repre- 
fent the apoftles as obliged to ufe great cau- 

S£CT. IV. ^he Cohcliijidn. 507 

tion not to offend their fifft converts with the 
dodrine of Chrift's divinity, and as forbear- 
ing to urge that topic till they were finft 
well eftabliihed in the belief of his being the 
Meffiah. Athanafius, in particular adds, 
that the Jews being in an error on this fub- 
jedt, drew the Gentiles into it. They all 
reprefent the apoftles as leaving their dif- 
ciples to learn the dodtrine of Chrift's divi- 
nity, by way of inference from certain ex- 
preffions ; and they do not pretend to pro- 
duce any inftance in which they taught that 
doftrine clearly and explicitly before the 
publication of the gofpel of John. Maxim 

7. Hegefippus, the firft chriftian hifto- 
rian, enumerating the herefie$ of his time, 
mentions feveral of the Gnoftic kind, but 
not that of Chrift being a mere man. 
He moreover fays, that in travelling to 
Rome, where he "arrived in the time of 
Anicetus, he found all the churches that 
he vifited held the faith which had been 
taught by Chrift and the apoftles, which, in 
his opinion, was probably that of Chrift 

X 2 being 

3o8 T/je Conclujlon. Skct. IV. 

being not God, but man only. Juftin 
Martyr alfo, and Clemens Alexandrinus, 
who wrote after Hegefippus, treat largely 
of herefies In general, without mentioning, 
or alluding to, the unitarians* Maxim lo. 

8. All thofe who were deemed beretics 
in early times, were cut off from the com- 
munion of thofe who called themfelves the 
orthodox chriftians, and went by fome par- 
ticular name ; generally that of their leader. 
But the unitarians among the Gentiles were 
not expelled from the affemblies of chrif- 
tians, but worfhipped along with thofe who 
were called orthodox, and had no particular 
name till the time of Vidlor, who excom- 
municated Theodotus ; and a long time 
after that Epiphanius endeavoured to give 
them the name of Alogi. And though the 
Ebionitcs, probably about, or before this 
time, had been excommunicated by the 
Gentile chriftians, it was, as Jerom fays, 
cnly on account of their rigid adherence to 
the law of Mofes. Maxim 7. 

9. The Apoftles creed is that which was 
taught to all catechumens before baptifm, 


Sect. IV. Tbe Conclujian. 309 

and additions were made to it from time to 
time, in order to exclude thole who were 
denominated heretics. Now, though there 
are feveral articles in that creed which al- 
lude to the Gnoftics, and tacitly condemn 
them, there was not^ in the time of TertuU 
lian, any article in it that alluded to the 
unitarians ; fo that even then any unitarian, 
(at lead one believing the miraculous con* 
ception) might have fubfcribed it. It may, 
therefore, be concluded, that fimple unita^ 
rianifm was not deemed heretical at the end 
of the fecond century. Maxim 9. 

10. It is owned by Eufebius and othefSt 
that the ancient unitarians themfelves, con- 
ftantly aiTerted that their dodrine was the 
prevailing opinion of the chriAian church till 
the time of Vidor. The trinitarians denied 
this, but the truth of it may be proved from 
their own conceflions, efpecially their abun* 
dant acknowledgment that the dodrines of 
the pre-exiflence and divinity of Chrift were 
not taught with clearncfs and tfkSt^ till it 
was done by the evangelift John, which 

X 3 was 

'^lo The Conclufion. Sect. IV. 

was fuppofed to be after the death of the 
other apoftles. Maxim 2. 

II. Juftin Martyr, who maintains the 
pre-exiftence of Chrift, is fo far from call- 
ing the contrary opinion a herejy^ that what 
he fays on the fubjedt is evidently an apo- 
logy for his own : and when he fpeaks of 
heretics in general which he does with great 
indignation, a^ no chrijlians^ and having no 
communication with chriftians, he men- 
tions the Gnoftics only. Maxim 15. 

J?. Irenaeus, who was after Juftin, and 
who wrote a large treatife on the fubjedl of 
herefy, fays very little concerning the Ebio- 
nites ; and the Ebionites he fpeaks of, he 
defcribes as believing that Chrift was the 
fon of Jofeph, without mentioning thofe, 
if fuch there then were, who believed the 
miraculous conception. Maxim 15. 

13. Tertullian reprefents the majority 
of the common or unlearned chriftians, the 
Idiota^ as unitarians. It may therefore be 
prefunied that, as the unitarian doftrine was 

Jield by the cpmmon people in the time of 


Sect. IV. The Conclufion. 311 

Tertullian, it had been more general ftill 
before that time, and probably univerfal in 
the apoftolical age. Athanafius alfo mentions 
it as a fubjedt of complaint to the orthodox 
of his age, that the many^ and efpccially, 
perfons of low under jiandings^ were inclined 
to the unitarian dodrine. Maxim 6. 13. 

14. The firft who held and difcufled the 
dodrine of the divinity of Chrift, acknow- 
ledged that their opinions were exceedingly 
unpopular among the unlearned chriftians ^ 
that thefe dreaded the dodtrine of the tri- 
nity, thinking that it infringed upon the 
dodririe of the fupremacy of God the Fa- 
ther ; and the learned chriftians made fre- 
quent apologies to them, and to others, for 
their own opinion.. Maxim 13. 

J 5. The divinity of Chrift was firft ad- 
vanced and urged by thofe who had been 
heathen philofophers, and efpecially thofe 
who were admirers of the dodtrine of Plato, 
who held the opinion of a fecond God^ 
Maxim 14. 

16. There is a pretty eafy gradation in 
the progrefs of the dodtrine of the divinity 

X 4 of 

3 1 2 The Conclufion. Se c r. I V, 

of Chrift ; as he was firft thought to be a 
God in fome qualified fcnfe of the word^ 
t diAinguiAied emanation from the fupreme 
mind ; and then the Icgos^ or the vsifdom cf 
Gcd perfonified ^ and this logos was firft 
thought to be only occafionally detached 
from the Deity, and then drawn into his 
eflence again, before it was imagined chat 
it had a permanent perfonality^ diftindfc from 
that of the fource from which it fprung« 
And it was not till the fourth century^ that 
this logos^ or Chrift, was thought to be pro* 
perly equal to the Father. WhereaSt on the 
other hand, though it is now pretended that 
the apoftles taught the dodtrine of the divi- 
nity of Chrift, yet it cannot be denied that 
in the very time of the apoftles, the Jewifli 
church, and many of the Gentiles alfo, held 
the opinion of his being a mere man. Here 
the tranfition is quite fudden, without any 
gradation at all. This muft naturally have 
given the greateft alarm, fuch as is now 
given to thofc who arc called orthodox, bj 
the prelcnt Socinians ; and yet nothing of 
this kind can be perceived. Befides, it is 


Sect. IV. T'be Coticlufion^ 3^3 

certainly moft probable that the chriftians 
of thofe times, urged as they were with 
the mcannefs of their mafter, ihould incline 
to add tOy rather th^n take from^ his natu- 
ral rank and dignity. Maxim 12. 

1 7. The do£trine of Chrift having no butnan 
foul J befides the logos ^ is neceffary to the 
Arian hypothelis. But all the Fathers who 
wrote upon the fubjeft before the time of 
Arius held that Chrift had a proper human 
foul, and this dodtririe was never obje<Sed to 
any of them as wrong. It may, therefore, 
be concluded^ that Arianifm had no exift-* 
ence before the age of Arius. Maxim ii. 
18. The logos of all chriftian writers be- 
fore Arius, was an attribute of God the 
Father, which the catholics fuppofed to 
have become a proper per/on. That the 
logos had even not been, and that it was 
created out of nothings is a doftrine that 
cannot be traced any higher than the age 
of Arius. It, therefore, could not be the 
dodtrine that was taught by the apoftles, 
Maxim 11. 


3 1 4 ^^^ Conclufion. Sect . IV. 

To this fummary view of the arguments 
in favour of the chriftian church having 
been originally unitarian, I fhall fubjoin 
a fimilar abridgment of the arguments for 
and againft the miraculous conception. 

The hiftory of the miraculous concep- 
tion is contained in our prefent copies of 
of the gofpels of Matthew and Luke. It 
was certainly believed by Juftin Martyr, and 
no doubt by many other chriflians of that 
age, and we have no account of any time 
in which the introductions which contain 
that hiftory were added to the gofpels. And 
that of Luke in particular is fo much of a 
piece with the ftyle of the reft of the hif- 
tory, that there can be little doubt of its 
having made an original part of it. Wc 
have, therefore, the teftimony of two co- 
temporary hiftorians in its favour. 

On the other hand, as all the writings 
of the ancient unitarians are loft, and efpc- 
cially that of Symmachus, on this very fub- 
jedt, there may have been complaints of 
interpolations, of which we have now no 

3 account. 


Sect. IV. The Conclufion. 4315 

account. And had it been always under- 
ftood that thofe introdud:ions were really 
written by Matthew and Luke, efpecially 
that of Matthew, it is not eafy to account 
for the diftelief of the ftory by any chrif- 
tians, efpecially thofe of the Jewifh race, 
who had the higheft refpeft for what they 
really thought to be the genuine gofpel of 
Matthew, -^Whereas a difpofition to add to 
the perfonal dignity of Chrift, which dif- 
covered itfelf very early, may be fuppofed 
to have led others to adopt the opinion of 
the miraculous conception on infufficient 

No fatisfadtory reafon can now be ima- 
gined, why Chrift ftiould not have been 
born of two human parents % nor can vjre 
find any tradition of fuch a reafon in the 
early chriftian writer^: There might even 
be a fufpicion, that he was not properly a 
tnan^ if he was not produced as other men 
are ; and confequently the peculiar advan- 
tages of the unitarian dodtrine will be in 
feme danger of being abandoned. 


3i6 The Conclujion. Sect- IV. 

The miraculous conception does not ap- 
pear to have been afferted in the time of the 
apoftles ', there being no mention of it, or 
allufion to it, in the New Teftament (ex-* 
cept the introductions to the gofpels above 
mentioned) and there being no account of 
any objection made to it by unbelievers in 
that age, as there were afterwards* And 
if there was no fufficient evidence of the 
faft in that early period, it would be too 
late to afcertain it to fatisfadtion after** 
wards. We are not informed that either 
Mary, or any other pcrfon who could pro- 
perly atteft the fadt, was queftioned on the 

The only gofpel that was received by the 
Jewifh chriftians (who, from their fitua- 
tion, muft have been the heft judges) as 
the authentic gofpel of Matthew, did not 
contain the two iirft chapters. 

The introducftions to the gofpels of 
Matthew and Luke contain, each of them, 
fcveral improbable circumftances, and arc 
hardly compatible with each other. The 


Sect. IV. ^be Conclufion. 317 

genealogies in particular, which arc both 
faid to be.that of Jofeph, are wholly dif* 
ferent. Matthew^s account of Jefus's rc-< 
ceiving the vifit of the wife men at Bethle- 
hem, cannot eafily be reconciled with Luke's 
account of his parents living at Nazareth, 
and only going to Bethlehem for the pur-? 
pofe of the cenfus. The account of this 
cenfus is full of improbabilities, efpecially 
as it fuppofes an obligation on Mary, a 
woman big with child, to attend there at 
that time. 

Had the hiftory contained in thefe two 
introdudlions been true, Jefus muft have 
been publicly announced to be the Meffiah 
from the time of his birth ; whereas, both 
his education, and the manner in which he 
condudted himfelf after the commencement 
of his public miniftry, fhew, that no perfon, 
had fuch an idea of him, and he did not, 
for a coniiderable time, claim that charac* 
ter, except to a few. 

Had the hiftory of the miraculous con- 
ception been well founded, it is hardFjr 
poffiblc to account for the omiffion of ^A 


31 8 TChe Conclufion. Sect. IV* 

by John, but more efpecially by Mark, 
whether he was ^n epitomizer of Matthew, 
as fomc have fuppofed, or not ; becaufe the 
fadt being quite Angular, and of an extra- 
ordinary nature, he could not have thought 
it unworthy of being recorded in a profeffed 
hiftory of Chrift. 

All the Jewifh chriftians are by Irenaeus 
called Ebionites^ and he always defcribes 
them as believing Jefus to have been the 
fon of Jofeph ; and only Origen, and Eu* 
fcbius, who probably copied him, fpeak of 
any of them as believing the miraculous 
conception, and this is only in one paffage 
ofEufebius. In another paffage he fpeaks 
of the Ebionites in general (and he has no 
other name for any Jewifli chriftians) as 
difbeliving it. 

