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Title: The Arian Controversy
Author: Gwatkin, Henry Melvill, 1844-1916
Language: English
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Epochs of Church History











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LIST OF WORKS                           ix


THE COUNCIL OF NICÆA                    16

THE EUSEBIAN REACTION                   41

THE COUNCIL OF SARDICA                  61

THE VICTORY OF ARIANISM                 80

THE REIGN OF JULIAN                    105


THE FALL OF ARIANISM                   147

CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE                    169

INDEX                                  173


The following works will be found useful by students who are willing to
pursue the subject further. Some of special interest or importance are
marked with an asterisk.


The Church Histories of *Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and (for the
Arian side) the fragments of Philostorgius [translations in Bohn's
_Ecclesiastical Library_].

*Eusebius, _Vita Constantini_ and _Contra Marcellum Ancyranum_.

*Athanasius, especially _De Incarnatione Verbi Dei_, _De Decretis Synodi
Nicænæ_, _Orationes contra Arianos_, _De Synodis_, _Ad Antiochenos_, _Ad
Afros_. Convenient editions of most of these by Professor Bright of
Oxford. [Translations of *_De Incarnatione_ (Bindley in _Christian
Classics_ Series) and of the _Orationes_ and most of the historical
works, Newman in Oxford _Library of the Fathers_.]

Hilary, especially _De Synodis_. Cyril's _Catecheses_ [translation in
_Oxford Library of the Fathers_]. Basil, especially _Letters_. Gregory
of Nazianzus, especially _Orationes_ iv. and v. (against Julian). Of
minor writers, Phoebadius and Sulpicius Severus (for Council of
Ariminum). Fragments of Marcellus, collected by Rettberg (Göttingen,
1794). [German translations of most of these in Thalhofer's _Bibliothek
der Kirchenväter_. English may be hoped for in Schaff's _Select Library
of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers_ (vol. i. Buffalo, 1886) in 25

Heathen writers:--Zosimus (bitterly prejudiced); Ammianus Marcellinus
for 353-378 (cool and impartial); Julian, especially _Cæsares_,
_Fragmentum Epistolæ_, and _Epp._ 7, 25, 26, 42, 43, 49, 52.


1. For general reference:--

Gibbon's _Decline and Fall_ (prejudiced against the Christian Empire,
but narrative still unrivalled); Schiller _Geschichte der römischen
Kaiserzeit_, Bd. ii. (church matters a weak point); Ranke,
_Weltgeschichte_, Bd. iii. iv.

General Church Histories of Neander [translation in Bohn's _Standard
Library_]; Kurtz (zehnte Aufl., 1887); Fisher (New York, 1887); also
Hefele, _History of the Church Councils_ [translation published by T. &
T. Clark].

Articles in _Dictionary of Christian Biography_ (especially those by
Lightfoot, Reynolds, and Wordsworth), and in Herzog's _Realencyclopädie_
(especially _Mönchtum_ by Weingarten).

Weingarten's _Zeittafeln z. Kirchengeschichte_ (3 Aufl. 1888).

(2.) For special use:--

The whole period is more or less covered by Kaye, _Some Account of the
Nicene Council_, 1853; *Stanley, _Eastern Church_ (best account of the
outside of the council); Broglie, _L'Église et l'Empire romain_;
Gwatkin, _Studies of Arianism_, 1882.

On Constantine, Burckhardt, _Die Zeit Constantins_, 1853; Keim, _Der
Uebertritt Constantins_, 1862; Brieger, _Constantin der Grosse als
Religionspolitiker_, 1880.

On Julian, English account by *Rendall, 1879; German lives by Neander,
1813 [translated 1850]; Mücke, 1867-69, and Rode, 1877. The French books
are mostly bad. For the decline of heathenism generally, Merivale,
_Boyle Lectures_ for 1864-65; Chastel, _Destruction du Paganisme_, 1850;
Lasaulx, _Untergang des Hellenismus_, 1854; Schultze, _Geschichte des
Untergangs des griechisch-römischen Heidentums_, 1887; also Capes,
_University Life in Ancient Athens_, 1877; Sievers, _Leben des
Libanius_, 1868.

Biographies:--Fialon, _Saint Athanase_, 1877 (slight, but suggestive);
Zahn, _Marcellus von Ancyra_, 1867; Reinkens, _Hilarius von Poitiers_,
1864; Fialon, _Saint Basile_, 1868; Ullmann, _Gregorius von Nazianz_, 2
Aufl. 1867 [translated 1851]; Krüger, _Lucifer von Calaris_, 1886;
Eichhorn, _Athanasii de vita ascetica Testimonia_, 1886 (in opposition
to Weingarten and others); Guldenpenning u. Island, _Theodosius der
Grosse_, 1878; various of unequal merit in _The Fathers for English

On Teutonic Arianism:--Scott, _Ulfilas, Apostle of the Goths_, 1885;
Hodgkin, _Italy and her Invaders_, 1880-85; Revillout, _De l'Arianisme
des Peuples germaniques_, 1850.

For doctrine, the general histories in German of Baur, Nitzsch, 1870;
Hagenbach [translated in Clark's _Foreign Theological Library_], and
*Harnack, Bd. ii., 1887; Dorner's _Doctrine of the Person of Christ_
[translated in Clark's _Foreign Theological Library_]; *Hort, _Two
Dissertations_, 1876 (on Nicene and Constantinopolitan Creeds); Caspari,
_Quellen_, Bd. iii. (on Apostles' Creed).

On Athanasius, also Voigt, _Die Lehre von Athanasius_, 1861; Atzberger,
_Die Logoslehre des hl. Athanasius_, 1880; Wilde, _Athanasius als
Bestrijder der Arianen_, 1868 (Dutch).

For the Roman Catholic version of the history, Möhler, _Athanasius der
Grosse_, 1844; Newman, _Arians of the Fourth Century_.

For short sketches giving the relation of Arianism to Church history in
general, *Allen, _Continuity of Christian Thought_, 1884 (contrast of
Greek and Latin Churches); *Sohm, _Kirchengeschichte im Abriss_, 1888.


The present work is largely, though not entirely, an abridgement of my
_Studies of Arianism_.

The Conversion of the Goths, which gives the best side of Arianism, has
been omitted as belonging more properly to another volume of the series.


       *       *       *       *       *



Arianism is extinct only in the sense that it has long ceased to furnish
party names. It sprang from permanent tendencies of human nature, and
raised questions whose interest can never perish. As long as the
Agnostic and the Evolutionist are with us, the old battlefields of
Athanasius will not be left to silence. Moreover, no writer more
directly joins the new world of Teutonic Christianity with the old of
Greek and Roman heathenism. Arianism began its career partly as a theory
of Christianity, partly as an Eastern reaction of philosophy against a
gospel of the Son of God. Through sixty years of ups and downs and
stormy controversy it fought, and not without success, for the dominion
of the world. When it was at last rejected by the Empire, it fell back
upon its converts among the Northern nations, and renewed the contest as
a Western reaction of Teutonic pride against a Roman gospel. The
struggle went on for full three hundred years in all, and on a scale of
vastness never seen again in history. Even the Reformation was limited
to the West, whereas Arianism ranged at one time or another through the
whole of Christendom. Nor was the battle merely for the wording of
antiquated creeds or for the outworks of the faith, but for the very
life of revelation. If the Reformation decided the supremacy of
revelation over church authority, it was the contest with Arianism which
cleared the way, by settling for ages the deeper and still more
momentous question, which is once more coming to the surface as the
gravest doubt of our time, whether a revelation is possible at all.

[Sidenote: The doctrine of the Lord's person.]

Unlike the founders of religions, Jesus of Nazareth made his own person
the centre of his message. Through every act and utterance recorded of
him there runs a clear undoubting self-assertion, utterly unknown to
Moses or Mahomet. He never spoke but with authority. His first disciples
told how he began his ministry by altering the word which was said to
them of old time, and ended it by calmly claiming to be the future Judge
of all men. And they told the story of their own life also; how they had
seen his glory while he dwelt among them, and how their risen Lord had
sent them forth to be his witnesses to all the nations. Whatever might
be doubtful, their personal knowledge of the Lord was sure and certain,
and of necessity became the base and starting-point of their teaching.
In Christ all things were new. From him they learned the meaning of
their ancient scriptures; through him they knew their heavenly Father;
in him they saw their Saviour from this present world, and to him they
looked for the crown of life in that to come. His word was law, his love
was life, and in his name the world was overcome already. What mattered
it to analyse the power of life they felt within them? It was enough to
live and to rejoice; and their works are one long hymn of triumphant
hope and overflowing thankfulness.

[Sidenote: In contact (1) with the vulgar.]

It was easier for the first disciples to declare what their own eyes had
seen and their own hands had handled of the Word of Life, than for
another generation to take up a record which to themselves was only
history, and to pass from the traditional assertion of the Lord's
divinity to its deliberate enunciation in clear consciousness of the
difficulties which gathered round it when the gospel came under the keen
scrutiny of thoughtful heathens. Whatever vice might be in heathenism,
there was no want of interest in religion. If the doubts of some were
real, the scoffs of many were only surface-deep. If the old legends of
Olympus were outworn, philosophy was still a living faith, and every
sort of superstition flourished luxuriantly. Old worships were revived,
the ends of the earth were searched for new ones. Isis or Mithras might
help where Jupiter was powerless, and uncouth lustrations of the blood
of bulls and goats might peradventure cast a spell upon eternity. The
age was too sad to be an irreligious one. Thus from whatever quarter a
convert might approach the gospel, he brought earlier ideas to bear upon
its central question of the person of the Lord. Who then was this man
who was dead, whom all the churches affirmed to be alive and worshipped
as the Son of God? If he was divine, there must be two Gods; if not, his
worship was no better than the vulgar worships of the dead. In either
case, there seemed to be no escape from the charge of polytheism.

[Sidenote: (2) with the philosophers.]

The key of the difficulty is on its other side, in the doctrine of the
unity of God, which was not only taught by Jews and Christians, but
generally admitted by serious heathens. The philosophers spoke of a dim
Supreme far off from men, and even the polytheists were not unwilling to
subordinate their motley crew of gods to some mysterious divinity beyond
them all. So far there was a general agreement. But underneath this
seeming harmony there was a deep divergence. Resting on a firm basis of
historic revelation, Christianity could bear record of a God who loved
the world and of a Redeemer who had come in human flesh. As this coming
is enough to show that God is something more than abstract perfection
and infinity, there is nothing incredible in a real incarnation, or in a
real trinity inside the unity of God. But the heathen had no historic
revelation of a living hope to sustain him in that age of failure and
exhaustion. Nature was just as mighty, just as ruthless then as now, and
the gospel was not yet the spring of hope it is in modern life. In our
time the very enemies of the cross are living in its light, and drawing
at their pleasure from the well of Christian hope. It was not yet so in
that age. Brave men like Marcus Aurelius could only do their duty with
hopeless courage, and worship as they might a God who seemed to refuse
all answer to the great and bitter cry of mankind. If he cares for men,
why does he let them perish? The less he has to do with us, the better
we can understand our evil plight. Thus their Supreme was far beyond the
weakness of human sympathy. They made him less a person than a thing or
an idea, enveloped in clouds of mysticism and abolished from the world
by his very exaltation over it. He must not touch it lest it perish. The
Redeemer whom the Christians worship may be a hero or a prophet, an
angel or a demi-god--anything except a Son of God in human form. We
shall have to find some explanation for the scandal of the incarnation.

[Sidenote: Arius himself.]

Arianism is Christianity shaped by thoughts like these. Its author was
no mere bustling schemer, but a grave and blameless presbyter of
Alexandria. Arius was a disciple of the greatest critic of his time, the
venerated martyr Lucian of Antioch. He had a name for learning, and his
letters bear witness to his dialectical skill and mastery of subtle
irony. At the outbreak of the controversy, about the year 318, we find
him in charge of the church of Baucalis at Alexandria, and in high
favour with his bishop, Alexander. It was no love of heathenism, but a
real difficulty of the gospel which led him to form a new theory. His
aim was not to lower the person of the Lord or to refuse him worship,
but to defend that worship from the charge of polytheism. Starting from
the Lord's humanity, he was ready to add to it everything short of the
fullest deity. He could not get over the philosophical difficulty that
one who is man cannot be also God, and therefore a second God. Let us
see how high a creature can be raised without making hint essentially

[Sidenote: His doctrine; Its merits.]

The Arian Christ is indeed a lofty creature. He claims our worship as
the image of the Father, begotten before all worlds, as the Son of God,
by whom all things were made, who for us men took flesh and suffered and
rose again, and sat down at the right hand of the Father, and remains
both King and God for ever. Is not this a good confession? What more can
we want? Why should all this glorious language go for nothing? God
forbid that it should go for nothing. Arianism was at least so far
Christian that it held aloft the Lord's example as the Son of Man, and
never wavered in its worship of him as the Son of God. Whatever be the
errors of its creed, whatever the scandals of its history, it was a
power of life among the Northern nations. Let us give Arianism full
honour for its noble work of missions in that age of deep despair which
saw the dissolution of the ancient world.

[Sidenote: Its real meaning.]

Nevertheless, this plausible Arian confession will not bear examination.
It is only the philosophy of the day put into a Christian dress. It
starts from the accepted belief that the unity of God excludes not only
distinctions inside the divine nature, but also contact with the world.
Thus the God of Arius is an unknown God, whose being is hidden in
eternal mystery. No creature can reveal him, and he cannot reveal
himself. But if he is not to touch the world, he needs a minister of
creation. The Lord is rather such a minister than the conqueror of death
and sin. No doubt he is the Son of God, and begotten before all worlds.
Scripture is quite clear so far; but if he is distinct from the Father,
he is not God; and if he is a Son, he is not co-eternal with the Father.
And what is not God is creature, and what is not eternal is also
creature. On both grounds, then, the Lord is only a creature; so that if
he is called God, it is in a lower and improper sense; and if we speak
of him as eternal, we mean no more than the eternity of all things in
God's counsel. Far from sharing the essence of the Father, he does not
even understand his own. Nay, more; he is not even a creature of the
highest type. If he is not a sinner, (Scripture forbids at least _that_
theory, though some Arians came very near it), his virtue is, like our
own, a constant struggle of free-will, not the fixed habit which is the
perfection and annulment of free-will. And now that his human soul is
useless, we may as well simplify the incarnation into an assumption of
human flesh and nothing more. The Holy Spirit bears to the Son a
relation not unlike that of the Son to the Father. Thus the Arian
trinity of divine persons forms a descending series, separated by
infinite degrees of honour and glory, resembling the philosophical triad
of orders of spiritual existence, extending outwards in concentric

[Sidenote: Criticism of it.]

Indeed the system is heathen to the core. The Arian Christ is nothing
but a heathen idol invented to maintain a heathenish Supreme in heathen
isolation from the world. Never was a more illogical theory devised by
the wit of man. Arius proclaims a God of mystery, unfathomable to the
Son of God himself, and goes on to argue as if the divine generation
were no more mysterious than its human type. He forgets first that
metaphor would cease to be metaphor if there were nothing beyond it;
then that it would cease to be true if its main idea were misleading. He
presses the metaphor of sonship as if mere human relations could exhaust
the meaning of the divine; and soon works round to the conclusion that
it is no proper sonship at all. In his irreverent hands the Lord's deity
is but the common right of mankind, his eternity no more than the beasts
themselves may claim. His clumsy logic overturns every doctrine he is
endeavouring to establish. He upholds the Lord's divinity by making the
Son of God a creature, and then worships him to escape the reproach of
heathenism, although such worship, on his own showing, is mere idolatry.
He makes the Lord's manhood his primary fact, and overthrows that too by
refusing the Son of Man a human soul. The Lord is neither truly God nor
truly man, and therefore is no true mediator. Heathenism may dream of a
true communion with the Supreme, but for us there neither is nor ever
can be any. Between our Father and ourselves there is a great gulf
fixed, which neither he nor we can pass. Now that we have heard the
message of the Lord, we know the final certainty that God is darkness,
and in him is no light at all. If this be the sum of the whole matter,
then revelation is a mockery, and Christ is dead in vain.

[Sidenote: Athanasius _de Incarnatione_.]

Arius was but one of many who were measuring the heights of heaven with
their puny logic, and sounding the deeps of Wisdom with the plummet of
the schools. Men who agreed in nothing else agreed in this practical
subordination of revelation to philosophy. Sabellius, for example, had
reduced the Trinity to three successive manifestations of the one God in
the Law, the Gospel, and the Church; yet even he agreed with Arius in a
philosophical doctrine of the unity of God which was inconsistent with a
real incarnation. Even the noble work of Origen had helped to strengthen
the philosophical influences which were threatening to overwhelm the
definite historic revelation. Tertullian had long since warned the
churches of the danger; but a greater than Tertullian was needed now to
free them from their bondage to philosophy. Are we to worship the Father
of our spirits or the Supreme of the philosophers? Arius put the
question: the answer came from Athanasius. Though his _De Incarnatione
Verbi Dei_ was written in early manhood, before the rise of Arianism, we
can already see in it the firm grasp of fundamental principles which
enabled him so thoroughly to master the controversy when it came before
him. He starts from the beginning, with the doctrine that God is good
and not envious, and that His goodness is shown in the creation, and
more especially by the creation of man in the image of God, whereby he
was to remain in bliss and live the true life, the life of the saints in
Paradise. But when man sinned, he not only died, but fell into the
entire corruption summed up in death; for this is the full meaning of
the threat 'ye shall die with death.'[1] So things went on from bad to
worse on earth. The image of God was disappearing, and the whole
creation going to destruction. What then was God to do? He could not
take back his sentence that death should follow sin, and yet he could
not allow the creatures of his love to perish. Mere repentance on man's
side could not touch the law of sin; a word from God forbidding the
approach of death would not reach the inner corruption. Angels could not
help, for it was not in the image of angels that man was made. Only he
who is himself the Life could conquer death. Therefore the immortal Word
took human flesh and gave his mortal body for us all. It was no
necessity of his nature so to do, but a pure outcome of his love to men
and of the Father's loving purpose of salvation. By receiving in himself
the principle of death he overcame it, not in his own person only, but
in all of us who are united with him. If we do not yet see death
abolished, it is now no more than the passage to our joyful
resurrection. Our mortal human nature is joined with life in him, and
clothed in the asbestos robe of immortality. Thus, and only thus, in
virtue of union with him, can man become a sharer of his victory. There
is no limit to the sovereignty of Christ in heaven and earth and hell.
Wherever the creation has gone before, the issues of the incarnation
must follow after. See, too, what he has done among us, and judge if his
works are not the works of sovereign power and goodness. The old fear of
death is gone. Our children tread it underfoot, our women mock at it.
Even the barbarians have laid aside their warfare and their murders, and
live at his bidding a new life of peace and purity. Heathenism is
fallen, the wisdom of the world is turned to folly, the oracles are
dumb, the demons are confounded. The gods of all the nations are giving
place to the one true God of mankind. The works of Christ are more in
number than the sea, his victories are countless as the waves, his
presence is brighter than the sunlight. 'He was made man that we might
be made God.'[2]

[Footnote 1: Gen. ii. 17, LXX.]

[Footnote 2: Ath. _De Inc._ 44: [Greek: autos gar enênthrôpêsen hina
hêmeis theopoiêthômen]. Bold as this phrase is, it is not too bold a
paraphrase of Heb. ii. 5-18.]

[Sidenote: Its significance.]

The great persecution had been raging but a few years back, and the
changes which had passed since then were enough to stir the enthusiasm
of the dullest Christian. These splendid paragraphs are the song of
victory over the defeat of the Pharaohs of heathenism and the
deliverance of the churches from the house of bondage. 'Sing ye to the
Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously.' There is something in them
higher than the fierce exultation of Lactantius over the sufferings of
the dying persecutors, though that too is impressive. 'The Lord hath
heard our prayers. The men who strove with God lie low; the men who
overthrew his churches have themselves fallen with a mightier overthrow;
the men who tortured the righteous have surrendered their guilty spirits
under the blows of Heaven and in tortures well deserved though long
delayed--yet delayed only that posterity might learn the full terrors of
God's vengeance on his enemies.' There is none of this fierce joy in
Athanasius, though he too had seen the horrors of the persecution, and
some of his early teachers had perished in it. His eyes are fixed on the
world-wide victory of the Eternal Word, and he never lowers them to
resent the evil wrought by men of yesterday. Therefore neither lapse of
time nor multiplicity of trials could ever quench in Athanasius the pure
spirit of hope which glows in his youthful work. Slight as our sketch of
it has been, it will be enough to show his combination of religious
intensity with a speculative insight and a breadth of view reminding us
of Origen. If he fails to reach the mystery of sinlessness in man, and
is therefore not quite free from a Sabellianising view of the Lord's
humanity as a mere vesture of his divinity, he at least rises far above
the barren logic of the Arians. We shall presently have to compare him
with the next great Eastern thinker, Apollinarius of Laodicea.

[Sidenote: Attraction of Arianism: (1.) For superficial thinkers.]

Yet there were many men whom Arianism suited by its shallowness. As soon
as Christianity was established as a lawful worship by the edict of
Milan in 312, the churches were crowded with converts and inquirers of
all sorts. A church which claims to be universal cannot pick and choose
like a petty sect, but must receive all comers. Now these were mostly
heathens with the thinnest possible varnish of Christianity, and
Arianism enabled them to use the language of Christians without giving
up their heathen ways of thinking. In other words, the world was ready
to accept the gospel as a sublime monotheism, and the Lord's divinity
was the one great stumbling-block which seemed to hinder its conversion.
Arianism was therefore a welcome explanation of the difficulty. Nor was
the attraction only for nominal Christians like these. Careless
thinkers--sometimes thinkers who were not careless--might easily suppose
that Arianism had the best of such passages as 'The Lord created me,'[3]
or 'The Father is greater than I.'[4] Athanasius constantly complains of
the Arian habit of relying on isolated passages like these without
regard to their context or to the general scope and drift of Scripture.

[Footnote 3: Prov. viii. 22, LXX mistranslation.]

[Footnote 4: John xiv. 28.]

[Sidenote: (2.) To thoughtful men.]

Nor was even this all. The Lord's divinity was a real difficulty to
thoughtful men. They were still endeavouring to reconcile the
philosophical idea of God with the fact of the incarnation. In point of
fact, the two things are incompatible, and one or the other would have
to be abandoned. The absolute simplicity of the divine nature is
consistent with a merely external Trinity, or with a merely economic
Trinity, with an Arian Trinity of one increate and two created beings,
or with a Sabellian Trinity of three temporal aspects of the one God
revealed in history; but not with a Christian Trinity of three eternal
aspects of the divine nature, facing inward on each other as well as
outward on the world. But this was not yet fully understood. The problem
was to explain the Lord's distinction from the Father without destroying
the unity of God. Sabellianism did it at the cost of his premundane and
real personality, and therefore by common consent was out of the
question. The Easterns were more inclined to theories of subordination,
to distinctions of the derivatively from the absolutely divine, and to
views of Christ as a sort of secondary God. Such theories do not really
meet the difficulty. A secondary God is necessarily a second God. Thus
heathenism still held the key of the position, and constantly threatened
to convict them of polytheism. They could not sit still, yet they could
not advance without remodelling their central doctrine of the divine
nature to agree with revelation. Nothing could be done till the Trinity
was placed inside the divine _nature_. But this is just what they could
not for a long time see. These men were not Arians, for they recoiled in
genuine horror from the polytheistic tendencies of Arianism; but they
had no logical defence against Arianism, and were willing to see if some
modification of it would not give them a foothold of some kind. To men
who dreaded the return of Sabellian confusion, Arianism was at least an
error in the right direction. It upheld the same truth as they--the
separate personality of the Son of God--and if it went further than they
could follow, it might still do service against the common enemy.

[Sidenote: Arianism at Alexandria.]

Thus the new theory made a great sensation at Alexandria, and it was not
without much hesitation and delay that Alexander ventured to
excommunicate his heterodox presbyter with his chief followers, like
Pistus, Carpones, and the deacon Euzoius--all of whom we shall meet
again. Arius was a dangerous enemy. His austere life and novel
doctrines, his dignified character and championship of 'common sense in
religion,' made him the idol of the ladies and the common people. He had
plenty of telling arguments for them. 'Did the Son of God exist before
his generation?' Or to the women, 'Were you a mother before you had a
child?' He knew also how to cultivate his popularity by pastoral
visiting--his enemies called it canvassing--and by issuing a multitude
of theological songs 'for sailors and millers and wayfarers,' as one of
his admirers says. So he set the bishop at defiance, and more than held
his ground against him. The excitement spread to every village in Egypt,
and Christian divisions became a pleasant subject for the laughter of
the heathen theatres.

[Sidenote: And elsewhere.]

The next step was to secure outside support. Arius betook himself to
Cæsarea in Palestine, and thence appealed to the Eastern churches
generally. Nor did he look for help in vain. His doctrine fell in with
the prevailing dread of Sabellianism, his personal misfortunes excited
interest, his dignified bearing commanded respect, and his connection
with the school of Lucian secured him learned and influential sympathy.
Great Syrian bishops like those of Cæsarea, Tyre, and Laodicea gave him
more or less encouragement; and when the old Lucianist Eusebius of
Nicomedia held a council in Bithynia to demand his recall, it became
clear that the controversy was more than a local dispute. Arius even
boasted that the Eastern bishops agreed with him, 'except a few
heretical and ill-taught men,' like those of Antioch and Jerusalem.

[Sidenote: Constantine's interference.]

The Eastern Emperor, Licinius, let the dispute take its course. He was a
rude old heathen soldier, and could only let it alone. If Eusebius of
Nicomedia tried to use his influence in favour of Arius, he had small
success. But when the battle of Chrysopolis (323) laid the Empire at the
feet of Constantine, it seemed time to get the question somehow settled.



[Sidenote: State of the Empire.]

For nearly twenty years after the middle of the third century, the Roman
Empire seemed given over to destruction. It is hard to say whether the
provinces suffered more from the inroads of barbarians who ravaged them
almost at their will, or from the exactions of a mutinous soldiery who
set up an emperor for almost every army; yet both calamities were
surpassed by the horrors of a pestilence which swept away the larger
part of mankind. There was little hope in an effete polytheism, still
less in a corrupt and desponding society. The emperors could not even
make head against their foreign enemies. Decius was killed in battle
with the Goths, Valerian captured by the Persians. But the Teuton was
not yet ready to be the heir of the world. Valerian left behind a school
of generals who were able, even in those evil days, to restore the
Empire to something like its former splendour. Claudius began by
breaking the power of the Goths at Naissus in 269. Aurelian (270-275)
made a firm peace with the Goths, and also recovered the provinces.
Tetricus and Zenobia, the Gaulish Cæsar and the Syrian queen, adorned
the triumph of their conqueror. The next step was for Diocletian
(284-305) to reform the civil power and reduce the army to obedience.
Unfortunately his division of the Empire into more manageable parts led
to a series of civil wars, which lasted till its reunion by Constantine
in 323. His religious policy was a still worse failure. Instead of
seeing in Christianity the one remaining hope of mankind, he set himself
at the end of his reign to stamp it out, and left his successors to
finish the hopeless task. Here again Constantine repaired Diocletian's
error. The edict of Milan in 312 put an end to the great persecution,
and a policy of increasing favour soon removed all danger of Christian

[Sidenote: Constantine.]

When Constantine stood out before the world as the patron of the gospel,
he felt bound to settle the question of Arianism. In some ways he was
well qualified for the task. There can be no doubt of his ability and
earnestness, or of his genuine interest in Christianity. In political
skill he was an overmatch for Diocletian, and his military successes
were unequalled since the triumph of Aurelian. The heathens saw in him
the restorer of the Empire, the Christians their deliverer from
persecution. Even the feeling of a divine mission, which laid him so
open to flattery, gave him also a keen desire to remedy the social
misery around him; and in this he looked for help to Christianity.
Amidst the horrors of Diocletian's persecution a conviction grew upon
him that the power which fought the Empire with success must somehow
come from the Supreme. Thus he slowly learned to recognise the God of
the Christians in his father's God, and in the Sun-god's cross of light
to see the cross of Christ. But in Christianity itself he found little
more than a confirmation of natural religion. Therefore, with all his
interest in the churches, he could not reach the secret of their inner
life. Their imposing monotheism he fully appreciated, but the person of
the Lord was surely a minor question. Constantine shared the heathen
feelings of his time, so that the gospel to him was only a monotheistic
heathenism. Thus Arianism came up to his idea of it, and the whole
controversy seemed a mere affair of words.

[Sidenote: His view of the controversy.]

But if he had no theological interest in the question, he could not
overlook its political importance. Egypt was always a difficult province
to manage; and if these Arian songs caused a bloody tumult in
Alexandria, he could not let the Christians fight out their quarrels in
the streets, as the Jews were used to do. The Donatists had given him
trouble enough over a disputed election in Africa, and he did not want a
worse than Donatist quarrel in Egypt. Nor was the danger confined to
Egypt; it had already spread through the East. The unity of Christendom
was at peril, and with it the support which the shattered Empire looked
for from an undivided church. The state could treat with a definite
organisation of churches, but not with miscellaneous gatherings of
sectaries. The question must therefore be settled one way or the other,
and settled at once. Which way it was decided mattered little, so that
an end was made of the disturbance.

[Sidenote: His first attempt to settle it.]

In this temper Constantine approached the difficulty. His first step was
to send Hosius of Cordova to Alexandria with a letter to Alexander and
Arius representing the question as a battle of words about mysteries
beyond our reach. In the words of a modern writer, 'It was the excess of
dogmatism founded upon the most abstract words in the most abstract
region of human thought.' It had all arisen out of an over-curious
question asked by Alexander, and a rash answer given by Arius. It was a
childish quarrel and unworthy of sensible men like them, besides being
very distressing to himself. Had the dispute been really trifling, such
a letter might have had a chance of quieting it. Instead of this, the
excitement grew worse.

[Sidenote: Summons of the council.]

Constantine enlarged his plans. If Arian doctrine disturbed Alexandria,
Meletius of Lycopolis was giving quite as much trouble about discipline
farther up the Nile, and the old disputes about the time of Easter had
never been effectually settled. There were also minor questions about
the validity of baptism administered by the followers of Novatian and
Paul of Samosata, and about the treatment of those who had denied the
faith during the persecution of Licinius. Constantine, therefore,
invited all Christian bishops inside and outside the Empire to meet him
at Nicæa in Bithynia during the summer of 325, in order to make a final
end of all the disputes which endangered the unity of Christendom. The
'city of victory' bore an auspicious name, and the restoration of peace
was a holy service, and would be a noble preparation for the solemnities
of the great Emperor's twentieth year upon the throne.

[Sidenote: The first oecumenical council.]

