An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine
Part 2, Chapter 6: Application of the Seven Notes to the Existing Developments of Christian Doctrine
APPLICATION OF THE SEVEN NOTES TO THE EXISTING DEVELOPMENTS OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.
APPLICATION OF THE FIRST NOTE OF A TRUE DEVELOPMENT. PRESERVATION OF TYPE.
Now let me attempt to apply the foregoing seven Notes of fidelity in intellectual developments to the instance of Christian Doctrine. And first as to the Note of _identity of type_.
I have said above, that, whereas all great ideas are found, as time goes on, to involve much which was not seen at first to belong to them, and have developments, that is enlargements, applications, uses and fortunes, very various, one security against error and perversion in the process is the maintenance of the original type, which the idea presented to the world at its origin, amid and through all its apparent changes and vicissitudes from first to last.
How does this apply to Christianity? What is its original type? and has that type been preserved in the developments commonly called Catholic, which have followed, and in the Church which embodies and teaches them? Let us take it as the world now views it in its age; and let us take it as the world once viewed it in its youth, and let us see whether there be any great difference between the early and the later description of it. The following statement will show my meaning:--
There is a religious communion claiming a divine commission, and holding all other religious bodies around it heretical or infidel; it is a well-organized, well-disciplined body; it is a sort of secret society, binding together its members by influences and by engagements which it is difficult for strangers to ascertain. It is spread over the known world; it may be weak or insignificant locally, but it is strong on the whole from its continuity; it may be smaller than all other religious bodies together, but is larger than each separately. It is a natural enemy to governments external to itself; it is intolerant and engrossing, and tends to a new modelling of society; it breaks laws, it divides families. It is a gross superstition; it is charged with the foulest crimes; it is despised by the intellect of the day; it is frightful to the imagination of the many. And there is but one communion such.
Place this description before Pliny or Julian; place it before Frederick the Second or Guizot.[208:1] "Apparent diræ facies." Each knows at once, without asking a question, who is meant by it. One object, and only one, absorbs each item of the detail of the delineation.
THE CHURCH OF THE FIRST CENTURIES.
The _primâ facie_ view of early Christianity, in the eyes of witnesses external to it, is presented to us in the brief but vivid descriptions given by Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny, the only heathen writers who distinctly mention it for the first hundred and fifty years.
Tacitus is led to speak of the Religion, on occasion of the conflagration of Rome, which was popularly imputed to Nero. "To put an end to the report," he says, "he laid the guilt on others, and visited them with the most exquisite punishment, those, namely, who, held in abhorrence for their crimes (_per flagitia invisos_), were popularly called Christians. The author of that profession (_nominis_) was Christ, who, in the reign of Tiberius, was capitally punished by the Procurator, Pontius Pilate. The deadly superstition (_exitiabilis superstitio_), though checked for a while, broke out afresh; and that, not only throughout Judæa, the original seat of the evil, but through the City also, whither all things atrocious or shocking (_atrocia aut pudenda_) flow together from every quarter and thrive. At first, certain were seized who avowed it; then, on their report, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much of firing the City, as of hatred of mankind (_odio humani generis_)." After describing their tortures, he continues "In consequence, though they were guilty, and deserved most signal punishment, they began to be pitied, as if destroyed not for any public object, but from the barbarity of one man."
Suetonius relates the same transactions thus: "Capital punishments were inflicted on the Christians, a class of men of a new and magical superstition (_superstitionis novæ et maleficæ_)." What gives additional character to this statement is its context; for it occurs as one out of various police or sumptuary or domestic regulations, which Nero made; such as "controlling private expenses, forbidding taverns to serve meat, repressing the contests of theatrical parties, and securing the integrity of wills." When Pliny was Governor of Pontus, he wrote his celebrated letter to the Emperor Trajan, to ask advice how he was to deal with the Christians, whom he found there in great numbers. One of his points of hesitation was, whether the very profession of Christianity was not by itself sufficient to justify punishment; "whether the name itself should be visited, though clear of flagitious acts (_flagitia_), or only when connected with them." He says, he had ordered for execution such as persevered in their profession, after repeated warnings, "as not doubting, whatever it was they professed, that at any rate contumacy and inflexible obstinacy ought to be punished." He required them to invoke the gods, to sacrifice wine and frankincense to the images of the Emperor, and to blaspheme Christ; "to which," he adds, "it is said no real Christian can be compelled." Renegades informed him that "the sum total of their offence or fault was meeting before light on an appointed day, and saying with one another a form of words (_carmen_) to Christ, as if to a god, and binding themselves by oath, (not to the commission of any wickedness, but) against the commission of theft, robbery, adultery, breach of trust, denial of deposits; that, after this they were accustomed to separate, and then to meet again for a meal, but eaten all together and harmless; however, that they had even left this off after his edicts enforcing the Imperial prohibition of _Hetæriæ_ or Associations." He proceeded to put two women to the torture, but "discovered nothing beyond a bad and excessive superstition" (_superstitionem pravam et immodicam_), "the contagion" of which, he continues, "had spread through villages and country, till the temples were emptied of worshippers."
In these testimonies, which will form a natural and convenient text for what is to follow, we have various characteristics brought before us of the religion to which they relate. It was a superstition, as all three writers agree; a bad and excessive superstition, according to Pliny; a magical superstition, according to Suetonius; a deadly superstition, according to Tacitus. Next, it was embodied in a society, and moreover a secret and unlawful society or _hetæria_; and it was a proselytizing society; and its very name was connected with "flagitious," "atrocious," and "shocking" acts.
Now these few points, which are not all which might be set down, contain in themselves a distinct and significant description of Christianity; but they have far greater meaning when illustrated by the history of the times, the testimony of later writers, and the acts of the Roman government towards its professors. It is impossible to mistake the judgment passed on the religion by these three writers, and still more clearly by other writers and Imperial functionaries. They evidently associated Christianity with the oriental superstitions, whether propagated by individuals or embodied in a rite, which were in that day traversing the Empire, and which in the event acted so remarkable a part in breaking up the national forms of worship, and so in preparing the way for Christianity. This, then, is the broad view which the educated heathen took of Christianity; and, if it had been very unlike those rites and curious arts in external appearance, they would not have confused it with them.
Changes in society are, by a providential appointment, commonly preceded and facilitated by the setting in of a certain current in men's thoughts and feelings in that direction towards which a change is to be made. And, as lighter substances whirl about before the tempest and presage it, so words and deeds, ominous but not effective of the coming revolution, are circulated beforehand through the multitude, or pass across the field of events. This was specially the case with Christianity, as became its high dignity; it came heralded and attended by a crowd of shadows, shadows of itself, impotent and monstrous as shadows are, but not at first sight distinguishable from it by common spectators. Before the mission of the Apostles, a movement, of which there had been earlier parallels, had begun in Egypt, Syria, and the neighbouring countries, tending to the propagation of new and peculiar forms of worship throughout the Empire. Prophecies were afloat that some new order of things was coming in from the East, which increased the existing unsettlement of the popular mind; pretenders made attempts to satisfy its wants, and old Traditions of the Truth, embodied for ages in local or in national religions, gave to these attempts a doctrinal and ritual shape, which became an additional point of resemblance to that Truth which was soon visibly to appear.
The distinctive character of the rites in question lay in their appealing to the gloomy rather than to the cheerful and hopeful feelings, and in their influencing the mind through fear. The notions of guilt and expiation, of evil and good to come, and of dealings with the invisible world, were in some shape or other pre-eminent in them, and formed a striking contrast to the classical polytheism, which was gay and graceful, as was natural in a civilized age. The new rites, on the other hand, were secret; their doctrine was mysterious; their profession was a discipline, beginning in a formal initiation, manifested in an association, and exercised in privation and pain. They were from the nature of the case proselytizing societies, for they were rising into power; nor were they local, but vagrant, restless, intrusive, and encroaching. Their pretensions to supernatural knowledge brought them into easy connexion with magic and astrology, which are as attractive to the wealthy and luxurious as the more vulgar superstitions to the populace.
Such were the rites of Cybele, Isis, and Mithras; such the Chaldeans, as they were commonly called, and the Magi; they came from one part of the world, and during the first and second century spread with busy perseverance to the northern and western extremities of the empire.[213:1] Traces of the mysteries of Cybele, a Syrian deity, if the famous temple at Hierapolis was hers, have been found in Spain, in Gaul, and in Britain, as high up as the wall of Severus. The worship of Isis was the most widely spread of all the pagan deities; it was received in Ethiopia and in Germany, and even the name of Paris has been fancifully traced to it. Both worships, as well as the Science of Magic, had their colleges of priests and devotees, which were governed by a president, and in some places were supported by farms. Their processions passed from town to town, begging as they went and attracting proselytes. Apuleius describes one of them as seizing a whip, accusing himself of some offence, and scourging himself in public. These strollers, _circulatores_ or _agyrtæ_ in classical language, told fortunes, and distributed prophetical tickets to the ignorant people who consulted them. Also, they were learned in the doctrine of omens, of lucky and unlucky days, of the rites of expiation and of sacrifices. Such an _agyrtes_ or itinerant was the notorious Alexander of Abonotichus, till he managed to establish himself in Pontus, where he carried on so successful an imposition that his fame reached Rome, and men in office and station entrusted him with their dearest political secrets. Such a wanderer, with a far more religious bearing and a high reputation for virtue, was Apollonius of Tyana, who professed the Pythagorean philosophy, claimed the gift of miracles, and roamed about preaching, teaching, healing, and prophesying from India and Alexandria to Athens and Rome. Another solitary proselytizer, though of an earlier time and of an avowed profligacy, had been the Sacrificulus, viewed with such horror by the Roman Senate, as introducing the infamous Bacchic rites into Rome. Such, again, were those degenerate children of a divine religion, who, in the words of their Creator and Judge, "compassed sea and land to make one proselyte," and made him "twofold more the child of hell than themselves."
These vagrant religionists for the most part professed a severe rule of life, and sometimes one of fanatical mortification. In the mysteries of Mithras, the initiation[214:1] was preceded by fasting and abstinence, and a variety of painful trials; it was made by means of a baptism as a spiritual washing; and it included an offering of bread, and some emblem of a resurrection. In the Samothracian rites it had been a custom to initiate children; confession too of greater crimes seems to have been required, and would naturally be involved in others in the inquisition prosecuted into the past lives of the candidates for initiation. The garments of the converts were white; their calling was considered as a warfare (_militia_), and was undertaken with a _sacramentum_, or military oath. The priests shaved their heads and wore linen, and when they were dead were buried in a sacerdotal garment. It is scarcely necessary to refer to the mutilation inflicted on the priests of Cybele; one instance of their scourgings has been already mentioned; and Tertullian speaks of their high priest cutting his arms for the life of the Emperor Marcus.[215:1] The priests of Isis, in lamentation for Osiris, tore their breasts with pine cones. This lamentation was a ritual observance, founded on some religious mystery: Isis lost Osiris, and the initiated wept in memory of her sorrow; the Syrian goddess had wept over dead Thammuz, and her mystics commemorated it by a ceremonial woe; in the rites of Bacchus, an image was laid on a bier at midnight,[215:2] which was bewailed in metrical hymns; the god was supposed to die, and then to revive. Nor was this the only worship which was continued through the night; while some of the rites were performed in caves.
Only a heavenly light can give purity to nocturnal and subterraneous worship. Caves were at that time appropriated to the worship of the infernal gods. It was but natural that these wild religions should be connected with magic and its kindred arts; magic has at all times led to cruelty, and licentiousness would be the inevitable reaction from a temporary strictness. An extraordinary profession, when men are in a state of mere nature, makes hypocrites or madmen, and will in no long time be discarded except by the few. The world of that day associated together in one company, Isiac, Phrygian, Mithriac, Chaldean, wizard, astrologer, fortune-teller, itinerant, and, as was not unnatural, Jew. Magic was professed by the profligate Alexander, and was imputed to the grave Apollonius. The rites of Mithras came from the Magi of Persia; and it is obviously difficult to distinguish in principle the ceremonies of the Syrian Taurobolium from those of the Necyomantia in the Odyssey, or of Canidia in Horace.
The Theodosian Code calls magic generally a "superstition;" and magic, orgies, mysteries, and "sabbathizings," were referred to the same "barbarous" origin. "Magical superstitions," the "rites of the Magi," the "promises of the Chaldeans," and the "Mathematici," are familiar to the readers of Tacitus. The Emperor Otho, an avowed patron of oriental fashions, took part in the rites of Isis, and consulted the Mathematici. Vespasian, who also consulted them, is heard of in Egypt as performing miracles at the suggestion of Serapis. Tiberius, in an edict, classes together "Egyptian and Jewish rites;" and Tacitus and Suetonius, in recording it, speak of the two religions together as "_ea superstitio_."[216:1] Augustus had already associated them together as superstitions, and as unlawful, and that in contrast to others of a like foreign origin. "As to foreign rites (_peregrinæ ceremoniæ_)," says Suetonius, "as he paid more reverence to those which were old and enjoined, so did he hold the rest in contempt."[216:2] He goes on to say that, even on the judgment-seat, he had recognized the Eleusinian priests, into whose mysteries he had been initiated at Athens; "whereas, when travelling in Egypt, he had refused to see Apis, and had approved of his grandson Caligula's passing by Judæa without sacrificing at Jerusalem." Plutarch speaks of magic as connected with the mournful mysteries of Orpheus and Zoroaster, with the Egyptian and the Phrygian; and, in his Treatise on Superstition, he puts together in one clause, as specimens of that disease of mind, "covering oneself with mud, wallowing in the mire, sabbathizings, fallings on the face, unseemly postures, foreign adorations,"[216:3] Ovid mentions in consecutive verses the rites of "Adonis lamented by Venus," "The Sabbath of the Syrian Jew," and the "Memphitic Temple of Io in her linen dress."[216:4] Juvenal speaks of the rites, as well as the language and the music, of the Syrian Orontes having flooded Rome; and, in his description of the superstition of the Roman women, he places the low Jewish fortune-teller between the pompous priests of Cybele and Isis, and the bloody witchcraft of the Armenian haruspex and the astrology of the Chaldeans.[217:1]
The Christian, being at first accounted a kind of Jew, was even on that score included in whatever odium, and whatever bad associations, attended on the Jewish name. But in a little time his independence of the rejected people was clearly understood, as even the persecutions show; and he stood upon his own ground. Still his character did not change in the eyes of the world; for favour or for reproach, he was still associated with the votaries of secret and magical rites. The Emperor Hadrian, noted as he is for his inquisitive temper, and a partaker in so many mysteries,[217:2] still believed that the Christians of Egypt allowed themselves in the worship of Serapis. They are brought into connexion with the magic of Egypt in the history of what is commonly called the Thundering Legion, so far as this, that the rain which relieved the Emperor's army in the field, and which the Church ascribed to the prayers of the Christian soldiers, is by Dio Cassius attributed to an Egyptian magician, who obtained it by invoking Mercury and other spirits. This war had been the occasion of one of the first recognitions which the state had conceded to the Oriental rites, though statesmen and emperors, as private men, had long taken part in them. The Emperor Marcus had been urged by his fears of the Marcomanni to resort to these foreign introductions, and is said to have employed Magi and Chaldeans in averting an unsuccessful issue of the war. It is observable that, in the growing countenance which was extended to these rites in the third century, Christianity came in for a share. The chapel of Alexander Severus contained statues of Abraham, Orpheus, Apollonius, Pythagoras, and our Lord. Here indeed, as in the case of Zenobia's Judaism, an eclectic philosophy aided the comprehension of religions. But, immediately before Alexander, Heliogabalus, who was no philosopher, while he formally seated his Syrian idol in the Palatine, while he observed the mysteries of Cybele and Adonis, and celebrated his magic rites with human victims, intended also, according to Lampridius, to unite with his horrible superstition "the Jewish and Samaritan religions and the Christian rite, that so the priesthood of Heliogabalus might comprise the mystery of every worship."[218:1] Hence, more or less, the stories which occur in ecclesiastical history of the conversion or good-will of the emperors to the Christian faith, of Hadrian, Mammæa, and others, besides Heliogabalus and Alexander. Such stories might often mean little more than that they favoured it among other forms of Oriental superstition.
What has been said is sufficient to bring before the mind an historical fact, which indeed does not need evidence. Upon the established religions of Europe the East had renewed her encroachments, and was pouring forth a family of rites which in various ways attracted the attention of the luxurious, the political, the ignorant, the restless, and the remorseful. Armenian, Chaldee, Egyptian, Jew, Syrian, Phrygian, as the case might be, was the designation of the new hierophant; and magic, superstition, barbarism, jugglery, were the names given to his rite by the world. In this company appeared Christianity. When then three well-informed writers call Christianity a superstition and a magical superstition, they were not using words at random, or the language of abuse, but they were describing it in distinct and recognized terms as cognate to those gloomy, secret, odious, disreputable religions which were making so much disturbance up and down the empire.
The impression made on the world by circumstances immediately before the rise of Christianity received a sort of confirmation upon its rise, in the appearance of the Gnostic and kindred heresies, which issued from the Church during the second and third centuries. Their resemblance in ritual and constitution to the Oriental religions, sometimes their historical relationship, is undeniable; and certainly it is a singular coincidence, that Christianity should be first called a magical superstition by Suetonius, and then should be found in the intimate company, and seemingly the parent, of a multitude of magical superstitions, if there was nothing in the Religion itself to give rise to such a charge.
The Gnostic family[219:1] suitably traces its origin to a mixed race, which had commenced its national history by associating Orientalism with Revelation. After the captivity of the ten tribes, Samaria was colonized by "men from Babylon and Cushan, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim," who were instructed at their own instance in "the manner of the God of the land," by one of the priests of the Church of Jeroboam. The consequence was, that "they feared the Lord and served their own gods." Of this country was Simon, the reputed patriarch of the Gnostics; and he is introduced in the Acts of the Apostles as professing those magical powers which were so principal a characteristic of the Oriental mysteries. His heresy, though broken into a multitude of sects, was poured over the world with a Catholicity not inferior in its day to that of Christianity. St. Peter, who fell in with him originally in Samaria, seems to have encountered him again at Rome. At Rome, St. Polycarp met Marcion of Pontus, whose followers spread through Italy, Egypt, Syria, Arabia, and Persia; Valentinus preached his doctrines in Alexandria, Rome, and Cyprus; and we read of his disciples in Crete, Cæsarea, Antioch, and other parts of the East. Bardesanes and his followers were found in Mesopotamia. The Carpocratians are spoken of at Alexandria, at Rome, and in Cephallenia; the Basilidians spread through the greater part of Egypt; the Ophites were apparently in Bithynia and Galatia; the Cainites or Caians in Africa, and the Marcosians in Gaul. To these must be added several sects, which, though not strictly of the Gnostic stock, are associated with them in date, character, and origin;--the Ebionites of Palestine, the Cerinthians, who rose in some part of Asia Minor, the Encratites and kindred sects, who spread from Mesopotamia to Syria, to Cilicia and other provinces of Asia Minor, and thence to Rome, Gaul, Aquitaine, and Spain; and the Montanists, who, with a town in Phrygia for their metropolis, reached at length from Constantinople to Carthage.
"When [the reader of Christian history] comes to the second century," says Dr. Burton, "he finds that Gnosticism, under some form or other, was professed in every part of the then civilized world. He finds it divided into schools, as numerously and as zealously attended as any which Greece or Asia could boast in their happiest days. He meets with names totally unknown to him before, which excited as much sensation as those of Aristotle or Plato. He hears of volumes having been written in support of this new philosophy, not one of which has survived to our own day."[221:1] Many of the founders of these sects had been Christians; others were of Jewish parentage; others were more or less connected in fact with the Pagan rites to which their own bore so great a resemblance. Montanus seems even to have been a mutilated priest of Cybele; the followers of Prodicus professed to possess the secret books of Zoroaster; and the doctrine of dualism, which so many of the sects held, is to be traced to the same source. Basilides seems to have recognized Mithras as the Supreme Being, or the Prince of Angels, or the Sun, if Mithras is equivalent to Abraxas, which was inscribed upon his amulets: on the other hand, he is said to have been taught by an immediate disciple of St. Peter, and Valentinus by an immediate disciple of St. Paul. Marcion was the son of a Bishop of Pontus; Tatian, a disciple of St. Justin Martyr.
Whatever might be the history of these sects, and though it may be a question whether they can be properly called "superstitions," and though many of them numbered educated men among their teachers and followers, they closely resembled, at least in ritual and profession, the vagrant Pagan mysteries which have been above described. Their very name of "Gnostic" implied the possession of a secret, which was to be communicated to their disciples. Ceremonial observances were the preparation, and symbolical rites the instrument, of initiation. Tatian and Montanus, the representatives of very distinct schools, agreed in making asceticism a rule of life. The followers of each of these sectaries abstained from wine; the Tatianites and Marcionites, from flesh; the Montanists kept three Lents in the year. All the Gnostic sects seem to have condemned marriage on one or other reason.[222:1] The Marcionites had three baptisms or more; the Marcosians had two rites of what they called redemption; the latter of these was celebrated as a marriage, and the room adorned as a marriage-chamber. A consecration to a priesthood then followed with anointing. An extreme unction was another of their rites, and prayers for the dead one of their observances. Bardesanes and Harmonius were famous for the beauty of their chants. The prophecies of Montanus were delivered, like the oracles of the heathen, in a state of enthusiasm or ecstasy. To Epiphanes, the son of Carpocrates, who died at the age of seventeen, a temple was erected in the island of Cephallenia, his mother's birthplace, where he was celebrated with hymns and sacrifices. A similar honour was paid by the Carpocratians to Homer, Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, as well as to the Apostles; crowns were placed upon their images, and incense burned before them. In one of the inscriptions found at Cyrene, about twenty years since, Zoroaster, Pythagoras, Epicurus, and others, are put together with our Lord, as guides of conduct. These inscriptions also contain the Carpocratian tenet of a community of women. I am unwilling to allude to the Agapæ and Communions of certain of these sects, which were not surpassed in profligacy by the Pagan rites of which they were an imitation. The very name of Gnostic became an expression for the worst impurities, and no one dared eat bread with them, or use their culinary instruments or plates.
