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assembled Fathers. They had received for answer, that the Latins determined to adhere to the formulary of Nicæa; and that, as a first step in their present deliberations, it was necessary that all present should forthwith anathematize all heresies and innovations, beginning with that of Arius. The Commissioners had refused to do so, and had been promptly condemned and deposed, a deputation of ten being sent from the Council to Constantius, to acquaint him with the result of its deliberations. The issue of this mission to the Court, to which Valens opposed one from his own party, has been already related. Constantius, with a view of wearing out the Latin Fathers, pretended that the barbarian war required his immediate attention, and delayed the consideration of the question till the beginning of October, several months after the opening of the Council; and then, frightening the Catholic deputation into compliance, he effected at Nice the adoption of the Homean creed (that is, the “like” without the “in all things ") and sent it back to Ariminum.
The termination of the Council there assembled was disgraceful to its members, but more so to the Emperor himself. Distressed by their long confinement, impatient at their absence from their respective dioceses, and apprehensive of the approaching winter, they began to waver. At first, indeed, they refused to communicate with their own apostate deputies ; but these, almost in self-defence, were active and successful in bringing over others to their new opinions. A threat was held out by Taurus, the Prætorian Prefect, who superintended the discussions, that fifteen of the most obstinate should be sent into banishment; and Valens was importunate in the use of such theological arguments and explanations, as were likely to effect his object. The Prefect conjured them with tears to abandon an unfruitful obstinacy, to reflect on the length of their past confinement, the discomfort of their situation, the rigours of the winter, and to consider, that there was but one possible termination of the difficulty, which lay with themselves, not with him. Valens, on the other hand, affirmed that the Eastern bishops at Seleucia had abandoned the usia ; and he demanded of those who still stood their ground, what objection they could make to the Scriptural creed proposed to them, and whether, for the sake of a word, they would be the authors of a schism between Eastern and Western Christendom. He affirmed, that the danger apprehended by the Catholics was but chimerical; that he and his party condemned Arius and Arianism, as strongly as themselves, and were only desirous of avoid. ing a word, which confessedly is not in Scripture, and had in past time been productive of much scandal. Then, to put his sincerity to the proof, he began with a loud voice to anathematize the maintainers of the Arian blasphemies in succession ; and he concluded by declaring; that he believed the Word to be God, begotten of God before all time, and not in the number of the creatures, and that whoever should say that He was a creature as other creatures, was anathema. The foregoing history of the heresy has sufficiently explained how the Arians evaded the force of these strong declarations; but the inexperienced Latins did not detect their insincerity. Satisfied, and glad to be released, they gave up the Homoüsion, and signed the formula of the Homcon ; and scarcely had they separated, when Valens, as might be expected, boasted of his victory, arguing that the faith of Nicæa had been condemned by the very circumstance of his being allowed to confess, that the Son was “not a creature as other creatures,” and so to imply, that, though not like other creatures, still He was created. Thus ended this celebrated Council; the result of which is well characterized in the lively statement of Jerome: “ The whole world groaned in astonishment to find itself Arian?.”
In the proceedings attendant on the Councils of Seleucia and Ariminum, the Eusebians had skilfully gained two important objects, by means of unimportant concessions on their part. They had sacrificed Aetius and his Anomoon; and effected in exchange the disgrace of the Semi-Arians as well as of the Catholics, and the establishment of the Homæon, the truly characteristic symbol of a party, who, as caring little for the sense of Scripture, found an excuse and an indulgence of their unconcern, in a pretended maintenance of the letter. As to the wretched mountebank just mentioned, whose profaneness was so abominable, as to obtain for him the title of the “Atheist,” he was formally condemned in the Council at Constantinople (A.D. 360) already mentioned, in which the Semi-Arian Basil, Macedonius, and their associates had been deposed. During the discussions which attended it, Eleusius, one of the latter party, laid before the Emperor an Anoman creed, which
7 [“ Ingemuit totus orbis, et Arianuin se esse miratus est.”]
he ascribed to Eudoxius. The latter, when questioned, disowned it; and named Aetius as its author, who was immediately summoned. Introduced into the Imperial presence, he was unable to divine, in spito of his natural acuteness, whether the Emperor was pleased or uispleased with the composition; and, hazarding an acknowledgment of it, he drew down on himself the full indignation of Constantius, who banished him into Cilicia, and obliged his patron Eudoxius to anathematize both the confession in question, and all the positions of the pure Arian heresy. Such was the fall of Aetius, at the time of the triumph of the Eusebians; but soon afterwards he was promoted to the episcopate (under what circumstances is unknown), and was favourably noticed, as a former friend of Gallus, by the Emperor Julian, who gave him a territory in the Island of Mitelene.
Eunomius, his disciple, escaped the jealousy of Constantius through the good offices of Eudoxius, and was advanced to the Bishoprick of Cyzicus ; but, being impatient of dissimulation, he soon fell into disgrace, and was banished. The death of the Emperor took place at the end of A.D. 361; his last acts evincing a further approximation to the unmitigated heresy of Arius. At a Council held at Antioch in the course of that year, he sanctioned the Anomæan doctrine in its most revolting form; and shortly before his decease, received the sacrament of baptism, as has been stated above, from Euzoius, the personal friend and original associate of Arius him. self.
8 [“At this critical moment Constantius died, when the cause of truth was only not in the lowest state of degradation, because a party was in
authority and vigour who could reduce it to a lower still; the Latins committed to an Anti-Catholic creed, the Pope a renegade, Hosius fallen and dead, Athanasius wandering in the deserts, Arians in the sees of Christendom, and their doctrine growing in blasphemy, and their profession of it in boldness, every day. The Emperor had come to the throne when almost a boy, and at this time was but forty-four years old. In the ordinary course of things, he might have reigned till orthodoxy, humanly speaking, was extinct.” Ath. Tr. p. 127, e.]