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all parties, by Liberius ', by the Semi-Arians, and by the Eusebians; the Eusebians being compelled by the Emperor to submit for the time to the dogmatic formulæ, which they had gradually abandoned. Were it desirable to enlarge on this miserable apostasy, there are abundant materials in the letters, which Liberius wrote in renunciation of Athanasius, to his clergy, and to the Arian bishops. To Valens he protests, that nothing but his love of peace, greater than his desire of martyrdom itself, would have led him to the step which he had taken; in another he declares, that he has but followed his conscience in God's sight. To add to his misery, Constantius suffered him for a while to linger in exile, after he had given way. At length he was restored ; and at Ariminum in a measure retrieved his error, together with Vincent of Capua.
The sufferings and trials of Hosius, which took place about the same time, are calculated to impress the mind with the most sorrowful feelings, and still more with a lively indignation against his inhuman persecutors. Shortly before the conference at Sirmium, at which Liberius gave his allegiance to the supremacy of SemiArianism, a creed had been drawn up in the same city by Valens and the other more daring members of the Eusebian body. It would seem, that at this date Constantius had not taken the alarm against the Anomæans, to the extent in which he felt it soon afterwards, on the news probably of their proceedings in the East. Accordingly, the creed in question is of a mixed character. Not venturing on the Anomoeon, as at Milan, it nevertheless condemns the use of the usia (substance), Homoüsion, and Homæüsion, on somewhat of the equivocal plan, of which Acacius, as I have said above, was the most conspicuous patron; and being such, it was presented for signature to the aged Bishop of Corduba. The cruelty which they exercised to accomplish their purpose, was worthy of that singularly wicked faction which Eusebius had organized. Hosius was at this time 101 years old; and had passed a life, prolonged beyond the age of man, in services and sufferings in the cause of Christ. He had assisted in the celebrated Council of Elvira, in Spain (about the year 300), and had been distinguished as a confessor in the Maximinian persecution. He presided at the General Councils of Nicæa and Sardica, and was perhaps the only Bishop, besides Athanasius, who was known and reverenced at once in the East and West. When Constantius became possessed of the Western world, far from relaxing his zeal in a cause discountenanced at the Court, Hosius had exerted himself in his own diocese for the orthodox faith; and, when the persecution began, endeavoured by letter to rouse other bishops to a sense of the connexion between the acquittal of Athanasius, and the maintenance of divine truth. The Eusebians were irritated by his opposition; he was summoned to the Court at Milan, and, after a vain attempt to shake his constancy, dismissed back to his see. The importunities of Constantius being shortly after renewed,
5 [Vide supr. pp. 131. 294. 323. There is much difference of opinion, however, among writers, which was the creed which Liberius signed : vide Appendix, No. 3.]
6 Hilar. Fragm. iv. and vi.
both in the way of threats and of promises, Hosius addressed him an admirable letter, which Athanasius has preserved. After declaring his willingness to repeat, should it be necessary, the good confession which he had made in the heathen persecution, he exhorts the Emperor to abandon his unscriptural creed, and to turn his ear from Arian advisers. He states his conviction, that the condemnation of Athanasius was urged merely for the establishment of the heresy ; declares, that at Sardica his accusers had been challenged publicly to produce the proof of their allegations, and had failed, and that he himself had conversed with them in private, and could gain nothing satisfactory from them and he further reminds Constantius, that Valens and Ursacius had before now retracted the charges, which they once urged against him. “Change your course of action, I beseech you,” continues the earnest Prelate ; “ remember that you are a man.
Fear the day of judgment; keep your hands clean against it; meddle not with Church matters; far from advising us about them, rather seek instruction from us. God has put dominion into your hands; to us He has entrusted the management of the Church ; and, as a traitor to you is a rebel to the God who ordained you, so be afraid on your part, lest, usurping ecclesiastical power, you become guilty of a great sin. It is written, ‘Render unto Cæsar, Cæsar's, and what is God's, to God. We may not bear rule ; you, O Emperor, may not burn incense. I write this from a care for your soul. As to your message, I remain in the same mind. I do not join the Arians. I anathematize them. I do not subscribe the condemnation of Athanasius?.” Hosius did not address such language with impunity to a Court, which affected the majesty of oriental despotism. He was summoned to Sirmium, and thrown into prison. There he remained for a whole year. Tortures were added to force the old man from his resolution. He was scourged, and afterwards placed upon the rack. Mysterious it was, that so honoured a life should be preserved to an extremity of age, to become the sport and triumph of the Enemy of mankind. At length broken in spirit, the contemporary of Gregory and Dionysius was induced to countenance the impieties of the generation, into which he had lived; not indeed signing the condemnation of Athanasius, for he spurned that baseness to the last, but yielding subscription to a formulary, which forbad the mention of the Homoüsion, and thus virtually condemned the creed of Nicæa, and countenanced the Arian proceedings. Hosius lived about two years after this tragical event : and, on his deathbed, he protested against the compulsion which had been used towards him, and, with his last breath, abjured the heresy which dishonoured his Divine Lord and Saviour.
Meanwhile, the great Egyptian prelate, seated on his patriarchal throne, had calmly prosecuted the work, for which he was raised up, as if his name had not been mentioned in the Arian Councils, and the troubles, which agitated the Western Church, were not the prelude to the blow, which was to fall on himself. Untutored in concession to impiety, by the experience or the prospect of suffering, yet, sensitively alive to the difference between misbelief and misapprehension, while he punished he spared, and restored in the spirit of meekness, while he rebuked and rejected with power. On his return to Alexandria, seven years previous to the events last recorded, congratulations and professions of attachment poured in upon him from the provinces of the whole Roman world, near and distant. From Africa to Illyricum, and from England to Palestine, 400 episcopal letters solicited his communion or patronage ; and apologies, and the officiousness of personal service were liberally tendered by those, who, through cowardice, dulness, or self-interest, had joined themselves to the heretical party. Nor did Athanasius fail to improve the season of prosperity, for the true moral strength and substantial holiness of the people committed to him. The sacred services were diligently attended ; alms and benefactions supplied the wants of the friendless and infirm; and the young turned their thoughts to that . generous consecration of themselves to God, recommended by St. Paul in times of trouble and persecution.
7 Athan. Hist. Arian. ad Monach. 44. 8 Vide supr. p. 128.
In truth the sufferings, which the Church of Alexandria had lately undergone from the hands of the Eusebians, were sufficient to indispose serious minds towards secular engagements, or vows of duty to a fellow-mortal; to quench those anticipations of quietness and peace, which the overthrow of paganism had at first excited; and to remind them, that the girdle of celibacy and the