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The intention of this work is to provide a sketch of 
the History of the Church in the first six centuries of 
its existence, resting throughout on original authorities, 
and also giving references to the principal modern works 
which have dealt specially with its several portions. It 
is hoped that it may be found to supply a convenient 
summary for those who can give but little time to the 
study, and also to serve as a guide for those who desire to 
make themselves acquainted with the principal documents 
from which the History is drawn. 

The narrow limits of a work like the present allow 
no room for discussion. The author is only able to give 
the conclusions at which, after considering the various 
authorities and arguments, he has himself arrived. In 
the first part of the book, in particular, a controversy 
underlies almost every sentence. In the notes however 
reference is made not only to those documents which 
confirm the statement in the text, but to those also which 
support a different view. 

As it has been found impossible to give an intelligible 
view of the great dogmatic conflicts and of the growth 
of institutions without following their several courses to 

viii Preface. 

the neglect, for the time, of contemporary events, I have 
thought it well to enable my readers to gain some idea 
of the general state of the Church at any epoch by means 
of a Chronological Table. The maps will supply a ready 
means of learning at a glance the early spread of Chris- 
tianity, and the territorial divisions which the Church 
adopted when it became the dominant religious power in 
the Empire. 

The books which I have had constantly before me in 
writing this sketch are Schrockh's Christliche Kirchen- 
geschichte, Neander's History of the Christian Religion 
and Church (Torrey's translation), Gieseler's Lehrbuch 
der Kirchengeschichte, Kurtz's Handbuch der Kirchen- 
geschichte, Base's Lehrbuch and Kirchengeschichte auf der 
Grundlage aJcademischer Vorlesungen, F. C. Baur's Ge- 
schichte der Christlichen Kirche, Alzog's Universalge- 
schichte der Christlichen Kirxhe, and (in the latter part 
of the work) Holler's Kirchengeschichte. References to 
other Histories are given as occasion arises, but to these 
I owe a general help and guidance which cannot be 
acknowledged in detail. I have also to express my 
thanks to my friend Canon Colson, formerly Fellow of 
St John's College, Cambridge, for his kindness in reading 
the proofs and making many suggestions. 


18 Nov., 1893. 



Intkoduction ...* 1 


(A.D. 313). 



1. Paganism 4 

2. Judaism . 7 



1. The Lord's Ministry and the Church in Jerusalem . . 13 

2. St Paul and the Gentile Church 16 

3. St James the Just 21 

4. St Peter 21 

5. St John 24 

6. The remaining Apostles 25 

7. Organization and Worshii^ of the Church .... 26 

8. Sects and Heresies 31 



1. Jewish and Roman Persecution 34 

2. The Intellectual Attack 49 

3. The Christian Defence 53 

Table of Contents. 




1. Early Spread of the Gospel 58 

2. Asiatic Churches 63 

3. Alexandrian School 68 

4. Africa 75 

5. The Koman Church .80 



1. Judaic Christianity 86 

2. Marcion 89 

3. Montanism 92 

4. Gnosticism 96 

5. Manichffiism 102 

6. The CathoHc Church 106 



1. Sources of Doctrine. 

A. Scripture 108 

B. The Eule of Faith ....... Ill 

2. Faith in the One God 114 

3. The Holy Trinity ........ 115 

4. Chiliasm 122 



1. The Christian Ministry .124 

2. Synods 137 



1. Christian Life 142 

2. Asceticism 144 

3. Hermits 145 

4. Discipline .......... 147 

Table of Contents. 


5. Ceremonies 

6. Sacred Seasons . 

7. Architectural and otlier Art 










The Imperial Church ...... 

The Hierarchy ....... 


Eome ......... 

Councils ........ 

The Fall of Paganism . . . 



. 168 
. 175 
. 181 
. 186 
. 196 
. 199 



Literary Character of the Age .... 
School of Antioch ...... 

School of Edessa 

Alexandrian School ..... , 
Latin Theology ....„., 

. 213 

. 215 
. 222 
. 224 
. 239 



I. Standards of Doctrine. 

1. Holy Scripture . . . „ , 

2. The Church and its Tradition 

3. Rules of Faith ..... 

II. The Holy Trinity. 

The Ai'ian Controversy .... 

III. The Incarnate Son. 

1. ApoUinarianism ..... 

2. Nestorianism , . . , . 

3. Eutychianism :,.... 

4. Monophysitism ...... 

IV. Origenism ....... 

V. Priscillianism . 

VI. Pelagianism ....... 






Table of Contents. 



1. Law and Society . 

2. Donatism 

3. Celibacy of the Clergy 

4. Monaehism . 




Ecclesiastical Dioceses 

Countries reached by Christianity in the First 
Three Centuries 




Hites and Ceremonies ...... 

. 369 

1. Catechumenate and Baptism 

. 370 

2. The Holy Eucharist 

. 374 

3. The Hour-Offices 

. 387 

4. Matrimony ....... 

. 888 

5. Care of the Sick and the Dead 

. 390 

6. Ordination ....... 

. 392 


The Cycle of Festivals ...... 

. 394 

1. The Week ....... 

. 395 

2. Easter and Lent 

. 395 

3. The Saints and their Festivals 

. 399 

4. Calendars ....... 

. 405 

5. Holy Places ....... 

. 406 


Architecture and Art. 

1. Structure of Churches 

. 407 

2. Pictures in Churches . , . . . 

, 409 

3. Sculpture 

. 412 




The Church in the East 

. 415 


The Conversion of the Teutons ..... 

. 418 

1. The Goths ....... 

. 420 

2. The Franks 

. 425 


The British Islands 

. 431 

1. The British Church 

. 431 

2. St Patrick and the Irish Church . 

. 435 

3. St Columba and lona 

. 440 

at end of book. 


The history of the Church of Christ is the history of 
a divine Life and a divine Society; of the working of the 
Spirit of Christ in the world, and of the formation and 
development of the Society which acknowledges Christ as 
its Head. The Church is distinguished from the World, 
in which man is regarded as discharging the functions 
only of natural life ; and again from the State, which 
is primarily an organization for the purposes of political 
life. Yet the history of the Church cannot be treated 
as if it were wholly independent of the natural and 
political life of man; for the form which Christianity 
assumes in particular instances is largely influenced by 
the natural qualities and the general culture of those to 
whom it comes ; and the Church, composed of men who 
are necessarily citizens of some state, cannot fail to in- 
fluence the civil constitution of the states in which it 
exists, and in many cases to be itself modified, in matters 
not essential to its existence, by the civil government. 

The proper task and constant effort of the Church is, 
to realize in itself the life of Christ and to maintain His 
Truth ; and again to bring all the world within the in- 
fluence of Christian Life and Christian Truth. Church 
History has to relate the results of this constant effort ; to 
describe the struggle of the Church to maintain at first 
its very existence, afterwards its proper functions and 
liberty, against the powers of the world, whether political 
or intellectual ; to preserve its own purity, whether against 
those who would lower the standard of Christian life, or 
against those who would take away from the truth or add 
to it; its own unity against those who would rend it; 

c. 1 


tion of 

and the 
hut not 

Work of 







its efforts constantly to extend its borders, and to con- 
solidate the conquests which, it has already won ; and again 
it has to chronicle the changing and diverse thoughts which 
have clustered round the faith once for all delivered to the 
saints, and formed the Theology of the Christian Church. 

The present volume is concerned mainly with what 
may be called the Ancient- Classic Period ; the period, 
that is, during which the old classical forms of literature 
and civilization were still in a great degree maintained. 
And this may conveniently be separated into two divi- 

1. The early struggles of the Church from its founda- 
tion to its victory under Constantine. 

2. The period in which the now Imperial Church 
defined the Faith in the great Councils, and entered on 
its task of bringing under the yoke of Christ the northern 
tribes which everywhere burst in upon the Empire. This 
period may be roughly limited by the accession of Gregory 
the Great to the Papacy. 



It was in the fulness of time that the Son of God came 
into the world. By many influences the way had been 
prepared before Him. 

That the unity of the Empire and the general peace 
favoured the passage of the first preachers of the gospel 
was long ago observed by Origen^ And not only could 
an apostle pass from the borders of Persia to the English 
Channel unhindered by the feuds of hostile tribes; the 
barriers which varying culture raises up hardly existed 
among the more educated subjects of the Empire. In every 
large town the Greek language was spoken, Greek modes 
of thought prevailed; subtle links connected the Syrian 
apostle with the Greek philosopher. "A morality not 
founded on blood-relation had certainly come into exist- 
ence. The Roman citizenship had been thrown open to 
nations which were not of Roman blood. Foreigners had 
been admitted by the Roman state to the highest civic 
honours. So signally were national distinctions obliterated 
under the Empire, that men of all nations and languages 
competed freely under the same political system for the 
highest honours of the state and of literature. The good 

^ Of the numerous works which 
relate to the preparation of the 
world for Christ may be mentioned — 
J. J. I. Dollinger, The Gentile and 
the Jeio in the Courts of the Temple, 
translated by Darnell ;* T. W. Alhes, 
The Formation of Christendom; H. 
Formby, Ancient Rome and its Con- 
nexion loith tlie Christian Religion; 
De Pressens6, Jesus Christ; the 

Lives of Christ by F. W. Farrar 
and by Cunningham Geikie ; Haus- 
rath, Neutestamentliche Zeitge- 
schichte ; Schiirer, Handbuch der 
Neutestamentlichen Zeitgeschichte ; 
Schmidt, Essai Historique sur la 
Societe Civile dans le Monde Ro- 

2 c, Celsum, ii, 30; Eusebius, 
Dem. Evang. iii. 6. 


Chap. I. 



The Preparation of the World. 

Aurelius and the great Trajan were Spaniards. Severus 
was an African. The leading jurists were of Oriental ex- 
traction \" 

And at the same time the old religions had lost much 
of their life and force. Probably indeed there never was a 
time when temples were more splendid or pagan worship 
more august than in the days when the Lord appeared on 
earth, but the educated classes at least had long ceased to 
believe in the ancient mythology as divine or authoritative. 
Livy^ sadly contrasted the ages of faith with his own age, 
which mocked at gods. Philosophers perhaps rarely denied 
in set terms the existence of deities, but they transformed 
the old half-human gods into shadows or abstractions. 
This transformation was for the most part the work of the 
Stoics. Acknowledging for themselves but one deity, 
pervading the universe and causing all phenomena, they 
were yet reluctant to destroy the religion of those who 
could not rise to this height of contemplation. They 
therefore laid it down that the ordinary divinities re- 
presented different forms of the manifestation of the One. 
The stars, the elements, the very fruits of the earth might 
be regarded as deities. Zeus is in this system no longer 
the president of the gods, but the ruling spirit or law of 
the iiniverse, of which the subordinate gods represent 
different portions. Such explanations, however, though 
they might make it easy for a Stoic to take part in the 
religious ceremonies of his country, were nevertheless de- 
structive of the old religion. And while the moral philo- 
sophers resolved the deities into abstractions, the physicists, 
like the elder Pliny ^ held that speculation about things 
outside the material universe, itself a deity, lay beyond 
their province altogether. In a word, the pagan faiths 
were undergoing a process of gradual destruction, though 
the people long clung to their traditional observances. 

But, in truth, even in its palmy days the worship of 
the Olympian deities supplied nothing to guide man through 
life or to console him in death. The pagan gods were 
deities of the tribe or the nation, not of the individual 
soul. The Greek religion was for the Greek as a citizen ; 
it was an artistic and elevated idealization of Greek life, 

1 Ecee Umno, l.Hl f. 2 iJiaUrria, x. 40. 

•' Hist. Nat. II. 1. 

TIic Preparation of the World. 

with its excellencies and its failings. So in Rome, the 
greater gods formed a glorified senate, while the religious 
ceremonies of the minor deities were interwoven with 
almost the whole life of a Roman \ With this national 
conception of religion, the deification of the emperor was 
little more than a natural result of the Roman pride in 
the greatness of the empire ; and at the same time the 
extension of the empire beyond the nation tended to 
obscure the old national deities. Roman statesmen were 
indeed anxious to maintain a religion the baselessness of 
which they admitted, because they thought it a necessary 
prop for the state ; but a people soon finds out that it is 
being governed by illusions ; the scepticism of the rulers 
in time descends to the subjects. 

In the decay of the religions of western Europe, the 
gods of Asia seemed to otfer more delightful mystery. In 
particular, the Egyptian legend of the suffering Osiris — 
originally a mere nature-myth — was found comforting by 
men who sought in religion relief from suffering. And as 
the worship of Osiris was grateful to the wretched, so was 
that of the Persian sun-god Mithras to aspiring humanity. 
The unspotted god of light, who was engaged in a never- 
ceasing struggle against darkness, drew men's hearts to 
him as the sensuous Olympians had never done. Wherever 
the soldiers of the empire encamped, rude sculptures 
testify to the wide-spread worship of Mithras. The Mys- 
teries too came into greater prominence in the decay of 
Greek and Roman religion. Whatever their origin, there 
can be little doubt that in the mysteries of Demetcr it 
was taught that the soul of man survived death, and that 
the initiated would enjoy the light and bliss of the under- 
world, while the faithless and abominable wallowed in 
misery*. The hope of escaping the fate of the impious 
doubtless drew many t(j offer themselves for initiation. 
Dionysus also, originally a myth of the revival of the vine 
after the storms and frosts of winter, became in later times 
the representative and forerunner of man rising again to 
immortality". Cicero* in his day declared that of all the 
excellent things to be found in Athens, the most precious 

* Augustine, De Civ, Dei, vi. 9. 
- Aristoph. Frogs, 142. 
^ Hausratli, ii. 76. 

* De Legihus, ii. 14, § 36; cf. 
Verres, v. 72, § 187. 

Chap. I. 



The Preparation of the World. 

were the mysteries, since in them men found not only- 
happiness in life but hope in death. Yet they not seldom 
became centres of corruption which rulers repressed and 
good men abhorred ^ 

The conceptions which were found, obscure and mixed 
with much evil, in the mysteries, appeared in a purer 
form in Platonism. To Plato mainly is due the thought 
which took so deep root in after ages, that in the material 
world is but vanity, darkness, and decay; in the ideal 
world, reality, light, and life. In the Platonic school we 
find a constant belief in one God, the ground of all exist- 
ence, in the continued life of the soul, in rewards and 
punishments after death. And a new influence came into 
the Roman world through the Stoics, whose most famous 
teachers were not only Oriental but Semitic. Such of 
these as lived on the confines, or even within the borders, 
of the Holy Land, may have been in some degree in- 
fluenced by the Jewish Schools, though it was certainly 
not from them that they derived their main doctrines. 
In Seneca^, St Paul's contemporary, a Stoic much in- 
fluenced by Plato, we find many expressions which sound 
like an echo or an anticipation of Christianity. When he 
describes this mortal life as a prelude to a better ; when 
he speaks of the body as a prison and looks forward to the 
enjoyment of a diviner life when he is freed from it' ; 
when he urges that the body of one departed is but a 
fleeting form, and that he who is dead has passed into 
eternal peace*; when he describes the departed soul as 
enjoying its freedom, contemplating from above the 
spectacle of nature and of human life''; when he tells 
of the glorious light of heaven® ; we see that the thoughts 
of men's hearts were being prepared to receive in Christ 
the full assurance of these lofty hopes. But it is through 
Christ that these hopes, and much more than these, have 
become the heritage of humanity; without Him they 
would have remained but the pleasant fancies with which 
a few elevated souls comforted themselves in the distrac- 

1 Tacitus, Amu 11, 31; Clem. 
Alex. Protrept. i. 2, p. 11; Tertul- 
lian, adv. Valentin. 1. 

- See J. B. Lightfoot, St Paul 
and Seneca, in Philijjpians, pp. 26S 

s EpUtt. 102. 22, 23; 120. 14 f.; 
65. 16. 

* Ad Marcianam da Consol. 19. 
6; 24, 5. 

5 Ad Polijb. dc Consol. 9. 3. 

6 Epist. 102. 20. 

Tlie Preparation of the World. 

tiuns of the world. There are not wanting indications 
that man felt his need of some greater one to help and 
guide him. " Let the soul have some one to revere," said 
Seneca*, " by whose influence even his secret thoughts may- 
be purified Happy he who can so reverence his ideal 

as to i-ule and fashion himself after him by the mere 
memory of him ! " But then, where was the pattern to be 
found ? Each school depreciated the ideal of every other. 
The scheme of the Stoic wanted solidity. It was in Christ 
that the ideal was found which all men might reverence 
and to which all men might aspire. 

And even among the heathen there was in the first 
century a kind of belief that a turning-point in the history 
of the world had come. The Stoics held that the secular 
year was drawing to a close, that the course of the ages 
would soon begin to run over again. The ninth month 
ended with the death of Julius Cassar, and the month of 
Saturn, the golden age, was already returning^. With the 
upper classes this expectation was probably little more 
than a literary fancy; but the lower orders, who knew to 
their cost that they lived in an iron age, took such pro- 
phecies much more seriously. 

But the plot into which the seed of the Word was first 
cast was Judaism. Signs were not wanting that the 
ancient garden of the Lord had lost something of its old 
fertility ; prophecy had ceased ; from the days of Malachi 
to the days of John Baptist no man had been recognized 
as a prophet of the Lord. But idolatry, against which so 
many prophets had protested in the name of Jehovah, was 
no more found in the land ; Israelites still felt a thrill of 
pride at the name of the Maccabees ; their fathers had 
endured torture and death rather than suffer the Lord to 
be dishonoured. The Scriptures were expounded by a 
multitude of scribes and doctors, and hundreds of admiring 
disciples sat at their feet in the schools and the synagogues. 
The Jew, said Josephus^ knows the Law better than his 
own name. No doubt they often used the words of the 
Book as mere charms or amulets ; but at least a verbal 
knowledge of the Scriptures was widely diffused at the 
time when He came on earth of whom Moses in the Law 

1 Epist. 11. 

2 Virgil, Eel. iv. See Couing- 

ton's notes. 

^ c. Apion, II. 18. 

Chap. I. 




Isrufil pure 
from idola- 

ledge of 

llie Preparation of the World. 

and the frophets did write. And there was among the 
Jews of Palestine a general expectation that Messiah 
would speedily come. The book of Daniel spoke of four 
kingdoms of the earth, the fourth, in spite of its iron teeth 
and brazen claws, trodden down by the kingdom of the 
saints : what was this but the iron empire of Rome, over- 
thrown by the kingdom of the Israelites*? The readiness 
with which pretenders drew followers about them shewed 
the excitement of the popular mind. 

The Jews of Palestine in the Apostolic age were divided 
into parties. The Sadducees, the men of wealth and official 
dignity, were the conservatives of their time. They ad- 
hered to the old Mosaic Law, and rejected all modern 
additions as innovations. The promises to the faithful 
people they regarded as belonging to this life and to their 
own land. They looked for no resurrection, no Kingdom 
of God beyond the grave. They could not question, they 
probably regarded as theophanies,the appearances of angels 
mentioned in the Scriptures ; but they believed in no 
heaven, no abiding world of angels and spirits ; nor did 
they look for a pure and perfect Kingdom of God on 
earth ^ Such opinions as these were no good preparation 
for the reception of the gospel of Christ. 

But the Sadducees., though wealthy and high in place, 
were comparatively few in number ; the national party, 
the party which represented the pride of the Jew and his 
hatred of the Gentiles, was that of the Pharisees. Know- 
ledge of the Law, holiness according to the Law, were their 
watchwords. Doubtless, too often their minds and their 
lives were filled with burdensome trivialities ; they put 
the letter before the spirit of the Law ; yet to them mainly 
it is due that the belief in a world to come and the ex- 
pectation of Messiah's kingdom took deep root in the 
minds of Israelites. They did not allow the noblest con- 
ception of Israel's future to fade out of memory; from the 
dark present they looked to the bright future ; they made 
this future kingdom a household word among the people. 
Thus they laid throughout the land a train by which the 
fire might be kindled at the word of Christ*. Of a con- 

1 Joscplius, Antt. X. 11. 7; Bell. 
Jud. VI. 5. 4. 

2 Josephus, Bell. Jvd. ii. 8. 14 ; 
Antt. XVIII. 1. 4; Hippolytus, Ilae- 

reses, ix. 29. 

3 KeiTn,JesusqfNaznra,i. 329 ff. 
(Ransom's Trauslatioa). 

The Preparation of the World. 

verted Pharisee we have a conspicuous instance in St Paul ; 
we can hardly imagine a converted Sadducee. 

The Essenes^ formed communities of their own in 
Palestine and Syria, in which they endeavoured to reach 
a degree of ceremonial purity and a complete obedience 
to the Law which was imattainable in the haimts of 
common life. "If with the Pharisees ceremonial purity 
was a principal aim, with the Essenes it was an absorbing 
passion. The Pharisees were a sect, the Essenes were an 
order.,.. They were formed into a religious brotherhood, 
fenced about by minute and rigid rules, and carefully 
guarded from any contamination with the outer world." 
Jews as they were, "their speculations took, a Gnostic 
turn, and they guarded their peculiar tenets with Gnostic 
reserve*." They avoided the Temple-sacrifices, they 
denied the resurrection of the body, and they appear to 
have cherished no Messianic hopes. A counterpart to the 
Essenes of Palestine is found in the Therapcutae described 
by Philo' in Egypt. 

"The Samaritan occupied the border land between the 
Jew and the Gentile. Theologically, as geographically, he 
was the connecting link between the one and the other. 
Half Hebrew by race, half Israelite in his acceptance of a 
portion of the sacred canon, he held an anomalous position, 
shunning and shunned by the Jew, yet clinging to the 
same promises and looking forward to the same hopes'*." 

Even in Palestine the Jews of higher rank received a 
tincture of Greek cultivation; in the Maccabean family 
itself, within a few years after the struggle with Antiochus, 
imitators of Greek customs were found"; and among the 
rabbis, from Antigonus of Socho, who flourished about 
two centuries before Christ, to Gamaliel the teacher of 
St Paul, a taste for Greek literature was frequently mani- 
fested. Nevertheless, in the people of the Law, and 
especially in the Holy City, exclusiveness and hatred 

1 JosepliuR, Bell. Jud. ii. 8. 2 
— 13 ; Antt. XIII. 5. 9, xviii. 1. 5 ; 
Vita 2 ; Philo, Quod omnis probns 
liber, c. 12 ff. and fragment in 
Euseb. Prcep. Evang. viii. 11. 

" J. B. Lightfoot, Colossiaiis, pp. 
120, 92. 

' If the treatise De Vita Con- 
templativa be really Philo's, a mat- 

ter admitting considerable doubt. 
See Lucius, Die Therapeuten und 
ihre Stclhing in die Gescliichte der 
Askese. Eusebius (H. E. ii. 17) 
merely follows Philo. 

* J. B. Lightfoot, Galatiam, p. 
282, 1st edition. 

8 Josephus, Antt. xii. 5. 1; xiii. 
11. 3 ; 13. 5. 

The Preparation of the World. 

meetings or 
of worship. 

towards the stranger on the whole prevailed. The more 
fanatical rabbis excluded from eternal life those who loved 
the Greek learning \ It was through the Jews of the 
Dispersion that Hebrew and Greek thought were brought 
into some intimacy of contact. "The Jews," said Strabo^ 
about the time of our Lord's birth, "have penetrated into 
every city, and you will not easily find a place in the 
empire where this tribe has not been admitted and become 
influential." In some cities they had a separate civil 
orsranization under their own alabarchs or ethnarchs": 
in spite of the Roman jealousy of private 
associations, they enjoyed complete freedom 
Where their means did not suffice for a 
synagogue they at least fenced off some quiet spot — if 
possible by the side of a stream — to which they might 
retire for prayer. Where they were rich and numerous, 
as at Alexandria, they reared temples which rivalled 
the magnificent edifices of the Greeks. And out of 
Palestine, the Jews were somewhat less Jewish; they 
adopted for the most part the Greek language, and con- 
formed so far as they might to Gentile usages. The fact 
that they were removed from the constant view of the 
Temple and the debasing associations which moved the 
Lord's wrath, was not without its influence. It was easy 
to idealize a sanctuary which was not always before their 
eyes. Out of Palestine, the ceremonial portions of the 
Jewish Law dropped a little out of sight, and the moral 
precepts were more regarded. In Alexandria in particular, 
a very mixing-bowl of European and Asiatic thought, 
Judaism attained a new development. The Greek trans- 
lation of the Scriptures, begun probably at Alexandria in 
the third century before Christ, is the great monument of 
the Hellenizing of the Jew. Through it the thoughts of 
Hebrew prophets first became intelligible to the Gentile 
worW, and probably to many among the Jews themselves. 
Similarly Luther's translation of the Bible is said to have 
had a great effect upon the Jews of Germany. And it is 
evident that the Greek translators had breathed the air of 
Hellenism, and endeavoured to adapt the simplicity of the 

^ K. Akiba, quoted by Keim, i. 
2 In Joseplius, Antt. xiv. 7. 2. 

3 Ihid. XX. 5. 2, etc. 

* Philo, Vita Mosis, ii. 140 (Mau- 


Tlie Preparation of the World. 


scriptural expressions to the Alcxaudriau tune of thought. 
But besides the slight changes of the text which were 
possible in a translation, Alexandrian Judaism set itself to 
soften or transform its ancient Scriptures by means of 
allegoric interpretation. To men who had adopted the 
principles of Platonism, the history of the Israelites seemed 
too mean and petty to be divine; by means of allegory, 
history and law and poetry were made to speak the 
language of philosophy ; Moses and Plato were found to be 
at one. The great example of this school of allegories is 
Philo, who found in Scripture the same views of the 
universe which he admired in Plato and Zeno. In Philo 
the conception of a "Word" or "Reason" of God became 
familiar to the Jewish mind\ By many literary artifices 
the Hellenizing Jews endeavoured to give to their sacred 
history a form which might be attractive to the Gentiles. 
And in all such works, they gave prominence to those 
portions of their theology which were most in harmony 
with Hellenic thought. The pure and exalted conception 
of the one God, Messianic hope, faith in a kingdom of God 
to come — these are the points which are made prominent 
in pseudonymous Jewish literature. The second book of 
Esdras, or "Revelation of EzraV' written almost certainly 
by an Alexandrian Jew, is a proof that Hellenism had not 
obliterated Messianic hopes. 

That the Gentiles for the most part looked with no 
friendly eye upon the Jews who dwelt among them is 
evident enough. Still, the words of psalms and prophets, 
and the faith of the Jew in his own religion, had power to 
attract many who were astray in an age of doubt*. Women 
especially found comfort in the services of the synagogue. 
In the great cities, there were always to be found admirers 
and adherents of the Mosaic ritual. Some were merely cu- 
rious lookers-on at the Jewish services ; some, more earnest 
worshippers (cr€^6/xei'oi, evae/3el<;), had vowed to abstain 
from certain Gentile practices which the Jew abhorred ; 
some, the true " proselytes," had been admitted by circum- 
cision to the full privileges of the children of Israel. Thus 

^ On the difference between the 
Alexandrian Logos and the Memra 
of the Targums, see B. F. West- 
cott, The Gospel of St John, p. xvi 


2 See B. F. Westcott in Smith's 
Diet, of the Bible, i. 577. 

3 Seneca in Augustine, De Civ. 
Dei, VI. 11. 

Chap. I. 


mous Lite- 



The Preparation of the World. 

there was formed in every city a body of men acquainted 
with the- Scriptures, who shewed by the very fact of their 
worshipping with a despised race that they were in earnest 
seeking after GoD, and who were much less fettered by 
the bonds of the Law than those who were children of 
Abraham after the flesh. Among these "worshipping" 
Gentiles Christianity in the first age found its most nume- 
rous and most satisfactory converts. Cornelius of Coesarea 
is an apt type of the class which formed the great link 
between the first Jewish preachers of Christianity and the 
Gentile world. Yet Paganism was interwoven with the 
very structure of society; it was environed by splendid 
temples, a numerous priesthood, costly festivals, hereditary 
rites, the strains of poets, the mighty influence of use and 
wont. The old beliefs and still more the old customs were 
not abandoned without a struggle ; in many places the 
rough populace was fanatically attached to the pleasant 
and stately superstitions of the old religion, while the 
statesmen wished to maintain, in the interests of the state, 
the customs which formed the framework of society, and 
the philosopher very often looked on the old mythology, 
under the twilight-glow of Neo-platonic mysticism, with a 
kind of half-believing affection. But there was in the 
empire a great middle class, swayed neither by the un- 
reasoning fanaticism of the populace, the conservatism of 
the statesman, nor the illuminism of the philosopher. 
From this class of traders and artizans, the least conspicu- 
ous in public life, the least fettered by social prejudice, 
were drawn in early time the most valuable converts; 
these men formed the steadfast men-at-arms of the force 
which overcame the world. 



1. Such was the state of the world when, in the 
fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, the word of God came 
to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. John 
was soon counted as a prophet — the first since the days 
of Malachi who had been so recognized in Israel. Yet he 
was but the forerunner of that Greater One to come, even 
the Light of the world. Probably in the same year in 
which St John began his ministry, Jesus of Nazareth ^ 
then about thirty years of age, began to preach and say, 
Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. He 
claimed to be the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed 
Priest and King, for Whose coming all faithful Israelites 
looked and longed. He claimed to be the Son of God. 
Signs and wonders followed His steps ; multitudes flocked 
round Him ; disciples attached themselves to Him, espe- 
cially from among the fishermen and husbandmen of 
Galilee. He taught them that the entrance into the 
Kingdom, which He was founding upon earth, was not — as 
some of them thought — through fleshly warfare, but through 
much tribulation, through self-renunciation, through taking 

* On this period see J. J. Blunt, 
First Three Centuries; J. B. Light- 
foot, St Paul and the Three in 
Grt^Jians, pp. 276 — 346; H. Cotte- 
rill, The Genesis of the Church; 
J. J. I. Dollinger, First Age of 
Christianity and the Church, trans- 
lated by H. N. Oxenham. An ac- 
count of it from the stand-point 
of the Tiibingen School may be 
foimd in Schwegler, Nachapost. 
Zeitalter, and more briefly in R. 
W. Mackay's Rise and Progress of 

* Of the numerous Lives of Christ 
may be mentioned those by A. Ne- 
ander, E. de Pressense, K. Hase, 
J. Young, C. J. ElUcott, F. W. 
Farrar, C. Geikie, and the ano- 
nymous Ecce Homo and Philo- 
christus. On the chronology of 
the Lord's Life, see Henry Browne, 
Ordo Sceclontm, pp. 25—94; T. 
Lewin, Chronology of the New 
Testament; C. E. CasiJari, Ghrono- 
logisch-Geographische Einleitung in 
das Leben Jcsa Christi (Hamburg, 

Chap II. 

John the 

began A.D. 
27 (?). 


Tlie Apostolic Church. 

up the cross and following Him. But one who claimed to 
found a Kingdom, and yet had neither court nor army; 
one who gave counsel to render unto Caesar the things 
that were Csesar's, did not satisfy the eager expectations 
of the Jews. The Jewish leaders condemned Him for 
blasphemy, because He made Himself the Son of God; 
they handed Him over to the Roman procurator, who con- 
demned Him because He made Himself a king. He 
suffered the death which the Romans inflicted on rebels 
and on slaves — crucifixion. In His death was Atonement 
made for the sin of the world. But He could not be 
holdeii of death ; on the third day He rose from the 
tomb. He manifested Himself to His disciples, being 
seen of them at intervals during forty days, and speaking 
of the things concerning the Kingdom of God\ 

Early in His ministry He had chosen from among His 
disciples twelve, whom He named Apostles, to be the 
esi^ecial companions of His earthly life and heralds of His 
Kingdom. To these it now fell to carry on the Society 
which their Lord had founded. To these He appeared for 
the last time on the Mount of Olives, and bade them await 
in Jerusalem the influx of the Spirit which He had pro- 
mised to send from the Father. While the words were 
yet on His lips He was taken up, and a cloud received 
Him out of their sight. 

They waited in obedience to His words. At Pentecost 
the Spirit descended in tongues of flame on each Apostle, 
and henceforth they shew no more of the doubt and hesita- 
tion of the time before the Resurrection^, but boldly preach 
that Jesus, whom the Jews had crucified, was the Messiah, 
the Christ. In spite of the violent opposition of the leading 
Sadducees, the number of converts rapidly increased. The 
people favoured the rising sect; the people thronged to 
hear Avhen Peter and John preached the Word, while the 
rulers vainly emijloyed threats, stripes and imprisonment 
to silence them ; even a great company of the j^riests were 
obedient to the faith ^ The believers bore for the present 
the aspect of a community or brotherhood within the 
limits of Judaism, observing in all points the Jewish Law, 
attending daily in the Temj^le, but distinguished from 

' G. Moberly, The Sayings of the 
Griat Forty Days (Lond. 1844). 

2 J. J. Blunt, Hulsean Lectures, 
Lect. 8. '•> Acts vi. 7. 

The Ajwstolic Church. 


their bretliren by acknowledging Jesus of Nazareth as the 
Messiah whose advent was looked for by all pious Jews. 
In the first fervour of brotherly love, they had all things 
in common. 

So far, the Church was composed wholly of Jews, 
either Hebrews or Hellenists. In Jerusalem, the former 
party was probably more numerous and powerful. It is 
in St Stephen, probably a Hellenist, that we find the first 
indication of the growing church breaking the strict bonds 
of the Mosaic Law. The witnesses who declared that he 
"ceased not to speak words against the Holy Place and 
the Law ;" that he said that " Jesus of Nazareth shall 
destroy this place and change the customs w^hich Moses 
delivered us\" were false probably as they w^ere false who 
accvised the Lord ; they distorted and gave a false colour 
to what he had said, rather than invented what he had 
not said. Before the Sanhedrin he attempted no denial of 
their charges ; his speech — cut short indeed by the wrath 
of the Jews — seems intended to shew that God's covenant 
with man existed before the Mosaic Law, and might again 
receive an extension beyond it. Not without reason is 
Stephen called " Paul's master." 

The rage of the Jews destroyed Stephen and dispersed 
the disciples. Probably the first fury of persecution fell 
upon those who were suspected of depreciating the exclu- 
sive privileges of the Jews, for the Twelve, still retaining 
the Mosaic observances, remained at their post; an an- 
cient authority'^ tells us that their Lord had fixed twelve 
years as the period of their stay in Jerusalem. But 
Philii^, like Stephen one of the Seven and probably also a 
Hellenist, preached Christ in Samaria^ to the half- Jewish, 
half-Gentile race of its inhabitants, and Peter and John 
confirmed the work which Philip had begun. This recep- 
tion of the Samaritans into the Church is a further step 
beyond the limits of Jewish prejudice, for the pvire Jew 
hated the Samaritan, who claimed a share of his privi- 
leges, almost more fiercely than he desj^ised the uncircum- 
cised. In Samaria we meet with a specimen of the kind 
of impostor w^hich is produced in a disturbed and excited 
time, the man who jjretends to esoteric knowledge and 

1 Acts vi. 13, 14. 

* Apollonius in Eusebius, Hist. 

Eccl. V. 18. 14. 
^ Acts viii. 5 ff. 


Tlie Apostolic Church. 

magic power, and imposes himself upon the multitude for 
" some great one." Simon the Samaritan magician came 
afterwards to be regarded as the head and fount of 
Gnostic heresy. 

A further advance towards the reception of the Gen- 
tiles was made when Philip baptized an Ethiopian 
eunuch'; a proselyte indeed, but hardly joined to the 
Jewish Church by its characteristic rite, if the law of 
Moses was duly observed ^ But a much more decided 
step was made when St Peter was taught to recognize the 
absolute universality of the grace of God', and to baptize 
the Roman centurion Cornelius, certainly no Jew, though 
worshipping with the Hebrews among whom he lived. 

While these things were going on in Palestine, the 
Church was spreading and developing elsewhere. Certain 
disciples, unnamed men of Cyprus and Cyrene, preached 
the gospel in the Syrian Antioch to the Greeks* — seem- 
ingly heathens and idolaters — and many of these believed 
and turned to the Lord. Here we have for the first time, 
a purely ethnic community adopted into the Church ; and 
to these pagan adherents of Christ was first given the 
name " Christian ^," formed after the analogy of Roman 
party-names. The Twelve sent Barnabas, a native of the 
neighbouring Cypnis, to report on the astonishing events 
of which they heard. That large-hearted man rejoiced to 
see the work of God among the Gentiles, and, as the 
Church still grew and prospered, sought help from one 
whom he had already known at Jerusalem. 

2. When the blood of the martyr Stephen was shed, 
there stood by an ardent young Pharisee, named SauP, a 
man of pure Hebrew lineage, yet a Roman citizen and a 
native of the Hellenic city of Tarsus, educated in Jeru- 
salem at the feet of the great Rabbi Gamaliel. This 
persecutor on his way to Damascus was struck to the 

1 Acts viii. 26 ff. 

2 Deut. xxiii. 1. ^ Acts x. 9 ff. 
■• Acts xi. 20. I assume that 

"7r/)6s Toi'j"EXX77j'as" is the correct 
readinfj of thii jiassage. 

^ Acts xi. 'J 6. On the name 
"Christian" see Conyheare and 
Howson, Life of Bt Paul, 1. 140, ed. 
1 858; Baur, Kirchcngesch ichte,!. 4;{2 
note; Ilenan, Let, Ajiotres, p. 284. 

^ On St Paul, see J. Pearson, 
Annates Paulini ; W. J. Conybeare 
and J. S. Howson, 'The Life and 
Epistles of St Paul; F. W. Farrar, 
The Life and Work of St Paul; T. 
Lewin, Tlie Life and Epistles of 
St Paul. The dates in the life of 
St Paul, some of which are much 
disputed, are given here from 
Conybeare and Howson. 

The Apostolic Church. 


earth and blinded by a vision of the Lord in glory*; he 
became the most devoted servant of Him whom once he 
persecuted. The eager spirit which led him to persecute 
did not forsake him when he was set to build up the 
church. His was one of those natures which move alto- 
gether if they move at all; everything he did he did 
earnestly and devotedly; and he had that remarkable 
union of the fervid, sympathetic, aspiring, even visionary 
nature with practical ability and good-sense which is so 
rarely found, and which, when it is found, gives its pos- 
sessor so extraordinary an influence over his fellow -men. 

It was this Saul of Tarsus whom the friendly Barna- 
bas brought up from Cilicia to Antioch, a journey which 
forms one of the most momentous epochs in the history 

. of the Church ; for Paul and Barnabas became the chief 
instruments in spreading the gospel of Christ among 
the Gentiles. Antioch became the centre of a Gentile 
church ; Saul the great apostle of a Christianity absolutely 
free from the shackles of the Jewish law. During this 
period of his work he is always known by the Gentile 
name, Paulus^ Not that St Paul lost his love for his 
kindred after the flesh; his first message was always to 
them ; but the scene in Pisidian Antioch, where the 
Apostle turns from his countrymen, who "judged them- 
selves unworthy of eternal life," to the Gentiles, is typical of 
what took place over and over again in his sad experience ; 
proselytes and pagans were more ready to receive the 
gospel than the pure Jews. His eager labours founded 
churches among the country people of Asia Minor; the 
" door of faith " was opened more widely ; and the church 
at Antioch would probably have rejoiced at the tidings, 
had not certain brethren come down from Jerusalem and 
taught the Antiochene converts that they could not be 
saved unless they received the outward sign of God's cove- 
nant with Israel after the flesh ^. Paul and Barnabas 
resisted this attack upon Christian liberty, and to put 
an end to the dissension and party-spirit which arose, 
these two Apostles, with others, were deputed to confer 
with the Apostles and elders at Jerusalem respecting the 

I observances to be required of the Gentiles. After long 

' ^ Acts is. 1 ff. ; xxii. 2 ff. ; xxvi. for the adoption of this name see 
! 12 IT. Conybeare and Howson, i. 56. 

: - Acts xiii. xiv. On the reasons ^ Acts xv, 1, 

Chap. II. 

>S'( Paul in 
A.D. 44. 


St FauVs 
A.D. 48. 

'Troubles at 

at Jerusa- 
/(.'m, A.D. 50. 



TJie Apostolic Church. 

discussion, both in public and in private, the brethren at 
Jerusalem agreed that circumcision should not be required 
of the Gentile brethren ; only let them abstain, in defer- 
ence to Jewish prejudice, from blood and things strangled; 
from things offered to idols, for they could not be partakers 
both of the Table of the Lord and the table of demons ; 
from the licentious life and incestuous marriages which 
were of little account, among the heathen while they were 
an abomination to the Jew\ 

It must not bo supposed that such a decision as this 
was final and conclusive. It does not present itself to us 
as a universal decree, but rather as a compromise entered 
into between the churches of Jerusalem and Antioch^ 
But even if it were certainly a decree intended to compose 
the matters at issue throughout the whole church, it ought 
not to surprise us to find the old dispute constantly re- 
viving; passion and party-spirit are not put down by a 
decree, even of the highest authority. In Antioch and the 
neighbouring churches of Syria and Cilicia the decree was 
doubtless long observed, and we read of its being delivered 
to the brotherhoods of Lycaonia and Pisidial St James, 
too, some years afterwards, refers to it as a document of 
which the authority was indisputable*. But in more re- 
mote churches it was not so ; long afterwards the Ju- 
daizers in Galatia attempted to force even circumcision on 
St Paul's converts ; the Corinthians do not seem to have 
heard of the decree, nor does St Paul in his letters bring 
it to their knowledge ; and again, it is not referred to 
in the Apocalyptic rebukes to the churches of Asia Minor 
for their fornication and licentiousness*. The Judaic spirit 
troubled St Paul liis whole life long; it caused the most note- 
worthy weakness recorded of an apostle®, it interfered with 
the social unity of churches where Jew and Gentile were 
found — as they were in almost every church — together. It 
died out at last from causes entirely independent of decree 
or argument. While it lasted, its centre was of course Je- 
rusalem ; in the shadow of the Temple the Christian Jew 
could hardly desert the traditions of his forefathers. 

In St Paul, emphatically the Apostle of the Gentiles, 

1 See J. B. Lightfoot on Gala- 
tiinis, p. 287 (1st ed.). 
- Acts XV. 23. ^ Acts xvi. 4. 

* Acts xxi. 2.5. 
6 Apoc. ii. 14, 20. 
6 Gal. ii. 11—14. 

The Apostolic Church. 


God gave to tlie ChurcTi its greatest missionary. His 
early labours have already been mentioned; but he was 
not content with these ; under the guidance of the Spirit 
he carried the gospel into Phrygia — the old seat of many 
a dark superstition — and founded churches among the 
fervid and fickle Kelts of Galatia. In Europe, the well- 
known names of Philippi, Thcssalonica, Athens, Corinth, 
mark the direction of his journey; in Ephesus, the great 
seat of the worship of the Asiatic Artemis, a very academy 
of magical superstitions, he stayed and laboured long, until 
the very central worship of the renowned city was thought 
to be in danger. Wherever he went, he remembered his 
children in the Lord; the wants of the various communi- 
ties which he had founded were always present to him; 
he wrote, he sent messengers, when possible he revisited 
churches which needed his exhortation and instruction*. 

This earnest activity was brought to an end for a time 
by the malice of the Jews. He went up to Jerusalem for 
the passover of the year 58 in the midst of prophecies and 
forebodings of evil. There, his appearance in the court of 
the Temple occasioned so fierce a tumult, that a party of 
the Roman garrison descended from their barrack and 
carried him off as a prisoner ^ His Roman citizenship 
prevented personal ill-treatment, but he was detained in 
custody two years by the procurator Felix, and then sent 
to Rome, in consequence of his "appeal unto Ceesar," by the 
succeeding procurator, Festus. After a long and stormy 
voyage, in the course of which he suffered shipwreck, he 
reached Rome in the spring of the year Gl, where he 
" was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept 
him" for two whole years, working still for the cause 
which he had at heart both by his personal influence in 
Rome and by letters to his distant friends. His captivity 
became the means of spreading the gospel both in the Proe- 
torium and among "those that were of Ca-sar's household I" 

At the end of St Paul's two years captivity we lose 
the guidance of the Acts of the Apostles. Ancient tra- 
dition, however, asserts that he was set free at the end of 

^ Aots xvi — XX. and the Epistles 
to the Thessalonians, Corinthians, 
Galatians, and Bomaus. 

» Acts xxi. 28 ff. 

3 Philippiaus i. 13 ; iv. 22. See 
J. B. Lightfoot, PlnUppians, p. 169 
(2nd ed.). 


Chap. II. 

Tumult at 
A.D. 58. 

A.D. 60. 
At Rome, 
A.D. 61. 

A.D. 63. 


The Apostolic Ohurch. 

the two years, that he fulfilled the wish of his heart by 
taking his journey into Spaing and afterwards again visited 
the East; granting this, we find from the Pastoral Epistles 
that he established his disciple Titus as head of the com- 
munity in Crete, Timothy to a like office in Ephesus ; and 
that, after remaining for some time at Nicopolis, he again 
visited the churches of Troas, Miletus and Corinth. After 
this, tradition tells us that he returned to Rome, where 
the Church was groaning under the oppression of Nero, 
that he was again imprisoned, and put to death'' — as a 
Roman citizen naturally would be — by the stroke of the 
lictor's axe. 

When St Paul received the " crown of righteousness," 
he had spent the vigour of his days in his Master's service; 
when he was driven to appeal to his work and his suffering, 
he could refer to a catalogue of perils and afflictions such 
as put to shame those of his opponents^. He was hunted 
from city to city by Jews who hated the apostate ; he had 
to encounter Judaizing teachers in the midst of the Church 
itself It was against these that the great contest of his 
life was fought ; the great founder of Hellenic Churches 
had to maintain that Christ was a Saviour for the world, 
and not merely a Messiah for the Jews. It is under the 
pressure of Judaic opposition that his own doctrine takes 
form ; justification by the faith in Christ without the 
works of the law is the corner-stone of his teaching. 
Christ is to him not merely the fulfilment of Messianic 
hopes, but the revelation of the great mystery of God's 
dealings with mankind from the very foundation of the 
world. Adam and Christ, sin and righteousness, the flesh 
and the spirit, death and life — these are the constantly 
recurring antitheses in his writings. It is evident that we 
have here a Gospel for the world, not for the Jews only. 
True, St Paul's thoughts and imagery are intensely Jewish, 
and he yearns after his kindred in blood with a great 
longing*; but in Christ he knows of no distinction of Jew 

1 Clemens Eomanus, ad Cor. 
i. 5 — a passage of doubtful inter- 
pretation ; and the Muratorian 
Frugment; see Westcott, On tlie 
Canon, p. 560. 

2 Euseb. H. E. ii. 22. Those 
who reject the second imprison- 

ment either insert the Pastoral 
Epistles in St Paul's life before 
A.D. 64, or deny their authenticity 
altogether. See the whole subject 
discussed in Conybearo, andHowson, 
II. 535 ff. 

3 2 Cor. xi. 21 ff. Eom. x. 1. 

The Apostolic Church. 


or Gentile, bond or free ; it is in the Church of Christ that 
he finds the tnie Israel, the fulfilment of God's pi^rpose 
from all eternity \ 

3. The centre of the best and noblest form of Jewish 
Christianity was naturally the Holy City; and the Church 
of Jerusalem was ruled by one who was more than blame- 
less in his observance of the sacred law, St James the 
Lord's brother. Without accepting all that in early 
tradition gathered round his name^, we cannot but believe 
that he remained in all things a devout Israelite, an 
Israelite in whom was no guile. The rights of the converts 
of the Gentiles to a place in the Church he had frankly 
admitted in the conference of Jerusalem; yet the Judaisers 
who troubled the peace of Gentile Churches claimed the 
authority of James ^ abusing perhaps a venerable name to 
give their doctrine a weight not its own. In his epistle he 
says nothing of the Gospel or of the Resurrection of the 
Lord, dwelling rather on faith in the one God and on 
obedience to the law; but the "law" is the perfect law of 
liberty, the true "liberty" wherewith Christ has made us 
free; and so far is he from leaning to the self-complacent 
orthodoxy of the Pharisee, that he lays it down in the 
plainest manner that the true ritual or "Divine service*" 
consists in purity and works of love; the whole tone of the 
epistle recalls our Lord's denunciations of the Scribes and 
Pharisees, and seems directed against a kindred spirit. 
St James the Just comes before us in the declining days 
of Jerusalem as a devout soul in the midst of factions 
whose religion was warfare; and when these factions put 
him to death, "straightway," says Hegesippus^ "Vespasian 
laid siege to their city;" it seemed as if a guardian angel 
had departed®. 

4. St Peter is a less conspicuous figure than St Paul 
in the history of the Apostolic Church. We know that he 
was esteemed a "pillar of the church" in Jerusalem^, and 
that the fear of losing his reputation with the Judaizers at 

1 Eplies. i. 3—13, 

* Hegesippus in Eusebius, //. E. 
11. 23. Compare Josephus, Antiq. 
XX. 9, § 1. On the whole narrative, 
Bee Lightfoot, Galatiam, p. 338 ff. 

=* Galat. ii. 12. 

■• dprfcTKeia, James i. 27. 

'" In Euseb. H. E. ii. 23, § 18. 

'■ A. P. Stanley, Sermons and 
Essays on the Apostolic Age, pp. 
291 Ii. 

7 Gal. ii. 9. 

CilAP. II. 

St .James 


St Petek. 


The Apostolic Church. 

Antioch induced him to comply with their prejudices \ 
At the time of writing his first epistle we find him in 
Babylon*^, and the address to the "elect sojourners of 
the dispersion" of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadooia, Asia and 
Bithynia may perhaps be taken to imply that he had 
visited those countries. Even during the time occupied 
by the Acts of the Apostles we know little of his move- 
ments, and afterwards much less. He is said to have been 
bishop of Antioch^ and of Rome. That he was not in 
Rome at the time of St Paul's first imprisoniaent seems an 
almost certain inference from the silence of St Luke; nor 
does St Paul mention him in his letters to or from Rome. 
An ancient tradition asserts that he suffered at Rome at 
the same time with St Paul, being crucified (or impaled) 
with his head downwards^; and the tombs of the two 
saints were shewn there at the end of the second century®. 
The legend of St Peter's twenty-five years' episcopate 
of Rome does not appear to be older than the fourth cen- 
tury. Ignatius® alludes to the authority of SS. Peter and 
Paul for the Romans especially; Irenseus^ speaking of the 
value of apostolic tradition, says that these two apostles, 
after founding and building the Roman Church, gave the 
oversight of it {rrjv t^? ennaKOTrrj<; Xeirovpylav eve^etpiaav) 
to Linus, distinguishing apparently between the apostolic 
and the episcopal office. The apocrj^hal Petri Prcedicatio^ 
speaks of the meeting of SS. Peter and Paul in Rome. 
The Apostolical Constitutions^ declare that Linus, the first 
bishop, was consecrated by St Paul, and Clement, his 
successor, by St Peter; here too the office of an apostle is 
something distinct from a local episcopate. It is iu 

1 Gal. ii. 11—14. 

2 Frequently supposed to mean 
Eome (Eusebius, H. E. ii. 15, and 
many modern authorities). But 
we should scarcely expect to find a 
mystical designation used as the 
date of a letter written by no means 
in a mystical style. 

3 Eusebius, H. E. in. 36; Je- 
rome, Catal. Scriptor. c. 1. Euse- 
bius, however, contradicts himself, 
for in H. E. in. 22, he makes Evo- 
dius the first, and Ignatius the 
secooxi bishop of Antioch. 

* TertuUian, De Prcescript. 36; 

Origen in Euseb. H. E. in. 1. The 
words of Clement of Kome {ad Cor. 

I. 5) with reference to St Peter's 
martyrdom do not necessarily 
imply that he suffered at Rome, 
though it is probable that he had 
Roman martyrs in view in the whole 

"* Caiusof Eome, in Euseb. //. S. 

II. 25. 

^ Ad Romanos, c. 4. 
' Hceres. in. 3. 

8 Quoted by Pseudo-Cyprian, de 
Rehaptism. c. 17, p. 90, Hartel. 
» vii. 46. 1. 

Tlie Aj)ostolic Church. 


Jerome's version of Eusebius's Chron-icle* that we first find 
it distinctly stated, inconsistently with Eusebius himself in 
the history, that St Peter went to Rome in the year 43 
and remained for twenty-five years as bishop of the church 
in that city. But not only does this supposition involve 
chronological difficulties of the most serious kind, but 
Jerome himself states "'' that the title of bishop was not 
used strictly in the apostolic age, but was applied to 
several distinguished leaders at the same time in a church ; 
when, therefore, he styles St Peter "bishop" of Rome, he 
must not be understood to claim for him the same kind of 
local pre-eminence which is involved in the modern use of 
the term. So Epiphanius^ speaks of SS. Peter and Paul as 
bishops of Rome. The truth seems to be, that from about 
the fourth century churches claimed as their "bishops," 
apostles or other distinguished teachers who were asso- 
ciated with their early traditions*. 

St Peter and St Paul are united in Roman tradition, 
and they were indeed one in heart though sometimes they 
might seem to be divided ; once St Peter denied his Lord, 
once he impaired the freedom of the Gospel; but the very 
narrative of the latter circumstance implies that this was 
contrary to the habit of his life^. His recognition of 
Christ crucified as the centre of our faith and the source of 
life is identical with St Paul's®; his tendency to speak 
of the Church of Christ under images derived from the 
older dispensation is the same; Christ is the Paschal 
Lamb^, Christians are " the holy nation, the peculiar peo- 
ple ^" The main difference — which is no contrariety — 
between him and his great fellow-worker is, that he 
speaks rather of the earthly life and sufferings of Christ, 
of the believer and the world around him, of the hope of a 
glorious Advent, than of the eternal Son from Whom and 

^ Lib. II. anno 43. Compare 
the Catalogus Scriptorum, c. 1. 

^ Covim. in Tttum, c. 1. 

■' Hares. 27. 

■* The tradition of the twenty- 
five years' Eoman episcopate is 
defended by Pagi (on Baronius, an. 
43), Valesius (on Euseb. H. E. ii. 
25), Baluze (on Lactantius, De 
Mart. Persec. c. 2), and many 
others. See also J. Pearson, Dis- 

sertationes Diue, in Minor Works, ii. 
298 ff.; S. Van Til, De Petro Kom.c 
Martyre; J. Greenwood, Cathedra 
Petri, cc. 1 and 2 ; E. A. Lipsius, 
Die Quellen der Petrussage. 

5 Galat. ii. 14. See Lightfoot's 

* Compare 1 Pet. ii. 24 with Gal. 
ii. 20. 

7 1 Pet. i. 19. 

8 Ihid. ii. 9. 

Chap. II. 

St Peter's 


The Amstolic Church. 

through Whom and to Whom are all things. St Peter 
was no doubt "a Hebrew of the Hebrews" in thought 
as in birth, yet he was no Judaizer; the law he never 
mentions, nor does he insist in any way on the perpetuity 
of formal ordinances. It was without support from his 
epistles that the Judaizers claimed him as their patron. 

5. Of the beloved disciple we see no more in the Acts 
of the Apostles after the laying-on of hands on the Sama- 
ritan disciples. Of the date when he left Jerusalem we 
have no information, and for some years we have no record 
of his work. A constant tradition tells us however that 
he took the oversight of the church in Ephesus* after the 
departure of St Paul, and we may well believe that he 
extended it to the other six churches which are addressed 
in the Apocalypse. Of the fact of his banishment to Pat- 
mos' there can be no doubt, though it is placed by dif- 
ferent authorities at dates varying from the reign of 
Claudius^ to that of Domitian*. St John, with his apo- 
stolic authority, his purified warmth, his heavenly spirit, 
was placed by the providence of God in the very spot 
which most bubbled over with sects and heresies. In Asia 
he abode, says Irenseus^ until the days of Trajan, when 
he fell asleep in extreme old age in the midst of his 

The traditions respecting him shew how deep an im- 
pression his holiness and his loathing of all that was vile 
had made upon those who surrounded him. His life 
falls into two divisions ; the Judaic period before he left 
Palestine, ending probably with the banishment to Patmos 
and the writing of the Apocalypse"; and the period in the 
midst of Jews and Gentiles, of error and heresy, in Ephesus 
and other cities of Asia Minor. In the Apocalypse we see 
the " son of thunder;" here indeed " the testimony of Jesus 
is the spirit of prophecy V the spirit of Ezekiel and Daniel. 
Here too the gospel is to the Jew first, but also to the 
Greek ; if we see first the twelve tribes gathered round 

1 Irenasus, Hares, in. 1; Cle- 
ment of Alexandria in Euseb. II. E. 
in, 23 ; Origen in Euseb. //. E. 
III. 1. 

2 Apocal. i. 9. 

3 Epiphanius, Hieres. 51, c. 33. 
* Eusebius, H. E. in. 18. 

^ c. Hccres. n. 22, § 5. 

^ Lightfoot, OnGalatians,'p.BBi; 
Liicke, Einleitung in die Offenha- 
ritnfi, quoted by Hase, K.-G. 36. 
See also Browne's Ordo Sceclonim, 
p. 679. 

' Apocal. xix, 10, 

The Apodolic Church. 


the throne of the Lamb, we see also the great multitude 
which no man could number, of all nations and tribes and 
peoples and tongues, singing praises to Him that sitteth 
upon the throne and to the Lamb\ We do not find the 
disciple who leaned on Jesus' breast giving prominence to 
the Lord's Humanity, but rather the contrary ; He is not 
merely the faithful and true witness, but the source {dpxn) 
of the creation of God^; His name is called the Word of 
God^ In the thirty years which perhaps intervened be- 
tween the writing of the Apocalypse and that of the 
Gospel and Epistles, St John had changed the scene of 
his life, and the Church itself, agitated by new move- 
ments, required a ne'w setting-forth of old truth. These 
later writings represent a more advanced stage of the 
Church's life than the letters of St Paul ; they set forth 
the very same view of a gospel for mankind which is 
found in St Paul, not now controversially, but positively, 
and with an authoritative calmness which is foreign to 
the eager style of the Apostle of the Gentiles. St John 
does not dwell on the feeling of sin and the need of 
redemption with the same emphatic earnestness as St 
Paul ; he rather looks on the world as agitated by the 
great contest between light and darkness, the Word of 
God and the power of evil ; he appeals rather to the 
innate longing of man after righteousness and perfection ; 
he speaks less of faith in Christ than of the perfect union 
in love which is to knit the Church to God in Christ, as it 
knits Christ to God*. Yet so little contrariety is there in 
all this to the Pauline teaching that certain passages in 
St Paul's writings might well be adopted as niottos for 
St John's®; all the several ways of the apostles meet in 
one end. 

6. The traditions, that the apostles before their de- 
parture from Jerusalem divided the several portions of the 
world by lot among themselves, and that they formed the 
Apostles' Creed (avfi^oXov) by each contributing a clause, 
do not seem to be older than the fourth or fifth century. 

^ Apocal. vii. 4 — 10 ; compare St 
John's Gospel, iv. 22 ff. 
- Apocal. iii. 14. 
^ Apocal. xix. 13. 
■» On St John's 

teaching, see B. P. Westcott, The 
Gospel of St John, Introd. pp. 
xxxii. ff. 

