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It remains to relate the circumstances of the open disunion and schism between the Semi-Arians and the Anomeans. In order to set this clearly before the reader, a brief recapitulation must first be made of the history of the heresy, which has been thrown into the shade in the last Section, by the narrative of the ecclesiastical events to which it gave occasion.
The Semi-Arian school was the offspring of the ingenious refinements, under which the Eusebians concealed impieties, which the temper of the faithful made it inexpedient for them to avow'. Its creed preceded the party ; that is, those subtleties, which were too feeble to entangle the clear intellects of the school of Lucian, produced after a time their due effect upon the natural subjects of them, viz. men who, with more devotional feeling than the Arians, had less plain sense, and a like deficiency of humility. A Platonic fancifulness made them the victims of an Aristotelic subtlety ; and in the philosophising Eusebius and the sophist Asterius, we
[Plato made Semi-Arians, and Aristotle Arians.]
recognize the appropriate inventors, though hardly the sincere disciples, of the new creed. For a time, the distinction between the Semi-Arians and the Eusebians did not openly appear; the creeds put forth by the whole party being all, more or less, of a Semi-Arian cast, down to the Council of Sirmium inclusive (A. D. 351), in which Photinus was condemned. In the meanwhile the Eusebians, little pleased with the growing dogmatism of members of their own body, fell upon the expedient of confining their confessions to Scripture terms; which, when separated from their context, were of course inadequate to concentrate and ascertain the true doctrine. Hence the formula of the Homcon ; which was introduced by Acacius with the express purpose of deceiving or baffling the Semi-Arian members of his party. This measure was the more necessary for Eusebian interests, inasmuch as a new variety of the heresy arose in the East at the same time, advocated by Aetius and Eunomius; who, by professing boldly the pure Arian tenet, alarmed Constantius, and threw him back upon Basil, and the other Semi-Arians. This new doctrine, called Anomean, because it maintained that the usia or substance of the Son was unlike (åvóuolos) the Divine usia, was actually adopted by one portion of the Eusebians, Valens and his rude Occidentals ; whose language and temper, not admitting the refinements of Grecian genius, led them to rush from orthodoxy into the most hard and undisguised impiety. And thus the parties stand at the date now before us (A. D. 356–361); Constantius being alternately swayed by Basil, Acacius, and Valens, that is, by the Homæusian, the Homoean, and the Anomean,
the Semi-Arian, the Scripturalist, and the Arian pure; by his respect for Basil and the Semi-Arians, the talent of Acacius, and his personal attachment to Valens.
Aetius, the founder of the Anomeans, is a remarkable instance of the struggles and success of a restless and aspiring mind under the pressure of difficulties. He was a native of Antioch; his father, who had an office under the governor of the province, dying when he was a child, he was made the servant or slave of a vinedresser. He was first promoted to the trade of a goldsmith or travelling tinker, according to the conflicting testimony of his friends and enemies. Falling in with an itinerant practitioner in medicine, he acquired so much knowledge of the art, as to profess it himself; and, the further study of his new profession introducing him to the disputations of his more learned brethren, he manifested such acuteness and boldness in argument, that he was soon engaged, after the manner of the Sophists, as a paid advocate for such physicians as wished their own theories exhibited in the most advantageous form. The schools of Medicine were at that time infected with Arianism, and thus introduced him to the science of theology, as well as that of disputation; giving him a bias towards heresy, which was soon after confirmed by the tuition of Paulinus, Bishop of Tyre. At Tyre he so boldly conducted the principles of Arianism to their legitimate results, as to scandalize the Eusebian successor of Paulinus; who forced him to retire to Anazarbus, and to resume his former trade of a goldsmith. The energy
of Aetius, however, could not be restrained by the obstacles which birth, education, and decency threw in his way. He made acquaintance with a teacher of grammar; and, readily acquiring a smattering of polite literature, he was soon enabled to criticise his master's expositions of sacred Scripture before his pupils. A quarrel, as might be expected, ensued; and Aetius was received into the house of the Bishop of Anazarbus, who had been one of the Arian prelates at Nicæa. This man was formerly mentioned as one of the rudest and most daring among the first assailants of our Lord's divinity”. It is probable, however, that, after signing the Homoüsion, he had surrendered himself to the characteristic duplicity and worldliness of the Eusebian party; for Aetius is said to have complained, that he was deficient in depth, and, in spite of his hospitality, looked out for another instructor. Such an one he found in the person of a priest of Tarsus, who had been from the first a consistent Arian ; and with him he read the Epistles of St. Paul. Returning to Antioch, he became the pupil of Leontius, in the prophetical Scriptures; and, after a while, put himself under the instruction of an Aristotelic sophist of Alexandria. Thus accomplished, he was ordained deacon by Leontius (A.D. 350), who had been lately raised to the patriarchial See of Antioch. Thus the rise of the Anomean sect coincides in point of time with the death of Constans, an event already noticed in the history of the Eusebians, as transferring the Empire of the West to Constantius, and, thereby furthering their
division into the Homean and Homæusian factions. Scarcely had Aetius been ordained, when the same notorious irregularities in his carriage, whatever they were, which had more than once led to his expulsion from the lay communion of the Arians, caused his deposition from the diaconate, by the very prelate who had promoted him to it. After this, little is known of him for several years; excepting a dispute, which he held with the Semi-Arian Basil, which marks his rising importance. During the interval, he ingratiated himself with Gallus, the brother of Julian ; and was implicated in his political offences. Escaping, however, the anger of Constantius, by his comparative insignificance, he retired to Alexandria, and lived for some time in the train of George of Cappadocia, who allowed him to officiate as deacon. Such was at this time the character of the clergy, whom the Arians had introduced into the Syrian Churches, that this despicable adventurer, whose manners were so odious, as his life was eccentric, and his creed blasphemous, had sufficient influence to found a sect, which engaged the attention of the learned Semi-Arians at Ancyra (A.D. 358), and has employed the polemical powers of the orthodox Fathers, Basil and Gregory Nyssen.
Eunomius, his disciple, was the principal disputant in the controversy. With more learning than Aetius, he was enabled to complete and fortify the Anomean system, inheriting from his master the two peculiarities of character which belong to his school; the first, a faculty of subtle disputation and hard mathematical reasoning, the second, a fierce, and in one sense an honest, disdain