Thomas Smyth.

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Fathers denominated Apostolical. Clement is thought to have
died about the year 220 ; and those who had been taught by the
apostles might have been alive in the year 150. "Because," he
says, "the Word was from above, he both was and is the
Divine principle of all things. This Word, the Christ, was
both the cause of our original existence, for he was God ; and
also the cause of our well-existence, for this very Word hath
now appeared imto men, he alone being both God and man."
«iic«>ic^iiciiciiciiciic Believe, then, O, man, in him who is
both man and God; believe, O, man, in the living God, who
suffered and who is adored."*

From the attestation of Clement of Alexandria, we may
proceed to that of Ireneus, of Lyons, the scholar of Polycarp,
the disciple of the apostle John. This, we shall find in the
controversial work, which, with the approbation of the Catholic
Church, that eminent writer, about the year 175, published
against the existing heresies. "Man," he says, "was formed
according to the likeness of God ; and he was fashioned by his
hands. That is to say, he was fashioned through his Son, and
through his Spirit : to whom also he said, Let us make man."t
"Therefore, in all, and through all, there is one God, the Father,
and one Word, and one Son, and one Spirit, and one faith and
salvation to all who believe in him,"t "With him, i. ^., God,
are ever present, his Word and his Wisdom, his Son and his
Spirit, through whom, and in whom, he freely and spontane-
ously made all things; to whom, likewise, he spoke, when he
said. Let us make man after our own image and likeness."§
"Man was made and fashioned after the image and likeness of
God, who is uncreated: the Father approving: the Son minis-
tering and forming : the Spirit nourishing and augmenting."**

Let us now proceed still higher, in the list of primitive writ-
ers, and adduce the testimony of Athenagoras. This writer

♦Clem. Alex. Protreps. Oper. p. 66.

tiren. Adv. haer., lib. iv., c 8, p. 237.

tib. c. 14, 9 6, p. 242.

91b. c 37, 9 2, p. 266.

♦*Iren. Adv. haer., lib. iv., c 75, 9 3, p. 310.



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ARTICLES ON THE TRINITY. 237

lived contemporaneously with Ireneus. His Apology or Lega-
tion is thought to have been addressed to the Emperors Marcus
Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus.

"For by him, and through him, were all things made, the
Father and the Son being one; since the Son is in the Father
and the Father in the Son, through the unity and power of the
Spirit. The Son of God is the Mind and the Word of the
Father."t In this he says, "That we are not Atheists, has been
sufficiently demonstrated by me; inasmuch as we worship one
unproduced and eternal and invisible and impassable Being,
who, by the mind and reason alone, can be comprehended, and
who, through the agency of his own Word, created and
arranged and compacted the universe; for we receive also the
Son of God."

"Who, then," says Athenagoras, "would not wonder that we
should hear ourselves called Atheists, when we profess our
belief in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy
Ghost, shewing both their power in unity, and their distinction
in order.J To this only do we strenuously apply ourselves, that
we may know God and the Word, who is from him ; what is the
unity of the Son with the Father; what is the communion of
the Father with the Son ; what is the Spirit ; what is the unity
and the distinction of these who are such; inasmuch as the
Spirit, and the Son, and the Father, are united."§ "We say
that there is a God, and the Son his Word, and the Holy Ghost,
united in power ; namely, the Father, the Son, the Spirit. For
the Son is the Mind, tfie Word, the Wisdom, of the Father:
and the Spirit is an emanation from him, as light flows from
fire. But, if I thus accurately set forth the doctrine which is
received among us, do not wonder. For lest you should be
carried away by the silly, vulgar opinion which is entertained
of uSf and in order that you may be able to know the real truth,
I thus carefully study accuracy/^

Our next witness is Melito, of Sardis, who lived about the
year 170. Of his Apology, nothing remains save a fragment,
but that fragment abundantly indicates the doctrine and prac-
tice of the christians, his contemporaries. "We are worship-
pers," says he, "not of insensible stones, but of the only God
who is before all things, and above all things; and we are

tAteenag. Legat pro. Christian, c. ix., pp. 37, 38, Oxon. 1706.
tAthen. Legat c x., p. 40.
(Athen. Legat cxi., p. 46.