. It is probable alfo, that many Gentile 
chriftians dift)elieved the miraculous con« 
ception. Juftin Martyr fpeaks of no uni- 
tarians but fuch as were of this opinion. 
Some of them certainly were fo in the time 
of Origen ; and from the circumftance of 
the followers of Paulus Samofatenfis faying 


Sect. IV. The Conclujion^ 319 

that Jefus was born at Nazareth, it is pro- 
bable the ancient Gentile unitarians in' ge- 
neral gave no credit to the account of his 
being born at Bethlehem, and confequently 
not to the miraculous conception. In that 
early age, therefore, the unitarians had 
feen no reafon which induced them to 
believe it, and no new authority has been x 
difcovered fmce that time. 

The early Gnoftics did not believe the 
miraculous conception, though their fyftem 
would have inclined them to admit it -and 
Marcion exprefsly maintained, that.the ori- 
ginal copy of Luke's gofpel did not con- 
tain that hiftory. 

If Jefus be not the fon of Jofeph, there is 
no evidence of his being defcended from 
David, which the Jews confider as a necef- 
fary charadteriftic of the Meffiah, and there 
is no prophecy that announces his miracu- 
lous birth. 


320 The Conclujion. Sect. V. 

/ l"! 


Some of the Ufes that may be derived from 
the Confideration of the SubjeSl of this 

I. T?ROM the variety of opinions that 
-*• we have been reviewing, we may fee 
the great ufe of what is generally called 
Metaphyfcs^ or the importance of gaining 
clear ideas concerning fubjedls of the moft 
general and comprehenfive nature. A little 

. go6d fenfe and difcernment of this kind 
would have intirely prevented the rife of 

S* the doctrine of the trinity. It would have 
been feen at once^ that it was abfurd to 
fuppofc, that a mere attribute of any being 
could be converted into a fubjiance ; and 
therefore that Chrift, or the Son, could 
never have been the original and proper 
wifdom^ or power oi the Father; at fir ft, a 
vntrt property^ as reafon is in man, and after- 
wards a perfon^ truly diftindt from him, and 
capable of having fentiments, and a fphere 

I of 

SeCt.V. ^he Cdnchifidn< J2I 

of adlion of his own, foas to becomfe incar- 
natc^ while the Father remained in heaven * 
Still more evident, if poffible, is it, that 
found metaphyfics would have revolted at the 
fuppofitioii of three divine perfons making, 
no more than one god. This muft have 
been immediately perceived to be an exprefs 
contradiSlton^ fuch as no miracles could 

2. The fubjea of this Work may likeWife 
ferve to fhew us the ufe of true Philojophyi 
Had not this fcience been in its very in- 
fancy at the time of the promulgation of 
chriftianity, the dpdtrine oi pfolations Would 
have been entirely exploded. For we f?c 
nothing in nature that could authorize us to 
fuppofe, that a part, protruded from an in- 
telligent being (whether feparated from it 
or not) could of itfelf become a diftindt in- 
telligent being of the fame kind. A branch 
or flip from a tree is by no means a cafe of 
fimple prolationy much lefs would it ever 
have occured to any perfgn, that the beingf^- 
thus prolated and derived from another, 
could be drawn back into that being from 

Vol. IV. Y which 


322 T^be Conclufion. Sect. V* 

which they fprung, which was a dodtrine 
in the oriental philofophy. Befides^ if 
natural prolations be the foundation of ana- 
logical reafoning, with rcfpedl to the Su- 
preme Being, we muft admit both a power 
of infinite multiplication, and alfo that there 
may be numberlefs derived intelligences in 
all refpecSts fully equal to the original 
flock, which was never admitted, even by 
the Gnoftics, . The doctrine of prolation 
can only be exemplified by the derivation of 
a river from a fpring, or a canal from a 
river ; but this is very remote indeed from' 
the cafe of any thing that is endued with 
life^ and ftill more remote from that of 
beings which have intelligence. 

Had the nature of lights and its relation 
to the fun^ been known to Philo, and the 
christian Fathers, they could npver have 
availed themfelves of it, to favour their 
dodrine of the occafional perfonification of 
the divine logos, which led to that of its 
permanent perfonification, as this led to the 
dodtrine of the perfed: equality of the Son to 
the Father. 


* - 

Sect. V^ 7 he Conclujion. 323 

Light was, in that age, imagined to be 
an e§,ux^ protruded from the fun in the day 
time, always conned:ed with it, and Jrawn 
back into it again at night % and fuch was 
the logos fuppofed to be with refpefl: to 
God, by Philo and the philofophical uni- 
tarians. Had they underftood the true 
nature of lights they would hardly hj[ve en- 
tertained fuch an abfurd idea of the logos, 
and of its relation to the fupremc mind. 
We fliould, therefore, never have heard of 
their notion concerning the protrufion of 
the logos from God. Confequently Chrift 
could never have been thought to be this 
logos, but would always have been fuppof- 
ed to have been a mere prophet, like Mofes, 
and others, who had gone before him. As 
to the Arian created logos ^ I have fhewed that 
the idea of it was fubfequent to that of the 
trinitarian uncreated logos^ and was what 
would never have been thought of, if this 
other had nOl preceded it. 

To their new logos^ however, the Ariant 
attributed all the functions of the old one^ 
even that of being the creator of the world ; 

y 2 apd 


324 216^ Conclujion. Sect. V. 

and, extraordinary as this may feem^ yet 
the idea of a Jubordinate creator being once 
eftablifhed, and having been received both 
by the Gnoflics and the catholics, the 
greateft difficulty was already furmounted. 
For to fuppofe that to be done by a created 
being, which had before been fuppofed to 
be done by a being inferior to the deity, 
though uncreated y was no great ftep, efpe- 
ctally confidering how little it is that we 
can pretend to know of the nature of erea^ 
tion. But whatever it be, it is always re«» 
prefented in the fcriptures as the fole pre^ 
rogative of the fupreme Being. 

How difgraceful is it to the preient age, 
in which philofophical and metaphyfical 
knowledge are fo much improved, that we 
cannot forbear to fmile at the fyftems of 
ancient times, and are apt to treat them 
with perhaps too much contempt, that we 
yet retain thofe doArines in theology which 
owe their rife to them. The perufsd o£ 
this work^ in which are exhibited the ab- 
furd notions and reafonings of thoie who 

have obtained the name of Fathers^ «Qd 


I efpecially 

Sect. V. Tie Conclufion. 325 

cfpecially their truly ridiculous interprcta- fy 
tions of fcripture, cannot but tend to abate [ 
our reverence for the dodrines for which \ 
they contended, and which, indeed, they 

3. I flatter myfclf, however, that this 
work, together with thofc which I have 
already publi(bed on thefe fubjeds, may be 
the means of exciting a mcwe general atten- 
tion to thefe early chriftian writers, by 
giving a juft idea of the proper ufe of them. 
This is that of fupplying authorities for 
ancient fadts relating to cbriftianity, fuch 
as the exiflence of particuljar opinions^ at 
particular times, and the adtual progrefs of 
them ; which may enable us to afcertaia 
their caufes and confequences. With re« 
fpctSt to the writers themfclves, they ought 
to be judged of by their fituation and ad- 
vantages, Notwithftanding the contempt 
into which they ^re fallen, yet as men^ and as 
writers^ they were, no doubt, equal to men 
and writers of any other age 5 and as pbu 
lofophers and metaphyjicians^ it will be fcen 
that they were equal, and indeed, fuperior 

' Y3 to 

326 The Conclufion. Sect. V. 

to the very ableft of the Platonifts. Their 
ideas were lefs confufed^ and their reafon- 
ing from their premifes quite as clear and 
conclufive. They are generally charged 
with inconfiflency I but this accufatiojn has 
been much aggravated. Taking any of 
them fingly, I will venture to fay, that, id 
were not more inconfident with thei 
than writers of any other age, whi 
long^ and who wrote as much as/l£fcy did $ 
and the variety of chaca^ei* iSind manner ia 
the different writers is exadly fimilar to 
that of any other fet of writers. Had Mr« 
Locke, Sir Ifaac Newton, or Dr. Clarke^ 
lived in thofe times, and had enjoye^ all 
the advantages of liberal education 'which 
the age afforded, they would'.not, I am 
perfuaded, have made a greater figure than 
Orfgen, Jerom, or Auflin ; and I would be 
far from anfwering for it, that their good 
fenfe would have made them fuch men as 
Paul us Samofateniis, Marcellus of Ancyra, 
or Photinus. 

The chriflian Fathers have been likewifc 
highly cenfured for their loofe manner of 


Sect. V. The Conclujion. 327 

interpreting thefcriptures, and Origen has 
been particularly blamed in this refpedl. 
But in this they had a precedent in Philo, 
whofe allegorical interpretations of the Old 
Teftament are even more wild and abfurd 
than theirs. And it is very unjuft to blame 
Origen ^orc than others of the Fathers in 
this^fpe<ft. Auftin, Jerom, and even feu- 
febius; interpret the fcriptures in the fame 
allegorical and fanciful way. 

But whatever be the charafter, or real 
value, of the chriftian writers in the three 
or four firfl centuries^ in them only caa 
we find monuments of the ftate of things 
in their age ; and therefore they who really 
wifli to know how chriftians thought, felt^ 
and atSted, in the age immediately fubfe- 
quent to that of the apoftlea, muft ftudy 
them. Befide$, with refpefl: to feveral im- 
portant articles, they are the only guides 
we have to a knowledge of the true ftate of 
things in the time of the apoftles ; the book 
pfAd:s. being a very concife and imperfedt 
biflory, though fufficient for the purpofe 

Y4^ fof 

.» i ' 


328 ^he Conclujon. Sbct* V. 

for which it was written ; and its rca)[ vsi» 
luc is hardly lefs than that of the gofpels^ 

4, Laftiy, after perufing fuch a work 
as this, we may have peculiar fatisfac- 
tion in reflecting that^ notwithilanding every 
corruption of chriftianity, even that which 
affedts the doftrine of the unity of Go J (an 
article of the ArU magnitude in fpeculatioa, 
which has even ferious prafiiical confe-* 
quences, and which muil prevent the cor- 
dial reception of it by the greatcft part of 
th^ world, and which therefore calls aloud 
for all the zeal of its friends to expofe and re*- 
move it) it has, in every ftate, been infinitely 
fuperior to the religion which prevailed in 
the world before its promulgation. More* 
over it has always, in a great meafure, anfwer* 
cd its profefled objefl:, which wais to reform 
the world, by inculcating with proper autho- 
rity, evidence, and effed, the great dodtrino 
of rewards and punifhments after death. 

This article of phriftian faith was held 
even by the Gnoftics, and in every ftage 
pf popifh darknefs and dclufion. Falfc no-r 


Sect.V. The Conclujwn. ^[29 

tions of virtue have been taught ; but the 
common fenfe^ the daily obfcrvation and 
experience of mankind^ as well as an 
attention to the genuine principles of the 
gofpel, have always been able to keep thofe 
deviations within fome bounds ; and what- 
ever it be that any perfons, calling them- 
iclves chriftians, have deemed wrong cort" 
du^, they have ^rmly believed to draw 
after it an adequate punifliment ; as what- 
ever they have thought to be right ccmdugl, 
they have bad no doubt would be entitled 
to an abundant reward in the life fucpced- 
ing the prefent. 

It is greatly to be wiflied that all chrir. 
tians would attend more to this great iond 
of union among them (an article of agree- 
ment of fuch magnitude as almoft to anni- 
hilate all their differences) this cvmman faith 
which is equally held by them all, by the 
Jews who were before them, and by Ma- 
hometans who have learned it of them* 
This confideration would lielp to extin- 
guifh mutual animofities, and give us a 
eool and difpaffionate temper of mind, which 


330 The Conclufion. Sect.V. 

is neceflary to that calm dircuffion of our 
differences^ from which alone we can ex« 
pedt a defirable termination of controverfy, 
in the difcovery and univerf^l reception of 
all truth. 

This general agreement among cHriC- 
tiansy in the great principles of their faith^ 
efpecially thofe of the unity of God^ and 
the humanity of Cbrijl, will make their re- 
ligion appear infinitely more refpe^ble 
(becai^fe more rational) to the whole world, 
and cannot fail to put an end to all in** 
fidelity, and bring on thofe glorious times, 
when, according to the fure word of pro^ 
phecy^ the whole earth will be full of the 
knowledge of the Lord^ and the kingdoms of 
the world will become the kingdoms of our 
Lord^ and of his Cbriji. 

I (hall not live to fee this event, but I 
clearly fee the operation of thofe caufes^ 
which will certainly bring it to pafs ; and 
this faith is able to give the greateft con* 
folation through iif&, and in death. The 
fainted hope that my writings, notwith^ 
Handing the miftakes I may have fallen 



S E c T . V* T^be Conclufion^ 331 

into, and which I fhall always be ready 
to eorreft, may have been the fmalleft 
means^ in the hands of providence^ of ac- 
complifhing fo great an end, does much, 
more than enable me to bear» it makes me 
rejoice in, all the hatred and, oppofition that 
I draw upon myfclf by theija* 


S £ C 

332 The Conclujion. Sect. VI. 


Of tlnprejent State of Things with rejpdi 
to the Trinitarian and jirian Contrc/vtrJUsm 

/^F late years the attention of learned 
^^ chriftians has been much drawn to the 
dodlrine of the trinity^ and it is highly de- 
firable that this (hould be continued till 
the CO nt rover fy come to fomc regular 
iflfue. There was a remarkable aera of 
this kind occafioned by the publication of 
Dr. Clarke's Scripture DoSlrine of the Tri^ 
nityi in lefs than twenty years after which 
a great majority of learned chriftians in this 
country were, I believe, pretty well (atisficd 
concerning the fupremacy of one God the 
Father, and that Chrift is only a creature. 