'^ E.g. 1 Cor. viii. 6; xv. 47. 

The Apostolic Church. 

Earlier accounts say, that St Thomas had Parthia for his 
province, St Andrew Scythia^; the apocryphal Acts^ of 
the latter, describing his martyrdom at Patras, were once 
supposed to be a genuine letter of the witnesses of his 
death, and have certainly influenced some of the early 
liturgies I Bartholomew is said to have preached in India, 
and to have left there the Gospel of St Matthew in Hebrew 
characters*; there he suffered martyrdom by beheading ^ 
Philip the apostle was gathered to his rest in Hierapolis®. 
Thaddajus is said to have been sent to Abgarus, king 
of Edessal Many later legends have gathered round the 
apostles ; but in fact their labours are written, for the 
most part, not in the pages of history, but in the Book of 

7. The Church is a community confeesing the name 
of Christ, and pervaded by the spirit of Christ. It is of 
no age or clime, but abiding and universal, and developes 
according to its varying circumstances the organs which 
are necessary for its spiritual life, preserving always the 
ordinances and gifts of its Divine Founder. 

In the first age, as in all ages, it was through baptism 
that believers were admitted into that holy fellowship ; 
this followed at once upon the profession of faith in 
Christ, and those who were so admitted are in Scrip- 
ture language " the brethren," the " saints," or " holy 
ones" {ayiotY, as being, like the Israelites of old, set 
apart and consecrated to the service of God. These 
saints are "one in Christ ^V' " buried with Christ," that 
they may "walk in newness of life";" these are "kings 
and priests to God'^;" "a royal priesthood, an adopted 
people"." Not only individuals, but whole households, 
were admitted at once to baptism into the name of 
Christ**. Baptism was followed by the laying on of hands, 

» Euseb. II. E. III. 1. 

- In Tischendorf's Acta Aposto- 
lorum Apocrypha. 

^ See the Gregorian Sacramen- 
tanj, and Mabillon's Gallu-Gothic 
Missal, on St Andrew's Day. 

* Eusob. H. E. V. 10. 

^ Jerome, De Viris IlluKtrihus, 

« Euseb. 7/. E. in. 31 ; v. 24. 

' Ibid. I. 13; II. 1. 

8 See G. A. Jacob, Eccl. Polity 
of the New Testament, and Cotte- 
rill, Genesis, Pt. in. ch. 12. 

" Koni. i. 7 ; 1 Cor. i. 2 ; 2 Cor, 
i. 1; etc. 

10 Gal. iii. 27, 28. 

" Kom. vi. 3, 4. 

12 Apocal. i. 6; V. 10. 

13 J Y'ei, ii. 9, 

1^ Acts xvi. 15, 33; 1 Cor. i. 16. 

The Apostolic Church 


that the converts might " receive the Holy Ghost," the 
workings of which were in the apostolic age manifested 
in various special gifts, especially those of tongues and of 
prophecy \ 

From that " first day of the week," when Christ rose 
from the dead, Christians have eaten the Bread and 
drunk the Cup, shewing forth the Lord's Death till He 
come. The Eucharistic celebration was connected in 
early times with a solemn meaP, as in its first institution ; 
a custom which at Corinth led to so much disorder that 
St Paul had to rebuke sternly the irreverence of those 
who turned the Lord's Supper into a common, and even 
riotous, meal, " not distinguishing the Lord's Body." The 
"Kiss of LoveV or "Holy Kiss*,'' was given at these 
meetings. The Eucharist was, as it seems, at first cele- 
brated in the midst of such a number as could meet in 
the "upper room" of some disciple, perhaps sometimes in 
the midst of a single household ; afterwards, as at Corinth, 
in assemblies of a somewhat more public kind, to which 
each brother brought his own contribution^. 

In sickness, the brethren sent for the elders of the 
Church, who prayed over them and anointed them with 
oil, that they might recover''. " Gifts of healing" were 
among the special endowments of the Holy Spirit. 

As to the manner of conducting divine worship, whether 
at the celebration of the Eucharist or in other meetings, 
we know that prayer, intercession, and thanksgiving, were 
the natviral language of the early Church^ When the 
brethren came together, probably portions of the Old 
Testament, certainly apostolic letters^ were publicly read ; 
psalms were sung, and before long the Spirit added Chris- 
tian hymns to the treasury of devotion®; the "word of 
exhortation" was uttered, not only by the presbyters, but 
by other members of the community, as the Spirit gave 

1 Acts viii. 14 — 17; xix. 1 — 8; 
Heb. vi. 1—4. 

2 Acts ii. 46 (nXQivTes kut oIkov 
6,pTov fieTeXafi^avov Tpo(prjs); 1 Cor. 
xi. 20 if. 

3 1 Pet. V. 14. 

* Rom. xvi. 16, etc. 
5 1 Cor. xi. 21. 

" James v. 14, 15 ; compare Mark 
vi. 13, 

7 Acts ii. 42 ; 1 Tim. ii. 1. 

« Col. iv. 16. 

9 Eph. V. 19 ; Col. iii. 16. The 
passage 1 Tim. iii. 16 is by some 
supposed to be a fragment of a 
Christian hymn. Pliny (Epht. x. 
97) speaks of Christians singing 
hymns in alternate strains to 
Christ as God. 

The Apostolic Church. 

them utterance ; each brother seems to have exercised the 
gift which the Spirit gave him for the good of the whole, 
subject only to the natural laws of fitness and order ; one 
the gift of prophecy, another the gift of tongues, another 
the interpretation of tongues \ The most precious of 
these gifts was prophecy^, the power of speaking under 
the influence of the Spirit for the building up of the 

As for the days on which assemblies for worshij) were 
held, the Apostle taught with the utmost plainness that 
the Christian was not bound to esteem one day above 
another^ Many, no doubt, of the Jewish Christians long 
continued to observe the seventh-day Sabbath ; but the 
great festival of the Church which was to shew forth the 
life of the risen Lord has been from the beginning the 
first day of the week*, the " Lord's DayV' which seems to 
have been observed by all Christians, whether they also 
hallowed the Sabbath or not^ It is probable that a Pass- 
over was also celebrated in the Church, as commemorating 
the great deliverance from sin and death by the Resurrec- 
tion of Christ^ As to the usual hour of assembling 
nothing can be determined, except that the administra- 
tion of Holy Communion accompanied or followed the 
evening meal. 

The Lord, before His Ascension, gave to the Apostles 
whom He had chosen the charge to make disciples of all 
nations, baptizing them in the name of Father, Son and 
Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe the laws of 
Christ ; adding the promise, to be with them always, even 
unto the end of the world*, to shew His presence by "signs 
following." To the Apostles especially was it committed 
to commemorate their Lord by the Breaking of the Bread 
and the Blessing of the Cup, according to His holy insti- 
tution®; to them was committed the power of forgiving 
sins "; they were to be — as Christ's apostle expresses it — 

1 1 Cor. xii. 1—11. 

2 1 Cor. xiv. 1 ff. 

» Gal. iv. 9-11; Col. ii. Ifi; 
Eom. xiv. 5. 

* Matt, xxviii. 1; Acts xx. 7; 1 
Cor. xvi. 2. 

'' Apocal. i. 30. 

fi See J. A. Hessey, in Smith's 
Diet, of the Bible, s. v. Lord's Day. 

^ The observance of such a fes- 
tival however is not proved by the 
well-known passage 1 Cor. v. 7. 

8 Matt, xxviii. 18—20; [Mark 
xvi. 15]. 

'■' Luke xxii. 19. 

1" Matt, xviii. 18; John xx. 21— 
23. The same charge to St Peter, 
Matt. xvi. 19. 

The Apostolic Church. 

" servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries" of God\" 
instniments of Christ's working, channels of divine grace. 

While yet the Church of Christ consisted of a single 
community in Jerusalem, all the gifts and offices of the 
Christian ministry were concentrated in the twelve Apostles. 
They alone, as it seems, preached and taught; at their feet 
were laid the offerings which formed the suj^port of the 
Church, while as yet they had all things common. The 
charge of "serving tables," at the common meals or dis- 
tribution of food, becoming excessive, gave occasion to the 
first committing of a portion of the work of the ministry 
to others. The apostles desired to be relieved of this part 
of their burden, that they might give themselves to the 
ministry of the word and to prayer. The body of the 
disciples accordingly chose seven, whom the apostles con- 
secrated to their office by prayer with laying on of hands ^ 
These seven are commonly, and no doubt rightly, called 
the Seven Deacons. The giving of alms is so intimately 
connected with ghostly consolation that we are not sur- 
prised to see St Stephen a leading teacher in Jerusalem, 
and St Philii^ preaching the gospel in Samaria. We soon 
find the diaconate in the Gentile churches also^; a dea- 
coness, no doubt especially for ministrations to the half- 
secluded women of a Greek town, was found in the church 
at Cenchrese*. In the Philij)pian church the "bishops 
and deacons" constitute apparently the whole recognized 
ministry^. In the first Ej)istle to Timothy, towards the 
close of his life, St Paul gives very particular directions as 
to the qualifications both of deacons and deaconesses, in 
terms which imply the dignity and importance of the 

The office of deacon was, in the main, a new one, 
called forth by the needs of the Christian Church. The 
office of Presbyter on the other hand seems to have 
been already existing in the Jewish polity, in which each 
synagogue was governed by a body of elders''. Hence, 
when presbyters come to be spoken of, there is not a word 
of exj^lanation ; it is taken for granted that the familiar 

1 1 Cor. iv. 1. 
" Acts vi. 1 — 6. 

3 Kom. xii. 7, and perhaps 1 Cor. 
xii. 28. 

* ilom. xvi. 1. 

6 Philip, i. 1. 
6 1 Tim. iii. 8 ff. 
'' Vitringa, de Synag. in. i. c. 
pp. 613 If. 


The Ajjostolic Church. 

Avord will suggest with sufficient accuracy the nature of 
the office. At Jerusalem the presbyters receive the alms 
of the Gentile churches'; they are associated with the 
apostles in the whole business of the Jerusalem confer- 
ence*; they are present when St James receives St Paul 
on his last visit to Jerusalem ^ And wherever SS. Paul 
and Barnabas formed a church, there they appointed 
presbyters*. The body of presbyters was in all cases an 
essential and central part of the organization of a Chris- 
tian community. The function of the presbyter was pro- 
bably, in the first instance, like that of the Jewish elders, 
rather one of government than of "labour in word and 
doctrine V though such labour brovight "double honour" 
to those who exercised it ; yet it is required that the pres- 
byter should be "apt to teach '^," clinging stoutly to the 
faithful word, that he may be able also to exhort in the 
sound teaching and to confute gainsayers^; a sufficient 
proof that teaching and exhortation were ordinarily ex- 
pected of him. 

It has been assumed in the preceding sentence that 
the word "bishop" (eVtV/coTro?) — a term only used in 
reference to Gentile Churches, and probably carrying with 
it Gentile associations — is in the New Testament absolutely 
synonymous with the word " presbyter^" This may, per- 
haps, be taken for granted ; but it by no means follows 
that such a minister as was afterwards designated a "bishop" 
was not found in the apostolic age. St Paul delegated to 
men like Timothy and Titus the same kind of power over 
particular churches which he himself exercised over all those 
of his own foundation ; this is evidently the beginning of 
the office which in the second century was called by a special 
name derived from eTrtcr/coTro?, and which still bears a 
similar appellation in almost every European tongue. St 
James, the Lord's brother, clearly enjoyed in Jerusalem 
the local preeminence and authority^ which justified later 

^ Acts xi. 30. This circumstance 
has led some to suppose that the 
presbyters were the successors of 
the seven of Acts vi. See Ritschl, 
AUkathol. Kirche, p. 355. 

=" Acts XV. 2, 4, 6, 22, 23; xvi.4. 

3 Acts xxi. 18. 

* Acts xiv. 23. 

6 1 Tim. v. 17. 

" 1 Tim. iii. 2. 

7 Tit. i. 9. 

8 PhiUp. i. 1 ; Acts xx. 17 com- 
pared with XX. 28; 1 Pet. v. 1, 2; 
1 Tim. iii. 1—13; Titus i. 5—7. 
Sec Lightfoot, On Philippians, p. 
93 ff. (2d ed.). 

» Acts XV. 13; xxi, 18; Gal. i. 19; 
ii. 12. 

The Apostolic Church. 


writers in calling him bishop of Jeriisaleni ; and the apo- 
stolic authority of St John was probably in his latter days 
so far localized in Ephesus and its neighbourhood that we 
may well call him bishop of that city. 

We thus recognize in the ajjostolic age a threefold 
order ; the general superintendence exercised by the apo- 
stles themselves — whether over several churches or a par- 
ticular church — a powder afterwards delegated to " faithful 
men" in the several communities; and the powers of 
administration and teaching committed to presbyters and 
deacons in each church. Of other ofHces or functions men- 
tioned in the New Testament\ that of the " shepherds," 
"presidents^" and "leadersV' was seemingly identical with 
that of the presbyters ; " helps " and " governments " jDro- 
bably belonged to deacons and presbyters respectively; 
the work of teaching and evangelizing belonged to all the 
orders ; prophecy was not appropriated in the New more 
than in the Old Dispensation to any rank or dignity; the 
w^onder-working power, gifts of healing, kinds of tongues 
were gifts bestowed by the free grace of the Spirit on 
various members of the community for the building up 
and completion of the whole. 

8. But even in the apostolic age there were spots on 
the fair face of the Church. First and foremost was the con- 
stant desire of Jewish converts to enforce on all Christians 
the observance of the Jewish law, to import into the 
Christian Church the distinctions of meats and drinks, 
of new moons and sabbaths, which were to cease when 
they had subserved their j^roper end*. And the evils of 
the " old man " in the Gentile churches were even more 
conspicuous and more fatal. The Greek spirit of partizaii- 
ship", the tendency to look upon some higher knowledge 
or "gnosis" as the great end and aim of initiation into the 
mystery of Christ", the reluctance of idolaters to forsake 
the gay festivals which they had frequented in the heathen 
temples', their low standard of morality, especially as re- 
gards the intercourse of the sexes®; in a word, the desire 

1 See especially 1 Cor. xii. 28; ^ 'Uyovfievoc, Hebr. xii. 7. 

Eph. iv. 11 ; on these passages, * Col. ii. 22. 

Eitschl, Alt-kathoUsch. Kirche, p. ^ i Cor. iiL 3 ff. 

348 ff. (2nd ed.). 6 Ibid. viii. 1 ff.; 1 Tim. vi. 20. 

^ IIpotiTTdfj.evoi, 1 Thcss. V. 12; ^ 1 Cor. X. 14 ii'. 

Horn. xii. 8. » Ibid. V. 1 ; vi. 16 £f. 

Chap. II, 

Three fold 

Sects and 


The Apostolic Church. 

to compromise between Christ and demons, seemed as if it 
would drown Christianity in paganism. Even the cardinal 
doctrine of the Resurrection of the dead was denied or 
obscvired by some of the would-be wise\ Oriental forms 
of asceticism^ and tendencies to the worship of hierarchies 
of supernatural beings, intermediate between God and 
man^, seem early to have found entrance into the Church. 
The Ej)istle of St Jude and the Apocalypse of St John 
reveal to us a time when deceivers were frequent and men 
ready to be deceived. St John's insistance on the reality 
of the human body of Christ* seems to indicate that the 
heresy which regarded it as unreal already existed. False 
Christs and false proi^hets were not wanting ; one Dosi- 
theus, in Samaria, gave himself out to be the prophet 
whom Moses declared that the Lord would raise up unto 
His people, and preached the divinity and eternal obliga- 
tion of the Mosaic Law^; Simon Magus came to be recog- 
nized as "the power of God which is called Great V and his 
subsequent history, however decorated with fable, shews 
that he was regarded by a sect as a kind of incarnation of 
the creative power of the Divinity''; Menander too seems 
to have represented himself as an incarnate deity, and to 
have persuaded his followers that he could confer upon 
them the gift of immortality ^ Nor are indications wanting 
that others also cried " Lo, here is Christ," and found some 
at least to go forth to them. 

The Lord foretold that tares should be mingled with 
the wheat in the field of the world, not to be seiJarated 
by hasty hands; yet He Himself gave the precept that the 
offending and unrepentant brother must be excluded from 
the community ^ And this power it was necessary to 
exert in order to maintain spiritual life and sound doctrine; 
the evil deed and foul word " eat as doth a canker." The 
apostles, or the brethren under their direction, excluded 

1 1 Cor. XV. 12 ff.; 2 Tim. ii. 18. 

2 Kom. xiv. 2, 21 ; 1 Tim. iv. 3. 

3 Col. ii. 18 (see Lightfoot's edi- 
tion, pp. 8'.» f., 101 f., 110, 181 f.) ; 
compare 1 Tim. i. 4; Tit. iii. 9. 

4 1 John i. 1. 

5 Clementine Horn. ii. 24; Ori- 
gan, Be Pniicipiis, iv. 1 — 17; Epi- 
phauius, Uteres. 13. 

6 Acts viii. 10 [Laclimauu]. 

^ Justin Martvr, Ajwl. i, cc. 26, 
56; Dial. c. Trypli. c. 120; Ii-e- 
naeus, c. Uceres. i. 23; Eusebius, 
H. E. II. 18; Josephus, A)itiq. xx. 
7. 2. 

** Justin, Apol. I. c. 26; Euseb. 
H. E. III. 26; Epiphauius, Hares, 

" Matt, xviii. 17. 

Tlie Apostolic Church. 


from the communion of the Church those who were guilty 
of gross immorality \ those who denied or deformed the 
faith '^ those who caused divisions among the brethren^. 
Yet exclusion from the society of the faithful was only 
resorted to in the last necessity, and the restoration of the 
offender was always earnestly desired ; if one was overtaken 
in a transgression, the "spiritual" were to correct and 
reinstate him tenderly*; love and comfort were to be 
bestowed on the penitent®; if men were "judged," it was 
that they might not perish with the world *'; if one was 
delivered over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, it 
was that his sj^irit might be saved in the day of the Lord^ 
In a word, the end of excommunication is never merely 
punishment, but the preservation of the Church and the 
reformation of the offender. 

Chap. n. 

1 1 Cor. V. 1—5, 9—11. 

* Gal. vi. 1. 

2 1 Tim. i. 20; Gal. i. 8, 9; 2 

5 2 Cor. ii. 7, 8 

John 10, 11. 

c 1 Cor. xi. 32. 

3 2 Thess. iii. 14; Tit. iii. 10; 

" Ibid. V. 5. 

"Eom. xvi. 17. 

Chap. III. 




put doivn, 
A.D. 135. 






1. The first external enemy which nascent Christi- 
anity had to encounter was the malice of the Jew. To 
the Jews were due the deaths of St Stephen, St James the 
Apostle, and St James the Just. . It was by the Jews that 
St Paul was evil entreated, almost to the death. Even 
where they had no political power, their irregular animo- 
sity was still active \ But the most extensive and cruel of 
all the persecutions which Christians had to endure at the 
hands of the Jews was that which befel them when Bar- 
Cochba^ raised the standard of insurrection against the 
Romans. Christians of course refused to acknowledge the 
pretended "Son of the Star^" as Messiah; their principles 
forbade them to join in rebellion ; hence they had to 
endure the wrath of those who regarded them as rene- 
gades, while the Roman government simply looked upon 
them as Jews. The rebellion of Bar-cochba was put down, 
and a new Roman town, ^Elia Capitolina*, built on the 
ruins of Jerusalem by the direction of the emperor 
Hadrian. When the Jews could practise no violent perse- 
cution they made amends by the circulation of calumnies^ 
Their schools of learning at Babylon and Tiberias seem to 
have been centres of this kind of manufacture. 

But the great internecine struggle was between the 

^ E.g. against Symeon (Euseb. 
H.E. III. 32); Polycarp (16. iv. 15, 
8 29). 

2 Dio Cassius xlviii. 32 ; xlix. 
12, 14; Justin M. Jpol. i. 31; 
Euseb. II. E. IV. 6, 8. 

2 Numbers xxiv. 17. 

* Deyling, Aeliae Capit. Origines 
(Leipzig, 1743). 

s Justin M. Trypho, c. 17; Ter- 
tuU. ad Nationes, i. 14. 

The Early Struggles of the Church. 


Church and the Empire*. The Empire was no doubt 
greatly more tolerant in matters of religion than the small 
republics of Greece had been ; it necessarily sanctioned the 
worship of the gods of the conquered nations which were 
included within its borders ; but it was not indifferent in 
matters of religion. The Roman gods were the gods of 
the state, and the state by no means looked favourably 
upon forms of worship which tended to diminish the reve- 
rence due to them. The old republic was extremely jea- 
lous of foreign superstitions, and the principle of the law 
which forbade the worship of foreign gods not adopted by 
the state ""^ was never allowed to drop wholly out of sight. 
In a Roman colony we find the comjjlaint brought against 
the apostles, that they taught customs which it was not 
lawful for Romans to receive or to observe^. Pomponia 
Grajcina was accused before a family tribunal of practising 
"foreign superstition" in the days of Nero^ Magic was 
forbidden under severe penalties ; the laws of the Twelve 
Tables assigned death as the penalty for practising incan- 
tation ; and probably the miracles of healing attributed to 
the Christians, especially cures of demoniacs, brought upon 
them the suspicion of magic. The possession of magical 
books was also a crime, and the sacred books of Christians 
were often reputed magicaP. 

We have the testimony of Tertullian" that the prin- 
cipal charges against Christians were those of sacrilege 
and lese-majesty ; and his words imply that to refuse to 
worship the gods of the Empire was to be guilty of sacri- 
lege. The punishment of sacrilege was in the discretion 
of the proconsul, who might apportion it according to the 
circumstances of the case and the age and sex of the 
criminal ; in extreme cases he might sentence offenders to 
be burnt alive, crucified, or cast to wild beasts I Under 

1 On the persecutions generally, 
see Martini, Persecutiones Christia- 
norum sub Impp. Rom.; Kopke de 
Statu et conditione Christianorum 
sub Impp. Rom. II. Sac; B. Aub6, 
Hist, des Persecutions. On the laws 
of the Empire bearing on Christians, 
Bee1!hie\,Altrom. Rcchtsanschanung 
uber. d. Christl. Rcligion,m Tilbing. 
Quartulschrift, 1855, 2; Le Blant, 

Les Bases Juridiques des Poursuites 
diriyees contra les Martyrs, in the 
Comptes Rendus de VAcadem. des 
Inscrip. Paris, 1868. 

^ Cicero De Legibus, ii. 8. 

■* Acts xvi. 21. 

* Tacitus, Ann. xiii. 32. 

^ Origen c. Celsuni, 1. vi. p. 302. 

" Apolog. 10. 

^ Digest, xlviii. tit. 13, c. 6. 


Chap. III. 




The Early Struggles of the Church. 

the head of "la3sa majestas^" was brought every act and 
every word which might tend to impair the authority of 
the government or to bring it into discredit. It is easy 
to see how wide a range charges of lese-majesty might 
have. Probably the rumour that Christians expected ex- 
isting states soon to pass away and a new kingdom to 
succeed brought them under the notice of the tribunals. 
But there was nothing of which the Empire was more 
intolerant than the formation of associations unknown to 
the law. From the very earliest days of imperial rule 
attempts were made to check the formation of clubs and 
societies^, and severe legislation was directed against them. 
One who held an unlawful meeting was liable to the same 
pains and penalties as one who seized a public place by 
armed force ; that is, to the penalties of lese-majesty. 
Some exceptions were however made ; religious meetings 
were not forbidden, provided that they were so conducted 
as not to offend against the laws relating to illicit collegia; 
and benefit-societies consisting of poor people (tenuiores) 
and slaves, were permitted in Rome to meet and make 
their payments to the common fund once a month. A 
rescript of Septimius Severus extended this provision to 
all Italy and the provinces'. Christian congregations may 
sometimes have received legal recognition as benefit-clubs, 
for they did undoubtedly contribute at their meetings to a 
common fund for the purpose of mutual succour, though 
they could scarcely have complied with the condition of 
meeting only once a month. But, on the whole, the Church 
was clearly regarded as a secret society of a very dan- 
gerous kind, having occult signs and pass-words, and 
bound together in a confederation which extended over 
the whole empire. That Christians formed unlawful asso- 
ciations is the first charge brought against them by 
Celsus*, and Tertullian^ a Christian advocate, scarcely 
attempts to refute it. The Roman statesman saw in the 
Christian Church either the ephemeral product of fanatical 

^ Digest, xLviii. tit. 4. 

* Sueton. Julius, 42; August. 32. 
On the whole subject, see Momra- 
sen De Oollegiis et Sodaliciis lio- 

3 Digest, xlvii. tit. 22. On 

burial-clubs, which were the most 
common form of benefit-club, see 
Browiilow and Northcote, Roma 
Sotteranea, i. 64—109 ('2nd ed.). 

* Origen c. Cch. lib. i. p. 4. 

<* A'pol. 39 ; cf. De Jejuniis, c. 13. 

The Early Struggles of the Ghui-ch. 


folly and delusion, or a slinking gang of conspirators, a 
"lucifiiga natio," which the state must needs put down, 
were it only for its own safety. 

The secrecy of their meetings in time of persecution 
was a main cause of the calumnies which were circulated 
against them. The Empire was full of mysteries and 
secret orgies, yet against none do we find such vile ac- 
cusations brought as those which were reiterated against 
the Christians. They were atheists \ they indulged in 
Thyestean banquets, they revelled in horrible incest '"^ ; 
they worshipped a monster with an ass's head^ That 
they should be called atheists was perhaps not altogether 
unnatural ; those who forsook the temples of the gods and 
worshipped no deity graven by art and man's device were 
to the heathen populace of course atheists. Their nightly 
assemblies for the feast of love and the Holy Communion, 
and a few mystical words relating to the Agape, the com- 
memoration of the death of Christ, and the participation 
of His Flesh and Blood, grossly misunderstood, gave rise 
probably to the horrible charges of murder, strange food, 
and illicit love. Such rumours as these caused men like 
Tacitus to regard the Church of Christ, the only society in 
the empire in which a pure and noble morality was taught, 
as a loathsome superstition*. It was thought to bring 
down the wrath of the gods on the state. If an earth- 
quake shook a city or a river overflowed its banks, or the 
seasons were unpropitious, the cry arose, 'To the lions 
with the Christians ! ' ^ And it must not be forgotten that 
all those who lived by pagan worship found their occupa- 
tion threatened ; the makers of silver shrines of the Ephe- 
sian Artemis were but specimens of a class found wherever 
a temple existed. And not only those whose material 
interests were in danger, but paganism in general found 
its old mythology, its civic feeling, its frank enjoyment of 
the life of this world, called in question by a sect which 

1 Arnobius, vi. 1. 

- Minucius Felix, c. 9. 

3 Tertull. Afol. c. 18. On the 
burlesque-crucifix with an ass's 
head, see Garrucci, II Crocifisso 
Gmffito(B.ome, 1857) ;H. P. Liddon, 
Bampton Lect., p. 397; R. St J. 
Tyrwhitt in Smith and Cheetham's 

Diet, of Chr. Antiq. p. 516. See 
also Dr Pusey's notes on the pas- 
sage in TertuUian in the Oxford 
Library of the Fathers. 

* "Exitiabilis superstitio." An- 
nals, XV. 44. 

5 Tertullian, Apol. c. 40. 


The Early Struggles of the Church. 

preached humility and self-renunciation, offering a distant 
Heaven in return for the j^leasures of the present life. 
Many Christians felt it perilous to the soul to swear the 
soldier's oath or to undertake municipal offices \ True, 
they were submissive to lawful authority, but the general 
suspicion against them was so strong, that their professions 
of allegiance were thought to savour more of policy than of 

The Empire could perhaps scarcely be expected to 
tolerate in the midst of it such a society. It did in fact 
persecute the rising sect with a very vigorous animosity, 
yet not steadily or continuously, but according to the 
views of various emperors or even of provincial governors. 
What was at first popular hatred of an obscure sect be- 
came in less than three centuries an organised effort of 
the pagan power to put down its growing rival. 

When Suetonius'"' tells us that Claudius expelled from 
Rome "the Jews who were making constant uproar with 
one Chrestiis as a ringleader," he probably refers to the 
fact that the preaching of Christ set the Jews' quarter at 
Rome in a commotion. So far however Christianity 
appears as a Jewish sect, not subject to direct persecution. 
It is under Nero that the Christians first appear as suffer- 
ing torture and death, as a sect everywhere spoken against. 
When Rome was burnt, and rumour assigned the guilt 
of the deed to Nero himself, he sought to turn the popular 
rage from himself to the Christians, already the objects of 
the most unreasonable suspicions. They were sewed up 
in hides of wild beasts and torn by dogs; they were 
crucified ; they were wrapped in tar-cloth and set on fire. 
Their "hatred of the human race" was held enough to 
convict them of this incendiarism, or at all events to justify 
their punishment ^ The tendency of the Roman jjopulace 
to wreak on the Christians the wrath they felt at some 
civic or national misfortune appears here for the first 

Yet for some time after Nero we hear no more of perse- 
cution of Christians. Even Domitian, whom Tertullian* 

1 TertuUian, De Pallio, 5; De 
Cor. Mint. 11; Apolog. 38, 42; 
Ruinart, Acta Sincera, p. 299 (2nd 

2 Claudius, c. 25. 

3 Tacitus, Arm. xv. 44. But see 
C. Merivale, Romans under the Em- 
pire, c. 54. 

^ Apolog. c. 5. 

The Early Struggles of the Ghurxh. 


calls a "chip of Nero for cruelty/' does not appear to have 
treated Christians with mvich greater cruelty than the 
rest of his subjects. According to some authorities^ it was 
in this reign that the apostle John was immersed in 
boiling oil uninjured and banished to Patmos. That a 
Flavins Clemens was executed by order of Domitian is an 
historical fact^ but we have no authority for identifying 
him with Clemens the bishop of the Roman Church. In 
fact, in the authentic records of Domitian's reign, the 
charge of Christianity is nowhere put forward distinctly as 
a reason for the executions ordered by the tyrant, though 
the "atheism" and "superstition" attributed to some of 
his victims may very possibly be heathen distortions of 
their Christianity. It is of course only too probable that 
Christians suffered from outbreaks of popular fury, both in 
Rome and in the provinces, but we meet with no distinct 
mention of any action of the state against them until 
the time of Trajan. It was to him that Pliny the younger, 
much perplexed at the number of Christians discovered in 
his government of Bithynia, wrote his famous letter ^ 
Was he — he asked the emperor — to punish Christians as 
such, even if they were guilty of no offence against 
public law or morality ? He himself held that it was 
his duty to punish those who admitted themselves 
Christians, and could not be frightened into recanting ; 
i'or (he said), whatever their superstition might be, they 
deserved punishment for their obstinacy. Those who 
consented to worship the gods and the statue of the 
emperor in a form prescribed by himself, and to curse 
Christ, he at once dismissed. After putting two deaconesses 
to the torture, he discovered nothing but a perverse and 
extravagant superstition. Trajan* approved in general 
Pliny's proceedings, and laid down for his guidance the 
principle, that no search should be made for Christians, 
but that those who were brought to the bar should be 
punished with death, unless they proved their paganism 
by sacrificing to the gods. Anonymous accusations were 
to be altogether disregarded. 

1 Tertullian, De Prcescript. c. 36; 218; Jerome, Epist. 96 [al. 27]. 
Euseb. H. E. iii. 18. 3 Epigt^ x. 96 [al. 97]. 

2 Suetonius, Domitian, c. 15; * Plinii, Epist. x. 97 [al. 98]. 
Dio Cassius [Epit. Xiphilini], Compare Tertullian, Apolog. c. 2, 
Lxvii. 14; Euseb. Chron. Olymp. 

Chap. III. 

A.D. 98— 


A.D. 111. 


Tlte Early Struggles of the Church. 

Chap. ni. 

Death of 
A.D. 108, 
and Igna- 
tius, A.D. 

Edict of 

Pitis, A.D. 

dom, A.D. 

carp's, A.D. 

Trajan carefully limited his decision to the particular 
case and locality. Still, the emperor's rescript furnished a 
fatal precedent; henceforth, whenever the magistrates 
were disposed to persecute Christians, there seems to have 
been no difficulty in finding law against them^ Under 
Trajan too we hear the ominous cry, "The Christians to 
the lions!" There was no security against the rage of 
Jews or heathen. The aged Symeon, bishop of Jerusalem, 
is said to have been crucified to gratify the former "'' ; the 
fury of the populace of Antioch caused Ignatius to be 
torn by lions in the Coliseum, as a spectacle for the 
latter ^ 

When Christianity itself was recognised as a crime, 
informers were not wanting, so that even when the em- 
perors were not active persecutors. Christians still suffered 
from the unreasonable hatred of their pagan neighbours. 
As the mob of the towns fell into the habit of shouting for 
the blood of Christians for their own amusement or as an 
offering to the gods in time of public calamity, Hadrian 
issued an edict against these riots*, and required that in 
all cases proceedings against the Christians should be con- 
ducted with the due forms of law. The excellent Anto- 
ninus Pius is not commonly regarded as a persecutor, and 
has the reputation of a kind and just ruler both in pagan 
and Christian authorities^. Yet it is in the highest degree 
l^robable that it was in his reign that Justin® gained the 
title of "martyr" in Rome itself, being put to death by 
Urbicus, the prefect of the city, mainly in consequence 
of the hostility of one Crescens, a Cynic, whom he had 
denounced as a charlatan ; and that in his reign also 
Polycarp'', the venerable bishop of Smyrna, was brought to 

1 See Justin Martyr, AjpoL i. 2 — 
4, and Apol. ii. 

2 Eusebius, H. E. ni. 32, 

3 lb. III. 36. On the Acts of the 
Martyrdom of Ignatius (Euinart, 
Acta Sincera, p. 7 ff. ; Ignatii et 
Pohjcarpi Epistt., Martyria, ed. 
Zahn) see Zahn, Ignatius v. Antio- 
chien, pp. 2 — 56. 

■* Justin Martyr, Apol. i. c. 68; 
Ensebius H. E. iv. 8 and 26. 

^ The rescript irpbs to koivov rrj% 
Affiai, however, attributed to Anto- 
ninus by Justin (u. s.) and to Au- 

relius by Eusebius {II. E. iv. 8 and 
26) is of very doubtful genuineness. 
See Keim in Theolog. Jahrbiich. 
1856, pt. 3. 

6 F. J. A. Hort in Journal of 
Philology (Cambridge), iii. 155 ff. 
Justin's death is commonly placed 
in the reign of M. Aurelius, on the 
authority of Eusebius [H. E. iv. 16), 
about A.D. 165. 

' Waddington, Pastes des Pro- 
iiinces Asiatiques, i. 219; Zahn on 
Poly carpi Mart. c. 21, p. 163 £f. 
This also is attributed to the reign 

The Early Struggles of the Church. 


the stake in his own city. The successor of Antoninus, 
Marcus Aurelius, the throned Stoic, disliked religious ex- 
citement in generaP and the enthusiasm of the Christians 
in particular; the wise man should, he thought, endure 
with patience the thought of extinction after death, and 
pass out of life undemonstratively^ However little belief 
he had in the old Roman religion, he thought it for the 
good of the state that it should be maintained. The 
proceedings of provincial governors against the Chris- 
tians were at least unhindered, if they were not actually 
promjDted and encouraged by the emperor. A terrible 
persecution befel the Churches of Lyons and Vienne ; in 
this case, the fury of the populace appears to have been 
unchecked by the magistrates, and even illegal methods of 
proceeding were permitted. It was in this storm that the 
venerable bishoj) Pothinus of Lyons died. Still, in spite 
of losses by death and desertion, a remnant was left, and 
these told their own pathetic story in a letter to the 
Churches of Asia and Phrygia''. To this reign is assigned 
the miracle of the " Thundering Legion," composed partly 
of Christians, who in the campaign against the Marcomanni 
and Quadi are said to have procured rain by their prayers 
when the imperial army was suffering the last extremity 
of thirst*. The brutal Commodus, the son of the philoso- 
pher, is said to have been influenced by his mistress 
Marcia in favour of Christianity, which accordingly made 
way among the higher classes in Rome ; yet it was under 
him that Apollonius, a man of high station and dis- 
tinguished culture, was put to death, together with the 
slave his accuser^ 

The reign of Septimius Severus, in other respects also 
an important epoch, changed the relation of the state to 

of M. Aurelius (Euseb. H. E. iv. 
15), about A.D. 167—168. 

^ " Si quis aliquid f ecerit quo leves 
hominum animi suiDerstitione nu- 
minis tenerentur, Divus Marcus 
hujusmodi homines in insulam 
relegari rescripsit." Digest, xlviii. 
tit. 19, c. 30. 

^ Meditat. xi. 3. On the relation 
of M. Aurelius to Christianity, see 
F. D. Maurice, Philosophy, i. 298 ff. 
(ed. 1873). 

3 Euseb. H. E. v. 1—3. 

■* Tertullian, Apolog. c. 5; ad 
Scapulam, c. 4; Euseb. H. E. y. 5; 
Orosius, Historia, vii. 15 ; Dio Cas- 
sius [Epit. Xiphilini], lxxi. 8; Ju- 
lius Capitolinus, Marc. Anton, c. 21; 
See Mosheim, De Rebtis ante Con- 
stant., p. 218; Martigny, Diet, des 
Antiq. Chret. s. v. 'Legio Fulmi- 

5 Euseb. H. E. v. 21. 

Chap. III. 


A.D. 161- 


Martyrs of 
Lyons and 
A.D. 177. 

The Thun- 
A.D. 174. 

dus, A.D. 

A.D. 193— 


The Early Struggles of the Church. 

Chap. HI. 

A.D. 203. 

lus, A.D. 

A.D. 222— 

Christianity. He was an African, his wife Julia Domna 
a Syrian, and the emperors of their race, Caracalla, 
Elagabahis, and Alexander Severus, were much more 
oriental than Roman \ Men such as these had not the 
same feeling in favour of the Roman state-religion which 
had so strongly influenced the Antonines ; they rather 
regarded with interest strange forms of belief and worship. 
Yet Septimius is reckoned among the persecutors; he 
referred all cases of holding unlawful assemblies to the 
judgment of the prefect of the city^ and forbade with 
equal sternness conversions to Christianity and to Judaism^; 
confiscation, torture, and death befel many Christians. 
In Alexandria and proconsular Africa in particular the 
persecution was so severe, that men thought the times 
of Antichrist nigh at hand*. Leonides the father of 
Origen^, Potamiaena with her mother Marcella, and the 
soldier Basilides who was her guard**, were put to death 
in this persecution ; still more famous martyrs of this 
epoch are the young matrons Perpetua and Felicitas" 
of Carthage ; and the twelve martyrs of Scillite^ in 
Africa, who bore their testimony before the proconsul 
Vigellius Saturninus. Elagabalus was himself a dilettante 
in religion, and tolerated both the Jewish and the Chris- 
tian fraternities, intending however in the end to permit 
in Rome no worship but that of Elagabalus ^ The 
emperor Alexander Severus, casting about for objects of 
veneration in a faithless time, formed a kind of private 
chapel, in which, with Abraham, Orpheus, and Apollonius 
of Tyana, he set up a bust of Christ '"; nay, he is said even 
to have contemplated building a temple to his honour, and 
adopting Christ among the gods of Rome'\ His mother, 
Julia Mammsea, when staying at Antioch, summoned to 
her presence the great Origen, of whose fame she had 
heard 'I Such an emperor was not likely to be an active 
persecutor; he practically recognized the right of the 
Christians to exist and worship in the Empire. The laws 

^ A. Eeville, in Rhme des Deux 
Mondes, Oct. 1, 1865, pp. 622 ff. 
2 Digest, lib. i. tit. 12, c. 14. 
^ Spartianus, Severvs, c. 17. 
■" Euseb. H. E. vi. 7. 
B Ibid. VI. 1. 
6 Ihid. VI. 5. 


7 Eiiinart, Acta Sincera, p. 92 ff. 

8 lb. p. 8(; S. 

9 Lampridius, Heliogal. c. 3. 
^^ Lampridius, Alex. Severus, c. 


" lb. c. 43. 
12 Euseb. H. E. vi. 21. 

The Early Struggles of the Church. 


against Christians were not repealed, but in spite of the 
existence of these laws, there was for some years no 
persecution, except a transitory one under Maximin', who 
was ready to persecute whatever his predecessor had 
favoured ; one emperor, Philip the Arabian, is even said to 
have been a Christian ^ Christianity was now in the 
popular estimation no long-er the foul superstition that it 
once had been ; it had attracted many of the wealthy and 
educated class ^; it had come to be regarded as a religion 
whose claims must at least be considered ; there was no 
intrinsic reason why it should not take an equal rank with 
other permitted religions. 

With Decius came again a change. By this time, the 
growth of the Christian Church in numbers and influence 
had become so manifest, that Romans began to see the 
very existence of Paganism threatened, while at the same 
time Christianity had lost something of its pristine purity 
and vigour ; the world had entered the Church*. Perse- 
cutions from this time are no longer mere outbreaks of 
popular fury, but direct consequences of the action of the 
state. The earlier persecutions had been partial, and the 
victims comparatively few®; now, persecution was ex- 
tended systematically to the whole Empire, and a strenuous 
effort was made to exterminate Christianity. At the very 
beginning of his reign, Decius issued an edict, command- 
ing governors of provinces under the severest penalties to 
put in force every means of terrifying the Christians and 
bringing them back to the old religion''. All Christians 
were to sacrifice to the gods before a certain day, or be 
handed over to torture ; the bishops in particular were 
marked out for death. Many were the instances of Chris- 
tian heroism in this pitiless storm, but many fell away and 
"lapsed"' outwardly at least into heathenism. The j)er- 
secution did not cease even with the death of Decius, for 
public misfortunes roused the fury of the city mobs 

1 Euseb. H. E. \i. 28 ; Firmilian to 
Cypriau, Cypriani Epist. 75, c. 10. 

2 Euseb. H. E. vi. 34 ; Jerome, 
Chron. an. 246. 

2 Origen, c. Gels. iii. 8, p. 117. 
* Cyprian, De Lapsis, 6. 
^ Origen contra Celsum, in. 8, p. 

^ Gregory of Nyssa, Vita Greg. 
Thaumat. {Opera, in. 567. ed. Paris, 

^ Smith and Cheetham's Diet, 
of Ghr. Antiq. s. vv. 'Lapsi,' 'Li- 

Chap. III. 

A.D. 235— 

Philip the 
A.D. 244— 

A.D. 249- 

Edict of 
A.D. 250. 

A.D. 251- 


The Early Struggles of the Church. 

Chap. HI. 

A.D. 253- 

A.D. 258-9. 

A.D. 260 — 

tian, A.D. 

against the stiff-necked peojDle who would not offer pro- 
pitiatory sacrifices to the tutelary gods of the state. 
Among the victims of the Decian period were Fabian, 
bishop of Rome, Baby las of Antioch, and Alexander of 
Jerusalem \ In this time of distress, the legend says'**, the 
"Seven Sleepers" began their long slumber at E25hesus; 
they roused themselves under Theodosius II. to see the 
despised Cross on every coign of vantage. After a short 
23eriod of rest, persecution was renewed under Valerian, 
who directed his attack principally against the bishoj)s, 
priests, and deacons of the Church, and against senators, 
knights, and other persons of rank who had joined the 
hated community^, thinking probably that if the more 
distinguished persons were induced to forsake Christ, the 
multitude would follow of its own accord. In this period 
of oppression fall the deaths of Sixtus, bishop of Rome, 
with Laurence his deacon*, of Cyprian^ at Carthage, and of 
Fructuosus" at Tarragona. With the sole rule of Gallienus 
came remission ; he put a stop to the existing persecu- 
tions, and issued a letter' to the bishops, granting them 
protection, and desiring the pagan authorities to give 
them back their churches and cemeteries. This implies 
that the Christian communities were regarded, for the 
time, as at least lawful associations. Toleration continued 
under Claudius ; Aurelian's preparations for a renewal of 
persecution were cut short by his death ; nor was the 
Church molested by the government in the first nineteen 
years of Diocletian. In this period of rest the Church 
spread abroad greatly ; Christians were entrusted with the 
government of provinces, and even professed their religion 
openly in the very palace of the emperor^ This serenity 
was soon to be broken by the most severe storm that 
Christianity had to encounter. 

Diocletian^ the son of a Dalmatian freedman, was 

1 Euseb. H. E. vi. 39—42; Cy- 
prian, De LajJsis, and bis Letters 
of tbis period. 

2 First in Gregory of Tours, De 
Gloria Martyrum, i. 95. Compare 
tbe story of Epimenides in Pliny, 
Nat. Hist. VII. 52. 

3 Euseb. H. E. vii. 10, 11; Cy- 
prian, Epist. 80. 

* Prudentius, Peristeph. Hymn 2. 

^ Life of Cyprian by Pontius, and 
Acta Proconsularia in Euinart, p. 
205 ff. 

6 Buinart, p. 219 ff. 

7 Euseb. H. E. vii. 13. 

8 Ibid. VIII. 1. 

" Tbis Emperor's life has been 
written by A. Vogel, Der Kaiser 

The Early Struggles of the Church. 


one of the ablest rulers that ever mounted the imperial 
throne. His leading thought was to organize the unwieldly 
empire. To this end, he associated with himself (a.d. 
285) Maximian as a colleague in the Empire, and after- 
wards (a.d. 293) two others, Galerius and Constantius 
Chlorus, in a somewhat subordinate position, with the 
title of " Csesars " ; the superior rulers bore the name of 
" August! ". Diocletian's love for the old religion, or per- 
haps his policy, appears in his taking the name of Jovius, 
while he gave his colleague that of Herculius, as if in- 
voking Jove and Hercules for the protection of the Emj^ire. 
If the legend may be trusted, Maximianus Herculius soon 
used his power against the Christians ; two years after he 
became a ruler he is said to have caused the whole of the 
Theban legion, with their tribune Mauritius, to be put to 
death in cold blood near Martigny in Switzerland, because 
they refused to act against the Christians \ Diocletian 
however was not disposed to persecute the Church; on 
the contrary, in the early part of his reign many Christians 
had positions of trust about his person ; but the Ca3sar 
Galerius, who was his son-in-law, a burly ruffian imbued 
with heathen superstition^, became the tool of a party 
which was eager for the suppression of Christianity 
as the only means of preserving Paganism. Diocletian 
shrank from a struggle the horrors of which he clearly 
foresaw ^ but at last with great reluctance yielded to 
the urgency of his colleague, and assented to decided 
measures for the suppression of the faith of Christ. Three 
edicts appeared in rapid succession in the year 303, and 
a fourth in the following year, which in effect delivered 

Diokletian; Th. Bernhard, Dio- 
cletian in s, Verhaltniss zu d. Chris- 
ten; Hunziker, Zur Riyicnmg u. 
Christenverfolgung d. K. Dioclet. ; 
A. J. Masou, The Persecntion of 
Diocletian (Camb. 1876) ; see also 
Burckhardt, Die Zeit Constantino; 
M. Ritter De Diocletiano. On the 
dates of Diocletian's Edicts, see 
Th. Mommseu in the TransactioTis 
of the Berlin Academie der Wis- 
senschaften, 18G0, pp. 339 —447. 

1 This story appears first in a 
narrative bearing the name of 
Eucherius, bishop of Lyons about 

430 (Euinart, Acta Mart. p. 271 ff.), 
but possibly the work of a later 
Eucherius (Rettberg, Kirchengesch. 
Deutscldands, i. 94). The genuine- 
ness of the account is defended by 
G. Hickes, Thehaean Legion no 
Fable; J. De Lisle, Defense de la 
verite de la Leg. Theb.; J.Friedrich, 
K.-G. Deutschlands, p. 101 fT. ; con- 
troverted by J. Dubordieu, Diss. 
Grit, sur le Martyre de la Leg. 
Theb., and Rettberg, u. s. 

2 Lactantius, De Mart. Persec. 
c. 10. 

^ Lactantius u. s. c. 11. 

Chap. in. 


A.D. 287. 

tians, A. D. 


The Early Struggles of the Church. 

over the unfortunate Christians to the fanaticism of mobs 
and the arbitrary will of provincial governors. By the 
first edict ^ assemblies of Christians were forbidden ; their 
churches and sacred books were ordered to be destroyed 
and Church property to be confiscated ; those who refused 
to renounce their faith were to be deprived of all civil 
rights and dignities; accusations against Christians were 
to be entertained, and torture might be applied to compel 
them to recant ; Christian slaves, so long as they remained 
Christian, could not be manumitted. The disturbances 
which arose in carrying out this edict occasioned still 
further measures of severity. The second edict ^ directed 
that all bishops and clergy should be imprisoned. The 
third', issued on the twentieth anniversary (vicennalia) of 
Diocletian's accession, was a kind of grim jest. It bore 
the form of an amnesty, and ordered the imprisoned clergy 
to be set at liberty, if they would but consent to sacrifice 
to the gods ; if they refused this beneficence, they were to 
be subjected to torture. Under these edicts, persecution, 
though no doubt varying much in intensity in different 
provinces, became severe and general. Many met death 
with wonderful constancy; old men, tender women, even 
young children became martyrs, often under circumstances 
of great horror ; but many denied the faith, and many — 
stigmatised as ti^aditores — delivered up the sacred books 
to save themselves. Still, it was felt that the end of all 
these horrors was not attained, and in 304 a fourth edict* 
was published, which simply offered Christians the choice 
between death and sacrifice. Wherever heathen governors 
and heathen mobs were unfriendly to Christians, the work 
of torture and death went vigorously on. The greatest 
weight of this persecution fell on that eastern portion of the 
empire which was under the immediate rule of Diocletian 
and Galerius ; even their own wives, who are said to have 
favoured Christianity, were compelled to sacrifice, and 
court officials were not spared. Diocletian and Maximian 
abdicated in the year 305, but the work of exterminating 
the Christians went vigorously on under Galerius and 
his colleagues. The western provinces, however, Gaul, 

1 Eusebius, H. E. vni. 2; Lac- 
tantius, De Mart. Persec. c. 13. 

2 Euaebiua, 11. E. vin. 6, § 8. 

» lb. § 10. 

* Euseb. De Mart. Palcest. c. 3. 

Tlte Early Struggles of the Church. 


Spain, and Britain, enjoyed comparative immunity under 
Constantius Chlorus\ and afterwards under his son Con- 
stantine, who was elevated to the rank of Cajsar by the 
acclamation of the soldiery on the death of his father at 

For some eight years the Christians had to endure 
every kind of maltreatment and death. At last even 
Galerius was satisfied that it was impossible to annihilate 
Christianity and give to the gods of Rome their old 
supremacy. Sick and weary, he consented to put a stop 
to the massacres which distracted the Empire, and issued 
from Nicomedia, in conjunction with Constantino and 
Licinius, an edict^ in which Christianity is recognized as 
an existing fact. The terms of this edict, which forms 
one of the most important epochs in the history of the 
Church, are much to be observed. The rulers say in their 
preamble, that they had been anxious to bring back to a 
good mind those Christians who had deserted the old 
customs of their forefathers; when, however, they saw that 
the result had been that many ceased to worship the God 
of the Christians without returning to the due service of 
their country's gods, they thought it most accordant with 
their well-known clemency and tolerance again to permit 
Christians to meet for worship, so that they did nothing 
contrary to the peace and good order of the state. They 
felt sure that the Christians, being now hurt by no 
persecution, would readily acknowledge the duty of pray- 
ing to their own God for the emperors and the state, that 
the Empire might maintain itself intact, and themselves 
live a peaceable life in their own homes. 

Christianity was thus admitted to be a religio licita. 
For nearly three centuries it had been in actual existence; 
it seemed best, now that it could no longer be treated as 
an innovation, which was to an antique Roman much the 
same as an impiety, to attempt to adopt the God of the 
Christians among those who watched over the well-being 
of Rome. 

This edict did not wholly put a stop to persecution in 

1 Lactantius, Be Mort. Pers. cc. 
15, 16. 

^ Lactantius De Mort. Persec. 
c. 34; Euseb. H. E. vm. 17. See 

Keim, Die Rom, ToJeranzedicte, u. 
s. w., in Theolog. Jahrbuch, 1852, 
pt. 2. 

Chap. III. 

A.D, 306. 

Edict of 

A.D. 311. 


The Early Struggles of the Church. 

.the Asiatic provinces. But in the year 812 Constantine 
became master of the whole western empire by his victory 
over Maxentius, the ruler of Italy, at the Milvian bridge. 
It was on his way to this decisive battle that he saw the 
sign in the heavens (^), afterwards called the Labarum*, 
with the words tovtw vUa. Maximin, the other great 
opponent of Christianity, was not put down until the 
following year. 

The result of the defeat of Maxentius was an edict 
published at Milan by Constantine and Licinius^, perhaps 
the most important ever issued by imperial authority. In 
this the emperors give full liberty to all their subjects of 
adopting any form of worship by which the supreme 
Divinity in the heavens may be propitiated ; to Christians 
in particular, they grant absolute freedom of worship, 
without any of the limiting conditions to which they had 
been subjected by previous edicts; the churches were to 
be restored to their original owners without money or 
price, whether they had been sold on their confiscation, or 
granted freely to some favoured person, the emperors 
undertaking to reimburse those whose property was thus 
taken away. The same law applied to other property 
which had belonged to Christian corporations. All these 
provisions the emperors enjoined their officials to put in 
force with all completeness and despatch. 

What were the conditions which previously limited 
the freedom of Christians is not absolutely certain, but it 
is probable that the edict of 311, which conferred freedom 
of worship on existing bodies of Christians, did not give 
them the liberty of making converts ; if so, this restriction 
was removed. When the emperors give full liberty to 
every form of worship " whereby the Divinity in heaven 
may be propitiated," tliey seem still to retain the power of 
putting down any foul and impious orgies which they 
judged likely rather to offend than to propitiate the 
supreme deity. But the essential thing is, that the edict 
frankly recognized the " corpus Christianorum," the great 

1 Lactantius, De Mort. Pers. c. 
4'l. speaks of tliis as occurring in a 
dream; Eusebius (F/^a Coiist<intini, 
I. 27 ff.) describes it, on the autho- 
rity of the Emperor himself, as an 

actual appearance at midday in the 
hoavens. See E. Venables in Diet, 
of Chr. Aiiti<i. s. v. 

^ Euseb. //. K. X. 5; Lactantiup, 
De Mort. Persec. c. 48. 

The Early Str-iiggles of the Church. 


orgauized body of Christians which had spread itself over 
the Empire. It is thus indicated that the policy of the 
state had undergone a comjjlete revolution. The almost 
despairing effort of Diocletian and Galcrius had been to 
put down a force which, they thought, tended to dissolve 
the social coherence of the Empire at a time when it was 
so sorely iu need of unity ; in the edict of Constantine and 
Licinius we see that this attempt is abandoned. 

The persecutions were reckoned, before the end of the 
fourth century, to be ten in number, so as to correspond to 
the ten plagues of Egjrpt. The persecutions according to 
this account were those under Nero, Domitian, Trajan, 
Marcus Aurelius, Septimius Severus, Maximin, Decius, 
Valerian, Aurelian, Diocletian. The artificial and falla- 
cious character of this enumeration was long ago pointed 
ovit by Augustine \ 

It is impossible to determine with certainty the 
number of those who sviffered. Origen (as we have seen) 
thought it inconsiderable up to his own time, though at a 
still earlier date Irenteus"'' speaks of the multitude of 
martyrs who had passed from earth to God; and in the 
persecutions under Decius and Diocletian at any rate we 
can scarcely doubt that very many bore torture and death 
for the faith of Christ. 

It was only natural that events terrible in themselves 
and deeply affecting a great community should be repeated 
in succeeding generations with much unconscious ex- 
aggeration. True and accurate accounts, even notarial re- 
cords, of many martyrdoms were no doubt preserved, but 
round these clustered a large number of legends which 
either arose from the excited imagination of a troublous 
time or were composed as works of edification rather than 
of history. Additional infamy was in this way heaped 
upon the persecutors and additional glory bestowed upon 
the martyrs. Augustine'' lamented the scarcity of genuine 
Acts which might be read in the services. 

2. While the Church was suffering from the opposition 
of the civil government and the passions of the mob, it 
was also attacked by the literary champions of heathen- 

^ Be Civ. Dei, xviii. 52. 
^ Hcert's. iv. 83, 9. See on the 
whole subject H. Dodwell, Distscr- 

tationes Cyprianicce, p. 56 ff. ; Rni- 
nart, Acta Sinccra, Praef, § ii. 
^ Sermo 315, c. 1. 


Chap. III. 

Number of 

Number of 


The In- 


The Early Struggles of the Church. 

Chap. III. 

A.D. 166. 
died about 
A.D. 200. 

about A.D. 

dom. The dislike and suspicion which educated heathen 
felt for Christianity found definite expression in various 
writings. The lost oration of Fronto seems to have been 
an advocate's defence, on legal grounds, of the proceedings 
against them under Marcus Aurelius. Lucian's light 
raillery, which found in the Greek mythology sub- 
jects for his wit and sarcastic humour, was also turned 
against Christianity. He does not merely echo the 
popular prejudice ; it is evident from his parody that he 
had some real knowledge of the manners and customs 
of Christians, but he only regards the church as one of 
the varied outgrowths of human folly and superstition. 
His history of Peregrinus Proteus was no doubt in- 
tended, at least in part, to ridicule the supposed cre- 
dulity of Christians which made them an easy prey to 
a clever knave; but it shews incidentally how a hea- 
then noticed, without admiring, their brotherly love, 
their courage in facing death, their belief in immortality. 
Very different from the light mockery of Lucian is the 
eager hatred of his contemporary Celsus, a man of keen 
and vigorous intellect who had really studied, though 
without sympathy or insight, both Christianity and 
Judaism. Scepticism has hardly discovered an objection 
to Christianity which is not contained in some shape or 
other in the work of Celsus' : modern ingenuity has done 
little more than elaborate the arguments of the ancient 
dialectician. The credibility of the Gospel history in 
general, the reality of the Incarnation and the Resurrec- 
tion, the belief in the Atonement, the very idea of a 
special revelation of God, are attacked with no mean 
ability. He utterly repudiates the view of nature in which 
man appears as the final cause of the world and of all things 
that are therein, and attempts to set Greek philosophy 
and religion above the teaching of Christianity, which he 
accuses of having borrowed — and spoiled — many of the 
doctrines of Plato ; further, he reproaches Christians with 

^ He callerl his book aX-qOrj 5X6705. 
It is known to us only from the 
reply of Origen, but as Origen 
quotes his adversary's words and 
replies point by point, we may 
gather the original work of Celsus 
from his pages, just as we may ga- 

ther "Charity Maintained" from 
the work of Chillingworth. See 
C. E. Jachmann, De Celso disseruit 
et fragmenta Libri contra Chris- 
tiayios collegit (Konigsberg, 1836); 
and Th. Keim, Celsus' s Wahrcs 
Wort (Ziirich, 1873). 

