« PreviousContinue »
non *, as it suited their preconceived opinions. This account of the origin of those heresies, which carries conviction in its internal evidence, is confirmed by the external testimony of the primitive writers ; from the times of St. Polycarp,' who succeeded St. John, to the age of St. Epiphanius t, who speaks of the remains of those sects, as existing in Cyprus 'in the era in which he flourished.
The origin of the School of the new Platonists, which was established in Alexandria, is not involved in greater obscurity. The foundation of that sect, which was laid in the scheine of a grand comprehension, which was to include the Platonic and Peripatetic Philosophy is ascribed to Ammonius it. From this school descended Herennius, Plotinus, and Origenes, who were succeeded by Porphyry, lamblichus, and Hierocles || thé avowed and implacable enemies of the name and revelation of Christ. Under Plutarch it was transferred to Athens, he having been & native of that city ; and Proclus, Syrianus, Marinus were his successors. Isidore and Damascius must be 'referred to the same school, by whom the remains of the sect were again transferred to Alexandria.'
But we 'must not confound the Philosophic and the Catechetical School, which were equally established in that city. Of the former ve have an account in a fragment of Origen, whose authority is definitive on the point at issue ; as he presided in the one and frequented the other ; but he sets at the head of the former School his master Pantænus : and we learn from Eusebius, that the succession of his disciples consisted of Clement, Origen, Heraclas, Dionysius and Pierius **. Some further account of the Catechetical School, after this period, may be collected from a fragment fiel. of Philippus Sidetes, who was the last of the series of lecturers. He represents the succession as perpetuated in Theognostus, Serapion, Petrus Martyr, Didymus and Rhodon. By the last mentioned person it was
S. Iren. cap. xxvi. s 2. p. 105. cap. xxvi. 9 4. p. 106. † Poly. Ep. ad Philipp. cap. vii. p. 188. S. Epiph. Hær. p. 58. d.
Í Hierocl. de Provid. et Fat. p. 46. ed Lond. 1673. Porphyr. Vit. Plotin,
p. I Id. ibid.
Damas. Vit. Isid. ap. Phot. Bibliotli. n. ccxlii.
Orig. Epist. Oper. Tom I. p. 4. h. Conf. Euseb. His. Ecel. Lib. v. cap. x. p. 220. 1. 29.Lib. VI. cap. xix. p. 282. 1. 34. ** Euseb. ub. supr. cap. xxvi
. p. 292. 1. 10. ++ E. Cod. MS. Baroc. p. 142. f. 216. ap. Dodwel. Dissert. in Iren, p. 488. ed. Oxon. 1689,
transferred, in the reign of Theodosius the elder, to Sida ; where Philip Sidetes, who had been Rhodon's disciple, fiually became his successor
Sucli was the soil in which, we are now informed, those seedlings arose which were subsequently grafted on the genuine stock of Christianity. From those different sources arose ihat mixture of heathenism, heresy, and philosophy, which finally settled in Catholic Christianity. Out of the motley group which adhered to those different sects, our author in fine, gaihers liis congregation of orthodox believers. How indeed those discordant elements which he forces into contact finally came to coalesce, he does not undertake to disclose. Let us, however pursue this matter to its close, and it will probably lead us to a different conclusion. Unless, indeed, we are altogether deceived, we trust that we can demonstrate the notion of such à coalition to be so wholly unfounded in fact, that it is an insult to common sense, to require we should believe it.
The Gnostics, it is admitted, had arisen during the ministry of the Apostles; nor can it be possibly disputedit; but the çerdis in which they condemn the“ damnable heresies” and “ doctrines of devils” of their age, afforded no very inviting inducements to those who merited this censure, to solicit an union with them or their immediate followers. From the example which they thus set their disciples, it does not appear they departed. - St. Polycarp and St. Ignatius, who followed St. Jolin, were not less conscious of the venom of the reptile who ever aims at the heel, and crushed liis head with litile compunction 1. Justin Martyr and St. Irenæus followed very close in their rear, the latter having been the auditor of St. Polycarp. Both these writers, however, and Tertullian, who succeeded at no great interval of time, refuted their notions as false and hereticall. Justin Martyr, who lived near the apostolical age, expressly declares, that the society of Christians of which he was a member, regarded the whole body of Gnostics as impious, and avoided their comniunion as pestilential and contagious . As it admits of no ques. tion, that these primitive writers adhered, not to the Unitarian, but the Orthodox faith, their testimony reduces the notion of an
* E. Cod. MS. Baroc. n. 142. f. 216. ap. Dodwel, Dissert. in
248. ed. Oxon. 1689,
† S. Polyc. ad Philipp. cap. vii. p. 188. S. Ignat. ad Smyrn. cap. iii. p. 34. Id. ad Magnes, capp. viii. x. pp. 19. 20. Id. ad Philadd. cap. vi. p. 31.
