Owen - BX9315 O81

viii I'tiEFACE. for the substance of it, did prevail. (for inmany others demned at Ephesus and Chalcedon as the doctrineof Nestorius, was destructive of the true person of Christ;. and, that Cyril, though he missed it in sundry expres- sions, yet aimedat the declaration and confirmation of the truth; as be was long .since vindicated by Tlaeovia-: vine, Dialog. con. Armenios.. However, such was the watchful care of Christ over the church as unto the preservation of this sacred fun- damental truth, concerning his divine person, and the union of his natures therein, retainingtheir distinct pro- perties and operations, that notwithstanding all the faction and disorder that were in those primitive coun- cils, and scandalous contests of many of the membersof them; notwithstanding the determination contrary unto it in great and numerous" councils, the faith of it was preserved entire in the hearts- of all that truly believed, . and triumphed over the gates of hell. I have mentioned these few things, which belong unto the promise and prediction of our blessed Saviour, Match. xvi. S. the place insisted on, to spew- that the church, without any disadvantage to the truth, may be preserved without such general assemblies, which in the following ages proved the most pernicious engines for the corruption of the faith worship and: manners of it. Yea, from the beginning, they wereso farfrombeingthe onlywayof preserving truth, that it was almost constant- ly prejudiced by the addition of their authority u to. the confirmation of it. Nor was there any one of theta" wherein the mystery of iniquity did not work unto the laying by some rubbish in the frmndationof that fatal apostacy, which afterwards openly ensued. The Lord- Christ himself bath, taken it upon'. Trim, to build his church on this rookof hisperson, by true faith of it and in it. He sends his Holy Spirit to bear testimony unto . him, in all the blessed effects of his power and grace. Hecontinaeth his,word with the faithful ministry ofit, . to reveal, declare, make known, and vindicate, this sa, cred truth unto theconvictionof gainsayers. Hekeeps up" thatfaith in hits, that love-unto him, in the, hearts:, lof all - hie - elect, asshalhnotbe.prevailed:against. Where fore although the oppositions: unto this sacred truth,. this fundamental:article of the,church, and .Christian. re- ligion, concerning his divine, person, its constitution: and use, as the human nature: conjoined substantially unto it, and-subsisteth in it, arein thislast age increas- ed; although they are managed under au-great a variety it happened quite otherwise), yet did they always give occasions unto new divisions, animosities, andeven mu- tual hatreds, among the principal leaders of the Chris- tian people. And great contests there were among some of them who pretended '. to believe the sane truth, whether such or such a council should be received, that is plainly whether the church should resolve its faith . into their authority. The strifes of this nature about the first Ephesian council, and that at Chalcedon; not. to mention them wherein the Arians prevailed, take up a good part of the ecclesiastical story of those days. And it cannot be denied, but that some of the princi- pal persons and assemblies who adhered unto the truth, did in the heat of opposition unto the heresies of other men, fall into unjustifiable excess themselves. We may take an instance hereof with respect unto the Nestorian heresy, condemned in the first Ephesian council, and afterwards in that at Chalcedon. Cyrillus of Alexandria, a man learned and vehement, designed by all means to be unto it, what his predecessor Athan- asius had been to the Arian: but he fell into such ex- cesses in his undertakings, as gave great occasion unto" farther tumults; for,it is evident, that he distiaguisheth not between inrórkrac. and Ore, and therefore affirms, that the divine word and humanity had eLe. Lr,., one nature only. So he doth plainly in Epist. ad. Succes- sum; they are ignorant, sefth. he, är, , .tnájs,a..irì Kía SOW rd afire rerag..pim. ' That according to truth one '-nature of the Word was incarnate.' Hence.Eutyohes the Archimandrite took occasion to run into a contrary extreme, being a no less fierce enemy to Nestorius,than Cyrillus was. For ta oppose him, who divided the per- son of Christ into two; he confounded his natures into one, his delirant folly being confirmed by that goodly assembly, thesecondat Ephesus. Besides, it is.confhs- sed thatCyrillus, through the vehemency of his spirit, hatred. unto Nestorius, andfollowing. theconduct ofhis own mind innice, and subtle expressions of the great mystery of the persan of Christ, did utter many things exceeding, the bounds. of sobriety prescribed unto us by the apostle, Rom. xiii. 3.. if not those of truth itself. Hence it is como to pass, that many learnedmen begin to think and :write, that Cyrilluswas in, the wrong, and Ntstorious by his means- condemned undeservedly. However, it is certain to me, that- the.doctiine con