If learned men will give equal attention 
to the fubjedl of this work (I do not (ay to 
the work itfclf, for I hope to fee other 
trcatifcs which (hall have the fame objed) 
we may cxpcdl that in an equally (hort fpacc 


Sect. VI. The Conclujm. 333 

of time the controverfy between the Ariiuii 
and unitarians will be decided* For CTery^ 
fadt of any confequence to forming our 
judgment may in that time be produccd» 
and when that is done, there will be little 
more halting betijceen the tuco opinions^ Ii 
fpeak of thofe who are of a proper age for 
inquiries of this kind, and fuch as the 
fifing generation will follow 1 while thoie 
who are pad the age of inquiry will go off 
the flage, and carry their prejudices with 

It certainly tuoft imports thpie wJbo.eiH 
joy fuperior ftations in e(Ubli(h<d churches 
to defend the fydem from which they 4eK 
rive their wealth and honours. The com- 
munities, which give them their rank in 
their refpc(^ive countries, will look up to 
them for it. And the iame unfavoorable 
conclufion will be drawn, whether they 
leave the work to inferior hands, unequal 
to the difcuflion, or themfelves come fortb^ 
and be foiled in the conteft. 

Such is the attention that is already giftn 
to this fubje^t, and fuch the general expeda^ 


334 ^^^ Cmclujion. Sect. VL 

tion from the Arians in particular, that 

their filence will be confidered in the fame 

light as a giving up of the caufe. And the 

confequence of a continued filence on the 

part of both Arians and trinitarians muft 

be that, excepting thofe who are called 

methodifts (in whofe adherence to the efla- 

blifhed fyftem there is generally more zeal, 

without learning or knowledge) none, will 

be left, or hereafter rife up, to enjoy the 

firft ftations in the church, but fuch as 

will be fufHciently known to be unitarians. 

And can it be expedted that the fyftem 

can ftand long with fuch heterogeneous 

fupports ? 

Human eilablifhments may for a period 

bear down reafon, and they have, no doubt, 
a great advantage in the conteft. But not- 
withftanding this, the progrefs of truths is 
as certain as that of time^ and whatever fyf- 
tem has not the fupport of truth muft fall. 
During, the gradual progrefs of truth, her 
enemies muft be filled with fecret confu« 
iion, and her friends, with the fuUeft con- 
fidence and moft joyful expectation. In 


Sect. VI. T^he Conclujton. 33^ 

this age, all attempts to ftifle inquiry bj 
Jilencey will be as uhavalling as fofmer at^ 
tempts to overbear it hy force. The time 
is come when truth will be heard, and it 
will be impoflible either to over-awe, or to 
fupprefs it. 

The common people are now much in- 
terefted in theological difcuflions, the ap^ 
peal being made to xSx^fcriptures^ and to r^d-» 
forij of which they are judges, as well as ta 
antiquity, with refped to which they are left 
qualified to determine; though even as to 
this, by a careful attention, and a comparifoa 
of the allegations on both fides, they may be 
enabled to come to a fatisfadtory conclufion. 
And when the minds of a fufficient num« 
ber of the more intelligent of the laity are 
enlightened, they will be followed by the 
lefs intelligent ; and then the concurrence 
of the ftate, and of the clergy, to a reforma- 
tion of the public forms of worfliip in fai- 
vour of unitarian principles, will come, of 
courfe. They who make and adminifler' 
laws, are necefiTarily directed in their pro* 

3 c^edings 

336 7i&^ Conclufion. Sect. VL 

ceedings by the fpirit and inclination of 
the people, whofc fervants they really are, 
and whole will they mufl confult. How 
glorious then is the profpedl which the 
daily Ipread of unitarianifm is opening to 
us I 

I had intended to have enlarged on this 
topic in this place \ but having done it in 
my late Sermon for the 5th of November, 
and the Reflctlions fubjoined to it, I take 
the liberty to refer my readers to that pub« 

MONft 0EA dO£A. 


[ 337 ] 

Articles omitted to be inferted in their proper 


Vol. I. p. 19. after the laft paragraph add, 

npHE manner in which the apoftles, and 
thoffe of the difciples of Chrift who re- 
fpefted him the moft, lived and converfed 
with him, (hews clearly enough, that they 
confidered him in ho higher light than that 
of a prophet, or fuch a Meffiah as the Jews in 
general expedled; one who was deftined to be 
a temporal prince. But what a fmall matter 
muft this have appeared to them, if they 
had thought him to be the being who 
made the world, to fay nothing of his 
proper divinity. Had they feen him with 
the eyes of an Arian, they muft have con- 
fidered his appearing in the charader of 
the Mejfiah^ as a ftate of great humiliation j^ 
inftead of a ftate of exaltation and glory j 
which, however always appears to Jiavc 
been their idea of him in that ciiaraacr. 
Vol. IV. Z Bcfidcs, 

23? Articles omitted. 

BefiJcSy the freedoms which they took with 
him, cs thole of Pctcr reproving him for 
talking of his fufFcrings, and for fpeaking 
of a perfon toiichlns; him in a crowd, and 
other little circumihinces, ihews that they 
had not that awe of him upon their minds, 
which thcv could never have diveilcd them- 
fclves of, if ihey had confidered him as 
being tbeir maker. A perfon who can think 
otherwifcy niuft never have attempted to 
realize the idea, or have put himfelf in the 
place of the apoflles, fo as to have imagined 
himfelf introduced into the adual prcfcnce 
of his maker, in the form of man, or any 
other form whatever. He would be over- 
whelmed with the very thought of it. Or 
If any particular perfon (liould have had 
the courage, and unparalleled felf-poflef- 
fion, to bear fuch a thing, mu(l there not 
have been numbers who would have been 
filled with conrternation at the very idea, 
or the merj pifpici.n^ of the perfon they 
were fpe:.!ci;ij; to being really God ? And 
yet we percei\c r.o trace of any fuch con- 
l:ernation r.nd alarm in the gofpel hi(lory« 
1 no 

Articles emitted. ^39^ 

no mark of aftonifliment in the difclples of 
our Lord in confequence of their belief of it, 
and no marks of indignation or exclama- 
tion of blafphemy, &c. againft thofe who 
difbelievcd it. 

Vol. I. p. 66, after the firft paragraph add, 

I T is acknowledged that thefe two 
paflages, viz. from the epiftles to the 
Ephefians, and Coloffians, correfpond to 
each other, and that they are to be in- 
terpreted on the fame principles. Now if 
the phrafeology in the cpiftle to the Ephe- 
fians be attended to, it will be clearly fecn^ 
that the writer explains his own meaning 
with refpedt to what he calls creation. In 
the fecond chapter, he reprefehts the Gen- 
tiles as being in a ftate of deaths and quicks 
ened, or brought to life,' by the gofpel. 
Confcquently they might be faid to be 
created again, as he fays, ch. ii. lo. IVe are 
his workmanjijip created in Chriji Je/us unto 
good works. Does not this fufficiently ex- 
plain what he meant, ch. iii. 9. by creating 
all things by Jefus Chriji ? With the fame 

2r 2 idea 

340 Articles omitted. 

idea he calls the heathen ftate of the Ephc- 
fians tbc old tnan^ and their chriftian fUte, 
the new vian^ ch. iv. 22. That ye put off cm* 
cerning ibc former converfation the old man^ 
"ivhkb is corrupt, according to the deceitfil 
lufls : and be renewed in the jpirit of your 
f/:in<l; and that ye put on the new M0Mp 
which, after God, is created in rigbteoufntjs 
and true bolinefs. 

In the idea of the apoftle, the preaching 
of chriftianity made a new and diftingui(hed 
a?ra in the hiftory of the world, from which 
things might be faid to have a new wigim, 
and this he terms creation, as he fays^ 2 Cor. 
V. 17. If any man be in Cbrlfl, be is m new 
creature : Old things arc piijfed away^ Af- 
hold all things are become new. And this lan- 
guage is countenanced by, and was perhaps 
adopted from, Ifaiah; who» looking into 
future times, fays^ ch. Ixv. 17. Behold I 
create new heavens, and a new earthy and tbt 
former Jfjall not be remembered nor come huo 
mind. But be ye glad, and rejoice for ever 
in that which f create. For heboid I cremte 
^erufalem a rejucing^ and ber people a joy. 


ArticUs omtted* 341 

By this language the prophet only meant to 
defcribe a glorious revolution in jfkvour of 
the Jews. 

Vol. III. p. 30. after the laft paragraph add^ 

THE Rabbi Nachmanides^ in his pub- 
lic difputation 'before the kihg of Arragon. 
in 1263, lays the greateft ftrefs imaginable 
on the doftrine of the Meffiah being a mere 
man i and his addrefs to the young king oa 
the fubje<5t is pertinent and afiefting^ 
** The greateft fubjed of controverfy be- 
*' tween us ?ind the chriftians,*' fays he, 
^< lies in this, that you make the Mefliab 
** to be a God, which is not to be borne/' 
(literally, it is a very bitter ibing'^^lii^ id) 
^' You, my king, are a young man, born of 
*' chriftian parents, and have all your life 
" heard monks and preachers difcourfing 
** about the nativity of Jefus, and they have 
^' filled your bones with this do(9:rine as 
** with marrow ; and from ufe it is grateful 
** to you. But what you believe on this 
** fubjcdl is contrary to found reafon; It is 

27 3 ^•'iiot 

. .> 

342 Articles omitted. 

*' not agreeable to common fenfe, to the 
'* nature of things, or to the writings of 
** the prophets. The enormous prodigy is 

'* utterly inexplicable. For could the 

** creator of heaven and earth, and of all 
<* things that are in them, go into the 
*« womb of a Jewifli • woman, be there 
** nourifhed nine months, be afterwards 
*' born a boy, then grow to a man, be dc- 
•* livered into the hands of his enemies, 
'* who ftiould pafs fcntence of death upon 
^^ him, and execute it, then come to life 
" again, &c. Thefe are things that neither 
" the reafon of a Jew, nor that of any other 
** man, can bear. It is in vain, there- 
*^ fore, and to no purpofe, to difpute about 
'* other things ; it is on this that the hinge 
'* of our Controverfy turns */' 

* Caetcrum, principalis caufa quae inter Judaeos ac 
praeputiatos dubia ac controverfa eft, in eo latet, quod vos 
Mefliam inter divinitatis fepta admittitis, quae res eft durif- 
fima. Tu vero, mi rex domineque, juvenis cs, patrc 
cbriftiano, et matre cbriftiana progenitus, totaque vita tua 
audivifti aionachos, homunciones et concionatores de nati- 
vitate Jefu verba facientes, ii hac quafi medulla repleverunt 

Articles omitted. 343 

Vol. 4. p. 10. after the firft paragraph in- 

fcrt this Note. 

AS I am confident it will will give pica- 
furc to many of my readers, I fhall give 
them a fpecimen of true candour in a mo- 
dern trinitarian, the late excellent Dr. 
Watts. It is copied from his Ufeful and 
important ^ejiions concerning Jefus thefon of 
God, p. 1 1 • &c. *' This title. Son of God, is 

offa tua, ct ex hac confuetudine fuavis eft ingenio tuo« 
Sed vero res quam creditis, fanae ration! adverfatur, nee 
enim vel intelle£lus, vel rerum natura tale quid conce« 
dunt, neque prophetae-hoc enunciarunt. Amplius, nee 
explicari poteft prodigii enormitas, prout demonftrabo ra- 
tionibus evidentibus fuo loco et tempore. Nunquid enim 
creator coeii et terrae, rerumque quae his contincntur om- 
nium, reciperit fefe in uterum Judaicae mulieris, ibiqueale^ 
retur, per menfes novem, et puer poftea nafceretur, educa- 
retur deinde^ traderetur in manus inimicorum fuorum, qui 
capitalem fententiam adverfus ilium pronunciarent, et neci 
traderent, dicatur autem poftea revixifle, et reverfus efle in 
locum fuum, quaeque aHa funt ejus generis? Ifta nee Ju* 
dxi hominis nee cujufquam mortalium fana ratio fuffert, 
m vanum igitur, et in nihilum» de aliis verba facitis, nam 
in his vertitur car do noftrae controverfiae* P. 4o« 

Z 4 /* given 

244 Articles omitted, 

<< given to Chrift, fomctiaies upon the ac* 
*' count of his incarnation and miraculous 
'' birth ; but this cannot be the chief mean- 
*^ ning of the name Son o/God^ in the tezti 
^' before cited. For furely the belief that 
^' the man Chrift Jefus was begotten of 
^' God, and born of a virgin, without an 
^^ earthly father, was not made the term of 
^' falvation any where that we can find in 
^' in the New Teftament. It is not this 
*' fort oifonjbip that Chrift and the apoftles 
^' lay fo great a ftrefs on, nor make the mac- 
** ter of their fermons, and the labour of 
^' their arguments, to convince the world 
'' of it, in order to their falvation* This 
^' circumftance of his extraordinary birth 
^' doth not feem to have any fuch fpecial 
'* connexion with the redemption and iil- 
** vat ion of men, as to have it made the pe- 
" cultar matter of their faith, and the ver^ 
'^ article on whifrh their falvation was to 
•• depend. 

