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him. He brought out some of the consecrated virgins, and threatened them with death by burning, unless they forthwith turned Arians. On perceiving their constancy of purpose, he stripped them of their garments, and beat them so barbarously on the face, that for some time afterwards their features could not be distinguished. Of the men, forty were scourged; some died of their wounds, the rest were banished. This is one out of many notorious facts, publicly declared at the time, and uncontradicted; and which were not merely the unauthorized excesses of an uneducated Cappadocian, but recognized by the Arian body as their own acts, in a state paper from the Imperial Court, and perpetrated for the maintenance of the peace of the Church, and of a good understanding among all who agreed in the authority of the sacred Scriptures.
In the manifesto, issued for the benefit of the people of Alexandria (A.D. 356), the infatuated Emperor applauds their conduct in turning from a cheat and impostor, and siding with those who were venerable men, and above all praise. “The majority of the citizens,” he continues, “were blinded by the influence of one who rose from the abyss, darkly misleading those who seek the truth; who had at no time any fruitful exhortation to communicate, but abused the souls of his hearers with frivolous and superficial discussions. ... That noble personage has not ventureil to stand a trial, but has adjudged himself to banishment; whom it is the interest .even of the barbarians to get rid of, lest by pouring out his griefs as in a play to the first comer, he persuade some of them to be profane. So we will wish him a fair
journey. But for yourselves, only the select few are your equals, or rather, none are worthy of your honours ; who are allotted excellence and sense, such as your actions proclaim, celebrated as they are almost in every place. ... You have roused yourselves from the grovelling things of earth to those of heaven, the most reverend George undertaking to be your leader, a man of all others the most accomplished in such matters; under whose care you will enjoy in days to come honourable hope, and tranquillity at the present time. May all
you hang upon his words as upon a holy anchor, that any cutting and burning may be needless on our part against men of depraved souls, whom we seriously advise to abstain from paying respect to Athanasius, and to dismiss from their minds his troublesome garrulity; or such factious men will find themselves involved in extreme peril, which perhaps no skill will be able to avert from them. For it were absurd indeed, to drive about the pestilent Athanasius from country to country, aiming at his death, though he had ten lives, and not to put a stop to the extravagances of his flatterers and juggling attendants, such as it is a disgrace to name, and whose death has long been determined by the judges. Yet there is a hope of pardon, if they will desist from their former offences. As to their profligate leader Athanasius, he distracted the harmony of the state, and laid on the most holy men impious and sacrilegious hands 4.
The ignorance and folly of this remarkable document
4 Athan. Apol. ad Constant. 30.
are at first sight incredible ; but to an observant mind the common experience of life brings sufficient proof, that there is nothing too audacious for party spirit to assert, nothing too gross for monarch or inflamed populace to receive.
It remains to relate the circumstances of the open disunion and schism between the Semi-Arians and the Anomoeans. 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
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 (åvópolos) 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 Homæüsian, the Homean, and the Anomoean,