Page images

- The

all the churches in the whole world, under the pretence of peace and of the emperor, are polluted with the communion of the Arians.” Chron. Of the same date, that is, upon the Council of Ariminum, are his famous words, “Ingemuit totus orbis et se esse Arianum miratus est.” In Lucif. 19. Catholics of Christendom were strangely surprised to find that the Council had made Arians of them."

18. A.D. 362. State of the Church of Antioch at this time. There were four Bishops or communions of Antioch ; first, the old succession and communion, which had possession before the Arian troubles ; secondly, the Arian succession, which had lately conformed to orthodoxy in the person of Meletius; thirdly, the new Latin succession, lately created by Lucifer, whom some have thought the Pope's legate there; and, fourthly, the new Arian succession, which was started upon the recantation of Meletius. At length, as Arianism was brought under, the evil reduced itself to two Episcopal Successions, that of Meletius and the Latin, which went on for many years, the West and Egypt holding communion with the latter, and the East with the former.

19. St. Hilary speaks of the series of ecclesiastical Councils of that time in the following well-known passage: "Since the Nicene Council, we have done nothing but write the Creed. While we fight about words, inquire about novelties, take advantage of ambiguities, criticize authors, fight on party questions, have difficulties in agreeing, and prepare to anathematize each other, there is scarce a man who belongs to Christ. Take, for-instance, last year's Creed, what alteration is there not in it already? First, we have the Creed, which bids us not to use the Nicene consubstantial;' then comes another, which decrees and preaches it; next, the third, excuses the word 'substance,' as adopted by the Fathers in their simplicity; lastly, the fourth, which instead of excusing, condemns. We determine creeds by the year or by the month, we change our own determinations, we prohibit our changes, we anathematize our prohibitions. Thus, we either condemn others in our own persons, or ourselves in

the instance of others, and while we bite and devour one another, are like to be consumed one of another." Ad Const. ii. 4, 5.

20. A.D. 382. St. Gregory writes: “If I must speak the truth, I feel disposed to shun every conference of Bishops : for never saw I Synod brought to a happy issue, and remedying, and not rather aggravating, existing evils. For rivalry and ambition are stronger than reason,- do not think me extravagant for saying so, -and a mediator is more likely to incur some imputation himself than to clear up the imputations which others lie under.” Ep. 129.

2. Coming to the opposite side of the contrast, I observe that there were great efforts made on the part of the Arians to render their heresy popular. Arius himself, according to the Arian Philostorgius, “wrote songs for the sea, and for the mill, and for the road, and then set them to suitable music ." Hist. ii. 2. Alexander speaks of the “running about" of the Arian women, Theod. Hist. i. 4, and of the buffoonery of their men.

Socrates says that “in the Imperial court, the officers of the bed-chamber held disputes with the women, and in the city, in every house, there was a war of dialectics,” ii. 2. Especially at Constantinople there were, as Gregory says, “of Jezebels as thick a crop as of hemlock in a field,” Orat. 35, 3; and he himself suffered from the popular violence there. At Alexandria the Arian women are described by Athanasius as “running up and down like Bacchanals and furies,” and as “passing that day in grief on which they could do no harm." Hist. Arian. 59.

The controversy was introduced in ridicule into the heathen theatres, Euseb. v. Const. ii. 6. Socr. i. 6. “ Men of yesterday," says Gregory Nyssen, mere mechanics, offhand dogmatists in theology, servants too and slaves that have been scourged, run-aways from servile work, and philo

4 The translations which follow are for the most part from Bohn's and the Oxford editions, the passages being abridged.

sophical about things incomprehensible. Of such the city is full; its entrances, forums, squares, thoroughfares; the clothes-vendors, the money-lenders, the victuallers. Ask about pence, and they will discuss the generate and ingenerate, &c., &c., tom. ii. p. 898. Socrates, too, says that the heresy "ravaged provinces and cities;" and Theodoret, that "quarrels took place in every city and village concerning the divine dogma, the people looking on, and taking sides.” Hist. i. 6.

In spite of these attempts, however, on the part of the Arians, still, viewing Christendom as a whole, we shall find that the Catholic populations sided with Athanasius; and the fierce disputes above described evidenced the zeal of the orthodox rather than the strength of the heretical party. This will appear in the following extracts :

1. ALEXANDRIA. "We suppose," says Athanasius, "you are not ignorant what outrages they (the Arian Bishops] committed at Alexandria, for they are reported every where. They attacked the holy virgins and brethren with naked swords ; they beat with scourges their persons, esteemed honourable in God's sight, so that their feet were lamed by the stripes, whose souls were whole and sound in purity and all good works.” Athan. Ap. c. Arian. 15.