** Doubtlefs many a poor creature might 
'' become a true believer in Chrift, when he 

•• was 

Articles omitted. 345 

^* was upon earth, by the fight of his mi- 
** racles, and hearing his doftrine, without 
^* the knowledge of this particular circum- 
^^ ftance of his incarnation or birth; and 
** doubtlefs many a one was converted by 
" the apoftles, without any notice of this 
** part of the hiftory of Chrift. For we 
** fcarce find fo much as the mention of it 
** in thejir preaching or writings. This, 
*^ therefore, cannot be the meaning of this 
^' name in thofe fcriptures." 

Vol. IV. p. 25. add, 

IT has been faid that the ufe of the mi- 
raculous conception was to be a motive 
with the parents of Jefus, to give him a 
pious and proper education. But to this it 
may be replied, in the firft place, that hit 
parents, being of themfelves pious perfons, 
would, of courfe, give their child a religi- 
ous education; and, therefore, could not 
ftand in need of fo extraordinary a meafurc 
as this to engage them to attend to it. 
Befides, no niotive is naturally fo ftrong as 


346 Articles omitted. 

the love that a parent bears to his own 
child, to do for him every thing that he be* 
lievcs will be for his advantage ; which, on 
the part of Jofeph, would be wanting on 
this hypothefis. 

The taik of the education of the Meifiah 
would, in all probability, have quite over- 
whelmed the minds of fuch perfons as Jo- 
fcph and Mary, who were in a low condi- 
tion in life, and had enjoyed no particular 
advantage with refped: to education them- 
felves- Without exprefs inflrudtion from 
heaven, it is moil probable that they would 
have put him under the care of fome of 
jtheir rabbies, and certainly would never 
have brought him up to the trade of a car- 
penter. Or they might naturally prefume^ 
that being born in a fuper natural manner^ 
he would be inflrudted, and prepared for his 
office, in a fupernatural manner. 

It does not appear that any particular 
care of the education of Jefus was at all 
ncceflary. A learned education he evidently 
had not ; for the Jews expreffed their afto- 


Articles omitted. ^47 

nifhmcnt at his dodlrine, on the account of 
his tiot knowing letters^ meaning that he had 
not had the education of one of their rabbies. 
As far as appears, Jcfus had not been taught 
any thing more than to read and write his 
own language ; and all the ufe that he had 
made of this learning was in his private ftudy 
of the fcripturesj and that, before his bap- 
tifm, he had given more attention to thefe 
than other pious Jews ufually did, may be 
fuppofed, but cannot be proved. 

We fee no reafon to think that Jcfus's 
appearing as the Meffiah at thirty years of 
age, required any particular previous know- 
ledge. He, like other Jews, would, of 
courfe, be brought up in the expectation of 
the Meffiah; and, till his baptifm, he 
might be under the fame miftake with re- 
fpedt to his charadler and kingdom, that 
other pious Jews were. But, at that time 
(for we cannot be fure that it was before) he 
would be informed that he was the pferfon, 
and would be inftrudled what he muft teach 
and doy and alfo be apprized of what he muft 


348 Articles omitted. 

fuffer in that charadlcr. And his fupcr-na- 
tural illumination^ and his private medi- 
tations, during the forty days which he paf- 
fed in abfolute retirement, will fufficiently 
account for the part that he adted, and the 
temper of mind that he difcovered after* 

His firft preaching was nothing more 
than John had taught before him. Mat. iv. 
17. From that time Jefus began to preach and 
to fay, Repent y for the kingdom of heaven is at 
band. Nor do I perceive any thing in his 
fubfequent teaching, which any other good 
man may not be fuppofed . to have been al- 
ways ready to deliver, on receiving inftruc* 
tions from God on the fubjed. His mira^ 
cles evidently required no particular edu- 
cation, preparation, or inflrudtion, for they 
were not bis. The Father within him did 
the works. 

Why then fliould we fuppofe that the 
miraculous conception was provided as a 
means to a certain end ; when neither the 
exijience, nor the propriety of that end, c^n 


Articles omitted. 349 

be proved from the fcriptures. We are no 
where told, that any particular attention to 
the education of Jefus by his parents was 
requifite, nor do we find that fuch attention 
was given. This then is a cafe in which 
both xhtfaSif and the hypothecs to account 
for it, are alike imaginary. 

• \ 


550 Names of the principal Perfons 

The Names of the principal Perfons mentioned in ibis 

trorkj with the Times in which they livedo in :te 

order of the Alfhabet^ correfponding to the Bitj'^ra- 

phical Chart, which fronts the Title-page of the 

firft Volume. 

AM B R O S E, died A. D. J97. aged 57. 
Anallafius Sinaira, died 599. 
Apollinarius, jun. flouriflicd jyo. 
Aqmla, flourilhed 128. 
Arius, died 336. 
Arnobius, floiirifhcd 303, 
Athanafius, died 371. 
Arluna^.'foraji, Hoiirilhcd 177. 
Aiiftin, died 430. 76. 

Eardelanes, fiouriflKd 172. 
Bafil the (ireat, died 37 S. 51. 
B.ifil of Selciicia, floiiriflied 448. 
Bafilides, nouriflud 1 1 2. 
Bcr)llus, flouiifhed 230. 

Cains, flourifhcd 210. 

Calfian, died 448. 9-. 

Celfiis, lloiirifhed 15c, 

Ceriiuhus, flourifhcd Sc 

Chrill, died 29. 36. 

Chrjlbllom, died 40^. 53, 

Clcmciib .Aicxjndrinus, di.d about 220. 


mentioned in this Work. 35 

Clemens Romanus, died 102. 
Cofmas Indicopleuttes, flourilhed 535, 
Cyprian, died 258. 
Cyril of Alexandria, died 444. 
Cyril of Jerufaleni, 386. 

Didymus of Alexandria, flouriflied 370. 

Dionyfius of , died 265. 

Donatus, died about 355. 

Ephrem Syrus, flourilhed 370. 
Epiphanius, died 403. 7 1 . 
Evagrius, born 535. lived after 595. 
Eunomius, died about 394. 
Eufebius, died about 340. about 70. 
Eutyches, flourifhed 448. 

Facundus, flouriflied 540. 
Firmilian, died 270. 
Fulgentius, died 529- 66. 

Gregentius, died 552. 

Gregory the Great, died 604. 60. 

Nazianzen, died 389. 65. 

— — Nyflen, died 395. 

— * Thaumaturgus, died 166. 

Hegefippus, flouriflied 170. 
Hermas, or Hermes, flotariflied 1 50. 
Hermias, flouriflied 177. 
Hermogenes, flouriflied 170.. 


35 2 Names of the principal Perfims 

Hilary, died 372. 80. 
Hippolytus, flourifhcd 220. 

Ibas, flourifhcd 436* 
Ignatius, died 108. 
Irenacus, died 202. 62. 
Ifidoriis Feluliou, died after 431. 

Jamblichus, died about 2ZZ- 

Jcrom, died 420.78. 

Job the monk, flourilhed 530. 

John, theapoftle, died 99. 92. 

Jofephus, died 93. 56. 

Julian, died 363. 31. 

Julius Africanus, flounihed 220. 

Juftin Martyr, died 163. 

Juflinian, died 565. 83. 

La£tantius, flourilhed 31 1. 
Leo the Great, died 46 1 . 
Leucius, flourifhed 180. 

Manes, flourifhed 277. 
Marcellus of Ancyra, died 372. 
Marcion, flourifhed 134. 
Marius Mercator, died about 45 1 . 

Viftorinus, died about 370. 

Maxentius, flourifhcd 520. 
Maximus Taurinenfis, flourifhcd 433. 

Mclito^ flourifhcd 170. 


mentioned in ibis Work. 353 

Methodius^ flouriflied 290. 
Minutius Felix, flourifhed 220. 
Montanus, flourifhed 173. 

Novatian, flburilhed 251. 
Neftorius j died after 439. 

Oecumenius, flourifhed 99d, 
Optatusi flourHhcd 368* 
Origen, died 254. 69. 
Orofius, flourifhed 416. 

Pamphilus, the martyr, flourifhed 294. 
Papias, flourifhed no. 
Paul the apoflle, died 67 • 
Paulinus, died 431. 78. 
Paulus Samofatenfis, flourifhed 270. 
Pelagius, died about 420. 
Peter the apoftle, died 67. 
Philafler, died 387. 
Philo, flourifhed 40. 

Philoflorgius, barn 367, lived after 425* 
Photinus, died 377. 
PhotiusL, flourifhed 858. 
Plotinus, died 270. 66. 
Polycarp, flourifhed 108. 
Porphyry, died about 304. 7 1 . 
Prifcillian, died 386. 
Proclus, the philofopher, flourifhed 510. 
Vol, IV, A a Pfoclus 

354 Names of the principal Perfons, &c. 

Proclus of Conftantinople, died 446* 
Procopius Gazseus, flourifhed 520. 

Rufinus, died 411. 

Simon Magus, flourifhed 35. 
Socrates the hiftorian, flourifhed 440. 
Sozomen, died about 450. 
Sulpicius Severus, died 420, 
Symmachus, flourifhed 201. 
Synefius, flourifhed 410. 

Tatian, flourifhed 17 !• 
TertuUian, died about 220. 
Theodotion, flourifhed 183, 
Theodore t, died after 460. 
Theodorus, died 428. 
Theodotus, flourifhed 192. 
Theophanes, died about 816. 68, 
Theophilus, flourifhed 168. 
Theophylaft, died after 1077. 

Valentinus, lived after 160. 

Viftor, died 201. 

Vigilius Tapfenfis, flourifhed 484. 

A N 

A N 

O U N 

O F T H E 





A MBROSSII, Opera, 5 vols, Parifiis, 1603. 
Ariftotelis Opera, 2 vols. Gr & Lat. 
Aurelii Allobrogum 1605. 
Arnobii Opera, per Elmenhorftium, Ham- 

burgi, i6io, 
Athanafii Opera, 2 vols. Gr. & Lat. Pa- 

rifiis, 1627. 
Auguftini Opera, 10 vols. Baiileae, 1569. 
: — Supplementum, 2 vols. Pariiiis, 

Bafilii Magni Opera, 3 vols. Gr. & Lat. 
Parifiis, 1638. 

A a 2 Bibliothcca 


356 Editions of the 

Bibliotheca Patrum, 8 vols, cum Appeti- 
dice, Parifiis, 1576, 

Bibliothecas Graecorutn Patrum Auf{:arium 
per Combefis, 2 vols. Gr. & Lat. Pari- 
fiis, 1672. 

Cafliani Opera, per Gazaum, Atrebati,. 


Francofurti, 1722. 

Chryfoftomi Opera, per Fronto-Ducaeum 

& Commelinum, 10 vols. Gr. & Lat. 

Parifiis, 1603, & 1621. 
Clementis Alexandrini Opera, Gr. & Lat* 

per Sylburgium, Lutetiae, 1629. 
Concilia Generalia & Provincialia, per Bi- 

nium, 5 vols. Coloniae, 1618. 
Cypriani Opera, per Fell, Oxonii, 1682. 
Cyrilli Alexandrini Opera, 2 vols. Lat, 

Parifiis, 1572. 
Cyrilli Hierofalomitani Opera, Gr. &Lat.* 

per Milles, Oxon, 1703. 

Damafceni Opera, per Billium, Parifiis, 


ancient PPrifers. ^ry 

Dionyfii Arcopagitae Opera, Gr, & Lat 

per Lampelium, Lutctiae, i6i^.' 

Ephraim Syri Opera, Oxon, 1709. 
Epiphanii Opera, per Pctavium, ^ voU^ 

Gr. & Lat. Coloniae, i68z. 
Eufebii Prseparatio ct Demonftratio, Evan- 

gelicae, &c. Gr. & Lat. 2 vols. Parifiis, 

Eufebii, Socratis, SQzoxneni, Thcodoreti, 

et Philoilorgii Hiftoriae, Gr. & Lat. 3 

vols, per Reading, Cantab. 1720. 

