Page images
PDF
EPUB

already deposed with his teacher Apollinaris, by the sentence of the apostolic chair, in the presence of Peter, bishop of Alexandria ; and in the day of judgment he will suffer the vengeance and the torments which are his due. If he seduce any light-minded persons to embrace his opinions, and place his confidence in them, renouncing the confession of true hope in Christ, he will perish with all those who desire to subvert the canons of the church. May your God preserve you in health, my much-honoured sons."

Other letters were written by the bishops assembled in Rome, against various heresies; and it is requisite to insert the following in this part of my history.

1

CHAP. XI.-SECOND SYNODICAL LETTER WRITTEN BY DAMASIS

AGAINST VARIOUS HERESIES. CONFESSION of the Catholic faith, sent by the pope Damasis to the bishop Paulinus,' when he was at Thessalonica in Macedonia.

“ As since the council of Nice many errors have arisen, and some have even blasphemously presumed to say that the Holy Ghost was made by the Son, we pronounce anathema against all those who do not preach with cordiality that the Holy Ghost is of the same substance, and possesses the same power, as the Father and the Son. We also anathematize those who follow the error of Sabellius, and say that the Father is the same as the Son. We also anathematize Arius and Eunomius, who, with equal impiety, although in different words, affirm that the Son and the Holy Ghost are created beings. We also anathematize the Macedonians, who, springing up from the root of Arius, have changed in name, though not in impiety. We anathematize Photinus, who, reviving the heresy of Ebion, declares that our Lord Jesus Christ is the son of Mary only. We anathematize those who say that there are two sons, one existing before all ages, and the other since the incarnation. We anathematize those who say that the Word of God, by assuming a human body, supplied the place of a rational soul in that body. The Word of God did not

| Some interpreters have hence supposed that Paulinus was bishop of Thessalonica. It is hardly necessary to add, that he was bishop of Antioch, and of no other see.

supply the place of a rational and intelligent soul in the body which he assumed. He took upon himself a rational and intelligent soul, but without sin, for the salvation of mankind. We anathematize those who say that the Word of God is in any way separated from the Father, that He is not of the same substance as the Father, or that He will have an end. Those who have wandered from church to church until they returned to the cities in which they were originally ordained, we hold to be estranged from communion with us. If, while any bishop is travelling from place to place, some one else happen to be ordained in his office, then he who left the city must remain deprived of the sacerdotal dignity until his successor is called to rest in the Lord. If any one say that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, have not always existed, let him be anathema. If any one do not confess that the Son was begotten of the Father, that is to say, of his Divine nature, let him be anathema. If any one do not.say that the Son is the true God, even as the Father is the true God, and that He can do all things, that He sees all things, and that He is equal to the Father, let him be anathema. If any one pretend that when the Son of God took upon him our flesh He was not in heaven with the Father, at the very time that He was on the earth, let him be anathema. If any one affirm that in the death of the cross the sufferings were endured by the Divine nature of the Son of God, and not by the body and rational soul which He assumed when he took upon himself the form of a servant, even as is declared in the Holy Scriptures, let him be anathema. If any one do not confess that the Word of God suffered in the flesh, that He was crucified in the flesh, that He suffered death in the flesh, and that He was the first-born of the dead, even as He is also life, and, like God, the Giver of life, let him be anathema. If any one should not confess that He has now sat down at the right hand of the Father in the human body which he took upon himself, and that He will come in the same body to judge the living and the dead, let him be anathema. If any one deny that the Holy Ghost is really and truly of the Father, even as is the Son, that He is of the Divine substance, and that He is very God, let him be anathema. If any one do not confess that the Holy Ghost is almighty, omniscient, and omnipresent, even as are the Father and the Son, let him be anathema. If any one say that the Holy Ghost was created or made by the Son, let him be anathema. If any one deny that the Father made all things, visible and invisible, by the Son, who became incarnate, and by the Holy Ghost, let him be anathema. If any one do not confess that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are one in Divinity, power, majesty, glory, and dominion, having one kingdom, one will, and one truth, let him be anathema. If any one do not confess that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are truly three Persons, co-equal and co-eternal, possessing all things, both visible and invisible, that they are all-powerful, that they judge all things, and give life to all things, and that they have made and that they preserve all things, let him be anathema. If any say that the Holy Ghost ought not to be worshipped by all creatures, like the Father and the Son, let him be anathema. If any one think correctly respecting the Father and the Son, without entertaining orthodox opinions with regard to the Holy Ghost, he is a heretic; because all heretics who have formed mistaken notions concerning the Son of God and the Holy Ghost, are as guilty of unbelief as the Jews and the Pagans. If any one divide the Divinity, by pretending that as the Father is God, the Son God, and the Holy Ghost God, that these three are three gods and not one God by the oneness of Divinity and of power, (as we believe and know, for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one God in three Persons,) if he put aside the Son and the Holy Ghost, and recognise the Father alone as the one God, let him be anathe

