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objectionable to us, but seemed conformable to the faith held by us, and confessed in our formulary.”
CHAP. XIII.-CONFUTATION OF THE BLASPHEMING ARIANS OF
THIS PERIOD, FROM THE WRITINGS OF EUSEBIUS, BISHOP OF CÆSAREA,
EUSEBIUS clearly testifies that the aforesaid term substantial” is not a new one, nor the invention of the fathers assembled at the council ; but that it is of high antiquity, having been handed down from parent to son. He states that all those then assembled unanimously received the formulary of the faith ; and he again bears testimony to the same fact in another work, in which he highly extols the conduct of the great Constantine. He writes as follows :
“The emperor having delivered this discourse in Latin, it was translated into Greek by an interpreter, and then he permitted the chief men of the council to express their sentiments. They at once began to bring forward complaints against their neighbours, while the latter had recourse to recriminations and reproaches. Each party had much to urge, and the controversy beginning to be very violent, the emperor, who had patiently and attentively listened to all that had been advanced, fixed another day for the discussion of their differences, and endeavoured to reconcile the conflicting parties ; he addressed them in Greek, of which language he was not ignorant, and spoke in a sweet and gentle manner. Some he convinced by argument, others he soothed by kind words ; he commended those who had spoken well, and excited all to reconciliation ; until, at length, unity of sentiment and of opinion prevailed among them all. They all professed conformity to the same faith, and they agreed to celebrate the holy festival upon the same day. What had been decided was committed to writing, and was signed by all the bishops.”
Soon after the author thus continues the narrative :
“When matters were arranged, the emperor gave them permission to return to their own dioceses. They returned with great joy, and have ever since continued to be of one
1 He alludes to his Life of Constantine, iii. 13. Theodoret here delicately corrects one or two mistakes of Socrates and Sozomen, without however bringing forward their names.
mind, being so firmly united as to form, as it were, but one body. Constantine, rejoicing in the success of his efforts, made known these happy results by letter to those who were at a distance. He ordered large sums of money to be liberally distributed both among the inhabitants of the provinces and of the cities, in order that the twentieth anniversary of his reign might be celebrated with public festivities.”
Although the Arians impiously gainsay and refuse to give credit to the statements of the other fathers, yet they ought to believe what has been written by this father, whom they have been accustomed to admire. They ought, therefore, to receive his testimony to the unanimity with which the confession of faith was signed by all. But even if they combat the opinions of the fathers of their own sect, yet surely they must at least have shrunk with horror from the impieties which emanated from Arius, when they learnt the terrible manner of his death. As it is likely that the mode of his death is not known by all, I shall here relate it.
CHAP. XIV.-EXTRACT FROM THE WRITINGS OF ATHANASIUS
ON THE DEATH OF ARIUS. AFTER Arius had remained a long timel in Alexandria, he endeavoured to obtrude himself again into the councils of the church, sometimes by professing to renounce his impiety, and at others by promising to receive the confession of faith drawn. up by the fathers. But not succeeding in obtaining the confidence of Alexander, nor of his worthy successor and virtuous imitator Athanasius, he, through the exertions of Euse-, bius, bishop of Nicomedia, went to settle in Constantinople. The intrigues upon which he then entered, and the just punishment which befell him, are all far better narrated by Athanasius in a letter addressed to Apian, than they are elsewhere : I shall now insert some extracts from this letter.
“I was not at Constantinople when he died; but Macarius, the presbyter, was there, and from him I learnt all the circumstances. The emperor Constantine was induced by the party of Eusebius to send for Arius. Upon his arrival, the emperor
| Valesius remarks that Theodoret is guilty of a mistake in saying that Arius remained long at Alexandria after the Council of Nicæa. During this interval it is certain that he was in exile, though Socrates and Theodoret both assert the contrary.