Gregorii Magni Opera, 2 vols Parifiis^ ^S5^^ 
Gregorii Nazianzeni Opera, Gr. & Lat. 

per Morellum, Parifiis, 1630. 
Gregorii Nyfleni Opera, Gr. & Lat. 2 vols. 

per Morellum, Parifiis, 161 5, 
Gregorii Thaumaturgi, Macarii, ct Bafilii 

Seleucienfis Opera, Gr. & Lat. Parifiis, 


Hilarii Pi6tavorum Opera, Parifiis, 1652^' 
Hieronymi Opera, per M. Viftorium, y 
vols. Lutetian, 1624^ 

A a 3 Hippolyti, 

358 Editions of the 

Hippolyti Opera, Gr. & Lat. per Fabri- 

cium, Hamburg!, 1716. 
Irenaei Opera, Gr. & Lat. per Grabc, 

OxonisB, 4702. 
Ifidori Pelufiotae Opera, Gr, & Lat. per 

Billium, Prunaeum, &c. Parifiis, 1638* 
Julian! Opera, et Cyrilli contra Julianum 

libri, Gr. & Lat. 2 vols, per Spanhcr 

mium, Lipfiae, 1 696. 
Juftini Marty ris Item Athenagorse, Thco- 

ph!l!, Tat!an!, et Hermiae Opera, Gr. 

& Lat. Colomae, 1686. 
; Apologise, et Dialogus, Gu 

& Lat. per Thirlby, Londini, 1723. 

Leonis Magni, Maximi Taurincpfis, 

Chryfologi, Fulgentii, Valeriani, Ame- 
del, et Afterii Opera, per Th. Rainaa- 
dum, item Profperi Aquitanici Opera, 
Parifiis, ibju 

Nicephori Hiftoria, 2 vols. Gr. & Lat 
Lutetian, 1 630. 



ancient Writers. 359 

CEcumenii Commentarii, per Morellum, z 
vols. Gr. & Lat. Lutetiae, 1631. 

Optati, et Facundi Opera, per Albafpi-% 
naeum, Lutetian, 1676. 

Originis Opera, 2 vols. Lat. Bafiliae, I571. 

■ Commentaria, per Huetium, Gr. & 

Lat. 2 vols. Colonise, 1685. 

Patres Apoftolici per Cotilerium et Cleri- 

cum, Gr* & Lat. 2 vols. Antverpise, 

Philonis Judsei Opera, Gr. & Lat. per 

Turnebum, &c. Lutetise, 1640. 
Photii Bibliotheca, Gr. & Lat. per Scot-. 

turn, 1611. 
• Epiftolae, Gr. & Lat. per Montacu-^ 

tium, Londini, 1651. 
Platonis Opera, Gr. & Lat. Bafiliae, 1539. 

• Genevae, 1590. 

Photini Opera, Gr. & Lat. per M. Pici-. 

num, Bafilias, 1580. 
Plutarchi Opera, per Xylandrum, z vols* 

Gr. & Lat. Francofurti, 1620. 

A a 4 Proclus 

^6o Editions of the 

Procius in Platonis Theologiam, Gr. fii^ 
Lat. per ^Emilium Portum, Hambprgi, 

Procopius in Efaiam^ Gr. ^ Lat; 

Ruffini Opera, Parifiis^ 1580. 

Synefii Opera, Gr. & Lat. per Petavium, 
Lutetian, 1612. 

Tertulliani Opera, per Rigaltium^ Lute« 

tiae, 1675. 
Theodoriti Opera, per Sirmondum^ 4 toU* 

Gr. &Lat^ Parifiis, 1642. 
-r— — Tomus Quintus, per Garnierun>| 

5 vols. 0(ftavo, Gr. ^ Lat* per 

Schulzc, Halae, 1769. 
TJieophyladi Commentarii, 2 vols. Gr. & 
Lat. Luteti», 1631. 

Zonaras in Canones Commentarii, IjIxXc^ 
tiae, 16 1 8* 


ancient Writers. 36 c 

QUA R t O. 

£utychli Annales, per Seldenum, Aral). & 
Lat. Oxon. 1659. 

Gregorii Thaumaturgi Opera, Qr. & Lat, 
&c. per Voflium. ^ 

Nizzachon Vetus 5 Difpuiatio, R. Jechielis 
cum Nicolao. Item. R. Mofis Nach- 
manidis cum Fratre Paulo ; Munimen 
Fidei per. R. Ifaac ; Tolcdoth Jefchu, 
all Heb. 8c Lat. 

Oracula Sybillina, Gr. & Lat. per S. Gal- 

laeum, Amftel. 1689. 
Origenes contra Celfum, Gr. & Lat. per 

Spencerum, Cantab. 1677. 
■ Contra Marcionitas, Gr. & Lat. per 

Wetftenium, Bailleae, 1674. 

Photii Nomocanon, Gr. Sc Lat. LuteCiaev 


362 Editions of the 


Agobardi Opera, &c. per Baluzium^ Pa- 

rifiis, 1666. 
Grabii Specilegium Patrum, 2 vols. Oxon, 


Jufliniani, &c. Opera quasdam, per Ban- 
dini, Gr» & Lat.3 vols. Florentiae, 1762. 

Ladantii Opera, per Gallaeunu Lugduni^ 
Bat. i66o. 

Marii Mercatoris, Opera, per Baluzium, 

Parifiis, 1684. 
Minucius Felix et Commodianus, per Ri« 

galtium, Cantab. 17 12. 

Novatiani Opera, per Welchman, Oxon^ 


' ■ ■ , per Jackfon, Londini, 1729, 

Paulini Opera, per Prontonem Ducxumt 
Antverpiae, 1622. 

Salviani et Vincentii Lirinenfis Opera, pep 

Baluzium, Parifiis, 1669* 


ancient fFriters. 363 

'^atiani et Hermiae Opera, per Worth, 
Oxon, 1700. 

Duodecimo & Infra^ 

Athenagorae Opera, per Recjienbergium, 
Lipfiee, 1685. 

Diogenes Laertius, &c. per If. Cafaubopum, 
Gr. &Lat. Parifiis, 1594. 

Gregentii Difputatio cum Judeo, Gr. & 
Lat, Lutetiae, 1586. 

Luciani Opera, per J. Benedidtum, 4 vols^ 
Gr. & Lat. Salmurii, 1619. 

lyfaximus Tyrius, Gr. & Lat* per Davifium, 
Cantab. 1703. 

Opufcula Mythologiqa, Gr. & Lat* per 

Gale. Amftelaedami, 16^8. 
prigines de Oratiohe, Gn & Lat. Oxon, 


1696. « 

" -'■■■■ Philofophumena, per Wolfium, 

Hamburg!, 1706. 


^64 Editions of the 

Procli Conftantinopolitani Opufcula^ Gr. 

& Lat. per Elmenhorftium, Lugduni, 

Bat. 1 6 f 7^, 
Sulpicii Severi, Opera, per Clericum, Lip- 

fi«, 1709 

Theophilus Ad Autolycumi Qxon, 1684. 


When two editions of any work are men* 
tioned, the former is that which I have 
generally quoted, and the latter is not in« 
tended except it be particularly fpecified ; 
the former being that which I firfl: pro- 
cured, and made mycolledlions from. But 
the Apologies and Dialogue of Juftin Mar^ 
tyr, arc always quoted from the edition of 

When no particular volume of any work 
is mentioned, the iirft is always intended* 

Whenever any writer is quoted, whofe 
work makes part of a fct, as Socrates^ 
Sozomen, &c. it was thought unneceffary 
to mention the volume of the fet, but only 
the page of the particular work. In like 


ancient Writers. ^65 

manner, it was thought fufficient in feve- 
ral cafes, to quote the page of any particu-* 
lar treatife, without diftinguifliing the vo- 
lume, as Eufebius contra Marcellum^ which 
is annexed to his Demonfiratio Evangelica. 

All the authors are quoted in the ori- 
ginal, except thofe in Hebrew or Arabic, 
with refpedt to which the Latin tranflations 
are given in the notes. This is alfo the 
cafe with refpeift to the works of Cyril of 
Alexandria, which I could not procure in 
Greek, except his books againft Julian^ 
which are annexed to Spenheim's editioa 
of the works of Julian. Thefe arc always 
quoted in Greek. 

In my edition of Jerom, the pages arc 
continued till the fourth volume, fo that 
it makes no difference whether the firft, 
fecond^ and third be diflinguifhed or not. 


366 Jitles of ail the 

^bat the Reader may form a clearer tded 
of the Dijiribution of all the Parts of this 
Worky I jhall here give the Titles of all the 
Books and Chapters, omitting tbofe of the 
Sections. / 

TNTRODUCTION, containing a 



The history op opinions which pre- 
ceded THE doctrine OF THE DIVINI- 
THE WAY FOR IT - . - 9! 

Of thofe who arc called Apoftolical Fa- 
thers ... ibid. 


Books and Chapters .^ 367 


Of the Principles of the Oriental Philo- 
fophy - - - no 


Of the Principles of the Chriftian Gnoftics 



The Gnoftics v(ck the only Heretics in ' 
early times - - 237 


Of the Apoftles Creed, as a guard againft 
^Gnofticifm - - 303 

Of the Dodtrine of Plato concerning God, 
and the general Syftem of Nature 320 

A View of the Principles of the later Pla- 
tonifts *" - - - 356 


^68 SitUsofaUtbe 

V O L. II. 

C H A P T e: R VIII. 
Of the Platonifm of Philo - i 

BOOK 11* 

Containing TiiE HisTORr of thk doc- 
trine OF THE trinity - 25 

Of Chriftian Platonifm - ibid. 

Of the Generation of the Son from the 
Father - - - 44 

The Defence of the precediiig Dodlrine by 
the Fathers - • • 86 

C H A P T E R IV. 

The Inferiority of the Son to the Father, 
fliewn to have been the Dodrine of all 
the Antenicene Fathers - J45 

Of the Power and Dignity of Chrifl, as the 
pre-exifting Logos of the Father 172 

7. CHAP- 

Booii iind Chapt&i, ^ 

Chrift, befides being the Logos of the Fa- 
ther^ was thought to have a proper hu^ 
man Soul - - • 198 

Of the Union between the Logos and the 
Soul and Body of Ghrift, and their fepa^ 
rate Properties-. / •• - - 2^4* 


Of the Ufe of the Incarnation, and the Ob- 
jedtions that were made to the Dodrine 


■» ■ .r . 

C HA P T B R IX. . 

Of the Controvcrfy relating to the Holy 
Spirit - . - - 268 

Of the Dodrine of the Trinity after the 
Council of Nice - - - , 335 

C H A P T E R XI. ' 

Of the Arguments by which the Dofbine 
of the Trinity was defended - 392 

Vol. IV. Bb VOL. 


fifl: of correftions of the text, improvements 
in the tranflation of paflages, replies to objec- 
tions, or obfervations tending to throw farther 
light on the fubjecl ; whether in favour of what 
I have advanced, or not. Thofc of them to 
which/is fubjoined the jetter(X) were written by 
a perfon to whom I am more particularly obliged 
for his attention t6 this work, but whofe name I 
do not know that I am at liberty to mention. 

In general, the articles of this'Appendix, are 
fuch things as the lefs critical reader is not much 
concerned in. But if the work Ihould be tranf- 
lated, I defire that all the corrections may be made 
in the body of the work, and that the remarks 
of a ditFerent nature may be fubjoined to the 


whole, as is done here. I hope I need not add 
that thofe who may think proper to criticize this 
work (and I neither expeft, nor wifh, that it may 
efcape criticifm) will confider all the correftions 
as if they had been aftually inferted in their 
proper places. 

The more material of thofe corredions, which 
could be exprefled in a few words, arc inferted 
in the lifts of errata^ annexed to each volume. 

If, after the work is publilhed, I fhould, in 
confequcnce of the farther remarks of friends or 

enemies, fee reafon td mal^e any other altera- 

- • •• 


tiqns, I Ihall not fail to take fome opportunity 
(either by means of the Tbeohgical RepofUory^ or 
in a feparate publication, as circumftanccs fhall 
. direft) of giving my readers information con- 
cerning them. 

Cohfidering the great variety of objefts that 
fall within the compafs of this work, and the 
. great number of references to original writei:s, 
and of tranflations of paffages in them (of which 
the laft are about eighteen hundred) no candid 
perfon will expeft that, with all my care, and 
that of my friends, it Ihould be without faults. 
Such errors of the prefs, or lefler overfights 
of any kind, as any perfon who can difcovcr, 
will alfo be able to redlify, are in general not 
noticed J and confidering how much Greeks and 
that in a fmall type, is contained in thefe vo- 
lumes, I hope it will be thought to be, upon the 
whole, not incorrcdly printed. 

N.B. {h) fignifies from the bottom of the page. 

Page 67. 1. 12. for he does fay, read, he is 
thought to fay. 

