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A.D. 97.

1

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he Written at
Ephesus.

of the superangelic Being, into the modern Unitarianism, that
too is traced to its source in the chimæras of the Samaritan
sorcerer. And thus both the Ebionites of antiquity, and the
Unitarians of our own time, are the offspring of the ancient
Gnosticism" (x).

The general prevalence of these erroneous notions concern-
ing the Logos, and the frequent mistakes of the primitive
converts, who united their own philosophical opinions with
the inferences deducible from Revelation, produced an ample
stock of other heresies; many of which did not obtain celebrity,
till the Church became so extended, that the greater number of
any particular sect attracted public attention: and frequently
the heresiarchs, or leaders themselves, were not generally dis-
tinguished, till their opinions had been widely disseminated.
Thus we often find the several errors they adopted had been
long in existence before even the names of their principal sup-
porters were known. Those, for instance, embraced by Ce-
rinthus, Saturninus, the Docetæ, Basilides, and many others,
may be traced to the perversions of Jewish tradition, the re-
veries of Platonism, and the fancies of the half converted and
speculative (y).

The Gnostics (z), among many errors on the origin and continuance of evil, anticipated with eagerness the arrival of an eminent personage, who should deliver the souls of men from the bondage of the flesh; and rescue them from the evil Genii who governed the world. Some of these, being struck with the miracles of Christ, conceived Him to be the Being they expected. Many of his doctrines, therefore, they willingly embraced; while they refused to believe in the reality of his apparently material body. To these, or to such as these, that passage might have been addressed, "the Word was made flesh." He, who descended from an invisible state to deliver man from evil, was made flesh. Whether the Evangelist alluded to the Gnostics or Docetæ, we cannot positively decide.

Saturninus (aa) was another philosophizing heretic, who believed in the existence of an independent, eternal, evil principle. He supposed the world to have been created by seven angels, which were the same as the people of the East believed to reside in the seven planets. One of these angels he supposed to be the ruler of the Hebrew nation, the Being that brought them up out of the land of Egypt, &c. and whom the Jews, not having knowledge of the Supreme Being, ignorantly worshipped as God. His other reveries may be found in Mosheim.

Upon his conversion to Christianity, if his foolish attempt to engraft his absurd, and, falsely called, philosophical opinions on Christianity, may be so denominated, he endeavoured to reconcile his former efforts to account for that baffling mystery, the origin and continuance of evil, with his new creed. In consequence, he supposed a rebellion of these seven angels and their dependents, against the Supreme Being, and on their involving mankind in their revolt, the Son of God descended from above, and took upon him a body, not indeed composed of depraved matter, but merely the shadow or resemblance of a body. He came to overthrow all evil, its authors, and agents, and to restore man, in whom existed a divine soul, to the Supreme Being. His notions on this point, therefore, might likewise have been alluded to by St. John in the Preface to his Gospel: He who came from God, the true Logos, was made flesh, and they beheld his glory.

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power to become the sons of God, even to them that be- Written at lieve on his name: Ephesus.

Carpocrates, an Alexandrian, was also a cotemporary of St. John. Baronius speaks of his followers as distinguished for their opinions in the year 120-Basnage 122-Tillemont 130~ Dodwell 140. He taught that the world was made by angels, much inferior to the eternal Father; that Jesus was the real son of Joseph and Mary; and he consequently denied his divinity, though he considered Christ as superhuman. In opposition to Carpocrates, St. John taught that the world was created not by angels, but by the Logos, who was revealed to man, as the Christ, the divine personage promised by the prophets, and expected by the world."

I omit much more that might be made applicable to this argument; concerning the Elcesaites, Valentinians, and other heretics, enumerated by Irenæus, and Epiphanius, and discussed by Mosheim and Lardner, as well as the arguments of Michaelis respecting the Sabians, as too long to extract, and too condensed to be further abridged.-Marsh's Michaelis, vol ii. part 2. p. 288, &c.

Neither is it necessary to enter here upon the question so warmly discussed by Bishop Horsley and Dr. Priestley, concerning the ancient Ebionites.

The sentiments of Basilides, of Alexandria (bb), who lived about this time, may, in the same way, be traced to the perversion of the doctrine of the Logos. This writer was "the cotemporary of St. John. He is supposed to have forsaken the communion of the Church about the time of Trajan, or Adrian. Basnage speaks of him at the year 121. Mill, that he flourished 123-Čave 112. Clement, of Alexandria, tells us, that Basilides was accustomed to boast, that he had been taught by a disciple of St. Peter.