The idea of a general or oecumenical council (the words mean the same
thing) may well have been Constantine's own. It bears the mark of a
statesman's mind, and is of a piece with the rest of his life.
Constantine was not thinking only of the questions to be debated.
However these might be settled, the meeting could not fail to draw
nearer to the state and to each other the churches of that great
confederation which later ages have so often mistaken for the church of
Christ. As regards Arianism, smaller councils had been a frequent means
of settling smaller questions. Though Constantine had not been able to
quiet the Donatists by means of the Council of Arles, he might fairly
hope that the authority of such a gathering as this would bear down all
resistance. If he could only bring the bishops to some decision, the
churches might be trusted to follow it.

[Sidenote: Its members.]

An imposing list of bishops answered Constantine's call. The signatures
are 223, but they are not complete. The Emperor speaks of 300, and
tradition gives 318, like the number of Abraham's servants, or like the
mystic number[5] which stands for the cross of Christ. From the far west
came his chief adviser for the Latin churches, the patriarch of
councils, the old confessor Hosius of Cordova. Africa was represented by
Cæcilian of Carthage, round whose election the whole Donatist
controversy had arisen, and a couple of presbyters answered for the
apostolic and imperial see of Rome. Of the thirteen great provinces of
the Empire none was missing except distant Britain; but the Western
bishops were almost lost in the crowd of Easterns. From Egypt came
Alexander of Alexandria with his young deacon Athanasius, and the Coptic
confessors Paphnutius and Potammon, each with an eye seared out, came
from cities farther up the Nile. All these were resolute enemies of
Arianism; its only Egyptian supporters were two bishops from the edge of
the western desert. Syria was less unequally divided. If Eustathius of
Antioch and Macarius of Ælia (we know that city better as Jerusalem)
were on Alexander's side, the bishops of Tyre and Laodicea with the
learned Eusebius of Cæsarea leaned the other way or took a middle
course. Altogether there were about a dozen more or less decided
Arianizers thinly scattered over the country from the slopes of Taurus
to the Jordan valley. Of the Pontic bishops we need notice only
Marcellus of Ancyra and the confessor Paul of Neocæsarea. Arianism had
no friends in Pontus to our knowledge, and Marcellus was the busiest of
its enemies. Among the Asiatics, however, there was a small but
influential group of Arianizers, disciples of Lucian like Arius himself.
Chief of these was Eusebius of Nicomedia, who was rather a court
politician than a student like his namesake of Cæsarea, and might be
expected to influence the Emperor as much as any one. With him went the
bishops of Ephesus and Nicæa itself, and Maris of Chalcedon. The Greeks
of Europe were few and unimportant, but on the outskirts of the Empire
we find some names of great interest. James of Nisibis represented the
old Syrian churches which spoke the Lord's own native language. Restaces
the Armenian could remind the bishops that Armenia was in Christ before
Rome, and had fought the persecutors in their cause. Theophilus the Goth
might tell them the modest beginnings of Teutonic Christianity among his
countrymen of the Crimean undercliff. John the Persian, who came from
one or another of the many distant regions which bore the name of India,
may dimly remind ourselves of the great Nestorian missions which one day
were to make the Christian name a power in Northern China. Little as
Eusebius of Cæsarea liked some issues of the council, he is full of
genuine enthusiasm over his majestic roll of churches far and near, from
the extremity of Europe to the farthest ends of Asia. Not without the
Holy Spirit's guidance did that august assembly meet. Nor was its
meeting a day of hope for the churches only, but also for the weary
Empire. In that great crisis the deep despair of ages was forgotten. It
might be that the power which had overcome the world could also cure its
ancient sickness. Little as men could see into the issues of the future,
the meaning of the present was beyond mistake. The new world faced the
old, and all was ready for the league which joined the names of Rome and
Christendom, and made the sway of Christ and Cæsar one.

[Footnote 5: 318; in Greek [Greek: tiê].]

[Sidenote: The idea of a test creed.]

It seems to have been understood that the council was to settle the
question by drawing up a creed as a test for bishops. Here was a twofold
novelty. In the first place, Christendom as a whole had as yet no
written creed at all. The so-called Apostles' Creed may be older than
340, but then it first appears, and only as a personal confession of the
heretic Marcellus. Every church taught its catechumens the historic
outlines of the faith, and referred to Scripture as the storehouse and
final test of doctrine. But that doctrine was not embodied in forms of
more than local currency. Thus different churches had varying creeds to
form the basis of the catechumen's teaching, and placed varying
professions in his mouth at baptism. Some of these were ancient, and
some of widespread use, and all were much alike, for all were couched in
Scripture language, variously modelled on the Lord's baptismal formula
(Matt. xxviii. 19). At Jerusalem, for example, the candidate declared
his faith:

      in the Father;
      in the Son;
      in the Holy Spirit;
  and in one Baptism of Repentance.

The Roman form, as approximately given by Novatian
in the middle of the third century, was,

  I believe in God the Father,
          the Lord Almighty;
        in Christ Jesus his Son,
          the Lord our God;
      and in the Holy Spirit.

Though these local usages were not disturbed, it was none the less a
momentous step to draw up a document for all the churches. Its use as a
test for bishops was a further innovation. Purity of doctrine was for a
long time guarded by Christian public opinion. If a bishop taught
novelties, the neighbouring churches (not the clergy only) met in
conference on them, and refused his communion if they proved unsound. Of
late years these conferences had been growing into formal councils of
bishops, and the legal recognition of the churches by Gallienus
[Sidenote: c. 261.] had enabled them to take the further step of
deposing false teachers. Aurelian had sanctioned this in the case of
Paul of Samosata by requiring communion with the bishops of Rome and
Italy as the legal test of Christian orthodoxy. [Sidenote: 272.] But
there were practical difficulties in this plan of government by
councils. A strong party might dispute the sentence, or even get up
rival councils to reverse it. The African Donatists had given
Constantine trouble enough of this sort some years before; and now that
the Arians were following their example, it was evident that every local
quarrel would have an excellent chance of becoming a general
controversy. In the interest, therefore, of peace and unity, it seemed
better to adopt a written test. If a bishop was willing to sign it when
asked, his subscription should be taken as a full reply to every charge
of heresy which might be made against him. On this plan, whatever was
left out of the creed would be deliberately left an open question in the
churches. Whatever a bishop might choose to teach (Arianism, for
example), he would have full protection, unless some clause of the new
creed expressly shut it out. This is a point which must be kept in view
when we come to estimate the conduct of Athanasius. Thus however
Constantine hoped to make the bishops keep the peace over such trumpery
questions as this of Arianism seemed to him. Had it been a trumpery
question, his policy might have had some chance of lasting success. For
the moment, at any rate, all parties accepted it, so that the council
had only to settle the wording of the new creed.

[Sidenote: Arianism condemned.]

The Arians must have come full of hope to the council. So far theirs was
the winning side. They had a powerful friend at court in the Emperor's
sister, Constantia, and an influential connection in the learned
Lucianic circle. Reckoning also on the natural conservatism of Christian
bishops, on the timidity of some, and on the simplicity or ignorance of
others, they might fairly expect that if their doctrine was not accepted
by the council, it would at least escape formal condemnation. They
hoped, however, to carry all before them. An Arianizing creed was
therefore presented by a score or so of bishops, headed by the courtier
Eusebius of Nicomedia. They soon found their mistake. The Lord's
divinity was not an open question in the churches. The bishops raised an
angry clamour and tore the offensive creed in pieces. Arius was at once
abandoned by nearly all his friends.

[Sidenote: Eusebius proposes the creed of Cæsarea.]

This was decisive. Arianism was condemned almost unanimously, and
nothing remained but to put on record the decision. But here began the
difficulty. Marcellus and Athanasius wanted it put into the creed, but
the bishops in general saw no need of this. A heresy so easily overcome
could not be very dangerous. There were only half a dozen Arians left in
the council, and too precise a definition might lead to dangers on the
Sabellian side. At this point the historian Eusebius came forward.
Though neither a great man nor a clear thinker, he was the most learned
student of the East. He had been a confessor in the persecution, and now
occupied an important see, and stood high in the Emperor's favour. With
regard to doctrine, he held a sort of intermediate position, regarding
the Lord not indeed as a creature, but as a secondary God derived from
the will of the Father. This, as we have seen, was the idea then current
in the East, that it is possible to find some middle term between the
creature and the highest deity. To a man of this sort it seemed natural
to fall back on the authority of some older creed, such as all could
sign. He therefore laid before the council that of his own church of
Cæsarea, as follows:--

  We believe in one God, the Father Almighty,
    maker of all things, both visible and invisible;
  And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
    the Word of God,
    God from God,
    light from light,
    life from life,
    the only-begotten Son,
    the first-born of all creation,
    begotten of the Father before all ages,--
    by whom also all things were made;
  who for our salvation was made flesh,
    and lived among men,
    and suffered,
    and rose again the third day,
    and ascended to the Father,
    and shall come again in glory, to judge quick
      and dead;
  And in the Holy Spirit.

Had the council been drawing up a creed for popular use, a short and
simple document of this kind would have been suitable enough. The
undecided bishops received it with delight. It contained none of the
vexatious technical terms which had done all the mischief--nothing but
familiar Scripture, which the least learned of them could understand. So
far as Arianism might mean to deny the Lord's divinity, it was clearly
condemned already, and the whole question might now be safely left at
rest behind the ambiguities of the Cæsarean creed. So it was accepted at
once. Marcellus himself could find no fault with its doctrine, and the
Arians were glad now to escape a direct condemnation. But unanimity of
this sort, which really decided nothing, was not what Athanasius and
Marcellus wanted. They had not come to the council to haggle over
compromises, but to cast out the blasphemer, and they were resolved to
do it effectually.

[Sidenote: Persistence of Athanasius.]

Hardly a more momentous resolution can be found in history. The whole
future of Christianity was determined by it; and we must fairly face the
question whether Athanasius was right or not. Would it not have been
every way better to rest satisfied with the great moral victory already
gained? When heathens were pressing into the church in crowds, was that
a suitable time to offend them with a solemn proclamation of the very
doctrine which chiefly kept them back? It was, moreover, a dangerous
policy to insist on measures for which even Christian opinion was not
ripe, and it led directly to the gravest troubles in the
churches--troubles of which no man then living was to see the end. The
first half century of prelude was a war of giants; but the main contest
opened at Nicæa is not ended yet, or like to end before the Lord himself
shall come to end it. It was the decision of Athanasius which made half
the bitterness between the Roman and the Teuton, between Christianity
and Islam to this day. Even now it is the worst stumbling-block of
Western unbelief. Many of our most earnest enemies would gladly forget
their enmity if we would only drop our mysticism and admire with them a
human Christ who never rose with power from the dead. But we may not do
this thing. Christianity cannot make its peace with this world by
dropping that message from the other which is its only reason for
existence. Athanasius was clearly right. When Constantine had fairly put
the question, they could not refuse to answer. Let the danger be what it
might, they could not deliberately leave it open for Christian bishops
(the creed was not for others) to dispute whether our Lord is truly God
or not. Those may smile to whom all revelation is a vain thing; but it
is our life, and we believe it is their own life too. If there is truth
or even meaning in the gospel, this question of all others is most
surely vital. Nor has history failed to justify Athanasius. That heathen
age was no time to trifle with heathenism in the very citadel of
Christian life. Fresh from the fiery trial of the last great
persecution, whose scarred and mutilated veterans were sprinkled through
the council-hall, the church of God was entering on a still mightier
conflict with the spirit of the world. If their fathers had been
faithful unto death or saved a people from the world, their sons would
have to save the world itself and tame its Northern conquerors. Was that
a time to say of Christ, 'But as for this man, we know not whence he

[Sidenote: Revision of the Cæsarean creed.]

Athanasius and his friends made a virtue of necessity, and disconcerted
the plans of Eusebius by promptly accepting his creed. They were now
able to propose a few amendments in it, and in this way they meant to
fight out the controversy. It was soon found impossible to avoid a
searching revision. Ill-compacted clauses invited rearrangement, and
older churches, like Jerusalem or Antioch, might claim to share with
Cæsarea the honour of giving a creed to the whole of Christendom.
Moreover, several of the Cæsarean phrases seemed to favour the opinions
which the bishops had agreed to condemn. 'First-born of all creation'
does not necessarily mean more than that he existed before other things
were made. 'Begotten before all worlds' is just as ambiguous, or rather
worse, for the Arians understood 'begotten' to mean 'created.' Again,
'was made flesh' left it unsettled whether the Lord took anything more
than a human body. These were serious defects, and the bishops could not
refuse to amend them. After much careful work, the following was the
form adopted:--

[Sidenote: The Nicene Creed.]

  We believe in one God, the Father Almighty,
    maker of all things, both visible and invisible;
  And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
  begotten of the Father, an only-begotten--
    that is, from the essence (_ousia_) of the Father
         God from God,
          light from light,
          true God from true God,
      begotten, not made,
        being of one essence (_homoousion_) with the Father,
  by whom all things were made,
      both things in heaven and things on earth:
  who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh,
      was made man, suffered, and rose again the third day,
      ascended into heaven,
      cometh to judge quick and dead;
  And in the Holy Spirit.

  But those who say that
        'there was once when he was not,' and
        'before he was begotten he was not,' and
        'he was made of things that were not,'
        or maintain that the Son of God is of a different essence
          (_hypostasis or ousia_[6])
        or created or subject to moral change or alteration--
  these doth the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematize.

[Footnote 6: The two words are used as synonyms.]

[Sidenote: Its doctrine.]

It will be seen that the genuine Nicene Creed here given differs in
almost every clause from the so-called Nicene Creed of our Communion
Service. Leaving, however, the spurious Nicene Creed till we come to it,
let us see how the genuine Nicene Creed dealt with Arianism. Its central
phrases are the two which refer to essence. Now the _essence_ of a thing
is that by which it is what we suppose it to be. We look at it from
various points of view, and ascribe to it first one quality and then
another. Its _essence_ from any one of these successive points of view
is that by which it possesses the corresponding quality. About this
unknown something we make no assertion, so that we are committed to no
theory whatever. Thus the _essence_ of the Father _as God_ (for this was
the point of view) is that unknown and incommunicable something by which
He is God. If therefore we explain St. John's 'an only-begotten who is
God'[7] inserting 'that is, from the _essence_ of the Father,' we
declare that the Divine Sonship is no accident of will, but belongs to
the divine nature. It is not an outside matter of creation or adoption,
but (so to speak) an organic relation inside that nature. The Father is
no more God without the Son than the Son is God without the Father.
Again, if we confess him to be _of one essence_ with the Father, we
declare him the common possessor with the Father of the one essence
which no creature can share, and thus ascribe to him the highest deity
in words which allow no evasion or reserve. The two phrases, however,
are complementary. _From the essence_ makes a clear distinction: _of one
essence_ lays stress on the unity. The word had a Sabellian history, and
was used by Marcellus in a Sabellian sense, so that it was justly
discredited as Sabellian. Had it stood alone, the creed would have been
Sabellian; but at Nicæa it was checked by _from the essence_. When the
later Nicenes, under Semiarian influence, came to give the word another
meaning, the check was wisely removed.

[Footnote 7: John i. 18 (the best reading, and certainly familiar in the
Nicene age).]

[Sidenote: Its caution.]

Upon the whole, the creed is a cautious document. Though Arianism is
attacked again in the clause _was made man_, which states that the Lord
took something more than a human body, there is no attempt to forestall
later controversies by a further definition of the meaning of the
incarnation. The abrupt pause after the mention of the Holy Spirit is
equally significant, for the nature of his divinity was still an open
question. Even the heretics are not cursed, for anathema in the Nicene
age was no more than the penalty which to a layman was equivalent to the
deposition of a cleric. It meant more when it was launched against the
dead two hundred years later.

[Sidenote: Arian objections.]

Our accounts of the debate are very fragmentary. Eusebius passes over an
unpleasant subject, and Athanasius up and down his writings only tells
us what he wants for his immediate purpose. Thus we cannot trace many of
the Arian objections to the creed. Knowing, however, as we do that they
were carefully discussed, we may presume that they were the standing
difficulties of the next generation. These were four in number:--

(1.) 'From the essence' and 'of one essence' are materialist
expressions, implying either that the Son is a separate part of the
essence of the Father, or that there is some third essence prior to
both. This objection was a difficulty in the East, and still more in the
West, where 'essence' was represented by the materializing word
_substantia_, from which we get our unfortunate translation 'of one

(2.) 'Of one essence' is Sabellian. This was true; and the defenders of
the word did not seem to care if it was true. Marcellus almost certainly
used incautious language, and it was many years before even Athanasius
was fully awake to the danger from the Sabellian side.

(3.) The words 'essence' and 'of one essence' are not found in
Scripture. This is what seems to have influenced the bishops most of

(4.) 'Of one essence' is contrary to church authority. This also was
true, for the word had been rejected as materializing by a large council
held at Antioch in 269 against Paul of Samosata. The point, however, at
present raised was not that it had been rejected for a good reason, but
simply that it had been rejected; and this is an appeal to church
authority in the style of later times. The question was one of Scripture
against church authority. Both parties indeed accepted Scripture as
supreme, but when they differed in its interpretation, the Arians
pleaded that a word not sanctioned by church authority could not be made
a test of orthodoxy. If tradition gave them a foothold (and none could
deny it), they thought themselves entitled to stay; if Scripture
condemned them (and there could be no doubt of that), Athanasius thought
himself bound to turn them out. It was on the ground of Scripture that
the fathers of Nicæa took their stand, and the works of Athanasius, from
first to last, are one continuous appeal to Scripture. In this case he
argues that if the disputed word is not itself Scripture, its meaning
is. This was quite enough; but if the Arians chose to drag in
antiquarian questions, they might easily be met on that ground also, for
the word had been used or recognised by Origen and others at Alexandria.
With regard to its rejection by the Syrian churches, he refuses all
mechanical comparisons of date or numbers between the councils of
Antioch and Nicæa, and endeavours to show that while Paul of Samosata
had used the word in one sense, Arius denied it in another.

[Sidenote: Hesitation of the council.]

The council paused. The confessors in particular were an immense
conservative force. If Hosius and Eustathius had been forward in
attacking Arianism, few of them can have greatly wished to re-state the
faith which had sustained them in their trial. Now the creed involved
something like a revolution. The idea of a universal test was in itself
a great change, best softened as much as might be. The insertion of a
direct condemnation of Arianism was a still more serious step, and
though the bishops had consented to it, they had not consented without
misgiving. But when it was proposed to use a word of doubtful tendency,
neither found in Scripture nor sanctioned by church authority, it would
have been strange if they had not looked round for some escape.

[Sidenote: Arian evasions.]

Yet what escape was possible? Scripture can be used as a test if its
authority is called in question, but not when its meaning is disputed.
If the Arians were to be excluded, it was useless to put into the creed
the very words whose plain meaning they were charged with evading.
Athanasius gives an interesting account of this stage of the debate. It
appears that when the bishops collected phrases from Scripture and set
down that the Son is 'of God,' those wicked Arians said to each other,
'We can sign that, for we ourselves also are of God. Is it not written,
All things are of God?'[8] So when the bishops saw their impious
ingenuity, they put it more clearly, that the Son is not only of God
like the creatures, but of the essence of God. And this was the reason
why the word 'essence' was put into the creed. Again, the Arians were
asked if they would confess that the Son is not a creature, but the
power and eternal image of the Father and true God. Instead of giving a
straightforward answer, they were caught whispering to each other. 'This
is true of ourselves, for we men are called the image and glory of
God.[9] We too are eternal, for we who live are always.[10] And powers
of God are many. Is He not the Lord of powers (hosts)? The locust and
the caterpillar are actually "my great power which I sent among
you."[11] He is true God also, for he became true God as soon as he was
created.' These were the evasions which compelled the bishops to sum up
the sense of Scripture in the statement that the Son is of one essence
with the Father.

[Footnote 8: 1 Cor. viii. 6.]

[Footnote 9: 1 Cor. xi. 7.]

[Footnote 10: 2 Cor. iv. 11; the impudence of the quotation is worth

[Footnote 11: Joel ii. 25 (army).]

[Sidenote: Acceptance of the creed.]

So far Athanasius. The longer the debate went on, the clearer it became
that the meaning of Scripture could not be defined without going outside
Scripture for words to define it. In the end, they all signed except a
few. Many, however, signed with misgivings, and some almost avowedly as
a formality to please the Emperor. 'The soul is none the worse for a
little ink.' It is not a pleasant scene for the historian.

[Sidenote: The letter of Eusebius.]

Eusebius of Cæsarea was sorely disappointed. Instead of giving a creed
to Christendom, he received back his confession in a form which at first
he could not sign at all. There was some ground for his complaint that,
under pretence of inserting the single word of _one essence_, which our
wise and godly Emperor so admirably explained, the bishops had in effect
drawn up a composition of their own. It was a venerable document of
stainless orthodoxy, and they had laid rude hands on almost every clause
of it. Instead of a confession which secured the assent of all parties
by deciding nothing, they forced on him a stringent condemnation, not
indeed of his own belief, but of opinions held by many of his friends,
and separated by no clear logical distinction from his own. But now was
he to sign or not? Eusebius was not one of the hypocrites, and would not
sign till his scruples were satisfied. He tells us them in a letter to
the people of his diocese, which he wrote under the evident feeling that
his signature needed some apology. First he gives their own Cæsarean
creed, and protests his unchanged adherence to it. Then he relates its
unanimous acceptance, subject to the insertion of the single word _of
one essence_, which Constantine explained to be directed against
materializing and unspiritual views of the divine generation. But it
emerged from the debates in so altered a form that he could not sign it
without careful examination. His first scruple was at _of the essence of
the Father_, which was explained as not meant to imply any materializing
separation. So, for the sake of peace, he was willing to accept it, as
well as _of one essence_, now that he could do it with a good
conscience. Similarly, _begotten, not made_, was explained to mean that
the Son has nothing in common with the creatures made by him, but is of
a higher essence, ineffably begotten of the Father. So also, on careful
consideration, _of one essence with the Father_ implies no more than the
uniqueness of the Son's generation, and his distinctness from the
creatures. Other expressions prove equally innocent.

[Sidenote: Constantine's interference.]

Now that a general agreement had been reached, it was time for
Constantine to interpose. He had summoned the council as a means of
union, and enforced his exhortation to harmony by burning the letters of
recrimination which the bishops had presented to him. To that text he
still adhered. He knew too little of the controversy to have any very
strong personal opinion, and the influences which might have guided him
were divided. If Hosius of Cordova leaned to the Athanasian side,
Eusebius of Nicomedia was almost Arian. If Constantine had any feeling
in the matter--dislike, for example, of the popularity of Arius--he was
shrewd enough not to declare it too hastily. If he tried to force a view
of his own on the undecided bishops, he might offend half Christendom;
but if he waited for the strongest force inside the council to assert
itself, he might safely step in at the end to coerce the recusants.
Therefore whatever pleased the council pleased the Emperor too. When
they tore up the Arian creed, he approved. When they accepted the
Cæsarean, he approved again. When the morally strong Athanasian minority
urged the council to put in the disputed clauses, Constantine did his
best to smooth the course of the debate. At last, always in the interest
of unity, he proceeded to put pressure on the few who still held out.
Satisfactory explanations were given to Eusebius of Cæsarea, and in the
end they all signed but the two Egyptian Arians, Secundus of Ptolemais
and Theonas of Marmarica. These were sent into exile, as well as Arius
himself; and a qualified subscription from Eusebius of Nicomedia only
saved him for the moment. An imperial rescript also branded the
heretic's followers with the name of Porphyrians, and ordered his
writings to be burnt. The concealment of a copy was to be a capital

[Sidenote: Close of the council.]

Other subjects decided by the council will not detain us long, though
some of its members may have thought one or two of them quite as
important as Arianism. The old Easter question was settled in favour of
the Roman custom of observing, not the day of the Jewish passover in
memory of the crucifixion, but a later Sunday in memory of the
resurrection. For how, explains Constantine--how could we who are
Christians possibly keep the same day as those wicked Jews? The council,
however, was right on the main point, that the feasts of Christian
worship are not to be tied to those of Judaism. The third great subject
for discussion was the Meletian schism in Egypt, and this was settled by
a liberal compromise. The Meletian presbyter might act alone if there
was no orthodox presbyter in the place, otherwise he was to be a
coadjutor with a claim to succeed if found worthy. Athanasius (at least
in later times) would have preferred severer measures, and more than
once refers to these with unconcealed disgust. The rest of the business
disposed of, Constantine dismissed the bishops with a splendid feast,
which Eusebius enthusiastically likens to the kingdom of heaven.

[Sidenote: Results of the council.]

Let us now sum up the results of the council, so far as they concern
Arianism. In one sense they were decisive. Arianism was so sharply
condemned by the all but unanimous voice of Christendom, that nearly
thirty years had to pass before it was openly avowed again. Conservative
feeling in the West was engaged in steady defence of the great council;
and even in the East its doctrine could be made to wear a conservative
aspect as the actual faith of Christendom. On the other hand, were
serious drawbacks. The triumph was rather a surprise than a solid
victory. As it was a revolution which a minority had forced through by
sheer strength of clearer thought, a reaction was inevitable when the
half-convinced majority returned home. In other words, Athanasius had
pushed the Easterns farther than they wished to go, and his victory
recoiled on himself. But he could not retreat when once he had put the
disputed words into the creed. Come what might, those words were
irreversible. And if it was a dangerous policy which won the victory,
the use made of it was deplorable. Though the exile of Arius and his
friends was Constantine's work, much of the discredit must fall on the
Athanasian leaders, for we cannot find that they objected to it either
at the time or afterwards. It seriously embittered the controversy. If
the Nicenes set the example of persecution, the other side improved on
it till the whole contest threatened to degenerate into a series of
personal quarrels and retaliations. The process was only checked by the
common hatred of all parties to Julian, and by the growth of a better
spirit among the Nicenes, as shown in the later writings of Athanasius.



[Sidenote: The problem stated.]

At first sight the reaction which followed the Nicene council is one of
the strangest scenes in history. The decision was clear and all but
unanimous. Arianism seemed crushed for ever by the universal reprobation
of the Christian world. Yet it instantly renewed the contest, and fought
its conquerors on equal terms for more than half a century. A reaction
like this is plainly more than a court intrigue. Imperial favour could
do a good deal in the Nicene age, but no emperor could long oppose any
clear and definite belief of Christendom. Nothing could be plainer than
the issue of the council. How then could Arianism venture to renew the

[Sidenote: The reaction rather conservative than Arian.]

The answer is, that though the belief of the churches was certainly not
Arian, neither was it yet definitely Nicene. The dominant feeling both
in East and West was one of dislike to change, which we may conveniently
call conservatism. But here there was a difference. Heresies in the East
had always gathered round the person of the Lord, and more than one had
already partly occupied the ground of Arianism. Thus Eastern
conservatism inherited a doctrine from the last generation, and was
inclined to look on the Nicene decisions as questionable innovations.
The Westerns thought otherwise. Leaning on authority as they habitually
did, they cared little to discuss for themselves an unfamiliar question.
They could not even translate its technical terms into Latin without
many misunderstandings. Therefore Western conservatism simply fell back
on the august decisions of Nicæa. No later meeting could presume to
rival 'the great and holy council' where Christendom had once for all
pronounced the condemnation of Arianism. In short, East and West were
alike conservative; but while conservatism in the East went behind the
council, in the West it was content to start from it.

[Sidenote: Supported by influence of: (1.) Heathens.]

The Eastern reaction was therefore in its essence not Arian but
conservative. Its leaders might be conservatives like Eusebius of
Cæsarea, or court politicians like his successor, Acacius. They were
never open Arians till 357. The front and strength of the party was
conservative, and the Arians at its tail were in themselves only a
source of weakness. Yet they could enlist powerful allies in the cause
of reaction. Heathenism was still a living power in the world. It was
strong in numbers even in the East, and even stronger in the imposing
memories of history. Christianity was still an upstart on Cæsar's
throne. The favour of the gods had built up the Empire, and men's hearts
misgave them that their wrath might overthrow it. Heathenism was still
an established religion, the Emperor still its official head. Old Rome
was still devoted to her ancient deities, her nobles still recorded
their priesthoods and augurships among their proudest honours, and the
Senate itself still opened every sitting with an offering of incense on
the altar of Victory. The public service was largely heathen, and the
army too, especially its growing cohorts of barbarian auxiliaries.
Education also was mostly heathen, turning on heathen classics and
taught by heathen rhetoricians. Libanius, the teacher of Chrysostom, was
also the honoured friend of Julian. Philosophy too was a great
influence, now that it had leagued together all the failing powers of
the ancient world against a rival not of this world. Its weakness as a
moral force must not blind us to its charm for the imagination.
Neoplatonism brought Egypt to the aid of Greece, and drew on
Christianity itself for help. The secrets of philosophy were set forth
in the mysteries of Eastern superstition. From the dim background of a
noble monotheism the ancient gods came forth to represent on earth a
majesty above their own. No waverer could face the terrors of that
mighty gathering of infernal powers. And the Nicene age was a time of
unsettlement and change, of half-beliefs and wavering superstition, of
weakness and unclean frivolity. Above all, society was heathen to an
extent we can hardly realise. The two religions were strangely mixed.
The heathens on their side never quite understood the idea of
worshipping one God only; while crowds of nominal Christians never asked
for baptism unless a dangerous illness or an earthquake scared them, and
thought it quite enough to show their faces in church once or twice a
year. Meanwhile, they lived just like the heathens round them, steeped
in superstitions like their neighbours, attending freely their immoral
games and dances, and sharing in the sins connected with them. Thus
Arianism had many affinities with heathenism, in its philosophical idea
of the Supreme, in its worship of a demigod of the vulgar type, in its
rhetorical methods, and in its generally lower moral tone. Heathen
influences therefore strongly supported Arianism.

[Sidenote: (2.) Jews.]

The Jews also usually took the Arian side. They were still a power in
the world, though it was long since Israel had challenged Rome to
seventy years of internecine contest for the dominion of the East. But
they had never forgiven her the destruction of Jehovah's temple.
[Sidenote: A.D. 66-135.] Half overcome themselves by the spell of the
eternal Empire, they still looked vaguely for some Eastern deliverer to
break her impious yoke. Still more fiercely they resented her adoption
of the gospel, which indeed was no tidings of good-will or peace to
them, but the opening of a thousand years of persecution. Thus they were
a sort of caricature of the Christian churches. They made every land
their own, yet were aliens in all. They lived subject to the laws of the
Empire, yet gathered into corporations governed by their own. They were
citizens of Rome, yet strangers to her imperial comprehensiveness. In a
word, they were like a spirit in the body, but a spirit of uncleanness
and of sordid gain. If they hated the Gentile, they could love his vices
notwithstanding. If the old missionary zeal of Israel was extinct, they
could still purvey impostures for the world. Jewish superstitions were
the plague of distant Spain, the despair of Chrysostom at Antioch. Thus
the lower moral tone of Arianism and especially its denial of the Lord's
divinity were enough to secure it a fair amount of Jewish support as
against the Nicenes. At Alexandria, for example, the Jews were always
ready for lawless outrage at the call of every enemy of Athanasius.

