« PreviousContinue »
faith? We shall have a more correct notion, then, of the heresy of Paulus, if we consider him as the founder of a school rather than of a sect, as encouraging in the Church the use of those disputations and sceptical inquiries, which belonged to the Academy and other heathen philosophies, and as scattering up and down the seeds of errors, which sprang up and bore fruit in the generation after him. In confirmation of this view, which is suggested by his original vocation, by the temporal motives which are said to have influenced him, and by his inconsistencies, it may be observed, that his intimate friend and fellow-countryman, Lucian, who schismatized or was excommunicated on his deposition, held heretical tenets of a diametrically opposite nature, that is, such as were afterwards called Semi-Arian, Paulus himself advocating a doctrine which nearly resembled what is commonly called the Sabellian.
More shall be said concerning Paulus of Samosata presently; but now let us advance to the history of this Lucian, a man of learning, and at length a martyr, but who may almost be considered the author of Arianism. It is very common, though evidently illogical, to attribute the actual rise of one school of opinion to another, from some real or supposed similarity in their respective tenets. It is thus, for instance, Platonism, or again, Origenism, has been assigned as the actual source from which Arianism was derived. Now, Lucian's doctrine is known to have been precisely the same as that species of Arianism afterwards called Semi-Arianismo; but it is not on that account that I here trace the rise of Arianism to Lucian. There is an historical, and not merely a doctrinal connexion between him and the Arian party. In his school are found, in matter of fact, the names of most of the original advocates of Arianism, and all those who were the most influential in their respective Churches throughout the East :-Arius himself, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Leontius, Eudoxius, Asterius, and others, who will be familiar to us in the sequel; and these men actually appealed to him as their authority, and adopted from him the party designation of Collucianists*. In spite of this undoubted connexion between Lucian and the Arians, we might be tempted to believe, that the assertions of the latter concerning his heterodoxy, originated in their wish to implicate a man of high character in the censures which the Church directed against themselves, were it not undeniable, that during the times of the three bishops who successively followed Paulus, Lucian was under excommunication. The Catholics too, are silent in his vindication, and some of them actually admit his unsoundness in faith. However, ten or fifteen years before his martyrdom, he was reconciled to the Church ; and we may suppose that he then recanted whatever was heretical in his creed : and his glorious end was allowed to wipe out from the recollection of Catholics of succeeding times those passages of his history, which nevertheless were so miserable in their results in the age succeeding his own. Chrysostom's panegyric on the festival of his martyrdom is still extant, Ruffinus mentions him in honourable terms, and Jerome praises his industry, erudition, and eloquence in writing
i Tillemont, Mem. vol. iv. p. 126. Athan. in Arianos, iv. 30.
2 He was distinguished in biblical literature, as being the author of a third edition of the Septuagint. Vide Tillemont, Mem. vol. v. p. 202, 203. Du Pin, cent. iii.
3 Bull, Baronius, and others, maintain his orthodoxy. The SemiArians adopted his creed, which is extant. Though a friend, as it appears, of Paulus, he opposed the Sabellians (by one of whom he was at length betrayed to the heathen persecutors of the Church), and this opposition would lead him to incautious statements of an Arian tendency. Vide below, Section v. Epiphanius (Ancor. 33) tells us, that he considered the Word in the Person of Christ as the substitute for a human soul.
4 Theod. Hist. i. 5. Epiph. Hær. lxix. 6. Cave, Hist. Literar. vol. i.
5 Theod. Hist. i. 4.
Such is the historical connexion at the very first sight between the Arian party and the school of Antioch?: -corroborative evidence will hereafter appear, in the similarity of character which exists between the two bodies. At present, let it be taken as a confirmation of a fact, which Lucian's history directly proves, that Eusebius the historian, who is suspected of Arianism, and his friend Paulinus of Tyre, one of its first and principal supporters, though not pupils of Lucian, were more or less educated, and the latter ordained at Antiocho ; while in addition to the Arian bishops at Nicæa already mentioned, Theodotus of Laodicea, Gregory of Berytus, Narcissus of Neronias, and two others, who were all supporters of Arianism at the Council, were all situated within the ecclesiastical influence, and some of them in the vicinity of Antiocho; so that (besides Arius himself), of thirteen, who according to
6 Vide Tillemont, Mem. vol. v. 7 [Vide Appendix, Syrian School.] 8 Vales. de Vit. Euseb. et ad Hist. x. i. 9 Tillemont, Mem. vol. vi. p. 276.
Theodoret, arianized at the Council, nine are referable to the Syrian patriarchate. If we continue the history of the controversy, we have fresh evidence of the connexion between Antioch and Arianism. During the interval between the Nicene Council and the death of Constantius (A.D. 325—361), Antioch is the metropolis of the heretical, as Alexandria of the orthodox party. At Antioch, the heresy recommenced its attack upon the Church after the decision at Nicæa. In a Council held at Antioch, it first showed itself in the shape of Semi-Arianism, when Lucian's creed was produced. There, too, in this and subsequent Councils, negotiations on the doctrine in dispute were conducted with the Western Church. At Antioch, lastly, and at Tyre, a suffragan see, the sentence of condemnation was pronounced upon Athanasius.
Hitherto I have spoken of individuals as the authors of the apostasy which is to engage our attention in the following chapters; but there is reason to fear that men like Paulus were but symptoms of a corrupted state of the Church. The history of the times gives us sufficient evidence of the luxuriousness of Antioch; and it need scarcely be said, that coldness in faith is the sure consequence of relaxation of morals”. Here, however, passing by this consideration, which is too obvious to require dwelling upon, I would rather direct the reader's attention to the particular form which the Antiochene corrup
? [Vide a remarkable passage in Origen, on the pomp of the Bishops of his day, quoted by Neander, Hist. vol. ii. p. 330, Bohn.]
tions seem to have assumed, viz., that of Judaismo; which at that time, it must be recollected, was the creed of an existing nation, acting upon the Church, and not merely, as at this day, a system of opinions more or less discoverable among professing Christians.
The fortunes of the Jewish people had experienced a favourable change since the reign of Hadrian. The violence of Roman persecution had been directed against the Christian Church; while the Jews, gradually recovering their strength, and obtaining permission to settle and make proselytes to their creed, at length became an influential political body in the neighbourhood of their ancient home, especially in the Syrian provinces which were at that time the chief residence of the court. Severus (A.D. 194) is said to have been the first to extend to them the imperial favour, though he afterwards withdrew it. Heliogabalus, and Alexander, natives of Syria, gave them new privileges; and the latter went so far as to place the image of Abraham in his private chapel, among the objects of his ordinary worship. Philip the Arabian continued towards them a countenance, which was converted into an open patronage in the reign of Zenobia. During the Decian persecution, they had been sufficiently secure at Carthage, to venture to take part in the popular ridicule which the Christians excited; and they are even said to have stimulated Valerian to his cruelties towards the Church».
2 [Lengerke, de Ephræm. Syr. p. 64, traces the literal interpretation, which was the characteristic of the school of Antioch, to the example of the Jews.]
3 Basnage, Hist. des Juifs, vi. 12. Tillemont, Hist. des Emper. iii. iv.