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his mind was of a high order. He had always manifested great valour in battle, and also in conflicts far more perilous than those of war; for he had already spoken with boldness against impiety, without fearing the power of the tyrant, and had exhibited as much courage as was displayed by the martyrs of our Saviour. The generals considered the unanimity of the soldiers' decision as an indication of the Divine will ; they therefore conducted Jovian into the midst of them all, and placed him upon a temporary throne which they had hastily érected. When he was saluted by all as Emperor, and called Augustus and Cæsar, this admirable man, with his usual frankness, and without fearing the power of the chiefs, or the inconstancy of the soldiery, spoke as follows :-“Being
· a Christian myself, I cannot assume authority
over such men as you are: I cannot govern the troops of Julian, for they have imbibed pernicious doctrines ; and persons of such principles, being unsupported by Divine grace, fall an easy prey to their enemies, and are ridiculed by them.” On hearing this the soldiers replied with one voice :-"Do not hesitate, O emperor, or shrink from accepting authority over us, as if we held impious sentiments; you will reign over Christians : over those who were brought up in the true religion. The most aged among us have been instructed in doctrine by Constantine, and the others by Constantius; and the reign of the late emperor was too short to efface the remembrance of the principles which we had imbibed.”
CHAP. II.-RETURN OF ST. ATHANASIUS. The emperor, being satisfied with this answer, turned all his attention to the restoration of public prosperity, and to the extrication of the army from the enemy's country. He did not spend much time in deliberation, but speedily enjoyed the fruits of his piety, for God granted him his protection, and delivered him from all his difficulties. The king of Persia, hearing of his having been elected to the empire, sent deputies to treat of peace. He also sent food to the army in the
1 Valesius understands this term to refer not to fickleness, properly so called, but to the changes of religion from Christianity to heathenism, which many of the soldiers had made under Julian, though, as is clear from b. iii. ch. 17, that some had stood firm, even unto death.
desert. Jovian concluded a truce of thirty years, and conducted the army home in safety. The first edict which he issued on his return to his empire, was for the recall of the bishops from exile, and for the reinstatement of those bishops who adhered to the Nicean confession of faith. He wrote to Athanasius, who was the most distinguished of those who defended the faith, desiring him to send him an accurate account of the Divine doctrines. Athanasius, after calling together the most erudite of the bishops, wrote back to the emperor exhorting him to maintain the faith set forth at Nice, as being conformable with the doctrines of the apostles. I shall insert this letter for the benefit of
CHAP. III.-SYNODICAL LETTER RESPECTING THE FAITH AD
DRESSED TO THE EMPEROR JOVIAN BY ST. ATHANASIUS. “To the very religious, most benevolent, and victorious Augustus Jovian, from Athanasiusand the other bishops assembled in person, from all Egypt, from Thebes, and from Libya.
“It is right for a pious emperor to seek and long after the knowledge of heavenly things. It clearly proves that your heart is in the hand of God, and that you will govern the empire in tranquillity during a long course of years. As you piously desire to learn from us the faith of the Catholic church, we have, after rendering thanks on your behalf to God, determined above all things to propound to you the faith confessed by our fathers at Nice. Some having renounced this faith, have laid various snares for us because we would not be led into the Arian heresy. These persons are the authors of heresy and of schism in the Catholic church. The true faith in our Lord Jesus Christ can be apprehended by all, for it may be both learnt and read in the Holy Scriptures. It was in this faith that the saints were perfected by martyrdom ; they are now freed from all bondage, and are in the Lord. This faith would have continued for ever in all its purity, had it not been corrupted by the daring attacks of heretics. Arius, and others with him, endeavoured to destroy
1 Valesius assents to the opinion of Baronius, who in his Annals (A. D. 363) considers that this letter was written by Athanasius in the Synod of Egyptian bishops held at Alexandria, on receiving the edict of the emperor Jovian.