These profligate excesses are found in connexion with the exercise of magic and astrology.[223:1] The amulets of the Basilidians are still extant in great numbers, inscribed with symbols, some Christian, some with figures of Isis, Serapis, and Anubis, represented according to the gross indecencies of the Egyptian mythology.[223:2] St. Irenæus had already connected together the two crimes in speaking of the Simonians: "Their mystical priests," he says, "live in lewdness, and practise magic, according to the ability of each. They use exorcisms and incantations; love-potions too, and seductive spells; the virtue of spirits, and dreams, and all other curious arts, they diligently observe."[223:3] The Marcosians were especially devoted to these "curious arts," which are also ascribed to Carpocrates and Apelles. Marcion and others are reported to have used astrology. Tertullian speaks generally of the sects of his day: "Infamous are the dealings of the heretics with sorcerers very many, with mountebanks, with astrologers, with philosophers, to wit, such as are given to curious questions. They everywhere remember, 'Seek, and ye shall find.'"[223:4]
Such were the Gnostics; and to external and prejudiced spectators, whether philosophers, as Celsus and Porphyry, or the multitude, they wore an appearance sufficiently like the Church to be mistaken for her in the latter part of the Ante-nicene period, as she was confused with the Pagan mysteries in the earlier.
Of course it may happen that the common estimate concerning a person or a body is purely accidental and unfounded; but in such cases it is not lasting. Such were the calumnies of child-eating and impurity in the Christian meetings, which were almost extinct by the time of Origen, and which might arise from the world's confusing them with the pagan and heretical rites. But when it continues from age to age, it is certainly an index of a fact, and corresponds to definite qualities in the object to which it relates. In that case, even mistakes carry information; for they are cognate to the truth, and we can allow for them. Often what seems like a mistake is merely the mode in which the informant conveys his testimony, or the impression which a fact makes on him. Censure is the natural tone of one man in a case where praise is the natural tone of another; the very same character or action inspires one mind with enthusiasm, and another with contempt. What to one man is magnanimity, to another is romance, and pride to a third, and pretence to a fourth, while to a fifth it is simply unintelligible; and yet there is a certain analogy in their separate testimonies, which conveys to us what the thing is like and what it is not like. When a man's acknowledged note is superstition, we may be pretty sure we shall not find him an Academic or an Epicurean; and even words which are ambiguous, as "atheist," or "reformer," admit of a sure interpretation when we are informed of the speaker. In like manner, there is a certain general correspondence between magic and miracle, obstinacy and faith, insubordination and zeal for religion, sophistry and argumentative talent, craft and meekness, as is obvious. Let us proceed then in our contemplation of this reflection, as it may be called of primitive Christianity in the mirror of the world.
All three writers, Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny, call it a "superstition;" this is no accidental imputation, but is repeated by a variety of subsequent writers and speakers. The charge of Thyestean banquets scarcely lasts a hundred years; but, while pagan witnesses are to be found, the Church is accused of superstition. The heathen disputant in Minucius calls Christianity, "_Vana et demens superstitio_." The lawyer Modestinus speaks, with an apparent allusion to Christianity, of "weak minds being terrified _superstitione numinis_." The heathen magistrate asks St. Marcellus, whether he and others have put away "vain superstitions," and worship the gods whom the emperors worship. The Pagans in Arnobius speak of Christianity as "an execrable and unlucky religion, full of impiety and sacrilege, contaminating the rites instituted from of old with the superstition of its novelty." The anonymous opponent of Lactantius calls it, "_Impia et anilis superstitio_." Diocletian's inscription at Clunia was, as it declared, on occasion of "the total extinction of the superstition of the Christians, and the extension of the worship of the gods." Maximin, in his Letter upon Constantine's Edict, still calls it a superstition.[225:1]
Now what is meant by the word thus attached by a _consensus_ of heathen authorities to Christianity? At least, it cannot mean a religion in which a man might think what he pleased, and was set free from all yokes, whether of ignorance, fear, authority, or priestcraft. When heathen writers call the Oriental rites superstitions, they evidently use the word in its modern sense; it cannot surely be doubted that they apply it in the same sense to Christianity. But Plutarch explains for us the word at length, in his Treatise which bears the name: "Of all kinds of fear," he says, "superstition is the most fatal to action and resource. He does not fear the sea who does not sail, nor war who does not serve, nor robbers who keeps at home, nor the sycophant who is poor, nor the envious if he is a private man, nor an earthquake if he lives in Gaul, nor thunder if he lives in Ethiopia; but he who fears the gods fears everything, earth, seas, air, sky, darkness, light, noises, silence, sleep. Slaves sleep and forget their masters; of the fettered doth sleep lighten the chain; inflamed wounds, ulcers cruel and agonizing, are not felt by the sleeping. Superstition alone has come to no terms with sleep; but in the very sleep of her victims, as though they were in the realms of the impious, she raises horrible spectres, and monstrous phantoms, and various pains, and whirls the miserable soul about, and persecutes it. They rise, and, instead of making light of what is unreal, they fall into the hands of quacks and conjurers, who say, 'Call the crone to expiate, bathe in the sea, and sit all day on the ground.'" He goes on to speak of the introduction of "uncouth names and barbarous terms" into "the divine and national authority of religion;" observes that, whereas slaves, when they despair of freedom, may demand to be sold to another master, superstition admits of no change of gods, since "the god cannot be found whom he will not fear, who fears the gods of his family and his birth, who shudders at the Saving and the Benignant, who has a trembling and dread at those from whom we ask riches and wealth, concord, peace, success of all good words and deeds." He says, moreover, that, while death is to all men an end of life, it is not so to the superstitious; for then "there are deep gates of hell to yawn, and headlong streams of at once fire and gloom are opened, and darkness with its many phantoms encompasses, ghosts presenting horrid visages and wretched voices, and judges and executioners, and chasms and dens full of innumerable miseries."
Presently, he says, that in misfortune or sickness the superstitious man refuses to see physician or philosopher, and cries, "Suffer me, O man, to undergo punishment, the impious, the cursed, the hated of gods and spirits. The Atheist," with whom all along he is contrasting the superstitious disadvantageously, "wipes his tears, trims his hair, doffs his mourning; but how can you address, how help the superstitious? He sits apart in sackcloth or filthy rags; and often he strips himself and rolls in the mud, and tells out his sins and offences, as having eaten and drunken something, or walked some way which the divinity did not allow. . . . And in his best mood, and under the influence of a good-humoured superstition, he sits at home, with sacrifice and slaughter all round him, while the old crones hang on him as on a peg, as Bion says, any charm they fall in with." He continues, "What men like best are festivals, banquets at the temples, initiations, orgies, votive prayers, and adorations. But the superstitious wishes indeed, but is unable to rejoice. He is crowned and turns pale; he sacrifices and is in fear; he prays with a quivering voice, and burns incense with trembling hands, and altogether belies the saying of Pythagoras, that we are then in best case when we go to the gods; for superstitious men are in most wretched and evil case, approaching the houses or shrines of the gods as if they were the dens of bears, or the holes of snakes, or the caves of whales."
Here we have a vivid picture of Plutarch's idea of the essence of Superstition; it was the imagination of the existence of an unseen ever-present Master; the bondage of a rule of life, of a continual responsibility; obligation to attend to little things, the impossibility of escaping from duty, the inability to choose or change one's religion, an interference with the enjoyment of life, a melancholy view of the world, sense of sin, horror at guilt, apprehension of punishment, dread, self-abasement, depression, anxiety and endeavour to be at peace with heaven, and error and absurdity in the methods chosen for the purpose. Such too had been the idea of the Epicurean Velleius, when he shrunk with horror from the "_sempiternus dominus_" and "_curiosus Deus_" of the Stoics.[228:1] Such, surely, was the meaning of Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny. And hence of course the frequent reproach cast on Christians as credulous, weak-minded, and poor-spirited. The heathen objectors in Minucius and Lactantius speak of their "old-woman's tales."[228:2] Celsus accuses them of "assenting at random and without reason," saying, "Do not inquire, but believe." "They lay it down," he says elsewhere, "Let no educated man approach, no man of wisdom, no man of sense; but if a man be unlearned, weak in intellect, an infant, let him come with confidence. Confessing that these are worthy of their God, they evidently desire, as they are able, to convert none but fools, and vulgar, and stupid, and slavish, women and boys." They "take in the simple, and lead him where they will." They address themselves to "youths, house-servants, and the weak in intellect." They "hurry away from the educated, as not fit subjects of their imposition, and inveigle the rustic."[228:3] "Thou," says the heathen magistrate to the Martyr Fructuosus, "who as a teacher dost disseminate a new fable, that fickle girls may desert the groves and abandon Jupiter, condemn, if thou art wise, the anile creed."[229:1]
Hence the epithets of itinerant, mountebank, conjurer, cheat, sophist, sorcerer, heaped upon the teachers of Christianity; sometimes to account for the report or apparent truth of their miracles, sometimes to explain their success. Our Lord was said to have learned His miraculous power in Egypt; "wizard, mediciner, cheat, rogue, conjurer," were the epithets applied to Him by the opponents of Eusebius;[229:2] they "worship that crucified sophist," says Lucian;[229:3] "Paul, who surpasses all the conjurers and impostors who ever lived," is Julian's account of the Apostle. "You have sent through the whole world," says St. Justin to Trypho, "to preach that a certain atheistic and lawless sect has sprung from one Jesus, a Galilean cheat."[229:4] "We know," says Lucian, speaking of Chaldeans and Magicians, "the Syrian from Palestine, who is the sophist in these matters, how many lunatics, with eyes distorted and mouth in foam, he raises and sends away restored, ridding them from the evil at a great price."[229:5] "If any conjurer came to them, a man of skill and knowing how to manage matters," says the same writer, "he made money in no time, with a broad grin at the simple fellows."[229:6] The officer who had custody of St. Perpetua feared her escape from prison "by magical incantations."[229:7] When St. Tiburtius had walked barefoot on hot coals, his judge cried out that Christ had taught him magic. St. Anastasia was thrown into prison as a mediciner; the populace called out against St. Agnes, "Away with the witch," _Tolle magam, tolle maleficam_.
When St. Bonosus and St. Maximilian bore the burning pitch without shrinking, Jews and Gentiles cried out, _Isti magi et malefici_. "What new delusion," says the heathen magistrate concerning St. Romanus, "has brought in these sophists to deny the worship of the gods? How doth this chief sorcerer mock us, skilled by his Thessalian charm (_carmine_) to laugh at punishment."[230:1]
Hence we gather the meaning of the word "_carmen_" as used by Pliny; when he speaks of the Christians "saying with one another a _carmen_ to Christ as to a god," he meant pretty much what Suetonius expresses by the "_malefica superstitio_."[230:2] And the words of the last-mentioned writer and Tacitus are still more exactly, and, I may say, singularly illustrated by clauses which occur in the Theodosian code; which seem to show that these historians were using formal terms and phrases to express their notion of Christianity. For instance, Tacitus says, "_Quos per flagitia invisos, vulgus Christianos appellabat_;" and the Law against the Malefici and Mathematici in the Code speaks of those, "_Quos ob facinorum magnitudinem vulgus maleficos appellat_."[230:3] Again, Tacitus charges Christians with the "_odium humani generis_:" this is the very characteristic of a practiser in magic; the Laws call the Malefici, "_humani generis hostes_," "_humani generis inimici_," "_naturæ peregrini_," "_communis salutis hostes_."[230:4]
This also explains the phenomenon, which has created so much surprise to certain moderns;--that a grave, well-informed historian like Tacitus should apply to Christians what sounds like abuse. Yet what is the difficulty, supposing that Christians were considered mathematici and magi, and these were the secret intriguers against established government, the allies of desperate politicians, the enemies of the established religion, the disseminators of lying rumours, the perpetrators of poisonings and other crimes? "Read this," says Paley, after quoting some of the most beautiful and subduing passages of St. Paul, "read this, and then think of _exitiabilis superstitio_;" and he goes on to express a wish "in contending with heathen authorities, to produce our books against theirs,"[231:1] as if it were a matter of books. Public men care very little for books; the finest sentiments, the most luminous philosophy, the deepest theology, inspiration itself, moves them but little; they look at facts, and care only for facts. The question was, What was the worth, what the tendency of the Christian body in the state? what Christians said, what they thought, was little to the purpose. They might exhort to peaceableness and passive obedience as strongly as words could speak; but what did they do, what was their political position? This is what statesmen thought of then, as they do now. What had men of the world to do with abstract proofs or first principles? a statesman measures parties, and sects, and writers by their bearing upon _him_; and he has a practised eye in this sort of judgment, and is not likely to be mistaken. "'What is Truth?' said jesting Pilate." Apologies, however eloquent or true, availed nothing with the Roman magistrate against the sure instinct which taught him to dread Christianity. It was a dangerous enemy to any power not built upon itself; he felt it, and the event justified his apprehension.
We must not forget the well-known character of the Roman state in its dealings with its subjects. It had had from the first an extreme jealousy of secret societies; it was prepared to grant a large toleration and a broad comprehension, but, as is the case with modern governments, it wished to have jurisdiction and the ultimate authority in every movement of the body politic and social, and its civil institutions were based, or essentially depended, on its religion. Accordingly, every innovation upon the established paganism, except it was allowed by the law, was rigidly repressed. Hence the professors of low superstitions, of mysteries, of magic, of astrology, were the outlaws of society, and were in a condition analogous, if the comparison may be allowed, to smugglers or poachers among ourselves, or perhaps to burglars and highwaymen. The modern robber is sometimes made to ask in novels or essays, why the majority of a people should bind the minority, and why he is amenable to laws which he does not enact; but the magistrate, relying on the power of the sword, wishes all men to gain a living indeed, and to prosper, but only in his own legally sanctioned ways, and he hangs or transports dissenters from his authority. The Romans applied this rule to religion. Lardner protests against Pliny's application of the words "contumacy and inflexible obstinacy" to the Christians of Pontus. "Indeed, these are hard words," he says, "very improperly applied to men who were open to conviction, and willing to satisfy others, if they might have leave to speak."[232:1] And he says, "It seems to me that Pliny acted very arbitrarily and unrighteously, in his treatment of the Christians in his province. What right had Pliny to act in this manner? by what law or laws did he punish [them] with death?"--but the Romans had ever burnt the sorcerer, and banished his consulters for life.[233:1] It was an ancient custom. And at mysteries they looked with especial suspicion, because, since the established religion did not include them in its provisions, they really did supply what may be called a demand of the age. The Greeks of an earlier day had naturalized among themselves the Eleusinian and other mysteries, which had come from Egypt and Syria, and had little to fear from a fresh invasion from the same quarter; yet even in Greece, as Plutarch tell us, the "_carmina_" of the itinerants of Cybele and Serapis threw the Pythian verses out of fashion, and henceforth the responses from the temple were given in prose. Soon the oracles altogether ceased. What would cause in the Roman mind still greater jealousy of Christianity was the general infidelity which prevailed among all classes as regards the mythological fables of Charon, Cerberus, and the realms of punishment.[233:2]
We know what opposition had been made in Rome even to the philosophy of Greece; much greater would be the aversion of constitutional statesmen and lawyers to the ritual of barbarians. Religion was the Roman point of honour. "Spaniards might rival them in numbers," says Cicero, "Gauls in bodily strength, Carthaginians in address, Greeks in the arts, Italians and Latins in native talent, but the Romans surpassed all nations in piety and devotion."[234:1] It was one of their laws, "Let no one have gods by himself, nor worship in private new gods nor adventitious, unless added on public authority."[234:2] Lutatius,[234:3] at the end of the first Punic war, was forbidden by the senate to consult the Sortes Prænestinæ as being "_auspicia alienigena_." Some years afterwards the Consul took axe in hand, and commenced the destruction of the temples of Isis and Serapis. In the second Punic war, the senate had commanded the surrender of the _libri vaticini_ or _precationes_, and any written art of sacrificing. When a secret confraternity was discovered, at a later date, the Consul spoke of the rule of their ancestors which forbade the forum, circus, and city to Sacrificuli and prophets, and burnt their books. In the next age banishment was inflicted on individuals who were introducing the worship of the Syrian Sabazius; and in the next the Iseion and Serapeion were destroyed a second time. Mæcenas in Dio advises Augustus to honour the gods according to the national custom, because the contempt of the country's deities leads to civil insubordination, reception of foreign laws, conspiracies, and secret meetings.[234:4] "Suffer no one," he adds, "to deny the gods or to practise sorcery." The civilian Julius Paulus lays it down as one of the leading principles of Roman Law, that those who introduce new or untried religions should be degraded, and if in the lower orders put to death.[234:5] In like manner, it is enacted in one of Constantine's Laws that the Haruspices should not exercise their art in private; and there is a law of Valentinian's against nocturnal sacrifices or magic. It is more immediately to our purpose that Trajan had been so earnest in his resistance to _Hetæriæ_ or secret societies, that, when a fire had laid waste Nicomedia, and Pliny proposed to him to incorporate a body of a hundred and fifty firemen in consequence,[235:1] he was afraid of the precedent and forbade it.
What has been said will suggest another point of view in which the Oriental rites were obnoxious to the government, viz., as being vagrant and proselytizing religions. If it tolerated foreign superstitions, this would be on the ground that districts or countries within its jurisdiction held them; to proselytize to a rite hitherto unknown, to form a new party, and to propagate it through the Empire,--a religion not local but Catholic,--was an offence against both order and reason. The state desired peace everywhere, and no change; "considering," according to Lactantius, "that they were rightly and deservedly punished who execrated the public religion handed down to them by their ancestors."[235:2]
It is impossible surely to deny that, in assembling for religious purposes, the Christians were breaking a solemn law, a vital principle of the Roman constitution; and this is the light in which their conduct was regarded by the historians and philosophers of the Empire. This was a very strong act on the part of the disciples of the great Apostle, who had enjoined obedience to the powers that be. Time after time they resisted the authority of the magistrate; and this is a phenomenon inexplicable on the theory of Private Judgment or of the Voluntary Principle. The justification of such disobedience lies simply in the necessity of obeying the higher authority of some divine law; but if Christianity were in its essence only private and personal, as so many now think, there was no necessity of their meeting together at all. If, on the other hand, in assembling for worship and holy communion, they were fulfilling an indispensable observance, Christianity has imposed a social law on the world, and formally enters the field of politics. Gibbon says that, in consequence of Pliny's edict, "the prudence of the Christians suspended their Agapæ; but it was _impossible_ for them to omit the exercise of public worship."[236:1] We can draw no other conclusion.
At the end of three hundred years, a more remarkable violation of law seems to have been admitted by the Christian body. It shall be given in the words of Dr. Burton; he has been speaking of Maximin's edict, which provided for the restitution of any of their lands or buildings which had been alienated from them. "It is plain," he says, "from the terms of this edict, that the Christians had for some time been in possession of property. It speaks of houses and lands which did not belong to individuals, but to the whole body. Their possession of such property could hardly have escaped the notice of the government; but it seems to have been held in direct violation of a law of Diocletian, which prohibited corporate bodies, or associations which were not legally recognized, from acquiring property. The Christians were certainly not a body recognized by law at the beginning of the reign of Diocletian, and it might almost be thought that this enactment was specially directed against them. But, like other laws which are founded upon tyranny, and are at variance with the first principles of justice, it is probable that this law about corporate property was evaded. We must suppose that the Christians had purchased lands and houses before the law was passed; and their disregard of the prohibition may be taken as another proof that their religion had now taken so firm a footing that the executors of the laws were obliged to connive at their being broken by so numerous a body."[237:1]
No wonder that the magistrate who presided at the martyrdom of St. Romanus calls them in Prudentius "a rebel people;"[237:2] that Galerius speaks of them as "a nefarious conspiracy;" the heathen in Minucius, as "men of a desperate faction;" that others make them guilty of sacrilege and treason, and call them by those other titles which, more closely resembling the language of Tacitus, have been noticed above. Hence the violent accusations against them as the destruction of the Empire, the authors of physical evils, and the cause of the anger of the gods.
"Men cry out," says Tertullian, "that the state is beset, that the Christians are in their fields, in their forts, in their islands. They mourn as for a loss that every sex, condition, and now even rank, is going over to this sect. And yet they do not by this very means advance their minds to the idea of some good therein hidden; they allow not themselves to conjecture more rightly, they choose not to examine more closely. The generality run upon a hatred of this name, with eyes so closed that in bearing favourable testimony to any one they mingle with it the reproach of the name. 'A good man Caius Seius, only he is a Christian.' So another, 'I marvel that that wise man Lucius Titius hath suddenly become a Christian.' No one reflecteth whether Caius be not therefore good and Lucius wise because a Christian, or therefore a Christian because wise and good. They praise that which they know, they revile that which they know not. Virtue is not in such account as hatred of the Christians. Now, then, if the hatred be of the name, what guilt is there in names? What charge against words? Unless it be that any word which is a name have either a barbarous or ill-omened, or a scurrilous or an immodest sound. If the Tiber cometh up to the walls, if the Nile cometh not up to the fields, if the heaven hath stood still, if the earth hath been moved, if there be any famine, if any pestilence, 'The Christians to the lions' is forthwith the word."[238:1]
"Men of a desperate, lawless, reckless faction," says the heathen Cæcilius, in the passage above referred to, "who collect together out of the lowest rabble the thoughtless portion, and credulous women seduced by the weakness of their sex, and form a mob of impure conspirators, of whom nocturnal assemblies, and solemn fastings, and unnatural food, no sacred rite but pollution, is the bond. A tribe lurking and light-hating, dumb for the public, talkative in corners, they despise our temples as if graves, spit at our gods, deride our religious forms; pitiable themselves, they pity, forsooth, our priests; half-naked themselves, they despise our honours and purple; monstrous folly and incredible impudence! . . . Day after day, their abandoned morals wind their serpentine course; over the whole world are those most hideous rites of an impious association growing into shape: . . . they recognize each other by marks and signs, and love each other almost before they recognize; promiscuous lust is their religion. Thus does their vain and mad superstition glory in crimes. . . The writer who tells the story of a criminal capitally punished, and of the gibbet (_ligna feralia_) of the cross being their observance (_ceremonias_), assigns to them thereby an altar in keeping with the abandoned and wicked, that they may worship (_colant_) what they merit. . . . Why their mighty effort to hide and shroud whatever it is they worship (_colunt_), since things honest ever like the open day, and crimes are secret? Why have they no altars, no temples, no images known to us, never speak abroad, never assemble freely, were it not that what they worship and suppress is subject either of punishment or of shame? . . What monstrous, what portentous notions do they fabricate! that that God of theirs, whom they can neither show nor see, should be inquiring diligently into the characters, the acts, nay the words and secret thoughts of all men; running to and fro, forsooth, and present everywhere, troublesome, restless, nay impudently curious they would have him; that is, if he is close at every deed, interferes in all places, while he can neither attend to each as being distracted through the whole, nor suffice for the whole as being engaged about each. Think too of their threatening fire, meditating destruction to the whole earth, nay the world itself with its stars! . . . Nor content with this mad opinion, they add and append their old wives' tales about a new birth after death, ashes and cinders, and by some strange confidence believe each other's lies. Poor creatures! consider what hangs over you after death, while you are still alive. Lo, the greater part of you, the better, as you say, are in want, cold, toil, hunger, and your God suffers it; but I omit common trials. Lo, threats are offered to you, punishments, torments; crosses to be undergone now, not worshipped (_adorandæ_); fires too which ye predict and fear; where is that God who can recover, but cannot preserve your life? The answer of Socrates, when he was asked about heavenly matters, is well known, 'What is above us does not concern us.' My opinion also is, that points which are doubtful, as are the points in question, must be left; nor, when so many and such great men are in controversy on the subject, must judgment be rashly and audaciously given on either side, lest the consequence be either anile superstition or the overthrow of all religion."