Irenæus observes, that Basilides, in order to appear to have a more sublime and probable scheme than others, outstepped them all; and taught, that from the self-existent Father was born Nous, or Understanding; of Nous Logos; of Logos Phronesis; of Phronesis, Sophia and Dunamis; of Dunamis and Sophia, powers, principalities, and angels, that is, the superior angels, by whom the first heavens were made; from these proceeded other angels, which made all things. The first of these angels he represents as the God of the Jews, who desiring to bring other nations under the dominion of his people, was so effectually opposed, that the Jewish nation was in danger of being totally ruined, when the self-existent and ineffable Father sent his first begotten Nous, who is also said to be Christ, for the salvation of those who believed in him. He appeared in the world as a man-taught-worked miracles -but did not suffer-for Simon of Cyrene was transformed into his likeness, and was crucified: after which Christ ascended into heaven. Basilides taught also, that men ought not to confess him who was in reality crucified, but him who came in the form of man, and was supposed to be crucified. Any reader of St. John's Gospel, who acknowledges the authority of that Evangelist, must be convinced of the errors of Basilides, as this inspired writer plainly declares, that the Logos itself was made flesh, had become a teacher of the Jews, had dwelt among them, and as a man among men was crucified.

Basilides taught, says Vitringa (cc), according to the testimony of Irenæus, (Adv. Heres. c. 23.) and Epiphanius (Hær. 24. s. 1.) that Nous was first born from the self-existent Father

A.D.

97

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of written at the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Bphesus.

-then succeeded the Logos-from the Logos Phronesis-from
Phronesis, Sophia and Dunamis-from Dunamis and Sophia, or
from Power and Wisdom, proceeded Virtues, Princes, and
Archangels who made the heavens.

Vitringa gives the following scheme of the opinions or theory
of Basilides.

ΤΟ ΑΓΕΝΝΗΤΟΝ, ὃ μόνος ἐςὶ πάντων πατήρ.

INGENITUM.

ΝΟΥΣ
MENS.

ΛΟΓΟΣ

RATIO.

ΦΡΟΝΗΣΙΣ

PRUDENTIA.

ΔΥΝΑΜΙΣ και ΣΟΦΙΑ
POTENTIA ET SAPIENTIA.

ΑΡΧΑΙ, ΕΞΟΥΣΙΑΙ, ΑΓΓΕΛΟΙ,
VIRTUTES, POTESTATES, ANGELI.

δ ̓ Ανώτερος και πρῶτος ΟΥΡΑΝΟΣ
Summum et primum COELUM :

Καὶ οἱ ἑξῆς.

He then gives the annexed brief outline of the notions of Valentinus.

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A.D.

97.

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among

Vitringa concludes his dissertation (dd) by summing up the precise objects for which each verse of St. John's Introduction might have been more especially written, in allusion to the heresies prevalent at the time of the writing of his Gospel. They will be found, he concludes, to overthrow all the subtilties of each of the Gnostic heresies.

I. There was one true God, without cause, or origin, or birth, or procession. In opposition to the doctrine that He sprung from Σίγη and Βύθος.

II. The Son existed with the Father in the essence of the same real divinity, the second rosaris of Deity, which, in the language of the Scriptures, is justly called ò λóyoç. Ratio, Sapientia, vel oraculum Divinitatis.

III. That this Logos was the first offspring of procession' from the Father, primam processionem patris, truly, and porsonally existing; the Logos evvπósarov, the only begotten Son of the Father, who was in the beginning with the Father. In opposition to the opinion of the Gnostics, who placed between the Father and the Logos, Nec and 'Aλýα, and called the former, both only begotten, and first begotten.

IV. That the Logos was very God, and partaker of the perfection of the divine nature. In opposition to the sentiments of the Platonists, who represent the Logos as inferior to the most high God, and produced by him at his pleasure.

V. That all things were made by the Logos, and that he is the Anutapyos of all things. Here St. John condemns the notion which distinguishes between the Demiurgus, the maker of this world, and the Logos; and which denies also that the world was made by the Logos.

