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marks on the subject, is enough for our purpose. "Christianity, in its triumph, has often reflected honor on the Platonists; and as the Christians took some pride in finding the Trinity taught by a philosopher, so the Platonists were proud in their turn to see the Christians adopt their principles."

I quote the authorities of learned Trinitarians, rather than adduce the facts on which they are founded, because the facts could not be satisfactorily stated and explained in a small compass. It is to be observed, that Trinitarians, in admitting the influence of the Platonic doctrine upon the faith of the early Christians, of course do not regard the Platonic as the original source of the Orthodox doctrine, but many of them represent it as having occasioned errors and heresies, and particularly the Arian heresy. Such was the opinion of Petavius, who in his Theologica Dogmata,† after giving an account of the Platonic notions concerning the Trinity, thus remarks.

"I will now proceed to consider the subject on account of which I have entered into so full an investigation of the opinions of the Platonists concerning the Trinity; namely, in what manner this doctrine was conceived of by some of the ancients, and how the fiction of Plato concerning the Trinity was gradually introduced into Christianity by those of the Platonists who had become converts to our religion, or by others who had been

* Histoire des Juifs, Liv. IV. ch. 3, 4.

↑ De Trinitate, Lib. I. c. 3. § 1.

in any way indoctrinated in the Platonic philosophy. They are to be separated into two classes. One consists of such as, properly speaking, were unworthy the name of Christians, being heretics. The other, of those who were true Christians, Catholics, and saints; but who, through the circumstances of their age, the mystery not yet being properly understood, threw out dangerous propositions concerning it."

The very Orthodox Gale, in his Court of the Gentiles, says: "The learned Christians, Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, &c., made use of the Pythagorean and Platonic philosophy, which was at this time wholly in request, as a medium to illustrate and prove the great mysteries of faith, touching the Divine λóyos, word, mentioned John i. 1, hoping by such symbolisings, and claiming kindred with these philosophic notions and traditions (originally Jewish) touching the Platonic λóyos, voûs, and Tpiás, [the Platonic trinity,] they might gain very much credit and interest amongst these Platonic Sophistes."

Beausobre, in his History of Manichæism, adverts to this subject. His opinion concerning the resemblance of the Platonic and Christian Trinity appears in the following passage.

"Such, according to Chalcidius,† was the Platonic Trinity. It has been justly regarded as defective. 1. It speaks of a first, a second, and a

* Part III. B. II. c. 1. § 9.

† Chalcidius was a Platonic philosopher, who lived before the close of the fourth century.

third God; expressions which Christianity has banished. Still, as appears from what I have said, Plato really acknowledged but a single God, because he admitted, properly speaking, but a single First Cause, and a single Monarch. 2. This theology is still further censured for the division of the Divine Persons, who are not only distinguished, but separated. The objection is well grounded. But this error may be pardoned in a philosopher; since it is excused in a great number of Christian writers, who have had the lights of the Gospel. 3. In the last place, fault is found with this theology on account of the inequality of the Persons. There is a supreme God, to whom the two others are subject. There was the same defect in the theology of the Manichæans. They believed the consubstantiality of the Persons, but they did not believe their equality. The Son was below the Father, and the Holy Spirit below the Father and Son. But if we go back to the time when Manichæus lived [about the middle of the third century], we shall be obliged to pardon an error which was then very general. . . . . . Huet, who acknowledges that Origen has everywhere taught that the Son is inferior to the Father, excuses him on the ground that this was the common doctrine of those writers who preceded the Council of Nice. And Petavius not only does not deny it, but proves it at length in his First Book on the Trinity."*

Histoire du Manichéisme, Tom. I. pp. 560, 561.

There has been no more noted defender of the doctrine in modern times than Bishop Horsley. The following is a quotation from his Letters to Dr. Priestley.

"I am very sensible that the Platonizers of the second century were the Orthodox of that age. I have not denied this. On the contrary, I have endeavored to show that their Platonism brings no imputation upon their Orthodoxy. The advocates of the Catholic faith in modern times have been too apt to take alarm at the charge of Platonism. I rejoice and glory in the opprobrium. I not only confess, but I maintain, not a perfect agreement, but such a similitude as speaks a common origin, and affords an argument in confirmation of the Catholic doctrine [of the Trinity], from its conformity to the most ancient and universal traditions."

In another place he says: "It must be acknowledged, that the first converts from the Platonic school took advantage of the resemblance between the Evangelic and Platonic doctrine on the subject of the Godhead, to apply the principles of their old philosophy to the explication and confirmation of the articles of their faith. They defended it by arguments drawn from Platonic principles; they even propounded it in Platonic language."†

The celebrated Bentley, upon taking his degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1696 at Cambridge, defended "the identity of the Christian and Platonic

* Letters to Dr. Priestley, Letter 13.

† Charge, IV. § 2.

Trinity," together with "the Mosaic account of the Creation and the Deluge," and "the proof of divine authority by the miracles recorded in Scripture." Nor does it appear that the first-mentioned position was regarded with surprise or obloquy, any more than the last two*

I might produce more authorities in support of the facts which have been stated. But I conceive it to be unnecessary. The fair inference from these facts every reader is able to draw for himself. The doctrine of the Trinity is not a doctrine of Christ and his Apostles, but a fiction of the school of the later Platonists, introduced into our religion by the Fathers, who were admirers and disciples of the philosophy taught in this school. The want of all mention of it in the Scriptures is abundantly compensated by the ample space which it occupies in the writings of the heathen Platonists, and of the Platonizing Fathers.

But what has been stated is not the only evidence which Ecclesiastical History affords against this doctrine. The conclusion to which we have just arrived is confirmed by other facts. But these, however important, I will here but barely mention. They are the facts of its gradual introduction; of its slow growth to its present form; of the strong opposition which it encountered; and of its tardy reception among the great body of common Christians.t

* See Monk's Life of Bentley, p. 57.

† On these subjects, see Dr. Priestley's History of Early Opinions concerning Jesus Christ. [Compare Mr. Norton's "Account of the

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