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to have signed, not the third, but an intermediate one, between the second and third, as Petavius does, in Soz. iv. 15 and 16. Moreover, Pagi fixes the date as A.D. 358 ibid.
This Creed, thus drawn up by a Semi-Arian, with an Acacian or Arian appendix, then a Semi-Arian insertion, and after all a Semi-arian protest on subscription, was proposed at Seleucia by Acacius, Soz. iv. 22, and at Ariminum by Valens, Socr. ii. 37, p. 132.
7. A.D. 359. Nicene Edition of the Third Sirmian. The third Sirmian was rejected both at Seleucia and Ariminum ; but the Eusebians, dissolving the Council of Seleucia, kept the Fathers at Ariminum together through the summer and autumn. Meanwhile at Nice in Thrace they confirmed the third Sirmian, Socr. ii. 37, p. 141, Theod. Hist. ii. 16, with the additional proscription of the word hypostasis ; apparently lest the Latins should by means of it evade the condemnation of the “consubstantial.” This Creed, thus altered, was ultimately accepted at Ariminum; and was confirmed in January 360 at Constantinople ; Socr. ii. 41, p. 163. Soz. iv. 24 init.
Liberius retrieved his fault on this occasion; for, whatever was the confession he had signed, he now refused his assent to the Ariminian, and, if Socrates is to be trusted, was banished in consequence, Socr. ii. 37, p. 140.
THE TERMS usia AND hypostasis, AS USED IN THE
(Vide supra, p. 198.) 1. EVEN before we take into account the effect which would naturally be produced on the first Christians by the novelty and mysteriousness of doctrines which depend for their reception simply upon Revelation, we have reason to antici. pate that there would be difficulties and mistakes in expressing them, when they first came to be set forth by unauthoritative writers. Even in secular sciences, inaccuracy of thought and language is but gradually corrected ; that is, in proportion as their subject-matter is thoroughly scrutinized and mastered by the co-operation of many independent intellects, successively engaged upon it. Thus, for instance, the word Person requires the rejection of various popular senses, and a careful definition, before it can serve for philosophical uses. We sometimes use it for an individual as contrasted with a class or multitude, as when we speak of having “personal objections” to another; sometimes for the body, in contrast to the soul, as when we speak of “ beauty of person.” We sometimes use it in the abstract, as when we speak of another as “insignificant in person ;" sometimes in the concrete, as when we call him “an insignificant person.” How divergent in meaning are the derivatives, personable, personalities, personify, personation, personage, parsonage! This variety arises partly from our own carelessness, partly from the necessary developments
From the Atlantis, July, 1858.
of language, partly from the exuberance of human thought, partly from the defects of our vernacular tongue.
Language then requires to be refashioned even for sciences which are based on the senses and the reason ; but much more will this be the case, when we are concerned with subject-matters, of which, in our present state, we cannot possibly form any complete or consistent conception, such as the Catholic doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation. Since they are from the nature of the case above our intellectual reach, and were unknown till the preaching of Christianity, they required on their first promulgation new words, or words used in new senses, for their due enunciation ; and, since these were not definitely supplied by Scripture or by tradition, nor, for centuries, by ecclesiastical authority, variety in the use, and confusion in the apprehension of them, were unavoidable in the interval. This conclusion is necessary, admitting the premisses, antecedently to particular instances in proof.
Moreover, there is a presumption equally strong, that the variety and confusion that I have anticipated, would in matter of fact issue here or there in actual heterodoxy, as often as the language of theologians was misunderstood by hearers or readers, and deductions were made from it which the teacher did not intend. Thus, for instance, the word Person, used in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, would on first hearing suggest Tritheism to one who made the word synonymous with individual ; and Unitarianism to another, who accepted it in the classical sense of a mask or character.
Even to this day our theological language is wanting in accuracy: thus, we sometimes speak of the controversies concerning the Person of Christ, when we mean to include in them those also which belong to the two natures which are predicated of Him.
