Many thanks to Roger Pearse for offering to share
As the usefulness of any Book must very much depend on the belief entertained of the orthodoxy of its author, I have thought it right to discuss as briefly as possible the following questions: First, The alleged Arianism of Eusebius: secondly, his views of Prophecy, generally; and thirdly, his belief that no restoration of the Jews, and no personal reign of Christ on earth, are to be expected. I think it right to use my best endeavour to place these questions in their true light, because I conceive much mistake exists respecting them.
ON CERTAIN OPINIONS OF EUSEBIUS.
On the alleged Arianism of Eusebius, and on the manner in which he has expressed his opinions.
In prosecuting this inquiry, our first business will be to determine, what the opinions of Arius were: our second, what those were which our author himself held, and how he has usually expressed these.
I would premise then, that in endeavouring to ascertain the religious belief of any writer, it is our duty to abide by his positively expressed opinions, and to attach to his words the precise sense, which it is most obvious be intended they should bear. If indeed, we think we see reason for suspecting his honesty, or feel difficulties in accounting for his conduct on certain occasions, we ought perhaps to put the best construction we can on these things; because the sources, from which they may have come down to us, might in the first instance have been any thing but pure; and in the second, from the little we can now know of the exact bearing of all such particulars, our knowledge respecting them must necessarily be very imperfect.
Our questions however,—whatever may be the difficulties inherent in them in some respects,—do not appear to me to be greatly embarrassed in these. The great questions are, What did Arius positively propose for belief? And, What does Eusebius appear to have believed, with reference to the creed of this Heresiarch ?
The leading opinion of Arius was, as it appears from his own statements, that there was a time in which Christ, the Son of God, had no positive existence whatsoever [Socratis Hist. Eccl. Lib. I. c. v. “GREEK” “Si Pater genuit Filium, existendi initium habet is qui genitus est. Ex quo manifeste liquet, fuisse aliquando tempus, cum non esset Filius : et necessario conficitur, eundem ex nihilo subsistere.“ We have ib. cap. vi. the Bishop of Alexandria’s Letter to the Bishops generally, containing his comments on the dogmas of Arius. After which follows that of Constantine, exhorting both the parties to merge their differences, and not to dispute on matters such as these, which were small and of no moment! which Socrates praises as evincing great wisdom; and to this Le Clerc seems to agree. Constantine’s words are,… “GREEK” “De quadam parte inanis quaestionis.” And, a little lower down, that no new dogma had been introduced, but as both held the same opinion (virtually), they might well agree together. “GREEK” I would remark here, that Constantine evinced neither the mind of an enlightened Believer, nor of a wise Governour; as indeed the sequel most abundantly proved. To be so liberal as to disregard the truth, is as rotten a policy, as it is to deal out secular pains and punishments on account of religious belief, however erroneous such belief might be. We have a similar account of the opinions of Arius, in Sozomen, Hist. Eccl. Lib. i. c. xv. Theodoret. Hist. Eccl. Lib. i. cc. ii. iv. The Epistle of Arius himself, ib. c. v. The Epistle of Eusebius of Nicomedia to Paulinus Bishop of Tyre, ib. c. vi. Philostorg. Hist. Eccl. Lib. n. 3. Epiphan. Heres. v. 69, as quoted by Le Clerc. Montfaue. Colleet, nov. Patr. p. xvii. &c. and Cave’s Hist. Lit. Tom. I. p. 120. Edit. 1088.]; that He was begotten; by which he understood, was produced out of nothing. These I take to have been the leading doctrines of Arius; and those, out of which, and about which, the great controversy that agitated the Church, soon after it was established by Constantine, originated and was carried on.
What, in the next place, are the opinions positively and clearly expressed, and maintained, by Eusebius? In our following work, p. 5, Christ is termed ” the only (begotten) Word of God, whom the Maker of all generated of Himself, as a ray of light from His own Godhead.” He is next spoken of as a Mediator, (p. 6,) appointed by the Father, to whose Godhead perishable beings, such as we are, could make no possible approach. The Word of God is then described as having meekly lowered Himself, become the efficient Cause of all things (p. 8. seq.), the Creator, Ruler, and Governour, of all.
The Person of the Father is then (p. 11. seq.) more particularly described as the (primary) Cause of every thing; incomprehensible, unrevealed, and reserved in the unseen depth of (His own) knowledge. From Him, the Son, or Word of God, is next described as a river ever flowing from an unlimited fountain, and distilling as rain to beings otherwise perishing. The Father is next spoken of as, in some respects, similar to the mind concealed within man ; the Son, to the Word, sent forth announcing its determinations: and this again, in a manner exceeding all comparison, and least of all like the word of man, which is produced by a mere percussion of the air [Guarding in this against the errors of Marcellus, as we shall see hereafter. And let it be remembered, that, although our author has instituted comparisons with regard to the Father, the Son, and the Holy-Ghost, his intention seems to have been, only to give an illustration, and not by the illustration to determine the abstract nature of the Beings so illustrated, as this context is sufficient to shew.] : the Divine Word being the living minister of God, ” the power of God,” and ” the Wisdom of God.”
In the next place (p. 14.), He is said to be the God that is begotten of God, and then John i. 1. is cited as the Scriptural warrant for this. Again, (p. 15.) He is termed the LIFE and the Light which cannot be described. A little farther on (p. 18.), the Father is said to be the Head (source) of the generation of the Word,” and the originating cause of all, and therefore truly styled the Father and God above all, beyond whom no cause can be assigned. From Him, it is added, proceeded forth the Son, the only begotten Saviour of all. Again, He is said to be in all things like to His Father, (so also p. 30), and to extend Himself throughout all things. Again, (p. 21) He is declared to be in nothing incomplete because horn of God; and, as being God of God, He is sufficient for all, and Almighty : and is the one, image of His (Father’s) essence. Again, (p. 26. seq.) a comparison is instituted between the Father and the Son, with reference to the Divine Economy, by a royal court; the King remaining concealed and unapproachable; the Son sustaining the office of first minister, and sending forth the determination of His Father’s will throughout the various orders of society under his government.
In Book ii. Sect. 3, the Son, or Word of God, is said to have had no beginning; and Book in. p. 178, it is affirmed, that He still remained with His Father, notwithstanding His incarnation, just as He was before, immaterial, incorporeal, and unchanged, as to His (eternal) essence [It will be objected perhaps, that the word Eternal does not occur in our text. I answer, the term is generally used in the Syriac in this sense; and, if it be a translation,—which it most likely is,—of the Greek ούσία, there can be no doubt on the mind of those who are accustomed to read the Philosophers, that, in this place the Eternal Essence is meant.]: and (ib. p. 179), that even when He conversed among men, He filled all things, was with the Father, and was in Him. So far we may perhaps conclude, that there does appear to be a wide and palpable difference of opinion, between our author and the celebrated heresiarch Arius.
Before however, we can fully enter into the mind of Eusebius on these questions, we must inquire how he reasoned about Deity in the abstract, and of created Beings with reference to this : we shall then be able to see, what he meant when he spoke of a Being generated of God, coming forth of God, and, at the same time, having a positive existence, subsistency, or person, and sustaining the character of a rational agent.
On this subject then, he has delivered himself most fully and unreservedly in his Praeparatio Evangelica. The place to which I now allude is Lib. xi. cap. ix. p. 523. seq. He commences with Exod. iii. 14, where Moses, speaking in the person of God, says, / am that (Being) which I am. “Σγώ είμτ ό ών” Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, The Being hath sent me to you;” laying it down, that God is the only Being truly existing; and shewing, that He (alone) is properly and conveniently worthy of this appellation. This, he goes on to tell us, is the real source and origin of all things both spiritual and corporeal. He then cites Plato to the same effect, and reasons accordingly, just as he has in our work, (Book 11. sect. 24, 33, with the notes, also ib. sect. 44, 46, with the notes [It should be borne in mind, in reading the works of Eusebius, that, as he reasons very much in imitation of Plato, we should be careful to understand him accordingly. When, for example, he speaks of Being (ό ών, or τ όν), in the abstract, he means that Being alone which is properly called God, as in the following work, pp. 31, 89: p. 96, sect. 33, with the Notes: also p. 104, sect. 44: p. 106, sect. 45; ib. p. 108. So Le Clerc. of Plato. Bibl. Univers. Ann. 1088, p. 387. “II croit qu’il n’y, qu’un Dieu supreme, spirituel et invisible, qu’il appelle d’Etre meme, le Bien meiue, le PeRe et la Cause de tons les autres.—Hence too, we occasionally find the Syriac term , word, used in our work in the sense of Reason, which I have marked in the notes, just as the Platonists did the Greek λόγος.]). This is followed up in the Praeparatio Evangelica, with a long extract from Numenius, (cap. x.), and another from Plutarch, (cap. xi.) which we shall presently notice. We are then taught, that the Godhead is incapable of description by words (cap. xii.) ; and then that He is One ; Deut. vi. 4. is now cited to establish this. The opinions of Plato are again quoted, expressive of God’s all pervading character, power, justice, and the like; and, as corresponding with this, we have Isaiah xli. 4; Ps. x. 8; Deut. xxxii. 35; Ps. xxx. 24; Deut. xiii. 4; James iv. 6; and Job xx. 5, according to the lxx. All of which is apparently intended to afford a determinate, ample, and full view of the abstract nature of the Deity, as conceived by our author.
We are taught in the next place, and in the same context, that all Being must be one of two kinds only; either that which is spiritual, and to be perceived by the intellect only ; or that which is material, and is known by the senses; that the former of these is immortal and impervious to decay; the latter, the contrary. And it is elsewhere argued, that of spiritual Beings, those which are brought nearest to the Godhead, are those which partake most largely of its character (not of its essence necessarily) : those, which are otherwise, the reverse [Our Work, pp. 24, 27, 29, 30, 35, &c.]: that it is through the mediation of the Son alone, that any such approximation as this can be made by the creatures; and that light, life, and every heavenly virtue can be known by them.—That the Son is of the same essence, (ούσία) with the Father, is ever with Him, and in Him: is filled with all the fulness of His Father’s Godhead bodily [Eccles. Theol. Lib. in. p. 195 A… “GREEK” Com. in Is. xlii. “GREEK” Col. ii. 9, and again, Com. in Psalm. p. 354. “GREEK” “Neque enim modo habitavit in illo, modo recessit ab eo; sed in infinitum ac semper Pater in Filio inhabitat.“ He had just before said, that this indwelling is not such as that of God is, when it is said that He walks in his people. (2 Cor. vi. 16.)] : and that, notwithstanding His incarnation, humiliation, sufferings, and death, His Godhead remained, just as it was before, complete and perfect [Our Work below, pp. 21, 25, 55, 89, 96,104, 108, &c.], immaterial, all-pervading, almighty, unutterable. We have here therefore, a full and marked distinction established between the Divine nature, and, that of the creatures, whether spiritual or corporeal.
The Deity is next viewed by our author, with respect to the Divine Economy (ή οίκονομία), which term however does not occur in our Work [It is to be found however in his Eccles. Hist. Lib. i. cap. i. twice, p. l…. “άπό πρώτης άρξομαι τής κατά τον Σωτήρα καί κύριον ήμών GREEK...” Ab ipsa Servatoris ac Domini nostri Jesu Christi incarnatione” (dispensatione) “initium ducam.” Ib. p. 2…. “GREEK”…”Ab ipsa quae captum longe superat humanum Servatoris Christi dispensatione, et ab ejusdem divinitatis expositione repetetur.” Where we have a manifest distinction made between the terms θεολογϊας, and οίκονομίας : the former having respect to the Deity of our Lord considered in the abstract; the second, to his office sustained in the Divine Economy. This term occurs also in the very valuable Greek work of Eusebius, lately published by Dr. Gaisford, entitled “Eclogae Prophetarum,” (Oxonii. 1842.) pp. 13, 17, 32, &c.—According to the Fathers generally, the Economy (οίκονομία) had respect (i.) to the providence and government of God generally. So Epiphanius Haeres. lxiii. “GREEK” “Non norunt Dei potentiam, neque bonitatem, neque ipsius sapientiae gubernationem.” So also Greg. Nyss. Catechet. Mag. cap. xii. Tom. iii. p. 67. Chrysost. Lib. i. de Provid. cap. vii. &c, as cited by Suicer. Thesaur. Eccles. sub voce. (ii.) To the ministry of the New Test. Eph. iii. 2. Col. i. 25. 1 Cor. ix. 17: termed by Gregory of Nyssa, “GREEK”. Orat. Catechet. cap. xxv. Tom. iii. p. 83, &c. cited ib. by Suicer. (iii.) To the Incarnation of our Lord. So Theodoret. Dial. ii. cap. ix. Tom. iv. p. 62. (ib. Suicer), “GREEK”. “Incarnationem Dei verbi, aeconomiam vel assumtam humanitatem, vocamus.” Our author however, speaks of this as being in operation previous to the incarnation of our Lord, (Eclog. Prophet, as noticed above, p. 13), where, speaking of God’s appearing to Abraham, Gen. xviii. I9), and shewing that it cannot apply either to the God of all (i.e. the Father), or the angelic nature, he says it must apply to the Word, “GREEK”. Whom we have believed both to have variously appeared, even before the incarnation for the salvation of men, and to have effected the dispensations contained in the divine Scriptures. He goes on to say, that to Him alone, after the God of all (the Father), is the four-lettered appellation (i.e. Jehovah) found to be applied. The same is implied (ib. pp. 31, 32.) on Exod. xiii. 21, where the Hebrew text has Jehovah]. But this is of no importance, as it is most clear, the thing itself does: and, it is worthy of remark, Eusebius is perhaps more particular than the Fathers generally in marking the dealings of the Deity with the creatures, in this respect, at a much earlier period than they usually do. For example, he makes our Lord a mediator between God and the Angels, even before man had a being [Contra Marcel, p. 8. B.]. In this respect generally it is, that he speaks of the Holy and thrice blessed Trinity, as he now terms the Godhead, and speaks of the generation, or issuing forth, both of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. To each of these he assigns a peculiar office, and Person or ύπόστασις, for the aid and benefit of the rational creatures, and in order that all these,—which are capable of this,—might be made such as their rational nature, received from the Son, declares they ought to be; and thence, to be made partakers of a higher nature and of higher joys in His immediate presence above. It appears therefore, that he speaks of the Deity under two points of view. One, under which he views Him in His abstract character, and as being the Creator, Governour, and God of all (termed ή μοναρχία) : another, under which he considers Him, as subsisting in the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, revealed as such with reference to the Divine Economy, and particularly as it respects the creation, redemption, and final salvation of Man: directly and positively asserting, that these are of one and the same Essence (ούσία) : that the Son, and the Holy Ghost, have proceeded out of the Father; and that, as far as it respects their offices in the Economy, they are considered inferior to the Father, inasmuch as He is superior [See page 11. of our work. The same sentiment is expressed by Philo Judaeus, in the Tract entitled, “GREEK” Edit. Steph. p. 91. “GREEK” To be free from labour is most appropriate to God. See also p. 83.] to the every thing like ministration, either of office or of rule: that He can be revealed to His creatures, only by the mediation and ministration of the Son : and known to any saving extent, solely by the ministration of the Holy Ghost [Comm. in Psalm, p. H09. Com. in Is. p. 520-7, 574. Eccles. Theol. p. 171, seq. ]. In conformity with this latter mode of viewing the Deity, He terms the Father the First Cause, the Son, the Second, and the Holy Ghost, the Third: not for the purpose, as far as I can see, of lowering in any degree the Divine nature of either: but solely for that of speaking more intelligibly and definitely respecting the Office and Person of each, as sustained in the Divine Economy. Whether Eusebius did right or wrong in making this technical distinction, is not the question here: with this I have now nothing to do. I have only to inquire, what he meant, when he set it up, and reasoned accordingly.
These questions are discussed at some length, in the xith, xiith, and xiiith chapters of the Seventh Book of the Praeparatio Evangelica, and again, from chap. ix. to chap. xx. of the Eleventh Book of the same work : from some of which I shall make a few extracts, sufficient, as I trust, to shew what the mind of our author was. In chap. xii. then of the Seventh Book he tells us, that the Hebrews introduce a Second Essence [The text stands thus: “GREEK”. Which Viger translates, “Naturam alteram” (incorrectly, and then warns the reader of the Arianism of Eusebius, which he himself had created. See also his note on the passage) “constituunt, vimque divinam, quae cum eorum omnium quae gignuntur principium sit, tum ante caeteras omnes extiterit, ab eodemque primo Principio genita fuerit, quam ipsi (i.e. Hebraei) Verbum, Sapientiam, Deique Virtutem appellare solent.” Where it may also be remarked, “constituunt, vimque divinam,” is any thing but an accurate translation of the Greek. In the first of these cases, he has supposed that ούσία was to be taken in the sense of Φυσις which is indeed often done by the Fathers. It seems not to have occurred to him, that they do nevertheless use ούσία in the sense of ύπόστασις:, Person, with the view of guarding against the errors of Marcellus, Paulus of Samosata, and others; with the first of whom our author had a warm controversy, “Ousia vero vocabulum” (says Suicer sub voce)..”de Christo usurpari coepit, quia Samosatenus et Marcellus Filium Dei vocarunt (GREEK), verbum, quod ex ore prodit: ut docet Epiphanius haeresi LXIII. pag. 366.” And hence we are told (page 12 of our work) that Christ is not “constituted in His nature by the enunciation of names and words,” &c. &c. It is worthy of remark, too, that the Arians were most averse to the term ούσία, Essence, as applied either to the Father or the Son, (see Suiceri Thes. ib.) because, by this, when applied to Christ, His being Homoousian with the Father was implied.] and Divine Power, the Principle of all created beings; the First subsisting, and Begotten of the First (Essence), terming Him the Word, and the Wisdom, and the Power of God. He goes on to shew, that Job (xxviii. 20), David (Ps. xxxiii. 6), Solomon (Prov. viii. 12, ib. 22—30): also Wisd. vi. 24; vii. 22; viii. I. [I omit citing these passages in order to save space. I would suggest that they ought to he examined. Le Clerc adds, Wisd. Sol. viii.19: ix. 2: xviii. 15, 10: which are sufficient to determine the Platonizing character of its author. ] had this Being in view. And he then tells us, that this Divine Word is variously represented in Holy Scripture, as sent by the Father for the salvation of men : that He shewed Himself to Abraham, Moses, and other Prophets beloved of God, and taught them many things by Divine enouncements and predictions, where it is said that God and the Lord appeared and spoke to them ; that the same came for the knowledge of all, as a Saviour and Physician of diseased souls, being sent by a Greater [Here Viger warns us again, that this is to be read with caution. “Locus hie caute legendus.” But, might he not as well have cautioned us against St. John, nay against our Lord Himself, in the same way, where it is said, “My Father is greater than I?” (Chap. xiv. 28.) The question is not so much in cases of this sort, as to what the naked words are, but as to the manner in which we ought to view them. Our author is manifestly speaking here of our Lord as engaged in the office of a ministering servant in the Divine Economy; and this as before, prior to His Incarnation: which however he has, more than once, affirmed had no influence whatever in lowering the character of His Divine nature.]. He then cites Ps. cvi. 20. ” He sent His word and healed them,” &c. Ps. cxlvii. 4. “His word runneth very swiftly:” and after this John i. 1—5. We are next told, that Moses, inspired as he was, introduces God speaking to His First-begotten Word, on the creation of Man, thus; “Let us make man in our image and likeness :” and as agreeing with this, Ps. xxxiii. 9, is cited, “He spake and they were made; he commanded, and they were created.'” This he says evidently marks the discourse of the First with the Second Cause, as of a Father with a Son. We are then informed that Moses speaks in other places of Two Lords, as in the destruction of Sodom ; “The Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrha brimstone and fire, from the Lord out of heaven.” (Gen. xix. 24). So “The Lord said unto my Lord” &c. (Ps. cx. 8.) is a similar place: and, in the same (Ps. ver. 4.) the inexplicable and mysterious Generation of the Son is intimated. In the same work (Lib. xi. cc. xxiii. xiv.) the same question is discussed ; and here, Prov. viii. 12, 22. seq. is cited, as is also, Wisd. vi. 24; vii. 25; viii. l, as already remarked. All of which appears to me, to have been intended to mark, as existing under the former dispensation, a recognition of the distinct personality and Divinity of the Son; it being more than once affirmed, that this Person was that designated by the name Jehovah (τετράγραμμον) under that dispensation [This inquiry is prosecuted to a still greater length, in the work of our author lately published by Dr. Gaisford, entitled “Eclogae Prophetarum.” I will here point out a few places only. In pages 6, 6, we have Gen. xi. 5, 6, 7 cited, where the term (HEBREW) is used, and is applied by our author to Christ, as ministering to the Father in the Divine Economy. Again (p. 6 seq.), Gen. xii. 1. 7: xiii. 14: xv. 1, 7. (Not Gen. 7, as there marked), xvii. 1: xviii. 1 : 16—20, 22—25, 33. All of which, we are told (p. 9), cannot, as revealed to Abraham and enounced in the four-lettered name (i.e. Jehovah), apply either to any Angel, or to any Divine Power a little superior to the Angels, but does to God Himself. After noticing some other passages, in which mere angels are said to have appeared as to Abraham and Lot, we are told (p. 11 seq.) that a comparison of the Old with the New Testament, will shew that the Father is invisible, nevertheless that God is said both by Moses and the Prophets to have variously appeared. (Is. vi. 5 is pointed out, which St. John, xii. 41 explains of Christ, all of which is referred to Christ, (ib. p. 13), and as done by him under the Divine Economy, even before His incarnation, as already noticed. I mention these few places, merely as specimens of our author’s mode of treating on the Person of Christ, which I think could not have been done by any Arian. Similar interpretations of places in Genesis are given by Cyril of Alexandria against Julian. Lib. viii. p. 267, &c. Edit. 1696. et ib. p. 292 seq. as they also are by Theodoret in his work published by Dr. Gaisford, p. 84 seq.].
We are next presented with an account of the Word, according to the mind of Philo Judaeus, and Aristobulus, a Jewish writer contemporary with the Ptolemies ; the most remarkable parts of which only I shall notice. Philo tells us then,—after stating that the Divine Oracles well ascribe the Image of God to the Word, as to a second God; no mortal nature being adequate to the bearing of such impression, and the like,—that the Eternal Word of the Everlasting God, is the most powerful and firm support of all things.” “GREEK” Where we may observe, the Word (λογος) is said to be eternal; as it is above, to be a second God. Philo proceeds, very much in the manner of our author [Theoph. p. 7, seq.], “GREEK” Which Viger translates, “Hoc enim illud est, cujus arbitrio dum a mediis ad extrema, simulque a summis ad media pertinet, constitutus ac perpetuus naturae cursus peragitur. Partes enim omnes inter se se consociat atque constringit, quod illud Pater, a quo genitum est, firmissimum quoddam totius universi vinculum esse voluerit.” Aristobulus (ib. Lib. vn. cap. xiv.) tells us, that the Wisdom which Solomon describes (Prov. viii.) as being prior to the creation of the world, the Stoics consider as a sort of Lamp to be followed during their whole lives, in order to be preserved from every sort of perturbation. Again, (Lib. xi. c. xv.) Philo goes on : “GREEK“ “Decet enim, eos qui cum scientia societatem inierunt, ejus quod est, videndi desiderio teneri: aut si minus id possint, ejus saltern imaginis, hoc est sacratissimi Verbi.” And again, (ib.) “GREEK” [Zech. vi. 12, according to the LXX] “Ut quis minus adhuc filii Dei appellatione dignus fuerit, se ipsum tamen ad primogenitum illius Verbum…conformare conetur. Etenim Principium, Dei Nomen, Verbum, Homo secundum Imaginem, et videns Israel appellatur.” A little lower down (“the Man whose name is Anatole (lit. Rising as of the Sun, Auth. Vers. the Branch) [This passage is found in Philo’s work, entitled, “GREEK” . Edit. Steph. p. 231.] is said to have been spoken of by one of the friends of Moses; and He is said to have been thus named, who is otherwise called the Firstborn, because the Father of all caused Him to arise (as the Sun) : “GREEK”
It must be obvious I think from all this, that, whatever Philo and Aristobulus might have been as Platonists, they could not, as Jews, have supposed this second God to have been any thing less than Jehovah Himself; and this Philo seems to imply when he says, that He is the Being, termed the Beginning [Alluding perhaps to Is. xii. 4, &c. In the Tract however, (GREEK), &c. p. 343. Edit. Steph. God is said to be the Principle or Beginning of generation. (GREEK)] or Principle, the Name of God, and Word ; the Man according to Image, and the seeing Israel [The place probably had in view is Gen. xvi. 13, where it is said that “She called the name of the Lord (Jehovah (HEBREW)) that spake unto her, Thou God seest me:” where Israel seems to stand for the Hebrew El (HEBREW) Philo explains this passage, in the outset of his Tract entitled “(GREEK)” (p. 306), and says, that the Angel who met Hagar was the Divine Word (GREEK): which the Hebrew text shews was Jehovah. Again, in the Tract “(GREEK)” ib. p. 400, The Archangel, the Lord, is said to have stood on the top of the ladder (in Jacob’s dream, Gen. xxviii. 13.) (GREEK) and to have said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy Father, &c. (GREEK) Where there can be no doubt, the Divine Word is meant; and, that it is intended to identify this with Jehovah. Many similar places may be cited: but this is unnecessary.], (comp. Gen. xvi. 13.) The name of God, it is well known, is often put for God in the Old Testament. [Cruden’s Concord, under “Name,” will supply the places.] In this respect therefore there is, if we may rely on this reasoning, between Philo and our author a complete agreement.
