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probably had the fame Notion from the Jews, which made Amelius the Platonist, when he read the beginning of St. John's Gospel, to say, this Barbarian agrees with Plato, ranking the Word in the order of Principles; meaning that he made the Word the Principle or efficient Cause of the World, as Plato alfo hath done.

And this Title of the Word was fo famously known to be given to the Meffias, that even the Enemies of Chriftianity took notice of it. Julian the Apoftate calls Chrift by this Name: And Mahomet in his Alchoran gives this Name of the Word to Jefus the Son of Mary. But St. John had probably no reference to Plato any otherwise than as the Gnofticks, against whom he wrote, made use of several of Plato's words and notions. So that in all probability St. John gives our B. Saviour this Title with regard to the Jews more especially, who anciently call'd the Meias by this Name.

Secoidy,

Secondly, We will in the next place confider, What might probably be the Occafion why this Evangelift makes fo frequent mention of this Title of the Word and infifts fo much upon it. And it feems to be this: Nay, I think that hardly any doubt can be made of it, fince the most ancient of the Fathers, who lived nearest the time of St. John, do confirm it to us.

St. John, who furvived all the Apoftles, liv'd to fee thofe Hereftes which sprang up in the beginnings of Christianity, during the lives of the Apoftles grown up to a great height, to the great prejudice and difturbance of the Chriftian Religion: I mean the Herefies of Ebion and Cerinthus, and the several Sects of the Gnofticks which began from Simon Magus, and were continued and carried on

by Valentinus and Bafilides, Carpocrates and Menander: Some of which exprefly denied the Divinity of our Saviour, afferting him to have been a mere man, and to have had no man

per

ner of existence before he was born of the B. Virgin, as Eufebius and Epiphanius tells us particularly concerning Ebion: Which those who hold the fame Opinion now in our days. may do well to confider from whence it had its Original.

Others of them, I ftill mean the Gnofticks, had corrupted the fimplicity of the Chriftian Doctrine by mingling with it the fancies and conceits of the Jewish Cabbalifts, and of the Schools of Pythagoras and Plato. and of the Chaldean Philofophy more ancient than either; as may be feen in Eufebius de Preparat. Evan.; and by jumbling all these together they had framed a confufed Genealogy of Deities, which they called by feveral glorious Names, and all of them by the general Name of Eons Ages Among which they reckon'd Ζώη & Λόγω & Μονογενής & Πλήρωμα, that is, the Life, and the Word, and the only begotten, and the Fulness, and many other Divine Powers and Ema-.

or

nations

nations whch they fancied to be fucceffively derived from one another. And they also distinguished between the Maker of the World whom they called the God of the Old Teftament, and the God of the New: And between Jefus and Chrift: Jefus according to the Doctrine of Cerinthus, as Irenaus tells, being the man that was born of the Virgin, and Chrift or the Meffias being that Divine Power or Spirit which afterwards defcended into Jefus and dwelt in him.

If it were poffible, yet it would be to no purpose, to go about to reconcile thefe wild conceits with one another; and to find out for what reason they were invented, unless it were to amufe the People with thefe high swelling words of vanity and a pretence of knowledge fally fo called, as the Apostle fpeaks in allufion to the Name of Gnofticks, that is to say, the Men of knowledge, which they proudly affum'd to themselves, as if the knowledge of Mysteries of a more

fublime

fublime nature did peculiarly belong to them.

In oppofition to all these vain and groundless conceits, St. John in the beginning of his Gospel chufes to speak of our B. Saviour, the Hiftory of whofe life and death he was going to write, by the Name or Title of the Word, a term very famous among thofe Sects: And fhews that this Word of God, which was also the Title the Jews antiently gave to the Meffias, did exift before he affumed a human Nature, and even from all Eternity And that to this eternal Word did truly belong all thofe Titles which they kept fuch a canting stir about, and which they did with fo much senseless nicety and fubtilty diftinguifh from one another, as if they had been so many several Emanations from the Deity: And he fhews that this Word of God, was really and truly the Life, and the Light, and the Fulness, and the only begotten of the Father; v. 5. In him was the Life,

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