Such was Christianity in the eyes of those who witnessed its rise and propagation;--one of a number of wild and barbarous rites which were pouring in upon the Empire from the ancient realms of superstition, and the mother of a progeny of sects which were faithful to the original they had derived from Egypt or Syria; a religion unworthy of an educated person, as appealing, not to the intellect, but to the fears and weaknesses of human nature, and consisting, not in the rational and cheerful enjoyment, but in a morose rejection of the gifts of Providence; a horrible religion, as inflicting or enjoining cruel sufferings, and monstrous and loathsome in its very indulgence of the passions; a religion leading by reaction to infidelity; a religion of magic, and of the vulgar arts, real and pretended, with which magic was accompanied; a secret religion which dared not face the day; an itinerant, busy, proselytizing religion, forming an extended confederacy against the state, resisting its authority and breaking its laws. There may be some exceptions to this general impression, such as Pliny's discovery of the innocent and virtuous rule of life adopted by the Christians of Pontus; but this only proves that Christianity was not in fact the infamous religion which the heathen thought it; it did not reverse their general belief to that effect.
Now it must be granted that, in some respects, this view of Christianity depended on the times, and would alter with their alteration. When there was no persecution, Martyrs could not be obstinate; and when the Church was raised aloft in high places, it was no longer in caves. Still, I believe, it continued substantially the same in the judgment of the world external to it, while there was an external world to judge of it. "They thought it enough," says Julian in the fourth century, of our Lord and His Apostles, "to deceive women, servants, and slaves, and by their means wives and husbands." "A human fabrication," says he elsewhere, "put together by wickedness, having nothing divine in it, but making a perverted use of the fable-loving, childish, irrational part of the soul, and offering a set of wonders to create belief." "Miserable men," he says elsewhere, "you refuse to worship the ancile, yet you worship the wood of the cross, and sign it on your foreheads, and fix it on your doors. Shall one for this hate the intelligent among you, or pity the less understanding, who in following you have gone to such an excess of perdition as to leave the everlasting gods and go over to a dead Jew?" He speaks of their adding other dead men to Him who died so long ago. "You have filled all places with sepulchres and monuments, though it is nowhere told you in your religion to haunt the tombs and to attend upon them." Elsewhere he speaks of their "leaving the gods for corpses and relics." On the other hand, he attributes the growth of Christianity to its humanity towards strangers, care in burying the dead, and pretended religiousness of life. In another place he speaks of their care of the poor.[241:1]
Libanius, Julian's preceptor in rhetoric, delivers the same testimony, as far as it goes. He addressed his Oration for the Temples to a Christian Emperor, and would in consequence be guarded in his language; however it runs in one direction. He speaks of "those black-habited men," meaning the monks, "who eat more than elephants, and by the number of their potations trouble those who send them drink in their chantings, and conceal this by paleness artificially acquired." They "are in good condition out of the misfortunes of others, while they pretend to serve God by hunger." Those whom they attack "are like bees, they like drones." I do not quote this passage to prove that there were monks in Libanius's days, which no one doubts, but to show his impression of Christianity, as far as his works betray it.
Numantian, in the same century, describes in verse his voyage from Rome to Gaul: one book of the poem is extant; he falls in with Christianity on two of the islands which lie in his course. He thus describes them as found on one of these: "The island is in a squalid state, being full of light-haters. They call themselves monks, because they wish to live alone without witness. They dread the gifts, from fearing the reverses, of fortune. Thus Homer says that melancholy was the cause of Bellerophon's anxiety; for it is said that after the wounds of grief mankind displeased the offended youth." He meets on the other island a Christian, whom he had known, of good family and fortune, and happy in his marriage, who "impelled by the Furies had left men and gods, and, credulous exile, was living in base concealment. Is not this herd," he continues, "worse than Circean poison? then bodies were changed, now minds."
In the Philopatris, which is the work of an Author of the fourth century,[242:1] Critias is introduced pale and wild. His friend asks him if he has seen Cerberus or Hecate; and he answers that he has heard a rigmarole from certain "thrice-cursed sophists;" which he thinks would drive him mad, if he heard it again, and was nearly sending him headlong over some cliff as it was. He retires for relief with his inquirer to a pleasant place, shadowed by planes, where swallows and nightingales are singing, and a quiet brook is purling. Triephon, his friend, expresses a fear lest he has heard some incantation, and is led by the course of the dialogue, before his friend tells his tale, to give some account of Christianity, being himself a Christian. After speaking of the creation, as described by Moses, he falls at once upon that doctrine of a particular providence which is so distasteful to Plutarch, Velleius in Cicero, and Cæcilius, and generally to unbelievers. "He is in heaven," he says, "looking at just and unjust, and causing actions to be entered in books; and He will recompense all on a day which He has appointed." Critias objects that he cannot make this consistent with the received doctrine about the Fates, "even though he has perhaps been carried aloft with his master, and initiated in unspeakable mysteries." He also asks if the deeds of the Scythians are written in heaven; for if so, there must be many scribes there. After some more words, in course of which, as in the earlier part of the dialogue, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is introduced, Critias gives an account of what befell him. He says, he fell in with a crowd in the streets; and, while asking a friend the cause of it, others joined them (Christians or monks), and a conversation ensues, part of it corrupt or obscure, on the subject, as Gesner supposes, of Julian's oppression of the Christians, especially of the clergy. One of these interlocutors is a wretched old man, whose "phlegm is paler than death;" another has "a rotten cloke on, and no covering on head or feet," who says he has been told by some ill-clad person from the mountains, with a shorn crown, that in the theatre was a name hieroglyphically written of one who would flood the highway with gold. On his laughing at the story, his friend Crato, whom he had joined, bids him be silent, using a Pythagorean word; for he has "most excellent matters to initiate him into, and that the prediction is no dream but true," and will be fulfilled in August, using the Egyptian name of the month. He attempts to leave them in disgust, but Crato pulls him back "at the instigation of that old demon." He is in consequence persuaded to go "to those conjurers," who, says Crato, would "initiate in all mysteries." He finds, in a building which is described in the language used by Homer of the Palace of Menelaus, "not Helen, no, but men pale and downcast," who ask, whether there was any bad news; "for they seemed," he says, "wishing the worst; and rejoicing in misfortune, as the Furies in the theatres." On their asking him how the city and the world went on, and his answering that things went on smoothly and seemed likely to do so still, they frown, and say that "the city is in travail with a bad birth." "You, who dwell aloft," he answers, "and see everything from on high, doubtless have a keen perception in this matter; but tell me, how is the sky? will the Sun be eclipsed? will Mars be in quadrature with Jupiter? &c.;" and he goes on to jest upon their celibacy. On their persisting in prophesying evil to the state, he says, "This evil will fall on your own head, since you are so hard upon your country; for not as high-flyers have ye heard this, nor are ye adepts in the restless astrological art, but if divinations and conjurings have seduced you, double is your stupidity; for they are the discoveries of old women and things to laugh at." The interview then draws to an end; but more than enough has been quoted already to show the author's notion of Christianity.
Such was the language of paganism after Christianity had for fifty years been exposed to the public gaze; after it had been before the world for fifty more, St. Augustine had still to defend it against the charge of being the cause of the calamities of the Empire. And for the charge of magic, when the Arian bishops were in formal disputations with the Catholic, before Gungebald, Burgundian King of France, at the end of the fifth century, we find still that they charged the Catholics with being "_præstigiatores_," and worshipping a number of gods; and when the Catholics proposed that the king should repair to the shrine of St. Justus, where both parties might ask him concerning their respective faiths, the Arians cried out that "they would not seek enchantments like Saul, for Scripture was enough for them, which was more powerful than all bewitchments."[245:1] This was said, not against strangers of whom they knew nothing, as Ethelbert might be suspicious of St. Augustine and his brother missionaries, but against a body of men who lived among them.
I do not think it can be doubted then that, had Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny, Celsus, Prophyry, and the other opponents of Christianity, lived in the fourth century, their evidence concerning Christianity would be very much the same as it has come down to us from the centuries before it. In either case, a man of the world and a philosopher would have been disgusted at the gloom and sadness of its profession, its mysteriousness, its claim of miracles, the want of good sense imputable to its rule of life, and the unsettlement and discord it was introducing into the social and political world.
On the whole then I conclude as follows:--if there is a form of Christianity now in the world which is accused of gross superstition, of borrowing its rites and customs from the heathen, and of ascribing to forms and ceremonies an occult virtue;--a religion which is considered to burden and enslave the mind by its requisitions, to address itself to the weak-minded and ignorant, to be supported by sophistry and imposture, and to contradict reason and exalt mere irrational faith;--a religion which impresses on the serious mind very distressing views of the guilt and consequences of sin, sets upon the minute acts of the day, one by one, their definite value for praise or blame, and thus casts a grave shadow over the future;--a religion which holds up to admiration the surrender of wealth, and disables serious persons from enjoying it if they would;--a religion, the doctrines of which, be they good or bad, are to the generality of men unknown; which is considered to bear on its very surface signs of folly and falsehood so distinct that a glance suffices to judge of it, and that careful examination is preposterous; which is felt to be so simply bad, that it may be calumniated at hazard and at pleasure, it being nothing but absurdity to stand upon the accurate distribution of its guilt among its particular acts, or painfully to determine how far this or that story concerning it is literally true, or what has to be allowed in candour, or what is improbable, or what cuts two ways, or what is not proved, or what may be plausibly defended;--a religion such, that men look at a convert to it with a feeling which no other denomination raises except Judaism, Socialism, or Mormonism, viz. with curiosity, suspicion, fear, disgust, as the case may be, as if something strange had befallen him, as if he had had an initiation into a mystery, and had come into communion with dreadful influences, as if he were now one of a confederacy which claimed him, absorbed him, stripped him of his personality, reduced him to a mere organ or instrument of a whole;--a religion which men hate as proselytizing, anti-social, revolutionary, as dividing families, separating chief friends, corrupting the maxims of government, making a mock at law, dissolving the empire, the enemy of human nature, and a "conspirator against its rights and privileges;"[247:1]--a religion which they consider the champion and instrument of darkness, and a pollution calling down upon the land the anger of heaven;--a religion which they associate with intrigue and conspiracy, which they speak about in whispers, which they detect by anticipation in whatever goes wrong, and to which they impute whatever is unaccountable;--a religion, the very name of which they cast out as evil, and use simply as a bad epithet, and which from the impulse of self-preservation they would persecute if they could;--if there be such a religion now; in the world, it is not unlike Christianity as that same world viewed it, when first it came forth from its Divine Author.[247:2]
THE CHURCH OF THE FOURTH CENTURY.
Till the Imperial Government had become Christian, and heresies were put down by the arm of power, the face of Christendom presented much the same appearance all along as on the first propagation of the religion. What Gnosticism, Montanism, Judaism and, I may add, the Oriental mysteries were to the nascent Church, as described in the foregoing Section, such were the Manichean, Donatist, Apollinarian and contemporary sects afterwards. The Church in each place looked at first sight as but one out of a number of religious communions, with little of a very distinctive character except to the careful inquirer. Still there were external indications of essential differences within; and, as we have already compared it in the first centuries, we may now contrast it in the fourth, with the rival religious bodies with which it was encompassed.
How was the man to guide his course who wished to join himself to the doctrine and fellowship of the Apostles in the times of St. Athanasius, St. Basil, and St. Augustine? Few indeed were the districts in the _orbis terrarum_, which did not then, as in the Ante-nicene era, present a number of creeds and communions for his choice. Gaul indeed is said at that era to have been perfectly free from heresies; at least none are mentioned as belonging to that country in the Theodosian Code. But in Egypt, in the early part of the fourth century, the Meletian schism numbered one-third as many bishops as were contained in the whole Patriarchate. In Africa, towards the end of it, while the Catholic Bishops amounted in all to 466, the Donatists rivalled them with as many as 400. In Spain Priscillianism was spread from the Pyrenees to the Ocean. It seems to have been the religion of the population in the province of Gallicia, while its author Priscillian, whose death had been contrived by the Ithacians, was honoured as a Martyr. The Manichees, hiding themselves under a variety of names in different localities, were not in the least flourishing condition at Rome. Rome and Italy were the seat of the Marcionites. The Origenists, too, are mentioned by St. Jerome as "bringing a cargo of blasphemies into the port of Rome." And Rome was the seat of a Novatian, a Donatist, and a Luciferian bishop, in addition to the legitimate occupant of the See of St. Peter. The Luciferians, as was natural under the circumstances of their schism, were sprinkled over Christendom from Spain to Palestine, and from Treves to Lybia; while in its parent country Sardinia, as a centre of that extended range, Lucifer seems to have received the honours of a Saint.
When St. Gregory Nazianzen began to preach at Constantinople, the Arians were in possession of its hundred churches; they had the populace in their favour, and, after their legal dislodgment, edict after edict was ineffectually issued against them. The Novatians too abounded there; and the Sabbatians, who had separated from them, had a church, where they prayed at the tomb of their founder. Moreover, Apollinarians, Eunomians, and Semi-arians, mustered in great numbers at Constantinople. The Semi-arian bishops were as popular in the neighbouring provinces, as the Arian doctrine in the capital. They had possession of the coast of the Hellespont and Bithynia; and were found in Phrygia, Isauria, and the neighbouring parts of Asia Minor. Phrygia was the headquarters of the Montanists, and was overrun by the Messalians, who had advanced thus far from Mesopotamia, spreading through Syria, Lycaonia, Pamphylia, and Cappadocia in their way. In the lesser Armenia, the same heretics had penetrated into the monasteries. Phrygia, too, and Paphlagonia were the seat of the Novatians, who besides were in force at Nicæa and Nicomedia, were found in Alexandria, Africa, and Spain, and had a bishop even in Scythia. The whole tract of country from the Hellespont to Cilicia had nearly lapsed into Eunomianism, and the tract from Cilicia as far as Phœnicia into Apollinarianism. The disorders of the Church of Antioch are well known: an Arian succession, two orthodox claimants, and a bishop of the Apollinarians. Palestine abounded in Origenists, if at that time they may properly be called a sect; Palestine, Egypt, and Arabia were overrun with Marcionites; Osrhoene was occupied by the followers of Bardesanes and Harmonius, whose hymns so nearly took the place of national tunes that St. Ephrem found no better way of resisting the heresy than setting them to fresh words. Theodoret in Comagene speaks in the next century of reclaiming eight villages of Marcionites, one of Eunomians, and one of Arians.
These sects were of very various character. Learning, eloquence, and talent were the characteristics of the Apollinarians, Manichees, and Pelagians; Tichonius the Donatist was distinguished in Biblical interpretation; the Semi-arian and Apollinarian leaders were men of grave and correct behaviour; the Novatians had sided with the Orthodox during the Arian persecution; the Montanists and Messalians addressed themselves to an almost heathen population; the atrocious fanaticism of the Priscillianists, the fury of the Arian women of Alexandria and Constantinople, and the savage cruelty of the Circumcellions can hardly be exaggerated. These various sectaries had their orders of clergy, bishops, priests and deacons; their readers and ministers; their celebrants and altars; their hymns and litanies. They preached to the crowds in public, and their meeting-houses bore the semblance of churches. They had their sacristies and cemeteries; their farms; their professors and doctors; their schools. Miracles were ascribed to the Arian Theophilus, to the Luciferian Gregory of Elvira, to a Macedonian in Cyzicus, and to the Donatists in Africa.
How was an individual inquirer to find, or a private Christian to keep the Truth, amid so many rival teachers? The misfortunes or perils of holy men and saints show us the difficulty; St. Augustine was nine years a Manichee; St. Basil for a time was in admiration of the Semi-arians; St. Sulpicius gave a momentary countenance to the Pelagians; St. Paula listened, and Melania assented, to the Origenists. Yet the rule was simple, which would direct every one right; and in that age, at least, no one could be wrong for any long time without his own fault. The Church is everywhere, but it is one; sects are everywhere, but they are many, independent and discordant. Catholicity is the attribute of the Church, independency of sectaries. It is true that some sects might seem almost Catholic in their diffusion; Novatians or Marcionites were in all quarters of the empire; yet it is hardly more than the name, or the general doctrine or philosophy, that was universal: the different portions which professed it seem to have been bound together by no strict or definite tie. The Church might be evanescent or lost for a while in particular countries, or it might be levelled and buried among sects, when the eye was confined to one spot, or it might be confronted by the one and same heresy in various places; but, on looking round the _orbis terrarum_, there was no mistaking that body which, and which alone, had possession of it. The Church is a kingdom; a heresy is a family rather than a kingdom; and as a family continually divides and sends out branches, founding new houses, and propagating itself in colonies, each of them as independent as its original head, so was it with heresy. Simon Magus, the first heretic, had been Patriarch of Menandrians, Basilidians, Valentinians, and the whole family of Gnostics; Tatian of Encratites, Severians, Aquarians, Apotactites, and Saccophori. The Montanists had been propagated into Tascodrugites, Pepuzians, Artotyrites, and Quartodecimans. Eutyches, in a later time, gave birth to the Dioscorians, Gaianites, Theodosians, Agnoetæ, Theopaschites, Acephali, Semidalitæ, Nagranitæ, Jacobites, and others. This is the uniform history of heresy. The patronage of the civil power might for a time counteract the law of its nature, but it showed it as soon as that obstacle was removed. Scarcely was Arianism deprived of the churches of Constantinople, and left to itself, than it split in that very city into the Dorotheans, the Psathyrians, and the Curtians; and the Eunomians into the Theophronians and Eutychians. One fourth part of the Donatists speedily became Maximinianists; and besides these were the Rogatians, the Primianists, the Urbanists, and the Claudianists. If such was the fecundity of the heretical principle in one place, it is not to be supposed that Novatians or Marcionites in Africa or the East would feel themselves bound to think or to act with their fellow-sectaries of Rome or Constantinople; and the great varieties or inconsistencies of statement, which have come down to us concerning the tenets of heresies, may thus be explained. This had been the case with the pagan rites, whether indigenous or itinerant, to which heresy succeeded. The established priesthoods were local properties, as independent theologically as they were geographically of each other; the fanatical companies which spread over the Empire dissolved and formed again as the circumstances of the moment occasioned. So was it with heresy: it was, by its very nature, its own master, free to change, self-sufficient; and, having thrown off the yoke of the Church, it was little likely to submit to any usurped and spurious authority. Montanism and Manicheeism might perhaps in some sort furnish an exception to this remark.
In one point alone the heresies seem universally to have agreed,--in hatred to the Church. This might at that time be considered one of her surest and most obvious Notes. She was that body of which all sects, however divided among themselves, spoke ill; according to the prophecy, "If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of His household." They disliked and they feared her; they did their utmost to overcome their mutual differences, in order to unite against her. Their utmost indeed was little, for independency was the law of their being; they could not exert themselves without fresh quarrels, both in the bosom of each, and one with another. "_Bellum hæreticorum pax est ecclesiæ_" had become a proverb; but they felt the great desirableness of union against the only body which was the natural antagonist of all, and various are the instances which occur in ecclesiastical history of attempted coalitions. The Meletians of Africa united with the Arians against St. Athanasius; the Semi-Arians of the Council of Sardica corresponded with the Donatists of Africa; Nestorius received and protected the Pelagians; Aspar, the Arian minister of Leo the Emperor, favoured the Monophysites of Egypt; the Jacobites of Egypt sided with the Moslem, who are charged with holding a Nestorian doctrine. It had been so from the beginning: "They huddle up a peace with all everywhere," says Tertullian, "for it maketh no matter to them, although they hold different doctrines, so long as they conspire together in their siege against the one thing, Truth."[254:1] And even though active co-operation was impracticable, at least hard words cost nothing, and could express that common hatred at all seasons. Accordingly, by Montanists, Catholics were called "the carnal;" by Novatians, "the apostates;" by Valentinians, "the worldly;" by Manichees, "the simple;" by Aërians, "the ancient;"[254:2] by Apollinarians, "the man-worshippers;" by Origenists, "the flesh-lovers," and "the slimy;" by the Nestorians, "Egyptians;" by Monophysites, the "Chalcedonians:" by Donatists, "the traitors," and "the sinners," and "servants of Antichrist;" and St. Peter's chair, "the seat of pestilence;" and by the Luciferians, the Church was called "a brothel," "the devil's harlot," and "synagogue of Satan:" so that it might be called a Note of the Church, as I have said, for the use of the most busy and the most ignorant, that she was on one side and all other bodies on the other.
Yet, strange as it may appear, there was one title of the Church of a very different nature from those which have been enumerated,--a title of honour, which all men agreed to give her,--and one which furnished a still more simple direction than such epithets of abuse to aid the busy and the ignorant in finding her, and which was used by the Fathers for that purpose. It was one which the sects could neither claim for themselves, nor hinder being enjoyed by its rightful owner, though, since it was the characteristic designation of the Church in the Creed, it seemed to surrender the whole controversy between the two parties engaged in it. Balaam could not keep from blessing the ancient people of God; and the whole world, heresies inclusive, were irresistibly constrained to call God's second election by its prophetical title of the "Catholic" Church. St. Paul tells us that the heretic is "condemned by himself;" and no clearer witness against the sects of the earlier centuries was needed by the Church, than their own testimony to this contrast between her actual position and their own. Sects, say the Fathers, are called after the name of their founders, or from their locality, or from their doctrine. So was it from the beginning: "I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas;" but it was promised to the Church that she should have no master upon earth, and that she should "gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad." Her every-day name, which was understood in the marketplace and used in the palace, which every chance comer knew, and which state-edicts recognized, was the "Catholic" Church. This was that very description of Christianity in those times which we are all along engaged in determining. And it had been recognized as such from the first; the name or the fact is put forth by St. Ignatius, St. Justin, St. Clement; by the Church of Smyrna, St. Irenæus, Rhodon or another, Tertullian, Origen, St. Cyprian, St. Cornelius; by the Martyrs, Pionius, Sabina, and Asclepiades; by Lactantius, Eusebius, Adimantius, St. Athanasius, St. Pacian, St. Optatus, St. Epiphanius, St. Cyril, St. Basil, St. Ambrose, St. Chrysostom, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and Facundus. St. Clement uses it as an argument against the Gnostics, St. Augustine against the Donatists and Manichees, St. Jerome against the Luciferians, and St. Pacian against the Novatians.