The opinions of Plato, on the Second Cause or Deity, will be found in the Praeparatio Evangelica of our author, (Lib. xi. cap. ix. xvi., and ib. xvii, as taken from his Commentator Plotinus; ib. xviii. from Numenius; ib. xix. from Amelius), and in the Second Book of our following Work (sectt. 24, 27, 29); they need not therefore be repeated here. Nor is it intended to enter at length either on the opinions of Plato, or on those of his Commentators. It will be sufficient for our purpose, and it will have greater weight, to state, as briefly as we can, the general results arrived at by Cyril of Alexandria,—a writer by no means likely to favour Arian views,—and Theodoret, the very elegant, learned, and judicious Bishop of Cyrus, on this subject.
Cyril then, in his work against Julian (Lib. vni. p. 267 seq. Edit. 1696), after citing Gen. i. 26. “Let us make man in our image,” &c. as well as several other passages, and shewing that both the Son and Holy Ghost are here implied, as subsisting in the Deity, proceeds (p. 270) to shew, that even the Philosophers acknowledged three primitive Subsistences; and held, that to the Essence of the Deity there appertained Subsistences to the number of three: sometimes too, laying down the term Trinity, they assent to the opinions of the Christians; nor would any thing have been wanting to them, if they had chosen to apply the term Homoousian to the three Subsistences. [His words are,…”(GREEK)” We have in the Bibl. Univers. of Le Clerc (Ann. 1688, p. 393) a passage cited from Porphyry, in which the term Trinity occurs. “Platon, dit Porphyre, a enseigne que l’essence divine peut s’entendre jusqu’a trois hypostases, &c…de sorte que c’est par l’Esprit qu’il faut commencer a conter la Trinite (GREEK), &c.” He has also shewn in the same work, that the terms Homoowian (GREEK), Eterousian (GREEK), Hypostasis (GREEK), Essence (GREEK), and others common to the Fathers, had been used much in the same sense by the Platonists. He has also given a good outline on the general subject now before us, which he concludes, by condemning our author as an Arian.]
We have in the next page (271) a citation from Porphyry stating, that Plato extended the Essence of the Deity as far as to three Subsistences; that the supreme God was (the chief) Good ; that after Him was the second, the Maker of the world; and the third, was the Soul of the world: (implying) that the Deity extended to (this) Soul [The words are: (GREEK)]. And the conclusion of Cyril upon this is, that, as no difference can subsist between those that are of the same nature ((GREEK) [As it is desirable fully to understand the Fathers when using the term (GREEK), with reference to the Deity, I think it right to give in this place their own manner of defining it. Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria Speak thus of it: “(GREEK)“ And Athanasius again, on the Trinity: (GREEK)” “Essentia communitatem notat; et si quid essentiae proprium est, id commune est personis, quae sub essentia sunt.” See Suicer. Thes. Eccles. sub voce. Theodoret’s reasoning on Plato’s Epistles, &c. will afford some good exemplifications of the application of this. Gaisford’s Edit. p. 87, seq.] it may be sufficient for the Christians to believe, as these Philosophers did, in a Divinity extended to three Subsistences, and hence to be mindful of the Trinity (so propounded).
Plato’s Epinomis, and Epistle to Hermias, Erastus, and Coriscus, are then cited, (Book n. sectt. 27, 29 below), and commented upon, as is the passage from Numenius the Pythagorean (p. 272), and that from Plotinus (p. 273), which have also been cited by our author. In the last, the supreme Deity is termed the Most Perfect: the Second Cause the Mind, and the Image of God: and these are said (p. 274) to be the Generating and the Generated; to be one and inseparable, although distinct. In the former, the First God is, it is said, to be considered the Father of the Maker of the World. [(GREEK)] And the Second and Third God, as one. [GREEK] To this Cyril objects as inconsistent, although he does not appear averse to the doctrine generally; which may be inferred from his stating (p. 273), that he finds the knowledge of the Holy Trinity among the wise men of the Greeks, as most closely connected and admitting of nothing intervening: that they say, these (Subsistences) are present with one another; and that the order which the Mind has to the First, the same in like manner has the Third or Soul, to the Mind which is (derived) from the First. [GREEK] Where, as it should seem, no inferiority of nature in either could have been intended, although a distinction of order is insisted upon.
We have, in the next place, a description of the Spirit or Soul of the world also from Plotinus, (ib. p. 275), to the effect that it affords life to all, whether on the earth, in the air, or the heavens: that this formed the Sun, the great Heavens, this makes them to revolve; and, that being of a nature different from that of the things so formed, and moved, and to which it gives life, it is necessarily more honourable than they : these having been made, and being subject to destruction ; but it ever existing [GREEK], &c. And, a little lower down, after matter much to the same effect, it is said, that this Spirit is like to the Father that generated it, both as to its Unity, and Ubiquity [GREEK]. This Cyril affirms, points out the creative and enlivening energy of the Holy Ghost, which is in nature not diverse from that of the Father, or of the Son. [GREEK] To this is added another extract from Plotinus, nearly to the same effect; to the weakness of the comparisons, instituted in which, Cyril objects: although he does not to the general doctrine taught; and, what is more to our purpose, maintains that no inferiority exists in the Persons.
This subject is touched upon by our author in his Praep. Evang. (Lib. xi. cap. xx. p. 541), where he tells us, that the Hebrew Oracles place the Holy Spirit third in order, with respect to the Father and the Son; and, in such a manner, lay down the Holy and thrice blessed Trinity, that by this Third Power all created nature is surpassed [GREEK]. He then gives Plato’s letter to Dionysius, which states the matter thus: about the King of all are all things, and His are all things, He too is the Author of all good things. But the Second (Cause) is about the things second; and the Third, about the third [GREEK]. He remarks upon this, that those who undertake to explain the mind of the Philosopher, refer these things to the First, Second, and Third, Cause or Soul of the world, which they also determine to be a third God; but, he adds, the Sacred Scriptures place the Holy and blessed Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the predicament of Principle, according to the things already given [GREEK The sense and bearing of dp^ij, as applied by the Philosophers, is thus given by Tiiuseus Locrensis. (Theodoret. Edit. Gaisford, p. 101.) (GREEK) There is one ungenerated Principle of all things ; for, if it were generated, it would not then be Principle, but that (would be) Principle out of which it were generated. See also Suidas sub vocc.] It will be found that Theodoret has adopted reasoning on these passages, quite in unison with that of Eusebius and Cyril of Alexandria, as just now noticed. And, as a very neat Edition of this portion of Theodoret’s works, by Dr. Gaisford, is accessible to all, it is the less necessary I should cite much from it. This subject will be found discussed at p. 87. seq. of Dr. Gaisford’s publication, as it will in Tom. iv. p. 498. B. of the Edition of 1642. The only question I shall now touch upon, is one which has been discussed and pronounced upon, in similar terms, by these three Fathers. I mean, the opinions expressed by Amelius on the first few verses of St. John’s Gospel. (Praep. Evang. Lib. xi. cap. xix. p. 540. Cyril contra Julian. Lib. viii. p. 283. Theodoret. Edit. Gaisford, p. 92.)
The reasoning of Amelius on John i. 1, &c. is to this effect: This then was the Word, according to which,— ever existing,—the things in being were made, even as Heraclitus also deemed: and indeed, the Barbarian thinks it right to have placed Him in the order and dignity of Principle, and to be with God, and to be God: that by Him alone (singly) all things were made; in whom, that which was made became living, and life, and Being: that he descended into Body, put on flesh, and appeared as man: after which, he then also shewed the greatness of His nature; and being forthwith set free (by death), returned to the Deity, and was God, such as He was before He descended to the Body, the flesh, and the man. [The following is tlie text of Eusebius, which differs in a few particulars from that of Dr. Gaisford, and of Cyril. (GREEK) It certainly does seem, from the reasoning of Philo on the Logos, and from the Targumists, who use the term (HEBREW) (Word) in the same way, as well as from St. John’s adoption of the term (GREEK), that this mode of viewing the Deity, with reference to the Divine Economy, had then got very considerable footing among the Jews,—from whose Scriptures it was, as I think, most probably taken at first. St. John’s statement is moreover, that this Being “was made flesh, and dwelt among us:” adopting, apparently, the general belief on this subject as correct, but taking care to restrict it to the Person of our Lord.]—Which, according to the opinion of these three Fathers, truly sets forth the Divine character of our Lord. And I may here affirm that, if these Fathers (i.e. Cyril and Theodoret) cannot be justly charged with Arianism, because they have made this use of the Greek Philosophers, and have set to their seal, that the view which treats the Father as the First Cause, the Son as the Second, and the Holy Ghost as the Third, in the Holy and thrice blessed Trinity, does not tend to lower the Divine nature of either; neither can our author, who has only done the same thing, and this I think, in every case, with regard to the Divine Economy. It ought to be borne in mind too, these Fathers believed that the Philosophers universally took these notions from the Holy Scriptures, whether right or wrong signifies nothing to our argument. They held accordingly, that the statements so made conspired with revealed truth, and thence they cited them. For my own part, I believe they were right in so doing, as I can discover no other source, from which they could have possibly been taken. [See the Praep. Evang. Lib. xm. cap. xii. Clemens Alexand. ib. cap. xiii. Le Clerc, Bibl. Univers. Ann. 1688, p. 403, seq. Theodoret. ib. p. 91, seq. tells us that Plotinus, who wrote a book on the three Hypostases, Plutarch, Numenius, and others, of the same class, coming after the advent of our Lord, inserted many things of the Christian Theology in their works. Plotinus therefore and Numenius, explaining the mind of Plato, state that he spoke of three time-exceeding and eternal (Beings), the (chief) Good, the Mind, and the Soul of all; which, he goes on to say, we term the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. (GREEK) I think it extremely likely, that the Text of the New Testament afforded these later Philosophers much new matter on this very abstruse subject, although that of the Old might have supplied quite as much as Plato and Philo were able to say upon it: nothing being more common in the East, even at this day, than the adoption of Christian opinions by the Idolaters.]
It is true Cyril has, as noticed above, occasionally expressed his dissatisfaction with certain modes of comparison instituted by the heathen Philosophers, whose opinions and expressions our author occasionally adopted : and of this, Viger and others have availed themselves, to his injury. But it is not with modes of expression merely that we have now to deal; it is, with these, also to ascertain as far as we can, the things discussed and positively intended. All must see that every sort of comparison, instituted with respect to the Deity, must be inadequate; and consequently, that if we endeavour to ascertain a writer’s opinions, through a medium so faulty and insufficient, the result must be, we shall either deceive ourselves, or injure him. Our author has however, guarded himself abundantly against this again and again, declaring, that the nature of the Deity exceeds every effort of comparison or description ; whence it should seem, he intended to provide, that his opinions should not be judged of in a way so unlikely to do them justice. If he has adopted too much of the Platonic mode of reasoning, or entered too particularly into questions, on which later times have deemed it prudent to say little or nothing; these are things with which we have now nothing to do: all we have before us is, simply to ascertain as far as we can, what his views respecting the Deity positively were.—Having then, so far inquired into, and ascertained, his modes of thinking and stating his opinions, we may now proceed to examine them upon other grounds.
On the Opinions of Eusebius, as deducible from the History of the Council of Nice.
We now come to consider the Letter of our .Author addressed to the Church of Caesarea, respecting the proceedings of the Council of Nice, particularly as this has been made one of the chief grounds of accusation against him.
The first thing we shall notice is, the profession of faith which he then offered to the Council [The Creed agreed upon at the Council, which is evidently based on this, as this was on others of a more ancient date, proceeds no farther than this place, with the addition of the Anathema. The whole formula will be found in Theodoret. Hist. Eccles. Lib. i. cap. xi. Socrat. Hist. Eccles. Lib. i. cap. viii. as also in the authorities mentioned by Bingham, Antiq. Book x. cap. iv. sect. 4. On the additional portions found in this Creed, as it now stands in our Prayer Books, see, ib. sect. 1G. seq. See also Jortin’s Remarks on Eccl. Hist. Vol. n. Book in. p. 224—5.] , and which is thus given : “/ believe in one God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of all things visible and invisible ; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, God of God, Light or Light, Life of Life, the only begotten Son, the First Born of every creature, begotten of God the Father before all ages, (or worlds,) and by whom all things were made : Who, for our salvation, became incarnate and conversant among men, and suffered, and rose again the third day, and ascended to the Father, and shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. And I believe in one Holy Ghost.” “Each one of these,” he adds, “we believe to be and exist: the Father, truly the Father ; and the Son, truly the Son; and the Holy Ghost, truly the Holy Ghost, even as our Lord, sending forth his apostles to preach, said: ” Go (and) make Disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” [The Greek of which stands thus: (GREEK) From the expression, (GREEK) as well as from what he here adds, viz. (GREEK) it must be evident, according to his mode of thinking and speaking of the Deity, that nothing short of the self-existing and independent nature of God could have been intended.] ‘Concerning which things,’ he goes on to say, ‘we affirm that they thus are, and that we thus think, and that we thus formerly held, and that to this faith we will stand even to death, anathematizing every ungodly heresy. That we have thought these things from the heart and soul, as far as we have known ourselves ; that we now think and say them in truth, we attest before Almighty God, and our Lord Jesus Christ; having it in our power to shew, and by proofs even to satisfy you, that we thus believed and preached even in times past.’
It should seem, I think, that the profession here made, was made in all simplicity and good faith. I can conceive of no other motive, which could have induced the Father of Church history to act otherwise. And, if this may be relied on, it also must that he did not, on this occasion, make any profession, which he had not always made, and always taught, previous to this time. [It is positively asserted nevertheless, by Athanasius, that his belief was Arian up to the time of the Council of Nice. His words are these : (GREEK) “Qui cum prius suffragaretur Arianicae sectae, postea tamen Nicaeni Concilii decretis subscripsit.” Vales. Life of Euseb. Hist. Eccles. Tom. i. p. mihi 24. Jortin however tells us (Remarks on Eccl. Hist. Vol. n. pp. 189, 270, Edit. 1767), that “Eusebius proposed a Creed, in which he avoided the word (GREEK), and anathematized every impious heresy, without specifying any.” Would it not have been more accurate to have said, that Eusebius did not insert the term Homoousion, as it does not appear to have had a place in any creed up to this time ? And ought not Jortin in fairness to have added, that, when this term was inserted, and had been discussed, Eusebius was one of those who gave it his warmest support ? Jortin’s other remark is not worth noticing. Le Clerc makes no scruple here in charging Eusebius directly with duplicity: ” Eusebe,” says he (Bibl. Univers. Ann. 1688. p. 480.). “etoit un homme adroit, qui ne faisoit pas scrupule de souserire a des termes qui ne lui plaisoient pas, pourvu qu’il les put expliquer en un sens conforme a sa pensee.” (See also p. 482), which has been re-echoed by Jortin. I will only ask here, What would Le Clerc and Jortin have thought of the writer who had treated them in this manner, after protestations such as those made by Eusebius ?]
Let us now examine this profession of Faith itself, with reference to the charge of Arianism so commonly brought against our author. Of his belief respecting the Father we need say nothing, because that has not been impeached. Of the Son then he says, He is God of God. Now, What could a writer, holding the notions of Plato, and the opinions which he himself has expressed on the character of Deity, have possibly meant by this God of God ? and which is interpreted, a little lower down, by ‘begotten of the Father before all ages’ or worlds, if it was not, that the Son was of the Divine Essence of the Father? [Even the Arians, if they could have allowed the generation of the Son, in Eusebius’s sense, would not have hesitated to receive Him as being equally eternal and divine with the Father. See the Letter of Eusebius of Nicomedia to Paulinus of Tyre. Theodoret. Hist. Eccles. Lib. i. cap. vi.] It should be observed too, we have here no delusive attempt to screen the notions of an Arian, under the substitution of one Greek verb for another, which might have the effect of deceiving the unwary [It was a very common practice with the Arians to substitute some part or other of the verb, (GREEK) for that of (GREEK) of which both Valesius (Annot. in Hist. Eccl. Theodoret. Lib. n. cap. viii.) and Montfaucon (Coll. Nov. Patr. Tom. n. p. lix.) has deemed it necessary particularly to apprize their readers. Yet, it ought to be observed, that this distinction does not universally hold, even in the orthodox writers, particularly in the term (GREEK);.]. Again, a little farther on, we have, ‘The Father truly (really) the Father, and, in the same sense, ‘The Son truly (really) the Son.’ And the same must be true of the phrases, ‘Light of Light, Life of Life,’ which are followed, as before, by, ” The only begotten Son, begotten of the Father,” and so on ; for the purpose, apparently, of determining that the Son partakes of the very essence and nature of the Father.
To this Creed, our author informs us, no objection was offered by the Nicene Fathers. Some additions only were made, which,—as it appears to me,—added nothing of real moment to its meaning, as it respected either the mind of our Author, or the notions of the Arians. The whole differences, in the two forms, amount in the main to these: viz. for ” The [ (GREEK) ] only begotten Son,” we have ” the only begotten Son of the Father, that is, of the Essence of the Father.” And again, ” God [ (GREEK) ] of very God, begotten not made, Homoousion with the Father (i.e. of the same substance &c), by Whom all things were made, both those in heaven and those on earth.” Which, although added with the greatest propriety to a formula intended for common use, and therefore well calculated to guard general readers from mistakes, into which they might otherwise fall, really added nothing of which a philosophical mind could stand in need : the being begotten of God, God of God, Life of Life, and the like, implying to the fullest extent, all that the additional terms conveyed, as far as the question with the Arians was concerned. In another point of view, these additions were more important; that is, for the purpose of guarding believers generally against the heresy of Sabellius, of the Docetae, and others: and this the Fathers of the Council probably had in view, when they added them.
To this formula an anathema was added, evidently for the purpose of opposing Arianism. It runs thus: ‘But those who say, there was a time when (the Son) was not, and that before He was begotten He had no being; and that He was made of things not existing, or out of any other subsistency or essence, alleging that the Son of God was subject to change or conversion, the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes.” It may be observed, that the Anathema appended to the formula of Eusebius is here, as before, made more specific and comprehensive by the Council: although in effect, it reaches no heresy which might not have been brought under that of our author; it being the privilege of the Church to determine, what heresy was. In this respect, the prior formula was more full, as it would comprehend future heresies. Still the latter was better adapted to general use at that time.
It appears indeed, that our author did not allow these additions to pass without severe inquiry, as to their intention and bearing : and this was perhaps not improper in a matter of such great moment; and especially when a new term was to be introduced into the Creed of the Universal Church. And, What was the result ? His entire and conscientious concurrence, as noticed above. The terms, “being of the substance,” were explained to indicate, the being of the Father but not as a part of the Father;” [(GREEK) He then adds, (GREEK) “Hunc sensum ut nos quoque amplecteremur, aequum omnino videbatur, cum pia doctrina praedicet, Filium ex Patre esse, non tamen partem esse illius substantive. Quamobrem et nos huic notioni assensum prasbemus.”] to which, as he tells us, he cordially agreed, not thinking it desirable to keep up a warfare, and to lose sight of the truth for the sake of words only. For the same reason he adds, he received the terms begotten not made; and because it was said, The term made applied commonly to the creatures, which had been made by the Son, to which He was in no respect similar, but was of an Essence far superior to every thing made : while the Scriptures too declared, that the Son was begotten of the Father, in a way neither to be conceived nor described by any creature. ‘In the same way,’ he adds, ‘the investigation shewed the Son to be Homoousian (of the same substance) with the Father, not after any bodily sort, nor allied in any way to that of mortals; neither by division of the substance, nor by abscission, passion, conversion, or change, of the power of the Father: that the nature of the unbegotten Father was foreign to all these : that the being Homoousian with the Father, shewed that the Son bears no similitude whatsoever to the begotten creatures ; but that He was, in all respects, like the Father who begat: and, that He was of no other subsistency, (or Essence) but of that of the Father.” [Hence will be seen how far from the whole truth Jortin’s flippant account of this matter is, when he says, ” His (Eusebius’s) sense of consubstantial was, that the Son of God was not like created beings, but received his existence and his perfections from the Father in a different and in an ineffable manner” &c. Remarks on Eccl. Hist. Vol. n. Book in. p. 189. Ed. 1767. The Greek here will shew, that our author occasionally used the term (GREEK) in the same sense: (GREEK) And also that he did believe, that the Son was of the Essence of the Father.] To which, our author adds, he agreed as being well propounded, since many ancient and famous Bishops and Writers had used the term Homoousian in the same sense. He then adds his consent to the Anathema subjoined, because the terms “out of nothing” u there was a time when he was not” and the like, were unscriptural, and had been the cause of much confusion in the Church : it being confessed by all, that the Son of God did exist before his generation in the flesh ; and that, prior to his actual generation, He existed in power ungeneratedly (detur venia verbo) in the Father. [This is a very remarkable passage, and one which ought not to be passed over without notice. It stands thus: (GREEK)” JVani priusquam actu gigneretur, potentid erat in Patre, ingenita qnadam ratione: cum Pater semper sit pater, Rex item atque Servator.” Here, it should be observed, Eusebius speaks of the abstract nature of the Deity, as it respected the monarchy, (GREEK) as being ever immutably the same: and, although he uses the terms Father and Son,—which lie usually applies with reference to the Divine Economy (GREEK) —it is for the purpose of affirming here, that each is equally eternal, and coessential. To this, Valesius has a strong objection, which he declares in these words in his notes, (p. mihi 12.) ” In his Constantini sive Eusebii verbis error est manifestus. Neque enim verbum fuit in Patre potentia, priusquam actu gigneretur ex Patre. Primum enim actus et potentia non distinguuntur in Deo. Deinde ex eo sequeretur Verbum non fuisse ab aeterno. Nam et reliquas creaturie antequam actu crearentur, potentia erant in Deo,” &c. I must confess I do not very clearly see the force of this objection. If the Schoolmen have said, that act and power are not to be considered as distinct things in the Deity, I do not perceive, either in what this is self-evident, or why the distinction is not to be made. Nor again, can I discover, in what way the creatures —here supposed to be created out of nothing,—could also be said to exist in the Deity in power before they were created, and hence be held to have been from eternity. This seems to me, to be judging of the opinions and reasoning of Eusebius, by principles not recognized until some centuries after his death. It appears to me, that Eusebius might have believed the Deity to have existed in His abstract character from all eternity immutably the same, and yet the Divine Essence to have comprehended the subsistences of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, all, each, and every, of these, vested with the power which is inseparable from Deity. But, however this might be, the passage most unequivocally affirms the eternity of the Son.]
One of the most important considerations, however, connected with this Letter is, that it appears to have been written to Arians. [So Theodoret, from whose Eccles. Hist. (Lib. i. cap. xi.) these extracts are taken, ib. whose words are: (GREEK) “Eusebii Caesariensis epistolam, quam de fide scripsit, libet hoc loco inserere, ut qua? illorum” (i. e. Arianorum) “rabiem manifesto convincat. Hunc enim ut consentientem honorantes, ejus scriptis apertc contradicunt. Epistolam autem scripsit ad Arianos quosdam, qui ilium, ut apparet, proditionis accusabant. Sed auctoris mentem melius verba ipsa declarant.” Then follows this Epistle: which, be it remembered, Theodoret cites for the purpose of shewing that our author was not friendly to the views of the Arians. Socrates gives a similar account of this Epistle (Lib. r. cap. viii. p. mihi 23. D.) ” (GREEK) …”et Caesariensibus suis conscriptam fidei formulam misit, vocem consubstantialis interpretatus, ne quis sinistram quidpiam de ipso suspicaretur, eo quod aliquantulum substitisset.”
It has already been remarked, that Eusebius’s hesitating to subscribe to the Homoousian doctrine, has been made matter of accusation against him [It is curious to observe how Athanasius meets this: “It is wonderful,” says he, ” that Eusebius of Casesarea of Palestine, although refusing the day before, yet the day after subscribed; and sent an Epistle to his Church, asserting that this was the Faith of the Church, and the tradition of the Fathers; and to all he openly shewed, that they were formerly in error, and had vainly contended against the truth.” He goes on to say, that ” although these were words which he was then ashamed to use, he nevertheless was willing to defend himself to the Church in this way, not denying the Homoousian doctrine, which must have been grievous to him: and that to carry this on, he ever after accused the Arians.” His words are: (GREEK) Vales. Life of Euseb. Hist. Eccles. Tom. i. It is greatly to be regretted that Athanasius did not here, as well as elsewhere, bring positive matter of accusation against our Author if he had any. The fact is, all he has advanced amounts to nothing beyond inferences, drawn from documents now in our hands. In one case, indeed, he cites a document not extant, and in this he accuses him of saying that Christ is not the true God. It is probable however, that all our Author there did was, to style the Father the only true God, as in John xvii. 3: Christ there speaking of Himself as a Minister in the Divine Economy; a thing which Eusebius has done again and again. Athanasius, no doubt, gave the real impressions which he felt; but it is to be feared that,—as it often happens among ourselves,—a fervent zeal to maintain the truth, was suffered to overcome his better judgment, and, with this, his Christian feelings as a controversialist.]. Now let it be supposed that this Letter was written to Arians within his own diocese; What, I ask, could be more proper or becoming in him, than to assure them that he did not assent to this doctrine until he had obtained a full and clear explanation as to its bearing ? that he had not been lightly carried away with the many, but had persevered to the last in refusing subscription, until the matter had been made out entirely to his satisfaction ? that he then subscribed, declaring that the term proposed (Homoousiari) was neither new, nor,—as then explained,—in any way differing from the teaching of the Divine Oracles; and then attesting in the presence of the Almighty, that he had in sincerity, and in the fullest conviction of his conscience, given his assent to this Creed ? Nor is this all, but he as fully assented to the Anathema also, which fell directly on the notions of the Arians; and called to their remembrance, that these were the doctrines which he had from the first taught and preached, and would to the last maintain among them. Let it also be borne in mind that Arius, as noticed above, had looked upon our Author as one of his adherents; and I think it must appear, that this Letter was both intended to undeceive them in this respect, and at the same time to lay before them his real, long entertained, and deliberately formed, convictions as to the proper Divinity of the Son of God, and as to the unscriptural and heretical notions of the Arian party. This, I think, is the course that any Churchman at the present day would pursue, when arguing with a Dissenter. He would endeavour to convince him,—if he dealt fairly with him,—that he had taken all due care to consider his opinions; that he did not rashly or hastily oppose his views: but that, after every necessary investigation made, he felt bound both to express, and to maintain, the opinions to which he had from the first been attached.
