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that the deluge did not cover the earth; and, as others before him, he was heterodox on the doctrine of original sin, and denied the eternity of punishment.
Maintaining that the real sense of Scripture was, not the scope of a Divine Intelligence, but the intention of the mere human organ of inspiration, Theodore was led to hold, not only that that sense was but one in each text, but that it was continuous and single in a context; that what was the subject of the composition in one verse, must be the subject in the next, and that if a Psalm was historical or prophetical in its commencement, it was the one or the other to its termination. Even that fulness of meaning, refinement of thought, subtle versatility of feeling, and delicate reserve or reverent suggestiveness, which poets exemplify, seem to have been excluded from his idea of a sacred composition. Accordingly, if a Psalm contained passages which could not be applied to our Lord, it followed that that Psalm did not properly apply to Him at all, except by accommodation. Such at least is the doctrine of Cosmas, a writer of Theodore's school, who on this ground passes over the twenty-second, sixty-ninth, and other Psalms, and limits the Messianic to the second, the eighth, the fortyfifth, and the hundred and tenth. “ David,” he says, “ did not make common to the servants what belongs to the Lord Christ, but what was proper to the Lord he spoke of the Lord, and what was proper to the servants, of servants .” Accordingly the twenty-second could not properly belong to Christ, because in the beginning it spoke of the “ verba delictorum meorum.” A remarkable consequence would follow from this doctrine, that as Christ was divided from His Saints, so the Saints were divided from Christ; and an opening was made for a denial of the doctrine of their cultus, though this denial in the event has not been developed among the Nestorians. But a more serious consequence is latently contained in it, and nothing else than the Nestorian heresy, viz. that our Lord's manhood is not so intimately included in
8 DECTótov, vide La Croze, Thesaur. Ep. t. 3, § 145.
His Divine Personality that His brethren according to the flesh may be associated with the Image of the One Christ. Here St. Chrysostom pointedly contradicts the doctrine of Theodore, though his fellow-pupil and friend”; as does St. Ephræm, though a Syrian also ?; and St. Basil .
One other characteristic of the Syrian school, viewed as independent of Nestorius, should be added :-As it tendedto the separation of the Divine Person of Christ from His manhood, so did it tend to explain away His Divine Presence in the Sacramental elements. Ernesti seems to consider that school, in modern language, Sacramentarian: and certainly some of the most cogent passages brought by moderns against the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist are taken from writers who are connected with that school; as the author, said to be St. Chrysostom, of the Epistle to Cæsarius, Theodoret in his Eranistes, and Facundus. Some countenance too is given to the same view of the Eucharist, at least in some parts of his works, by Origen, whose language concerning the Incarnation also leans to what was afterwards Nestorianism. To these may be added Eusebius *, who, far removed, as he was, from that heresy, was a disciple of the Syrian school. The language of the later Nestorian writers seems to have been of the same characters. Such then on the whole is the character of that theology of Theodore, which passed from Cilicia and Antioch to Edessa first, and then to Nisibis.
Edessa, the metropolis of Mesopotamia, had remained an Oriental city till the third century, when it was made a Roman colony by Caracallao. Its position on the confines of two empires gave it great ecclesiastical importance, as the channel by which the theology of Rome and Greece was conveyed to a family of Christians, dwelling in contempt
1 Rosenmuller, Hist. Interpr. t. 3, p. 278. 2 Lengerke, de Ephr. Syr. pp. 165–167. 3 Ernest. de Proph. Mess. p. 462. 4 Eccl. Theol. iij. 12. 5 Professor Lee's Serm. Oct. 1838, pp. 144-152. o Noris. Opp. t. 2, p. 112.
and persecution amid a still heathen world. It was the seat of various schools; apparently of a Greek school, where the classics were studied as well as theology, where Eusebius of Emesa' had originally been trained, and where perhaps Protogenes taught 8. There were Syrian schools attended by heathen and Christian youths in common. The cultivation of the native language had been an especial object of its masters since the time of Vespasian, so that the pure and refined dialect went by the name of the Edessene'. At Edessa too St. Ephræm formed his own Syrian school, which lasted long after him; and there too was the celebrated Persian Christian school, over which Maris presided, . who has been already mentioned as the translator of Theodore into Persian'. Even in the time of the predecessor of Ibas in the See (before A.D. 435) the Nestorianism of this Persian School was so notorious that Rabbula the Bishop had expelled its masters and scholars”; and they, taking refuge in the country with which they were connected, had introduced the heresy to the Churches subject to the Persian King.