The Early Struggles of the Church. 


their gross, corporeal conception — as he thinks it — of God 
and things divine. At the same time, he attempts to set 
the heathen polytheism and idolatry in a more attractive 
light, and contends that they were not incompatible with 
the worship of one supreme deity. Altogether, probably 
no more vigorous assailant than Celsus has ever attacked 
Christianity. The attack of so skilful a polemic is a 
sufficient proof that Christianity was regarded as an im- 
portant phenomenon. However men might assume con- 
tempt for it, when a man like Celsus, of high ability, 
cultivation, and learning, thought it worth while to give it 
so careful an examination, it had certainly gained at- 
tention beyond the ranks of slaves and artizans. 

The remarkable work of Philostratus, the "Life of 
Apollonius of Tyana"\ may also be considered as a part 
of the polemic against Christianity, though of a very 
different kind from the uncompromising attack of Celsus. 
Apollonius was a real person, who attained some fame as a 
magician in the latter part of the first century, but the 
"Life", written in the early years of the third, is probably 
so highly idealized as to be little more than a romance 
with a purpose. It belongs to the syncretistic age of 
Septimius Severus, when the view began to prevail that 
the wise man should choose what was best and noblest 
from all religions, without venturing to assert that any 
one was absolutely true. Hence Philostratus, who was 
evidently acquainted with the Gospel history, attempts to 
set up Apollonius as a kind of Neo-Pythagorean leader 
and type : he attributes to him the nobleness, the un- 
selfish devotion, the readiness to encounter persecution 
and death, which are seen in the greatest heroes. He 
contends, not that Christianity is false, but that Pytha- 
gorisra deserves to be set above it as a practical reli- 
gious power. Philosophy, in truth, took at this time a 
more religious direction^ and was not wholly disinclined 
to satisfy its aspirations from a system which had so high 
claims to be a divine revelation as Christianity. 


^ Translated into English by 
Blount, 1680, and by Berwick, 1809. 
F. C. Baur has treated this subject 
fully in his Apollonius von Tyana 
xind Chriatm. See also A. Chas- 
sang, Apollonius de Tijane far 

Philostrate ; J. K. Mozley in Smith 
and Wace's Diet, of Clir. Biog. i. 

^ Zeller, Philosophie der Griechen, 
III. 2, 490. 


tus, died 
about A.D. 

of Tijana, 
died about 
A.D. 96. 


The Early Struggles of the Church. 

But the man whom the early Christians singled out as 
their most implacable enemy, their bitterest opponent, was 
the Neo-Platonist Porphyry. His fifteen books against the 
Christians were the most famous production of heathen 
polemics in the third century, and were thought worthy of 
refutation by such men as Methodius of Tyre, Eusebius of 
Ca^sarea, and Apollinaris of Laodicea. The refutations 
have perished, and but a few fragments^ remain of the 
work of Porphyry. To judge from these fragments, 
Porphyry made his principal attack on the Scriptures, 
attempting to show that they were unworthy of the divine 
inspiration attributed to them. He examined the book of 
the prophet Daniel, contending that it was not written 
in the sixth century before Christ, but by a later writer 
who lived under Antiochus Epiphanes, and that it was in 
fact not proi^hecy, but history^; he found great fault with 
such expositors as Origen, who shrouded the plain facts of 
Israelitish history in a veil of allegory^; he fastened on the 
dispute between St Peter and St Paul in Galatia, as an 
event discreditable to the heads of the community*; and 
he found inconsistencies in the Gospel history itself ^ To 
him also appear to be due some questions which have 
frequently re-appeared in controversy, such as : Why did 
Christians reject sacrifice, which God Himself had institu- 
ted in the Old Covenant ? 

Yet, with all his keen dialectic against portions of the 
Christian scheme. Porphyry was probably not without 
admiration for the character of Christ himself. The Neo- 
Platonists were not averse to the thought of a " dwelling of 
God among men®"; what they disj^uted was, the claim of 
Christ Jesus to be, in an absolute and exclusive sense, God 
manifest in the flesh ; and it was probably with a view 
of setting up a rival manifestation of the divinity, that 
Porphyry and larnblichus wrote the Life of Pythagoras, the 
"good spirit (Saificov) dwelling in Sainos," in which the 
great teacher of old Greece is magnified into divine pro- 

^ See Fabricius, Bihliothcca 
GrcBca, iv. 207. 

' Jerome, Prnoemium i?i Daniel. 
8 Euseb. H. E. vi. 19. 

* Jerome, Promnium in Gnlat. 

* Jerome, Binl. contra Pchui. ii. 
17. Compare Epist. 57. {Ad Vani- 

mach.) c. 9. 

^ Eunapius, in the Preface to 
the Lives of the Sophiati;, p. 3, ed. 
Boissonade (Amst. 1822). Ulhnann 
has discussed the Ivfluence of Chris- 
Hani ti/ on Porphyry in Studien und 
Kritiken, 1832, Heft 2. 

The Early Stimggles of the Church. 


portions. The same line of thought re-appears in Hierocles, 
whose " Truth-loving Words " are known to us only in the 
refutation by Eusebius\ He seems to have set himself to 
show, that miracles in any case only proved the existence 
of superior power in the wonder-worker, and that the 
miracles of Apollonius of Tyana were greater and better 
attested than those of Jesus Christ. He would grant, 
apparently, that Christ was divine, but not the one only 

In truth, it can scarcely be doubted that Neo-Platonism 
was to many minds a "schoolmaster to bring them to 
Christ;" for it changed the whole character of ancient 
philosophy. With such men as Plotinus and Proclus, 
philosophy is no longer purely an affair of dialectic; 
they are seers and ecstatics, looking for divine revelation 
through their ascetic and contemplative life, eager to be 
freed from the chains of sense and to have a nearer view 
of heavenly beauty. Their system — if system it can be 
called — was accepted by a large number of the most 
cultivated men throughout the empire ; and when the 
minds of men were once familiar with the thought of a 
revelation of God to man, of a divine radiance poured into 
the soul, they were more ready to acknowledge the reve- 
lation of God in Christ, and the life-giving influence of the 
Holy Spirit. 

3. The great and victorious answer to heathen 
calumny was found in the lives of Christians ; with 
praying and djdng they overcame the world. But they 
fought also an intellectual combat with great vigour and 
success. In the first place, they had to repel the popular 
calumnies which pursued them. Against the accusation 
of Atheism they alleged the piety of Christians in their 

1 Contra Hierodem, compare 
Lactantius, De Mortib. Persec. c. 
16. The destruction of this, and 
most of the other early writings 
against Christianity, is mainly due 
to an edict of Justinian {Codex, i. 
tit. I. const. 3) ordering the sup- 
pression of such books. 

* On the Apologists, see Fabri- 
cius, Delectus Argum. et Syllabus 
Scriptorum qui veritatem Ret. Chr. 
asseruerunt; H. Tzschirner, Gesch. 

der Ajyologetik; Clausen, Apolo- 
getae Ecclesiae; G. van Senden, 
Gesch. der Apologetik, translated 
from the Dutch ; W. Jay Bolton, 
The Evidences of Christianity as 
exhibited in the Writings of its 
Apologists down to Augustine (Cam- 
bridge, 1852); C. Warner, Gesch. 
d. Apol. u. Polem. Literatur; J. 
Donaldson, Hist, of Chr. Litera- 
ture, vols. 2 and 3 ; F. Watson, 
Defenders of the Faith (S.P.C.K.). 

Chap. III. 

circ. A.D. 

tonism and 





The Early Struggles of the Church. 

lives, as visible to their heathen neighbours, and explained 
the nature of their spiritual worship ; charged with un- 
natural crimes, they pointed out that their religion bound 
them before all things to purity and holiness of life; 
accused of treason against the government, they referred 
to their prayers for the emperor and their quiet sub- 
mission to a persecuting power. If it was said that the 
misfortunes of the empire were due to the progress of 
Christianity, they retorted that it might with at least 
equal justice be said to be due to the persecution of 
Christianity. Heathen rhetoricians and philosophers were 
at last driven back upon the principle that men ought to 
accept and maintain, in matters of religion, the customs 
and rites derived from their forefathers — the last refuge 
of sceptical conservatism. Against this heathen maxim 
of the duty of submission in all cases to existing authority 
and tradition the early apologists protest. They contend^ 
with great vigour for the rights of conscience and private 
judgment. If they desert their country's customs, it is only 
because they have discovered them to be impious ; custom 
is by no means identical with truth I It is our duty to 
forsake the customs of our country, when better and 
holier laws require it ; we must obey Him who is above 
all lords^ Yet, though obedience would be due to the 
Gospel of Christ even if it were an innovation, they con- 
tended that it was none ; it existed already in the days 
of Abraham and Moses, nay, from the beginning of the 
world ; they represented God in Christ as the source and 
fount of all good even in the heathen world. The same 
Word which wrought in Hebrew prophets produced also 
all the truth and right and nobleness which existed 
among the Gentiles ; all who have lived in accordance 
with the divine Word or Reason were Christians even 
though, like Socrates, they were thought atheists ; the 
great achievements of lawgivers and philosophers were 
not without the Word, though imperfectly apprehended ; 
what was seen incomplete and dispersed in the old world 
was at last found complete and perfect in Christ*. The 
many phrases in which heathens expressed their sense 

1 Tertullian, Apolog. c. 24.; ud 
Scapulain, c. 2. 

- Clemeut, Strom, iv. 7 ff. 

' Origen, Contra Celsum, v. 32. 
* Justin Martyr, Apol. I, 46 ; II, 
10, 13. 

The Early Struggles of the Church. 


of one great and good God over all, in spite of a poly- 
theistic form of religion, were "the utterances of a soul 
naturally Christian "\ And while they defended them- 
selves, they did not spare their adversaries, pointing out 
with great frankness the follies and frequent impurities 
of heathen worship. 

Perhaps the earliest of the formal defences of Chris- 
tianity is the Letter'^ in which the unknown writer points 
out to his enquiring friend Diognetus the absurdities of 
heathenism, the inadequacy of Judaism, the excellence 
of the Christian religion. When the emperor Hadrian 
visited Athens, a defence of Christianity was presented 
to him by the bishop, Quadratus, and another by a 
philosopher named Aristides, the former of whom, an 
old man, says that he had actually seen persons upon 
whom some of the Lord's miracles had been wrought^. 
Not long after Aristides, Ariston of Pella* wrote a defence 
of Christianity, in the form of a dialogue between a Jewish- 
Christian named Jason, and Paj^iscus, an Alexandrian 
Jew, in which stress a\:is laid on the argument from pro- 
phecy. Claudius Apollinaris^ also, bishop of Hiera23olis, 
and the rhetorician Miltiades® presented to the emperor 
Marcus Aurelius Apologies which had in their day great 
repute. But the great age of Christian Apologetic is 
the period of hope and fear which coincides nearly with 
the reigns of the Antonines. It was then that Justin 
Martyr, a Christian who retained the philosopher's gown, 
wrote and presented to the rulers of the world his " De- 
fences" against the unjust charges heaped upon Christians, 
and pleaded for the protection of the laws of the empire. 
Let Christians, he urges, at least not suffer excej^t as male- 
factors ; let not their very name be a crime, when all 
kinds of monstrosities rear their heads in safety ; let a 
philosophic emperor consider, that the very same Word 
which inspired philosophers spoke in clearer tones through 

1 Tertullian, Apulng. c. 17 ; com- 
pare De Testimonio AnhiKe, passim. 

2 B. F. Westcott, Canon of N. 
T. p. 95 ff. (1st ed.); Dorner, 
Perso7i Ghristi, i. 178 note; E.W. 
Benson in Diet, of Chr. Biog. n. 
162 ff. J. M. Cotterill, in C'lmrch 
Quarterly Rev. April, 1877, and in 
Pcregr'mus Proteus, contends that 

the whole Epistle is a forgery of 
H. Stephens. 

^ Euseb. H. E. iv. 3; compare 
Jerome, Catalogus, c. 19 f. 

* Origen, c. Cehum, iv. 52, p. 
199, Spencer; Cliron. Pasch. p. 477, 

5 Eusebius H. E. iv. 27. 

« lb. V. 17. 

Chap. III. 

ad Diog- 

and Aris- 
about A.D. 


naris and 
c. 174, 

A.D. 146? 

The Early Struggles of the Church. 

prophets and apostles. He pleaded in vain ; the vigour of 
his attack on the pretensions of paganism in his second 
Defence probably brought about his own end\ His pupil, 
Tatian the Syrian, attacked the perversions of Greek 
morality and philosophy with great vigour. Athena- 
goras, in the "Plea for the Christians" which he 
addressed to Marcus Aurelius, in a quiet and respect- 
ful tone commends to the favour of the emperor 
his fellow-believers, whom he vindicates from the charges 
so often brought against them. Probably to the same 
sovereign and about the same time Melito, the learned 
bishop of Sardes, addressed a memorial in which he sets 
forth the injury done to Christians under cover of the 
imperial edicts, by evil men who desired nothing but 
plunder; and insisted that the continued prosperity of 
the empire since the days of Augustus was alone sufficient 
to show that the star of Christ was propitious^ Theophilus, 
bishop of Autioch, in his " Three Books to Autolycus," set 
himself more particularly to repel the scoffing objections 
of his acquaintance Autolycus to Christian teaching on the 
nature of God and the Resurrection ; and again, at his 
friend's request for further information, he went on to speak 
of the creation and destiny of man, and the venerable an- 
tiquity of the Hebrew Scriptures. His style is clear and 
agreeable. Hermias, in his "Worrying of the Pagan 
Philosophers," retorts upon the heathen the contradictions 
and absurdities with which they charged Christianity. 
The " Octavius " of the rhetorician Minucius Felix, a 
dialogue in the style of Cicero, contains perhaps of all the 
apologetic writings the clearest statement of the great ques- 
tions at issue between Christian and pagan, as they pre- 
sented themselves to educated men in the second century, 
Ciecilius, who undertakes the defence of heathenism and 
the attack on Christianity, is permitted by the dialogite- 
writer to state his case with unsparing vigour, and the 
Christian Octavius replies, if always with earnestness, yet 
calmly and fairly. In the end, Cascilius admits the victory 
of his friend, in the words, "we are both conquerors; he 
has conquered mo, I have triumphed over error."' Tertul- 

1 See above, p. 40. 
•' Euseb. H. E. iv. 26. The Sy- 
riac text of a speech of Mehto's is 

given by Cureton, Spicilegium Sy- 

^ Octavius, c. 3!). 

The Early Struggles of the Church. 


lian burst forth with his glowing southern rhetoric against 
the ignorant hatred of Christians which prevailed in the 
Empire; they were treated with a harshness which violated 
the first principles of right; yet they were good subjects, 
though they offered no incense to the emperor; their lives 
were purer, their religion was nobler, than that of their 
heathen neighbours; who could think of the old mythologic 
fables without scorn? If Celsus is in many respects the 
type of those who from age to age have attacked Chris- 
tianity with cleverness and learning, Origen is equally the 
type of the honest, able, learned, and laborious defender. 
He fastens upon the work of Celsus, which seems to have 
been a hundred years in the world without meeting with 
an adequate refutation, and deals with it clause by clause ; 
the attacks of the pagan on the credibility of the Gospel 
history, on the cardinal doctrines of Christianity, on the 
idea of revelation ; his attempts to set philosophy above 
the teaching of Christ, and polytheism above the true 
worship ; his misconceptions of Christian ideas, — all these 
are taken in turn and exposed or refuted. " Christian 
worship " — says Origen in the reign of Decius — " shall 
one day prevail over the whole world'." 

Chap. III. 

Apol. c. 

about A.D. 

1 c. Celsiim, VIII. 68; p. 4'23, Sp. 



1. In spite of persecution, perhaps because of persecu- 
tion, the Church grew rapidly. Even before the last 
Apostle left the earth, the light which rose in Palestine 
had struck the three great peninsulas of Asia Minor, 
Greece, and Italy ; in another generation it had reached 
almost the whole coast of the Mediterranean, then the 
great highway of nations. It followed in the track of the 
Jewish Dispersion ; wherever there was a Hebrew colony, 
there was also a Christian Church. Merchants brought 
back from their journeys the news of the Pearl of great 
price. The messengers of peace followed in the track of 
the Roman armies, and liberated captives carried to their 
homes the tidings of the new religion which was pervading 
the Empire ^ Everywhere, from the workshop to the 
palace, were found devoted men, working quietly yet 
earnestly for the furtherance of the GospeP. Looking 
first to the eastward, we find that in Edessa, the capital of 
Osroene, the Church first ascended a throne ; we must no 
doubt reject as a forgery the correspondence of Abgar with 
the Lord Jesus*, but one of its kings, Abgar Bar Mauu, 
does seem to have been converted to Christianity about 
A.D. 165^ The Chaldean Christians look upon Maris, a 
disciple of St Thaddyeus®, as their apostle. The existence 
of Christian churches in Roman Armenia as early as the 

^ See J. FaLricius, Salutaris 
Lux Evanfielii ; J. Wiltsch, Geo- 
graphy and Statistics of the Church, 
trans, by Leitch. 

^ Sozomen, Ilist. Eccl. ii. 6. 

3 Eusebius, //. E. iii. 37. 

4 Euseb. if.Je. I. 13. 

* Epiphaiiius, Hceres. 56; Asse- 
maui, Bihliotheca Orient, i. 389, 

« G. Phillips, The Doctrine of 
Addai, the Apostle (London, 1876). 

Orowth and Characterifttics of the Church. 


third century is proved by the fact that a letter was 
addressed to them by Dionysius of Alexandria^ Pantsenus, 
head of the catechetical school of Alexandria, is said to 
have been a missionary of the faith in " the land of the 
Indians," by which we are probably to understand Arabia 
Felix'*; an Arabian chief, or perhaps rather a Roman pro- 
curator stationed in Arabia, is said to have desired that the 
great Origen should be sent to him as his instructor^; and 
about the same period we find Bostra in Arabia mentioned 
as a bishop's see^ In Persia the Christian faith was 
widely spread when Arnobius^ wrote, towards the end of 
the third century. There were numerous churches in 
Syria and in Asia Minor from Apostolic times. In 
Bithynia, the well-known letter of Pliny*' to Trajan is an 
impregnable testimony to the number of Christian con- 
verts about A.D. 106. The Cappadocian CiBsarea had for 
its bishop in the middle of the third century the well- 
known Firmilian, Cyprian's correspondent. 

Turning now to Africa, we find from the very dawn of 
ecclesiastical history a chvirch at Alexandria, the home of 
the learned Apollos. St Mark was regarded as its founder 
and first bishop. Dionysius, who became bishop in 246, 
was one of the most famous men of the age in which 
fell the Decian persecution. Of the first beginnings 
of the Church in Proconsular Africa, in Mauritania and 
Numidia, nothing is known; it may probably have re- 
ceived its Christianity from Italy ^; certainly the North- 
African is to us the earliest Latin church. However 
originated, Christianity spread so rapidly in these fervid 
regions, that early in the third century Tertullian® speaks 
— perhaps a little rhetorically — of Christians forming the 
majority in every town. At the end of the second century, 
Agrippinus bishop of Carthage is said to have assembled a 
large number" of African and Numidian bishops, and 
Cyprian, who held the same see in the middle of the third 

1 Euseb. H. E. vi. 46. 

2 Euseb. H. E. v. 10. See Mos- 
heim, De Rebus ante Constant, stec. 
II. § 2. p. 206. 

3 Euseb. H. E. vi. 19. 

4 Euseb. H.E. vi. 33. 
^ Adv. Gentes, ii. 7. 

6 Epist. X. 96 [al. 97]. 

^ TertuUian is thought to derive 
it from Eome {De Prascriptione, c. 
36), and his words at least prove an 
intimate connexion between Eome 
and Africa. 

^ Ad Scapulam, c. 2. 

8 "Episcopi plurimi," Cyprian, 
Epist. 73, c. 3, 

Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 

century, was able to assemble eighty-seven bishops^ from 
the three North -African provinces. 

Passing over to Europe, we find Anchialus on the east 
coast of Thrace the see of a bishop in the middle of the 
second century ; Byzantium, not yet dreaming of becoming 
the seat of the greatest patriarchate of the East, seems to 
have received its first bishoji early in the third century ; 
Heraclea had a bishois who received the crown of martyr- 
dom in the persecution of Diocletian. Of the churches of 
Macedonia, after the apostolic age, scarcely a trace is found 
in the records of the first three centuries. Passing onward 
into Achaia, we find little enduring effect of St Paul's work 
in Athens, where the whole city was deeply imbued with 
Hellenic culture and worship ; but at Corinth, where there 
was a less purely Hellenic population, the Christian com- 
munity maintained itself from the days of the aj^ostle. 
Hegesippus on his journey to Rome found there a church, 
with Primus as bishop, who was succeeded by a more 
famous man, Dionysius'^ 

Of the history of the church of Rome' in early days we 
have but scanty records. That it received the Gospel in 
very early times we know from the testimony of St Paul. 
The earliest Christians of whose sojourn in Rome we have 
any authentic account are Aquila and Priscilla*, St Paul's 
companions. The foundation of many other churches in 
Italy is ascribed by tradition, often early tradition, to im- 
mediate disciples of the apostles. Such sub-apostolic 
churches are found in Milan, Bologna, Lucca, Fiesole, 
Ravenna, and Aquileia, the latter of which claims St Mark 
as its founder. The church of Bari in Apulia boasts to have 
received its first bishop, Maurus, from the hands of St Peter 
himself; and similar legends are found in the doubtless 
ancient churches in many parts of Italy®. 

The visit of St Paul to Spain, though probable, cannot 
be regarded as certain ; that of St James the son of 
Zebedee, whose supposed tomb at Compostella has been 
an object of veneration for so many generations, may safely 

^ Heading of the Cone. Carthag. 
of A. I). 256, in Cyprian's Works, p. 
133 (Hartel). 

■ Euseb. H. E. iv. 21, 22. 

•• See p. 22. 

■• Acts xviii. 2. 

^ See Selvaggio, Antiquitates 
Christ, lib. i. cc. 5—7; and Lami, 
Delicice eruditorum, torn, viii, praef. 
p. 25 ff. ; torn. XI, praef. 

Growth and Chm'acteristics of the Church. 


be set down as apocryphal. An inscription ^ thanks the 
excellent Nero for having cleared the Spanish province from 
robbers, and from the presence of those who would have 
subjected mankind to a new superstition. It is however 
highly improbable that any part of Spain was over-run 
with Christians in the days of Nero, though churches 
no doubt existed there in early times^ At the council of 
Illibcris^ [Elvira] in the year 306 nineteen Spanish bishops 
were present. In the Valerian persecution the Spanish 
church had its martjTS in the persons of bishop Fructuosus 
of Tarragona and the deacons Augurius and Eulogius*. 

Gaul received its first Christianity by the well-known 
commercial route from Asia Minor to Marseilles. The 
legends of the preaching of Lazarus, of Martha, or of Mary 
Magdalene in southern GauP do but represent the fact, 
that very ancient Christian communities existed there*'. 
At the synod of Aries'" (a.D. 314), the bishops of Rheims, 
Rouen, Vaison, Bordeaux, and Orange were present, as well 
as representatives of other churches. 

Both Irenaius® and Tertullian^ speak of churches exist- 
ing in their time in Germany, that is, in the Roman pro- 
vinces on the Rhine. The churches of Treves, Metz, and 
Cologne have undoubtedly existed from very early times, 
and Maternus, bishop of the latter city, is said*" to have 
been summoned to Rome (A.D. 313) to aid in deciding on 
the Donatist controversy. In the Danubian provinces we 
find early traces of the establishment of Christian churches. 
The oldest of these is thought to be that of Lorch", 
whose bishop Maximilian died a martyr's death in the 
year 2S5 ; in the great persecution of 303, Afra^^ appears 
as a martyr of the Church in Augsburg, and Victorinus of 
Pettau in Styria ; in the same persecution fell the bishop 

^ Gruter, Thesaurus Inscript. p. 
2.SS, no. 9. The inscription is 
however doubted by Scaliger, and 
utterly rejected by Muratori. 

2 Irenaeus, c. Hceres. i. 10. § 2 ; 
Tertnllian, adv. Jucheos, c. 7. 

^ Hardouin, Concilia, i. 250. 

■* Acts in Ruinart, p. 218. Ed. 
Amst. 1713. 

^ See Petrus de Marca, Epist. de 
Evang. in Gallia initiis, in Vale- 
Bius's edition of Eusebius. 

^ For the massacres of Lyons and 
Vienne, see ji. 41. 

'' Hardouin, Concilia, i. 266 f. 

8 Hceres. i. 10. § 2. 

* adv. JudcEos, c. 7. 

^^ Optatus of Milevis, cant. Dona- 
tistas, I. 23. 

11 See the ChroniconLaureacense, 
in Pez, Scriptores Rerum Austriac, 
torn. I. 

1- Ruinart, p. 455. 


Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 

of Sirmium in Lower Pannonia. Even the wild Goths, 
who troubled the borders of the empire, seem in the 
second century to have received some tidings of Christi- 
anity from captives of their sword. 

The origin of British Christianity is unknown. The 
tradition that St Paul preached in Britain is supported by 
no early authority, and probably originated in a misinter- 
pretation of a well-known passage in Clement of Borne'; 
nor is much credit given to the Venerable Bede's account^ 
that a British prince, Lucius, sought and obtained preach- 
ers of the Gospel from the Roman bishop Eleutherius. 
The Gospel probably here, as in so many other cases, 
followed the track of the Boman soldiers and colonists ; at 
the beginning of the third century, Tertullian^ boasts that 
the armies of Christ had penetrated parts of Britain where 
those of Rome had failed. In the persecution under Diocle- 
tian the centurion Albanus or Albinus is said to have fallen 
for the faith at Verulam*, giving the first British sufferer 
to the martyrologies. At the synod of Aries three British 
bishops, those of York, London, and Lincoln, are said to 
have subscribed®. 

Thus Christianity in three centuries had penetrated 
the greater part of the Roman empire, and even in some 
cases passed beyond its boundaries. We ought not perhaps 
to understand quite literally the rhetorical expression of 
early apologists, when they tell us that the Christians, the 
growth of yesterday, had filled the courts, the camps, the 
council-chambers, even the very palaces of the Caesar^; 
but it is clear that in the time of Constantino, if the 
Christians did not form the most numerous portion of his 
subjects, they were the most powerful ; in the decline of 
national feeling, no other body of men was left, so nume- 
rous and widely spread as the Christian Church, animated 
by one spirit and subject to one rule I 

^ T6 ripfia rrjs Sutrews. I Corinth. 
c. 5. 

2 Hist. Eccl. I. 4; see Hussey's 

^ Adv. Jiidaos, c. 7 ; compare 
Origen, in Matt. Tract. 38; Euseb. 
Dcm. Evang. iii. 7. 

•« Bede, H.E. i. 6, 7. 

^ The documents relating to early 
British Christianity are collected in 

Haddan and Stubbs' Councils and 
Documents, vol. i. 

^ Tertulliau, Apologet. 37 ; see 
also Justin Martyr, Dial, luith 
Trypho, c. 117; Irenasus, Hares, i. 
10; Arnobius, Disp. adv. Gentcs, 
I. 16. 

7 On the spread of Christianity, 
see the remarkable passage of 
Augustine, De Civit. Dei, xxii. 5. 

Givwth and Characteristics of the Church 


2. To come to the more particular consideration of 
the several churches. Nowhere was there greater religious 
activity than in the early Syrian home of Christianity 
and in the neighbouring Asia Minor. The people of these 
regions seem to have been naturally disposed to religion, 
and that with a heat and a tendency to mysticism which 
sometimes led them astray. It was there that the Jewish 
converts clung most tenaciously to their ancient rites. It 
was there that the anticipation of a thousand years' reign 
of Christ on earth was most deeply rooted and adorned 
with the most fantastic imagery. It was there that 
Montanism found its earliest followers. 

We cannot fail to be conscious of a falling-off in spiritual 
power when we pass from the writings of the Apostolic age 
to those which immediately succeeded. There is a life and 
fire in those earlier works which is wanting in the later. 
Moreover, the period immediately succeeding the Apostles 
is practical rather than speculative ; the Christian com- 
munities of this age show us rather renewed life than 
intellectual movement. It is a period of growth rather 
than of blossoming. The struggle against Judaism and 
heathendom and the work of organizing the churches 
absorbed a large portion of the energies of Christians \ 

If the Epistle which bears the name of Barnabas^ be 
really the work of the apostle, it belongs to Syria; for 
we know him in connexion with Jerusalem and Antioch 
rather than with his native country of Cyprus. It is how- 
ever in Alexandria', where it was placed almost on an 
equality with the canonical writings, that we first find 
the epistle distinctly mentioned, and some portions of its 
contents tempt us to believe that it may have been the 
work of an Alexandrian. Its tone is decidedly anti- 
Judaic. The covenant of God with Israel through Moses 

1 See J. A. Corner, Person Christi, 
Epoch I. ch. I. 

2 W. Cunningham, A Disserta- 
tion on the Epistle of S. Barnabas, 
with Greek Text edited by G. H. 
Kendall. Professor Milligan (in 
Diet. Chr. Biogr. i. 262) thus sums 
up the principal opinions as to the 
genuineness of the Epistle: "The 
authorship of Barnabas is rejected 

by, among others, Ncander, Ull- 
mann, Hug, Baur, Hefele, Winer, 
Hilgenfeld, Donaldson, Westcott, 
Miilier; while it is maintained by 
Gieseler, Credner, Guericke, Bleek, 
Mohler, and (though with hesita- 
tion) De Wette." 

* Clement Alex. Strom, ii. 6. 31 ; 
7. 35, etc. See J. B. Lightfoot, 
Clement of Rome, p. 12. 

Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 

was annulled from the very first, when the lawgiver, coming 
down from the mount, broke the Tables of the Law. But 
if there is no profit in the Old Law taken literally, in its 
spiritual (i.e. allegorical) sense there is much to be found 
which is instructive for Christians ; to discover this is the 
true Gnosis. In the Law we may find gnostically Jesus 
Christ, His Cross, and His Sacraments. The Law in its 
true import belongs to Christians and not to Jews. This 
teaching is Pauline, so far as it lays down that Christians 
need not observe the Jewish law, but it displays none of 
St Paul's yearning love for his countrymen. One of the 
most venerated teachers of the Syrian church was Ignatius ^ 
(Egnatius), known also by the Greek name Theophorus, 
bishop of the church in Antioch. He was reputed to 
have been a pupil of St John the Apostle ^ and doubtless 
prolonged into the second century the traditions of the 
first. This aged bishop the emperor Trajan, on his visit 
to Antioch, condemned to death and sent to Rome to die. 
On his last journey he wrote letters' to his friend Polycarp 
at Smyrna and to the churches in various cities — letters 
which have all the earnest simplicity — sometimes almost 
eloquence — which we should expect from one who was 

1 Theod. Zahn, Ignatius von 
A7itiochien. Gotha, 1873. 

'^ Mart. Ignatii, c. 1. 

3 Eusebius, H. E. iii. 36. The his- 
tory of the letters attributed to 
Ignatius is curious. After the 
criticisms of Ussher (164-4) and J. 
Vo'ssius (1646) it was generally 
admitted that only seven — out of a 
much larger number attributed to 
him — were genuine ; but even these 
were assigned by Daille (J. Dallseus, 
de Scriptis qucs sub Diongdi et 
Ignatii iiomm. circumfernntur. Ge- 
nevffi, 1666) to a date not much 
before the reign of Constantine. 
With Daille J. Pearson {Vindicice 
Ignat. Camb. 1672) joined issue, 
contending for the genuineness of 
the seven epistles. The asjject of 
the question wasmaterially changed 
by the discovery (1836) in the 
NitriandesertofaSyriac translation 
of three epistles, which thencefor- 
ward were regarded by many as the 
only genuine portion (W. Cureton, 

The ancient Syriac Version of the 
Epistles of Ignatius, 184-5 ; C. C. J, 
von Bunsen, Die drei cchten... 
Briefe des Ign. 1847). F. C, Baur, 
who admitted the genuineness of 
none of the epistles, replied to 
Bunsen in his Die Ignat. Briefe u. 
ihr neuester Kritiker (1848). Den- 
zinger, Hefele, Chi-. Wordsworth 
and others stiU maintained the 
genuineness of the seven epis- 
tles. The latest and best edition 
is that by Theod. Zahn (Ignatii et 
Polycarpl Epistuhe Martyria Frag- 
?nc«fa, Lipsiaj, 1876). Bishop Light- 
foot (in Zahn, p. vi) is inclined to 
believe that the seven epistles repre- 
sent the genuine Ignatius. Compare 
Contemp. Rev. Febr. 1875. The 
"Curetonian Syiiac" is now gene- 
rally regarded as a series of extracts 
(Zahn, p. v). In the text I have 
assumed that the epistles to the 
Ephesians, Magnesians, Tralhans, 
Komans, Philadelphians, Smyr- 
nieans, and to Polycarp are genuine. 

Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 


going to meet his death. In the storm which he foresees 
he implores Christians to cHng together in love and to 
obey those who had the rule over them. He is eager to 
warn them against the errors of the time, especially 
against the Judaic Gnosticism which troubled some of the 
Asiatic Churches in the first century \ For himself he only 
desires to be with Christ ; he would not have his friends 
at Rome talce measures to deliver him, even if it were 
possible. After the departure of Ignatius there 3'et re- 
mained one who was born within the apostolic age and was 
the dejDositary of many of its traditions — the venerable 
Polycarp, bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna. His 
nearness to the primitive teachers of the Church, his pro- 
phetic gift, his constant prayers for the Church dispersed 
throughout the world '\ gave him high authority throughout 
the churches of Asia. It was no doubt in recognition of his 
position as well as of his personal qualities that Anicetus, 
bishop of Rome, allowed him to consecrate the Eucharist 
in the Roman Church in his own presence^. The letter 
which he, as the representative of the Smyrnaean pres- 
bytery, wrote to the Philippians is principally composed of 
practical exhortations to sobriety of life and doctrine in 
the midst of the trials which encompassed them. It is 
especially valuable for its abundant citation of the Scrip- 
tures of the New Testament. Contemporary with Poly- 
carp was Papias*, bishop of Hieraj^olis, probably the first 
collector of anecdotes in the Christian Church. He made 
it the business of his life to gather from the lips of those 
who had known the Apostles such memories as still sur- 
vived of the first age, which were not embodied in written 
gospels. From such researches he compiled five books of 
the sayings of the Lord^. He was respected as one of the 
"old school," but his judgment was weak, and his collec- 
tion contained many puerilities. He had a strong expecta- 
tion of a corporeal reign of the Lord on earth for a 
thousand years. Hegesippus^, who wrote during the 
episcopate of Eleutherus of Rome, was of Jewish origin. 

^ J. B. Lightfoot, Colossians, p. 
70 ff. 

2 Mart. Polycarpi, 5, 16. 

^ Euseb. H. E. v. 24, 17. 

•* Irenasus, v. 33. 4; Eusebius, 
H. E. HI. 3y. 


^ Aoyiuv KvpiUKwi^ i^rjyrjais. Only 
fragments remain, collected in 
Gebhardt and Harnack's Patres 
Apostolici, I. II. 87 ff. 

6 Eusebius, H. E. iv. 8, 22. 

Chap. IV. 

t c. 160. 

t c. 162. 

pus wrote 
c. 180. 


Grovdh and Characteristics of the Chmxh. 

Chap. IV. 

Not a 

IN Gaul. 




Of his life scarcely anything is known, except that he was 
at Rome in the time of bishop Anicetus, and that he 
visited Corinth on his journey thither \ His "Memoranda^" 
{v7ro/xv7]fiaTa) have commonly been regarded as a collection 
of materials for history from the beginning of the Church 
to his own time. It must however in this case have been 
a strange arrangement which placed the death of St 
James the Just in the fifth and last book. Moreover, 
Eusebius places him first on the list of those who had 
written against the Gnostic heresies. As he is not known 
to have written more than one work, it seems not impro- 
bable that it was in controverting heresy that he narrated 
some portions of the early history of the true Church. In 
spite of his origin, he can scarcely have been a partizan of 
Judaic Christianity; his commendation of the certainly not 
anti-Pauline epistle of Clement seems to shew to the 
contrary ; and his condemnation of a passage nearly iden- 
tical with one found in St Paul (1 Cor. ii. 9) was probably 
directed not against the apostle but against the Gnostics, 
whom we know that he opposed^, Clement, in fact, whom 
Hegesippus approves, quotes the very same passage for the 
same purpose as the apostle. Moreover Eusebius, who 
had his whole work before him, speaks of him as having 
preserved the unerring tradition of the apostolic preach- 
ing — an expression which he could not have used if he had 
been decidedly hostile to St Paul. 

An offshoot of the Church of Asia Minor established it- 
self in Gaul. There the Greeks who composed it learned 
the speech of their Keltic neighbours and taught them the 
faith of Christ. The first head of the Christian community 
was Pothinus; and when he fell in hoary age by a bar- 
barous death, another Asiatic took his place. This was 
Irenseus*, an earnest Christian^, a pupil of the venerable 
Polycarp. He delighted to tell how through his master 
he had been brought close to the traditions of the time 
when apostles, and others who had seen the Lord, yet 

> Euseb. H. E. v. 22. 

- Fragments in Eouth's Beli- 
quiae, I. 205 ff.; and in Grabe's 
Spicileghm, ii. 203 ff. 

3 W." Milligan, in Diet. Chi: 
Biogr. ii. 877. 

■• See the Prolegomena to the 

editions of Irena,-as by Stieren and 
by W. W. Harvey; also J. Beaven, 
An Account oftlie Life and Writings 
of S. Ir en ecu's (Loud. 1841); E. A. 
Lipsius in Diet. Chr. Biogr. iii. 

5 Euseb. if. E.\. 4,5. 

Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 


moved on earth ; how he could point out the very seat 
where the old man had sate and talked of the days of his 
youth \ He became a kind of patriarch of the churches 
throughout Gaul. He too is said to have suffered martyr- 
dom under Septimius Severus. Such a man was naturally 
grieved and angered at any departure from the simplicity 
of the faith. The startling progress of Gnosticism moved 
him to write his " Confutation and Oversetting of Know- 
ledge falsely so called," a work partly founded on the now 
lost Syntagma of Justin Martyr, Of this work, which is 
of the highest value for the history of the early heresies, 
only fragments remain in the original Greek, but the 
whole is preserved in an archaic and evidently very literal 
Latin translation. It was perhaps because his other works 
contained opinions — such as Chiliasm'^ — which ceased to 
prevail, or even were condemned, in the Church, that they 
were in after time little quoted and allowed to perish. In 
his attachment to the faith of his youth and his eagerness 
to save the Church of Christ from being divided and 
ruined by unheard-of novelties of hasty wits, Irenseus is 
certainly one of the most interesting figures of his time. 

Among Asiatic writers may also be mentioned Julius 
Africanus^ He appears to have passed his early life in 
Asia Minor; afterwards we find him living at Nicopolis 
[Emmaus] in Palestine, and thence corresponding with 
Origen. His Chronographia, an attempt to synchronize 
the events of sacred and profane history on which Eusebius 
ba«ed his Chronicon, is unfortunately lost. His letter to 
Oiigen, on the authorship of the History of Susannah, 
shews considerable power of criticism. 

Here may also be noticed Dorotheus of Antioch and 
his contemporary Lucian the martyr, in whom we find the 
first beginning of that sound school of scriptural interpreta- 
tion which distinguished Antioch in the following centuries. 
Of the first of these Eusebius* tells us that he was a man 
of liberal mind and of Greek culture, able also to read the 
Scriptures of the Old Testament in the original Hebrew ; 

1 Irenaeus in. 3. 4; Euseb. H. E. 
IV. 14; V. 20. 

2 Euseb. H. E. in. 39. 

5 Euseb. H. E. vi. 31 ; Dem. 
Evang. viii. 2; Prcep. Evan. x. 10; 

Basil, De Sp. Sancto, c. 29; Sozo- 
men, H. E. i. 21. The fragments 
are collected in Kouth's Reliquiae, 
II. 219 ff. 

4 H. E. VII. 32; IX. 6. 


Chap. IV. 

died 202 

t c. 232. 

+ 311. 

Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 

Chap. IV. [ of the second, that he was not only a man of pure and 
active life, but also well disciplined in sacred learning. 

In Armenia^ Christian communities are said to have 
existed in the time of Tertullian ; but it is to Gregory the 
Illuminator^ that Christianity owes its victory over perse- 
cution and its recognition as a national Church. He 
became the first Metropolitan or Catholicus of Armenia, 
and so strongly did his character impress the people, that 
for some generations the Catholicus was chosen from his 

'^. The revelation made in Christ did not come into 
the world as philosophy, but as fact. The great fact which 
lies at the root of all Gospel teaching is the Incarnation 
of the Son of God for the redemption and renewal of man. 
But it soon became evident that a system, which claimed 
to deal authoritatively with the destiny of man and his 
relation with the Deity, must have some kind of contact 
with systems of philosophy which attempted the same 
task ; it must either abrogate them or define the relation 
which it bore to them. And again, it is scarcely possible 
for man to receive momentous truths into his mind with- 
out some attempt to explain them, to systematize them, 
to allot them their place in the general history of the 
world. This process of connecting the great truths of 
Christianity with the truths already known, and of blend- 
ing Christian teaching with the intellectual life of the 
world, began early. Justin Martyr^ was not satisfied to 
regard revelation as given only to the then small body of 
Christians. He, though born in the city built on the site 
of the ancient Sichem, was almost certainly of Hellenic 
race and certainly a pagan by early training. His love of 

1 Moses Choron., Hist. Armen, 
lib. HI. (ed. Whiston, Lond. lYSfi) ; 
Chamick, Hist, of Armenia, trans, 
by Avdall (Calcutta, 1827); S. C. 
Malan, A Short History of the Geor- 
gian Church, from the Russian of 
Joselian ^London, 1866); G. Wil- 
liams in Diet. Chr. Biogr. i. 163. 

2 Agathangelus, Acta S. Greg., 
in Acta SS. Sept. torn. viii. p. 402 
f[. S. C. Malan, The Life and 
Times of Gregory the Illuminator 
(from the Armenian), with a Short 

Summary of the Armenian Church, 
etc. (London 1868). 

3 Euseb. H. E. iv. 16—18; Je- 
rome, Catal. 23 ; Photius, Bihlioth. 
cod. 125.- — J. Kaye, Account of the 
Writings and Opinions of Justin 
M.\ J. Donaldson, Christian Lite- 
rature. II. 62 ff.; H. S. Holland in 
Diet, of Chr. Biogr. in. 560 ff. ; C. 
Semisch, Justin Martyr, trans, by 
J. E. Kyland (Edinb. 1843); Otto, 
Zur Charakteristik d. H. Justin, 

Gh'owth and Characteristics of the Church. 


learning drove him to philosophy, but in the philosophic 
schools he found no rest ; there was always something 
wanting. He was impressed by the constancy with which 
the Christians bore their sufferings for the truth's sakeS 
and — if we are to take the introduction to the Dialogue 
with Trypho"'' as an account of a real incident in his own 
life — an old man who accosted him as he walked on the 
shore directed him to the prophets and to Christ. But he 
was still a philosopher^ ; he regarded his conversion as a 
passing from an imperfect to the perfect philosophy. To 
the Gentiles also, to the old philosophers and legislators, 
something of the divine Word was given, though but as a 
germ ■* ; the full revelation of the Word was found only 
in the Incarnate Son. Even the Law given to the Jews 
was, as a mere historical fact, mean and imperfect, but the 
truths typified in the Law and foreshadowed in the Pro- 
phets were great and glorious ^ Justin was not a great 
man, though he had extensive knowledge ; his style is 
commonplace and often inaccurate ; but he represents a 
tendency which largely influenced the Church at a most 
critical period. 

But it was in Alexandria that Christian philosophy 
attained the highest development which it reached in the 
period which we are now considering. That famous city, 
situated almost at the meeting-point of three continents, 
became soon after its foundation a centre of intellectual 
life. When national barriers fell before the universal 
dominion of Rome, the great problems of the nature and 
destiny of man, as man, engaged more closely the attention 
of mankind ; and nowhere was man so cosmopolitan as at 
Alexandria. Thither flowed the thoughts of Greece and 
Rome, to mingle with those of Syria and Arabia, of Persia 
and India, and of Egypt itself. Here, more than else- 
where, philosophy required Christianity to give an account | 
of its existence and its work. 

In Alexandria, as in other cities, there was in early 
times — we cannot tell exactly how early — a school for 
the instruction of candidates for Christian baptism. Here 

1 Apol. II. 12. 

« Dial. c. 3. 

3 Euseb. H. E. iv. 11, § 8; Dial. 

c. 1. 

* Apol. II. 8, 10. 

5 Dial. ^L\ Trypho, c. 16 ff. 

Chap. IV. 



Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 

alone this Catechetic SchooP became a philosophic training- 
college, to which many of the most distinguished ecclesi- 
astics owed their early education. The first head of this 
school whose name we know is Pantsenus, once a Stoic 
philosopher, then, after some years' presidency over the 
Alexandrian School, a missionary in the East'^. He how- 
ever is famous only through his pupils ; no works of his 
remain, Titus Flavins Clemens^ — a Greek, in spite of 
his Roman name — after wandering unsatisfied through 
the schools of philosophy, found a satisfactory teacher in 
Pantainus, whose assistant he became, and whom he ulti- 
mately succeeded in the management of the School. In 
the persecution under Severus he withdrew from Alexan- 
dria, and the last glimpse we have of him is at Jerusalem 
in the year 211. His principal extant works — the 'Ad- 
dress to the Greeks,' the 'Tutor,' and the ' Miscellanies' — 
correspond to the three stages of Christian life, conversion, 
conduct, contemplation. He was not an original or inde- 
pendent thinker, but he was well acquainted with the 
current systems of philosophy, and saw more clearly than 
most of his contemporaries the great streaui of the world's 
history. He is not an adherent of one particular school ; 
when he speaks of philosophy he means, not the Stoic or 
the Platonic, the Epicurean or the Aristotelian, but what- 
ever each sect has taught which tends to righteousness of 
life and reverent science*. He selects, in fact, from the 
several systems such portions as correspond with the 
teaching of Christ. 

But a greater teacher still was Origen^, a born Alexan- 

1 H. E. F. Guerike, De Schola 
qucE Alexandriae floruit Conim. 
Hist. ; C. F. G. Hasselbach, Be 
Schola quce Alexandriae floruit 

2 Eusebius, if. E. v. 10; Jerome, 
Catalogus, c. 36. 

3 Euseb. H. E. vi. 13 f. ; Jerome, 
Gatal. c. 38 ; Photius, Cod. 109.— 
J. Kaye, Account of Writings and 
Opinions of Clement of Alexandria ; 
F. Eylert, Clemens als Philosopli. u. 
Dichter ; H. Reinkens, De Cle- 
meiite; H. Eeuter, dementis Theo- 
logia Moralis; H6bert-Duperron, 
ha Poleviique et La Philos, de 

Clem. ; F. D. Maurice, Moral and 
Metaph. Philos. i. 307 ff. (ed. 1873). 

* Stromal, i. p. 338. 

5 Euseb. H. E. vi. 16, 18 f., 23 ff., 
30, 32, 36, 39; vii. 1; Jerome, 
Catal. no. 54. — D. Huet, Origeniana, 
pretixed to his edition of tlie Com- 
mentaries, and reprinted in Dela- 
rue's ed. of Origen's Works, Vol. 
IV. ; C. Thomasius, Origenes ; Rede- 
penuing, Origenes^ Leben u. Lehre; 
[G. liust] Letter concerning Origen 
and his Opinions, in the Phenix, 
I. 1 (London, 1707) ; B. F. West- 
cott, Origen and Chr. Phil., in 
Contemporary Review, May, 1879, 

Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 

drian, and subjected from his earliest youth to the in- 
fluences of his native place. He was the son of a Christian 
martyr, Leonides, whose martyrdom he was only prevented 
from sharing by the tender care of his mother. Religiously 
brought up, he devoted his aspiring spirit, iron will, and 
untiring industry to the Alexandrian learning. From 
Clement, who left Alexandria in the year of his father's 
death, he probably learned more through his writings than 
through oral instruction ; but he was a pupil in the philo- 
sophic school of Ammonius Saccas, commonly regarded as 
the founder of Neoplatonism, from whom he no doubt 
received a lasting influence. He was but eighteen when 
he became head of the Catechetic School, where, poor as 
he was, he declined to receive fees from his pupils, pre- 
ferring rather to confine his wants within the limits of his 
narrow means. Here he soon left to an assistant the 
training of the younger children, while he led his more 
advanced hearers through Hellenic culture to an intelligent 
comprehension of Scripture and to a Christian philosophy. 
His irregular ordination as presbyter at Cffisarea brought 
upon him the displeasure of his bishop, Demetrius, already 
jealous of his fame, who drove him from the Church of 
Alexandria. The neighbouring Churches however con- 
tinued to hold him in honour, in spite of the hostility of 
his bishop, and he lived thenceforward commonly at 
Csesarea, surrounded by pupils. Twice during this period 
he was summoned to synods held in Arabia a,gainst heretics 
(Beryllus of Bostra and the "Arabici"), and on both 
occasions he succeeded in convincing them of their error. 
In the persecution under Decius he endured great suffer- 
ing with steadfastness, but died soon after. His writings 
are preserved partly in the original Greek, partly in the 
Latin translation of Rufinus. No name marks a more 
distinct epoch in the Church than that of Origen. What- 
ever may be the faults of his Scriptural exposition, he 
was the first to apply philology to the study of the Bible, 
the first who was conscious of the necessity of settling its 
text on a firm basis of documents. And his work on 
"Principles" {Trepl dp'y^oov) may be said to be the first 
treatise on systematic theology which the Christian Church 
produced. No one of his time, few of any time, mani- 
fested the same anxiety to discern the element of truth in 

Chap. IV. 




244, 218. 

d. 254. 

His cha- 
racter and 


Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 

the tenets of the several warring schools ; no one com- 
bined in an equal degree purity of life and Biblical learn- 
ing with wide knowledge and capacity for philosophical 
speculation. His influence on the Church has probably 
not been less than that of Athanasius or Augustine ; and 
even those who in after time condemned his tenets were 
themselves influenced by his method. 

Clement and Origen were in some respects wide 
asunder ; yet they have much in common, and the views 
which both held we may consider as representing the 
doctrines of the Alexandrian School. Both are sympa- 
thetic students of philosophy, and both seek a system 
which may throw light upon the history of the universe. 
Both develope the doctrines which are implicitly contained 
in the bare facts of Christianity, avoiding on the one 
hand the narrowness of Judaism, on the other, the un- 
licensed speculations of Gnosticism. In the writings of 
Clement and Origen, broadly considered, we may find 
something of a system. 

God alone is purely incorporeal energy. As this energy 
can never be idle, an infinite series of worlds must have 
preceded the present and an infinite series must follow \ 
The present world is the refuge and the school of souls 
who have sinned in another state of existence. Here they 
expiate their guilt '^; but as no spiritual being ever loses its 
freedom of will, they have the capacity for raising them- 
selves out of their degradation to a higher life^. Even the 
condemned suffer purifying, not everlasting, punishment*. 
God has revealed Himself at various times and in many 
ways through the Word to the peoples of the earth. 
Philosophy was a tutor to bring the Gentiles to Christ, as 
the Law to bring the Jews^; for the highest and final 
revelation is that made in the Incarnation of Christ. 
Popular faith or belief (Trto-rt?) does not rise above the 
reception of the most necessary truths on the ground of 

1 Clem. Hypotyp. in Photius, 
Cod. 109 ; Origen, De Pnncip. in. 
5, 3. 

2 It is not certain that Clem. 
Strom. IV. 640 bears this meaniag; 
but see Origen, De Princip. ii. 

3 Grig. De Princip. i. 6, 2 and 3. 

* Clem. Strom, vi. 6, p. 851; 
Orig. ill Exodum, Horn. vi. p. 148; 
in Lucam, Hom. xiv. p. 948; com- 
pare c. Celsum, v. p. 240 f. 

6 Clem. Strom, i. pp. 331, 337, 
ed. Potter; cf. Orig. in Genesin, 
Hom. XIV. c. 3. 

Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 


authority. A higher stage is that of knowledge (yvcoai^i), 
in which the Christian has attained to a scientific demon- 
stration of the truths revealed in Christ. But the highest 
of all is wisdom {ao(f)La), when the Christian has imme- 
diate intuition of divine truth\ It was for the more 
highly gifted to enquire into the reasons, the philosophy, 
of the truths which the apostles taught to the multitude^ 
But besides the simple and necessary doctrine which was 
given to all believers, the Lord, when He took the apostles 
aside privately, imparted to them treasures of secret 
wisdom, which through them had been handed down to 
the true Gnostics*. Both Clement and Origen express a 
certain dread of " putting a sword into a child's hand " by 
publishing to the many doctrines only suited for the few*. 
The Christian sage or Gnostic must aim at attaining not 
only a higher range of knowledge, but a complete freedom 
from the passions — even the passions which may have a 
good end — which move the greater part of mankind^ He 
must deserve the words, "I have said, ye are gods;" he 
must be like God, in a sense deified®. To this end he 
must free himself, so far as may be, from the bonds of the 
flesh^ And he must pursue his great end — that of seeing 
God and becoming like Him — with no reference to his own 
personal welfare ; if his own salvation were offered him on 
the one hand and the knowledge of God on the other, he 
would unhesitatingly choose the knowledge of God*. With 
the view which the Alexandrians held on the pleasures of 
sense, it will readily be understood that they rejected with 
horror the sensuous conceptions of the thousand-years' 
reign of Christ on earth which had been held by many of 
the early teachers of the Church®; and that they did not 
regard the Resurrection as a reconstitution of the decaying 

1 Clem. Strom, vii. p. 865 ; Orig. 
c. Cels. VI. p. 284. Compare 1 
Cor. xii. 8, 9. 

- Origen, De Princip. i. Prasf. 
c. 3. 

3 Clem. Strom, vi. p. 771; Hy- 
potijp. in Euseb. H. E. ii. i. 2; 
Orig. c. Cels. vi. p. 279. 

* Clem. Strom, i. p. 324; Orig. 
c. Cels. I. p. 7; in. p. 159; viii. 
p. 411; De Prwcip. i. vi. 1. 

5 Clem. Strom, vi. pp. 775, 825. 
^ Clem. Strom, iv. p. 632; vi. 
p. 816; VII. 894. 

7 Clem. Strovi. iv. pp. 569, 626; 
VII. p. 854; Origen in Photius, cod. 

8 Clem. Strom, iv. pp. 576, 626. 

* Excerpta ex Theodoto, in Clem. 
0pp. II. p. 1004; Orig. De Princip. 
II. 11, cc. 2, 6. 

Chap. IV. 


Orowth and Characteristics of the Church. 

relics of mortality, but as a rising of the spiritual body to 
eternal life*. 

Many points of their system could hardly be defended 
by a literal interpretation of Scripture, and Origen and his 
school no doubt made free use of allegory. It would how- 
ever be a mistake to imagine that Origen gave greater 
scope to arbitrary interpretation than he found existing ; 
rather, he systematized it. He found in the Scriptures a 
threefold sense, historical, moral, and mystic, corresponding 
to the threefold division of body, soul, and spirit^ He is 
in fact the " father" of grammatical rather than of mystical 

Doctrines such as those of Origen naturally called 
forth vehement opposition and as vehement defence. 
Among those who continued the tradition of Origen was 
his convert and pupil Dionysius^, himself also head of the 
Catechetic School and afterwards for some years bishop of 
Alexandria, who shews in the remains of his writings both 
philosoi^hical and critical power. Like his master, he was 
much opposed to the sensuous conceptions of the thousand- 
years' reign of Christ on earth*. He seems to have 
deserved by his wise and temperate spirit the epithet 
which Eusebius^ bestows upon him of " the great Bishop." 
Gregory, bishop of Neocsesarea, on whom a later genera- 
tion bestowed the name of Thaumaturgus*^ the Wonder- 
worker, was another very distinguished pupil of Origen, 
following him perhaps more in the ascetic than in the 
philosophic direction. It is highly probable also that 
Hierax or Hieracas^ of Leontopolis derived his peculiar 
opinions from Origen rather than from the Manichsean 
source to which Epiphanius* refers them. He rejected 
the doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh and all sen- 
suous representations of the life to come, and very strongly 
discouraged marriage and the use of wine and flesh. But 

1 Clem. Picdag. ii. p. 230; Orig. 
De Princ. ii. 10, 3, and c. 11. 

2 Orig. in Levit. Horn. v. c. 5; 
and De Princip. iv. passim. See 
Mosheim, De Eebus ante Constant. 
pp. 629 ff. ; J. A. Ernesti, De Ori- 
gene Interpretationis SS. granuna- 
ticcB auctore, in his Oj^»,sc«/<t, p. 
218 ff. ; C. 11. Hagenbach, Obserra- 
tiones circa Origenis methodum 

interpretandce SS. 

3 B. F. Westcott in Diet, of 
Chr. Biogr. i. 850. 

* Euseb. H. E. vii. 24, 25. 

* H. E. VII. Prooem. 

6 H. R. Eeynolds in Diet. Chr. 
Biogr. u. 730 ff. 

^ J. L. Mosheim, De Rebus Christ, 
p. 903 ff. 

8 Uceresis Q7, 

Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 


even the exaggerations of Hierax do not seem to have 
called forth any formal opposition at the time. The first 
who formally impugned the teaching of Origen appears to 
have been Methodius \ bishop of Tyre, who, though himself 
of the Platonic school, attacked his doctrines on the con- 
tinued evolution of worlds, on the resurrection, and on 
the absolute freedom of the human will. It was probably 
this attack which drew forth a Defence from the excellent 
Pamphilus^, a presbyter of Csesarea, perhaps the first 
wealthy churchman who employed his means in collecting 
a theological library. His Defence was still incomplete 
when its author met a martyr's death ; it was completed 
by his devoted friend and intellectual son, Eusebius^ — 
Pamphilus's Eusebius, as he came to be called. In the 
next generation the controversy about Origen and his 
opinions blazed out with greater fierceness. 

4. While Alexandria was labouring to unite religion 
and philosophy, a very different school was dominant in 
the neighbouring province of Roman Africa. Greek seems 
to have been commonly understood in Carthage*, but 
Latin was evidently the usual language of society, while 
the country folk retained their native Punic. The African 
was the first Latin Church ; there first we find a Latin 
literature in the service of Christianity. It has the 
rhetorical character which we find in the Roman literature 
of a purer age, vivified and at the same time deformed by 
the gloomier genius of the Punic race. A translation of 
the Scriptures into this vigorous dialect supplied the 
wants of the faithful in the African cities, and was for some 
generations the Bible of Latin Christendom. The earnest 
mysticism which was to become Montanism flourished 
among the half-Oriental Africans. In this Church the 
most famous name is that of Quintus Septimius Florens 
Tertullianus^, as characteristic a product of Roman Africa 
as Clement was of Alexandria. 

1 Epiphanius, Hares. 64; Pho- 
tius, Cod. 234—237. Compare 
Deutinger, Geist. d. Christl. Ueber- 
liefening, ii. Abth. 2, p. 65 ff. 

