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them to expunge the two terms substance and consubstantial from the formulary of the faith. These words were like two machines, invented by the fathers for the express purpose of destroying the deceitful errors of Arius ; and they had in fact, as I have said, created a division in the church. After the bishops were all assembled, those who were infected with the principles of Arianism endeavoured to persuade and to deceive the others, particularly those from the West, who were the most simple. They said that the church ought not to be divided on account of two terms which are not to be found in the Holy Scriptures: that it ought rather to be said, that the Son is in all respects like the Father, omitting all mention of the unscriptural term substance. But the bishops discovered their deceitfulness, and ejected them from communion, and wrote to the emperor upon the subject, acquainting him with their opinions. They told him, that they were themselves the sons and successors of the fathers who assembled at Nice ; and that if they either took away from or added to what had been enacted by them, they would create doubt as to the legitimacy of their descent, and would condemn their own fathers. Their letter to Constantius contains the clearest account extant of the articles of their belief.
CHAP. XIX.-SYNODICAL LETTER FROM THE BISHOPS CONVENED
AT RIMINI, ADDRESSED TO THE EMPEROR CONSTANTIUS. “We believe that it is by the help of God, and through your pious enactment, that so many2 bishops are now assembled at Rimini from all the cities of the West, for the purpose of publicly recognising the faith of the catholic church, and of detecting heretics. For after having deeply reflected upon the subject, it seems right to us to adhere to the ancient faith, which was preached by the prophets, the evangelists, and the apostles, through Jesus Christ our Lord, the Protector of your empire, and the Guardian of your own well-being.
This faith we have always held, and we will adhere to it even to the end. appeared absurd and impious to us to alter the orthodox and just declarations drawn up at Nice, by common consent of the bishops and of your father Constantine
· Compare Socrates, Eccl. Hist. b. ii. ch. 37.
of glorious memory. The doctrines then established were declared and preached to all men, and were used as the means not only of confuting the Arian heresy, but also of expunging all other heresies. Nothing could be altered in this formulary, without making room for the introduction of the deleterious poison of heretical doctrines. Ursacius and Valens were at one period suspected of having imbibed the Arian heresy, and were in consequence suspended from communion with us. They, however, afterwards petitioned for forgiveness, and promised amendment upon its being accorded. This is testified by their own writings, and by the pardon granted by the church at the time when the synod was convened at Milan, at which the presbyters of the church of Rome were present. We repeat, that we consider it absurd to make any innovations in that confession of faith, which was submitted to accurate examination in the presence of Constantine, and in the belief of which he was baptized, and entered into the eternal rest. Besides, this confession was held and signed by many holy confessors of the faith, and by martyrs, who adhered inviolably to the ancient decrees of the church. This faith has been preserved even to this present period, in which you have received from God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, the empire of the world.
6 Some wretched individuals of disordered intellect have again had the boldness and audacity to preach impious doctrines, and are still endeavouring to overturn those doctrines which have been established according to all the principles of truth. For when we had assembled in council according to your edict, to deliberate on the doctrines of the faith, we were presented with a formulary drawn up by those disturbers of the peace of the church, with whom Germanius, Auxentius, and Caius are now associated. The doctrines set forth in this formulary were blasphemous. On its being rejected by the council, they endeavoured to make sundry alterations in it: this indeed they effected within a very short space of time. But in order that the church may not be subjected to further disturbance, it appeared right to us to preserve the ancient form of belief, and to suspend the persons above-mentioned from communion with us. We have sent despatches to acquaint your Majesty with these particulars; the sentiments of the council will be learnt from the letters. We have charged these deputies to endeavour, above all things, to insure the firm and permanent establishment of the ancient doctrines. We have also enjoined upon them to acquaint you that what has been asserted by Ursacius and Valens, namely, that peace can be procured by the introduction of slight changes, is not true. How can peace be secured by those who have subverted it; and especially by those who have filled all the cities, and particularly the church of Rome, with disputes and troubles ? Hence we beseech your clemency to give a gracious reception and a favourable hearing to our deputies, and not permit the dead to be injured by the mutation of those doctrines which, we are persuaded, were implanted in their minds by the Holy Ghost." For these innovations are not only grievous to believers, but likewise deter unbelievers from receiving the faith. We also beseech you to command that those bishops who are detained at Rimini, of whom some are suffering from the infirmities of age and the hardships of poverty, may be sent' back to their own dioceses, in order that the churches may no longer be rendered desolate by the absence of their bishops. We now again beseech you that nothing may be added to, or taken away from, the faith ; but that those doctrines, which were so carefully preserved during the reign of your father, may now and henceforth be suffered to remain unchanged. Do not in future permit us to be torn from our dioceses, and sent to distant regions; but allow the bishops to remain peaceably and undisturbed with their own people, that they may pray for the prosperity of your empire, for your own salvation, and for peace. Our deputies will present you with documents containing the signatures and the names of all the bishops."
