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found himself unable to accomplish his purpose, not waiting for the formal sentence of deposition, which the Semi-Arians proceeded to pronounce upon himself and eight others, he set off to Constantinople, where the Emperor then was, hoping there, in the absence of Basil and his party, to gain what had been denied him in the preliminary meeting at Sirmium. It so happened, however, that his object had been effected even before his arrival; for, a similar quarrel having resulted from the meeting at Ariminum, and deputies from the rival parties having thence similarly been despatched to Constantius, a Conference had already taken place at a city called Nice or Nicæa, in the neighbourhood of Hadrianople, and an emendated creed adopted, in which, not only the safeguard of the “in all things” was omitted, and the usia condemned, but even the word Hypostasis (Subsistence or Person) also, on the ground of its being a refinement on Scripture. So much had been already gained by the influence of Valens, when the arrival of Acacius at Constantinople gave fresh activity to the Eusebian party.
Thereupon a Council was summoned in the Imperial city of the neighbouring Bishops, principally of those of Bithynia, and the Acacian formula of Ariminum confirmed. Constantius was easily persuaded to believe of Basil, what had before been asserted of Athanasius, that he was the impediment to the settlement of the question, and to the tranquillity of the Church. Various charges of a civil and ecclesiastical nature were alleged against him and other Semi-Arians, as formerly against Athanasius, with what degree of truth it is impossible at this day to determine; and a sentence of deposition was issued against them. Cyril of Jerusalem, Eleusius of Cyzicus, Eustathius of Sebaste, and Macedonius of Constantinople, were in the number of those who suffered with Basil; Macedonius being succeeded by Eudoxius, who, thus seated in the first see of the East, became subsequently the principal stay of Arianism under the Emperor Valens.
This triumph of the Eusebian party in the East, took place in the beginning of A.D. 360; by which time the Council of Ariminum in the West, had been brought to a conclusion. To it we must now turn our attention.
The Latin Council had commenced its deliberations, before the Orientals had assembled at Seleucia ; yet it did not bring them to a close till the end of the year. The struggle between the Eusebians and their opponents had been so much the more stubborn in the West, in proportion as the latter were more numerous there, and fnrther removed from Arian doctrine, and Valens on the other hand more unscrupulous, and armed with fuller powers. Four hundred Bishops were collected at Ariminum, of whom but eighty were Arians; and the civil officer, to whom Constantius had committed the superintendence of their proceedings, had orders not to let them stir out of the city, till they should agree upon a confession of faith. At the opening of the Council, Valens, Ursacius, Germinius, Auxentius, Caius, and Demophilus, the Imperial Commissioners, had presented to the assembly the formula of the “like in all things” agreed upon in the preliminary conference at Sirmium ; and demanded, that, putting aside all strange and mysterious terms of theology, it should be at once adopted by the
assembled Fathers. They had received for answer, that the Latins determined to adhere to the formulary of Nicæa; and that, as a first step in their present deliberations, it was necessary that all present should forthwith anathematize all heresies and innovations, beginning with that of Arius. The Commissioners had refused to do so, and had been promptly condemned and deposed, a deputation of ten being sent from the Council to Constantius, to acquaint him with the result of its deliberations, The issue of this mission to the Court, to which Valens opposed one from his own party, has been already related. Constantius, with a view of wearing out the Latin Fathers, pretended that the barbarian war required his immediate attention, and delayed the consideration of the question till the beginning of October, several months after the opening of the Council; and then, frightening the Catholic deputation into compliance, he effected at Nice the adoption of the Homean creed (that is, the “like” without the “in all things ") and sent it back to Ariminum.
The termination of the Council there assembled was disgraceful to its members, but more so to the Emperor himself. Distressed by their long confinement, impatient at their absence from their respective dioceses, and apprehensive of the approaching winter, they began to
At first, indeed, they refused to communicate with their own apostate deputies ; but these, almost in :self-defence, were active and successful in bringing over others to their new opinions. A threat was held out by Taurus, the Prætorian Prefect, who superintended the discussions, that fifteen of the most obstinate should be sent into banishment; and Valens was importunate in the use of such theological arguments and explanations, as were likely to effect his object. The Prefect conjured them with tears to abandon an unfruitful obstinacy, to reflect on the length of their past confinement, the discomfort of their situation, the rigours of the winter, and to consider, that there was but one possible termination of the difficulty, which lay with themselves, not with him. Valens, on the other hand, affirmed that the Eastern bishops at Seleucia had abandoned the usia ; and he demanded of those who still stood their ground, what objection they could make to the Scriptural creed proposed to them, and whether, for the sake of a word, they would be the authors of a schism between Eastern and Western Christendom. He affirmed, that the danger apprehended by the Catholics was but chimerical; that he and his party condemned Arius and Arianism, as strongly as themselves, and were only desirous of avoiding a word, which confessedly is not in Scripture, and had in past time been productive of much scandal. Then, to put his sincerity to the proof, he began with a loud voice to anathematize the maintainers of the Arian blasphemies in succession; and he concluded by declaring, that he believed the Word to be God, begotten of God before all time, and not in the number of the creatures, and that whoever should say that He was a creature as other creatures, was anathema. The foregoing history of the heresy has sufficiently explained how the Arians evaded the force of these strong declarations; but the inexperienced Latins did not detect their insincerity. Satisfied, and glad to be released, they gave up the Homoüsion,
and signed the formula of the Homæon ; and scarcely had they separated, when Valens, as might be expected, boasted of his victory, arguing that the faith of Nicæa had been condemned by the very circumstance of his being allowed to confess, that the Son was “not a creature as other creatures, and so to imply, that, though not like other creatures, still He was created. Thus ended this celebrated Council; the result of which is well characterized in the lively statement of Jerome: “The whole world groaned in astonishment to find itself Arian 7."
In the proceedings attendant on the Councils of Seleucia and Ariminum, the Eusebians had skilfully gained two important objects, by means of unimportant concessions on their part. They had sacrificed Aetius and his Anomæon; and effected in exchange the disgrace of the Semi-Arians as well as of the Catholics, and the establishment of the Homcon, the truly characteristic symbol of a party, who, as caring little for the sense of Scripture, found an excuse and an indulgence of their unconcern, in a pretended maintenance of the letter. As to the wretched mountebank just mentioned, whose profaneness was so abominable, as to obtain for him the title of the "Atheist,” he was formally condemned in the Council at Constantinople (A.D. 360) already mentioned, in which the Semi-Arian Basil, Macedonius, and their associates had been deposed. During the discussions which attended it, Eleusius, one of the latter party, laid before the Emperor an Anoman creed, which
7 ["Ingemuit totus orbis, et Arianum se esse miratus est.”]