2 Euseb. H. E. vi. 32, 33; vii. 
32 ; VIII. 13 ; De Mart. Pal. 7, 11. 
J. B. Lightfoot in Diet. Chr. Biogr. 
II. 309 ff. 

3 J. B. Lightfoot, u. s. p. 340. 

* Tertullian, De Cor. Mil. 6; 
De Bapt. 15. 

^ Jerome Catal. c. 53; Epist. 83 
ad Magnum; Vincent. Lerin. Com- 
monit. c. 24. — Vita and Prolego- 
mena in Migne Patrol. Lat. v. i, 
and in Oebler's Tert. Opera, v. iii. ; 
R. Ceillier, Auteurs Sacres, etc. ii. 
374 ff. ; A. Neander, Antignosticus, 

Chap. IV. 

of Tyre, 

lus, 1 309. 




Growth and Gharacteristics of the Church. 

TertuUian was born, the child of heathen parents, about 
the year 160 at Carthage, at that time one of the most 
considerable schools of literature in the Roman empire. 
He understood and wrote Greek, he was a skilful rhetorician, 
and — as his works abundantly shew — well acquainted with 
Roman jurisprudences Converted while still young to 
Christianity by the sight of the constancy of the Christian 
martyrs, he became a presbyter of the Church and its most 
vigorous literary defender. If, as Jerome^ tells us was the 
case, he reached a good old age, his days were probably 
prolonged into the fourth decade of the third century. 

With much of the imperious character of the Roman 
and the subtlety of the lawyer, he has an impetuosity 
of temper and warmth of imagination which are perhaps 
due to Punic blood. Cliristianity probably has rarely 
won a more eager and uncompromising convert. In his 
controversial writings, which are many, he upholds the 
Catholic faith, according to his conception of it, against 
pagans, Jews, and heretics ; in his practical works, Chris- 
tian simplicity against the corruptions of a luxurious 
society ; but in his polemics he is still the stern moralist, 
in his practical treatises he is still the controversialist. 
His excellencies and his faults alike arise from his vehe- 
mence and his incapacity for compromise. He saw, as 
he thought, the true doctrines of the Church in danger 
from the speculations of philosophy, and the " wisdom 
of this world" became the object of his keenest scorn 
and irony ; the Academy has nothing in common with the 
Church^. It was natural therefore that he should contend 
earnestly against Gnosticism, a development of the cosmic 
theories of paganism. For himself, he prefers that which 
is above reason, and nothing is too marvellous for his 
eager faith to receive*. He is realistic to the verge of 
materialism; "incorporeal" is with him the same thing as 
"non-existent^;" the soul of man, God Himself, must have 

or Spirit of TertuUian, English Tr. 
with his Planting and Traininq 
(London, 1851); J. Kaye, Eccl. 
Hist, illustrated from the Writings 
of TertuUian; Mohler, Patrol, p. 
701 ff. ; F. D. Maurice, Moral and 
Metaph. Phil. i. 30-i ff. (ed. 1873) ; 
Ebert, Christl.-Lat. Lit. i. 32 ff.; 
Grotemeyer, Ueber Tertullians Le- 

ben u. Schriften. 

1 Eusebius {H. E. ii. 2) calls him 
Toiis 'P(i}fiaiii)v vofxovs rjKpi^wKuis dvrip. 

^ Catalogus, c. 53. 

3 De Prcescript. c. 7. 

* ' Certum est quia impossibile,' 
De Came Chr. c. 5. 

^ De Came Chr. c. 11. 

Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 


some kind of body. And again, seeing the life of holiness 
in danger from social relaxation, the Spirit in danger of 
being quenched by ecclesiastical routine, he inveighed 
against all the pleasures of sense, however innocent, and at 
last joined the party of the Montanists, where he hoped to 
find more of the Spirit and greater rigour of life. In theory, 
he paid great respect to the authority of the leading 
Churches ; but he was not the man to accept any authority, 
however exalted, which clashed with his conception of the 
truth. Christ, he says, called Himself Truth, not Custom \ 
The great representative of the Church of Africa in 
the third century was C3q)rian^. Thascius Csecilius 
Cyprianus, the son of wealthy parents, after enjoying for 
a season the pleasures of pagan society at Carthage, where 
he was a rhetorician and teacher of rhetoric, sought refuge 
in the Church from the emptiness of the life which he was 
leading I In the glow of religious feeling immediately 
after his baptism he distributed a large portion of his 
wealth to the poor*, and all his life long he was distin- 
guished for his munificence \ Within two years from his 
conversion he became a presbyter in Carthage, and shortly 
afterwards, though reluctant, recognized the voice of God 
in the voice of the people who hailed him bishop^. Plead- 
ing a divine command, he fled in the persecution of 
Decius^ though from his retreat he still continued to 
administer the affairs of his Church, asking pardon that 
in the extraordinary emergency he was unable to consult 
the presbyters and people as he was ever wont**. Re- 
turning after a year's absence, he found his path full of 
obstacles. The small party which had opposed his election 
rose in rebellion against him®, and the confessors in the 
late persecution claimed, by their mere word, to re-admit 
to communion those who had " fallen" by conformity to 

^ De Virgg. VelaiuUs, c. 1. 

" Cypriani Vita, attributed to 
Pontius his deacon, printed with 
Cyprian's Works (ii. p. xc, ed. Har- 
tel); F. W. Rettberg, Th. C. Cy- 
prianus dargestcllt nacli seiiicm 
Leben u. Wirkcn; G. A. Poole, The 
Life and Times of St Cyprian (Oxf. 
1840); E. J. Shepherd, Letters on 
the Genuineness of the Letters as- 
cribed to Cyprian (Lond. 1853); 

E.W. 'Ei\ans,Biog. of Early Church, 
II. 135 ff . ; E. W. Benson in Diet, of 
Chr. Biogr. i. 739 ff. 

^ Ad Donatum, c. 8 f. 

* Vita, cc. 6 and 15. 

5 Epist. 7 ; 14, c. 2. 

6 Epist. 43, c. 1; 59, c. 6. 

7 Epist. 16, c. 4. 

8 Epist. 14, 

9 Epist. 41. 

Chap. IV. 


A.D. 246. 

A.D. 248. 


' Lapsed.^ 


Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 

Paganism in the troublous time^ Again, he was vexed 
by the conduct of the bishop of Rome on the question of 
the re-baptism of heretics". He had to maintain the 
authority of the bishop, on the one hand against those of 
his own people who impugned it, on the other, against a 
foreign power which claimed to override it. In the midst 
of these disputes the great pestilence of the year 253 fell 
upon the empire and with special severity on the province 
of Africa ; the good bishop was probably happier in suc- 
couring the distress of this terrible time than in disputes 
about discipline and doctrine. But his disputes and his 
beneficence alike came to an end in the persecution under 
Valerian, when he met his death with quiet courage. He 
was beheaded at Carthage in the year 258, the first African 
bishop, says Prudentius, who suffered martyrdom. Cyprian 
called Tertullian his master, and so he was ; he borrowed 
from him both thoughts and expressions. But he has 
neither the genius, the passion, nor the imagination of 
his teacher; his ability was rather that of a ruler and 
administrator, and in this capacity he shewed great mode- 
ration in a time of feverish excitement. In his style we 
find neither the glowing fancy nor the energetic brevity of 
Tertullian ; but it is clear and flowing, rising occasionally 
into eloquence and imagery^. On the whole, he gives us 
the impression of an able, cultivated Christian man, sin- 
cerely religious but incapable of fanaticism. 

Among African writers may be reckoned Commodian*, 
the earliest representative of Christian Latin verse. Born 
a pagan, he was converted, as he himself tells us, to Chris- 
tianity by the reading of Holy Scripture. It was when 
Christianity had been already about two hundred years in 
the world, in an age of persecution®, that he wrote his 
"Equipments against the gods of the Nations" — eighty 
acrostic poems in hexameters, in somewhat barbarous 
language. He also wrote an "Apologetic Poem against 
Jews and Gentiles." It is in Commodian's works that we 
have the first specimens of that which was destined to pre- 

^ EpUt. 15, c. 1; 16, c. 2; 17, 
c. 2 ; 64, c. 1 ; iind De Lapsis. 

" See Firmilian's letter, Cypr. 
E])ist. 75; Cone. Cartlmq. k.T>. 25G 
(H irdouin's Cone. i. 159'ff.). 

3 Ebert, Christl.-Lat. Lit. i. 55 


^ Ebert, Christlich-Latein. Lite- 
rattir, i. 86 ff. ; Diet. Christ. Biog. 
I. 610. 

5 Commod. histructiones, vi. 2; 
LIII. 10. 

Groiuth and Characteristics of the Church. 


vail in modem Europe — verse written solely according to 
accent, with no regard to the quantity of the syllables. 
His style is barbarous and prosaic, though not without a 
certain rough vigour, but his matter — especially his pro- 
phecy of the two Antichrists and the Lord's final victory — 
is sometimes of considerable interest. 

Some half-century later than Cyprian we meet with a 
distinguished African man of letters, Arnobius\ Of him 
we know no more than that he was a teacher of rhetoric at 
Sicca in Africa, and that after his conversion to Christianity 
he wrote seven books against paganism. He is very 
successful in shewing the absurdities of heathen worship 
and the folly of the attempts to rehabilitate it ; but he 
evidently holds oj^inions not compatible with the purity of 
Christian doctrine. He seems to have been drawn into 
the Church partly by a strong reaction from heathenism, 
partly by the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to 
eternal life which Christianity proffered him. He could 
not accejDt philosophy as a substitute for religion. 

From Arnobius we naturally pass to his pupil Lactan- 
tius Firmianus^, though a considerable portion of his life 
was passed in Europe, and his style betrays no African 
provincialism. His book on 'the Handiwork of God' is 
probably the first Christian treatise on natural theology. 
His principal work, on ' First Principles of Things Divine,' 
though primarily apologetic, is really an introduction to 
Christian doctrine ; he is not content, like some of his pre- 
decessors, with a merely negative position. The great 
contrast between the morality of Christianity and that of 
heathendom he treats with especial vigour and success ; 
and if we can detect here and there some weakness in his 
grasp both of theology and of philosophy, his work must 
have rendered an important service in the critical time in 

Chap. IV. 

1 Jerome, Catal. c. 79; Chron. 
Euseb. ad ann. xx. Constantini. 
Le Nourry, Apparatus Criticus, iu 
Migne's Patrol, v. 360 ff. ; Ebert, 
Christl.-Lat. Lit. i. 61 ff.; H. C. G. 
Moule in Diet, of Chr. Biogr. i. 
167 ff. ; Stockl, Phil, in Patrist. 
Zeit. p. 240 ff. 

" Jerome, Catal. c. 80 ; Epist. 
70 ad Magnum — Dissertationes by 
Le Nourry etc. in Migne, Patrol. 

VI. and VII.; Stockl, Philosophie in 
Patrist. Zeit. p. 249 ff. ; Ebert, 
Christl.-Lat. Lit. p. 70 ff . ; and 
iiber den Verfusser des Bnches ' De 
Mort. Per sec' in the 22nd vol. of 
Verhandl. der K.-SdchsiscJien Ge- 
sellsch. der Wissensch.: E. S. 
Ffoulkes in Diet. Chr. Biography, 
III. 613 ff. ; J. H. B. Mountain, 
Summary of the Writings of Lac- 

wrote c. 

De Opi- 
Jicio Dei, 
c. 304. 
c. 308. 


Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 

which it was produced, just on the eve of the victory of 
Christianity. His style is clear and pleasant, certainly 
superior to that of the best of his pagan contemporaries. 
In his treatise ' on the Deaths of Persecutors' we have the 
first attempt to trace the judgments of God in history — 
especially in the history of his own time — from a Christian 
point of view. 

5. We now come to the one Apostolic see of the West, 
the great Church of Rome\ Here there was a large 
Jewish colony, and here, even more than in other cities, 
the Hebrew community drew around it proselytes and 
frequenters of its worship of all ranks, from a slave to an 
empress. Among Gentiles, proselytes and Jews many 
converts were found '^ It soon became probably the most 
numerous of Christian Churches. Tacitus' describes the 
Christians of Rome as a "vast multitude" in the days of 
Nero, and in the third century Cornelius, its bishop, speaks 
of the Roman Church as containing a very large number 
of laymen, forty-six presbyters, and fifteen hundred widows 
and other distressed persons maintained by charity*. 

The Judaic Christians for some generations did not 
fully harmonize with their Gentile brethren. But it was 
in Rome more than elsewhere that differences were 
assuaged and compromises made. For representatives of 
all nations and all forms of thought found their way to 
the central city of the world, and the Roman Church early 
manifested the capacity for ruling, organizing, and amal- 
gamating, which had long distinguished the Roman state. 
And Rome was famed for beneficence ; the days of St 
Laurence, when the poor of the great city formed the 
treasure of the Church^ were not as the days when a 
Borgia or a Medici squandered vast wealth on luxury or 
art. The common language of this mixed multitude was 
Greek. Greek was the language of its principal writers, 
and Greek inscriptions appear on the tombs of its bishops 
as late as the year 275*^. Victor (A.D. 189) is apparently 

^ T. Greenwood, Cathedra Petri; 
E. J. Shepherd, Hist, of Ch. of 
Rome to the death of Damasus; 
J. Laugen, Gesch. d. Romischen 
Kirche bis Leo I. 

2 On the composition of the 
early lloman Church, see B. Jowett, 

on Romaim, u. 3ff. ; J. B. Lightfoot 
in Smith's Diet, of the Bible, in. 
1055 ; on P}dUppia7is, p. 13 ff. 
■* Ann. XV. 44. 

* Euseb. H. E. vi. 43, §§ 11, 12. 

* Prudentius, Peristeph. Hymn 2. 
« De Eossi, Ror)ia Sott. i. p. 12G. 

Growth and Characteristics of the ChurcJi. 


the first Latin bishoj) of Rome, and he is also the first who 
is known to have had relations with the imperial court\ 
and to have claimed for his see something like universal 
dominion ^ 

The real origin of the Roman Church is utterly un- 
known, but in very early times St Peter and St PauP 
came to be regarded as its founders. The belief that the 
former had preached in Rome may possibly have arisen 
from the Jewish-Christian fiction in which the two Simons, 
the apostle and the magus, play a prominent part ; but it 
is much more probable that the legend was localized in 
Rome in consequence of St Peter's actual presence there. 
The succession of the early bishops is involved in great 
obscurity. Irenseus* gives the order Linus, Anencletus, 
Clemens, and in the same order the names appear in the 
Canon of the Roman liturgy, though " Cletus" is substi- 
tuted for "Anencletus." A Clementine fiction^ makes 
St Peter hand on his authority directly to Clement. The 
ancient Bucherian catalogue** (almost certainly derived in 
its earlier portion from Hippolytus) gives the order Linus, 
Clemens, Cletus, Anacletus ; while the Apostolical Consti- 
tutions^ put into the mouth of St Peter the statement 
that Linus was ordained by Paul, and Clement, after the 
death of Linus, by Peter himself. It has been suggested*, 
as a way of reconciling these various statements, that 
there may have existed at the same time in Rome Jewish 
and Gentile communities, having separate bishops who 
derived their authority from St Peter and St Paul respec- 
tively. On the whole however it seems probable that the 
list given by Irenseus is the correct one^ 

In the early part of the third century we have a curious 
glimpse at the life of the Roman Church through the 
writings of Hippolytus'". If he is to be credited, Callistus, 

1 Hippolytus, Hicres. ix. 12, p. 
287 f. 

■ Euseb. H. E. v. 24. 

^ Dionysius of Corinth in Euseb. 
H. E. II. 25 ; Irenffius, Hccres. iii. 1. 

* Hares, in. 3, § 3; cf. Euseb. 
H. E. III. 2, 13, 15. 

^ Epist. ad Jacohum, c. 3. 

® In the Appendix to Du Gauge's 
ed. of the Chronicon Paschale. See 
De Smedt, Introd. Gener. ad Hist. 


Eccl. p. 202 ff. ; Diet, of Christ. 
Bioq. s. V. Clironicoii Caiiisianum, 
1. 5U6 f. 
'' VII. 46. 

8 By Cave, Lives of the Fathers, 
Clemens, c. 4, and Hist. Lit. s. v. 
Clemens; and by Bnnsen, Hippo- 
lytus, I. 33 ff. (2nd Ed.). 

9 G. Salmon, in Diet, of Chr. 
Bioar. i. 551. 

lo" Ha;res. Ref. ix. 11 ff. 


Chap. IV. 



c. 218— 


Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 

a runaway slave, a fraudulent bankrupt, and an escaped 
convict, found it possible to worm himself into the confi- 
deuce of the weak bishop Zephyrinus, and to become his 
successor. This is however the story of a vehement oppo- 
nent and probably an anti-bishop \ 

But whatever may be said of Callistus, it is certain 
that the character of the early Roman bishops generally 
cannot have been bad. They were not distinguished as 
writers or theologians, but many were martyrs ; and men 
nurtured in Rome, hearing representations from all sides, 
were naturally more capable of comprehending the general 
bearings of a question than the worthy men who occupied 
analogous positions in provincial towns. At the same 
time, they were devoted to the interests of Rome. 

The first writer of the Roman Church of whom we have 
any remains is its bishop Clement^, possibly identical with 
the Flavius Clemens who was put to death by Domitian^. 
His only extant work is a letter, simple in style and 
abounding in Old Testament quotations, written by him, 
as the official organ of communication with foreign 
churches ^ to the Church of Corinth. The main purpose 
of the letter is to restore the harmony which had been 
broken by dissensions and by a revolt against the authority 
of the presbyters ; hence the duties of meekness, and of 
submission to those who are in authority over them and 
bear it blamelessly, are especially insisted on. The subject 
of the Resurrection, an old difficulty in the Corinthian 
Church, is also touched. There certainly seems to be a 
tone of authority in some of the expressions used", and the 
mere fact of such a letter being written — probably at the 
request of those who were aggrieved — seems to imply that 
Rome was recognized by some at least as a superior authority. 

Another production of the Roman Church is the curious 
work of Hermas", which bears the name of ' the Shepherd.' 

1 C. C. J. Bunsen, Hippolytits 
and his Age; Chr. Wordsworth, 
St Hippolytus, etc. ; J. J. I. Bol- 
linger, Hij^poli/ttts and Callistus 
(Eng. trans. Edinb. 1876). 

2 J, B. Lightfoot, S. Clement of 
Rome (1869) and Appendix (1877) 
containing the newly - recovered 
portions. Gebhardt and Harnack, 
dementis Rom. Ejnstulce (Lips. 

1876) give the full text. See also 
G. Salmon, in Diet. Chr. Biogr. 
I. 554 f. 

^ Suetonius, Domitian, c. 15; 
Dio Cassius lxvii. 14. 

^ Hernias, Visio ii. 4. 

6 cc. 59, 63. 

8 J. A. Doruer, Person Christi, 
I. 185 ff.; Th. Zahn, Der Hirt 
d. Hermas ; Prolegomena to Geb- 

Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 


He writes as a contemporary of Clement \ but the writer 
of the Muratorian Fragment describes him as the brother 
of bishop Pius (142 — 157?) I There is however nothing in 
the book incompatible with the earlier date. The book 
consists of a series of dream-visions, divine commands given 
to him, and parables or similitudes, related in an artless 
style which is not unattractive. The writer laments the 
corruption and the worldliness of the Church ; he warns 
men of the wrath to come, when the dross will be purged 
away ; he beseeches them to repent while repentance 
is still possible. He distinctly claims to be a prophet, and 
his position is in some respects not unlike that of a Monta- 
nist, though Tertullian^ in his later days violently blamed 
his want of Montanistic rigour. There is nothing in the 
book which savours of Judaism, nor indeed any mention of 
the Jewish Law. It evidently made a great impression on 
the Church, for such men as Irenseus'* and the Alexandrian 
Clement^ quote it as scripture or revelation, and a fresco 
in a Neajsolitan catacomb represents the tower-building 
which Hermas describes ^ 

Cains', a presbyter of Rome, who is said to have 
written in the days of Zephyrinus, refuted the tenets of 
Montanism in a controversy mth Proclus, the head of that 
sect in Rome, appealing against heretical novelties to the 
authority of a Church which was able to jDoint to the 
"trophies" of St Peter and St Paul, and denying that the 
expectation of a thousand-years' reign of Christ on earth 
had the authority of an apostle. Nothing is known of his 
personal history, and it is very possible that the name 
Caius is simply that of a person in a dialogue written by 

This Hippolytus^ is the most remarkable man of letters 
hardt and Harnack's Ed. of the Biog. i. 384. 

Pastor; O. Salmon in Diet. Chr. 
Biogr. ii. 913 ff. 
' Visio II. 4, 3. 

2 B. F. Westcott, Canon of N. T. 
pp. 217 ff., 562. 

3 De Pudic. c. 10. 
* HcBres. iv. 20, 2. 

6 Stromat. i. c. 29, p. 426, Potter. 
^ Garrucci,iS(onarf. ArteChristi., 

tav. 96, p. 113 f.; W Cunningham, 
Churches of Asia, Frontispiece. 

7 Euseb. //. E. II. 25; iii. 28; 
VI. 20— G. Sahnon in Diet, of Chr. 

8 J. B. Lightfoot in Journal of 
Philology, i. 98 ff. 

9 Euseb. H. E. vi. cc. 20 and 
22. See above, p. 81. G. Salmon 
in Diet. Chr. Ant. iii. 385 ff. This 
Hippolytus is not to be confounded 
with his namesake, the supposed 
gaoler and convert of St Laurence, 
who was commemorated ' in agro 
Verano.' See E. W. Benson in 
Journ. of Class, and Saered Philo- 
logy, I. (1854) p. 188 ff. 


Chap. IV. 

97? or 
c. 145? 

Caius the 


Growth and Characteristics of the Church. 

produced by the Church of Rome in the first three centu- 
ries He was a pupil of Irenaius ; besides his great work 
against heresies \ numerous fragments remain, exegetical, 
apologetic, controversial, and dogmatic. He was also a 
chronologist and compiled a Chronicle, and his statue '^ 
found in the Via Tiburtina in 1551 has engraved upon it 
the Paschal Cycle which he drew up, as well as a list of 
his writings. It can scarcely be doubted that he was the 
bishop of some portion of the Christians in Rome^, and it 
is clear that he regarded Callistus as the mere head of 
a school*, and not as a Catholic bishop. 

In the book against the Heresies the writer, starting 
from the assumption that heretics do not find their support 
ill Holy 8cripture, but in astrology, in pagan mysteries, and 
in Hellenic philosophy, proceeds first to examine these 
systems and then the heresies — Cnostic and Monarchian — 
which he believed to have grown out of them. His work 
is consequently of considerable importance for the history 
of philosophy, as well as for that of the thought and life of 
the Church in the early part of the third century, of which 
otherwise we have little contemj^orary evidence. 

These wrote in Greek. But it is possible that the first 
in the long array of Christian Latin writers may also 
belong to Rome. Minucius Felix, an advocate converted 
in middle life to Christianity, was probably a Roman, and 
evidently shared in the best culture of his time. Regarded 
simply as literature, his work is superior to those of his 
pagan contemporaries. As to his date however there are 
great diversities of opinion, some'^ maintaining that he 
lived before Tertullian, who made use of his work, others® 
that he lived in the quiet days of Alexander Severus, and 
made use of the work of Tertullian — a much more original 
mind — in the compilation of his dialogue ' Octavius^' 

1 First published in 1851 at 
Oxford from a MS. from the Athos 
monastery, by E. Miller, under the 
title ' Origenis Philosophuiiwna.'' 
yince re-edited under its proper 
title by Duncker and Schneidewin. 

^ Now in the Lateran Museum. 
Winkelmann [Werke, xvii. 1, p. 
334) believed this statue to be of 
the time of Alexander Severus; 
Plainer (Beschrcibutuj Roms, ii, 2, 
p. 329) not later than the sixth 

century. It is engraved in Bun- 
sen's Hippohjtus. 

3 He is described as bishop of 
Kome by ApoUinarius in the fourth 
century (Lagarde's Hippolyti 0pp., 
no. 72, p. 171), and generally by 
Greek authorities. 

■• c. Hares, ix. 12. 

5 Ebert, Chrixtl.-Lat. Lit. i. 25. 

8 Salmon in Diet. Chr. Biogr. 
III. ;t20 If. 

'■ See above p. 5G. 



We have already seen that there existed, as there 
could not but exist where there was active life, various 
schools of thought within the Church. Men apprehended 
variously the same great cardinal truths ; but differences 
such as those of the Alexandrians and the Africans were 
perfectly compatible with the recognition of the common 
faith. Some teachers however either exaggerated a par 
ticular tenet so as to deform the proportion of the faith, 
or refused to receive some truth essential to Christianity. 
There were Jews, very zealous for the Law, who were for 
retaining the legal observances of the Mosaic code, and 
even for enforcing them upon converts from the Gentiles; 
there were Marcionites, who exalted the teaching of St 
Paul to the utter disparagement of everything belonging 
to the Jews; there were Montanists, who were for main- 
taining the freedom of pn)phetic gifts, and a higher and 
purer standard of life in the Church, even to the loss of 
ecclesiastical unity ; there was Gnosticism, the general 
name given to a number of systems which claimed to 
supersede at once Polytheism, Judaism, and Christianity, 
and to provide adequate explanations of the mysteries of 
the universe; and there was Mauichyeism, which resolved 
the moral and spiritual phenomena of the world into the 
war of the opposing principles of Good and Evil. And in 
the midst of the storm occasioned by these winds of doc- 
trine, the Church became more and more conscious that if 
she founded upon a Rock, that there was a basis of Catho- 
lic Truth which remained altogether unaffected by heresies 
and schools of thought. 

Chap. V. 








The Catho- 
lic Churcli. 

The Great Divisions. 

1. Where the Jew and the Gentile mingled freely in 
Christian worship, the truth that in Christ was neither 
Jew nor Greek must gradually have asserted itself; but in 
Jerusalem there was little or nothing of such influence; 
there all alike were Jewish converts, all reverencing Moses 
under the shadow of the Temple. But before Jerusalem 
fell and the Temple was razed to the ground, the Christ- 
ians, heeding their Lord's words, fled from the doomed 
city, and reconstituted the Church of the Circumcision 
at Pella, a city of the Decapolis. And we find a little 
body of Nazarenes dwelling in Pella and its neighbour- 
hood as late as the close of the fourth century '^ These 
held themselves bound by the Mosaic law, but did not 
refuse communion with the Gentiles ; according to some 
authorities^, they had not risen to the full apprehen- 
sion of the dignity of the Person of Christ; yet Jerome, 
who must have known them, seems to regard them as 
separated from Catholic Christendom chiefly by their 
retention of the Jewish law. These simple folk were, we 
may say, inheritors of the spirit of St James the Lord's 
brother. And the same spirit pervades the principal literary 
production of the Nazarene School, the "Testaments of 
the Twelve Patriarchs," which "to a strong Israelite feel- 
ing unites the fullest recognition of the Gentile Churches*." 
Our Lord is represented as the renovator of the law ; the 
imagerv and illustrations are all Hebrew ; certain virtues 
are strongly commended and certain vices strongly de- 
nounced according to a Hebrew standard; many incidents 
in the lives of the patriarchs are derived from some un- 
known legendary Hebrew source. Yet the admission of 
the Gentiles into the privileges of the covenant is a 
constant theme of thanksgiving with the writer. 

But a much larger body than the Nazarenes, the 
Ebionites (D''JV2X)^, not content with observing the Mosaic 

1 A. Eitschl, Entstehung der 
Altkathollschen Kirche, p. 104 ff. 
(2nd Ed.); J. B. Lightfoot, St Paul 
and the Three, in Galatians, p. 292 
ff. ; J. J. I. DciUinger, The First 
Age of Christianity and the Church, 
tr. by H. N. Oxenham; A. Schwegler, 
Nachapostol. Zeitalter ; G. V. 
Lechler, d. Apostol. u. Nachapostol. 

^ Epiphanius, Hceres. 29. 7 ; 
Jerome, Catalogus, c. 3. 

3 Epiphaaius, Hceres. 30. 9. 

■* Lightfoot, St Paul and the 
Three, p. 300. 

® i.e. "poor." Tertullian's men- 
tion {De Frcescript. Hceret. c. 33) of 
one Ebion or Hebion as their 
founder was probably occasioned by 
his ignorance of Plebrew. Origen 

The Great Divisions. 


law themselves, maintained that it was binding on all 
Christians, and regarded as impure all who did not con- 
form; they regarded Jesus as the Messiah, while they 
denied His Divinity; they rejected the authority of St 
Paul, and may in truth be regarded as the successors of 
the false brethren who dogged his steps and opposed his 
doctrine. These, whom we may call for distinction Phari- 
saic, are the Ebionites of Irengeus and Hippolytus. 

The other and more widely-spread type of Ebionism, 
agreeing in general with the opinions of the Pharisaic 
Ebionites, added to them new elements of mysticism and 
asceticism derived probably from contact with the Essenes*. 
This is the Ebionism of Epiphanius. These Ebionites, 
like the rest, were zealous for the law, but the law must 
be adapted to their peculiar tenets; bloody sacrifices they 
looked upon with horror, and the prophets they utterly 
rejected. They laid great stress on certain peculiar ob- 
servances, especially lustral washings and abstinence from 
flesh and wine; they maintained "that the Word or 
Wisdom of God had been incarnate more than once, 
and that thus there had been more Christs than one, 
of whom Adam was the first and Jesus the last. 
Christianity in fact was regarded by them merely as 
the restoration of the primaeval religion ; in other words, 
of pure Mosaism before it had been corrupted by foreign 
accretions^." These Essenic Ebionites bear a strong re- 
semblance to the Judaic sectaries who disturbed the peace 
of the Church at Colossse in the days of St Paul. They 
were eager to spread their faith and displayed great literary 
activity; they may be traced in many different parts of 
the Empire, and produced a great number of books which 
have not been without influence on Christian tradition, 
though the works themselves have for the most part 
perished. There are still extant the "Clementines'" — the 
Homilies and Recognitions attributed to Clement of Rome 
— and a few fragments of the book of Elchasai. Of these 
the Homilies were written probably in the latter half of the 

{in Matt. t. XVI. c. 12) gave the 
correct meaning. See Neander, Ch. 
Hist. II. 13 ff. ; Gieseler, K. Gesch- 
icltte, I. 113, note e. 

1 See Baur's Tract, De Ebioni- 
tarum origine et doctrina ab Esscids 

repetenda, Tubingen, 1831. 

- Lightfoot, St Pauland the Three, 

3 Lightfoot, U.S. p. 306 ff. ; 
Ct. Sahiion, Clementine Literature, 
in Diet. Chr. Biogr. i. 567 ff. 

Chap. V. 





The Great Divisions. 

second century, the Recognitions, known only in the free 
Latin version of Ruffinus, somewhat later. In the Homilies, 
Simon Magus, the antithesis of Simon Peter, is the imper- 
sonation of heresy; various traits are accumulated in his 
person, and some of these are manifestly derived from St 
Paul; in the Recognitions the animus of the writer against 
the apostle of the Gentiles is much less strongly marked. 
The book of Elchasai, the "hidden power," professes to be 
Avritten in the third year of Trajan, an epoch correspond- 
ing remarkably with that mentioned by Hegesippus as the 
time of the great outbreak of heresies. Whatever its date, 
it maintains, like the rest of the Ebionite writings, the 
perpetual obligation of the Jewish law and the purely 
human nature of Christ \ Both this book and the Cle- 
mentines have a strongly Gnostic tinge. 

The system of the Clementine writings makes Chris- 
tianity itself little else than a purification and renewal of 
primaeval Judaism; Judaism and its latest development, 
Christianity, stand together in opposition to Heathenism. 
The main intention of the works in question seems in 
truth to have been, to unite the Judaic and anti-Judaic 
parties in the Church against pagan tenets, whether in the 
Church or in the world which surrounded it. We have 
here no separation of a Demiurgus from the Most High 
God; the one God is all in all. God created the universe 
through the Wisdom, the "operative hand V' which is with 
Him. Christ and Satan are respectively the right hand 
and the left hand of God ; with the one He brings to death, 
with the other gives life^; to Christ is made subject the 
world to come ; to the devil — who was not created evil, but 
became bad by a mixture of extraneous elements — is made 
subject this present world. Man, as made at first in the 
image of God, rejoiced in the revelation of God made 
through the prophets of truth. This line of true prophets 
began in Adam, and, when at the instigation of the devil 
the woman had brought confusion into the primaeval reve- 
lation, was renewed in Moses. When the Mosaic law began 
to lose its force and purity, it was renewed in Christ, who 
is the Son of God in a sense in which that title could not 
be given to Adam or to Moses, if not one with God in the 

1 HipiJolytus, Hccres. ix. 13, 14. xvi. 12. 

2 Xei/) brifuovpyov(ja to wav, Uomil, '^ Homil. vii. 3. 

Tlie Great Divisions. 


Christian sensed In this system the way of salvation begins 
with the calling from God, through which man comes to 
know the true prophet ; in him he must have faith and in 
his name receive baptism; thence he advances to Gnosis, 
the knowledge of the true nature of God and His perfect 
righteousness, of the immortality of the soul of man, of the 
judgment to come; this Gnosis gives men power to fulfil 
the law, which is conceived as a series of positive ordi- 
nances. A rigorous asceticism is required, involving the 
utmost possible abstinence from the things of earth, espe- 
cially from flesh and from wine ; but the Judaic spirit of 
the system appears strongly in its commendation of mar- 

2. If the system represented by the Clementines 
tended to exalt Judaism, even at the expense of Chris- 
tianity, that of Marcion'' exalted the teaching of St Paul 
at the expense not only of Judaism but of other Christian 
teachers. St Paul alone he recognises as "the Apostle," 
the one depositary of the truth as it is in Jesus. His 
object throughout is, to make the sharpest and most 
absolute separation between Divine — i.e. Pauline — Chris- 
tianity, and the not merely inferior but hostile systems 
which preceded it. "The Law" is with him mere hardness 
and sternness, "the Gospel" an absolutely new revelation 
of God, for which nothing in the previous history of the 
world had prepared the way ; it is a sunrise without a 
dawn. In Marcion's system all things are sudden, which 
in God's providence require a long development. John 
comes suddenly, Christ comes suddenly''. He is always 
bringing into prominence the antithesis of Law and Gospel, 
righteousness and mercy, fear and love. 

As to his personal history, we learn that Marcion was 
the son of a bishop of Sinope, by whom it is said* that he 

1 Homil. XVI. 16. 

^ The sources are, Irenseus, 
H<eres. i. 27 ; Tertullian, adv. 
Marcionem ; Hippolytus, Hteres. 
Re/., VII. 29 — 31 ; Epiphauius, 
Hares. 42 ; Theodoret, Hceret. 
Fabb., 1. 24. The work of Esnig 
(an Armenian bishop of the fifth 
century) against Marcion is noticed 
by Neumann in Illgen's Zeit- 
schrift, 1834, Bd. 4. Of modem 

writers may be mentioned, A. 
Hahn, De Gnosi Marcionis ; A. 
Harnack, Beitrdge z. Geschichte d. 
Marcion in Zeitschr. f. Wissen- 
schaftl. Theol. 1876 ; K. A. Lipsius, 
Das Zeitalter Marcion's in Quellcri 
d. altest. Ketzergesch. p. 225 ; U. 
Salmon in Diet. Ghr. Biogr. iii. 
816 ff. 

^ Tertullian, c. Marcionem, iv. 11. 

* Epiphauius, Hceres. 42. 2. 

Chap. V. 


The Great Divisions. 

was excommunicated for some juvenile excesses. He found 
his way about the middle of the second century to Rome ^, 
where he was also rejected by the Church, and where, with 
the help of a Syrian Gnostic named Cerdon, he seems to 
have thought out his system. He assumed three primal 
powers^; the Supreme Deity, or "Good God," the righteous 
Demiurgus or creator, and Matter with its ruler, the evil 
one. The Demiurgus, putting forth the best of his limited 
powers, created a world of the same nature as himself, in 
which he chose the Jews to be his own people, and gave 
them merely the covenant of salvation by works. Thus 
provided, they struggled but feebly against the power of 
evil, until at last the Good God, of his great love towards 
mankind, sent his son, Christ, clothed in a body of no 
earthly mould, yet capable of doing and suffering, to reveal 
his hitherto unknown being and nature. He was at first 
taken for the Messiah of the Jews' Deity, but when he 
preached the Gospel of the Good God, Demiurgus in wrath 
caused him to be crucified. He died however only a 
seeming death. They who believe in Christ and lead a 
holy life out of love to God shall attain to bliss in the 
heavenly kingdom; the rest belong to the realm of De- 
miurgus, and after his just condemnation are destined to 
receive, according to their works, either an inferior happi- 
ness or utter reprobation. In one respect only does Mar- 
cion give hope for the heathen world ; the Christ, after His 
seeming death, descended into Hell (ad inferos), and saved 
those of the old world, whether heathens or Jews, who 
believed on Him. 

Marcion's teaching professed to be founded on the very 
words of Holy Scripture ; but the Canon of Scripture 
which he acknowledged consisted only of ten epistles of 
St Paul — the Pastorals being rejected — and a gospel bearing 
the name of St Luke, St Paul's disciple. In the epistles, 
it does not seem probable that he altered the words of the 
venerated master whose doctrine he claimed to have 
restored ; but the gospel which he used certainly differed' 
from the canonical gospel according to St Luke, though it 

1 Justin M. Apol. i. 26; Ter- 
tullian, adv. Marcion. i. 19. 

2 The older authorities (Justin, 
llhodon in Euseb. H. E. v. 13, 
Irenseus, and Tertullian) speak only 

of two o.pxol ; but their words im- 
ply the existence of an evil power, 
such as is expressly asserted by 
Epiphanius, Theodoret and Esnig. 

The Great Divisions. 


may be doubted whether Marcion himself introduced all 
the variations which were found in it*. 

He passed his days in eager contention against Avhat he 
thought the prevalent Judaism of the Church, and in 
organizing the societies of those whom he called his ''com- 
rades in hate and persecution." And the discipline of these 
societies, however different from that of the Church, was 
by no means lax; if his teaching was antinomian in its 
opposition to the Jewish law, he still inculcated an asce- 
ticism springing from the genuine devotion of the inner 
man to God. Those who did not rise to this asceticism, and 
those who were married'^, he retained in the ranks of the 
catechumens, but to these he gave the privilege of being 
present at all the rites of the Church; the gospel was for 
all, not merely for an inner circle of disciples. Like the 
Catholics, he baptized with water, he anointed with oil, he 
gave milk and honey to the neophytes, and bread to the 
communicants in the Eucharist^; but wine was absent; 
his disciples used neither wine nor flesh. A second and 
even a third baptism was permitted, and it is not impro- 
bable that for those who departed unbaptized a vicarious 
baptism was performed. Women were permitted to ad- 
minister the baptismal rite*. 

His pupil Apelles^ taught that there was but one primal 
Power, the Good God; he it was who created the inter- 
mediate Being who made the world, the imperfections of 
which arise from lack of power in him who made it. Then 
intervened the Being who spake in a flame of fire to 
Moses, from whose inspiration sprang the Old Testament. 
At the prayer of the world-creator the Good God sent his 
Christ into the world. He appeared, lived, ^vrought and 
sufiered in a real body, not of sinful flesh, but compounded 
direct from the pure elements without spot of sin, and 
resolved at death into the elements again. In his later 
days Apelles seems to have given heed to the utterances 

^ B. F. Westcotfc, Cano7i of the 
Neiv Test. p. 345 ff. ; W. Sanday, 
The Gospels in the Second Century, p. 
204 ff . See also A. Hahn, De Canone 
Marcionis and Das Evang. Mar- 
cion's; A. Ritschl, Das Evang. Mar- 
cioji's und d. kanon. Evang. d.Lukas. 

2 Tert. adv. Marc. i. 29. 

3 lb. I. 14. 

* Tertull. de Prescript, c. 41 ! 
Jerome on Gal. vi. 6 ; Epiphan. 
H(er. 42, 4 ; Chrysostom on 1 Cor. 
XV. 29 {opp.x. 378). 

^ A. Harnack, De Apellis Gnosi 
Monarchic a ; Hilgenfeld, Der Gnos- 
tiker Apelles in Zeitschr.f. Ifisfen- 
schaft. Theol. 1875, pt. 1; F. J. A. 
Hort, in Diet. Chr. Biogr. r. 127 f. 

Chap. V. 

c. 170. 

c. 190, 

The Great Divisions. 

of a possessed maiden, Philumena, and to have more and 
more renounced Gnosticism and approached to the Catholic 
faith. In his disputation with Rhodon^ he declared that 
all would be saved who placed their hope on the Crucified, 
provided that they were found in good works. 

The Marcionites maintained themselves as a distinct 
society as late as the sixth century, split however by many 
schisms, and perverted by the speculations of adherents 
from various Gnostic sects. An inscription which once 
stood over the doorway of a Marcionite meeting-house, of 
the year 630 of the era of the Seleucidae (a. d. 318 — 
319), was found a few years ago in a Syrian village^. 

3. There has always existed in the Church, more or 
less openly, an opposition between established routine and 
the freer manifestation of religious emotion. In the Church 
of the second century the more ardent spirits began to 
feel that the love of many had waxed cold ; the expectation 
of the Coming of Christ was less vivid, the standard of 
Christian life was lower, plain living and high thinking 
had declined, faith in the perpetual activity of the pro- 
phetic and other gifts of the Spirit was no longer, as it had 
once been, the great animating principle of the Church. 
A Church in which the sternest morality was not insisted 
upon seemed to them no true branch of the Church of 
Christ. The true Church is where the Spirit is, not neces- 
sarily wherever the ecclesiastical organization is complete. 
With such as these the divine inbreathing, the personal 
ecstasy, of the prophet lifted him high above those whose 
authority depended upon mere ecclesiastical appointment. 
Such as these felt it a matter of life and death to maintain 
primitive Christianity — as they conceived it — against the 
increasing worldliness of the Church on the one hand, 
and its Gnostic departures from the simplicity of Christian 
doctrine on the other. 

1 Euseb. H. E. v. 13. 

" Le Bas and Waddington, In- 
scriptions, III. 583, no. 2558, 
quoted by G. Salmon in Diet. Chr. 
Biogr. iii. 819. "This is more 
ancient than any dated inscription 
belonging to a Catholic Church." 

^ The authorities are, Tertullian 
in many treatises ; Euseb. H. E. v, 
3, 14 — 19 ; Epiphanius, Uteres. 48. 
— (jt. Wernsdorf, De Montanistis ; 

F. Miinter, Effata et Oracula Mon- 
tanistarum ; C. Kirchner, De Mon- 
tanistis ; Schwegler, Der Montanis- 
mus und die Christliche Kirche ; A. 
Eitschl, Altkath. Kirche, p. 462 ff. ; 
E. Stroehlin, Essai S2ir le Montan- 
isme ; J. De Soyres, Montanism and 
the Primitive Church, contaiuiug a 
careful account of the literature of 
the subject ; G. Salmon, in Diet, of 
Chr. Biogr. in. 935 ff. 

The Great Divisions. 


Their feelings general ly, and especially the desire to 
maintain the gifts of prophecy within the Church, found 
expression in the voice of Montanus, a Mysian, who about 
the year 130 began to claim to have received prophetic 
powers and a new revelation; his enemies said that he even 
claimed to be the Paraclete. All that can be said of him 
with certainty is, that he attracted to himself a large 
number of disciples, including several women of high social 
position, among whom the most conspicuous were Maxi- 
milla and Priscilla, or — as she is sometimes called — Prisca. 
These two constantly appear as his companions and as 
sharing in his spiritual gifts. Of the other women whose 
utterances were received as divine revelation, the only 
names that have come down to us are those of the martyrs 
Perpetua and Felicitas\ The Montanists maintained, as 
earlier teachers had done^, the perpetuity and necessity of 
the gifts of prophecy and vision. They received the whole 
of the Christian Scriptures; there was no heresy in their 
views with regai'd to the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Spirit^. They held very earnest and very precise opinions 
as to the speedy coming of the Lord, and are said to 
have expected the descent of the New Jerusalem at a 
\illage in Phrygia, Pepuza*, whence they are not unfre- 
quently called Pepuziani. Strangely enough, while insist- 
ing on the ever-present guidance of the Holy Spirit, they 
laid down precepts on permitted food and permitted acts 
which approached Judaic legalism. Their fasts were more 
niunerous and more severe than those observed by the 
Church in general. Marriage was permitted*', though the 
married were clearly placed on a lower level than the 
unmarried, and probably remained in the ranks of the 
catechumens. Second marriages were utterly condemned', 
as indeed they had often been condemned beforetime in 
the Church I With regard to sin after baptism, the Spirit 

1 De Soyres, p. 138 ff. 

^ "Clement, Ignatius, Hernias, 
Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus unani- 
mously affirm their belief in, or 
even their experience of, these 
charismata.'" lb. p. 60. 

* The testimony of Epiphanius 
{Hceres. 48, § 1), a hostile witness, 
may be accepted as conclusive on 
this point. 

^ Epiphan. Hceres. 49, § 1 ; 
Euseb. H. E. v. 18. 

° Tertullian, I)e Jejuniis, cc. 1, 
14, 15 ; Hippolytus, Hceres. Ref. 
VIII. 19 ; Jerome, on St Matt. ix. 

6 Tertullian, De Monogamiu, c. 1. 
'unum matrimonium novimus.' 

" Ih. c. 4. 

** E. g. by Atbenagoras, Legatio, 

Chap. V. 

c. 130. 





The Great Divisions. 

declared through the new prophets, 'the Church has power 
to remit sin, but I will not do it lest others offend \' Mar- 
tyrdom was by no means to be avoided by flight, but it 
was meritorious only if endured in faith and out of pure 
submission to God's wilP. The one visible Church of Christ 
included all who had been duly baptized^; yet many of its 
members were merely psychic or "natural" men; the spiri- 
tual or pneumatic were those alone who accepted the higher 
teaching of the Spirit by the mouth of His prophets, and 
each one of these was endued with a spiritual priesthood*. 
Some peculiar rites were attributed to them. That women 
prophesied in the churches is admitted on all hands, but 
there is no reason to believe that this prophesying took 
place during divine service, or that women took an}^ share 
in celebrating the mysteries'\ The unmarried women were 
closely veiled in the churches. It is not wholly improbable 
that the Montanists performed vicarious baptism on behalf 
of those who had died unbaptized® ; such deaths were likely 
to be frequent in a society which detained the majority of 
its members in a long catechumenate. It is said that they 
used cheese in the Eucharist^; but this may probably have 
been as an offering, rather than as a part of the actual 
Eucharistic celebration. That some disorder took place in 
their assemblies is probable enough; there have perhaps 
never been assemblies of ecstatics and visionaries which 
have not fallen into occasional improprieties ; but it is im- 
possible to accept as true the charges of child-murder and 
of horrible food given in their secret rites — charges pre- 
cisely similar to those of the heathen against the whole 

c. 33; Tlieophilus, ad Autol. iii. 

^ Tertullian, De Pvdicitia, c. 21. 

^ Tertullian, De Fuija in Perse- 
ciitione, jiussim ; Adv. Praxeam, c. 
1 (quoting 1 Cor. xiii. 3). 

2 Tertull. De Virgg. Velandis, c. 

* Tertull. De Jejuniis, c. 11 ; De 
Pudic. c. 21 ; De Exhort. Castit. c. 

^ The prophetess gave her utter- 
ances 'dimissa plebe' (Tert. De 
Anima, c. 9). The ecstatica men- 
tioned by Firmiliau (Cyprian i, 
Epist. 75, c. 10), who wa« perhaps 

a Montanist, performed some kind 
of eucharistic rite, but "sinesaera- 
mento solitse praedicationis." The 
"non" inserted before "sine" by 
some editors has no authority. 

^ The direct statement of Phi- 
laster (De Hceres. 49) is "Hi 
mortuos baptizant." 

^ Tertullian never mentions the 
practice, whence we may infer that 
this charge was not brought against 
the Montanists in his time. It is 
however supported by the later 
testimony of Augustine (Hares. 26), 
Epiphanius [Hares. 49, 2), and 
I'hilaster (Hares. 74). 

The Great Divisions. 


body of Christians — which were circulated in a later age\ 
It is impossible to believe that Tertullian and Perpetua 
belonged to a society capable of horrible crime in its secret 

Teaching such as that of the Montanists naturally 
spread rapidly among the excitable people of Phrygia. 
The Church in that region was alarmed ; councils of the 
faithful were held in which their tenets were condemned 
and themselves excommunicated '^ Tidings of the proceed- 
ings in Asia soon reached the Asiatic colony in southern 
Gaul, and the confessors yet in bonds, under stress of per- 
secution, wrote letters in the interests of peace both to the 
brethren in Asia and Phrygia, and to Eleutherus bishop 
of Rome^ One bishop of Rome — either Eleutherus or 
Victor — acknowledged the prophetic gifts of Montanus, 
Prisca, and Maximilla, and gave peace to the Churches of 
Asia and Phrygia; but Praxeas by misrepresenting the 
prophets induced him to recall the letters of peace which 
he had issued and to withdraw his recognition*. Mon- 
tanism had probably at one time many adherents in Italy, 
but it was in Africa that it won its most important con- 
quest, Tertullian, who gave to its cause all the warmth of 
his African nature and the skill of a practised advocate. 
No other of the sects of the ancient Church has the advan- 
tage of presenting itself to later times as pictured by its 
greatest convert. 

A provincial council at Iconium^ in the first half of 
the third century declared Montanist baptism invalid, thus 
branding Montanism as a sect separate from the Church. 
Shortly afterwards Stephen, bishop of Pome, recognized it 
as valid". Nicsea passed the question over in silence. The 
synod of Laodicea' in the latter part of the third century 
enacted that the "Phrygians" should be catechized and 
baptized ere they were admitted to the Church ; and the 
oecumenical council of Constantinople^ — even more strongly 

Chap. V. 

1 First by Cyril of Jerusalem 
{Catech. xvi. 4) in the middle of the 
t'ourth centuiy. 

2 Enseb. H. E. v. 16, § 10. Other 
councils against Montanism are 
mentioned in the Libellus Sytiodi- 
cus, a late authority (Hefele, Con- 
ciliengeschichte, i. 70). 

3 Euseb. H. E. v. 3. 

* Adv. Praxeam, c. 1. 

5 Firmilian, in Cypriani Epist. 
75, c. 19. 

« Cyprian, Epist. 74, c. 1 ; Euseb. 
H. E^yii. 3. 

7 Can. 8 (Hardouin's Cone. i. 

8 Can. 7 (Hard. i. 813). 


A.D. 157. 

Council at 
c. 235. 

c. 372. 


The Great Divisions 

— that the " Montanists, here called Phrygians," should be 
received into the Church in precisely the same manner in 
Avhich pagans were received. Montanism was found worthy 
of notice even as late as the legislation of Justinian in the 
sixth century, and probably its later manifestations, when 
it was a mere despised sect, cast discredit on its earlier 
and purer time. But it was already practically extinct in 
the latter part of the fourth century, when — as Epiphanius 
tells us^ — it could point to no prophet. Its real work was 
done in the protest which it made against spiritual dead- 
ness in the Church in the second and third centuries. 

4. The desire to explain the mystery of the universe, 
with its strange contrasts of good and evil, of order and 
anarchy, is probably ineradicable from the heart of man; 
and with this has often been joined the pride of possessing 
a higher wisdom which the crowd of inferior beings can 
only approach in gross material symbols. Probably the most 
striking exhibition of these tendencies with which we are 
acquainted is to be found in the various systems, existing 
in every part of the Roman empire in the early days of 
Christianity, which have received the general name of 
Gnostic ^ 

The origin of these systems has been much disputed. 
The contemporary opponents of Gnosticism thought it 
little else than the Greek philosophy of religion putting 
on a mystic disguise*. Modern enquirers have traced it 
to the Zoroastrian system of the Zendavesta, to the Hebrew 
Kabbala, to the Talmud, to the teaching of the Buddhists. 
The very variety of these theories shows that no one of 
them accounts for all the phenomena; the influence of all 
may be found in one or other of the Gnostic systems; the 
antithesis of Light and Darkness reminds us of Persia, the 

1 Hares. 48, 2. 

2 For Gnosticism, the principal 
sources are Irenasus adv. Hareses ; 
TertuUian, adv. Marcion., De Prce- 
scriptionibus, adv. Valentinianos, c. 
Gnosticos; Hippolytus, Hccresium 
Refut.; Plotinus, Ennead. ii. 9 ; 
Epiphanius, Panarion adv. Hareses. 
Of modern authorities may be men- 
tioned A. Neauder, Genetische Ent- 
wickelunc] der Gnost. Systeme ; F. C. 
Baur, Die Christliche Gnosis; J. 
Matter, /!?<?. Critique du GtwsH- 

cisme ; E. A. Lipsius, Gnosticismus 
in Ersch u. Gruber's Cyclop. ; 
C. W. King, the Gnostics and their 
Remains ; H. L. Mansel, The 
Gnoftic Heresies. 

2 See particularly TertuUian, De 
PrcEscript. Hcer. c. 7 ; adv. Hermog. 
0. 8; deAnima.,c.22>. The Gnostics 
themselves, by the help of allegori- 
cal interpretations, found their sys- 
tem in such writers as Homer and 
Aratus. Hippolytus, c. Hceres. v. 
8; IV. 46. 

Tlie Oreat Divisions. 


series of emauatious from the divine Essence recalls the 
Buddhists, while the allegory not seldom resembles that 
of the Hebrew Kabbala. In cities like Alexandria, Antioch 
and Ephesus these theories ran together and met with 
nascent Christianity. 

Gnosis (yvMcri^) is knowledge; in a special sense, an 
inner and deeper knowledge of the mystery of existence, 
not accessible to the vulgar and a source of pride to the 
initiated. But the Gnosticism with which we are con- 
cerned, the Gnosticism which came in contact with Chris- 
tianity, has certain special characteristics. 

In the first place, some evil principle, generally identi- 
fied with matter, is held to oppose the pure creative 
energy of the Divinity. In nothing is the pagan origin 
of the system more distinctly visible than in this ; for 
ancient speculation rarely rises to the conception of one 
sole creative Will, All Gnostic systems derive the universe 
from the contact of Spirit with Matter; but Spirit must 
lower itself by a gradual descent to Matter; the great 
gulf between the two is bridged over by a long series 
of emanations from the highest or absolute Being. These 
emanations, under the name of iEons (alSvesi), occupy a 
very important place in most Gnostic systems. 

The same effort to provide a medium between spirit 
and matter is found in the Gnostic conception of a 
"psychic" or animal principle between the purely spiritual 
or "pneumatic," and the mere material or "hylic" portion 
of the universe. The actual creation of the visible and 
palpable world is often attributed to Demiurgus, the 
working or forming deity whose special realm is " psychic," 
separated from the Most High God by a long series of 
aeons, and acting on matter as His subordinate. In 
several of the systems this Demiurgus or handicraft- 
deity is identified with the God of the Jews ; yet the con- 
ception itself seems to be derived from Plato* whose 
creator of heaven and earth is a demiurgus, superior in- 
deed to the gods of the old mythology, but subject to the 
eternal forms which rule the universe. 

So far, Gnosticism seems to have no very obvious 
contact with Christianity ; it has however in fact a very 
intimate connexion both with Christianity and with Ju- 
1 Bepuhlic, vii. p. 730 ; Timaus, p. 28. 

c. 7 

Chap. V. 








The Great Divisions. 

daism. In the first place, many of the Gnostic theosophists 
professed to draw much of their system from the Scriptures. 
Just as Philo and his school found a whole system of 
Platonic philosophy in the plain facts of scripture history, 
so, by the help of allegoric or esoteric explanations, these 
Gnostics found in the sacred books a whole series of divine 
beings or emanations. The number thirty, the years of 
our Lord's life when He began His ministry, became the 
number of the Valentinian a^ons; the lost sheep of the 
parable became Achamoth, the lower or earthly wisdom 
wandering from its true home. Nor did the Gnostics 
appeal only to Scriptvire; they set up a tradition of 
their own against that of the Church. The disciples of 
Carpocrates, for instance, asserted that Jesus had imparted 
their doctrine in secret to His Apostles, bidding them in 
turn impart it to faithful and worthy men^; the Ophites 
declared that the Lord in the interval between His Resur- 
rection and Ascension had taught their peculiar wisdom to 
those few disciples whom He found worthy of so great a 
trust ^; or that James the Lord's brother had disclosed it to 
Mariamne^; Basilides professed to derive his system from 
Glaucias, an interpreter of St Peter, Valentinus his from 
one Tlieudas, a companion of St Paul^; both appealed to 
the traditions of Matthias^; and Ptolemy the Valentinian 
claimed an "apostolic tradition" which had come down to 
him through a succession of persons^. 

All Gnostic teachers taught their disciples to look for 
some kind of Redemption. This was generally regarded 
as the liberation of the pneumatic element from the 
bonds of matter, the escape of the spiritual man from 
the realm of the lower world-forming deity. This Re- 
demption was said to be effected by one of the -^ons, 
of vvhich the man Christ Jesus was merely the instrument, 
we may almost say the mask or disguise. All the Gnostics 
differed widely from the Catholic teaching on the Person 
of Christ. Many taught that He had but a seeming body 
and suffered only in appearance {Kara SoKrjatv), whence 
they received the name of Docetse {Ao/crjrai). 

1 Ireiiicus, IJceres. i. 25. 5. 

^ Ireniuus, i. 30. 14. 

3 Hippolytus, c. Hares, v. 7. 

•• Ckmcub Alex. Strum, vii. 17. 


5 Strom. VII. 13. 82; 17. 108. 
^ Ad Floram, in Epiphanius, 
Uccres. 33, p. 222. 

The Great Divisions. 


Again, all the Gnostic leaders in some shape or other 
took up a definite position, friendly or hostile, to Judaism. 
In the older and more numerous systems, both Judaism 
and heathendom are represented as preparing the way for 
the advent of the complete and perfect I'eligion, their own; 
there is no essential opposition between them. In spite of 
innumerable differences of detail, they agree in this, that 
the old religions of the world were a preparation for the 
complete and perfect religion. The disciples of Marcion 
indeed, as we have seen, supposed Christianity to be in 
absolute contrariety both to Judaism and heathenism ; 
while the Gnosticism of the Judaizers tended to the exal- 
tation of Judaism; but neither of these systems can be 
considered as purely and simply Gnostic. 

The moral system of the Gnostics was the natural 
outcome of their religion. As they regarded matter as 
the seat of evil, morality consisted to a large extent of the 
stiniggle to free the spiritual principle from the influence 
of matter, that so it might acquire Gnosis. Hence the 
really serious and religious Gnostics tended to asceticism. 
Some allowed marriage, some even enjoined it on the 
"spiritual"; some — as Saturninus and Tatian — seem to 
have forbidden it either altogether, or at least for those 
Avho would be perfect. The coarser natures among them, 
on the other hand, drew very different conclusions from 
the same premiss, and scorned the ordinary restraints of 
social decency. Mere outward acts were, they contended, 
indifferent, as matter was distinct from spirit ; self-restraint 
was of little value in those who had never tasted the 
delights of dissoluteness; the real victory was for the 
spirit to stand unconquered amid the passions of the 
lower nature. Carpocrates and Prodicus, as also the later 
Marcosians, are said to have taken this direction. Gnostics 
of this kind, as was natural, readily conformed to pagan 
worship, and despised those who endured mart}Tdom for 
conscience' sa,ke. 

