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which he has quoted as similar, a difference, in consequence of this change in the meaning of words, as material and important to your question, as if, to borrow a supposition of his own (page 3), 'a change • in later times had taken place in the use of the ar
ticle.' You yourself will admit, that it makes a wide difference in the application of a testimony to your rule, or to some of your interpretations, whether the author of that testimony understood the word Xp1505, for instance, as a proper name, in which way it was as generally understood and used by the later fathers, as it is by us at this day, or whether he understood it as a descriptive personal noun, in which way the earlier fathers, as well as the sacred writers, generally understood and used it. Had your
friend attended a little more to this change in the meaning of words, I am of opinion that he would not have treated you with such a profusion of his elegant extracts.
To a similar want of attention in others, most ecclesiastical establishments are indebted for so many absurdities as have found their way into them. In our own, for instance, there are gross contradictions which may
be traced to this cause. Thus our eighth article requires all who subscribe the thirty-nine, thoroughly to receive and believe, without at all adverting to any change or variation in the meaning of words, both the Nicene and the Athanasian creeds.* But these creeds, if the same word means
* It is now more than a hundred years since Archbishop Tile lotson “ wished,” that the church “ were well rid of” this latter creed. But the Oxford press still continues to send forth ser
the same thing, directly contradict each other, upon the very face of them.
To the Nicene creed (I do not mean that inserted in our communion service; for that is not the Ni.. cene creed, though so called in our prayer-books: but I mean the creed really drawn up and published by the council of Nice, which also our eighth article must be understood to mean, if words have any definite meaning) is annexed a damnatory clause. The Athanasian, which has vastly the advantage over its predecessor in respect to the quantity, as well as the quality, both of this and every other sort of sound divinity, boasts, as is well known, of three damnatory clauses. The Nicene, in its clause, damns all who say that the father is of another hypostasis from the son; while, on the other hand, the Athanasian creed maintains, that there is one hypostasis (person) of the father, and another of the son, and that who. ever does not thus think, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
This contradiction, of which I have here given the substance, you may see more at large in an author, the whole of whose book is well worth
your perusal, and who, after the proofs of the fact, concludes with the following just reflection. “ taking the plain literal sense of the two creeds and
mons and charges, of Bishops and Archdeacons, vindicating its curses, and explaining its incomprehensibility! See Tillotson's Letter to Burnet, Oct. 23, 1694, in Birch's Life of Tillotson ; and Bishop Cleaver's Sermon, Nov. 16, 1800, and Archdeacon Dodwell's Three Charges, 1801.
" the article, an ignorant and honest subscriber is “ brought into a very critical and dangerous situa« tion. By the Nicene creed he is sentenced to ever6 lasting damnation if he believes the doctrine of " the Athanasian creed-by the Athanasian creed he « is anathematized, if he believes the doctrine of the “ Nicene creed—to render his damnation inevitable, “ he is required by the Church of England to believe “ them both, upon pain of being devoted to the devil “ for his rejection of either-and by subscribing ex o animo to the truth of the article, he sets his own " Amen to the complicated curse. So that let him 66 believe what he will upon this point, it may truly “ be said, if he is saved at all, it must be so as by 66 fire."*
Another contradiction from the same cause we have in the choice which our church has made for its standard of orthodoxy, and its test of heresy ; which, as Blackstone (b. iv. ch. 4.) will inform you, is (by stat. 1 Eliz. c. 1.) the decisions of the first four general councils. Of these the third, held at Ephesus, condemned the doctrine of Nestorius, who maintained that there were two persons (υποτασεις) in Jesus : and the fourth, held at Chalcedon, condemned that of Eutyches, who maintained that there was but one nature (quors), in Jesus,
But now whoever reads the greek fathers with care will find, that the former of these two heresi. archs used the word 'wosaris in the same sense in
* Wilton's Review of some of the Articles of the Church of England, p. 85, 8vo. 1774.