# J. Mart. Apol. p. 70. S. Iren. adv. Hær. passim. Tert. Præ acr. adv. Hær. passim.
of J. Mart. ib. p. 253. c.
alliance between the hereticks and catholicks, to a gross and stü.
Between the catechetical and philosophical schools of Alex.
$ Porphyr. Vit: Pytliag. p. 193. ed. 1655. Tambl. Vit. Pythag:
This is evident from the confession of Hierocles, de Prov. et
was founded on a comprehension. We accordingly find that he reduced the narratives of the four Evangelists into a Harmony, and published a work“ On the Correspondence of Moses and Jesus *;" which sufficiently evinces that he drank deep at the source and fountain of Christianity. We however remain in igno. tance respecting the precise nature of his philosophical scheme, as he committed it to his disciples, under a solemn injunction not to divulge it; and thus has that uncertainty originated with respect to his religious opinions, in consequence of which he has been respectively claimed by the Heathens and Chris. tians t.
The notion of a corraption of the doctrines of Christianity from the dogmás of philosophy, is therefore a supposition not merely unsupported by truth, but irreconcileable with possibility: Before the era of Ammonius and Origen, who were contemporary, as preceptor and disciple, Platonism contained nothing to which Christianity could be indebted. Nothing sexisted in the schemes of the Ionic School, who laid the foundation of the Ideal Philosophy; nothing appears in the system of Plato; who improved that philosophy I; nothing was discoverable in his scheme by his genuine disciples Ş, which at all approximates to the Mystic Doctrines of Revelation. But these doctrines are inculcated with the utmost force and clearness by Justin Martyr #'; who long preceded Ammonitis and Origen. We find them in the Jewish Paraphrasts and Cabalists, long previously to his times; and a comparison of their descriptions of the doctrine with those of the Christian Apologist, enables us di- rectly to decide, that the source from which they drew was not only identical, but that it reaches far above the times of Plato, not to speak of the age of Ammonius.
In fine, with what feelings of abhorrence, such a pollution of the fountain of truth, from those impure sources of error, would have been regarded, by the primitive Christians, is directly apparent in the history of Origen, who first sought to ally them. Were we concerned in making his apology, we conceive it might be easily effected, as those works in which this unnatural alliance
* Euseb. ub. supr,
Morg. on Plat. Trin. p. 65.
Apuleius de Dogm. Plat. Lib. I. p. 367. ed. Lugd. Bat. 1629 Alcin. de Doetr. Plat. cap. ix. p. 351. ed. 1607.
Just. Mart. Dial. cum Typh. p. 284. č. 899.
Vid. Ritrang. in Lib. Jezir.p: 81. sqq. ed. 1642. Allix, Judg. of Jew. ChX. p. 147, sqq.
appears were written for the use of Ambrose, who in embrace ing the Valentinian heresy, had imbibed a strong tincture of the Platonic philosophy *; and as they were given to the world, against the consent of their author, who deeply lamented their publication t. In what light they were regarded by the Orthodox Christians, must be apparent from the enmity to which they exposed the author at Alexandria'; the place which gave him birth, and on wbich his reputation conferred an honour. In that city his opinions were twice formally condemned ; once, in his life time by Heraclas, and again by Theophilus in a council convened also at Alexandria I. The leaven of his opinions, it is true, infected the Catholic Church ; but it was in generating the corruptions of the Originists and Arians, which
birth to many minor sects, and finally broke out in the Heresies of Nestorius and Eutyches. Of the author of these corruptions, however, the Catholic Church sufficiently proclaimed its opinion in the fifth General Council summoned at Constantinople, expressly against the Originistsl; not to mention the other numerous councils in which their tenets were condemned as erroneous and blasphemous.
We shall for the present take leave of the detestable volume be. fore, us, of which we have undertaken not merely a Review, but a refutation ; with a view to counteract the venom of that Heresy, which it is intended to support, and which has lately raised its head and distended its jaws with unparalelled boldness and fury. The remainder of its execrable contents are devoted to the dreadful object of blaspheming and perverting the Scriptures. But on this subject we must defer speaking until we bave more time, and our readers more patience.
(To be concluded in our next.)
ART. II. A Treatise on the Wealth, Power, and Resources
of the British Empire. By P. Colquhoun. Mawman,
1814. This work is a proud monument of our national glory. Many states have by conquest acquired wide dominion, or have grown
* Euseb. ibid. cap. xxiii. p. 287, 1. 4. сар. .
xviii. p. 278. I. 19. it S. Hier. ad Pam. Ep.lxv. Tom. II. p. 231. ed. Vict.
# Vid, Epist. Synod. Alex. ap. Baluz. Nov, Collect. Concill. col. 100.
| Evagr. Hist. Eccl. Lib. IV. cap. xxxvii,