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whole course of history is but an echo of this voice of the Most High-"the kingdom of God and his righteousness first; and these shall be added.” In the gospel, then, is solved the deep and solemn problem of human life. There is the clue to this world's history and prospects, the law of its entire changes and progress.
There, too, are opened those higher fields of spiritual knowledge, where the mind of man finds its true expansion and its loftiest range. There, too, are furnished the highest aims which can kindle the human heart, and those divine motives which give the utmost efficiency and elevation to the human character. Faith in the gospel, as it is the key of knowledge, the principle of moral excellence, and the foundation of strength, must be the chief element of human greatness. This can remove mountains; and without it no mighty works can be done.
THE DEATH OF ARIUS.
By Rev. S. M. Hopkins, Prof. ja Auburn Theological Seminary, N.Y.
." On the same day which had been fixed for the triumph of Arius, he expired : and the strange and horrid circumstances of his death might excite a suspicion that the orthodox saints had contributed more efficaciously than by their prayers to deliver the church from the most formidable of her enemies. Those who press the literal narrative of the death of Arius must make their option between poison and miracle.” Gibbon's Rome, chap. XXI. :
The historian evidently means to hint the probability of poi. son. On the other hand various Christian writers have found in the circumstances of the case the special interposition of an avenging Providence. Taking the literal narrative of the death of Arius to be authentic, it may be easily admitted that our only option lies between these alternatives. But we get this narrative from men who regarded Arius with the strongest personal or political animosity. Athanasius had been doing battle against him from the opening of the controversy; and certainly entertained the hate of a true polemic against his shrewd and resolute antagonist. Socrates and Sozomen were credulous and prejudiced writers, devoted to the Nicene party (for there was more of party than of piety in the religious disputes of the period) and prepared to find a judgment of God in every event that could befall an Arian. It is moreover demonstrable that partly through the force of this prejudice, and partly through ignorance of the human physiology, the writers mentioned have given a false and absurd account of the circumstances attending the death of Arius. We shall show reasons for concluding, that neither of the alternatives suggested by Gibbon is to be adopted. With no favorable opinion of the views of Arius we shall find sufficient ground to believe that his death was not caused by miracle, with no violent prejudice in favor of the orthodox saints of the Nicene period, sufficiently probable evidence can be adduced that it was not caused by poison.
The conclusion will be that it was the result of unknown but natural causes.
The history is briefly this : Arius was condemned and excommunicated as a heretic by the Bishops at Nice. Constantine ordered him into banishment. The Emperor's purpose was to enforce with all necessary rigor the decrees of the council; uniformity and peace he would have in the church, if possible; and his first line of policy for effecting it was imposing Nicene Christiani. ty on all the clergy under adequate pains and penalties. Arius and the two non-conforming bishops of the council were kept ex. iled near six years in Illyricum. By the end of this period Constantine had become satisfied with the experiment of compulsory pacification. It had not worked well. All the authority of the Synod, and all the power of the Empire, had failed to quiet the controversy. So far from it, the Shibboleth of the Nicene creed had only raised fresh disputes. “The term Homoöusios,” says Socrates, “disturbed some men's minds. While they busied themselves about this word, and made too curious inquiries into its meaning, they kept up a continual warfare among themselves, and what was done was not unlike a battle in the night; for nei. ther side seemed to understand why they reviled one another. Those who misliked the term Homoöusios charged such as used it with Sabellianism. On the other hand the Homoöusians charg. ed the other party with introducing polytheism. Every bishop felt bound to write volumes of furious controversy; and though each side asserted that the Son of God had a real and true personality, and each maintained that there were three persons in one God, yet (how it came to pass, I know not) they could never agree among themselves, nor cease from disputation." .
This unfortunate result, in which other councils have so faithfully imitated it, seems to have cooled the Emperor's zeal for the Nicene conclusion. There is no positive evidence that he adopted Arian views of doctrine, either at this or at any future period of his life; but he resolved to change his policy. He had come under the influence of Eusebius, of Nicomedia, and other leaders of the Arian party. In particular he was wrought upon by a certain Arian presbyter, who had been a favorite of his sister Constantia, and was domesticated, perhaps as chaplain, in the palace. This
'B. I., chap. 23. THIRD SERIES, VOL. VI., no. 1
individual, who figures influentially, though anonymously, upon the scene, embraced opportunities of insinuating that the views of Arius had been misunderstood, and that he would readily subscribe a confession of orthodox doctrine.
Influenced by these considerations, Constantine resolved to try a different method of quieting the church. Proscription of Arianism had failed. He would try what virtue there was in a system of comprehension. The Arians might be restored to the church by subscribing the Nicean creed with explanations, or some similar formula differing from it chiefly by the omission of the Homoöusion. He began with recalling Arius from banishment. In Constantine's letter written just after the Council of Nice, he had styled the heretic “a most impudent servant of the Devil.” He now addressed him as his “beloved brother.” Arius promptly availed himself of the permission to return, and appeared at court with a confession of his faith. He professed to agree wholly in sentiment with the Nicene bishops. He did not offer however to subscribe the creed, nor was he required to do so. He was ad. mitted to a personal interview with the Emperor, at which, besides verbal explanations of his views, he handed in a written “ Libel” or confession for himself and his friends. It read as follows:“ We believe in one God the Father almighty; and in the Lord Jesus Christ his Son; who was begotten by Him before all worlds ; God the Word by whom all things were made that are in heaven and that are in earth ; who came down from heaven and was incarnate, and suffered and rose again, and ascended into the heavens ; who also shall come again to judge the quick and dead. We also believe in the Holy Ghost, in the resurrection of the flesh, in the life of the world to come, in the kingdom of heaven, and in one Catholic Church of God.” To this Sozomen (B. II., chap. 27.) adds a solemn form of imprecation, as having belonged to the confession. “If we do not thus believe these things, and if we do not truly admit of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in such manner as the whole Catholic Church and the Scriptures (which we believe in all things) do teach, God be our Judge both now and in the last day.”