it, and to exalt irreligion in its stead, by saying that the Son of God was called out of nothing into being, that He is a creature, and a work, and that He is subject to change. Numbers were deceived by them, and many of those who held the most prominent place in the church were led away by their blasphemies. When our holy fathers assembled, as we have already stated, at the council of Nice, they anathematized the heresy of Arianism. They drew up in writing a confession of the faith of the Catholic church, and by the preaching of this faith in every place all the heresies which have been framed by heretics have been overthrown. This faith was known and preached everywhere, and in every church. But some persons, desiring to renew the Arian heresy, have had the temerity to renounce the confession of faith made by our fathers at Nice, while others, who appear to receive it, do in fact deny it, by giving a false interpretation to the word 'consubstantial,' and by uttering blasphemies against the Holy Ghost, saying that he was made by the Son;' we therefore perceive that to prevent these blasphemies from proving injurious to the people, it is necessary to place before you the Nicean confession of faith ; in order that you may know with what accuracy it was written, and also how great is the error of those who espouse other doctrines. Know then, O most religious Augustus, that this faith which was confessed by our fathers at Nice was preached in the beginning of the gospel, and has received the assent of the churches of all places-namely, of those of Spain, Britain, and Gaul, of all Italy, Campania, Dalmatia, Dacia, Moesia, Macedonia, of all Greece, of all those of Africa, Sardinia, Cyprus and Crete, Pamphylia, Lycia, Isauria, of all Egypt and Libya, Pontus, Cappadocia, and of neighbouring countries, and of all the Eastern churches, with the exception of a few who advo
a cate Arian doctrines. We have learnt by experience the sentiments of all the aforesaid churches, having been engaged in correspondence with them. And we know, O most religious Augustus, that the few who oppose this faith cannot
Theodoret alludes to the two factions of the Arian party, the one of whom totally rejected the Divinity of Jesus Christ, while the others received that doctrine only in a limited and qualified sense. Among the latter class were the Macedonians, to whom allusion is made in the concluding words of the text.
prevail against all the churches of the universe, by whom it is maintained. As these persons have been long under the injurious influence of Arianism, they resist religion with much pertinacity. In order that you may know what articles of faith were confessed at Nice by three hundred and eighteen bishops, the confession shall be here inserted.
It is as follows:
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, the maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father, who is of the substance of the Father, God of God, light of light, very God of very God, begotten and not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things in heaven and on earth were made. Who for us men and our salvation came down from heaven, and took upon him our nature, and became man, and suffered death. He rose again the third day and ascended into heaven ; and he will come again to judge the living and the dead. And we believe in the Holy Ghost. The holy catholic and apostolic church pronounces condemnation on those who say that there was a time when the Son of God existed not, that before he was begotten he was not, that he was formed out of nothing, or that he is of a different hypostasis or substance from the Father, that he is a creature, or that he is subject to change.'
“It is necessary, 0 beloved Augustus, to maintain this faith, for it is divine and apostolical, and no one ought to pervert it by specious arguments, or by contentious words, as has been done from the beginning by the Arians, who have pretended that the Son of God was formed out of nothing, that there was a period when he had no existence, that he is a creature and a work, and that he is subject to change. It was on this account that the council of Nice anathematized the Arian heresy, as we have stated above, and propounded an exposition of the truth. In this formulary it is not merely said that the Son is like the Father, lest it should be believed that He is only similar to God; but it is written that he is consubstantial with God, and this is an expression which can only be used with respect to the true Son, begotten of the, Father. This exposition does not speak of the Holy Ghost
Compare note on Socrates, Eccl. Hist. b. i. ch. 8, and see also Evagrius, Eccl. Hist. b. iii. ch. 31.
as separate from the Father and the Son, but renders glory to Him, and the Father, and the Son, in the faith of the one holy Trinity, and recognises the same Divine nature in three persons.”
CHAP. IV.-REVENUES RESTORED TO THE CHURCHES. The perusal of this letter confirmed the notions respecting divine things which the emperor had formed. He enacted another law commanding the supply of corn to be granted to the churches which Constantine the Great had granted. Julian had withdrawn the grant when he took up arms against our God and Saviour. But as the famine which had taken place on account of Julian's impiety did not permit the quantity appointed by Constantine to be supplied, Jovian ordered the third part to be distributed, and promised that the rest should be restored on the cessation of the famine.
CHAP. V.-DEATH OF THE EMPEROR. AFTER having distinguished the commencement of his reign by the enactment of such laws, Jovian left Antioch to go towards the Bosphorus. When he had arrived at Dadastana, a village lying between Bithynia and Galatia, he died. He was well prepared for quitting this life ; but his death caused great grief to all who had experienced the mildness of his administration. I think that the Supreme Ruler of the universe exhibits blessings to our gaze, and then deprives us of them, in order to repress the evil that is in us, and to teach us how easily He can bestow whatever He thinks fit; thus proving to us that we are unworthy of blessings, and urging us on to a better course of life.
CHAP. VI.-AccessION OF VALENTINIAN.- VALENS HIS BROTHER
ASSOCIATED WITH HIM IN THE GOVERNMENT. The soldiers, on hearing of the death of the emperor, deplored their loss as if he had been their father. They proclaimed Valentinian emperor, who had been banished to a fortress, a short time previously, for having struck a priest.