[Sidenote: (3.) The court.]

The court also leaned to Arianism. The genuine Arians, to do them
justice, were not more pliant to imperial dictation than the Nicenes,
but the genuine Arians were only one section of a motley coalition.
Their conservative patrons and allies were laid open to court influence
by their dread of Sabellianism; for conservatism is the natural home of
the impatient timidity which looks round at every difficulty for a
saviour of society, and would fain turn the whole work of government
into a crusade against a series of scarecrows. Thus when Constantius
turned against them, their chiefs were found wanting in the self-respect
which kept both Nicene and Arian leaders from condescending to a battle
of intrigue with such masters of the art as flourished in the palace.
But for thirty years the intriguers found it their interest to profess
conservatism. The court was as full of selfish cabals as that of the old
French monarchy. Behind the glittering ceremonial on which the treasures
of the world were squandered fought armies of place-hunters great and
small, cooks and barbers, women and eunuchs, courtiers and spies,
adventurers of every sort, for ever wresting the majesty of law to
private favour, for ever aiming new oppressions at the men on whom the
exactions of the Empire already fell with crushing weight. The noblest
bishops, the ablest generals, were their fairest prey; and we have no
surer witness to the greatness of Athanasius or Julian than the
pertinacious hatred of this odious horde. Intriguers of this kind found
it better to unsettle the Nicene decisions, on behalf of conservatism
forsooth, than to maintain them in the name of truth. There were many
ways of upsetting them, and each might lead to gain; only one of
defending them, and that was not attractive.

[Sidenote: (4.) Asia.]

Nor were Constantius and Valens without political reasons for their
support of Arianism. We can see by the light of later history that the
real centre of the Empire was the solid mass of Asia from the Bosphorus
to Mount Taurus, and that Constantinople was its outwork on the side of
Europe. In Rome on one side, Egypt and Syria on the other, we can
already trace the tendencies which led to their separation from the
orthodox Eastern Church and Empire. Now in the fourth century Asia was a
stronghold of conservatism. There was a good deal of Arianism in
Cappadocia, but we hear little of it in Asia. The group of Lucianists at
Nicæa left neither Arian nor Nicene successors. The ten provinces of
Asia 'verily knew not God' in Hilary's time; and even the later Nicene
doctrine of Cappadocia was almost as much Semiarian as Athanasian. Thus
Constantius and Valens pursued throughout an Asiatic policy, striking
with one hand at Egypt, with the other at Rome. Every change in their
action can be explained with reference to the changes of opinion in

[Sidenote: Conclusion.]

Upon the whole, we may say that Arian hatred of the council would have
been powerless if it had not rested on a formidable mass of conservative
discontent, while the conservative discontent might have died away if
the court had not supplied it with the means of action. If the decision
lay with the majority, every initiative had to come from the court.
Hence the reaction went on as long as these were agreed against the
Nicene party; it was suspended as soon as Julian's policy turned another
way, became unreal when conservative alarm subsided, and finally
collapsed when Asia went over to the Nicene side.

[Sidenote: Sequel of the council.]

We may now return to the sequel of the great council. If Constantine
thought he had restored peace in the churches, he soon found out his
mistake. The literary war began again almost where his summons had
interrupted it. The creed was signed and done with and seemed forgotten.
The conservatives hardly cared to be reminded of their half unwilling
signatures. To Athanasius it may have been a watchword from the first,
but it was not so to many others. In the West it was as yet almost
unknown. Even Marcellus was more disposed to avoid all technical terms
than to lay stress on those which the council sanctioned. Yet all
parties had learned caution at Nicæa. Marcellus disavowed Sabellianism;
Eusebius avoided Arianism, and nobody seems to have disowned the creed
as long as Constantine lived.

[Sidenote: Athanasius bishop of Alexandria, A.D. 328.]

The next great change was at Alexandria. The bishop Alexander died in
the spring of 328, and a stormy election followed. Its details are
obscure, but the Nicene party put forward the deacon Athanasius, and
consecrated him in spite of a determined opposition from Arians and
Meletians. And now that we stand before the greatest of the Eastern
fathers, let us see how his character and training fitted him to be the
hero of the Arian controversy.

[Sidenote: Character of Athanasius.]

Athanasius was a Greek by birth and education, Greek also in subtle
thought and philosophic insight, in oratorical power and supple
statesmanship. Though born almost within the shadow of the mighty temple
of Serapis at Alexandria, he shows few signs of Coptic influence. Deep
as is his feeling of the mystery of revelation, he has no love of
mystery for its own sake, nothing of the Egyptian passion for things
awful and mysterious. Even his style is clear and simple, without a
trace of Egyptian involution and obscurity. We know nothing of his
family, and cannot even date his birth for certain, though it must have
been very near the year 297. He was, therefore, old enough to remember
the worst days of the great persecution, which Maximin Daza kept up in
Egypt as late as 313. Legend has of course been busy with his early
life. According to one story, Alexander found him with some other boys
at play, imitating the ceremonies of baptism--not a likely game for a
youth of sixteen. Another story makes him a disciple of the great hermit
Antony, who never existed. He may have been a lawyer for a time, but in
any case his training was neither Coptic nor monastic, but Greek and
scriptural, as became a scholar of Alexandria. There may be traces of
Latin in his writings, but his allusions to Greek literature are such as
leave no doubt that he had a liberal education. In his earliest works he
refers to Plato; in later years he quotes Homer, and models his notes on
Aristotle, his _Apology_ to Constantius on Demosthenes. To Egyptian
idolatry he seldom alludes. Scripture, however, is his chosen and
familiar study, and few commentators have ever shown a firmer grasp of
certain of its leading thoughts. He at least endeavoured (unlike the
Arian text-mongers) to take in the context of his quotations and the
general drift of Christian doctrine. Many errors of detail may be
pardoned to a writer who so seldom fails in suggestiveness and width of
view. In mere learning he was no match for Eusebius of Cæsarea, and even
as a thinker he has a worthy rival in Hilary of Poitiers, while some of
the Arian leaders were fully equal to him in political skill. But
Eusebius was no great thinker, Hilary no statesman, and the Arian
leaders were not men of truth. Athanasius, on the other hand, was
philosopher, statesman, and saint in one. Few great men have ever been
so free from littleness or weakness. At the age of twenty he had risen
far above the level of Arianism and Sabellianism, and throughout his
long career we catch glimpses of a spiritual depth which few of his
contemporaries could reach. Above all things, his life was consecrated
to a simple witness for truth. Athanasius is the hero of a mighty
struggle, and the secret of his grandeur is his intense and vivid faith
that the incarnation is a real revelation from the other world, and that
its issues are for life and death supreme in heaven and earth and hell
for evermore.

[Sidenote: Early years of his rule at Alexandria.]

Such a bishop was sure to meet a bitter opposition, and as sure to
overcome it. Egypt soon became a stronghold of the Nicene faith, for
Athanasius could sway the heart of Greek and Copt alike. The
pertinacious hatred of a few was balanced by the enthusiastic admiration
of the many. The Meletians dwindled fast, the Arians faster still.
Nothing but outside persecution was needed now to make Nicene orthodoxy
the national faith of Egypt.

[Sidenote: Beginnings of the reaction.]

It will be remembered that Eusebius of Nicomedia was exiled shortly
after the council. His disgrace was not a long one. He had powerful
friends at court, and it was not very hard for a man who had signed the
creed to satisfy the Emperor of his substantial orthodoxy. Constantine
was not unforgiving, and policy as well as easy temper forbade him to
scrutinize too closely the professions of submission laid before him.
Once restored to his former influence at court, Eusebius became the
centre of intrigue against the council. Old Lucianic friendships may
have led him on. Arius was a Lucianist like himself, and the Lucianists
had in vain defended him before the council. Eusebius was the ablest of
them, and had fared the worst. He had strained his conscience to sign
the creed, and his compliance had not even saved him from exile. We
cannot wonder if he brought back a firm determination to undo the
council's hateful work. If it was too dangerous to attack the creed
itself, its defenders might be got rid of one by one on various
pretexts. Such was the plan of operations.

[Sidenote: Formation of the Eusebian coalition.]

A party was easily formed. The Lucianists were its nucleus, and all
sorts of malcontents gathered round them. The Meletians of Egypt joined
the coalition, and the unclean creatures of the palace rejoiced to hear
of fresh intrigue. Above all, the conservatives gave extensive help. The
charges against the Nicene leaders were often more than plausible, for
men like the Cæsarean Eusebius dreaded Sabellianism, and Marcellus was
practically Sabellian, and the others aiders and abettors of his
misbelief. Some even of the darker charges may have had some ground, or
at least have seemed truer than they were. Thus Eusebius had a very
heterogeneous following, and it would be scant charity if we laid on all
of them the burden of their leader's infamy.

[Sidenote: Attacks on: (1.) Eustathius.]

They began with Eustathius of Antioch, an old confessor and a man of
eloquence, who enjoyed a great and lasting popularity in the city. He
was one of the foremost enemies of Arianism at Nicæa, and had since
waged an active literary war with the Arianizing clique in Syria. In one
respect they found him a specially dangerous enemy, for he saw clearly
the important consequences of the Arian denial of the Lord's true human
soul. Eustathius was therefore deposed (on obscure grounds) in 330, and
exiled with many of his clergy to Thrace. The vacant see was offered to
Eusebius of Cæsarea, and finally accepted by the Cappadocian Euphronius.
But party spirit ran high at Antioch. The removal of Eustathius nearly
caused a bloody riot, and his departure was followed by an open schism.
The Nicenes refused to recognise Euphronius, and held their meetings
apart, under the presbyter Paulinus, remaining without a bishop for more
than thirty years.

[Sidenote: (2.) Marcellus.]

The system was vigorously followed up. Ten of the Nicene leaders were
exiled in the next year or two. But Alexandria and Ancyra were the great
strongholds of the Nicene faith, and the Eusebians still had to expel
Marcellus and Athanasius. As Athanasius might have met a charge of
heresy with a dangerous retort, it was found necessary to take other
methods with him. Marcellus, however, was so far the foremost champion
of the council, and he had fairly exposed himself to a doctrinal attack.
Let us therefore glance at his theory of the incarnation.

[Sidenote: Character of Marcellus.]

Marcellus of Ancyra was already in middle life when he came forward as a
resolute enemy of Arianism at Nicæa. Nothing is known of his early years
and education, but we can see some things which influenced him later on.
Ancyra was a strange diocese, full of uncouth Gauls and chaffering Jews,
and overrun with Montanists and Manichees, and votaries of endless
fantastic heresies and superstitions. In the midst of this turmoil
Marcellus spent his life; and if he learned too much of the Galatian
party spirit, he learned also that the gospel is wider than the forms of
Greek philosophy. The speculations of Alexandrian theology were as
little appreciated by the Celts of Asia as is the stately churchmanship
of England by the Celts of Wales. They were the foreigner's thoughts,
too cold for Celtic zeal, too grand for Celtic narrowness. Fickleness is
not inconsistent with a true and deep religious instinct, and we may
find something austere and high behind the ever-changing phases of
spiritual excitement. Thus the ideal holiness of the church, upheld by
Montanists and Novatians, attracted kindred spirits at opposite ends of
the Empire, among the Moors of the Atlas and the Gauls of Asia. Such a
people will have sins and scandals like its neighbours, but very little
indifference or cynicism. It will be more inclined to make of Christian
liberty an excuse for strife and debate. The zeal which carries the
gospel to the loneliest mountain villages will also fill them with the
jealousies of endless quarrelling sects; and the Gaul of Asia clung to
his separatism with all the more tenacity for the consciousness that his
race was fast dissolving in the broader and better world of Greece. Thus
Marcellus was essentially a stranger to the wider movements of his time.
His system is an appeal from Origen to St. John, from philosophy to
Scripture. Nor can we doubt the high character and earnest zeal of the
man who for years stood side by side with Athanasius. The more
significant therefore is the failure of his bold attempt to cut the knot
of controversy.

[Sidenote: Doctrine of Marcellus.]

Marcellus then agreed with the Arians that the idea of sonship implies
beginning and inferiority, so that a Son of God is neither eternal nor
equal to the Father. When the Arians argued on both grounds that the
Lord is a creature, the conservatives were content to reply that the
idea of sonship excludes that of creation, and implies a peculiar
relation to and origin from the Father. But their own position was weak.
Whatever they might say, their secondary God was a second God, and their
theory of the eternal generation only led them into further
difficulties, for their concession of the Son's origin from the will of
the Father made the Arian conclusion irresistible. Marcellus looked
scornfully on a lame result like this. The conservatives had broken down
because they had gone astray after vain philosophy. Turn we then to
Scripture. 'In the beginning was,' not the Son, but the Word. It is no
secondary or accidental title which St. John throws to the front of his
Gospel, and repeats with deliberate emphasis three times over in the
first verse. Thus the Lord is properly the Word of God, and this must
govern the meaning of all such secondary names as the Son. Then he is
not only the silent thinking principle which remains with God, but also
the active creating power which comes forth too for the dispensation of
the world. In this Sabellianizing sense Marcellus accepted the Nicene
faith, holding that the Word is one with God as reason is one with man.
Thus he explained the Divine Sonship and other difficulties by limiting
them to the incarnation. The Word as such is pure spirit, and only
became the Son of God by becoming the Son of Man. It was only in virtue
of this humiliating separation from the Father that the Word acquired a
sort of independent personality. Thus the Lord was human certainly on
account of his descent into true created human flesh, and yet not merely
human, for the Word remained unchanged. Not for its own sake was the
Word incarnate, but merely for the conquest of Satan. 'The flesh
profiteth nothing,' and even the gift of immortality cannot make it
worthy of permanent union with the Word. God is higher than immortality
itself, and even the immortal angels cannot pass the gulf which parts
the creature from its Lord. That which is of the earth is useless for
the age to come. Hence the human nature must be laid aside when its work
is done and every hostile power overthrown. Then shall the Son of God
deliver up the kingdom to the Father, that the kingdom of God may have
no end; and then the Word shall return, and be for ever with the Father
as before.

[Sidenote: The conservative panic.]

A universal cry of horror rose from the conservative ranks to greet the
new Sabellius, the Jew and worse than Jew, the shameless miscreant who
had forsworn the Son of God. Marcellus had confused together all the
errors he could find. The faith itself was at peril if blasphemies like
these were to be sheltered behind the rash decisions of Nicæa. So
thought the conservatives, and not without a reason, though their panic
was undignified from the first, and became a positive calamity when
taken up by political adventurers for their own purposes. As far as
doctrine went, there was little to choose between Marcellus and Arius.
Each held firmly the central error of the conservatives, and rejected as
illogical the modifications and side views by which they were finding
their way to something better. Both parties, says Athanasius, are
equally inconsistent. The conservatives, who refuse eternal being to the
Son of God, will not endure to hear that his kingdom is other than
eternal; while the Marcellians, who deny his personality outright, are
equally shocked at the Arian limitation of it to the sphere of time. Nor
had Marcellus escaped the difficulties of Arius. If, for example, the
idea of an eternal Son is polytheistic, nothing is gained by
transferring the eternity to an impersonal Word. If the generation of
the Son is materializing, so also is the coming forth of the Word. If
the work of creation is unworthy of God, it may as well be delegated to
a created Son as to a transitory Word. So far Athanasius. Indeed, to
Marcellus the Son of God is a mere phenomenon of time, and even the Word
is as foreign to the divine essence as the Arian Son. If the one can
only reveal in finite measure, the other gives but broken hints of an
infinity beyond. Instead of destroying Arianism by the roots, Marcellus
had fallen into something very like Sabellianism. He reaches no true
mediation, no true union of God and man, for he makes the incarnation a
mere theophany, the flesh a useless burden, to be one day laid aside.
The Lord is our Redeemer and the conqueror of death and Satan, but there
is no room for a second Adam, the organic head of regenerate mankind.
The redemption becomes a mere intervention from without, not also the
planting of a power of life within, which will one day quicken our
mortal bodies too.

[Sidenote: (3.) Athanasius.]

Marcellus had fairly exposed himself to a doctrinal attack; other
methods were used with Athanasius. They had material enough without
touching doctrine. His election was disputed: Meletians and Arians
complained of oppression: there were some useful charges of magic and
political intrigue. At first, however, the Meletians could not even get
a hearing from the Emperor. When Eusebius of Nicomedia took up their
cause, they fared a little better. The attack had to be put off till the
winter of 331, and was even then a failure. Their charges were partly
answered by two presbyters of Athanasius who were on the spot; and when
the bishop himself was summoned to court, he soon completed their
discomfiture. As Constantine was now occupied with the Gothic war,
nothing more could be done till 334. When, however, Athanasius was
ordered to attend a council at Cæsarea, he treated it as a mere cabal of
his enemies, and refused to appear.

[Sidenote: The Council of Tyre (335).]

Next year the Eastern bishops gathered to Jerusalem to keep the festival
of the thirtieth year of Constantine's reign and to dedicate his
splendid church on Golgotha. But first it was a work of charity to
restore peace in Egypt. A synod of about 150 bishops was held at Tyre,
and this time the appearance of Athanasius was secured by peremptory
orders from the Emperor. The Eusebians had the upper hand, though there
was a strong minority. Athanasius brought nearly fifty bishops from
Egypt, and others, like Maximus of Jerusalem and Alexander of
Thessalonica, were willing to do justice. Athanasius was not accused of
heresy, but, with more plausibility, of episcopal tyranny. His friends
replied with reckless violence. Potammon aimed a bitter and unrighteous
taunt at Eusebius of Cæsarea. 'You and I were once in prison for the
faith. I lost an eye: how did you escape?' Athanasius might perhaps have
been crushed if his enemies had kept up a decent semblance of truth and
fairness. But nothing was further from their thoughts than an impartial
trial. Scandal succeeded scandal, till the iniquity culminated in the
dispatch of an openly partizan commission to superintend the manufacture
of evidence in Egypt. Maximus of Jerusalem and Paphnutius left the
council, saying that it was not good that old confessors like them
should share its evil deeds. The Egyptian bishops protested. Alexander
of Thessalonica denounced the plot to the Emperor's representative.
Athanasius himself took ship for Constantinople without waiting for the
end of the farce, and the council condemned him by default. This done,
the bishops went on to Jerusalem for the proper business of their

[Sidenote: Assembly at Jerusalem.]

The concourse on Golgotha was a brilliant spectacle. Ten years had
passed since the still unrivalled assembly at Nicæa, and the veterans of
the last great persecution must have been deeply moved at their meeting
once again in this world. The stately ceremonial suited Maximus and
Eusebius much better than the noisy scene at Tyre, and may for the
moment have soothed the swelling indignation of Potammon and Paphnutius.
Constantine had once more plastered over the divisions of the churches
with a general reconciliation, but this time Athanasius was condemned
and Arius received to communion. The heretic had long since left his
exile in Illyricum, though we cannot fix the date of his recall.
However, one winter the Emperor invited Arius and his friend Euzoius to
Constantinople, where they laid before him a short and simple confession
of their faith. It said nothing of the disputed points, but was not
unorthodox as far as it went. Nor were they bishops, that the Nicene
creed should be forced upon them. Constantine was therefore satisfied,
and now directed them to lay it before the bishops at Jerusalem, who
duly approved of it and received its authors to communion. In order to
complete the work of peace, Athanasius was condemned afresh on the
return of the commission from Egypt, and proceedings were begun against
Marcellus of Ancyra.

[Sidenote: First exile of Athanasius.]

Meanwhile Constantine's dreams of peace were rudely dissipated by the
sudden appearance of Athanasius before him in the streets of
Constantinople. Whatever the bishops had done, they had plainly caused
dissensions just when the Emperor was most anxious for harmony. An angry
letter summoned the whole assembly straight to court. The meeting,
however, was most likely dispersed before its arrival; at any rate,
there came only a deputation of Eusebians. The result was unexpected.
Instead of attempting to defend the council of Tyre, Eusebius of
Nicomedia suddenly accused Athanasius of hindering the supply of corn
for the capital. This was quite a new charge, and chosen with much
skill. Athanasius was not allowed to defend himself, but summarily sent
away to Trier in Gaul, where he was honourably received by the younger
Constantine. On the other hand, the Emperor refused to let his place be
filled up at Alexandria, and exiled the Meletian leader, John Archaph,
'for causing divisions.' To Constantinople came also Marcellus. He had
kept away from the councils of Tyre and Jerusalem, and only came now to
invite the Emperor's decision on his book. Constantine referred it as
usual to the bishops, who promptly condemned it and deposed its author.

[Sidenote: Death of Arius.]

There remained only the formal restoration of Arius to communion at
Constantinople. But the heretic was taken ill suddenly, and died in the
midst of a procession the evening before the day appointed. His enemies
saw in his death a judgment from heaven, and likened it to that of
Judas. Only Athanasius relates it with reserve and dignity.

[Sidenote: Policy of Constantine.]

Upon the whole, Constantine had done his best for peace by leaving
matters in an uneasy suspense which satisfied neither party. This seems
the best explanation of his wavering. He had not turned Arian, for there
is no sign that he ever allowed the decisions of Nicæa to be openly
rejected inside the churches. Athanasius was not exiled for heresy, for
there was no question of heresy in the case. The quarrel was ostensibly
one of orthodox bishops, for Eusebius had signed the Nicene creed as
well as Athanasius. Constantine's action seems to have been determined
by Asiatic feeling. Had he believed the charge of delaying the
corn-ships, he would have executed Athanasius at once. His conduct does
not look like a real explosion of rage. The merits of the case were not
easy to find out, but the quarrel between Athanasius and the Asiatic
bishops was a nuisance, so he sent him out of the way as a troublesome
person. The Asiatics were not all of them either Arians or intriguers.
It was not always furtive sympathy with heresy which led them to regret
the heresiarch's expulsion for doctrines which he disavowed; neither was
it always partizanship which could not see the innocence of Athanasius.
Constantine's vacillation is natural if his policy was to seek for unity
by letting the bishops guide him.



[Sidenote: Death of Constantine, May 22, 337.]

Constantine's work on earth was done. When the hand of death was on him,
he laid aside the purple, and the ambiguous position of a Christian
Cæsar with it, and passed away in the white robe of a simple convert.
Long as he had been a friend to the churches, he had till now put off
the elementary rite of baptism, in the hope one day to receive it in the
waters of the Jordan, like the Lord himself. Darkly as his memory is
stained with isolated crimes, Constantine must for ever rank among the
greatest of the emperors; and as an actual benefactor of mankind, he
stands alone among them. Besides his great services to the Empire in his
own time, he gave the civilization of later days a new centre on the
Bosphorus, beyond the reach of Goth or Vandal. Bulgarians and Saracens
and Russians dashed themselves in pieces on the walls of Constantinople,
and the [Sidenote: A.D. 1204.] strong arms of Western and crusading
traitors were needed at last to overthrow the old bulwark which for so
many centuries had guarded Christendom. Above all, it was Constantine
who first essayed the problem of putting a Christian spirit into the
statecraft of the world. Hard as the task is even now, it was harder
still in times when the gospel had not yet had time to form, as it were,
an outwork of common feeling against some of the grosser sins. Yet
whatever might be his errors, his legislation was a landmark for ever,
because no emperor before him had been guided by a Christian sense of

[Sidenote: Division of the Empire.]

The sons of Constantine shared the Empire among them 'like an ancestral
inheritance.' Thrace and Pontus had been assigned to their cousins,
Dalmatius and Hannibalianus; but the army would have none but
Constantine's own sons to reign over them. The whole house of Theodora
perished in the tumult except two boys--Gallus and Julian, afterwards
the apostate Emperor. Thus Constantine's sons were left in possession of
the Empire. Constantine II. took Gaul and Britain, the legions of Syria
secured the East for Constantius, and Italy and Illyricum were left for
the share of the youngest, Constans.

[Sidenote: Recall of Athanasius, 337.]

One of the first acts of the new Emperors was to restore the exiled
bishops. Athanasius was released by the younger Constantine as soon as
his father's death was known at Trier, and reached Alexandria in
November 337, to the joy of both Greeks and Copts. Marcellus and the
rest were restored about the same time, though not without much
disturbance at Ancyra, where the intruding bishop Basil was an able man,
and had formed a party.

[Sidenote: Character of Constantius.]

Let us now take a glance at the new Emperor of the East. Constantius had
something of his father's character. In temperance and chastity, in love
of letters and in dignity of manner, in social charm and pleasantness of
private life, he was no unworthy son of Constantine; and if he inherited
no splendid genius for war, he had a full measure of soldierly courage
and endurance. Nor was the statesmanship entirely bad which kept the
East in tolerable peace for four-and-twenty years. But Constantius was
essentially a little man, in whom his father's vices took a meaner form.
Constantine committed some great crimes, but the whole spirit of
Constantius was corroded with fear and jealousy of every man better than
himself. Thus the easy trust in unworthy favourites, which marks even
the ablest of his family, became in Constantius a public calamity. It
was bad enough when the uprightness of Constantine or Julian was led
astray, but it was far worse when the eunuchs found a master too weak to
stand alone, too jealous to endure a faithful counsellor, too
easy-tempered and too indolent to care what oppressions were committed
in his name, and without the sense of duty which would have gone far to
make up for all his shortcomings. The peculiar repulsiveness of
Constantius is not due to any flagrant personal vice, but to the
combination of cold-blooded treachery with the utter want of any inner
nobleness of character. Yet he was a pious emperor, too, in his own way.
He loved the ecclesiastical game, and was easily won over to the
Eusebian side. The growing despotism of the Empire and the personal
vanity of Constantius were equally suited by the episcopal timidity
which cried for an arm of flesh to fight its battles. It is not easy to
decide how far he acted on his own likings and superstitions, how far he
merely let his flatterers lead him, or how far he saw political reasons
for following them. In any case, he began with a thorough dislike of the
Nicene council, continued for a long time to hold conservative language,
and ended after some vacillation by adopting the vague Homoean
compromise of 359.

[Sidenote: Second exile of Athanasius, Lent, 339.]

Eusebian intrigue was soon resumed. Now that Constantine was dead, a
schism could be set on foot at Alexandria; so the Arians were encouraged
to hold assemblies of their own, and provided with a bishop in the
person of Pistus, one of the original heretics deposed by Alexander. No
fitter consecrator could be found for him than Secundus of Ptolemais,
one of the two bishops who held out to the last against the council. The
next move was the formal deposition of Athanasius by a council held at
Antioch in the winter of 338. But there was still no charge of
heresy--only old and new ones of sedition and intrigue, and a new
argument, that after his deposition at Tyre he had forfeited all right
to further justice by accepting a restoration from the civil power. This
last was quite a new claim on behalf of the church, first used against
Athanasius, and next afterwards for the ruin of Chrysostom, though it
has since been made a pillar of the faith. Pistus was not appointed to
the vacant see. The council chose Gregory of Cappadocia as a better
agent for the rough work to be done. Athanasius was expelled by the
apostate prefect Philagrius, and Gregory installed by military violence
in his place. Scenes of outrage were enacted all over Egypt.

[Sidenote: Athanasius and Marcellus at Rome.]

Athanasius fled to Rome. Thither also came Marcellus of Ancyra, and
ejected clerics from all parts of the East. Under the rule of Constans
they might meet with justice. Bishop Julius at once took the position of
an arbiter of Christendom. He received the fugitives with a decent
reserve, and invited the Eusebians to the council they had already asked
him to hold. For a long time there came no answer from the East. The old
heretic Carpones appeared at Rome on Gregory's behalf, but the envoys of
Julius were detained at Antioch till January 340, and at last dismissed
with an unmannerly reply. After some further delay, a synod of about
fifty bishops met at Rome the following autumn. The cases were examined,
Marcellus and Athanasius acquitted, and it remained for Julius to report
their decision to the Easterns.

[Sidenote: The letter of Julius.]

His letter is one of the ablest documents of the entire controversy.
Nothing can be better than the calm and high judicial tone in which he
lays open every excuse of the Eusebians. He was surprised, he says, to
receive so discourteous an answer to his letter. But what was their
grievance? If it was his invitation to a synod, they could not have much
confidence in their cause. Even the great council of Nicæa had decided
(and not without the will of God) that the acts of one synod might be
revised by another. Their own envoys had asked him to hold a council,
and the men who set aside the decisions of Nicæa by using the services
of heretics like Secundus, Pistus and Carpones could hardly claim
finality for their own doings at Tyre. Their complaint that he had given
them too short a notice would have been reasonable if the appointed day
had found them on the road to Rome. 'But this also, beloved, is only an
excuse.' They had detained his envoys for months at Antioch, and plainly
did not mean to come. As for the reception of Athanasius, it was neither
lightly nor unjustly done. The Eusebian letters against him were
inconsistent, for no two of them ever told the same story; and they
were, moreover, contradicted by letters in his favour from Egypt and
elsewhere. The accused had come to Rome when summoned, and waited for
them eighteen months in vain, whereas the Eusebians had uncanonically
appointed an utter stranger in his place at Alexandria, and sent him
with a guard of soldiers all the way from Antioch to disturb the peace
of Egypt with horrible outrages. With regard to Marcellus, he had denied
the charge of heresy and presented a very sound confession of his faith.
The Roman legates at Nicæa had also borne witness to the honourable part
he had taken in the council. Thus the Eusebians could not say that
Athanasius and Marcellus had been too hastily received at Rome. Rather
their own doings were the cause of all the troubles, for complaints of
their violence came in from all parts of the East. The authors of these
outrages were no lovers of peace, but of confusion. Whatever grievance
they might have against Athanasius, they should not have neglected the
old custom of writing first to Rome, that a legitimate decision might
issue from the apostolic see. It was time to put an end to these
scandals, as they would have to answer for them in the day of judgment.

[Sidenote: Criticism of it.]

Severe as the letter is, it contrasts well with the disingenuous
querulousness of the Eusebians. Nor is Julius unmindful to press as far
as possible the claims of the Roman see. His one serious mistake was in
supporting Marcellus. No doubt old services at Nicæa counted heavily in
the West. His confession too was innocent enough, being very nearly our
so-called Apostles' Creed, here met for the first time in history.[12]
Knowing, however, what his doctrine was, we must admit that the Easterns
were right in resenting its deliberate approval at Rome.

[Footnote 12: It has even been ascribed to Marcellus; but it seems a
little older. Its apostolic origin is of course absurd. The legend
cannot be traced beyond the last quarter of the fourth century.]

[Sidenote: Council of the dedication at Antioch (341).]

The Eusebians replied in the summer of 341, when ninety bishops met at
Antioch to consecrate the Golden Church, begun by Constantine. The
character of the council is an old question of dispute. Hilary calls it
a meeting of saints, and its canons have found their way into the
authoritative collections; yet its chief work was to confirm the
deposition of Athanasius and to draw up creeds in opposition to the
Nicene. Was it Nicene or Arian? Probably neither, but conservative. The
Eusebians seem to have imitated Athanasius in pressing a creed (this
time an Arianizing one) on unwilling conservatives, but only to have
succeeded in making great confusion. This was a new turn of their
policy, and not a hopeful one. Constantine's death indeed left them free
to try if they could replace the Nicene creed by something else; but the
friends of Athanasius could accept no substitute, and even the
conservatives could hardly agree to make the Lord's divinity an open
question. The result was twenty years of busy creed-making, and twenty
more of confusion, before it was finally seen that there was no escape
from the dilemma which had been decisive at Nicæa.

