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cessions which implied the further heresy that points of faith are of no importance; and, if they were odious when they blasphemed the truth, they were still more odious when they confessed it. It was the very principle of Eclecticism to make light of differences in belief; while it was involved in the primary notion of a Revelation that these differences were of importance, and it was taught with plainness in the Gospel, that to join with those who denied the right faith was a sin.
This adoption, however, on the part of the Eusebians, of the dreams of Pagan philosophy, served in some sort as a recommendation of them to a prince who, both from education and from knowledge of the world, was especially tempted to consider all truth as a theory which was not realized in a present tangible form. Accordingly, when once they had rid themselves of the mortification caused by their forced subscription, they had the satisfaction of finding themselves the most powerful party in the Church, as being the representative and organ of the Emperor's sentiments. They then at once changed places with the Catholics; who sustained a double defeat, both in the continued power of those whom they had hoped to exclude from the Church, and again, in the invidiousness of their own unrelenting suspicion and dislike of men, who had seemed by subscription to satisfy all reasonable doubt respecting their orthodoxy.
The Arian party was fortunate, moreover, in its leaders; one the most dexterous politician, the other the most accomplished theologian of the age. Eusebius of Nicomedia was a Lucianist, the fellow-disciple of Arius. He was originally Bishop of Berytus, in Phoenicia ; but, having gained the confidence of Constantia, sister to Constantine, and wife to Licinius, he was by her influence translated to Nicomedia, where the Eastern Court then resided. Here he secretly engaged in the cause of Licinius against his rival, and is even reported to have been indifferent to the security of the Christians during the persecution which followed; a charge which certainly derives some confirmation from Alexander's circular epistle, in which the Arians are accused of directing the violence of the civil power against the orthodox of Alexandria. On the ruin of Licinius, he was screened by Constantia from the resentment of the conqueror; and, being recommended by his polished manners and shrewd and persuasive talent, he soon contrived to gain an influence over the mind of Constantine himself. From the time that Arius had recourse to him on his flight from Palestine, he is to be accounted the real head of the heretical party; and his influence is quickly discernible in the change which ensued in its language and conduct. While a courteous tone was assumed towards the defenders of the orthodox doctrine, the subtleties of dialectics, in which the sect excelled, were used, not in attacking, but in deceiving its opponents, in making unbelief plausible, and obliterating the distinctive marks of the true creed. It must not be forgotten that it was from Nicomedia, the see of Eusebius, that Constantine wrote his epistle to Alexander and Arius.
In supporting Arianism in its new direction, the other Eusebius, Bishop of Cæsarea, was of singular service. This distinguished writer, to whom the Christian world has so great a debt at the present day, though not characterized by the unprincipled ambition of his namesake, is unhappily connected in history with the Arian party. He seems to have had the faults and the virtues of the mere man of letters: strongly excited neither to good nor to evil, and careless at once of the cause of truth and the prizes of secular greatness, in comparison of the comforts and decencies of literary ease. His first master was Dorotheus of Antioch ” ; afterwards he became a pupil of the School of Cæsarea, which seems to have been his birth-place, and where Origen had taught. Here he studied the works of that great master, and the other writers of the Alexandrian school. It does not appear when he first began to arianize. At Cæsarea he is celebrated as the friend of the Orthodox Pamphilus, afterwards martyred, whom he assisted in his defence of Origen, in answer to the charges of heterodoxy then in circulation against him. The first book of this work is still extant in the Latin translation of Ruffinus, and its statements of the Catholic doctrines are altogether explicit and accurate. In his own writings, numerous as they are, there is very little which fixes on Eusebius any charge, beyond that of an attachment to the Platonic phraseology. Had he not connected himself with the Arian party, it would have been unjust to have suspected him of heresy. But his acts are his confession. He openly sided with those whose blasphemies a true Christian would have abhorred; and he sanctioned and shared their deeds of violence and injustice perpetrated on the Catholics.
But it is a different reason which has led to the mention of Eusebius in this connexion. The grave accusation under which he lies, is not that of arianizing, but of corrupting the simplicity of the Gospel with an Eclectic spirit. While he held out the ambiguous language of the schools as a refuge, and the Alexandrian imitation of it as an argument, against the pursuit of the orthodox, his conduct gave countenance to the secular maxim, that difference in creeds is a matter of inferior moment, and that, provided we confess as far as the very terms of Scripture, we may speculate as philosophers, and live as the world“. A more dangerous adviser Constantine could hardly have selected, than a man thus variously gifted, thus exalted in the Church, thus disposed towards the very errors against which he required especially to be guarded. The remark has been made that, throughout his Ecclesiastical History no instance occurs of his expressing abhorrence of the superstitions of paganism, and that his custom is either to praise, or not to blame, such heretical writers as fall under his notice.
Nor must the influence of the Court pass unnoticed, in recounting the means by which Arianism secured a hold over the mind of the Emperor. Constantia, his favourite sister, was the original patroness of Eusebius of Nicomedia ; and thus a princess, whose name would otherwise be dignified by her misfortunes, is known to Christians of later times only as a principal instrument of the success of heresy. Wrought upon by a presbyter, a creature of the bishop's, who was in her confidence, she summoned Constantine to her bed-side in her last illness, begged him, as her parting request, to extend his favour to the Arians, and especially commended to his regard the presbyter himself, who had stimulated her to this experiment on the feelings of a brother. The hangers-on of the Imperial Court imitated her in her preference for the polite and smooth demeanour of the Eusebian prelates, which was advantageously contrasted to the stern simplicity of the Catholics. The eunuchs and slaves of the palace (strange to say) embraced the tenets of Arianism; and all the most light-minded and frivolous of mankind allowed themselves to pervert the solemn subject in controversy into matter for fashionable conversation or literary amusement.
4 In this association of the Eusebian with the Eclectic temper, it must not be forgotten, that Julian the Apostate was the pupil of Eusebius of Nicomedia, his kinsman ; that he took part with the Arians against the Catholics; and that, in one of his extant epistles, he speaks in praise of the writings of an Arian Bishop, George of Laodicea. Vide Weisman, sec. iv. 35. § 12.
5 Kestner de Euseb. Auctor. prolegom. § 17. Yet it must be confessed, he is strongly opposed to yohtela in all its forms; i.e. as being unworthy a philosopher.
The arts of flattery completed the triumph of the heretical party. So many are the temptations to which monarchs are exposed of forgetting that they are men, that it is obviously the duty of the Episcopal Order to remind them that there is a visible Power in the world, divinely founded and protected, superior to their own. But Eusebius places himself at the feet of a heathen; and forgetful of his own ordination-grace, allows the Emperor to style himself “the bishop of Paganism,"