To this it may be added, that Theodoret, a writer of no mean attainments and judgment, devotes a whole chapter in his Ecclesiastical History (Lib. i. cap. xii.) [Yet, he is made (ib. Lib. v. cap. vii.) to enumerate ” even Eusebius” of Caesarea among the abettors of Arianism! Is it not probable that this (GREEK) was added by some zealous scribe? for it is well known, that the margins of the MSS. are occasionally loaded with reproaches on his name vented by this race of men.] to the task of convincing the Arians, from the writings of our Eusebius, that they laboured under a great mistake in supposing, that he was attached to their opinions. This he does first, by shewing from his Epistle to the Church of Caesarea, that the term Homoousian was not of recent coinage: secondly, by appealing to the consent which he, with the Nicene Fathers, gave to the Creed then established : which Theodoret also affirms, he had also shewn in his Life of Constantine. And he concludes, that, although the Arians considered it no impiety to contradict other Fathers; to Eusebius, whom they usually treated with respect, it was but reasonable they should give credence when he affirmed, that the agreement of the Council was complete.
It will be quite sufficient to our purpose now, to add the testimony of Socrates [As this passage is important to our question, I give it in the Greek of Socrates, with the Latin translation of Valesius…” (GREEK).”…Quid causae est cur nonnulli cum existiment Ariano dogmati consentire ? Falluntur etiam Ariani, qui ilium opinioni suae suffragari arhitrantur. Sed dicet fortasse aliquis, ilium Ariani dogmatis assertorem videri, propterea quod in libris suis crebro dicere solet, per Christum. Cui nos respondemus; et hac loquendi ratione, et aliis hujusmodi quae dispensationem humanitatis Jesu Christi designant, Ecclesiasticos Scriptores et consuevisse: et ante hos omnes Paulum Apostolum iisdem vocibus usum fuisse, qui tamen perversi dogmatis magister nunquam est existimatus.” Sec on this use of the term Economy (GREEK) pp. xxix. xxx. note, above; and on a very extended application of it the “Capitula do Incamatione Domini” of Cyril of Alexandria, Script. Vet. Nov. Collect. Tom. vin. Rom. 1833, by Signor Mai, p. 59, seq. It. Athanasius, Collect. Nov. Patr. Tom. h. Paris, 170G. Ed. Montfauc. p. 6, seq. It should be borne in mind however, that our Author often speaks of the Economy (GREEK), under which our Lord acted as a Minister, even before His incarnation, as already remarked.] to the same effect; and particularly, as he has had sagacity enough to discover, on what grounds it was, that our Author had been charged with Arianism, and also to suggest, from the nature of the case, how the expressions of Eusebius ought to be viewed. Socrates then, in his Ecclesiastical History (Lib. ii. cap. xxi. p. mihi 103) argues to this effect: ‘Since some have endeavoured to criminate Eusebius as Arianizing in his writings, I think it not unseasonable to say a few things about him. First, he was present at the Council of Nice, which defined the Homoousian doctrine; and with it he agreed.’ His Life of Constantine is then, as before, cited, containing his own testimony to this fact. Socrates then asks, ‘How is it, that some suppose him to have Arianized ; for the Arians err who imagine that he thinks with them ? One may say,’ he adds, ‘that in his writings he seems to Arianize, from his frequently saying through Christ. To such we answer,’ continues he, ‘Churchmen often use this expression, as they also do those other (similar ones), which have respect to the Economy of the manhood of our Saviour; and indeed, before all these, the Apostle used the (same) expressions, and he has never, on this account, been considered a Teacher of corrupt doctrine.’ Socrates has, I think, here assigned the true cause of the alleged Arianism of our Author.—It should be remarked, that in this respect Eusebius has, perhaps more frequently than any other of the Fathers, spoken of our Lord under this point of view, without, at the same time, apprizing his Header of it: which might however well be excused in a mind so philosophical as his really was : while in others less so, it would easily be mistaken for heterodoxy. Socrates proceeds; ‘Hear [This is taken by Socrates (Hist. Eccl. ib.) from our Author’s controversy with Marcellus, which we shall notice more particularly in our next section. As the place is important, I give the original: (GREEK) I do not think much importance can be attached after this, and similar statements made by our Author, to the charge brought against him in the sixth act of the seventh OEcumenical Council, (cited by Valesius, Life of Euseb.) viz. that Christ was a perfect creature of God, and unlike any other creature: “ereaturam Dei perfectam, sed non sieut unam ex creaturis.” Which has evidently been taken from the Letter of Eusebius of Nicomedia to Paulinus Bishop of Tyre: where it is said of the Son:— (GREEK) “ad perfectam tamen similitudinem naturae virtutisque factoris sui conditum,” &c. Our Author’s assertions are, that the Son is of the Essence of the Father, &c. as cited above from his Letter.] what Eusebius says, when Arius affirms that the Son of God is but a mere creature: He alone and no other is, and is named, the only-begotten Son of God ; whence one may justly reprehend those who dare to affirm that He is a creature, made out of nothing like other creatures. For, How can He then be the Son ? How the only-begotten of God, who is characterized as of the same nature with the creatures, as one of the many that have been made, and as partaking of a common creation with them, out of nothing? But, the Divine Oracles do not thus teach of Him.’ And, a little lower down, ‘That which is made out of nothing, cannot be truly the Son of God; nor indeed can any other made thing. But He, who is truly the Son of God, He who is begotten of God as of a Father, is justly named the Only-begotten and Beloved of the Father. And thus indeed, must He also be God. For what,’ adds he, ‘is that which is begotten of God, but that which is assimilated to Him (as) the Generator?” It should be remembered, that our Author reasons here as a Platonist, holding, that whatever had independent existence as opposed to creation, could be nothing less than Deity; as must every thing, which is said to be generated of Deity, necessarily partake of the Divine Essence.
As far therefore, as the Council of Nice is concerned, there appears to be no good reason, either for suspecting the sincerity of our Author; or for supposing that, either then, or at any previous time, he really favoured the views of the Arians. Whether his reasoning was good or bad, or whether he talked at one time too much like a Platonist, at another, too much like a Theologian, for general readers, or not, is not now the question. I will say here, that, taking his reasoning as it ought to be taken, as resulting from his own modes of thinking and of expression, I may perhaps conclude, that, so far, there appears to be no good grounds either for suspecting his sincerity, or his orthodoxy. It should be observed too, that, of all the testimonies against him, collected from the Fathers of the Church and others by Valesius, not so much as one is grounded on any thing better than inference, and this drawn, as I think, from narrow and partial views of his conduct and writings. In one instance indeed, he is accused with having sacrificed to idols during the persecutions : but here also, it will be found upon inquiry, this rests on grounds no better than those of conjecture. [As cited by Valesius, ib.]
On the Opinions of Eusebius as discoverable in his Controversy with Marcellus.
Having considered some of the leading modes of thinking and of expressing himself adopted by our Author, and examined these in some of their details as connected with the Council of Nice; it is now my intention to extend this inquiry to a few particulars taken from his controversy with Marcellus [A very good account of him, and of this controversy, will be found in Cave’s Hist. Liter. Tom. i. p. 152. Edit. 1680. He was Bishop of Aneyra in Galatia; and, according to Socrates, (Hist. Eccl. Lib. i. xxxvi.) he fell, in combating the opinions of the Arians, into the opposite extreme, Sabellianism. And this, I think, is obvious enough from the extracts given by Eusebius from his writings. The Council of Jerusalem, having considered this question, ordered him to amend his opinions, and to bum his books. This he promised but neglected to do, and was accordingly deposed by that of Constantinople. He then betook himself to Rome, and laid his case before Pope Julius, declaring that his writings had been misunderstood and misapplied by his accusers. Upon this the Pope received him into communion, as also did the Council of Sardica, and restored him to his Bishoprick. It is probably to be ascribed to this circumstance, that Roman Catholic writers are often found among his zealous supporters, and that Montfaucon undertook an elaborate, but,—to my mind,—a most unsatisfactory, defence of him; which will be found prefixed to his edition of our Author’s Commentary on the Psalms, p. i-i. iii. seq.], both because controversy has usually the effect of laying open the minds of those engaged in it, to a greater degree than any thing else, on the questions at issue; and also of affording a good opportunity to judge, in what way the several disputants interpreted the documents on which they undertook to argue.
This controversy will, in both these respects, afford us considerable assistance towards ascertaining the truth in the question before us ; and particularly in the latter case, as it will bring before us certain passages of Scripture, which could not have failed to call forth the Arian notions of our Author, if indeed he entertained such. An extract from this controversy has been noticed above, as adduced by Socrates in defence of our Author. The first we shall here touch upon, has also been adduced by him for the same purpose; and, as the Scripture which it cites, seems to speak of our Lord as a created being, it will afford us a good opportunity of seeing how Eusebius dealt with it.
The passage here adduced is Prov. viii. 22, which, according to the Septuagint, reads, “The Lord created me the beginning of his ways.” On which our Author says, ‘If one find it once said in the Scripture, The Lord created me the beginning of His ways for His works, it is necessary to observe the mind of the passage, which,’ says he, ‘I will shortly do; not, like Marcellus, for the purpose of beating down a principal doctrine of the Church, from one mere expression.’ [Socrates, Mist. Keel. Lib. 11. cap. xxi.] Socrates then tells us, that Eusebius teaches us in his Third Book [Lib. in. cap. ii. p. 150 D.] (against Marcellus,) how the term created ought to be taken here : which he does to this effect. — ‘The terms, The Lord created me the beginning of His ways for His works are to be considered as consequent on what precedes ; and, if he says that Himself was created, He could not say these things, as implying that He came forth from nothing into existence; nor, that He was, like the other creatures, made out of nothing: which some have erroneously understood: but, as subsisting (GREEK) indeed, and Living (GREEK), and Preexisting (GREEK), and previously having a Being (GREEK), before the constitution of the whole world; appointed by His own Father and Lord to rule over all things: hence the term He created (GREEK) was said for, He appointed (GREEK), or, He established (GREEK).’ We then have several passages [1 Pet. ii. 13. Amos iv. 13. Ps. l. 11 (Septtiagint.) Eph. ii. 15; iv. 24. Theodoret Dialog. 1. advers. Anomaeos. Tom. v. p. 201: takes this passage in the Proverbs, as referring to the Incarnation of our Lord ; the past tense in, lie created (GREEK) being used to imply the thing enounced as present to the Divine mind, as in, “They pierced my hands and my feet, &c.” which, he goes on to say, points out ” the mystery hidden from the foundation of the world.” Eph. iii. 5. John viii. 57, 58, &c. But here I think Eusebius is right, and Theodoret wrong, for this reason; the passage in Proverbs is evidently an imitation of a place in Job, viz. chap. xl,. 19: where the First of the ways of God, cannot refer to the animal there mentioned, but to the Wisdom of God, had in view: and this Wisdom Solomon evidently had before him, which the Fathers generally refer to Christ. See my translation of the place with the notes. An interpretation of this passage in the Proverbs, not unlike that of Eusebius, was given by Eustathius of Antioch; and it has been preserved by Theodoret, Hist. Eccl. Lib. i. cap. vii.] pointed out, in which creature, or created, signifies something appointed, constituted, or the like ; but not created out of nothing; and the conclusion is, that this text has respect to the constituting of Christ by the Father, the Ruler of all things. We have nothing here therefore, implying in any way, either that our Lord was a creature, or that He was, as to His Divine Essence, in any respect inferior to the Father; but only as it respected the office of a Minister in the Divine Economy, which He took upon himself to hold and to fulfil.
But, that we may enter the more fully into our Author’s mind, we must see how he viewed the opinions of his opponent, whose object was—let it be borne in mind,—to prove that he was an Arian. These Eusebius has affirmed were Sabellian. He then gives the following from Marcellus;
[Lib. it. cap. i. contra Marcellum, p. 32. A. it. p. 35. B. This is stated in substance by Montfaucon (Collect. Nov. Patr. Tom. n. cap. ii. p. liii. seq.) to which are added similar statements from Basil, Chrysostom, and Theodoret; to which Epiphanius, and Athanasius have, to a certain extent, expressed their agreement. In cap. iii. ib. Montfaucon takes up the defence of Marcellus. His first assertion is, that Marcellus had done only as many Catholics had, who maintained that the (GREEK), Essence, or (GREEK), Hypostasis of the Father and the Word were one and the same: while Eusebius held, that these were separate, and unequal : which is not true ! A little lower down he tells us that Marcellus, acting against the Sabellians, could not but have held that the Word was distinct from the Father. But this is also incorrect. Marcellus was not here writing against the Sabellians, but against the Arians, as he also shews (ib. capp. i. iii.). He next cites Marcellus saying, that the Word of God, was not a word so called abusively, or figuratively, (GREEK), but was truly a word (GREEK): which he tells us means, that the Word was truly self-existing, “verbum exstitisse vere et per se.” I more than doubt this. All Marcellus says seems to me to be, that the Word, in his mind, implied nothing whatever in a sense not (GREEK) strictly its own, but really and verily a word, such as he had before described, resting unenounced in the mind of the Father. And this Montfaucon next adduces, declaring that it involves nothing uncatholic, but what agreed with John i. 1. And, what should exceed all wonder, he then tells us, that Athanasius and others read here, (GREEK): but, that certain Fathers, to avoid the usages of the followers of Marcellus (Marcelliani), and of others, rejected the terms (GREEK). One would hardly have expected this in a defence of the same Marcellus ! Montfaucon thinks in the next place, that he finds a real distinction between the Father and the Son, in Marcellus’s citing, “Let us make man,” &c. But, Does this necessarily follow, in a writer reasoning as Marcellus does? It is doubtful at best. His next argument (iii.) amounts to nothing whatever. In page lx. it is insinuated that Eusebius, with the Arians generally, considered Christ as a created being: which is not true! And in the last place, he allows that Marcellus was scarcely excusable, believing that he had so written his book, that he could easily make that look well, which was in itself really ill.—And, upon the whole, I do not think that Marcellus, were he to appear again, would thank Montfaucon for this defence.”]
“That there is not, nor did there (ever) preexist, nor has there at any time existed, a Son of God before his being brought forth by the Virgin: but that he was only a word coexisting with the Father, being eternally with Him, and united, just as an unspoken word might be with man. For he (Marcellus) uses this example ; that a word was within God himself, sometimes at rest, sometimes operating significantly, but proceeding forth by the sole act of the Father? After stating some of his objections to this, he proceeds, in his second chapter (ib.) to refute these opinions upon statements taken from the work (now lost) of Marcellus himself. —It is of no concern to us now, whether Eusebius was right or wrong in his statements of the notions of Marcellus: all we wish to ascertain is, How he defended himself against the charges of Arianism brought against him by this writer. In the fourth chapter then, of his first Book, Marcellus attacks several writers on their opinions respecting the Son, and among these Eusebius. I shall notice only one instance of his reasoning against Asterius [Who was, according to Socrates, a Sophist of Cappadocia who wrote in favour of the Arian party.], and then proceed to those advanced against Eusebius himself. And this I notice merely to shew, how our Author meets it. It was the object of Marcellus to prove here (p. 21. D.) that the assertions of Asterius, affirming that Christ was God, and at the same time, the image of God, could not hold. His words are, ‘How can He, who was born both God and Lord, as he (Asterius) has presumed, possibly be the Image of God ? For, the Image of God is one thing, and God another; so that if the Image be not Lord, neither is it God, but the Image of God and Lord; but, if it be truly God and Lord, it cannot be the Image of Lord and of God.” [The words of Marcellus are: “(GREEK)“] This, our Author, affirms is most blindly said : Marcellus not being aware, that a Son endued with a soul might be said to be the Image of His own Father, since He would be in all respects like Him. He then cites Gen. v. 3, to shew, [Also Col. iii. 10. Wisd. vii. 20.] that this was justified by the usage of Scripture. He then quotes the Apostle (Philip, ii. 6, 7), thus speaking on the Divinity of the Son, (GREEK.) “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation.” [Lit. Emptied Himself, (GREEK) A passage admirably calculated to express the mind of Eusebius, both as to the Divinity, and the Humiliation of the Son.] and again, (Heb. i. .3) “Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person” &c. evidently intending to urge the Divine Nature of our Lord on the one hand, and his voluntary humiliation in taking the office of a ministering servant on the other, in the work of the Divine Economy. Marcellus next charges Narcissus and Eusebius (ib. p. 25. C.) with holding, that there were Two, and even Three (different) Essences [(GREEK)… i.e. in answer to the question whether he believed two substances to exist in the Deity, “he answers three.”—And it should be remembered here, as noticed above, (p. xxxii.) that substance, is to be taken in the sense of (GREEK), subsistence or person.] (in the Deity),… daring to separate the Word of God, and naming it another God, in substance and power different from the Father. He then classes our author with Valentinus, Hermes, Narcissus, Plato, and Marcion (ib. p. 26. A). To this, and some subsequent matter, Eusebius thought it sufficient to answer, that his words were those of the Apostle, out of which his opponent had fabricated two substances and two Gods: [Ib. p. 27. A. (GREEK) “Nota mihi autem quanto cum felle et aeerbitate convitictur ei, qui nihil prorsus in scripts retulit, praetor nuda ipsissimaque Apostoli verba, idque etiam ipso fatente accusatore. Et adhue qui fatetur hoe in loco Eusebium duos Deos, profiteri, ut puta qui cum Patre suo, una et Filium quoque Denm asrnoscat esse.”] and who had, a little lower down, also charged him from the words of the same Apostle, with affirming that Christ was a mere man. I may remark here, If our Author did affirm, either directly or indirectly, that there were two, or three, distinct Essences in the Deity, he could not have been an abettor of Arius. It is sufficiently evident however, that he only spoke of the Hypostases or Subsistences, believed to exist in the Holy Trinity, as we shall presently see. But, what is most important here is, Marcellus bears testimony to the fact, that our Author held the Godhead of the Son, and the existence of the Holy Trinity. His method of stating this, resulted solely from his own Sabellian views of the subject. [See also ib. p. 20.]
Paulinus is next charged (ib. p. 27. C.) with ‘making Christ a God Second in order, and begotten after the human manner;’ also with ‘making Him a creature, and with setting up many gods” : and in this category is our Eusebius included, with the addition, that he had affirmed, not only that there was one only God, but that the true God was one only. We have nothing to do here with the opinions of Paulinus: the extract is given, because the same things are charged upon our Author. And, What do they amount to? Why, that Christ was considered by him as God, holding a secondary place: that is, as we have already seen, ‘thinking it not robbery to be equal with God, nevertheless taking upon himself the form of a servant.’ Then again, that he had set up many gods : which is only Marcellus’s way of designating the Persons of the Holy Trinity: and the same may be said of his gloss on the term begotten. But, on his affirming that Eusebius made God (the Father) the only true God, Eusebius himself declares, that if he had adduced his words, he would have known that he had affirmed no such thing; but, that it was the Saviour who had said, ” that they might know thee the only true God.” [His words are: (GREEK) (John xvii. 3.)]
Now, as our Author’s interpretation of this last passage is all-important to this question, we cannot do better perhaps than adduce it. It is given considerably in detail in his “Eclogae Prophetarum,” lately published at Oxford by Dr. Gaisford, (pp. 43—6) where we are told that Jehovah sustained under the Old Testament, the same office of Person sent, as our Lord does under the New. The terms “only true God” could not therefore, have been intended to deny the Deity of the Son, or in any way to exclude Him from a participation in the supreme Godhead, unless this could also be said of Jehovah himself. In our Author’s Commentary on the Psalms [On Psalm lxxxv. according to the Septuagint (p. 534. B.) vr. 10. “Thou art God alone.” (GREEK) Our Author says: (GREEK). “Illud auteni, selus, a Salvatove quoque nostro ad I’atrem dictum fuit in illo, Ut cognosent te solitm verum Deum. Quoniam vero paternar deitatis particeps est Filius, cum sit ejusdem regni consors, utpote unigenitus filius, Dei Verbum, et Dei Sapientia; jure et ipse praesenti theologiae accenseatur qua haee docemur, inter multos illos qui dii vocantur non esse quempiam similem Deo universorum: nam in uno solo Unigenito ejus Verbo, Patris similitudo servatur,” &c.] however, this passage is treated in a more summary and positive manner, to this effect. ‘The term alone is used even by our Lord of the Father, in’ “that they might know thee the only true God.” ‘For, since the Son is a partaker in the Godhead of the Father, participating in the same Rule, inasmuch as He is the only-begotten Son and Word of God, and the Wisdom of God, it is but right that He should be recounted in the Theology (doctrine respecting God) now before us; which teaches, that there is not one among the many that are named Gods, like the God who is over all: but, in His one only-begotten Word, is the likeness of the Father preserved.’—It must be obvious I think from this, that, when our Author spoke of the God who is above all, the God of all, and the only true God, there could have been no intention on his part, either to deny the Divinity of the Son, or to exclude Him in any way from partaking in that of the Father. (Ib. p. 28. C.) The next charge of Marcellus is, that Eusebius had made Christ a mere man : but here happily, he has adduced the words of our Author; which expressly state, that ” there is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” [1 Tim. ii. 5. (GREEK) Marcellus adds, (GREEK) “Mediatorem quoque unum Dei atque hominum constitnit hominem Jesum Christum.” He adds, “Quod si ergo hominem ideo ilium appellct, quod respiceret eam” (solam) “quae est secundum carnem, oeconomiam, non potest fieri quin simul profiteutur ille, spem se nullam in eo collocari,” &c. Jer. xvii. 5 is then cited. It is scarcely possible, Marcellus could not have understood what Eusebius meant here, by the Economy according to the flesh. He probably thought, as I suspect many others have done, that it would suit his purpose better to disregard this wholly. It should be observed, that the Fathers often use the term Monarchy, (GREEK). p. xxxi. above, when speaking of the universal rule of God in the abstract, in contradistinction to that of Economy; which, as applying to the work of redemption, views the Holy Trinity as comprehending the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, with reference to the declarations of Scripture. So Niceph. quoted by Suicer. Thes. Eccl. sub voce. ” (GREEK) “Units Deus apud nos adoratur: tres quidem persona; secundum hypostasis, unus vero Deus secundum essentiam: et unus apud nos honoratur Deus, non plures dii.” See also the other examples supplied by Suicer, which will abundantly shew, that the Monarchy and Economy, thus used, are opposed to one another.] and this, Marcellus himself here allows, he had spoken solely with reference to the Divine Economy. If then Eusebius had used the words of Scripture, he had very prudently guarded himself against the imputation, that he intended by them to lower the Divine nature of the Son; which the introduction of the term Economy effectually did. I must be allowed to remark here, that it will be difficult to discover what could have induced Marcellus to persevere in a charge like this, when he must have seen that the passage cited was Holy Scripture, and that Eusebius had given a sufficient clue to his view of its meaning; unless indeed the Sabellianism, [Cyril of Alexandria directly charges Marcellus with being a Sabellian—just as our Author docs—(Script. Vet. Nov. Coll. Tom. vm. p. 53), where he says; (GREEK) The Trinity too is acknowledged (as existing), not in mere names, hut in the Persons (or subsistences); for we do not say One three-named (Being), according to the contraction and confusion (in system) of Sabellius, Photinus, and Marcellus, &c.] with which our Author, with others, has charged Him, was the cause of it.