[Sidenote: The Lucianic creed (second of Antioch).]

The Eusebians began by offering a meagre and evasive creed, much like
the confession of Arius and Euzoius, prefacing it with a declaration
that they were not followers of Arius, but his independent adherents.
They overshot their mark, for the conservatives were not willing to go
so far as this, and, moreover, had older standards of their own.
Instead, therefore, of drawing up a new creed, they put forward a work
of the venerated martyr Lucian of Antioch. Such it was said to be, and
such in the main it probably was, though the anathemas must have been
added now. This Lucianic formula then is essentially conservative, but
leans much more to the Nicene than to the Arian side. Its central clause
declares the Son of God 'not subject to moral change or alteration, but
the unvarying image of the deity and essence and power and counsel and
glory of the Father,' while its anathemas condemn 'those who say that
there was once _a time_ when the Son of God was not, or that he is a
creature _as one of the creatures_.' These are strong words, but they do
not in the least shut out Arianism. No doubt the phrase 'unvarying image
of the essence' means that there is no change of essence in passing from
the Father to the Son, and is therefore logically equivalent to 'of one
essence' (_homoousion_); but the conservatives meant nothing more than
'of like essence' (_homoiousion_), which is consistent with great
unlikeness in attributes. The anathemas also are the Nicene with
insertions which might have been made for the very purpose of letting
the Arians escape. However, the conservatives were well satisfied with
the Lucianic creed, and frequently refer to it with a veneration akin to
that of Athanasius for the Nicene. But the wire-pullers were determined
to upset it. The confession next presented by Theophronius of Tyana was
more to their mind, for it contained a direct anathema against
"Marcellus and those who communicated with him." It secured a momentary
approval, but the meeting broke up without adopting it. The Lucianic
formula remained the creed of the council.

[Sidenote: The fourth creed.]

Defeated in a free council, the wire-pullers a few months later
assembled a cabal of their own, and drew up a fourth creed, which a
deputation of notorious Arianizers presented to Constans in Gaul as the
genuine work of the council. It seems to have suited them better than
the Lucianic, for they repeated it with increasing series of anathemas
at Philippopolis in 343, at Antioch the next year, and at Sirmium in
351. We can see why it suited them. While in substance it is less
opposed to Arianism than the Lucianic, its wording follows the Nicene,
even to the adoption of the anathemas in a weakened form. Upon the
whole, it is a colourless document, which left all questions open.

[Sidenote: Constans demands a council.]

The wording of the creed of Tyana was a direct blow at Julius of Rome,
and is of itself enough to show that its authors were no lovers of
peace. But Western suspicion was already roused by the issue of the
Lucianic creed. There could no longer be any doubt that the Nicene faith
was the real object of attack. Before the Eastern envoys reached
Constans in Gaul, he had already written to his brother (Constantine II.
was now dead) to demand a new general council. Constantius was busy with
the Persian war, and could not refuse; so it was summoned to meet in the
summer of 343. To the dismay of the Eusebians, the place chosen was
Sardica in Dacia, just inside the dominions of Constans. After their
failure with the Eastern bishops at Antioch, they could not hope to
control the Westerns in a free council.

[Sidenote: Council of Sardica (343).]

To Sardica the bishops came. The Westerns were about ninety-six in
number, 'with Hosius of Cordova for their father,' bringing with him
Athanasius and Marcellus, and supported by the chief Westerns--Gratus of
Carthage, Protasius of Milan, Maximus of Trier, Fortunatian of Aquileia,
and Vincent of Capua, the old Roman legate at Nicæa. The Easterns, under
Stephen of Antioch and Acacius of Cæsarea, the disciple and successor of
Eusebius, were for once outnumbered. They therefore travelled in one
body, more than seventy strong, and agreed to act together. They began
by insisting that the deposition of Marcellus and Athanasius at Antioch
should be accepted without discussion. Such a demand was absurd. There
was no reason why the deposition at Antioch should be accepted blindly
rather than the acquittal at Rome. At any rate, the council had an
express commission to re-open the whole case, and indeed had met for no
other purpose; so, if they were not to do it, they might as well go
home. The Westerns were determined to sift the whole matter to the
bottom, but the Eusebians refused to enter the council. It was in vain
that Hosius asked them to give their proofs, if it were only to himself
in private. In vain he promised that if Athanasius was acquitted, and
they were still unwilling to receive him, he would take him back with
him to Spain. The Westerns began the trial: the Easterns left Sardica by
night in haste. They had heard, forsooth, of a victory on the Persian
frontier, and must pay their respects to the Emperor without a moment's

[Sidenote: Acquittal of Marcellus and Athanasius.]

Once more the charges were examined and the accused acquitted. In the
case of Marcellus, it was found that the Eusebians had misquoted his
book, setting down opinions as his own which he had only put forward for
discussion. Thus it was not true that he had denied the eternity of the
Word in the past or of his kingdom in the future. Quite so: but the
eternity of the Sonship is another matter. This was the real charge
against him, and he was allowed to evade it. Though doctrinal questions
lay more in the background in the case of Athanasius, one party in the
council was for issuing a new creed in explanation of the Nicene. The
proposal was wisely rejected. It would have made the fatal admission
that Arianism had not been clearly condemned at Nicæa, and thrown on the
Westerns the odium of innovation. All that could be done was to pass a
series of canons to check the worst scandals of late years. After this
the council issued its encyclical and the bishops dispersed.

[Sidenote: Rival council of Philippopolis.]

Meanwhile the Easterns (such was their haste) halted for some weeks at
Philippopolis to issue their own encyclical, falsely dating it from
Sardica. They begin with their main argument, that the acts of councils
are irreversible. Next they recite the charges against Athanasius and
Marcellus, and the doings of the Westerns at Sardica. Hereupon they
denounce Hosius, Julius, and others as associates of heretics and
patrons of the detestable errors of Marcellus. A few random charges of
gross immorality are added, after the Eusebian custom. They end with a
new creed, the fourth of Antioch, with some verbal changes, and seven
anathemas instead of two.

[Sidenote: The fifth creed of Antioch (344).]

The quarrel of East and West seemed worse than ever. The Eusebians had
behaved discreditably enough, but they had at least frustrated the
council, and secured a recognition of their creed from a large body of
Eastern conservatives. So far they had been fairly successful, but the
next move on their side was a blunder and worse. When the Sardican
envoys, Vincent of Capua and Euphrates of Cologne, came eastward in the
spring of 344, a harlot was brought one night into their lodgings. Great
was the scandal when the plot was traced up to the Eusebian leader,
Stephen of Antioch. A new council was held, by which Stephen was deposed
and Leontius the Lucianist, himself the subject of an old scandal, was
raised to the vacant see. The fourth creed of Antioch was also re-issued
with a few changes, but followed by long paragraphs of explanation. The
Easterns adhered to their condemnation of Marcellus, and joined with him
his disciple Photinus of Sirmium, who had made the Lord a mere man like
the Ebionites. On the other hand, they condemned several Arian phrases,
and insisted in the strongest manner on the mutual, inseparable, and, as
it were, organic union of the Son with the Father in a single deity.

[Sidenote: Return of Athanasius (Oct. 346).]

This conciliatory move cleared the way for a general suspension of
hostilities. Stephen's crime had discredited the whole gang of Eastern
court intriguers who had made the quarrel. Nor were the Westerns
unreasonable. Though they still upheld Marcellus, they frankly gave up
and condemned Photinus. Meanwhile Constans pressed the execution of the
decrees of Sardica, and Constantius, with a Persian war on his hands,
could not refuse. The last obstacle was removed by the death of Gregory
of Cappadocia in 345. It was not till the third invitation that
Athanasius returned. He had to take leave of his Italian friends, and
the Emperor's letters were only too plainly insincere. However,
Constantius received him graciously at Antioch, ordered all the charges
against him to be destroyed, and gave him a solemn promise of full
protection for the future. Athanasius went forward on his journey, and
the old confessor Maximus assembled the bishops of Palestine to greet
him at Jerusalem. But his entry into Alexandria (Oct. 346) was the
crowning triumph of his life. For miles along the road the great city
streamed out to meet him with enthusiastic welcome, and the jealous
police of Constantius could raise no tumult to mar the universal harmony
of that great day of national rejoicing.

[Sidenote: Interval of rest (346-353.)]

The next few years were an uneasy interval of suspense rather than of
peace, for the long contest had so far decided nothing. If the Nicene
exiles were restored, the Eusebian disturbers were not deposed. Thus
while Nicene animosity was not satisfied, the standing grounds of
conservative distrust were not removed. Above all, the return of
Athanasius was a personal humiliation for Constantius, which he was not
likely to accept without watching his opportunity for a final struggle
to decide the mastery of Egypt. Still there was tolerable quiet for the
present. The court intriguers could do nothing without the Emperor, and
Constantius was occupied first with the Persian war, then with the civil
war against Magnentius. If there was not peace, there was a fair amount
of quiet till the Emperor's hands were freed by the death of Magnentius
in 353.

[Sidenote: Modification of Nicene position.]

The truce was hollow and the rest precarious, but the mere cessation of
hostilities was not without its influence. As Nicenes and conservatives
were fundamentally agreed on the reality of the Lord's divinity, minor
jealousies began to disappear when they were less busily encouraged. The
Eusebian phase of conservatism, which emphasised the Lord's personal
distinction from the Father, was giving way to the Semiarian, where
stress was rather laid on his essential likeness to the Father. Thus 'of
a like essence' (_homoiousion_) and 'like in all things' became more and
more the watchwords of conservatism. The Nicenes, on the other side,
were warned by the excesses of Marcellus that there was some reason for
the conservative dread of the Nicene 'of one essence' (_homoousion_) as
Sabellian. The word could not be withdrawn, but it might be put forward
less conspicuously, and explained rather as a safe and emphatic form of
the Semiarian 'of like essence' than as a rival doctrine. Henceforth it
came to mean absolute likeness of attributes rather than common
possession of the divine essence. Thus by the time the war is renewed,
we can already foresee the possibility of a new alliance between Nicenes
and conservatives.

[Sidenote: Rise of Anomoeans.]

We see also the rise of a new and more defiant Arian school, more in
earnest than the older generation, impatient of their shuffling
diplomacy and less pliant to court influences. Aetius was a man of
learning and no small dialectic skill, who had passed through many
troubles in his earlier life and been the disciple of several scholars,
mostly of the Lucianic school, before he came to rest in a clear and
simple form of Arianism. Christianity without mystery seems to have been
his aim. The Anomoean leaders took their stand on the doctrine of
Arius himself, and dwelt with most emphasis on its most offensive
aspects. Arius had long ago laid down the absolute unlikeness of the Son
to the Father, but for years past the Arianizers had prudently softened
it down. Now, however, 'unlike' became the watchword of Aetius and
Eunomius, and their followers delighted to shock all sober feeling by
the harshest and profanest declarations of it. The scandalous jests of
Eudoxius must have given deep offence to thousands; but the great
novelty of the Anomoean doctrine was its audacious self-sufficiency.
Seeing that Arius was illogical in regarding the divine nature as
incomprehensible, and yet reasoning as if its relations were fully
explained by human types, the Anomoeans boldly declared that it is no
mystery at all. If the divine essence is simple, man can perfectly
understand it. 'Canst thou by searching find out God?' Yes, and know him
quite as well as he knows me. Such was the new school of
Arianism--presumptuous and shallow, quarrelsome and heathenising, yet
not without a directness and a firmness of conviction which gives it a
certain dignity in spite of its wrangling and irreverence. Its
conservative allies it despised for their wavering and insincerity; to
its Nicene opponents it repaid hatred for hatred, and flung back with
retorted scorn their denial of its right to bear the Christian name.

[Sidenote: Illustration from the state of: (1.) Jerusalem.]

We may now glance at the state of the churches at Jerusalem and Antioch
during the years of rest. Jerusalem had been a resort of pilgrims since
the days of Origen, and Helena's visit shortly after the Nicene council
had fully restored it to the dignity of a holy place. We still have the
itinerary of a nameless pilgrim who found his way from Bordeaux to
Palestine in 333. The great church, however, of the Resurrection, which
Constantine built on Golgotha, was only dedicated by the council of 335.
The _Catecheses_ of Cyril are a series of sermons on the creed,
delivered to the catechumens of that church in 348. If it is not a work
of any great originality, it will show us all the better what was
passing in the minds of men of practical and simple piety, who had no
taste for the controversies of the day. All through it we see the
earnest pastor who feels that his strength is needed to combat the
practical immoralities of a holy city (Jerusalem was a scandal of the
age), and never lifts his eyes to the wild scene of theological
confusion round him but in fear and dread that Antichrist is near. 'I
fear the wars of the nations; I fear the divisions of the churches; I
fear the mutual hatred of the brethren. Enough concerning this. God
forbid it come to pass in our days; yet let us be on our guard. Enough
concerning Antichrist.' Jews, Samaritans, and Manichees are his chief
opponents; yet he does not forget to warn his hearers against the
teaching of Sabellius and Marcellus, 'the dragon's head of late arisen
in Galatia.' Arius he sometimes contradicts in set terms, though without
naming him. Of the Nicenes too, we hear nothing directly, but they seem
glanced at in the complaint that whereas in former times heresy was
open, the church is now full of secret heretics. The Nicene creed again
he never mentions, but we cannot mistake the allusion when he tells his
hearers that their own Jerusalem creed was not put together by the will
of men, and impresses on them that every word of it can be proved by
Scripture. But the most significant feature of his language is its close
relation to that of the dated creed of Sirmium in 359. Nearly every
point where the latter differs from the Lucianic is one specially
emphasized by Cyril. If then the Lucianic creed represents the earlier
conservatism, it follows that Cyril expresses the later views which had
to be conciliated in 359.

[Sidenote: (2.) Antioch.]

The condition of Antioch under Leontius (344-357) is equally
significant. The Nicene was quite as strong in the city as Arianism had
ever been at Alexandria. The Eustathians formed a separate and strongly
Nicene congregation under the presbyter Paulinus, and held their
meetings outside the walls. Athanasius communicated with them on his
return from exile, and agreed to give the Arians a church in Alexandria,
as Constantius desired, if only the Eustathians were allowed one inside
the walls of Antioch. His terms were prudently declined, for the Arians
were a minority even in the congregation of Leontius. The old Arian
needed all his caution to avoid offence. 'When this snow melts,'
touching his white head, 'there will be much mud.' Nicenes and Arians
made a slight difference in the doxology; and Leontius always dropped
his voice at the critical point, so that nobody knew what he said. This
policy was successful in keeping out of the Eustathian communion not
only the indifferent multitude, but also many whose sympathies were
clearly Nicene, like the future bishops Meletius and Flavian. But they
always considered him an enemy, and the more dangerous for the contrast
of his moderation with the reckless violence of Macedonius at
Constantinople. His appointments were Arianizing, and he gave deep
offence by the ordination of his old disciple, the detested Aetius. So
great was the outcry that Leontius was forced to suspend him. The
opposition was led by two ascetic laymen, Flavian and Diodorus, who both
became distinguished bishops in later time. Orthodox feeling was
nourished by a vigorous use of hymns and by all-night services at the
tombs of the martyrs. As such practices often led to great abuses,
Leontius may have had nothing more in view than good order when he
directed the services to be transferred to the church.

[Sidenote: State of parties.]

The case of Antioch was not exceptional. Arians and Nicenes were still
parties inside the church rather than distant sects. They still used the
same prayers and the same hymns, still worshipped in the same buildings,
still commemorated the same saints and martyrs, and still considered
themselves members of the same church. The example of separation set by
the Eustathians at Antioch and the Arians at Alexandria was not followed
till a later stage of the controversy, when Diodorus and Flavian on one
side, and the Anomoeans on the other, began to introduce their own
peculiarities into the service. And if the bitterness of intestine
strife was increased by a state of things which made every bishop a
party nominee, there was some compensation in the free intercourse of
parties afterwards separated by barriers of persecution. Nicenes and
Arians in most places mingled freely long after Leontius was dead, and
the Novatians of Constantinople threw open their churches to the victims
of Macedonius in a way which drew his persecution on themselves, and was
remembered in their favour even in the next century by liberal men like
the historian Socrates.



[Sidenote: The West (337-350).]

Meanwhile new troubles were gathering in the West. While the Eastern
churches were distracted with the crimes or wrongs of Marcellus and
Athanasius, Europe remained at peace from the Atlantic to the frontier
of Thrace. The western frontier of Constantius was also the western
limit of the storm. Hitherto its distant echoes had been very faintly
heard in Gaul and Spain; but now the time was come for Arianism to
invade the tranquil obscurity of the West.

[Sidenote: Magnentian war, 350-353.]

Constans was not ill-disposed, and for some years ruled well and firmly.
Afterwards--it may be that his health was bad--he lived in seclusion
with his Frankish guards, and left his subjects to the oppression of
unworthy favourites. Few regretted their weak master's fate when the
army of Gaul proclaimed Magnentius Augustus (January 350). But the
memory of Constantine was still a power which could set up emperors and
pull them down. The old general Vetranio at Sirmium received the purple
from Constantine's daughter, and Nepotianus claimed it at Rome as
Constantine's nephew. The Magnentian generals scattered the gladiators
of Nepotianus, and disgraced their easy victory with slaughter and
proscription. The ancient mother of the nations never forgave the
intruder who had disturbed her queenly rest with civil war and filled
her streets with bloodshed. Meantime Constantius came up from Syria, won
over the legions of Illyricum, reduced Vetranio to a peaceful
abdication, and pushed on with augmented forces towards the Julian Alps,
there to decide the strife between Magnentius and the house of
Constantine. Both parties tried the resources of intrigue; but while
Constantius won over the Frank Silvanus from the Western camp, the
envoys of Magnentius, who sounded Athanasius, gained nothing from the
wary Greek. The decisive battle was fought near Mursa, on the Save
(September 28, 351). Both armies well sustained the honour of the Roman
name, and it was only after a frightful slaughter that the usurper was
thrown back on Aquileia. Next summer he was forced to evacuate Italy,
and in 353 his destruction was completed by a defeat in the Cottian
Alps. Magnentius fell upon his sword, and Constantius remained the
master of the world.

[Sidenote: Renewal of the contest.]

The Eusebians were not slow to take advantage of the confusion. The
fires of controversy in the East were smouldering through the years of
rest, so that it was no hard task to make them blaze afresh. As the
recall of the exiles was only due to Western pressure, the death of
Constans cleared the way for further operations. Marcellus and Photinus
were again deposed by a council held at Sirmium in 351. Ancyra was
restored to Basil, Sirmium given to Germinius of Cyzicus. Other Eastern
bishops were also expelled, but there was no thought of disturbing
Athanasius for the present. Constantius more than once repeated to him
his promise of protection.

[Sidenote: The Western bishops.]

Magnentius had not meddled with the controversy. He was more likely to
see in it the chance of an ally at Alexandria than a matter of practical
interest in the West. As soon, however, as Constantius was master of
Gaul, he set himself to force on the Westerns an indirect condemnation
of the Nicene faith in the person of Athanasius. Any direct approval of
Arianism was out of the question, for Western feeling was firmly set
against it by the council of Nicæa. Liberius of Rome followed the steps
of his predecessor Julius. Hosius of Cordova was still the patriarch of
Christendom, while Paulinus of Trier, Dionysius of Milan, and Hilary of
Poitiers proved their faith in exile. Mere creatures of the palace were
no match for men like these. Doctrine was therefore kept in the
background. Constantius began by demanding from the Western bishops a
summary and lawless condemnation of Athanasius. No evidence was offered;
and when an accuser was asked for, the Emperor himself came forward, and
this at a time when Athanasius was ruling Alexandria in peace on the
faith of his solemn and repeated promises of protection.

[Sidenote: Council of Arles (Oct. 353).]

A synod was held at Arles as soon as Constantius was settled there for
the winter. The bishops were not unwilling to take the Emperor's word
for the crimes of Athanasius, if only the court party cleared itself
from the suspicion of heresy by anathematizing Arianism. Much management
and no little violence was needed to get rid of this condition; but in
the end the council yielded. Even the Roman legate, Vincent of Capua,
gave way with the rest, and Paulinus of Trier alone stood firm, and was
sent away to die in exile.

[Sidenote: Council of Milan (Oct. 355).]

There was a sort of armed truce for the next two years. Liberius of Rome
disowned the weakness of his legates and besought the Emperor to hold a
new council. But Constantius was busy with the barbarians, and had to
leave the matter till he came to Milan in the autumn of 355. There
Julian was invested with the purple and sent as Cæsar to drive the
Alemanni out of Gaul, or, as some hoped, to perish in the effort. The
council, however, was for a long time quite unmanageable, and only
yielded at last to open violence. Dionysius of Milan, Eusebius of
Vercellæ, and Lucifer of Calaris in Sardinia were the only bishops who
had to be exiled.

[Sidenote: Lucifer of Calaris.]

The appearance of Lucifer is enough to show that the contest had entered
on a new stage. The lawless tyranny of Constantius had roused an
aggressive fanaticism which went far beyond the claim of independence
for the church. In dauntless courage and determined orthodoxy Lucifer
may rival Athanasius himself, but any cause would have been disgraced by
his narrow partisanship and outrageous violence. Not a bad name in
Scripture but is turned to use. Indignation every now and then supplies
the place of eloquence, but more often common sense itself is almost
lost in the weary flow of vulgar scolding and interminable abuse. He
scarcely condescends to reason, scarcely even to state his own belief,
but revels in the more congenial occupation of denouncing the fires of
damnation against the disobedient Emperor.

[Sidenote: Hilary of Poitiers.]

The victory was not to be won by an arm of flesh like this. Arianism had
an enemy more dangerous than Lucifer. From the sunny land of Aquitaine,
the firmest conquest of Roman civilization in Atlantic Europe, came
Hilary of Poitiers, the noblest representative of Western literature in
the Nicene age. Hilary was by birth a heathen, and only turned in ripe
manhood from philosophy to Scripture, coming before us in 355 as an old
convert and a bishop of some standing. He was by far the deepest thinker
of the West, and a match for Athanasius himself in depth of earnestness
and massive strength of intellect. But Hilary was a student rather than
an orator, a thinker rather than a statesman like Athanasius. He had not
touched the controversy till it was forced upon him, and would much have
preferred to keep out of it. But when once he had studied the Nicene
doctrine and found its agreement with his own conclusions from
Scripture, a clear sense of duty forbade him to shrink from manfully
defending it. Such was the man whom the brutal policy of Constantius
forced to take his place at the head of the Nicene opposition. As he was
not present at Milan, the courtiers had to silence him some other way.
In the spring of 356 they exiled him to Asia, on some charge of conduct
'unworthy of a bishop, or even of a layman.'

[Sidenote: Hosius and Liberius.]

Meanwhile Hosius of Cordova was ordered to Sirmium and there detained.
Constantius was not ashamed to send to the rack the old man who had been
a confessor in his grandfather's days, more than fifty years before. He
was brought at last to communicate with the Arianizers, but even in his
last illness refused to condemn Athanasius. After this there was but one
power in the West which could not be summarily dealt with. The grandeur
of Hosius was merely personal, but Liberius claimed the universal
reverence due to the apostolic and imperial See of Rome. It was a great
and wealthy church, and during the last two hundred years had won a
noble fame for world-wide charity. Its orthodoxy was without a stain;
for whatever heresies might flow to the great city, no heresy had ever
issued thence. The strangers of every land who found their way to Rome
were welcomed from St. Peter's throne with the majestic blessing of a
universal father. 'The church of God which sojourneth in Rome' was the
immemorial counsellor of all the churches; and now that the voice of
counsel was passing into that of command, Bishop Julius had made a
worthy use of his authority as a judge of Christendom. Such a bishop was
a power of the first importance now that Arianism was dividing the
Empire round the hostile camps of Gaul and Asia. If the Roman church had
partly ceased to be a Greek colony in the Latin capital, it was still
the connecting link of East and West, the representative of Western
Christianity to the Easterns, and the interpreter of Eastern to the
Latin West. Liberius could therefore treat almost on the footing of an
independent sovereign. He would not condemn Athanasius unheard, and
after so many acquittals. If Constantius wanted to reopen the case, he
must summon a free council, and begin by expelling the Arians. To this
demand he firmly adhered. The Emperor's threats he disregarded, the
Emperor's gifts he flung out of the church. It was not long before
Constantius was obliged to risk the scandal of seizing and carrying off
the bishop of Rome.

[Sidenote: Third exile of Athanasius (356).]

Athanasius was still at Alexandria. When the notaries tried to frighten
him away, he refused to take their word against the repeated written
promises of protection he had received from Constantius himself. Duty as
well as policy forbade him to believe that the most pious Emperor could
be guilty of any such treachery. So when Syrianus, the general in Egypt,
brought up his troops, it was agreed to refer the whole question to
Constantius. Syrianus broke the agreement. On a night of vigil (Feb. 8,
356) he surrounded the church of Theonas with a force of more than five
thousand men. The whole congregation was caught as in a net. The doors
were broken open, and the troops pressed up the church. Athanasius
fainted in the tumult; yet before they reached the bishop's throne its
occupant had somehow been safely conveyed away.

[Sidenote: George of Cappadocia.]

If the soldiers connived at the escape of Athanasius, they were all the
less disposed to spare his flock. The outrages of Philagrius and Gregory
were repeated by Syrianus and his successor, Sebastian the Manichee; and
the evil work went on apace after the arrival of the new bishop in Lent
357. George of Cappadocia is said to have been before this a
pork-contractor for the army, and is certainly no credit to Arianism.
Though Athanasius does injustice to his learning, there can be no doubt
that he was a thoroughly bad bishop. Indiscriminate oppression of
Nicenes and heathens provoked resistance from the fierce populace of
Alexandria. George escaped with difficulty from one riot in August 358,
and was fairly driven from the city by another in October.

[Sidenote: Athanasius in exile (356-362).]

Meanwhile Athanasius had disappeared from the eyes of men. A full year
after the raid of Syrianus, he was still unconvinced of the Emperor's
treachery. Outrage after outrage might turn out to be the work of
underlings. Constantine himself had not despised his cry for justice,
and if he could but stand before the son of Constantine, his presence
might even yet confound the gang of eunuchs. Even the weakness of
Athanasius is full of nobleness. Not till the work of outrage had gone
on for many months was he convinced. But then he threw off all
restraint. Even George the pork-contractor is not assailed with such a
storm of merciless invective as his holiness Constantius Augustus.
George might sin 'like the beasts who know no better,' but no wickedness
of common mortals could attain to that of the new Belshazzar, of the
Lord's anointed 'self-abandoned to eternal fire.'

[Sidenote: Political meaning of his exile.]

The exile governed Egypt from his hiding in the desert. Alexandria was
searched in vain; in vain the malice of Constantius pursued him to the
court of Ethiopia. Letter after letter issued from his inaccessible
retreat to keep alive the indignation of the faithful, and invisible
hands conveyed them to the farthest corners of the land. Constantius had
his revenge, but it shook the Empire to its base. It was the first time
since the fall of Israel that a nation had defied the Empire in the name
of God. It was a national rising, none the less real for not breaking
out in formal war. This time Greeks and Copts were united in defence of
the Nicene faith, so that the contest was at an end when the Empire gave
up Arianism. But the next breach was never healed. Monophysite Egypt was
a dead limb of the Empire, and the Roman power beyond Mount Taurus fell
before the Saracens because the provincials would not lift a hand to
fight for the heretics of Chalcedon.

[Sidenote: The Sirmian manifesto (357).]

The victory seemed won when the last great enemy was driven into the
desert, and the intriguers hasted to the spoil. They forgot that the
West was only overawed for the moment, that Egypt was devoted to its
patriarch, that there was a strong opposition in the East, and that the
conservatives, who had won the battle for them, were not likely to take
up Arianism at the bidding of their unworthy leaders. Amongst the few
prominent Eusebians of the West were two disciples of Arius who held the
neighbouring bishoprics of Mursa and Singidunum, the modern Belgrade.
Valens and Ursacius were young men in 335, but old enough to take a part
in the infamous Egyptian commission of the council of Tyre. Since that
time they had been well to the front in the Eusebian plots. In 347,
however, they had found it prudent to make their peace with Julius of
Rome by confessing the falsehood of their charges against Athanasius. Of
late they had been active on the winning side, and enjoyed much
influence with Constantius. Thinking it now safe to declare more openly
for Arianism, they called a few bishops to Sirmium in the summer of 357,
and issued a manifesto of their belief for the time being, to the
following general effect. 'We acknowledge one God the Father, also His
only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. But two Gods must not be preached. The
Father is without beginning, invisible, and in every respect greater
than the Son, who is subject to Him together with the creatures. The Son
is born of the Father, God of God, by an inscrutable generation, and
took flesh or body, that is, man, through which he suffered. The words
_essence_, _of the same essence_, _of like essence_, ought not to be
used, because they are not found in Scripture, and because the divine
generation is beyond our understanding.' Here is something to notice
besides the repeated hints that the Son is no better than a creature. It
was a new policy to make the mystery in the manner of the divine
generation an excuse for ignoring the fact. In this case the plea of
ignorance is simply impertinent.

[Sidenote: Its results in general.]

The Sirmian manifesto is the turning-point of the whole contest.
Arianism had been so utterly crushed at Nicæa that it had never again
till now appeared in a public document. Henceforth the conservatives
were obliged in self-defence to look for a Nicene alliance against the
Anomoeans. Suspicions and misunderstandings, and at last mere force,
delayed its consolidation till the reign of Theodosius, but the Eusebian
coalition fell to pieces the moment Arianism ventured to have a policy
of its own.

[Sidenote: (1.) In the West.]

Ursacius and Valens had blown a trumpet which was heard from one end of
the Empire to the other. Its avowal of Arianism caused a stir even in
the West. Unlike the creeds of Antioch, it was a Western document, drawn
up in Latin by Western bishops. The spirit of the West was fairly
roused, now that the battle was clearly for the faith. The bishops of
Rome, Cordova, Trier, Poitiers, Toulouse, Calaris, Milan, and Vercellæ
were in exile, but Gaul was now partly shielded from persecution by the
varying fortunes of Julian's Alemannic war. Thus everything increased
the ferment. Phoebadius of Agen took the lead, and a Gaulish synod at
once condemned the 'blasphemy.'

[Sidenote: (2.) In the East.]