The principal courtiers, who all favoured the Arian heresy, presented these documents to the emperor ; but they would not permit the deputies to enter the palace, assigning as a reason to them, that the emperor was occupied with public affairs. They thus acted because they imagined that the bishops would be wearied by the length of time they were detained, and would become anxious to return to their own cities, thus abandoning all the advantages that they had gained against heresy. But this artifice did not succeed; for these noble defenders of the faith despatched another letter to the emperor, entreating him to receive their deputies, and to dismiss the council. I shall here insert their letter.
CHAP. XX.-ANOTHER LETTER ADDRESSED TO CONSTANTIUS.
“ THE bishops assembled at Rimini to the emperor Constantius the conqueror.
** We have received the letter dictated by your clemency, most glorious potentate and emperor. It states that, from the pressure of public affairs, you have been unable to give audience to our deputies ; you command us to wait for their return until you have heard from them what we have enacted in conformity to the doctrines of our forefathers.
We again declare, that we have not swerved from our original determination ;' and this we have also signified to our deputies. We beseech you to have these letters read to you, and graciously to listen to what our deputies have to declare to you from us. You must be as well aware as we are of the troubles resulting to churches from their being deprived of their bishops, and that too during so happy a reign as yours. Hence we again beseech you, most glorious emperor, to command us, if it be pleasing to your benevolence, to return to our churches before the rigour of winter sets in, that we may be able to unite with the people in offering prayers to God Almighty, and to Christ his Son our Lord and Saviour, for the preservation of your empire, even as we have done, and as we still do."
CHAP. XXI.-AN ACCOUNT OF THE COUNCIL HELD AT NICE, A
CITY OF THRACE, AND OF THE FORMULARY OF FAITH THERE COMPILED.
WHEN the emperor had received this letter, the Arians excited him to resentment, and compelled many of the bishops to repair to a city of Thrace called Nice. By means of deceiving those among them who were simple, and by persecuting the others, they persuaded them to effect that fraud against the church which they had so long devised, namely, to erase the terms substance and consubstantial from the formulary of faith, substituting that of similar. I shall here insert this formulary, not because it is a good one, but because it is opposed to the principles of the Arian faction ; for the Arians
' In this, and in many other particulars, the version of Socrates differs considerably from the history as given by Theodoret. The reader will do well to compare the account in Socrates, ubi supra. See p. 103, note'.
of the present time have substituted the term disimilar for that of similar.
THE UNORTHODOX CONFESSION OF FAITH DRAWN UP AT
NICE, IN THRACE. “We believe in one true God, the Father Almighty, of whom are all things ; and in the only-begotten Son of God, begotten before all ages and before all commencement, by whom all things, whether visible or invisible, were made. He alone is the only-begotten Son of the one Father, God of God; similar, according to the Scriptures, to the Father who begat him. His generation is known to no one, save to the Father of whom he was begotten. - This we know, that the only-begotten Son was sent by the Father ; and that, as it is written, he came down from heaven to destroy sin and death ; and that he was, through the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary according to the flesh, even as it is written ; that he conversed with his disciples ; and that, after having fulfilled all the will of the Father, he was crucified and died, and was buried and descended into hell, which he filled with terror. We believe that he rose from the dead on the third day ; that he conversed with his disciples during forty days ; and that he then ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father ; and that he will come again at the last day of the resurrection in the glory of the Father, to give to every one according to his deeds. And we believe in the Holy Ghost, who is the Comforter and the Spirit of Truth, whom the only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, both God and Lord, promised to send to man, according to Scripture, and whom he did indeed send after he had ascended into heaven, and had sat down at the right hand of the Father, whence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. The word substance, which the fathers unwisely made use of, and which was not understood by the people, but which became to them a subject of offence, has been rejected by us, as it is not to be found in the Scriptures ; and no future allusion will be made to the substance of the Father and of the Son, because the Holy Scriptures do not anywhere make mention of this subject. Neither ought the nature of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, even to be alluded to by any one. We say that the Son is similar to the Father, even as the Holy Scriptures declare