« PreviousContinue »
And the Lord Himself when He had come into the synagogue of the Jews and had taken the prophet Isaiah, after reading the passage in which he says, "The spirit of the Lord is upon me because He hath anointed me and so on, added, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."1 And the blessed Peter in his sermon to the Jews said, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost.' And Isaiah many ages before had predicted, "There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots; and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;" and again, "Behold my servant whom I uphold, my beloved in whom my soul delighteth. I will put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." This testimony the Evangelist too has inserted in his own writings. And the Lord Himself in the Gospels says to the Jews, "If I with the spirit of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.' ." And John says, "He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost."" So this exact examiner of the divine decrees has not only anathematized prophets, apostles, and even the archangel Gabriel, but has suffered his blasphemy to reach even the Saviour of the world Himself. For we have shewn that the Lord Himself after reading the passage "The spirit of the Lord is upon me because He hath anointed me," said to the Jews, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." And to those who said that He was casting out devils by Beelzebub He replied that He was casting them out by the Spirit of God. But we maintain that it was not God the Word, of one substance and co-eternal with the Father, that was formed by the Holy Ghost and anointed, but the human nature which was assumed by Him at the end of days. We shall confess that the Spirit of the Son was His own if he spoke of it as of the same nature and proceeding from the Father, and shall accept the expression as consistent with true piety. But if he speaks of the Spirit as being of the Son, or as having its origin through the Son we shall reject this statement as blasphemous and impious. For we believe the Lord when He says, "The spirit which proceedeth from the Father;" and likewise the very divine Paul saying, "We have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God."
Against X.- The unchangeable nature was not changed into nature of flesh, but assumed human nature and set it over the common high priests, as the blessed Paul teaches in the words, "For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on the ignorant and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is encompassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people so also for himself." 9 And a little further on interpreting this he says, "As was Aaron so also was the Christ." 10 Then pointing out the infirmity of the assumed nature he says, “Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplication with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard for His godly fear, though He was a son yet learned obedience by the things that He suffered: and having been made perfect He became unto all that obey Him the author of eternal salvation; named of God a high priest of the order of Melchisedec." " Who then is He who was perfected by toils of virtue and who was not perfect by nature? Who is He who learnt obedience by experience, and before his experience was ignorant of it? Who is it that lived with godly fear and offered supplication with strong crying and tears, not able to save Himself but appealing to Him that is able to save Him and asking for release from death? Not God the Word, the impassible, the immortal, the incorporeal, whose memory is joy and release from tears, For he has wiped away tears from off all faces," and again the prophet says, "I remembered God and was glad,"13 Who crowneth them that live in godly fear, "Who knoweth all things before they be," 14" Who hath all things that the Father hath; 15 Who is the unchangeable image of the Father," 16" Who sheweth the Father in himself." 17 It is on the contrary that which was assumed by Him of the seed of David, mortal, passible, and afraid of death; although this itself afterwards destroyed the power of death through union with the God who had assumed it; which walked through all righteousness and said to John, "Suffer it to be so now for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” 19
This took the name of the priesthood of Melchisedec, for it put on infirmity of nature; not the Almighty God the Word. Wherefore also, a little before, the blessed Paul said, "We have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin." It was the nature taken from us for our sakes which experienced our feelings without sin, not He that on account of our salvation assumed it. And in the beginning of this part of his subject he teaches us in the words "Consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Jesus, who was faithful to Him that appointed Him as also Moses was faithful in all His house."" But no one holding the right faith would call the unmade the uncreate, God the Word coeternal with the Father, a creature; but on the contrary, Him of David's seed Who being free from all sin was made our high priest and victim, after Himself offering Himself on our behalf to God having in Himself the Word, God of God, united to Himself and inseparably conjoined.