Indeed, the difficulties of forming a theological phraseology for the whole of Christendom were obviously so great, that we need not wonder at the reluctance which the first age of Catholic divines showed in attempting it, even apart from the obstacles caused by the distraction and isolation of the churches in times of persecution. Not only had the words to be adjusted and explained which were peculiar to different schools or traditional in different places, but there was the formidable necessity of creating a common measure between two, or rather three languages,-Latin, Greek, and Syriac. The intellect had to be satisfied, error had to be successfully excluded, parties the most contrary to each other, and the most obstinate, had to be convinced. The very confidence which would be felt by Christians in general that Apostolic truth would never fail,—and that they held it in each locality themselves and the orbis terrarum with them, in spite of all verbal contrarieties,--would indispose them to define it, till definition became an imperative duty.
2. I think this plain from the nature of the case; and history confirms me in the instance of the celebrated word homoüsion, which, as one of the first and most necessary steps, so again was apparently one of the most discouraging, in the attempt to give a scientific expression to doctrine. This formula, as Athanasius, Hilary, and Basil affirm, had been disowned, as savouring of heterodoxy, by the great Council of Antioch in A.D. 264–269; yet, in spite of this disavowal on the part of Bishops of the highest authority, it was imposed on all the faithful to the end of time in the Ecumenical Council of Nicæa, A.D. 325, as the one and only safeguard, as it really is, of orthodox teaching. The misapprehensions and protests which, after such antecedents, its adoption occasioned for many years, may be easily imagined. Though above three hundred Bishops had accepted it at Nicæa, the great body of the Episcopate in the next generation considered it inexpedient; and Athanasius himself, whose imperishable name is bound up with it, showed himself most cautious in putting it forward, though he knew it had the sanction of a General Council. Moreover, the word does not occur in the Catecheses of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, A.D. 347, nor in the recantation made before Pope Julius by
thing. The 19, its adoption Though
h antes easily red it at nation com
Ursacius and Valens, A.D. 349, nor in the cross-questionings to which St. Ambrose subjected Palladius and Secundianus, A.D. 381. At Seleucia, A.D. 359, as many as 100 Eastern Bishops, besides the Arian party, were found to abandon it, while at Ariminum in the same year the celebrated scene took place of 400 Bishops of the West being worried and tricked into a momentary act of the same character. They had not yet got it deeply fixed into their minds, as a sort of first principle, that to abandon the formula was to betray the faith.
3. This disinclination on the part of Catholics to dogmatic definitions was not confined to the instance of the homoüsion. In the use of the word hypostasis, a variation was even allowed by the authority of a Council; and the circumstances under which it was allowed, and the possibility of allowing it, without compromising Catholic truth, shall here be considered.
As to the use of the word. At least in the West, and in St. Athanasius's day, it was usual to speak of one hypostasis, as of one usia, of the Divine Nature. Thus the so-called Sardican Creed, A.D. 347, speaks of“ one hypostasis, which the heretics call usia.” Theod. Hist. ii. 8; the Roman Council under Damasus, A.D. 371, says that the Three Persons are of the same hypostasis and usia ; and the Nicene Anathema condemns those who say that the Son “came from other hypostasis or usia.” Epiphanius too speaks of “one hypostasis," Hær. 74, 4, Ancor. 6 (and though he has the hypostases, Hær. 62, 3, 72, 1, yet he is shy of the plural, and prefers the “hypostatic Father, the hypostatic Son,” &c., ibid. 3 and 4, Ancor. 6; and tpía, as Hær. 74, 4, where he says “ three hypostatic of the same hypostasis ; ” vide also “in hypostasis of perfection,” Hær. 74, 12, Ancor. 7 et alibi) ; and Cyril of Jerusalem of the “uniform hypostasis” of God, Catech. vi. 7, vide also xvi. 12 and xvii. I (though the word may be construed one out of three in Cat. xi. 3); and Gregory Nazianzen, Orat. xxviii, 9,