Having so far examined our Author’s views in this place, let us now pass on to his Third Book on the Ecclesiastical Theology, also written against Marcellus. We have here then, (cap. iv. p. 168) Marcellus arguing on the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, more particularly as held by our Author [And he also allows the consequences contended for by our Author, would be good, provided he could allow his premises which speak of God as generating the Son : his words on this point are: (GREEK) “Nam quod de Patre procedit, omnino necessario perfectum est, nec ullius alterius indiget auxilio.” And much to the same effect Eusebius of Nicomedia, as quoted by Theodoret. Hist. Eccl. Lib. i. cap. vi. p. mihi 22. I).]; on which Eusebius concludes, that these three Hypostases or Persons, must in the mind of Marcellus have constituted one and the same being, and have been only names; he not seeing, that the Son was said to proceed forth of the Father, as was also the Holy Ghost [ Eccles. Theolog. Lib. in. cap. iv. p. 109.13. (GREEK)]; nor, being able to understand, how it was said of the Holy Ghost, “He shall take of mine and shew it to you” (John xvi. 11) ; nor, how our Lord breathed on His Disciples, saying, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost:” but, which were all easily solved by those whose views were according to piety, when they considered, that the Son was ever with, and present to, the Father, inwardly as it were, and as existing in the inaccessible and untrodden parts of the Father’s Rule: then affirming Himself to have come out of the Father, as sent by Him for the salvation of the human race…’From whence then came He forth,’ asks he, ‘but from the most inward Royal apartments of the Father’s Divinity ? [The following is a most full recognition of the Divinity of the Son, which I think it right to transcribe. Eccles. Theolog. Lih. i. cap. viii. p. 66. A. (GREEK) “Ad cundem quoque modum Dei filium unigonitum agnoseit (Ecclesia) cum, qui ante omnia saecula de Patre fuit genitus: non ilium certe, cundem cum Patre existentcin, at per se subsistentem, vitetnque vert filium, cum Patre coexistentem, Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, vitam de vita, incuarrabilibus, ineffabilibus…rationibus de Patre genitum, ad salutem universis procurandam: nee vitam viventem cum illis parem qui ab eo sunt creati: solum de solo Patre genitum, ipsament vitam existentem…qui solus bonus Pater est, Filium progenuit suum, ipsammet vitam existentem, et omnium quae; sunt vivificatorem : ipsammet lucem verum.” Where it should be observed that “ipsammet” does, in neither of these cases, express the force of the Greek compound, which is equivalent to the (GREEK), &c. above. The whole of this, and the following chapter (ix.) may justly be considered as our Author’s exposition of the Nicene Creed. So again, (ib. p. 121.) (GREEK) “per se viveus est et subsistens, velati qui Deux sit.”] And,’ he goes on to say, ‘in the same manner is the Holy Spirit ever present to the Throne of God (Dan. vii. 10 is then cited): that He is at one time sent, in the form of a Dove, on the Son of man ; at another, on each of the Prophets and Apostles; whence He himself is also said to proceed from the Father.’ And again, (ib.) ‘The only-begotten Son teaches, that He himself came forth from the Father, because He is ever with Him.’ ‘And, in like manner, the Holy Spirit, being another distinct from the Son. [P. 169. D. (GREEK) Oil the office of the Spirit, ib. p. 172. B. (GREEK) “Omnia…per ipsum facta aunt, et sine ipso factum est mini. Turn et Deux, et Dominus, et Senator, et Rex prerdkari potent” Atque ideo illud” (cum) “adorare veluti Deum, et colere, et venerari, Ecclesia,” &c And again he tells us here, of what sort the honour is which is to be rendered to Christ :… (GREEK) –“Noii tanquam Prophetas, non velut Angelos, aut Angelis similes potestates” (1), sed quemadmodum ipsum Patrem.” I might therefore, if I .thought it right to deal with Montfaucon as he has with Eusebius, have deemed it quite sufficient, merely to confront his citation with these.] This, too the Son Himself shews when he says,
Gap from pages 67-84
how Eusebius intended to be understood, when he made these apparently conflicting statements.
The manner, in which Eusebius words our last extract, is, I think, quite sufficient to clear him from the charge of intending to deny the Divinity of the Son. His words are to this effect: You (Marcellus) are afraid, lest by confessing two substances, [According to Justin Martyr, Suicer. Thes. Eccles. sub voce (GREEK). Tom. ii. p. 1300. the terms ungenerated and generated are only names signifying modes of existence, not kinds of Essence. (GREEK) ] (Hypostases, or Persons,) you should introduce two Principles, and so should fall short of the one supreme Deity. Learn then, that since there is one God ungenerated and without beginning; and that, as the Son is generated of Him, there will necessarily be (but) one Principle, one monarchy, and kingdom: because the Son himself ascribes the Principle to His Father: for “the Head of Christ is God” according to the Apostle ; and this, as Montfaucon affirms, excludes the Divinity of the Son. But, Does this necessarily follow from these words ?
Eusebius, it should be remembered, was arguing against a writer who denied the existence of the Person (GREEK) of the Son, and who supposed that if he allowed this, he should also allow the existence of two Gods; and so virtually destroy the notion of the unity of the Deity. He is then admonished, that the Deity, considered in the abstract, is one eternal, and ununbegotten Godhead, as in an image or a glass, characterized in the Son. [(GREEK) p. 111. D. See also ib. p. 194. seq. where this point is argued more in detail, and Col. ii. 9. is referred to, as determining the Godhead of the Son.]
From which I think it must be evident, that Eusebius here spoke, not as a Metaphysician, but as a Theologian. As a Metaphysician he tells us, that the Son existed unbegotten eternally in the Father, as noticed above [Page xlix. note, and again, Lib. 11. cap. xir. p. 121. A. (GREEK) “At Deus logos, non altero indiget praexutnite: ut in ipso (co?) sit et subsistat: sed per se vivens est et stibsistens, veluti qui Deus sit.” Then again, in the following context, he speaks as a Theologian of the Father as Principle. In the one case affirming of the Word, that it subsisted of itself, and stood in need of no other pre-existing (Being), being itself God; and, in the other, as not being without another as Principle (GREEK). In the former case, speaking of Deity in the abstract, and also in accordance with the Scriptures, and positively ascribing this to the Son: in the latter, as to the particulars recorded of the Deity in the Scriptures only, and with respect to the Divine Economy. Not as Montfaucon and others have supposed, viz. that what he has said, under one point of view, is to be regulated and limited, by what he has affirmed under another.]; and in our work (p. 67), that He had no beginning. Here, he tells us as a Theologian, and in conformity with the terms of Scripture, that his creed embraces one God only, one Principle, one Supreme rule (GREEK) ; and that, although he holds the Father and the Son to be two distinct subsistences, the former Superior and as Principle, with reference to the other; yet, that the other is nevertheless God and King, and is adored and worshipped as taught by the Church as God, and is to be honoured even as the Father is; because in Him alone can the Father be received, known, and honoured. We may therefore conclude here, that, so far, Eusebius does not appear to have intended to speak lightly of the Divinity of the Son, and that Montfaucon’s reasoning on the subject, is partial and defective.
The next objectionable place cited by Montfaucon, is one in which he thinks he has detected a very defective statement respecting the Unity, made by our Author: it is this, (Contra Marcellum c. xix. 192). ‘ And [GREEK] indeed we all shall be in this way, one with the Father and the Son. For as, He said, that Himself and the Father were one, saying, ” / and the Father are one ;” ‘so does He pray that we all should, in imitation of Himself, partake of His own unity; not according to Marcellus ; the Word being united to God, and (considered as) being attached to the Essence (as an accident) : but, as the truth testifies, the Saviour Himself saying,’ “The glory which Thou hast given to me, I have given to them ; that they may be one, according as we are one.” ‘Where,’ he goes on to say, ‘Eusebius clearly explodes the substantial unity of the Father and the Son,’ &c. I remark, This, as before, is a mere inference, and it is as groundless as it is positive.
Let us consider the circumstances of this case. Eusebius is here arguing with Marcellus; who, as already stated, considered the Word as a mere unsubstantial enunciation; and which, before enouncement, rested as a volition only in the Divine mind : and this he has in view when he speaks of ‘the Word being united to God, &c. His assertion here is therefore, that the Saviour’s prayer (John xvii.) is not to the effect that He and the Father, the Disciples and Himself, should be considered as united in this way ; but in that in which each should, in His own proper person, partake of the Father’s glory: or, in the words of St Peter, that the Disciples should be “partakers of the Divine nature” (2 Pet. i.4.), even as Christ was, of that of the Father. So far then, we may conclude, nothing unscriptural, untrue, or dishonourable to the Son, was here intended by our Author: the question here not being, as to Essence, but as to privilege.
It should be observed, that this extract is taken from our Author’s explanation of 1 Cor. xv. 28 ; of which some account has already been given above (p. lxx). [I think it right to make one extract here to shew, in what way believers were supposed by Eusebius, to partake of the excellence of the Son, (ib. p. 184. D. scq.) (GREEK). “Luminaria designabuntur novi saeculi, quibus lux ab illo suppeditabitur. Filii Dei futuri filiationis spiritu ejus adornati et exculti. Quomodo, qui illi sunt subjiciendi omnca, facultatum ejus caeterarum participes fient. Nam et justi futuri sunt, de justitia ejus; et de sanctitnte illius, sancti,” &c. A passage, I think, evincing as highly an enlightened mind, as it does a deep and well grounded piety.] From chapter xiv. (p. 182), to the end of the Ecclesiastical Theology against Marcellus, he argues this question, viz. as to how the passage, “When all things shall be subject Unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all” ought to be understood: his general conclusion we have already given. The part of it, which now concerns us is, How did Eusebius understand its last portion, where it is said, “that God may be all in all ? The passage cited above by Montfaucon, and objected to by him, is part of his reasoning on this point; and it must be obvious from what has already been said of it, that Eusebius did not here intend in any way to discuss the question, as to the abstract nature of the Godhead, either of the Father or the Son, but only to speak of the glory received under the Divine Economy, from the Father as Principle, both by the Son, and by those also who are said to be made the sons of God, in and through Him. What our Author had said therefore on one question, Montfaucon very disingenuously cites against him on another !
If then Eusebius had left the question in this state, no Theologian, laying claim to a particle of ingenuousness, could have taken it up as matter of charge against him, on the Godhead of the Son. But happily, Eusebius has not left the question at this point; he has also stated his mind, as to the different degrees, in which this is to be realized both in the Son, and in His followers, in these words,— which have been already cited, that “That God may be all in all :”— ‘He shall be all things in all, according to the faculty of each : supplying to all the different conceptions of His Divinity ; but reserving to His only begotten Son alone, the chief and paternal glory, honour and kingdom, which is incommunicable to all others.” The same sentiment is also given (ib. p. 186. C). After stating, that God shall dwell and walk in those who are His, he adds ‘ but, thus He will not be in them, as He is said to be in the Son : (GREEK). And again, (ib. p. 192. C.) after stating that we shall not henceforth be many, but shall all be united in the Godhead and glory of His kingdom, [ ] he adds, ‘ Not by commixture in one (Divine) Essence; but by a perfection (even) to the summit of virtue.” (GREEK) [Ib. p. 193. D. (GREEK) &c. “Ita Pater et Filius unum sunt, communionis claritatis (gloriae?). And again, (p. 194. B.) After citing, “I will walk in them,” &c. Eusebius adds, (GREEK) “Nos in ipso vivimus et movemur, et sumus.” “Quae sane omnia de nobis dicuntur, qui tamen in propria hypostasi subsistimus et vivimus; nec quicquam habemus cum paterna divinitate commune. Quocirca non est mirum, si de Filio tales voces usurpentur: quae mininie tellant tamen ipsius hypostasin: nedum confirmant ipsum esse et patrem et filium ; tantummodo repraesentent illam divinam unigeniti Filii communionem, honorem, atque gloriam, quam ex ilia a patre suo habet.” The latter part of this falls very far short of the original; which virtually affirms, not only that these terms have a very different application when applied to us, from what they have when applied to the person of the Son; and, that the Father and the Son are not the .same Hypostasis; but also, that they ascribe to the only begotten Son, the proper and chief honour and glory of the Father, and a divine communion with Him. Is it not marvellous that all this escaped Montfaucon ?]
From which I think it must be as certain, as the nature of the case can require, that Eusebius did not here intend to argue on the abstract character of the Deity ; and also, that he sufficiently guarded himself against the accusation, which Montfaucon thought it right to advance against him.
I do not think it necessary to follow Montfaucon any farther : every main point, connected with the question before us, has been considered at sufficient length to shew, that our objector had no good grounds for the allegations which he brought forward. It must be evident, I think, to every one desirous of adhering to the truth, that the sort of controversy here set up by Montfaucon, is not that, out of which truth can elicited. To cite a passage here and there from the works of any author, and then to argue thereon, regardless of the context in which it is found, and of the opinions elsewhere positively expressed and maintained by such author,—which is the course pursued here by Montfaucon,—must leave it at the will of him who does so, to come to any conclusion whatever, which may seem good in his sight. We pass on now therefore to other matter.
On the charge advanced by Photius against our Author, alleging that he erred with Origen, on the resurrection of the dead.
The charge brought forward by Photius is, that Eusebius was infected with the malady of Origen, as to the resurrection of the dead. The passage containing this charge is given by Montfaucon, in his “Bibliotheca Coisliniana,” page 348, as something new, and worthy of presentation to persons skilled in Ecclesiastical History; and out of which new matter for controversy would probably arise: although, as he goes on to say, many had suspected that Eusebius was so tainted, from his frequent perusal of the works of Origen.—There was however, nothing new presented in this extract from Photius; for Valesius had published it long before among the testimonies against Eusebius, which he appended to his life of Eusebius. [Prefixed to his edition of the works of Eusebius.]
The charge runs thus: Many [The words, as given by Montfaucon, are these: (GREEK) The charge here made,—and in which Montfaucon seems to exult,—as to our Author’s persevering in Arianism and even defending it to the last; Athanasius himself, who was no friend to Eusebius, has sufficiently answered; who tells us, that after he had subscribed to the Council of Nice, (p. li.) he went on to accuse the Arians. Vales. Life of Euseb. p. mihi 25. Athanasius also declares in the preceding page, that Eusebius was his enemy.] know, and it is easy to find from numerous places, that (Eusebius) did from the first secretly foster the Arian opinions, and ceased not to the last to defend them. And, that he partook of the disease with which Origen was infected, as to our common resurrection ;—if it escapes the many ;—he, who reads his compositions with care, will nevertheless perceive him to have been no less held by this destructive unsoundness, than he was by the Arian mania.
The error of Origen was, that the Body of our Lord became, after His resurrection, of an etherial and divine quality. [As cited from Origen’s Tract against Celsus by Suicer. Thes. Eccles. sub voce (GREEK) “Qualitatem mortalem Jesu corporis in aetheream et divinam qualitatem mutatam esse.” See the following extracts also given by Suicer: who tells us here, that the Romanists, (Pontificii) assert the same thing. ] Let us now see how far the writings of Eusebius are chargeable with this error. In our following work, he speaks of the ‘Body being impervious to death,’ after it shall have undergone dissolution by death; and again, he says (p. 61), ‘When he shall receive his Body, and shall have changed his nature from corruption to incorruption,’ &c. evidently alluding to 1 Cor. xv. 53. (See also ib. sect. 76.) Again (page 185), speaking of our Lord’s appearing after His resurrection, he says, ‘ He shewed to His disciples the selfsame person, both in body and substance just as it formerly was.’ Again (p. 186), (Had He led on that mortal (being, or body)…to corruption and perishing, He would have seemed as a spectre.’ Evidently intimating that His body was substantial. Again, p. 187, ‘He shewed proof that this same (Body) was superior to death; and (so), by the divine power, made immortal that which was mortal.’ In page 195, he makes the resurrection of our Lord, ‘the beginning of that immortal life (for us all) which is with God.’ Ib. p. 196, ‘ It was necessary the Disciples should see, with their own eyes, the life which is after death ;’ which must imply their viewing their own resurrection in His. It is added, ‘He shewed them in the deed itself, the signal mark of the victory obtained over death.’ To the same effect are pages 188-9. And again, p. 200, ‘ Then also did the all-life-giving Word of God evince the hope that is laid up for all men, by means of the second birth of this selfsame mortal (body)’. Ib. sect. 62. he speaks of this second birth, which had also (now) become that of the Disciples, and which they preached to all. See also ib. sect. 63. seq. and p. 207. Whence it will be seen, that a very large portion of this book (iii), proceeds on the assumption,—as on a thing about which there can be no doubt—that the body shall be, after the resurrection, just as that of our Lord’s was,—identically the same with that, which had previously lived and died.
We are told in the Controversy with Marcellus, (p. 184. seq.) that, when the last enemy death shall have been subdued, then shall our bodies be made like unto His glorious Body : ours swallowed up of life, His of the Divinity, as already noticed. This subject however is more particularly discussed, in an earlier part of this Work, (Ib. x. p. 177. seq.), from which it will be sufficient for our purpose to make a few extracts.
After speaking of the absurd Sabellian notions of Marcellus, as to the flesh of the Saviour being laid aside at His death, he proceeds: ‘ You [Matth. xvii. 1, 2, &c.] see what words he dares to throw out against the flesh of the Saviour; not aware that before His being taken up into heaven, He thus glorified it (i.e. the flesh), before suffering, on the mount while on earth, shewing to His three chosen Disciples alone the image of His kingdom, so that His face shone, and gave forth rays of light.’ [ (GREEK) ] “For His face,” ‘says the Holy Scripture,’ “became as the Sun, and His garments white as the light.”‘ ‘Nor [ (GREEK) (Philip, iii. 21.) (GREEK) (2 Cor. V. 4.) (GREEK) ],’ adds he, ‘did he (Marcellus,) understand what sort of glorified body of Christ,—nor how our bodies are to be conformed to that body,—the Apostle taught, by saying,” “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious Body.” ‘ Nor knowing in what way he wrote, that mortality shall be swallowed up of life, saying,’ “Not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life” ‘Holding ignorantly of all these things,’ adds he, ‘ he goes on to shew that the Word,’ (as a mere word) ‘ shall one and the same be with God, as it formerly was ; but the flesh be left by the Word, I know not whatever to be.’—From all which it must be as clear as words can make it, that Eusebius believed the Body of our Lord, so glorified on the mount, was not only the same Body that should be glorified in heaven; but also, that this transfiguration was intended to shew, that our bodies should in like manner be clothed upon, and our mortal be swallowed up of immortality, just as that of the Saviour’s should, of the Divinity. This will also supply a good comment on certain passages in our following work, e. g. p. 54. “Shall clothe him, both in body and soul, which are now incorruptible, with a vesture of light exceeding description.” See also pages, 57. 61, &c.
Reasoning to the same effect will be found in his commentary on Isaiah, where we are told on chapter lx. ver. 19, that ‘there [His words are: (GREEK) (Rom. vii. 24.)] shall be a certain pillar emitting Divine light, the Body of the resurrection, called’ “the garment of salvation” (For there shall be no longer the Body of death, such as Paul shewed forth’ (Rom. vii. 24)…’For,’ he goes on to say, ‘The garment of salvation shall be put about the soul, and the coat of gladness,’ &c. In the first case the same glorified Body of our Lord is evidently meant; as the words are a comment on, “The Lord shall be thy everlasting light, and God thy glory:” and, in the second, the glorified bodies of His followers, as clothed upon by virtue of His resurrection. So again, on chap. lxv. 20. p. 587. C. D. 588 A: chap. lxvi. 20, 21. p. 592, 593. to some of which, parallels may be adduced from our following work.
I shall notice only one place more, and then come to a conclusion on this whole subject. This place I think an important one, as it will shew how far our Author had the advantage over his opponent, as an interpreter of Holy Writ; and, at the same time, as to the spirituality of his views. Marcellus tells us then, (ib. p. 179 A.), that the flesh could not, as it respected the Resurrection of our Lord, profit in any way, as the Saviour Himself had said (John xi. 62, 63.), “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before ? It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:” To this Eusebius replies: ‘But [(John vi. 20. seq. Exod. xvi. 14)— (GREEK) The Commentary of Euthymius on this place, is to the same effect: taking the general sense to be the Doctrine of Christ; but the particular one, as having respect to the sacrament of His Body and Blood. How much better is this than the modern figment of Romanists, whose whole attention is directed to the bodily and sensible elements ?] you must, upon again taking up the evangelical Scripture, observe that the whole of our Saviour’s doctrine (here), does not speak of the Flesh which He had assumed, but of His mystical Body, and Blood? He then cites a considerable part of the context, and adds: 1 By which He taught them, spiritually to hear the things said respecting His Body and Blood.” ‘Think not that I say, It is right to eat the flesh which I carry about me; nor understand me to enjoin, the drinking of the sensible and bodily blood; but know well, that the words which I have spoken to you, are spirit and life. So that His declarations and words were (hereon) the Flesh and Blood, of which he who ever partakes, shall, as nourished with heavenly bread, also partake of the heavenly life.’ He repeats it, that these things are to be spiritually received, not as this new Interpreter had taken them, as referring to the Flesh of our Lord; which, as being profitless according to his views, could be of no avail in the life to come. From which I think, both the heterodoxy [Yet Jortin, after Le Clerc and Pere Simon, thinks that he held much the same opinions that Christians now do: but this, his very zealous and learned advocate Montfaucon, could neither prove, nor persuade himself to affirm.], and ignorance of Scripture, betrayed by Marcellus, must be too obvious to require one word of comment; as must the sound and scriptural views of our Author. And, we may conclude here upon this question, that it is equally evident, the charge which Photius brought against him, is no less discreditable to himself, than it is groundless and scandalous.
Whether we view the opinions of our Author as apparent from his Platonic inclinations, and his notions of Deity accordingly ; his assenting to the statements of that philosopher ; of his commentators Plotinus and others; of Philo and Aristobulus, as Platonizing Jews; of certain portions of the Apocryphal Scriptures, as to the particulars here had in view ; his viewing the Holy Trinity, in conformity with these authorities, as consisting of a First, Second, and Third Cause, each equally Divine; his viewing the Holy Trinity as a Theologian, and affirming of it, that it constitutes the one Monarchy, Principle, and Rule ; declaring also as a Theologian, that it comprehends, according to the Divine Economy, the Rule of the Father, and the ministration of the Son in the person of Jehovah under the Old Testament, in that of the man Christ Jesus under the New, and of the Holy Ghost:—whether we view his conduct at the Council of Nice, or consider the real import and bearing of his letter to the Church of Caesarea; his mode of commenting on the Scriptures generally, and particularly with reference to the Divinity of the Son, the Divinity and personality of the Holy Ghost, as found in his Commentaries and other writings generally, and particularly in his Controversy with Marcellus; or whether we examine his opinions, as sifted and condemned by Montfaucon and others, with reference to the proper Divinity of the Son ; or, whether we take a similar survey of his reasoning on the Resurrection and glorification of the real Body of our Lord, and, by virtue of this, the glorified state of those of his true followers :— taking these things, I say, as they appear in his own writing?, and attested positively by himself;—we are, I think, bound to conclude, that he was no Arian : and the same reasoning must prove that he was no semi-Arian :—that he did in no degree partake of the error of Origen, ascribed to him so positively and so groundlessly by Photius.
To this may be added the testimony of Valesius [“De Vita et Scriptis Eusebii Caesariensis,” pp. mihi, 14, 15.] a writer of no mean acquirements and judgment, strengthened as it is by that of the Western Church generally, and particularly that of Gaul, which canonized Eusebius,— with the single exception of Jerome,—and confirmed by that of Popes Gelasius and Pelagius. To these, he adds that of Gelasius Bishop of Caesarea, and of Theophilus of Alexandria; of Socrates—with whom he should have joined Theodoret,—and of Gelasius Bishop of Cyzicum. And last of all, though by no means least, our own Cave gives the same testimony ; whose very valuable Life of our Author can never be read without great interest and advantage.
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS ON THE VIEWS OF EUSEBIUS ON PROPHECY.
It will appear upon a very slight perusal of the two last Books of our following work, that the views of its Author on Prophecy are, in some important particulars, directly opposed to those generally held in the present day. And, as the views now held are usually put forth with great zeal and earnestness, as containing matter of the greatest importance to the Christian Church ; many will necessarily be tempted to conclude at once, that Eusebius is in this particular entirely wrong; and that so far, his work is worse than useless. I trust all such will allow me to intreat them calmly to consider, whether it is likely Eusebius would, with the whole Christian Church of his times, and of those preceding him, err on a question so momentous as this; and on which the interests of Christianity so much then depended : whether it is probable, the views promulgated by the Apostles themselves on this question could, without any assignable cause, have undergone a revolution so great, as this takes for granted was the fact ; and further, whether the writers of his, and of former times,—men confessedly of the greatest learning and piety, and who certainly had spared no pains to inform themselves as to the declarations of Holy Scripture,—could possibly have embraced, and maintained with one voice, views so directly opposed to the truth, as this state of the case necessarily supposes.
If it be supposed that progress of time necessarily brings with it progress in knowledge; it may be suggested, that, in the sciences and arts connected with civilized life, this may be fully admitted ; While it may be extremely doubtful whether it can be, as to revealed truth ; and especially, as inspired Interpreters of this lived so near to the times of which we are now speaking. Add to this the fact, that , among modern Interpreters, there is nothing like the agreement which prevailed among the more ancient ones; that, in very many instances, the statements, grounded on their views of prophecy, have proved utterly false : in others, the results arrived at have given rise to theories and practices the most ludicrous ; and that in all, no principle of interpretation more solid than that which rests on resemblances, has either been proposed or contended for: and accordingly, what was once “the more sure word of prophecy“ has been made the most unsure: and I think it will appear, that there is quite as much reason for supposing the present speculations on this subject to be erroneous, as there is that those of our Author’s times are unworthy of regard. I will say for myself, I have,— I trust with the sincerest regard to truth, unembarrassed with any desire for novelty, or to oppose the favourite views of any man,—long suspected the soundness of the principles on which these modern views have been founded, and for some years past have felt convinced, that the more ancient ones are much nearer the truth : their results much more accordant with the general tenor of Scripture, and tending to throw a much greater light on the declarations of both Testaments. I now proceed therefore, to lay before the reader a mere outline, — and nothing further can be expected here,—which will, I trust, be found to rest on principles of interpretation more solid than those just now adverted to, and calculated to bring the Old and New Testament into a much more intimate connection, than they can otherwise be made to stand: and hence to justify the views advanced by our Author in the work before us.