The rise of Gnosticism is coseval with that of Chris- 
tianity. We can scarcely doubt that when Simon Magus 
in Samaria was accepted by the people as "that power of 
God which is called Great S" he had given himself out to 

1 Acts viii. 10. 


Chap. V. 




The Great Divisions. 

be some kind of Gnostic emanation from the divinity. He 
was regarded indeed in later times as the head and source 
of heresy \ We find distinct traces of Gnosis, probably 
in an Essenic form, at Colossse^ in the days of St Paul, 
and again we meet with an angelology, which is apparently 
Gnostic, in the letters to Timothy. It was against Docet- 
ism that St John wrote of Him Whom his eyes had seen 
and his hands handled. The Nicolaitans of the Apoca- 
lypse and the false teachers of the Epistle of Jude may 
probably have based their licentious views on Gnostic 
sjDeculations. Towards the end of the Apostolic Age 
Cerinthus' propagated views akin to Gnosticism in the 
district of Asia Minor which was under the influence of St 
John, saying that the Christ descended on Jesus, who was 
mere man, at his baptism, and that while Jesus suffered, 
the Christ ascended again into heaven. 

In the age immediately succeeding that of the Apostles, 
the simple, practical nature of the Church's work, pressed 
upon it as it was by surrounding heathenism, was not 
favourable to the spread of Gnosticism ; it gained more 
influence as the desire grew stronger for theoretic com- 
pleteness in the teaching of theology. 

Basilides*, one of the most famous Gnostic teachers, 
a younger contemporary of Cerinthus, was said to be a 
Syrian by birth, but passed the greater part of his active 
life in Alexandria, and there his son also, Isidorus, became 
a famous teacher. About the same time flourished Carpo- 
crates®, an Egyptian, and his son Epiphanes, as also the 
Syrian Saturninus® or Saturnilus. Even in these early 
days of Gnosticism, its systems present the greatest diver- 

In Valentinus^, an Alexandrian settled in Rome, the 
speculative and imaginative development of Gnosticism 
reached its highest point. He produced in fact a highly 

1 Irenaius, i. 23. 2; in. Prcef. 
" J. B. Lightfoot, Colossiaiis, p. 
73 ff. 

* Ii'enffius, I. 26. 

* Clemens Alex. Stromatcis i.21, 
p. 408 (ed. Potter); ii. 3. 6, p. 443; 
8, p. 448; 20, p. 488; iv. 12, p. 599; 
V. 1, p. 645 ; IreufEus, i. 24. 3 ; Hip- 
polytus, Hceres. Re/, vii. 20ff.; Epi- 

phanius, Hceres. 24. — F. J. A. Hort 
in Diet. Ghr. Antiq. i. 268 ff. 

^ Ii-enseus, I. 25; Hippolyt. Hcer. 
Ref. VII. 32; Euseb. H. E. iv. 7. 

^ Irenasus, i. 24 ; Epiphanius, 
Hceres. 23. 

^ Ircnacus, i. Iff.; Hceres. Ref. 
VI. 21 ff.; Tertull. adv. Valcnt.; 
Epiphanius, Hceres, 31. 

The Great Divisions. 


poetic account of the creation and constitution of the uni- 
verse, from the point of view of a thoughtful and cultivated 
heathen. His school, which split into an Eastern and a 
Western (or Italian) branch, produced many distinguished 
teachers ; Heraclcon, against whom Origen wrote his com- 
ment on St John; Ptoloma3usS Marcus **, Bardaisan or 
Bardesanes'' an Armenian who lived long in Edessa, and 
who is said to have been the first of Syrian hymn-writers. 
Contemporary with Valentinus was Cerdo, who initiated 
Marcion* in Gnostic tenets. To this period also belongs 
the restless Tatian^ who, after passing through the most 
various forms of religion, at last settled in Gnosticism. His 
disciples received the names of Encratites, from the ex- 
cessive rigour of their lives ; of Hydroparastatse or Aquarii, 
from their abstinence from wine even in the Holy Com- 
munion; and sometimes that of Severiani, from one Severus, 
who was a pupil of Tatian. This sect still existed in the 
fourth century. The Ophites", or Naasseni', who re- 
garded the serpent as the beginner of true knowledge and 
the great benefactor of mankind, probably existed before 
Christianity, though their Gnostic development may have 
been as late as the second century. With these we may 
reckon the Sethiani, the Cainites, the Peratici, and the 
Gnostic Justin* with his followers. To the second century 
also we may refer a Gnostic of Arabian origin, mentioned 
only by Hippolytus, Monoimus^ or Menahem. 

It is difficult to estimate the number and the influence 
of the Gnostics. Nowhere does it appear that the Gnostic 
community was superior to the Catholic Church of the 
place, but almost everywhere there were Gnostics, and 
Gnostics distinguished by intellectual activity and bold- 
ness. There was miich in Gnosticism to attract the 
Greeks ; its generally anti- Judaic spirit, its promise of a 
conquest over matter and an advance to the fulness and 

^ Epist. ad Floram, in Irensei 
0pp. p. 357 ff. 

'-* Irenseus, i. 13 ff. ; Hares. Ref. 
VI. 39 f. ; Epiph. Hares. 34. 

3 Hares. Ref. vii. 31 ; Euseb. 
Pnep. Evang. vi. 10; Epiph. Hcer. 
36.— F. J. A. Hort in Diet, of Chr. 
Biogr. i. 250. 

* See p. 89. 

"> Irenasus, i. 28; Clem. Alex. 
Strom. III. pp. 547, 553 (Potter); 
Hares. Ref. viii. 16 ; Epiphauius, 
Hares. 46 ; Theodoret, Haret. 
Fabb. I. 20. 

" Irenseus, i. 30. 

7 Hares. Ref v. Iff. 

8 lb. V. 23. 

» lb. VIII. 12. 

The Great Divisions. 

perfection of knowledge, the imaginativeness of its adven- 
turous systems, the ease with which it adopted votaries. 
But it nevertheless could not endure the steady, disciplined 
attack of the Church ; its unsubstantial pageants vanished 
before the light of truth ; in the third century it had 
already lost its creative force, in the fourth it is powerless; 
in the sixth it vanishes, leaving hardly a wreck behind. 

The effects of Gnosticism on the Church were by no 
means wholly disastrous. The efforts of the Gnostics to 
construct a system which should explain all the varied and 
perplexing phenomena of the universe, led the Christian 
teachers to point out with more distinctness that they were 
explained by the principles already revealed in Christ. 
The contest with men so able and so well acquainted with 
pagan philosophy as many of the Gnostic teachers were led 
to the more systematic development of Christian theology; 
and as a truly Christian theology was developed, the 
Jewish elements in the Church fell more and more into the 
background. It is very largely due to the pressure of 
Gnosticism that art and literature were enlisted in the 
service of the Church. But these benefits were counter- 
balanced by serious evils. The Redemption which Gnosti- 
cism offered was merely knowledge, which certamly tended 
to puff men up with a vain sense of their own superiority. 
Its systems were based not upon historic reality, but upon 
the mere creations of erratic fancy in an ideal world. 
Gnostic asceticism and Gnostic laxity both found their 
way into the Church, and corrupted the pure springs of 
Christian morality. It is not wonderful then that the 
Catholic teachers, conscious that the religion of Christ 
is for man, as man, not for a select coterie of initiated; 
conscious that speculation is not religion, and that life, as 
well as truth, is to be found in Christ; it is not wonder- 
ful that such teachers set themselves emphatically to 
oppose the claims and the allurements of the Gnostics. 
Faith conquered knowledge falsely so called. 

5. In the third century arose on the eastern frontier 
of the Empire a system which was destined to trouble the 

1 The principal special works on 
Manichfleisni arc, Bcansobre, His- 
toire Critique du Manichte et dn 
Manicheisme ; Georgi, Alphahetum 

Thibetanum (Rome, 1762); F, C. 
Baur, Das Mcuiichaische Relir/io7is- 
SijHtem; A. Geyler, Manichdisnnis 
und Buddhismiis (Jena, 1875) ; 

The Great Divisions. 


Church for many a year. This was the doctrine of Mani, 
or ManichsBiis, which was in its origin a renewal and reform 
of the old Zoroastrian teaching, with, probably, some ad- 
mixture of Buddhism. This religion adopted as it spread 
westward a certain colouring of Christian ideas and phrases, 
but it remained a foreign and rival power, not a heresy 
developed from the bosom of the Church itself. 

The accounts of Mani's life given by the Eastern' and 
the Western''^ authorities differ materially. We can hardly 
say of him with any degree of certainty more than this : 
that in the revival of national and religious life in Persia 
which took place under the native dynasty of the Sas- 
sanidffi, Mani, a member of a distinguished Magian family, 
became prominent as a teacher. By his eloquence and his 
many accomplishments he acquired fame and influence, 
and the favour of more than one Persian king, but was at 
last cruelly put to death by Varanes [Behram] the Second. 

Mani attempted, as many had done before him, to 
explain the enigmas of human life by the supposition of 
two eternal all-pervading principles, a good and a bad ; 
the good God and his realm of light are opposed to the 
Evil Spirit and his realm of darkness ; good struggles with 
evil. After long internal conflict, the devilish powers 
drew together their forces on one tremendous day to battle 
against the army of light. The first-born of God, the 
pattern man, fought with the help of the five pure ele- 
ments, light, fire, air, earth, and water, for the realm of 
goodness, was overthrown, and again delivered, leaving 
behind some portion of his light in the power of darkness. 
For the reception of this, God caused the Living Spirit to 
form the material universe, in which the vital force, or 

D. Cliwolson, Die Ssahier u. 
Ssabisni.: G. Fliigel, Mani's Lehre 
u. Scltriften ; Gr. T. Stokes in 
Vict. Ch'r. IMo(j. in. 792 ff. 

^ WlieihcXoi, Bihliothequc Orien- 
tale, s.v. Maui; Silvestie cle Sacy, 
Memoires sur Diverses Antiquitcs 
de la Perse. 

2 The earliest is Archelai ctmi 
Manete Disputatio (in Mansi, 
Cone. 1. 11"29; and Routli, Ileliqui<e 
V. 3) ; other autborities are Titns 
Bostrensis, Kara Mawxcti'wi' (in 

Canisius, Lectiones Antiq. i. 56, ed. 
Basnage) ; Epipbanius, Uccres. 65 ; 
and Augustine'snumerons treatises, 
contra Epist. Manichcei, c. Fortu- 
natum, c. Adimantuni, c. Faustum, 
De Actis cum Felice Mem. De Na- 
tura Boni, De Genesi c. Manich(Cos, 
De Morilms Eccl. Gatli. et Mani- 
chaonnn. For the fragments of 
Mani's own writings, see Fabri- 
cius, Biblioth. Graca, vir. 323 ff. 
(ed. Harless). 


The Great Divisions. 

" soul of the world," is the fragment of light which is held 
in the bonds of darkness. To redeem this light from its 
bondage God sent forth two powers, Christ and the Holy- 
Spirit ; the one as Sun and Moon, the other as the aether 
or pure supra-mundane atmosphere, attract to themselves 
the elements of light enveloped in earth. To retain these 
elements of light, the Evil Spirit formed man after the 
image of the pattern-man, making of him a microcosm, 
in which light and darkness mingled as in the great world. 
Man then had within himself two vital principles, the 
reasonable soul, which aspires to the source of light, and 
the unreasonable soul, full of jDassionate lusts and longings; 
hence he was constantly subject to the crafts and deceits 
of the evil one. Then appeared Christ in his OAvn person 
upon earth, in a seeming-human body, and seemed to 
suffer death. The design of the coming of the "Jesus 
patibilis" was by his attractive force to draw to himself 
the kindred spirit distributed throughout the world of 
nature and of man. He began the work of setting free 
the imprisoned particles of light. But even the apostles 
misunderstood him through the force of Jewish prejudice ; 
the Scriptures of the Old Testament were the work of evil 
spirits; those of the New were corrupted, partly by the 
mistakes of men, partly by the guile of demons ; Mani, the 
promised Paraclete, came to reveal all mysteries and to 
teach the means whereby the nobler part of the universe 
may be freed; his writings alone are the guide to all 
truth. In the end, the light shall be separated from the 
darkness, and the powers of darkness mutually destroy 
each other. 

Like several of the Gnostic sects, Mani divided his 
community into the two classes of Initiated, or Chosen, 
and Hearers or Catechumens ; the latter were prepared 
by a long course of instruction for the revelation of the 
mysteries of man and nature which was to be granted to 
them in the higher stage. These, during their cate- 
chumenate, received indulgence^ for the enjoyment of the 
ordinary pleasures of life in consequence of the intercession 
of the Chosen. The society was organized in direct imita- 
tion of the Catholic Church ; during Mani's life, he was 

^ A. de Wcgnem, Manichtecn-um Iiululgcntia (Lipsiae, 1827). 

The Great Divisions. 

himself the head of his Church ; after his death, his place 
was supplied by a succession of vicars or locum-tenentes. 
The representative of the founder was supported and 
assisted by a body of twelve Masters or Apostles, under 
whom were seventy- two bishops, and under these again 
a body of presbyters and deacons. All these were taken 
from the Initiated. These elect disciples received the 
seal of the mouth, the hand, and the bosom; the first 
symbolized their abstinence from all calumny and evil- 
speaking, as well as from flesh and all intoxicating drinks ; 
the second their desisting from all common toil, and from 
every act injurious to the life whether of man or beast; 
the third their refraining from all indulgence of fleshly 
lust. The Hearers, not yet bound to so strict an ob- 
servance, were permitted to engage in trade and agri- 
culture, and had to provide food for the Initiated, who 
were above terrestrial cares. The ministei-s of the Mani- 
chsean sect were said to grant absolution with too great 
readiness for sins committed, as sins were regarded rather 
as the work of the evil principle within him than of the 
man himself; as misfortunes rather than crimes. 

Their exoteric worship seems to have been extremely 
simple, without altars or elaborate ceremony ; Sunday was 
a fast-day ; a great annual festival, called the Feast of the 
Bema or pulpit, was held in March to commemorate the 
tragic death of Mani ; and a magnificent pulpit, as symbol 
of the teaching power of the Paraclete, stood in Manichsean 
meeting-houses, raised on five steps, the symbols perhaps 
of the five pure elements. The esoteric worship of the 
initiated was kept a close secret. It was thought to con- 
sist of baptism in oil, and the participation of a sacred 
feast without wine, a parody of the Eucharist. 

In spite of the terrible fate of Mani, his disciples 
rapidly increased in numbers ; they spread in a short time 
from Persia over Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine, over 
Egypt and North Africa, and even reached Italy, Gaul, 
and Spain. But a few years after the death of Mani, we 
find Diocletian, who hated religious division in general 
and a new sect from the hostile realm of Persia in par- 
ticular, addressing a severe edict ^ to Julian, proconsul of 

^ Given in Gieseler, i. 250. 

The Great Divisions. 

Africa, against this abominable gang of Manichseans, and 
condemning their chiefs to the flames, their adherents to 
beheading and confiscation of goods. They spread how- 
ever notwithstanding; and, though their public worship 
was suppressed in the sixth century, we find scattered 
secret societies of Manichseans late in the Middle Ages, if 
indeed they can be said to be even now extinct. 

6. In the stir of parties and the struggles of sects 
there became manifest a great unity, the Catholic Church^; 
the Church not of Paul or Cephas, of Montanus or 
Marcion, but of Christ. In the midst of the winds of 
doctrine which blew from all quarters, men felt it the 
more necessary to take their stand upon the Rock. The 
great mass of the disciples clung to the central truths of 
Christian doctrine, which were neither Judaic nor Gnostic, 
but Christian and Apostolic. They felt that behind all 
partial views were truths which are indeed universal, 
destined for all men ; in spite of all divisions, there was 
still one all-embracing or " Catholic" Church''', of which 
particular Churches were members. The divisions of the 
early generations played a large part in bringing these 
things into distinct consciousness. Even St Paul in his 
lifetime appealed against the strange opinions of isolated 
innovators to the greater antiquity and universality of the 
true faith ^; and after the death of the last surviving 
Apostle, it was even more necessary to appeal to such a 
standard against the almost infinite variet}^ of opinions 
which claimed to be in some sort Christian. The sense of 
unity and continuity to which the early writers appeal 
was brought into greater prominence as it was brought 
into danger. 

And as the expectation of the speedy coming of an 
earthly reign of Christ faded away, the conception of the 
Church as itself the earthly province of the Kingdom of 
God asserted its true place in men's minds. It presented 
itself as a divine institution, a means of deliverance from 

1 On the nature of the Church, 
see Hooker, Eccl. Vol. Bk. iii. ; 
Pearson On the Creed, p. 334 i^' ; 
W. Palmer, Treatise on tlie Church; 
B. F. Westcott, The Historic Faith, 
p. 115 £f. 

" The phrase is used in Ignatius, 
ad Smyrn. o. 8, and in the Letter of 
the Church of Smyrna on the 
martyrdom of PolycarjJ, in Euseb, 
II. E. IV. 15. 

3 Coloss. i. 5, 6, 

The Great Divisions. 


the world and of adoption into the heavenly kingdom. 
It is the guardian of the truth committed to it, and the 
bestower of grace through the Word and the Sacraments 
which Christ ordained. The ministry is divinely instituted 
as a continuation of the apostolic office. It is the Church 
under the guidance of the successors of the Apostles which 
is recognized as the Apostolic Church ; it is the whole 
congregation of Christian people dispersed throughout the 
world which is recognized as Catholic. To belong to the 
Catholic Church is not only to hold the true faith, but to 
be a member of that great and unique organization to 
which its Lord has given exceeding great and precious 
privileges and promises. To be outside this organization, 
to be disowned by it, is the last and most fatal of 

Chap. V. 



1. The human mind naturally attempts to connect 
and systematize the truths imparted to it ; it is intolerant 
of mere isolated fragments of truth. And this systema- 
tizing faculty, working upon the truths revealed in Christ, 
produced in the course of ages the fabric of Christian 
theology. But in the early years of the Church it was 
perceived that there must be some limitation of the truths 
which could be considered Christian ; neither the pretended 
revelations and traditions of the Gnostics, for instance, nor 
the apocryphal books of some other sects, could be admit- 
ted to be sources of Christian doctrine. What then are 
the genuine sources of Christian truth ? 

A. In the first place, Holy Scripture \ The Scriptures 
of the Old Testament were received from the first in all 
the Churches as authoritative declarations of the Divine 
Will. But here the question arose, what was to be under- 
stood under the name " Holy Scripture " ? The Hebrew 
Canon^ was indeed defined, but several later works of 
Palestinian and Egyptian Jews, though never received by 
the Hebrew doctors as equal with the ancient Sacred 
Books, were thought by many to possess some degree of 
authority. And to the great mass of Christians, the books 
of the ancient Jewish Canon and the recent additions were 

1 Chr. Wordsworth, The Canon 
of Scripture ; B. F. Westcott, in 
Diet, of the Bible, i. 250 ff. s. v. 
Canon; and Canon of the New 
Testament; C. A. Swainson, The 
Autliority of the Neiv Testament ; 
S. Davidson, The Canon of the 

Bible; A. H. Charteris, The New 
Testament Scriptures. 

2 This word is used by antici- 
pation; it does not occur in this 
sense until a later period than the 
third century (Westcott, D. B. i. 

The Theology of the Church and its Opponents. 

known alike in the Greek language. It was not easy 
to distinguish the " Canonical " from the " Apocryphal " 
books — to use the terms by which they came to be desig- 
nated in later times — when all came before them in the 
same form and with no outward marks of distinction. 
And this confusion was propagated in the West by the old 
Latin Version, which was made from the Greek. The 
prevalence of this uncertainty induced Melito of Sardes to 
enquire in the East for the true canon of the ancient 
Books. The list of the Books of the Old Testament which 
he gives ^ exactly coincides with that of the English 
Church, except in the exclusion of the book of Esther. 
Origen*^ gives in the main the same catalogue, including 
Esther, and perhaps also Baruch. Although, however, 
men whose attention had been specially directed to the 
subject distinguished between the ancient Hebrew books 
and the later additions, many early writers quote Apocry- 
phal books as of authority. In the case of the New Tes- 
tament, we have to do with the formation of a Canon, not 
with the recognition of one already formed. While the 
teaching of the Apostles, and of others who had seen the 
Lord, was still fresh in the minds of the brethren, the 
need of an authentic written standard of the facts and 
doctrines of the Gospel was scarcely felt. The " word " 
was a message or proclamation ; it was heard, received, 
handed down. But as this word died away, a variety of 
written documents claimed to supply its place. It is clear 
however that, from the earliest date at which we could 
expect to find evidence of such a fact, the Four Gospels 
which we recognize occupied a place apart ; the picture of 
Christ which we find in the earliest Christian writers is 
the picture which we find in the Gospels and not elsewhere. 
Both in orthodox and heretical writers there is a constancy 
of reference to the now-received Gospels such as cannot 
be produced in favour of any other writings whatever. 
Irenoeus, connected by only one intervening link with St 
John, distinctly recognizes four Gospels^ — undoubtedly our 
four — and no more, as the authentic pillars of the Church. 
The Apostolical Epistles from the first claimed to be some- 

and as early as the 

thing more than occasional writings'* 

1 Euseb. H. E. iv. 26. 

2 lb. VI. 25. 

3 H(£r. III. 11. 8. 

4 Col. iv. 16 ; 1 Thess. v. 7. 


Tlte Theology of the Church and its Opponents. 

time when the Second Epistle of St Peter was written, the 
Epistles of St Paul were clearly regarded as Scripture \ 
Basilides the Gnostic, about the year 125, quotes as Scrip- 
ture the Epistle to the Romans and the First to the Corin- 
thians^ Clement of Alexandria recognizes " the Apostle " 
— the collection of apostolic writings — as correlative to 
" the Gospel ^." Tertullian speaks expressly of the "New 
Testament " as consisting of " the Gospels " and " the 
Apostle *." The earliest testimonies to the existence of 
the New Testament as a whole are the catalogue con- 
tained in the famous Muratorian Fragment^, written about 
A.D. 170, a Western document; and the Syriac version of 
the New Testament, called Peshito, made about the same 
period, which to a great extent agrees with it. In the third 
century testimony is abundant to the general reception as 
Scripture of nearly all the books of the New Testament 
which we at present acknowledge. Certain books — the 
Epistle to the Hebrews, of Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, 
James, and the Apocalypse — were not received as canonical 
with the same absolute unanimity as the rest. Of these it 
may be said, that by the end of the third century " the 
Apocalypse was universally received, with the single ex- 
ception of Dionysius of Alexandria, by all the writers of 
the period; and the Epistle to the Hebrews by the 
Churches of Alexandria, Asia(?), and Syria, but not by 
those of Africa and Rome. The Epistles of St James and 
St Jude were little used, and the Second Epistle of St 
Peter was barely known ^" And the reverence with which 
the books of the New Testament were received was due to 
the belief that their writers had the special guidance of 
the Holy Spirit^. The Scriptures are divine writings, 
oracles of God, writings of the Lord*. The prophets spoke 
as they were moved by a spirit given by God^ yet in such 

1 2 Pet. iii. 16. 

- Hippolyt. HcET. Eef. vii. 25, 

3 Strom. VII. 3, p. 836 ; cf. vi. 11, 
p. 784. 

* Adv. Fraoceam 15. Cf. Adv. 
Marcion. iv. 1. 

6 Eouth, Rell. Sacra;, i. 394; 
Wcstcott, Canon of N. T. pp. 235 
ff., 557 ff. 

« Westcott in Diet. Bible, i. 263. 

'' Westcott, Introd. to the Gos- 
pels, App. B, p. 383 ff.; J. De- 
litzsch, De Inspiratione Script. Sa- 
cra quid statuerint Patres Aposto- 
lici, etc. (Lips. 1872). 

8 Ireiiffius, Hcer. ii. 27. 1 ; i. 8. 
1 ; V. 20. 2. 

^ Uveiifxari iv9i<^, Athenag. Le- 
gat. 7 and 9. See De Soyres, 
Montanism, pp. 62 ff. 

The Theology of the Church and its Opponents. 


a way that the sphits of the proj^hets were subject to the 
prophets, not in the blind furor or ecstasy of a pagan 
soothsayer \ The recognition of the guidance of the Spirit 
granted to the sacred writers did not blind the early 
Fathers to the differences of their gifts. Both Irenajus'' 
and Origcn' made excellent remarks on the peculiarities of 
the style of St Paul, and TertuUian speaks of him in the 
early days of his discipleship as still raw in grace*, as if 
callable of after-development. 

It was an object of great importance with the early 
defenders of the faith to shew the essential harmony of the 
Old Testament with the New, a harmony which Marcion 
and some others denied. It is in view of such an opinion 
that Irenseus^ lays down, that it is the same Householder 
who bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. 
Both the Old Testament and the New were brought forth 
by one and the same Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. 
The two Testaments are the two pillars upon which rests 
the mighty structure of the Church. The method of the 
ancient interpretation of Scripture is, for the most part, 
neither historical nor philological ; it is the effort of pious 
and believing minds to find in the books for which they 
felt so much reverence the greatest amount of edification 
for their souls. 

B. But the appeal to the Scriptures against heresy was 
not in all cases conclusive. Many of the early Christians 
knew little of them ; they had believed without paper and 
ink'. And it was difficult for the orthodox teachers to 
refute the allegorical interpretations by means of which 
many heretics thrust their own opinions into Scripture, for 
they themselves also practised the same method. Heretics 
frequently claimed to possess the only key to its meaning. 

The early teachers did in fact appeal to the doctrine of 

^ Miltiades in Euseb, H. E. v. 


liar. III. 7. 

3 In Euseb. H. E. vi. 25. 11, 

■* " Gratia rudis," c. Marcion. i. 

5 liar, IV. 9. 1; Fragment 27, 
p. 346. 

^ C. A. Heurtley, Harmonia Syni- 
boUca ; Gilder in Herzog's Real- 
Eiicyclop. V, 178, s. v. Glaulens- 

regcl; J. E. Lumby, Hist, of the 
Creeds; C. A. Swainson, TheNiccne 
and Apostles' Creeds, etc. ; A. Hahn, 
Bibliothek der Symhole und Glau- 
hensregeln der alten Kirche, ed. 
G. L. Hahn; C. P. Caspari, Vn- 
gedruckte...Quellen zur Geschichte 
des Tail/symbols und der Glauhens- 
'' Irenffius, Hmr. in. 4. 2. 

Chap. VI. 

of Old 
and New. 


The Rule 



The Theology of the Church and its Opponents. 

the Apostles, as maintained in the Churches which they 
had founded. They appealed to the actually existing 
faith in the Churches of such cities as Jerusalem, Antioch, 
E])hesus, Alexandria, Corinth, Philippi, Thessalonica, Rome. 
Irena3us^ claimed the authority of his old friend and 
master ; Polycarp had seen an apostle, Valentinus had not. 
He claimed the authority of the Church of Ephesus, 
founded by St Paul, instructed by St John ; and generally 
appealed to the store of faith left by the Apostles in the 
Churches. In precisely the same strain Tertullian^ affirms, 
that what the Apostles taught is to be discovered through 
the Churches which they founded, in which they preached, 
to which they wrote. That doctrine is to be held true, 
which agrees with that of the apostolic Churches, the 
sources and springs of faith. 

And it was natural and indeed necessary that the 
essence of the apostolic teaching, as it was found in the 
memories of the Churches and in the writings of the New 
Testament, should be summed up in a brief and easily 
grasped shape for the use of the faithful. Such a Rule of 
Faith, Rule of the Church, Rule of Truth ^ or by whatever 
name it may be called, does in fact soon make its appear- 
ance. No such Rule, as far as we know, was drawn up by 
any Apostle or by the Apostles collectively, yet a document 
which set forth the primitive doctrine naturally claimed 
the authority of Christ and the Apostles. It was given by 
teachers in a briefer or more extended form as circum- 
stances required, so that it has come down to us in several 
shapes, in which we may generally trace the special errors 
against which they are directed. 

Traces of such a Rule are found in Ignatius* and in 
Justin Martyr®. But it is in Irenseus^ first that we find a 
tolerably complete summary of the Faith which the Church 
dispersed throughout the world had received from the 
Apostles and their disciples ; the belief in one God, the 
Father All-Sovereign^, who made heaven and earth ; in 

1 Hcer. III. 3. 4. 

' De Prcescript. c. 21. Cf. c. 26. 

^ d eKKXrjcnaffTiKos Kavwv (Clem. 
Ak'x. Sirom. vn. 15, p. 807) ; Kavwv 
rrjs dXrjOeias (Ivenxus, 1.9. 2); regula 
lidei (TertuUian De Virgg. Vel. c. 
1 ; De Prescript, c. lii) ; species 
eorum qua; per prtcdicationem apo- 

stolicam manifeste traduntur (Oii- 
gen De Princip. Prooem.). 

* TraUian. 9; Blagues. 11. 

s Apul. I. 6. 

" liter. I. 10. 1. Compare in. 4. 
1 ; IV. ;-53. 7. 

7 B. F. Westcott, The Historic 
Faith, pp. 36, 215. 

TJie Theology of the Church and its Oiiponents. 


one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was incarnate for 
our salvation ; and in the Holy Spirit, who through the 
prophets proclaimed the life and death, the resurrection 
and ascension of our beloved Lord, and His coming again 
in the glory of the Father, to raise up all flesh of all man- 
kind, and to do just judgment upon all. The short Rule 
given by Tertullian* coincides in substance with that of 
Irenaius, with the addition that the Virgin Mary and 
Pontius Pilate are mentioned byname. In Origen^ the 
statement of the Rule is mingled with paraphrastic com- 
ment referring to opinions of the writer's own time, but 
it is easy to see that the substance of the faith taught in 
Alexandria was identical with that of Gaul and of Africa. 
The same may be said of the summary of apostolic teach- 
ing given in the Apostolical Constitutions ^ where it is 
remarkable that the twelve Apostles, with St James the 
Lord's brother and St Paul, are said to have drawn up this 
" Catholic teaching " for the use of those to whom the 
oversight of the Church had been entrusted. In these 
formularies we have not mere individual utterances, but 
the expression of what the Church at large felt to be the 
essence of its faith. These cardinal truths remain fixed 
and firm, while matters of conduct and organization admit 
of change from time to time under the influence of the 
grace of God*. But custom and tradition are by no means 
to be followed contrary to the words of Christ^ 

Side by side with the conception of Catholicity was 
developed that of Heresy®, They who did not accept 
in its fulness the apostolic doctrine embodied in the Rule 

^ De Virgg. Vel. 1; compare 
Adv. Praxeam 2, De Prcescript. 

- De Frincip. Proctm. c. 4. 

•' VI. 11 and 14. 

•• Tert. De Virgg. Vel. 1. 

* Cyprian, Epist. 63, c. 14. 

** The word al'pecrts in its origin 
conveyed no sense of blame; it 
simply designated any party — as 
of jiliilosopbers, jurists, or theo- 
logians — drawn together by hold- 
ing common opinions. The parties 
of the Pharisees and Sadducees 
were aip^aeis (Acts v. 17 ; xv. 5) ; 
so was the early Church in relation 


to the Jews (Acts xxiv. 5; xxviii. 
22). It is evident however that 
St Paul felt the term dishonourable 
(ib. xxiv. 14) ; he places alp^aeis 
among the evil works of the llesh 
(Gal. V. 20), and regards them as 
trials to the sound in faith (1 Cor. 
xi. 19). A man given to faction 
{aipeTLKOv) he would reject from 
the community (Tit. iii. 10; cf. 
2 John 10, 11). In hia writings 
the word had already come to de- 
signate blameworthy partisanship 
and separation. In the early Fa- 
thers — as Ignatius — the word is 
only used in an unfavourable sense. 




lical Con- 



The Theology of the Church and its Opponents. 

Chap. VI. 


Faith in 
THE One 

of Faith were heretics. Heretics, says IrenaeusS offer 
strange fire; doctrines, that is, strange to the Church. 
They are a rebellious minority. It is of the essence of 
heresy that it claims to be Christian ; that it disguises false 
doctrine under Christian terms ; that it offers, as Ignatius^ 
says, a deadly poison mixed with honey- wine ; its wolves 
pass for sheep, its wild beasts for men. It springs from 
unbridled self-assertion. It is a later birth, while Catholic 
doctrine is from the beginning, and therefore truel The 
duty of Christians is to avoid heretics, but to pray for 
them, that they may be brought to repentance*. The 
Church was continually arming itself against heresy, and 
so to some extent modified its own attitude. 

Akin to the Rule of Faith, though distinct from it in 
origin, is the baptismal Confession. From the earliest 
times a profession of faith was required of him who would 
be baptized. When the Lord charged His Apostles to 
admit men to discipleship by baptism into the Name of 
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost^ it is 
clear that He required faith in the Holy Trinity as a 
condition. A man must "confess the good confession^" 
in order to receive baptism. But in the course of a few 
generations it came to pass that the candidate was re- 
quired to answer "somewhat more than the Lord laid 
down in the Gospel^" Something was added of the 
Church^ perhaps also the resurrection of the flesh^ 

2. The central belief of Christians in one God, creator, 
ruler, sustainer of the universe, was contradictory to poly- 
theism. One of their first tasks was to persuade the heathen 
that their rejection of a plurality of deities and of visible 
objects of worship, was not atheism. In controversy with 
them they appealed both to the works of nature, and to 
man's inborn, spontaneous recognition of a supreme deity, 
when his eyes were not blinded that they saw not. The 
man who knows himself, shall know God***. In the Chris- 
tian conceptions of xhe deity we see a certain variation in 

1 Ilceres. iv. 20, 2. 

2 Trail. 6; Fhil<i(]elph.2; Smyrn. 

* Tertullian, Adv. Marcion. iv. 4. 

* Ign. Smijrn. 4. 

" Matt, xxviii. 19. 

« 1 Tim. vi. 12. 

7 Tertullian, De Cor. Milit. 3. 

8 Id. De Baptismo, 6. 

9 Id. l>e Prascript. 36. 

'" Clem. Alex. Fcedag. iii. 1, p. 

The Tlieology of the Church and its Opponents. 


teachers of different schools. Tertullian^ ascribes a bodily 
form to God, but then he understands by " body" any 
medium by which " an existing thing manifests its exist- 
ence ;" his "body" is not necessarily gross and palpable. 
At the other extreme are the Alexandrian theologians, 
whose great effort it was to keep the conception of God 
clear of the conditions of time and sense. Origen naturally 
would not hear of God's being described as in any sense 

Unlike the heathen philosophers, Christian teachers 
almost invariably held that God had made the world, 
not from pre-existing formless matter, but from nothing^ ; 
that He was the cause of matter as well as of form. Justin 
Martyr* and Athenagoras' are apparent rather than real 
exceptions. No one of the early writers has more vigorously 
attacked the pagan view than Tertullian, in his treatise 
against Hermogenes. Against the Gnostics the doctors 
of the Church earnestly contend that no inferior handi- 
craft deity was the creator of the world, but the very 
same almighty Power who redeemed it. And against 
the Gnostics also it was maintained, that it was not in 
consequence of any overpowering necessity, but of His 
own will, of His own love, that God made the world. The 
pagan notion of a supreme Destiny or Fate, to which even 
gods were subject, was rejected. God was the creator 
not only of the visible universe, but also of the invisible 
world of angels and spirits, by whose agency He rules the 

3. But if the unity of the Deity was carefully asserted 
by the early Church against pagan polytheism and Gnostic 
dualism, no less earnestly was it maintained that in this 
Unity is a Trinity of Persons, equally divined This One 

^ De Game Christi, 11, Melito's 
treatise irepl ivawixATov 6eov (Euseb. 
H. E. IV. 26. 2) probably related to 
the Incarnation. See G. Salmon 
in Diet. Chr. Biogr. in. 898. 

' J. Pearson, On the Creed, p. 
47 ff.; B. F. Westcott, The His- 
toric Faith. 

» 2 Maceab. il 28, that God 
made all things i^ ouk ivroiv, is 
quoted as an authority. See, on 

tho whole subject, Pearson, On the 
Greed, p. 52 ff. 

^ Apul. I. 10: but see Trypho 5. 

' Legat. 10, 15. 

^ See G. IBull, Defensio Fidei 
Nicance ex Scriptis... intra tria pri- 
ma Ecclesice Scecula; F. C. Baur, 
Die christi. Lehre von der Drei- 
einigkeit and Vorlesungen ilber Dog- 
metigeschichte, vol. i. 392 ff. ; J. A. 
Dorner, Pertson Christi, trans, in 


Chap. VI. 


The Holt 


The Theologi/ of the Church and its Opponents. 

God in Three Persons is the object of Christian worship 
and contemplation \ In the early ages it was sought to 
give adequate expression to the central blessing of Christi- 
anity, the union of the life of God with the life of Man ; 
and this end could only be attained by such a conception 
of the divine and human in Christ Jesus as should make 
clear both the perfect God and perfect Man in Christ, and 
this without confusion of Persons. Hence the Ebionite 
conception of Christ as a being essentially human, though 
filled with the Spirit of God and even in wondrous wise 
begotten of the Spirit, was rejected as altogether short of 
the truth. Equally inadequate was the conception of a 
being essentially divine, seemingly appearing in human 
form, or seemingly united with the man Jesus. All con- 
ceptions, in a word, were rejected, which seemed to en- 
danger either the true divinity of the Son of God, or the 
true humanity of the Son of Man, or the true union of 
God and Man in one Christ. If it is in Christ that the 
one real Atonement is made between God and Man, faith 
must contemplate in Him at once God with us and the 
true and perfect Man. 

This it was which the Church of the early ages set 
itself to express in its teaching. The earliest pagan wit- 
ness testifies expressly that Christians sang a hymn to 
Christ as God''. Clement of Rome^, Barnabas*, Ignatius^, 
without special exactness of expression, assert the tran- 
scendent dignity of the Person of the Son. 

The word Logos (X0709), already used by Philo to 
designate both the reason and the creative utterance of 
God, was applied by St John to the incarnate Son, and, 
after him, by Justin Martyr and other Apologists. The 
Logos is, in the usage of the latter, the deity in Christ, as 
distinct from His human nature^ The Logos existed 
with the Father at first only potentially, but was brought 
into actual existence before the creation of the world and 

Clark's Theol. Library; J. Kuhn, 
Kathol. Dogmatik, vol. 3; L. Dun- 
ker, Zur Geschichte d. christl. Lo- 

^ The word rpids is first applied 
to the Deity by Theoi^hilus of An- 
tioch, ad Autolycum, 11. 15; "Tri- 
nitas" by Tertnllian, De Pudi- 

citia, 21. 

2 Pliny, Epist. x. 96 [al. 97]. 
Compare Euseb. H. E. v. 28. 5. 

3 Ad Cor. 16. 
* Epist. c. 5. 

^ Rom. Prooem. and c. 2; Ephes. 
15, 18, 20. 

8 Justin, Dial. c. Tryphone, 128. 

The Theology of the Church and its Opponents. 


with a view to that creation \ God manifests Hiinself in 
Him, just as human reason is manifested in the utterance 
of an articulate word I The Word is in this mode of 
conception subordinate. Irenseus" on the other hand 
deprecates as over-subtle all speculation on the manner 
in which the Son was produced from the Being of the 
Father, while holding fast the doctrine of His divinity. 
As regards the Holy Spirit, difficulties arose from the 
attempt to explain to the understanding His essence and 
relation to the Father. Some, as Theophilus*, made the 
Logos coordinate with the Wisdom or Holy Spirit of God; 
some, as Justin, seem to make little distinction between 
Logos and Spirit^; Logos, Spirit, Power, seem almost 
identical terms. 

Several teachers deviated from the Catholic doctrine 
of the Holy Trinity, tending towards one of two extremes. 
Either, in their anxiety to preserve the unity of God, they 
identified the Father and the Son, or they made the Son, 
however exalted, something less than God. The first, 
starting from the cardinal truth of the divine Unity, con- 
tended that the advocates of a Trinity preached two or 
three gods, and called themselves advocates of the mon- 
archy" of the Deity. This "Monarchian" tendency de- 
veloped itself in different directions. 

One party held that the Supreme Being simply worked 
upon or influenced the man Christ. This opinion had 
several adherents. Theodotus was the first who, since the 
days of the Ebionites, taught that the Lord was mere 
man, for which heresy he was excommunicated by Victor, 
bishop of Rome. The same view was maintained by 
another Theodotus, a money-changer, and also by Arte- 
mon'', who further maintained that his view was that of 
the primitive Church. In this class must also probably 
be included those whom Epiphanius^ calls Alogi, who 
rejected the whole doctrine of the Logos. But the most 
conspicuous of those who maintained this heresy is Paul 

' Apol. II. 6. 
" Tryph. 61. 
* Hccres. ii. 28. 
" Ad Autol. I. 7. 
^ Apol. I. 33. 

^ "Monarchiam, inqniunt, tene- 
mus"; Tertull. adv. Praxeavi 3. 

7 On these three, see Euseb. 
H. E. V. 28. Theodoret {Hccret. 
Fabh. II. 5) gives extracts from the 
Little Labyrinth written against 
Theodotus ami Artemon. 

8 Hares. 54. 

Chap. VI. 








The Theology of the Church and its Opjionents. 

of Samosata, the worldly, splendour-loving bishop of 
Antioch in Syria. He denied that the Son of God came 
down from Heaven, and asserted that Christ was a mere 
natural man like other men\ God's Logos and God's 
Sjiirit remained always in God, just as a man's Reason 
or Discourse remains in his own heart ; the Son was no 
distinct substance or person (/x?) elvai evvirocnaTov), but 
in God Himself; the Logos came and dwelt in Jesus, who 
was a man ; but the divine Wisdom dwelt in Him not in 
essence, but as a quality. He denied that his doctrine 
involved the suffering of God the Father, saying that 
the Word alone wrought upon Christ, and ascended again 
to the Father^ Paul was deposed by a synod held at 
Antioch^ in the year 269, but his party, under the name 
of Paulianists or Samosatenians, maintained itself into the 
fourth century. 

Others again altogether obliterated the distinction 
between the Father and the Son. The first who became 
conspicuous by the advocacy of this confusion was Praxeas, 
who came from Asia Minor to Rome in the days of 
Eleutherus and Victor, and combatted Montanist views 
with great success. His doctrine of the Person of Christ 
is said to have found considerable acceptance in the im- 
perial city. Tertullian says of him, with characteristic 
vigour, that he accomplished two tasks for the devil — he 
banished prophecy and introduced heresy, he put to flight 
the Paraclete and crucified the Father*. He seems to 
have taught, that the Father and the Son were one 
Person, the former in a spiritual state of existence, the 
latter in the flesh. It follows that the Father must have 
suffered for us, whence those who held this opinion re- 
ceived the name of Patripassians^ 

1 Euseb. H.jB. v. 27; 30. 11. 

^ Epiphanius, Hares. 65, 1 ; read 
together with the fragments of the 
circular letter of the Antiochene 
synod preserved in Leontinus of 
Byzantium c. Nestor, et Eutych. 
(ill Galland's Bihlioth. Patr. xii. 
623 ff.). Of the documents in 
Mansi (Cone. i. 1033 ff.) only the 
Epist. Episcoporum ad Pauluvi 
seems beyond suspicion. This is 
also given in Bouth's Reliquice, 
in. 289. 

^ According to the Letter of the 
Semiarians (c. a. d. 858) referred 
to by Athanasius (De Synod. 43), 
Hilary of Poitou {De Synod. 86), 
and Basil [Epist. 22), this council 
decided /xt) eZyat 6fiooij<noy rbv vlov 

TOV 6eOV T(fi TTCLTpi. 

* Adv. Praxeam 1. Tertullian's 
treatise against Praxeas is our only 
authority for all that relates to him, 

^ Pearson, On the Creed, pp. 158, 
322, notes. 

Tlie Theology of the Church and its Opponents. 


Similar views were propounded by Noetiis\ a native 
of Smyrna, where he was excommunicated for his heresy 
about the year 200. He, if we may trust the accounts 
of his opponents, held that the one God and Father, the 
Maker of the universe, appears and disappears when He 
will and as He will ; one and the same Person is visible 
and invisible, begotten and unbegotten ; unbegotten from 
the beginning, begotten when He willed to be born of a 
virgin ; in His own nature incapable of suffering and 
death, and again of His own free will capable of suffering 
and death, even the death of the cross. The same Person 
bears the name of Father or Son, as circumstances require. 
Noetus's doctrine was propagated in Rome by his disciple 
Epigonus'^ who there won over Cleomenes, and in Rome 
it found its most able and conspicuous opponent in Hip- 
polytus. This distinguished teacher held the Person of 
the Son to be distinct from the Person of the Father, but, 
in order to preserve the primordial unity of the Deity, he 
maintained that Christ must be described as a " begotten 
God" [Oeo'i yevvTjTO'i). The Logos has no doubt a distinct 
personality, but He first became a Person by proceeding 
forth from God the Father as His first-born, through 
Whom all things were made. Hippolytus himself, in fact, 
regarded the Son as a Being created simply by the will of 
the Father^. Against this view Zephyrinus, then bishop 
of Rome, declared that he at least acknowledged only 
one God; he believed Christ, the incarnate Son of God, 
to be, not another God distinct from the Father, but in 
His divine Being or Substance the same with God the 
Father. Zephyrinus had probably no intention of denying 
the Personality of the Son, but simply wished to protest 
against what he considered the ditheism of Hippolytus. 
The latter however retorted upon him fiercely : and when 
Zephyrinus's successor in the bishopric, Callistus, entered 
the lists against him, he attacked him with still greater 
bitterness; a bitterness intensified probably by circum- 

^ Hippolytus, c. H(sr. Noeti (in 
Hipp. Opjy. p. 43 f. ed. Lagarde), 
and Hceres. Ref. ix. 10 ; Epiphanius 
Hares. 57; Theodoret Haret. Fab. 
III. 3. 

- This is the account of Hii^po- 

lytus [Hcer. Ref. ix. 7). Theodoret 
[Uceret. Fahb. in. 3), perhaps out 
of mere misunderstanding of Hip- 
polytus, makes Epigonus and Cleo- 
menes the teachers of Noetus. 
3 Hicrcs. Ref. x. 33, p. 436. 

Chap. VI. 

fl. c. 200. 

ism ill 
c. 215. 




TJie Theology of the Church and its Opponents. 

stances which are very imperfectly known to us\ Making 
allowance for the evident bias of Hippolytiis, onr only au- 
thority on this matter, it seems probable that Callistus 
attempted to maintain the unity of Substance in the Deity 
against Hippolytus, while protesting against the confusion 
of Persons introduced by Noetus and others. For while 
Rome was yet agitated by the opinions of Noetus, a new 
form of error had found its way thither, the "modalism" 
of Sabellius. 

It is uncertain whether this remarkable person sprang 
from Libya or from Italy. It is certain that in the 
episcopate of Zephyrinus he was at Rome, where he was 
won over to the opinions of Cleomenes, which he developed 
after his o%\ti fashion. When Callistus, who had previously 
seemed to encourage him, became bishop, he disowned 
Sabellius, and it was perhaps for this reason that the 
latter left Rome for the East and became a presbyter at 
Ptolemais, where his success induced Dionysius of Alex- 
andria to write a treatise against him. His system pro- 
bably derived something from the same Gnostic source which 
influenced the Clementine Homilies^. The Monad, he says, 
becomes by extension a Triad ; God extends and again con- 
tracts Himself. As there are diversities of gifts, but the 
same spirit, so the Father always remains the same, but is 
extended into Son and Spirit^ The same God, remaining 
One in substance, transforms Himself according to the 
several needs which arise, and now addresses us as Father, 
now as Son, now as Holy Sj)irit. In the Old Testament 
He legislated as Father ; in the New He became man as 
Sun ; as Holy Spirit He descended upon the Apostles*. 
And he compared the Deity to the sun, which though 
always remaining one substance, has three energies or 
modes of manifestation ; first, his actual mass or disc ; 
second, that which causes light ; third, that which causes 

In the same class with Noetus and Sabellius may be 
placed Beryllus of Bostra, whose leading tenet was, that 
the Son before His Incarnation had no defined personal 

* See p. 82, note 1. 

2 Horn. XVI. 12. 

3 Athanasius, c. Avian. Orat. iv. 

12 aucJ 25. 
* Tlicodoret, Hcrret. Fahb. ii. 9. 
5 Epii^hanius, llcrrcs. 62, § 1. 

The Theology of the Church and its Opponents. 


existence \ Beryllus, however, was convinced of his error 
by the arguments of Origen. 

In the working out of the human expression of the 
doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the teaching of Origen"^ is 
of great importance. With him, God is the one real 
existence, the ground of all the phenomena of the universe. 
But it is impossible to conceive God, the supreme energy, 
resting in idleness and immobility ; He must therefore 
exert His ceaseless energy in creative work, and He must 
reveal Himself*. The link between the eternal God and 
the creation is the Son, the very image of His substance ; 
the word " Wisdom," applied to Him in the older writings, 
denotes the totality of the primal thoughts, which are the 
eternal forms of the universe, the source of which is the 
Son. The expression " Logos" denotes the revelation and 
communication of these same thoughts which are contained 
in the Divine Wisdom. But we must not attribute all 
this to the Will of the Father only ; for the Will of God 
is itself impersonated in the Son. The Son is begotten 
of the Father; but we must not say that a portion of 
the substance of the Father is transformed into the Son, 
or that He was created out of nothing by the Father; 
there was never a time in which God was not the Father 
of the Son ; with God all things are present \ The Son 
.is a consubstantial emanation from the glory of the Father. 
Yet is this identity of substance a conditional one, for the 
Father alone is the absolute God ; in this respect the Son 
is inferior to the Father. The Father, He said, is greater 
than I. The Father therefore alone is the proper object 
of worship. Origen even sometimes speaks of the Son as 
created or fashioned. The subordination of the Son shows 
itself in His work, the Son does the same as the Father, 
but the impulse comes from the Father; He is the in- 
strument by which the Father works. 

The Holy Spirit is made through the Son, for all 
things were made through Him^; He is the first and 

' Mtj Trpov<pe(TTa.vai Kar' I8iav ov- 
fflas ■irepiypa<prjv, Euseb. 11. E. vi. 

2 See p. 72 ff. 

^ De Principiis, iii. 5. 3. 

* Oiig. ill Genes. (0pp. ii. 1, ed. 

Delarue). Cf. De rrincip. i. 2; 
IV. 28; fragment in Athanasius, 
de Decret. Syn. Nic. c. 27. 

^ In Joannem, i. 3 (Ojjp. iv. 60, 
ed. Delarue). 

The Theology of the Church and its Opponents. 

chiefest Being made by the Father through the Son, and 
subordinate to the Son, as the Son to the Father. He 
it is Who sanctifies the elect people of God. 

In Origen's doctrine of the Holy Trinity therefore 
there is clearly subordinationism. In teaching the consub- 
stantiality of the Son, Origen is the forerunner of Atha- 
nasius; when he teaches subordinationism, he may be 
appealed to by the Arians. 

In the early days of the Church few Latin writers 
appear as theologians. Tertullian, however, is a vehement 
opponent of Patripassianism. He is himself a decided 
subordinationist, considering the Father as the whole sub- 
stance of the Godhead, and the Son as a portion of, or 
effluence from, Him\ The Holy Spirit in Tertullian's 
scheme occupies the same subordinate position as in Ori- 
gen's. How widespread was the Patripassian theory is 
shown by the fact, that the poet Commodian held it, 
apparently without any consciousness that he had deviated 
from the faith of the Church. 

4. Many, perhaps most, of the early Christians re- 
garded the second coming of Christ, and His final victory 
over all that opposed, as rapidly approaching. And to most 
of these the coming of the Lord presented itself in the 
form of Chiliasm, the expectation of a thousand-years reign 
of the Redeemer, with His risen and glorified saints, upon 
earth, as a preparation for the final consumm.ation of all 
things'^ Probably the contest against Gnosticism tended 
to strengthen the belief in a material aspect of the 
Kingdom of God which the Gnostics denied. The Epistle 
of Barnabas^ first lays it down, that as one day is with 
the Lord as a thousand years, the first six thousand years 
of the world's existence are as the six days of creation. 

1 Adv. Praxeam, cc. 7, 8, 9, 26. 
•'Fuit tempus cum et Filius non 
fuit." c. Hervwgenem, c. 3. 

2 J. M. Gerhard, Loci Theolo- 
gici, XX. 95 ff. ed. Gotta; Joseph 
Mede, Clavis Apocalyptica, espe- 
cially The Thousand Years, in Ap- 
pendix (Works, vol. 2); J. Light- 
foot, De Chiliasmo Prcesenti, in 
Critici Sacri, Thesaurus Novus, ii. 
1042; T. Burnet, The Millenanj 
Reign of Christ, in De Statu Mor- 

tuorum, vol. 2; [H. Corrodi], Kri- 
tische Geschichte des Chiliasmus; 
Chr. Wordsworth, Lectures on the 
Apocalypse, Lect. i. ; S. Waldegrave, 
New Test. Millennarianism; E. B. 
Elliott, Horce Apocalypticce, vol. 4; 
Miinscher, Lehre vom tausendjah- 
rigen Reich, in Henke's Magazin, 
VI. 2, p. 233 ff. ; J. A. Dorner, 
Person Christi, i. 240. 
3 c. 15, §§ 4, 5. 

The Theology of the Church and its Opponents. 


and the seventh period is to be a thousand years of 
sabbatic peace and rest. Justin Martyr' expects Christ 
to reign a thousand years in Jerusalem. The materialistic 
and sensuous view of the reign of Christ appears in the 
description of the blessings of the saints quoted from 
Papias by Irenseus''. Irena^us himself derives his imagery 
from such passages as those which speak of the wolf 
dwelling with the lamb, of the fruit of the vine to be 
drunk in the Father's Kingdom, of the fashion of this 
world passing away. TertuUian, as a Montanist, was of 
course extremely emphatic in his belief of the speedy 
coming of the Lord. At the end of the second century 
these opinions, when they were propagated at Rome by 
Cerinthus, were strongly opposed by Caius the presbyterl 
In Alexandria, they met still more vigorous opposition, 
and under the great influence of Origen^, came to be 
regarded as at any rate fanatical, if not heretical. 

1 Trypho, cc. 80, 81. 

2 c. HareK. v. 3.3. 3. In Geb- 
hardt and Harnack's Pair. Apoot. 

II. 87. 

3 Euseb. H. E. in. 28. 

* Dt Principiis, u. 11, § 2. 

Chap. VI. 



From the first, the Church of God had a deep con- 
sciousness of its unity ; its members were bound together 
by a common feeling for religion, a common system, a 
common hope^. Wherever there were Christians, a brother 
found himself at home. Whoever came to a Church and 
brought the true teaching was to be received and enter- 
tained^. Especially were they to be honoured who spoke 
the Word of God*. The Apostles, Prophets and Teachers^ 
who passed from Church to Church without being of 
necessity officials of any, had no doubt a large share in 
keeping alive the sense of unity in the scattered com- 
munities. These were men raised up by the Holy Spirit 
for the work which they undertook. There is no record 
of their being elected or ordained ; the Church recognized 
the gift which was in them. Careful arrangements were 
made for their reception in the Churches which they 

1 L. Thomassin, Vctus et Nova 
EcclesicB Disciplina ; J. B. Light- 
foot, The Christian Ministry, in his 
ed. of the Epist. to the Philijypians, 
p. 179 ff. (1869) ; Charles Words- 
worth, Outlines of the Christian 
Ministry, and Remarks on Dr Light- 
foot's Essay; Edwin Hatch, The 
Organization of the Early Christian 
Churches, Bampton Lectures, 1880; 
F. Probst, Kirchlicke Disciplin in 
den drei ersten christlichen Jahr- 
hunderten; A. Harnack, Texte und 
Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der 

altchristlichen Literatur, Band ii. 
Heft 1 u. 2, § 5. 

2 Tertullian, Apol. 39. 

^ Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, 
XI. 1. 

^ Ih. IV. 1. Compare Hebr. xiii. 

5 1 Cor. xii. 28. Cf. Ephes. ii. 
20 ; iii. 5 ; Hermae Pastor, Visio 
III. 5. 1. It must be borne in mind 
that the title dirdaroXos ( = mission- 
ary) is not hmited to the Twelve. On 
the Prophets, see E. H. Plumptre, 
Biblical Studies, p. 323. 

The Organization of the Church. 


visited, and directions given to guard against impostors' ; 
for in very early times tares were found among the wheat. 
But besides teachers specially raised up, a regular organi- 
zation for teaching and government was found in each 

The distinction of clergy^ (KXrjptKot) and laity {XalKoi) 
is found at an early age of the Church. Clement of Rome* 
hints not obscurely a parallel between the order of the 
priesthood in the Jewish Church and that of the Christian 
ministry. The Ignatian letters are full of references to 
a distinct order of ministry with several ranks ; Polycarp 
has much to say on its claims and duties. Irenseus speaks* 
rather of the distinction conferred by moral and spiritual 
excellence, the Alexandrian Clement rather of the privi- 
leges of the true Christian "gnostic,^" than of a formal 
order of ministers, though clearly recognizing a distinction 
between the presbyter, the deacon, and the layman^ It 
is in Tertullian that we first find the words " sacerdos " 
and " sacerdotium " applied directly to the Christian 
ministers and ministry'; yet he asserts distinctly enough 
the priesthood of the community in Christ, though the 
authority of the Church made a distinction between clergy 
and laity, " ordo " and " plebs," as was plainly indicated 
in the separate bench assigned to the former^ A few 
years later Hippolytus speaks'' of himself as sharing in 
the grace of high-priesthood (dp-)^c€paT€ia<i). 

But in no early writer do we find the sacerdotal claims 
and functions of the ministry put forward so distinctly as 
they are by Cyprian ; he frankly applies to the officers of 
the Christian Church passages relating in the first in- 
stance to the privileges and duties of the Aaronic priest- 
hood^" ; those who oppose the priesthood are guilty of the 
sin of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram". The language of the 

^ Teaching, xi — xiii ; Hermffi 
Pastor, Maudat. xi. 

2 On the derivation of the word, 
see Baur, K. Geschichte, i. 2GG, note 
3 ; Ritschl, Alt-Kathol. KircJie, p. 
388 ff. ; Lightfoot on Philippians, 
p. 245 ff. (2na ed.). 

^ Ad Corinthios, cc. 40 — 44. 

•* E.g. Hares, iv. 8. .3 ; v. 34. 3. 

8 Strom. VI. 13, p. 793. 

« lb. III. 12, p. 552. 

''E.g. De Fnescript. c. 41; r>e 
Baptismo, c. 17 ; De Virqin. Vel. 
c. 9. 

8 De Exhort. Cast. c. 7. 

* Hceres. Ref. Prooem. p. 3. 
1" See, for instance, Epistt. 3, 4, 
43, 59, 66. 