It was an argument for educated and simple. When St. Ambrose would convert the cultivated reason of Augustine, he bade him study the book of Isaiah, who is the prophet, as of the Messiah, so of the calling of the Gentiles and of the Imperial power of the Church. And when St. Cyril would give a rule to his crowd of Catechumens, "If ever thou art sojourning in any city," he says, "inquire not simply where the Lord's house is, (for the sects of the profane also make an attempt to call their own dens houses of the Lord,) nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Body, the Mother of us all, which is the Spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ."[256:1] "In the Catholic Church," says St. Augustine to the Manichees, "not to speak of that most pure wisdom, to the knowledge of which few spiritual men attain in this life so as to know it even in its least measure,--as men, indeed, yet, without any doubt,--(for the multitude of Christians are safest, not in understanding with quickness, but in believing with simplicity,) not to speak of this wisdom, which ye do not believe to be in the Catholic Church, there are many other considerations which most sufficiently hold me in her bosom. I am held by the consent of people and nations; by that authority which began in miracles, was nourished in hope, was increased by charity, and made steadfast by age; by that succession of priests from the chair of the Apostle Peter, to whose feeding the Lord after His resurrection commended His sheep, even to the present episcopate; lastly, by the very title of Catholic, which, not without cause, hath this Church alone, amid so many heresies, obtained in such sort, that, whereas all heretics wish to be called Catholics, nevertheless to any stranger, who asked where to find the 'Catholic' Church, none of them would dare to point to his own basilica or home. These dearest bonds, then, of the Christian Name, so many and such, rightly hold a man in belief in the Catholic Church, even though, by reason of the slowness of our understanding or our deserts, truth doth not yet show herself in her clearest tokens. But among you, who have none of these reasons to invite and detain me, I hear but the loud sound of a promise of the truth; which truth, verily, if it be so manifestly displayed among you that there can be no mistake about it, is to be preferred to all those things by which I am held in the Catholic Church; but if it is promised alone, and not exhibited, no one shall move me from that faith which by so many and great ties binds my mind to the Christian religion."[257:1] When Adimantius asked his Marcionite opponent, how he was a Christian who did not even bear that name, but was called from Marcion, he retorts, "And you are called from the Catholic Church, therefore ye are not Christians either;" Adimantius answers, "Did we profess man's name, you would have spoken to the point; but if we are called from being all over the world, what is there bad in this?"[257:2]
"Whereas there is one God and one Lord," says St. Clement, "therefore also that which is the highest in esteem is praised on the score of being sole, as after the pattern of the One Principle. In the nature then of the One, the Church, which is one, hath its portion, which they would forcibly cut up into many heresies. In substance then, and in idea, and in first principle, and in pre-eminence, we call the ancient Catholic Church sole; in order to the unity of one faith, the faith according to her own covenants, or rather that one covenant in different times, which, by the will of one God and through one Lord, is gathering together those who are already ordained, whom God hath predestined, having known that they would be just from the foundation of the world. . . . . But of heresies, some are called from a man's name, as Valentine's heresy, Marcion's, and that of Basilides (though they profess to bring the opinion of Matthias, for all the Apostles had, as one teaching, so one tradition); and others from place, as the Peratici; and others from nation, as that of the Phrygians; and others from their actions, as that of the Encratites; and others from their peculiar doctrines, as the Docetæ and Hematites; and others from their hypotheses, and what they have honoured, as Cainites and the Ophites; and others from their wicked conduct and enormities, as those Simonians who are called Eutychites."[258:1] "There are, and there have been," says St. Justin, "many who have taught atheistic and blasphemous words and deeds, coming in the name of Jesus; and they are called by us from the appellation of the men whence each doctrine and opinion began . . . Some are called Marcians, others Valentinians, others Basilidians, others Saturnilians."[258:2] "When men are called Phrygians, or Novatians, or Valentinians, or Marcionites, or Anthropians," says Lactantius, "or by any other name, they cease to be Christians; for they have lost Christ's Name, and clothe themselves in human and foreign titles. It is the Catholic Church alone which retains the true worship."[258:3] "We never heard of Petrines, or Paulines, or Bartholomeans, or Thaddeans," says St. Epiphanius; "but from the first there was one preaching of all the Apostles, not preaching themselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord. Wherefore also all gave one name to the Church, not their own, but that of their Lord Jesus Christ, since they began to be called Christians first at Antioch; which is the Sole Catholic Church, having nought else but Christ's, being a Church of Christians; not of Christs, but of Christians, He being One, they from that One being called Christians. None, but this Church and her preachers, are of this character, as is shown by their own epithets, Manicheans, and Simonians, and Valentinians, and Ebionites."[259:1] "If you ever hear those who are said to belong to Christ," says St. Jerome, "named, not from the Lord Jesus Christ, but from some other, say Marcionites, Valentinians, Mountaineers, Campestrians, know that it is not Christ's Church, but the synagogue of Antichrist."[259:2]
St. Pacian's letters to the Novatian Bishop Sympronian require a more extended notice. The latter had required the Catholic faith to be proved to him, without distinctly stating from what portion of it he dissented; and he boasted that he had never found any one to convince him of its truth. St. Pacian observes that there is one point which Sympronian cannot dispute, and which settles the question, the very name Catholic. He then supposes Sympronian to object that, "under the Apostles no one was called Catholic." He answers, "Be it thus;[259:3] it shall have been so; allow even that. When, after the Apostles, heresies had burst forth, and were striving under various names to tear piecemeal and divide 'the Dove' and 'the Queen' of God, did not the Apostolic people require a name of their own, whereby to mark the unity of the people that was uncorrupted, lest the error of some should rend limb by limb 'the undefiled virgin' of God? Was it not seemly that the chief head should be distinguished by its own peculiar appellation? Suppose this very day I entered a populous city. When I had found Marcionites, Apollinarians, Cataphrygians, Novatians, and others of the kind, who call themselves Christians, by what name should I recognize the congregation of my own people, unless it were named Catholic? . . . . Whence was it delivered to me? Certainly that which has stood through so many ages was not borrowed from man. This name 'Catholic' sounds not of Marcion, nor of Apelles, nor of Montanus, nor does it take heretics for its authors."
In his second letter, he continues, "Certainly that was no accessory name which endured through so many ages. And, indeed, I am glad for thee, that, although thou mayest have preferred others, yet thou agreest that the name attaches to us, which should you deny nature would cry out. But and if you still have doubts, let us hold our peace. We will both be that which we shall be named." After alluding to Sympronian's remark that, though Cyprian was holy, "his people bear the name of Apostaticum, Capitolinum, or Synedrium," which were some of the Novatian titles of the Church, St. Pacian replies, "Ask a century, brother, and all its years in succession, whether this name has adhered to us; whether the people of Cyprian have been called other than Catholic? No one of these names have I ever heard." It followed that such appellations were "taunts, not names," and therefore unmannerly. On the other hand it seems that Sympronian did not like to be called a Novatian, though he could not call himself a Catholic. "Tell me yourselves," says St. Pacian, "what ye are called. Do ye deny that the Novatians are called from Novatian? Impose on them whatever name you like; that will ever adhere to them. Search, if you please, whole annals, and trust so many ages. You will answer, 'Christian.' But if I inquire the genus of the sect, you will not deny that it is Novatian. . . . Confess it without deceit; there is no wickedness in the name. Why, when so often inquired for, do you hide yourself? Why ashamed of the origin of your name? When you first wrote, I thought you a Cataphrygian. . . . Dost thou grudge me my name, and yet shun thine own? Think what there is of shame in a cause which shrinks from its own name."
In a third letter: "'The Church is the Body of Christ.' Truly, the body, not a member; the body composed of many parts and members knit in one, as saith the Apostle, 'For the Body is not one member, but many.' Therefore, the Church is the full body, compacted and diffused now throughout the whole world; like a city, I mean, all whose parts are united, not as ye are, O Novatians, some small and insolent portion, and a mere swelling that has gathered and separated from the rest of the body. . . . Great is the progeny of the Virgin, and without number her offspring, wherewith the whole world is filled, wherewith the populous swarms ever throng the circumfluous hive." And he founds this characteristic of the Church upon the prophecies: "At length, brother Sympronian, be not ashamed to be with the many; at length consent to despise these festering spots of the Novatians, and these parings of yours; and at length, to look upon the flocks of the Catholics, and the people of the Church extending so far and wide. . . . Hear what David saith, 'I will sing unto Thy name in the great congregation;' and again, 'I will praise Thee among much people;' and 'the Lord, even the most mighty God, hath spoken, and called the world from the rising up of the sun unto the going down thereof.' What! shall the seed of Abraham, which is as the stars and the sand on the seashore for number, be contented with your poverty? . . . Recognize now, brother, the Church of God extending her tabernacles and fixing the stakes of her curtains on the right and on the left; understand that 'the Lord's name is praised from the rising up of the sun unto the going down thereof.'"
In citing these passages, I am not proving what was the doctrine of the Fathers concerning the Church in those early times, or what were the promises made to it in Scripture; but simply ascertaining what, in matter of fact, was its then condition relatively to the various Christian bodies among which it was found. That the Fathers were able to put forward a certain doctrine, that they were able to appeal to the prophecies, proves that matter of fact; for unless the Church, and the Church alone, had been one body everywhere, they could not have argued on the supposition that it was so. And so as to the word "Catholic;" it is enough that the Church was so called; that title was a confirmatory proof and symbol of what is even otherwise so plain, that she, as St. Pacian explains the word, was everywhere one, while the sects of the day were nowhere one, but everywhere divided. Sects might, indeed, be everywhere, but they were in no two places the same; every spot had its own independent communion, or at least to this result they were inevitably and continually tending.
St. Pacian writes in Spain: the same contrast between the Church and sectarianism is presented to us in Africa in the instance of the Donatists; and St. Optatus is a witness both to the fact, and to its notoriety, and to the deep impressions which it made on all parties. Whether or not the Donatists identified themselves with the true Church, and cut off the rest of Christendom from it, is not the question here, nor alters the fact which I wish distinctly brought out and recognized, that in those ancient times the Church was that Body which was spread over the _orbis terrarum_, and sects were those bodies which were local or transitory.
"What is that one Church," says St. Optatus, "which Christ calls 'Dove' and 'Spouse'? . . . It cannot be in the multitude of heretics and schismatics. If so, it follows that it is but in one place. Thou, brother Parmenian, hast said that it is with you alone; unless, perhaps, you aim at claiming for yourselves a special sanctity from your pride, so that where you will, there the Church may be, and may not be, where you will not. Must it then be in a small portion of Africa, in the corner of a small realm, among you, but not among us in another part of Africa? And not in Spain, in Gaul, in Italy, where you are not? And if you will have it only among you, not in the three Pannonian provinces, in Dacia, Mœsia, Thrace, Achaia, Macedonia, and in all Greece, where you are not? And that you may keep it among yourselves, not in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Pamphylia, Phrygia, Cilicia, in the three Syrias, in the two Armenias, in all Egypt, and in Mesopotamia, where you are not? Not among such innumerable islands and the other provinces, scarcely numerable, where you are not? What will become then of the meaning of the word Catholic, which is given to the Church, as being according to reason[263:1] and diffused every where? For if thus at your pleasure you narrow the Church, if you withdraw from her all the nations, where will be the earnings of the Son of God? where will be that which the Father hath so amply accorded to Him, saying in the second Psalm 'I will give thee the heathen for Thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession,' &c.? . . The whole earth is given Him with the nations; its whole circuit (_orbis_) is Christ's one possession."[263:2]
An African writer contemporary with St. Augustine, if not St. Augustine himself, enumerates the small portions of the Donatists Sect, in and out of Africa, and asks if they can be imagined to be the fulfilment of the Scripture promise to the Church. "If the holy Scriptures have assigned the Church to Africa alone, or to the scanty Cutzupitans or Mountaineers of Rome, or to the house or patrimony of one Spanish woman, however the argument may stand from other writings, then none but the Donatists have possession of the Church. If holy Scripture determines it to the few Moors of the Cæsarean province, we must go over to the Rogatists: if to the few Tripolitans or Byzacenes and Provincials, the Maximianists have attained to it; if in the Orientals only, it is to be sought for among Arians, Eunomians, Macedonians, and others that may be there; for who can enumerate every heresy of every nation? But if Christ's Church, by the divine and most certain testimonies of Canonical Scriptures, is assigned to all nations, whatever may be adduced, and from whatever quarter cited, by those who say, 'Lo, here is Christ and lo there,' let us rather hear, if we be His sheep, the voice of our Shepherd saying unto us, 'Do not believe.' For they are not each found in the many nations where she is; but she, who is everywhere, is found where they are."[264:1]
Lastly, let us hear St. Augustine himself again in the same controversy: "They do not communicate with us, as you say," he observes to Cresconius, "Novatians, Arians, Patripassians, Valentinians, Patricians, Apellites, Marcionites, Ophites, and the rest of those sacrilegious names, as you call them, of nefarious pests rather than sects. Yet, wheresoever they are, there is the Catholic Church; as in Africa it is where you are. On the other hand, neither you, nor any one of those heresies whatever, is to be found wherever is the Catholic Church. Whence it appears, which is that tree whose boughs extend over all the earth by the richness of its fruitfulness, and which be those broken branches which have not the life of the root, but lie and wither, each in its own place."[265:1]
It may be possibly suggested that this universality which the Fathers ascribe to the Catholic Church lay in its Apostolical descent, or again in its Episcopacy; and that it was one, not as being one kingdom or civitas "at unity with itself," with one and the same intelligence in every part, one sympathy, one ruling principle, one organization, one communion, but because, though consisting of a number of independent communities, at variance (if so be) with each other even to a breach of communion, nevertheless all these were possessed of a legitimate succession of clergy, or all governed by Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. But who will in seriousness maintain that relationship, or that sameness of structure, makes two bodies one? England and Prussia are both of them monarchies; are they therefore one kingdom? England and the United States are from one stock; can they therefore be called one state? England and Ireland are peopled by different races; yet are they not one kingdom still? If unity lies in the Apostolical succession, an act of schism is from the nature of the case impossible; for as no one can reverse his parentage, so no Church can undo the fact that its clergy have come by lineal descent from the Apostles. Either there is no such sin as schism, or unity does not lie in the Episcopal form or in the Episcopal ordination. And this is felt by the controversialists of this day; who in consequence are obliged to invent a sin, and to consider, not division of Church from Church, but the interference of Church with Church to be the sin of schism, as if local dioceses and bishops with restraint were more than ecclesiastical arrangements and by-laws of the Church, however sacred, while schism is a sin against her essence. Thus they strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel. Division is the schism, if schism there be, not interference. If interference is a sin, division which is the cause of it is a greater; but where division is a duty, there can be no sin in interference.
Far different from such a theory is the picture which the ancient Church presents to us; true, it was governed by Bishops, and those Bishops came from the Apostles, but it was a kingdom besides; and as a kingdom admits of the possibility of rebels, so does such a Church involve sectaries and schismatics, but not independent portions. It was a vast organized association, co-extensive with the Roman Empire, or rather overflowing it. Its Bishops were not mere local officers, but possessed a quasi-ecumenical power, extending wherever a Christian was to be found. "No Christian," says Bingham, "would pretend to travel without taking letters of credence with him from his own bishop, if he meant to communicate with the Christian Church in a foreign country. Such was the admirable unity of the Church Catholic in those days, and the blessed harmony and consent of her bishops among one another."[266:1] St. Gregory Nazianzen calls St. Cyprian an universal Bishop, "presiding," as the same author presently quotes Gregory, "not only over the Church of Carthage and Africa, but over all the regions of the West, and over the East, and South, and Northern parts of the world also." This is evidence of a unity throughout Christendom, not of mere origin or of Apostolical succession, but of government. Bingham continues "[Gregory] says the same of Athanasius; that, in being made Bishop of Alexandria, he was made Bishop of the whole world. Chrysostom, in like manner, styles Timothy, Bishop of the universe. . . . . The great Athanasius, as he returned from his exile, made no scruple to ordain in several cities as he went along, though they were not in his own diocese. And the famous Eusebius of Samosata did the like, in the times of the Arian persecution under Valens. . . Epiphanius made use of the same power and privilege in a like case, ordaining Paulinianus, St. Jerome's brother, first deacon and then presbyter, in a monastery out of his own diocese in Palestine."[267:1] And so in respect of teaching, before Councils met on any large scale, St. Ignatius of Antioch had addressed letters to the Churches along the coast of Asia Minor, when on his way to martyrdom at Rome. St. Irenæus, when a subject of the Church of Smyrna, betakes himself to Gaul, and answers in Lyons the heresies of Syria. The see of St. Hippolytus, as if he belonged to all parts of the _orbis terrarum_, cannot be located, and is variously placed in the neighbourhood of Rome and in Arabia. Hosius, a Spanish Bishop, arbitrates in an Alexandrian controversy. St. Athanasius, driven from his Church, makes all Christendom his home, from Treves to Ethiopia, and introduces into the West the discipline of the Egyptian Antony. St. Jerome is born in Dalmatia, studies at Constantinople and Alexandria, is secretary to St. Damasus at Rome, and settles and dies in Palestine.
Above all the See of Rome itself is the centre of teaching as well as of action, is visited by Fathers and heretics as a tribunal in controversy, and by ancient custom sends her alms to the poor Christians of all Churches, to Achaia and Syria, Palestine, Arabia, Egypt, and Cappadocia.
Moreover, this universal Church was not only one; it was exclusive also. As to the vehemence with which Christians of the Ante-nicene period denounced the idolatries and sins of paganism, and proclaimed the judgments which would be their consequence, this is well known, and led to their being reputed in the heathen world as "enemies of mankind." "Worthily doth God exert the lash of His stripes and scourges," says St. Cyprian to a heathen magistrate; "and since they avail so little, and convert not men to God by all this dreadfulness of havoc, there abides beyond the prison eternal and the ceaseless flame and the everlasting penalty. . . . Why humble yourself and bend to false gods? Why bow your captive body before helpless images and moulded earth? Why grovel in the prostration of death, like the serpent whom ye worship? Why rush into the downfall of the devil, his fall the cause of yours, and he your companion? . . . . Believe and live; you have been our persecutors in time; in eternity, be companions of our joy."[268:1] "These rigid sentiments," says Gibbon, "which had been unknown to the ancient world, appear to have infused a spirit of bitterness into a system of love and harmony."[268:2] Such, however, was the judgment passed by the first Christians upon all who did not join their own society; and such still more was the judgment of their successors on those who lived and died in the sects and heresies which had issued from it. That very Father, whose denunciation of the heathen has just been quoted, had already declared it even in the third century. "He who leaves the Church of Christ," he says, "attains not to Christ's rewards. He is an alien, an outcast, an enemy. He can no longer have God for a Father, who has not the Church for a Mother. If any man was able to escape who remained without the Ark of Noah, then will that man escape who is out of doors beyond the Church. . . What sacrifice do they believe they celebrate, who are rivals of the Priests? If such men were even killed for confession of the Christian name, not even by their blood is this stain washed out. Inexplicable and heavy is the sin of discord, and is purged by no suffering . . . They cannot dwell with God who have refused to be of one mind in God's Church; a man of such sort may indeed be killed, crowned he cannot be."[269:1] And so again St. Chrysostom, in the following century, in harmony with St. Cyprian's sentiment: "Though we have achieved ten thousand glorious acts, yet shall we, if we cut to pieces the fulness of the Church, suffer punishment no less sore than they who mangled His body."[269:2] In like manner St Augustine seems to consider that a conversion from idolatry to a schismatical communion is no gain. "Those whom Donatists baptize, they heal of the wound of idolatry or infidelity, but inflict a more grievous stroke in the wound of schism; for idolaters among God's people the sword destroyed, but schismatics the gaping earth devoured."[269:3] Elsewhere, he speaks of the "sacrilege of schism, which surpasses all wickednesses."[269:4] St. Optatus, too, marvels at the Donatist Parmenian's inconsistency in maintaining the true doctrine, that "Schismatics are cut off as branches from the vine, are destined for punishments, and reserved, as dry wood, for hell-fire."[269:5] "Let us hate them who are worthy of hatred," says St. Cyril, "withdraw we from those whom God withdraws from; let us also say unto God with all boldness concerning all heretics, 'Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee?'"[270:1] "Most firmly hold, and doubt in no wise," says St. Fulgentius, "that every heretic and schismatic soever, baptized in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, unless aggregated to the Catholic Church, how great soever have been his alms, though for Christ's Name he has even shed his blood, can in no wise be saved."[270:2] The Fathers ground this doctrine on St. Paul's words that, though we have knowledge, and give our goods to the poor, and our body to be burned, we are nothing without love.[270:3]
One more remark shall be made: that the Catholic teachers, far from recognizing any ecclesiastical relation as existing between the Sectarian Bishops and Priests and their people, address the latter immediately, as if those Bishops did not exist, and call on them to come over to the Church individually without respect to any one besides; and that because it is a matter of life and death. To take the instance of the Donatists: it was nothing to the purpose that their Churches in Africa were nearly as numerous as those of the Catholics, or that they had a case to produce in their controversy with the Catholic Church; the very fact that they were separated from the _orbis terrarum_ was a public, a manifest, a simple, a sufficient argument against them. "The question is not about your gold and silver," says St. Augustine to Glorius and others, "not your lands, or farms, nor even your bodily health is in peril, but we address your souls about obtaining eternal life and fleeing eternal death. Rouse yourself therefore. . . . . You see it all, and know it, and groan over it; yet God sees that there is nothing to detain you in so pestiferous and sacrilegious a separation, if you will but overcome your carnal affection, for the obtaining the spiritual kingdom, and rid yourselves of the fear of wounding friendships, which will avail nothing in God's judgment for escaping eternal punishment. Go, think over the matter, consider what can be said in answer. . . . No one blots out from heaven the Ordinance of God, no one blots out from earth the Church of God: He hath promised her, she hath filled, the whole world." "Some carnal intimacies," he says to his kinsman Severinus, "hold you where you are. . . . What avails temporal health or relationship, if with it we neglect Christ's eternal heritage and our perpetual health?" "I ask," he says to Celer, a person of influence, "that you would more earnestly urge upon your men Catholic Unity in the region of Hippo." "Why," he says, in the person of the Church, to the whole Donatist population, "Why open your ears to the words of men, who say what they never have been able to prove, and close them to the word of God, saying, 'Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance'?" At another time he says to them, "Some of the presbyters of your party have sent to us to say, 'Retire from our flocks, unless you would have us kill you.' How much more justly do we say to them, 'Nay, do you, not retire from, but come in peace, not to our flocks, but to the flocks of Him whose we are all; or if you will not, and are far from peace, then do you rather retire from flocks, for which Christ shed His Blood.'" "I call on you for Christ's sake," he says to a late pro-consul, "to write me an answer, and to urge gently and kindly all your people in the district of Sinis or Hippo into the communion of the Catholic Church." He publishes an address to the Donatists at another time to inform them of the defeat of their Bishops in a conference: "Whoso," he says, "is separated from the Catholic Church, however laudably he thinks he is living, by this crime alone, that he is separated from Christ's Unity, he shall not have life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." "Let them believe of the Catholic Church," he writes to some converts about their friends who were still in schism, "that is, to the Church diffused over the whole world, rather what the Scriptures say of it than what human tongues utter in calumny." The idea of acting upon the Donatists only as a body and through their bishops, does not appear to have occurred to St. Augustine at all.[272:1]
On the whole, then, we have reason to say, that if there be a form of Christianity at this day distinguished for its careful organization, and its consequent power; if it is spread over the world; if it is conspicuous for zealous maintenance of its own creed; if it is intolerant towards what it considers error; if it is engaged in ceaseless war with all other bodies called Christian; if it, and it alone, is called "Catholic" by the world, nay, by those very bodies, and if it makes much of the title; if it names them heretics, and warns them of coming woe, and calls on them one by one, to come over to itself, overlooking every other tie; and if they, on the other hand, call it seducer, harlot, apostate, Antichrist, devil; if, however much they differ one with another, they consider it their common enemy; if they strive to unite together against it, and cannot; if they are but local; if they continually subdivide, and it remains one; if they fall one after another, and make way for new sects, and it remains the same; such a religious communion is not unlike historical Christianity, as it comes before us at the Nicene Era.