On the period termed by Eusebius “the Time of the End”
We have in Sects. 28, 36. of our Fourth Book, express mention of the “time of the end “intimately connected with our Author’s proofs of the fulfilment of prophecy in the erection of the Christian Church. In neither of these places indeed, is he particularly clear, as to the precise period meant; but, as his arguments rest on the fact, (real or supposed) that the Gospel had then been “preached in all nations “the natural inference is, that he supposed the ”time of the End “had then come. I have shewn this, and added a few remarks on the subject generally, in a note on the latter place (p. 282). Let us now inquire how this matter stands in Holy Scripture.
The question now before us is, Whether a period or End is actually fixed in Holy Scripture, with reference to the things of Christ and His Church, unconnected with every consideration about the dissolution of all things, commonly termed the End of the world. We will commence this inquiry with those declarations, which appear to be the most obvious and definite, and then pass on to those which seem less so, by means of their connection with these, and with one another.
Our Lord says then, generally as I conceive, “The things concerning me have an end” (Luke xxii. 37). In this case, He was to be numbered with the transgressors. This was soon to be done and finished. Upon the Disciples asking Him, in another place (Matt. xxiv. 3. seq.) “When shall these things be? and what the sign of thy coming, and of the End of the world ? [Gr. “τής συντελείάς του αίωυος.” Not necessarily signifying the end of the material world ; and, if Christ’s coming (τής σής παρουσίας) is to be connected with this, as the context here implies, it is obvious that the then existing generation should not pass, until this had commenced at least (ver. 34, &c.) ; and, as Theodotion uses this term (Dan. xii. 13. where we have (είς αναπλήρωσιν συυτελείάς) to imply the period elsewhere spoken of as the End of the system to be done away, and to be succeeded by another ; it is certain, the end of the material world cannot here be meant. This place has, “till all these things be fulfilled; ” which is erroneous. The verb in the original is “γένηαι,” be, become, or the like.] The answer is, “Ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars,”…”all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” And again, (ver. 14) as cited by our Author, “This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations ; and then shall the end come.” We are also told (ib. ver. 8), that the troubles then spoken of are “the beginning of sorrows :” and again, (ib. ver. 15), these predictions are connected with one or more of those given by Daniel the Prophet : whence it should seem, that all has respect to the same events and times.
Again, in Mark xiii. 4. the question of the Disciples is, “When shall these things be ? and What the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?” We have here no mention of “the end of the world “but only of the time “when all these things shall be fulfilled ; “given probably as equivalent to that of “The end of the world [And in the verb corresponding to συυτελείά, noted above, in συυτελείσθαι],” mentioned by St. Matthew. And again, (ver. 7.) as before, “the end shall not be yet” [Gr. “αλλ οϋπω το τέλος:” so v. 13, and Luke, xxi. 9.] : and, in the next verse: “these are the beginnings of sorrows. “And (ver. 13.) “He that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved. “And then the prophecy of Daniel is, as before pointed out, intimating its connection with these things. Again (Luke xxi. 9), as before, “The end is not by and by. “And (in ver. 22.) it is said, “These be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” [Gr.”τοϋ πληρωθήναι πάντα τα γεγραμένα” Lit. Of all things written being fulfilled ; i.e. for the fulfilment of all things written in the Scriptures. Eusebius tells us occasionally, in his Commentary on the Psalms, where the terms το τέλος occur, that this intimates this time of the End.] (in them) : that is, as I understand it, that the accomplishment and end of all things written may arrive and come. A very large number of instances occurs elsewhere to the same effect; we shall presently notice some of these. From all which it must, I think be evident, both that a Beginning, and an End, of all the troubles here mentioned, is distinctly pointed out and affirmed ; and, more generally, the days in which all those other things foretold by the Prophets, should also be accomplished, and come to their destined end.
Let us now inquire, whether both of these periods are so fixed and determined, as not to admit of being carried farther in any direction. Of the Beginnings of these troubles, there can perhaps be no doubt, connected as they are with the pestilences, earthquakes, persecutions of the Disciples, the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, coupled with the declaration, that the generation then existing should not pass away until they should be (in progress [Matt. xxiv. 34. Mark xiii. 30. Luke xxi. 32. See the note above on the term γένηται. A passage to the same effect occurs (Matt. xvi. 28.) “There be some, standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom ; “and again (John xxi. 21), “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? “all intended, no doubt, to fix and determine the period here had in view. Let this be remembered.] ; Mark, xiii. 30, with the fall of the Temple (Luke xxi. 5, 6), the investiture of Jerusalem by the Roman army (ib. ver. 21), the captivity of the Jews (ib. ver. 24. comp. vv. 28, 29—31), and all those other remarkable events which so soon, and so exactly corresponding with these predictions, actually took place for the first, and necessarily for the last, time. The period of these Beginnings is therefore, too particularly defined to admit of doubt as to when it was.
To determine the period of the end, will require a more extended investigation; which, as it will involve more particulars of equally certain occurrence, will therefore lead us to a conclusion equally sure and certain. It will be seen, from what has already been cited,—and as noticed by Eusebius,—that, when (i.e. not before) the Gospel of the kingdom should have been preached in all the woRld, for a witness unto all nations, the end should come. (Matt. xxiv. 14, &c). We may remark here ; first, that the Gospel was to be so preached ; and, secondly, that this was to be done for the purpose of affording a Testimony to all nations. Let us now see, what means we have in our hands for determining its period, and extreme limit.
It has been remarked above that our Lord has, in uttering his prediction (Matth. xxiv. 15. Mark xiii. 14. Luke xxi. 20), referred to the Prophet Daniel as having made predictions to the same effect; and, from the manner in which this reference is made, (“whoso readeth, let him understand,”) particular stress seems to be laid upon the declarations of this Prophet. The passages more immediately had in view are, perhaps, chapp. ix. 23, 27; xii. 11. But, as these are only parts of a more extended system of predictions on this subject, it will be best, first to consider the whole of this generally ; and secondly, more in detail.
The first place in which this question is touched upon is, Daniel ii. 28—36 ; where the dream of the King is said to comprehend “what should be in the latter days” [This usage is much older than the times of Daniel: it occurs for the first time in Gen. xlix. 1. “That I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days.” Where (ver. 10) we have the remarkable prophecy of the coming of our Lord, and of the gathering of the people to Him, &c. The next place is Numb. xxiv. 14: “I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days.” Where, (ver. 17) we have the prediction of a Star that should come out of Jacob…(19) “,Out of Jacob shall come He that shall have the dominion,”&c, perfectly equivalent to the place in Genesis. The next place is Job xix. 25, where the Redeemer who should stand at the latter DAY upon the earth, is the subject-matter of the discourse. In these cases, as in those occurring in the Prophets, respect is had to the period generally, in which the peculiar privileges of the Jews should cease, and all nations should partake in the blessings to be derived from the promised seed of Abraham. (Gen. xviii. 15; xxii. 18, &c.) “In his DAYS shall the righteous flourish, “&c. (Ps. lxxii. 7) is another intimation of the same period, as is “Thy times.” Is. xxxiii. 6: “The last days, “(ib. ii. 2.) Micah iv. 1, &c, all of which mark, more or less distinctly, the times of our Lord’s ministry, and those immediately succeeding; but less definitely than in Daniel, particularly chap. ix. 27. It is not meant however, to assert that the phrase “last day, “or the like, must necessarily refer to this period. In John vi. 44, 54, for example, it relates to a totally different one. All that is intended to be affirmed is, that, by phrases similar to this, the time of the end, in the sense above given, is often pointed out, which the context will always be sufficient to determine.] ; by which last expression we are to understand, as we shall presently see, the period of the end generally ; the beginning of a certain part of which has already been brought before us. Now, the interpretation given of this dream by Daniel goes on to shew, that Three kingdoms or dynasties shall succeed that of Nebuchadnezzar, each of which shall successively fall and give place to another; and that a Fifth shall be raised, which shall have no end. That these kingdoms, designated the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman, I need not now perhaps stop to inquire, both, because this is generally allowed, and because we shall presently come to matter, sufficient to determine this point beyond all possible doubt. I need only remark here, that, as these Four kingdoms were to fall in succession, and a Fifth was then to be raised which should never fall, the latter days noticed above, as intimating generally the time of the End mentioned by our Lord, must necessarily mean the period, in which the last of these Four should come to an end; the last, or Fifth, never coming to an end in the language of prophecy, can, in that language, have no latter days [So in the case of Melchisedec (Heb. vii. 3. seq.), “without father, without mother,” &c., can only mean that no father, mother, &c, are found recorded of him in the Scriptures.] This period must therefore, be limited to the time of that particular event, and cannot be extended to any other, falling either short of it, or beyond it.
In the viith chapter of Daniel this subject is resumed, and—as it might be expected,—is treated in a manner much more specific than in the last case. I shall now give only the general outline as before, reserving what is more particular for future consideration. Here then, the Four Monarchies, pointed out in the last vision, are designated by Four Beasts. The last of these is slain, his body is destroyed and given to the burning flame (v. 11); and then, as before, a Fifth Dominion is set up, which is given to one like the Son of Man coming in the clouds; and this is, as before, to be both an everlasting and an universal Dominion (ver. 14). An interpretation is then given, determining these Four Beasts to be four Kings [As King in the Heb. and Chald. properly signifies Rule. See my Hebrew Lexicon under ךּלּמּ, we need not be surprised in finding it here used in this sense.] ; and also, that the Saints of the Most High shall next take the kingdom, and possess it for ever (vv. 16, 18). We are then instructed, that some constituent part of this last system of Rule, shall make war against the Saints and shall prevail, until the Ancient of days shall give judgment in their favour; and that these shall then possess the kingdom. And, a little lower down (v. 26), the judgment is again said to sit, and to take away this last portion of the Fourth kingdom, and to destroy it unto the (extreme period of) the End. It is also repeated, that the Saints shall now possess the kingdom, and that this kingdom shall be both universal and everlasting. And the next verse (28) tells us, that “hitherto is the end of thE MATTER,” which I understand to mean, the close and final period of every thing referred to in this vision.
In the viiith chapter of this same Prophet, we have another vision to the same effect; and, in some respects, more specific than either of the preceding ones. We shall, as before, now take the general statements of this only. In the first place then, a Ram is seen standing by the river Ulai, which becomes fearfully great. A He goat is then said to fly, as it were, over the earth and to come in contact with him, and to overcome him. This He goat is then said to become irresistible ; but, that in the zenith of his power he shall fall, and his Rule be divided among Four others. To these shall succeed another Power, which shall take away the daily sacrifice, and cast down the place of the sanctuary. From this last declaration, it must be evident that the Roman Power is had in view; no other having ever done this. In this latter vision therefore, the Babylonian empire is not included; which is also evident from the interpretation given below (ver. 20, seq.), where we learn, that the Ram designated the Medo-Persian empire, the He goat, the King of Grecia (Alexander the Great) ; the four succeeding kingdoms, those of his Generals; and the third and last, as before, the Roman. So far, this vision points out events essentially the same with those of the two preceding ones; and, what is very important to our main inquiry here, it also tells us (ver. 19), that the Angel shewed to the Prophet what should be in the latter time of their kingdom (ver. 23), and also (ver. lo), in the last end of the indignation : “for,” he adds, “at the time appointed the end shaLL BE.” Which seems to imply, that, when a certain predetermined indignation should have been poured out, and have come to its close, then, i.e. at that specific time, the period named the end should come, and at no other : and this, I take to be equivalent in bearing to the expressions…”unto the end “and ” hitherto is the end of the matter “noticed above. We learn here also (ver. 23), that this vision is styled the “Vision of the evening and the morning : “i.e. as comprehending what may be termed a day, divided into these its two natural portions.
We shall, for the present, pass over the ninth chapter of this prophecy, because its declarations unfold the events of the visions hitherto considered, in a point of view differing in some respects from that had recourse to in them. In the tenth chapter, then, (ver. 14) the angelic message sent is, to make Daniel understand what shall befall his people in “the latter days ;” by which we are probably to understands the “Time of the end’‘ generally, as noticed above.
In the eleventh chapter, we have a repetition of the last vision, with which a very large number of particulars is connected. These we shall pass over for the present, and notice the more general enouncements only. We are told here then, that Three kings should arise in Persia; to whom a Fourth should succeed, who should stir up all against the realm of Grecia. We then have a repetition of the rise of a mighty king, Alexander the Great apparently, whose kingdom should be broken, and divided towards the four winds: pointing out as before, the kingdoms of his Generals; noticed also, but more particularly, by our Author (p. 136, below). The events following, i.e. from verse 5 to verse 30, have been shewn, I think satisfactorily, to refer to what took place under Antiochus Epiphanes [Sir Isaac Newton on the Prophecies of Daniel, &c. Part i. chap, xii. seq. who, however, makes no scruple to break down the limits so set to the predictions of Daniel, and recognised by our Lord; and then to expatiate, with Mede and his followers, over all the times and places, which seem to suit his purpose.], one of the branches which arose out of the Rule of Alexander. In verse 30, the Roman Power [“For the ships of Chittim,” &c, which is manifestly an echo of Numb. xxiv. 24, where this coming, and also the fall of the Roman Power, is clearly foretold. Sec Bocharti Phaleg. Lib. III. cap. v.] is, I think, again brought before us; which, as the history of those times shews, forced Antiochus to return to his own country [Jerome says on this place: ” Haec plenius in Machabaeorum gestis legimus : quod postquam eum do AEgypto pepulerunt Romani, indiguans venerit contra testimonium sanctuarii,” &c.], and who then committed great outrages upon the Jews. In verse 31 we have, the pollution of the Sanctuary by this Power, the taking away of the daily sacrifice, and the setting up of “the abomination that maketh desolate,“ which has been so pointedly marked out by our Lord ; and sufficiently so to shew, that this place of Daniel refers to those particular times, and to no other. Verse 33 points out to us, as it should seem, the labours of the Apostles, with the persecutions which our Lord declared should come upon them, and upon their followers: and this is carried on through verses 34 and 35, where we are further told, that it shall continue “even to the time of the End. “And, in the next verse, it is said that “the king shall do according to his will, &c…. ; and shall prosper till the indignation shall be accomplished : for “it is added, “that that is determined shall be done.” From which it should seem, some King or Power existing within the times of the fourth, or Roman Dynasty, was to arise and thus to act, even to the time of the end, and until the indignation determined upon should be completed and finished. We have here therefore, “the abomination of desolation “set up, designated by our Lord as the beginning of sorrows, and the tribulations which were thence to take effect, “even to the time of the End.”
The twelfth chapter commences with the times of unheard of troubles, the period of which our Lord has also fixed. In this, the Disciples are warned to escape to the mountains ; which they did, and were preserved, untouched and uninjured. The vision is then to be shut up, and the Book to be sealed [And, at the time, of the End, this book is unsealed by the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Rev. v. 1. seq.], even to the (general) time of the End, when many should run to and fro, and knowledge should be increased. The question is then put (ver. G), ” How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? “The answer given is, ” It shall be for a time, times, and an half.” [A similar question is put, and answered much to the same effect, Isaiah vi. 11.] That is, as it should seem, from the time in which the abomination of desolation should be set up, to the end of these troubles, a period shall elapse which may be designated by a mystical number (yet to be explained) amounting to three and a half. It is added, “When he shall have accomplished to scatter (disperse abroad) the power of the Holy People, all these things shall be finished.” That is, as I understand it, when the Saints shall have taken the kingdom, shall have been put in possession of “the kingdom under the whole heavens; “in other words, When the new or Fifth kingdom, shall have been established by God himself; when Kings and Queens shall, in the words of Isaiah, have become the nursing Fathers and nursing Mothers of the Church; then shall all these things have come to their destined and full completion and END.
And, I may conclude here generally, that, from a close and accurate comparison of these several Visions, it must appear clear to demonstration, that, upon the fall of these four kingdoms, a Fifth should arise which should never end ; that the period marked, as that in which the fourth of these should fall, was termed the End, the latter days, and the like generally: that, at a certain point of this, the abomination of desolation should be set up; and that, after this, even to the end ; in other words, to the fulfilment of every thing here had in view, troubles such as never had been, and never should hereafter be, heard of, tribulation, indignation, and wrath, should take place : and that, when the (now) Mighty and Holy People, the Christian Church, should have spread and established its power, under the guidance of the Almighty miraculously granted, all these things should be fully and family accomplished. These Visions are so intimately, and indissolubly, linked together, and are hence so obvious and plain, as to what they unfold, and have been so bound up by our Lord Himself, with the extraordinary events which were soon to follow upon His death, that no power either human or angelic, can possibly separate them, or make them apply to any other times or circumstances.
We may now turn back to the ninth chapter of this prophecy, and see how far that contributes towards laying open the same things. We are told then, in the 24th verse of this chapter generally, that ” Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy [That is Vision and Prophecy generally: the Hebrew having no definite article here. So the Greek], and to anoint the most holy.” That is, a considerable period of time is fixed and determined upon, during the lapse of which, all the particulars here mentioned shall be effected. And first, as to the people of Daniel during this period : they shall return, rebuild their city, and eventually shall experience those things, which it had been foretold should befall them in the latter days [As noticed above, p. ev.] . In other words, during this period, all the events hitherto touched upon in these Visions shall be finally accomplished: this whole period shall bring about their fulfilment. Secondly, as to the Holy City during this space of time; It shall also undergo its fate so frequently and plainly foretold, and here (ver. 27), also predicted. Thirdly, “To finish transgression, “&c. i.e. to make the great sacrifice for sin, whereby alone reconciliation with God can be obtained, and to bring in an everlasting system and means of righteousness, in the never-ending and spiritual kingdom thence to be set up. Fourthly, to bring to a fulfilment and close, all the things which had been foretold of Christ, under the Old Testament (Luke xxi. 22), either by Vision or Prophecy. And Fifthly; to anoint or consecrate with the Holy Ghost, the Holy of Holies [The terms סּיּשּךּ מּשּךּמּ signifying literally, the Holy of Holies; but, as provision is here made for the fall of the old one; so also is there for the consecration of the new one or Christian Church, which was effected on the day of Pentecost. Acts ii ] now to be set up ; and, under His ministration, to continue the work of grace during the ages of this everlasting kingdom. This therefore lays down, generally, the period during which all these particulars shall fully come to pass.
We next have a recital of particulars, which are then to succeed ; to each of these a period is also assigned; each containing some portion or other of these Seventy weeks [This I take to represent a certain indefinite period, (seventy, seven, &c, being occasionally so used) to be determined by the events here foretold, and which the language of inspiration should also certify. The usual mode of reckoning this period, taking these weeks to be weeks of years, and the whole amounting to 490 years,—which is very ancient,— must, after a moment’s consideration, appear utterly inapplicable to this place. For first, from the issuing of the edict by Cyrus, to return and to rebuild Jerusalem, could not be much less than 550 years, before any of these events took place. But, suppose it could be made to quadrate, either with the birth, or the death of Christ; How is it to be made to take in the fall of the Temple, and the other circumstances still to take place, before the end should come ? Besides, the cutting off of the Messiah is to happen in the 69th week ; after which, another week is to come, and to complete the seventy; and, it is in this last week that the covenant is to be made with the many; in other words, the Apostles and their immediate followers are to receive the kingdom (Luke xii. 32), and the desolations determined are to be poured out. What ingenuity, I ask, can make such 490 years cover this whole period ? The view, which makes 69 weeks take in the whole 490 years, which it also ascribes to the whole 70, must be too inconsistent to bear a moment’s consideration; as must its attendant one, which carries this last week onwards to other far remote and distant times and events. If this be not “δουλευειν τή υποθπει” I know not what is.]
First, from the time of the Edict to build and to restore Jerusalem, unto the Messiah, 69 of these weeks are to elapse; and again, after the lapse of 62 weeks, that is, after that of these, with 7 others added to them, making as before 69 weeks, the Messiah is to be cut off. The people of the then ruling Power, the Prince, or the Fourth Dynasty according to the former Visions, i.e. the Romans, are next to come and to destroy both the city and the sanctuary; the End of which things is to be, as an overwhelming flood, not unlike that of Noah, (Matth. xxiv. 37. 1 Pet. iii. 20) and even to the End of this warfare, desolations ; i.e. the indignation, unheard of troubles, and the like, already mentioned are, we are told, determined. This is generally stated. In the next verse, the particulars, with their immediate and determined periods, are given.
We are here informed then, that “He shall confirm the covenant with (the) many (for, or during) one week : and, in the midst [The term יּצּהּ used here, does not necessarily signify half, or middle; but any portion: and it is here applied indefinitely.] of the week, He shall cause sacrifice and oblation [That is sacrifice and oblation generally; the Hebrew having no definite article here; and this event must have taken place when the Temple fell, which put a forcible termination to these things.] to cease, and, for the overspreading of abominations, He shall make it desolate, even until the consummation,” or end, if and (until) that which is determined shall be poured out upon the Desolator.” [The Hebrew term used here, סּמּוּשּ should, from its form, have an active signification; and, in chap. viii. 13, this would suit the context well; and the place would mean, the transgression giving (supplying) a desolator. In this case the feminine form would signify woman, or thing, either, evincing or making desolation. In this acceptation the End or consummation here, is that which is determined shall fall on that (Power) which maketh desolate; which is in strict accordance with the concluding portions of all these visions.]
We have already seen the events, of the first 69 of the weeks mentioned, determined ; and, what is most important to our question, it is determined that in the 69th of these the Messiah shall be cut off : which,—as we know when that event took place,—we cannot but perceive was the period of that week’s expiration. We now come to the events of the one (remaining) week, which makes up the seventy, or the whole period here had in view ; and we are told, that during this He shall confirm (lit. magnify) the covenant with the many: that is, during this latter period or week ; these latter days, or time of the end, generally, the Gospel of the new Kingdom shall be preached, and received by the many, in other words, throughout the world: that, at some time, within this week, He shall forcibly bring sacrifice and oblation to an end, by destroying the Temple, which, with the city, shall lie desolate; and this shall continue, even to the end which terminates all vision and prophecy [And hence we are told, (Luke xxi. 34.) that Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled: i.e. until the period has arrived, in which it is determined that heathenism shall fall in this last dynasty. Comp. Rom. xi. 25. In Rev. xi. 3, we are told that this shall continue for 42 months, i.e. 3½ years, the half of 7, or period of this last prophetical week. This is necessarily the last half, which (ib. vrr. 9, 11) is said to be 3½ days. Again, (chap. xiii. 5) the power of this beast is to continue 42 months, and then he is to fall; i.e. his time is now fulfilled. Vision and prophecy therefore, leave Jerusalem in this state, promising no restoration whatever.] : and also, until the ruin determined shall fall upon the Power which has here acted the part of Desolator, who, living in the latter times of the fourth kingdom, should make war on the Saints and prosper wondrously, until he should be cut off by the judgment of the Almighty, and his body be given to the devouring flame.
The predictions therefore, contained in this ninth chapter, although differing in certain particulars from the preceding ones, do foretell the same events: the chief difference is, that they arrange these under a more specific determination of time: reserving to its last period all the particulars relating to the establishment of the Christian Church ; and this last period, it considers under the figure of a week. It then proceeds to divide this into two periods; the one preceding the fall of the Temple and City ; the other, that which extends from that event, to the extreme period termed the End: when, as shewn above, all these things shall be finished.
If then, we consider this whole Week as thus divided; the first portion will be that, in which the preaching of the Apostles took place ; and will designate the commencement, of the whole period styled, “the latter days” “last times,” “days,” &c. ; the last, that during which the fall of Jerusalem, and the persecutions of the Church were effected. These persecutions too, were to be set on foot by the Fourth or Roman Dynasty, as foretold in all the preceding visions; and these our Lord himself also pointed out, for the accomplishment at once of all the troubles which He foretold, especially noticing by the way, the predictions of Daniel, and generally, those of all the Prophets as foretold respecting Himself.
