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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

This testimony of Macrobe has so much more bearing


"In

the Epinomis," continues Dacier, "Plato establishes as Principle, the first good, the Word, or intelligence and the soul. The first good is God;... the Word, or intelligence, is the son of this first good, who begets him similar to himself; and the soul, which is the term between the Father and the Son, is the Holy Spirit."

Plato had borrowed this doctrine about Trinity from Timee of Locre, who held it from the Italian philosophical school. Marsile Ficin, in one of his remarks on Plato, shows from the testimonies of Jamblic, Porphyre, Plato and Maxim of Tyr, that the Pythagoricians knew also the excellence of the Ternary; Pythagoras himself indicated it in this symbol: Protima to Schema, kai Bema, kai Triobolon. The Jesuit Kirker, dissenting about the unity and trinity of the first Principle, traces vestiges of the doctrine of Trinity up to Pythagoras, and to the Egyptians.

St. Augustine himself, though the staunchest defender of the dogma of Trinity, confessed that, among all the nations of the world, a Trinity, nearly similar to the one he believed in, had been held. He added that the Pythagoricians, the Platonicians, and that a great number of Atlantes, Lybian, Egyptian, Persian, Chaldean, Scythian, Gallenses, and Hibernian philosophers, held several dogmas about the unity of the God, Light, and Good, in common with the Church of Rome.

Macrobe gives us a summary of ancient

or Platonician theology, which contains a true Trinity, of which that of the Papists and of the self-called Protestant Orthodox is but a copy. According to this summary, the world has been formed by the universal soul: this soul is the same as their spiritus, or spirit. They also call the Holy Spirit Creator: "Veni Creator spiritus," etc., [translation,] Come Spirit Creator, etc., (Catholic hymn.) Macrobe adds, that from this spirit or soul the intelligence, which he calls _men's_ proceeds. Is this not the Father, the Son, or wisdom, and the Spirit that creates and vivifies all? Even is not the expression _to proceed_ common to the ancient and to the Papist and Protestant Orthodox Churches in the filiation of the first three beings?

Macrobe goes farther. He recalls the three Principles to a primitive unit, who is the sovereign God. After resting his theory on this Trinity he adds: "You see how this unit, or original monade of the first cause, is preserved entire and indivisible up to the soul, or spirit, which animates the world." This testimony of Macrobe has so much more bearing, that he wrote in the beginning of the fifth century; that he was the first Chamberlain of the emperor Theodose, and was the most learned antiquarian of that age.

Another most important fact we shall record. It is beyond any doubt that before the coming of Jesus Christ the Jews did not hold the dogma of Trinity, nor do they now. Their Rabbins, and all the Roman Catholic theologians, agree on this point.

During the first three centuries of the Christian era the dogma of Trinity was not generally believed. The Simonians, the Nicholaites, the Valentinians, the Basilidians, the Carpocratians, the Ophites, the Sethians, all the Gnostics, and many other Christian sects rejected it. It was only in the fourth century, that Arius and the above sects were condemned in the council of Nice, because they denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. This council was assembled by the order of the emperor Constantine I., who was urged to it by the Bishop of Rome, (or Pope,) whose Church held the dogma of Trinity. As a matter of course the bishops of the council had to decide according to the will of those two leaders; for Constantine threatened them with deposition and exile: in fact he banished Arius, and deposed seventeen bishops, who did not subscribe to the decision of the council.


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