Something ought to be said of these Churches; though little is known except what is revealed by the fact, in itself of no slight value, that they had sustained two persecutions at the hands of the heathen government in the fourth and fifth centuries. One testimony is extant as early as the end of the second century, to the effect that in Parthia, Media, Persia, and Bactria there were Christians who “were not overcome by evil laws and customs :.” In the early part of the fourth century, a Bishop of Persia attended the Nicene Council, and about the same time Christianity is said to have pervaded nearly the whole of Assyria 4. Monachism had been introduced there before the middle of the fourth century, and shortly after commenced that fearful persecution in which sixteen thousand Christians are said to have suffered. It lasted thirty years, and is said to have recommenced at the end of the century. The second persecution lasted for at least another thirty years of the next, at the very time when the Nestorian troubles were in progress in the Empire. Trials such as these show the populousness as well as the faith of the Churches in those parts; and the number of the Sees, for the names of twenty-seven Bishops are preserved who suffered in the former persecution. One of them was apprehended together with sixteen priests, nine deacons, besides monks and nuns of his diocese; another with twenty-eight companions, ecclesiastics or regulars ; another with one hundred ecclesiastics of different orders ; another with one hundred and twenty-eight; another with his chorepiscopus and two hundred and fifty of his clergy. Such was the Church, consecrated by the blood of so many martyrs, which immediately after its glorious confession fell a prey to the theology of Theodore ; and which through a succession of ages discovered the energy, when it had lost the purity of saints.
7 Augusti. Euseb. Em. Opp. 8 Asseman. p. cmxxv. 9 Hoffman, Gram. Syr. Proleg. & 4. 1 The educated Persians were also acquainted with Syriac.--Assem. t. i. p. 351, Note. 2 Asseman. p. lxx.
3 Euseb. Præp. vi. 10. 4 Tillemont, Mem. t. 7, p. 77.
The members of the Persian school, who had been driven out of Edessa by Rabbula, found a wide field open for their exertions under the pagan government with which they had taken refuge. The Persian monarchs, who had often prohibited by edict the intercommunion of the Church under their sway with the countries towards the west, readily extended their protection to exiles, who professed the means of destroying its Catholicity. Barsumas, the most energetic of them, was placed in the metropolitan See of Nisibis, where also the fugitive school was settled under the presidency of another of their party ; while Maris was promoted to the See of Ardaschir. The primacy of the Church had from an early period belonged to the See of Seleucia in Babylonia. Catholicus was the title appropriated to its occupant, as well as to the Persian Primate, as being depu
5 Gibbon, ch. 47.
ties of the Patriarch of Antioch, and was derived apparently from the Imperial dignity so called, denoting their function as Procurators-general, or officers-in-chief for the regions in which they were placed. Acacius, another of the Edessene party, was put into this principal See, and suffered, if he did not further, the innovations of Barsumas. The mode by which the latter effected his purposes has been left on record by an enemy. “Barsumas accused Barbuæus, the Catholicus, before King Pherozes, whispering, “These men hold the faith of the Romans, and are their spies. Give me power against them to arrest them 8.!" It is said that in this way he obtained the death of Barbuæus, whom Acacius succeeded. When a minority resisted' the process of schism, a persecution followed. The death of seven thousand seven hundred Catholics is said by Monophysite authorities to have been the price of the severance of the Chaldaic Churches from Christendom. Their loss was compensated in the eyes of the government by the multitude of Nestorian fugitives, who flocked into Persia from the Empire, numbers of them industrious artisans, who sought a country where their own religion was in the ascendant.
The foundation of that religion lay, as we have already seen, in the literal interpretation of Scripture, of which Theodore was the principal teacher. The doctrine, in which it formerly consisted, is known by the name of Nestorius : it lay in the ascription of a human as well as a Divine Personality to our Lord ; and it showed itself in denying the title of “ Mother of God” or Deotókos, to St. Mary. As to our Lord's Personality, it is to be observed that the question of language came in, which always serves to perplex a subject and make a controversy seem a matter of words. The native Syrians made a distinction between the word “Person,” and “Prosopon,” which stands for it in Greek ; they allowed that there was one Prosopon or Parsopa, as they called it, and they held that there were two Persons. 6 Asseman. p. lxxviii.
7 Gibbon, ibid. 8 Asseman. t. 2, p. 403, t. 3, p. 393.