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cloak of Arsenius on one side, Athanasius shows one of the man's hands; again, while some were supposing that the other hand was wanting, after permitting them to remain a short time in doubt, he turned back the cloak on the other side and exposed the other hand. Then, addressing himself to those present, he said, Arsenius, as you see, is found to have two hands; let my accusers show the place where the third was cut off.'”i The fertility of Athanasius in expedients suited to the emergency is evidenced, among other things, by his reputation for magic, as implying the belief that his own wit was supplemented by that of the devil. No doubt his own wit was effectually aided, but the aid came from the invincible fidelity of his many friends. • No fugi. tive Stuart in the Scottish Highlands," says Stanley, “could count more securely on the loyalty of his subjects, than did Athanasius, in his hiding-places in Egypt, count upon the faithfulness and secrecy of his countrymen. His whole course was that of an adventurous and wandering prince, rather than of a persecuted theologian; and when, in the brief intervals of triumph, he was enabled to return to his native city, his entrance was like that of a sovereign rather than of a prelate.” 2


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BASIL AND THE TWO GREGORIES. These three contemporaries may well be grouped together, not only on account of their intimate relations to each other, but also in view of their moral and intellectual kinship.

Basil, who like Athanasius was honored by later gen. erations with the title Great, was born about the year

i Socrates, Hist. Eccl., i. 29. 2 History of the Eastern Church, Lect. vii.

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329. As his death occurred in 379, his whole life was passed in the intense era of the Arian struggle. However, it was only in the last nine of his fifty years, the time of his episcopate, that he was a prominent figure in the great controversy. Up to middle life he was occupied with the labors of the school and the cloister.

The best of literary advantages fell to the lot of Basil. From the tuition of his father, who was a rhetorician, he passed under that of Libanius at Constantinople, and then studied for several years at Athens. These advantages were well improved. Contact with classic culture had no such effect upon him as upon his fellow-student at Athens, the prince Julian. Leaving his Christian devotion undiminished, his liberal studies were transmuted into an aid and ornament to the Christian calling. They supplied polish and edge to the sword which he wielded for the truth of the gospel. “The style of Basil,” says Milman, "did no discredit to his Athenian education; in purity and perspicuity he surpassed most of the heathen, as well as the Christian writers of his age.”i Basil did not forget his obligations to the classics. We find him in later years commending the study of the ancient poets and philosophers. He is careful, indeed, to warn against the infection which might be drawn from the less judicious of their sayings; at the same time, he gives full credit to the healthy stimulus and development which may be derived from the masters of classic literature.2

In Basil generally we recognize the man of breadth and liberality. There is somewhat in the tone of his

1 History of Christianity, Book III., chap. ix. ? Sermo de Legendis Libris Gentiliuin.

writings which reminds of Origen. He did not have the genius or speculative daring of Origen ; but we may discern in him something of the same poise, magnanimity, and gentleness, which attract us toward the distinguished Alexandrian. He was a man of more than ordinary fineness of sensibility. One token of this appears in his sympathetic feeling for the beauties of nature, 1 - a trait which we should hardly expect to find

. in the age of controversialists and monks.

Considerable celebrity attaches to the name of Basil in connection with monasticism. Several ascetic writings, among them a rule for the cloistral life, came from his hand. The rule prescribes a sufficiently severe régime; at the same time, it falls short of the extreme of monastic austerity, and exhibits special touches of enlightened piety. In one of its specifications, strong emphasis is given to the idea that the life of the solitary is far less compatible with the cultivation of Christian virtue than life in society.?

Basil, as bishop of Cæsarea and metropolitan of Cappadocia, displayed eminent abilities for administration. His steadfastness against the demands of Valens is numbered among the celebrated episodes of the Arian controversy. The Emperor was making use of a tour through the East to depose the orthodox bishops. The prætorian prefect Modestus, who travelled ahead, was instructed to present to such the alternative of com. municating with the Arians or the penalty of deposition. Having tried in vain to flatter Basil into acquiescence, he at last rose up in anger, and asked him if he did not fear his power.

1 See Epist., xiv. 2 Regulæ Fusius Tractatæ, vii.


Basil. — Fear what consequences? what sufferings?

Modestus. - One of those many pains which a prefect can inflict.

Basil. Let me know them.
Modestus. — Confiscation, exile, tortures, death. .

Basil. - Think of some other threat. These have no influence upon me.

He runs no risk of confiscation who has nothing to lose except these mean garments and a few books. Nor does he care for exile who is not circumscribed by place, who does not make a home of the spot he dwells in, but everywhere a home whithersoever he be cast, or rather everywhere God's home, whose pilgrim he is and wanderer. Nor can tortures harm a frame so frail as to break under the first blow. You could but strike once, and death would be gain. It would but send me the sooner to Him for whom I live and labor, for whom I am dead rather than alive, to whom I have long been journeying.1

In describing Basil, we have also to a large extent described the two Gregories. Probably neither of them was the equal of Basil in administrative talents. But in other respects they were nearly akin, possessed with the same scholarly affinities, the same poetic sensibility and love of nature, the same appreciation of the monastic ideal.

Gregory Nazianzen, like others of the eminent men of this age,-a Chrysostom, a Theodoret, an Augustine, – enjoyed in childhood and youth the sanctifying impress of a mother's fervent piety. A dream of his early days, in which purity and sobriety took the form of angelic visitants, indicates the thoughts which were then in his

See J. H. Newman, Historical Sketches, vol. iii.

mind, as well as the ideal that was before him in maturer years. Like Basil, Gregory availed himself of the best literary advantages of his age, visiting, among other renowned seats of learning, the schools of Athens. His most conspicuous positions in the Church were those which he occupied as pastor of an orthodox congregation in Constantinople, at a time when the city was overrun with Arianism, and later as patriarch of the same metropolis. The latter position, however, was very soon resigned, owing to exhibitions of jealousy and captious opposition. He figured to some extent as a poet, but won his greatest distinction as a pulpit orator. He cannot be excused from a certain rhetorical extravagance, but may be ranked, nevertheless, after Chrysostom, among the principal lights of sacred oratory in the Greek Church.

Gregory of Nyssa, a younger brother of Basil, is known chiefly for his literary productiveness. In this field he served as a champion of trinitarianism ; but his thinking was not always in the line of orthodoxy. His bent to idealism reminds of Origen, some of whose peculiar opinions he imbibed.

CHRYSOSTOM.-John, surnamed Chrysostom, or the Golden-mouthed, was born at Antioch in 347. His mother, Anthusa, was left a widow soon after his birth, and made it henceforth the chief object of her life to perfect the intellectual and religious education of her son. His literary training was conducted under no less

. a master than the renowned Libanius. As being a mode of life well suited to his rhetorical proficiency, he first chose the calling of an advocate. But he was not

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