If then, we may consider this period as constituting a week ; we may each of these its portions as its one half: and we may then speak of either of them under the terms, “time, times, and a half :” “time, times, and the dividing of time ; “or “three days and a half” [Dan. vii. 25; xii. 7. Rev. xi. 9, 3½ days. it. ver. 11 ; see ver. 13.] or, if we view the whole, as “a week of years ;” (i.e. seven years;) then, three years and a half, or, in other words, “Forty two months,” or “Twelve hundred and sixty days “or any other number of days amounting nearly to the same sum. But, if we consider the whole as constituting a Day [In Ezekiel xxxix. 8, 9, a period of “seven years “is made to designate the day of God; and ib. ver. 12, it is styled “seven months. “Comp. ver. 13. Rev. xi. 2 ; xiii. 5, “forty-two months. “Rev. xii. 6, 1260 days, Dan. xii. 11, 1290 days. St. Peter (2 Ep. iii.) referring to this period says, “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years. “Comp. ver. 10 with the parallels; also Rev. xx. 2, when Satan is bound ; also ib. ver. 7, he is let loose ; ib. ver. 10, he is cast into hell for ever.] , then these portions may be designated by the terms “the Evening and the Morning [In Daniel viii. 20, the vision is termed that of the Evening and the Morning, which is a repetition of the two preceding ones, and therefore has respect to the same events. This day of the Lord is mentioned in Zech. xiv. 7, when at Evening time it shall be light; i.e. the evening commences the day in the East; this period therefore, may denote that of the Apostolic preaching; and, accordingly, the next verse tells us, that living waters shall in that day go out from Jerusalem. Comp. Ezek. xlvii. This period is here also termed “Summer and Winter “(Zech. xiv. 8.), evidently identical with the preceding. That by the day of the Lord is often meant this period, in many places of Scripture, it is too obvious to admit of a doubt; it is sometimes styled that day, great and dreadful day, and the like. Comp. Isaiah ii. 12; which ib. ver. 2, is “the last days ;” ver. 17, “that day, “it. ver. 20. In which context the fall of heathenism, and the kingdom of Christ are plainly foretold. See also Joel ii. 28—31,32, with the parallel places: also 2 Pet. iii. 7—11. In the Rev. ix. 15, an hour, a day, a month, and a year, seem all, and each, to be used in the same way. Rev. xviii. 8. “In one day.”] : if by a year, then ” Summer and Winter “will mark its portions: or, if we take a thousand years to designate any one of these portions; then, that which falls within the Apostolic times will be the first of these; the other, that in which both the Temple and City shall be destroyed, and extending itself through the whole of the times of the persecutions; and the same may be said, if the period of an hour [Rev. xiv. 7, “The hour of his judgment ;” ib. xviii. 10, “In one hour ;” ib. vv. 17, 19 ; ib. xvii. 12, “Receive power as kings one hour with the beast.” It must be evident, I say, to any one reading these passages with attention, that the same remarkable time, or period, must be meant. It should be remembered, it is not our business to determine what usages the sacred writers should have adopted : all we have to do is, to endeavour to ascertain what they meant by those which they did.] be taken to represent either of these : which, in the aggregate, will point out the whole period of this last of the seventy weeks given above. It is not pretended, that these portions are to be considered mathematically or chronologically equal to one another : all that is meant is, that they should be considered generally as periods of time, to be determined as before by the events mentioned, and enounced evidently for that purpose.
Having seen then, how “the more sure word of Prophecy “has fixed and determined—” as a light to our feet, and a lantern to our path”—the period of the cutting off of the Messiah, as also that in which the times termed “the latter days,” “the End, “&c, should happen, which may in the figurative language of prophecy be called a week, the close of which should present us with everlasting rightousness brought in and established, Vision and Prophecy sealed [Which must here signify completed, fulfilled : sealing, in the sense of closing up, being elsewhere determined to continue up to this period, (chap. xii. 9.) ] , and the Most Holy anointed [That is, the Christian Church, as shewn above.] : that in a certain portion of this, sacrifice should terminate in the fall of the Temple and City; and that, from this period of “the Abomination of desolation” “even to the “(extreme) “end,” desolation and indignation should be poured out, and which should eventually fall upon and destroy the Desolator himself:—seeing also, how all this is indissolubly connected with the latter times, and fall of the Roman Empire, whether we view it in the declarations of the Prophet, or of our Lord; we cannot doubt that we have discovered a sure clue to the truth, as it respects this interesting and most important question : and, if we find that the immediate followers of our Lord, spoke and wrote under the same views and feelings; we shall have it in our power to conclude, that the opinions held by our Author, and reasoned under in the following work, are worthy of all acceptation.
We have already seen, that the first portion of this prophetical week so divided, necessarily falls within the period of the Apostolical preaching: and also, from the words of our Lord, that the (extreme) End should not come until the Gospel had been “preached throughout the whole world, for a testimony to all nations. “Now the commission with its grounds, given by our Lord to His Disciples, is, ” All power is given unto me in heaven and in earthy Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,’ “(Matt, xxviii. 18, 10.) In Mark (xvi. 15) it is given in these words: ” Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Then follows a recital of the powers they should possess, of the signs that should accompany them, and of the saving results to those who should believe. In the Acts of the Apostles (chap. i. 8), our Lord says to His Disciples, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you : and ye shall Be a WITNESSES unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea; and in Samaria, and unto THE UTTERMOST PART OF THE EARTH.” There can be no doubt perhaps, that the Disciples themselves were here meant; that they did receive this power from above; that the signs and wonders here mentioned, did attend their preaching; that they did so preach in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and Samaria, and in foreign nations ; and that they actually did become witnesses unto Christ, even unto the uttermost part of the earth.
But, if the whole of this was not effected by them, it may be asked ; For what purpose were they so gifted ? and How can they be justified, in not having endeavoured to fulfil the whole of their Lord’s commands, especially when such signs and wonders were granted, and they had also received the positive promise, that Christ himself would ever be with them ? The fact however appears to be, that they did so preach the Gospel every where: and also, that they succeeded to the full extent of the commission given ; St. Paul himself declaring to the Colossians (chap. i. 6. 2.3.) that the Gospel had come to them, as it then was in all the world, and which had (then) been preached to every creature under heaven ; and to the Romans (chap. x. 18), that “yes verily, their” (the Preachers’) “sound went into all the earth, and, their words unto the ends of the world.” To the same effect the testimony of our Author,—frequently given in the following work,—-together with that of all the primitive Fathers of the Church who have touched on this subject, may be adduced corroborative of this fact [On this subject the “Lux Salutaris Evangelii “(Hamburgi, 1731) of Fabricius will be consulted with the greatest advantage and interest whence it will appear, that, according to the early Fathers, the Gospel was preached to the extent which both the commission of our Lord, and the predictions of the Prophets, required; and that this extended to every known part of the world.] To what precise extent this was then done, it would, in the absence of the particular history of every region of the earth, be idle to inquire: it is enough for us to know, that both the word of inspired prophecy, and of the divine commission on the one hand, has been fully responded to by the inspired word of the Apostle on the other: and surely we need not doubt, that what the former meant, either in prediction or command, respectively ; the latter also meant, as to the fulfilment of these: and which perhaps amounted to no more than this, viz. that the knowledge of the Lord should be carried abroad, under divine and miraculous means, as far as these should be necessary ; and,—as in all other similar cases,—no farther : the same command and promise still lying on the Church, to use every effort both for its further propagation and perpetual maintenance. And, it may here be remarked, that after the times in which this great and good work was effected, miraculous powers were gradually withdrawn as unnecessary.
We may conceive then of the Apostles, as entered upon their work within the first portion of the prophetical Week cited above; and of the many spoken of by Daniel, running to and fro, that (divine) knowledge might be multiplied. Let us now see how they speak of these times, and whether they do, in a manner suitable to the predictions of Daniel already noticed.
The first instance that we shall fix upon, occurs early in the Apostolic preaching, viz. in the Acts (chap. ii. 16, 17.), immediately after the gift of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost: that is, after the new Church had received its consecration in the unction of the Holy Ghost. “This is that “says St. Peter, “which was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon ALL FLESH… (ver. 19.) and I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath,” &c. We can have no doubt here, that the Apostle determines these last days generally, to be those in which he was then speaking : that he alludes to the signs and wonders, spoken of more than once by our Lord; and that the same Spirit was to be poured out upon all flesh ; and this also, in those self-same last days.
Again, the same Apostle (l Pet. 1. 20) says, “But (Christ) was manifest in these last times, for you :” which must mean, in Peter’s own times : and again, (ib. iv. 7,) ” The end of all things is at hand. “So also St. John (l John ii. 18), “Little children it is the last time: and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many Antichrists ; whereby we know that it IS THE LAST TIME.”
St. Paul again, (Heb. i. 2.) (God) “hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son. “(Ib. ix. 26.) “Now once in the end of the would hath he appeared; “&c. Again, (l Cor. x. 11.)—”They are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. “And to this period must be referred (2 Pet. iii. 3), “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers…saying, Where is the promise of his coming, &c. which is all grounded on the words of the Prophets, and the commandments of the Apostles. Equivalent to these are the following passages, all of which attach themselves to these times. ” When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, (Gal. iv. 4.)…”In the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ. (Eph. i. 10.) ” The times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord….Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken of by…all his holy Prophets since the world began. “(Acts iii. 19. 21.) And again, (ib. ver. 24,) ” Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many ais have spoken, have likewise foretold or these days.”
To which a very large number of parallel places might be added.
It should be borne in mind, that throughout the times of the preaching of the Apostles, there was generally neither opposition, nor persecution, presented to them by the Heathen. Wherever any thing of this kind happened, it originated with the Jews ; whose inveteracy ended only with their loss of all power to give it effect. The Heathen, on the contrary, now enjoying a general peace; and governed by Emperors, many of whom felt no concern in opposing Christianity, afforded one of the best means—as our Author has well remarked [Our work below, pp. 155—6, seq. Lactantius tells us moreover, that even after the general persecution had begun under Domitian, the Church greatly extended itself under several mild emperors who followed. “Rescissis igitur actis Tyranni (i.e. Domitiani), non modo in statum pristinum Ecclesia restituta est, sed etiam multo clarius ac fioridius enituit; secutisque temporibus, quibus multi ac boni principes Romani imperii clavum regimenque tenuerunt.. manus suas in orientem occidentemque porrexit, ut jam nullus esset terrarum angulus tam remotus quo non religio Dei penetrasset. “De Mort. Persecutorum, III],—for its extension and establishment. Our Lord himself had moreover, assured the Disciples, that all the power of the Enemy should be subject to them “[ Luke x. 17—25, ib. 10, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. “Comp. John xii. 31; xvi. 11. Rev. xii. 9, 10. After this, ver. 12, seq. he commences the persecutions; but the “Woman, i.e. the (Church, is preserved during these times in safety; i.e. for a time, times, and a half; i.e. 3½ days, or during the first portion of our prophetical week. Comp. Mark xvi. 17,18; and Matth. xii. 29. In Rev. xx. 2 : The Dragon, the old Serpent, the Devil, is bound for a thousand years; after the expiration of which, he is to be let loose for a season. From ver. 4 to 7, the Saints reign with Christ a thousand years, i.e. during the period in which Satan is bound. This period is therefore, that of the Apostolical Millennium, and it is termed a thousand years for the reasons assigned above. See also my Exposition [TD: Likely his 1830 work “Six sermons on the study of the Holy Scriptures”], p. 339, &c. At ver. 7, this period being expired, Satan is let loose to make war on the Saints. (ver 8, 9). After this his body is given to “the burning flame; “and then the new heaven and new earth descend from above. This period is therefore fixed.] , which Eusebius has also very properly noticed. And, if this period may be termed ” the day of the Lord, consisting of an “Evening and Morning “or, be said to be equivalent to “a Thousand years, “in the language of prophecy ; it will be no extravagant thing to affirm, that this must have been the period, during which Satan should ” be bound for a thousand years:” and therefore, the Evangelical millennium of the Apocalypse. According to Lactantius, the period of the Apostolic preaching extended through about five and twenty years ; after this, the work of evangelizing the Heathen must have been vigorously carried on by their successors.
It should also be observed here, that, as throughout the period of the Apostolic preaching a strong expectation was expressed, in strict conformity with our Lord’s enouncements, that another state of things should shortly [“From the prediction, that “this generation shall not pass, “&c, and “There be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power, “Mark ix. 1. Matth. xvi. 28. “..the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” See also Luke ix. 27.] exist, in which there should be a falling away among Believers, the Abomination of desolation should be set up, and the Man of sin should be revealed, whom the Lord should destroy with the spirit of His mouth [2 Thess. ii. 8 : presently to be noticed more particularly.] ; and that, as this was to be in progress at least, during that very generation ; we may now conclude, that this was the period generally, in which all the power of the Enemy was, as our Lord had promised, bound: and during which, the Disciples did become witnesses to Christ both in Jerusalem, and in all nations, actually preaching the Gospel to every creature, as far as it was necessary miraculous powers should be employed to do this ; and, that this was the period foretold by Daniel, in which many should run to and fro, and knowledge be multiplied ; which synchronizes accurately with the first portion of Daniel’s seventieth week, already adverted to.
Let us now approach more particularly, the events predicted for the latter period of this prophetical Week,— those of the first having been touched upon—as referred to by the writers of the New Testament : and, if we find these all falling in with this last particular period ; our conclusion will be as well grounded, as it can be desired it should be, that these were the days in which all things spoken by the Prophets respecting Christ should be fulfilled.
The most remarkable passage to this effect occurs in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, (chap. ii. ver. 2—11). It is evident from the context here, that a report had got abroad among the Thessalonians that the day of Christ, foretold in His memorable discourse with the Disciples (Matt. xxiv. 32—40, &c.) was very soon to arrive. The Apostle does not deny that this shall be the case, but warns them,—according to the tenor of that discourse,— that the signs to be taken, as intimations of the Lord’s coming, had not yet appeared. “Let no man deceive you “says He, “by any means: for (that day shall not come,) except there come a falling away”’ (read, the falling away, i.e. as predicted) “first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God”…”And now ye know what withholdeth, that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work : only he who now letteth (will let), “until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit oF HIS MOUTH, and shall destroy WITH THE BRIGHTNESS OF HIS COMING : even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,” &c.
From certain parts of this it is evident, that the Apostle had in view the discourse of our Lord, in which this falling away is foretold, as is also His coming; the things then foretold being in answer to the question, What shall be the sign of thy coming? The signs and wonders moreover, here adverted to by the Apostle, are there said to be such as should, “if possible deceive even the very elect :” to which is added, “As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be :” and then again,…” After the tribulation of those days…then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven ; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory ” [The coming in the clouds is, in the Old Testament, generally accompanied with great terrors and tribulations: comp. Isaiah v. 30; viii. 22, seq. ; ix. 1, 18, seq. evidently relating to these times. Also Ps. xviii. xxix. and civ. Such was the revelation of Christ on Sinai, Deut. iv. 11. seq. Joel ii. 2, seq.; ib. ver. 30, seq.] And again, in the same context, ” Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass till all these things be “(i. e. in progress). It has already been observed that, in this Discourse, the Prophecy of Daniel is particularly recommended for investigation : and it is evident, from this last place, that the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven, as mentioned by Daniel, is had in view.
We have seen generally, that the fall of the Fourth empire of Daniel, that is the Roman, was to precede the erection of the Fifth kingdom, which was to be that of the Saints : and that all the Visions of Daniel conspired in pointing this out, and thence in marking the period in which this should certainly come to pass. Let us now turn again to Daniel, and see, whether the more particular enouncements of that Prophet, conspire in declaring the same thing.
In the first of these Visions (chap. ii. 28. 35. seq.) we learn that “in the latter days”…the image of iron, clay, brass, silver, and gold, should be struck on the feet and broken to pieces, by a stone cut out of the mountain without hands; and that this stone should grow into a great mountain, and fill the whole earth. Which is thus explained, in verse 42. seq. “As the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.” And it is added, ver. 44. “In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed…it shall break in pieces, and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” It should seem here, that as the feet were to be taken as representing this last kingdom generally, so were the toes perhaps to designate the Ten kings, mentioned in one of the other visions. These ten kings must therefore fall, before this last kingdom could be set up: and these can possibly represent no other Powers, except those of the latter period of the Roman Empire.
In the seventh chapter, we have the particulars of the latter part of the Fourth kingdom specified, with still greater precision ; and here again, the termination of these is followed by the establishment of the same everlasting, and universal dominion, as already noticed. Let us endeavour to see what these particulars mean. In ver. 7, we are told that the Fourth Beast, or Dynasty, had “Ten horns:” it is added (ver. 8), “I considered the horns, and behold there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots; and., behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things (ver. 11),…”I beheld then, because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and and HIS BODY DESTROYED, and GIVEN TO THE BURNING FLAME.”
It should be observed, that it is not merely this horn which is destroyed, but the beast and his whole body is given to the burning flame. By the beast and his body therefore, must be meant, the Dynasty, not merely some constituent part of it. And we are told accordingly (ver. 23), that “the Fourth beast is the fourth kingdom, or Dynasty : and (ver. 24), that the “ten horns out of this kingdom, are ten kings that shall arise, and (that) another shall arise after them ; and he shall be diverse from the first, and shall subdue three kings. And (ver. 25), he shall speak (great) words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws; and they (the saints) shall be given into his hand UNTIL A TIME, AND TIMES, AND THE DIVIDING OF TIME.
“But “it is added, “the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” Then, as before, the kingdom under the whole heavens is given to the Saints, and, it is added, “Hitherto is the end of the matter.” Enouncements equivalent to these, are also given in the eighth chapter (ver. 23, seq). “In the latter times of their kingdom, when transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and holy people, and through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall he destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes ; but he shall be broken without hand.” It is added, “The Vision of the evening AND MORNING is true.”
It must be obvious I think, that the same particulars are had in view in each of these Visions: that in the first, “the latter days “(chap. ii. 28,) must synchronize with “the end, “(chap. vii. 26,) which (ib. ver. 25) closes with that styled, “a time, times and the dividing of time:” and thus again, (chap. viii. 19,) with that termed, ” the time appointed, the end : and (ib. ver. 26,) that of the evening and morning; and particularly with the portion designated by the latter term used here. [These terms lmist therefore, necessarily designate the same period: and here, that last portion of Daniel’s seventieth week.] The Horn’s making war with the Saints and prevailing against them, (chap. vii. 21), followed as it is with destruction from the Almighty, even to the time of the end, seems to me to identify itself, beyond all doubt, with the king’s here destroying the mighty and the holy people, and prospering until he is broken without (human) hand (or power) : His speaking great words, too (chap. vii. 25), seems to identify itself with, “He shall magnify himself in his heart, “here: all which is terminated by styling the Vision that of the Evening and Morning.
In chapter xi. these particulars are again taken up, and dwelt upon still more minutely. After learning from verse 30, that ships shall come from Chittim,—which must here mean from the West,—we are informed that this power shall pollute the sanctuary, take away the daily sacrifice, and place the abomination that maketh desolate [Shewing plainly enough that this does not refer to Antiochus Epiphanes, who did not make, or cause, a desolation of the Sanctuary; besides, our Lord’s directing us to its fulfilment, after his times, ought to satisfy all doubt on this point.] , as noticed above. Then, after being told (ib. ver. 35), that “some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end,” —in strict accordance with the prediction, that war should be made against the Saints ; that this power should wear them out, and prosper, even during the period of a time, times, and the dividing of time,—a particular description is given of this Power, thus (ver. 36) : The king shall do according to his will; and shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished : for that that is determined shall be done “(completed). Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women [This, occurring as it does in context speaking of Deities, was probably intended to designate the Messiah, who was the desire of women, as it should seem, among the ancient Hebrews.], nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his estate shall he honour the god of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory : and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain, “&c. And we are again told (chap. xii. 6, 7.), that these wonders shall continue, for a time, times, and a half ;” and that, “when He shall have accomplished to scatter (abroad,) the power of the Holy People, ALL THESE THINGS SHALL BE FINISHED.” That all the particulars of each of these Visions must synchronize, it must be too obvious to admit of a moments doubt : as it also must, that the establishment of the Christian Church on earth, immediately upon the fall of the Roman Heathen Dynasty, presents us with the period, at which they all were to be completed.
Let us now endeavour to identify, as far as the nature of the case will allow us, the persons here designated under the figure of Horns: a term usually applied in the Scriptures to imply strength. The Beast itself is, as already shewn, put to represent the Heathen Dynasty of Rome; the Horns certain powers, arising within it. These horns we are told are ten, after which another, unlike the preceding ones, shall arise and make war on the Saints : and here that Dynasty is to terminate. By these ten Horns appears to be intended, a succession of persecuting Emperors amounting to this number; after which another Persecutor, small, as compared with the foregoing ones, should arise; who, as far as his power should extend, should combine within himself all that was vicious in the preceding ten. It is also said, that before this Persecutor three others should fall, or be subdued : which has probably been said, for the purpose of enabling us to ascertain who the actors were to be in this tragedy, and how, and when, this matter was to terminate.
If then, we suppose that the Emperors, who were persecutors, were here had in view :—and it would be absurd to suppose that those, who were not persecutors, would be so recounted;—and, if we suppose that the 1st, was Domitian [Nero was in fact the first persecutor, for both Peter and Paul suffered at Rome, according to Lactantius, under him; but, as his persecution was apparently confined to Rome, he can hardly be reckoned among the general persecutors of the Church. Besides, St. Paul himself seems to have considered his taking away necessary to the appearance of the Antichrist, (2 Thess. ii. 7, seq.) which, we shall presently shew belongs exclusively to this period. Allowing this, therefore, Domitian will be the first persecutor. The persecuting Emperors are however, variously numbered by the different historians, as may be seen in the Lux Salutaris of Fabricius, already referred to. On the particular application of these prophecies there may therefore, be difference of opinion; but this cannot affect the main question,—viz. that these Persecutors are the Kings, or Horns, mentioned by Daniel; the circumstances of the case make it impossible to substitute any other power or powers for them: their time of rule, and of fall, is too exactly fixed by facts, to admit of any others taking their office. All I pretend to do here is, to give the best explanation that has occurred to me, of the particulars connected with these Horns ; and I have given the order and names of the Persecutors generally, after Lactantius.]; the 2nd, Decius; the 3rd, Valerian; the 4th, Aurelian; the 5th, Diocletian; and, in his persecuting colleagues, the 6th, Maximian (Herculius) ; the 7th Galerius; the 8th, Severus; the 9th, Maximinus ; the 10th, Maxentius; and the 11th, and last, Licinius; we shall have both the number, and the characters of the Horns or Persecutors, as given in these several visions.
We have (Dan. vii. 25.) a particular, which will afford us some assistance in this question. It is said that the Saints shall be given into this king’s hands, during the period termed “a time, times, and the dividing of time;” that is, during the whole period elsewhere assigned to the war to be carried on against the Saints. Again, (chap. viii. 25,) this persecutor is said to be a king of fierce countenance ; and again (chap. xi. 36), The king, it is said, shall do according to his will: and (in chap xii. 7) this is to continue as before, for “a time, times, and a half.” Which seems to speak of the whole work of persecution, as if placed in the hands of one Persecutor: or, in other words, to speak of these in the aggregate under the person of one only.
If then we may consider these Persecutors, as all comprehended under one general description of character, or, it may be, under a description, summing up the whole of what they all were—otherwise we shall have no description whatever of them [This usage is common enough in the Hebrew Bible, by which something affirmed of the Whole, is applied also distributively to each of the individuals composing it: c. g. “As for man, his days are as grass, “which is equivalent to, As for men, the days of each and every of them is but as grass. A very remarkable instance of this sort is Job xl. 15, “Behold now the beasts., each eating grass like the ox, “which has been made to say, “Behold now Behemoth “&e., thus creating by one slight grammatical error, an enormous nondescript animal! See my Translation and Commentary. The book of the Revelation too, speaking of these, as we shall presently shew, says (chap. xvii. 13), “These hare ONE: mind, and shall give their power and strength to the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, “&c. Gr. οϋτοι μίαν γνωμηυ έχονσι k. t. λ. and Lactantius, speaking of Diocletian and Maximianus, says: “Nee enim possent in amicitia tam fideli cohaerere nisi esset in utroque mens una, eadem cogitatio, par coluntas, aequa sententia. “(Mort. Persecut. viii.) Which surely may be said of them all.] ; we may now inquire, how far that given by the Prophet will correspond with that, which is given of the persecuting Roman Emperors above mentioned, and whether this will agree with that, of St. Paul’s “Man of sin “already adverted to. The first character is, that this Dynasty, or Beast, should be diverse (Dan. vii. 7, &c.) from all that had preceded it. This consisted, among other things, in the fact, that it persecuted a very large portion of its own subjects, purely on account of their religious belief.
It had in the next place a little Horn, which grew up among, and (ver. 24) after, the ten others : and this, according to our arrangement above, was Licinius. He was the last in order, and before him,—affected in one way or other by his politics,—three of the other Persecutors fell (ver. 8. 20. 24). He was too, to be diverse from the first persecutors (ver. 24). According to Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. Lib. ix. cap. viii.) he made new laws of a most oppressive character ; abrogated the ancient ones relating to marriage, death, &c. ; gave the wives of incarcerated nobles, as well as virgins, to be abused by his menials; invented new modes of slaughter, torture, &c. According to Aurelius Victor, he was an enemy to letters, and particularly to all learnings of a forensic nature ; and was immoderately avaricious. He was diverse also, as being a little Horn or power, unable to carry the persecution beyond the limits of his own particular rule, because he was associated with Constantine in the empire.
Taking then these characters in the aggregate, i.e. the whole, described as existing in one person (Dan. vii. 25, &c.) “he shall speak great words against the most High, “&c. as cited above, (p. cxxiv.) also chap viii. 23: ix. 32. Let us now see, how far the description given of these heathen Roman persecutors, will agree with all this.
Our first Horn, King, or Persecutor, Domitian, is thus described by the historians. Suetonius (Lib. xii.) says of him : ” Bona vivorum et mortuorum usquequaque, quolibet et accusatore et crimine corripiebantur: satis erat objici qualecumque factum dictumque adversum majestatem principis. Confiscebantur alienissimae hereditates : vel existente uno qui diceret, audisse se ex defuncto, cum viveret, heredem sibi Caesarem esse.” And again, “Pari arrogantia cum procuratorum suorum nomine formalem dictaret epistolam, sic coepit: Dominus et Deus noster sic fieri jubet”.. “Statuas sibi in Capitolio nonnisi aureas et argenteas poni permisit, ac ponderis certi…Per haee terribilis cunctis et invisus, tandem oppressus est.” So also Sextus Aurelius Victor (cap. xi), after speaking of his vices says : “Major libidinum flagitio, ac plus quam superbe utens Patribus : quippe qui se Dominion Deumque dici coëgerit :” and again in his Epitome (cap. xi.) to the same effect. Similar accounts, to some extent, are given of him both by Lactantius and Eusebius, who make him the author of the Second Persecution. It is obvious therefore, that he uttered blasphemies against the most High: magnified himself against every thing called God: honoured a god with gold and silver, &c. whom his Fathers knew not, and this in a strong hold, the Capitol: that he destroyed the Holy People [Let it be remembered, the Jews could not now be called cither “the mighty, “or “the holy people. “Their power was gone, as was their holiness; and God’s people were now called by a new name. Isaiah lxii. 2], and seized upon the land, if he did not actually divide it, for gain.