Against XI.- In my opinion he appears to give heed to the truth, in order that, by concealing his unsound views by it, he may not be detected in asserting the same dogmas as the heretics. But nothing is stronger than truth, which by its own rays uncovers the darkness of falsehood. By the aid of its illumination we shall make his heterodox belief plain. In the first place he has nowhere made mention of intelligent flesh, nor confessed that the assumed man was perfect, but everywhere in accordance with the teaching of Apollinarius he speaks of flesh. Secondly, after introducing the conception of the mixture under other terms, he brings it into his arguments; for there he clearly states the flesh of the Lord to be soulless. For, he says, if any one states that the flesh of the Lord is not proper flesh of the very Word who is of God the Father, but that it is of another beside Him, let him be anathema. Hence it is plain that he does not confess God the Word to have assumed a soul, but only flesh, and that He Himself stands to the flesh in place of soul. We on the contrary assert that the flesh of the Lord having in it life was life-giving and reasonable, on account of the life-giving Godhead united to it. And he himself unwillingly confesses the difference between the two natures, speaking of flesh, and "God the Word" and calling it "His own flesh." Therefore God the Word was not changed into nature of flesh, but has His own flesh, the assumed nature, and has made it life-giving by the union.
Against XII. Passion is proper to the passible; the impassible is above passions. It was then the form of the servant that suffered, the form of God of course dwelling with it, and permitting it to suffer on account of the salvation brought forth of the sufferings, and making the sufferings its own on account of the union. Therefore it was not the Christ who suffered, but the man assumed of us by God. Wherefore also the blessed Isaiah exclaims in his prophecy," A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."" And the Lord Christ Himself said to the Jews, "Why seek ye to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth?" But what is threatened with death is not the very life, but he that hath a mortal nature. And giving this lesson in another place the Lord said to the Jews, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Therefore what was destroyed was the (temple descended) from David, and, after its destruction, it was raised up by the only begotten Word of God, impassibly begotten of the Father before the ages.
1 Heb. iv. 15. 2 Heb. iii. 1-2. For "the Christ" we might expect here "the Word," for that the Christ suffered is the plain statement of Scripture (I. Pet. ii. 21). But Theodoret uses the name Christ of the eternal word, e.g. de Providentia `x. 661. "When you hear Christ mentioned, understand the only begotten Son the Word, begotten of His Father before the ages, clad in human nature." 5 Is. liii. 3. John vii. 19. d. viii. 40. 7 John ii. 9.
CONSTANTINE II. CONSTANTIUS II. CONSTANS. Flavia Maxima= Constantia=*Hannibalianus.* Helena=JULIAN. Imp. 337.
*Put to death.
THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF
Design of the History.
Licinius, the surge which those destroyers, like hurricanes, had roused was hushed to sleep ; the whirlwinds were checked, and the Church henceforward began to enjoy a settled calm. This was established for her by Constantine, WHEN artists paint on panels and on walls a prince deserving of all praise, whose calling, the events of ancient history, they alike delight like that of the divine Apostle, was not of the eye, and keep bright for many a year the men, nor by man, but from heaven. He enmemory of the past. Historians substitute acted laws prohibiting sacrifices to idols, and books for panels, bright description for pig- commanding churches to be erected. He ments, and thus render the memory of past appointed Christians to be governors of the events both stronger and more permanent, for provinces, ordering honour to be shown to the the painter's art is ruined by time. For this priests, and threatening with death those reason I too shall attempt to record in writing who dared to insult them. By some the events in ecclesiastical history hitherto omitted, churches which had been destroyed were redeeming it indeed not right to look on without built; others erected new ones still more an effort while oblivion robs1 noble deeds and spacious and magnificent. Hence, for us, all useful stories of their due fame. For this cause was joy and gladness, while our enemies were too I have been frequently urged by friends to overwhelmed with gloom and despair. The undertake this work. But when I compare my temples of the idols were closed; but frequent own powers with the magnitude of the under-assemblies were held, and festivals celebrated, taking, I shrink from attempting it. Trusting, in the churches. But the devil, full of all however, in the bounty of the Giver of all envy and wickedness, the destroyer of mangood, I enter upon a task beyond my own strength.