" De Ecel. Unit. cc. 18, 19; p. 
220 f. ed. Hartel. 


The Organization of the Church. 

Apostolical Constitutions \ probably contemporary with 
Cyprian, is not less strong. 

With regard to the particular offices of the ministry, 
we have already seen'' that instances of one person exer- 
cising in a Church an authority such as we call episcopal 
are not wanting in the Apostolic age. The leading in- 
dications of the several orders of the ministry in early 
writers are as follows. 

The Apostles, says Clement of Rome*, appointed their 
first-fruits as "bishops and deacons" of those who should 
join the faith ; here, as in St Paul's epistles, all officers 
of the Church deriving authority from the Apostles seem 
to be included under the two categories of direction or 
supervision and executive or ministerial activity. More- 
over, they directed that after they had fallen asleep other 
approved men should succeed to their office (Xeirovpyiav) ; 
therefore, continues Clement, those who had either been 
appointed by the Apostles themselves, or by men of con- 
sideration with the consent of the Church, were not lightly 
to be deposed from their office ; expressions which seem 
to imply that after the time of the Apostles, the chief 
officers of a Church were appointed by a council of its most 
distinguished members, with the assent of the general 
body of the faithful. 

The Shepherd of Hermas describes as the squared 
stones of the great building, " Apostles, and bishops and 
teachers and deacons^", where the " teachers" are probably 
presbyters, regarded in their teaching capacity; so that 
the division of offices here appears to be equivalent to 
that into bishops, presbyters, and deacons. 

Before the middle of the second century we find a 
distinct recognition of the three orders of the Christian 
ministry, bishops, presbyters, and deacons'*. And opposite 
parties agree in inculcating the most profound respect for 
the bishops, who are the centres of unity. Nothing was 
to be done without the bishop and the presbyters; the 

' E.g. II. 33 f. 

2 Above, p. 30. 

^ On tlie office of Lishop, see A. 
W. Hadflan, in Smith and Cheet- 
ham's Diet, of Chr. Antiq. i. 208 ff. 

* Ad Corinthios, c. 44. 

" oUtoI daiv 01 dirdffroKoi Kal iirl- 
(TKowoi Kal di8d(rKa\oi. Kal 8idKovoi. 
Visio III. 5. See Gebliardt and Har- 
nack's eJ. pp. 89, 40. 

" iRnatins, ad Polycarpum, c. 6. 

The Organization of the Church. 


faithful were to obey the bishop even as Christ^ ; in 
obeying the bishop, they obeyed God I Such is the 
language of the opponents of Judaism. Nor is that of 
the Judaizers themselves less emphatic ; the bishop sits 
in the scat of Christ^; he is the look-out at the bows of 
the ship of the Church* ; is entrusted with the place of 
Christ; whoso honours him honours Christ^ ; he presides 
over and guards the truth delivered to the Church®. 
Irenseus and Tertullian, at the end of the second century, 
assume everywhere the universal prevalence of episcopacy 
from the time of the Apostles themselves ; they know 
nothing of any other form of government. 

And not only do we find opposing parties agreeing in 
paying the highest respect to the episcopal ofiice, but the 
succession of bishops in many cities is traceable to a very 
high antiquity'. 

The statement of Jerome®, that episcopacy was de- 
veloped out of presbyterianism in consequence of the 
increase of faction and schism, which rendered necessary 
the predominance of one head in each Church, is probably 
not well founded, and is contradicted by other authorities^. 
But there can be no doubt that the dissensions of the 
early ages, especially the struggles of Judaism and Gnos- 
ticism against catholic Christianity, turned men's thoughts 
to the advantage arising from the recognition of one head 
in each Church ; the due succession of bishops was the 
chief security for the maintenance throughout the world 
of the teaching transmitted from the Apostles themselves*"; 
in the universal prevalence of episcopacy was the varied 
unity of the Church most clearly seen". 

Yet, even when a distinct episcopal order is fully 
recognized, bishops are still called presbyters by Greek'''^ 
and sacerdotes by Latin *^ writers; the offices of bishop and 

Chap. YH. 

1 Ignatius, ad Magn. c. 7 ; Trail. 
c. 2; Philadelph. cc. 3, 7; Smyrn. 
cc. 8, 9. 

^ Ephes. cc. 5, 6. 

^ Clementine Iloin. iii. 60. 

* Clementine Epist. ad Jacobum, 
c. 14. 

6 Horn. HI. 66. 

^ Ejnst. ad Jacob, cc. 2, 6, 17. 

^ J. J. Blunt, First. Three Gentn- 
riea, ch. iv. 

8 On Titus i. 5 (0^;^. vii. 694, 
ed. Vallarsi) ; Epist. 146 ad Evang. 
(i. 1082). 

^ E. g. Theodore of Mopsuestia 
on 1 Tim. iii. 1. 

I'* Irenseus, Hceres. iv. 33. § 8. 

" Cyprian, De Unit. Eccl. c. 5 ; 
Fpist. 55, c. 24 (ed. Hartel). 

1- Ireuseus, iii. 2. 2. 

!■'' Cyprian, Epist. 55, c. 8; 61, 
c. 1. 

nence of 
pacy in 

and Pres- 


The Organization of the Church. 

presbyter were not separated by so broad a line as those 
of presbyter and deacon; " every bishop is a presbyter, but 
every presbyter is not a bishop*"; the practice of the 
Church, rather than any fundamental distinction, made the 
episcopate greater than the presbytery '^ In truth, in 
the earliest times, the bishop is never divorced from the 
presbytery, which forms a " spiritual coronal" around him^; 
it is the especial duty of the presbyters to support and 
encourage their bishop'' ; they are to him as strings to the 
lyre^ ; the faithful are to submit themselves not only to 
the bishop but to the presbyters, as apostles of Christ 
and the council of God^ In each Church there is one 
bishop as there is one sanctuary, and with each bishop is 
joined the presbytery and the deacons'. 

Every city in which a Church was formed had its bishop, 
whose position in many respects resembled that of the 
rector of a parish surrounded by his assistant clergy rather 
than that of the modern bishop of a diocese, containing 
perhaps several large towns. To him it belonged to preside 
over the assemblies, whether of the presbyters or of the 
brethren at large ; to decide finally on the reception or 
exclusion of members ; to grant commendatory letters to 
members of his flock passing into other dioceses ; to main- 
tain correspondence with other Churches** ; to ordain, to 
preach, to administer the Sacraments ; the two latter offices 
he might, and often did, delegate in case of necessity to 
his presbyters. 

As the number of the faithful increased, it became 
more and more necessary to prevent the ministers of the 
Church from being entangled in worldly affairs ; a bishop 
was forbidden even to undertake the guardianship of 
children, as tending to withdraw him from his proper 
avocations ^ This withdrawal of the highest order from 
secular affairs tended to give greater prominence and in- 
fluence to the order which had from the first the principal 
charge of charitable organization of the Church — that of 

^ Pseudo-Ambrosius [Hilary] on 
1 Tim. iii. 10. 

- Augustine, Epist. 82, c. 33 (p. 
202, ed. Ben.). 

3 Ignatius, ad Mngn. e. 13. 

* Ad Trail, c. 12. 

" Ad Ephes. c. 4. 

8 Ad Trail, cc. 3 and 4. 

'^ Ad PMladelph. c. 4. 

8 Hennas, Pastor, Visio ii. 4. 3. 
St Clement wrote his Epistle to the 
Corinthians as representing the 
Church of Rome ; Ep. i. 1. 

3 Cyprian, Epist. 1, c. 1. 

The Organization of the Church. 


deacons \ ministri, or, as they soon came to be called, 
Levites. These formed a link between the higher clergy 
and the laity; besides preaching and baptizing by the 
bishop's authority, they kept order in the cliurches, they 
received the offerings of the faithful, prepared the Holy 
Table, read the Gospel, administered the Sacrament, both 
to the faithful who were present at the Lord's Supper and 
to those who were absent by reason of sickness ^ In 
numberless ways they were the active agents of the bishop. 
One of their number, who was more especially attached to 
his service, received the name of archdeacon, and became 
one of the most important officers of the Church. In some 
Churches, the original number of deacons, seven, was not 
exceeded for several generations ^ That the deacons, 
possessing so much actual power, did not always confine 
themselves within the proper limits of their office, is 
evident from a decree of the early part of the fourth 

But the needs of the Church occasioned a still further 
extension of the ranks of the ministry. In the third 
century we find already, besides the superior orders, sub- 
deacons, acolyths, exorcists, readers, and door-keepers^. 
Those who were destined for the higher office passed in 
most instances through a period of probation in these 
lower stations. 

There is possibly a trace of the office of Reader even 
in Scripture itself; and the homily which is known as the 
Second Epistle of Clement^, and which is not later than 

^ Smith and Cheetham, Diet. 
Chr. Antiq. i. 526. 

2 Justin Martyr, Apol. i. 65 ; 
Cyprian, De Lapsis, c. 25 ; Epist. 
5, c. 2; 17, c. 1; 15, c. 1; 16, c. 3 
(ed. Hartel), 

3 Cone. Neo-Cccsar. c. 14 [al. 15]. 
(Mansi, n. 546 ; Eoutli's Reliquia, 
IV. 185.) Seven was the number of 
Roman deacons in the middle of 
the third century. Euseb. H, E. 
VI. 43. 11. 

* Cone. Arelat. cc. 15, 18 (Mansi, 
II. 566). 

* On the minor orders in the 
first two centuries see A. Harnack, 
Ueber den Unsprung des Lertorats 


und der anderen niederen Weilien, 
in his Texte und Untersuehungen, 
Band ii. Heft 5. 

6 Letter of Cornehus, bishop of 
Eome, in Euseb. H. E. vi. 43. 11. 
The Apostolieal Constitutions (viii. 
46. 7) mention only subdeacous and 
readers (in addition to the higher 
orders) as appointed by the Apo- 

7 Eevel. i, 3; 1 Tim. iv. 13. Com- 
pare Justin, Apol. I. 67. 

8 c. 19, 1 ; a passage in c. 17, 3 
seems to exclude the supposition 
that it was to be read by a pres- 


Chap. VII. 



A.D. 250. 



The Organization of the Church. 

the middle of the second century, certainly seems to have 
been written with a view to being publicly delivered by a 
reader. In the most ancient du'ections for the ordination 
of Church ministers, the reader is mentioned before the 
deacon, and is required (among other qualifications) to 
possess the gift of fluency, "knowing that he discharges 
the office of an evangelist^". All this indicates that in 
the early days of the Church the reader was a person 
possessing a special gift, regarded as akin to that of pro- 
phecy, though in the third century his office had become 
mechanical, and he was ranked, as we have seen, last but 
one of the minor officials. Even then, however, when his 
office was limited to the reading aloud of the selected 
portions of Scripture in the congregation, he retained 
traces of his former quasi-prophetic office. The stipend 
which is assigned to hiin is said to be "for the honour of 
the prophets V' and in his ordination the Lord is implored 
to bestow upon him the prophetic spirit ^ It is noteworthy, 
that all the ancient Western ordinals refer the election of 
the reader to the brethren, meaning probably the clergy*. 
He was anciently ordained with laying- on of hands ^; later, 
by the delivery of the book from which he was to read^ 

The office of Exorcist was also one which required a 
special gift — that of casting out evil spirits^ — which could 
not be conferred by the laying-on of hands. Hence the 
exorcist does not receive ordination in that form ; the 
grace that is in him is manifest to alP. The ancient 
Western ordinals direct the bishop to constitute an 
exorcist by delivering to him a book of exorcisms^ — the 
office then implying duties little more than mechanical. 

Two causes contributed to render necessary an order of 
Subdeacons. As the congregations became larger and the 
services more elaborate, the deacons were found to be no 
longer capable of discharging all the offices which fell to 
them, in the congregation and out of it; while at the same 
time a religious scruple prevented the authorities in many 

^ Aiarayal tQiv 'Attoctt. c. 19 ; in 
Harnack, Texte etc. Bd. ii. p. 234 ; 
and Lectorat etc. p. 17. 

2 Const. Apost. II. 28. 2. 

3 lb. vni. 22; Lagarde's Iteli- 
quice Juris Eccl. c. 11, 15. 8. 

* E. Hatcli in Diet. Chr. Antiq. 

s.v. Ordination, p. 150(5. 
" Const. Apost. VIII. 22. 
e Hatch, u.s. p. 1509. 
^ Cyprian, Epist. 69, c. 15. 

8 Const. Apost. vni. 26; Lagarde's 
Beliquice, c. 15. 

9 Hatch, U.S. p. 1609. 

The Organization of the Church. 


cases, even in large towns, from appointing a larger num- 
ber of deacons than the mystic seven sanctioned by the 
practice of the Apostles in Jerusalem \ Hence a subordi- 
nate order was instituted to discharge such portions of the 
Deacons' office as might be delegated to them. These 
officers were probably first appointed in a Greek-speaking 
Church, such as that of Rome, for even Cyprian speaks of 
them as "hypodiaconi." It is noteworthy that Fabian, 
who was bishop of Rome in the middle of the third 
century, is said'"* to have appointed seven subdeacoos in 
addition to the already existing seven deacons, as if to 
bring up the nvmiber of the two together to that of the 
"regions" of the city, to which greater importance had 
recently been given by the appointment of a kind of sub- 
prefect in each by Alexander Severus. We have not suffi- 
cient information to enable us to give any exact definition 
of the duties of the subdeacon in the first three centuries. 
C}7)rian^ employed them as his messengers to the Churches 
under his charge. 

The aKoXouOo^;, sometimes spoken of under the equiva- 
lent Latin name " se-^^uens*," was the follower or personal 
attendant of some higher official, probably a presbyter. 
Their appointment seems to indicate a certain increase of 
state and dignity in the higher officials, but they are not 
mentioned, in this early period, in such a way as to indicate 
with any exactness the duties of their office. The number 
of acolyths at Rome mentioned in the letter of Cornelius 
was forty-two — just thrice the number of the regions in 
the city. 

As the deacons came to be more and more occupied 
with higher duties, the lower were delegated to officials of 
a different class. Among these were the door-keepers 
(ostiarii or OvpwpoX) who discharged the duty of watching 
the doors, to prevent the intrusion of improper persons. 
They are first mentioned in the letter of Cornelius of 
Rome already referred to. 

These were the male officers of the Church. But it was 
thought well to give to women also a share in the sacred 

1 See above, p. 129. 
"^ Liber Pontijicalis, no. ii. p. 148, 
ed. Duchesne. 

' Epist. 29 ; 34, c. 4 etc. 
* Lib. Pontif. no.ii.pp. 137, 161. 
Ed. Duchesne. 


Chap. Vn. 




The Organization of the Church. 

ministry*. The widows about whom directions are given 
in the Pastoral Epistles^ seem to be rather those whose 
maintenance was undertaken by the Church than a band 
of workers. No mention, at least, is made there of any 
special work entrusted to them, though the fact that those 
placed on the roll were required to be already distinguished 
for good works seems to indicate that they were not mere 
dependents on the bounty of the Church. The word 
" widow "^ however soon came to be applied to single 
women who devoted themselves to Church work, so that 
Ignatius* salutes "the virgins who are called widows," and 
Tertullian® mentions — and denounces — the case of a virgin 
who had been entered on the roll of widows before she was 
twenty. The widows were to be engaged, some in interces- 
sion and in waiting for the enlightenment of the Holy 
Spirit; some in nursing the sick, and reporting to the 
presbyters such cases as required their help''. 

The seclusion of women in the East rendered them in 
many cases inaccessible to the ministrations of men, and 
the office of deaconess was created to reach them^. Thus 
we find Phoebe called by the same title as a male deacon ^ 
and directions given about the qualifications of women- 
deacons". Deaconesses, like widows, might be either vir- 
gins, or widows who had been once married*"'. The widows 
were placed under the orders of the deaconesses", who are 
again made subject to the deacons*^ The duties of the 
deaconess, besides that of paying pastoral visits to women 
under the direction of the bishop, were, to keep the door 
of the women's entrance to the church, and to perform 
such portions of the baptismal rite as could not without 
indelicacy be undertaken by men". She was to be ap- 
pointed by the bishop only, not by any inferior ofiicer". 

The members of Christian communities in the neigh- 

^ dkiarayal, C. 24. 

2 1 Tim. V. 3—15. 

^ It should be borne in mind 
that neither xvp''- nor vidua of their 
own proper force imply loss of a 
husband or wife. See W. L. Bevan 
in Smith's Diet, of the Bible, s. v. 
Widoiv, Vidua is used in classical 
Latin for unmarried (Livy, i. 46). 

'^ Ad SmynuEos, 13. 

5 De Virginihm Vel. 9. 

^ AcaTayai, C. 21. 

^ Const. Apost. III. 15. 5. 

^ AiaKovos, Eom. xvi. 1. 

9 1 Tim. iii. 11. See Lightfoot, 
Philip, p. 189. 
1" Const. Apost. VI. 17. 
" lb. III. 7. 7. 

12 lb. II. 26. 3. 

13 lb. II. 57. 7; III. 15. 6; viii. 
23. 4. 

" lb. III. 11. 

The Organization of the Church. 


bourhood of a city attended its services^ and acknow- 
ledged the authority of its bishop. Those which were 
more remote were cared for by their own presbyters and 
deacons * ; or sometimes even a deacon, without bishop or 
presbyter, had charge of a congregation, though not, of 
course, so as to exercise specially episcopal functions ^ 

In the latter part of the third century mention is 
made of bishops of country districts {a'ypwv*) as well as of 
towns, and a little later we find such bishops recognized 
under the title of 'x^copeirlaKOTroi, or district-bishops ; these, 
however, had no power of ordaining without a commission 
from the city-bishop to whom they were subject^ We 
see here a difference of rank within the limits of the 
episcopal order itself 

As to the election of bishops and other officers of the 
Church, Clement of Rome'* describes the "bishops and 
deacons," after the death of the apostles, as being ap- 
pointed by " men of consideration " with the assent of the 
whole Church. By these dvSpe^ eWoyt/Moi may possibly 
be understood men like Titus and Timothy, commissioned 
by the apostles themselves to "appoint elders"; but it 
seems more probable that the term is intended to de- 
signate those who from the length of time that they had 
been disciples, their rank, or their personal qualities, 
exercised a dominant influence in the community ; the 
" seniors'"' of a later time. At all events, the assent of the 
whole Church is appealed to as a proof of the validity of 
the appointment of the rulers who succeeded the apostles. 
And we find the popular election of bishops still main- 
tained in the third century; Cyprian* represents the vote 
of the whole brotherhood in a city as necessary for the 
valid appointment of its bishop, the lay people as having 
a dominant influence in choosing good pastors and reject- 
ing bad. Even if there were in a city but three Christians 
competent to vote, they were still to have a bishop, but 

^ Justin Martyr, Apol. r. c. 67. 
^ Cyprian, Epist. 15, c. 1. 
3 Cone. Elib. c. 77"(Mansi, ii. 

* In a letter of the Church of An- 
tioch, in Euseb. H. E. vii. 30. 10. 

* Cone. Ancijr. c. 13 (Mansi, ii. 
517) ; compare Cone. Neo-Ccesar, 

c. 13 [al. 14], (Mansi, ii. 546). 

^ Ad Corinth, c. 44. 

^ Gesta Purgationis CcBciliani 
etc. p. 268 (in Optatus's Worhs) ; 
in this passage " seniores" are dis- 
tinct from "presbyteri." 

8 Epist. 67, cc. 3—5; 55, c. 8, 
Compare Const. Apost. Yin. 4. 2. 

Chap. VII. 


Election of 


The Organization of the Church. 

their choice was to be assisted and ratified by their 
brethren from a neighbouring city\ But after that the 
relations of Churches and bishops to each other had been 
developed and organized, another element appears in the 
choice of prelates, — the assent of the neighbouring com- 
provincial bishops". But this does not seem to have been 
universally required ; in Alexandria, at least, up to the 
middle of the third century, the presbyters always nomi- 
nated as bishop one chosen out of their own body, just 
as an army might elect a generaP. A later authority* 
says that it was not until the time of Alexander (a.d. 
313 — 336) that the presbyters ceased to ordain the 

The choice of the person, however, to whom the 
episcopal office was to be committed was a matter entirely 
distinct from the conferring of the distinctive authority 
of the office. The person once chosen received the im- 
position of hands from his fellow bishops, and was regarded 
not simply as the elected head of the community, but as 
invested with an authority derived from the Lord Himself^; 
the voice of the people was the voice of God*^; the bishops 
were successors of the Apostles'; the gifts conferred by 
ordination were divine. Three bishops, or two at least, 
were to lay hands on the head of the person to be 
consecrated ^ 

Nor was it the bishop only who was chosen by the 
voice of the community over which he was to preside ; 
ministers of other orders, not only presbyters and deacons, 
but even readers, were not appointed in ordinary cases 
without the people being summoned to deliberate on 
their merits ; though in cases where a special fitness was 
manifest the bishop might exercise his individual judg- 
ment and authority**. In ordination to inferior offices, not 
more than one bishop was required to lay hands on the 

1 Aiarayal tGiv 'Attoctt. C. 16, in 
Harnack, Texte etc. ii. 2, p. 232. 

2 Cyprian, Epist. 59, c. 5, and 
67, c. 5. 

3 Jerome, Epist. 146, ad Evang. 
(0pp. I. 1082). 

* Eutychius, Annales, i. 331 
(quoted by Lightfoot, 229). 

" Cyprian, Epist. 3, c. 3 ; 66, 
c. 9. 

6 Cyprian, Epist. 58, c. 5; 66, 
c. 1. 

7 lb. 45, c. 3. 

8 Cone. Arelat. (a.d. 314), c. 20, 
in Mansi, ii. 473; Can. Apust. 1. 

9 Cyprian, Epist. 38. 

The Organization of the Church. 


head of the candidate \ In some cases unction was added 
to the laying-on of hands. 

The bishop was for the most part chosen from the 
members of the Church over which he was to preside, and 
generally from among those who had already borne some 
office in the ministry'; he who had borne well the in- 
ferior office earned for himself a higher place. That in 
times of j^eril the communities endeavoured to choose men 
fitted by age, character, and holiness to guide them aright 
will readily be understood. The training of the Spirit, 
the education of practical work, superseded in early days 
special schools for the clergy ; yet the catechetic school of 
Alexandria rose into fame in the third century, and came 
to be regarded as an advantageous place of training for 
those who were to undertake the sacred ministry; and 
schools frequented by Christians were formed at Csesarea, 
Antioch and Rome. The older Christian writers, as 
Clement of Alexandria and the Apologists, owed their 
learning and cultivation to heathen and not to Christian 

While Christian teachers were insisting on the parallel 
between the Christian ministry and the Jewish priest- 
hood, in one respect at least they entirely deserted this 
analogy. Marriage had been held in honour among the 
Jews, and Jewish priests had been always married. But 
even in early days a notion that marriage implied im- 
perfect sanctity crept into the Christian Church ; and 
as imperfect sanctity was certainly not befitting those 
who served the altar, the celibacy of priests came first 
to be recommended and then to be enjoined. Second 
marriages of the clergy were from the first discom- 
mended'*, and even held to exclude from ecclesiastical 
offices^; but no evidence is found® of the actual pro- 
hibition of marriage to the higher orders of the ministry 

1 Constt. Apost. viii. cc. 16 — 22. 

'■^ Cyprian, Epist. 55, c. 8. 

^ H. C. Lea, Historical Sketch of 
Sacerdotal Celibacy (Philadelphia, 
1869); J. A. and A. Theiner, Die 
Einftihrung der erzioungenen Ehe- 

* 1 Tim. iii. 2; TertuUian, De 
Exhort. Cast. c. 11. 

^ Origen, in Lucam, Horn. 17, 
p. 953. 

^ The passage inserted by Ri- 
gault's MS. in TertuUian, De Ex- 
hort. Cast. c. 10, even if genuine, 
is very far from proving that the 
church of the second century en- 
joined the celibacy of the clergy. 

Chap. VII. 




The Organization of the Church. 

until the very end of the third century or the beginning 
of the fourth. At that period a diversity of practice 
clearly existed in the Church ; we find excommunication 
denounced against any bishop, presbyter, or deacon who 
should put away his wife under pretence of living a more 
ascetic life'; while of those who were unmarried when 
ordained, only readers and choristers were permitted to 
marry '^; again, it is laid down that bishops, presbyters, 
deacons, and other clerks engaged in the work of the 
ministry should not dwell with their wives*. A special 
provision was made by the council of Ancyra* for the 
case of deacons. If a deacon on ordination declared that 
he could not engage to lead a life of continence, he was 
permitted to marry ; but if he was ordained without any 
such declaration, he was to be degraded from his office if 
he afterwards married. It is evident however that there 
was at this time no absolute and universal prohibition 
of marriage to the clergy, for several distinguished clerics 
of the fourth and later centuries are known to have been 
married ; nor does that state seem in their case to have 
been regarded as in any way involving disgrace or in- 

We find in the earliest age of the Church no distinct 
ordinance as to the maintenance of its ministers; no doubt 
many, like St Paul, lived by the labour of their hands; 
yet the great principle, that the labourer is worthy of his 
hire, and that those who preach the gospel should live of 
the gospel, was always admitted ; they who waited at the 
altar became partakers of the offerings of the faithful at 
the altar; and these free-will offerings soon came to be 
regarded as the equivalents for the tithes of the Mosaic 
law^ As the clergy were more and more withdrawn 
from all participation in secular affairs ^ it became more 
and more necessary to provide them an independent sub- 

It is evident from the very nature of the Church of 
Christ that the church of any one city could not remain 
in loveless isolation from other churches ; the community 

^ Can. Apost. 5. 

2 lb. 26; compare Cone. Neo- 
Cccsar. (a.d. 314) c. 1. 
8 Cone. Eiiber. c. 33; Arelat, 

c. 6. 

* Can. 10. 

^ Cyprian, Epist. 1, c. 1. 

" Can. Apost. 6. 

The Organization of the Church. 


of life, discipline, and doctrine, which are inherent in the 
very conception of the church, forbade it. As individuals 
formed a particular church, so all the churches taken to- 
gether formed the Catholic Church ; and as the bishop with 
his presbyters formed the council of a particular commu- 
nity, so an assembly of bishops formed the council of a 
district or province. Synods were a natural product of 
the life of the church ; they were the principal manifesta- 
tions of its unity both in doctrine and discipline ; it was 
their work to concert common action for the resisting of 
heresy, the healing of schism, the restoration of discipline. 
The bishop seems in all cases to have represented his 
church at these assemblies ; as each bishop was the centre 
of unity in his own church, so the assembled bishops repre- 
sented'"' the unity of a larger portion of the church uni- 
versal. Of general councils we of course hear nothing 
until the cessation of persecution permitted the assembling 
of prelates from every quarter of the Roman world. 

But though bishops were the ordinary and indispens- 
able members of a synod, yet presbyters also took part in 
their deliberations. In Cappadocia, seniors and presidents^ 
assembled every year to arrange matters of common con- 
cern. At the synod of Antioch, it was the presbyter Mal- 
chion who refuted Paul of Samosata, and in the synodal 
letter the presbyters Malchion and Lucius are named ^ 
expressly, while several of the bishops are not. The regu- 
lar constitution of a council at the beginning of the fourth 
century was probably that described in the preamble to 
the canons of Elvira*; "when the bishops had taken their 
seats, twenty-six presbyters also sitting with them, and 
the deacons and the whole commonalty (plebs) standing 
by; the bishops said "...The canons run in the name of 
the bishops, though the presbyters no doubt took part in 

1 Hefele, Conciliejigeschichte, Bd. 
I. (tr. in Clark's Theol. Library) ; 
A. W. Haddan, in Smith and Cheet- 
ham's Diet, of Chr. Antiq. s.v. 
Council (i. 473 ff.). 

- The word " reprsesentatio " is 
Tertullian's (Be Jejuniis, c. 13). 
It seems probable, on the whole, 
that his "concilia ex universis ec- 
clesiis" were not Montanistic. 

^ " Seniores et praepositi" (Fir- 
milian to Cyprian, Cypr. Epist. 75, 
c. 4). It is not quite certain here 
that " seniores" are identical with 

* Euseb. H. E. vii, 30; Eouth's 
Reliquice, ni. 287 ff. 

* See the various readings in 
Bruns's Canones, ir. 1. 

Chap. VU. 


tion of 


The Organization of the Church. 

the deliberations, and the deacons and people had perhaps 
the same kind of tumultuary influence as the commons at 
an English witenagemot. 

When it became usual for the bishops of neighbouring 
churches to meet for deliberation on matters of common 
interest, it was necessary that some one of their number 
should have the power both of summoning assemblies and 
of presiding in them. Thus, although in spiritual powers 
all bishops were equal, a certain precedence in dignity 
came to be assigned to the occupants of certain ancient 
and important sees. It is probable indeed that a certain 
subordination among churches existed from the first. As 
in every city where Jews were found in large numbers, 
its sanhedrin exercised authority over the councils of 
the smaller synagogues in the neighbourhood ; so, when 
the faith of Christ came to be preached — and it was first 
preached by preference in cities containing Jewish com- 
munities—a presbytery with its bishop was formed from 
the converts \ which naturally took the oversight of smaller 
neighbouring communities in much the same way that 
the Jewish presbytery had done that of its dependents. 
In some cases the senior bishop, without reference to his 
see, presided in councils; but generally the bishop of the 
chief town of a province — where also the church generally 
claimed an apostle or apostolic man as its founder — sum- 
moned and presided in assemblies, and exercised a vague 
authority over his comprovincial bishops. The great me- 
tropolitan sees were the following, 

Jerusalem itself, blessed with the presidency of St 
James and afterwards of others of the same family, had a 
natviral preeminence among Jewish-Christian churches'. 
But when, after the rebellion in the time of Hadrian, the 
purely Gentile town of ^Elia Capitolina rose upon the 
ruins of the sacred city *, its prerogative passed to Csesarea, 
the political capital of Palestine, where the church was at 
any rate of apostolic origin, and illustrious from the memory 
of St Peter and of St Philip the Evangelist. In Syria 
and the neighbouring countries the pre-eminence of 

^ The parallelism of Jewish and 
Christian organization is noticed 
by DoUinger, Ilandhuch, i. 354. 

- Diet, of Chr. Antiq. s.v. Metro- 


=* Hegesippus in Euseb. H. E. 
III. 32. 6. 

4 See p. 51. 

The Organization of the Church. 


Antioch, the first meeting-point of Jewish and Gentile 
Christianity, was long acknowledged. Alexandria^ rose 
into prominence at a somewhat later period. Here was 
found the most numerous and important Jewish com- 
munity existing beyond the limits of Palestine ; and here 
too was formed in the course of the first two centuries a 
Christian church so important that its bishop ranked first 
among the bishops of the East, though it was not of the 
very highest antiquity, nor founded by an Apostle. The 
authority of this church extended itself — like that of the 
Sanhedrin in the same place — over the communities in 
the Cyrenaica and in Libya, though Cyrene and Libya- 
Mareotis belonged politically to the province of Africa and 
not to Egypt ; a proof that the ecclesiastical was not always 
identical with the political province. 

Rome had probably a larger Jewish population than 
any other city of the West, and here too a Christian church 
was formed, if not by an Apostle, at least in the lifetime of 
many Apostles. It was inevitable that the church in the 
capital of the world, when it came to be an important 
body, should exercise a dominant authority over the 
churches of the neighbouring cities. Such was in fact 
the case, though its predominance was not at once recog- 

The first and natural centre of the church on earth 
was of course Jerusalem, where the Holy Spirit was first 
given ; hence Jewish-Christian fiction in the second 
century gives to St James the Lord's brother the title of 
"bishop of bishops^," and regards him as the centre of eccle- 
siastical unity. But on the destruction of Jerusalem by 
Hadrian, the central power of Christendom passed, by a 
kind of natural affinity, to the middle point of the political 
world, Rome ; henceforth, St Peter and not St James is 
the central figure with the Christians of the Hebrew fac- 
tion. It is again in Judaizing fiction that St Peter — the 
first-fruits of the Lord as the primaeval bishops were of the 
apostles — is represented as possessing supreme authority 

1 Eutychius of Alexandria, Ec- 
clesiic suce Origines, from the Ara- 
bic, in Seldeni Opera, ii. 410 ; J. 
M. Neale, Hist, of the Eastern Ch., 
Patriarchate of Alexandria, Bk. i, 

- Clementine Epist. ad Jacohum, 
"KXi)/;iijs 'laKw^u) TCf Kvpic^ Kal iwi- 
(TKuwajv iTrKTKOjru}." Compare Ham. 
III. C2. 

Chap. VII. 




St James. 

St Peter 
in the 


The Organization of the Church. 

in the Roman church, and handing on the privileges of his 
cathedra to his faithful disciple Clement \ Yet Dionysius 
of Corinth, who had the greatest respect for the Roman See, 
knows nothing of the See of St Peter, but refers the foun- 
dation of the Roman church to St Paul and St Peter in 
common ^ Tertullian ranks Rome, with Corinth, Philippi, 
Thessalonica and Ephesus, among the apostolic sees*, and 
agrees with the Clementines in regarding St Peter as first 
bishoj) of Rome and as having ordained Clement as his 
successor*; yet he treats with the utmost scorn the claim 
of the " pontifex maximus " to be a bishop of bishops, or 
by his own authority to grant remission of penalties for 
certain ofiences^ Irenseus, in an interesting passage®, 
refers to the ancient and glorious Roman see as the ac- 
knowledged preserver of the traditions derived from the 
two great apostles its founders, and therefore having a 
natural precedence^ among the churches. Cyprian, who 
regards Rome as certainly the see of Peter and the centre 
of unity in the church*, urges that the gift of the Lord to 
St Peter was identically the same as that to all the 
Apostles ; if it was given to one in token of its unity, it 
was given to many in token of its variety®; all bishops 
alike are successors of St Peter"; for one bishop to claim 
an episcopate over his brother bishops is simple tyranny". 
The claim of Rome to be "cathedra Petri" was ac- 
knowledged from the end of the second century. But it is 
needless to seek the grounds of the Roman primacy in a 
supposed supremacy of St Peter and a supposed commis- 
sion of St Peter to those who should occupy the Roman 
see. The causes which really led to the pre-eminence of 
the Roman church and its bishop are sufficiently obvious. 

^ Epist. ad Jac. 2. On the 
Papal claims see I. Barrow, Trea- 
tise of the Papers Supremacy ; L. 
E. Dupin, De Primatu Romani 
Pontificis, in his De Ant. Ecclesice 
Disciplina; J. Bass Mullinger in 
Smith and Cheetham's Diet, of 
C'hr. Antiq. s.v. Pope; G. Phillips, 
Kirchenrecht, vol. v.; J. Green- 
wood, Cathedra Petri, vol. i.; J. F. 
von Schulte, Concilien, Pcipste, und 
Bisclwfe ; T. W. Allies, per Cru- 
cem ad Lucem, vol. ii. p. 217 ff. 

2 Euseb. H. E. ii. 25. 8. 

2 De PrcBscript. c. 36. 

^ Ih. c. 32. 

" De Pudicitia, c. 1. 

« Ha!res. in. 3. 2. 

^ Potior [al. potentior] principal- 

8 Epist. 59, c. 14; 55, c. 8. 

» De Unit. Eccl. c. 4. 
10 Epist. 33, c. 1. 

1^ Concil. Carthag. in Cyprian, p. 
436 (ed. Hartel). 

The Organization of the Church. 


All the roads in the world led to Rome, all nations and 
sects were represented there; and probably those obscure 
bishops of Rome in the second century had more of the 
governing instinct than their more literary and contem- 
plative brethren in the East. The majesty of the eternal 
city could not fail to add dignity to its bishop. It was 
not, so far as we can now trace, the greatness of particular 
bishops which raised the church of Rome to its pre-eminence; 
if there were among them saints and martyrs, there were 
also some whose name bears no good odour; but all were 
eager for Roman interests. Callistus was probably a man 
of doubtful character^ but he at least strengthened the 
position of the episcopate by the declaration, that a bishop 
could in no case be deposed by the presbytery, not even in 
case of mortal sin. If Marcellinus offered incense to idols, 
the Roman legend turns even his fall to account, saying 
that it was only by his own voice that he was condemned, 
for " the first see is judged by no man**." In spite of indi- 
vidual failures, the Roman church, like the Roman nation, 
steadily pursued its aim of ruling the peoples. It gained 
its end, so far as the western churches are concerned, 
yet not without many struggles. Its claim to settle con- 
troversy by an authoritative decision was vehemently 
rejected in the second and third centuries by the Asiatic 
and the African churches, and it was not until political 
causes powerfully co-operated with spiritual that the power 
of the great Roman patriarchate was consolidated. With- 
in the first three centuries it exercised authority over the 
"suburbicarian" provinces in Central and Southern Italy, 
and a vague influence over the churches of southern Gaul, 
to which bishops were sent from Rome^. 

1 See p. 81. 

- Roman Breviary, Apr. 26, Lect. 
v; Hardouin, Concilia, i. 217. 

3 Cyprian, Epist, 68 ; compare 
Gregory of Tours, Hist. Franc, i. 


Chap. VII. 



1. We might express the great difference between 
the life of Christians and that of the world around them 
by saying that within the Church were special gifts of the 
Holy Spirit. Outward signs of the presence of the Spirit 
— prophecy, healing of disease, casting out of demons — 
were still recognized in the first three centuries I Ter- 
tullian'' speaks as if it were an e very-day matter for a 
Christian to compel a demon to disclose himself and quit 
the afflicted person. And not less certain signs of the 
presence of the Holy Spirit were seen in the love and 
beneficence of the brethren towards each other. Family 
life received a new sacredness. Children were looked upon 
as a precious trust, to be trained in the chastening of the 
Lord for a higher life. Husband and wife who were heirs 
together of the grace of life were drawn together in a 
closer bond. Tertullian* draws a charming picture of the 
serene happiness of a wedded pair who have all their 
thoughts in common ; who share one hope and one service 
of God ; who pray together, fast together, and approach 

^ C. Schmidt, Im Societe Civile 
et sa Tramformation par le Chris- 
tiariismc, tr. by Mary Thorpe, under 
the title Social RestiUs of Early 
Christianity, Lond., 1885; F. Miiu- 
ter, die Christin im Heidn. Hause: 
C. C. J. Bunsen, Ilippolyttis and his 
Ape, vol. 3; C. J. Hefele, Ueher 
den Rigorismus in dem Lehen der 
alien Christen (in his Beitriige zur 
Kirchengeschichte n. s. w. i. 16 ff.) ; 
W.E.H. Lecky, History of European 
Morals, vol. 2 ; M. Carriere, Die 

Kunst in Zusammenhang der Cultur- 
entwickelung, vol. 3; E. de Pres- 
sense, Christian Life and Practice 
in tlie Rarly Church, from the French 
by A. Harwood-Holmden. 

2 Irenffius ii. 32, 4. 5; Euseb. 
H. E. V. 7. 

=* Ad Scapulam 2, 4; Apol. 23; 
cf. Justin M. Apol. ii. 8; Trypho 
85; Origen c. Cels. iii. p. 133 sp. 

* Ad U.rorem u. 9. Compare 
Clement Strom, in. 10. 

Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 


together the Table of the Lord. Marriage was regarded 
as indissoluble, except in case of adultery \ Nay, in the 
view of some even death itself did not dissolve it, and 
second marriage was, to such, only respectable adultery I 
Doubts were early raised whether marriage was permitted 
to the clergy^. Marriages between Christians and heathens 
were of course looked upon with disfavour*. The poor, 
widows and orphans, those who were sick or in prison, and 
friendless Christian strangers, were the charge of the 
community. For these contributions were made at the 
celebration of the Eucharist^ Ladies visited the poor at 
their own homes". Large sums were given for the re- 
demption of captives^ Never was the helpfulness and 
the courage in the presence of danger which distinguished 
the brotherhood more marked than in time of pestilence. 
While pagans deserted their nearest kindred, or cast them 
half-dead into the streets. Christians gave the utmost care 
to the sick and the dead. Christian or pagan, regardless 
of the deadly atmosphere which they breathed**. The 
Christian regarded his whole life as guarded by Christ 
and loved the sign of His Cross". 

Christians lived in the world as not of the world. 
They were serious while much of the world around them 
was frivolous. Many of the amusements and occupations 
of paganism seemed incompatible with a life vowed to 
God. The pagan divinities seemed to them evil demons'", 
and their votaries given over to a strong delusion. And 
as splendid dress and decorative art were largely in the 
service of pagan worship, they looked with suspicion and 
dislike upon all artificial attractions. Every trade which 
ministered to idolatry was of course forbidden ; and some 
regarded the disguises of a stage-player as a kind of 
deceit and fraud not permitted to true worshippers". Such 
teachers also inveighed against elegance and attractive- 
ness in women's dress as unwoi'thy of those who should be 
devoted to Christ ^l And even without such admonition. 

1 Jerome, Epist. 30, c. 1. 

- Athenagoras, Legal. 33. 

3 Above, p. 135. 

* Tertullian, Ad Uxorem, ii. 3, 4. 

^ Justin M. Apol. i. 67. 

6 TertuU. Ad Uxor. ii. 4, 8. 

' Cyprian, Epist. 62. 

8 Pontius, Vita Cypriani, c. 12; 
Euseb. H. E. vir. 22. 

" Tertullian, de Cor. Militis 3. 

!•> lA.De Idolol. 20; Origen c. Cels. 
bk. VII., p. 378, sp. 

" Tertullian, I)e Spectacidis 23. 

12 Id. De Cultu Feminarum, ii. 2. 

Ch. VIII. 


Social Life and Geremonies of the Church. 

in time of persecution, the realities of life were too ab- 
sorbing to permit much attention to be given to its orna- 
mentation. Civic life was so interwoven with pagan 
worship, so many common observances implied a recog- 
nition of some deity, that Christian life in the midst of 
heathenism was full of pitfalls. It was doubted by some 
whether it was lawful to wear a garland on the head\ or 
to wreathe the door posts, on occasions of public festivity. 
Already in the time of St Paul perplexity arose from the 
fact that portions of the victims offered in sacrifice were 
publicly sold at the shambles, and this must have con- 
tinued so long as pagan sacrifices were tolerated. Some 
doubted whether it was lawful for a Christian to serve 
in the Roman armies, under standards which implied a 
deification of the emperor ^ Those who served could how- 
ever point to the examples of the centurion at Capernaum 
and of Cornelius, who are not recorded to have left their 
military profession. 

2. The horror which the Christian felt towards the 
Pagan world expressed itself in an extreme form in the 
rigorous life which was known as Asceticism^ ; a life, that 
is, of self-denial such as was not expected from the ordinary 
Christian. Ascetics were distinguished by their with- 
drawing — so far as might be — from the world, and devoting 
themselves to prayer and meditation on holy things ; by 
their scanty diet and abstinence from marriage. To such 
was assigned a special rank in the house of prayer*. As 
early as the latter half of the second century we find both 
men and women devoting themselves to life-long celibacy 
in the hope of nearer communion with God^ The apo- 
logist Tatian was a leader of those who from their severe 
self-control were called Encratites"^ ; and Hieracas'', a pupil 
of Origen and in many ways a distinguished man, held 

^ Tertullian, De Corona Militis. 

2 Justin M. Apol. i. 14 ; Athena- 
goras, Leg. c. 35; Tertullian, De 
Idolol. c. 19; De Cor. Mil. cc. 10, 
11; Origen, c. Cels. v. 33; vii. 26; 
VIII. 73. It is certain however that 
in fact many Christians served ; see 
Tertullian, Apol. 37, 42; Euseb. 
H. E. VIII. 4; X. 8; and the story 
of the Thundering Legion, Tert. 
ad Scap. 4 ; see p. 41 of this 

volume, and Diet. Chr. Antiq. s. v. 

3 Bingham's Antiq. Bk. vii. ; I. 
Gregory Smith, in Diet, of Chr. 
Antiq. s. v. 

* Constt. Apost. VIII. 13. 4. 

^ Athenagoras, Legatio 33. 

^ Epiphanius, Hceres. 47. 

^ See above, p. 74; Epiphan. 
Hcer. 67. Neander, Ch. Hist. ii. 
515 (Torrey's Tr.). 

Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 


principles hardly less rigid. Under the influence of such 
principles, women lived unmarried under vows, not yet 
absolutely perpetual ^ Some, in their exaltation, were led 
to attempt that which is above nature, living, while vowed 
to continence, in the same house and in the utmost 
familiarity with men bound by similar vows'^ Such arro- 
gant purity, which was found to have evil consequences, 
was forbidden by a definite enactment in the beginning 
of the fourth century^ This appreciation of virginity not 
unnaturally led to depreciation of marriage, to which no 
doubt some of the coarse associations of heathenism still 
clung. So much coarseness in truth was found in pagan 
marriage-feasts that Cyprian* thought them no fit scenes 
for the presence of a disciple of Christ. 

3. The feeling of the vanity of earthly things and of 
the need of self-discipline and self-mortification combined 
with horror of the pagan world to drive enthusiastic de- 
votees into the desert. Many souls in all ages of Chris- 
tianity have felt the deep longing to withdraw from the 
vain and unsatisfying pleasures and pomps of the world 
into the deep unbroken solitude in which communion with 
God seems more possible. The first great saint of the 
desert — the first, that is, who made a great impression on 
the world — was Antonius, whom we commonly know as 
St Anthony". Born near Memphis in the middle of the 
third century, he was impelled by the hearing of the 
gospel precepts, "Sell all that thou hast" and "Take no 
thought for the morrow," to divest himself of all his 
worldly wealth. He visited some who were already her- 
mits, to learn their manner of life, and soon after fixed his 
dwelling in the midst of barren hills, about a day's journey 

^ To leave this state after pro- 
fession was however a scandal (Cone. 
Ancyr. 19). 

^ Hermae Pastor, Sim. ix. 11 ; Tert. 
De Jejuniis 17; Cyprian, Epist. 
4; 13,' § 5; Cone. EUb. c. 27; Epi- 
phanius, H ceres. 47. 3. 

* Cone. Aneyr. c. 19 (according 
to the versions of Dionysius and 
Isidore) and Cone. Niece, c. 3. 

* De Hahitu Virginum, c. 18. 

s HeribertRosweyd, VitcePatrum, 
sive Hhtorice Eremitiae Libri X.; 
J. C. W. AuKHsti, Handhueh der 


Christlichen Arehfioloyie, i. 1.54 ff., 
418 ff. ; I. Gregory Smith in Diet. 
Chr. Ant. s. v. 

^ Athanasius, Vita S. Antonii ; 
Socrates, i/. E.I. 21; Sozomen i.l3; 
Jerome, Catal. 88. The authenticity 
of the first-named has been ques- 
tioned by Weingarten [Der Ur- 
sjyrimg des Monehthums) but on weak 
grounds. See Hase, K-Geseh. nuf 
Grundlage Akadem. Vorlesungen, 
Th. 1, p. 381, and Jahrbiieher fllr 
Prot. Theol. 1880, Hft. 3. 


Ch. VIII. 



St An- 


Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 

Ch. VIII. 

from the Red Sea, in a ruined tower, the entrance to 
which he blocked up with stones. There he remained for 
many a year, seeing no human countenance, unless it were 
that of a friend who twice a year brought him a supply 
of bread. It was in this solitude that he experienced the 
temptations which have become famous. Outraged nature 
rose against him, and filled his imagination, sometimes 
with horrible forms of demons, sometimes with alluring 
phantoms of beautiful women. The tidings of the per- 
secution of Maximin lured him from his retreat to Alex- 
andria, where the Alexandrians looked with wonder on the 
strange form from the desert. He encouraged confessors 
before the judge and ministered to the saints in prison, 
but found not the martyr's crown. His visit to the haunts 
of men however spread abroad his fame, and his desert 
became populous with disciples, on whom he enjoined the 
great duties of prayer and work. Here we see the 
beginning of the coenobium, the common life of ascetics, 
afterwards so largely developed. He himself continued to 
lead a life of watchings and fastings, hardly consenting to 
take sufficient food to sustain life. He was unlearned, 
but wise with long experience of the human heart. His 
saying — " As the demons find us, so they behave towards 
us, and according to the thoughts which are in us they 
direct their assaults" — shows that he was no brain-sick 
visionary. At his word the sick were sometimes healed 
and demons driven out ; but he was neither elated when 
God heard his prayer, nor angry when his 23rayer was not 
answered ; in all things he praised the Lord. A true 
physician of the soul, he reconciled enemies and comforted 
mourners. In the midst of this poverty which made many 
rich it was made known to him where he would find one 
who was more perfect than himself. Paul^ of Thebes had 
dwelt since the persecution of Decius in a cave of the 
desert, where a palm-tree gave him shade, clothing, and 
food. For ninety years he had been lost to men, and was 
found by Anthony as he lay at the point of death. As 
his own end drew near, he withdrew from the veneration 
and the disquiet of human kind further into the desert, 
and only reappeared occasionally to defend the faith or to 

^ Jerome, Vita PauU Ercmitcc ; Opp. ii. 1, ed. Vallarsi. 

Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 


protect the oppressed. He departed at last in extreme 
old age, leaving behind him the fame of a pure and simple 
character, and a great posterity in the numerous army of 

4. The great end and aim of Christian teaching, witli 
regard to man's life among his fellows, is to produce in 
each man such a condition of heart and mind as will of 
itself impel him to right conduct. But Christian morality 
has also another aspect. There is given to the Church, 
considered as a theocratic community, a code specially re- 
vealed, and sanctioned by glorious promises and terrible 
penalties. This code has to be enforced and the purity 
of the society guarded. Hence within the Church the great 
problems of morality tended to assume a juristic aspect. 
The heads of the community are not merely teachers of 
morality or ministrants in sacred things, but also jurists 
administering a code\ determining what censure or penalty 
should be inflicted in particular cases. The great penalty 
was the exclusion of offenders for a longer or shorter period 
from the privileges of membership ; and these privileges 
could only be regained by a long process of prayer, fasting, 
and humiliation — a process comprehended under the one 
word " penitence" — together with public confession of sin 
in the midst of the congregation^. Excommunication, 
with its consequences, became in fact the great earthly 
sanction of the moral law. The judgement on such cases 
was committed to the presbyters under the presidency of 
their bishop ; but, as is evident from the history of the 
Church, the bishops exercised a dominant influence, and 
were held responsible for the severity or laxity of the 
proceedings. The germ of the code which guided the 
decisions of the ecclesiastical judge was found in the com- 
mands of the Lord Himself and in the Decalogue. With 
regard to other precepts of the Mosaic Law, the early 
Church does not seem to have laid down any definite 
principle by which commands of pei^petual obligation might 
be distinguished from those which were merely national 

^ H. Sidgwick, Outlines of the 
History of Ethics, c. iii. § 2. 

* J. Morinus, De Sacramento Pie- 
nitentia ; Jas. Ussher, Answer to a 
Challenfie made by a Jesuit (Works 
III. 90, ed. Dublin 1847 ff.) ; N. Mar- 

Bhall, The Penitential Discipline of 
the Primitive Cliurch; G. Mead, in 
Smith and Cheetham's Diet, of Chr. 
Antiq. s. w. Exomologesis and Peni- 


Ch. VIII. 





Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 

Ch. VIII. 

and temporary. There were, for instance, different opinions 
as to the necessity of abstaining from things strangled 
and from blood \ In the Church, as in other societies, 
circumstances arose which were not explicitly provided for 
by the law, and decisions of Chvirches or bishops from time 
to time enlarged the scope of old precepts. Hence there 
was formed a mass of traditional or "common" law, which 
was often in fact new while it claimed to be old, and which 
passed current under venerable names. A collection of such 
precepts is found in the " Teaching of the Lord through 
the Twelve Apostles,'"'^ in the " Ordinances of the Holy 
Apostles"* which are derived from it, and in the so-called 
"Apostolical Constitutions"* and "Canons of the Holy 
Apostles.'"^ The " Constitutions" consist of eight books, of 
which the first six clearly reflect the customs and practices 
of the Eastern Church of the first three centuries, the 
seventh is founded upon the " Ordinances," the eighth, 
though it may contain matter belonging to an earlier 
period, embodies the ritual of the middle of the fourth 
century, and has been thought to exhibit traces of Arian- 
ism. The Canons which bear the name of the Apostles® 
are a collection of precepts from the Constitutions, or from 
the Acts of various synods up to the fourth century. It 
may be observed, that although these collections bear the 
names of Apostles or Apostolic men, they were never 

1 Tertunian, Apol.9. The Western 
Church in general did not observe 
this prohibition, while the Eastern 
retained it. 

^ First published by Pliilotheos 
Bryennios, from a ms of the year 
lOoG, at Constantinople in 1883. 
Edited by De llomestin, Spence, 
P. Schaff, A. Harnack (Texte unci 
Untersuclmiujini, vol. ii., jits 1 and 
2), and others. 

* Aiarayal or Kai'oces eKKXijcria- 
ariKol TLov ayliov ' ATroaroXiov; in 
Harnack u. s. p. 225 S. 

* See 0. Krabbe, Ueher den Ur- 
sprung unci den Inhult der Apost. 
Constt. ; J. S. von Drey, Neue lUiter- 
Kuchunc/eniiier die Constt. u. Kuno- 
neii der Apostel; Bickell, Gescliichte 
des Kirchcnrechtu, vol. i. ; B. Shaw, 
in Smith and Chcetluuii's Diet, of 
Chr. Anticj. 119 ff. There is a con- 

venient edition by Ueltzen. 

^ W. Beveridge, ^wodiKov sive 
PandectcE Canonuin 1. 1 ff., and Cote- 
lerii Patres Apostolici, i. 424 £f. ; 
O. Krabbe, De God. Canon, qui 
Apostol. dicuntur ; C. J. Hefele, 
Conc.ilicncieschichte, i.. Appendix 
(1st Edn); De Lagarde, Reiiquice 
Juris Can. Ant.; B. Shaw, in Diet. 
Chr. Antiq. 110 ff. 

^ The whole of these Canons, 85 
in number, were inserted by Joannes 
Scholasticus in his Nomocctnoa in 
tliu middle of the sixth century 
(Justelli, liibUoth. Juris Ant. ii. 1 ff.), 
and received as of authority by the 
Trullan Council (c. 2) at the end 
of the seventh. The Roman Church 
rejects them as apocryphal (Corpus 
J. Can., Decreti P. i., Dist. xv., 
0. 3, § 04 ; decree attributed to Ge- 

Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 


placed by the ancient Church on an equality with Scrip- 

As may readily be supposed, the administration of 
this system of penalties was by no means free from diffi- 
culty. Penitents were readmitted to communion in one 
Church with much more facility than in another. One of 
the grounds for the attack of Hippolytus on Callistus\ 
bishop of Rome, was his excessive readiness to restore to 
communion all manner of sinners, so as to lower the 
standard of Christian holiness. Hippolytus appears to 
have been chosen anti-bishop by the party discontented 
with the mild rule of Callistus. And again, at a later 
period, when Cornelius declined to make heavy the yoke 
which since the time of Callistus had been light, one of 
his presbyters, Novatianus^, rose up against him, and was 
made the bishop of an opposition. This was a man of 
considerable culture, of ascetic life and nervous tempera- 
ment, who had received benefit from the prayers of a 
Christian exorcist, and so been won for Christianity. Like 
Justin Martyr, he was reputed a philosopher. He laid 
down the principle, that the first duty of ecclesiastical 
rulers was to preserve the Church as a pure society of 
saints or "Kathari;" hence, that one who by sin had 
separated himself from God and been excluded from the 
Church could never be received back into it ; though he 
exhorted the fallen to repentance even without hope of re- 
turning to the Church^. The Novatianists refused com- 
munion with the Catholic Church, and baptized anew those 
who came over to them from Catholicism. Novatianus 
died as a martyr under Valerian, but the schism per- 
petuated itself for some generations. One of the Nova- 
tianist bishops was Acesius, whom at the Council of Nicsea 
Constantino bade to plant a ladder and go up into heaven 
by himself*. 

Meantime, a schism had arisen on opposite grounds at 
Carthage. In the severity of persecution, there were some 
who had delivered up to the pagans their copies of Holy 

1 See p. 81. 

" Cyprian, Epistt. 44 — 48 (ed. 
Hartel) ; the Letter of Cornelius to 
Fabius (Euseb.if. JB. vi.43; Routh's 
Rell. III. 20) where the schismatic 
is called Nooi'dros; those of Dio- 

nysius of Alexandria to Novatianus 
(Euseb. H. E. vi. 45), and to Dio- 
nysius of Rome [lb. vii. 8). 

3 Cyprian, Epist. 55, c. 28. 

* Socrates, H. E. i. 10. See 
Stanley, Eastern Ch. 175. 

Ch. VIIT. 

c. 220-235. 

anus, 251. 


Schism of 
imis, 250. 


Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 

Scripture {traditores), some who had actually sacrificed 
to idols (lapsi), and some who, without sacrificing, had 
obtained from the magistrates, by favour or bribery, cer- 
tificates^ of having sacrificed (lihellatici). When such 
offenders desired to be restored to the Church, it became 
a pressing question how they — especially the " lapsed" who 
had actually sacrificed — should be dealt with. Were they 
to be readmitted to the Church, and, if so, on what con- 
ditions ? At Carthage Cyprian^ refused to receive at 
once men who had denied their Lord, even though some 
who had suffered in the persecution — " confessors," as they 
were now called — desired them to be readmitted, giving 
them certificates of reconciliation (lihelli pads). Thus 
there arose a discontented party, composed of the aggrieved 
confessors, those who were dissatisfied with Cyprian's ad- 
ministration, and the lapsed who were eager to be received 
again into communion. These, with Novatus at their 
head, rebelled against Cyprian as being unworthy, in con- 
sequence of his fiight during the persecution, to rule over 
men who had endured torture with heroic constancy. They 
chose a deacon of their own, one Felicissimus, and set up 
Fortunatus, one of their adherents, as bishop of their 
party^ Cyprian's severe views unfortunately set him at 
variance with the milder bishop of Rome. When able to 
hold a synod, he so far modified his decree as not to hand 
over the lapsed to despair, but to readmit them to com- 
munion, after long penitence, in prospect of death*. Lihel- 
latici were at once readmitted^. And in the troublous 
time when his diocese suffered from war and pestilence, 
he acknowledged works of mercy as an atonement for all 
sin^ Novatus, who had been a champion of the laxer 
rule at Carthage, found his way to Rome, where he be- 
came an adherent of the stricter party of Novatianus, and 
did much to encourage the schism. 

If we may trust the account of Epiphanius', the schism 

1 On these Lihelli, see E. W. Ben- 
son in Diet, of Chr. Antiq. s. v. 

2 See p. 77. 

2 Cyprian, De Ltipsis, and Epist. 
41, 42, 43, 45, 59. 
* Id. Epist. 57. 1; 55. 6. 
'' Epist. 55. 14. 
^ Cypr. De Opere et Eleemosynis. 