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238 ARTICLES ON THE TRINITY.

worshippers likewise of his Qirist, truly God, the Word before
the worlds/**

In the next year, 168, lived Theophilus, of Antioch, who will
be our next witness. He wrote a defence of Christianity, in
three books, addressed to Antolycus ; and from this work, we
learn that the christian Church of that age maintained the doc-
trine of a Trinity of persons in the Deity. "The three days,"
says he, "before the creation of the sun and moon, are types of
the Trinity, God and his Word and his Wisdom.^f "In the
person of God, the Son came into the garden, and conversed
with Adam."t

Still earlier flourished Tatian, who lived about the year 165,
and who, in his Oration against the Greeks, which was written
before the death of Justin, says : "We do not speak foolishly,
nor do we relate mere idle tales, when we affirm that God was
bom in the form of man."§

From Tatian we pass to Justin Martyr, whose conversion
occurred prior to the year 136, and whose Apologies, therefore,
will exhibit the received doctrine of the Church, during the
earliest part of the second century. "Him, the Father says;
and his Son who came forth from him; and the prophetic
Spirit; these we worship and we adore, honouring them in
word and in truth, and, to every person who wishes to learn,
ungrudgingly delivering them as we ourselves have been taught.
Atheists, then, we are not, inasmuch as we worship the Creator
of the universe; and having learned that Jesus Christ is the
Son of him who is truly God, and holding him in the second
place, we will shew that, in the third degree, we honour also
the prophetic Spirit, in conjunction with the Word.** For the
Word, who is bom from the unbom and ineffable God, we
worship and we love, next in order after God the Father ; since,
also, on our account, he became man, in order that, being a
joint partaker of our sufferings, he might also effect our heal-

ing."tt

Two Apologies by Quadratus and Aristides, addressed to the
Emperor Adrian, in the year 126, are imfortunately lost. But
they are spoken of, both by Eusebius and Jerome, as being
"defences of the worship of God which prevails among," and

*Melit Apol. See above, Book I., chap. 4, $ x.

tThcoph. Ad. AutoL, lib. ii., c 15.

tibid, c. 22.

JTatian Orat. Cont. Grace., 9 xxxv., p. 77, Worth.

♦♦Justin Apol. 1, Open pp. 46, 47.

ft Ibid, 11 Oper., p. 40.



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ARTICLES ON THE TRINITY. 239

'*as conducted by, christians," "as setting forth the right prin-
ciples of our dogmatic theology," and as being imitated by
Justin Martyr.J

Ignatius, who is our next witness, was a disciple of the apos-
tle John, who died in the year 100, and he suffered martyrdom
at Rome, either in the year 107, or (as some think,) in the year
116. "There is" he says, "one physician, fleshly and spiritual,
made and not made. God became incarnate, true life in death,
both from Mary and from God, first passible, and then impas-
sible." "Our God Jesus Christ was conceived by Mary accord-
ing to the economy of God, from the seed indeed of David ; but
from the Holy Ghost." "Permit me to be an imitator of the
passion of my God. I glorify Jesus Christ, the God who has
thus endued you with wisdom." "Expect him who is beyond
all time, the eternal, the invisible ; even him who on our account
became visible ; him, who is intangible and impassible; who yet,
on our accoimt, suffered; who yet, on our accoimt, endured
after every manner."§

The very short Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, which
alone has survived him, is chiefly practical. Hence we cannot
expect there to find any very precise doctrinal statement. Yet,
even in this document, which appears to have been written
almost immediately after the martyrdom of his friend and
fellow disciple Ignatius, about the year 107, we may observe an
incidental recognition of the divine nature of our Saviour.
"May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ; and may
he himself, the eternal High-priest, the Son of God, Jesus
Christ ; build you up in faith and truth, and grant unto you a
lot and portion among his saints, and to us also along with you,
and to all who are under heaven, and who hereafter shall
believe in our Lord Jesus Christ and in his Father, who raised
him up from the dead."*

We can as little expect, from the plan of their composition,
any very copious and precise statement of doctrine in either of
the two epistles to the Corinthians, written from 67 to 96, by
the venerable Clement of Rome ; yet, in both of them, do the
recognised opinions of the early Church show themselves with
abundantly sufficient distinctness, and by one to whom St. Paul
himself bears testimony, as being one of his fellow-labourers,
whose names are in the book of life. "Ye were all humble-

tEuscb. B. IV., c 3 : B. I., c. 2, 9 2. Hecr. Script Ecd., Ep. Ixjuut,

SIgnat. Epist. ad. Polyc, i iii., p. 40*

♦Polycarp. Epist. ad. Philipp., 9 xii. Cotel. Patr. Apost, voL ii., p. 191.