If the Sirmian manifesto disturbed the West, it spread dismay through
the ranks of the Eastern conservatives. Plain men were weary of the
strife, and only the fishers in troubled waters wanted more of it. Now
that Marcellus and Photinus had been expelled, the Easterns looked for
rest. But the Sirmian manifesto opened an abyss at their feet. The
fruits of their hard-won victories over Sabellianism were falling to the
Anomoeans. They must even defend themselves, for Ursacius and Valens
had the Emperor's ear. As if to bring the danger nearer home to them,
Eudoxius the new bishop of Antioch, and Acacius of Cæsarea convened a
Syrian synod, and sent a letter of thanks to the authors of the

[Sidenote: Synod of Ancyra (Lent, 358).]

Next spring came the conservative reply from a knot of twelve bishops
who had met to consecrate a new church for Basil of Ancyra. But its
weight was far beyond its numbers. Basil's name stood high for learning,
and he more than any man could sway the vacillating Emperor. Eustathius
of Sebastia was another man of mark. His ascetic eccentricities, long
ago condemned by the council of Gangra, were by this time forgotten or
considered harmless. Above all, the synod represented most of the
Eastern bishops. Pontus indeed was devoted to conservatism, and the
decided Arianizers were hardly more than a busy clique even in Asia and
Syria. Its decisions show the awkwardness to be expected from men who
have had to make a sudden change of front, and exhibit well the
transition from Eusebian to Semiarian conservatism. They seem to start
from the declaration of the Lucianic creed, that the Lord's sonship is
not an idle name. Now if we reject materialising views of the Divine
Sonship, its primary meaning will be found to lie in similarity of
essence. On this ground the Sirmian manifesto is condemned. Then follow
eighteen anathemas, alternately aimed at Aetius and Marcellus. The last
of these condemns the Nicene _of one essence_--clearly as Sabellian,
though no reason is given.

[Sidenote: Victory of the Semiarians.]

The synod broke up. Basil and Eustathius went to lay its decisions
before the court at Sirmium. To conciliate the Nicenes, they left out
the last six anathemas of Ancyra. They were just in time to prevent
Constantius from declaring for Eudoxius and the Anomoeans. Peace was
made before long on Semiarian terms. A collection was made of the
decisions against Photinus and Paul of Samosata, together with the
Lucianic creed, and signed by Liberius of Rome, by Ursacius and Valens,
and by all the Easterns present. Liberius had not borne exile well. He
had already signed some still more compromising document, and is
denounced for it as an apostate by Hilary and others. However, he was
now allowed to return to his see.

[Sidenote: The Semiarian failure.]

The Semiarians had won a complete victory. Their next step was to throw
it away. The Anomoean leaders were sent into exile. After all, these
Easterns only wanted to replace one tyranny by another. The exiles were
soon recalled, and the strife began again with more bitterness than

[Sidenote: Rise of the Homoeans.]

Here was an opening for a new party. Semiarians, Nicenes, and
Anomoeans were equally unable to settle this interminable controversy.
The Anomoeans indeed almost deserved success for their boldness and
activity, but pure Arianism was hopelessly discredited throughout the
Empire. The Nicenes had Egypt and the West, but they could not at
present overcome the court and Asia. The Semiarians might have mediated,
but men who began with persecutions and wholesale exiles were not likely
to end with peace. In this deadlock better men than Ursacius and Valens
might have been tempted to try some scheme of compromise. But existing
parties left no room for anything but vague and spacious charity. If we
may say neither _of one essence_ nor _of like essence_, nor yet
_unlike_, the only course open is to say _like_, and forbid nearer
definition. This was the plan of the new Homoean party formed by
Acacius in the East, Ursacius and Valens in the West.

[Sidenote: New relations of parties.]

Parties began to group themselves afresh. The Anomoeans leaned to the
side of Acacius. They had no favour to expect from Nicenes or
Semiarians, but to the Homoeans they could look for connivance at
least. The Semiarians were therefore obliged to draw still closer to the
Nicenes. Here came in Hilary of Poitiers. If he had seen in exile the
worldliness of too many of the Asiatic bishops, he had also found among
them men of a better sort who were in earnest against Arianism, and not
so far from the Nicene faith as was supposed. To soften the mutual
suspicions of East and West, he addressed his _De Synodis_ to his
Gaulish friends about the end of 358. In it he reviews the Eusebian
creeds to show that they are not indefensible. He also compares the
rival phrases _of one essence_ and _of like essence_, to shew that
either of them may be rightly or wrongly used. The two, however, are
properly identical, for there is no likeness but that of unity, and no
use in the idea of likeness but to exclude Sabellian confusion. Only the
Nicene phrase guards against evasion, and the other does not.

[Sidenote: Summons for a council.]

Now that the Semiarians were forced to treat with their late victims on
equal terms, they agreed to hold a general council. Both parties might
hope for success. If the Homoean influence was increasing at court,
the Semiarians were strong in the East, and could count on some help
from the Western Nicenes. But the court was resolved to secure a
decision to its own mind. As a council of the whole Empire might have
been too independent, it was divided. The Westerns were to meet at
Ariminum in Italy, the Easterns at Seleucia in Isauria; and in case of
disagreement, ten deputies from each side were to hold a conference
before the Emperor. A new creed was also to be drawn up before their
meeting and laid before them for acceptance.

[Sidenote: The 'Dated Creed' (May 22, 359).]

The 'Dated Creed' was drawn up at Sirmium on Pentecost Eve 359, by a
small meeting of Homoean and Semiarian leaders. Its prevailing
character is conservative, as we see from its repeated appeals to
Scripture, its solemn tone of reverence for the person of the Lord, its
rejection of the word _essence_ for the old conservative reason that it
is not found in Scripture, and above all, from its elaborate statement
of the eternity and mysterious nature of the divine generation. The
chief clause however is, 'But we say that the Son is _like_ the Father
in all things, as the Scriptures say and teach.' Though the phrase here
is Homoean, the doctrine seems at first sight Semiarian, not to say
Nicene. In point of fact, the clause is quite ambiguous. First, if the
comma is put before _in all things_, the next words will merely forbid
any extension of the likeness beyond what Scripture allows; and the
Anomoeans were quite entitled to sign it with the explanation that for
their part they found very little likeness taught in Scripture. Again,
likeness in all things cannot extend to essence, for all likeness which
is not identity implies difference, if only the comparison is pushed far
enough. So the Anomoeans argued, and Athanasius accepts their
reasoning. The Semiarians had ruined their position by attempting to
compromise a fundamental contradiction. The whole contest was lowered to
a court intrigue. There is grandeur in the flight of Athanasius, dignity
in the exile of Eunomius; but the conservatives fell ignobly and
unregretted, victims of their own violence and unprincipled intrigue.

[Sidenote: Western Council at Ariminum.]

After signing the creed, Ursacius and Valens went on to Ariminum, with
the Emperor's orders to the council to take doctrinal questions first,
and not to meddle with Eastern affairs. They found the Westerns waiting
for them, to the number of more than two hundred. The bishops were in no
courtly temper, and the intimidation was not likely to be an easy task.
They had even refused the usual imperial help for the expenses of the
journey. Three British bishops only accepted it on the ground of
poverty. The new creed was very ill received; and when the Homoean
leaders refused to anathematize Arianism, they were deposed, 'not only
for their present conspiracy to introduce heresy, but also for the
confusion they had caused in all the churches by their repeated changes
of faith.' The last clause was meant for Ursacius and Valens. The Nicene
creed was next confirmed, and a statement added in defence of the word
_essence_. This done, envoys were sent to report at court and ask the
Emperor to dismiss them to their dioceses, from which they could ill be
spared. Constantius was busy with his preparations for the Persian war,
and refused to see them. They were sent to wait his leisure, first at
Hadrianople, then at the neighbouring town of Nicé (chosen to cause
confusion with Nicæa), where Ursacius and Valens induced them to sign a
revision of the dated creed. The few changes made in it need not detain

[Sidenote: Eastern Council at Seleucia.]

Meanwhile the Easterns met at Seleucia near the Cilician coast. It was a
fairly central spot, and easy of access from Egypt and Syria by sea, but
otherwise most unsuitable. It was a mere fortress, lying in a rugged
country, where the spurs of Mount Taurus reach the sea. Around it were
the ever-restless marauders of Isauria. They had attacked the place that
very spring, and it was still the headquarters of the army sent against
them. The choice of such a place is as significant as if a Pan-Anglican
synod were called to meet at the central and convenient port of Souakin.
Naturally the council was a small one. Of the 150 bishops present, about
110 were Semiarians. The Acacians and Anomoeans were only forty, but
they had a clear plan and the court in their favour. As the Semiarian
leaders had put themselves in a false position by signing the dated
creed, the conservative defence was taken up by men of the second rank,
like Silvanus of Tarsus and the old soldier Eleusius of Cyzicus. With
them, however, came Hilary of Poitiers, who, though still an exile, had
been summoned with the rest. The Semiarians welcomed him, and received
him to full communion.

[Sidenote: Its proceedings.]

Next morning the first sitting was held. The Homoeans began by
proposing to abolish the Nicene creed in favour of one to be drawn up in
scriptural language. Some of them argued in defiance of their own
Sirmian creed, that 'generation is unworthy of God. The Lord is
creature, not Son, and his generation is nothing but creation.' The
Semiarians, however, had no objection to the Nicene creed beyond the
obscurity of the word _of one essence_. The still more important _of the
essence of the Father_ seems to have passed without remark. Towards
evening Silvanus of Tarsus proposed to confirm the Lucianic creed, which
was done next morning by the Semiarians only. On the third day the Count
Leonas, who represented the Emperor, read a document given him by
Acacius, which turned out to be the dated creed revised afresh and with
a new preface. In this the Homoeans say that they are far from
despising the Lucianic creed, though it was composed with reference to
other controversies. The words _of one essence_ and _of like essence_
are next rejected because they are not found in Scripture, and the new
Anomoean _unlike_ is anathematized--'but we clearly confess the
likeness of the Son to the Father, according to the apostle's words, Who
is the image of the invisible God.' There was a hot dispute on the
fourth day, when Acacius explained the likeness as one of will only, not
extending to essence, and refused to be bound by his own defence of the
Lucianic creed against Marcellus. Semiarian horror was not diminished
when an extract was read from an obscene sermon preached by Eudoxius at
Antioch. At last Eleusius broke in upon Acacius--'Any hole-and-corner
doings of yours at Sirmium are no concern of ours. Your creed is not the
Lucianic, and that is quite enough to condemn it.' This was decisive.
Next morning the Semiarians had the church to themselves, for the
Homoeans, and even Leonas, refused to come. 'They might go and chatter
in the church if they pleased.' So they deposed Acacius, Eudoxius,
George of Alexandria, and six others.

[Sidenote: Athanasius _de Synodis_.]

The exiled patriarch of Alexandria was watching from his refuge in the
desert, and this was the time he chose for an overture of friendship to
his old conservative enemies. If he was slow to see his opportunity, at
least he used it nobly. The Eastern church has no more honoured name
than that of Athanasius, yet even Athanasius rises above himself in his
_De Synodis_. He had been a champion of controversy since his youth, and
spent his manhood in the forefront of its hottest battle. The care of
many churches rested on him, the pertinacity of many enemies wore out
his life. Twice he had been driven to the ends of the earth, and twice
come back in triumph; and now, far on in life, he saw his work again
destroyed, himself once more a fugitive. We do not look for calm
impartiality in a Demosthenes, and cannot wonder if the bitterness of
his long exile grows on even Athanasius. Yet no sooner is he cheered
with the news of hope, than the jealousies which had grown for forty
years are hushed in a moment, as though the Lord himself had spoken
peace to the tumult of the grey old exile's troubled soul. To the
impenitent Arians he is as severe as ever, but for old enemies returning
to a better mind he has nothing but brotherly consideration and
respectful sympathy. Men like Basil of Ancyra, says he, are not to be
set down as Arians or treated as enemies, but to be reasoned with as
brethren who differ from us only about the use of a word which sums up
their own teaching as well as ours. When they confess that the Lord is a
true Son of God and not a creature, they grant all that we care to
contend for. Their own _of like essence_ without the addition of _from
the essence_ does not exclude the idea of a creature, but the two
together are precisely equivalent to _of one essence_. Our brethren
accept the two separately: we join them in a single word. Their _of like
essence_ is by itself misleading, for likeness is of properties and
qualities, not of essence, which must be either the same or different.
Thus the word rather suggests than excludes the limited idea of a
sonship which means no more than a share of grace, whereas our _of one
essence_ quite excludes it. Sooner or later they will see their way to
accept a term which is a necessary safeguard for the belief they hold in
common with ourselves.

[Sidenote: End of the Council of Ariminum.]

There could be no doubt of the opinion of the churches when the councils
had both so decidedly refused the dated creed; but the court was not yet
at the end of its resources. The Western deputies were sent back to
Ariminum, and the bishops, already reduced to great distress by their
long detention, were plied with threats and cajolery till most of them
yielded. When Phoebadius and a score of others remained firm, their
resistance was overcome by as shameless a piece of villany as can be
found in history. Valens came forward and declared that he was not one
of the Arians, but heartily detested their blasphemies. The creed would
do very well as it stood, and the Easterns had accepted it already; but
if Phoebadius was not satisfied, he was welcome to propose additions.
A stringent series of anathemas was therefore drawn up against Arius and
all his misbelief. Valens himself contributed one against 'those who say
that the Son of God is a creature like other creatures.' The court party
accepted everything, and the council met for a final reading of the
amended creed. Shout after shout of joy rang through the church when
Valens protested that the heresies were none of his, and with his own
lips pronounced the whole series of anathemas; and when Claudius of
Picenum produced a few more rumours of heresy, 'which my lord and
brother Valens has forgotten,' they were disavowed with equal readiness.
The hearts of all men melted towards the old dissembler, and the bishops
dispersed from Ariminum in the full belief that the council would take
its place in history among the bulwarks of the faith.

[Sidenote: Conferences at Constantinople.]

The Western council was dissolved in seeming harmony, but a strong
minority disputed the conclusions of the Easterns at Seleucia. Both
parties, therefore, hurried to Constantinople. But there Acacius was in
his element. He held a splendid position as the bishop of a venerated
church, the disciple and successor of Eusebius, and himself a patron of
learning and a writer of high repute. His fine gifts of subtle thought
and ready energy, his commanding influence and skilful policy, marked
him out for a glorious work in history, and nothing but his own
falseness degraded him to be the greatest living master of backstairs
intrigue. If Athanasius is the Demosthenes of the Nicene age, Acacius
will be its Æschines. He had found his account in abandoning
conservatism for pure Arianism, and was now preparing to complete his
victory by a new treachery to the Anomoeans. He had anathematized
_unlike_ at Seleucia, and now sacrificed Aetius to the Emperor's dislike
of him. After this it became possible to enforce the prohibition of the
Nicene _of like essence_. Meanwhile the final report arrived from
Ariminum. Valens at once gave an Arian meaning to the anathemas of
Phoebadius. 'Not a creature like other creatures.' Then creature he
is. 'Not from nothing.' Quite so: from the will of the Father.
'Eternal.' Of course, as regards the future. However, the Homoeans
repeated the process of swearing that they were not Arians; the Emperor
threatened; and at last the Seleucian deputies signed the decisions of
Ariminum late on the last night of the year 359.

[Sidenote: Deposition of the Semiarians].

Acacius had won his victory, and had now to pass sentence on his rivals.
Next month a council was held at Constantinople. As the Semiarians of
Asia were prudent enough to absent themselves, the Homoeans were
dominant. Its first step was to re-issue the creed of Nicé with a number
of verbal changes. The anathemas of Phoebadius having served their
purpose, were of course omitted. Next Aetius was degraded and
anathematized for his impious and heretical writings, and as 'the author
of all the scandals, troubles, and divisions.' This was needed to
satisfy Constantius; but as many as nine bishops were found to protest
against it. They were given six months to reconsider the matter, and
soon began to form communities of their own. Having cleared themselves
from the charge of heresy by laying the foundation of a permanent
schism, the Homoeans could proceed to the expulsion of the Semiarian
leaders. As men who had signed the creed of Nicé could not well be
accused of heresy, they were deposed for various irregularities.

[Sidenote: The Homoean supremacy.]

The Homoean supremacy established at Constantinople was limited to the
East. Violence was its only resource beyond the Alps; and violence was
out of the question after the mutiny at Paris (Jan. 360) had made Julian
master of Gaul. Now that he could act for himself, common sense as well
as inclination forbade him to go on with the mischievous policy of
Constantius. So there was no further question of Arian domination. Few
bishops were committed to the losing side, and those few soon
disappeared in the course of nature. Auxentius the Cappadocian, who held
the see of Milan till 374, must have been one of the last survivors of
the victors of Ariminum. In the East, however, the Homoean supremacy
lasted nearly twenty years. No doubt it was an artificial power, resting
partly on court intrigue, partly on the divisions of its enemies; yet
there was a reason for its long duration. Eusebian conservatism was
fairly worn out, but the Nicene doctrine had not yet replaced it. Men
were tired of these philosophical word-battles, and ready to ask whether
the difference between Nicé and Nicæa was worth fighting about. The
Homoean formula seemed reverent and safe, and its bitterest enemies
could hardly call it false. When even the court preached peace and
charity, the sermon was not likely to want an audience.

[Sidenote: The Homoean policy.]

The Homoeans were at first less hostile to the Nicene faith than the
Eusebians had been. After sacrificing Aetius and exiling the Semiarians,
they could hardly do without Nicene support. Thus their appointments
were often made from the quieter men of Nicene leanings. If we have to
set on the other side the enthronement of Eudoxius at Constantinople and
the choice of Eunomius the Anomoean for the see of Cyzicus, we can
only say that the Homoean party was composed of very discordant

[Sidenote: Appointment of Meletius.]

The most important nomination ascribed to Acacius is that of Meletius at
Antioch to replace Eudoxius. The new bishop was a man of distinguished
eloquence and undoubted piety, and further suited for a dangerous
elevation by his peaceful temper and winning manners. He was counted
among the Homoeans, and they had placed him a year before in the room
of Eustathius at Sebastia, so that his uncanonical translation to
Antioch engaged him all the more to remain on friendly terms with them.
Such a man--and of course Acacius was shrewd enough to see it--would
have been a tower of strength to them. Unfortunately, for once Acacius
was not all-powerful. Some evil-disposed person put Constantius on
demanding from the new bishop a sermon on the crucial text 'The Lord
created me.'[13] Acacius, who preached first, evaded the test, but
Meletius, as a man of honour, could not refuse to declare himself. To
the delight of the congregation, his doctrine proved decidedly Nicene.
It was a test for his hearers as well as for himself. He carefully
avoided technical terms, repudiated Marcellus, and repeatedly deprecated
controversy on the ineffable mystery of the divine generation. In a
word, he followed closely the lines of the Sirmian creed; and his
treatment by the Homoeans is a decisive proof of their insincerity.
The people applauded, but the courtiers were covered with shame. There
was nothing for it but to exile Meletius at once and appoint a new
bishop. This time they made sure of their man by choosing Euzoius, the
old friend of Arius. But the mischief was already done. The old
congregation of Leontius was broken up, and a new schism, more dangerous
than the Eustathian, formed round Meletius. Many jealousies still
divided him from the Nicenes, but his bold confession was the first
effective blow at the Homoean supremacy.

[Footnote 13: Prov. Viii. 21. LXX. translation.]

[Sidenote: Affairs in 361.]

The idea of conciliating Nicene support was not entirely given up.
Acacius remained on friendly terms with Meletius, and was still able to
name Pelagius for the see of Laodicea. But Euzoius was an avowed Arian;
Eudoxius differed little from him, and only the remaining scruples of
Constantius delayed the victory of the Anomoeans.



[Sidenote: Earlier life of Julian.]

Flavius Claudius Julianus was the son of Constantine's half-brother,
Julius Constantius, by his second wife, Basilina, a lady of the great
Anician family. He was born in 331, and lost his mother a few months
later, while his father and other relations perished in the massacre
which followed Constantine's death. Julian and his half-brother Gallus
escaped the slaughter to be kept almost as prisoners of state,
surrounded through their youth with spies and taught by hypocrites a
repulsive Christianity. Julian, however, had a literary education from
his mother's old teacher, the eunuch Mardonius; and this was his
happiness till he was old enough to attend the rhetoricians at Nicomedia
and elsewhere. Gallus was for a while Cæsar in Syria (351-354), and
after his execution, Julian's own life was only saved by the Empress
Eusebia, who got permission for him to retire to the schools of Athens.
In 355 he was made Cæsar in Gaul, and with much labour freed the
province from the Germans. Early in 360 the soldiers mutinied at Paris
and proclaimed Julian Augustus. Negotiations followed, and it was not
till the summer of 361 that Julian pushed down the Danube. By the time
he halted at Naissus, he was master of three-quarters of the Empire.
There seemed no escape from civil war now that the main army of
Constantius was coming up from Syria. But one day two barbarian counts
rode into Julian's camp with the news that Constantius was dead. A
sudden fever had carried him off in Cilicia (Nov. 3, 361), and the
Eastern army presented its allegiance to Julian Augustus.

[Sidenote: Julian's heathenism.]

Before we can understand Julian's influence on the Arian controversy, we
shall have to take a wider view of the Emperor himself and of his policy
towards the Christians generally. The life of Julian is one of the
noblest wrecks in history. The years of painful self-repression and
forced dissimulation which turned his bright youth to bitterness and
filled his mind with angry prejudice, had only consolidated his
self-reliant pride and firm determination to walk worthily before the
gods. In four years his splendid energy and unaffected kindliness had
won all hearts in Gaul; and Julian related nothing of his sense of duty
to the Empire when he found himself master of the world at the age of

But here came in that fatal heathen prejudice, which put him in a false
relation to all the living powers of his time, and led directly even to
his military disaster in Assyria. Heathen pride came to him with
Basilina's Roman blood, and the dream-world of his lonely youth was a
world of heathen literature. Christianity was nothing to him but 'the
slavery of a Persian prison.' Fine preachers of the kingdom of heaven
were those fawning eunuchs and episcopal sycophants, with Constantius
behind them, the murderer of all his family! Every force about him
worked for heathenism. The teaching of Mardonius was practically
heathen, and the rest were as heathen as utter worldliness could make
them. He could see through men like George the pork-contractor or the
shameless renegade Hecebolius. Full of thoughts like these, which
corroded his mind the more for the danger of expressing them, Julian was
easily won to heathenism by the fatherly welcome of the philosophers at
Nicomedia (351). Like a voice of love from heaven came their teaching,
and Julian gave himself heart and soul to the mysterious fascination of
their lying theurgy. Henceforth King Sun was his guardian deity, and
Greece his Holy Land, and the philosopher's mantle dearer to him than
the diadem of empire. For ten more years of painful dissimulation Julian
'walked with the gods' in secret, before the young lion of heathenism
could openly throw off the 'donkey's skin' of Christianity.

[Sidenote: Julian's reorganisation of heathenism.]

Once master of the world, Julian could see its needs without using the
eyes of the Asiatic camarilla. First of all, Christian domination must
be put down. Not that he wanted to raise a savage persecution. Cruelty
had been well tried before, and it would be a poor success to stamp out
the 'Galilean' imposture without putting something better in its place.
As the Christians 'had filled the world with their tombs' (Julian's word
for churches), so must it be filled with the knowledge of the living
gods. Sacrifices were encouraged and a pagan hierarchy set up to oppose
the Christian. Heathen schools were to confront the Christian, and
heathen almshouses were to grow up round them. Above all, the priests
were to cultivate temperance and hospitality, and to devote themselves
to grave and pious studies. Julian himself was a model of heathen
purity, and spared no pains to infect his wondering subjects with his
own enthusiasm for the cause of the immortal gods. Not a temple missed
its visit, not a high place near his line of march was left unclimbed.
As for his sacrifices, they were by the hecatomb. The very abjects
called him Slaughterer.

[Sidenote: His failure.]

Never was a completer failure. Crowds of course applauded Cæsar, but
only with the empty cheers they gave the jockeys or the preachers.
Multitudes came to see an Emperors devotions, but they only quizzed his
shaggy beard or tittered at the antiquated ceremonies. Sacrificial
dinners kept the soldiers devout, and lavish bribery secured a good
number of renegades--mostly waverers, who really had not much to change.
Of the bishops, Pegasius of Ilium alone laid down his office for a
priesthood; but he had always been a heathen at heart, and worshipped
the gods even while he held his bishopric. The Christians upon the whole
stood firm. Even the heathens were little moved. Julian's own teachers
held cautiously aloof from his reforms; and if meaner men paused in
their giddy round of pleasure, it was only to amuse themselves with the
strange spectacle of imperial earnestness. Neither friends nor enemies
seemed able to take him quite seriously.

[Sidenote: Julian's policy against Christianity.]

Passing over scattered cases of persecution encouraged or allowed by
Julian, we may state generally that he aimed at degrading Christianity
into a vulgar superstition, by breaking its connections with civilized
government on one side, with liberal education on the other. One part of
it was to deprive the 'Galileans' of state support and weed them out as
far as might be from the public service, while still leaving them full
freedom to quarrel amongst themselves; the other was to cut them off
from literature by forbidding them to teach the classics. Homer and
Hesiod were prophets of the gods, and must not be expounded by
unbelievers. Matthew and Luke were good enough for barbarian ears like
theirs. We need not pause to note the impolicy of an edict which
Julian's own admirer Ammianus wishes 'buried in eternal silence.' Its
effect on the Christians was very marked. Marius Victorinus, the
favoured teacher of the Roman nobles, at once resigned his chair of
rhetoric. The studies of his old age had brought him to confess his
faith in Christ, and he would not now deny his Lord. Julian's own
teacher Proæresius gave up his chair at Athens, refusing the special
exemption which was offered him. It was not all loss for the Christians
to be reminded that the gospel is revelation, not philosophy--life and
not discussion. But Greek literature was far too weak to bear the burden
of a sinking world, and its guardians could not have devised a more
fatal plan than this of setting it in direct antagonism to the living
power of Christianity. In our regret for the feud between Hellenic
culture and the mediæval churches, we must not forget that it was Julian
who drove in the wedge of separation.

[Sidenote: Julian's toleration.]

We can now sum up in a sentence. Every blow struck at Christianity by
Julian fell first on the Arianizers whom Constantius had left in power,
and the reaction he provoked against heathen learning directly
threatened the philosophical postulates of Arianism within the church.
In both ways he powerfully helped the Nicene cause. The Homoeans could
not stand without court support, and the Anomoeans threw away their
rhetoric on men who were beginning to see how little ground is really
common to the gospel and philosophy. Yet he cared little for the party
quarrels of the Christians. Instead of condescending to take a side, he
told them contemptuously to keep the peace. His first step was to
proclaim full toleration for all sorts and sects of men. It was only too
easy to strike at the church by doing common justice to the sects. A few
days later came an edict recalling the exiled bishops. Their property
was restored, but they were not replaced in their churches. Others were
commonly in possession, and it was no business of Julian's to turn them
out. The Galileans might look after their own squabbles. This sounds
fairly well, and suits his professions of toleration; but Julian had a
malicious hope of still further embroiling the ecclesiastical confusion.
If the Christians were only left to themselves, they might be trusted
'to quarrel like beasts.'

[Sidenote: Its results.]

Julian was gratified with a few unseemly wrangles, but the general
result of his policy was unexpected. It took the Christians by surprise,
and fairly shamed them into a sort of truce. The very divisions of
churches are in some sense a sign of life, for men who do not care about
religion will usually find something else to quarrel over. If nations
redeem each other, so do parties; and the dignified slumber of a
catholic uniformity may be more fatal to spiritual life than the vulgar
wranglings of a thousand sects. The Christians closed their ranks before
the common enemy. Nicenes and Arians forgot their enmity in the pleasant
task of reviling the gods and cursing Julian. A yell of execration ran
all along the Christian line, from the extreme Apollinarian right to the
furthest Anomoean left. Basil of Cæsarea renounced the apostate's
friendship; the rabble of Antioch assailed him with scurrilous lampoons
and anti-pagan riots. Nor were the Arians behind in hate. Blind old
Maris of Chalcedon came and cursed him to his face. The heathens
laughed, the Christians cursed, and Israel alone remembered Julian for
good. 'Treasured in the house of Julianus Cæsar,' the vessels of the
temple still await the day when Messiah-ben-Ephraim shall take them

[Sidenote: Return of Athanasius, Feb. 362.]

Back to their dioceses came the survivors of the exiled bishops, no
longer travelling in pomp and circumstance to their noisy councils, but
bound on the nobler errand of seeking out their lost or scattered
flocks. Eusebius of Vercellæ and Lucifer left Upper Egypt, Marcellus and
Basil returned to Ancyra, while Athanasius reappeared at Alexandria. The
unfortunate George had led a wandering life since his expulsion in 358,
and did not venture to leave the shelter of the court till late in 361.
It was a rash move, for his flock had not forgotten him. Three days he
spent in safety, but on the fourth came news that Constantius was dead
and Julian master of the Empire. The heathen populace was wild with
delight, and threw George straight into prison. Three weeks later they
dragged him out and lynched him. Thus when Julian's edict came for the
return of the exiles, Athanasius was doubly prepared to take advantage
of it.

[Sidenote: Council of Alexandria discusses:]

It was time to resume the interrupted work of the council of Seleucia.
Semiarian violence frustrated Hilary's efforts, but Athanasius had
things more in his favour, now that Julian had sobered Christian
partizanship. If he wished the Galileans to quarrel, he also left them
free to combine. So twenty-one bishops, mostly exiles, met at Alexandria
in the summer of 362. Eusebius of Vercellæ was with Athanasius, but
Lucifer had gone to Antioch, and only sent a couple of deacons to the

[Sidenote: (1.) Returning Arians.]

Four subjects claimed the council's attention. The first was the
reception of Arians who came over to the Nicene side. The stricter party
was for treating all opponents without distinction as apostates.
Athanasius, however, urged a milder course. It was agreed that all
comers were to be gladly received on the single condition of accepting
the Nicene faith. None but the chiefs and active defenders of Arianism
were even to be deprived of any ecclesiastical rank which they might be

[Sidenote: (2.) The Lord's human nature.]

A second subject of debate was the Arian doctrine of the Lord's
humanity, which limited it to a human body. In opposition to this, the
council declared that the Lord assumed also a human soul. In this they
may have had in view, besides Arianism, the new theory of Apollinarius
of Laodicea, which we shall have to explain presently.

[Sidenote: (3.) The words _person_ and _essence_.]