^ Hccrcs. 68. Other accounts are 
found in the letters of four Egyptian 
bishops to Meletius, with an anony- 
mous Appendix, and of Peter him- 
self (in Eouth's Reliquice, iv. 91 
ff.) ; and in Athanasius, Apol. c. 
Arian. cc. 11, 5il, Epist. ad Episc. 
Aegypti, cc. 22, 23, who is followed 

Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 


of Meletius in Egypt was of the same kind as that of 
Novatianus in Rome. According to him, during the per- 
secution of Diocletian, many Christians who had denied 
their Lord entreated mercy and forgiveness. Peter, the 
bishop of Alexandria, who was himself in prison with 
most of his brethren, was inclined to gentle courses, and 
would have granted communion to such of the lapsed as 
were ready to do penance for their fault. Meletius, how- 
ever, bishop of Lycopolis in the Thebaid, who was also a 
prisoner, opposed this, and would at any rate defer the 
readmission of the penitents until the persecution should 
be over. A majority of the bishops took his part. Soon 
after this Peter died in consequence of the torture which 
he had endured, and Meletius was sentenced to slavery in 
the mines. On his way however to his place of banish- 
ment he ordained several presbyters and deacons, and the 
schism which thus arose was still dangerous at the time 
of the Council of Nicsea. Meletius on the cessation of 
persecution had returned to Egypt. 

5. The beginning of Christian life was Baptism. 
Those adults who desired to be admitted through the laver 
of regeneration into the Body of Christ had to submit to 
a course of instruction, during which they were called 
Catechumens \ and were not allowed to be present at 
the celebration of Holy Communion. In primitive times, 
this instruction seems to have been of a practical kind, 
impressing on the candidate the great distinction between 
the way of life and the way of death ^ The catechumenate 
lasted ordinarily, at the end of the third century, two 
years, or even three, though it might be shortened in 
special cases I In the times immediately succeeding the 
apostolic, we find that the candidate, after instruction, was 
taken to some place where there was water — if possible, 

in the main by Socrates, H. E. i. 
6, p. 15 and Theodoret, H. E. i. 
9, p. 31. 

^ J. Bingham, Antiq. Bk x.; 
E. H. Pkimptre, in Smith and 
Cheetham's Diet. Chr. Antiq. s. v. 

2 Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, 
cc. 1—6. 

^ Cone. Elib. c. 42; Constt. Apost. 
VIII. 32. 9. 

•* F. U. Calixtus, De Antiq. circa 

Baptismum Ritibus; A. van Dale, 
Hist. Baptismorum Hebr. et Christ.; 
J. G. Walch, De Bit. Baptism. Sccc. 
II.; J. Bingham, Antiq. Bk xi. ; 
J. W. F. Hoiiing, Das Sacrament 
der Taufe; F. Probst, Sacramente 
und Sacramentalien in den drei 
ersten Ckristlichen Jahrhunderten, 
p. 97 ff.; W. B. Marriott in Smith 
and Cheetham's Diet. Chr. Antiq. 
s. V. Baptism. 

Ch. VIII. 






Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 


tion of 
Milk and 
of Hands. 

Baptism of 


Baptism of 

to a running stream — both the baptized and the baptizer 
fasting, and there phniged into the water in the name of 
the Holy Trinity. Warm water might be used in case of 
necessity, and it was sufficient, when circumstances ad- 
mitted of nothing else, to pour water thrice on the head 
of the candidate ^ Later, at the end of the second and 
the beginning of the third century, we find a more 
elaborate ritual. The candidate was questioned as to his 
faith ^; he renounced the devil and his pomps'*, and was 
exorcised to free him from his power*; the water was 
blessed by the bishop^; before baptism, which took place 
by trine immersion or affusion in the name of the Holy 
Trinity, he was anointed, and again on leaving the water®, 
when he was also given to taste of milk and honey ^; and 
immediately afterwards he received imposition of hands 
with prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit®. This laying 
on of hands, being in the West reserved to the bishop, 
soon became a separate rite^. That in early times infants 
were baptized^", in accordance with the principle laid down 
by Irena3us", is evident from Tertullian's^^ indignant re- 
monstrance. Origen" in the third century found infant- 
baptism an immemorial custom, held to be Apostolic. 
Sponsors^'' were held necessary both for adults and infants, 
in the first case as guarantees of the honest intention of 
the candidate, in the second to give additional security 
that the children should be brought up as Christians. 

If one who had professed his readiness to receive 
baptism died the martyr's death without having actually 

^ Teaching of the Ticelve Apostles, 
c. 7; Justin M. /l^;oL I. c. 61. Com- 
pare Cyprian Epist. 68, c. 12. 

2 Tertullian, De Cor. Mil. 3; 
Cyprian Epist. 70, c. 2. See above, 
p. 114. 

3 Tert. De Cor. Mil. 3. 

* This seems to be imjjlied in the 
account of the Council of Carthage 
of A. D. 256; Cyprian, O^ip. i. 435, 
ed. Hartel. 

* Cyprian, Epist. 70, c. 1. 

" Comtt. Apost. in. 16; vii. 22; 
Tert. De Baptismo, 7. 
7 Tert. De Cor. Mil. 3. 
** Id. De Baptismo, c. 8. 
" Cyprian (Epist. 72, c. 1) speaks 

of baptism aud laying on of hands 
as "sacramentum utrumque. " See 
also Cone. Elib. c. 77. 

i»W. Wall, History of Infant- 
Baptism; J. G. Walch, Historia 
Pcrdohaptismi in his Miscellanea 
Sacra, p. 487. C. Taylor, Tracts 
(London, 1815). 

" c. Hares, n. 22. 4, 

1* De Baptismo, 18. Compare 
Cyprian, De Lapsis, 6. 

^3 InLevit. Hom. 8, 0pp. ii. 230; 
in Lncam. Hom. 14, Ujjp. iii. 948. 

1* Tert. u. s.; Constt. Apost. iii. 
16; VIII. 32; the two latter passages 
speak of deacons as inroSoxoi or /xap- 

Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 


passed through the purifying flood, the " baptism of blood" 
was always held to be at least equivalent to that of water. 
Both kinds were typified in the blood and water which 
flowed from the Lord's wounded side'; those who suffer 
martyrdom unbaptized share in the blessing of the 
penitent robber^. 

Towards the end of the second century Tertullian' 
raised the question, whether baptism conferred by heretics 
was valid, and answered it in the negative. Agrippinus*, 
bishop of Carthage, agreed with him, and baptized anew 
Montanists who came over to the Church. The same 
practice prevailed in Asia Minor, Alexandria, and many 
other Eastern Churches, and was sanctioned by a series of 
provincial synods at Carthage, Iconium, and Synnada. 
The ancient practice of the Roman Church was different ; 
in Rome the heretic who returned to the Church, if he 
had been baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, was 
admitted to communion by simple imposition of hands'', as 
penitents were. The Churches of Carthage and Rome 
were brought into contact in consequence of their common 
concern with Novatianism, and each was offended at the 
other's practice. Stephen, bishop of Rome, was not dis- 
posed to tolerate a custom which varied from his own, and 
threatened to withdraw from communion with the African 
and Asiatic Churches if they persisted in their offence. 
An absolute breach was however prevented by the media- 
tion of Dionysius of Alexandria®. But Cyprian was unable 
to reconcile the Roman principles with his conception of 
the Catholic Church. There could be no true baptism out- 
side the Church, for heretics could not confer gifts of the 
Spirit which they did not themselves possess'. Against 
the authority of the Roman see, he protested that this was 
not a matter to be settled by tradition, but by reason*; 
nor was one bishop to lord it over another, since all were 
partakers of a like grace. Stephen thereupon refused to 
receive the legates of Cyprian in Rome, and withdrew 

Ch. viu. 

1 Tert. De Bajytismo, 16. 

" Cyprian, Epist. 73, c. 22. 

' De Baptismo, 15. Compare 
Clement, Strom, i. 19. 96. 

* Cyprian, Ejnst. 71, c. 4; 72, c. 3. 

5 Cypr. Epist. 74, cc. 1 and 2; 
Eusebius, H. E. vii. 2. 

6 Enseb. H. E. vii. 5. 

7 Dt Eccl. Vnitate, 11; Epistt. 69, 
c. 1 ; 70, cc. 2 and 3 ; 73 ; (Firmilian) 
75, c. 7. 

'^ "Non est de consnetudine prsB- 
scribendum, sad ratione viucen- 
dum." Epist. 71, c. 3. 


A.D. 218— 





Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 

Ch. VTII. 1 from communion with him and his Church. He even went 
so far as to call Cyprian a false Christ, a false prophet, 
a deceitful worker \ A council of the African province 
in the year 256, under Cyprian's presidency, decided in 
favour of their ancient custom ^ The Asiatic Churches 
generally took the same side, and their metropolitan, 
Firmilian, bishop of Csesarea in Cappadocia, wrote to 
Cyprian a formal declaration of their opinion on the 
matter at issue, containing a strong condemnation of the 
conduct of the bishop of Rome. The contest was an 
obstinate one, and outlived both the principal combatants ; 
Stephen suffered martyrdom in 257, and Cyprian in the 
following year. Meantime the kindly and judicious Dio- 
nysius of Alexandria had again intervened, and the per- 
secution under Valerian no doubt turned men's thoughts 
to more pressing needs. A friendly message from Xystus, 
Stephen's successor, was brought to Cyprian shortly before 
his execution^ Gradually the Roman practice prevailed. 
It was sanctioned by a synod at Aries, at which several 
Numidian bishops were present, in the year 314'*. 

Christians assembled themselves together, mindful of 
the Lord's promise and the Apostle's warning, to worship 
God, to strengthen and refresh their own souls, to realize 
their union with Christ and with each other. These 
ends they sought especially in the Supper of the Lord 
or Holy Eucharist. The earliest account remaining to us 
of this celebration® teaches us that believers met on the 
Lord's Day, when they confessed their sins, and were 
warned that no one who was at enmity with his brother 
should approach the feast of love. Over the Cup thanks 
were given for the holy vine of David, made known to us 
through Jesus Christ ; over the broken Bread, for the life 

1 Firmilian to Cyprian (Cypr. 
Epist. 75, c. 25). 

2 Cypriani Oj^p. i. 435 £f. (ed. 
Hartel) ; Hardouin, Coiic. i. 159 ff. 

^ Pontius, Vita Ci/priani, c. 14. 

* c. 8; Hardouin, Gone. i. 265. 

" D. Blondel, De Eucharistid 
Vet. Ecclesice; G. M. Pfaff, Dc 
Oblatione Eucharistice in Primi- 
tiva Eccl. usitata; P. Gueranger, 
Institutions Liturgiques, tome i ; 
P. Freeman, Principles of Divine 

Service, vol. ii, pt. 2 ; K. Eothe, De 
Primordiis Cultns Sacri Christian- 
orum (Bonn 1851) ; H. A. Daniel, 
Codex Liturgicus, vol. iv, Prole- 
gomena; F. Probst, Litnrgie der 
drei Ersten Ghristl. Jahrhunderte ; 
Smith and Cheatham, Diet. Chr. 
Antiq. I. 267, s. v. Canon of the 
Liturgtj, and i. 412, s. v. Commu- 
nion, Holy. 

® Teaching of the Twelve Apos- 
tles, cc. 9, lb, 14, 

Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 


and knowledge made known to us through Him ; and 
prayer was made that the disciples should be gathered 
into the Kingdom, even as the scattered grains were made 
one loaf. After reception, thanks were given for God's 
Holy Name revealed to us, and for knowledge and faith, 
for spiritual meat and drink ; for immortal life made 
known to us through the Son ; and prayer was made for 
the perfecting of the Church and the passing away of the 
present world. The service ended with an invitation to 
those who were without, and the watch-word Maran atha, 
"the Lord cometh." From the account of Justin \ later 
in age and dilTering in place from that of the Teaching, 
we find that, in the Sunday service, portions were read 
from the " Memoirs of the Apostles " — probably the 
Gospels — and from the Prophets. The reading was followed 
by an exhortation from the presiding brother, and then 
all stood up to pray. After this, bread, and wine mixed 
with water, were brought, and the president uttered 
prayer and thanksgiving. Then those present partook, 
and portions were sent to the absent by the hands of the 
deacons. Upon this followed the offering of alms, which 
were deposited with the president to be administered for 
the benefit of the sick and needy. The " holy kiss " is 
mentioned in Justin's description of the Eucharist which 
immediately succeeded a baptism, but not in that of an 
ordinary Sunday. Both the " Teaching " and Justin speak 
of the eucharistic service as a "sacrificed" Elsewhere 
Justin mentions^ that in the Eucharist thanks were given 
for our creation and for our redemption through Christ. 
Irenseus too speaks of the giving of thanks over the 
elements. " We offer," he says, " unto God the bread and 
the cup of blessing, giving thanks unto Him for that He 
bade the earth bring forth these fruits for our sustenance ; 
and... we call forth the Holy Spirit, to declare (or manifest) 
this sacrifice — even the Bread the Body of Christ and the 
Cup the Blood of Christ, that they who partake of these 
copies (dvTiTVTTcov) may obtain remission of their sins and 
everlasting life*." The intercessions which, according to 

• Apol. I. 65—67. 

^ dvala. It must be remembered 
that this word had a wide meaning. 
Hermas {Sim. v. 3. 8) speaks of 
fasting as a Ovaia; and Justin 

(Trypho, c. 117) of prayers and 
thanksgivings as the only perfect 
and acceptable dvulai. 

^ Trypho, c. 41. 

■* Irenseus, Fragment 38; com- 

Cn. VIII. 

c. 160. 

c. 190. 


Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 

Tertullian, the faithful made on behalf of emperors and 
the peace of the empire*, and for enemies^; their prayers 
for fruitful seasons^ ; their commemoration of and inter- 
cession for the dead*, all probably took place in connexion 
with the Eucharist ^ Tertullian implies that a thanks- 
giving took place in the Church over the elements" ; and 
he also mentions that prayers, called " orationes sacrifici- 
orum," followed communion. Consecrated bread was kept 
in private houses, and tasted before other food^ Origen* 
speaks of the " loaves offered with thanksgiving and prayer 
over the gifts " as having been made, in consequence of the 
prayer, " a certain body, holy and hallowing those who use 
it with sound purpose." Cyprian first distinctly puts forth 
the principle that the Lord's acts in the Last Supper are to 
be followed by the celebrant in the Eucharist. " Because," 
he says®, " we make mention of the Lord's Passion in all 
our sacrifices. ..we ought to do no other thing than He 
did ; for Scripture says that so often as we offer the Cup 
in commemoration of the Lord and His Passion, we should 
do that which it is evident that He did." We also find 
from Cyprian that in the Eucharist intercession was made 
for brethren in affliction'", whose names were recited", as 
were also the names of those who had made offerings*^ and 
of the faithful departed '^ 

A much more developed form of Liturgy than any 
described in earlier documents is found in the second 
book of the Apostolical Constitutions". There, bishops, 
presbyters, and deacons take part in the service ; the 
lections from the Old Testament are intermingled with 
psalmody ; there follow lections from the New Testament, 
ending with the Gospel ; then, silence is kept for a 
space, followed by exhortation from the presbyters and 
bishop. This ended, catechumens and penitents depart. 

pare Hceres. iv. 18. 4, 5 ; v. 22. 3 ; 
1. 13. 2. 

1 Apol. cc. 30, 39. 

■^ Apol. c. 31. 

^ Ad Scaptilam 4. 

* De Exhort. Cast. 11 ; De Mo- 
nogamia 10. 

^ Ad Scapiilam 2. 

" c. Marcion. i. 23. 

7 Tertullian, ad Uxorem ii. 5 ; 
Cyprian Be Lapsis 26. 

^ c. Celsum, lib. viii. p. 399 
9 Epist. 63, c. 17. 
1" Epist. 61, c. 4. 

11 Epist. 62, c. 5. 

12 Epist. 16, c. 2. 

13 Epist. 1, c. 2. 

1* II. 57. Krabbe, not without 
reason, suspects this passage to be 
an interpolation of the fourth cen- 

Social Life aiid Ceremonies of the Church. 


and the faithful, turning to the East, the abode of God, 
the seat of Paradise, stand up and pray. Then follows 
the oblation of the elements, the warning to those in 
enmity or in hypocrisy, the kiss, the prayer of the deacon 
for the Church and the world, the bishop's blessing in the 
words of the Hebrew priest', his prayer, and the sacrifice, 
followed by comminiion. The doors are guarded, that no 
uninitiated person may enter. The eucharistic service, 
as described here, is summed up in the words, " the 
reading of the prophets, the proclaiming of the Gospels, 
the oblation of the sacrifice, the gift of the holy food*^". 

In primitive times the bread was broken and the cup 
blessed at a meal ; at first the meal of a household'* ; 
afterwards, a more public one to which each brother 
brought his contribution*. This seems to have been still 
customary at the time when the " Teaching " was written ^ 
but in Justin's time, in the middle of the second century, 
it seems clear that no food was partaken of at Communion 
except the consecrated bread and wine. So long as the 
Communion continued to be celebrated in the primitive 
manner, it was almost certainly held in the evening, at the 
usual hour of the principal meaP. But even in Pliny's 
time Christians held a meeting before dawn, and their 
habit of meeting in obscurity caused the heathen to re- 
proach them with loving darkness rather than light'. In 
the African Church of the second and third centuries it is 
clear that Christians communicated before dawn, though 
it seems probable that in some cases they received in 
the evening also*. Of the evening participation however 
Cyprian seems to speak as if it were rather a domestic 
than a public rite. 

Besides the Eucharist, Christians also assembled at 
meals — " tables " or " love-feasts "® — for social 


^ Numbers vi. 24 — 26. 
2 Coimtt. Apost. II. 59. 2. 

* Acts ii. 4t; ; see above, p. 27. 

* 1 Cor. xi. 20 If. 

^ It seems to be implied in the 
words " /iera t6 ifiwXTjcrdrjvai,'^ 
Teaching of the Tivelve Apoxtles, 
c. 10. 

^ See Baronius, ad annuiii 34, 
c. 61. 

7 Minucius Felix, Octavius 8; 
compare Justin, Trypho 10 ; Ori- 
gen, c. C'elmm, i. 3, p. 5, Spencer. 

8 Tertullian, ad Uxorem ii. 4 ; 
De Corona Mil. 3 ; Cyprian, Epist. 
63, cc. 15, 16. 

« Acts vi. 2; Jude 12. It is 
probably to such feasts that Pliuy 
(Epist. ' 96 [97]) refers when he 
speaks of "cibus promiscuus"; 

Cn. VIII. 

ion at a 

c. 110. 



Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 

Ch. viil 

Hours of 

c. 300. 


Burial of 
the Dead. 

intercourse and edification. Tertullian* describes the 
modest table and the sober joyousness of these festivals, 
which afterwards in his Montanistic fervour he calum- 
niated^ It is however in fact evident that the love-feasts 
in some cases degenerated into mere scenes of enjoyment^ 
Directions are given in the Apostolical Constitutions* for 
the proper distribution of portioos to the several ministers 
by the host who gives a love-feast. 

Prayer was an essential part of Christian life. The 
third, sixth, and ninth hours were marked out by scriptural 
precedent^ and we find them observed as special times of 
prayer in the second century^ In the third there was 
added a prayer earlier than that of the third hour and a 
prayer later than that of the ninth hour''. Tlie earlier 
authorities give no ground for supposing that these prayers 
were said in churches, but in the Apostolical Consti- 
tutions* the people are exhorted to come to the Church 
daily, morning and evening. 

In the early days of Christianity marriage must of 
course have been celebrated in accordance with the law of 
the land, in order to obtain legal validity, but it was early 
recognized that the union of believers should be sanctified 
by God's blessing **, and men of the stricter school came to 
regard a marriage not publicly declared in the church as 
no valid marriage at alP". The marriage ring and the veil 
seem to have been retained from old Roman custom", 
but the wreath, from its pagan associations, was dis- 
approved ^^ Marriages of Christians with heathen were 
naturally discouraged*^. Divorce was permitted for the 
one cause only which was recognized as valid by the 
Lord — adultery ". 

In the Church the bodies of the departed acquired a 

for they were intermitted when he 
pointed out that they were a viola- 
tion of the law against hetierisB, 
;ind we can scarcely suppose that 
(Jhristians would have intermitted 
the Eucharist. 

' Apologia 39. 

- l)e Jejuidis 17. 

' Clement, Padnq. ii. 1. 4. 

* II. 28. 1. 

' Ps. Iv. 17; Dan. vi. 10; Acts 
iii. 1 ; X. y, 30. 

6 TertuUian, De Oral. 20; Be 

Jejuniis 10 ; Clement, Strom, vii. 7. 

'' Cyprian, De Orat. 35 f. 

8 II. 59. The date of this por- 
tion is however uncertain. 

^ Ignatius ad Polycarpum 5. 

" TertuUian, De Pudic.itia 4. 

11 Tert. Apol. 8; De Virgg. Vet. 

!•' Tert. De Cor. Mil. 13. 

1^ Cyprian, De Lapsis 6. 

'•* Clem. Alex. Sirom. ii. 23. § 
144; Tert. ad Marc. iv. 34. 

Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 


new sacredness, and were laid to rest with tender care. 
Christian feeling shrank from reducing the body of a 
believer to ashes, after the heathen fashion, and preferred 
to lay it reverently in the bosom of earth', to await 
the general resurrection. The body was frequently em- 
balmed ^ The clergy, as well as the friends and kinsfolk 
of the departed, accompanied it to the grave, chanting 
psalms as they went^ Nor were the dead forgotten when 
they were laid to rest. The anniversary of a brother's 
departure was observed by the faithful with oblations, 
love-feast, prayer and celebration of the Eucharist, if 
possible at the tomb, in which special mention was made 
of the departed ^ As was natural, Christian brethren 
desired to rest near each other, and the places set apart 
for the reception of their remains, whether on the surface 
of the ground or in catacombs, were called cemeteries 
or "sleeping-places^". The custom of placing lamps or 
tapers in places of burial seems to have arisen at an early 

Like the Hebrews, Christians loved to deposit their 
dead in tombs hewn in the rock. In the neighbourhood 
of towns, it was of course rarely possible to obtain such 
burying-places except by subterranean excavation. Such 
excavations are found at Alexandria, in Sicily, at Naples, 
at Chiusi, at Milan, but most of all near Rome, where in 
later times they were known as catacombs^ These form 

1 Minucius Felix {Octav. 34. 10) 
speaks of interment as the better 
cuatoni, but nevertheless points out 
that the disposal of the remains is, 
with reference to the resurrection, 
a matter of indifference (compare 
11. 3, 4). The Christians of Lyons, 
in the second century, lamented 
that they were unable to commit 
their martyrs to the earth, in ac- 
cordance with what was evidently 
the usual practice. (Euseb, H. E. 
V. 1. Gl). 

2 Tert. Apol. 42. 

8 Coristt. AjMst. II. 30. 

* Tert. De Cor. Mil. 3 ; De Ex- 
hort. Castit. 11 ; De Monogamia 
10. E. Venables in Diet. Chr. 
Antiq. s. V. Cella Memoriae. 

^ Koifj.Tr}rripia, Dormitoria — both 

words used by classical writers for 
sleeping-rooms. The earliest use 
of Koi/xrjTTipioi' for a burial-place 
seems to be in Hippolytus, Uteres. 
Ref. ix. 12. See E. Venables in 
Diet. Chr. Antiq. s. v. Cemetery. 

6 Cone. Eliher. (a.d. 305 ?) c. 34. 

^ Originally " ad catacumbas," a 
phrase describing the locality of a 
particular cemetery. The cata- 
combs have given rise to an exten- 
sive literature. The first great 
work on the subject was that of 
Bosio (Roma Sotterranea, 1632), who 
was followed by Ai'inghi {Roma Sub- 
terranea, 1651), Boldetti [Osserv. 
sojjra i Cimiteri 1720), and Bottari 
(Scidture e pitture, 1737 ff.). A 
now era began with Padre Marchi 
(I momimenti delle Arti Cristiane, 

Cn. VIII. 



Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 

Ch. VIII. 





The liOrWs 

an immense series of chambers for burial, connected by long 
corridors and galleries, and were undoubtedly excavated 
in the soft " tufa granolare " for the purpose for which they 
were actually used. The earliest appear to be almost 
coeval with the first appearance of Christianity in Rome. 
As Christians enjoyed, in general, the same protection 
for their dead as other subjects of the Empire, there is no 
reason to suppose that the catacombs were formed simply 
to conceal Christian burial-places ; yet it is noteworthy 
that from the time that Christianity was recognized as 
the religion of the Empire, burials in the catacombs 
became infrequent and gradually ceased'. 

6. As was natural, Christians from the first dedicated 
special days to special observances. Christians, says Ig- 
natius""', no longer observed the Sabbath. Yet this must 
not be understood as if they paid it no respect, for some, 
at any rate, observed it as a day of joyful thanksgiving 
for the creation of the worlds But, whether they observed 
the Sabbath or not, they always recognized the weekly 
cycle, and their great weekly festival was the first day of 
the week, the day on which Christ rose from the dead. 
This day was already called Sunday^ a name which 
Christians soon adopted ; but its distinctively Christian 
appellation was "the Lord's Day'". On this day, dedi- 

1844), who first shewed that the 
catacombs were not deserted sand- 
pits. But the most complete and 
satisfactory work on the subject is 
that of the brothers J. B. and M. S. 
De' Rossi {Roma Sotterranca, 1864 
ft'.), the substance of which has 
been made accessible to English 
readers by J. S. Northcott and W. 
R. Brownlow {Roma Sotterranea, 
2nd ed. 1879 ff.). The works of 
L. Ferret {Les Catacovibes de Rome), 
Raoul-Eochette {Tableau des Cata- 
rombes), C. Maitland (The Church 
in the Catacombs), and E. Venables 
in Diet. Chr. Antiq. s.v. Catacombs, 
should also be mentioned. 

1 It is pretty clear that they were 
deserted when Jerome was a boy at 
Rome, about a.d. 304. See Comm. 
in Kzek. 40, p. 4(58. 

'■* Ad Matjnesios 9. 

* Co)i£tt.Apost. II. 59. 1; vii. 23. 

2. The seventh day is still called 
" sabbati dies" in Latin Calendars, 
and the French "Samedi" is a 
corruption of this name, as the 
German "Samstag" is of " Sab- 

■* 'H Tov 7j\lov XeyoiJiii'r) rjixipa, 
Justin M. Apol. i. 67 ; compare 
TertuUian, Apol. 16; Ad Nationes, 
I. 13. On the name "Sunday", 
and the similar names of the other 
days of the week, see Julius Hare 
in Philolofi. Museum, i. 1 (1832), 
and Diet, of Chr. Antiq. ri. 2031, 
8. V. IVeek. 

^ 'H KvptaKTi rj/j^pa, dies dominica; 
see P. Heylyn, Ilist. of the Sabbath, 
in his Historical and Miscell. 
Tracts; J. A. Hessey, Siindni/, its 
Origin, History, etc., and A. BaiTj, 
in Diet, of Chr. Antiq. 8. v. Lord's 

Social Life and Ceremonies of the Churclt. 


cated to wholly joyful and exultant commemoration, it 
was not permitted to fast, or even to adopt the humble 
posture of kneeling in prayer \ Some also abstained from 
kneeling in their prayers on the Sabbath I To abstain, so 
far as possible, from ordinary business on the Lord's Day 
had come to be recognized as a duty as early as the end 
of the second century**. The Wednesday in each week (as 
the day on which the rulers of the Jews took counsel 
to put Jesus to death) and the Friday (as the day of the 
Lord's Crucifixion) were towards the end of the second 
century observed as " Stations," days on which Christians 
were to be specially on guard (in statione) against the 
assaults of the enemy, when they . had special devo- 

The year was also marked by a cycle of Festivals. 
The venerable feast of Pascha continued to be observed in 
the Church with a great change of significance. About 
the time of its observance early arose serious divisions 
in the Church °. 

Under the Jewish Law, the Paschal Lamb was sacri- 
ficed on the 14th day of the lunar month Nisan, and 
on the 16th was offered the sheaf which represented the 
first-fruits of the harvest^ Thus the offering of the Lamb 
was always at or near the time of full-moon. 

As the Lord suffered and rose again at the Paschal 
season, this festival naturally became to the Christians a 
commemoration of the Passion and the Resurrection ; but 
there were considerable differences in early times both as 
to the time and the manner of the observance. The 
Ebionites, as they maintained generally the perpetual 

1 TertuUian, Be Cor. Mil. 3; Ire- 
nseus, Fragm. 7 ; Cone. Niccenum, 
c. 20. 

2 TertuUian, De Oral. 18 [al. 

•' Tert. u. 8. 

■• Teaching of the Twelve Apo- 
stles, c. 8; Tert. Be Oral. 14 [al. 
18] ; 24 [al. 29] ; Be Jejuniis 1, 10 ; 
Ad Uxorem, ii. 4. 

'' On the Paschal question gene- 
rally, see H. Browne, Ordo ScbcIo- 
ruvi, pp. 53 ff., 465 ff. ; L. Hens- 
ley, in Bict. Chr. Antiq. i. 586, 

s. V. Easter; S. Butcher, The Ec- 
clesiastical Calendar, pp. 257 ff. 
The views on this matter of the 
Tubingen critics, who point out 
a seeming discrepancy between the 
practice of the Asiatic Church and 
the date assigned to the Crucifixion 
in St John's Gospel, may be found 
in A. Hilgenfeld, Ber Paschastreit 
der Alien Kirche. See also E. 
Schiirer, Be Controversiis Pasch. n. 
Sac. exortis (Lipsia, 1869). 

^ Levit. xxiii. 11 ; Josephus, An- 
tiq. III. X. 5. 


Ch. VIII. 


The Chris- 
tian Year. 



1. Ebion- 


Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church 

Ch. VIII. 

2. Jewish- 


3. Gentile 

at Rome. 
A.D. 155. 

Victor and 

A.D. 1%. 

obligation of the Mosaic law, even in ceremonial matters, 
kept their Pascha on the 14th Nisan with all the old 
ceremonies, holding that the Lord had also done this on 
the day before His death. The Catholic Jewish-Christians, 
whose practice was extensively followed by the Churches 
of Asia Minor, while agreeing with the Ebionites as to the 
season for observing their Pascha, gave it a decidedly 
Christian significance. Christ, they held, the true Paschal 
Lamb, had Himself been slain on the 14th Nisan, and had 
consequently not held an ordinary Pascha with His dis- 
ciples. They therefore commemorated the Crucifixion on 
the 14th Nisan, and the Resurrection on the 16th\ These 
were in later times known as Quartodecimans. But in 
the West, and especially in Rome, where the influence of 
Judaism was less, the variation from the ancient Jewish 
observance was much greater. There it was held, that as 
there was already a weekly commemoration of the Resur- 
rection on the first day of the week — the week-day on 
which, as all were agreed, the Lord actually rose — the 
great annual festival in honour of the same great event 
should take place on no other day. The commemoration 
of the Crucifixion would consequently fall on the sixth day 
of the week, Friday. If therefore the 14th Nisan did not 
fall on a Friday, the Romans commemorated the Cruci- 
fixion on the Friday next after it, and the Resurrection on 
the following Sunday. 

For some years this divergency of practice continued in 
the Church without collision. The first signs of division 
were given on occasion of a visit of Polycarp of Smyrna to 
Rome. The Roman bishop Anicetus appealed, in defence 
of his own practice, to the tradition of his Church, while 
Polycarp, in defence of the Asiatic custom, alleged that he 
had himself actually celebrated a Pascha with the Apostle 
St John. Neither would yield to the other, but the two 
bishops at last parted in peace'"'. Some forty years later, 
however, the contest was renewed with much greater 
violence by Victor, bishop of Rome, and Polyerates of 

^ Our information as to the 
Jewish- Christian manner of keep- 
ing Pascha is mainly derived from 
the fragments preserved in the 
Chronicon Paschale (i. pp. 12 — 14, 

ed. Dindorf). In the interpreta- 
tion of these I have followed Kurtz, 
Handbuch, i. 243 ff. 

- Eusebius, H. E. xv. 14 ; v. 24, 

Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 


Ephesus. The former even went so far as to refuse to 
hold communion with the Asiatic Churches so long as they 
continued to observe the Paschal season in their accus- 
tomed manner. This high-handed proceeding was however 
generally resented ; Irenseus in particular, himself sprung 
from Asia Minor, remonstrated warmly with the bishop of 
Rome, with full agreement of his Gallican brethren \ 
The question remained still for some generations un- 
decided, but the Roman practice seems to have spread. 

In the third century a new difficulty arose. In early 
times Christians had been content to accept the current 
Jewish Paschal season as their own. Now, however, it 
came to be alleged that the Jews themselves had varied. 
In ancient times (it was said) the Jews had always so 
arranged their calendar that the 14th Nisan was the day of 
the first full-moon after the vernal equinox ; but after the 
fall of Jerusalem they had ceased to observe this, so that 
their Paschal full-moon was sometimes before that epoch '^ 
As some Christians observed, while others neglected, the 
rule as to the equinox, it was possible for one Church to 
be celebrating its Pascha a month earlier than another. 
It was i:)robably this uncertainty about the correct reckon- 
ing of the Pascha which induced Christian teachers to 
attempt an independent calculation, taking account of the 
official Roman calendar. Hippolytus of Rome drew up 
a cycle for indicating the true Paschal full-moon, based on 
the suppositions, that the vernal equinox fell on the 1 8th 
March, and that after sixteen years the full-moons again 
fell on the same days of the year^ His cycle found great 

Ch. VIII. 

^ Eusebius, if.JS.v.24; Socrates, 
H. E. V. 22. 

2 See Socrates, H. E. v. 22, p. 
293. It should be observed that 
the Jewish months were lunar. As 
12 lunar months contain only 354 
days, a month was intercalated at 
certain intervals to keep Nisan in 
such a position, with regard to the 
solar year, as to admit of the sheaf 
being offered on the 16th; and a 
day which admitted of the offering 
of the first-fruits of the corn would 
almost certainly be after the vernal 
equinox. Possibly when the Jews 
ceased to be an agricultural people, 

and were dispersed in various 
countries, they were less careful 
about the offering of the sheaf; or 
the cycle of intercalation which 
they used may have had an in- 
herent imperfection which in time 
brought the 14th Nisan before the 
vernal equinox. 

3 Eusebius, H. E. vi. 22. Hip- 
polytus's cycle is engraved on the 
back of his marble statue found 
near Rome in 1551, engraved in 
Buusen's IlippoUjtus. See (j. Sal- 
mon in Diet. Ckr. Biorjr. i. 508 ; 
III. yi. 




Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 

Ch. VIII. 





acceptance in the West. For the Alexandrian Church a 
different cycle was drawn up by its bishop DionysiusS 
This was, however, soon superseded by the cycle — correct 
in so far as it assumed the recurrence of the full-moons on 
the same year-day in nineteen years — of Anatolius of 
Laodicea^. But diversity of practice continued to exist, 
and the Paschal question was one of those brought before 
the Council of Nicsea. 

The commemoration of the Lord's Crucifixion was from 
ancient times preceded by a fast". In the second century 
we find that some fasted at this time one day, some two 
days, some forty hours; and that these differences were 
mutually tolerated*. Socrates^ states that the Roman 
custom was to fast three weeks, while in Greece and 
Alexandria a forty-days' fast was observed. Uniformity in 
this respect was not established before the fifth or sixth 
century. In the week immediately preceding Easter 
Sunday the fast was (in some Churches at least) very strict, 
most of all on the two days — Good Friday and the "Great 
Sabbath" — before Easter Sunday®. Many spent the 
whole night between the Great Sabbath and Easter 
Sunday in devotion in the churches'', and hailed with joy 
the dawn of the Easter morning. 

The seven weeks which followed Easter were a time of 
special joyfulness, during which the faithful did not bend 
the knee, but prayed standing^ The fortieth day after 
the festival of the Resurrection, corresponding to the day 
of the Lord's Ascension, was naturally one of triumphant 
jubilation ^ The festal season ended with the fiftieth day, 
Pentecost, the day of the great outpouring of the Holy 
Spirit at Jerusalem, the birthday of the Christian Church "*. 
The followers of Basilides are said to have kept a festival, 

1 Eusebius, H. E. vii. 20. See 
Fabricius, Bibliotheca Graca, iii. 

2 Eusebius, //. E. vii. 32, 13 ff. 

2 P. Gunning, The Paschal or 
Lent Fast, reprinted in Library of 
Anglo-Cath. Theol., 1845. 

* Irenseus in Euseb. H. E. v. 24. 

6 Hist. Eccl. V. 22, p. 294. 

6 Constt. Apost. V. 19. 

^ Tertullian, ad Urorem, ii. 4 ; 

Constt. Apost. V. 19. 

8 Irenseus, Fragm. vn. p. 342 ; 
of. Tertullian, de Corona Mil, 3. 

» Constt. Ajwst. V. 19. 

^^ Pentecost is one of the three 
special days mentioned by Origen 
(c. Cclsum, p. 392, ed. Spencer), the 
others being Good Friday and 
Easter Day. The English name 
for Pentecost, Whitsunday, no 
doubt = White Sunday. SeeSkeat's 
Etymol. Diet. s.v. Whitsunday. 

Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 


with a vigil preceding, in commemoration of the baptism 
of the Lord in the Jordan'. 

Another class of yearly festivals arose from the annual 
commemorations of martyrs, which took place on the day 
of their death, and (where it was possible) at their tombs. 
From the first, the faithful shewed the greatest anxiety 
to obtain possession of the mortal remains of those who 
had fallen in the great fight ^ and with like care they 
noted the day of departure', the birth-day* of their 
brother into a higher life. Besides the ceremonies usual 
at the graves of the faithful departed ^ the acts of the 
martyr were recited, and probably before the end of the 
third century it became customary to pass the night 
preceding the festival — sometimes with much disorder — 
at his tomb^ 

7. It is not probable that in the earliest times of 
Christianity Chiistians raised special buildings for their 
worship. When they were rejected by the synagogue, 
those who held Christ for the Messiah met wherever they 
could obtain leave to meet ; in the large upper-room or 
loft of a disciple^ in the lecture-theatre of a rhetorician®, 
in the great hall of a Greek or Roman house*". Early in 
the third century Christians had acquired land with a 
view to erecting a place of worship", and it is probable 
that at this time they possessed buildings of their own, 
resembling the scholce or lodge-rooms which various guilds 
or corporations erected for their meetings. During the 
dark days of Decius and Diocletian they sometimes met 
in the silence and secrecy of the subterranean cemeteries, 
portions of which have been thought to be arranged as 
churches '^ But in the peaceful period between those 
emperors the work of church-building went actively for- 

1 Clement Alex. Strom, i. 21, p. 
407, Potter. 

* Martyrium Pohjcarpi, 18 ; Lug- 
dunensium Epistola in Euseb. H. E. 
V. 1, § 61. 

' Cyprian, Epist. 12. 

* 'U/jL^pa. yeviOXioi, Mart. Pohje. 
18 ; dies natalis, natalitia, Tert. 
de Cor. Mil. 3. 

' Antea, p. 159. 

« Cone. Eliber. c. 35. 

'' G. Baldwin Brown, From Schola 

to Cathedral (Edinburgh, 1886.) 

^ Actsi.l3;xx. 8;Pseudo-Lucian 
PhUopatris, 23. 

^ Acts xix. 9. 

^■^ Clemenime Recognitions, iv. 6; 
X. 71 ; Gesta Purgationis Cteciliani 
(in Augustine, 0pp. ix. 794, ed. 
Migne), referring to a transaction 
of A.D. 303. 

^'^'La,mT^vidi\ViS, Alexander Severus, 

12 Marchi, Monumenti, pp. 180 ff., 

ch. vm. 



tueal and 





Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 

Ch. VIII. 



ward. The increased congregations were no longer satis- 
fied with their old narrow rooms, but built everywhere 
large and conspicuous churches \ The stately church of 
Nicomedia was visible from the emperor's palace ^ Of 
the fittings and ornaments of churches in the first three 
centuries little is known, except that each church had a 
Table or Altar'' for the administration of the Eucharist, 
and a desk or raised footpace for the reader or preacher. 
The supposed church in the catacomb of St Agnes has at 
one end, hewn in the tufa, a chair which is thought to be 
the seat of the bishop ; and the earliest description* of a 
church places the bishop's throne in the middle of the 
east end, with the seats of the presbyters on each side. 

As all Christian buildings of the first three centuries 
have long disappeared, it is only in the catacombs that we 
can look for remains of early Christian art^ There we 
find that from the earliest times the faithful decorated 
with paintings the chambers where they laid their dead, 
and where the living sometimes assembled. They adopted, 
as was inevitable, the style and many of the subjects of 
their pagan contemporaries. As in the houses of pagan 
Pompeii, so in the Christian vaults, the vine trails over 
the walls, birds and butterflies and winged genii display 
their beauties, and graceful draped female figures are 
not absent ; but the Vine symbolized the Saviour, and the 
other representations also received a new significance. 
Even the figure of the mythic Orpheus came to symbolize 
the attractive power of Christ. The Fish^ represented 
both the Saviour Himself, and the disciple who draws life 
from the vivifying water. Under the image of the Fisher- 

taw, xxxv — XXXVII ; Diet. Chr. An- 
tiq. I. 313; From Scliola to Cathe- 
dral, p. 60. 

1 Eusebius, H. E. viii. 1. 

- Lactantius, Be Mort. Persec. 

3 Tpdirefa (the usual liturgical 
word), dvaiacTT^piov (less common), 
niensa, altare, ai'a Dei (Tert. de 
Orat. 14). 

* In Gonstt. Apost. ii. 57. 4. 

^ See the works referred to antea, 
p. 159, note 7 ; and add Serous 
d'Agincourt, L'Histoire de VArt 
par les Monuments ; Ciampini, 

Vetera Monumenta; A. W. C. Lind- 
say (Lord Lindsay), Sketches of the 
History of Christian Art ; F. Kugler, 
Handbook of Painting (Italy), from 
the German by Eastlake ; J. W. 
Burgon, Letters from Rome; E. St. 
John Tyrwhitt, Tlie Art Teaching 
of the Primitive Church; E. Gar- 
rucci, VHistoire de VArt Chretien; 
E. Venables in Diet. Chr. Antiq., 
s. V. Fresco. 

8 The Greek word 'IxdOs is the 
acrostic of 'IrjaoOs Xpiarbs QeoO 
Ttds 'Eurrip. 

Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church. 


man Christ is seen as the great "fisher of men," and under 
that of the Shepherd He gathers His sheep in His arms 
or leads them to pasture. Scenes from the Old Testament 
are made to symbolize the truths of the New. Direct 
representations of Christ and His saints are generally 
avoided in the earliest Christian pictorial art. 

Gems* were early engraved with Christian symbols. 
The devices which Clement^ recommends are the dove, the 
fish, the ship, the lyre, the anchor, the fisherman; and 
very early specimens are extant bearing these and similar 

Tertullian' alludes to the figure of the Good Shepherd 
carrying the lost sheep, which Christians loved to see on 
the bottom of cups, seemingly glass cups. The bottoms 
of many such cups, bearing various representations in 
gold-leaf enclosed between two layers of glass, are found 
embedded in the mortar of the catacombs^ Not only 
does the Good Shepherd appear in these, with many other 
Christian symbols, but heads are found, intended seem- 
ingly for portraits of apostles and other saints whose 
names are appended. 

Such were the small beginnings of the arts which in 
eighteen centuries have raised magnificent buildings and 
displayed glorious representations of sacred scenes in the 
most enlightened countries of the world. 

1 Martigny, Des Anneaux chez 
les premiers Chretiens ; C. D. E. 
Fortnum, in Arclioiological Journal 
1869 and 1871, on Early Chris- 
tian Finger-rings; C. W. King, 
Antique Gems, ii. 24 ff ; Churchill 
Babington in Diet. Chr. Antiq. s,v. 


2 Ptedag. m. 11. 59. 

3 De Pudicitia, 7. 

* E. Garrucci, Vetri Ornati di 
figure in Oro; Churchill Babington 
in Diet. Chr. Antiq. s. v. Glass, 

Ch. VIII. 



Ch. IX. 

The Im- 
tine and 
A.D. 313. 

A.D. 314. 
A.D. 316. 

A.D. 321. 



1. In the year 313 Constantine* and Licinius found 
themselves masters of the Roman world. They had 
joined in the edict which gave full toleration to Christ- 
ianity, but with very different feelings. Licinius, without 
actually declaring his hostility, harassed the Christian 
communities within his dominions by the hundred petty 
annoyances which are always at the command of persons 
in authority. Constantine, though no doubt restrained in 
some degree by consideration for his partner in the em- 
pire, shewed in many ways the favour which he bore to 
Christianity. Several of the measures by which he bene- 
fited the Church belong to the period in which he still 
had Licinius for his colleague. He caused large sums to 
be given to the Churches of Africa**; he conferred on 
Christian masters the power of manumitting their slaves 
without the presence of a magistrate^ ; he exempted the 
clergy from the obligation of undertaking burdensome 
municipal offices* ; he permitted Churches to accept lega- 
cies^ ; he commanded labour to cease, with the exception 

^ Le Nain de Tillemont, Histoire 
des Emperewrs; J. C. F. Manso, 
Das Leben Constantins ; J. Burck- 
hardt. Die Zeit Constantins ; Th. 
Keirn, Der Uebertritt Constantins; 
J. Wordsworth, Constantinus I. in 
Diet. Chr. Biog. i. 624 ff. See also 
A. de Broglie, L'Eylise et VEmpire 
au IF'"' Steele, vols. 1 and 2 ; H. H. 
Milman, Hist, of Christianity, vol. 2 ; 
A, P. Stanley, Eastern Church, 
Led. VI.; W. Bright, Hist, of the 

Church from 313—451. 

2 Euseb. H. E. x. 6. 

^ Rescript to Hosius, in Codex 
Justin. I. xiii. 1. 

* Euseb. H. E.x.l; Codex Theod. 
XVI. ii. 1, 2. This edict however did 
not exempt ecclesiastics from bur- 
dens which fell upon them as land- 
oioners, when they possessed estates. 
See Guizot's note on Gibbon, iii. 
31, ed. W. Smith. 

5 Codex Theod. xvi. ii. 4. 

The Church and the Empire. 


of necessary Avork in the fields, on Sunday\ This last 
order, however, must not be assumed to have been given 
out of pure respect to the great weekly festival of 
Christians. It is clear that Constantine dreamed in these 
days of directing to one form of worship the common ten- 
dency of all mankind to reverence the divinity, thinking 
that such a universal religion would be an admirable bond 
for the distracted empire'^. The worship of the Sun, espe- 
cially under the name of Mithras, was very widely preva- 
lent in the empire, and it may have seemed to the great 
ruler possible to unite the worship of the material sun 
with that of the Sun of Righteousness. Certainly many 
of his coins bear on one face the sign of the Cross or the 
Labarum, on the other the sun-god ^ He retained the 
title of Pontifex Maximus and discharged the sacrificial 
duties belonging to the office. In fact, Constantino's real 
feeling towards the faith of Christ is involved in great 
obscurity. He was apparently capable of religious emo- 
tion, and was fond of preaching to his courtiers*. Yet he 
always remained outside the Church, and was baptized 
only on his death-bed®. It is certain that his Christianity 
did not prevent him from putting to death his son Cris- 
pus and his wife Fausta. A generation or two later a 
story was current® that, in great remorse at his bloody 
deeds, he had appealed to pagan priests or flamens to 
cleanse him from his guilt, and that it was only when the 
pagans declared that they had no lustration for guilt such 
as his that he turned to the Christians, who promised him 
purification. This story contains several improbabilities, 
but it is not inconceivable that a man of so complex a 
character may have had some dealings with pagan hiero- 
phants even after the date of Nicsea, as Saul resorted to 

1 Codex Justin, ni. xii. 3; Eu- 
seljius, De Vita Constantini, iv. 18, 
19, 20. 

" Tr]V OLTravTwv twv edvQv nepi rb 
Otiov wpodeaiv els /Mas ^^ecos avcTaCLV 
ivwffai. . .Trpovdv/xT^dr) ; Euseb. Vita C. 
11. 65. 

3 F. W. Madden, in Diet. Chr. 
Antiq. 1277 ff. On the earliest 
coins of Constantine, however, the 

:;^ appears on the emperor's helmet, 
as if it were a personal badge. 

■* Euseb. Vita C. iv. 29. 

5 Socrates, i. 39 ; Sozomen, ii. 34 ; 
Philostorgius, ii. 16. 

^ Given by Zosimus, ii. 29. So- 
zomen (Hist. Eccles. i. 5) men- 
tions a similar story, which he 
regards as a calumny and utterly 

Chap. IX. 




A.D. 326. 


The Church and the Empire. 

Chap. IX. 


tine alone, 
A.D. 323. 

325, dedi- 
cated 330. 


the witch of En-dor even after he had endeavoured to put 
down witchcraft. 

But it was clear that Constantine, with whatever reser- 
vation, was favourable to the Church, while Licinius was 
against it. The heathen consequently regarded the latter 
as their champion, while the Christians flocked round the 
former ; and when in 323 the smouldering jealousy of the 
two Augusti broke out into open conflict, the war was in 
fact one of religion, and the victory of Constantine was 
the victory of the Church. He caused his conquered rival 
to be put to death, and stood sole master of the empire. 
Then he could carry out with greater freedom his plans 
for the reorganization of the state and the recognition of 
the Church. 

He began with the foundation of New Rome, the city 
of Constantine, on the beautiful site of the old Byzantium, 
in Europe, but over against Asia'. This city was adorned 
with a lavish hand by the master of the treasures of East 
and West. Old Rome was no longer the centre of the 
empire. It clung with great tenacity to the old religion 
under which its conquests had been won; its traditional 
republicanism was not extinct ; and its pagan and repub- 
lican citizens by no means hailed with enthusiasm a 
monarch who deserted the old deities ^ The transference 
of the seat of the imperial government to Byzantium had 
very important consequences for the Church. If Rome 
had remained the capital of the empire, the development 
of the papacy would almost certainly have been retarded, 
and the whole course of its history changed. Hardly less 
important was the character of Oriental despotism which 
the empire rapidly acquired in its new seat, and which 
would probably have gro^vn more slowly in old Rome. 
Constantinople became, however, the great bulwark of 
Christianity against Islam, and the nursery of Greek lite- 
rature during the Middle Ages. It was there, in fact, that 
the seeds of the Reformation of the sixteenth century were 

His great city founded, Constantine proceeded with 

^ Socrates, 1. 16; Sozomen, ii. 3; 
Philostorgius, ii. 9. On the dates, 
see Pagi on Baronius, auu. 324, n. 

19; 330, n. 4. 

2 Ghronicon Paschale, p. 517, ed. 

The Church and the Empire. 


the organization of the empire, in the way which promised 
to render the control of the central government most 
effective. He unfortunately at the same time increased 
the oppressive weight of taxation which in time crushed 
the unfortunate provincials. 

Constantine said to a party of bishops at his table, 
that he was bishop of matters external, while they were 
bishops in the internal affairs of the Churchy intending 
probably little more than to gratify the prelates by a 
polite speech. The distinction was at any rate not very 
accurately observed in subsequent times ; but a succession 
of edicts by Constantine and his successors increased the 
power, the wealth, and the dignity of the Church. Bishops 
had long arbitrated in ecclesiastical matters, and in civil 
suits between Christians who were unwilling to go to law 
before unbelievers; a law of the year 376 gave to the 
decisions of these courts of arbitration the same legal 
force which belonged to those of the imperial magistrates*. 
Somewhat later, no accusation against a cleric could be 
heard otherwhere than before the tribunal of the bishop I 
The Church itself had already treated with great severity 
those who, being condemned by an ecclesiastical court, 
ventured to appeal to an imperial tribunal*. That bishops 
should bring before the emperor's court cases in which 
injustice had been done to the weak and friendless was 
right and becoming ; but they were forbidden to sully the 
dignity of their office by taking up unworthy or frivolous 
cases^ They took cognizance, as was natural, of matters 
which were rather offences against the moral law than 
against the state, and sometimes succeeded in overawing 
even high-placed offenders. The privileges of bishops 
were considerably extended by the legislation of Justinian, 
which gave them civil jurisdiction over monks and nuns°, 
as well as clerics, and added legal sanction to the over- 

1 Euseb. Vita C. iv. 24. 
^ Codex Theodos. xvi. ii. 23; So- 
zomen, H. E. i. 9. 

* Codex Theodos. xvi. ii. 41, 47. 
But a law of Leo, a.d. 459 (quoted 
by Hatch, Organizatioyi 146, n. 17), 
makes clerks amenable only to ry 
iirdpx'iP Tuv TTpaiTwplwv. 

* Cone. Antioch. cc. 11, 12; Con- 

stantinop. i. c. 6; Garthag. in. 9; 
Chaleedon. 9. Athanasius however 
{Apologia c. Arianos 9) expressed 
his willingness to plead before the 
emperor himself. 

5 Cone. Sardic. c. 8 (Lat.), 7 (Gr.). 

6 Justiniani Novella, 79. 83. 123, 
c. 21. 

Chap. IX, 


of the 






A.D. 412. 



The Church and the Empire. 

sight of public morality and the protection of the suffer- 
ing which they had hitherto practised on the authority 
of the Church, It enjoined and empowered them to 
take charge of prisoners, minors, imbeciles, foundlings, and 
other waifs and strays of society^ ; it gave them authority 
to put down gaming"^ and to supplement the judgments of 
lay tribunals* ; and it endowed them with co-ordinate 
authority in the management of municipal property*. 
Bishops thus became very important civil officials, and 
the secular judges were forbidden to summon them as 
witnesses or to administer an oath to them^ Bishops 
were also freed, like other high officials of the empire, 
from the patria potestas^ From the fourth century on- 
ward they enjoyed the same right of intercession for cri- 
minals which had once been enjoyed by the Vestals, espe- 
cially on behalf of those who were sentenced to deaths 
The right of asylum, too, which had belonged to certain 
heathen temples, passed by custom to Christian churches, 
and was formally legalized by Theodosius in the fifth 
century ^ 

In addition to these privileges the Church also received 
under the Christian emperors large additions to its pro- 
perty. From the municipal income of cities, from the 
spoils of heathen temples and occasionally of heretical con- 
venticles, riches flowed in upon the Church ^ which was 
now empowered to receive legacies and gifts from the 
faithful. One effect of this permission was, that increased 
wealth occasioned a great extension of the works of bene- 
ficence for which the Church even in its poverty had been 
distinguished. Attempts were made to succour all kinds 
of suffering and distress ; and so greatly did this increase 
the influence of the Church, that the emperor Julian at- 
tempted to transplant charitable institutions into his re- 

1 Codex Just. I. iv. 22, 24, 27, 28, 
30, 33. 

2 lb. 25. 

3 lb. 21, 31. 
* lb. 26, § 4. 

5 Novella, 123, § 7. 

6 Novella, 81. 

^ See Ambrose, Epist. vn. 58, ad 
Studlum; Augustine, Epist. 15S, ad 
Macedonium; 133, ad MarceUinum. 
The attempts at forcible rescue 

which were sometimes made led 
to legislative repression. Codex 
Thcodos. IX. xl. 15, 16, a.d. 392, 398. 

8 Codex Theodos. ix. xlv. 1, 2, 3. 

» Euseb. Vita C. iv. 28; Sozomen, 
I. 8; Theodoret, H. E. i. 11; In- 
certus Auctor, de Constant, (quoted 
by Hatch, Organization, p. 150, n. 
28) ; Theophanes, p. 42, ed. Classen; 
Nicephorus Callisti, vn. 46; Ced- 
renus, pp. 478, 498. 

The Church and the Empire. 


vived paganism. With the increase of wealth came also 
the necessity to arrange for its equitable distribution. 
For this Gelasius I.^ decreed that the total income of a 
church, whether derived from property or from the offer- 
ings of the faithful, should bo divided into four equal parts, 
of which one should be given to the bishop, one to the 
other clergy, one to the poor, and one to the maintenance 
of the buildings. The council of Braga^, a generation 
or two later, divided the income of a church into three 
portions, one for the bishop, one for the rest of the 
clergy, and the third for the reparation or lighting of the 

The relations of the clergy, and especially of the bishops, 
to the emperor and other high officials present curious 
contrasts. The respect paid to the bishop was from the 
first very great, and it was certainly not diminished when 
he became a conspicuous person in the eyes of the world. 
Even emperors bowed the head before him and kissed his 
hand'. Jerome*, whose life was simple and ascetic, was 
indignant at the lofty bearing of some of the prelates and 
presbyters, and begged them to remember, that the faith- 
ful were their fellow-servants, not their bond-servants. 

But whatever respect the emperors might pay to the 
Church and its officers, they had in fact immense influence 
over it. From the time when the emperors became Chris- 
tian, says Socrates^, the affairs of the Church depended 
upon them. It could hardly be otherwise. Privileges 
were conferred by law upon the Catholic Church alone **, 
and occasions unfortunately soon arose when it was ne- 
cessary for the emperor to say which of two contending 
parties he considered Catholic. If the defeated party 
asked, what the emperor had to do with the Church, the 
victors replied, that the Church was in the state, and that 
none was over the emperor but God^ The Fathers at 

1 Efist. 9, c. 27. 

2 Canon 7. 

» Theodoret, H. E. iv, 6, p. 153 
(see Valesius's note, and Bing- 
ham's Antiq. bk. ii. c. 9) ; Chry- 
sostom, De Sacerdotio, iii. 1. 

* In Titum, c. 1 : " Sciat episcopus 
et presbyter sibi populum conser- 
vum esse non servum." 

" H. E. V. Preface. 

^ Codex Theod. xvi. i. 2 (Law of 
Constantine, an. 326). 

'' Optatus Milev. De Schism. Do- 
natist. I. 22; iii. 3. The Donatists 
repudiated the authority of the or- 
thodox Constantine (Optatus, u. s.), 
and the Catholics that of the Arian 
Constantius (Hosius ad Constant. 

Chap. IX. 



The Clergy 
and the 

imid to the 


The Church and the Empire. 

Constantinople in the year 448, when an imperial rescript 
had been read, cried out " Long live our High-Priest, the 
Emperor ^ ! " Edicts issued by the emperor were pub- 
lished in the churches". And as the emperor, by influence 
or direct nomination, secured the election of many bishops, 
especially of those of Constantinople ^ the episcopal order 
was generally disposed to do him homage. Justinian 
shewed much favour to the Church, but at the same time 
he made it more directly subject to the state. Whomso- 
ever he may have consulted privately, his edicts on the 
affairs of the Church — even on a matter so strictly eccle- 
siastical as the tone in which the Liturgy should be said*, 
— run in precisely the same style as those on purely 
secular matters; no authority but that of the emperor 
appears in them ; he issues his commands to the patriarchs 
of Old Rome and of Constantinople as if they were im- 
perial ofiicials. The Italian bishops however always main- 
tained a certain independence, ancl noted with some degree 
of contempt the subservience of their Eastern brethren^ 
And generally, in spite of the temptation to compliance, 
there were never wanting ecclesiastical leaders courageous 
enough to enforce, even upon emperors and their favour- 
ites, the claims of the Church to a higher sovereignty than 
that of temporal princes®. Chrysostom could brave im- 
perial anger and go calmly into exile'; Ambrose could 
repel Theodosius, bloody with massacre, from his church^ 
Nor were these solitary instances. 