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240 ARTICLES ON THE TRINITY.

minded, in no wise boastful, subject rather than subjecting,
giving rather than receiving. Being satisfied with the supplies
which God has furnished for your journey, and diligently
attending to his words, you receive them into your very breast
and bowels ; and before your eyes were his sufferings. Thus
was there given tmto all, a deep and glorious peace, and an
insatiable desire of doing good ; and, over all, there was a full
effusion of the Holy Ghost."t "For Christ is of the number
of the humble-minded, not of those who exalt themselves above
his flock. The sceptre of the majesty of God, our Lord Jesus
Christ came not in the pride of pomp and circumstance, though
he was able to have done so ; but with humbleness of mind, as
the Holy Ghost spake concerning him. Ye see, beloved, what
an example has been given unto us. For, if the Lord bore
himself thus humbly, what ought we to do, who have come
under the yoke of his grace ?"*

Similar phraseology occurs in the very ancient Epistle, which
is ascribed to the Apostle Barnabas, but which really seems to
have been written by a Hebrew christian of that name, about
the year 137. "When he chose his apostles," says this writer,
"who were about to preach his gospel, then he manifested him-
self to be the Son of God. For, unless he had come in the
flesh, how could we men, when looking upon him, have been
saved? For they, who look even upon the perishable sun,
which is the work of his hands, are unable to gaze upon its
beams. Wherefore, thb Son of God came in the flesh."§

The second Epistle of Clement opens with what is equivalent
to a direct assertion of Christ's Godhead : "Brethren," says he,
"we ought thus to think concerning Jesus Christ, as concerning
God, as concerning the Judge of both the quick and the dead.
And we ought not to think small things concerning our salva-
ticMi: for, in thinking small things concerning him, we are
hoping to receive small things."^

We have thus been enabled, in the first place, by the testi-
mony of the heathen, to establish the doctrine of the Trinity,
as having been the doctrine of christians up to the very age of
the Apostles.

A second line of argument, by which the Trinitarian views
of the early christians has been established, is by the public

tClem. Rom. Epist, 1, ad. Corinth., $ ii., Patr. Cotel., vol. i., pp. 147, 148.
♦Clem. Rom. Epist. I., ad. Corinth., $ xvi., Patr. Apost. Cotel. vol. i., pp.
156. 157.
9Bamab. Epist. Cathol., 9 v., Patr. Apost. Cotel. voL v., pp. 15, 16.
iClem. Rom. Epist. ii., ad. Corinth., 9 i., p. 185.



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apologies, epistles, and other documents published by them, in
their name, and with their concurrence, during the same period.

A THIRD line of proof that the doctrine of the early christian
church was Trinitarian, will be found in the creeds which
remain.

These creeds were most familiarly known and received, as
indeed their very name imports, by the whole assembly of the
baptized, whether ministers or people. They formed also the
basis of lectures to the catechumens, and were publicly recited
at the time of baptism. Such being the case, as the creed of
each church was communicated to every catechumen, and was
received by every catechumen, and at the font, in answer to the
interrogation of the Bishop, or Presbyter, was recited by every
catechumen, if adult, or by the parents, if a child. It, of
course, and by absolute necessity, expressed the faith of every
baptized member of the christian church.

When any individual was suspected of holding doctrines con-
trary to the creed, he was called to account and if found guilty,
was solemnly excommunicated. Thus, when Theodotus, at the
close of the second century, attempted to propagate, at Rome,
the doctrine that Christ was a mere man, and that there is no
distinction of persons in the unity of the Godhead, he was
called to account by Victor, the Bishop of that city, in order
that he might have an opportunity of vindicating or explaining
his conduct. This, however, he could not do ; for he persisted
in maintaining the scheme of doctrine which he had taken up ;
and the consequence was, that, having avowedly departed from
the well-known faith of the church, he was, by excommunica-
tion, visibly separated from the society of the faithful.*

But as we have examined these creeds, and presented their
evidence in the chapter on the Baptismal Commission, we
will not dwell on their invariable and concurrent testi-
mony to the doctrine of the Trinity at this time.f We will
only remark that Ireneus asserts the unity of the Catholic faith,
as exhibited in its creeds, throughout the whole world ; and the
various symbols of the three first centuries, whether Latin or
Greek, or African, fully bear him out in his assertion. For the
most part, even their phraseology is the same ; but, invariably,
their arrangement and their doctrine are identical. Now, this
is a mere naked fact, of which each individual may form a com-

♦Etweb. Hist. Eccles., lib. v., c. 28.

tSee them fully collected, and historically presented, by Mr. Faber, vol.
i., B. 1, chap, vi., pp. 156-193.

