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division into the Homcean and Homæusian factions. Scarcely had Aetius been ordained, when the same notorious irregularities in his carriage, whatever they were, which had more than once led to his expulsion from the lay communion of the Arians, caused his deposition from the diaconate, by the very prelate who had promoted him to it. After this, little is known of him for several years; excepting a dispute, which he held with the Semi-Arian Basil, which marks his rising importance. During the interval, he ingratiated himself with Gallus, the brother of Julian; and was implicated in his political offences. Escaping, however, the anger of Constantius, by his comparative insignificance, he retired to Alex. andria, and lived for some time in the train of George of Cappadocia, who allowed him to officiate as deacon. Such was at this time the character of the clergy, whom the Arians had introduced into the Syrian Churches, that this despicable adventurer, whose manners were so odious, as his life was eccentric, and his creed blasphemous, had sufficient influence to found a sect, which engaged the attention of the learned Semi-Arians at Ancyra (A.D. 358), and has employed the polemical powers of the orthodox Fathers, Basil and Gregory Nyssen.
Eunomius, his disciple, was the principal disputant in the controversy. With more learning than Aetius, he was enabled to complete and fortify the Anomaan system, inheriting from his master the two peculiarities of character which belong to his school; the first, a faculty of subtle disputation and hard mathematical reasoning, the second, a fierce, and in one sense an honest, disdain of compromise and dissimulation. These had been the two marks of Arianism at its first rise; and the first associates of Arius, who, after his submission to Constantine, had kept aloof from the Court party in disgust, now joyfully welcomed and joined the Anomeans. The new sect justified their anticipations of its boldness. The same impatience, with which Aetius had received the ambiguous explanations of the Eusebian Bishop of Anazarbus, was expressed by Eunomius for the Acacianism of Eudoxius of Antioch, who in vain endeavoured to tutor him into a less real and systematic profession of the Arian tenets. So far did his party carry their vehemence, as even to re-baptize their Christian converts, as though they had been heathen ; and that, not in the case of Catholics only, but, to the great offence of the Eusebians, even of those, whom they converted from the other forms of Arianism '. Earnestness is always respectable; and, if it be allowable to speak with a sort of moral catachresis, the Anomeans merited on this account, as well as ensured, a success, which a false conciliation must not hope to obtain.
3 Epiph. IIær. lxxvi. fin. Bingham, xi. 1. $ 10. Thus, bold as were the original Arians, the Anomeans were bolder and more consistent. Athanasius challenges the former, if they dare, to speak out. Basil says “ Aetius was the first to teach openly that the Father's substance was unlike the Son's.” Vide Ath. Tr. p. 10. u. However, Athanasius interprets Arius's Thalia to say that the Persons of the Holy Trinity are “utterly unlike (åvbuonou) each other in substance and glory without limit.” Orat. § 6. De Syn. & 15. Again, Arius held that the Divine Being was incomprehensible (Athan. de Syn. S 15), but the Anomæans denied it. Socr. iv. 7.]
The progress of events rapidly carried them forward upon the scene of ecclesiastical politics. Valens, who by this time had gained the lead of the Western Bishops, was seconded in his patronage of them by the eunuchs of the Court; of whom Eusebius, the Grand Chamberlain, had unlimited sway over the weak mind of the Emperor. The concessions, made by Liberius and Hosius to the Eusebian party, furnished an additional countenance to Arianism, being misrepresented as aetual advances towards the heretical doctrine. The inartificial cast of the Western theology, which scarcely recognized any middle hypothesis between that of the Homoüsion and pure Arianism, strengthened the opinion that those, who had abandoned the one, must in fact have embraced the other. And, as if this were not enough, it appears that an Anomoan creed was circulated in the East, with the pretence that it was the very formula which Hosius and Liberius had subscribed. Under these circumstances, the Anomeans were soon strong enough to aid the Eusebians of the East in their contest with the Semi-Arians“. Events in the Churches of Antioch and Jerusalem favoured their enterprise. It happening that Acacius of Cæsarea and Cyril of Jerusalem were rivals for the primacy of Palestine, the reputed connexion of Cyril with the Semi-Arian party had the effect of throwing Acacius, though the author of the Homeon, on the side of its Anomean assailants; accordingly, with the aid of the neighbouring Bishops, he succeeded in deposing Cyril, and sending him out of the country. At Antioch, the cautious Leontius, the Arian Bishop, dying (A.D. 357), the eunuchs of the Court contrived to place Eudoxius in his see, a man of restless and intriguing temper, and opposed to the Semi-Arians. One of his first acts was to hold a Council, at which Acacius was present, as well as Aetius and Eunomius, the chiefs of the Anomoeans. There the assembled Bishops did not venture beyond the language of the second creed of Sirmium, which Hosius had signed, and which kept clear of Anomean doctrine; but they had no difficulty in addressing a letter of thanks and congratulations to the party of the Anomoan Valens, for having at Sirmium brought the troubles of the West to so satisfactory a termination.
4 Petav. tom. ii. i. 9, § 6. [Tillemont, t. 6. p. 429.]
The election, however, of Eudoxius, and this Council which followed it were not to pass unchallenged by the Semi-Arians. Mention has already been made of one George', a presbyter of Alexandria ; who, being among the earliest supporters of Arius, was degraded by Alexander, but, being received by the Eusebians into the Church of Antioch, became at length Bishop of Laodicea. George was justly offended at the promotion of Eudoxius, without the consent of himself and Mark of Arethusa, the most considerable Bishops of Syria; and, at this juncture, took part against the combination of Homeans and Anomeans, at Antioch, who had just published their assent to the second creed of Sirmium. Falling in with some clergy whom Eudoxius had excommunicated, he sent letters by them to Macedonius, Basil of Ancyra, and other leaders of the Semi-Arians, intreating them
• Vide supr. p. 246.
to raise a protest against the proceedings of the Council of Antioch, and so to oblige Eudoxius to separate himself from Aetius and the Anomeans. This remonstrance produced its effect; and, under pretence of the dedication of a church, a Council was immediately held by the Semi-Arian party at Ancyra (A.D. 358), in which the Anomaan heresy was condemned. The Synodal letter, which they published, professed to be grounded on the Semi-Arian creeds of the Dedication (8.D. 341), of Philippopolis (A.D. 347), and of Sirmium (1.D. 351), when Photinus was condemned and deposed. It is a valuable document, even as a defence of orthodoxy; its error consisting in its obstinate rejection of the Nicene Homoüsion, the sole practical bulwark of the Catholic faith against the misrepresentations of heresy,—against a sort of tritheism on the one hand, and a degraded conception of the Son and Spirit on the other.
The two parties thus at issue, appealed to Constantius at Sirmium. That weak Prince had lately sanctioned the almost Acacian creed of Valens, which Hosius had been compelled to subscribe, when the deputation from Antioch arrived at the Imperial Court; and he readily gave his assent to the new edition of it which Eudoxius had promulgated. Scarcely had he done so, when the Semi-Arians made their appearance from Ancyra, with Basil at their head; and succeeded so well in representing the dangerous character of the creed passed at Antioch, that, recalling the messenger who had been sent off to that city, he forthwith held the Conference, mentioned in the foregoing Section, in which he imposed a Semi-Arian creed on all parties, Eudoxius and Valens,