The third subject before the council was an old misunderstanding about
the term _hypostasis_. It had been used in the Nicene anathemas as
equivalent to _ousia_ or _essence_; and so Athanasius used it still, to
denote the common deity of all the persons of the Trinity. So also the
Latins understood it, as the etymological representative of
_substantia_, which was their translation (a very bad one by the way) of
_ousia_ (_essence_). Thus Athanasius and the Latins spoke of one
_hypostasis_ (_essence_) only. Meantime the Easterns in general had
adopted Origen's limitation of it to the deity of the several _persons_
of the Trinity in contrast with each other. Thus they meant by it what
the Latins called _persona_,[14] and rightly spoke of three _hypostases_
(_persons_). In this way East and West were at cross-purposes. The
Latins, who spoke of one _hypostasis_ (_essence_), regarded the Eastern
three _hypostases_ as tritheist; while the Greeks, who confessed three
_hypostases_ (_persons_), looked on the Western one _hypostasis_ as
Sabellian. As Athanasius had connections with both parties, he was a
natural mediator. As soon as both views were stated before the council,
both were seen to be orthodox. 'One _hypostasis_' (_essence_) was not
Sabellian, neither was 'three _hypostases_' (_persons_) Arian. The
decision was that each party might keep its own usage.

[Footnote 14: _Persona_, again, was a legal term, not exactly
corresponding to its Greek representative.]

[Sidenote: (4.) The schism at Antioch.]

Affairs at Antioch remained for discussion. Now that Meletius was free
to return, some decision had to be made. The Eustathians had been
faithful through thirty years of trouble, and Athanasius was specially
bound to his old friends; yet, on the other hand, some recognition was
due to the honourable confession of Meletius. As the Eustathians had no
bishop, the simplest course was for them to accept Meletius. This was
the desire of the council, and it might have been carried out if Lucifer
had not taken advantage of his stay at Antioch to denounce Meletius as
an associate of Arians. By way of making the division permanent, he
consecrated the presbyter Paulinus as bishop for the Eustathians. When
the mischief was done it could not be undone. Paulinus added his
signature to the decisions of Alexandria, but Meletius was thrown back
on his old connection with Acacius. Henceforth the rising Nicene party
of Pontus and Asia was divided from the older Nicenes of Egypt and Rome
by this unfortunate personal question.

[Sidenote: Fourth exile of Athanasius.]

Julian could not but see that Athanasius was master in Egypt. He may not
have cared about the council, but the baptism of some heathen ladies at
Alexandria roused his fiercest anger. He broke his rule of contemptuous
toleration, and 'the detestable Athanasius' was an exile again before
the summer was over. But his work remained. The leniency of the council
was a great success, notwithstanding the calamity at Antioch. It gave
offence, indeed, to zealots like Lucifer, and may have admitted more
than one unworthy Arianizer. Yet its wisdom is evident. First one
bishop, then another accepted the Nicene faith. Friendly Semiarians came
in like Cyril of Jerusalem, old conservatives followed like Dianius of
the Cappadocian Cæsarea, and at last the arch-heretic Acacius himself
gave in his signature. Even the creeds of the churches were remodelled
in a Nicene interest, as at Jerusalem and Antioch, in Cappadocia and

[Sidenote: The Arians under Julian.]

Nor were the other parties idle. The Homoean coalition was even more
unstable than the Eusebian. Already before the death of Constantius
there had been quarrels over the appointment of Meletius by one section
of the party, of Eunomius by another. The deposition of Aetius was
another bone of contention. Hence the coalition broke up of itself as
soon as men were free to act. Acacius and his friends drew nearer to
Meletius, while Eudoxius and Euzoius talked of annulling the
condemnation of the Anomoean bishops at Constantinople. The Semiarians
were busy too. Guided by Macedonius and Eleusius, the ejected bishops of
Constantinople and Cyzicus, they gradually took up a middle position
between Nicenes and Anomoeans, confessing the Lord's deity with the
one, and denying that of the Holy Spirit with the other. Like true
Legitimists, who had learned nothing and forgotten nothing, they were
satisfied to confirm the Seleucian decisions and re-issue their old
Lucianic creed. Had they ceased to care for the Nicene alliance, or did
they fancy the world had stood still since the Council of the

[Sidenote: Julian's campaign in Persia (Mar. 5 to June 26, 363).]

Meanwhile the Persian war demanded Julian's attention. An emperor so
full of heathen enthusiasm was not likely to forego the dreams of
conquest which had brought so many of his predecessors on the path of
glory in the East. His own part of the campaign was a splendid success.
But when he had fought his way through the desert to the Tigris, he
looked in vain for succours from the north. The Christians of Armenia
would not fight for the apostate Emperor. Julian was obliged to retreat
on Nisibis through a wasted country, and with the Persian cavalry
hovering round. The campaign would have been at best a brilliant
failure, but it was only converted into absolute disaster by the chance
arrow (June 26, 363) which cut short his busy life. After all, he was
only in his thirty-second year.

[Sidenote: Julian's character.]

Christian charity will not delight in counting up the outbreaks of petty
spite and childish vanity which disfigure a noble character of purity
and self-devotion. Still less need we presume to speculate what Julian
would have done if he had returned in triumph from the Persian war. His
bitterness might have hardened into a renegade's malice, or it might
have melted at our Master's touch. But apart from what he might have
done, there is matter for the gravest blame in what he did. The scorner
must not pass unchallenged to the banquet of the just. Yet when all is
said against him, the clear fact remains that Julian lived a hero's
life. Often as he was blinded by his impatience or hurried into
injustice by his heathen prejudice, we cannot mistake a spirit of
self-sacrifice and earnest piety as strange to worldling bishops as to
the pleasure-loving heathen populace. Mysterious and full of tragic
pathos is the irony of God in history, which allowed one of the very
noblest of the emperors to act the part of Jeroboam, and brought the old
intriguer Maris of Chalcedon to cry against the altar like the man of
God from Judah. But Maris was right, for Julian was the blinder of the



[Sidenote: Effects of Julian's reign.]

Julian's reign seems at first sight no more than a sudden storm which
clears up and leaves everything much as it was before. Far from
restoring heathenism, he could not even seriously shake the power of
Christianity. No sooner was he dead than the philosophers disappeared,
the renegades did penance, and even the reptiles of the palace came back
to their accustomed haunts. Yet Julian's work was not in vain, for it
tested both heathenism and Christianity. All that Constantine had given
to the churches Julian could take away, but the living power of faith
was not at Cæsar's beck and call. Heathenism was strong in its
associations with Greek philosophy and culture, with Roman law and
social life, but as a moral force among the common people, its weakness
was contemptible. It could sway the wavering multitude with
superstitious fancies, and cast a subtler spell upon the noblest
Christian teachers, but its own adherents it could hardly lift above
their petty quest of pleasure. Julian called aloud, and called in vain.
A mocking echo was the only answer from that valley of dry bones.
Christianity, on the other side, had won the victory almost without a
blow. Instead of ever coming to grapple with its mighty rival, the great
catholic church of heathenism hardly reached the stage of apish mimicry.
When its great army turned out to be a crowd of camp-followers, the
alarm of battle died away in peals of defiant laughter. Yet the alarm
was real, and its teachings were not forgotten. It broke up the revels
of party strife, and partly roused the churches to the dangers of a
purely heathen education. Above all, the approach of danger was a sharp
reminder that our life is not of this world. They stood the test fairly
well. Renegades or fanatics were old scandals, and signs were not
wanting that the touch of persecution would wake the old heroic spirit
which had fought the Empire from the catacombs and overcome it.

[Sidenote: Jovian Emperor (June 27, 363).]

As Julian was the last survivor of the house of Constantine, his
lieutenants were free to choose the worthiest of their comrades. But
while his four barbarian generals were debating, one or two voices
suddenly hailed Jovian as Emperor. The cry was taken up, and in a few
moments the young officer found himself the successor of Augustus.

[Sidenote: Jovian's toleration.]

Jovian was a brilliant colonel of the guards. In all the army there was
not a goodlier person than he. Julian's purple was too small for his
gigantic limbs. But that stately form was animated by a spirit of
cowardly selfishness. Instead of pushing on with Julian's brave retreat,
he saved the relics of his army by a disgraceful peace. Jovian was also
a decided Christian, though his morals suited neither the purity of the
gospel nor the dignity of his imperial position. Even the heathen
soldiers condemned his low amours and vulgar tippling. The faith he
professed was the Nicene, but Constantine himself was less tolerant than
Jovian. In this respect he is blameless. If Athanasius was graciously
received at Antioch, even the Arians were told with scant ceremony that
they might hold their assemblies as they pleased at Alexandria.

[Sidenote: The Anomoeans form a sect.]

About this time the Anomoeans organised their schism. Nearly four
years had been spent in uncertain negotiations for the restoration of
Aetius. The Anomoeans counted on Eudoxius, but did not find him very
zealous in the matter. At last, in Jovian's time, they made up their
minds to set him at defiance by consecrating Poemenius to the see of
Constantinople. Other appointments were made at the same time, and
Theophilus the Indian, who had a name for missionary work in the far
East, was sent to Antioch to win over Euzoius. From this time the
Anomoeans were an organized sect.

[Sidenote: Nicene successes.]

But the most important document of Jovian's reign is the acceptance of
the Nicene creed by Acacius of Cæsarea, with Meletius of Antioch and
more than twenty others of his friends. Acacius was only returning to
his master's steps when he explained _one in essence_ by _like in
essence_, and laid stress on the care with which 'the Fathers' had
guarded its meaning. We may hope that Acacius had found out his belief
at last. Still the connexion helped to widen the breach between Meletius
and the older Nicenes.

[Sidenote: Valentinian Emperor.]

All these movements came to an end at the sudden death of Jovian (Feb.
16, 364.) The Pannonian Valentinian was chosen to succeed him, and a
month later assigned the East to his brother Valens, reserving to
himself the more important Western provinces. This was a lasting
division of the Empire, for East and West were never again united for
any length of time. Valentinian belongs to the better class of emperors.
He was a soldier like Jovian, and held much the same rank at his
election. He was a decided Christian like Jovian, and, like him, free
from the stain of persecution. Jovian's rough good-humour was replaced
in Valentinian by a violent and sometimes cruel temper, but he had a
sense of duty and was free from Jovian's vices. His reign was a
laborious and honourable struggle with the enemies of the republic on
the Rhine and the Danube. An uncultivated man himself, he still could
honour learning, and in religion his policy was one of comprehensive
toleration. If he refused to displace the few Arians whom he found in
possession of Western sees like Auxentius at Milan, he left the churches
free to choose Nicene successors. Under his wise rule the West soon
recovered from the strife Constantius had introduced.

[Sidenote: Character of Valens.]

Valens was a weaker character, timid, suspicious, and slow, yet not
ungentle in private life. He was as uncultivated as his brother, but not
inferior to him in scrupulous care for his subjects. Only as Valens was
no soldier, he preferred remitting taxation to fighting at the head of
the legions. In both ways he is entitled to head the series of financial
rather than unwarlike sovereigns whose cautious policy brought the
Eastern Empire safely through the great barbarian invasions of the fifth

[Sidenote: Breach between church and state.]

The contest entered on a new stage in the reign of Valens. The friendly
league of church and state at Nicæa had become a struggle for supremacy.
Constantius endeavoured to dictate the faith of Christendom according to
the pleasure of his eunuchs, while Athanasius reigned in Egypt almost
like a rival for the Empire. And if Julian's reign had sobered party
spirit, it had also shown that an emperor could sit again in Satan's
seat. Valens had an obedient Homoean clergy, but no trappings of
official splendour could enable Eudoxius or Demophilus to rival the
imposing personality of Athanasius or Basil. Thus the Empire lost the
moral support it looked for, and the church became embittered with its

[Sidenote: Rise of monasticism.]

The breach involved a deeper evil. The ancient world of heathenism was
near its dissolution. Vice and war, and latterly taxation, had dried up
the springs of prosperity, and even of population, till Rome was
perishing for lack of men. Cities had dwindled into villages, and of
villages the very names had often disappeared. The stout Italian yeomen
had been replaced by gangs of slaves, and these again by thinly
scattered barbarian serfs. And if Rome grew weaker every day, her power
for oppression seemed only to increase. Her fiscal system filled the
provinces with ruined men. The Alps, the Taurus, and the Balkan swarmed
with outlaws. But in the East men looked for refuge to the desert, where
many a legend told of a people of brethren dwelling together in unity
and serving God in peace beyond the reach of the officials. This was the
time when the ascetic spirit, which had long been hovering round the
outskirts of Christianity, began to assume the form of monasticism.
There were monks in Egypt--monks of Serapis--before Christianity
existed, and there may have been Christian monks by the end of the third
century. In any case, they make little show in history before the reign
of Valens. Paul of Thebes, Hilarion of Gaza, and even the great Antony
are only characters in the novels of the day. Now, however, there was in
the East a real movement towards monasticism. All parties favoured it.
The Semiarians were busy inside Mount Taurus; and though Acacians and
Anomoeans held more aloof, they could not escape an influence which
even Julian felt. But the Nicene party was the home of the ascetics. In
an age of indecision and frivolity like the Nicene, the most earnest
striving after Christian purity will often degenerate into its ascetic
caricature. Through the selfish cowardice of the monastic life we often
see the loving sympathy of Christian self-denial. Thus there was an
element of true Christian zeal in the enthusiasm of the Eastern
Churches; and thus it was that the rising spirit of asceticism naturally
attached itself to the Nicene faith as the strongest moral power in
Christendom. It was a protest against the whole framework of society in
that age, and therefore the alliance was cemented by a common enmity to
the Arian Empire. It helped much to conquer Arianism, but it left a
lasting evil in the lowering of the Christian standard. Henceforth the
victory of faith was not to overcome the world, but to flee from it.
Even heathen immorality was hardly more ruinous than the unclean ascetic
spirit which defames God's holy ordinance as a form of sin which a too
indulgent Lord will overlook.

[Sidenote: New questions in controversy.]

Valens was only a catechumen, and had no policy to declare for the
present. Events therefore continued to develop naturally. The Homoean
bishops retained their sees, but their influence was fast declining. The
Anomoeans were forming a schism on one side, the Nicenes recovering
power on the other. Unwilling signatures to the Homoean creed were
revoked in all directions. Some even of its authors declared for
Arianism with Euzoius, while others drew nearer to the Nicene faith like
Acacius. On all sides the simpler doctrines were driving out the
compromises. It was time for the Semiarians to bestir themselves if they
meant to remain a majority in the East. The Nicenes seemed daily to gain
ground. Lucifer had compromised them in one direction, Apollinarius in
another, and even Marcellus had never been frankly disavowed; yet the
Nicene cause advanced. A new question, however, was beginning to come
forward. Hitherto the dispute had been on the person of the Lord, while
that of the Holy Spirit was quite in the background. Significant as is
the tone of Scripture, the proof is not on the surface. The divinity of
the Holy Spirit is shown by many convergent lines of evidence, but it
was still an open question whether that divinity amounts to co-essential
and co-equal deity. Thus Origen leans to some theory of subordination,
while Hilary limits himself with the utmost caution to the words of
Scripture. If neither of them lays down in so many words that the Holy
Spirit is God, much less does either of them class him with the
creatures, like Eunomius. The difficulty was the same as with the person
of the Lord, that while the Scriptural data clearly pointed to his
deity, its admission involved the dilemma of either Sabellian confusion
or polytheistic separation. Now, however, it was beginning to be seen
that the theory of hypostatic distinctions must either be extended to
the Holy Spirit or entirely abandoned. Athanasius took one course, the
Anomoeans the other, but the Semiarians endeavoured to draw a
distinction between the Lord's deity and that of the Holy Spirit. In
truth, the two are logically connected. Athanasius pointed this out in
the letters of his exile to Serapion, and the council of Alexandria
condemned 'those who say that the Holy Spirit is a creature and distinct
from the essence of the Son.' But logical connection is one thing,
formal enforcement another. Athanasius and Basil to the last refused to
make it a condition of communion. If any one saw the error of his Arian
ways, it was enough for him to confess the Nicene creed. Thus the
question remained open for the present.

[Sidenote: Council of Lampsacus (364).]

Thus the Semiarians were free to do what they could against the
Homoeans. Under the guidance of Eleusius of Cyzicus, they held a
council at Lampsacus in the summer of 364. It sat two months, and
reversed the acts of the Homoeans at Constantinople four years before.
Eudoxius was deposed (in name) and the Semiarian exiles restored to
their sees. With regard to doctrine, they adopted the formula _like
according to essence_, on the ground that while likeness was needed to
exclude a Sabellian (they mean Nicene) confusion, its express extension
to essence was needed against the Arians. Nor did they forget to
re-issue the Lucianic creed for the acceptance of the churches. They
also discussed without result the deity of the Holy Spirit. Eustathius
of Sebastia for one was not prepared to commit himself either way. The
decisions were then laid before Valens.

[Sidenote: The Homoean policy of Valens.]

But Valens was already falling into bad hands. Now that Julian was dead,
the courtiers were fast recovering their influence, and Eudoxius had
already secured the Emperor's support. The deputies of Lampsacus were
ordered to hold communion with the bishop of Constantinople, and exiled
on their refusal.

Looking back from our own time, we should say that it was not a
promising course for Valens to support the Homoeans. They had been in
power before, and if they had not then been able to establish peace in
the churches, they were not likely to succeed any better after their
heavy losses in Julian's time. It is therefore the more important to see
the Emperor's motives. No doubt personal influences must count for a
good deal with a man like Valens, whose private attachments were so
steady. Eudoxius was, after all, a man of experience and learning, whose
mild prudence was the very help which Valens needed. The Empress
Dominica was also a zealous Arian, so that the courtiers were Arians
too. No wonder if their master was sincerely attached to the doctrines
of his friends. But Valens was not strong enough to impose his own
likings on the Empire. No merit raised him to the throne; no education
or experience prepared him for the august dignity he reached so suddenly
in middle life. Conscientious and irresolute, he could not even firmly
control the officials. He had not the magic of Constantine's name behind
him, and was prevented by Valentinian's toleration from buying support
with the spoils of the temples.

Under these circumstances, he could hardly do otherwise than support the
Homoeans. Heathenism had failed in Julian's hands, and an Anomoean
course was out of the question. A Nicene policy might answer in the
West, but it was not likely to find much support in the East outside
Egypt. The only alternative was to favour the Semiarians; and even that
was full of difficulties. After all, the Homoeans were still the
strongest party in 365. They were in possession of the churches and
commanded much of the Asiatic influence, and had no enmity to contend
with which was not quite as bitter against the other parties. They also
had astute leaders, and a doctrine which still presented attractions to
the quiet men who were tired of controversy. Upon the whole, the
Homoean policy was the easiest for the moment.

[Sidenote: The exiles exiled again.]

In the spring of 365 an imperial rescript commanded the municipalities,
under a heavy penalty, to drive out the bishops who had been exiled by
Constantius and restored by Julian. Thereupon the populace of Alexandria
declared that the law did not apply to Athanasius, because he had not
been restored by Julian. A series of dangerous riots followed, which
obliged the prefect Flavianus to refer the question back to Valens.
Other bishops were less fortunate. Meletius had to retire from Antioch,
Eustathius from Sebastia.

[Sidenote: Semiarian embassy to Liberius.]

The Semiarians looked to Valentinian for help. He had received them
favourably the year before, and his intercession was not likely to be
disregarded now. Eustathius of Sebastia was therefore sent to lay their
case before the court of Milan. As, however, Valentinian had already
started for Gaul, the deputation turned aside to Rome and offered to
Liberius an acceptance of the Nicene creed signed by fifty-nine
Semiarians, and purporting to come from the council of Lampsacus and
other Asiatic synods. The message was well received at Rome, and in due
time the envoys returned to Asia to report their doings before a council
at Tyana.

[Sidenote: Revolt of Procopius, Sept. 365.]

Meanwhile the plans of Valens were interrupted by the news that
Constantinople had been seized by a pretender. Procopius was a relative
of Julian who had retired into private life, but whom the jealousy of
Valens had forced to become a pretender. For awhile the danger was
pressing. Procopius had won over to his side some of the best legions of
the Empire, while his connexion with the house of Constantine secured
him the formidable services of the Goths. But the great generals kept
their faith to Valens, and the usurper's power melted away before them.
A decisive battle at Nacolia in Phrygia (May 366) once more seated
Valens firmly on his throne.

[Sidenote: Baptism of Valens by Eudoxius (367).]

Events could scarcely have fallen out better for Eudoxius and his
friends. Valens was already on their side, and now his zeal was
quickened by the mortal terror he had undergone, perhaps also by shame
at the unworthy panic in which he had already allowed the exiles to
return. In an age when the larger number of professing Christians were
content to spend most of their lives as catechumens, it was a decided
step for an Emperor to come forward and ask for baptism. This, however,
was the step taken by Valens in the spring of 367, which finally
committed him to the Homoean side. By it he undertook to resume the
policy of Constantius, and to drive out false teachers at the dictation
of Eudoxius.

[Sidenote: Interval in the controversy (366-371).]

The Semiarians were in no condition to resist. Their district had been
the seat of the revolt, and their disgrace at court was not lessened by
the embassy to Rome. So divided also were they, that while one party
assembled a synod at Tyana to welcome the return of the envoys, another
met in Caria to ratify the Lucianic creed again. Unfortunately however
for Eudoxius, Valens was entangled in a war with the Goths for three
campaigns, and afterwards detained for another year in the Hellespontine
district, so that he could not revisit the East till the summer of 371.
Meanwhile there was not much to be done. Athanasius had been formally
restored to his church during the Procopian panic by Brasidas the notary
(February 366), and was too strong to be molested again. Meletius also
and others had been allowed to return at the same time, and Valens was
too busy to disturb them. Thus there was a sort of truce for the next
few years. Of Syria we hear scarcely anything; and even in Pontus the
strife must have been abated by the famine of 368. The little we find to
record seems to belong to the year 367. On one side, Eunomius the
Anomoean was sent into exile, but soon recalled on the intercession of
the old Arian Valens of Mursa. On the other, the Semiarians were not
allowed to hold the great synod at Tarsus, which was intended to
complete their reconciliation with the Western Nicenes. These years form
the third great break in the Arian controversy, and were hardly less
fruitful of results than the two former breaks under Constantius and
Julian. Let us therefore glance at the condition of the churches.

[Sidenote: New Nicene party in Cappadocia]

The Homoean party was the last hope of Arianism within the Empire. The
original doctrine of Arius had been decisively rejected at Nicæa; the
Eusebian coalition was broken up by the Sirmian manifesto; and if the
Homoean union also failed, the fall of Arianism could not be long
delayed. Its weakness is shown by the rise of a new Nicene party in the
most Arian province of the Empire. Cappadocia is an exception to the
general rule that Christianity flourished best where cities were most
numerous. The polished vice of Antioch or Corinth presented fewer
obstacles than the rude ignorance of _pagi_ or country villages. Now
Cappadocia was chiefly a country district. The walls of Cæsarea lay in
ruins since its capture by the Persians in the reign of Gallienus, and
the other towns of the province were small and few. Yet Julian found it
incorrigibly Christian, and we hear but little of heathenism from Basil.
We cannot suppose that the Cappadocian boors were civilized enough to be
out of the reach of heathen influence. It seems rather that the
_paganismus_ of the West was partly represented by Arianism. In
Cappadocia the heresy found its first great literary champion in the
sophist Asterius. Gregory and George were brought to Alexandria from
Cappadocia, and afterwards Auxentius to Milan and Eudoxius to
Constantinople. Philagrius also, the prefect who drove out Athanasius in
339, was another of their countrymen. Above all, the heresiarch Eunomius
came from Cappadocia, and had abundance of admirers in his native
district. In this old Arian stronghold the league was formed which
decided the fate of Arianism. Earnest men like Meletius had only been
attracted to the Homoeans by their professions of reverence for the
person of the Lord. When, therefore, it appeared that Eudoxius and his
friends were no better than Arians after all, these men began to look
back to the decisions of 'the great and holy council' of Nicæa. There,
at any rate, they would find something independent of the eunuchs and
cooks who ruled the palace. Of the old conservatives also, who were
strong in Pontus, there were many who felt that the Semiarian position
was unsound, and yet could find no satisfaction in the indefinite
doctrine professed at court. Here then was one split in the Homoean,
another in the conservative party. If only the two sets of malcontents
could form a union with each other and with the older Nicenes of Egypt
and the West, they would sooner or later be the arbiters of Christendom.
If they could secure Valentinian's intercession, they might obtain
religious freedom at once.

[Sidenote: Basil of Cæsarea.]

Such seems to have been the plan laid down by the man who was now
succeeding Athanasius as leader of the Nicene party. Basil of Cæsarea
was a disciple of the schools of Athens, and a master of heathen
eloquence and learning. He was also man of the world enough to keep on
friendly terms with men of all sorts. Amongst his friends we find
Athanasius and Gregory of Nazianzus, Libanius the heathen rhetorician,
the barbarian generals Arinthæus and Victor, the renegade Modestus, and
the Arian bishop Euippius. He was a Christian also of a Christian
family. His grandmother, Macrina, was one of those who fled to the woods
in the time of Diocletian's persecution; and in after years young Basil
learned from her the words of Gregory the Wonder worker. The connections
of his early life were with the conservatives. He owed his baptism to
Dianius of Cæsarea, and much encouragement in asceticism to Eustathius
of Sebastia. In 359 he accompanied Basil of Ancyra from Seleucia to the
conferences at Constantinople, and on his return home came forward as a
resolute enemy of Arianism at Cæsarea. The young deacon was soon
recognised as a power in Asia. He received the dying recantation of
Dianius, and guided the choice of his successor Eusebius in 362. Yet he
still acted with the Semiarians, and helped them with his counsel at
Lampsacus. Indeed it was from the Semiarian side that he approached the
Nicene faith. In his own city of Cæsarea Eusebius found him
indispensable. When jealousies arose between them, and Basil withdrew to
his rustic paradise in Pontus, he was recalled by the clamour of the
people at the approach of Valens in 365. This time the danger was
averted by the Procopian troubles, but henceforth Basil governed
Eusebius, and the church of Cæsarea through him, till in the summer of
370 he succeeded to the bishopric himself.

[Sidenote: Basil bishop of Cæsarea.]

The election was a critical one, for every one knew that a bishop like
Basil would be a pillar of the Nicene cause. On one side were the
officials and the lukewarm bishops, on the other the people and the
better class of Semiarians. They had to make great efforts. Eusebius of
Samosata came to Cæsarea to urge the wavering bishops, and old
Gregory[15] was carried from Nazianzus on his litter to perform the
consecration. There was none but Basil who could meet the coming danger.
By the spring of 371 Valens had fairly started on his progress to the
East. He travelled slowly through the famine-wasted provinces, and only
reached Cæsarea in time for the great winter festival of Epiphany 372.
The Nicene faith in Cappadocia was not the least of the abuses he was
putting down. The bishops yielded in all directions, but Basil was
unshaken. The rough threats of Modestus succeeded no better than the
fatherly counsel of Euippius; and when Valens himself and Basil met face
to face, the Emperor was overawed. More than once the order was prepared
for the obstinate prelate's exile, but for one reason or another it was
never issued. Valens went forward on his journey, leaving behind a
princely gift for Basil's poorhouse. He reached Antioch in April, and
settled there for the rest of his reign, never again leaving Syria till
the disasters of the Gothic war called him back to Europe.

[Footnote 15: The father of Gregory of Nazianzus the Divine, who was
bishop, as we shall see, of Sasima and Constantinople in succession, but
never of Nazianzus.]

[Sidenote: Basil's difficulties.]

Armed with spiritual power which in some sort extended from the
Bosphorus to Armenia, Basil could now endeavour to carry out his plan.
Homoean malcontents formed the nucleus of the league, but
conservatives began to join it, and Athanasius gave his patriarchal
blessing to the scheme. The difficulties, however, were very great. The
league was full of jealousies. Athanasius indeed might frankly recognise
the soundness of Meletius, though he was committed to Paulinus, but
others were less liberal, and Lucifer of Calaris was forming a schism on
the question. Some, again, were lukewarm in the cause and many sunk in
worldliness, while others were easily diverted from their purpose. The
sorest trial of all was the selfish coldness of the West. Basil might
find here and there a kindred spirit like Ambrose of Milan after 374;
but the confessors of 355 were mostly gathered to their rest, and the
church of Rome paid no regard to sufferings which were not likely to
reach herself.

Nor was Basil quite the man for such a task as this. His courage indeed
was indomitable. He ruled Cappadocia from a sick-bed, and bore down
opposition by sheer strength of his inflexible determination. The very
pride with which his enemies reproached him was often no more than a
strong man's consciousness of power; and to this unwearied energy he
joined an ascetic fervour which secured the devotion of his friends, a
knowledge of the world which often turned aside the fury of his enemies,
and a flow of warm-hearted rhetoric which never failed to command the
admiration of outsiders. Yet after all we miss the lofty self-respect
which marks the later years of Athanasius. Basil was involved in
constant difficulties by his own pride and suspicion. We cannot, for
example, imagine Athanasius turning two presbyters out of doors as
'spies.' But the ascetic is usually too full of his own plans to feel
sympathy with others, too much in earnest to feign it like a
diplomatist. Basil had enough worldly prudence to keep in the background
his belief in the Holy Spirit, but not enough to protect even his
closest friends from the outbreaks of his imperious temper. Small wonder
if the great scheme met with many difficulties.

[Sidenote: Disputes with: (1.) Anthimus.]

A specimen or two may be given, from which it will be seen that the
difficulties were not all of Basil's making. When Valens divided
Cappadocia in 372, the capital of the new province was fixed at Tyana.
Thereupon Bishop Anthimus argued that ecclesiastical arrangements
necessarily follow civil, and claimed the obedience of its bishops as
due to him and not to Basil. Peace was patched up after an unseemly
quarrel, and Basil disposed of any future claims from Anthimus by
getting the new capital transferred to Podandus.

[Sidenote: (2.) Eustathius.]

The dispute with Anthimus was little more than a personal quarrel, so
that it was soon forgotten. The old Semiarian Eustathius of Sebastia was
able to give more serious annoyance. He was a man too active to be
ignored, too unstable to be trusted, too famous for ascetic piety to be
lightly made an open enemy. His friendship was compromising, his enmity
dangerous. We left him professing the Nicene faith before the council of
Tyana. For the next three years we lose sight of him. He reappears as a
friend of Basil in 370, and heartily supported him in his strife with
Valens. Eustathius was at any rate no time-server. He was drawn to Basil
by old friendship and a common love of asceticism, but almost equally
repelled by the imperious orthodoxy of a stronger will than his own. And
Basil for a long time clung to his old teacher, though the increasing
distrust of staunch Nicenes like Theodotus of Nicopolis was beginning to
attack himself. His peacemaking was worse than a failure. First he
offended Theodotus, then he alienated Eustathius. The suspicious zeal of
Theodotus was quieted in course of time, but Eustathius never forgave
the urgency which wrung from him his signature to a Nicene confession.
He had long been leaning the other way, and now he turned on Basil with
all the bitterness of broken friendship. To such a man the elastic faith
of the Homoeans was a welcome refuge. If they wasted little courtesy
on their convert, they did not press him to strain his conscience by
signing what he ought not to have signed.

[Sidenote: Apollinarius of Laodicea.]