THE CHURCH OF THE FIFTH AND SIXTH CENTURIES.
The patronage extended by the first Christian Emperors to Arianism, its adoption by the barbarians who succeeded to their power, the subsequent expulsion of all heresy beyond the limits of the Empire, and then again the Monophysite tendencies of Egypt and part of Syria, changed in some measure the aspect of the Church, and claim our further attention. It was still a body in possession, or approximating to the possession, of the _orbis terrarum_; but it was not simply intermixed with sectaries, as we have been surveying it in the earlier periods, rather it lay between or over against large schisms. That same vast Association, which, and which only, had existed from the first, which had been identified by all parties with Christianity, which had been ever called Catholic by people and by laws, took a different shape; collected itself in far greater strength on some points of her extended territory than on others; possessed whole kingdoms with scarcely a rival; lost others partially or wholly, temporarily or for good; was stemmed in its course here or there by external obstacles; and was defied by heresy, in a substantive shape and in mass, from foreign lands, and with the support of the temporal power. Thus not to mention the Arianism of the Eastern Empire in the fourth century, the whole of the West was possessed by the same heresy in the fifth; and nearly the whole of Asia, east of the Euphrates, as far as it was Christian, by the Nestorians, in the centuries which followed; while the Monophysites had almost the possession of Egypt, and at times of the whole Eastern Church. I think it no assumption to call Arianism, Nestorianism, and Eutychianism heresies, or to identify the contemporary Catholic Church with Christianity. Now, then, let us consider the mutual relation of Christianity and heresy under these circumstances.
§ 1. _The Arians of the Gothic Race._
No heresy has started with greater violence or more sudden success than the Arian; and it presents a still more remarkable exhibition of these characteristics among the barbarians than in the civilized world. Even among the Greeks it had shown a missionary spirit. Theophilus in the reign of Constantius had introduced the dominant heresy, not without some promising results, to the Sabeans of the Arabian peninsula; but under Valens, Ulphilas became the apostle of a whole race. He taught the Arian doctrine, which he had unhappily learned in the Imperial Court, first to the pastoral Mœsogoths; who, unlike the other branches of their family, had multiplied under the Mœsian mountains with neither military nor religious triumphs. The Visigoths were next corrupted; by whom does not appear. It is one of the singular traits in the history of this vast family of heathens that they so instinctively caught, and so impetuously communicated, and so fiercely maintained, a heresy, which had excited in the Empire, except at Constantinople, little interest in the body of the people. The Visigoths are said to have been converted by the influence of Valens; but Valens reigned for only fourteen years, and the barbarian population which had been admitted to the Empire amounted to nearly a million of persons. It is as difficult to trace how the heresy was conveyed from them to the other barbarian tribes. Gibbon seems to suppose that the Visigoths acted the part of missionaries in their career of predatory warfare from Thrace to the Pyrenees. But such is the fact, however it was brought about, that the success in arms and the conversion to Arianism, of Ostrogoths, Alani, Suevi, Vandals, and Burgundians stand as concurrent events in the history of the times; and by the end of the fifth century the heresy had been established by the Visigoths in France and Spain, in Portugal by the Suevi, in Africa by the Vandals, and by the Ostrogoths in Italy. For a while the title of Catholic as applied to the Church seemed a misnomer; for not only was she buried beneath these populations of heresy, but that heresy was one, and maintained the same distinctive tenet, whether at Carthage, Seville, Toulouse, or Ravenna.
It cannot be supposed that these northern warriors had attained to any high degree of mental cultivation; but they understood their own religion enough to hate the Catholics, and their bishops were learned enough to hold disputations for its propagation. They professed to stand upon the faith of Ariminum, administering Baptism under an altered form of words, and re-baptizing Catholics whom they gained over to their sect. It must be added that, whatever was their cruelty or tyranny, both Goths and Vandals were a moral people, and put to shame the Catholics whom they dispossessed. "What can the prerogative of a religious name profit us," says Salvian, "that we call ourselves Catholic, boast of being the faithful, taunt Goths and Vandals with the reproach of an heretical appellation, while we live in heretical wickedness?"[276:1] The barbarians were chaste, temperate, just, and devout; the Visigoth Theodoric repaired every morning with his domestic officers to his chapel, where service was performed by the Arian priests; and one singular instance is on record of the defeat of a Visigoth force by the Imperial troops on a Sunday, when instead of preparing for battle they were engaged in the religious services of the day.[276:2] Many of their princes were men of great ability, as the two Theodorics, Euric and Leovigild.
Successful warriors, animated by a fanatical spirit of religion, were not likely to be content with a mere profession of their own creed; they proceeded to place their own priests in the religious establishments which they found, and to direct a bitter persecution against the vanquished Catholics. The savage cruelties of the Vandal Hunneric in Africa have often been enlarged upon; Spain was the scene of repeated persecutions; Sicily, too, had its Martyrs. Compared with these enormities, it was but a little thing to rob the Catholics of their churches, and the shrines of their treasures. Lands, immunities, and jurisdictions, which had been given by the Emperors to the African Church, were made over to the clergy of its conquerors; and by the time of Belisarius, the Catholic Bishops had been reduced to less than a third of their original number. In Spain, as in Africa, bishops were driven from their sees, churches were destroyed, cemeteries profaned, martyries rifled. When it was possible, the Catholics concealed the relics in caves, keeping up a perpetual memory of these provisional hiding-places.[277:1] Repeated spoliations were exercised upon the property of the Church. Leovigild applied[277:2] its treasures partly to increasing the splendour of his throne, partly to national works. At other times, the Arian clergy themselves must have been the recipients of the plunder: for when Childebert the Frank had been brought into Spain by the cruelties exercised against the Catholic Queen of the Goths, who was his sister, he carried away with him from the Arian churches, as St. Gregory of Tours informs us, sixty chalices, fifteen patens, twenty cases in which the gospels were kept, all of pure gold and ornamented with jewels.[277:3]
In France, and especially in Italy, the rule of the heretical power was much less oppressive; Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, reigned from the Alps to Sicily, and till the close of a long reign he gave an ample toleration to his Catholic subjects. He respected their property, suffered their churches and sacred places to remain in their hands, and had about his court some of their eminent Bishops, since known as Saints, St. Cæsarius of Arles, and St. Epiphanius of Pavia. Still he brought into the country a new population, devoted to Arianism, or, as we now speak, a new Church. "His march," says Gibbon,[277:4] "must be considered as the emigration of an entire people; the wives and children of the Goths, their aged parents, and most precious effects, were carefully transported; and some idea may be formed of the heavy luggage that now followed the camp by the loss of two thousand waggons, which had been sustained in a single action in the war of Epirus." To his soldiers he assigned a third of the soil of Italy, and the barbarian families settled down with their slaves and cattle. The original number of the Vandal conquerors of Africa had only been fifty thousand men, but the military colonists of Italy soon amounted to the number of two hundred thousand; which, according to the calculation adopted by the same author elsewhere, involves a population of a million. The least that could be expected was, that an Arian ascendency established through the extent of Italy would provide for the sufficient celebration of the Arian worship, and we hear of the Arians having a Church even in Rome.[278:1] The rule of the Lombards in the north of Italy succeeded to that of the Goths,--Arians, like their predecessors, without their toleration. The clergy whom they brought with them seem to have claimed their share in the possession of the Catholic churches;[278:2] and though the Court was converted at the end of thirty years, many cities in Italy were for some time afterwards troubled by the presence of heretical bishops.[278:3] The rule of Arianism in France lasted for eighty years; in Spain for a hundred and eighty; in Africa for a hundred; for about a hundred in Italy. These periods were not contemporaneous; but extend altogether from the beginning of the fifth to the end of the sixth century.
It will be anticipated that the duration of this ascendency of error had not the faintest tendency to deprive the ancient Church of the West of the title of Catholic; and it is needless to produce evidence of a fact which is on the very face of the history. The Arians seem never to have claimed the Catholic name. It is more remarkable that the Catholics during this period were denoted by the additional title of "Romans." Of this there are many proofs in the histories of St. Gregory of Tours, Victor of Vite, and the Spanish Councils. Thus, St. Gregory speaks of Theodegisilus, a king of Portugal, expressing his incredulity at a miracle, by saying, "It is the temper of the Romans, (for," interposes the author, "they call men of our religion Romans,) and not the power of God."[279:1] "Heresy is everywhere an enemy to Catholics," says the same St. Gregory in a subsequent place, and he proceeds to illustrate it by the story of a "Catholic woman," who had a heretic husband, to whom, he says, came "a presbyter of our religion very Catholic;" and whom the husband matched at table with his own Arian presbyter, "that there might be the priests of each religion" in their house at once. When they were eating, the husband said to the Arian, "Let us have some sport with this presbyter of the Romans."[279:2] The Arian Count Gomachar, seized on the lands of the Church of Agde in France, and was attacked with a fever; on his recovery, at the prayers of the Bishop, he repented of having asked for them, observing, "What will these Romans say now? that my fever came of taking their land."[279:3] When the Vandal Theodoric would have killed the Catholic Armogastes, after failing to torture him into heresy, his presbyter dissuaded him, "lest the Romans should begin to call him a Martyr."[279:4]
This appellation had two meanings; one, which will readily suggest itself, is its use in contrast to the word "barbarian," as denoting the faith of the Empire, as "Greek" occurs in St. Paul's Epistles. In this sense it would more naturally be used by the Romans themselves than by others. Thus Salvian says, that "nearly all the Romans are greater sinners than the barbarians;"[280:1] and he speaks of "Roman heretics, of which there is an innumerable multitude,"[280:2] meaning heretics within the Empire. And so St. Gregory the Great complains, that he "had become Bishop of the Lombards rather than of the Romans."[280:3] And Evagrius, speaking even of the East, contrasts "Romans and barbarians"[280:4] in his account of St. Simeon; and at a later date, and even to this day, Thrace and portions of Dacia and of Asia Minor derive their name from Rome. In like manner, we find Syrian writers sometimes speaking of the religion of the Romans, sometimes of the Greeks,[280:5] as synonymes.
But the word certainly contains also an allusion to the faith and communion of the Roman See. In this sense the Emperor Theodosius, in his letter to Acacius of Berœa, contrasts it with Nestorianism, which was within the Empire as well as Catholicism; during the controversy raised by that heresy, he exhorts him and others to show themselves "approved priests of the Roman religion."[280:6] Again when the Ligurian nobles were persuading the Arian Ricimer to come to terms with Anthemius, the orthodox representative of the Greek Emperor,[280:7] they propose to him to send St. Epiphanius as ambassador, a man "whose life is venerable to every Catholic and Roman, and at least amiable in the eyes of a Greek (_Græculus_) if he deserves the sight of him."[281:1] It must be recollected, too, that the Spanish and African Churches actually were in the closest union with the See of Rome at that time, and that that intercommunion was the visible ecclesiastical distinction between them and their Arian rivals. The chief ground of the Vandal Hunneric's persecution of the African Catholics seems to have been their connexion with their brethren beyond the sea,[281:2] which he looked at with jealousy, as introducing a foreign power into his territory. Prior to this he had published an edict calling on the "Homoüsian" Bishops (for on this occasion he did not call them Catholic), to meet his own bishops at Carthage and treat concerning the faith, that "their meetings to the seduction of Christian souls might not be held in the provinces of the Vandals."[281:3] Upon this invitation, Eugenius of Carthage replied, that all the transmarine Bishops of the orthodox communion ought to be summoned, "in particular because it is a matter for the whole world, not special to the African provinces," that "they could not undertake a point of faith _sine universitatis assensu_." Hunneric answered that if Eugenius would make him sovereign of the _orbis terrarum_, he would comply with his request. This led Eugenius to say that the orthodox faith was "the only true faith;" that the king ought to write to his allies abroad, if he wished to know it, and that he himself would write to his brethren for foreign bishops, "who," he says, "may assist us in setting before you the true faith, common to them and to us, and especially the Roman Church, which is the head of all Churches." Moreover, the African Bishops in their banishment in Sardinia, to the number of sixty, with St. Fulgentius at their head, quote with approbation the words of Pope Hormisdas, to the effect that they hold, "on the point of free will and divine grace, what the Roman, that is, the Catholic, Church follows and preserves."[282:1] Again, the Spanish Church was under the superintendence of the Pope's Vicar[282:2] during the persecutions, whose duty it was to hinder all encroachments upon "the Apostolical decrees, or the limits of the Holy Fathers," through the whole of the country.
Nor was the association of Catholicism with the See of Rome an introduction of that age. The Emperor Gratian, in the fourth century, had ordered that the Churches which the Arians had usurped should be restored (not to those who held "the Catholic faith," or "the Nicene Creed," or were "in communion with the _orbis terrarum_,") but "who chose the communion of Damasus,"[282:3] the then Pope. It was St. Jerome's rule, also, in some well-known passages:--Writing against Ruffinus, who had spoken of "our faith," he says, "What does he mean by 'his faith'? that which is the strength of the Roman Church? or that which is contained in the volumes of Origen? If he answer, 'The Roman,' then we are Catholics who have borrowed nothing of Origen's error; but if Origen's blasphemy be his faith, then, while he is charging me with inconsistency, he proves himself to be an heretic."[282:4] The other passage, already quoted, is still more exactly to the point, because it was written on occasion of a schism. The divisions at Antioch had thrown the Catholic Church into a remarkable position; there were two Bishops in the See, one in connexion with the East, the other with Egypt and the West,--with which then was "Catholic Communion"? St. Jerome has no doubt on the subject:--Writing to St. Damasus, he says, "Since the East tears into pieces the Lord's coat, . . . therefore by me is the chair of Peter to be consulted, and that faith which is praised by the Apostle's mouth. . . . Though your greatness terrifies me, yet your kindness invites me. From the Priest I ask the salvation of the victim, from the Shepherd the protection of the sheep. Let us speak without offence; I court not the Roman height: I speak with the successor of the Fisherman and the disciple of the Cross. I, who follow none as my chief but Christ, am associated in communion with thy blessedness, that is, with the See of Peter. On that rock the Church is built, I know. Whoso shall eat the Lamb outside that House is profane . . . . I know not Vitalis" (the Apollinarian), "Meletius I reject, I am ignorant of Paulinus. Whoso gathereth not with thee, scattereth; that is, he who is not of Christ is of Antichrist."[283:1] Again, "The ancient authority of the monks, dwelling round about, rises against me; I meanwhile cry out, If any be joined to Peter's chair he is mine."[283:2]
Here was what may be considered a _dignus vindice nodus_, the Church being divided, and an arbiter wanted. Such a case had also occurred in Africa in the controversy with the Donatists. Four hundred bishops, though but in one region, were a fifth part of the whole Episcopate of Christendom, and might seem too many for a schism, and in themselves too large a body to be cut off from God's inheritance by a mere majority, even had it been overwhelming. St. Augustine, then, who so often appeals to the _orbis terrarum_, sometimes adopts a more prompt criterion. He tells certain Donatists to whom he writes, that the Catholic Bishop of Carthage "was able to make light of the thronging multitude of his enemies, when he found himself by letters of credence joined both to the Roman Church, in which ever had flourished the principality of the Apostolical See, and to the other lands whence the gospel came to Africa itself."[284:1]
There are good reasons then for explaining the Gothic and Arian use of the word "Roman," when applied to the Catholic Church and faith, of something beyond its mere connexion with the Empire, which the barbarians were assaulting; nor would "Roman" surely be the most obvious word to denote the orthodox faith, in the mouths of a people who had learned their heresy from a Roman Emperor and Court, and who professed to direct their belief by the great Latin Council of Ariminum.
As then the fourth century presented to us in its external aspect the Catholic Church lying in the midst of a multitude of sects, all enemies to it, so in the fifth and sixth we see the same Church lying in the West under the oppression of a huge, farspreading, and schismatical communion. Heresy is no longer a domestic enemy intermingled with the Church, but it occupies its own ground and is extended over against her, even though on the same territory, and is more or less organized, and cannot be so promptly refuted by the simple test of Catholicity.
§ 2. _The Nestorians._
The Churches of Syria and Asia Minor were the most intellectual portion of early Christendom. Alexandria was but one metropolis in a large region, and contained the philosophy of the whole Patriarchate; but Syria abounded in wealthy and luxurious cities, the creation of the Seleucidæ, where the arts and the schools of Greece had full opportunities of cultivation. For a time too, for the first two hundred years, as some think, Alexandria was the only See as well as the only school of Egypt; while Syria was divided into smaller dioceses, each of which had at first an authority of its own, and which, even after the growth of the Patriarchal power, received their respective bishops, not from the See of Antioch, but from their own metropolitan. In Syria too the schools were private, a circumstance which would tend both to diversity in religious opinion, and incaution in the expression of it; but the sole catechetical school of Egypt was the organ of the Church, and its Bishop could banish Origen for speculations which developed and ripened with impunity in Syria.
But the immediate source of that fertility in heresy, which is the unhappiness of the ancient Syrian Church, was its celebrated Exegetical School. The history of that School is summed up in the broad characteristic fact, on the one hand that it devoted itself to the literal and critical interpretation of Scripture, and on the other that it gave rise first to the Arian and then to the Nestorian heresy. If additional evidence be wanted of the connexion of heterodoxy and biblical criticism in that age, it is found in the fact that, not long after this coincidence in Syria, they are found combined in the person of Theodore of Heraclea, so called from the place both of his birth and his bishoprick, an able commentator and an active enemy of St. Athanasius, though a Thracian unconnected except by sympathy with the Patriarchate of Antioch.
The Antiochene School appears to have risen in the middle of the third century; but there is no evidence to determine whether it was a local institution, or, as is more probable, a discipline or method characteristic generally of Syrian teaching. Dorotheus is one of its earliest luminaries; he is known as a Hebrew scholar, as well as a commentator on the sacred text, and he was the master of Eusebius of Cæsarea. Lucian, the friend of the notorious Paul of Samosata, and for three successive Episcopates after him separated from the Church though afterwards a martyr in it, was the author of a new edition of the Septuagint, and master of the chief original teachers of Arianism. Eusebius of Cæsarea, Asterius called the Sophist, and Eusebius of Emesa, Arians of the Nicene period, and Diodorus, a zealous opponent of Arianism, but the master of Theodore of Mopsuestia, have all a place in the Exegetical School. St. Chrysostom and Theodoret, both Syrians, and the former the pupil of Diodorus, adopted the literal interpretation, though preserved from its abuse. But the principal doctor of the School was that Theodore, the master of Nestorius, who has just above been mentioned, and who, with his writings, and with the writings of Theodoret against St. Cyril, and the letter written by Ibas of Edessa to Maris, was condemned by the fifth Ecumenical Council. Ibas was the translator into Syriac, and Maris into Persian, of the books of Theodore and Diodorus;[286:1] and thus they became immediate instruments in the formation of the great Nestorian school and Church in farther Asia.
As many as ten thousand tracts of Theodore are said in this way to have been introduced to the knowledge of the Christians of Mesopotamia, Adiabene, Babylonia, and the neighbouring countries. He was called by those Churches absolutely "the Interpreter," and it eventually became the very profession of the Nestorian communion to follow him as such. "The doctrine of all our Eastern Churches," says their Council under the Patriarch Marabas, "is founded on the Creed of Nicæa; but in the exposition of the Scriptures we follow St. Theodore." "We must by all means remain firm to the commentaries of the great Commentator," says the Council under Sabarjesus; "whoso shall in any manner oppose them, or think otherwise, be he anathema."[287:1] No one since the beginning of Christianity, except Origen and St. Augustine, has had so great literary influence on his brethren as Theodore.[287:2]
The original Syrian School had possessed very marked characteristics, which it did not lose when it passed into a new country and into strange tongues. Its comments on Scripture seem to have been clear, natural, methodical, apposite, and logically exact. "In all Western Aramæa," says Lengerke, that is, in Syria, "there was but one mode of treating whether exegetics or doctrine, the practical."[287:3] Thus Eusebius of Cæsarea, whether as a disputant or a commentator, is commonly a writer of sense and judgment; and he is to be referred to the Syrian school, though he does not enter so far into its temper as to exclude the mystical interpretation or to deny the verbal inspiration of Scripture. Again, we see in St. Chrysostom a direct, straightforward treatment of the sacred text, and a pointed application of it to things and persons; and Theodoret abounds in modes of thinking and reasoning which without any great impropriety may be called English. Again, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, though he does not abstain from allegory, shows the character of his school by the great stress he lays upon the study of Scripture, and, I may add, by the peculiar characteristics of his style, which will be appreciated by a modern reader.
