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yet inferior both to him and to the Father. This theory, while it appeared to remove some of the difficulties of Sabellianism, introduced others scarcely less insuperable. It supposed a twofold, or rather a threefold
species of divinity, one uncreated, the others created; and thus recognised that sort of polytheistic principle, upon which some of the more subtle and refined Platonic philosophers attempted to vindicate the wild and incoherent systems of Pagan theology. Apart, however, from the unscriptural character of this hypothesis, it is encumbered with metaphysical perplexities and anomalies which its advocates have never been able to
Macedonius, blending together some disjointed tenets of the two preceding systems, formed a scheme of his own, distinct from both. He agreed with Arius in acknowledging the personality of the Son, and with Sabellius in denying the personality of the Holy Ghost. To the Son he ascribed that inferior kind of divinity which the Arians, or rather the semi-Arians, maintained: the Holy Ghost he appears to have regarded only as the divine energy
of the Father and the Son, not personally distinct from either. His system, therefore, involved most of the difficulties
peculiar to the others, with still less pretensions to coherency and consistency of character.
In each of these discordant schemes the vanity of human reason is more or less conspicuous. We discern in the framers of each, some fear, some reluctance, entirely to discard revelation; with a determination, at the same time, to adapt it, if possible, to certain persuasions already in possession of the mind. For, what were the questions which gave rise to these speculations ? what were they, but questions originating in attempts to discover the essential nature of the Godhead, and the mode of its existence?-points, on which, the doctrine revealed in Scripture was not intended to give explicit information; and concerning which no further discoveries can possibly be made through any other channel. The main source of each error is, like that of modern Socinianism, a delusive opinion, that the most profound mystery, though propounded on the authority of Divine Revelation, is to be brought down to the level of every man's apprehension, and ought either to be rejected as incredible, or constrained, by whatever artifice of interpretation, to harmonize with the utterly incompetent decisions of human judgment.
Upon the same rock of false philosophy did other sects make shipwreck of their faith, in their speculations upon the doctrine of our Lord's Incarnation.
The mysterious union of the Godhead and the manhood in the person of Christ, however inexplicable by human philosophy, is perhaps scarcely more so than the union of soul and body in man himself. How mind and matter can be so intimately conjoined in our own nature, it passeth man's ingenuity to explain. Had we not the fullest assurance of the fact, we might à priori be led to imagine, that properties so contrary to each other as those which inhere in mind and matter, could not appertain to one and the same being without destroying its unity and its identity. The difficulty which operates to obstruct our belief of the doctrine of the Incarnation, is not in its kind dissimilar. It is the difficulty of conceiving a Being absolutely of a pure spiritual essence, and endowed with infinite perfections, to be personally united to an altogether different being ;-a being compounded of a material and immaterial principle ;—without any actual change, either in the one being or the other. Here human metaphysics are utterly at a stand ; and if the substantial evidences
of the fact will not satisfy the incredulous or the inquisitive, we may augur but ill success from any attempts that can be made to adapt it to abstract theories.
Through attempts of this kind, however, the doctrine has been virtually, if not actually renounced, in four different ways ;-by denying our Lord's divinity ; by denying his human nature; by confounding their distinct properties ; or by entirely disuniting them from each other.
Three of these errors sprang up in the apostolic age.
The Ebionites asserted our Lord to have been a mere man.
The Docetæ acknowledged his divinity, but regarded his human appearance as an illusion of the senses.
Cerinthus and his followers seem to have felt the impossibility of disproving either his human or his divine nature; whence they framed the extravagant hypothesis, that Jesus and Christ were two distinct persons ; the former simply an human being, the latter a celestial and divine Person, who entered into him at the period of his baptism, and departed from him immediately before his passion. Several passages in St. John's Epistles, as well as the opening of his Gospel, appear to have been directed against these errors; each of which, however, had something too gross in its kind to recommend itself to more refined speculators. Further subtleties, therefore, were soon invented.
The Apollinarians denied that Christ had a human soul; and imagined this to have been supplied by the Logos, or Divine Word, at the time of his Incarnation. They held also that the portion of the Divine Nature thus united in him underwent a change of substance from divine to human; so that the very Godhead actually suffered and died. Thus they represented him as neither perfect God nor perfect Man; but an imperfect compound of both. They held (if we may so say) a sort of transubstantiation of a portion of the Deity into a human substance. This error was strongly in contrast with that of Cerinthus; but, like it, was too gross to obtain acceptance among the higher ranks of philosophy. Two distinguished leaders in the succeeding age displayed much superior ingenuity in remodelling these opposite schemes. These were Nestorius and Eutyches.
Nestorius is charged with having denied the actual union of the divine and human natures in the person of Christ. He appears to have considered the Logos as dwelling in Christ no otherwise than as the Holy Ghost dwelt in the Prophets and Apostles whom he