The Arian controversy was exhausted for the present, and new questions
were already beginning to take its place. While Basil and Eustathius
were preparing the victory of asceticism in the next generation,
Apollinarius had already essayed the christological problem of Ephesus
and Chalcedon; and Apollinarius was no common thinker. If his efforts
were premature, he at least struck out the most suggestive of the
ancient heresies. Both in what he saw and in what he failed to see, his
work is full of meaning for our own time. Apollinarius and his father
were Christian literary men of Laodicea in Syria, and stood well to the
front of controversy in Julian's days. When the rescript came out which
forbade the Galileans to teach the classics, they promptly undertook to
form a Christian literature by throwing Scripture into classical forms.
The Old Testament was turned into Homeric verse, the New into Platonic
dialogues. Here again Apollinarius was premature. There was indeed no
reason why Christianity should not have as good a literature as
heathenism, but it would have to be a growth of many ages. In doctrine
Apollinarius was a staunch Nicene, and one of the chief allies of
Athanasius in Syria. But he was a Nicene of an unusual type, for the
side of Arianism which specially attracted his attention was its denial
of the Lord's true manhood. It will be remembered that according to
Arius the created Word assumed human flesh and nothing more. Eustathius
of Antioch had long ago pointed out the error, and the Nicene council
shut it out by adding _was made man_ to the _was made flesh_ of the
Cæsarean creed. It was thus agreed that the lower element in the
incarnation was man, not mere flesh; in other words, the Lord was
perfect man as well as perfect God. But in that case, how can God and
man form one person? In particular, the freedom of his human will is
inconsistent with the fixity of the divine. Without free-will he was not
truly man; yet free-will always leads to sin. If all men are sinners,
and the Lord was not a sinner, it seemed to follow that he was not true
man like other men. Yet in that case the incarnation is a mere illusion.
The difficulty was more than Athanasius himself could fully solve. All
that he could do was to hold firmly the doctrine of the Lord's true
manhood as declared by Scripture, and leave the question of his
free-will for another age to answer.

[Sidenote: The Apollinarian system.]

The analysis of human nature which we find in Scripture is twofold. In
many passages there is a moral division into the spirit and the
flesh--all that draws us up towards heaven and all that draws us down to
earth. It must be carefully noted (what ascetics of all ages have
overlooked) that the flesh is not the body. Envy and hatred are just as
much works of the flesh[16] as revelling and uncleanness. It is not the
body which lusts against the soul, but the evil nature running through
them both which refuses the leading of the Spirit of God. But these are
practical statements: the proper psychology of Scripture is given in
another series of passages. It comes out clearly in 1 Thess. v.
23--'your whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved blameless unto
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.' Here the division is threefold.
The body we know pretty well, as far as concerns its material form. The
soul however, is not the 'soul' of common language. It is only the seat
of the animal life which we share with the beasts. Above the soul,
beyond the ken of Aristotle, Scripture reveals the spirit as the seat of
the immortal life which is to pass the gate of death unharmed. Now it is
one chief merit of Apollinarius (and herein he has the advantage over
Athanasius) that he based his system on the true psychology of
Scripture. He argued that sin reaches man through the will, whose seat
is in the spirit. Choice for good or for evil is in the will. Hence Adam
fell through the weakness of the spirit. Had that been stronger, he
would have been able to resist temptation. So it is with the rest of us:
we all sin through the weakness of the spirit. If then the Lord was a
man in whom the mutable human spirit was replaced by the immutable
Divine Word, there will be no difficulty in understanding how he could
be free from sin. Apollinarius, however, rightly chose to state his
theory the other way--that the Divine Word assumed a human body and a
human soul, and himself took the place of a human spirit. So far we see
no great advance on the Arian theory of the incarnation. If the Lord had
no true human spirit, he is no more true man than if he had nothing
human but the body. We get a better explanation of his sinlessness, but
we still get it at the expense of his humanity. In one respect the
Arians had the advantage. Their created Word is easier joined with human
flesh than the Divine Word with a human body and a human soul. At this
point, however, Apollinarius introduced a thought of deep
significance--that the spirit in Christ was human spirit, although
divine. If man was made in the image of God, the Divine Word is not
foreign to that human spirit which is in his likeness, but is rather the
true perfection of its image. If, therefore, the Lord had the divine
Word instead of the human spirit of other men, he is not the less human,
but the more so for the difference. Furthermore, the Word which in
Christ was human spirit was eternal. Apart then from the incarnation,
the Word was archetypal man as well as God. Thus we reach the still more
solemn thought that the incarnation is not a mere expedient to get rid
of sin, but the historic revelation of what was latent in the Word from
all eternity. Had man not sinned, the Word must still have come among
us, albeit not through shame and death. It was his nature that he should
come. If he was man from eternity, it was his nature to become in time
like men on earth, and it is his nature to remain for ever man. And as
the Word looked down on mankind, so mankind looked upward to the Word.
The spirit in man is a frail and shadowy thing apart from Christ, and
men are not true men till they have found in him their immutable and
sovereign guide. Thus the Word and man do not confront each other as
alien beings. They are joined together in their inmost nature, and (may
we say it?) each receives completion from the other.

[Footnote 16: Gal. v. 19-21.]

[Sidenote: Criticism of Apollinarianism.]

The system of Apollinarius is a mighty outline whose details we can
hardly even now fill in; yet as a system it is certainly a failure. His
own contemporaries may have done him something less than justice, but
they could not follow his daring flights of thought when they saw plain
errors in his teaching. After all, Apollinarius reaches no true
incarnation. The Lord is something very like us, but he is not one of
us. The spirit is surely an essential part of man, and without a true
human spirit he could have no true human choice or growth or life; and
indeed Apollinarius could not allow him any. His work is curtailed also
like his manhood, for (so Gregory of Nyssa put it) the spirit which the
Lord did not assume is not redeemed. Apollinarius understood even better
than Athanasius the kinship of true human nature to its Lord, and
applied it with admirable skill to explain the incarnation as the
expression of the eternal divine nature. But he did not see so well as
Athanasius that sin is a mere intruder among men. It was not a hopeful
age in which he lived. The world had gone a long way downhill since
young Athanasius had sung his song of triumph over fallen heathenism.
Roman vice and Syrian frivolity, Eastern asceticism and Western
legalism, combined to preach, in spite of Christianity, that the
sinfulness of mankind is essential. So instead of following out the
pregnant hint of Athanasius that sin is no true part of human nature
(else were God the author of evil), Apollinarius cut the knot by
refusing the Son of Man a human spirit as a thing of necessity sinful.
Too thoughtful to slur over the difficulty like Pelagius, he was yet too
timid to realize the possibility of a conquest of sin by man, even
though that man were Christ himself.

[Sidenote: The Apollinarians.]

Apollinarius and his school contributed not a little to the doctrinal
confusion of the East. His ideas were current for some time in various
forms, and are attacked in some of the later works of Athanasius; but it
was not till about 375 that they led to a definite schism, marked by the
consecration of the presbyter Vitalis to the bishopric of Antioch. From
this time, Apollinarian bishops disputed many of the Syrian sees with
Nicenes and Anomoeans. Their adherents were also scattered over Asia,
and supplied one more element of discord to the noisy populace of

[Sidenote: Last years of Athanasius (366-373).]

The declining years of Athanasius were spent in peace. Valens had
restored him in good faith, and never afterwards molested him. If Lucius
the Arian returned to Alexandria to try his chance as bishop, the
officials gave him no connivance--nothing but sorely needed shelter from
the fury of the mob. Arianism was nearly extinct in Egypt.

[Sidenote: Athanasius and Marcellus (before 371).]

One of his last public acts was to receive an embassy from Marcellus,
who was still living in extreme old age at Ancyra. Some short time
before 371, the deacon Eugenius presented to him a confession on behalf
of the 'innumerable multitude' who still owned Marcellus for their
father. 'We are not heretics, as we are slandered. We specially
anathematize Arianism, confessing, like our fathers at Nicæa, that the
Son is no creature, but of the essence of the Father and co-essential
with the Father; and by the Son we mean no other than the Word. Next we
anathematize Sabellius, for we confess the eternity and reality of the
Son and the Holy Spirit. We anathematize also the Anomoeans, in spite
of their pretence not to be Arians. We anathematize finally the
Arianizers who separate the Word from the Son, giving the latter a
beginning at the incarnation because they do not confess him to be very
God. Our own doctrine of the incarnation is that the Word did not come
down as on the prophets, but truly became flesh and took a servant's
form, and as regards flesh was born as a man.' There is no departure
here from the original doctrine of Marcellus, for the eternity of the
Son means nothing more than the eternity of the Word. The memorial,
however, was successful. Though Athanasius was no Marcellian, he was as
determined as ever to leave all questions open which the great council
had forborne to close. The new Nicenes of Pontus, on the other hand,
inherited the conservative dread of Marcellus, so that it was a sore
trial to Basil when Athanasius refused to sacrifice the old companion of
his exile. Even the great Alexandrian's comprehensive charity is hardly
nobler than his faithfulness to erring friends. Meaner men might cherish
the petty jealousies of controversy, but the veterans of the great
council once more recognised their fellowship in Christ. They were
joined in life, and in death they were not divided.

[Sidenote: Death of Athanasius (373).]

Marcellus passed away in 371, and Athanasius two years later. The
victory was not yet won, the goal of half a century was still beyond the
sight of men; yet Athanasius had conquered Arianism. Of his greatness we
need say no more. Some will murmur of 'fanaticism' before the only
Christian whose grandeur awed the scoffer Gibbon. So be it that his
greatness was not unmixed with human passion; but those of us who have
seen the light of heaven shining from some saintly face, or watched with
kindling hearts and solemn thankfulness some mighty victory of Christian
faith, will surely know that it was the spirit of another world which
dwelt in Athanasius. To him more than any one we owe it that the
question of Arianism did not lose itself in personalities and quibbles,
but took its proper place as a battle for the central message of the
gospel, which is its chief distinction from philosophy and heathenism.

[Sidenote: Extinction of the Marcellians (375).]

Instantly Alexandria was given up to the Arians, and Lucius repeated the
outrages of Gregory and George. The friends of Athanasius were exiled,
and his successor Peter fled to Rome. Meanwhile the school of Marcellus
died away. In 375 his surviving followers addressed a new memorial to
the Egyptian exiles at Sepphoris, in which they plainly confessed the
eternal Sonship so long evaded by their master. Basil took no small
offence when the exiles accepted the memorial. 'They were not the only
zealous defenders of the Nicene faith in the East, and should not have
acted without the consent of the Westerns and of their own bishop,
Peter. In their haste to heal one schism they might cause another if
they did not make it clear that the heretics had come over to them, and
not they to the heretics.' This, however, was mere grumbling. Now that
the Marcellians had given up the point in dispute, there was no great
difficulty about their formal reconciliation. The West held out for
Marcellus after his own disciples had forsaken him, so that he was not
condemned at Rome till 380, nor by name till 381.

[Sidenote: Confusion of: (1) Churches.]

Meanwhile the churches of Asia seemed in a state of universal
dissolution. Disorder under Constantius had become confusion worse
confounded under Valens. The exiled bishops were so many centres of
disaffection, and personal quarrels had full scope everywhere. Thus when
Basil's brother Gregory was expelled from Nyssa by a riot got up by
Anthimus of Tyana, he took refuge under the eyes of Anthimus at Doara,
where a similar riot had driven out the Arian bishop. Pastoral work was
carried on under the greatest difficulties. The exiles could not attend
to their churches, the schemers would not, and the fever of controversy
was steadily demoralizing both flocks and pastors.

[Sidenote: (2.) Creeds.]

Creeds were in the same confusion. The Homoeans as a body had no
consistent principle at all beyond the rejection of technical terms, so
that their doctrinal statements are very miscellaneous. They began with
the indefinite Sirmian creed, but the confession they imposed on
Eustathius of Sebastia was purely Macedonian. Some of their bishops were
Nicenes, others Anomoeans. There was room for all in the happy family
presided over by Eudoxius and his successor Demophilus. In this anarchy
of doctrine, the growth of irreligious carelessness kept pace with that
of party bitterness. Ecclesiastical history records no clearer period of
decline than this. There is a plain descent from Athanasius to Basil, a
rapid one from Basil to Theophilus and Cyril. The victors of
Constantinople are but the epigoni of a mighty contest.

[Sidenote: Hopeful signs.]

Hopeful signs indeed were not entirely wanting. If the Nicene cause did
not seem to gain much ground in Pontus, it was at least not losing.
While Basil held the court in check, the rising power of asceticism was
declaring itself every day more plainly on his side. One schism was
healed by the reception of the Marcellians; and if Apollinarius was
forming another, he was at least a resolute enemy of Arianism. The
submission of the Lycian bishops in 375 helped to isolate the Semiarian
phalanx in Asia, and the Illyrian council held in the same year by
Ambrose was the first effective help from the West. It secured a
rescript of Valentinian in favour of the Nicenes; and if he did not long
survive, his action was enough to show that Valens might not always be
left to carry out his plans undisturbed.



[Sidenote: Prospects in 375.]

The fiftieth year from the great council came and went, and brought no
relief to the calamities of the churches. Meletius and Cyril were still
in exile, East and West were still divided over the consecration of
Paulinus, and now even Alexandria had become the prey of Lucius. The
leaden rule of Valens still weighed down the East, and Valens was
scarcely yet past middle life, and might reign for many years longer.
The deliverance came suddenly, and the Nicene faith won its victory in
the confusion of the greatest disaster which had ever yet befallen Rome.

[Sidenote: The Empire in 376.]

In the year 376 the Empire still seemed to stand unshaken within the
limits of Augustus. If the legions had retired from the outlying
provinces of Dacia and Carduene, they more than held their ground on the
great river frontiers of the Euphrates, the Danube, and the Rhine. If
Julian's death had seemed to let loose all the enemies of Rome at once,
they had all been repulsed. While the Persian advance was checked by the
obstinate patriotism of Armenia, Valens reduced the Goths to submission,
and his Western colleague drove the Germans out of Gaul and recovered
Britain from the Picts. The Empire had fully held its own through twelve
years of incessant warfare; and if there were serious indications of
exhaustion in the dwindling of the legions and the increase of the
barbarian auxiliaries, in the troops of brigands who infested every
mountain district, in the alarming decrease of population, and above all
in the ruin of the provinces by excessive taxation, it still seemed
inconceivable that real danger could ever menace Rome's eternal throne.

[Sidenote: The Gothic war (377-378).]

But while the imperial statesmen were watching the Euphrates, the storm
was gathering on the Danube. The Goths in Dacia had been learning
husbandry and Christianity since Aurelian's time, and bade fair soon to
become a civilized people. Heathenism was already half abandoned, and
their nomad habits half laid aside. But when the Huns came up suddenly
from the steppes of Asia, the stately Gothic warriors fled almost
without a blow from the hordes of wild dwarfish horsemen. The Ostrogoths
became the servants of their conquerors, and the heathens of Athanaric
found a refuge in the recesses of the Transylvanian forests. But
Fritigern was a Christian. Rome had helped him once before, and Rome
might help him now. A whole nation of panic-stricken warriors crowded to
the banks of the Danube. There was but one inviolable refuge in the
world, and that was beneath the shelter of the Roman eagles. Only let
them have some of the waste lands in Thrace, and they would be glad to
do the Empire faithful service. When conditions had been settled, the
Goths were brought across the river. Once on Roman ground, they were
left to the mercy of officials whose only thought was to make the
famished barbarians a prey to their own rapacity and lust. Before long
the Goths broke loose and spread over the country, destroying whatever
cultivation had survived the desolating misgovernment of the Empire.
Outlaws and deserters were willing guides, and crowds of fresh
barbarians came in to share the spoil. The Roman generals found it no
easy task to keep the field.

[Sidenote: Battle of Hadrianople (Aug. 9, 378).]

First the victories of Claudius and Aurelian, and then the statesmanship
of Constantine, had stayed for a century the tide of Northern war, but
now the Empire was again reduced to fight for its existence. Its rulers
seemed to understand the crisis. The East was drained of all available
troops, and Sebastian the Manichee, the old enemy of Athanasius, was
placed in command. Gratian hurried Thraceward with the Gaulish legions,
and at last Valens thought it time to leave his pleasant home at Antioch
for the field of war. Evil omens beset his march, but no omen could be
worse than his own impulsive rashness. With a little prudence, such a
force as he had gathered round the walls of Hadrianople was an overmatch
for any hordes of barbarians. But Valens determined to storm the Gothic
camp without waiting for his Western colleague. Rugged ground and tracts
of burning grass delayed his march, so that it was long past noon before
he neared the line of waggons, later still before the Gothic trumpet
sounded. But the Roman army was in hopeless rout at sundown. The Goths
came down 'like a thunderbolt on the mountain tops,' and all was lost.
Far into the night the slaughtering went on. Sebastian fell, the Emperor
was never heard of more, and full two-thirds of the Roman army perished
in a scene of unequalled horror since the butchery of Cannæ.

[Sidenote: Results of the battle.]

Beneath that crushing blow the everlasting Empire shook from end to end.
The whole power of the East had been mustered with a painful effort to
the struggle, and the whole power of the East had been shattered in a
summer's day. For the first time since the days of Gallienus, the Empire
could place no army in the field. But Claudius and Aurelian had not
fought in vain, nor were the hundred years of respite lost. If the
dominion of Western Europe was transferred for ever to the Northern
nations, the walls of Constantinople had risen to bar their eastward
march, and Christianity had shown its power to awe their boldest
spirits. The Empire of the Christian East withstood the shock of
Hadrianople--only the heathen West sank under it. When once the old
barriers of civilization on the Danube and the Rhine were broken
through, the barbarians poured in for centuries like a flood of mighty
waters overflowing. Not till the Northman and the Magyar had found their
limit at the siege of Paris [Sidenote: 888.] and the battle of the
Lechfeld [Sidenote: 955.] could Europe feel secure. The Roman Empire and
the Christian Church alone rode out the storm which overthrew the
ancient world. But the Christian Church was founded on the ever-living
Rock, the Roman Empire rooted deep in history. Arianism was a thing of
yesterday and had no principle of life, and therefore it vanished in the
crash of Hadrianople. The Homoean supremacy had come to rest almost
wholly on imperial misbelief. The mob of the capital might be in its
favour, and the virtues of isolated bishops might secure it some support
elsewhere; but serious men were mostly Nicenes or Anomoeans.
Demophilus of Constantinople headed the party, and his blunders did it
almost as much harm as the profane jests of Eudoxius. At Antioch
Euzoius, the last of the early Arians, was replaced by Dorotheus. Milan
under Ambrose was aggressively Nicene, and the Arian tyrants were very
weak at Alexandria. On the other hand, the greatest of the Nicenes had
passed away, and few were left who could remember the great council's
meeting. Athanasius and Hilary were dead, and even Basil did not live to
greet an orthodox Emperor. Meletius of Antioch was in exile, and Cyril
of Jerusalem and the venerated Eusebius of Samosata, while Gregory of
Nazianzus had found in the Isaurian mountains a welcome refuge from his
hated diocese of Sasima. If none of the living Nicenes could pretend to
rival Athanasius, they at least outmatched the Arians.

[Sidenote: Gratian's toleration.]

As Valens left no children, the Empire rested for the moment in the
hands of his nephew, Gratian, a youth of not yet twenty. Gratian,
however, was wise enough to see that it was no time to cultivate
religious quarrels. He, therefore, began by proclaiming toleration to
all but Anomoeans and Photinians. As toleration was still the theory
of the Empire, and none but the Nicenes were practically molested, none
but the Nicenes gained anything by the edict. But mere toleration was
all they needed. The exiled bishops found little difficulty in resuming
the government of their flocks, and even in sending missions to Arian
strongholds. The Semiarians were divided. Numbers went over to the
Nicenes, while others took up an independent or Macedonian position. The
Homoean power in the provinces fell of itself before it was touched by
persecution. It scarcely even struggled against its fate. At Jerusalem
indeed party spirit ran as high as ever, but Alexandria was given up to
Peter almost without resistance. We find one or two outrages like the
murder of Eusebius of Samosata by an Arian woman in a country town, who
threw down a tile on his head, but we hardly ever find a Homoean
bishop heartily supported by his flock.

[Sidenote: Gregory of Nazianzus.]

Constantinople itself was now the chief stronghold of the Arians. They
had held the churches since 340, and were steadily supported by the
court. Thus the city populace was devoted to Arianism, and the Nicenes
were a mere remnant, without either church or teacher. The time,
however, was now come for a mission to the capital. Gregory of Nazianzus
was the son of Bishop Gregory, born about the time of the Nicene
council. His father was already presbyter of Nazianzus, and held the
bishopric for nearly half a century. [Sidenote: 329-374.] Young Gregory
was a student of many schools. From the Cappadocian Cæsarea he went on
to the Palestinian, and thence to Alexandria; but Athens was the goal of
his student-life. Gregory and Basil and Prince Julian met at the feet of
Proæresius. They all did credit to his eloquence, but there the likeness
ends. Gregory disliked Julian's strange, excited manner, and persuaded
himself in later years that he had even then foreseen the evil of the
apostate's reign. With Basil, on the other hand his friendship was for
life. They were well-matched in eloquence, in ascetic zeal, and in
opposition to Arianism, though Basil's imperious ways were a trial to
Gregory's gentler and less active spirit. During the quarrel with
Anthimus of Tyana, Basil thought fit to secure the disputed possession
of Sasima by making it a bishopric. [Sidenote: 372.] It was a miserable
post-station--'No water, no grass, nothing but dust and carts, and
groans and howls, and small officials with their usual instruments of
torture.' Gregory was made bishop of Sasima against his will, and never
fairly entered on his repulsive duties. After a few years' retirement,
he came forward to undertake the mission to Constantinople. [Sidenote:
379.] The great city was a city of triflers. They jested at the actors
and the preachers without respect of persons, and followed with equal
eagerness the races and the theological disputes. Anomoeans abounded
in their noisy streets, and the graver Novatians and Macedonians were
infected with the spirit of wrangling. Gregory's austere character and
simple life were in themselves a severe rebuke to the lovers of pleasure
round him. He began his work in a private house, and only built a church
when the numbers of his flock increased. He called it his
Anastasia,--the church of the resurrection of the faith. The mob was
hostile--one night they broke into his church--but the fruit of his
labours was a growing congregation of Nicenes in the capital.

[Sidenote: Theodosius Emperor in the East (379).]

Gratian's next step was to share his burden with a colleague. If the
care of the whole Empire had been too much for Diocletian or
Valentinian, Gratian's were not the Atlantean shoulders which could bear
its undivided weight. In the far West, at Cauca near Segovia, there
lived a son of Theodosius, the recoverer of Britain and Africa, whose
execution had so foully stained the opening of Gratian's reign. That
memory of blood was still fresh, yet in that hour of overwhelming danger
Gratian called young Theodosius to be his honoured colleague and
deliverer. Early in 379 he gave him the conduct of the Gothic war. With
it went the Empire of the East.

[Sidenote: End of the Gothic war.]

Theodosius was neither Greek nor Asiatic, but a stranger from the
Spanish West, endued with a full measure of Spanish courage and
intolerance. As a general he was the most brilliant Rome had seen since
Julian's death. Men compared him to Trajan, and in a happier age he
might have rivalled Trajan's fame. But now the Empire was ready to
perish. The beaten army was hopelessly demoralized, and Theodosius had
to form a new army of barbarian legionaries before the old tradition of
Roman superiority could resume its wonted sway. It soon appeared that
the Goths could do nothing with their victory, and sooner or later would
have to make their peace with Rome. Theodosius drove them inland in the
first campaign; and while he lay sick at Thessalonica in the second,
Gratian or his generals received the submission of the Ostrogoths.
Fritigern died the same year, and his old rival Athanaric was a fugitive
before it ended. When the returning Ostrogoths dislodged him from his
Transylvanian forest, he was welcomed with honourable courtesy by
Theodosius in person at Constantinople. But the old enemy of Rome and
Christianity had only come to lay his bones on Roman soil. In another
fortnight the barbarian chief was carried out with kingly splendour to
his Roman funeral. Theodosius had nobly won Athanaric's inheritance. His
wondering Goths at once took service with their conqueror: chief after
chief submitted, and the work of peace was completed on the Danube in
the autumn of 382.

[Sidenote: Baptism of Theodosius.]

We can now return to ecclesiastical affairs. The dangerous illness of
Theodosius in 380 had important consequences, for his baptism by
Ascholius of Thessalonica was the natural signal for a more decided
policy. Ascholius was a zealous Nicene, so that Theodosius was committed
to the Nicene side as effectually as Valens had been to the Homoean;
and Theodosius was less afraid of strong measures than Valens. His first
rescript (Feb. 27, 380) commands all men to follow the Nicene doctrine
'committed by the apostle Peter to the Romans, and now professed by
Damasus of Rome and Peter of Alexandria,' and plainly threatens to
impose temporal punishments on the heretics. Here it will be seen that
Theodosius abandons Constantine's test of orthodoxy by subscription to a
creed. It seemed easier now, and more in the spirit of Latin
Christianity, to require communion with certain churches. The choice of
Rome is natural, the addition of Alexandria shows that the Emperor was
still a stranger to the mysteries of Eastern partizanship.

[Sidenote: Suppression of Arian worship inside cities.]

There was no reason for delay when the worst dangers of the Gothic war
were over. Theodosius made his formal entry into Constantinople,
November 24, 380, and at once required the bishop either to accept the
Nicene faith or to leave the city. Demophilus honourably refused to give
up his heresy, and adjourned his services to the suburbs. So ended the
forty years of Arian domination in Constantinople. But the mob was still
Arian, and their stormy demonstrations when the cathedral of the Twelve
Apostles was given up to Gregory of Nazianzus were enough to make
Theodosius waver. Arian influence was still strong at court, and Arian
bishops came flocking to Constantinople. Low as they had fallen, they
could still count among them the great name of Ulfilas. But he could
give them little help, for though the Goths of Moesia were faithful to
the Empire, Theodosius preferred the stalwart heathens of Athanaric to
their Arian countrymen. Ulfilas died at Constantinople like Athanaric,
but there was no royal funeral for the first apostle of the Northern
nations. Theodosius hesitated, and even consented to see the heresiarch
Eunomius, who was then living near Constantinople. The Nicenes took
alarm, and the Empress Flaccilla urged her husband on the path of
persecution. The next edict (Jan. 381) forbade heretical discussions and
assemblies inside cities, and ordered the churches everywhere to be
given up to the Nicenes.

[Sidenote: Council of Constantinople (May 381).]

Thus was Arianism put down, as it had been set up, by the civil power.
Nothing now remained but to clear away the disorders which the strife
had left behind. Once more an imperial summons went forth for a council
to meet at Constantinople in May 381. It was a sombre gathering. The
bright hope which lighted the Empire at Nicæa had long ago died out, and
even the conquerors now had no more joyous feeling than that of
thankfulness that the weary strife was coming to an end. Only a hundred
and fifty bishops were present, all of them Easterns. The West was not
represented even by a Roman legate. Amongst them were Meletius of
Antioch, Gregory of Nyssa, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nazianzus as
elect of Constantinople, and Basil's unworthy successor, Helladius of
Cæsarea. Timothy of Alexandria came later. The Semiarians mustered
thirty-six under Eleusius of Cyzicus.

[Sidenote: Appointments of Gregory, Flavian, and Nectarius.]

The bishops were greeted with much splendour, and received a truly
imperial welcome in the form of a new edict of persecution against the
Manichees. Meletius of Antioch presided in the council, and Paulinus was
ignored. Theodosius was no longer neutral between Constantinople and
Alexandria. The Egyptians were not invited to the earlier sittings, or
at least were not present. The first act of the assembly was to ratify
the choice of Gregory of Nazianzus as bishop of Constantinople. Meletius
died as they were coming to discuss the affairs of Antioch, and Gregory
took his place as president. Here was an excellent chance of putting an
end to the schism, for Paulinus and Meletius had agreed that on the
death of either of them, the survivor should be recognised by both
parties as bishop of Antioch. But the council was jealous of Paulinus
and his Western friends, and broke the agreement by appointing Flavian,
one of the presbyters who had sworn to refuse the office. Gregory's
remonstrance against this breach of faith only drew upon him the hatred
of the Eastern bishops. The Egyptians, on the other hand, were glad to
join any attack on a nominee of Meletius, and found an obsolete Nicene
canon to invalidate his translation from Sasima to Constantinople. Both
parties were thus agreed for evil. Gregory cared not to dispute with
them, but gave up his beloved Anastasia, and retired to end his days at
Nazianzus. The council was not worthy of him. His successor was another
sort of man. Nectarius, the prætor of Constantinople, was a man of the
world of dignified presence, but neither saint nor student. Him,
however, Theodosius chose to fill the vacant see, and under his guidance
the council finished its sessions.

[Sidenote: Retirement of the Semiarians.]

The next move was to find out whether the Semiarians were willing to
share the victory of the Nicenes. As they were still a strong party
round the Hellespont, their friendship was important. Theodosius also
was less of a zealot than some of his admirers imagine. The sincerity of
his desire to conciliate Eleusius is fairly guaranteed by his effort two
years later to find a scheme of comprehension even for the Anomoeans.
But the old soldier was not to be tempted by hopes of imperial favour.
However he might oppose the Anomoeans, he could not forgive the
Nicenes their inclusion of the Holy Spirit in the sphere of co-essential
deity. Those of the Semiarians who were willing to join the Nicenes had
already done so, and the rest were obstinate. They withdrew from the
council and gave up their churches like the Arians. They comforted
themselves with those words of Scripture, 'The churchmen are many, but
the elect are few.'[17]

[Footnote 17: Matt. xx. 16.]

[Sidenote: Close of the council.]

Whatever jealousies might divide the conquerors, the Arian contest was
now at an end. Pontus and Syria were still divided from Rome and Egypt
on the question of Flavian's appointment, and there were the germs of
many future troubles in the disposition of Alexandria to look for help
to Rome against the upstart see of Constantinople; but against Arianism
the council was united. Its first canon is a solemn ratification of the
Nicene creed in its original shape, with a formal condemnation of all
the heresies, 'and specially those of the Eunomians or Anomoeans, of
the Arians or Eudoxians (_Homoeans_), of the Semiarians or
Pneumatomachi; of the Sabellians, Marcellians, Photinians, and

[Sidenote: The spurious Nicene creed.]