It would have been well, had the genius of the Syrian theology been ever in the safe keeping of men such as St. Cyril, St. Chrysostom, and Theodoret; but in Theodore of Mopsuestia, nay in Diodorus before him, it developed into those errors, of which Paul of Samosata had been the omen on its rise. As its attention was chiefly directed to the examination of the Scriptures, in its interpretation of the Scriptures was its heretical temper discovered; and though allegory can be made an instrument for evading Scripture doctrine, criticism may more readily be turned to the destruction of doctrine and Scripture together. Theodore was bent on ascertaining the literal sense, an object with which no fault could be found: but, leading him of course to the Hebrew text instead of the Septuagint, it also led him to Jewish commentators. Jewish commentators naturally suggested events and objects short of evangelical as the fulfilment of the prophetical announcements, and, when it was possible, an ethical sense instead of a prophetical. The eighth chapter of Proverbs ceased to bear a Christian meaning, because, as Theodore maintained, the writer of the book had received the gift, not of prophecy, but of wisdom. The Canticles must be interpreted literally; and then it was but an easy, or rather a necessary step, to exclude the book from the Canon. The book of Job too professed to be historical; yet what was it really but a Gentile drama? He also gave up the books of Chronicles and Ezra, and, strange to say, the Epistle of St. James, though it was contained in the Peschito Version of his Church. He denied that Psalms 22 and 69 [21 and 68] applied to our Lord; rather he limited the Messianic passages of the whole book to four; of which the eighth Psalm was one, and the forty-fifth  another. The rest he explained of Hezekiah and Zerubbabel, without denying that they might be accommodated to an evangelical sense.[288:1] He explained St. Thomas's words, "My Lord and my God," as an exclamation of joy, and our Lord's "Receive ye the Holy Ghost," as an anticipation of the day of Pentecost. As may be expected he denied the verbal inspiration of Scripture. Also, he held that the deluge did not cover the earth; and, as others before him, he was heterodox on the doctrine of original sin, and denied the eternity of punishment.
Maintaining that the real sense of Scripture was, not the scope of a Divine Intelligence, but the intention of the mere human organ of inspiration, Theodore was led to hold, not only that that sense was one in each text, but that it was continuous and single in a context; that what was the subject of the composition in one verse must be the subject in the next, and that if a Psalm was historical or prophetical in its commencement, it was the one or the other to its termination. Even that fulness, of meaning, refinement of thought, subtle versatility of feeling, and delicate reserve or reverent suggestiveness, which poets exemplify, seems to have been excluded from his idea of a sacred composition. Accordingly, if a Psalm contained passages which could not be applied to our Lord, it followed that that Psalm did not properly apply to Him at all, except by accommodation. Such at least is the doctrine of Cosmas, a writer of Theodore's school, who on this ground passes over the twenty-second, sixty-ninth, and other Psalms, and limits the Messianic to the second, the eighth, the forty-fifth, and the hundred and tenth. "David," he says, "did not make common to the servants what belongs to the Lord[289:1] Christ, but what was proper to the Lord he spoke of the Lord, and what was proper to the servants, of servants."[289:2] Accordingly the twenty-second could not properly belong to Christ, because in the beginning it spoke of the "_verba delictorum meorum_." A remarkable consequence would follow from this doctrine, that as Christ was to be separated from His Saints, so the Saints were to be separated from Christ; and an opening was made for a denial of the doctrine of their _cultus_, though this denial in the event has not been developed among the Nestorians. But a more serious consequence is latently contained in it, and nothing else than the Nestorian heresy, viz. that our Lord's manhood is not so intimately included in His Divine Personality that His brethren according to the flesh may be associated with the Image of the One Christ. Here St. Chrysostom pointedly contradicts the doctrine of Theodore, though his fellow-pupil and friend;[290:1] as does St. Ephrem, though a Syrian also;[290:2] and St. Basil.[290:3]
One other peculiarity of the Syrian school, viewed as independent of Nestorius, should be added:--As it tended to the separation of the Divine Person of Christ from His manhood, so did it tend to explain away His Divine Presence in the Sacramental elements. Ernesti seems to consider the school, in modern language, Sacramentarian: and certainly some of the most cogent testimonies brought by moderns against the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist are taken from writers who are connected with that school; as the author, said to be St. Chrysostom, of the Epistle to Cæsarius, Theodoret in his Eranistes, and Facundus. Some countenance too is given to the same view of the Eucharist, at least in some parts of his works, by Origen, whose language concerning the Incarnation also leans to what was afterwards Nestorianism. To these may be added Eusebius,[291:1] who, far removed, as he was, from that heresy, was a disciple of the Syrian school. The language of the later Nestorian writers seems to have been of the same character.[291:2] Such then on the whole is the character of that theology of Theodore which passed from Cilicia and Antioch to Edessa first, and then to Nisibis.
Edessa, the metropolis of Mesopotamia, had remained an Oriental city till the third century, when it was made a Roman colony by Caracalla.[291:3] Its position on the confines of two empires gave it great ecclesiastical importance, as the channel by which the theology of Rome and Greece was conveyed to a family of Christians, dwelling in contempt and persecution amid a still heathen world. It was the seat of various schools; apparently of a Greek school, where the classics were studied as well as theology, where Eusebius of Emesa[291:4] had originally been trained, and where perhaps Protogenes taught.[291:5] There were also Syrian schools attended by heathen and Christian youths in common. The cultivation of the native language had been an especial object of its masters since the time of Vespasian, so that the pure and refined dialect went by the name of the Edessene.[291:6] At Edessa too St. Ephrem formed his own Syrian school, which lasted long after him; and there too was the celebrated Persian Christian school, over which Maris presided, who has been already mentioned as the translator of Theodore into Persian.[291:7] Even in the time of the predecessor of Ibas in the See (before A.D. 435) the Nestorianism of this Persian School was so notorious that Rabbula the Bishop had expelled its masters and scholars;[292:1] and they, taking refuge in a country which might be called their own, had introduced the heresy to the Churches subject to the Persian King.
Something ought to be said of these Churches; though little is known except what is revealed by the fact, in itself of no slight value, that they had sustained two persecutions at the hands of the heathen government in the fourth and fifth centuries. One testimony is extant as early as the end of the second century, to the effect that in Parthia, Media, Persia, and Bactria there were Christians who "were not overcome by evil laws and customs."[292:2] In the early part of the fourth century, a bishop of Persia attended the Nicene Council, and about the same time Christianity is said to have pervaded nearly the whole of Assyria.[292:3] Monachism had been introduced there before the middle of the fourth century, and shortly after commenced that fearful persecution in which sixteen thousand Christians are said to have suffered. It lasted thirty years, and is said to have recommenced at the end of the Century. The second persecution lasted for at least another thirty years of the next, at the very time when the Nestorian troubles were in progress in the Empire. Trials such as these show the populousness as well as the faith of the Churches in those parts,--and the number of the Sees, for the names of twenty-seven Bishops are preserved who suffered in the former persecution. One of them was apprehended together with sixteen priests, nine deacons, besides monks and nuns of his diocese; another with twenty-eight companions, ecclesiastics or regulars; another with one hundred ecclesiastics of different orders; another with one hundred and twenty-eight; another with his chorepiscopus and two hundred and fifty of his clergy. Such was the Church, consecrated by the blood of so many martyrs, which immediately after its glorious confession fell a prey to the theology of Theodore; and which through a succession of ages manifested the energy, when it had lost the pure orthodoxy of Saints.
The members of the Persian school, who had been driven out of Edessa by Rabbula, found a wide field open for their exertions under the pagan government with which they had taken refuge. The Persian monarchs, who had often prohibited by edict[293:1] the intercommunion of the Church under their sway with the countries towards the west, readily extended their protection to exiles, whose very profession was the means of destroying its Catholicity. Barsumas, the most energetic of them, was placed in the metropolitan See of Nisibis, where also the fugitive school was settled under the presidency of another of their party; while Maris was promoted to the See of Ardaschir. The primacy of the Church had from an early period belonged to the See of Seleucia in Babylonia. Catholicus was the title appropriated to its occupant, as well as to the Persian Primate, as being deputies of the Patriarch of Antioch, and was derived apparently from the Imperial dignity so called, denoting their function as Procurators-general, or officers in chief for the regions in which they were placed. Acacius, another of the Edessene party, was put into this principal See, and suffered, if he did not further, the innovations of Barsumas. The mode by which the latter effected those measures has been left on record by an enemy. "Barsumas accused Babuæus, the Catholicus, before King Pherozes, whispering, 'These men hold the faith of the Romans, and are their spies. Give me power against them to arrest them.'"[294:1] It is said that in this way he obtained the death of Babuæus, whom Acacius succeeded. When a minority resisted[294:2] the process of schism, a persecution followed. The death of seven thousand seven hundred Catholics is said by Monophysite authorities to have been the price of the severance of the Chaldaic Churches from Christendom.[294:3] Their loss was compensated in the eyes of the Government by the multitude of Nestorian fugitives, who flocked into Persia from the Empire, numbers of them industrious artisans, who sought a country where their own religion was in the ascendant.
That religion was founded, as we have already seen, in the literal interpretation of Holy Scripture, of which Theodore was the principal teacher. The doctrine, in which it formally consisted, is known by the name of Nestorianism: it lay in the ascription of a human as well as a Divine Personality to our Lord; and it showed itself in denying the title of "Mother of God," or θεοτόκος, to the Blessed Mary. As to our Lord's Personality, the question of language came into the controversy, which always serves to perplex a subject and make a dispute seem a matter of words. The native Syrians made a distinction between the word "Person," and "Prosopon," which stands for it in Greek; they allowed that there was one Prosopon or Parsopa, as they called it, and they heldthat there were two Persons. If it is asked what they meant by _parsopa_, the answer seems to be, that they took the word merely in the sense of _character_ or _aspect_, a sense familiar to the Greek _prosopon_, and quite irrelevant as a guarantee of their orthodoxy. It follows moreover that, since the _aspect_ of a thing is its impression upon the beholder, the personality to which they ascribed unity must have laid in our Lord's manhood, and not in His Divine Nature. But it is hardly worth while pursuing the heresy to its limits. Next, as to the phrase "Mother of God," they rejected it as unscriptural; they maintained that St. Mary was Mother of the humanity of Christ, not of the Word, and they fortified themselves by the Nicene Creed, in which no such title is ascribed to her.
Whatever might be the obscurity or the plausibility of their original dogma, there is nothing obscure or attractive in the developments, whether of doctrine or of practice, in which it issued. The first act of the exiles of Edessa, on their obtaining power in the Chaldean communion, was to abolish the celibacy of the clergy, or, in Gibbon's forcible words, to allow "the public and reiterated nuptials of the priests, the bishops, and even the patriarch himself." Barsumas, the great instrument of the change of religion, was the first to set an example of the new usage, and is even said by a Nestorian writer to have married a nun.[295:1] He passed a Canon at Councils, held at Seleucia and elsewhere, that bishops and priests might marry, and might renew their wives as often as they lost them. The Catholicus who followed Acacius went so far as to extend the benefit of the Canon to Monks, that is, to destroy the Monastic order; and his two successors availed themselves of this liberty, and are recorded to have been fathers. A restriction, however, was afterwards placed upon the Catholicus, and upon the Episcopal order.
Such were the circumstances, and such the principles, under which the See of Seleucia became the Rome of the East. In the course of time the Catholicus took on himself the loftier and independent title of Patriarch of Babylon; and though Seleucia was changed for Ctesiphon and for Bagdad,[296:1] still the name of Babylon was preserved from first to last as a formal or ideal Metropolis. In the time of the Caliphs, it was at the head of as many as twenty-five Archbishops; its Communion extended from China to Jerusalem; and its numbers, with those of the Monophysites, are said to have surpassed those of the Greek and Latin Churches together. The Nestorians seem to have been unwilling, like the Novatians, to be called by the name of their founder,[296:2] though they confessed it had adhered to them; one instance may be specified of their assuming the name of Catholic,[296:3] but there is nothing to show it was given them by others.
"From the conquest of Persia," says Gibbon, "they carried their spiritual arms to the North, the East, and the South; and the simplicity of the Gospel was fashioned and painted with the colours of the Syriac theology. In the sixth century, according to the report of a Nestorian traveller, Christianity was successfully preached to the Bactrians, the Huns, the Persians, the Indians, the Persarmenians, the Medes, and the Elamites: the Barbaric Churches from the gulf of Persia to the Caspian Sea were almost infinite; and their recent faith was conspicuous in the number and sanctity of their monks and martyrs. The pepper coast of Malabar and the isles of the ocean, Socotra and Ceylon, were peopled with an increasing multitude of Christians, and the bishops and clergy of those sequestered regions derived their ordination from the Catholicus of Babylon. In a subsequent age, the zeal of the Nestorians overleaped the limits which had confined the ambition and curiosity both of the Greeks and Persians. The missionaries of Balch and Samarcand pursued without fear the footsteps of the roving Tartar, and insinuated themselves into the camps of the valleys of Imaus and the banks of the Selinga."[297:1]
§ 3. _The Monophysites._
Eutyches was Archimandrite, or Abbot, of a Monastery in the suburbs of Constantinople; he was a man of unexceptionable character, and was of the age of seventy years, and had been Abbot for thirty, at the date of his unhappy introduction into ecclesiastical history. He had been the friend and assistant of St. Cyril of Alexandria, and had lately taken part against Ibas, Bishop of Edessa, whose name has occurred in the above account of the Nestorians. For some time he had been engaged in teaching a doctrine concerning the Incarnation, which he maintained indeed to be none other than that of St. Cyril's in his controversy with Nestorius, but which others denounced as a heresy in the opposite extreme, and substantially a reassertion of Apollinarianism. The subject was brought before a Council of Constantinople, under the presidency of Flavian, the Patriarch, in the year 448; and Eutyches was condemned by the assembled Bishops of holding the doctrine of One, instead of Two Natures in Christ.
It is scarcely necessary for our present purpose to ascertain accurately what he held, and there has been a great deal of controversy on the subject; partly from confusion between him and his successors, partly from the indecision or the ambiguity which commonly attaches to the professions of heretics. If a statement must here be made of the doctrine of Eutyches himself, in whom the controversy began, let it be said to consist in these two tenets:--in maintaining first, that "before the Incarnation there were two natures, after their union one," or that our Lord was of or from two natures, but not in two;--and, secondly, that His flesh was not of one substance with ours, that is, not of the substance of the Blessed Virgin. Of these two points, he seemed willing to abandon the second, but was firm in his maintenance of the first. But let us return to the Council of Constantinople.
In his examination Eutyches allowed that the Holy Virgin was consubstantial with us, and that "our God was incarnate of her;" but he would not allow that He was therefore, as man, consubstantial with us, his notion apparently being that union with the Divinity had changed what otherwise would have been human nature. However, when pressed, he said, that, though up to that day he had not permitted himself to discuss the nature of Christ, or to affirm that "God's body is man's body though it was human," yet he would allow, if commanded, our Lord's consubstantiality with us. Upon this Flavian observed that "the Council was introducing no innovation, but declaring the faith of the Fathers." To his other position, however, that our Lord had but one nature after the Incarnation, he adhered: when the Catholic doctrine was put before him, he answered, "Let St. Athanasius be read; you will find nothing of the kind in him."
His condemnation followed: it was signed by twenty-two Bishops and twenty-three Abbots;[298:1] among the former were Flavian of Constantinople, Basil metropolitan of Seleucia in Isauria, the metropolitans of Amasea in Pontus, and Marcianopolis in Mœsia, and the Bishop of Cos, the Pope's minister at Constantinople.
Eutyches appealed to the Pope of the day, St. Leo, who at first hearing took his part. He wrote to Flavian that, "judging by the statement of Eutyches, he did not see with what justice he had been separated from the communion of the Church." "Send therefore," he continued, "some suitable person to give us a full account of what has occurred, and let us know what the new error is." St. Flavian, who had behaved with great forbearance throughout the proceedings, had not much difficulty in setting the controversy before the Pope in its true light.
Eutyches was supported by the Imperial Court, and by Dioscorus the Patriarch of Alexandria; the proceedings therefore at Constantinople were not allowed to settle the question. A general Council was summoned for the ensuing summer at Ephesus, where the third Ecumenical Council had been held twenty years before against Nestorius. It was attended by sixty metropolitans, ten from each of the great divisions of the East; the whole number of bishops assembled amounted to one hundred and thirty-five.[299:1] Dioscorus was appointed President by the Emperor, and the object of the assembly was said to be the settlement of a question of faith which had arisen between Flavian and Eutyches. St. Leo, dissatisfied with the measure altogether, nevertheless sent his legates, but with the object, as their commission stated, and a letter he addressed to the Council, of "condemning the heresy, and reinstating Eutyches if he retracted." His legates took precedence after Dioscorus and before the other Patriarchs. He also published at this time his celebrated Tome on the Incarnation, in a letter addressed to Flavian.
The proceedings which followed were of so violent a character, that the Council has gone down to posterity under the name of the Latrocinium or "Gang of Robbers." Eutyches was honourably acquitted, and his doctrine received; but the assembled Fathers showed some backwardness to depose St. Flavian. Dioscorus had been attended by a multitude of monks, furious zealots for the Monophysite doctrine from Syria and Egypt, and by an armed force. These broke into the Church at his call; Flavian was thrown down and trampled on, and received injuries of which he died the third day after. The Pope's legates escaped as they could; and the Bishops were compelled to sign a blank paper, which was afterwards filled up with the condemnation of Flavian. These outrages, however, were subsequent to the Synodical acceptance of the Creed of Eutyches, which seems to have been the spontaneous act of the assembled Fathers. The proceedings ended by Dioscorus excommunicating the Pope, and the Emperor issuing an edict in approval of the decision of the Council.
Before continuing the narrative, let us pause awhile to consider what it has already brought before us. An aged and blameless man, the friend of a Saint, and him the great champion of the faith against the heresy of his day, is found in the belief and maintenance of a doctrine, which he declares to be the very doctrine which that Saint taught in opposition to that heresy. To prove it, he and his friends refer to the very words of St. Cyril; Eustathius of Berytus quoting from him at Ephesus as follows: "We must not then conceive two natures, but one nature of the Word incarnate."[300:1] Moreover, it seems that St. Cyril had been called to account for this very phrase, and had appealed more than once to a passage, which is extant as he quoted it, in a work by St. Athanasius.[301:1] Whether the passage in question is genuine is very doubtful, but that is not to the purpose; for the phrase which it contains is also attributed by St. Cyril to other Fathers, and was admitted by Catholics generally, as by St. Flavian, who deposed Eutyches, nay was indirectly adopted by the Council of Chalcedon itself.
But Eutyches did not merely insist upon a phrase; he appealed for his doctrine to the Fathers generally; "I have read the blessed Cyril, and the holy Fathers, and the holy Athanasius," he says at Constantinople, "that they said, 'Of two natures before the union,' but that 'after the union' they said 'but one.'"[301:2] In his letter to St. Leo, he appeals in particular to Pope Julius, Pope Felix, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Basil, Atticus, and St. Proclus. He did not appeal to them unreservedly certainly, as shall be presently noticed; he allowed that they might err, and perhaps had erred, in their expressions: but it is plain, even from what has been said, that there could be no _consensus_ against him, as the word is now commonly understood. It is also undeniable that, though the word "nature" is applied to our Lord's manhood by St. Ambrose, St. Gregory Nazianzen and others, yet on the whole it is for whatever reason avoided by the previous Fathers; certainly by St. Athanasius, who uses the words "manhood," "flesh," "the man," "economy," where a later writer would have used "nature:" and the same is true of St. Hilary.[301:3] In like manner, the Athanasian Creed, written, as it is supposed, some twenty years before the date of Eutyches, does not contain the word "nature." Much might be said on the plausibility of the defence, which Eutyches might have made for his doctrine from the history and documents of the Church before his time.
Further, Eutyches professed to subscribe heartily the decrees of the Council of Nicæa and Ephesus, and his friends appealed to the latter of these Councils and to previous Fathers, in proof that nothing could be added to the Creed of the Church. "I," he says to St. Leo, "even from my elders have so understood, and from my childhood have so been instructed, as the holy and Ecumenical Council at Nicæa of the three hundred and eighteen most blessed Bishops settled the faith, and which the holy Council held at Ephesus maintained and defined anew as the only faith; and I have never understood otherwise than as the right or only true orthodox faith hath enjoined." He says at the Latrocinium, "When I declared that my faith was conformable to the decision of Nicæa, confirmed at Ephesus, they demanded that I should add some words to it; and I, fearing to act contrary to the decrees of the First Council of Ephesus and of the Council of Nicæa, desired that your holy Council might be made acquainted with it, since I was ready to submit to whatever you should approve."[302:1] Dioscorus states the matter more strongly: "We have heard," he says, "what this Council" of Ephesus "decreed, that if any one affirm or opine anything, or raise any question, beyond the Creed aforesaid" of Nicæa, "he is to be condemned."[302:2] It is remarkable that the Council of Ephesus, which laid down this rule, had itself sanctioned the Theotocos, an addition, greater perhaps than any before or since, to the letter of the primitive faith.
