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tian body war with each other, and whatever there was left of love is come to nought. Moabites and Ammonites, who were forbidden even to enter the Church of Christ, now tread our holiest places. We have opened to all, not gates of righteousness, but of mutual reviling and injury. We think those the best of men, not who keep from every idle word through fear of God, but such as have openly or covertly slandered their neighbour most And we mark the sins of others, not to lament, but to blame them; not to cure, but to second the blow; and to make the wounds of others an excuse for our own. Men are judged good and bad, not by their course of life, but by their enmities and friendships. We praise to-day, we call names to-morrow. All things are readily pardoned to impiety. So magnanimously are we forgiving in wicked ways '!”
The first disturbance in the reviving Church of Constantinople had arisen from the ambition of Maximus, a Cynic philosopher, who aimed at supplanting Gregory in his see. He was a friend and countryman of Peter, the new Patriarch of Alexandria; and had suffered banishment in the Oasis, on the persecution which followed the death of Athanasius. His reputation was considerable among learned men of the day, as is shown by the letters addressed to him by Basil. Gregory fell in with him at Constantinople; and pleased at the apparent strictness and manliness of his conduct, he received him into his house, baptized him, and at length admitted him into inferior orders. The return made by
3 Greg. Orat. i. 119–137. [ii. 69–73. 77–80. abridged.]
Maximus to his benefactor, was to conduct an intrigue with one of his principal Presbyters; to gain over Peter of Alexandria, who had already recognized Gregory; to obtain from him the presence of three of his bishops ; and, entering the metropolitan church during the night, to instal himself, with their aid, in the episcopal throne. A tumult ensued, and he was obliged to leave the city; but, far from being daunted at the immediate failure of his plot, he laid his case before a Council of the West, his plea consisting on the one hand, in the allegation that Gregory, as being Bishop of another Church, held the See contrary to the Canons, and on the other hand, in the recognition which he had obtained from the Patriarch of Alexandria. The Council, deceived by his representations, approved of his consecration; but Theodosius, to whom he next addressed himself, saw through his artifices, and banished him.
Fresh mortifications awaited the eloquent preacher, to whom the Church of Constantinople owed its resurrection. While the Arians censured his retiring habits, and his abstinence from the innocent pleasures of life, his own flock began to complain of his neglecting to use his influence at Court for their advantage. Overwhelmed with the disquietudes, to which these occurrences gave birth, Gregory resolved to bid adieu to a post which required a less sensitive or a more vigorous mind than his own.
In a farewell oration, he recounted his labours and sufferings during the time he had been among them, commemorated his successes, and exhorted them to persevere in the truth, which they had learned from him. His congregation were affected by this
address; and, a reaction of feeling taking place, they passionately entreated him to abandon a resolve, which would involve the ruin of orthodoxy in Constantinople, and they declared that they would not quit the church till he acceded to their importunities. At their entreaties, he consented to suspend the execution of his purpose for a while; that is, until the Eastern prelates who were expected at the General Council, which had by that time been convoked, should appoint a Bishop in his room.
The circumstances attending the arrival of Theodosius at Constantinople, connected as they were with the establishment of the true religion, still were calculated to inflict an additional wound on his feelings, and to increase his indisposition to continue in his post, endeared though it was to him by its first associations. The inhabitants of an opulent and luxurious metropolis, familiarized to Arianism by its forty years' ascendancy among them, and disgusted at the apparent severity of the orthodox school, prepared to resist the installation of Gregory in the cathedral of St. Sophia. A strong military force was appointed to escort him thither; and the Emperor gave countenance to the proceedings by his own presence. Allowing himself to be put in possession of the church, Gregory was nevertheless firm to his purpose of not seating himself upon the Archiepiscopal throne; and when the light-minded multitude clamorously required it, he was unequal to the task of addressing them, and deputed one of his Presbyters to speak in his stead.
Nor were the manners of the Court more congenial to his well-regulated mind, than the lawless spirit of the people. Offended at the disorders which he witnessed there, he shunned the condescending advances of the Emperor; and was with difficulty withdrawn from the duties of his station, the solitude of his own thoughts, and the activity of pious ministrations, prayer and fasting, the punishment of offenders and the visitation of the sick. Careless of personal splendour, he allowed the revenues of his see to be expended in supporting its dignity, by inferior ecclesiastics, who were in his confidence; and, while he defended the principle, on which Arianism had been dispossessed of its power, he exerted himself with earnestness to protect the heretics from all intemperate execution of the Imperial decree.
Nor was the elevated refinement of Gregory better adapted to sway the minds of the corrupt hierarchy which Arianism had engendered, than to rule the Court and the people. “If I must speak the truth," he says in one of his letters, “I feel disposed to shun every conference of Bishops; because I never saw Synod brought to a happy issue, nor remedying, but rather increasing, existing evils. For ever is there rivalry and ambition, and these have the mastery of reason; do not think me extravagant for saying so ;-and a mediator is more likely to be attacked himself, than to succeed in his pacification. Accordingly, I have fallen back upon myself, and consider quiet the only security of life."
Greg. Naz. Ep. 55. [Ep. 130.]
Such was the state of things, under which the second Ecumenical Council, as it has since been considered, was convoked. It met in May, A.D. 381; being designed to put an end, as far as might be, to those very disorders, which unhappily found their principal exercise in the assemblies which were to remove them. The Western Church enjoyed at this time an almost perfect peace, and sent no deputies to Constantinople. But in the Oriental provinces, besides the distractions caused by the various heretical offshoots of Arianism, its indirect effects existed in the dissensions of the Catholics themselves; in the schism at Antioch; in the claims of Maximus to the see of Constantinople; and in recent disturbances at Alexandria, where the loss of Athanasius was already painfully visible. Added to these, was the ambiguous position of the Macedonians; who resisted the orthodox doctrine, yet were only by implication heretical, or at least some of them far less than others. Thirty-six of their Bishops attended the Council, principally from the neighbourhood of the Hellespont; of the orthodox there were 150, Meletius, of Antioch, being the president. Other eminent prelates present were Gregory Nyssen, brother of St. Basil, who had died some years before; Amphilochius of Iconium, Diodorus of Tarsus, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Gelasius of Cæsarea, in Palestine.
The Council had scarcely accomplished its first act, the establishment of Gregory in the see of Constantinople, to the exclusion of Maximus, when Meletius,