P. 100. 1. 6. ready th^t we ought ta avoid. 

P. 1 17. L 5. the fame things. 

' - • •Bba P. 173. 



P. 173. 1. 3* (}) -after patriarchs> add^ Thus 
they allcdged the fame texts to prore that iie 
who had intercouiie with Abnihaiti» &x. was 
not the JTupFeme being himfelf, but one diffionuit 
from him. 


P. 174. cfter nou t^ add, See Tfarilb/a aote 
on tike place. 

P. i«o. 1. 6. (jb) Inflead of the fenUut hgm*- 
M^ with Indeed, infert the ftliamwg. Aad as 
they agreed with them io holdiiig the pic«exift^ 
ience of Cbrift as a great created fpil^kt boC in^ 
deed the maker of die wodd, but fqpinior t» ] 
him that made it, and that this great fpkit toiBt- 
defcended to become incarnate for die ialvatittB 
of men, they were agreed with refpeft iDcnay 
fentiment that could excite iteverence and £;raci* 
tude. Both the fchemes had the iamc objefi^ 
viz. the exaltation of the perfonal 4iigaiqr of 
Chrift, though a created being, and they iud xhc 
fame effect upon the mind. 

Remark on p. 188. 1. 4. (^) and 1. xi. p* 189. 

The apoftle obferves {i Cor^ iii. 11.) that 
other foundation can jm man ky than that which 
is laid, which is Jefus Chrift -, and this he kys 
down as a principle, not only true in itlelf, b« 
admitted to be fo by his oppoiers in the church 
of Corinth. They all profciTed to inculcate his 
I religion. 

A F ? B N » I X 37.i* 

(irligion^ tQ Qwn hjm as th^e author of t^eir faithj^ 
and to fpcak as> ti^is miniftiyrs^ (2 Conii, ^3, 23)^ 
an4 tho^gh t^ey Tretchedljf perverted bis doc-^ 
vrmcy aflptuned to tbeiBjCelvQ^ tb.*Q c^ara£ter qC bi$ 
fgllowers. If they had wy defire ip-dccd to p^fjj 
fop qhriftia^ prca»cherai,. thcy CQuld aot do Otljucjh 
wife. That the CoriatWaru wight iwt, hfic^ 
ever, implicitly bdietvc wha;; t^qy l^rid on thi^ 
ffccount^ St* Patjil i:emiij4* ^e^n (rcr* ^ij,J that 
it was v^ry poji^ble foi: pcrfow pretending tp lag^ 
this foundation^ tq build vpoA it both do^Q^^ 
and practices very unfuitable, t;o (h« deJGiga pf tjufi 
gpfpel ; and Cuch he inti(na.te$ to them» thoygl^ 
I9 an i(idire^ manner^ wcr« feyer4 of the te^c^ 
advanced among thcnR hy thdf xw« «#n?^pr$» 

Perfoos teaching doftrinea undcyr the nfiajL^ of 
chriftianity, fo incoofiftem with what the Cori^i^ 
thians had received from St, Paul, co«ld have np 
profpeft of fucceeding in %\^ax attempts by any 
other method thaa by deprcqiatipg his apoftolig 

character af^d authority^ a^d thi^ th?y endear 
Youred by various ways. Jo oppofitian to ttw^ir 

artSj^ the apoftl^ mako^ it hi? bufiA?^ to lay of«n 

the vanity qf their objcK^iQIi? S^aip.ft himi «)i4 tQ 
fliow that a^ jie was not in the lc»ft inferior t^ 
the v^ry chirfeft of the apoftle;?, fo row who 

%\m viUficd him d^fervcd tq b<) %9(;9uate4 «^^ 

♦Bb^ to 


tohim. And this point being clearly eftablifhed, 
the Corinthians could have no cxcufe for cas- 
ing off their regard to him. But then it is ob- 
vious, that all the pertinence of his arguments 
to this purpofe, refled upon this fuppofition, 
that his antagonifts profeflfed to adhere to the 
lame Lord of their faith with himfelf. Had they 
declared themfelvcs advocates for any other fyf- 
tem of religion than his whom Paul preached, 
the ftate of tlie qucftion between the apoftle and 
his adverfaries, would have been entirely altered. 
The competition would then have been between 
one religion and another, not between minifters 
of the fame religion ; and the Corinthians, wirii- 
out doubting in the leaft of St. Paul's eminence 
as a chriftian preacher, might have been inclined 
to hear what was faid by one who addrefled them 
under a different denomination. 

The apoftle, in the words under confidera* 
tion, appears to admit, therefore, that if he who 
came undertook to direft them to any other 
Jefus, as the author of their falvation befides hinj 
whom he, the apoftle, had preached j or if they 
had received from his miniftration any other Ipirit, 
different from, or fuperior to, what they had 
already received, there might be fome reafon for 
their regarding him j b,ut as this could not'be 


A- F P END I X. 3^55 

fo much as pretended, their condudt infufFering 
themfelves to be fo perverted was capable of no 
defence. ... 

If this view of the apoftle's reafoning with the 
Corinthians in his own vindication be juft, it 
fhould feem that he does jnot in this place refer to 
any as aftually preaching another Jefus, but only 
fuppofes a cafe, the only one which could apolo- 
gize for their behaviour, a cafe which they Jjnew 
did not exifti and from the nori-exiftence of it, 
lets them fee how indefenfible they were in pre- 
ferring others to him, who, as a minifter of Chrift^ 
was, as he goes on to (hew, in the qualifications 
by which they endeavoured to recommend thfem- 
felves, equal, or far fuperior to them. 

As to the reft, I have no doubt but that Gndfti* 
cifm had, when St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, 
made its appearance in the church, and amohgft 
them in particular, nor that the apqftle makes it 
his bufincfs, in thefe epiftles, to fhew the falfity 
and pernicious nature of its doctrines. 

The date afligned to the flrft epiftle to Timothy 
by Bifliop Pearfon, is about the year of Chrift 6^* 
But Lightfoot and Lord Harrington place thfe 
writing of it between the times of the writing of 
the firft and fecond epiftle to the Corinthianis, but 
before the epiftle to the Romans ; and TheodoMt 
mentions it in the fame order, and fays he tak^s 

*Bb4 it 


I'exts of Scripture^ &c. 

Johnxvii. 3. vol. ii. p. 432 

XX. 31. 

A6b, ii. 22. 

— xix. 8. 

xxiv. 14. 

Rom. ix. 5. 

I Cor. i. 18. 

XV. 16. 

XV. 24. 

XV. 50. 

Gal. i. 12. 

xliv. — 

Eph. iii. 9. 

iv. 6. 

iv. 10. 

V. 5. 

Coll. i. 15. 

i. 15. 

i. 15. 

1. 200 

iii. 434 

i. 238- 

i. 238 

ii. 425 

i. 15? 

1. 211 

ii. 436 

i. 212 

ii. 426 

IV. 23 

i. 65 

iii- 435 

ii. 426 

iii- 437 

iii. 432 

i. 65 

iii. 436 

iv. 210 

Coll. ii. 18. vol. i. p. 160 
I Tim. i. 3. i. 158 

u. !• 
vi. I. 
vi. 3. 

2 Tim. ii. 17. 
Tit. i. g. 
Heb. i. I. 
i Pet. ii. I. 

1 John, ii. ig. 

ii. 21- 

• ' — iii. 10. 

— — iv. I. 

V. 6. 

" V. 20. 

2 John, vii. — 
Jude iii. — 
Rev. i. ii. 

— ' — ii. 14. 

i. 226 

#»"• 437 
i. 226 

i. 210 
i« 145. 224 

i. 66 









11. 417 

i. ao6 

The reader is defired to take notice^ that 
fometimes the quotations from the Pfalms ai^ 
copied from the ancient writers, who, foHowing 
the verfion of the Septuagint, make one Pfalmof 
the firft and fecond; and, therefore, the number 
of any Pfalm muft be confidercd as one lefs than 
according to our tranflation. 


))oUi from tht oatqre of the thing* und the fiiper- 

abundant acknowledgment of the Fathers, the 

great body of tjie primitive chriftitnt wmjt bmnt 

ham^ and aSualtf f0er#,unitarianSj knowing nothing 

either of the pre«exiftcnce or divinity of Chrifl:, \ 

and not immediately, at kaft, hearing any thing 

of his miraculou3 conception. Such plain chrif- 

^ans could never have been confidered ^ibtruia 

in the age in which they lived, though circum- 

ftances might arife which (hould make tlieir opi- 

pions very obnoxious afterwards ; and Irenaeui, 

without making the diftinftion that he ought 

to have done, pnight enuqfierate their opinions 

among other offeafiv^ ones of the Gnoftics, and 

even as a part of their herefy. And hence might 

arife his embarraflinent in calling the Gnoftics 

heretics, and yet never calling the Ebionites fo. 

It is a conduft that I cannot account for in any 

other wav* 

P. 311, 1. 6, iili or fomething like it; 

P. 331. 1 know not whether the following 
paflage in Cafaubon's Exercitationes in Baronium 
has ever fallen in Dr. Prieftley's way. If not^ it 
may not be difagreeable to him to fee it. '' Ad* 
" fcrc Cyrillus, libro feptimo contra impium Ju- 

** lianum, iv ^ iuitfx^ to» tatk voxov (iv9e ar 6 h m m9im% ov 

'* Sah uy^-j • masfhn ^uid^ ofcAf. Ecce hic lubes >«yw 
V per quern) ait Plato, faftum efle mundum afpec- 

*' ubilem. 


Jrian ^coniroverjy, an account of it, 4, 165 
jtrianSy not properly unitarians^ i, 73 
^rian bypotbefisy highly incredible, i. 57^ re- 
fcmbles that of the Gnoftics, 4, i68| 229; 
commenced in the age of Arius, 170; ante- 
cedent caufes of it, 173 ; dated, 193; argu- 
ments for it, 199; againft it, 21 1 ; compared 
to heathen ifm, 214; oppofed to Sabellianifm, 
220; a new herefy, 223; general obfervations 
relating to it, 231. 
JriftctJe, his animadverfions upon Plato, I«319 
yfriicle, ibe wcrdGcd with, and without it, 2. 158 
Atbanafius^ his account of herefy, i. 196 i his 
tendernefs for the unitarians, 3* 331; his tcf- 
timony to the caution of the apoftlcs in teach- 
ing the doftrine of the divinity of Chrift» 3. 
Auftin^ his definition of herefy, 1.243; >night 
derive his doctrine of predeftin^^tion from the 
Manichxan fyftem, 4. 293. 

Bapii/m, not ufed by fome Gnoftics, i. 232 ; the 
pradtice of the unitarians with refpeft to it, 

3- 4.19 
Barnabasy the authority of the epiftle afcribed to 

him, 1 . 97 
Bafily pc-rfccuted by the unitarians, 3. 349 


A P P E N D 1 • X. ^y^. 

l)oftor's verfion refers thefe charafters to hirrt 
whom Plato calls the fecond Gody and whofe fub- 
fiance, he fays, " is derived from the principal 
*^ one/* I am inclined to. think that, according 
to the Greek of this quotation, they- ought rathep 
to be referred to the principal one, whom Plato 

ftiJes 'ZDT^ai?®', ti a Jfwiff®- Sg©- £^u mv (wra^liv Tuj yo-iof. 

O 5rj/x<a^7®' «; ^iOiicAn; rm oT^v is here marked out by a 
character which muft in ftrift propriety belong to 
the principal one, 3Vj^ovo7« vwE^ctvaCtSnHogy i. c, as I un- 
derftand it, and fo I find Valefius tranflates it, 
l^ei^g tranfcendent in dignity ; arid it 'leems to be 
exprefsly diftinguifhed iromofA€zKZim^n:Mq,tmw [t» 

's^(chi] 'SJ^oraieo'iv tmafyrKrag. When the va; is fpoken of 

as th^ immediate creator, wfoanx^fg is often added to 
exprefs this idea. See quotation from Cyril, p; 
40, 1. 2. and the quotation from the farnc pagef, 
1. 2, 3. 