Further, Eutyches appealed to Scripture, and denied that a human nature was there given to our Lord; and this appeal obliged him in consequence to refuse an unconditional assent to the Councils and Fathers, though he so confidently spoke about them at other times. It was urged against him that the Nicene Council itself had introduced into the Creed extra-scriptural terms. "'I have never found in Scripture,' he said," according to one of the Priests who were sent to him, "'that there are two natures.' I replied, 'Neither is the Consubstantiality,'" (the Homoüsion of Nicæa,) "'to be found in the Scriptures, but in the Holy Fathers who well understood them and faithfully expounded them.'"[303:1] Accordingly, on another occasion, a report was made of him, that "he professed himself ready to assent to the Exposition of Faith made by the Holy Fathers of the Nicene and Ephesine Councils and he engaged to subscribe their interpretations. However, if there were any accidental fault or error in any expressions which they made, this he would neither blame nor accept; but only search the Scriptures, as being surer than the expositions of the Fathers; that since the time of the Incarnation of God the Word . . he worshipped one Nature . . . that the doctrine that our Lord Jesus Christ came of Two Natures personally united, this it was that he had learned from the expositions of the Holy Fathers; nor did he accept, if ought was read to him from any author to [another] effect, because the Holy Scriptures, as he said, were better than the teaching of the Fathers."[304:1] This appeal to the Scriptures will remind us of what has lately been said of the school of Theodore in the history of Nestorianism, and of the challenge of the Arians to St. Avitus before the Gothic King.[304:2] It had also been the characteristic of heresy in the antecedent period. St. Hilary brings together a number of instances in point, from the history of Marcellus, Photinus, Sabellius, Montanus, and Manes; then he adds, "They all speak Scripture without the sense of Scripture, and profess a faith without faith."[304:3]
Once more; the Council of the Latrocinium, however, tyrannized over by Dioscorus in the matter of St. Flavian, certainly did acquit Eutyches and accept his doctrine canonically, and, as it would appear, cordially; though their change at Chalcedon, and the subsequent variations of the East, make it a matter of little moment how they decided. The Acts of Constantinople were read to the Fathers of the Latrocinium; when they came to the part where Eusebius of Dorylæum, the accuser of Eutyches, asked him, whether he confessed Two Natures after the Incarnation, and the Consubstantiality according to the flesh, the Fathers broke in upon the reading:--"Away with Eusebius; burn him; burn him alive; cut him in two; as he divided, so let him be divided."[305:1] The Council seems to have been unanimous, with the exception of the Pope's Legates, in the restoration of Eutyches; a more complete decision can hardly be imagined.
It is true the whole number of signatures now extant, one hundred and eight, may seem small out of a thousand, the number of Sees in the East; but the attendance of Councils always bore a representative character. The whole number of East and West was about eighteen hundred, yet the second Ecumenical Council was attended by only one hundred and fifty, which is but a twelfth part of the whole number; the Third Council by about two hundred, or a ninth; the Council of Nicæa itself numbered only three hundred and eighteen Bishops. Moreover, when we look through the names subscribed to the Synodal decision, we find that the misbelief, or misapprehension, or weakness, to which this great offence must be attributed, was no local phenomenon, but the unanimous sin of Bishops in every patriarchate and of every school of the East. Three out of the four patriarchs were in favour of the heresiarch, the fourth being on his trial. Of these Domnus of Antioch and Juvenal of Jerusalem acquitted him, on the ground of his confessing the faith of Nicæa and Ephesus: and Domnus was a man of the fairest and purest character, and originally a disciple of St. Euthemius, however inconsistent on this occasion, and ill-advised in former steps of his career. Dioscorus, violent and bad man as he showed himself, had been Archdeacon to St. Cyril, whom he attended at the Council of Ephesus; and was on this occasion supported by those Churches which had so nobly stood by their patriarch Athanasius in the great Arian conflict. These three Patriarchs were supported by the Exarchs of Ephesus and Cæsarea in Cappadocia; and both of these as well as Domnus and Juvenal, were supported in turn by their subordinate Metropolitans. Even the Sees under the influence of Constantinople, which was the remaining sixth division of the East, took part with Eutyches. We find among the signatures to his acquittal the Bishops of Dyrrachium, of Heraclea in Macedonia, of Messene in the Peloponese, of Sebaste in Armenia, of Tarsus, of Damascus, of Berytus, of Bostra in Arabia, of Amida in Mesopotamia, of Himeria in Osrhoene, of Babylon, of Arsinoe in Egypt, and of Cyrene. The Bishops of Palestine, of Macedonia, and of Achaia, where the keen eye of St. Athanasius had detected the doctrine in its germ, while Apollinarianism was but growing into form, were his actual partisans. Another Barsumas, a Syrian Abbot, ignorant of Greek, attended the Latrocinium, as the representative of the monks of his nation, whom he formed into a force, material or moral, of a thousand strong, and whom at that infamous assembly he cheered on to the murder of St. Flavian.
Such was the state of Eastern Christendom in the year 449; a heresy, appealing to the Fathers, to the Creed, and, above all, to Scripture, was by a general Council, professing to be Ecumenical, received as true in the person of its promulgator. If the East could determine a matter of faith independently of the West, certainly the Monophysite heresy was established as Apostolic truth in all its provinces from Macedonia to Egypt.
There has been a time in the history of Christianity, when it had been Athanasius against the world, and the world against Athanasius. The need and straitness of the Church had been great, and one man was raised up for her deliverance. In this second necessity, who was the destined champion of her who cannot fail? Whence did he come, and what was his name? He came with an augury of victory upon him, which even Athanasius could not show; it was Leo, Bishop of Rome.
Leo's augury of success, which even Athanasius had not, was this, that he was seated in the chair of St. Peter and the heir of his prerogatives. In the very beginning of the controversy, St. Peter Chrysologus had urged this grave consideration upon Eutyches himself, in words which have already been cited: "I exhort you, my venerable brother," he had said, "to submit yourself in everything to what has been written by the blessed Pope of Rome; for St. Peter, who lives and presides in his own See, gives the true faith to those who seek it."[307:1] This voice had come from Ravenna, and now after the Latrocinium it was echoed back from the depths of Syria by the learned Theodoret. "That all-holy See," he says in a letter to one of the Pope's Legates, "has the office of heading (ἡγεμονίαν) the whole world's Churches for many reasons; and above all others, because it has remained free of the communion of heretical taint, and no one of heterodox sentiments hath sat in it, but it hath preserved the Apostolic grace unsullied."[307:2] And a third testimony in encouragement of the faithful at the same dark moment issued from the Imperial court of the West. "We are bound," says Valentinian to the Emperor of the East, "to preserve inviolate in our times the prerogative of particular reverence to the blessed Apostle Peter; that the most blessed Bishop of Rome, to whom Antiquity assigned the priesthood over all (κατὰ πάντων) may have place and opportunity of judging concerning the faith and the priests."[307:3] Nor had Leo himself been wanting at the same time in "the confidence" he had "obtained from the most blessed Peter and head of the Apostles, that he had authority to defend the truth for the peace of the Church."[308:1] Thus Leo introduces us to the Council of Chalcedon, by which he rescued the East from a grave heresy.
The Council met on the 8th of October, 451, and was attended by the largest number of Bishops of any Council before or since; some say by as many as six hundred and thirty. Of these, only four came from the West, two Roman Legates and two Africans.[308:2]
Its proceedings were opened by the Pope's Legates, who said that they had it in charge from the Bishop of Rome, "which is the head of all the Churches," to demand that Dioscorus should not sit, on the ground that "he had presumed to hold a Council without the authority of the Apostolic See, which had never been done nor was lawful to do."[308:3] This was immediately allowed them.
The next act of the Council was to give admission to Theodoret, who had been deposed at the Latrocinium. The Imperial officers present urged his admission, on the ground that "the most holy Archbishop Leo hath restored him to the Episcopal office, and the most pious Emperor hath ordered that he should assist at the holy Council."[308:4]
Presently, a charge was brought forward against Dioscorus, that, though the Legates had presented a letter from the Pope to the Council, it had not been read. Dioscorus admitted not only the fact, but its relevancy; but alleged in excuse that he had twice ordered it to be read in vain.
In the course of the reading of the Acts of the Latrocinium and Constantinople, a number of Bishops moved from the side of Dioscorus and placed themselves with the opposite party. When Peter, Bishop of Corinth, crossed over, the Orientals whom he joined shouted, "Peter thinks as does Peter; orthodox Bishop, welcome."
In the second Session it was the duty of the Fathers to draw up a confession of faith condemnatory of the heresy. A committee was formed for the purpose, and the Creed of Nicæa and Constantinople was read; then some of the Epistles of St. Cyril; lastly, St. Leo's Tome, which had been passed over in silence at the Latrocinium. Some discussion followed upon the last of these documents, but at length the Bishops cried out, "This is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Apostles: we all believe thus; the orthodox believe thus; anathema to him who does not believe thus. Peter has thus spoken through Leo; the Apostles taught thus." Readings from the other Fathers followed; and then some days were allowed for private discussion, before drawing up the confession of faith which was to set right the heterodoxy of the Latrocinium.
During the interval, Dioscorus was tried and condemned; sentence was pronounced against him by the Pope's Legates, and ran thus: "The most holy Archbishop of Rome, Leo, through us and this present Council, with the Apostle St. Peter, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church and of the orthodox faith, deprives him of the Episcopal dignity and every sacerdotal ministry."
In the fourth Session the question of the definition of faith came on again, but the Council got no further than this, that it received the definitions of the three previous Ecumenical Councils; it would not add to them what Leo required. One hundred and sixty Bishops however subscribed his Tome.
In the fifth Session the question came on once more; some sort of definition of faith was the result of the labours of the committee, and was accepted by the great majority of the Council. The Bishops cried out, "We are all satisfied with the definition; it is the faith of the Fathers: anathema to him who thinks otherwise: drive out the Nestorians." When objectors appeared, Anatolius, the new Patriarch of Constantinople, asked "Did not every one yesterday consent to the definition of faith?" on which the Bishops answered, "Every one consented; we do not believe otherwise; it is the Faith of the Fathers; let it be set down that Holy Mary is the Mother of God: let this be added to the Creed; put out the Nestorians."[310:1] The objectors were the Pope's Legates, supported by a certain number of Orientals: those clear-sighted, firm-minded Latins understood full well what and what alone was the true expression of orthodox doctrine under the emergency of the existing heresy. They had been instructed to induce the Council to pass a declaration to the effect, that Christ was not only "of," but "in" two natures. However, they did not enter upon disputation on the point, but they used a more intelligible argument: If the Fathers did not consent to the letter of the blessed Bishop Leo, they would leave the Council and go home. The Imperial officers took the part of the Legates. The Council however persisted: "Every one approved the definition; let it be subscribed: he who refuses to subscribe it is a heretic." They even proceeded to refer it to Divine inspiration. The officers asked if they received St. Leo's Tome; they answered that they had subscribed it, but that they would not introduce its contents into their definition of faith. "We are for no other definition," they said; "nothing is wanting in this."
Notwithstanding, the Pope's Legates gained their point through the support of the Emperor Marcian, who had succeeded Theodosius. A fresh committee was obtained under the threat that, if they resisted, the Council should be transferred to the West. Some voices were raised against this measure; the cries were repeated against the Roman party, "They are Nestorians; let them go to Rome." The Imperial officers remonstrated, "Dioscorus said, 'Of two natures;' Leo says, 'Two natures:' which will you follow, Leo or Dioscorus?" On their answering "Leo," they continued, "Well then, add to the definition, according to the judgment of our most holy Leo." Nothing more was to be said. The committee immediately proceeded to their work, and in a short time returned to the assembly with such a definition as the Pope required. After reciting the Creed of Nicæa and Constantinople, it observes, "This Creed were sufficient for the perfect knowledge of religion, but the enemies of the truth have invented novel expressions;" and therefore it proceeds to state the faith more explicitly. When this was read through, the Bishops all exclaimed, "This is the faith of the Fathers; we all follow it." And thus ended the controversy once for all.
The Council, after its termination, addressed a letter to St. Leo; in it the Fathers acknowledge him as "constituted interpreter of the voice of Blessed Peter,"[311:1] (with an allusion to St. Peter's Confession in Matthew xvi.,) and speak of him as "the very one commissioned with the guardianship of the Vine by the Saviour."
Such is the external aspect of those proceedings by which the Catholic faith has been established in Christendom against the Monophysites. That the definition passed at Chalcedon is the Apostolic Truth once delivered to the Saints is most firmly to be received, from faith in that overruling Providence which is by special promise extended over the acts of the Church; moreover, that it is in simple accordance with the faith of St. Athanasius, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and all the other Fathers, will be evident to the theological student in proportion as he becomes familiar with their works: but the historical account of the Council is this, that a formula which the Creed did not contain, which the Fathers did not unanimously witness, and which some eminent Saints had almost in set terms opposed, which the whole East refused as a symbol, not once, but twice, patriarch by patriarch, metropolitan by metropolitan, first by the mouth of above a hundred, then by the mouth of above six hundred of its Bishops, and refused upon the grounds of its being an addition to the Creed, was forced upon the Council, not indeed as being such an addition, yet, on the other hand, not for subscription merely, but for acceptance as a definition of faith under the sanction of an anathema,--forced on the Council by the resolution of the Pope of the day, acting through his Legates and supported by the civil power.[312:1]
It cannot be supposed that such a transaction would approve itself to the Churches of Egypt, and the event showed it: they disowned the authority of the Council, and called its adherents Chalcedonians,[313:1] and Synodites.[313:2] For here was the West tyrannizing over the East, forcing it into agreement with itself, resolved to have one and one only form of words, rejecting the definition of faith which the East had drawn up in Council, bidding it and making it frame another, dealing peremptorily and sternly with the assembled Bishops, and casting contempt on the most sacred traditions of Egypt! What was Eutyches to them? He might be guilty or innocent; they gave him up: Dioscorus had given him up at Chalcedon;[313:3] they did not agree with him:[313:4] he was an extreme man; they would not call themselves by human titles; they were not Eutychians; Eutyches was not their master, but Athanasius and Cyril were their doctors.[313:5] The two great lights of their Church, the two greatest and most successful polemical Fathers that Christianity had seen, had both pronounced "One Nature Incarnate," though allowing Two before the Incarnation; and though Leo and his Council had not gone so far as to deny this phrase, they had proceeded to say what was the contrary to it, to explain away, to overlay the truth, by defining that the Incarnate Saviour was "in Two Natures." At Ephesus it had been declared that the Creed should not be touched; the Chalcedonian Fathers had, not literally, but virtually added to it: by subscribing Leo's Tome, and promulgating their definition of faith, they had added what might be called, "The Creed of Pope Leo."
It is remarkable, as has been just stated, that Dioscorus, wicked man as he was in act, was of the moderate or middle school in doctrine, as the violent and able Severus after him; and from the first the great body of the protesting party disowned Eutyches, whose form of the heresy took refuge in Armenia, where it remains to this day. The Armenians alone were pure Eutychians, and so zealously such that they innovated on the ancient and recognized custom of mixing water with the wine in the Holy Eucharist, and consecrated the wine by itself in token of the one nature, as they considered, of the Christ. Elsewhere both name and doctrine of Eutyches were abjured; the heretical bodies in Egypt and Syria took a title from their special tenet, and formed the Monophysite communion. Their theology was at once simple and specious. They based it upon the illustration which is familiar to us in the Athanasian Creed, and which had been used by St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Cyril, St. Augustine, Vincent of Lerins, not to say St. Leo himself. They argued that as body and soul made up one man, so God and man made up but one, though one compound Nature, in Christ. It might have been charitably hoped that their difference from the Catholics had been a simple matter of words, as it is allowed by Vigilius of Thapsus really to have been in many cases; but their refusal to obey the voice of the Church was a token of real error in their faith, and their implicit heterodoxy is proved by their connexion, in spite of themselves, with the extreme or ultra party whom they so vehemently disowned.
It is very observable that, ingenious as is their theory and sometimes perplexing to a disputant, the Monophysites never could shake themselves free of the Eutychians; and though they could draw intelligible lines on paper between the two doctrines, yet in fact by a hidden fatality their partisans were ever running into or forming alliance with the anathematized extreme. Thus Peter the Fuller the Theopaschite (Eutychian), is at one time in alliance with Peter the Stammerer, who advocated the Henoticon (which was Monophysite). The Acephali, though separating from the latter Peter for that advocacy, and accused by Leontius of being Gaianites[315:1] (Eutychians), are considered by Facundus as Monophysites.[315:2] Timothy the Cat, who is said to have agreed with Dioscorus and Peter the Stammerer, who signed the Henoticon, that is, with two Monophysite Patriarchs, is said nevertheless, according to Anastasius, to have maintained the extreme tenet, that "the Divinity is the sole nature of Christ."[315:3] Severus, according to Anastasius,[315:3] symbolized with the Phantasiasts (Eutychians), yet he is more truly, according to Leontius, the chief doctor and leader of the Monophysites. And at one time there was an union, though temporary, between the Theodosians (Monophysites) and the Gaianites.
Such a division of an heretical party, into the maintainers, of an extreme and a moderate view, perspicuous and plausible on paper, yet in fact unreal, impracticable, and hopeless, was no new phenomenon in the history of the Church. As Eutyches put forward an extravagant tenet, which was first corrected into the Monophysite, and then relapsed hopelessly into the doctrine of the Phantasiasts and the Theopaschites, so had Arius been superseded by the Eusebians and had revived in Eunomius; and as the moderate Eusebians had formed the great body of the dissentients from the Nicene Council, so did the Monophysites include the mass of those who protested against Chalcedon; and as the Eusebians had been moderate in creed, yet unscrupulous in act, so were the Monophysites. And as the Eusebians were ever running individually into pure Arianism, so did the Monophysites run into pure Eutychianism. And as the Monophysites set themselves against Pope Leo, so had the Eusebians, with even less provocation, withstood and complained of Pope Julius. In like manner, the Apollinarians had divided into two sects; one, with Timotheus, going the whole length of the inferences which the tenet of their master involved, and the more cautious or timid party making an unintelligible stand with Valentinus. Again, in the history of Nestorianism, though it admitted less opportunity for division of opinion, the See of Rome was with St. Cyril in one extreme, Nestorius in the other, and between them the great Eastern party, headed by John of Antioch and Theodoret, not heretical, but for a time dissatisfied with the Council of Ephesus.
The Nestorian heresy, I have said, gave less opportunity for doctrinal varieties than the heresy of Eutyches. Its spirit was rationalizing, and had the qualities which go with rationalism. When cast out of the Roman Empire, it addressed itself, as we have seen, to a new and rich field of exertion, got possession of an Established Church, co-operated with the civil government, adopted secular fashions, and, by whatever means, pushed itself out into an Empire. Apparently, though it requires a very intimate knowledge of its history to speak except conjecturally, it was a political power rather than a dogma, and despised the science of theology. Eutychianism, on the other hand, was mystical, severe, enthusiastic; with the exception of Severus, and one or two more, it was supported by little polemical skill; it had little hold upon the intellectual Greeks of Syria and Asia Minor, but flourished in Egypt, which was far behind the East in civilization, and among the native Syrians. Nestorianism, like Arianism[317:1] before it, was a cold religion, and more fitted for the schools than for the many; but the Monophysites carried the people with them. Like modern Jansenism, and unlike Nestorianism, the Monophysites were famous for their austerities. They have, or had, five Lents in the year, during which laity as well as clergy abstain not only from flesh and eggs, but from wine, oil, and fish.[317:2] Monachism was a characteristic part of their ecclesiastical system: their Bishops, and Maphrian or Patriarch, were always taken from the Monks, who are even said to have worn an iron shirt or breastplate as a part of their monastic habit.[317:3]
Severus, Patriarch of Antioch at the end of the fifth century, has already been mentioned as an exception to the general character of the Monophysites, and, by his learning and ability, may be accounted the founder of its theology. Their cause, however, had been undertaken by the Emperors themselves before him. For the first thirty years after the Council of Chalcedon, the protesting Church of Egypt had been the scene of continued tumult and bloodshed. Dioscorus had been popular with the people for his munificence, in spite of the extreme laxity of his morals, and for a while the Imperial Government failed in obtaining the election of a Catholic successor. At length Proterius, a man of fair character, and the Vicar-general of Dioscorus on his absence at Chalcedon, was chosen, consecrated, and enthroned; but the people rose against the civil authorities, and the military, coming to their defence, were attacked with stones, and pursued into a church, where they were burned alive by the mob. Next, the popular leaders prepared to intercept the supplies of grain which were destined for Constantinople; and, a defensive retaliation taking place, Alexandria was starved. Then a force of two thousand men was sent for the restoration of order, who permitted themselves in scandalous excesses towards the women of Alexandria. Proterius's life was attempted, and he was obliged to be attended by a guard. The Bishops of Egypt would not submit to him; two of his own clergy, who afterward succeeded him, Timothy and Peter, seceded, and were joined by four or five of the Bishops and by the mass of the population;[318:1] and the Catholic Patriarch was left without a communion in Alexandria. He held a council, and condemned the schismatics; and the Emperor, seconding his efforts, sent them out of the country, and enforced the laws against the Eutychians. An external quiet succeeded; then Marcian died; and then forthwith Timothy (the Cat) made his appearance again, first in Egypt, then in Alexandria. The people rose in his favour, and carried in triumph their persecuted champion to the great Cæsarean Church, where he was consecrated Patriarch by two deprived Bishops, who had been put out of their sees, whether by a Council of Egypt or of Palestine.[318:2] Timothy, now raised to the Episcopal rank, began to create a new succession; he ordained Bishops for the Churches of Egypt, and drove into exile those who were in possession. The Imperial troops, who had been stationed in Upper Egypt, returned to Alexandria; the mob rose again, broke into the Church, where St. Proterius was in prayer, and murdered him. A general ejectment of the Catholic clergy throughout Egypt followed. On their betaking themselves to Constantinople to the new Emperor, Timothy and his party addressed him also. They quoted the Fathers, and demanded the abrogation of the Council of Chalcedon. Next they demanded a conference; the Catholics said that what was once done could not be undone; their opponents agreed to this and urged it, as their very argument against Chalcedon, that it added to the faith, and reversed former decisions.[319:1] After a rule of three years, Timothy was driven out and Catholicism restored; but then in turn the Monophysites rallied, and this state of warfare and alternate success continued for thirty years.
