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beginning of his ways, before his works of old.” But Tertullian had probably never seen a Hebrew Bible, and if he had, he could not have read a word in it. But supposing the Septuagint to give the true meaning, he thought this passage precisely in point, to prove, that God first created the Word, and then all things through him.

But here his adversaries are upon him again, and accuse him of making a positive production of one being from another, an idea totally unworthy of God. He defends himself by saying, that the production, which he maintains, is something very different from that of the Valentinians, who asserted the derivation of their Eons from God, in such a sense, as to separate_them entirely from him ; so that they did not know who their Father

was.

sun.

But in bis derivation, the Son knows the Father, dwells in the bosom of the Father, reveals the Father, and teaches what the Father bids him. He was with the Father, and was one with the Father; yet still, in a manner, separate, because he was the Word, and as a word, proceeded from the Father, as a tree from the root, a stream from the fountain, a ray from the

He then goes on to quote various passages of Scripture, to prove that they were distinct, but not divided. If they had different names in Scripture, they must be different, for the Scripture never represents falsely.

But then his adversaries turn upon him and say, “ that all things are possible with God.” He can be Father, Son, and Spirit, himself. No, says Tertullian. God is restrained, not by physical, but by moral impossibilities. He is not himself, Father, Son, and Spirit, because he could not be, but because he did not choose to be. The only way to prove that he has done so, is, not to show that he might have done so, but to prove the fact, that he has done so, from the Scriptures, as satisfactorily as the tri-personality is proved. Then follow several pages of proof texts, from various parts of the Scriptures, of the pertinency and conclusiveness of which every reader must judge for himself.

Such then is the treatise of Tertullian on the trinity. It is a fair, and rather a favorable specimen of the theological speculations of the Fathers of the Church, before the Council of Nice. Such were the arguments by which the doctrine of the trinity was gradually elaborated, which was afterwards established by the formal decree of that Council, and has made a

part of the canon of faith ever since; nay, is now publicly read and sung in the churches ! We see in this writer, and in all the early Fathers, the want of a knowledge of the Hebrew, and in general of Oriental figures and modes of speech, without which the Old Testament cannot be understood; nor yet, indeed, the New; for though the language is Greek, the style of thought and expression is Hebrew. The arguments derived from the Old Testament are generally founded on the Greek translation of the Seventy, and that is often but a poor representation of the original. And it is a singular fact, that the writers of the New Testament have followed the Septuagint in their quotations, and, in some cases, reasoned from the translation instead of the original.

There is in them, too, a palpable want of that general intellectual cultivation and discipline, which are necessary to enable a person to reason conclusively on any subject. This remark is as applicable to the most learned, as the most ignorant. Origen, the most learned of them all, was so deficient in judgment, so incapable of determining what was, or what was not, proved by the facts, which his vast reading brought together, that his conclusions, without sight of his premises, carry very little weight. These traits of the early Fathers confirm the suspicion, we have many other reasons for entertaining, that the Christians, for at least the first three centuries of the existence of the Church, were confined very much to the lower classes, and that it was not considered respectable by the fashionable or the learned world, to become a Christian, before the conversion of Constantine. Not that this was a reproach to the Christians, but the necessary consequence of the state of things which then existed. This circumstance, while it made the religion of the first centuries pure and sincere, made their theology meagre and obscure, not to say puerile and extravagant.

We cannot close these remarks, without adding, that occasional translations from the Fathers would contribute not a little to diffuse among the Christian world a right estimate of those appeals, which they so often see, to the authority of the Fathers, paraded before the reading public, as if they really were entitled to any weight. For instance, in the Oxford controversy, we see page after page almost entirely made up

of citations of the opinions and arguments of these ancient writers, as if either the one or the other were of any real force, as opinions and arguments.

There is a use of the Fathers, which is rational and legitimate, as histories of opinions, and a record of the condition and usages of the Church at different periods. In this light they are most interesting. They set before us a vivid picture of the early Church, and the circumstances by which it was surrounded. We learn from them the various opinions which then prevailed, and the reasons

which were then thought sufficient for entertaining them. But, as means of learning what Christianity essentially was, they altogether fail us. For this, we must go to the Scriptures themselves, and in our study of them, we get very little light from the Christian writers of the first three centuries.

G. W. B.

[graphic]

A HISTORY.

Those deep dark eyes ! full well, too well I know
Their strange sad history, - yet wherefore strange,
Since such the lot of life since years begun,
And wherefore sad, unless that lot be so,
Which Goodness Infinite is pleased to give,
As preparation for an endless bliss.
Then, not in sadness nor in wonder, we,
May tell that history. Those deep, deep eyes,
Whence all the glorious soul looked nobly out
Of a pure perfect woman one who came
Right from the hand of God, to be withdrawn
All perfected by deep experience
Of joy and wretchedness :

I saw them first
In happy days long past. The joyous spring
Had just stept forth upon the forest lawn,
Risen from the hidden nook where winter through
She slumbered, down among the withered leaves,
And standing on the fresh young grass, looked round
Trembling and timid. O'er her loosened hair
And flowing robe sprang momently fresh buds
Swift opening into flowers, and rich green leaves
Still mingled here and there with withered twigs
And leaves decayed, yet clinging round her form
From her warm winter couch. The air was soft,
For fragrance stole from every glen and hill,
And sunny slope, and woody fountain-side,
And echoes of sweet sound came softly forth,
Tremulous to the ear, scarce bold enough
Above the faintest whisper to proclaim
The chorus of all liberated things

In earth, and air, and water. Thus all sounds
And sights and scents made perfect harmony,
And she I speak of seemed a part of them.
A child, almost a baby — four kind years
Had stooped in turn to kiss her sunny brow,
And lingered, as if loth to pass her by.
She moved about the cottage where she dwelt
A household angel, - living Joy and Love,
The Spirit of a Smile. She passed along,
And looks long used to sorrow followed her,
And from them she drew answering smiles, as bees
Draw honey from a flower; and her dark eyes
Were full of smiles and tears, each following each
Like clouds and sunshine on an April day.
The flowers loved to kiss her little foot,
The breeze played lovingly about her hair,
The sun looked softly down on her : all felt,
Things animate and lifeless, all alike
Her influence, - all clung to her alike.
The passer-by would pause and look on her,
His hardened brow relax, and even tears
Gush from his eyes, the while he stood and gazed
Upon the exquisite motions of her form,
Or on her face's loveliness, and then
Would pass along, a better, purer man.
If such to casual eyes, how deeply dear
To those of whose whole life she was a part,
The sweetest, holiest part. My memory dwells
Upon her now, and scarce can cease to think
Of all her loveliness. Words cannot say
How exquisite the darling was.

That passed;
And years went o'er her ere we met again,
For one brief fleeting moment met.

The spring Had passed away, and loose-clad summer reigned VOL. XXXV.-3D S. VOL. XVII. NO. II.

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