P. 70. the whole paragraph, to 1, 2, p, 71. 

Whether Eufebius w^s properly an Arian, or 
not, is a queftion whic h has long been debated, 
and appears to rrie not very cafy to be abfolutely 
decided; and while it remains undetermined, it 
may perhaps be doubtful what coriftruftion* is 

• " What conftru£lion> &c." To explain my meaning by 
an inflance Eufebius (Dem. Evang. lib. 4, cap. z,) M\e9 the 
Son T»v vfoToToKov aopiAVf QhvivxJ^t oK^ ^Wf^ ^ hayiKfiy^ 
i^ na-AUffotpoYf yt.A'^ov J'^ avtovzv^ )^ tttno\6y of ^ 3^ ctvT$ffo^ta,Vf 
But then he adda, with the appearance at leaft of a qualifi- 


3|t» A P P B N D I Xr 

^ \ie put upon fcveral of thofe paStges of Eqfiri« 
biu% in which }ie feanF^s to coincide wxh die 1kti» 
timentft of the ant;enicene oithodox. Howevqrt 
that he often fpeak$ the fame Unguage with 
«hcfn» er af9fDMhe» vt ry n«rly to it^^ h cenasDt 

cadon of the application h« hi^d jaft been l^iaking of tk^ 
ternif to the Son, j^ ttrt ^% AuToKoLKof 3^ iLM74,y€&ti¥ fT/« 
nut if TdLij ytfitroif ^tiiiu which nia)r leave ferae lOom to 
fiie^lioii ^hetkey be ondef flood theft epithela in Ae fam o ft a l f 
with the pnetntrovff liUy ^li^idflMr, In the omm on At 
dedication of (he chorchfi^ (Bi|ieb. HjA. Ecclef. lib« |o. f ^|, 
4« a4drefled to P4)>lin««^ biibop of Txr«» tQ4 tfeiil^ by 
many to Eafebiiu bimfelf) p. ^^ of the Meats ediitlpn^ the 
i]peaker» mentioning the ftal of maq« qiUs it cttf7»r0tp«r ^vum^ 
prodnced by the Soi| o •^Tce(; iic ry /^i» orr0«, cert^nljr net 
Kieaning that the iatdligence waa oBderived* or the i«lelli- 
gf noB of the Sen who fmoed it ; b«t rather diat iotelKgcHe 
i% ia eflcntial q9^ityt iu proper cba r a dUr i ft ic ^ |Afepi|ai|i!i 
from itf being ; or, to come nearer, if poflibIe» to the forcq 
of the Greek word, that pure intelligence U iti difitUti^mp tbat 
which conilitutes it^ what it is. And, in like manners I bl|vtr 
femetimes been ready lo think Enfebitts m^ht iatmd ao 
more by ieveral of thefe expreffiona than lo give Ua wuf hiffk 
f§tkA of the peifim to whom he appliei tbeon. Tl|t Sob i| 
9tvT$ffH4M «uTaA«>^t 4iU70r0f itff i» •• intelligfAGf, re^te* IM^ 
wiidom iifelf, iilcQzding tothe fame figure f f fpeodi (tbgqgk 
in a much more exalted meaning) by which feme perfenia 
intending to difplay the eacaeltence of e wife and good nan» 
would iay he is wifdom and goodneff itfelf. Bet all thia ia 
to be confidered merely us 9 query. 



l)oftor*s verfion refers thcfc charafters to him 
whom Plato calls the fecond Godj and whofe fub- 
ftance, he fays, " is derived from the principal 
** one/* I am inclined to think that, according 
to the Greek of this quotation, they ought rather 
to be referred to the principal one, whom Plato 

ftiles '»pJ?®-, i4 » SfWffO Si®" tx^ '^^ irwaptif rvi^ wnof. 

O on^uMfT^- «; iiouaHn; tmv oKaf is hcrc marked out hy a 
character which mull in flrid propriety belong CO 
the priiKipal one, 3Vi>^i uTtfavaCfCwi^, i. e. as I un- 
derhand it, and fo I find Valefius tranflates it^ 
ieing tranfcendent in dignity ; and it Teems to be 
exprefsly diftinguifhed from o /a7 ouivor, to^^ num [m 
vf aJHrJ v^o^c^iy ymfymra;. When the i«( IS fpoken of 
as the immediate creator, vfo^txn; is often added to 
cxprefs this idea. See quotation from Cyril, p^ 
40, 1. 2. and the quotation from the fame page, 

P. 70. the whole paragraph, to 1, 2, p, 71. 

Whether Eufebius was properly an Arian, or 
not, is a queftion whic h has long been debated, 
and appears to me not very eafy to be abfolutdy 
decided ; and while it remains undetermined, it 
may perhaps be doubtful what coriftru6tion • is 

* *• Whtt cofiftruAioo, &c." To cipUia my aKaaiog by 
An inlUncc Eafebiot (Dem. EvABg. lib. 4. cap. 2.) Aiics the 

Son ritr vpoToTQxor ^es/crr, #A«r /i oKu rfffitr ^ heyuwf^ 

But then he addf, with the appeArtnce ac Icaft of a qaalifi* 


380 INDEX. 

194; fuppofed to have two fouls3 221; dif- 
miffed his foul when he pleafed, 222 ; how he 
conduced himfelf with refpe6t to his own 
divinity, 3.50, 64; his pre-exiftcncc and di- 
vinity thought to be fublime doftrincs, 56 

Clemens Alexandrinus^ his idea of herefy, i. 284; 
charged with Arianifm, 4. 185 

— — — Romanusy did not teach the pre-exiftcncc 
or divinity of Chrift, i. 93 

Clementine Homilies^ the ufe of that work, i. 113, 

3. 254; efteemed by the Ebionites, 3, 216 
Communion^ a teft of catholicifm, i . 247 
Conjiantiney his opinion of the Arian controvcrfy, 

4. 198 

Confubfiantialityy a term at. firft rejefted by the 
orthodox, 2. 357, 3. 395 \ ufed by the philofo- 
phical unitarians, 3. 3935 an account of it, 4. 
181 i arguments of the orthodox in favour of 
it againft the Arians, 4. 21 1 

Creattcny not confined to the Son, 2. j[04 ; out of 
notbingy the idea of it takes place of die doc- 
trine of emanations, 4. 175 j St. Paul's ufe of 
the term, 4. 339 

Creaturey the term applied to Chrift by the an- 
cients, 4. 213 ; cannot be a creator, 219 

Creedy apoftles, direfted againft the Gnoftics, i. 
303 y Athanafian, 2. 345 


INDEX. 38, 

Credibility y of a faft, what is neceffary to cftiblilh 
it, 4. 59 

Ckdworihy his wrong account of the Platonic tri- 
nity, 1.349 

DemiurguSy according to Plato, i. 324 

Devily ignorant of the divinity of Chrift, 3. &o j 

and of the miraculous conception, 4. 42, 51 ; 

his foliloquy on the occafion. 54 
Dionyftus of Akxandriay called the fountain of 

Arianifm, 4. 185 
DonatuSy not orthodox with refpeft to the divinity 

of the Holy Spirit, 2. 2*^9 > ^^^ followers not 

trinitarians, 3. 326 

Ebionitesy how confidered by Irenseus, i. 2815 
the fame people with the Nazareni?s, 3. 15^; 
of their fuppofed herefy, 201 ; falfely charged 
with the doftrine of the Gnoftics, 206; of 
their facred books, 212; men of eminence 
among them, 219; the lateft accounts of 
them, 23 1 j their gofpel altered, 4. 105 

Egypfy improbabilities attending the fuppofition 
of Jefus having been carried thither, 4. 119. 

ElipanduSy an unitarian, 3. ^^6 

Epiphaniusy fays that the Ebionites detefted the 

prophets, 3. 217 



thought to carry the matter farther with refpefl: to 
the Jogos. But what I have here tranfcribed may 
be fufficicnt to throw fome light on Conftantine's 
notion. Indeed his whole argument is little bet- 
ter than a quibble^ and though it might fuit Eu- 
febius's purpofe to avail himfelf of it, could never 
fatisfy him, nor, I fliould think, any other perfon 
in the council. (X) 

P. 80, Quotation*, 1. 14 of the text. " Eufc- 
**l)ius fays there is one logos in God," more ex- 
aftly the one word of God, or one the word of 
God tiioTH ScH xoy(^. I have fome doubt about 
the fufHciency of this palTage from Eufebius to 
prove the Doftor's point. Eufebius is here 
flicwing, that, as there is but one Father, fo there 
ought to be but one logos, and animadverting 
vpon the unreafonablenefs of thofe who might 
complain that there were not more; and to Ihew 
this, he remarks that they might as well complain 
that there were not more funs, more moons, and 
more worlds, or fyftems created. To evince the 
weaknefs of fuch objeftions as thefe,hefays that, 
as one fun in vifible things enlighteneth the whole 
fenfible world, fo in' intelligible things the one 
logos of God enlighteneth all things ra ffv/Mucmla. ^ 
And as an illuftration of this he adds, that one 
foul, and one rational power in man, was the per- 
former of many different works at the fame time*. 


A P. P E N D I;. X. 385 

From this view.of Eufebius's fubjeiSt 4n4 reafori-r 
ing, it does not feem to have. been atall neceflary 
to his fubjeit, or indeed at jail his. bufinefs, di^ 
redtly to draw a parallel between the relation of 
the foul to man, and of the logos to God j but 
to fhew the relation of each to the feveral ob* 
je(5l§ under their direction, and to evince by the 
fufficiency of one foul to prefide over various 
employments, the ample fufficiency of one logos 
to direft and controul all things in the uniyerfcj 
and to explain and confirm his argument by this 
comparifon, appears to me to be the fole intent 
of this paflage. But the quotation from Origen, 
which follows this, contains in it all for which 
the Doctor produces it. (X) 

P. 160. paragraph i. 1. 5- ". and ip Is void p£ 
"all foundation.'* be fupppfed that. the 
meaning of the obfervation referred to is that 
i&f®-" with the article never fignifies the one true 
God, it is indeed without all foundation, and ii 
contradifted by fuch a multitude of inftanccs, 
both in the Old and New.Teftament, that for 
this very reafon I Ihould be almoft ready to con- 
clude, that neither Philo, who muft^have beeii 
well acquainted with the language of one tefta^ 
ment, or Origen, or Eufebius (for he makes the 
fame remark) who muft have. known the ftyle of 
both teftaments, could ever, intend to afler^ it. 


384 INDEX. 

Godj whether he made himfelf according to the 

Platonifts, 1.3785 whether in place, 2. 170; 

fynonymous to Father with the Antenicenc 

writers, 2. 170. 

Goody tbcy according to the Platonifts, i. 375 

Goths and Vandalsy &c. whether all Arians, 3. 367 

HegifippuSy his account of herefy, i. 265; an ac- 
count of him, 3. 221 

Herefyy the nature of it in the primitive times, 
1.238; in a later period, 295 1 the fanne with 
Gnofticifm, 237, 252 

HermaSy of the trcatife afcribed to him, i . 103 

Hypojiafisy diftinguiftied from ejfence^ 2-35* 

Ideasy according to Plato, !• 327, of Philo, 2. 3 
Idolatryy mankind originally prone to it, 3. 2 
Ignatiusy of his epiftles, i. 106; his account of 

herefy, 258 
Incarnation, fuppofed ufe of it, 2. 258 j obje£led 

to by unbelievers, 265 
Irenaus^ his account of herefy, i . 274 


JamhlicbuSy his account of the principles of things, 

1.373 ^ • -^ 

Jeromy makes no difference between the Naza- 

renes and Eibonites, 3. 169 

Jerufaltmy no orthodox Jewifli church there after 

the time of Adrian, 3. 190 



tannot, merely on account of the omiflion of the 
article, means the fame with o S£(^ juft before men- 
tioned ^ but that there is no neceffity that it fhotild 
tc thus underftood, and conlequently that it is 
no concluGve proof againft their fyftem. If any 
have carried this obfervation farther, they have 
done it without fufficient reafon, and Philo's ap- 
plication of it in the paffagc cited from him, 
pi 14. has nothing of real fupport to it in the 
words that gave occafion to his remark. (X) 

P. 162. 1. 4. read^ if Ghrift had been conceived 
to be 

P. 183. 1.4. (J?) ready by the prophets fore- 
telling things to come, and by himfclf when 
nnade like us, &c, 

P. 221. 1. 13. With refpeft to Irenaeus, Ori- 
gen's words quoted p. 208 fj are alfo decifive as 
to this point , fince he there fays, that the foul 
of Chrift, divefted of the body, preached to fouls 
diverted of bodies ; which can never be under- 
ftood of the merely fenfitive foul. (X) 

P. 226. 1. 3. read^fo the divinity is not changed 
by the body of Chrift 

P. 352. 1. 4. {b) ready Socrates, however, fays 

P. 411. 1. 3. (^) ready can only be founded on 
the circumftance of the name of God occurring 
three times in the verfes that he quotes. 

Vol. IV. ♦Cc VOL. 