The name of gods has been given by God to angels and to saints. But the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are not called gods, but God, because of the oneness of their Divinity, and because they are co-equal; so that we know that we are baptized in the name of the Father,, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and not in the name of angels or of archangels, as the heretics, the Jews, and the Pagans foolishly imagine. The salvation of Christians consists in believing in the Trinity, that is to say, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and in being baptized in the name of the one and the same Divinity, Power, Godhead, and Substance, in which we have believed.”

ma.

CHAP. XII.-DEATH OF GRATIAN.-TYRANNY OF MAXIMUS.

The above incidents occurred during the reign of Gratian. After having rendered himself redoubtable in war, and distinguished himself by the clemency and justice of his administration, he fell in a conspiracy which had been raised against him, leaving no children to inherit the empire. His brother, a very young man bearing the name of his father, was his only heir. Maximus contemned the extreme youth of Valentinian, and seized the empire of the west.

CHAP. XIII.-Plot FORMED BY JUSTINA, THE WIFE OF VALEN

TINIAN, AGAINST AMBROSE. JUSTINA, the wife of the elder Valentinian, and the mother of the younger, made known to her son, about this time, the principles of Arianism which she had embraced long previously. Perceiving the fervour of her husband's zeal for the faith, she concealed her sentiments during his life. But, after his death, she boldly presented these erroneous doctrines to the young and flexible mind of her son. He readily listened to the representations of his mother, and was seduced by the allurements of maternal affection, without discerning the deadly nature of the bait. He repeated the arguments which had been brought before him to Ambrose, expecting that if he could convince this bishop, all other persons would by his means be readily led to receive the same sentiments. But Ambrose reminded him of the piety of his father, and besought him to preserve it inviolate as a rich inheritance which was his by right of birth. He explained to him the difference between orthodoxy and heterodoxy; proving that the one was conformable to the doctrines preached by the Lord and by his apostles, while the other was contrary to them, and opposed to the spiritual law. The prince, who was very young, and who had besides been deceived by his mother, not only refused to assent to the words of Ambrose, but took great offence at them, and commanded the church to be surrounded by a band

He probably means the orthodox Christian faith, and especially the decrees of the council of Nicæa. There is a manifest allusion to the passage in Acts xv. 28, “ It hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us."

a

of heavy and of light-armed infantry. But all that he could do was insufficient to shake the firmness of this great man, who regarded the proceedings of the prince with as much indifference as he would have looked upon frightful figures brought upon the stage to terrify children. This greatly exasperated the young prince, and he sent to desire Ambrose to leave the church. “I will not leave it,” replied the bishop, “I will not abandon the sheepfold to wolves, neither will I give up the church of God to blasphemers. If you

wish to kill me, you have only to strike me with a sword or a spear; I am willing to suffer such a death."

CHAP. XIV.-COMMUNICATION BETWEEN MAXIMUS THE EM

- PEROR AND VALENTINIAN THE YOUNGER.

[ocr errors]

AFTER this contest had continued for some time, Maximus, hearing of the violent persecution raised against the great herald of the truth,' wrote to Valentinian, beseeching him to terminate the war which he was waging against religion, and exhorting him not to abandon the faith of his father. He also threatened him with war if he refused to comply with his entreaties; and immediately confirmed his words by his actions, for he collected an army and marched towards Milan, where Valentinian was then residing. Being apprized of his approach, Valentinian fled to Illyria, and learnt by experience the baneful tendency of his mother's counsels.

[ocr errors]

CHAP. XV.-OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN WRITING BY THE EM

PEROR THEODOSIUS UPON THESE OCCURRENCES. WHEN the excellent emperor Theodosius had heard of the proceedings of Valentinian, and of the letter of Maximus, he wrote to the young fugitive, and told him that the confidence Manut of the usurper of the government, as contrasted with the intimidation of the lawful emperor, ought not to excite surprise, because the emperor waged war against religion, while the usurper had taken up arms in her defence. The opponent

of religion is always defeated, and obliged to escape naked, while

made, which

history hake

[ocr errors]

he who defends her is invariably victorious; for the Author are lo

of piety is ever present with piety. Such were the truths

1 i. e. Ambrose.

he more

witurit

ation 9 cannot decal

absolulity

Foruine

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »