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stantinople itself. On the death of Eudoxius (A.D.370), the Catholics elected an orthodox successor, by name Evagrius. He was instantly banished by the Emperor's command; and the population of Constantinople seconded the act of Valens, by the most unprovoked excesses towards the Catholics. Eighty of their clergy, who were in consequence deputed to lay their grievances before the Emperor, lost their lives, under circumstances of extreme treachery and barbarity. Faith, which was able to stand its ground in such a season of persecution, was naturally prompted to more strenuous acts, when prosperous times succeeded. On the death of Valens, the Catholics of Constantinople looked beyond their own community for assistance, in combating the dominant heresy. Evagrius, whom they had elected to the See, seems to have died in exile ; and they invited to his place the celebrated Gregory Nazianzen, a man of diversified accomplishments, distinguished for his eloquence, and still more for his orthodoxy, his integrity, and the innocence, amiableness, and refinement of his character.
Gregory was a native of Cappadocia, and an intimate friend of the great Basil, with whom he had studied at Athens. On Basil's elevation to the exarchate of Cæsarea, Gregory had been placed by him in the bishoprick of Sasime; but, the appointment being contested by Anthimus, who claimed the primacy of the lower Cappadocia, he retired to Nazianzus, his father's diocese, where he took on himself those duties, to which the elder Gregory had become unequal. After the death of the latter, he remained for several years without pastoral
employment, till the call of the Catholics brought him to Constantinople. His election was approved by Meletius, patriarch of Antioch; and by Peter, the successor of Athanasius, who by letter recognized his accession to the metropolitan see.
On his first arrival there, he had no more suitable place of worship than his own lodgings, where he preached the Catholic doctrine to the dwindled communion over which he presided. But the result which Constantius had anticipated; when he denied to Athanasius a Church in Antioch, soon showed itself at Constantinople. His congregation increased; the house, in which they assembled, was converted into a church by the pious liberality of its owner, with the name of Anastasia, in hope of that resurrection which now awaited the long-buried truths of the Gospel. The contempt, with which the Arians had first regarded him, was succeeded by a persecution on the part of the populace. An attempt was made to stone him; his church was attacked, and he himself brought before a magistrate, under pretence of having caused the riot. Violence so unjust did but increase the influence, which a disdainful toleration had allowed him to establish; and the accession of the orthodox Theodosius secured it.
On his arrival at Constantinople, the new Emperor resolved on executing in his capital the determination, which he had already prescribed by edict to the Eastern Empire. The Arian Bishops were required to subscribe the Nicene formulary, or to quit their sees. Demophilus, the Eusebian successor of Eudoxius, who has already been introduced to our notice as an accomplice in the
seduction of Liberius, was first presented with this alternative; and, with an honesty of which his party affords few instances, he refused to assent at once to opinions, which he had all through his life been opposing, and retired from the city. Many bishops, however, of the Arian party conformed; and the Church was unhappily inundated by the very evil, which in the reign of Constantine the Athanasians had strenuously and successfully withstood.
The unfortunate policy, which led to this measure, might seem at first sight to be sanctioned by the decree of the Alexandrian Council, which made subscription the test of orthodoxy; but, on a closer inspection, the cases will be found to be altogether dissimilar. When Athanasius acted upon that principle, in the reign of Julian, there was no secular object to be gained by conformity; or rather, the malevolence of the Emperor was peculiarly directed against those, whether orthodox or Semi-Arians, who evinced any earnestness about Christian truth. Even then, the recognition was not extended to those who had taken an active part on the side of heresy. On the other hand, the example of Athanasius himself, and of Alexander of Constantinople, in the reign of Constantine, sufficiently marked their judgment in the matter; both of them having resisted the attempt of the Court to force Arius upon the Church, even though he professed his assent to the Homoüsion.
Whether or not it was in Gregory's power to hinder the recognition of the Arianizers, or whether his firmness was not equal to his humility and zeal, the consequences of the measure are visible in the conduct of the General Council, which followed it. He himself may be considered as the victim of it; and he has left us in poetry and in oratory his testimony to the deterioration of religious principle, which the chronic vicissitudes of controversy had brought about in the Eastern Church.
The following passage, from one of his orations, illustrates both the state of the times, and his own beautiful character, though unequal to struggle against them. “Who is there," he says, “but will find, on measuring himself by St. Paul's rules for the conduct of Bishops and Priests,—that they should be sober, chaste, not fond of wine, not strikers, apt to teach, unblamable in all things, unassailable by the wicked,—that he falls far short of its perfection ? . . I am alarmed to think of our Lord's censure of the Pharisees, and his reproof of the Scribes; disgraceful indeed would it be, should we, who are bid be so far above them in virtue, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, appear even worse than they. . . These thoughts haunt me night and day; they consume my bones, and feed on my flesh; they keep me from boldness, or from walking with erect countenance. They so humble me and cramp my mind, and place a chain on my tongue, that I cannot think of a Ruler's office, nor of correcting and guiding others, which is a talent above me; but only, how I myself may flee from the wrath to come, and scrape myself some little from the poison of my sin. First, I must be cleansed, and then cleanse others; learn wisdom, and then impart it; draw near to God, and then bring others to Him; be sanctified, and then sanctify. · When will you ever get to the end of this ?' say the all-hasty and unsafe, who are quick to build up and to pull down. When will you place your light on a candlestick? Where is your talent ?' So say friends of mine, who have more zeal for me than religious seriousness. Ah, my brave men, why ask my season for acting, and my plan? Surely the last day of payment is soon enough, old age in its extreme term. Grey hairs have prudence, and youth is untaught. Best be slow and sure, not quick and thoughtless; a kingdom for a day, not a tyranny for a life; a little gold, not a weight of lead.
weight of lead. It was the shallow earth shot forth the early blade. Truly there is cause of fear, lest I be bound hand and foot, and cast without the marriage-chamber, as an audacious intruder without fitting garment among the assembled guests. And yet I was called thither from my youth (to confess a matter which few know), and on God was I thrown from the womb; made over to Him by my mother's promise, confirmed in His service by dangers afterwards. Yea, and my own wish grew up beside her purpose, and my reason ran along with it; and all I had to give, wealth, name, health, literature, I brought and offered them to Him, who called and saved me; my sole enjoyment of them being to despise them, and to have something which I could resign for Christ. To undertake the direction and government of souls is above me, who have not yet well learnt to be guided, nor to be sanctified as far as is fitting. Much more is this so in a time like the present, when it is a great thing to flee away to some place of shelter, while others are whirled to and fro, and so to escape the storm and darkness of the evil one; for this is a time when the members of the Chris