« PreviousContinue »
Antioch, filled the inferior offices with their own creatures, and sowed the seeds of future discords and disorders, which they could not hope to have themselves the satisfaction of beholding. The orthodox majority of Bishops and divines, on the other hand, timorously or indolently, kept in the background; and allowed themselves to be represented at Sardica by men, whose tenets they knew to be unchristian, and professed to abominate. And in such circumstances, the blame of the open dissensions, which ensued between the Eastern and Western divisions of Christendom, was certain to be attributed to those who urged the summoning of the Council, not to those who neglected their duty by staying away. In qualification of this censure, however, the intriguing spirit of the Eusebians must be borne in mind; who might have means, of which we are not told, of keeping away their orthodox brethren from Sardica. Certainly the
Certainly the expense of the journey was considerable, whatever might be the imperial or the ecclesiastical allowances for it?, and their absence from their flocks, especially in an age fertile in Councils, was an evil. Still there is enough in the history of the times, to evidence a culpable negligence on the part of the orthodox of Asia.
2 [On the cursus publicus, vid. Gothofred. in Cod. Theod. viii. tit. 5. It was provided for the journeys of the Emperor, for persons whom he summoned, for magistrates, ambassadors, and for such private persons as the Emperor indulged in the use of it, which was gratis. The use was granted by Constantine to the Bishops who were summoned to Nicæa, as far as it it went, in addition to other means of travelling. Euseb. V. Const. iii. 6. (though aliter Valesius in loc.) The cursus publicus brought the Bishops to the Council of Tyre. Ibid. iv. 43. In the conference between Liberius and Constantius (Theod. Hist. ii. 13), it is objected that the cursus publicus is not sufficient to convey Bishops to the Council, as Liberius proposes ; he answers that the Churches are rich enough to convey their Bishops as far as the seas. Thus St. Hilary was compelled (datâ evectionis copiâ, Sulp. Sev. Hist. ii. 57) to attend at Seleucia, as Athanasius at Tyre. Julian complains of the abuse of the cursus publicus, perhaps with an allusion to these Councils of Constantius. Vide Cod. Theod. viii. tit. 5, 1. 12; where Gothofred quotes Liban. Epitaph. in
However, this rupture between the East and West has here been noticed, not to censure the Asiatic Churches, but for the sake of its influence on the fortunes of Arianism. It had the effect of pushing forward the Semi-Arians, as they are called, into a party distinct from the Eusebian or Court party, among whom they had hitherto been concealed. This party, as its name implies, professed a doctrine approximating to the orthodox; and thus served as a means of deceiving the Western Churches, which were unskilled in the evasions, by which the Eusebians extricated themselves from even the most explicit confessions of the Catholic doctrine. Accordingly, the six heretical confessions hitherto recounted were all Semi-Arian in character, as being intended more or less to justify the heretical
Julian. (vol. i. p. 569, ed. Reiske). Vide the well-known passage of Ammianus, who speaks of the Councils as being the ruin of the res vehicularia, Hist. xxi, 16. The Eusebians at Philippopolis say the same, Hilar. Fragm. iii. 25. The Emperor provided board and perhaps lodging for the Bishops at Ariminum; which the Bishops of Aquitaine, Gaul, and Britain declined, except three British from poverty. Sulp. Hist. ii. 56. Hunmeric in Africa, after assembling 466 Bishops at Carthage, dismissed them without mode of conveyance, provision, or baggage. Victor. Utic. Hist. iii. init. In the Emperor's letter previous to the assembling of the sixth Ecumenical Council, A.D. 678 (Harduin. Conc. t. 3, p. 1043, fin.), he says he has given orders for the conveyance and maintenance of its members. Pope John VIII. reminds Ursus, Duke of Venice (A.D. 876), of the same duty of providing for the members of a Council, “secundum pios principes, qui in talibus munificè semper erant intenti.” Colet. Concil. (Ven. 1730) t. xi. p. 14.]
party in the eyes of the Latins. But when this object ceased to be feasible, by the event of the Sardican Council, the Semi-Arians ceased to be of service to the Eusebians, and a separation between the parties gradually took place.