asked him whether he held the faith of the catholic church. Arius replied with oaths that his faith was orthodox, and presented a written summary of his belief ; concealing, however, the reasons of his ejection from the church by the bishop Alexander, and deceitfully endeavouring to imitate the language of the Holy Scriptures. When, therefore, he had declared upon oath that he did not hold the errors for which he had been expelled from the church by Alexander, Constantine dismissed him, saying: 'If your faith be orthodox, your oaths are honourable; but if you do not really hold that belief which you have professed upon oath, God will judge you from heaven.' When he quitted the emperor, the partişans of Eusebius, with their usual violence, desired to restore him to communion with the church ; but Alexander, of blessed memory, bishop of Constantinople, remonstrated against this measure, alleging that the originator of a schism ought not to be admitted into communion. Then the rest of the partisans of Eusebius began to menace him in the following terms : • As against your will we succeeded in prevailing on the emperor to send for Arius, so will we now, in opposition to your opinion, take measures to have Arius associated with us in this church to-morrow.' It was on Saturday that they said this. The bishop Alexander, deeply grieved at what he had heard, went into the church and mourned, raising his hands in supplication to God; and he prostrated himself at the foot of the altar, and prayed. Macarius went in with him, prayed with him, and heard what petitions he uttered. He asked one of two things. 'If Arius,' said he, is to be joined to the church to-morrow, dismiss me thy servant, and do not destroy the pious with the impious. If thou forgivest thy church, and I know that thou
dost forgive her, look upon the words of the followers of Eusebius, and give not over thy heritage to destruction and to shame. Cut off Arius, lest if he enter into communion with the church, heresy enter also, and impiety be found conjoined with piety.' Having thus prayed, the bishop left the church in a state of deep mental anxiety. A horrible and unexpected catastrophe ensued. The partisans of Eusebius had launched out into threats, while the bishop had recourse to prayer. Arius, emboldened by the protection of his party, delivered many trifling and foolish speeches, when he was suddenly compelled by the calls of nature to retire, and immediately,' as it is written, 'he
burst asunder, fell down, and expired, being deprived at once both of communion and of life.' This, then, was the end of Arius. The partisans of Eusebius were covered with shame ; yet, as he had held the same sentiments as themselves, they buried him. Alexander was filled with joy, and rejoiced with the church in the re-establishment of piety and of orthodoxy; he prayed with all the brethren, and glorified God. This was not because he rejoiced at the death of Arius-far from it, for all men must die ; but it was because his mode of death surpassed the judgment of man. For God, when passing judgment upon the menaces of the partisans of Eusebius and the
prayer of Alexander, condemned the Arian heresy, showing that it was unworthy of being received into the communion of the church; and thus manifesting that although it received the countenance and support of the emperor, and of all men, yet that it was condemned by truth. These were the firs fruits, reaped by Arius, of those pernicious seeds which he had himself sown, forming the prelude to those punishments that await him in futurity. His sufferings form, as it were, a recital of his impiety.”
I shall now turn the discourse upon the virtues of the emperor. He addressed a letter to all the subjects of the Roman empire, exhorting them to renounce their former superstitions, and to embrace the doctrines of our Saviour. He exhorted the bishops in every city to build churches, and encouraged them not only by words, but also by presenting them with large sums of money, adequate to defray all the expenses of building. This he explains in his own letter, which is as follows:
CHAP. XV.-LETTER WRITTEN BY THE EMPEROR CONSTANTINE
RESPECTING THE BUILDING OF CHURCHES." “CONSTANTINE AUGUSTUS, the great and the victorious, to Eusebius.
“I feel convinced, my beloved brother, that as the servants of Christ have been suffering up to the present time from nefarious machinations and tyrannical persecutions, all the churches must have either fallen into utter ruin from neglect, or at least must have become dilapidated from want of proper care. But now that freedom is restored, and that the domi| This letter, according to Du Pin, was written A. D. 324 or 325.
nion of the dragon has been destroyed, through the providence of God, and by our instrumentality, I think that the Divine power has become known to all, and that those who hitherto, from incredulity or from depravity, have lived in error, will now, upon becoming acquainted with the truth, be led in the way of life. Exert yourself diligently in the reparation of the churches under your jurisdiction, and admonish the principal bishops, priests, and deacons of other places to engage zealously in the same work; in order that all the churches which still exist may be repaired or enlarged, and that new ones may be built wherever they are required. You, and others through your intervention, can apply to the governors of the provinces, and to the commanders of the troops, for all that may be necessary for this purpose : for they have received written injunctions to supply whatever your holiness may command. May God preserve you, beloved brother.”
Thus the emperor wrote to the bishops in each province respecting the re-building of churches. From his letter to Eusebius, bishop of Palestine, it is easily learnt what measures he adopted to obtain copies of the Holy Scriptures.
CHAP. XVI.-THE EPISTLE OF CONSTANTINE CONCERNING THE
PREPARATION OF COPIES OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, “ CONSTANTINE AUGUSTUS, the great and the victorious, to Eusebius.
“ In the city which bears our name, a great number of persons have, through the providential care of God the Saviour, been adopted into the holy church. As all things here are in a state of rapid improvement, it is evidently requisite that the things which concern the church should progress proportionably. Adopt joyfully the mode of procedure determined upon by us. It appears expedient that you should get written, on fine parchment, fifty copies of the Scriptures, of which you know the church stands much in need; you must bave them clearly and elaborately transcribed by persons whom you believe capable of the task, so that they may be easily read and circulated. We have sent letters to the general director, in order that he may be careful that everything necessary for the undertaking is supplied. The duty devolving upon you is to take measures to insure the completion of these