The bishops issued no new creed. Tradition indeed ascribes to them the
spurious Nicene creed of our Communion Service, with the exception of
two later insertions--the clause 'God of God,' and the procession of the
Holy Spirit 'from the Son' as well as 'from the Father.' The story is an
old one, for it can be traced back to one of the speakers at the council
of Chalcedon in 451. It caused some surprise at the time, but was
afterwards accepted. Yet it is beyond all question false. This is shown
by four convergent lines of argument. In the first place, (1.) it is _a
priori_ unlikely. The Athanasian party had been contending all along,
not vaguely for the Nicene doctrine, but for the Nicene creed, the whole
Nicene creed, and nothing but the Nicene creed. Athanasius refused to
touch it at Sardica in 343, refused again at Alexandria in 362, and to
the end of his life refused to admit that it was in any way defective.
Basil himself as late as 377 declined even to consider some additions to
the incarnation proposed to him by Epiphanius of Salamis. Is it likely
that their followers would straightway revise the creed the instant they
got the upper hand in 381? And such a revision! The elaborate framework
of Nicæa is completely shattered, and even the keystone clause 'of the
essence of the Father' is left out. Moreover, (2.) there is no
contemporary evidence that they did revise it. No historian mentions
anything of the sort, and no single document connected with the council
gives the slightest colour to the story. There is neither trace nor sign
of it for nearly seventy years. The internal evidence (3.) points the
same way. Deliberate revision implies a deliberate purpose to the
alterations made. Now in this case, though we have serious variations
enough, there is another class of differences so meaningless that they
cannot even be represented in an English translation. There remains (4.)
one more argument. The spurious Nicene creed cannot be the work of the
fathers of Constantinople in 381, because it is given in the _Ancoratus_
of Epiphanius, which was certainly written in 374. But if the council
did not draw up the creed, it is time to ask who did. Everything seems
to show that it is not a revision of the Nicene creed at all, but of the
local creed of Jerusalem, executed by Bishop Cyril on his return from
exile in 362. This is only a theory, but it has all the evidence which a
theory can have--it explains the whole matter. In the first place, the
meaningless changes disappear if we compare the spurious Nicene creed
with that of Jerusalem instead of the genuine Nicene. Every difference
can be accounted for by reference to the known position and opinions of
Cyril. Thus the old Jerusalem creed says that the Lord '_sat_ down at
the right hand of the Father;' our 'Nicene,' that he '_sitteth_.' Now
this is a favourite point of Cyril in his _Catecheses_--that the Lord
did not sit down once for all, but that he sitteth so for ever.
Similarly other points. We also know that other local creeds were
revised about the same time and in the same way. In the next place, the
occurrence of a revised Jerusalem creed in the _Ancoratus_ is natural.
Epiphanius was past middle life when he left Palestine for Cyprus in
368, and never forgot the friends he left behind at Lydda. We are also
in a position to account for its ascription to the council of
Constantinople. Cyril's was a troubled life, and there are many
indications that he was accused of heresy in 381, and triumphantly
acquitted by the council. In such a case his creed would naturally be
examined and approved. It was a sound confession, and in no way
heretical. From this point its history is clearer. The authority of
Jerusalem combined with its own intrinsic merits to recommend it, and
the incidental approval of the bishops at Constantinople was gradually
developed into the legend of their authorship.

[Sidenote: The rest of the canons.]

The remaining canons are mostly aimed at the disorders which had grown
up during the reign of Valens. One of them checks the reckless
accusations which were brought against the bishops by ordering that no
charge of heresy should be received from heretics and such like. Such a
disqualification of accusers was not unreasonable, as it did not apply
to charges of private wrong; yet this clerical privilege grew into one
of the worst scandals of the Middle Ages. The forged decretals of the
ninth century not only order the strictest scrutiny of witnesses against
a bishop, but require seventy-two of them to convict him of any crime
_except_ heresy. Another canon forbids the intrusion of bishops into
other dioceses. 'Nevertheless, the bishop of Constantinople shall hold
the first rank after the bishop of Rome, because Constantinople is New
Rome.' This is the famous third canon, which laid a foundation for the
ecclesiastical authority of Constantinople. It was extended at Chalcedon
[Sidenote: 451.] into a jurisdiction over the whole country from Mount
Taurus to the Danube, and by Justinian into the supremacy of the East.
The canon, therefore, marks a clear step in the concentration of the
Eastern Church and Empire round Constantinople. The blow struck Rome on
one side, Alexandria on the other. It was the reason why Rome withheld
for centuries her full approval from the council of Constantinople.
[Sidenote: 1215.] She could not safely give it till her Eastern rival
was humiliated; and this was not till the time of the Latin Emperors in
the thirteenth century.

[Sidenote: Second edict defining orthodoxy.]

The council having ratified the Emperor's work, it only remained for the
Emperor to complete that of the council. A new edict in July forbade
Arians of every sort to build churches. Even their old liberty to build
outside the walls of cities was now taken from them. At the end of the
month Theodosius issued an amended definition of orthodoxy. Henceforth
sound belief was to be guaranteed by communion, no longer with Rome and
Alexandria, but with Constantinople, Alexandria, and the chief
bishoprics of the East. The choice of bishops was decided partly by
their own importance, partly by that of their sees. Gregory of Nyssa may
represent one class, Helladius of Cæsarea the other. The omissions,
however, are significant. We miss not only Antioch and Jerusalem, but
Ephesus and Hadrianople, and even Nicomedia. There is a broad space left
clear around the Bosphorus. If we now take into account the third canon,
we cannot mistake the Asiatic policy of endeavouring to replace the
primacy of Rome or Alexandria by that of Constantinople.

[Sidenote: The Novatians.]

The tolerance of Theodosius was a little, though only a little, wider
than it seems. Though the Novatians were not in communion with
Nectarius, they were during the next half century a recognised exception
to the persecuting laws. They had always been sound as against Arianism,
and their bishop Agelius had suffered exile under Valens. His confession
was approved by Theodosius, and several of his successors lived on
friendly terms with liberal or worldly patriarchs like Nectarius and
Atticus. They suffered something from the bigotry of Chrysostom,
something also from the greed of Cyril, but for them the age of
persecution only began with Nestorius in 428.

[Sidenote: Decay of Arianism.]

So far as numbers went, the cause of Arianism was not even yet hopeless.
It was still fairly strong in Syria and Asia, and counted adherents as
far west as the banks of the Danube. At Constantinople it could raise
dangerous riots (in one of them Nectarius had his house burnt), and even
at the court of Milan it had a powerful supporter in Valentinian's
widow, the Empress Justina. Yet its fate was none the less a mere
question of time. Its cold logic generated no such fiery enthusiasm as
sustained the African Donatists; the newness of its origin allowed no
venerable traditions to grow up round it like those of heathenism, while
its imperial claims and past successes cut it off from the appeal of
later heresies to provincial separatism. When, therefore, the last
overtures of Theodosius fell through in 383, the heresy was quite unable
to bear the strain of steady persecution.

[Sidenote: Teutonic Arianism: (1.) In the East.]

But if Arianism soon ceased to be a power inside the Empire, it remained
the faith of the barbarian invaders. The work of Ulfilas was not in
vain. Not the Goths only, but all the earlier Teutonic converts were
Arians. And the Goths had a narrow miss of empire. The victories of
Theodosius were won by Gothic strength. It was the Goths who scattered
the mutineers of Britain, and triumphantly scaled the impregnable walls
of Aquileia; [Sidenote: 388.] the Goths who won the hardest battle of
the century, and saw the Franks themselves go down before them on the
Frigidus. [Sidenote: 394.] The Goths of Alaric plundered Rome itself;
the Goths of Gaïnas entered Constantinople, though only to be
overwhelmed and slaughtered round the vain asylum of their burning

[Sidenote: (2.) In the West.]

In the next century the Teutonic conquest of the West gave Arianism
another lease of power. Once more the heresy was supreme in Italy, and
Spain, and Africa. Once more it held and lost the future of the world.
To the barbarian as well as to the heathen it was a half-way halt upon
the road to Christianity; and to the barbarian also it was nothing but a
source of weakness. It lived on and in its turn perpetuated the feud
between the Roman and the Teuton which caused the destruction of the
earlier Teutonic kingdoms in Western Europe. The provincials or their
children might forget the wrongs of conquest, but heresy was a standing
insult to the Roman world. Theodoric the Ostrogoth may rank with the
greatest statesmen of the Empire, yet even Theodoric found his Arianism
a fatal disadvantage. And if the isolation of heresy fostered the
beginnings of a native literature, it also blighted every hope of future
growth. The Goths were not inferior to the English, but there is nothing
in Gothic history like the wonderful burst of power which followed the
conversion of the English. There is no Gothic writer to compare with
Bede or Cædmon. Jordanis is not much to set against them, and even
Jordanis was not an Arian.

[Sidenote: Fall of Teutonic Arianism.]

The sword of Belisarius did but lay open the internal disunion of Italy
and Africa. A single blow destroyed the kingdom of the Vandals, and all
the valour of the Ostrogoths could only win for theirs a downfall of
heroic grandeur. Sooner or later every Arian nation had to purge itself
of heresy or vanish from the earth. Even the distant Visigoths
[Sidenote: 589.] were forced to see that Arians could not hold Spain.
The Lombards in Italy were the last defenders of the hopeless cause, and
they too yielded a few years later to the efforts of Pope Gregory and
Queen Theudelinda. [Sidenote: 599.] Of Continental Teutons, the Franks
alone escaped the divisions of Arianism. In the strength of orthodoxy
they drove the Goths before them on the field of Vouglé, [Sidenote:
507.] and brought the green standard of the Prophet to a halt upon the
Loire. [Sidenote: 732.] The Franks were no better than their
neighbours--rather worse--so that it was nothing but their orthodoxy
which won for them the prize which the Lombard and the Goth had missed,
and brought them through a long career of victory to that proud day of
universal reconciliation [Sidenote: 800.] when the strife of ages was
forgotten, and Arianism with it--when, after more than three hundred
years of desolating anarchy, the Latin and the Teuton joined to
vindicate for Old Rome her just inheritance of empire, and to set its
holy diadem upon the head of Karl the Frank.

[Sidenote: Conclusion.]

Now that we have traced the history of Arianism to its final overthrow,
let us once more glance at the causes of its failure. Arianism, then,
was an illogical compromise. It went too far for heathenism, not far
enough for Christianity. It conceded Christian worship to the Lord, yet
made him no better than a heathen demigod. It confessed a Heavenly
Father, as in Christian duty bound, yet identified Him with the
mysterious and inaccessible Supreme of the philosophers. As a scheme of
Christianity, it was overmatched at every point by the Nicene doctrine;
as a concession to heathenism, it was outbid by the growing worship of
saints and relics. Debasing as was the error of turning saints into
demigods, it seems to have shocked Christian feeling less than the Arian
audacity which degraded the Lord of saints to the level of his
creatures. But the crowning weakness of Arianism was the incurable
badness of its method. Whatever were the errors of Athanasius--and in
details they were not a few--his work was without doubt a faithful
search for truth by every means attainable to him. He may be misled by
his ignorance of Hebrew or by the defective exegesis of his time; but
his eyes are always open to the truth, from whatever quarter it may come
to him. In breadth of view as well as grasp of doctrine, he is beyond
comparison with the rabble of controversialists who cursed or still
invoke his name. The gospel was truth and life to him, not a mere
subject for strife and debate. It was far otherwise with the Arians. On
one side their doctrine was a mass of presumptuous theorizing, supported
by alternate scraps of obsolete traditionalism and uncritical
text-mongering; on the other it was a lifeless system of spiritual pride
and hard unlovingness. Therefore Arianism perished. So too every system,
whether of science or theology, must likewise perish which presumes like
Arianism to discover in the feeble brain of man a law to circumscribe
the revelation of our Father's love in Christ.


269. Claudius defeats the Goths at Naissus.

272. Aurelian defeats Zenobia.

284-305. Diocletian.

Cir. 297. Birth of Athanasius.

303-313. The great persecution.

306-337. Constantine (in Gaul).

311. First edict of toleration (by Galerius).

312-337. Constantine (in Italy).

312. Second edict of toleration (from Milan).

314. Council of Arles, on the Donatists, &c.

315-337. Constantine (in Illyricum).

Cir. 317. Athanasius _de Incarnatione Verbi Dei_.

Cir. 318. Outbreak of Arian controversy.

323-337. Constantine (in the East).

325 (June). Council of Nicæa.

328-373. Athanasius bishop of Alexandria.

330. Foundation of Constantinople.

Cir. 330. Deposition of Eustathius of Antioch.

335. Councils of Tyre and Jerusalem.

336 (Feb.)-337 (Nov.) First exile of Athanasius.

337 (May 22). Death of Constantine.

339 (Lent)-346 (Oct.) Second exile of Athanasius.

341. Council of the Dedication at Antioch. Consecration of Ulfilas.

343. Councils of Sardica and Philippopolis.

350. Death of Constans.

351. Battle of Mursa.

353. Death of Magnentius.

355. Julian Cæsar in Gaul. Council at Milan.

356 (Feb. 8)-362 (Feb. 22). Third exile of Athanasius.

357. Sirmian manifesto.

358. Council at Ancyra. Hilary _de Synodis_.

359 (May 22). Conference at Sirmium. The dated creed. Councils of
Ariminum and Seleucia. Athanasius _de Synodis_.

360 (Jan.) Julian Augustus at Paris. Council at Constantinople. Exile of

361. Appointment and exile of Meletius. (Nov.) Death of Constantius.

362. Council at Alexandria. Fourth exile of Athanasius.

363 (June 26). Death of Julian. Jovian succeeds.

364 (Feb. 16). Death of Jovian. Valentinian succeeds.

365-366. Revolt of Procopius. Fifth exile and final restoration of

367-369. Gothic war.

370-379. Basil bishop of Cæsarea (in Cappadocia).

371. Death of Marcellus.

372. Meeting of Basil and Valens.

373 (May 2). Death of Athanasius.

374. Epiphanius _Ancoratus_.

374-397. Ambrose bishop of Milan.

375. Death of Valentinian.  Gratian succeeds.

376. Goths pass the Danube.

378 (Aug. 9). Battle of Hadrianople.  Death of Valens.

379-395. Theodosius Emperor.

381 (May.) Council of Constantinople.

383. Last overtures of Theodosius to the Arians.

397. Chrysostom bishop of Constantinople.

410. Sack of Rome by Alaric.

451. Council of Chalcedon.

487-526. Reign of Theodoric in Italy.

507. Battle of Vouglé.

589. Visigoths abandon Arianism.

599. Lombards abandon Arianism.

800. Coronation of Karl the Frank.


Acasius, Bishop of Cæsarea, 42, 49;
  at Sardica, 70, 90;
  forms Homoean party, 92;
  at Seleucia, 97;
  character, 100;
  at Constantinople, 101;
  and Meletius, 103, 104;
  accepts Nicene faith, 115, 120, 124.

Aetius, Anomoean doctrine, 75;
  ordained by Leontius, 78; 100;
  degraded, 101.

Agelius, Novatian bishop of Constantinople, 163.

Alaric, 164.

Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, 5;
  excommunicates Arius, 14, 19;
  at Nicæa, 21;
  death of, 47;
  and Athanasius, 48.

Alexander, Bishop of Thessalonica, at Tyre, 57, 58.

Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, 122, 134;
  Illyrian council, 146, 151.

Ammianus, historian, 109.

Anastasia church, 153.

Anthimus, Bishop of Tyana, quarrels with Basil, 135, 153;
  with Gregory of Nyssa, 145.

Antony, legendary hermit, 48, 123.

Apollinarius of Laodicea, 12, 113, 124;
  doctrine, 136-142, 145.

Arinthæus the Goth, 132.

Arius, early life and doctrine, 5;
  excommunicated, 14;
  flees to Cæsarea, 15, 19;
  exiled, 38;
  restored at Jerusalem, 58;
  death, 59; 68, 75, 77;
  and Apollinarius, 137.

Ascholius, Bishop of Thessalonica, baptizes Theodosius, 155.

Asterius, Cappadocian sophist, 131.

Athanaric, Goth, 148;
  death, 155.

Athanasius, _de Incarnatione_, 9-12;
  as a commentator, 13, 49, 167;
  at Nicæa, 21;
  persistence, 27;
  account of Nicene debates, 34;
  dislikes Meletian settlement, 38;
  policy at Nicæa, 39; 46, 47;
  Bishop of Alexandria, 48;
  character and early life, 48;
  power in Egypt, 50, 87, 114, 122;
  at Tyre, 57;
  flees to Constantinople, 58, 87;
  first exile, 59;
  return, 62;
  second exile, 64, 68;
  at Sardica, 70;
  second return, 73;
  overtures of Magnentius, 81;
  expelled by Syrianus, 86;
  third exile, 87;
  on Homoean reasoning, 94;
  _de Synodis_, 97, 98;
  third return, 111;
  at council of Alexandria, 112;
  fourth exile, 114;
  fourth return, 120, 122;
  on the Holy Spirit, 125;
  troubles with Valens, 127;
  final restoration, 129;
  and Basil, 132, 134;
  and Apollinarius, 137-141;
  last years, reception of Marcellus, 142;
  death, 143; 151;
  holds to Nicene creed, 160.

Aurelian, Emperor (270-275), services, 16;
  test of Christian orthodoxy, 24.

Auxentius, Arian bishop of Milan, 102, 121;
  Cappadocian, 131.

Baptismal professions, 23.

Basil, Bishop of Ancyra, expelled, 62;
  restored, 82;
  at synod of Ancyra, 90, 132; 98,
  returns, 111.

Basil, Bishop of Cæsarea (Cappadocia), 109;
  on the Holy Spirit, 125;
  life and work, 132-136;
  on reception of Marcellians, 144, 145;
  death, 151;
  student life, 152;
  holds to Nicene creed, 160.

Basilina, mother of Julian, 105, 106.

Belisarius, 165.

Cæcilian, Bishop of Carthage, at Nicæa, 20.

Cappadocia, 130.

Carpones, an early Arian, 14;
  at Rome, 65.

Chrysostom (John), 43, 46, 163.

Claudius, Bishop in Picenum, 100.

Constans, Emperor (337-350), 62, 69, 73;
  death, 80.

Constantia, sister of Constantine, 25.

Constantine, Emperor (306-337), character, 17;
  dealings with Arianism, 18;
  summons Nicene council, 19;
  action there, 36, 37, 47;
  church on Golgotha, 57, 76;
  exiles Athanasius, 59;
  work and death, 61;
  church at Antioch, 67, 87;
  power of his name, 80, 127, 128; 148.

Constantine II., Emperor (337-340), 62;
  death, 70.

Constantius, Emperor (337-361), 45, 46;
  accession and character, 62;
  calls Sardican council, 70;
  recalls Athanasius, 73;
  defeats Magnentius, 81;
  pressure on the West, 82;
  exiles Liberius, 85;
  expels Athanasius, 86, 101, 103;
  death of, 106, 112.

  Alexandria (362), 112.
  Ancyra (358), 90.
  Antioch (269), 33.
  "  (338), 64.
  "  (341), 67.
  "  (344), 72.
  Ariminum (359), 93.
  Arles (314), 20.
  "  (353), 70.
  Constantinople (360), 101.
  "  (381), 157.
  Lampsacus (364), 125.
  Jerusalem (335), 58.
  Milan (355), 83.
  Nicæa (325), 19-40.
  Sardica (343), 70.
  Seleucia (359), 93.
  Tyre (335), 57.

  Antioch (first), 68.
  "  (second = Lucianic), 68.
  "  (third = Tyana), 69.
  "  (fourth), 69.
  "  (fifth), 72.
  Apostles' (Marcellus), 22, 67.
  Cæsarea, 26.
  Constantinople (360), 101.
  "Constantinople" (381), 159.
  Jerusalem, 77, 159.
  Nicæa (genuine) 29.
  "  (spurious), 159.
  Nicé, 95.
  Sardica (Philippopolis), 72.
  Seleucia, 97.
  Sirmium (manifesto), 88.
  "  (dated), 94.

Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, 163.

Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, _Catecheses_, 76;
  accepts Nicene faith, 115; 147, 151;
  at Constantinople, 157;
  and "Nicene" creed, 160, 161.

Dalmatius, 62.

Damasus, Bishop of Rome, 155.

Demophilus, Bishop of Constantinople, 122, 145, 151;
  gives up the churches, 156.

Dianius, Bishop of Cæsarea (Cappadocia), 115;
  baptizes Basil, 132.

Diocletian, Emperor (284-305), persecution, 9;
  reign, 17.

Diodorus, Bishop of Tarsus, 78.

Dionysius, Bishop of Milan, exiled, 82, 83, 90.

Dominica, Empress, 126.

Donatists, 18, 20.

Dorotheus, Arian bishop of Antioch, 151.

Eleusius, Bishop of Cyzicus, at Seleucia, 96, 97, 115;
  at Lampsacus, 125;
  at Constantinople, 157, 158.

Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, 160, 161.

Eudoxius, Bishop of Constantinople, 75;
  Bishop of Antioch, 90, 97;
  translated to Constantinople, 102; 104, 115, 120; 122;
  deposed at Lampsacus, 125;
  influence with Valens, 126, 129;
  Cappadocian, 131, 145.

Eugenius, deacon, 142.

Euippius, Arian bishop, 132, 133.

Eunomius, Anomoean, 75, 95;
  Bishop of Cyzicus, 103, 115;
  on the Holy Spirit, 125;
  exiled, 130;
  Cappadocian, 131; 156.

Euphrates, Bishop of Cologne, 72.

Euphronius, Bishop of Antioch, 51.

Eusebia, Empress, 105.

Eusebius, Bishop of Cæsarea (Palestine), countenances Arius, 15, 21;
  action at Nicæa, 25;
  proposes Cæsarean creed, 35;
  signs Nicene, 36; 42;
  caution after Nicæa, 47; 49, 51;
  at Tyre, 57, 58;
  succeeded by Acacius, 70, 100.

Eusebius, Bishop of Cæsarea (Cappadocia), 132.

Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia, favours Arius, 15;
  at Nicæa, 21;
  presents Arianizing creed, 25; 37;
  exiled, 38;
  organizes new party, 50;
  attacks Athanasius, 56, 59.

Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata, 133, 151;
  murder of, 152.

Eusebius, Bishop of Vercellæ, exiled, 83, 90;
  restored, 111;
  at Alexandria, 112.

Eustathius, Bishop of Antioch, at Nicæa, 21, 34;
  exiled, 51;
  and Apollinarius, 137.

Eustathius, Bishop of Sebastia, at Ancyra, 91, 103;
  at Lampsacus, 126;
  exiled by Valens, goes to Liberius, 128, 132;
  quarrels with Basil, 135, 136, 145.

Euzoius, an early Arian, 14, 58, 68;
  Bishop of Antioch, 104, 115, 120, 124;
  death, 151.

Flavian, Bishop of Antioch, 78, 158.

Flavianus, prefect of Egypt, 127.

Fortunatian, Bishop of Aquileia, 70.

Fritigern, Goth, 148;
  death, 154.

Gaïnas, 164.

Galatia, 52.

Gallus, Cæsar, 62, 105.

George of Cappodocia, Arian bishop of Alexandria, 86, 87;
  deposed at Seleucia, 97;
  and Julian, 107;
  lynched, 111, 112; 131.

Germinius, Bishop of Cyzicus, translated to Sirmium, 82.

Gothic wars, first, 129;
  second (Hadrianople), 149-155.

Gratian, Emperor (375-383), 149;
  edict of toleration, 151;
  takes Theodosius for colleague, 154.

Gratus of Carthage, 70

Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus, consecrates Basil, 133; 152.

Gregory of Nazianzus (son of the above), 151;
  life and work at Constantinople, 152, 156;
  Bishop of Constantinople, 157, 158.

Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, 141, 145;
  at Constantinople, 157, 163.

Gregory, Bishop of Rome, 166.

Gregory of Cappadocia; Arian bishop of Alexandria, 64;
  death of, 73; 86, 131.

Gregory the Wonder-worker, 132.

Hannibalianus, 62.

Hecebolius, renegade, 107.

Helladius, Bishop of Cæsarea (Cappadocia), 157, 163.

Hilarion, legendary hermit, 123.

Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, 46, 67, 82;
  exile and character, 84, 90;
  denounces Liberius, 92;
  his _de Synodis_, 93;
  at Seleucia, 96; 112;
  on the Holy Spirit, 124.

Hosius, Bishop of Cordova, at Nicæa, 20; 34, 37;
  at Sardica, 70, 72, 82;
  exile and death, 85, 90.

James, Bishop of Nisibis, at Nicæa, 21.

Jerusalem in 348, 76.

John Archaph, Meletian, exiled, 59.

John the Persian at Nicæa, 22.

Jordanis, 165.

Jovian, Emperor (363-364), 119, 120.

Julian, Emperor (361-363), 40, 43, 46, 47, 62;
  made Cæsar, 83;
  Augustus, 102;
  his reign, 105-117;
  ascetic leanings, 108, 123;
  education edict, 109, 137;
  exiles Athanasius, 114, 127;
  results, 118, 122;
  and Cappadocia, 130;
  student life, 152.

Julius, Bishop of Rome, receives Athanasius and Marcellus, 65; 70, 72,
85, 88.

Julius Constantius, 105.

Justina, Empress, 164.

Karl the Great, coronation of, 166.

Lactantius on the persecutors, 11.

Leonas, 97.

Leontius, Bishop of Antioch, appointed, 72;
  management, 78; 104.

Libanius, heathen rhetorician, 43;
  friend of Basil, 132.

Liberius, Bishop of Rome, 82;
  disavows Vincent, 83;
  exile of, 85, 90;
  signs Sirmian creed, 91;
  receives Semiarian deputation, 128.

Licinius, Emperor (306-323), 15, 19.

Lucian of Antioch, teacher of Arius, 5;
  of Eusebius of Nicomedia, 15;
  disciples at Nicæa, 21;
  left no successors, 46;
  disciples after Nicæa, 50;
  connection with Aetius, 75.

Lucianic creed, at Antioch, 68; 77, 91;
  at Seleucia, 97, 115;
  at Lampsacus, 126.

Lucifer, Bishop of Calaris, exile and writings, 83, 90;
  returns, 111;
  absent from Alexandria, 112;
  consecrates Paulinus, 114;
  forms schism, 124, 134.

Lucius, Arian bishop of Alexandria, 142, 144, 147.

Macarius, Bishop of Ælia (Jerusalem), 15;
  at Nicæa, 21.

Macedonius, Bishop of Constantinople, 79, 115.

Magnentius, Emperor (350-353), 74; 80, 82.

Marcellus, Bishop of Ancyra, at Nicæa, 21;
  and Apostles' creed, 23, 67;
  persistence, 27; 31, 32;
  and Nicene creed, 47, 51;
  character and doctrine, 52-56;
  exiled, 59;
  restored, 62;
  flees to Rome, 65;
  at Sardica, 70, 72;
  attacked by Cyril, 77;
  deposed, 81; 90, 103;
  returns, 111;
  embassy to Athanasius, 142;
  death, 143;
  extinction of his school, 144.

Mardonius, 105, 107.

Maris, Bishop of Chalcedon, at Nicæa, 21;
  curses Julian, 111, 117.

Maximin (Daza), Emperor (305-313), 48.

Maximus, Bishop of Jerusalem, 57, 58;
  receives Athanasius, 73.

Maximus, Bishop of Trier, 70.

Meletius, Bishop of Antioch, 78; translated from Sebastia, 103;
  exiled, 104;
  return, 113, 115;
  accepts Nicene creed, 120;
  exiled by Valens, 128;
  restored, 129; 131, 134, 147, 151;
  death at Constantinople, 157.

Meletius, Bishop of Lycopolis, 19;
  Nicene settlement, 38.

Modestus, renegade, 132, 133.

Nectarius, Bishop of Constantinople, 158, 163, 164.

Nepotianus, Emperor (350), 80.

Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, 163.

Origen, 9, 33, 76, 113;
  on the Holy Spirit, 124.

Paphnutius, confessor, at Nicæa, 21;
  at Tyre, 57, 58.

Paul, Bishop of Neocæsarea, at Nicæa, 21.

Paul of Samosata, 33, 91.

Paul of Thebes, legendary hermit, 123.

Paulinus, 51;
  consecrated by Lucifer, 114, 147;
  ignored at Constantinople, 157, 158.

Paulinus, Bishop of Trier, 82, 83, 90.

Pegasius, Bishop of Ilium, apostate, 108.

Pelagius, Bishop of Laodicea, 104.

Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, 144, 152, 155.

Philagrius, expels Athanasius, 64, 86.

Phoebadius, Bishop of Agen, condemns Sirmian manifesto, 90;
  at Ariminum, 99, 101.

Photinus, Bishop of Sirmium, condemned, 73;
  deposed, 81; 90, 91.

Pistus, an early Arian, 14;
  Arian bishop of Alexandria, 64, 65.

Poemenius, Anomoean bishop of Constantinople, 120.

Potammon, confessor, at Nicæa, 21;
  at Tyre, 57, 58.

Proæresius, teacher of Julian, 109, 152.

Procopius, revolt of, 128.

Protasius, Bishop of Milan, 70.

Restaces, Armenian bishop at Nicæa, 22.

Sabellianism, its meaning, 9;
  relation of Athanasius to, 12, 32;
  general dislike of, 13;
  relation of Marcellus to, 32.

Sasima, 153.

Sebastian the Manichee, outrages in Egypt, 86;
  commands against Goths, 149.

Secundus, Bishop of Ptolemais, at Nicæa, 21;
  refuses Nicene creed, 38;
  consecrates Pistus, 64, 65.

Serapion, Bishop of Thmuis, 125.

Silvanus the Frank, 81.

Silvanus, Bishop of Tarsus, at Seleucia, 95, 97.

Socrates, historian, 79.

Stephen, Bishop of Antioch, at Sardica, 70;
  deposed, 72.

Syrianus, _dux Ægypti_, expels Athanasius, 86.

Tertullian, 9.

Theodoric, 165.

Theodosius, Emperor (379-395), choice of and character, 154;
  first rescript, 155;
  calls council of Constantinople, 157;
  second rescript, 163.

Theodotus, Bishop of Nicopolis, 136.

Theonas, Bishop of Marmarica, at Nicæa, 21;
  refuses Nicene creed, 38.

Theophilus the Goth, at Nicæa, 22.

Theophilus the Indian, 120.

Theophronius, Bishop of Tyana, 69.

Theudelinda, Lombard queen, 166.

Timothy, Bishop of Alexandria, 157.

Ulfilas, death, 156, 164.

Ursacius, Bishop of Singidunum, and Sirmian manifesto, 88, 90, 91;
  forms Homoean party, 92;
  at Ariminum, 95.

Valens, Emperor (364-378), 46;
  character, 121;
  church and state under, 122, 144, 161; 124;
  Homoean policy, 126;
  fresh exiles, 127;
  Procopian panic, 128;
  baptism and first Gothic war, 129;
  overawed by Basil, 133;
  second Gothic war, 149;
  death at Hadrianople, 150.

Valens, Bishop of Mursa, and Sirmian manifesto, 88, 90, 91;
  forms Homoean party, 92;
  at Ariminum, 95, 99, 101, 130.

Valentinian, Emperor (364-375), character and policy, 121;
  Semiarian deputation to, 128, 131;
  death, 146.

Vetranio, Emperor (350), 80, 81.

Victor, a Sarmatian, 132.

Victorinus, Marius, 109.

Vincent, Bishop of Capua, at Nicæa, 20;
  at Sardica, 70;
  at Antioch, 72;
  yields at Arles, 83.

Vitalis, Apollinarian bishop of Antioch, 141.

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