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party in the eyes of the Latins. But when this object ceased to be feasible, by the event of the Sardican Council, the Semi-Arians ceased to be of service to the Eusebians, and a separation between the parties gradually took place.
The Semi-Arians, whose history shall here be introduced, originated, as far as their doctrine is concerned, in the change of profession which the Nicene anathema was the occasion of imposing upon the Eusebians; and had for their founders Eusebius of Cæsarea, and the sophist Asterius. But viewed as a party, they are of a later date'. The genuine Eusebians were never in earnest in the modified creeds, which they so ostentatiously put forward for the approbation of the West. However, while they clamoured in defence of the inconsistent doctrine contained in them, which, resembling the orthodox in word, might in fact subvert it, and at once confessed and denied our Lord, it so happened, that they actually recommended that doctrine to the judgment of some of their followers, and succeeded in creating a direct belief in an hypothesis, which in their own case was but the cloke for their own indifference to the truth. This at least seems the true explanation of an intricate subject in the history. There are always men of sensitive and subtle minds, the natural victims of the bold disputant; men, who, unable to take a broad and commonsense view of an important subject, try to satisfy their
3 [Vide Ath. Tr. p. 111, t. p. 116, b.]
intellect and conscience by refined distinctions and perverse reservations. Men of this stamp were especially to be found among a people possessed of the language and acuteness of the Greeks. Accordingly, the Eusebians at length perceived, doubtless to their surprise and disgust, that a party had arisen from among themselves, with all the positiveness (as they would consider it), and nothing of the straightforward simplicity of the Catholic controversialists, more willing to dogmatize than to argue, and binding down their associates to the real import of the words, which they had themselves chosen as mere evasions of orthodoxy; and to their dismay they discovered, that in this party the new Emperor himself was to be numbered. Constantius, indeed, may be taken as a type of a genuine Semi-Arian; resisting, as he did, the orthodox doctrine from over-subtlety, timidity, pride, restlessness, or other weakness of mind, yet paradoxical enough to combat at the same time and condemn all, who ventured to teach any thing short of that orthodoxy. Balanced on this imperceptible centre between truth and error, he alternately banished every party in the controversy, not even sparing his own; and had recourse in turn to every creed for relief, except that in which the truth was actually to be found.
The symbol of the Semi-Arians was the Homæüsion, “ like in substance," which they substituted for the orthodox Homoüsion, “one in substance," or "consubstantial.” Their objections to the latter formula took the following form. If the word usia,“substance,” denoted the “first substance," or an individual being, then Homoüsios seemed to bear a Sabellian meaning, and to involve
a denial of the separate personality of the Son. On the other hand, if the word was understood as including two distinct Persons (or Hypostases), this was to use it, as it is used of created things; as if by substance were meant some common nature, either divided in fact, or one merely by abstraction". They were strengthened in this view by the decree of the Council, held at Antioch between the years 260 and 270, in condemnation of Paulus, in which the word Homoüsion was proscribed. They preferred, accordingly, to name the Son “like in substance ®," or Homæüsios, with the Father, that is, of a substance like in all things, except in not being the Father's substance; maintaining at the same time, that, though the Son and Spirit were separate in substance from the Father, still they were so included in His glory that there was but one God.
Instead of admitting the evasion of the Arians, that the word Son had but a secondary sense, and that our Lord was in reality a creature, though “not like other creatures,” they plainly declared that He was not a creature, but truly the Son, born of the substance (usia) of the Father, as if an Emanation from Him at His will; yet they would not allow Him simply to be God, as the Father was; but, asserting that there were various energies in the Divine Being, they considered creation to be one, and the gennesis or generation to be another, so that the Son, though distinct in substance from God, was at the same time essentially distinct from every created
5 Soz. iii. 18.
4 Epiph. Hær. Ixxiii. 11. fin.
6 uolos kat' ovolav.
nature. Or they suggested that He was the offspring of the Person (hypostasis), not of the substance or usia of the Father; or, so to say, of the Divine Will, as if the force of the word “ Son” consisted in this point. Further, instead of the “once He was not,” they adopted the “generated time-apart," for which even Arius had changed it. That is, as holding that the question of the beginning of the Son's existence was beyond our comprehension, they only asserted that there was such a beginning, but that it was before time and independent of it; as if it were possible to draw a distinction between the Catholic doctrine of the derivation or order of succession in the Holy Trinity (the “unoriginately generated”), and this notion of a beginning simplified of the condition of time.
Such was the Semi-Arian Creed, really involving contradictions in terms, parallel to those of which the orthodox were accused ;—that the Son was born before all times, yet not eternal; not a creature, yet not God; of His substance, yet not the same in substance; and His exact and perfect resemblance in all things, yet not a second Deity.
Yet the men were better than their creed; and it is satisfactory to be able to detect amid the impiety and worldliness of the heretical party any elements of a purer spirit, which gradually exerted itself and worked out from the corrupt mass, in which it was embedded. Even thus viewed as distinct from their political associates, the Semi-Arians are a motley party at best; yet
they may be considered as Saints and Martyrs, when compared with the Eusebians, and in fact some of them have actually been acknowledged as such by the Catholics of subsequent times. Their zeal in detecting the humanitarianism of Marcellus and Photinus, and their good service in withstanding the Anomæans, who arrived at the same humanitarianism by a bolder course of thought, will presently be mentioned. On the whole they were men of correct and exemplary life, and earnest according to their views; and they even made pretensions to sanctity in their outward deportment, in which they differed from the true Eusebians, who, as far as the times allowed it, affected the manners and principles of the world. It may be added, that both Athanasius and Hilary, two of the most uncompromising supporters of the Catholic doctrine, speak favourably of them. Athanasius does not hesitate to call them brothers ?; considering that, however necessary it was for the edification of the Church at large, that the Homoüsion should be enforced on the clergy, yet that the privileges of private Christian fellowship were not to be denied to those, who from one cause or other stumbled at the use of it ®. It is remarkable, that the Semi-Arians, on the contrary, in their most celebrated Synod (at Ancyra, A.D. 358) anathematized the holders of the Homoüsion, as if crypto-Sabellians'.
Basil, the successor of Marcellus, in the see of Ancyra, united in his person the most varied learning with the
i [However, he is severe upon Eustathius and Basil (ad Ep. Æg. 7.), as St. Basil is on the former, who had been his friend. 7 8 Athan. de Syn. 41.
9 Epiph. supra.