Page images

another church, whither he was followed by the people. Valens was extremely offended at being left alone in a church with his attendants, and in resentment condemned Vetranio [the Bishop] to banishment. Not long after, however, he recalled him, because, I believe, he apprehended insurrection.” Sozom. vi. 21.

15. CONSTANTINOPLE. “Those who acknowledged the doctrine of consubstantiality were not only expelled from the churches, but also from the cities. But although expulsion at first satisfied them (the Arians], they soon proceeded to the worse extremity of inducing compulsory communion with them, caring little for such a desecration of the churches. They resorted to all kinds of scourgings, a variety of tortures, and confiscation of property. Many were punished with exile, some died under the torture, and others were put to death while being driven from their country. These atrocities were exercised throughout all the eastern cities, but especially at Constantinople.” Socr. ii. 27.

16. ILLYRIA. “The parents of Theodosius were Christians and were attached to the Nicene doctrine, hence he took pleasure in the ministration of Ascholius [Bishop of Thessalonica). He also rejoiced at finding that the Arian heresy had not been received in Illyria.” Sozom. vii. 4.

17. NEIGHBOURHOOD OF MACEDONIA. “ Theodosius inquired concerning the religious sentiments which were prevalent in the other provinces, and ascertained that, as far as Macedonia, one form of belief was universally predominant,” &c. Ibid.

18. ROME. “With respect to the doctrine no dissension arose either at Rome or in any other of the Western Churches ; the people unanimously adhered to the form of belief established at Nicæa.” Sozom. vi. 23.

“ Liberius, returning to Rome, found the mind of the mass of men alienated from him, because he had so shamefully yielded to Constantius. And thus it came to pass, that those persons who had hitherto kept aloof from Felix [the rival Pope), and had avoided his communion in favour of Liberius, on hearing what had happened, left him for Felix, who raised the Catholic standard.” Baron. Ann. 357. 56. He tells us besides (57), that the people would not even go to the public baths, lest they should bathe with the party of Liberius.

19. MILAN. At the Council of Milan, Eusebius of Vercellæ, when it was proposed to draw up a declaration against Athanasius," said that the Council ought first to be sure of the faith of the Bishops attending it, for he had found out that some of them were polluted with heresy. Accordingly he brought before the Fathers the Nicene Creed, and said he was willing to comply with all their demands, after they had subscribed that confession. Dionysius, Bishop of Milan, at once took up the paper and began to write his assent; but Valens (the Arian] violently pulled pen and paper out of his hands, crying out that such a course of proceeding was impossible. Whereupon, after much tumult, the question came before the people, and great was the distress of all of them; the faith of the Church was attacked by the Bishops. They then, dreading the judgment of the people, transfer their meeting from the church to the Imperial palace.” Hilar. ad Const. i. 8.

Again : “As the feast of Easter approached, the empress sent to St. Ambrose to ask a church of him, where the Arians who attended her might meet together. He replied, that a Bishop could not give up the temple of God. The pretorian prefect came into the church, where St. Ambrose was attended by the people, and endeavoured to persuade him to yield up at least the Portian Basilica. The people were clamorous against the proposal ; and the prefect retired to report how matters stood to the emperor. The Sunday following St. Ambrose was explaining the creed, when he was informed that the officers were hanging up the imperial hangings in the Portian Basilica, and that upon this news the people were repairing thither. While he was offering up the holy sacrifice, a second message came that the people had seized an Arian priest as he was passing through the street. He despatched a number

of his clergy to the spot to rescue the Arian from his danger. The court looked on this resistance of the people as seditious, and immediately laid considerable fines upon the whole body of the tradesmen of the city. Several were thrown into prison. In three days' time these tradesmen were fined two hundred pounds weight of gold, and they said that they were ready to give as much again on condition that they might retain their faith. The prisons were filled with tradesmen: all the officers of the household, secretaries, agents of the emperor, and dependent officers who served under various counts, were kept within doors, and were forbidden to appear in public, under pretence that they should bear no part in sedition. Men of higher rank were menaced with severe consequences, unless the Basilica were surrendered. ...

“Next morning the Basilica was surrounded by soldiers ; but it was reported, that these soldiers had sent to the Emperor to tell him, that if he wished to come abroad he might, and that they would attend him, if he was going to the assembly of the Catholics; otherwise, that they would go to that which would be held by St. Ambrose. Indeed, the soldiers were all Catholics, as well as the citizens of Milan; there were so few heretics there, except a few officers of the emperor and some Goths. ...

“St. Ambrose was continuing his discourse, when he was told that the Emperor had withdrawn the soldiers from the Basilica, and that he had restored to the tradesmen the fines which he had exacted from them. This news gave joy to the people, who expressed their delight with applauses and thanksgivings; the soldiers themselves were eager to bring the news, throwing themselves on the altars, and kissing them in token of peace.” Fleury's Hist. xviii. 41, 42, Oxf. trans.

20. CHRISTENDOM GENERALLY. St. Hilary to Constantius: “Not only in words, but in tears, we beseech you to save the Catholic Churches from any longer continuance of these most grievous injuries, and of their present intolerable persecutions and insults, which moreover they are enduring, monstrous as it is, from our brethren. Surely your clemency should listen to the voice of those who cry out so loudly, 'I am a Catholic, I have no wish to be a heretic. It should seem equitable to your sanctity, most glorious Augustus, that they who fear the Lord God and His judgment should not be polluted and contaminated with execrable blasphemies, but should have liberty to follow those Bishops and prelates who both observe inviolate the laws of charity, and who desire a perpetual and sincere peace. It is impossible, it is unreasonable, to mix true and false, to confuse light and darkness, and bring into union, of whatever kind, night and day. Give permission to the populations to hear the teaching of the pastors whom they have wished, whom they fixed on, whom they have chosen, to attend their celebration of the divine mysteries, to offer prayers through them for your safety and prosperity.” ad Const. i, 1, 2.



(Vide supra, p. 279.) As the direct object of the foregoing Volume was to exhibit the doctrine, temper, and conduct of the Arians in the fourth century rather than to write their history, there is much incidental confusion in the order in which the events which it includes are brought before the reader. However, in truth, the chronology of the period is by no means clear, and the author may congratulate himself that, by the scope of his work, he is exempt from the necessity of deciding questions relative to it, on which ancient testimonies and modern critics are in hopeless variance both with themselves and with each other.

Accordingly, he has chosen one authority, the accurate Tillemont, and followed him almost throughout. Here, however, he thinks it well to subjoin some tables on the subject, taken from the Oxford Library of the Fathers, which delineate the main outline of the history, while they vividly illustrate the difficulty of determining in detail the succession of dates.



From 325 to 337.

(Mainly from Tillemont.) A.D. 325. (From June 19 to August 25.) COUNCIL OF NICÆA.

Arius and his partisans anathematized and banished,

« PreviousContinue »