Page images
PDF
EPUB

is known to have been precisely the same as that species of Arianism afterwards called Semi-Arianism»; but it is not on that account that I here trace the rise of Arianism to Lucian. There is an historical, and not merely a doctrinal connexion between him and the Arian party. In his school are found, in matter of fact, the names of most of the original advocates of Arianism, and all those who were the most influential in their respective Churches throughout the East :-Arius himself, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Leontius, Eudoxius, Asterius, and others, who will be familiar to us in the sequel; and these men actually appealed to him as their authority, and adopted from him the party designation of Collucianists*. In spite of this undoubted connexion between Lucian and the Arians, we might be tempted to believe, that the assertions of the latter concerning his heterodoxy, originated in their wish to implicate a man of high character in the censures which the Church directed against themselves, were it not undeniable, that during the times of the three bishops who successively followed Paulus, Lucian was under excommunication. The Catholics too, are silent in his vindication, and some of them actually admit his unsoundness in faith. However, ten or fifteen years before his martyrdom, he was reconciled to the Church ; and we may suppose that he then recanted whatever was heretical in his creed : and his glorious end was allowed to wipe out from the recollection of Catholics of succeeding times those passages of his history, which nevertheless were so miserable in their results in the age succeeding his own. Chrysostom's panegyric on the festival of his martyrdom is still extant, Ruffinus mentions him in honourable terms, and Jerome praises his industry, erudition, and eloquence in writing®.

3 Bull, Baronius, and others, maintain his orthodoxy. The SemiArians adopted his creed, which is extant. Though a friend, as it appears, of Paulus, he opposed the Sabellians (by one of whom he was at length betrayed to the heathen persecutors of the Church), and this opposition would lead him to incautious statements of an Arian tendency. Vide below, Section v. Epiphanius (Ancor. 33) tells us, that he considered the Word in the Person of Christ as the substitute for a human soul.

4 Theod. Hist. i. 5. Epiph. Hær. Ixix. 6. Cave, Hist. Literar, vol. i. p. 201.

í Theod. Hist. i. 4.

Such is the historical connexion at the very first sight between the Arian party and the school of Antioch?: corroborative evidence will hereafter appear, in the similarity of character which exists between the two bodies. At present, let it be taken as a confirmation of a fact, which Lucian's history directly proves, that Eusebius the historian, who is suspected of Arianism, and his friend Paulinus of Tyre, one of its first and principal supporters, though not pupils of Lucian, were more or less educated, and the latter ordained at Antioche; while in addition to the Arian bishops at Nicæa already mentioned, Theodotus of Laodicea, Gregory of Berytus, Narcissus of Neronias, and two others, who were all supporters of Arianism at the Council, were all situated within the ecclesiastical influence, and some of them in the vicinity of Antiocho; so that (besides Arius himself), of thirteen, who according to

6 Vide Tillemont, Mem. vol. v. 7 [Vide Appendix, Syrian School.] 8 Vales. de Vit. Euseb. et ad Hist. x. i. 9 Tillemont, Mem. vol. vi. p. 276.

Theodoret, arianized at the Council, nine are referable to the Syrian patriarchate. If we continue the history of the controversy, we have fresh evidence of the connexion between Antioch and Arianism. During the interval between the Nicene Council and the death of Constantius (A.D. 325—361), Antioch is the metropolis of the heretical, as Alexandria of the orthodox party. At Antioch, the heresy recommenced its attack upon the Church after the decision at Nicæa. In a Council held at Antioch, it first showed itself in the shape of Semi-Arianism, when Lucian's creed was produced. There, too, in this and subsequent Councils, negotiations on the doctrine in 'dispute were conducted with the Western Church. At Antioch, lastly, and at Tyre, a suffragan see, the sentence of condemnation was pronounced upon Athanasius.

Hitherto I have spoken of individuals as the authors of the apostasy which is to engage our attention in the following chapters; but there is reason to fear that men like Paulus were but symptoms of a corrupted state of the Church. The history of the times gives us sufficient evidence of the luxuriousness of Antioch; and it need scarcely be said, that coldness in faith is the sure consequence of relaxation of morals. Here, however, passing by this consideration, which is too obvious to require dwelling upon, I would rather direct the reader's attention to the particular form which the Antiochene corrup

i [Vide a remarkable passage in Origen, on the pomp of the Bishops of bis day, quoted by Neander, Hist. vol. ii. p. 330, Bohn.]

tions seem to have assumed, viz., that of Judaismo; which at that time, it must be recollected, was the creed of an existing nation, acting upon the Church, and not merely, as at this day, a system of opinions more or less discoverable among professing Christians.

The fortunes of the Jewish people had experienced a favourable change since the reign of Hadrian. The violence of Roman persecution had been directed against the Christian Church; while the Jews, gradually recovering their strength, and obtaining permission to settle and make proselytes to their creed, at length became an influential political body in the neighbourhood of their ancient home, especially in the Syrian provinces which were at that time the chief residence of the court. Severus (A.D. 194) is said to have been the first to extend to them the imperial favour, though he afterwards withdrew it. Heliogabalus, and Alexander, natives of Syria, gave them new privileges; and the latter went so far as to place the image of Abraham in his private chapel, among the objects of his ordinary worship. Philip the Arabian continued towards them a countenance, which was converted into an open patro-. nage in the reign of Zenobia. During the Decian persecution, they had been sufficiently secure at Carthage, to venture to take part in the popular ridicule which the Christians excited; and they are even said to have stimulated Valerian to his cruelties towards the Church”.

2 [Lengerke, de Ephræm. Syr. p. 64, traces the literal interpretation, which was the characteristic of the school of Antioch, to the example of the Jews.]

3 Basnage, Hist. des Juifs, vi. 12. Tillemont, Hist. des Emper. iii. iv.

But this direct hostility was not the only, nor the most formidable means of harassing their religious enemies, which their improving fortunes opened upon them. With their advancement in wealth and importance, their national character displayed itself under a new exterior. The moroseness for which they were previously notorious, in great measure disappears with their dislodgment from the soil of their ancestors; and on their re-appearance as settlers in a strange land, those festive, self-indulgent habits, which, in earlier times, had but drawn on them the animadversion of their Prophets, became their distinguishing mark in the eyes of external observers". Manifesting a rancorous malevolence towards the zealous champions of the Church, they courted the Christian populace by arts adapted to captivate and corrupt the unstable and worldly-minded. Their pretensions to magical power gained them credit with the superstitious, to whom they sold amulets for the cure of diseases; their noisy spectacles attracted the curiosity of the idle, who weakened their faith, while they disgraced their profession, by attending the worship of the Synagogue. Accordingly there was formed around the Church a mixed multitude, who, without relinquishing their dependence on Christianity for the next world, sought in Judaism the promise of temporal blessings, and a more accommodating rule of life than the gospel revealed. Chrysostom found this evil so urgent at Antioch in his day, as to interrupt his course of homilies on the heresy of the Anomeans, in order to direct his

.4 Vide Gibbon, Hist. ch. xvi. note 6. Chrysost. in Judæos, i. p. 386– 388, &c.

« PreviousContinue »