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Church, which, in spite of whatever objections may be made to them, appear, on a closer examination of his history, not to be undeserved.
CYRIL is said to have been the son of Christian parents, but the date and place of his birth is unknown. He was born in the first years of the fourth century, and at least was brought up in Jerusalem. He was ordained Deacon probably by Macarius, and Priest by Maximus, the Bishops of Jerusalem; the latter of whom he succeeded A. D. 349, or 350. Shortly before this, (A. D. 347, or 348,) during his Priesthood, he had delivered the Catechetical Lectures which have come down to us.
With his Episcopate commence the historical difficulties under which his memory labours. It can scarcely be doubted that one of his consecrators was Acacius of Cæsarea', the leader of Arianism in the East, who had just before (A. D. 347,) been deposed by the Council of Sardica; yet, as the after history shews, Cyril was no friend of the Arians or of Acaciusd. He was canonically consecrated by the Bishops of his province, and as Acacius was still in possession of the principal see, he was compelled to a recognition which he might have wished to dispense with. He seems to have been a lover of peace; the Council of Sardica was at first as little acknowledged by his own party as by the Arians; and Acacius, being even beyond other Arians skilful and subtle in argument, and admitting the special formula of Cyril on the doctrine in controversy, probably succeeded in disguising his heresy from him.
A more painful account, however, of his consecration is given by S. Jerome', supported in the main by other writers, which can only be explained by supposing that Father to be misled by the information or involved in the prejudices of Cyril's enemies. He relates, that upon Maximus's death, the
C v. Diss. Bened. p. xviii. sq. iv, 7. xi. 4. 9. 18. d Theod. ii. 26.
f Jer. Chron. Socr. ii. 38. Sozom. • The xarà sávra ögovor, vid. Lecture iv, 20.
Arians seized upon the Church of Jerusalem, and promised Cyril the see on condition of his renouncing the ordination he had received from Maximus, and submitting to re-ordination from their hands; that he assented, served in the Church as a mere Deacon, and was then raised by Acacius to the Episcopate, when he persecuted Heraclius, whom Maximus had consecrated as his successor. This account, incredible in itself, is contradicted, on the one hand, by the second General Council, which in its Synodal letter plainly states that he had been“ canonically ordained” Bishop, and on the other by his own writings, which as plainly shew, that in doctrine he was in no respect an Arian or an Arianizer.
If he suffers in memory from the Latin party as if Arian, he suffered not less in his life from the Arians as being orthodox. Seven or eight years after his consecration, he had a dispute with Acacius about the rights of their respective Churchese. Acacius in consequence accused him to the Emperor Constantius of holding with the orthodox; to which it was added that he had during a scarcity sold some offerings made by Constantine to his Church, to supply the wants of the poor. Cyril in consequence was deposed, and retired to Tarsus "; where, in spite of the efforts of Acacius, he was hospitably received, and employed by Silvanus the Semi-arian Bishop of the place. We find him at the same time in friendship with Eustathius of Sebaste and Basil of Ancyra, both Semi-arians'. His own writings, however, as has already been intimated, are most exactly orthodox, though he does not in the Catechetical Lectures, use the word Homoüsion; and in associating with these men he went little further than S. Hilary k, during his banishment in Asia Minor, who calls Basil and Eustathius “ most holy men,” than S. Athanasius, who acknowledges as “ brethren” those who but scrupled at the word Homoüsion',
& Socrat. ii. 40. Sozom. iv. 25. Theod. ii. 27.
h Theodor. ii. 26.
k Hilar. de Synod. 77, 88. &c. v. fragm. II. 4. (Ed. Ben. Cyr, p. Ix.
į Athan, de Synod. 41.
or than S. Basil of Cæsarea, who till a late period of his life was an intimate friend of Eustathius.
In A. D. 359, two years after his deposition, he successfully appealed against Acacius to the Council of Seleucia", one of the two branches of the great Council of East and West, which was convened under the patronage of Constantius to settle the troubles of the Christian world. But the next year, Acacius contriving to bring the matter before a Council at Constantinople, where the Emperor was staying, Cyril with his friends was a second time deposed, and banished from Palestine".
On Constantius's death all the banished Bishops were restored', and Cyril, who was at that time with Meletius of Antioch, returned to Jerusalem, A.D. 362. He was there at the time of Julian's attempt to rebuild the Temple", and from the Prophecies boldly foretold its failure.