16— Vol IX.



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242 ARTICLES ON THE TRINITY.

plete judgment. The doctrine taught in the Symbols, he may
receive, or he may reject. But the bare fact itself will remain
unaltered, whatever may be his own personal opinion, as to the
abstract truth or falsehood of the doctrine in question, and
must be considered an undeniable proof of the Trinitarianism
of the church, up to the time when the earliest of these, "the
creed of the Trinity," must be supposed to have existed, that is,
the very age of the Apostles.

A FOURTH line of testimony in proof of the fact that the
early christian Church believed the doctrine of the Trinity, is
found in the earliest existing liturgies. As Bishop Bull well
observes, all the ancient Liturgies extant, in whatever part of
the world they may have been used, contain, under one modifi-
cation or another, that solemn concluding Doxology to the
Blessed Trinity, with which, in some form, every christian is so
abundantly familiar : "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost ; both now and always, and to all eter-
nity."* This Doxology is evidently built upon that brief and
most remotely ancient creed, which was familiarly denominated
the Symbol of the Trinity : "I believe in God : the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Ghost." And the symbol of the Trinity
again, is manifestly founded upon the formula of baptism
enjoined and appointed by our Lord himself. Baptize them in,
or into, the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghostf

Now, although no liturgy was committed to writing until the
fifth century, yet the primeval existence and public use of the
Doxology has been fully determined by the concurrent attesta-
tion of the series of witnesses, all chronologically prior to the
first Nicene Council. About the year 220, we may observe
it employed by Hippolytus, as the most proper conclusion of his
Treatise against Noetus.j About the year 200, TertuUian
refers to it as a clear proof of the universal reception of the
doctrine of Christ's divinity. || About the year 194, we find it
used by Clement of Alexandria.§ jVbout the year 175, Ireneus
incidentally remarks, that it was employed by the Catholic
Church in the course of her ordinary thanksgivings. In the
year 147, it was used at the stake by the venerable Polycarp,
and at the same time it was attached by the collective members

♦Athan. de. Virginit Oper., vol. i., p. 829.

tMatt xxviii: 19.

tCont. Noet., c. xviii., vol. 2, p. 20.

f|De Spectet., _p. 700. •

JClem. Alex. Poedag, lib. iii., c. 12, Oper. p. 266.



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ARTICLES ON THE TRINITY. 343

of the church of Smyrna, to the Epistle in which they commu-
nicated the account of his martyrdom.* Finally, we have the
direct attestation of Justin Martyr, that, in his days, the prayers
and thanksgivings of the church invariably terminated with
some one or other modification of it. "In all that we offer up,"
says he, "we bless the Creator of all things, through his Son
Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost."t

We now proceed to a fifth line of proof for the Trinitarian-
ism of the primitive christian church. "Having observed," as
Athanasius remarks, "the great wisdom of the Apostles, in not
prematurely communicating the doctrine of Christ's divinity to
those who were unprepared to receive it; the Church, from a
very early period, adopted a mode of institution, reasonable and
natural in itself, but singular on account of its attendant phrase-
ology." During the first part of their theological education,
therefore, to use the language of Faber, nothing more than the
general truths of Christianity were communicated to the cate-
chumens ; and so slowly was the divine light suffered to beam
upon what Tertullian calls the preparatory schools of the audit-
ors, that it was not until the very eve of their baptism, that its
particular truths, viewed as universally depending upon one
pre-eminent truth, were at length distinctly propounded. To
their instruction in these particular truths, of which they iiad
hitherto been kept, (so far as it was possible to keep them,)
in a state of profound ignorance, were devoted the forty days
which immediately preceded their baptism; and this studied
concealment was rendered the more easy, because, in the primi-
tive church, the sacrament of Baptism was administered only
at the two great festivals of Easter and Whitsimtide.

"The institution of the Catechumens was spoken of as an
initiation into the christian Mysteries ; and the communication
of what was deemed the pre-eminent, particular truth of Reve-
lation, with its subordinate and dependent particular truths,
was considered and technically mentioned as the final enuncia-
tion of the grand secret.