At length the Imperial Government, wearied out with a dispute which was interminable, came to the conclusion that the only way of restoring peace to the Church was to abandon the Council of Chalcedon. In the year 482 was published the famous _Henoticon_ or Pacification of Zeno, in which the Emperor took upon himself to determine a matter of faith. The Henoticon declared that no symbol of faith but that of the Nicene Creed, commonly so called, should be received in the Churches; it anathematized the opposite heresies of Nestorius and Eutyches, and it was silent on the question of the "One" or "Two Natures" after the Incarnation. This middle measure had the various effects which might be anticipated. It united the great body of the Eastern Bishops, who readily relaxed into the vague profession of doctrine from which they had been roused by the authority of St. Leo. All the Eastern Bishops signed this Imperial formulary. But this unanimity of the East was purchased by a breach with the West; for the Popes cut off the communication between Greeks and Latins for thirty-five years. On the other hand, the more zealous Monophysites, disgusted at their leaders for accepting what they considered an unjustifiable compromise, split off from the Eastern Churches, and formed a sect by themselves, which remained without Bishops (_acephali_) for three hundred years, when at length they were received back into the communion of the Catholic Church.
Dreary and waste was the condition of the Church, and forlorn her prospects, at the period which we have been reviewing. After the brief triumph which attended the conversion of Constantine, trouble and trial had returned upon her. Her imperial protectors were failing in power or in faith. Strange forms of evil were rising in the distance and were thronging for the conflict. There was but one spot in the whole of Christendom, one voice in the whole Episcopate, to which the faithful turned in hope in that miserable day. In the year 493, in the Pontificate of Gelasius, the whole of the East was in the hands of traitors to Chalcedon, and the whole of the West under the tyranny of the open enemies of Nicæa. Italy was the prey of robbers; mercenary bands had overrun its territory, and barbarians were seizing on its farms and settling in its villas. The peasants were thinned by famine and pestilence; Tuscany might be even said, as Gelasius words it, to contain scarcely a single inhabitant.[320:1] Odoacer was sinking before Theodoric, and the Pope was changing one Arian master for another. And as if one heresy were not enough, Pelagianism was spreading with the connivance of the Bishops in the territory of Picenum. In the North of the dismembered Empire, the Britons had first been infected by Pelagianism, and now were dispossessed by the heathen Saxons. The Armoricans still preserved a witness of Catholicism in the West of Gaul; but Picardy, Champagne, and the neighbouring provinces, where some remnant of its supremacy had been found, had lately submitted to the yet heathen Clovis. The Arian kingdoms of Burgundy in France, and of the Visigoths in Aquitaine and Spain, oppressed a zealous and Catholic clergy, Africa was in still more deplorable condition under the cruel sway of the Vandal Gundamond: the people indeed uncorrupted by the heresy,[321:1] but their clergy in exile and their worship suspended. While such was the state of the Latins, what had happened in the East? Acacius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, had secretly taken part against the Council of Chalcedon and was under Papal excommunication. Nearly the whole East had sided with Acacius, and a schism had begun between East and West, which lasted, as I have above stated, for thirty-five years. The Henoticon was in force, and at the Imperial command had been signed by all the Patriarchs and Bishops throughout the Eastern Empire.[321:2] In Armenia the Churches were ripening for the pure Eutychianism which they adopted in the following century; and in Egypt the Acephali, already separated from the Monophysite Patriarch, were extending in the east and west of the country, and preferred the loss of the Episcopal Succession to the reception of the Council of Chalcedon. And while Monophysites or their favourers occupied the Churches of the Eastern Empire, Nestorianism was making progress in the territories beyond it. Barsumas had held the See of Nisibis, Theodore was read in the schools of Persia, and the successive Catholici of Seleucia had abolished Monachism and were secularizing the clergy.
If then there is now a form of Christianity such, that it extends throughout the world, though with varying measures of prominence or prosperity in separate places;--that it lies under the power of sovereigns and magistrates, in various ways alien to its faith;--that flourishing nations and great empires, professing or tolerating the Christian name, lie over against it as antagonists;--that schools of philosophy and learning are supporting theories, and following out conclusions, hostile to it, and establishing an exegetical system subversive of its Scriptures;--that it has lost whole Churches by schism, and is now opposed by powerful communions once part of itself;--that it has been altogether or almost driven from some countries;--that in others its line of teachers is overlaid, its flocks oppressed, its Churches occupied, its property held by what may be called a duplicate succession;--that in others its members are degenerate and corrupt, and are surpassed in conscientiousness and in virtue, as in gifts of intellect, by the very heretics whom it condemns;--that heresies are rife and bishops negligent within its own pale;--and that amid its disorders and its fears there is but one Voice for whose decisions the peoples wait with trust, one Name and one See to which they look with hope, and that name Peter, and that see Rome;--such a religion is not unlike the Christianity of the fifth and sixth Centuries.[322:1]
[208:1] [This juxtaposition of names has been strangely distorted by critics. In the intention of the author, Guizot matched with Pliny, not with Frederick.]
[213:1] Vid. Muller de Hierarch. et Ascetic. Warburton, Div. Leg. ii. 4. Selden de Diis Syr. Acad. des Inscript. t. 3, hist. p. 296, t. 5, mem. p. 63, t. 16, mem. p. 267. Lucian. Pseudomant. Cod. Theod. ix. 16.
[214:1] Acad. t. 16. mem. p. 274.
[215:1] Apol. 25. Vid. also Prudent. in hon. Romani, circ. fin. and Lucian de Deo Syr. 50.
[215:2] Vid. also the scene in Jul. Firm. p. 449.
[216:1] Tac. Ann. ii. 85; Sueton. Tiber. 36.
[216:2] August. 93.
[216:3] De Superst. 3.
[216:4] De Art. Am. i. init.
[217:1] Sat. iii. vi.
[217:2] Tertul. Ap. 5.
[218:1] Vit. Hel. 3.
[219:1] Vid. Tillemont, Mem. and Lardner's Hist. Heretics.
[221:1] Bampton Lect. 2.
[222:1] Burton, Bampton Lect. note 61.
[223:1] Burton, Bampton Lect. note 44.
[223:2] Montfaucon, Antiq. t. ii. part 2, p. 353.
[223:3] Hær. i. 20.
[223:4] De Præscr. 43.
[225:1] Vid. Kortholt, in Plin. et Traj. Epp. p. 152. Comment. in Minuc. F. &c.
[228:1] "Itaque imposuistis in cervicibus nostris sempiternum dominum, quem dies et noctes timeremus; quis enim non timeat omnia providentem et cogitantem et animadvertentem, et omnia ad se pertinere putantem, curiosum, et plenum negotii Deum?"--_Cic. de Nat. Deor._ i. 20.
[228:2] Min. c. 11. Lact. v. 1, 2, vid. Arnob. ii. 8, &c.
[228:3] Origen, contr. Cels. i. 9, iii. 44, 50, vi. 44.
[229:1] Prudent. in hon. Fruct. 37.
[229:2] Evan. Dem. iii. 3, 4.
[229:3] Mort. Peregr. 13.
[229:4] c. 108.
[229:5] i. e. Philop. 16.
[229:6] De Mort. Pereg. ibid.
[229:7] Ruin. Mart. pp. 100, 594, &c.
[230:1] Prud. in hon. Rom. vv. 404, 868.
[230:2] We have specimens of _carmina_ ascribed to Christians in the Philopatris.
[230:3] Goth. in Cod. Th. t. 5, p. 120, ed. 1665. Again, "Qui malefici vulgi consuetudine nuncupantur." Leg. 6. So Lactantius, "Magi et ii quos verè maleficos vulgus appellat." Inst. ii. 17. "Quos et maleficos vulgus appellat." August. Civ. Dei, x. 19. "Quos vulgus mathematicos vocat." Hieron. in Dan. c. ii. Vid. Gothof. in loc. Other laws speak of those who were "maleficiorum labe polluti," and of the "maleficiorum scabies."
[230:4] Tertullian too mentions the charge of "hostes principum Romanorum, populi, generis humani, Deorum, Imperatorum, legum, morum, naturæ totius inimici." Apol. 2, 35, 38, ad. Scap. 4, ad. Nat. i. 17.
[231:1] Evid. part ii. ch. 4.
[232:1] Heathen Test. 9.
[233:1] Gothof. in Cod. Th. t. 5, p. 121.
[233:2] Cic. pro Cluent. 61. Gieseler transl. vol. i. p. 21, note 5. Acad. Inscr. t. 34, hist. p. 110.
[234:1] De Harusp. Resp. 9.
[234:2] De Legg. ii. 8.
[234:3] Acad. Inscr. ibid.
[234:4] Neander, Eccl. Hist. tr. vol. i. p. 81.
[234:5] Muller, p. 21, 22, 30. Tertull. Ox. tr. p. 12, note _p_.
[235:1] Gibbon, Hist. ch. 16, note 14.
[235:2] Epit. Instit. 55.
[236:1] Gibbon, ibid. Origen admits and defends the violation of the laws: οὐκ ἄλογον συνθήκας παρὰ τὰ νενομισμένα ποιεῖν, τὰς ὑπὲρ ἁληθείας. c. Cels. i. 1.
[237:1] Hist. p. 418.
[237:2] In hon. Rom. 62. In Act. S. Cypr. 4, Tert. Apol. 10, &c.
[238:1] Apol. i. 3, 39, Oxf. tr.
[241:1] Julian ap. Cyril, pp. 39, 194, 206, 335. Epp. pp. 305, 429, 438, ed. Spanh.
[242:1] Niebuhr ascribes it to the beginning of the tenth.
[245:1] Sirm. Opp. ii. p. 225, ed. Ven.
[247:1] Proph. Office, p. 132 [Via Media, vol. i. p. 109].
[247:2] [Since the publication of this volume in 1845, a writer in a Conservative periodical of great name has considered that no happier designation could be bestowed upon us than that which heathen statesmen gave to the first Christians, "enemies of the human race." What a remarkable witness to our identity with the Church of St. Paul ("a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition throughout the world"), of St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp, and the other Martyrs! In this matter, Conservative politicians join with Liberals, and with the movement parties in Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, in their view of our religion.
"The Catholics," says the _Quarterly Review_ for January, 1873, pp. 181-2, "wherever they are numerous and powerful in a Protestant nation, _compel_ (sic) as it were by a law of their being, that nation to treat them with stern repression and control. . . . Catholicism, if it be true to itself, and its mission, _cannot_ (sic) . . . wherever and whenever the opportunity is afforded it, abstain from claiming, working for, and grasping that supremacy and paramount influence and control, which it conscientiously believes to be its inalienable and universal due. . . . By the force of circumstances, by the inexorable logic of its claims, it must be the intestine foe or the disturbing element of every state in which it does not bear sway; and . . . it must now stand out in the estimate of all Protestants, Patriots and Thinkers" (philosophers and historians, as Tacitus?) "as the _hostis humani generis_ (sic), &c."]
[254:1] De Præscr. Hær. 41, Oxf. tr.
[256:1] Cat. xviii. 26.
[257:1] Contr. Ep. Manich. 5.
[257:2] Origen, Opp. t. i. p. 809.
[258:1] Strom. vii. 17.
[258:2] c. Tryph. 35.
[258:3] Instit. 4. 30.
[259:1] Hær. 42, p. 366.
[259:2] In Lucif. fin.
[259:3] The Oxford translation is used.
[263:1] _Rationabilis_; apparently an allusion to the civil officer called _Catholicus_ or _Rationalis_, receiver-general.
[263:2] Ad. Parm. ii. init.
[264:1] De Unit. Eccles. 6.
[265:1] Contr. Cresc. iv. 75; also iii. 77.
[266:1] Antiq. ii. 4, § 5.
[267:1] Antiq. 5, § 3. [Bingham apparently in this passage is indirectly replying to the Catholic argument for the Pope's Supremacy drawn from the titles and acts ascribed to him in antiquity; but that argument is cumulative in character, being part of a whole body of proof; and there is moreover a great difference between a rhetorical discourse and a synodal enunciation as at Chalcedon.]
[268:1] Ad Demetr. 4, &c. Oxf. Tr.
[268:2] Hist. ch. xv.
[269:1] De Unit. 5, 12.
[269:2] Chrys. in Eph. iv.
[269:3] De Baptism. i. 10.
[269:4] c. Ep. Parm. i. 7.
[269:5] De Schism. Donat. i. 10.
[270:1] Cat. xvi. 10.
[270:2] De Fid. ad Petr. 39. [82.]
[270:3] [Of course this solemn truth must not be taken apart from the words of the present Pope, Pius IX., concerning invincible ignorance: "Notum nobis vobisque est, eos, qui invincibili circa sanctissimam nostram religionem ignorantiâ laborant, quique naturalem legem ejusque præcepta in omnium cordibus a Deo insculpta sedulo servantes, ac Deo obedire parati, honestam rectamque vitam agunt, posse, divinæ lucis et gratiæ operante virtute, æternam consequi vitam, cùm Deus, qui omnium mentes, animos, cogitationes, habitusque planè intuetur, scrutatur et noscit, pro summâ suâ bonitate et clementia, minimè patiatur quempiam æternis puniri suppliciis, qui voluntariæ culpæ reatum non habeat."]
[272:1] Epp. 43, 52, 57, 76, 105, 112, 141, 144.
[276:1] De Gubern. Dei, vii. p. 142. Elsewhere, "Apud Aquitanicos quæ civitas in locupletissimâ ac nobilissimâ sui parte non quasi lupanar fuit? Quis potentum ac divitum non in luto libidinis vixit? Haud multum matrona abest à vilitate servarum, ubi paterfamilias ancillarum maritus est? Quis autem Aquitanorum divitum non hoc fuit?" (pp. 134, 135.) "Offenduntur barbari ipsi impuritatibus nostris. Esse inter Gothos non licet scortatorem Gothum; soli inter eos præjudicio nationis ac nominis permittuntur impuri esse Romani" (p. 137). "Quid? Hispanias nonne vel eadem vel majora forsitan vitia perdiderunt? . . . Accessit hoc ad manifestandam illic impudicitiæ damnationem, ut Wandalis potissimum, id est, pudicis barbaris traderentur" (p. 137). Of Africa and Carthage, "In urbe Christianâ, in urbe ecclesiasticâ, . . . viri in semetipsis feminas profitebantur," &c. (p. 152).
[276:2] Dunham, Hist. Spain, vol. i. p. 112.
[277:1] Aguirr. Concil. t. 2, p. 191.
[277:2] Dunham, p. 125.
[277:3] Hist. Franc. iii. 10.
[277:4] Ch. 39.
[278:1] Greg. Dial. iii. 30.
[278:2] Ibid. 20.
[278:3] Gibbon, Hist. ch. 37.
[279:1] De Glor. Mart. i. 25.
[279:2] Ibid. 80.
[279:3] Ibid. 79.
[279:4] Vict. Vit. i. 14.
[280:1] De Gub. D. iv. p. 73.
[280:2] Ibid. v. p. 88.
[280:3] Epp. i. 31.
[280:4] Hist. vi. 23.
[280:5] Cf. Assem. t. i. p. 351, not. 4, t. 3, p. 393.
[280:6] Baron. Ann. 432, 47.
[280:7] Gibbon, Hist. ch. 36.
[281:1] Baron. Ann. 471, 18.
[281:2] Vict. Vit. iv. 4.
[281:3] Vict. Vit. ii. 3-15.
[282:1] Aguirr. Conc. t. 2, p. 262.
[282:2] Aguirr. ibid. p. 232.
[282:3] Theod. Hist. v. 2.
[282:4] c. Ruff. i. 4.
[283:1] Ep. 15.
[283:2] Ep. 16.
[284:1] Aug. Epp. 43. 7.
[286:1] Assem. iii. p. 68.
[287:1] Ibid. t. 3, p. 84, note 3.
[287:2] Wegnern, Proleg. in Theod. Opp. p. ix.
[287:3] De Ephrem Syr. p. 61.
[288:1] Lengerke, de Ephrem Syr. pp. 73-75.
[289:1] δεσπότου, vid. La Croze, Thesaur. Ep. t. 3, § 145.
[289:2] Montf. Coll. Nov. t. 2, p. 227.
[290:1] Rosenmuller, Hist. Interpr. t. 3, p. 278.
[290:2] Lengerke, de Ephr. Syr. pp. 165-167.
[290:3] Ernest. de Proph. Mess. p. 462.
[291:1] Eccl. Theol. iii. 12.
[291:2] Professor Lee's Serm. Oct. 1838, pp. 144-152.
[291:3] Noris. Opp. t. 2, p. 112.
[291:4] Augusti. Euseb. Em. Opp.
[291:5] Asseman. Bibl. Or. p. cmxxv.
[291:6] Hoffman, Gram. Syr. Proleg. § 4.
[291:7] The educated Persians were also acquainted with Syriac. Assem. t. i. p. 351, not.
[292:1] Asseman., p. lxx.
[292:2] Euseb. Præp. vi. 10.
[292:3] Tillemont, Mem. t. 7, p. 77.
[293:1] Gibbon, ch. 47.
[294:1] Asseman. p. lxxviii.
[294:2] Gibbon, ibid.
[294:3] Asseman. t. 2, p. 403, t. 3, p. 393.
[295:1] Asseman. t. 3, p. 67.
[296:1] Gibbon, ibid.
[296:2] Assem. p. lxxvi.
[296:3] Ibid. t. 3, p. 441.
[297:1] Ch. 47.
[298:1] Fleur. Hist. xxvii. 29.
[299:1] Gibbon, ch. 47.
[300:1] Concil. Hard. t. 2, p. 127.
[301:1] Petav. de Incarn. iv. 6, § 4.
[301:2] Concil. Hard. t. 2, p. 168.
[301:3] Vid. the Author's Athan. trans. [ed. 1881, vol. ii. pp. 331-333, 426-429, and on the general subject his Theol. Tracts, art. v.]
[302:1] Fleury, Oxf. tr. xxvii. 39.
[302:2] Ibid. 41. In like manner, St. Athanasius in the foregoing age had said, "The faith confessed at Nicæa by the Fathers, according to the Scriptures, is sufficient for the overthrow of all misbelief." ad Epict. init. Elsewhere, however, he explains his statement, "The decrees of Nicæa are right and sufficient for the overthrow of all heresy, _especially_ the Arian," ad. Max. fin. St. Gregory Nazianzen, in like manner, appeals to Nicæa; but he "adds an explanation on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit which was left deficient by the Fathers, because the question had not then been raised." Ep. 102, init. This exclusive maintenance, and yet extension of the Creed, according to the exigences of the times, is instanced in other Fathers. Vid. Athan. tr. [ed. 1881, vol. ii. p. 82.]
[303:1] Fleury, ibid. 27.
[304:1] Concil. Hard. t. 2, p. 141. [A negative is omitted in the Greek, but inserted in the Latin.]
[304:2] Supr. p. 245.
[304:3] Ad Const. ii. 9. Vid. Athan. tr. [ed. 1881, vol. ii. p. 261.]
[305:1] Concil. Hard. t. 2, p. 162.
[307:1] Fleury, Hist. Oxf. tr. xxvii. 37.
[307:2] Ep. 116.
[307:3] Conc. Hard. t. 2, p. 36.
[308:1] Ep. 43.
[308:2] Fleury, Hist. Oxf. tr. xxviii. 17, note _l_.
[308:3] Concil. Hard. t. 2, p. 68.
[308:4] Fleury, Oxf. tr. xxviii. 2, 3.
[310:1] Ibid. 20.
[311:1] Conc. Hard. t. 2, p. 656.
[312:1] [Can any so grave an _ex parte_ charge as this be urged against the recent Vatican Council?]
[313:1] I cannot find my reference for this fact; the sketch is formed from notes made some years since, though I have now verified them.
[313:2] Leont. de Sect. v. p. 512.
[313:3] Concil. Hard. t. 2, p. 99, vid. also p. 418.
[313:4] Renaud. Patr. Alex. p. 115.
[313:5] Assem. t. 2, pp. 133-137.
[315:1] Leont. de Sect. vii. pp. 521, 2.
[315:2] Fac. i. 5, circ. init.
[315:3] Hodeg. 20, p. 319.
[317:1] _i. e._ Arianism in the East: "Sanctiores aures plebis quam corda sunt sacerdotum." S. Hil. contr. Auxent. 6. It requires some research to account for its hold on the barbarians. Vid. _supr._ pp. 274, 5.
[317:2] Gibbon, ch. 47.
[317:3] Assem. t. 2, de Monoph. circ. fin.
[318:1] Leont. Sect. v. init.
[318:2] Tillemont, t. 15, p. 784.
[319:1] Tillemont, Mem. t. 15, pp. 790-811.
[320:1] Gibbon, Hist. ch. 36, fin.
[321:1] Gibbon, Hist. ch. 36, fin.
[321:2] Gibbon, Hist. ch. 47.
[322:1] [The above sketch has run to great length, yet it is only part of what might be set down in evidence of the wonderful identity of type which characterizes the Catholic Church from first to last. I have confined myself for the most part to her political aspect; but a parallel illustration might be drawn simply from her doctrinal, or from her devotional. As to her devotional aspect, Cardinal Wiseman has shown its identity in the fifth compared with the nineteenth century, in an article of the _Dublin Review_, quoted in part in _Via Media_, vol. ii. p. 378. Indeed it is confessed on all hands, as by Middleton, Gibbon, &c., that from the time of Constantine to their own, the system and the phenomena of worship in Christendom, from Moscow to Spain, and from Ireland to Chili, is one and the same. I have myself paralleled Medieval Europe with modern Belgium or Italy, in point of ethical character in "Difficulties of Anglicans," vol. i. Lecture ix., referring the identity to the operation of a principle, insisted on presently, the Supremacy of Faith. And so again, as to the system of Catholic doctrine, the type of the Religion remains the same, because it has developed according to the "analogy of faith," as is observed in _Apol._, p. 196, "The idea of the Blessed Virgin was, as it were, _magnified_ in the Church of Rome, as time went on, but so were _all_ the Christian ideas, as that of the Blessed Eucharist," &c.]
Chapter 7: Application of the Second Note of a True Development
An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine - Part 1: Doctrinal Developments Viewed in Themselves
Chapter 1: On the Development of Ideas
Chapter 2: On the Antecedent Argument in Behalf of Developments in Christian Doctrine
Chapter 3: On the Historical Argument in Behalf of the Existing Developments
Chapter 4: Instances in Illustration
An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine - Part 2: Doctrinal Developments Viewed Relatively to Doctrinal Corruptions
Chapter 5: Genuine Developments Contrasted with Corruptions
Chapter 6: Application of the Seven Notes to the Existing Developments of Christian Doctrine
Chapter 7: Application of the Second Note of a True Development
Chapter 8: Application of the Third Note of a True Development
Chapter 9: Application of the Fourth Note of a True Development
Chapter 10: Application of the Fifth Note of a True Development
Chapter 11: Application of the Sixth Note of a True Development
Chapter 12: Application of the Seventh Note of a True Development
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