The creed was scanty and indefinite; but Constantine declared himself satisfied. It may easily be believed, that he was no great judge of orthodoxy; but he was a sagacious and politic ruler. The great source of trouble and uneasiness in the Empire was found in the violence of religious controversy. Give him a united church and he had nothing to fear from Paganism. By a due mixture of firmness and indulgence he could manage the priests. and augurs; but it was a different thing to deal with the bishops. Constantine pleased himself with the hope of quieting the dispute by restoring Arius to the church on a satisfactory profession of faith. A synod happened to be in session at Jerusalem.
Arius was sent there for examination. The bishops either through fear or favor, admitted his soundness in the faith, and relieved him from the excommunication which had rested on him since the council of Nice. He was of course restored to the communion of the church. But Constantine was not satisfied with this alone. Jerusalem was a comparatively obscure and out-of-the-way place. He was determined to exhibit Arius as a restored and orthodox church-member in the most public and formal manner. He would not have his favorite plan of church pacification rest on a thing done in a corner. Arius was accordingly sent to his own church at Alexandria with orders to the bishop to endorse the acts of the synod at Jerusalem, and admit him to church fellowship. Atha. nasius, whose spirit was as high as Constantine's own, and who never trembled to face power, refused to pay any respect to the mandate. It now came his turn to suffer. He was sent into banishment at Triers in Gaul. Constantine had become weary of this haughty imperious prelate,—the Thomas a'Becket of an earlier age, and was glad of a good excuse for getting rid of him. * * . Arius was now summoned to Constantinople. There at least, under his own eye, the Emperor could see that he was fully and honorably restored to church communion. He made a fresh profession of his adherence to catholic doctrine: and Constantine is. sued orders to Alexander the bishop of the city to admit him to fellowship on the following Sabbath. Alexander, a fanatical Homoöusian went into the church and betook himself to prayer. The greater part of the clergy and people of the city were devoted to their bishop and his party.—The excitement was immense ; and it may easily be admitted that among that ferocious populace who afterwards perpretrated so many atrocities in the name of orthodoxy there may have been some who would have felt no scruple in resorting to assassination to rid the church of a heretic. It is not strange that this consideration, coupled with the character of Alexander's prayers (which may be considered as a suggestion of murder) and the extraordinary opportuneness of Arius' death should have sometimes led to the suspicion of poison. The Greeks of that day knew the art of compounding subtle poisons, and were none too good to use them. It is maintained however, that the account we have of the circumstances, together with what we know of the operation of poisons, leaves no room for the suspicion of such an agency in the present instance.
The general indications of the existence of poison are said by Christison, one of the highest living authorities on the subject, to be these : that "the symptoms commence suddenly and prove rapidly fatal; that they increase steadily; that they are uniform in nature throughout their course ; that they begin soon after a meal; and that they appear while the body is in a state of perfect health.”
Some of these criteria we are unable to apply for want of information. For instance, we do not know what was the previous state of Arius' health ; whether he may or may not have been already suffering from a disorder of the bowels; or may have had similar attacks before. Other indications are satisfied in the case; as the “sudden commencement, and sudden fatal termination of the symptoms : others still are negatived, as the "beginning of the disease soon after a meal,” of which there is no evidence, but the reverse.
It was on Saturday that the mandate was issued to Alexander for the public restoration to take place next day. Arius quitted the palace after a final interview with the Emperor, a little before sunset; and attended by a number of his friends, all elated at his approaching triumph, passed in a sort of procession through the streets. As they came abreast of a porphyry column standing in a park called Constantine's Forum, Arius suddenly fell deadly sick, and enquired if there was a “house of office" at hand; one was pointed out to him in the rear of the Forum, to which he withdrew. His friends waited long for his return. Becoming anxious at length, they followed him; and opening the door of the privy found Arius lying dead upon the floor. The account of the circumstances given by Socrates is this : “Mox animo deficere coepit; et una cum excrementis, anus ipsi delabitur: et id quod medici vocant inepoioua, protinus per anum decidit; subsecuta est sanguinis copia; ac postremo, tenuia intestina simul cum splene ac jecore effusa sunt." The account given by Athanasius, in a letter to the African bishops (Sozomen II., 30.) is less particular. He says that directly after quitting the palace, Arius, as if in retribution for his crime, suddenly met his end; and falling headlong, burst asunder in the midst (pronus jaciens, crepuit medius). For the sun had not yet set, when impelled by an urgent call of nature he withdrew into a public place, and there died suddenly; bereft at once of church-communion and of life.
The “crepuit medius” of the last extract, is plainly an allusion to the case of Judas, and is not to be pressed literally. Socrates does not intimate that the abdomen of Arius burst open, so that all his bowels gushed out, but that the discharge of blood and viscera was by the natural passage. Ac postremo tenuia intestina, simul cum splene ac jecore effusa sunt; i. e. per anum, as he says just before. But this is demonstrably an exaggerated statement created by rumor and founded on ignorance of the human anatomy. The discharge of the spleen and liver is a natural impossibility. These viscera are situated entirely without the stomach; and can no more be voided than the heart or lungs can. Nothing can be discharged per anum that does not make a part of the contents of the stomach, except what is secreted by vessels opening
B. 1. chap. 38. Valesius' parallel version.
a theorist asundo crime, sur quittingo men .m by Atha cum
er the creput Judas, at the