He was once more driven from his see, during the reign of the Arian Valens!, (A.D. 367,) and he remained dispossessed
A.D. 378. About the time of the death of Valens, the last of the Arian princes, he was restored, but under what circumstances is unknown. The Arians fell once for all with their imperial protectors; and soon after, that union of Christian Churches took place, which would never have been interrupted, had not a few bold and subtle-minded men contrived to delude them into the belief of mutual differences. S. Athanasius, the great peace-maker of the Church, was gone to his rest; and S. Basil also, who had mourned over evils which he had no means of remedying. Gregory of Nyssa, the brother of the latter, Gregory of Nazianzum, Meletius of Antioch, remained; and were present together with Cyril in the second General Council', which formally restored the latter to his see, and in
v. Dissert. 1. Ed. Bened. p. lvi. F. q Sozom. iv. 30. Jerom. Catal. Script. » Sozom. iv. 25. Philostorg. iv. 12. Eccles. 112. v. 1.
I Socrat. v. 8. Sozom. vii. 7. v. Diso Sozom. v. 5.
sert. Bened. p. lxxxii. P Socrat, iii. 20, Ruffin. i. 37.
its letter to the Western Bishops speaks of him as the most reverend and religious Cyril, long since canonically appointed by the Bishops of the province, and in many ways and places a withstander of the Ariaus .' He died about the year 386. Except one or two short compositions and fragments, nothing remains of his writings but his Catechetical Lectures.
No ecclesiastical writer could be selected more suitable to illustrate the main principle on which the present“ Library of the Fathers” has been undertaken, than S. Cyril of Jerusalem. His Catechetical Lectures were delivered, as we have seen, when he was a young man; and he belonged, till many years after their delivery, to a party or school of theology, distinct, to say the least, from that to which the most illustrious divines of his day belonged; a school, never dominant in the Church, and expiring with his age. It is not then on the score of especial personal authority that his Lectures are now presented to the English reader; and if the simple object of this Publication were to introduce the latter to the wise good of former times, S. Cyril would have no claims to a place in it beyond many who have lived since.
In saying this, it is far indeed from being asserted, that the personal claims of the Fathers of the Church on our deference are inconsiderable; for it happens, not unnaturally, that the works which have been preserved, were worth preserving, or rather that their writers would have been extraordinary men in any age, and speak with the weight of great experience, ability, and sanctity. To those who believe that moral truth is not gained by the mere exercise of the intellect, but is granted to moral attainments, and that God speaks to inquirers after truth by the mouth of those who possess these, the writings of S. Basil or S. Augustine must always have an authority independent of their date or their agreement; nor is it possible for serious persons to read them, without feeling the authority which they possess as individuals. This, how
Theod. Hist. v. 9.
ever, whatever it be, is not the main subject to which the present Translations propose to direct attention. The works to be translated have been viewed simply and plainly in the light of witnesses to an historical fact, viz. the religion which the Apostles transmitted to the early Churches, a fact to be ascertained as other past facts, by testimony, requiring the same kind of evidence, moral pot demonstrative, open to the same difficulties of proof, and to be determined by the same practical judgment. It seems hardly conceivable that a fact so public and so great as the religion of the first Christians should be incapable of ascertainment, at least in its outlines, that it should have so passed away like a dream, that the most opposite opinions may at this day be maintained about it without possibility of contradiction. If it was soon corrupted or extinguished, then it is obvious to inquire after the history of such corruption or extinction; such a revolution every where, without historical record, being as unaccountable as the disappearance of the original religion for which it is brought to account. At first sight there is, to say the least, a considerable antecedent improbability in the notion, that, whereas we know the tenets and the history of the Stoic or the Academic philosophy, yet we do not know the main tenets, nor yet the fundamental principles, nor even the spirit and temper of Apostolic Christianity.
Under a sense of this improbability, in other words with an expectation that historical research would supply what they sought, our Divines at and since the Reformation have betaken themselves to the extant documents of the early Church, in order to determine thereby what the system of Primitive Christianity was; and so to elicit from Scripture more coropletely and accurately that revealed truth, which, though revealed there, is not on its surface, but needs to be deduced and developed from it. They went to the Fathers for information concerning matters, on which the Fathers at first sight certainly do promise to give information, just as inquirers into any other branch of knowledge might study