386 INDEX. 

the foul of the Father, 80 ; in place, 196,404; 
incapable of fuffering, 215 ; not impaired by 
its union with the body of Jefus, 225 ; united 
both to the body and foul of Chrift, 226, 230 ; 
- onnniprefent, 2. 231 s no created fpirit, 232 i 
what the ancient unitarians underftood by it, 

3- 406 
Luciany ridicules the doctrine of the trinity, 2. 444 

MacedoniuSy his opinion, 2. 324 
Marciofty martyrs among his difciples, i. 205; 
. afferts the genuincnefs of his gofpel of Luke, 

236 ; 4. 103 
Marky his omiffion of the miraculous conception, 

4. 100 
Martyrdoniy doctrine of the Gnoftics with rclpcft 

to it, I. 201 
Maryy fuppofed to have had no proper child- 
birth, I. 176 ; made by Chrift, i. 192 ^ mira- 

culoufly delivered, 4. 147 
Marriage y difapproved by the Gnoftics, i. 22z 
Materialifnty furnifhing an argument againft the 

pre-exiftence of Chrift, i. 84 
Mattery uncreated according to Plato, 1.343; 

the fource of evil, how that opinion affe£ted 

chriftianity, 4. 289 
MaithiWy his reafons for not teachings the divi-- 

nity of Chrift, 3. 137 ; rcflcftions on the fub- 


INDEX. 387 

je£t, 148 ; his gofpel according to the Ebio- 
nites, 3. 213; obfervations on the introduftion 
to it, 4, 106 

Maxims of bifiorical criticifm^ 4, 294 

MeJ/iaby the Jews ajways expcfted a man in that 
charafter, 3. 34 ; no expeftation of any fiKh 
perfon among the Gentiles, 38 

MetatroHy among the Jews, 3. 40 

Miraculous conception^ treated of, 4, i ; its nature 
and importance, 8 ; the ufe of it according to 
the Fathers, 26 5 much boafted of by thenri-, 39;^ 
reafon for its being concealed, 43 j arguments^ 
for it, 56 ; not known very early, 64; difbe- 
lieved by the Ebionites, 7 2 ^ by many of the 
Gentile chriftians, 845 and by the early Gnof- 
tics, 92 ; internal evidence of the hiftory con* ' 
fidered, 100 i not related by Mark, ibid, i the 
two hiftories of it very diflferent, 1 17 i fuppofed 
allufions to it in the Old Teftament, 138 ; ob- 
jeftions of unbelievers to it, 1 5 r j replies of the 
Fathers, 155 ; fuppofed ufe of it with refpect 
10 the education of Jefus, 345 

Monfanijisj not trinitarians, 3. 323 

JS'azareneSy the fame people with the Ebionites, jv 
158 •, no believers in the divinity of Chrift, 188 

Jfazarethy Jefus thought to have been born thereat 
by many Gentile unitarians, 4. 135- 

C c 2 Neftcrius^ 


NeftoriuSy his dodrine very popular, 4. 2405 his 
opinion ftated, 241 ; many of his followers Pe- 
lagians, 248 ; their arguments, 249 ; in all parts 
of Europe, 255 ; arguments againft them, ibid. 
l^icolaitanSj i. 216, 221, 243 
Ncveltyy fynonymous to berejy^ i . 245 
Nousy according to Plato, i. 327 j according to 
the later Platonifts, 36 1 

One, /A^, fynonymous to the Good, i. 377 
Oriental Pbilofopbyy the principles of it, 1 • 1 10 
OrigeHy his account of herefy, i. 290 s charged 
with the Arian doftrine, 4. 188 ; defended, 191 

Patripaffian dodriney 3. 376 

Pauliciansy an account of them, 4. 268 

Paulus Samofatenjisy of his excommunication. 3. 

PelagianSy many of them anti-trinitarians, 3. 327 

PerfonSy fynonymous to bypojtafesy 2. 360 

Perfonification of the logos, occafional, 2, 46 ; per- 
manent, 48 

Pbiloy his Platonifm, 2. i 

Pbilo/epbyy of the Greeks, afcribed to the logos, 
2. 282 ; oriental and Platonic, remains of them 
in chriftianity, 4. 288 

Pbotimsy his excommunicatipn, ^•3105 his cht- 
rafter, 3. 341 



f' eyes againft the clearell truth." Indeed, that 
Chrift fhould have been born at Bethlehem in 
fuch remarkable circvmftanccs, as the intrp? 
duftions to the gofpels of Matthew and Luke 
fuppofe, and yet that ail people (hould take it 
for granted, that he was a native of Nazareth, i» 
not eafily accounted for. 

P. 136. 1. 4 (^) read^ Matthew, indeed, or ra- 
ther the Jews of that age, fuppofed 

P. 138. 1. I (h) ready has been fuppofed to be 
alluded to 

P. 152. 1. 5. read^ the fuppofed circumftances 
P. 163. 1. 6 {b) ready came to gain ground 
P. 167. 1. 6 (3) ready the immediate inftrument 
P. 1^6. 1. I. (b) ready Eufebius, who was at 
leaft fufpeded of Arianifm 

P* 23"^' ^- 3 (^) ^^^^1 being really God, or theifp 
To the lift of names addy 
Artemon flourifhed 187. 
Conftantine died. A- D. 337. 66. " 
Manuel Caleca flourifhed 136a. 
Nicephorus Calliftus flourifhed 1333? 
Nbetus flourifhed 250. 
Photius flourifhed 886. 
Paljellius flourifhed i6o. 

P. 334. I. 8, for rofve, nady m^# 

P. 300. 

)90 INDEX. 

Scbifmj diftinguifhed from bere/jy i . 246 

Scriptures^ their infpiration not believed by the 
Gnoftics, I. 223* corrupted by them, 235 

Semiarians, 4* 195 

Simon Magus^ an account of him, i. 1 17 

Six, a facred number, 2. 390 

SoM, his generation from the Father, 2. 44 1 why 
only one generated, 1 15 ^ inferior to the Father, 
145 ; his perfect equality to the Father, 341 

Scul, corruptions in chriftianity arifing from the 
belief of it, 4. 288 ; its union with God ac- 
cording to the Platonifts, i. 387 { the chriftian 
Fathers thought that Chrift had one, 4. 227 1 
the Arians believed the contrary, 194 

— of she world, according to Plato, i- 341, 345 

Spirii, Hofyt the controverfy relating to it, 2, 268 1 
opinions concerning it before the council of 
Nice, 270 ; after that council, 285 s vivifies the 
body of Chriil, 307 i arguments for his divi- 
nity, 317 5 for his perfonality, 320; his proper 
oflice, 299 ; the cenier and copula of the Father 
and Son, 303 i his divinity chiefly objeftcd 10 
in Afia minor, 326 

Sutfiance, ufcd by the Latins for ifcna and fyp^f- 
/4/fj, 2. 355 

Summary vitw^ of the evidence of the primitive 
church having been unitarian, 4. 303 


A P P E N I>: I )^. 3^ 

Tvorld, oif with the Platofiizing. Fathers, that be 
was the uncreated logos of the Father, thchr ob*. 
jcdion might have forae weight. But there is. 
no trace of any fuch thing, either among the 
learned, or the unlearned. 

As to the common people of Tertullian, an4 
Origen,they certainly were notGnoftics, but of a 
charafter the very reverfe of them, the one rude ' 
in their conceptions, and the other too refined* 
On the other hand, they certainly did not relifh the 
notion of Chrift being the uncreated logos \ for thac • 
was part of the fame fyftem with the acoHomyyTini. 
trinity^ at which they were fo much Ihocked } 
and there is no mention whatever of any inter- 
mediate kind of pre-exiftcnce, fuch as that of n 
created logosj till a much later period* 

As to the writers that have come down to 
us (if we omit the author of the Clementines, 
who was an Unitarian) they were all, without ex- 
ception, from Juftin Martyr to Athanafius, Pla- 

tonizing trinitarians. 

In the whole of that period, all who held the 
pre-exiftence of Chrift either believed him to be 
the creator oT the world, or a being fuperior to 
the creator of it. But the rude and^mple faith^ 
which the learned complained of, was evidently 
that which they were fuppofed to have derived, 



from the primitive Jewifh converts, which ^ns 
merely founded on the confideration of the mi- 
racles and rcfurreftion of Chrift, by which he 
was only declared to be a man approved ofGody hy 
Jigns and wonders^ and mighty deeds which God 
did by him. 

The pre-exiftence, no lefs than the divinity of 
Chrift, was an article of faith which all the Fa- 
thers fay, the firft chriftian converts were not 
prepared to receive, which it required much cau-* 
tion to teach, and the enforcing of which was 
not ferioufly attempted by any of the apoftles 
before the writing of John's gofpcl, in the very 
lateft period of the apoftolic age. According to 
this, the idea that the Jewifli chriftians muft 
neceflarily have had of Chrift, was the fame 
that they had been taught to entertain concern- 
ing the Mefliah, which never went beyond that 
of his being a man. The firft Gentile converts 
would naturally adopt the fame opinion ; and 
confidering how numerous the chriftians were, 
an4 how they were difperfed over all the Roman 
empire, before the publication of John's golpel, 
can it be fuppofed that they fhould have^ paffed 
from this fimplc faith, to the doctrine of Chrift 
having been the creator of the world, in the time 
of TertuUian and Origen i and fo completely as 


APPENDIX. . 393^ 

that this opinion fhould have been univerfal 
even among the connmon people, without our 
being able to trace the progrefs of this prodigious 
change ? 

Befides, it cannot be doubted but that thejimpli 
and ignorant people of Tertullian and Origcn, 
were the fame with thofe that were complained' 
of by Athanafius, as perfons of low underjiand- 
ing y and thefe were the difciples of Paulus Sa- 
mofatenfis, or proper unitarians. They muft* 
alfo have been the fame with xht ^rex fideliiim of 
Facundus, in a much later period ; who are re- 
prefented by him as having no higher opinion of. 
Chrift than that of Martha, Mary, and others of ^ 
his difciples at that time, who, he fays, were im^ 
ferfeSf in faith y but not heretics. From the nature 
of the thing, the cafe could not have been other- 

Moreover, Artemon, Theodotus,* and Praxeas, 
againft whom Tertullian wrote the very treatifc 
in which he fpeaks of the majority of the common 
chrijiiansy were cotemporary with him, as Beryllus 
was with Origen j and Noctus, Sabellius, and 
Paulus Samofatenfis foUow^rd within twenty years. 
As the difciples. of all thefe perfons were proper 
unitarians, it is morally imppffible that Tertullian 
or Origen Ihould refer to any other. Thefe muft 
have been confidered as far mor^ Jimple and igno-^ 
rant than thofe who held the doftrine of pre- 

Vol. IV. ♦ D d The 


The acknowledgments that John was the only 
apoftle who taught with clcarnefs and efFedt the 
difficult and fublime doftrincs (as they were then 
called) of the pre-exillence and divinity of Chrift, 
began with Origen, and continued without inter- 
ruption to the latcft period. And if thefe writers 
had not made thefe acknowledgments (which they 
certainly would not have done without very good 
rcafon) the fcripture hiftory alone would prove 
the faft, on the fuppofuion that a fight of the 
miracles and refurreftion of Chrift could teach 
nothing more than that he was a man approved of 
Gody and the Mefliah. For neither in the gofpels, 
nor in the book of Afts, are there any traces of 
higher doftrines being taught. 

A highly valued friend, after reading my work, 
ftates his general opinion as follows :—" It was to 
be expefted that, whatever was the original 
opinion concerning Chrift, the converts to 
" chriftianity, and particularly the Platonizing^ 
^^ Fathers, would foon raife their opinions of him 
too high, and that this would make one of the 
firft corruptions of chriftianity. This we find 
*^ to have actually happened, and the principal 
*^ occafion for it was given by the introduftion to 
'' St. John's go(pel. By making Chrift thc^^- 
^ fortified logos of the deity, he was raifed fo high> 
" as to be impaffible ; and the confequcnce of. 
" this wa$, that thefe Fathers, finding a difficulty 
** in conceiving how fuch a being could, be born 

" and 



*^ and fufFer and die, were led to fpeak of him as if 
** this was true only of a human foul that he had 
" aflumed. At laft they carried their ideas of him 
" fo high as to reckon him very Gods arid it being 
" impoflible that any human mind Ihould believe 
•■* that God himfelf fufFered and died, the prefent 
" eftablifhed doftrine of the God-matiy and the hy^ 
" pojlalical union wzs neceflarily introduced. This 
" very naturally produced Arianifmy by leading the 
•* chriftians who embraced this doftrine to lower 
" Chrill, in order to avoid making him a mere 
" man united to God, and to deviate fo far from 
^^ the opinions (or at leaft fome of the language 
" of th£ Anteniccne Fathers) as to make him not 
" only inferior to the Father, but capable of fuf- 
*^ fering and dying. And this again 1(^ the or- 
*^ thodox party to ftill higher notions of Chrift*s 
" divinity, and confequenily a ftill greater ne- 
*^ ceflity of providing a human foul for him, and 
*^ dividing him into two beings. This, 1 am in- 
*^ clined to think, was the progrefs of the opinions' 
*^ concerning Chrift in the firft four centuries.'* 

This, it will be perceived, correfponds very 
nearly with my own ideas. Only I think there is 
a neccflity of fuppofing that the original doftrine 
(by a departure from which the Platqnic corrup-' 
tions began) was that of Chrift being a mere man^ 
who had no pre-exiftence at all. For this is the 
very opinion univerfally afcribed to iif£ vulgar in 
the life-time of Chrift, in the age of the apoftles, 

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