Accordingly Constantius writes letters, and commences a persecution against all. Gathering together a multitude of herdsmen and shepherds, and dissolute youths belonging to the town, armed with swords and clubs, they attacked in a body the Church of Quirinus : and some they slew, some they trampled under foot, others they beat with stripes and cast into prison or banished. They haled away many women also, and dragged them openly into the court, and insulted them, dragging them by the hair. Some they proscribed ; from some they took away their bread, for no other reason but that they might be induced to join the Arians, and receive Gregory [the Arian Bishop], who had been sent by the Emperor.” Athan. Hist. Arian. § 10.

“On the week that succeeded the holy Pentecost, when


the people after their fast, had gone out to the cemetery to pray, because that all refused communion with George [the Arian Bishop], the commander, Sebastian, straightway with a multitude of soldiers proceeded to attack the people, though it was the Lord's day; and finding a few praying for the greater part had already retired on account of the lateness of the hour), having lighted a pile, he placed certain virgins near the fire, and endeavoured to force them to say that they were of the Arian faith. And having seized on forty men, he cut some fresh twigs of the palm-tree, with the thorns upon them, and scourged them on the back so severely that some of them were for a long time under medical treatment, on account of the thorns which had entered their flesh, and others, unable to bear up under their sufferings, died. All those whom they had taken, both the men and the virgins, they sent away into banishment to the great Oasis. Moreover, they immediately banished out of Egypt and Libya the following Bishops (sixteen], and the presbyters, Hierax and Dioscorus; some of them died on the way, others in the place of their banishment. They caused also more than thirty Bishops to take to flight." Apol. de Fug. 7.

2. EGYPT. “The Emperor Valens having issued an edict commanding that the orthodox should be expelled both from Alexandria and the rest of Egypt, depopulation and ruin to an immense extent immediately followed; some were dragged before the tribunals, others cast into prison, and many tortured in various ways; all sorts of punishment being inflicted upon persons who aimed only at peace and quiet.” Socr. Hist. iv. 24.

3. THE MONKS (1.) of Egypt. “Antony left the solitude of the desert to go about very part of the city [Alexandria), warning the inhabitants that the Arians were opposing the truth, and that the doctrines of the Apostles were preached only by Athanasius." Theod. Hist. iv. 27.

Lucius, the Arian, with a considerable body of troops, proceeded to the monasteries of Egypt, where he in

person assailed the assemblage of holy men with greater fury than the ruthless soldiery. When these excellent persons remained unmoved by all the violence, in despair he advised the military chief to send the fathers of the monks, the Egyptian Macarius and his namesake of Alexandria, into exile.” Socr. iv. 24.

(2.) Of Constantinople. “Isaac, on seeing the emperor depart at the head of his army, exclaimed, 'You who have declared war against God cannot gain His aid. Cease from fighting against Him, and He will terminate the war. Restore the pastors to their flocks, and then you

will obtain a bloodless victory."" Theod. iv.

(3.) Of Syria, &c. " That these heretical doctrines [Apollinarian and Eunomian] did not finally become predominant is mainly to be attributed to the zeal of the monks of this period ; for all the monks of Syria, Cappadocia, and the neighbouring provinces were sincerely attached to the Nicene faith. The same fate awaited them which had been experienced by the Arians; for they incurred the full weight of the popular odium and aversion, when it was observed that their sentiments were regarded with suspicion by the monks." Sozom. vi. 27.

(4.) Of Cappadocia. “Gregory, the father of Gregory Theologus, otherwise a most excellent man and a zealous defender of the true and Catholic religion, not being on his guard against the artifices of the Arians, such was his simplicity, received with kindness certain men who were contaminated with the poison, and subscribed an impious proposition of theirs. This moved the monks to such indignation, that they withdrew forthwith from his communion, and took with them, after their example, a considerable part of his flock.” Ed. Bened. Monit. in Greg. Naz. Orat. 6.

4. ANTIOCH. “Whereas he (the Bishop Leontius) took part in the blasphemy of Arius, he made a point of concealing this disease, partly for fear of the multitude, partly for the menaces of Constantius; so those who followed the Apostolical dogmas gained from him neither patronage nor

« PreviousContinue »