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Doctrine of two Natures in Christ. It is one objection to the doctrine of the Trinity, that it ascribes two natures to Jesus Christ; that not content with representing God as existing in three distinct persons, it divides one of those persons, by assigning to him a divine and a human nature. This extraordinary doctrine is a necessary consequence of the trinity, and is, we think, one of the greatest incumbrances with which it is loaded. If the former be overthrown, the latter falls with it. We consider it peculiarly unfortunate for the advocates of the trinity, that their hypothesis involves a supposition, which is attended with all the formidable difficulties with which the doctrine of two natures in Christ is surrounded.

We shall proceed to state more explicitly, what is understood by this doctrine at the present day, and bring into view some of the most important objections to it, after offering a few observations upon its origin and growth in the earlier ages of the church.

The simple doctrines of Christianity became disfigured by a mixture of human falsehood and error, in

times not very remote from the days of the apostles. The followers of Jesus soon ceased to honour their master as the favoured messenger, through whom the Father had spoken and made displays of power to men, and employed themselves in abstruse speculations about his rank and person. In their attempts to exalt his nature, they forgot the gratitude and respect, which were due to him as a teacher of the will of God, their duty, and their prospects, as a guide and example to direct them on their way, encourage their virtue, and confirm their faith and hopes by submitting to the cross, and rising from the dead. He was revered by those of his disciples who attended him, or occasionally listened to his instructions, as one invested with miraculous power and wisdom; but no sooner had he left the earth, than the imagination or philosophy of the new converts began to throw around his

person

various disguises, which weakened the effect of those simple and grand virtues which marked his character. The prophet of Nazareth was viewed as God, having only the appearance of a man, by the heretical Docetce; and regarded as a man, with whom one of the cons or divine intelligences became united at baptism, and whom he forsook immediately before his sufferings, by the no less heretical Cerinthians.

A doctrine somewhat resembling the trinity of later ages was at length struck out, and gradually obtained currency. On the subject of this doctrine, however, the opinions of the fathers of the three first centuries appear to have been somewhat indefinite and fluctuating. Different individuals entertained views, variously modified by their former habits of thinking, conceptions and prejudices. These views were stated by each one in his

own way, and often loosely or carelessly expressed; or if, in a few instances, forms of expression in general use were adhered to, they had never been fully explained, or accurately investigated, and therefore were far from being always understood, or having at all times the same force. *

Arius, having early in the fourth century published opinions, which were deemed false and dangerous by the predominant party, the council of Nice was assembled, A. D. 325, to suppress the growing heresy, and settle the faith of future ages. The labours of this council resulted in the production of the well known documents called the Nicene Creed, in which the Son is declared to be of one substance with the Father,t very God of very God,” 66who came down from heaven, and was incarnate, and was made flesh.”

The Deity of the Son being acknowledged, it next became an inquiry, in what manner the divine and human natures were united in him, and what were the consequences of the union. Were all the attributes of both natures preserved unaltered, so that there were two distinct natures united in one person? Or were they blended and changed, in such a manner as to form a new nature? If so, what was this new nature resulting from the union of perfect God with entire humanity? These questions gave rise to perpetual controversies, which occasioned much waste of time, and loss of temper.

* The want of uniformity and precision in the sentiments of the Ante-Nicene Fathers on the subject of the Trinity, is acknowledged hy the learned Jesuit Petavius, who was not deficient in tenderness and respect for the Fathers of his church. Dogmata Theologica, tom. ij, lib. i. cap. iii. et iv.

t'Ou087109 TW Ilargh. The expression in the original is not wholly free from ambiguity. Ouo8o10v, the term used to express the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father, appears to have been employed by the Platonics and Platonizing Fathers, to express, not a numerical, but only a specific identity—not that one thing was numerically of the same substance with another, but partook of the same nature. In this sense it seems to have been employed by the Fathers of the Nicene Council. Succeeding ages, while they have retaiued the language, have departed from the sentiments of these Fathers. Petavius, in his Dog. Theol. tom. ii. lib. iv. cap. v. has brought together a great mass of learning, on the origin and use of the term ÓM08010v. See also Eusebii Cæs. Epistola, extant in Socrates, Hist. Eccles, lib. i, cap, viii, and Theodoret. Hist. Eccles. lib. i. cap. xli.

Arius had been accused of degrading the Son. Apollinaris, or Apollinarius, the younger, who became the author of a widely diffused heresy about the year 370, seems to have been driven by the horror of Arianism into the worse extreme of supposing, that Christ did not possess proper humanity; that he had not a rational, but only a sensitive soul, the Deity supplying the place of the former; and consequently that the Divinity suffered and died with him on the cross.* To this Apollinaris is attributed the expression, there

Eusebius, it will be recollected, was present in the Council, and offered the draft of a creed, which was adopted with a few trifling alterations, and some additions, the most important of which was that of the word ómo 80000. The expressions proposed to be substituted or added, he observes, were not adopted without being deliberately weighed. By the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father, nothing more was meant, he says, than that he bore no resemblance to the creatures made by him, but was similar in all respects, to the Father, by whom he was begotten; nor was he of any other hypostasis and substance, but of that of the Father. Some remarks on this subject may be found also in Clerici Ars. Crit. P. ii. s. 1. cap. xv. 16, 21, and Epist. 2. tom. iii. p. 34 et seq. Also, Biblioth. Anc. et Mod. tom, xxvi. p. 264.

* Theodoret. lib. v. cap. iii. et x. Petav. Dog. Theol. tom. v. lib. i. cap. vi. Cave, Script. Eccles. Hist. Lit. p. 158.

is but one incarnate nature in Christ; an unfortunate expression, which lighted up the flame of controversy, and occasioned schisms, which succeeding ages have not been able to repress.The doctrine of the incarnation and its consequences were subjects of debate among the Fathers, and called forth decrees of coun. cils, particularly in the three following centuries. It was a nice point to mark the distinction and union of the two natures in Christ, and preserve the latter without destroying the former.

Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, A. D. 428, and founder of the powerful sect of Nestorians, alarmed at the absurd consequences which followed the supposition of Apollinaris, and desirous of shunning the error of confounding the two natures, was betrayed into the use of expressions, which were thought to imply the existence of two persons in Jesus Christ. He was disgusted with the expression, “mother of God,” which it was then becoming customary to apply to Mary. He considered it more proper to call her

mother of Christ.” He was shocked too at the idea, that God had suffered and died. He acknowledged that perfect God was indissolubly united with perfect man in Jesus Christ; but the language which he frequently employed appeared to his adversaries consistent only with the supposition, that this union was very slight and feeble; and they could not discover, how the personal unity of the Saviour was preserved, while the divine and human natures remained distinct, as he described them to be. After some unsuccessful attempts had been made to induce him to retract his opinion, a general council was assembled at Ephesus,

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