Our second Persecutor is Decius. Lactantius says of him (Mort. Persecut. iv) ; “Extitit enim post annos plurimos execrabile animal Decius, qui vexaret Ecclesiam :” he then tells us of his miserable end. We may remark, that as this writer terms the persecutor here, “execrabile animal “and some of the others, “Bestial “generally, it is not improbable he had the predictions of Daniel, and the passages corresponding to these in the Revelation, in his mind.
Valerian is our third Persecutor : of him Dionysius (in Euseb. Hist. Eccl. Lib. vii. cap. x.) tells us, that it had been revealed to John (Rev. xiii. 5.) that there was given to him a mouth speaking great and impious things; and, that power was given to him forty and two months: which Baronius explains, as marking out accurately the three years and a half of his reign (Notes of Valesius, ib.). Whatever Dionysius might have meant by this,—and his referring it at all to this place of the Revelation, is worthy of remark, —it is obvious enough, that the whole period of the persecutions is, as we have already shewn, marked out by this period. His persecuting the Church is then generally mentioned, with his unhappy end. Lactantius says of him generally: “Non multo post Valerianus quoquenon dissimili furore correptus, impias manus in Deum intentavit, et multum, quamvis brevi tempore, justi sanguinis fudit.” He then mentions his miserable end.
Of Aurelian, our fourth persecutor, Lactantius says, “Qui esset natura vaesanus et praeceps, quamvis captivitatis Valeriani meminisset, tamen oblitus sceleris ejus et poenae, iram Dei crudelibus factis lacessivit.” To this he adds a short account of his early death. To the same effect, Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. Lib. vii. cap. xxx). He is spoken of by Flavius Vopiscus Syracusius, as Divine (Divus,), whence it should seem, he claimed the title of Deity; and as being a severe, cruel, and bloody Prince : “Aurelianus, quod negari non potest, severus, trunculentus, sanguinarius fuit Princeps” (ib. cap. xxxv.).
We now come to Diocletian, our fifth persecutor. He is described by Lactantius as the inventor of vices, and of every sort of evil, and as an enemy to God. He divided the empire into four parts; and so multiplied the rapes of virgins, exactions, and confiscations of every kind, for the purpose of satisfying his own lust and avarice, that the greatest distress, with an incredible scarcity, ensued: much blood was shed for the smallest offences; and in all these his vices, Maximianus (i.e. Heraclius) his colleague, cordially partook. According to Sextus Aurelius Victor (De Caesar, cap. xxxix.), he allowed himself,—the first after Caligula and Domitian,—to be openly addressed as Lord, and to be addressed and worshipped as God : “Namque se primus omnium Caligulam post, Domitianumque, Dominum palam dici passus, et adorari se, appellarique uti Deum”. [Eutropius says of him: “Diocletianus moratus callide fuit, sagax praeterea, et admodum subtilis ingenio, et qui severitatem suam aliena invidia vellet explere, diligentissimus tamen et solertissimus Princeps; et qui in Imperio Romano primus regiae consuetudinis formam, magis quam Romanae libertatis, invexit; adorarique se jussit, cum ante eum cuncti salutarentur ; ornamenta geramarum vestibus indidit.” See also Suidas sub voce Διοκλητιανος.]
Constantius and Galerius (Maximianus) were chosen for his other colleagues, each of whom received the title of Caesar. But, as Constantius used the utmost clemency in his portion of the empire, which was Britain, Gaul, and Spain (having from the first given up Africa and Italy), he has not been ranked among the persecutors. In Galerius however, to whom the origin of this last persecution is generally ascribed, every thing seems to have concurred, calculated to form the complete Persecutor and Tyrant. Lactantius tells us that he commenced his most insolent career, wishing to have it thought that he was the progeny of Mars, and another Romulus (so far honouring the God of forces), as descended from the Gods. He soon got rid of his father-in-law Diocletian, as he also did of Maximianus, the two Augusti. After this he nominated two creatures of his own, Severus and Maximinus; who, as it might be expected, concurred in following out his sanguinary measures to the utmost. In the mean time Maxentius [Who, according to Eusebius and others, was greatly addicted to magic. Hist. Eccl. Lib. ix. cap. ix.], the son of Maximianus, encouraged by his misrule, assumed the Purple at Rome; which tempted his Father also to reassume his : who indeed had never cordially resigned it. Severus was sent to put down Maxentius, but fell in the attempt. Maximianus, after some attempts to destroy Constantine, also fell : upon which Galerius and Constantine named Licinius Caesar. From the confusion now happening, there was at one time not fewer than six Caesars, viz. Maximianus, Galerius, Constantinus, Maximinus, Maxentius, and Licinius. Maximianus and Maxentius however soon fell by the hands of Constantine [The latter, as Eusebius tells, not unlike the fall of Pharaoh, for he perished in the Tiber. Ib.]; the latter partly, as it should seem, by the aid of Licinius who had received the sister of Constantine in marriage, and who hence acted in concert with him.
Maximinus had, in the mean time, secretly formed an alliance with Maxentius; and, as Licinius was now in the interest of Constantine, Maximinus and he regarded each other as rivals. It appears extremely probable, that this alone prevented Maximinus from acting against Constantine in his expedition against Maxentius. It is also said, that Licinius undertook an expedition against Galerius [So Pomponius Laetus Hist, compend. Lib. ii. “Sunt qui scribunt Licinium in nuptiis, ut Constantino gratificarentur, milites appellasse Imperatorem : et ab Constantino missum contra Galerium. Sed verisimilius est Imperatorem factum ab Galerio, ut simul et hostilitatis litterarum et ingratitudinis accusari posset.”], in the service of Constantine; that Galerius sorely repented his having made Licinius Ccesar [And, it is worthy of remark, Pomponius tells us that it was upon this very occasion, that Galerius repented of having made Licinius Caesar: his words are, “In itinere quum acciperet de futura militum defectione, qui ita convenerant, si cum Maxentio conflixisset Illyriam rediit: et jam poenitebat legisse Licinium.” And Eusebius speaks of Constantine and Licinius, as engaged against Maxentius and Maxhninus. Hist. Eecl. Lib. ix. cap. ix.]; and also, that Licinius did eventually put to death all the children of Galerius [“Nam Galerii liberos affines jure sodalitatis et consortii, interfecit” (Licinius). Pomp. Laet. ib.]. So far I think it appears, that Licinius did contribute towards the fall of Galerius ; which however was finally effected by a most loathsome disease, inflicted on him by the Almighty.
Not long after this, Maximinus [According to Eusebius, the immediate cause of his death was a disease inflicted by the Almighty. Hist. Eccl. Lib. ix. cap. x. ] was vanquished by Licinius in a severe battle, fought between Heraclea and Adrianople. Three of these persecutors therefore, actually fell before Licinius, either mediately, or immediately; and so far, the word of prophecy was complied with.
A short time after this, Licinius, who had now succeeded to the sovereignty of Maximinus, succeeded also to the work of persecution which had been carried on by him [Euseb. Hist. Eccl. Lib. x. cap. viii. Who tells this, that new methods of slaughter, exactions, admeasurements of the lands, and rapes of women, were also set on foot by him, for the purpose of satisfying his lust and avarice.] ; and on this, and some other accounts, war was made upon him by Constantine. After three severe battles, the last of which established the sole power of Constantine, and was fought both by sea and land, just as the prophet had foretold it should be [This is probably had in view (Dan. xi. 40, seq.), where it is said: “And at the time of the End shall the king of the south push at him, and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships. “Licinius was, when he was Augustus with Constantine, sovereign of the south, Egypt, Libya, &c. Upon his seeking occasion for war against Constantine, which it appears was the case, and upon this war’s breaking out, he might, perhaps, have been considered as divested of this rule in the mind of the prophet; and the fact is, as Eusebius affirms (Hist. Eccl. Lib. x. cap. ix.), Constantine was, upon the fall of Licinius, recognised emperor of the south. In that case Constantine would be considered sovereign of the south ; and, as he had lately obtained signal victories over the Sarmatians, the Goths, and other people of the north, he would be sovereign of the north also. It is the fact that he came upon Licinius out of the north, and that his fleet, commanded by his son Crispus, also gave him battle in the straits of Gallipoli; in both of which encounters Licinius was vanquished. The remaining context (Dan. xi. 40), from this place to the end, is probably a recital of the proceedings of Licinius immediately before his fall; and the mention of Egypt, with Libya and Ethiopia, being at his steps with their riches, seems, I think, to confirm this: for, however unjustly he might have retained this sovereignty, after breaking faith with Constantine who ceded it to him, he did, de facto, exercise that authority, and received tribute from those countries.], Licinius fell. With this ended the last most fearful and bloody persecution that the Church ever witnessed, and this had continued upwards of ten years. The Gospel had already been “preached to every creature under heaven; “and, during this period, it had been carried out, received, tried, and established, in places innumerable; so that Kings and Queens as Eusebius has declared [In his commentary on Isaiah xlix. 23. His words are: “όπερ και αντο κατ λέξιν πληρούμεου αντοις ϊόομευ όφθαλμοϊς.” “Quod ad literam impletum ipsis oculis cernimus.” And the sentiment is often repeated in our following work.], now became its nursing fathers and nursing mothers; and now were therefore fulfilled the terms of prophecy.
During the whole of this latter period, in which the politics of Galerius were in full play—except only as checked by Constantine—the characters sustained by the persecuting Emperors, were necessarily of a piece with his own; and the consequence was, exactions, taxations, and proscriptions, the most grievous were carried on. The lands were actually measured out for gain ; every species of produce was rioted down, and the people arbitrarily assessed by public Censors, in the most exorbitant and cruel manner. Beggary was now the only refuge from extortion: and, in this case, multitudes were inhumanly murdered.
It was too, under the rule of Galerius and his crea tures, that the heathen Priests were, for the first time, every where put into the highest offices of the state, for the purpose of driving more effectually the measures of the Tyrants. Throughout the East, which fell to the lot of Maximinus, and afterwards to Licinius, the Priests were erected into Judges in every district; who, the better to effect their sanguinary purposes, kept altars burning in the courts of justice, by which to try the accused Christians whether they would sacrifice, or not, to the Images of these their persecutors, and thereby recognize at once the power of the Beast, and of the false Prophet! And thus did these men, even from the very commencement of this fearful season of trial, put themselves forward as Gods, claiming to be worshipped either in their own persons, or in their images, in direct opposition to Him, whose sole right this was; and they visited with confiscation, imprisonment, bonds, and death, multitudes who refused to do so. During this time also, pestilences, famines, earthquakes, wars, and the like, happened to such an extent, that even Gibbon believed a moiety of human nature to have suffered [Decline and Fall, &c. chap. x.]; in other words, one of every two was taken, and another left, just as our Lord’s memorable prediction had declared it should be.
If then, the latter period of the Roman Empire, is the one assigned by Daniel for the occurrence of things such as these, under the abominable dynasty of the Beast, and the diabolical ministration of its Horns or Kings,— aided as it was by False Prophets; which must necessarily be the case; and, if our Lord has, by directing our attention more particularly to this Prophet, fixed upon the investiture of Jerusalem by the armies of this same Power, as one of the beginnings of the fearful things which were so soon to take place; it must appear as certain, I think, as words and facts can make it, that St. Paul’s man of sin who should soon be revealed, and should finally be consumed by the spirit of our Lord’s mouth ; who should magnify himself against every thing that was called God, shelving himself to he God [This passage (2 Thess. ii. 3, seq.) of St. Paul deserves particular consideration in this place.’ It has already been cited (p. cxxii). The first place I shall notice is this: “except there come a falling away first “which should be the falling away, &c : that is, some apostacy already known, and most probably that foretold by our Lord (Matt. xxiv. 10—13): ” Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, “&c. Again, “ The man of sin… the son of ‘perdition ” must also mean some person, of whom previous notice had been given. No such person is mentioned in our Lord’s prediction ; but, as he refers us to Daniel, it is likely we must there look for him. In Daniel then, as we have seen, such person is mentioned, who, it is there foretold, shall full, shall be given to the burning flame, and hence shall be consumed. We are also told,—and we are told this no where else,—that “he shall speak great things against the most High; shall magnify himself above every God, shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, “&c. St. Paul tells us, “that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God;” “exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped. “Which I think I may affirm is a mere citation of this place in Daniel; not indeed verbatim, but giving the true theological sense and bearing of it; to which a parallel can no where else be found. Besides, the terms “‘ does not necessarily mean, “that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God ; “but, may be rendered, that he himself sitteth for the Temple of God, as God ; i.e. he sits to be taken for the Temple of God, and as containing the Deity within him; so putting himself forward as God: it being well known, that the ancients held every extraordinary person,—as indeed the Orientals now do,—to be filled with the anima mundi in an extraordinary manner: and hence, the king of Babylon said of Daniel, “the spirit of the Holy Gods is in him. “The Hellenistic usage of είς will fully admit of this. See Schleusner sub voce, and my Visitation Sermon and Notes, p. 60, seq. St. Paul moreover, so qualifies this passage as to make it certain, that the person spoken of by him was soon to appear. That the apostacy, or falling away, was then also in progress there can be no doubt. St. Paul himself tells us (Gal. ii. 4), that certain “false brethren had crept in unawares, “&c. In 2 Pet. ii. 1, these are styled false teachers, who should bring in damnable heresies. See the whole chapter, and Jude 4, seq. 1 John ii. 18, 19. “ They went out from us,” &c. 1 Tim. iv. 1— 3. “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, “&c. Which the heretics of those times did, to the very letter; and which none since that day have done, except partially.],—must also have been this self-same Power, setting up as it did in these Rulers, this very claim ; and enforcing it, for the first time, by fire, sword, and every species of torment, upon the very people that St. Paul was then addressing. It must have been, I say, the combined and continued rule here had in view, which so exactly falls in both with, the times, and persons here mentioned.
Let us now examine a few other places of the New Testament, which, from the manner of their wording, seem to relate to the same particulars. In the Revelation [I do not think any apology necessary to justify a comparison of the Revelation with other parts of the New Testament, and with certain parts of the Old; because I see no reason why it should be supposed, that this book contains in itself anything independent of the rest of the Scriptures. On its authority, see Sir Isaac Newton, Part ii.] (chap, xiii. I seq.) we have a Beast rising out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns. “And (ib. ver. 5) there was given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; … “and he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.” It is added: “And it was given him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. “Nothing is here said about his sitting in the Temple of God ; but only, of his blaspheming against God and his Tabernacle. Here also, as in Daniel (chap, vii.) the Beast comes up out of the sea. It has likewise ” Ten horns (vv. 7, 20) and a mouth speaking great things. “And (ver 21) one of these horns makes war on the saints: speaks great words against the most High, and wears out the saints: and this he does during a period termed “a time, times, and the dividing of time: “and then he is to fall. In the Revelation, this is to continue for “forty and two months. “In the one case, three times and a half is given ; and in the other, three years and a half: intended, apparently, to mark the same period. In Daniel (chap. xi. 36, seq.) the same power is described : which (xii. 7) is to continue for a time, times, and a half; and then, when the power of the holy people shall be scattered abroad, all these things are to be finished [This holy people cannot be the Jews, as mentioned above; be. cause both their power and their holiness had left them.] : and (ib. ver. 11) we are told, that from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate is set up, there shall (till the time of the end) a period of twelve hundred and ninety days elapse, exceeding inconsiderably that of three years and a half. Again, in Daniel (viii. 9, seq.) we have apparently the same Power described ; but the time given for its duration is, two thousand and three hundred days: a period greatly exceeding any of those hitherto mentioned. But, as this period falls but little short of seven years, it is not improbable, Daniel’s whole prophetical week may have been intended. Be this as it may however, it is certain, from the events mentioned, that it must have ended with those which closed that week. The same Persecuting Power is therefore, apparently, had in view in all these places.
Let us now return to Rev. xiii. 7. It is here said, that “power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. “It is evident Daniel’s fourth kingdom was to be thus universal (comp. chap. ii. 39, 40: vii. 23) : and, from the nature of the case, as already shewn, that must have pointed out the heathen Roman power [Let it not be supposed, as it sometimes is, that anything more is meant in the predictions of these four monarchies, than the fact of their fall as monarchies; and of the last, of its fall as an heathen monarchy, to be followed by the erection of one that should be religious and never-ending ; succeeding the last, nevertheless, in the possession even of earthly dominion: Kings then becoming the nursing Fathers, and Queens the nursing Mothers of the Church. It is quite foreign to the question therefore to suppose, with Sir Isaac Newton, that, as Persians and Greeks still exist, we may still extend these predictions to them; or, with others that, as Czars (Caesars) are still in being, we may therefore still look to such fragments of the Roman empire, as may suit us, for a further fulfilment of these prophecies. This is deliberately and blindly to break down, and to remove, the ancient landmarks which have been given for our guidance; and to take into our hands, things with which we have no right to meddle.]: and there seems to be as little room for doubt, this must mean the same.
Again. Rev. xvii. 3, the same Beast, having seven heads and ten horns, is presented to us : and we are told (ib. ver. 9) that “the seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth [In J. Vaillant’s book on coins (Par. 1694, p. 3O) we have an account of one of the coins of Vespasian thus given: “Roma Figura muliebris septem Romae collibus insidens, ad quartum radices lupa cum puerulis. “One would imagine, that the Evangelist had this very coin before him when he gave this description.’]: and (ver. 12) “the ten horns… are ten kings, who receive power as kings, one hour with the beasts ” These “it is added, ” have one mind”… ” these shall make war with the Lamb: and the Lamb shall overcome them.” We are then told, that the waters seen by the Evangelist, ” where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues “implying, as before, universal rule : which is confirmed by ver. 18, which says: “And the woman (drunken with the blood of the saints, ver. 6) which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. “The then reigning city was, as every one knows, remarkable for its seven hills: its ten [The eleventh, or little horn, is not taken into the account in the Revelation; the round number, with the other particulars there given, being quite sufficient to point out the dynasty of heathen Rome. It is truly pitiable to observe the impotent and vulgar ribaldry of Gibbon on this subject; who, although he allows that all the folly of millenarians was to be attributed to their ignorance of the books of Daniel and the Apocalypse, indulges nevertheless in sneering at Christianity on this account; and particularly, because the groundless notion had obtained currency, that the world was about to be destroyed by fire ! Decline and Fall, &c. chap. xv.] persecuting Caesars, did, as we have seen, make war upon the saints; did, for a certain period, prevail against them; and this was in the last portion of the last prophetical week of Daniel’s seventy; which might well be described by any period mystically called an hour, three days and a half, or the like.
In chapter xvi. 10, 11, the kingdom of the Beast is filled with darkness, because a vial of God’s wrath is poured out upon it: they now gnaw their tongues for pain, and blaspheme the God of heaven. Evil spirits (ver. 13, 14) then proceed out of the mouth of the dragon (that old serpent the devil), and out of the mouth of the Beast, and of the false Prophet, working miracles to deceive if possible the Elect, and to stir up all to battle against God himself. The judgment then sits (xvii. 1, as in Dan. vii. 22, 26) upon this great whore ; and (chap, xviii. 2) the sentence is proclaimed, ” Babylon the great [Rome was, for some reason or other, occasionally called Babylon in these times. Babylon was too, the Mother of harlots : it was in the plains of Shinaar that idolatry took its rise; it stands first in the order of the dynasties moreover, in Daniel’s first vision; it oppressed the captive Israelites—as Egypt did—and hence its Fall was predicted by several prophets; and here, for a similar reason, the terms of some of those predictions arc applied to heathen Rome.] is fallen “(ver. 8,) ” she shall be utterly burned with fire? shall he consumed with the spirit of his mouth; “for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her;’ “from before whom ” fiery stream issued and came forth,’ 1 ” (Dan. vii, 10, 11) : and the body of the Beast, is accordingly “given to the burning flame.”
Similar to this is chap. xiv. 6, seq. where we learn, that, after the everlasting Gospel has been carried forth into every nation, Babylon is declared to have fallen: according to our Lord’s prediction, the end had now come. This is repeated in terms a little different (chap. xx. 9, 10) where we are told, that the devil is turned into hell, with the Beast and the false Prophet, and that they are there to be tormented for ever. After this, the new heaven and new earth promised by the Prophet [Isaiah lxv. 17; lxvi. 22.], and then expected by the Church [2 Pet. ill. 13. Examine this chapter from ver. 7 to the end, with the parallel passages marked in the margin, and it will be found, that no dissolution of the natural world could have been meant. It had long been foretold, that the Jewish polity should be destroyed by fire; comp. Deut. xxxii. 21, with Horn. x. 19; and ib. Deut. ver. 22, seq. and ver. 43, which unites, as here, the nations with the Church of God.], comes down, as does the New Jerusalem, from God out of heaven ; and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it [Rev. xxi. 2—10, 21. “The tabernacle of God is with men” (3)…in which all things are made new (5). See also chap. iii. 12, where the coming” down of the New Jerusalem is also mentioned, and the new name to be written upon believers, i.e. Christian.]. The power of the holy people is therefore, now extended far and wide: and (Dan. xii. 7) all these things are finished. In like manner (Rev. x. 6, 7) an oath is sworn, “that there shall be time no longer “but that now, the mystery of God is finished, as He hath declared to his servants the prophets : when, again (Rev. xi. 15) “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; who shall reign for ever and ever. The same thing is said virtually (chap. xvii. 16, 17), where we are told, that God hath put it into the hearts of these Persecuting Powers to have one mind (comp. ver. 13), and to fulfil his will, so that they should (in effect) hate the whore, and eventually make her desolate [It is evident from the context here, as compared with chap. xiii. 1, and with the parallel places in Daniel, that the same persecuting powers are meant in all; and if so, they must form a part of the latter days of the heathen Roman empire : which indeed is sufficiently clear, even from the Book of Revelation itself. Their hating and desolating the whore therefore, must here he understood metonymically, i. e. as doing this in effect; an usage by no means rare in Holy Writ. See Isaiah iii. 8, 9, 14; ix. 20, seq.—This did not occur to me when I wrote my Exposition on this book. I then followed Dr. Hammond, erroneously placing these powers beyond the limit assigned to them by Daniel and St. John. ] …. until the words of God (as spoken by all his prophets) should be fulfilled. In the words of our Lord, the Gospel had now been preached in all nations, and the End was come : the days had now closed, in which all things foretold of Him should be fulfilled : the latter days were now passed, and the kingdom, having no such terms or period assigned to it, was for ever established.
It is not my intention to follow out this question further here, or to enter on a detailed account of the Book of the Revelation, having done this to some extent elsewhere [Six Sermons on the Study of the Holy Scriptures…to which are annexed Two Dissertations,” &c. London: 1830. James Duncan, Paternoster Row- ; where a large number of the prophecies are brought to bear on this subject, as are many opinions of the Fathers. Still this question requires a much more extended investigation, which I hope one day to give it.] . I would remark on this Book generally, that if the passages noticed above are so particularly limited and defined by the circumstances and events adverted to—which I think it is impossible not to see—then it must be certain, no ingenuity can fairly apply them, either to any other period, or to any other events whatsoever. And, if this be the case, then we have all the leading events determined and fixed ; which will supply a sufficient clue to the true and complete development of all the other particulars, there laid down by the Evangelist. To me the Revelation seems to contain three distinct visions [Primasius, quoted in my Exposition (p. 305), has these remarkable words on this subject: “Post ipsam utique visionem se alteram memorat videsse: non gestorum est diversum tempus, sed visionum: ae siquis imam rem diversis modis enarret.” And again (ib. p. 333), “Quiequid igitur in tubis minus dixit, hie in phialis est. Nee est aspiciendus ordo dictorum, quoniam saepe Spiritus Sanctus ubi ad novissimi temporis finem percurrerit, rursus ad eadem tempora redit, et supplet ea quae minus dixit.” Nothing is more common with the prophets, than to repeat the same predictions again and again. The things detailed in the two last visions of this book, are so clearly identical, that, it must be matter of the greatest wonder, this should have been so constantly overlooked.] : the first ending with chapter iii. : the second, with chapter xiii.: and the third, to which additions are made, with the end of the Book. The first Vision contains a warning, perhaps, to the whole Christian Church then in being : the second and third, are different visions relating to the same things; the latter, as in the visions of Daniel, being the more full and particular. The parallel passages cited in the margins of our common Bibles, if diligently compared with one another, and with those also given in the places referred to, and particularly as explained in various parts of the New Testament, will supply perhaps the best commentary that can be written on this Book. Add to this, its own repeated declarations, that what was then said was shortly to come to pass [Chap. i. 1, 3; iii. 11; xxii. 7,10, 12, 20.] ; and we shall be led to a conclusion as strong as words and facts can make it, that the purposes of God, as declared by the Prophets, and generally summed up in this Book, have been long ago fulfilled and finished.
