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aided the progress of doctrinal corruption . There you find neither the Trinity , nor the deity of the Holy Spirit , nor the . deity of the Son . No , this creed , which ascends , in point of time ,, to the first ages of the Church , sets forth the unity and supremacy of God , and the manhood and divine functions of Jesus Christ . Under the names of Ebionites and Nazarenes
was included the whole body of the Jewish converts . This portion of the early Church held their Saviour to be , in the words of Peter , a man approved of God . And let it be observed that this Church was founded by the Apostles themselves , and presided over by men succeeding the Apostles in a direct line . It is also a matter of history , that the early Gentile Church believed in the simple humanity of our Lord . Several of the most eminent Orthodox Fathers admit that the earliest
writers of the New Testament did not , any more than Jesus himself , set forth the deity of Christ , for fear of exciting opposition in the minds of those whom they wished to convert . The dis-r closure , which Matthew , Mark , and Luke prudently avoided , was made , they assert , near the end of the first century , by the Apostle John .
For nearly one hundred years , then , by the admission of the opponent , the Church knew nothing of the now alleged deity of its founder , but was left to the impression respecting his nature which not only the most express declarations of his manhood , but also the whole course of his life and death , was fitted to convey . Most of the writings of the ancient Unitarians , those who deemed themselves orthodox destroyed , in order , if possible , to hinder the world from knowing how late was the origin of their cor *
ruptness in doctrine . But enough remains even in their own works to assure us that the doctrine of Christ ' s humanity was the earliest faith of Christians . This we find the early Unitarians strenuously maintained . Those who opposed them are able to refer to no higher an authority in point of time than Justin Martyr , who flourished in the 2 nd century—a plain proof that down to his time the humanity of the Saviour was the prevalent belief . The manner in which they oppose the doctrine of
primitive Unitarianism shews that fewness in number , and novelty in doctrine were with themselves , and the contraries with those whose tenets they laboured to supplant . Whenever what is termed orthodoxy has been the prevailing doctrine , its advocates have always been intolerant of Unitarians . In the times of
which we now treat , the assumed orthodox spoke with mildness of the Unitarian sentiments , and in the tone of apology of their own . More than this—they have incidentally left passages in their works which establish beyond a doubt the Unitarianism of the great body of Christians during at least two hundred years after the death of Christ . " The many—the greater part of believers were , according to their unwilling testimony , Unitarian
. Rise and Progress of the Doctrine of the JTrinifif . Vf
JNo . 6 U c
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1832, page 17, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1804/page/17/