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meant undrrived, which they held to be the prerogative of the Father only.
In all this time the Jewish christians, who were not tainted with the heathen philosophy, maintained the doctrine of the proper and simple humanity of Christ. Athanasius himself was so sar from being able to deny this, that he says all the jews were so sully persuaded that their Messiah was to be a man like themselves, that the apostles were obliged to use great caution in divulging the doctrine of the divinity of Christ. He says, that the reason why Peter» Acts ii. 22. only calls him a man approved of God, and why, on other occasions in ihe course of thit l>ook and other parts of the New Testament, he is simply called a man, was, that at first the apostles did not think proper to do more than prove that Jesus was the Christ, or Messiah, and that they thought it prudent to divulge the doctrine of the divinity of Christ by degrees. He likewise says, that the jews of those times, meaning the Jewish chiistians, being in this efror themselves drew the gentiles into it. Athanasius greatly commends the apostles for this address in their circumstances. But what the apostles scrupled to teach, we mould be scrupulous in believing. Chrysostom gives the same account of the situation of the apostles with respect to the jews.
It also clearly appears from ecclesiastical history* that the unlearned among the christians were exceedingly averse to the doctrine of the divinity of Christ, D 2 even even in the qualified sense above mentioned, opposing:, what they called, the supreme monarchy of the Father, to the novel doctrine of the divinity of the son; and the philosophizing christians were obliged to make laboured apologies to these early unitarians, acknowledging the persect inseriority of the son to the Father. But at length these unitarians, who are expressly said to have been the irajority of christians in the third century, were overborne by the superior influence 2nd popularity of theix adversaries, who, from believing Christ to be Go J in an inserior qualified sense of the word, came, in the natural course os things, to believe him to be God equal to the Father himself, and to have existed from; all eternity independently of him. But it was several centuries before this doctrine was sully established. And the holy spirit was generally considered either as the some thing with the sower of God, that is, God himseli -( just as the spirit of a man is a man ) or else a superangelic being, inserior both to the Father and the son, 't'll aster the council of Nice.
In the mean time, Arius and his followers, shocked at the doctrine of Christ being of the same substance* with the Father, maintained that, though he had preexisted, and had been the medium of all the dispensations of God to mankind, he was, like all other derived beings, created out of nothing; the opinion of all souls having been emanations from the supreme mind being then generally denied by christians.
Thus did it please God, for reasons unknown to us, to permit the rise and general spread of the trinitarian and Arian opinions, as he permitted the rise and amazing power of the man of sin, and many corruptions and abuses of christianity utter'y subversive of the genuine purity of the gospel, 'till the full time for the reformation of this and other gross corruptions of Christianity was come.
II. A CONCISE IUSTORY OF THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE, ORIGINAL SIN, AND PREDESTINATION.
It was a controversy about the nature and use of baptism that occasioned th; starting of the doctrine of the natural impotence of man to do what God requires of him, of the imputation of the fin of Mam to all his posterity, and of the arbitrary predestination os certain individuals of the human race to everlasting lise, while the rest of mankind were left in a state of reprobation; and this was so late as four hundred years after Christ. Before that time it had been the universal opinion of christians, and of Austin himself, who first advanced the doctrines above-mentioned, that every man has the power of obeying or disobeying the laws of God, that all men may be saved if they will, and that no decrees bf God will be the least obstruction in the way of any man's selvatioa.
D 3 But
But Pelagius, a man of good understanding, and exemplary morals, in his declamations against some abuses of baptism, asserting, that baptism itself does not wash away sin, as was then generally supposed (on which account it was the custom with many to deser it 'till near death ) nor could have been appointed for that purpose, because insant?, which have no sin, are baptised; Austin, in opposition to him, maintained that, though insants have no allual fin of their own, they have the stain of original Jin in which they were born; though he was sar from asserting that Adam was the federal head of all his posterity, and that his sin was properly imputed to them. This was an improvement upon the doctrine in aster-ages. What Austin maintained was, that men derive a corrupt nature, or a pronenefe to fin, from Adam.
Also, having been led, in the course os this Controversy, to assert, that by means of original sin no man had it in his power to attain to salvation, he was obliged to maintain that it depended upon the will of God only who should be finally saved, and that he predeslinated whom he thought proper for that purpose, independently of any foresight of their good works, which it was not in their power to perform without his immediate assistance, and in which he must be the first mover.
But notwithstanding this doctrine of the corruption of human nature, the necessity of divine grace for the production of every good thought or action, and
the predestination to eternal lise without regard to good works, advanced by Austin, prevailed in the west, chiefly through the authority of his name; it was never received in the eastern church, and was much controverted, and held with various modifications, in the western. Also together with this doctrine of grace4 the divines of the roman-catholic church held the doctrine of human merit, founded on the right use of the grace of God to man. And the present doctrines of grace, original fin, and predestination, were never maintained in their sull extent 'till aster the reformation by Luther, who was a friar of the order of Austin, had been much attached to his doctrines, and made great use of them in opposing the popish doctrines of indulgence, founded on that of merit.
III. A, CONCISE HISTORY OF THE DOCTRINE 'OF ATONEMENT.
The doctrine of atonement, er of the necessity of satissattion being made to the justice of God by the death of Christ, in order to his remitting the sins of men, arose from an abuse of the figurative language of scripture, as the doctrine of tranfubstantiation also did. - But for several centuries these figurative expressions were understood and applied in a manner very different from what they now are.
It was granted by some pretty early writers, that we were bought (ox redeemed) ivith a price; but