VI. Without the Logos nothing was made that was made: that is, the Patriarchal and Levitical dispensations, which were enacted before the incarnation were appointed by the Logos, the Son and Ambassador of God. This clause was written to confute that error of the Gnostics, which distinguishes between God, or the Angel, the author of the old covenant, who came from God the Father of Christ, and from his son Christ, by whom the new or Christian dispensation was instituted.

VII. The Logos was the Life of Man. Against the subtilty which in the Gnostic system of divine emanations, distinguished between Zwǹ, Life, and the Logos, and made it inferior to the other.

VIII. That the Logos was always in the world, and from the very beginning of all things, and from the fall of man had frequently manifested himself in the Church which he had in the world; that he was the true light; that as such he had illumined his own, the members of that Church, although by the greater part of the world, and by the carnal minded Jews, he was not acknowledged. The Evangelist here wrote against those who would assert, that the Son of God before his incarnation had not manifested himself to the world; nor was known to it.

IX. That the Logos, (which had thus manifested itself occasionally as the Angel Jehovah) became flesh: that is, assumed from his mother a buman nature similar to our own, sin only excepted. Refuting those who deny that Christ, the Logos, put on real flesh; or who separate Christ, from Jesus the person of the Man, the Mediator.

X. Lastly, from the fullness, (λnpúpart, the favourite word among the Gnostics,) of this only and first begotten Son of

Written at
Ephesus.

A.D. 97.

us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only- Written at begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. Ephesus.

God, all were to receive grace upon grace: that is, all, of every
kind and degree, who believe in Christ, are called in this life,
to be partakers of his grace, and to the hope of his glory.-
Consequently that error of the Gnostics was to be rejected,
which taught that the adherents of their sect only, who had
been initiated in the mysteries of their philosophy, could aspire
to the highest happiness of the first fulness of the Divinity;
and allotting an inferior degree of happiness to the souls of all
other believers.

In addition to the Jews, and the heretics of his day, the third
class of persons to whom St. John addressed his Gospel, were
his cotemporaries among the primitive Christians. The word
Logos has been supposed by many to have been used in the same
sense as in this passage of St. John, in several passages in the
New Testament. Luke i. 2. Acts xx. 32. Heb. iv. 12. Apoc.'
xix. 13. are particularly adduced (ee). If from the writers of
the New Testament we turn to the Apostolic Fathers, we shall
find, though their testimony is express in favour of the divinity
of Christ, their evidence is not deduced from the doctrine of the
Logos. The reason of this might be, that St. John had in their
opinion so completely decided the question, that the necessity
of their resuming the argument had been superseded. The
Fathers who succeeded to the Apostolic age, however, lived at
a time when the discussions respecting the identity of the Mes-
siah and the Logos, required further attention; and we accord-
ingly find that from the time of Justin Martyr to Athanasius,
the works of the Fathers abound with arguments in proof of
this fundamental doctrine of Christianity. The greater part of
these authorities are contained in the works of Bishop Bull (ff).
I have selected some few of these to complete the list of evi-
dences in support of the doctrine, that the Logos of St. John
was the angel Jehovah of the Jewish, as certainly as it was the
Messiah of the Christian Church.

"He who appeared to Abraham under the tree in Mamre," says Justin Martyr, in his Dialogue with Trypho," was Christ. He was the Lord, who rained down from the Lord fire and brimstone out of heaven. He it was who appeared to Jacob in his sleep, who wrestled with him in the form of a man, who appeared to Moses in the burning bush."

Irenæus also has laid down the same doctrine as Justin, concerning Him who appeared to Moses and to Abraham. He, says Irenæus, who was worshipped by the prophets as the living God, He is the Logos of God who conversed with Moses, and of late reproved the Sadducees. Man had already learned, in the example of Abraham, to follow the Word of God; for this Patriarch followed the command of the Word, freely offering his dear Son a sacrifice to God.

Theophilus of Antioch, declares that it was the Son of God who appeared to Adam immediately after his fall, taking upon him the form of the Father, even the Lord of all (gg).

Clemens Alexandrinus repeats the same things as Justin; and from that time till the present, the same opinion has provailed. The Chaldee paraphrases have asserted of the Word, the same things which the Old Testament declares of the Angel Jehovah, and the Christian Fathers declare of Christ. The Word of God was the term by which both the Jews and the Christians recognized this divine personage; and many others

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