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to Alexandria. The middle road of this city is more impassable than that valt wilderness which the Ifraelites wandered through in two genera. tions.” He goes on to describe the miseries of war and bloodihed, of plagues and difeases, with which Alexandria at that time abounded, and complains that the people still repented not of their ains."
Writing to the brethren, he says, "Now every thing is full of lamentations, every one does nothing but mourn and howl through the city, because of the multitude of corpses and the daily deaths.—Many of our brethren, because of their great love and brotherly charity, sparing not themicives, cleaved one to another; visited the, fick without fear or caution, and attended upon them diligently; and in doing these things they lost their own lives, by catching the infection, and voluntarily transferred the sorrows of others upon themselves. In this manner the best of our brethren departed this life, of whom some were prefbyters, fome deacons, highly reverenced by the common people.” He then goes on to obferve with what care and affection the christians attended the funerals of their friends, while the pagans in the same city, through fear of catching the infection, deserted and neglected theirs. Un' doubtedly he describes here a strong picture of the charity of christians, and of the sei ihness of other
It belongs to true chriltianity to produce such fruits, though in some respects they might be carried farther than real christian prudence would vindicate. But every lover of Jesus is refreihed to find the certain marks of his fpirit and presence among his people.
There was one Nepos, an Egyptian bishop, who taught that the Millennium was to commence
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after the resurrection, and described the happiness of saints as much consisting in corporeal enjoy. ments. Dionysius thought the notion danger
. ous, yet his candour inclined him to entertain a good opinion of Nepos on the whole. He com. mends his faith, his diligence, his skill in Holy Scripture, and his agreeable psalmody, with which inany of the brethren were delighted. As however he thought his opinions dangerous, he opposed them. When he was at Arfenoita he spent three days with the brethren infected with the views of Nepos, and explained the subject. He speaks with much commendation of the candor and docility of the people, particularly of Coracion their leader, who owned himself brought over to the sentiments of Dionysius. The authority of Di. onysius seems to have qualhed the opinions of Nepos in the bud. The consequence of an injudicious and unscriptural view of the Millennium, rejected and refuted by a bishop of candor, judgement, and authority, was, that the doctrine ittelf continued for ages much out of repute. The learned reader need not be cold with how much clearer light the doctrine has been revived and confirmed in our days.
Dionyfius finding how much use had been made of the Revelation of St. John in support of the doctrine of the Millennium, gives his thoughts on the book, confessing with much modefty his ignorance of its scope, owning that he did not understand, though he reverenced it.
The subuilty and restless spirit of those who corrupted the doctrine of the Trinity have ever had this advantage, that while they without fear or scruple could say what they please, its defenders are reduced to the necessity either of leaving the field to them entirely, or of exposing themselves to
the specious charge of human inventions, of even of some heresy opposite to that which they are opposing. This last was the case of Dionyfius on account of his opposition to Sabellianism. The fcantinefs of our ideas, and the extreme difficulty of cloathing with proper expressions those very inadequate ones which we have on a subject so profound, naturally expose us to this charge, from which yet the charitable zeal of those who see through the deligns of heretics, and who love truth, mixt with some necessary confufion, above error, though it were the garb of simplicity, will not be disposed to shrink on a proper occasion. Sabellius had taken pains to confound the persons of the Father and the Son. Dionysius shewed, by unequivocal testimony, that the Father was not the fame as the Son, nor the Son the same as the Father. Dionysius, bishop of Rome, being informed of these things, assembled a council, in which the doctrine attributed to his name-fake of Alexandria was disapproved, and wrote to him with a view to give him an opportunity of explaining himself.
The bishop of Alexandria with great clearness, candour, and moderation, explained himself at large in a work which he entitled a Refutation and Apology *. In the small remains of this work it appears, that he held the consubftantiality of the Son with the Father, and he described the Trinity in Unity, equally steering clear of the rock of Sabellianism, which confounds the perfons, and that of Arianifm, which divides the lubstance. And it appears that his teftimony may be added to that of the priinitive fathers all along on this subject.
“ The Father, says he, cannot be separated from the Son, as he is the Father; for that name at the same time establishes the relation. Neither caii the Son be separated from the Father ; for the word Father implies the union ; and the Spirit is in their hands, because it cannot exist withouc him who sends it to him who bears it. Thus we understand the indivisible Unity of the Trinity; and we comprehend the Trinity in the Unity without any diminution.” This account was latisfactory to the whole church, and was allowed to contain the sense of christians on the doctrine.
fame * Athan, de Sent.See Fleury, L. iv. book 1:
In the year (wo hundred and fixty-four the heresy of Paul of Samosata began to be famous, and a degeneracy both in principle and practice, hitherto very uncommon within the pale of chriftianity, attracted the notice of all who wished well to the souls of men. Paul was the bishop of Antioch: it gives one no very high idea of the state of ecclesiastical discipline in that renowned church, chat such a man should ever have been placed at its head at all. But it is no new thing for even fincere christians to be dazzled with the paris and eloquence of corrupt men. The ideas of this man leem to have been perfectly fecular, and Zenobia of Palmyra, who at that time diled herself Queen of the East, and reigned over a Jarge part of the empire, which had been corn from the indolent hands of Gallienus, defirca his instructions in christianity *It does not appear that her motives had any thing in them beyond philosophical curiosity. The mafter and the scholar were well suited to each other, and Paul taught her his own conceptions of Jesus Chrift, that he was by nature a common man as we are. The disorders of his life and the heterodoxy of his doctrine could no longer be endured.
There is in fact more necessary connection between
these * Atbao. tom. 11, p. 857. Fleury, Eufeb. rü, chap. 6, &c.
these two than the world is ready to believe ; because holiness can only be the effect of christian truth. The bishops met at Antioch to consider bis case ; among these particularly Firmilian of Cæfarea in Cappadocia, Gregory * Thaumaturgus, and Athenodorus, who were brethren and bishops in Pontus, and Theotecnes of Cæfarea in Palestine. A number of ministers and deacons besides met together on the occasion. In several sessions the case of Paul was argued. Firmilian seems to havé presided, and Paul was induced to recant, and gave luch appearances of sincerity that Firmilian and the council believed him. The matter Nept therefore for the present, and Paul continued in his bishopric.
It was in this year two hundred and fixty-four, the twelfth of Gallienus, that Dionysius of Alexan. dria died, after having held the See seventeen years. He had been invited to the council; buc pleaded in excuse his great age and infirmities : he however sent a letter to the council containing his advice, and addressed the church of Antioch without taking any notice of her bishop. This was the last service paid by this great and good man to the church of Christ, after having gone through a variety of hardships, and distinguished himself by his steady piery in the cause of Christ. His having been a pupil of Origen in his younger years was no great advantage to his theological knowledge ; but there are in him the strongeit marks of unquestionable good sense and moderation, as well as of genuine piecy, and it is to be regretted that our materials concerning him are so defective.
Gallienus having reigned fifteen years, Claudius succeeded, and after a reign of two years, in which
he See his Life in Chap below.