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I. The faith of the Ebionites”, perhaps of the c H. A. P. Nazarenes ”, was gross and imperfect. They xxi. revered Jesus as the greatest of the prophets, ITT
, all the predićtions of the Hebrew oracles which relate to the spiritual and everlasting kingdom of the promised Messiah.”. Some of them might confess that he was born of a virgin; but they obstinately rejected the preceding existence and divine perfections of the Logos, or Son of God, which are so clearly defined in the Gospel of St. John. About fifty years afterwards, the Ebionites, whose errors are mentioned by Justin Martyr with less severity than they seem to deserve”, formed a very inconfiderable portion of the Christian name. II. The Gnostics, who were distinguished by the epithet of Docetes, deviated into the contrary extreme; and betrayed the human, while they
** The sentiments of the Fbionites are fairly stated by Mosheim (p. 33.) and Le Clerc (Hist. Escles. p. 535.). The Clementines, published among the apostolical Fathers, are attributed by the critics to one of these fe&taries. *5 Staunch polemics, like Bull (Judicium Eccles. Cathol. c. 2.), insist on the orthodoxy of the Nazarenes; which appears less pure and certain in the eyes of Mosheim (p. 330.). 24. The humble condition and sufferings of Jesus have always been a stumbling block to the Jews. “ Deus . . . contrariis colori“ bus Mesfiam depinxerat; futurus erat Rex, Judex, Pastor,” &c. See Limborch et Orobio Amica Collat. p. 8. 19, 53–76. 192—234. But this obječtion has obliged the believing Christians to lift up their eyes to a spiritual and everlasting kingdom. 25 Justin. Martyr. Dialog. cum Tryphonte, p. 143, 144. See Le Clerc, Hilt. Eccles. p. 615. Bull, and his editor Grabe (Judicium Eccles. Cathol. c. 7. and Appendix), attempt to distort either the sentiments or the words of Justin ; but their violent correstion of the text is rejećted even by the Benedićtine editors. asserted
* The Arians reproached the orthodox party with borrowing their
, Trinity from the Valentinians and Marcionites. See Beaufobre,
Hist, du Manicheisme, l. iii. c. 5. 7.
*7 Non dignum est ex utero credere Deum, et Deum Christum . . . . non dignum est ut tanta majestas per sordes et squalores mulieris transire credatur. The Gnostics asserted the impurity of matter, and of marriage; and they were scandalized by the gross interpretations of the fathers, and even of Augustir himself. See Beausobre, toin. ii. p. 523.
** Apostelis adhuc in saeculo superstitibus apud Judaeum Christi fanguine recente, et f bantasma corpus Domini asserebatur. Cotelel us thinks (Patres Apostol. toin. ii. p. 24.) that those who will not allow the Docetes to have arisen in the time of the Apostles, may with equal leason deny that the fun shines at noon day. These Docetes, who formed the most considerable party amorg the Gnostics, were so called, b, cause they granted only a seeming body to Christ.
*9 Some proofs of the respect which the Christians entertained for the person and doćtrine of Plato, may be found in De la Mothe le Vayer, tom. v. p. 135, &c. edit. 1757 : and Basnage, Hitt. des Juifs, tom. iv. p. 29.79, &c. * Doleo bona fide, Platonem omnium haereticorum condimentarium factum. Tertullian. de Anima, c. 23. Petavius (Dogm. Theolog, tom. iii. proleg. 2.) shews that this was a general complaint. Beausobre (tom. i. i. iii. c. 9, 10.) has deduced the Gnostic errors from Platonic principles ; and as, in the school of Alexandria, those principles were blended with the Oriental philasophy (Brucker, tom. i. p. 1356.), the sentiment of Beausobre may be reconciled with the opinion of Mosheim (General History of the Church, vol. i. p. 37.). 3 : If Theophilus, bishop of Antioch (see Dupin, Bibliotheque Ecclesiastique, tom. i. p. 66.), was the first who employed the word Triad, Trinity, that abstra&t term, which was already familiar to the fehools of philosophy, must have been introduced into the theology of the Christians after the middle of the second century.
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32 Athanasius, tom. i. p. 808. His expressions have in uncommon euergy; and as he was writing to Monks, there could not be any occasion for him to affo a rational language.
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