Mr. Faber adduces abundant evidence to prove that the secret
of the mysteries was the doctrine of the Trinity, running into
the doctrine of the Incarnation. To this secret, Ireneus, the
scholar of Polycarp, the disciple of St. John, who wrote in the
year 175, but who was bom in the year 97, alludes: "This,"
says he, "is the Christ, the Son of God. Such is the mys-

♦Epist. Eccles. Smyrna, $ xiv., Patr. Apost. Cotel., vol. ii., p. 201.
tjustin ApoL i. Oper. p. 77.



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244 ARTICXES ON THE TRINITY.

tery, which Paul declares to have been manifested to him by
revelation ; namely, that he who suffered under Pontius Pilate,
is the Lord and King, and God and Judge of all, receiving
power from him who is God of all, since he became subject unto
death, even the death of the cross."

To this testimony may be added that of the ancient author of
the Epistle to Diognetus ; whether he were Justin Martyr him-
self, or whether (according to his own descriptive statement
of his character,) he were some apostolical man, a contempo-
rary of Justin Martyr. In the course of a very long, and very
fine passage, while this writer styles the christian worship of
God the mystery which man can never discover, he teaches us,
when largely treating of the nature and offices of Christ, that
"the Word, though to-day called a Son, existed, nevertheless,
eternally."

Such was the doctrine communicated from a very early
period, to every catechumen, before he was admitted to the
sacrament of Baptism, — certainly as early as the age of Justin
and Ireneus.*

A FIFTH line of testimony in proof of the fact that the early
christians believed in the doctrine of the Trinity, is found in
the unanimous primitive interpretation of those texts, the true
import of which is now litigated between modem Trinitarians
and modern Anti-Trinitarians.

If the primitive church, up to the Apostolic age, were Anti-
Trinitarian, the system of Scriptural interpretation uniformly
adopted by the Fathers of that church, must plainly have been
Anti-Trinitarian likewise; and conversely, if the primitive
church, up to the Apostolic age, were Trinitarian ; the system
of Scriptural interpretation uniformly adopted by the Fathers
of that church, must also have been Trinitarian ; since a church
collectively cannot hold one set of doctrines, while all the lead-
ing teachers, and writers, and divines, and bishops, in direct
and full communion with it, openly and avowedly maintain
quite another set of doctrines. The unanimous system of
exposition adopted by the Fathers of the three first centuries,
is evidence as to what system of exposition was familiarly
received in the church of the three first centuries, as setting
forth the undoubted mind of Holy Scripture. For, though the
insulated exposition of an insulated writer, might justly be
deemed nothing more than the unauthoritative speculation of

*S€e Faber, vol. i., B. I., ch. viii., pp. 206-230.



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ARTICLES ON THE TRINITY. 245

his own private judgment ; it is morally impossible that all the
writers of a church should be unanimous in their system of
Scriptural interpretation; if, in point of systematic Scriptural
interpretation, the church itself, collectively, differed from them
utterly, and radically, and essentially.

"So far as my own reading and observation extend," says
Mr. Faber, "the early fathers invariably and unanimously inter-
pret the texts now litigated between Trinitarians and Anti-
Trinitarians, not after the mode recommended by the latter,
but precisely after the mode adopted by the former. In no
one instance, which, in the course of a tolerably wide investiga-
tion, I have been able to discover, do they ever interpret a single
text, so as to bring out the result, that that text does not teach
the doctrine of the Trinity, or the doctrine of Christ's Godhead.
If, among the Fathers of the three first centuries there be an
exception, I can only say, that I have inadvertently overlooked
it. To this general rule, I myself, at least, am unable to pro-
duce a single exception."* This argument acquires a tenfold
force, when we consider that heretics, in order to get rid of
these texts, rejected the Books of Scripture, in which they are
found,t and also the strict harmony of the present line of evi-
dence, with all the other lines of evidence which have now in
review successively passed before us ; and that force, so far as
I can judge, becomes absolutely irresistible, when we bear in
mind that the present position is established, not merely by a
single testimony, or by a single class of testimonies, but by a
concurrence of numerous distinct classes of testimonies, all
vouching for the same fact, and all tending to the same purpose.
As, in regard to Scripture, the early Doctors expounded, so, in
point of fact, without any contradiction, on the part of chris-
tians, did the enemies of Christianity allege ; so, from generation
to generation, did the primitive christians worship ; so, with one
mouth, to be the universally received doctrine of the Church



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