Eusebius of Palestine has written a history of the Church from the time of the holy Apostles to the reign of Constantine, the prince beloved of God. I shall begin my history from the period at which his terminates 3.
kind, unable to bear the sight of the Church sailing on with favourable winds, stirred up plans of evil counsel, eager to sink the vessel steered by the Creator and Lord of the Universe. When he began to perceive that the error of the Greeks had been made manifest, that the various tricks of the demons had been detected, and that the greater number of men worshipped the Creator, instead of adoring, as heretofore, the creature, he did not dare to declare open war against our God and Saviour; but having found some who, though dignified with the name of Christians,
were yet slaves to ambition and vainglory, he for he heard the law of God loudly declaring, made them fit instruments for the execution". If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast of his designs, and by their means drew others it from thee 7." back into their old error, not indeed by the former method of setting up the worship of the creature, but by bringing it about that the Creator and Maker of all should be reduced to a level with the creature. I shall now proceed to relate where and by what means he sowed these tares.
List of the principal Bishops.
In Antioch, after the death of Tyrannus 4. when peace began to be restored to the churches, Vitalis 5 received the chief authority, and restored the church in the " Palæa 6" which had been destroyed by the tyrants. He was succeeded by Philogonius 7, who completed all that was wanting in the work of restoration: he had, during the time of Licinius, signalised himself by his zeal for religion.
After the administration of Hermon, the government of the church in Jerusalem was committed to Macarius 9, a man whose character was equal to his name, and whose mind was adorned by every kind of virtue.
At this same period also. Alexander, illustrious for his apostolical gifts, governed the church of Constantinople 10.
Of the church of Rome at this period Silvester held the reins. His predecessor in Alexandria is an immense and populous the see was Miltiades 2, the successor of that city, charged with the leadership not only of Marcellinus 3 who had so nobly distinguished Egypt, but also of the adjacent countries, the himself during the persecution. Thebaid and Libya. After Peter2, the victorious champion of the faith, had, during the sway of the aforesaid impious tyrants, obtained the crown of martyrdom, the Church in Alexandria was ruled for a short time by Achillas 3. He was succeeded by Alexander, who proved himself a noble defender of the doctrines of the gospel. At that time, Arius, who had been enrolled in the list of the presbytery, and entrusted with the exposition of the Holy Scriptures, fell a prey to the assaults of jealousy, when he saw that the helm of the high priesihood was committed to Alexander. Stung by this passion, he sought opportunities for dispute and contention; and, although he perceived that Alexander's irreproachable conduct forbade his bringing any charges against him, envy would not allow him to rest. In him the enemy of It was at this time that Alexander, bishop of the truth found an instrument whereby to Alexandria, perceiving that Arius, enslaved stir and agitate the angry waters of the by the lust of power, was assembling those who Church, and persuaded him to oppose the had been taken captive by his blasphemous docapostolical doctrine of Alexander. While the trines, and was holding private meetings, comPatriarch, in obedience to the Holy Scriptures, municated an account of his heresy by letter to taught that the Son is of equal dignity with the rulers of the principal churches. That the the Father, and of the same substance with authenticity of my history may not be suspected, God who begat Him, Arius, in direct opposi- I shall now insert in my narrative the letter tion to the truth, affirmed that the Son of God which he wrote to his namesake, containing, as is merely a creature or created being, adding it does, a clear account of all the facts I have the famous dictum, "There once was a time mentioned. I shall also subjoin the letter of when He was not 5; with other opinions which Arius, together with the other letters which are may be learned from his own writings. He necessary to the completeness of this narrataught these false doctrines perseveringly, not tive, that they may at once testify to the truth only in the church, but also in general meet- of my work, and make the course of events ings and assemblies; and he even went from more clear. house to house, endeavouring to make men The following letter was written by Alexander the slaves of his error. Alexander, who was of Alexandria, to the bishop of the same name strongly attached to the doctrines of the as himself. Apostles, at first tried by exhortations and counsels to convince him of his error; but when he saw him playing the madman and making public declaration of his impiety, he deposed him from the order of the presbytery,
7 ἐὰν . . . σκανδαλίζῃ, St. Matt. v. 29 and xviii. 9; εἰ . . okavdaλiçe, cf. Mark ix. 43. 1 Bp. of Rome, from Jan. 31, A.D. 314, to Dec. 31, A.D. 335. 2 Otherwise Melchiades. July 2, A.D. 310, to Jan. 10, A.D. 314. 3 Jan. 30, A.D. 296, to Oct. 25, A.D. 304. Accused of apostasy,