The Semi-Arians, whose history shall here be introduced, originated, as far as their doctrine is concerned, in the change of profession which the Nicene anathema was the occasion of imposing upon the Eusebians; and had for their founders Eusebius of Cæsarea, and the sophist Asterius.
But viewed as a party, they are of a later date. The genuine Eusebians were never in earnest in the modified creeds, which they so ostentatiously put forward for the approbation of the West. However, while they clamoured in defence of the inconsistent doctrine contained in them, which, resembling the orthodox in word, might in fact subvert it, and at once confessed and denied our Lord, it so happened, that they actually recommended that doctrine to the judgment of some of their followers, and succeeded in creating a direct belief in an hypothesis, which in their own case was but the cloke for their own indifference to the truth. This at least seems the true explanation of an intricate subject in the history. There are always men of sensitive and subtle minds, the natural victims of the bold disputant; men, who, unable to take a broad and communsense view of an important subject, try to satisfy their
3 [Vide Ath. Tr. p. 111, t. p. 116, h.]
intellect and conscience by refined distinctions and perverse reservations. Men of this stamp were especially to be found among a people possessed of the language and acuteness of the Greeks. Accordingly, the Eusebians at length perceived, doubtless to their surprise and disgust, that a party had arisen from among themselves, with all the positiveness (as they would consider it), and nothing of the straightforward simplicity of the Catholic controversialists, more willing to dogmatize than to argue, and binding down their associates to the real import of the words, which they had themselves chosen as mere evasions of orthodoxy ; and to their dismay they discovered, that in this party the new Emperor himself was to be numbered. Constantius, indeed, may be taken as a type of a genuine Semi-Arian; resisting, as he did, the orthodox doctrine from over-subtlety, timidity, pride, restlessness, or other weakness of mind, yet paradoxical enough to combat at the same time and condemn all, who ventured to teach any thing short of that orthodoxy. Balanced on this imperceptible centre between truth and error, he alternately banished every party in the controversy, not even sparing his own; and had recourse in turn to every creed for relief, except that in which the truth was actually to be found.
The symbol of the Semi-Arians was the Homæusion, “like in substance," which they substituted for the orthodox Homoüsion, "one in substance," or "consubstantial.” Their objections to the latter formula took the following form. If the word usia,“substance,” denoted the “first substance," or an individual being, then Homoüsios seemed to bear a Sabellian meaning, and to involve
a denial of the separate personality of the Son. On the other hand, if the word was understood as including two distinct Persons (or Hypostases), this was to use it, as it is used of created things; as if by substance were meant some common nature, either divided in fact, or one merely by abstractions. They were strengthened in this view by the decree of the Council, held at Antioch between the years 260 and 270, in condemnation of Paulus, in which the word Homoüsion, was proscribed. They preferred, accordingly, to name the Son “like in substance," or Homæüsios, with the Father, that is, of a substance like in all things, except in not being the Father's substance; maintaining at the same time, that, though the Son and Spirit were separate in substance from the Father, still they were so included in His glory that there was but one God.
Instead of admitting the evasion of the Arians, that the word Son had but a secondary sense, and that our Lord was in reality a creature, though “not like other creatures,” they plainly declared that He was not a creature, but truly the Son, born of the substance (usia) of the Father, as if an Emanation from Him at His will; yet they would not allow Him simply to be God, as the Father was; but, asserting that there were various energies in the Divine Being, they considered creation to be one, and the gennesis or generation to be another, so that the Son, though distinct in substance from God, was at the same time essentially distinct from
from every created
6 Soz. üi. 18.
+ Epiph. Hær. lxxiii. 11. fin.
6 όμοιος κατ' ουσίαν.