If, on the other hand, we are to interpret this Book with those of the Prophets generally, by the resemblances supposed to exist between the declarations made, and certain events of history, which have, or have not yet, come to pass, independently of any other limiting and determining considerations,—as it has usually been the case;—then I will allow, these declarations may be made to speak of any, or every, extraordinary person or event, which has hitherto existed, or may hereafter exist, on earth : and the consequence must be,—as it certainly has long been the case,—that the more sure word of Prophecy, will, of all things here below, be made the most unsure: and, that he will act most wisely, who meddles with no such declarations, and particularly with those of the Apocalypse.
It could scarcely be supposed one would think, that a Divine Revelation would be given, which should not be understood ; or that means would not be afforded, for the attainment of its intentions. My own impression is, that this Book was intended to be understood, and that means fully adequate to this have been afforded : and further, that the determining and defining limits of all the events necessary to he known, have been so clearly marked out, and so immovably fixed, by the mention of events well known and ascertained, not only that he who runs may read them ; but, that he who reads them, cannot doubt, as to their intent and purpose. How it has come to pass, that they should have been so long overlooked, or disregarded, especially as the Fathers of the Church have so generally given views on this subject, which must have been grounded on these considerations, is to me a matter of the greatest astonishment. I will only add, If Daniel has, in all his visions, so limited the things respecting the last of his Four Dynasties, and the commencement of his Fifth ; and, if all the declarations cited from the other Prophets, and the Psalms, do, according to the interpretation put upon them by the Evangelists and the Apostles, fully conspire with the times and events so pointed out;—which I will affirm is the fact;—then I say, it will not only be fully, but impiety of the most daring sort, to attempt to fix other limits, and to point out other events, as the mere fancy of the individual may suggest: and then to call upon Believers, to act upon these as faithful indications of the Divine will. Some of the prognostications founded on these views, have already shewn themselves to be false; and, I will venture to predict, that time will shew all those, whose periods have not yet run out, to be equally groundless and deceptive. I might say much on the immensity of the evil hence resulting, in destroying a chain of evidence, given in this more sure word of prophecy,—and on which the primitive Church implicitly relied [A circumstance that has not failed to call forth the usual sneer of Gibbon: which must, of necessity, be put down to the score of his extreme ignorance on the subject. “It was” says he, “universally believed, that the end of the world, and the kingdom of heaven, where at hand. The near approach of this wonderful event had been predicted by the Apostles”…”the revolution of seventeen centuries has instructed us not to press too closely the mysterious language of prophecy and revelation.” Decline and Fall, &c. chap. xv. The first part of this is as untrue, as the last is insidious and vicious. It is to be regretted indeed, that so much folly has been grounded by Christians on the Scriptures here had in view; still, the ignorance so evinced was not greater than that of Gibbon himself; and it partook not in the vice of his.], and which it urged with so much effect and success,—as I might on the power supplied to the Infidel, the Scoffer, and the Lukewarm :—but I forbear. If I have said enough to rouse others to a more rational and extended inquiry on these subjects, I shall have gained my point, having no doubt that the truth will in the end prevail.
ON THE PERSONAL REIGN OF CHRIST ON EARTH.
This question has been shortly discussed by our Author in the following work, (pp. 278—281), and determined in the negative; which might have sufficed for us, had it not involved other considerations, which ought not to be overlooked here. For, if it be true,—as shewn above,—that all things foretold by the Prophets, received their fulfilment at a certain period of time; it will also be necessary to shew, that the promise of Christ’s coming, so frequently mentioned in the New Testament—and of which the notion of a personal reign is only an abuse,— did actually take place within that period ; and this we now propose briefly to do.
We have already seen that the Disciples inquired of our Lord, on a certain occasion, ” What shall be the sign of thy coming?’ (Matth. xxiv. 3). After warning them, as noticed by our Author, he answers, among other things, “As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (ib. ver. 27.) And again, (ver. 30), “Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power, and great glory : “ and (ib. ver. 37. comp. Mark xiii. 26, 33 : Luke, xxi. 27), “As the days of Noe were, so also shall the coming of the Son of man be. “Then follows an intimation of the destruction which is to ensue: ” Two shall be in the field ; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” It is added, ” Watch therefore : for ye know not what hour your Lord cometh.” It should be remembered, all this is said in opposition to the notion, that Christ shall then be found personally, either here or there, as Eusebius has well remarked. It should also be remembered, that this His coming was to be preceded and followed by unheard of tribulations, not only in Judea, but among all the tribes of the earth [ Matth. xxiv. 5—12; 29, seq.] : and that no precise time was fixed for its occurrence. It was, as in all the other cases adverted to above, to be known by the events pointed out. [Ib. ver. 33. “So likewise ye, when ye shall see these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” And, ib. ver. 36: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven. “If this be the fact, then the seventy weeks of Daniel had not defined the period chronologically, in which these things should take place ; it had only described the events—undetermined in the prediction—by which the period should be known; and this was enough.]
This event is again introduced in St. John (xxi. 20) in these words: “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? “And again, (Acts i. 11,) “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven,-“” which has tempted many to imagine, that the promised coming must also be personal. But, it is not necessary to suppose, that the “like manner “mentioned, must refer to the person of our Lord : one would rather think it would relate to the manner of His ascension into heaven ; and this was in a cloud, attended probably, as that of Elijah was, with a chariot of fire, and a whirlwind [2 Kings ii. 11.].
If then we may rely on this, we are brought at once to the several descriptions given of this coming, both in the Old and the New Testament. In Daniel for example, we have (chap. vii. 13, 14) : “One like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven :”…mid there was given Him dominion and glory :” which seems to identify itself with (Matth. xxiv. 30), “They shall see (ib. the sign of) the Son of man, coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory:” and also with (chap. xxvi. 64,) “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.’ “And this the High Priest seems to have understood, as an intended comment on this place of Daniel. Again, this place in Daniel is evidently referred to, in these words (Rev. i. 7.): “Behold he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see (perceive, recognize) Him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him ” (Comp. ib. xiv. 14.). Where, it should be observed, judgments and woes are had in view. And to this St. Paul appears to refer when he says (2 Thess. i. 7), “When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. ” And again, (ib. ii. 8.) speaking of the man of sin, he says, “Whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth: and with the brightness of his coming :” alluding to our Lord’s words, that this should be as lightning shining from the east to the west; and, as foretold by Zechariah (chap. ix. 14.) : “The Lord shall be seen over them, and his arrows shall go forth as the lightning : ” …”and shall go with the whirlwinds of the south. “Again, (in 2 Pet. iii. 5. seq.) this coming of our Lord is adverted to, and the times of the flood are taken by way of illustration, just as our Lord had before done [Matth. xxiv. 39. They “knew not until the food came, and tool( them all away ; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. “That is, its precise period is not foretold: the signs of its approach only are. St. Peter (ib. ver. 10) connects this place “with our Lord’s prediction also by the terms, ” the Lord will come as a thief in the night (ib. Matth. ver. 43). St. Peter also adverts to the Epistles of Paul on this subject (vv. 15, 16). The place alluded to is, apparently, 2 Tim. iii. 1. seq. ” This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come,” &c. Then, in order to fix the times here meant, he adds, “Of this sort are they which creep into houses (9). “But they shall proceed no farther, ” &c. So Jude also, as given in the text. St. Paul again, in 1 Tim. iv. 1, seq. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.. Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, “&c. That the Gnostic sects generally did this, is matter of fact. Romanists, who partake to a certain extent in their errors, never did it but partially.], in his memorable prediction. Its period is termed the day of the Lord” and,—as our Lord had also said,— it is to “come as a thief in the night:” the judgments to accompany it are then dwelt upon ; and the descent of the new heavens and earth is enounced, for the encouragement of the Believers.
Jude again, (14.) cites a prophecy of the very early times of Enoch on this subject. “The Lord,“ says he, “cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly” &c. He identifies the persons meant in these words: ” These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaking great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. “He then warns them, that this had been foretold; that “there should be mockers in the last time.” “These,” he adds,” be they (now, i.e. in these times) who separate themselves, sensual, having not the spirit.”
I need only add to this, that the Book of the Revelation, is only a more detailed and highly figurative account of this Revelation of Jesus Christ; in which a very large portion of the Old Testament is brought immediately to bear upon this subject ; for the purpose of shewing, among other things, that the Testimony of Jesus, is the spirit of (all) prophecy. [Rev. xix. 10.] I have already remarked, that, from the beginning of the fourth chapter, to the end of this Book, we have two distinct visions, intended to depict the judgments inflicted by the Lamb on his enemies; and to declare the final, and full, establishment of His Church. Towards the close of the first vision (chap. x. 6.) it is sworn that “there shall be time no longer:” in other words, nothing now remains of the predictions of Holy Writ, which shall require time for its fulfilment : and this is only an echo of Daniel (chap. xii. 7.) where an oath to the same effect is sworn, declaring that, when the power of the holy people shall be scattered (abroad) “all these things shall be finished.“ So also here (Rev. ib. ver. 7.), when the seventh Angel shall begin to sound (his trumpet) “the mystery of God shall be finished.” And (ib. xi. 15.) The seventh Angel sounds, and now “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever ;” as remarked above, exactly as Daniel had also predicted. Again, (giving the same things in a further vision, ib. xvi. 17.) when the seventh Angel has poured out his vial [Where the seventh vial of his vision answers to the seventh trumpet of the preceding one.], a voice proceeds from the Throne saying, ” It is done.” Some further particulars are added for the purpose apparently, of making the whole more specific; and it is repeated, (xxi. 6.) “It is done.”
In chap. xxii. 5, the particulars of the last vision end, when the Evangelist adds, as instructed by the Angel, ” The Lord God of the holy prophets sent his Angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.” And it is added, “Behold, I come quickly:” that is, I Jesus will shortly reveal myself in power, inflicting judgment on my adversaries, avenging the blood of my servants, and establishing for ever my kingdom. The warning that all is shortly to come to pass, is repeated in verses 10, 12, 20. To which the response of the Church is, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
The fact, that the Lord Jesus did so come, and this within the period fixed by Daniel, and recognized by our Lord, is certain, as well from the fall of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the Jews taking place even within that generation, as it also is from the fall of the heathen Dynasty of Rome, which commenced its work of destruction and of persecution from the same period ; and also, from the establishment of the Christian Church, which immediately followed. The miraculous powers granted to the Apostles for this purpose, in the first instance, and continued, as it should seem, for some time after their death, were gradually and imperceptibly withdrawn, as being no longer wanted. The ordinary aids of the Spirit were granted, and, according to the promise of our Lord, are never to be withdrawn [John xiv. 10. comp. Horn. viii. 1, see|.; 1 Cor. xii. 1—14, &c.]: these, with the helps of Holy Scripture, and the ordinances of the Church, are now sufficient, and for ever shall be, so to build up Believers in their most holy faith, and to make them even Temples of the Holy Ghost, that they shall want no manner of good thing; but shall go on their way rejoicing here; be made meet to be partakers with the Saints in light, and finally be received among them.
To conclude: If the word of prophecy is the more sure evidence to the Believer of the truth of the hope that is in him; then, it must have been delivered in terms such as would at once be intelligible to all, and Would, at the same time, set forth such facts as would be obvious, convincing, and accessible to all. And this character it certainly sustains. To notice that portion of it only, which has been brought under review in this inquiry: Four great Empires are brought before us, which are to fall in succession. The first three of these are determined by the Prophet, as shewn above: while the last, or fourth, is made too plain to admit of a doubt, that the heathen Dynasty of Rome was intended. Our Lord also points this out in a manner not to be misunderstood : it was that, which should set up the abomination of desolation; which should not leave one stone upon another in the Temple; which, according to Daniel, should destroy the City and Sanctuary; but which, in its turn, should also fall. And this again, the Author of the Book of the Revelation designates, as the Power that in his days reigned over the Princes of the earth : the woman sitting on the seven hills; in other words, on the Beast which had “seven heads” and “ten horns, “and was seen “drunken with the blood of the Saints.” This Power was to make war with the Lamb; according to Daniel, with the Saints; and, for a while was to prevail : but, according to both, was to be consigned to the burning flame, and this destruction was to be permanent.
These Horns, or Kings, are placed moreover in the LAST PERIOD or DAYS, of THIS DYNASTY : let this be carefully remembered: to that they must belong ; they cannot therefore, be assigned, without palpable violence, to any other period. In this period St. Paul looked for them, under the general appellation of the Man of sin ; their description he took from Daniel, and their destruction he spoke of, in terms equivalent to those used by that Prophet. Other writers of the New Testament, and particularly St. John in the Apocalypse, looked in like manner for things which were shortly to come to pass, as St. Paul did when he declared, that he who then withheld, should do so, until lie should be taken out of the way: all of which was but a virtual repetition of our Lord’s prediction, when he said, “This generation shall not pass away until these things be :” and, “If I will that he (John) tarry until I come, what is that to thee ?”
All these authorities concur moreover, in the declaration, that when all these things should have been done, the End [See also p. 282 below, note.] should come: that “the mystery of God should be finished, as he had declared to his servants the prophets :” it should be completed: time should now be no more : the End of all things (so foretold) should be at hand, and be fully brought to pass: in these days should be fulfilled all that had been spoken of Christ (and of his Church) by the Prophets: or, in other words, When the Gospel should have been preached in all the world for a testimony to all nations, and the power of the Holy People be scattered (abroad), then should the End come, then should all these things be finished. I need now only say, All these things have been done : the old and elementary system passed away with a great noise ; all these predicted Empires have actually fallen: and the New kingdom; the New heaven and earth, the New Jerusalem,—all of which were to descend from God, to be formed by his power, have been realized on earth; all these things have been done in the sight of all the nations : God’s holy arm has been made bare in their sight: His judgments have prevailed, and they remain for an everlasting testimony to the whole world: His kingdom has come, as it was foretold it should, and His Will has, so far, been done; His purposes have been finished: and, from that day, to the extreme end of time, it will be the duty, as indeed it will be the great privilege of the Church, to gather into its bosom the Jew, the Greek, the Scythian, Barbarian, bond and free; and to do this as the Apostles did in their days, in obedience, faith, and hope. [This was once done by the exertion of miracle, for a testimony to all nations and to all times. If many have fallen back since those times into heathenism, let it be remembered, the Apocalypse warned the churches of the danger of this, from the first.]
ON THE RESTORATION OF THE JEWS.
On this question much need not be said ; for, if the events of prophecy have all been fulfilled, and were so fulfilled upon the establishment of the Christian Church, as already shewn, every hope of a restoration of Jews to Palestine must be groundless and futile [Be it remembered, the Seventy weeks of Daniel were determined upon his people, and upon ins holy city, to finish, &c Dan. ix. 24.]. Besides, it must be most incongruous to look for the temporalities of the Old Testament under the New, in which we are taught, that there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision, nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all“. [Col. iii, 11. See also Gal. iii. 28, where all, we are told, are one in Christ Jesus; and if Christ’s, then Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.] That neither in Jerusalem, nor on Mount Gerizim, exclusively, should the Father be worshipped [John iv. 21—24.] ; but, that wherever there was a real spiritual child of Abraham, there should be a Temple of God the Holy Ghost [1 Cor. iii. 10, 17; vi. 19; 2 Cor. vi. 10.]. And, let it be remembered, this was the doctrine which the Apostles themselves felt the greatest difficulty in receiving, met the greatest in its propagation, and laboured most anxiously and constantly, to preserve entire from commixture with Jewish notions.
Suppose, in the next place, the Jews were to be carried back to Palestine, and placed upon the land of their Fathers; How, I ask, could the inheritance of the different tribes be ascertained: for this must form as essential a part of such restoration, as their returning can ? And, again, Who shall determine the individuals constituting each particular tribe ? [To “the loss of all precise” knowledge as to families and tribes among the Jews, is, I suspect, to be ascribed the Jewish figment that ten of their tribes have been entirely lost. That a remnant of all the tribes returned from Babylon is certain from the fact, that sin-offerings were offered, for all Israel, in the times of Ezra (chap. viii. 35), one apparently for every distinct tribe. Both St. Paul, and St. James too, speak in their days of twelve tribes, as then known to exist. Sec Acts xxvi. 7. James i. 1; and, in the latter case, converts from each of these are particularly had in view. To this the Revelation cordially responds, telling us (chap. vii. 5, seq.) that, out of each of the twelve tribes, twelve thousand were sealed; that is, a considerable number out of every tribe, was then to be collected into the Christian Church; which, this St. James seems to say, “was the fact. The truth is, a very large number of the captive Jews never returned at all to Judea, but remained in Babylonia, and in the other places to which they had been carried. Hence the Rabbinic schools of Sora, Pumbeditha, &c, and hence also the Babylonian -Talmud. Many of these merged, in all probability, in the heathen about them; and others became Christian. Of this latter sort a very considerable number has been found in Koordistan, by Asahel Grant, M.D. as he confidently thinks. (London: John Murray, 1841). However this may be, one thing is certain,—and this makes marvellously against his hypothesis,— that instead of the Christian Church receiving anything like life from the dead from these, they actually stand in need, at this moment, of both spiritual light and life from the Christian Church, as Dr. Grant himself freely confesses! This loss of the distinction of tribes is perhaps judicial ; and let it be remembered, the preservation of the Jews, as a people, without this, amounts to nothing.] this being an utter impossibility to uninspired man. But, if we are to have recourse to miracle in order to effect these things, then, I say, we have recourse to that, for which Holy Scripture gives no warrant whatsoever. A new Revelation will now be as much required to give grounds for this, as will miracle to determine, either the individuals of each particular Jewish Tribe, or the place of residence each should claim in the Holy Land. Neither of which is to be expected. And again, supposing all these things possible, then I ask, by What means are individuals, and whole families, to be transported from China, Tartary, the interior of Africa, and almost every known part of the world to this land of promise ; ample provision having been made for the return both from Egypt and Babylon ? And, in the next place, What is to become of those who now occupy it, and who have realized a property in its lands? [For this is anything but a case similar to that of the Canaanites, all being supposed, at this happy period, to have fully embraced the true religion.] And, lastly, What is there to be gained by all this ? Is Christianity now so imperfect as to make this necessary, in order that Believers may be “complete in Him [3 Col. ii. 10; see also ib. iv. 12.], which is the head of all principality and Power?” If so, the Apostle has hitherto been a false witness to the Church: and the Church itself, any thing but complete in its ordinances and privileges ! A conclusion which has indeed been arrived at by some of the modern interpreters of this school. I would suggest to such the propriety of asking themselves, Is not this the very sort of judaizing, against which the Apostles so strenuously laboured ?
They occasionally do cite however, some places in the New Testament, which they affirm clearly foretell this state of things. And of this, Rom. xi. 26. is dwelt upon as the most clear and positive. ” And so all Israel shall be saved. “But, Is this a prediction of any particular event ? [It should never be forgotten, that predictions, foretelling future events, are things altogether distinct and different from doctrines.] Is it any thing more than a doctrine, declaring (ver. 23) that, ” if they abide not in unbelief they also shall be graffed in ?” And then, after a parenthesis reasoning on the fitness of this, it is added, “And so (better, thus, ούτω, i. e. in this way, all Israel shall be saved;” in exact accordance with what the same Apostle says (2 Cor. iii. 16), ” When it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.“ But no where is there to be found any unconditional prediction of this.
As to the places usually cited from the Old Testament, it may be said once for all, that supposing they extend into Christian times, and beyond the limits assigned above, which I affirm is no where to be found then, the interpretation of these must necessarily be so regulated, as not to run counter to Christianity, or in any way to interfere with its primary and acknowledged laws [In interpreting the Old Testament, especial care must be always taken to ascertain, what the party addressed is; i.e. whether it is the faithful, or the unfaithful one. If we do this, we shall not apply the promises to reprobates, as is very commonly done; nor shall we lose sight of that pious portion, which was found to the last among that people, and of which St. Paul spoke when he declared there was in his days, “a remnant according to the election of grace.” Rom. xi. 5, seq. These formed the New Church of Jerusalem, of Rome apparently, and of several other places. Of the rest, it is enough to say, that they were spiritually blinded; that they became strangers to the commonwealth of Israel, and subject to the curse of the law. Hence, threats the most grievous have been denounced against them, by Moses and all the Prophets; and, under these, they now wander and suffer. To such, no promise can be, nor is there, extended; and to neither, can any exclusive privileges be assigned; the converted Jews of the Apostles’ times found none ; and it must be absurd to imagine, that length of time has altered the terms and provisions of the revelation in this respect. Again, it was common under the Law, to speak of Christian times and observances, in the terms peculiarly applicable to the Law. So Isaiah’s mountain of the Lord (chap. ii. 2), Ezekiel’s temple (chap, xlviii.), and Zechariah’s Jerusalem (viii. 22, &c), must necessarily refer to the Christian Church, and to the Apostolic, and immediately subsequent times; and the same will be found to be true of all similar passages.] : and these positively deny every thing like exclusive privilege to Jew, Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond and free. In this case then, as before, nothing short of a new Revelation, and a new Dispensation, can justify the expectation of any such things as these. Whether we are to expect any such new light, and new appointments, I leave it to others to determine. I can find no such things foretold. I conclude on this question, therefore, that no restoration of Jews, either to temporal, or spiritual, exclusive privileges, is to be expected: that all such expectation is groundless; and, what is worse, that it tends only to confirm Jewish prejudices, which have hitherto proved all but invincible without it; and further, that those who are so anxiously pressing it, are unwarily calling into exercise a power, more than equal to all their better efforts to the contrary. To call the Jews to a belief in Christ, is a legitimate work of Christian faith and love: it is that which our Lord commanded, and it is that in which the Apostles persevered to the utmost. Circumstanced as the Jews now are, they are strangers to the covenants of promise, they are without hope, and without God in the world. They are as branches broken off, and dissevered from the stock of Abraham [See the following work, p. 251, note.]: and it is faith in the Redeemer alone, which can graff them in, and make them the spiritual seed of Abraham : the fleshly descent availing nothing whatsoever under the new Covenant. To this end it is the duty of the Christian Church to labour; and, in this work, there are the best grounds for believing, that their labour shall not be in vain.
If then, any reliance can be placed on what has been said above, it must appear, that the opinions of Eusebius were neither heterodox, as it regards the Divinity of our Lord, nor groundless, as to the declarations of prophecy. I may say for myself, I have examined the first of these questions with the most earnest desire of ascertaining the truth : and, in doing this, I have endeavoured to bring together such statements of Eusebius himself, as appeared to me the most likely to discover the true bent and inclinations of his mind. I have too, combined these with those of others, in which he appeared to partake, for the purpose of ascertaining to what results these actually led. Hence his Platonism, his concurrence with Philo, and his controversy with Marcellus, have been brought forward; and to this have been added, all the objections of Montfaucon and of others, which seemed to require notice: and my conclusion on the whole has been, that, Eusebius has, in no case, evinced any inclination whatever to the errors of Arius ; but has, in all,—if not so frequently as some have done, yet quite as fully,—maintained the entire and perfect Divinity, and distinct Personality, both of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This, I think, must be the conclusion of every unprejudiced person, who takes the pains fully to enter into his modes of thinking and of speaking: as it also must, that those who have thought differently, have but partially considered this question.
As to his opinions on Prophecy, on the personal reign of Christ, and on the restoration of the Jews, I may perhaps say, proof has been given that these were well founded. It is, I think, impossible to find any questions wore determinately settled and fixed in the Scriptures than these are. In the question of Prophecy, declarations the most plain and positive are so bound up with facts, the occurrence of which is well known to all, that it is impossible to conceive of any thing more plain, certain, and determinate, than this question is. Of the actual fall of the Four great Empires pointed out, no doubt can possibly exist: of the certainty of the things foretold to take place, during the latter period of the last of these, there can surely be no question ; nor can there, that the extreme limit has been fixed, beyond which they cannot be made to pass. Again, our Lord, His Evangelist John, and His Apostles generally, connect this, beyond all possibility of doubt, with the generation then existing; and both these, as well as the Prophet Daniel, affirm, that, when the particular events so pointed out shall have taken place, then all is fulfilled; the purposes of God are finished, as declared by His Prophets, and the end is come. The Fifth kingdom of Daniel, the New Heaven and Earth of Isaiah and the Apocalypse, and the New Jerusalem of the latter, is for ever established. All is here plain, fixed, and determined: no ingenious conjectures, no wire-drawn theory therefore, no double, triple, &c. interpretation, no devices turning aside the obvious import of language, are here wanted ; all is plain, simple, obvious, and requiring no powers higher than those of the rustic, for its comprehension, and, for its reception, nothing beyond the simple and sincere desire of knowing the truth. And, what is perhaps best of all, it will throw a clear and steady light over the whole of the Old Testament, making its prophetic declarations as easy, and obvious, as are the doctrines of the New ; and, at the same time, afford a system of evidence, in all respects irresistible. As to the other questions, just mentioned, they are so intimately connected with this, that what determines the one must also determine the other : if the requirements of Prophecy are fulfilled ; then nothing remains to be done by the Jews for this purpose. The period is past; and faith in the Christ of God, is now their only resource ; and this comprehends no privileges whatsoever of an earthly nature.
I will only now add, if I have succeeded in vindicating the character and views of this very eminent writer and Prelate, and have been permitted to bring to light one of his very valuable works, which had long been supposed to be lost ; and have, at the same time discovered and pointed out the means, by which the hitherto untractable and difficult problem of Prophecy may be satisfactorily solved ; I shall indeed, have the greatest reason to be thankful to the great Giver of every good gift, for favours so great conferred upon me, and which, it may perhaps be reasonably hoped, will exert a beneficial influence on the Church of Christ for ages to come.
What do YOU think ?
Submit Your Comments For Posting Here