which the latter used the word Quais,* and that their doctrines were diametrically opposite to each other. And so they were understood to be by the latter
* There seems to have been little or no variation in the mean. ing of quors and cold, which were used as equivalent to each other, for some time both before and after the period we are speaking of. Thus Origen has, 5 mns fugens quois mai 2014. Com. in Matt. vol. i. p. 484. edit. Huet. 1668. And in some defini.. tions published with the works of Athanasius, but written, evidently, long after that father's days, we read, ti dɛyetar Quois; φυσις ειρηται δια το σεφυκεναι και είναι, ωσπες και εσια ως εσα και εν αληθεια γνωριζομενη
φυσις και εσια και γενος και μορφη εν εσι. Athanas. Op. vol. iii. p. 244, . viii. edit. Bened. 1698. The word iT05acis underwent three variations. It was first used as equivalent to either of the former words, to denote nature or
Thus Athanasius : η δε υποςασις εσια εσι και εδεν αλλο σημαινομενον εχει, ή αυίο το ον. Epist. ad. Afros. Oper. vol. i. p. 894, b. edit. Bened. And again, and ÝMOSQOW Mev asyojuev, jy lusyou ταυτον ειναι ειπειν υποςασιν και εσιαν" μιαν δε φρονεμεν διά το εκ της εσιας τα σατρος ειναι τον υιον, και δια την ταυίοτητα της φυσεως" μιαν γας 9800 τητα και μιαν ειναι την ταυτης φυσιν ειςευομεν. Εpist. ad Αntiochenses, vol. i. p. 773. f. And, in a spurious disputation between him and Arius, Athanasius asks, ti wote apx Esiv ý voll, to which Arius answers σαν ει τι εσιν εν υποφασει τετο εσια τυγχανει.
And this answer Athanasius sanctions and approves, by rejoining, opws sons. Vol. iii. p. 220. %. 29. Afterwards it was used in the sense of person, to denote an individual ; as when we say, John is one person, and Peter another person. In this way Basil uses it, and he seems to have been one of the first writers who so used it. See Epist. 38. vol. iii. p. 115. edit. Bened. Lastly it was used, as many other ecclesiastical words are, without any meaning at all, to denote nobody knows what; just as english trinitarians use the word person, in a way which they have none of them ever been able to explain.
Now Nestorius could only use the word Ú7052015, in the first of these senses, as equivalent to Quors, or 8014. For, in the second sense, neither he, nor any one else, could ever dream of applyI 4
council, which annulled the acts of the former (Mos.heim, vol. ii. p. 78, edit. 1782, 8vo.); and were also declared to be by the Emperor Justinian, some time after (an. 536), in a constitution of his, preserved in Labbe's Councils (vol. v. p. 265. C.). The church of Rome, however, holding all general coun: cils to be infallible, was determined to embrace the decrees of all, however contradictory to one another; and in conformity with this resolution, coined the unintelligible tenet of two natures in one person, upon which, when the chief silversmith and his craftsmen had stamped the hall-mark of orthodoxy, it passed current through christendom, and was adopted, as by many churches, without examination, so by our own, which, in this, as well as in some other respects, is the church of Rome still, in spite of the Reformation.
ing the word to Jesus, so as make him two persons, meaning thereby two individuals. And the third sense, or rather nonsense, did not come into
vogue till long after Nestorius's death. Upon this third way of using words without any meaning at all, there are some good observations in Le Clerc's Bibliotheque Universelle, vol. x. p. 339–346. Among other things, he observes : « On n'a qu'à ouvrir un philosophe, ou un theologien “ scholastique, et l'on verra peut-être avec étonnement, que des
personnes célèbres ont passé leur vie à dire, comme des perro“ quets, je ne sçai quels sons, qu'ils entendoient aussi peu que “ ces oiseaux entendent les paroles qu'ils prononcent," p. 344. See also his Ars Critica, Part ii. sect. 1. cap. ix. For an account of the struggles of the later trinitarians to explain the word person as they use it, see Taylor's Apol. of Ben Mordecai, vol. i. p. 154. And for the second way of using 1 7oşxois, see ibid. p. 191.Dr. Wallis says, the three persons are three somewhats ; as Peter Lombard had before said the whole trinity was a somewhat, quadam summa res, Ibid.