It was perhaps an almost inevitable result of the inti- 
mate connexion between the Church and the Empire 
that dissidents from the faith recognized as Catholic were 
persecuted. The greatest leaders of Christian thought 
were indeed opposed to all coercion in matters of faith. 

in Athanasii Hist. Arian. ad Mo- 
nachos, c. 44), in almost the same 

1 Kurtz, Handhuch, ii. 22. 

- The words "lecta in ecclesia 
Romana" appear at the end of an 
edict, Codex Theod. xvi. ii. 20. 
Other instances of similar publi- 
cation are given in Godefroy's note 
on this passage. 

3 Thomassiu, EcclesicP Disci- 
plina, P. II, lib. 2. c. (J. 

■* Novella, 123. Justinian's theory 
of he relation between Sacerdotium 
and Imperium is set forth in the 
Preamble to his sixth Novel. 

5 See the Epistle of the Italian 
clergy in Hardouin's Concilia, iii. 
48 (Mansi, ix. 153), a.d. 552. 

^ Gregory of Nazianz. Oral. xvii. 
p. 271. 

7 Theodoret, E. H. v. 3 1. 

8 lb. V. 18. 

The Church and the Empire. 


Hilary of Poictiers*, for instance, set forth the blessings of 
religious freedom, and the worthlessness of enforced com- 
pliance, with admirable clearness and force. Chrysostom'^ 
would limit persecution to forbidding the assemblies of 
heretics and depriving them of their churches. The great 
name of Augustin, however, appears among the advocates 
of persecution. He had indeed in his earlier days con- 
tended for the freedom of religious convictions, but the 
obstinate resistance of the Donatists to his earnest per- 
suasions convinced him that there were some who would 
own no argument but force''. Theodosius I. enacted severe 
laws against those who did not accept the Catholic faith, 
but these were not executed* ; and the first Christian 
prince who actually caused men to be put to death on 
account of religion was the usurper Maximus^ whose pro- 
ceedings called forth general indignation and found no 
imitator for many generations. The excellent Martin of 
Tours protested in this case, that it was an outrage for 
a secular judge to try an ecclesiastical case, and that no 
other punishment could fittingly be inflicted on heretics 
but that of excommunication**. 

2. The great lines of the Christian hierarchy remained 
after the public recognition of Christianity the same as in 
the previous period, though the changed condition of the 
Church occasioned the appointment of some new officers. 
The needs of the great cities, often visited by pestilence, 
called for the Parabolani', who hazarded their lives in at- 
tendance on the sick ; and the Copiatse^ who buried the 
dead. As the property of the Church increased it required 
the attention of special stewards or managers^, under the 
bishops' direction. A special body of lawyers was created 
to defend the interests of the Church, and especially of 
the poor, in the courts", A large number of notaries" took 

' Ad Constantium, i. 2, 7. 
2 In Mattlueum, Horn. 29, c. 40 ; 
compare Socrates, vi. 19. 

* Retractationes, ii. 5 ; Epist. 93 
ad Vinceiitium, c. 17 ; 185, ad Boni- 
facium, c. 21. He did however ex- 
hort officials to gentleness in their 
proceedings, Epist. 100, ad Donatnni 

* Sozomen, vri. 12. 

s Sulpicius Severus, Chron. ii. 

6 Sulpicius, u. s. c. iJO, § 5. 

' Codex Theodos. xvi. ii. 42, 43. 

8 Codex Justin, i. ii. 4. 

9 Cone. Chalced. c. 26 (a.d. 451). 
i» Codex Eccl. Afric, cc. 75, 97. 

See Diet. Chr. Antiq. s. vv. Advo- 
catus and Defensor. 

" Augustin, De Ductr. Chr. ir. 2G ; 

Chap. IX. 

A.D. 385. 

The Hier- 

lan i. 

Def en- 



The Church and the Empire. 

minutes of important proceedings and drew legal docu- 
ments. As the archives of the great Churches accumu- 
lated, it became necessary to put them under the charge 
of a keeper of the records in each Church \ The important 
matters which came into the hands of patriarchs and me- 
tropolitans caused them to require the assistance of privy- 
councillors or ministers, and their intercourse with the 
government made the services of legates at the Imperial 
court almost indispensable I 

In the ordinary ministry of the Church ^ the office of 
deacon remained in theory the same. But the deacons, 
being constantly by the bishop's side as his helpers and 
secretaries, often attempted to set themselves above the 
presbyters — a presumption which was checked by the 
decrees of several councils*. The archidiaconus or chief of 
the deacons®, in particular, became commonly the bishop's 
confidential adviser and representative ; frequently his suc- 
cessor. The order of deaconesses gradually lost its early 
prominence; which however it retained much longer in the 
East, where the seclusion of women rendered their services 
important, than in the West^ The Western Church reso- 
lutely opposed the ordination of deaconesses, and at last 
forbade it altogether''. The bishop was, as of old, the 
head and chief administrator of the district committed to 
him. He represented it in all its external relations, and 
especially in councils. He summoned and presided over 
its synod. To him alone it belonged to ordain presbyters 
and deacons ; to him alone, in the Western Church, to lay 
hands on those who had been baptized. He was the 
proper minister of the Word and Sacraments, though he 

Collat. Donat. die ii. c. 3; Cone. 
Tolet. IV. c. 4. See Diet. Chr. Antiq. 
B. V. Notary. 

' See Ducange's Glossaries and 
Suicer's Thesnunis, s. v. xo-pro<l><uKa^. 

2 Diet, of Chr. Antiq. s. w. Syn- 
cellus and Leqate, p. 969. 

» See p. 124 ff. 

* Niccemim, c. 18, Ldodicenum, 
c. 20. 

^ See H. Gotze, De ArcJtidiaco- 
norum in vet. eecl. officiis et aitctori- 
tate (Lipsiffi 1705); J. G. Pertsch 
I'om Urspruntid. Archidiah. (Hildes- 

heim 1743); L. Thomassin, Eccl. 
Diseiplina, i. ii. 17 — 20 ; Bingham's 
Antiq. ii, c. 21. 

^ Directions for the ordination of 
a deaconess are given in the Constt. 
Apost. VIII. 19 f. The decree of 
Nicfea (c. 19) which speaks of their 
not having ordination clearly refers 
to Paulianist deaconesses. 

^ Cone. Araiisic. c. 26 (a.d. 441); 
Epaon. c. 21 (a.d. 517); Aurelian. 
c. 18 (A.n. 533). See J. S. Howson, 

The Church and the Empire. 


might delegate these functions to inferior ministers. He, 
with his council of presbyters, excommunicated offenders 
and readmitted penitents ; without him neither exclusion 
nor reconciliation could take place. He also granted 
letters of commendation to members of his flock travelling 

The Council of Nica^a' laid down, that a bishop must 
be approved and chosen by the faithful of the city over 
which he Avas to preside, with— in the particular case 
before them — the assent of the bishop of Alexandria. He 
was to be ordained and admitted to his office^ by the 
bishops of the same province, or by three of them at least. 
And this seems to have been generally recognized as the 
rule of the Church, that the whole body of the faithful 
(o \a6<i) should at least have an opportunity of saying 
whether a candidate proposed w^as worthy or unworthy ^ 
Even after the election was supposed to have taken place, 
opposition might shew itself When Theodorus of Hera- 
clea enthroned Demophilus at Constantinople many of 
those who were present cried out " unworthy*." But not 
unfrequently distinguished men were actually chosen 
bishops by the acclamation of the peoj)le, as Ambrose 
at Milan^, Martin at Tours®, Eustathius at Antioch', 
Chrysostom at Constantinople ^ Various customs how- 
ever prevailed locally. In Southern Gaul the bishops 
— presumably the comprovincial bishops — were to choose 
three, from whom the clergy and people (cives) were to 
choose one to be the bishop of their city^ In Spain the 
clergy and people of the city were to choose two or three, 
whose names were to be submitted to the metropolitan 
and bishops of the province, and one chosen by lot'". 
But in many cases pow^erful persons, whether bishops or 
others, were able to override rules". The emperors at 

Chap. IX. 

1 Sy nodical Epistle in Theodoret 
il. E. I. 9; p. 32. 

- KadlaraaOai, Gone. Niece. C. 4. 

3 Gonstt. AjMst. VIII. 4 ; Ambrose 
Be Saeerdot. 5. 

* Philostorgins H. E. ix. 10. 

* Theodoret H. E. iv. 7. 

^ Sulpicius Severus, Vita Mar- 
tini, c. y. 


7 Theodoret H. E. i. 7. 

" Socrates H. E. vi. 2. 

* Gone. Arelat. ii. 54 (a.d. 452). 

1" Gone. Bareinon. ii. 3 (a.d. 599). 

" Valentinianin. complains (A^o- 
vel. 24, appended to Gode.x Theod.) 
that Hilary of Aries ordained per- 
sons even against the wish of the 
laity who were interested ; and the 




The Church and the Empire. 



A.D. 498. 

Sy nodus 
A.D. 503. 




Coiistantiuople, in particular, generally secured the elec- 
tion of those whom they favoured. 

The same principles which regulated the choice of 
bishops prevailed also in the election of presbyters. To 
speak generally, a bishop could ordain no one without 
consulting his clergy and obtaining the testimony and the 
assent of the lay people of the city \ 

Elections in which the people of a city took so large a 
share were apt to become tumultuary^ In Rome in 
particular, where the city was large and populous and the 
office of bishop unusually important, scenes of great 
violence were often witnessed at an episcopal election. 
The partisans of Symmachus and Laurentius, at the end 
of the fifth century, are said to have contended with so 
much violence that the streets were strewn with dead, and 
at the synod which was held a few years afterwards under 
Symmachus, it was complained that the laity had the 
election wholly in their own hands, contrary to the ancient 

There was in fact a constant danger lest in a popular 
election mere mob-violence should prevail, and from an 
early period attempts were made to check this^ apparent- 
ly with no great effect. Justinian* laid down that the 
clergy and chief men of a city should nominate three 
persons on a vacancy in their see, and that from these 
three one should be chosen by the consecrator — generally 
the metropolitan — to fill the vacant throne. At that time 
probably the term " chief men " {irpwroi,) was understood 
of a definite class. 

The Teutonic dominion in Europe naturally made a 
great change in the position of the chief officers of the 
Church. Considerable estates were conferred upon eccle- 
siastical persons ; bishops became the king's liegemen and 
were often employed on the business of the state. The 
lands of the Church were freed from many imposts, but 
remained subject to feudal service, whence it' came to pass 

third Council of Paris (c. 8) in- 
veighs against the interference of 

1 Cone. Carthag. iv. 22 (a.d. 398). 
Compare Possidius Vita Augustini, 
c. 21; Jerome, Epist. iv. ad llusli- 


2 Neander, Hist, of Church, in. 
203 (Edinb. 1848). 

3 Gone. Laodic. 13. 

^ Novel. 123, c. 1. Compare Co- 
dex I, tit. 3, De Episcop. 1. 42, 

The Church and the Empire. 


that bishops wore armour and fought in battled Under 
such circumstances, territorial lords came to look upon the 
holders of ecclesiastical benefices in much the same light 
as their other feudal tenants, and would only enfeofif 
persons who were agreeable to them^ They thus ac- 
quired at any rate a veto on the nomination of bishops, 
and in most cases prevented all difficulty by themselves 
nominating ; they even sometimes sold their presenta- 
tions*. The status of the clergy generally was also ma- 
terially changed by the laws of the Franks. No free man 
could be taken into the ranks of the clergy without the 
king's license ; the clergy were therefore mainly recruited 
from among the unfree*. The ordinary presbyters there- 
fore came to be looked upon as an inferior class, and their 
rights were sometimes little regarded even by their 
bishops^ The power of the bishops was great, and it 
was well that persons of some cultivation and refine- 
ment should be able to influence the rough warriors 
who bore rule. A law of Clotaire^, the son of Clovis, gave 
the bishops a general power of reviewing the decisions of 
lay judges; and excommunication came to be more 
dreaded when it carried with it civil disabilities'". 

During the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries the rela- 
tions of the bishop to his presbyters remained in theory 
much the same as they had been in the previous i^eriod, 
but practically they underwent considerable change. The 
importance of bishops increased and that of presbyters 
diminished. Yet in some cases the presbyters seem to 
have gained in importance. In earlier ages a bishop was 
charged with the oversight of the faithful in a city ; the 
scattered congregations in the country districts were cared 
for by rural bishops with less extensive powers^ Con- 

Chap. IX. 

^ Gregory of Tours, Hist. Franc. 
IV. 43 [al. 37]. 

2 Bishops were still in theory 
chosen "juxta electionem oleri et 
plebis," but also "cum voluntate 
regis." Gone. Aurel. v. c. 10 (a.d. 

^ Gregory of Tours, Vita Patrum, 
c. 3. 

* This does not mean slaves, but 
persons who h ved among the Franks 
without having the rights of citizens 

in the Frankish community. They 
were probably in most cases the de- 
scendants of the older inhabitants 
of the country. 

^ Gone. Garpentorat. (527) ; Tolet. 
III. 20 (589). 

^ In Baluze, Gapitularia Beg. 
Franc, t. 7. 

'' Decree of Childebert, a.d. 595, 
quoted by Gieseler, i. 708, note p. 

8 yee pp. 128, 133. 


Law of 
A.D. 560. 



The Church and the Empire. 

Chap. IX. 





gregations were sporadic. But after Constautiue the 
whole empire was covered by the ecclesiastical system. 
A bishop became the ecclesiastical ruler of a region, not 
of a city only. Every town or village was included in 
some diocese. Presbyters consequently who held office at 
a distance from the bishop naturally came to discharge, 
as a matter of course, functions — such as preaching and 
the administration of the sacraments — which had once 
been regarded as belonging specially to the bishop. Such 
presbyters appear to have been, at any rate frequently, 
appointed by the bishop \ though no doubt with the 
consent of the local community'' ; and in some instances — 
as in that of St Augustine^ — the local church-people 
chose their candidate, whom they presented to the bishop 
for ordination. Presbyters appointed to the charge of a 
place where there was no bishop were said to rule (regere) 
a Church, and hence, in the West, were called rectors*. 
In the time of Justinian we see the beginning of lay- 
patronage, in a law^ which permitted persons who built an 
oratory and maintained a body of clergy, and also their 
heirs, to nominate to the bishop fit clerics to serve the 

It was in this period that the clergy of a city were 
first brought to live together in one house, under the 
presidency and control of the bishop". Some bishops, as 
Eusebius of Vercellae, Ambrose of Milan, Augustin of 
Hippo, and Martin of Tours, set an example of monastic 
austerity to the clergy who were domiciled with them, and 
the rules which they gave were imitated by others. Such 
clergy were forbidden to meddle with secular business^ 

From the fourth century onward the presbyters who 
had charge of churches were grouped under the presidency 
and general superintendence of archpresbyters, after- 
wards called in the West rural deans^ The bishops also 
employed periodeutse or travelling inspectors — presbyters 

1 Jerome, In Titum t. 5; Ad Ne- 

" The principle of Leo the Great 
(Epist. 12, c. 5), "NuUns invitis et 
noil petentibus ordinetur," pre- 
vailed also in earlier ages of the 

^ Possidius, Vita August, c. 4. 

* Statuta Antiqua (iv. Carthag.), 
c. 36; IX. ToUtan. c. 2. 

5 Novella 57, c. 2. 

6 Cone. Tolet. ii. (a.d. 531), c. 1; 
Turon. ii. (a.d. 5(J7), c. 12. 

7 Cone. Atari, in. (a.d. 538), c. 11. 

* W. Dansey, Hora Decanica 

The Church and the Empire. 


under their o^vn immediate authority — to take cognizance 
on their behalf of the parochial clergy. Under these cir- 
cumstances the chorepiscopi or rural bishops — who had 
besides sometimes abused their power of ordination — 
became superfluous and were abolished \ 

3. In the period before the recognition of the Church 
by the State groups of dioceses had already been formed, 
and the bishops of certain cities presided over their bre- 
thren within a certain district or province, under the name 
of metropolitans^. The political organization of the empire 
had naturally considerable influence on the constitution of 
the ecclesiastical hierarchy. The most remarkable pheno- 
menon in the government of the Church in this period is 
the rise of the great Patriarchates. 

At the time of the Council of Nicwa it was clear that the 
metropolitans of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch, held a su- 
perior rank among their brethren, and had a kind of ill-de- 
fined jurisdiction over the provinces of several metropolitans. 
The fathers of Nicsea recognized the fact that the privi- 
leges of these sees were regulated by customs already re- 
garded as primitive, and these customs they confirmed. 
Alexandria was to have authority over Egypt, Libya, and 
Pentapolis — an authority of the same kind as that Avhich 
the Roman bishop had over his subject provinces*. In 
like manner theii* ancient privileges were secured to An- 
tioch and other super-metropolitan Churches. The empire 

1 Cone. Antioch. c. 10 (341) ; Lao- 
dic. c. 57 (37-2 •?) ; Sardic. c. 6 (347). 
Compare Basil E2)ist. 54. 

^ I). Blondel, Traite Historique 
de la Primaute; J. Morinus, Exer- 
citationes Ecclesiasticcs, Diss, i, De 
Patriarcharum...Ori(jine; E. Du- 
pin, Be Antiqua Ecclesics Disci- 
plina. Diss. i. ; L. Thomassin, 
Eccl. Disciplina, i. i. 7 — 25; J. 
Bingham, Antiq. ii. ce. IG — 18; W. 
C. L. Ziegler, Pragiuat. Gesch. der 
Kirchl. Verfassungsformen, p. 1G4 
ff.; G. J. Planck, Gesch. d. Christl.- 
Kirchl. Gesellschafts-Verfassung, i. 
p. 598 ff. 

3 See p. 138. 

* Cone. Niccenum, c. 6, according 

to the Greek. But the Latin version 
of this canon which was produced 
at Chalcedon (actio 16, Hardouin ii. 
638) runs — "Ecclesia Eomana sem- 
per habuit primatum. Teneat au- 
tem et JLgyptus ut episcopus Alexan- 
dx'ise omnium habeat potestatem, 
quoniam et Romano episcopo hasc 
est consuetude." While in the 
version of llufinus (Hardouin i. 333) 
we have, "Et ut apud Alexandriam 
et in urbe Eoma vetusta consue- 
tudo servetur, ut vel ille iEgypti vel 
hie suburbicariarum ecclesiarum 
solicitudinem gerat." There are 
also several other variations in the 
Latin versions of the canon, see 
Hardouin, i. 825. 

Chap. IX. 




Niece a, 


The Church and the Empire. 

Chap. IX. 

was afterwards divided for the purposes of civil govern- 
ment into four Prefectures, as follows*: 1. The Prefecture 
of the East, subdivided into the dioceses of — the East, con- 
taining fifteen provinces, and having Antioch for its capi- 
tal ; Egypt, containing nine provinces, with Alexandria as 
its capital ; Asia, containing twelve provinces, with Ephesus 
as its capital ; Pontus, consisting of thirteen provinces, 
with Csesarea in Cappadocia as its chief-town ; and Thrace, 
consisting of six provinces, which had its seat of govern- 
ment first at Heraclea, afterwards at Constantinople. 2. 
The Prefecture of Eastern Illyricum, with Thessalonica for 
its chief-town, subdivided into the dioceses of Macedonia 
with seven provinces and Dacia with six. 3. The Prefec- 
ture of Italy, subdivided into the dioceses of Rome, with 
ten " suburbicarian " provinces, and Rome itself for a capi- 
tal ; Italy, with seven provinces and Milan as its capital ; 
Western Illyricum, with seven provinces and Sirmium as 
its capital ; Africa, divided into six provinces, with Car- 
thage as its capital. 4. The Prefecture of the Gauls, again 
divided into the dioceses of — Gaul, which contained seven- 
teen provinces and had Treves for its capital ; Sjjain, which 
had seven provinces; and Britain, which had five. The 
chief-towns of the two last-mentioned dioceses are uncer- 
tain. The organization of the Church followed in its main 
lines that of the empire. It also had its dioceses and 
provinces, coinciding for the most part with the similarly 
named political divisions. Not only did the same circum- 
stances which marked out a city for political preeminence 
also indicate it as a fit centre of ecclesiastical rule, but it 
was a recognized principle with the Church that the eccle- 
siastical should follow the civil division^ At the head of 

1 On the civil divisions of the 
empire, the principal authorities 
are Zosimus, ii. 32, 33, and the No- 
titia dignitatum (c. a.d. 400) printed 
in Graevii Thesaurus Antiq. Roman. 
VII. 1309 ff, and published separately 
by Booking (Bonn 1839, 1853) and 
Seeck (Berlin 1876). See also 
Becker and Marquardt, Handbuch 
der Romischen A Iter thinner, in. i. 
p. 240, and Smith's Gibbon, ii. 315. 
On the diocesan arrangements of 

the Eastern Church, see J.M. Neale, 
Holy Eastern Church,Introd. Bk. i. 
^ Cone. Antioch. (a.d. 341) c. 9; 
Chalcedon. (a.d. 451) cc. 12, 17. 
St Basil, it is true, objected to the 
province of Cappadocia being di- 
vided ecclesiastically simply be- 
cause it was civilly divided (Greg. 
Nazianz. Oral. 48, c. 58), but this 
seems to have been an exceptional 

The Church and the Empire. 


a diocese was a patriarch \ at the head of a province was 
a metropolitan*; the territory of a simple bishop was a 
parish ^ Thus the civil diocese of the East was, in mat- 
ters ecclesiastical, under the sway of the patriarch of An- 
tioch ; that of Egypt under that of the patriarch of Alex- 
andria ; and the bishops of the political capitals, Ephesus, 
Csesarea, and Heraclea, had j)atriarchal authority over the 
dioceses of Asia, Pontus, and Thrace. In the second 
canon of the oecumenical Council of Constantinople, by 
which the bishops of a " diocese " are forbidden to intrude 
into the territory of their neighbours, it seems to be 
assumed that the limits of the political and the ecclesias- 
tical diocese are identical. The same council* ordained 
that the bishop of Constantinople — which had now super- 
seded Heraclea as the seat of diocesan civil government — 
should have precedence, as bishop of New Rome, next 
after the bishop of Rome. The bishop of Constantinople 
not unnaturally desired an increase of power, as well as 
additional dignity, and his position as bishop of the impe- 
rial city enabled him to gain much of what he aimed at. 
He appears at once to have made himself master of the 
diocese of Thrace, thrusting aside the bishop of Heraclea, 
whose city, on the founding of Constantinople, had ceased 
to be the seat of the imperial government. But, not con- 
tent with this, he set himself to bring under his jurisdic- 
tion the dioceses of Asia and Pontus, which also, helped by 
his position at court, he did in fact make subject to his 
sway. This arrangement still lacked the sanction of the 
Church, when the Council of Chalcedon gave him his op- 
portunity. This council recognized the exclusive right of 
the bishop of Constantinople to consecrate the metropo- 
litans of Thrace, Pontus and Asia, expressly on the ground 

1 A name earlier applied vaguely 
to any bishop (Suicer's Thesaurus, 
8. V. Ilarptapxris)- First used in the 
stricter sense at the Council of Con- 
stantinople, A.D. 381 (Socrates v. 8). 
In Cone. Ghalced., c. 9, the prelate 
of a diocese is called l^apxos. In 
the acts of the first Council of 
Ephesus the patriarchs of Rome 
and Alexandria are several times 
called dpxtiTriiTKOTroL. 

2 Metropolitans were also called 
^^apxoL [Cone. Sardic. c. 6). The 
name metropohtan was not used in 
the West, where the bishop of a 
province was called archiepiscopus. 
Patriarchs, metropolitans and other 
bishops ahke write themselves tirl- 
(TKoiroi. See (e.g.) Hardouin 1. 1423. 

^ wapoiKia. See E. Hatch in 
Diet. Chr. Antiq. s. v. Farish. 

* Canon 3. 

Chap. IX. 

A.D. 381. 

A.D. 451, 


The Church and the Empire. 

Chap. IX. 


that as Constantinople was now the seat of empire it 
should enjoy the same privileges which Rome had enjoyed 
as the seat of empire \ The once patriarchal sees of He- 
raclea, Csesarea and Ephesus thus became simply metro- 
politan, though their occupants had the title of exarch, 
and precedence before other bishops of the same diocese. 
The same council ordered^ that a bishop or other cleric 
who had a complaint against his own metropolitan should 
bring his case before the exarch of the diocese or before 
the patriarchal throne of the imperial city of Constanti- 
nople, so that he might, if he chose, ignore his own exarch 
altogether. The see of Constantinople thus became the 
oriental counterpart of that of Rome. 

The same council had before it the question of the 
state and dignity of the mother of all Churches, Jerusalem, 
which had been for some time ambiguous and unsatisfac- 
tory. Jerusalem has associations which have in all ages 
secured it the reverence of Christians, yet it was at the 
time we speak of too unimportant a see to secure for its 
bishop a distinguished position in the Church. It was in 
fact overshadowed by the political chief town of Palestine, 
Csesarea, which became the ecclesiastical metropolis. The 
Council of Nicsea^ assigned to Jerusalem precedence im- 
mediately after the sees of Rome, Alexandria and An- 
tioch, but without giving it any power beyond that of an 
ordinary episcopal throne, Ccesarea being still recognized 
as having jurisdiction over the other sees of Palestine. 
The relation thus created was strained and unnatural, and 
it is no wonder that the bishop of Jerusalem struggled to 
emancipate himself from- the yoke of Csesarea. The see 
rose in fame after the peace of the Church under Con- 
stantino, in consequence of the increasing reverence paid 
to the holy places, and at the Council of Ephesus, Ju- 
venalis, bishop of Jerusalem, had the courage to claim for 
his see patriarchal jurisdiction over Palestine, Phoenicia, 
and Arabia. This claim was rejected by the council, but 
he nevertheless obtained from the emperor Theodosius II. 
a rescript granting to him the provinces which' he had 
claimed. The bishop of Antioch, Maximus, of course 

^ Cone. Chalcedon. 
douin II. 611). 

c. 28 (Har- 

2 Canon \). 
•• Canon 7. 

The Church and the Empire. 


regarded this as an attack upon his long- established rights, 
and a long controversy arose between the two bishops, 
which was at last put an end to by a compromise which 
received the sanction of the Council of Chalcedony This 
provided that the patriarch of Antioch should receive 
back his provinces of Phoenicia and Arabia, while the 
bishop of Jerusalem should possess patriarchal authority 
over the three provinces of Palestine. He thus became 
an actual patriarch, though of a small diocese. There 
were then in the Roman empire, after the practical sup- 
pression of the patriarchal rights of the other diocesan 
thrones, five patriarchal sees, those of Rome, Constanti- 
nople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Justinian 
indeed attempted^ to give to the see of his native city, 
Achrida, patriarchal authority over the prefecture of lUy- 
ricum ; but so artificial an arrangement did not long 
endure. There were however still in Christendom, and 
even in the empire, metropolitans who acknowledged no 
patriarch or exarch over them, claiming to be " autocepha- 
lous" or independent. Such was the metropolitan of 
Salamis or Constantia in Cyprus, who at the Council of 
Ephesus' successfully vindicated the ancient rights of his 
see against the claims of the patriarch of Antioch. And 
even in Italy the authority of the see of Rome was not 
everywhere acknowledged. 

A patriarch held, within his own diocese, the supreme 
ecclesiastical authority, and his diocesan synod was the 
highest court of appeal for ecclesiastical business. With- 
out the consent and cooperation of the patriarchs no valid 
oecumenical council could be held. But the patriarchal 
system of government, like every other, suffered from the 
shocks of time. The patriarch of Antioch had, in the first 
instance, the most extensive territory, for he claimed 
authority not only over the civil diocese of the East, but 
over the Churches in Persia, Media, Parthia, and India, 
which lay beyond the limits of the empire. But this large 
organization was but loosely knit, and constantly tended 
to dissolution. Palestine, as we have seen, shook itself 
free. In consequence of the Nestorian controversy the 

Actio 7 (Hardouin ii. 491). 
Novella 11 and 131. 

Actio 7, Hardouin r. 1617 

Chap. IX. 

A uto- 

Fate of the 



The Church and the Empire. 

Chap. IX. 

A.D. 498. 


A lexan- 

k.-D. 640. 




Rise of the 

Persian Church asserted its independence and set up a 
patriarch of its own at Seleucia ; Armenia somewhat later 
determined to have its own Monophysite patriarch, and 
the Syrian Monophysites chose a schism atical patriarch of 
Antioch, After the conquests of CaUph Omar the great 
see of Antioch sank into insignificance. The region sub- 
ject to the Alexandrian patriarch was much smaller than 
that of Antioch, but it was better compacted. Here too 
however the Monophysite tumult so shook its organization 
that it was no longer able to resist the claims of the pa- 
triarch of Constantinople. It also fell under the dominion 
of the Saracens — a fate which had already befallen Jeru- 
salem. In the whole East there remained only the pa- 
triarch of Constantinople in a condition to exercise actual 

4. According to Rufinus's^ version of the sixth canon 
of the Council of Nicsea, the bishop of Rome had entrusted 
to him the care of the suburbicarian churches. What we 
are to understand by these suburbicarian Churches is by 
no means absolutely clear. Considering however how 
closely the ecclesiastical followed the civil divisions, it is 
extremely probable that the suburbicarian Churches are 
those included in the ten suburbicarian provinces which 
were under the authority of the vicarius of the civil diocese 
of Rome, and which included the greater part of Central 
Italy and the whole of Lower Italy, with Sicily, Sardinia, 
and Corsica ; and this interpretation is strongly confirmed 
by the letter of the Council of Sardica to Julius, bishop of 
Rome, which recognizes him as the official channel of 
communication with the faithful in Sicily, Sardinia and 
Italy I 

But many causes tended to extend the authority of the 
Roman patriarch beyond these modest limits. The pa- 
triarch of Constantinople depended largely for his autho- 
rity on the will of the emperor, and his spiritual realm 
was agitated by the constant intrigues of opposing parties. 
His brother of Rome enjoyed generally more freedom in 
matters spiritual, and the diocese over which he presided, 

' H. E. X. 6, " suburbicariarum 
ccclesiarum solicitudinem gerat." 
See p. 181, note 4. 

^ In Hardouin i. 654. See 
Kurtz's Handbuch, § 163. 1. 

The Church and the Empire. 


keeping aloof for the most part from controversies on 
points of dogma, was therefore comparatively calm and 
united. Even the Orientals were impressed by the ma- 
jesty of old Rome, and gave great honour to its bishop. 
In the West, the highest respect was paid to those sees 
which claimed an Apostle as founder, and among these the 
Church of St Peter and St Paul naturally took the highest 
place. It was, in fact, the one apostolic see of Western 
Europe, and as such received a unique regard. And 
the tendency to regard Rome as an ecclesiastical centre 
and standard was no doubt increased by the fact that in 
the provincial civil courts of the empire matters not regu- 
lated by local law or custom were decided according to the 
law of the city of Rome^ Doubtful questions about apo- 
stolic doctrine and custom were addressed certainly to 
other distinguished bishops, as Athanasius and Basil^, but 
they came more readily and more constantly to Rome, as 
already the last appeal in many civil matters. We must 
not suppose however that the Churches of the East were 
ready to accept the sway of Rome, however they might 
respect the great city of the West. When Julius of Rome, 
who refused to concur in the deposition of Athanasius, 
invited him and his opponents to appear by delegates 
before a council of the Western Church, the Orientals as- 
sembled at Antioch declared that he, a foreign bishop, had 
no right to propose himself as judge in the affairs of the 
Eastern Church ; that every synod was free to decide as it 
thought best ; that the mere fact that he was bishop of a 
great city gave him no superiority over other bishops of apo- 
stolic sees ; that his predecessors had never ventured to in- 
terfere in the internal affairs of the Eastern Church I But, 
in spite of this rebuff, the disputes about Athanasius, in 
the end, undoubtedly tended to strengthen the position of 
the see of Rome, which sided with the orthodox and victo- 
rious party. The Council of Sardica^ after the 

1 Digest, I. iii. 32. 

"^ The EpistolcB Canonica of 
these and other bishops were oc- 
casioned by such appeals. 

■•* A summary of their letter is 
given by Sozomen, Hist. Eccl. in. 8. 

* c. 3, in Hardouin i. 637. This 


council, after the secession of the 
Orientals to Philippopolis, had of 
course no claim to be considered 
oecumenical. In the West, how- 
ever, the canons of Sardica came 
to be appended to those of Nica9a, 
and even quoted as Nicene (Maas- 

Chap. IX. 



344 (?) 


The Church and the Empire. 

Chap. IX. 




The See of 
St Peter. 

Innocent I. 

A.D. 415, 


of its Oriental members, gave to bishojjs who were ag- 
grieved by a provincial decision leave to appeal to Julius, 
bishop of Rome, meaning no doubt to give to those who 
were oppressed by Arian synods a protector in one who 
was a steady friend of orthodoxy. But the precedent was 
not forgotten. A generation later, at the request of a 
Roman synod presided over by Damasus, the emperor 
Gratian issued a rescript^ permitting in many cases an 
appeal from provincial tribunals to the see of Rome. But 
the decrees of provincial synods were still regarded as 
binding. Pope Siricius^ himself, when appealed to against 
the decision of a synod at Capua, declared himself incom- 
petent to entertain a question already decided by compe- 
tent judges; and Ambrose ^ speaking of the same matter, 
urged that the decision of a judicial committee nominated 
by the synod was of the same binding force as that of the 
synod itself 

The authority of the Roman see increased from causes 
which are sufficiently obvious to historical enquirers. But 
the greatest of the Roman bishops were far too wise to 
tolerate the supposition that their power depended on 
earthly sanctions. They contended steadfastly that they 
were the heads of the Church on earth, because they were 
the successors of him to whom the Lord had given the 
keys of the kingdom of heaven, St Peter*. And they also 
contended that Rome was, in the most emphatic sense, the 
mother-church of the whole West. Innocent I." claims 
that no Church had ever been founded in Italy, Gaul, 
Spain, Africa, Sicily, or the Mediterranean islands, except 
by men who had received their commission from St Peter 
or his successors. At the same time, they admitted that 

Ben, Geschichte der Quellen des Can. 
Bechts, I. 50 ff). Kev. E. S. Ffoulkea 
and Prof. Aloisius Vincenzi (De Ile- 
brceorum et Christianorum Sacra 
Monarchia) agree in supposing the 
so-called canons of Sardica to be 
forgeries ; Prof. Vincenzi supposing 
them to have been forged by the 
orthodox bishops in Africa, Mr. 
Ffoulkes in or near Home. See 
Did. Chr. Bioqr. in. 530, note 6. 

1 In Hardouin i. 842. 

^ Epist. de Bonoso Episcopo, in 

Hardouin i. 859. 

3 Quoted by Siricius u. s. 

* It may be observed that the 
term "vicarius" in early times 
meant no more than "successor". 
Cyprian {Epist. 68, c. 5) begs Stephen 
of Kome to honour Cornelius and 
Lucius, whose "vicarius et suc- 
cessor" he was. The same au- 
thority holds that a bishop (sacer- 
dos) should be held "ad tempus 
judex vice Christi" (Epist. 59, c. 5). 

® Epist. 25 ad Decentium, c. 2. 

The Church and the Empire. 


the privileg-os of the see were not whully derived imme- 
diately from its founder, but were conferred by past gene- 
rations out of respect for St Peter's see\ But the bishop 
who most clearly and emphatically asserted the claims of 
the Roman see to pre-eminence over the whole Church on 
earth was no doubt Leo I., a great man who filled a most 
critical position with extraordinary firmness and ability. 
Almost every argument by which in later times the autho- 
rity of the see of St Peter was supported is to be found in 
the letters of Leo. If the power to bind and loose was 
conferred on all the Apostles, it was through St Peter that 
it was transmitted to them^. It was to St Peter that 
power and commandment was given to feed the flock of 
Christ, and it was in Rome, the place of his burial, that 
the power given to St Peter was in all ages to be found. So 
far was the Roman bishop from receiving dignity from the 
capital of the world, that it was through his presence that 
Rome became what it was. He conferred honour on the 
city, but the city gave no dignity to him. It was in the 
name of St Peter that he, Leo, presided over the Church ; 
it was as God and St Peter prompted him that he gave 
judgment. He called on the other bishops to help him in 
the care of all the Churches, but the plenitude of power 

1 Zosimus Epist. 2 ad Episcopos 
Afric. c. 1. Some aiithorities doubt 
the authenticity of this letter. 

- The ancients generally in- 
terpreted the "rock" [ireTpa) of 
St Matthew xvi. 18 as referring 
to St Peter's confession (Hilary, 
Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose, Chry- 
sostom, and others) ; or to Christ 
Himself (Jerome, Augustin). More 
rarely it was referred to St Peter. 
Origen (in Matth. torn. xii. c. 10) 
laid down that every disciple of 
Christ was a "rock" — Trirpa ivas 
6 XpiffToO /xadTjTys — and ridiculed 
the notion that a "power of the 
keys" was given to St Peter which 
was not given to the other Apostles. 
Somewhat similarly St Augustin 
held that "has claves non homo 
unus sed unitas accei^it ecclesire " 
{Serm. 295, c. 2, Dc Sanctis ; compare 
in Evaiig. Joannis Tract. 124, c. 5). 
Siricius however asserted that "per 

Petrum et apostolatus et episco- 
patus in Christo cepit exordium" 
(Epist. ad Episc. Afric. in Har- 
douin I. 857) ; and Innocent (Re- 
script, ad Cone. Carthag. in Har- 
douin I. 1025) describes himself as 
following the Apostle "a quo ipse 
episcopatus et tota auctoritas no- 
minis hujus emersit." The lloman 
legates at the Council of Ephesus in 
431 (actio 3, in Hardouin i. 1477) 
frankly described St Peter as the 
foundation (6 defieXios) of the Ca- 
tholic Church. Leo maintained 
(Epist. 10 [al. 89] adEpiscop. Prov. 
Vienn.) that it was through St Peter 
that the gifts of divine grace were 
conveyed to the Church ; and (Epist. 
12 [al. 14] ad Anastasium, c. 1), that 
the See of St Peter has the same 
authority over the whole Church 
which a metropolitan has over his 
province (compare Epist. 1 [al- 12] 
ad A fricanos). 

Chap. IX. 


Leo I. 


The Churcli and the Empire. 

remained his own peculiar attribute \ If however St 
Peter appears in the forefront, Leo^ does occasionally 
bethink him of St Paul, who was, he admits", a partner in 
St Peter's glory at Rome, though he was much occupied 
with the care of other Churches. Generally, however, from 
about the middle of the fifth century St Paul is but little 
sjDoken of in connexion with Rome. 

The Empire of the West never seriously interfered 
with the proceedings of the Roman bishop ; and when it 
fell, the Church became the heir of the empire. In the 
general crash, the Latin Christians found themselves com- 
pelled to drop their smaller differences, and rally round 
the strongest representative of the old order. The Teu- 
tons, who shook to pieces the imperial system, brought 
into greater prominence the essential unity of all that was 
Catholic and Latin in the empire, and so strengthened 
the position of the see of Rome. The Church had no 
longer by its side one great homogeneous state. The 
Gothic kings were not inclined to meddle with the internal 
affairs of the Church. Odoacer' indeed issued an edict 
that no election to the papacy should be held without the 
sanction of the civil government ; but Theoderic* laid down 
the golden rule — little regarded in after times — that he 
could not exercise sovereignty in matters of religion, be- 
cause no man can believe upon coercion ; and Theodahad® 
held that as God permits diversity in religion, it would be 
presumptuous in a king to attempt to enforce uniformity. 

The East-Gothic dominion in Italy was in fact in 
more than one respect advantageous to the popes. The 
kings of the Arian Goths were disposed to befriend them 
because they were generally in opposition to Constanti- 
nople ; while at the same time the Catholic people of the 
West honoured them as their rallying-point against the 
incursions of Arianism. It is not wonderful that under 
these circumstances the claims of the popes increased 
and multiplied. They claimed to be the highest court of 
appeal for the Western Church, and to have a general 

^ See the letter to Anastasius, 
referred to above. 

2 Serm. 82, c. 4. 

3 This edict of Odoacer is only 
known by the reference to it in the 

edict which repealed it, Hardouin 
11. 977. 

* Cassiodorus, Varia, n. 27. 

6 Ibid. X. 26. 

The Church and the Empire. 


authority in matters of faith and discipline over the whole 
Church throughout the world. In support of these claims 
they appealed to imperial edicts and canons of councils. 
They were as anxious as ever to ground their claims on 
the privileges conferred on St Peter, but they could not 
always avoid an appeal to the civil power. In the dis- 
puted election of Symmachus to the papacy, both he and 
his rival Laurentius appealed to the Gothic king Theoderic 
at Ravenna, who placed Symmachus on the apostolic 
throne*. But, consistently with his principle, he allowed 
an edict of Odoacer, ordaining that no election to the 
papacy should be held without the concurrence of the 
civil government, to be annulled in a Roman synod ^ 
The partizans of Laurentius persisting in their charges 
against Symmachus, another synod — the "Synodus Pal- 
maris" — was held in the following year, which acquitted 
Symmachus, or rather expressed its reluctance to try a 
de facto pope under any circumstances ^ Ennodius, the 
official defender of this council, frankly laid down the 
principle that the occupant of the see of Rome could be 
judged by none but God*. It was probably about this 
time that forgery and interpolation began to be resorted 
to with a view of giving to these claims some appearance 
of antiquity. The Acts of the supposed Council of Sinu- 
essa^, which desu'ed pope Marcellinus, accused of sacrificing 
to idols, to judge himself, as being alone competent in 
such a case, are no doubt a forgery; so is the Constitution 
attributed to Silvester and Constantine®, which declares 
the Roman see above the judgment of any human tri- 
bunal ; so is the supposed report of the trial of Sixtus III.'' 
Cyprian's treatise on the unity of the Church had been 
altered to suit the views of the Roman see before the time 
of Pelagius II. It was at this time, too, that the Roman 
bishops began to claim the title of " pope*," which however 

1 Liber Pontificalis, Symmachus, 
c. 52. 

2 Hardouin, Cone. ii. 977 ff. 

3 "Pontifieem sedis istius apud 
nos audiri nullum constat exem- 
plum." Hardouin, Cone. n. 974. 
There is much confusion as to the 
councils which were held about 
this time. 

* Libellus pro Synodo, p. 316, 
Ennodii Opera, ed. Hartel. 

s Hardouin, Cone. i. 217. Har- 
douin says, frankly enough, "sup- 
posititium censent viri eruditi." 

6 Hardouin, i. 294. 

7 Ibid. I. 1737. 

^ In the Eoman synods under 
Symmachus, and in Ennodius's 

Chap. IX. 

A.D. 498. 

A.D. 502. 
A.D. 503. 


The Church and the Empire. 

Chap. IX. 

A.D. 48.-?. 

A.D. 5'i'6. 

A.D. 535 — 

A.D. 537. 

A.D. 555. 

for some generations was also given to the incumbents of 
other apostolic sees\ But the popes still admitted that 
they were subject to general councils, nor did they claim 
jurisdiction over other bishops, unless they were brought 
before them as the highest court of appeal. 

So long as the Roman see agreed with them in hos- 
tility to Constantinople, the Gothic kings were willing to 
allow them a large measure of freedom ; but when the 
popes came to an agreement with the see of Constanti- 
nople, they became much more suspicious and watchful of 
their movements. John I. having, contrary to the tra- 
ditions of his see, paid a visit to Constantinople, where he 
was received with the utmost distinction, was on his return 
regarded by Theoderic as a traitor, and thrown into prison, 
where, after languishing for nearly a year, he died^ The 
kings also interfered actively in the elections to the papacy, 
and even nominated the person to be elected. Theoderic 
nominated Felix III.", and Athalaric issued an edict 
against bribery in papal and episcopal elections^ Still, 
even so the Gothic dominion was not so perilous to the 
papacy as the restoration of imperial rule which followed 
Justinian's conquest of Italy. Justinian, it is true, paid 
great respect to the see of Rome ; but he paid like honour 
to that of Constantinople, and was not unwilling to use 
one against the other. His object was, in short, to extend 
his own power over Church as well as State. Pope Sil- 
verius was deposed and banished by desire of the empress 
Theodora, Vigilius installed in his place by command of 
Belisarius ; and when Vigilius, after a miserable life, sank 
into an unhonoured grave, Pelagius was elevated to the 
see by command of Justinian — an appointment so un- 
popular, that the new pope was actually unable to induce 

lAhcUux, the bishop of Eome is con- 
stantly spoken of as " papa." But 
even so late as the middle of the 
ninth century Walafrid Strabo {De 
Reb. Ecclcs. c. 7) looks upon 
' papa ' as a respectful name given 
to the clergy generally, ' clericorum 
congruit diguitati.' Gregory VII. 
in the year 1075 first exjjressly 
limited the title to the bishop of 
Borne. In the East the title irdiras 

was used esi^ecially of the patriarchs 
of Alexandria and Bome. 

1 This title also was not confined 
to the see of Bome. Pelagius I. 
{ad Valerianum, in Mansi ix. 732) 
speaks of apostolic sees in the 

- IJber Pontificalis, Joannes, c. 
54 ; Milman's Lat. Christ, i. 412 

3 Cassiodorus Varue, viu. 15. 

4 lb. IX. 15. 

The Church and the Empire. 


three bishops to take part in his consecration \ In many 
ways the popes were made to feel the bitterness of de- 
pendence on the Byzantine court. They were forced into 
heresy, or what seemed to be heresy, and on this account 
a large part of Italy withdrew from their communion. 
The sees of Milan and Ravenna were reconciled after a 
comparatively short interval, but that of Aquileia was 
more resolute, and it was not until the year 698 that it 
re-entered into communion with Rome. 

The dependence of Rome on Byzantium was brought 
to an end by the Lombard invasion. The dominions of 
the Greek empire in Italy were thenceforth limited to 
Rome, Ravenna, and a part of southern Italy. This pro- 
vince was governed by exarchs seated at Ravenna ; the 
authority of the emperors declined in Rome, and passed 
ahnost insensibly to the popes, many of whom were very 
capable of sustaining it. The Byzantine sovereigns being 
often too weak to defend their distant province, the 
Italians had to defend themselves ; and at their head 
in this struggle was the pope of Rome, the person of 
highest dignity in the city, the natural protector of the 
Catholics against the Arian Lombards, and the greatest 
landowner in Italy. For the estates of the see had been 
growing since the time when Constantine permitted 
bishoi^s, as such, to receive gifts and legacies, and were in 
the sixth century of great extent I The prelates of that 
age appear to have been good landlords, and to have spent 
their revenues freely for the public good. For twenty- 
seven years, says Gregory the Great", the popes had lived 
in the midst of Lombard swords, and all that time their 
income had been drawn upon for the clergy, the monas- 
teries, the poor; for the wants of the people generally and 
for defence against the Lombards. As was natural, the 
see gained infinitely in dignity and influence, and became, 

1 Milman, Lat. Christ, i. 432 ff. 
(3rd edn.). 

2 The donation of Constantine 
to pope Silvester is now universally 
admitted to be a fiction. The es- 
tates of the Koman see were called, 
after the same fashion as those of 
other churches, by the name of its 
patron -saint, "patrimonium S. 


Petri." See Zaccaria De Patri- 
moniis S. Rom. Eccl. in his Disser- 
tationes de Rebus ad Hist, perti- 
nentibus, ii. 68 ff.; C. H. Sack De 
Patrim. Eccl. Rom. circa finem scec. 
VI. in his Dissertationes tres, p. 
25 ff. 

* Epist. V. 21 {Ad Constiintinam 

Chap. IX. 

A.D. 570— 

The Lom- 
A.D. 568. 

of the 

A.D. 321. 


The Church and the Empire. 

Chap. IX. 

to Rome. 

A.D. 417. 

A.D. 425. 

in matters ecclesiastical, less and less dependent on the 
Byzantine court. Under the influence of many causes, 
the see of Rome had risen to a great and unrivalled 
position in the West, and at the end of the sixth century 
the way was prepared for Gregory the Great, with whom 
a new era begins. 

It must not however be supposed that the views of 
the Roman bishops as to the authority of Rome were 
universally accepted even in the West. Many Churches 
had grown up independently of Rome and were abun- 
dantly conscious of the greatness of their own past. 
Milan, for instance, a great city and the chief town of a 
civil diocese, always maintained a certain attitude of in- 
dependence towards Rome, and the authority of so power- 
ful a prelate as Ambrose contributed greatly to render its 
see practically patriarchal. The see of Ravenna, too, 
from the time when Honorius, fleeing from the Goths, 
made that city his capital, was not disposed to acknow- 
ledge in Rome a supremacy in ecclesiastical matters 
which it had ceased to possess politically. And in the 
African Church the reluctance to submit to Roman dic- 
tation which had shewed itself in Cyprian's time was 
maintained for many generations. In the Pelagian con- 
troversy the Africans firmly opposed Zosimus of Rome, 
who had taken the side of Pelagius. And when the same 
Zosimus tried to compel them to reinstate a deprived 
presbyter, Apiarius, who had appealed to Rome, they were 
reluctant to obey. In vain he appealed to the canons of 
Sardica, which he quoted as Nicene; they rejoined that 
the canons in question were not Nicene, and admonished 
the bishop of Rome to proceed with more moderation and 
equity*. And when bishop Cselestinus a few years later 
again urged the restoration of Apiarius, they most em- 
phatically repudiated his authority, and forbade, under 
pain of excommunication, any appeal to a foreign bishop. 
They begged the bishop to consider, whether it was pro- 
bable that God would grant to an individual a power of 
correct judgment which He refused to a synods But the 
course of events broke the spirit of the African church- 

' This rejoinder is addressed to 
Boniface, who had succeeded Zosi- 
mus in 418. See Cone. Carth. vi. 

(an. 419) in Hardouin, i. 1242 fif. 

- See the letter of the African 
bishops in Hardouin, i. 047 f. 

The Church and the Empire. 


men. Their country was overrun by the Arian Vandals, 
and in their distress they were glad to cling to such 
support as they could find in Rome. They were not 
disposed to dispute the claims of Leo the Great as they 
had done those of Zosimus. 

In Gaul too there was a vigorous resistance to the 
jurisdiction of the see of St Peter. The see of Aries, 
which was really ancient and claimed to be more ancient 
than it was, constantly asserted metropolitan rights, which 
were acknowledged at Rome. One of its most famous 
bishops, Hilary, felt himself strong enough to resist even 
Leo the Great, and refused to allow a sentence passed by 
himself and his provincial synod to be reviewed at Rome*. 
In consequence of this contumacy Leo withdrew, so far as 
in him lay, the metropolitan privileges of Aries'^, and 
obtained — for he did not refuse to use the secular power 
when it was on his side — the famous rescript of the 
emperor Valentinian III. giving an emphatic supremacy 
to Rome over all Churches, and enjoining provincial 
governors to compel the attendance of bishops who might 
be summoned thither ^ Practically, however, these pro- 
ceedings do not seem in the end to have had much effect 
on the position and authority of the see of Aries*. And 
when the Franks came to be rulers in Gaul, the power of 
the popes in that country was much weakened ; for the 
bishops were compelled to pay more respect to a liege 
lord close at hand than to an ecclesiastical superior at a 
distance who could not protect them from him. Similarly 
in Spain, after the conversion of the Gothic king to 
Catholic Christianity^ the archbishop of Toledo, supported 
by the civil power, was able to assert a large measure of 
independence for his province. The British Church, 
isolated by its position, seems to have had from the first 
a very loose connexion with Rome ", and after the with- 
drawal of the Roman troops, scarcely any. 

' Honoratus, Vita Hilarii, c. 22 v. c. 5, art. 8; E.G. Perthel, Papst 
(Acta SS., May). 

2 Leonis Ejnst. 10 [al. 89], c. 7. 

2 In Leonis Opera, ed. Ballerini, 
Epist. 11. 

* On the controversy between 
Rome and Aries, see De Marca, De 
Concordia Sacerd. et Imp. v. 33; 
Natalis Alexander, Hist. Eccl. saec. 

Leo's Streit mit d. Bischof v. Aries, 
in Illgen's Zeitschrift, 1843, pt. 3; 
J. G. Cazenove in Diet. Chr. Biogr. 
III. G9 ff. 

^ See Cone. Tolet. in. Proce- 

° E. Stillingfleet, Origines Bri- 
tannica; J. Inett, Origines Angli- 


Chap. IX. 

A.D. 429— 

A.D. 445. 

A.D. 461. 


The Church and the Empire. 

5. Ecclesiastical councils were already summoned in 
the previous period^ but when the Church was under 
the protection of the Empire they assumed a more regular 
and systematic character. There arose a regular gradation 
of parochial, provincial, diocesan or patriarchal, and finally 
oecumenical councils. 

In the first place, a bishop assembled round him for 
deliberation on matters of common interest the presbyters 
of his "parochia," the modern diocese. At these councils 
deacons and laymen also attended, with what powers it is 
not quite certain ^ 

Secondly, a metropolitan held councils of all the 
bishops of his province. The Council of Nicsea enjoined" 
that a provincial council should be held twice every year, 
to receive appeals from the judgment of individual bishops 
with regard to excommunications and other matters. It 
was also a court for the trial of charges against bishops of 
the province*, though in troubled times it not unfrequently 
happened that it was unable to make its authority re- 
spected by influential offenders, supported perhaps by the 
civil power. 

A yet more important assembly was the council of a 
patriarchate, a diocese in the old sense of the word. Such 
a synod, assembled in Constantinople, constituted and 
ordained Flavian bishop of Antioch^ 

Such were the legislative and judicial assemblies which 
in ordinary times sufficed for the needs of the Church. 
But when the whole empire was divided and agitated by 
dogmatic questions of the highest importance, it was felt 
that nothing short of a representative assembly of the 
Church of the whole empire {rj oiKovfievrj) could give an 
authoritative decision. To such a General or QEcumenical 
Council^ the bishops of the whole Church were summoned 

cance; J. Pryce, The Ancient Brit i>:h 
Church (London, 1878); Haddan 
and Stubbs, Councils and Docu- 
ments, vol. I. 

^ See pp. 136 f. ; and refer to 
E. B. Pusey, Councils of the 

2 See A. W. Haddan, in Diet. 
Chr. Antiq. i. 473. 

■' Canon 5. The power of the 
provincial synod is also recognised 

in canons 4 and 6. 

^ Cone. Antioch. c. 15. 

6 Theodoret, H. E. v. 9, p. 206, 
suh finem. 

^ A distinction is frequently 
drawn between General and (Ecu- 
menical. "The term (Ecumenical 
has been consecrated by usage to 
mean 'a General Council, lawful, 
approved, and received by all the 
Chnrfh'...To be lawful and truly 

The Church and the Empire. 


by the emperoi'\ The bishop had always been the con- 
stitutional organ of his Church in its relations with other 
Churches, and no one could be more truly representative 
of each Church than the man whom his fellow-churchmen 
had chosen to be their head. Others than bishops were, 
however, not unfrequently present, as Athanasius — then a 
deacon — at the first Council of Nicoea. 

And it was scarcely possible that such bodies should 
be called together without at least the assent of the civil 
power. In the time of which we are treating religious 
questions were debated with the most eager animosity. 
The Empire was as keenly excited over the question of 
our Lord's Divinity or the Double Procession of the Holy 
Spirit as England is during a general election which is to 
decide the most momentous political measures. For the 
sake of maintaining the peace of their dominions, it was 
necessary for the emperors to exercise some control over 
the councils whioli so largely influenced their subjects. 
And as members of the Church they were bound to con- 
sider its welfare. It was, says Eusebius*, as set up by 
God to take the general oversight of the Church that 
Constantine assembled councils of the ministers of God. 
And Constantine himselP, addressing a Syrian synod, tells 
them that he had sent Dionysius, a consular, both to care 
for the orderly conduct of the council, and to admonish 
those bishops who were bound to attend that they would 
incur the emperor's highest displeasure if they failed to 
obey his summons. Similarly, at a later date the tribune 
Marcellinus was deputed to regulate and preside over the 
conference between the Catholics and the Donatists in 
Africa*. The imperial commissioners " generally had the 
place of honour in the midst before the altar-rails, were 
first named in the minutes, took the votes, arranged the 
order of the business, and closed the sessions^" In an 
oecumenical synod the emperor, either in person or by a 

cDCumenical it is necessary that all 
that occurs should be done regu- 
larly, and that the Church should 
receive it." A. P. Forbes, Thirty- 
nine Articles, i. p. 297. 

1 See L. Andrewes, Right and 
Power of Calling Assemblies, in 
Sermons, v. 160 S. ; and Tortura 

Torti, pp. 193, 422 ff. 

2 Vita Gonstantini, i. 44. 

8 Euseb. F. C. iv. 42. 

* Gesta Collationis Carthag., in 
Hardouin, Gone. i. 1051. 

5 Hefele, quoted in Diet. Chr. 
Antiq. p. 479. 

Chap. IX. 

bij the 



Tlie Church and the Empire. 

representative, took the seat of honour, as Coiistantine 
himself did at the opening of the Council of Nicsea. And 
this imperial presidency was sometimes more than formal. 
The emperor Marcian in person presided with great ap- 
plause over the sixth session of the Council of Chalcedon, 
proposed the questions, and conducted the business \ It 
was however unusual for an emperor to preside in person, 
and it is a matter much controverted who were the actual 
presidents in the earlier General Councils. That certain 
members of the synod were presidents is clear, but by 
whom they were appointed is very doubtful. At Chalcedon, 
however, one of the legates of Rome is repeatedly said to 
have presided, and their names stand first among those 
who signed the decrees^ And emperors ratified the decrees 
of the councils which they had called. Constantine com- 
mended the decrees of Nicsea to his subjects ^ and the 
Fathers of Constantinople supplicated Theodosius, as he 
had honoured them by sending out letters of summons, 
to complete the graciousnoss of his act by giving authority 
to their conclusions*. Athanasius, however, repudiates in 
the strongest terms the notion that the emperor's sanc- 
tion added anything to the decrees of a council. " When," 
he asks^ "did a decision of the Church receive its binding 
force from the emperor ?" 

The earlier assemblies of the faithful had contented 
themselves with condemning erroneous doctrine ; general 
councils often found themselves compelled to define the 
true. Hilary of Poictiers® looked regretfully back to the 
time when men were content simply to receive the Word 
of God, and lamented the necessity which was laid upon 
his own age of defining the infinite and expressing the 
inexpressible. It is indeed to be feared that in some 
cases the combatants fought somewhat at random. When 
once a partizan spirit was aroused, men were apt to forget 
that the proper object of their contention was truth, and 
not merely victory. 

1 Hardouin, Co7Jc. ii.463ff. Com- 
pare A. W. Haddan, in Diet. Chr. 
Antiq., pp. 478 f. 

2 A. W. Haddan, in Diet. Chr. 
Antiq. 478; Hardouin, Cone. ii. 
4G5 ff. 

8 Euseb. Vita Constant, in. 17- 

19 ; Socrates, H. E. i. 9. 

* Epist. Cone. (Eeumen. II. {Con- 
staiUinop. 381) ad Theodos. Imp., in 
Hardouin, i. 808. 

' Hist. Arian. ad Monaclios, c. 
52, p. 815 c. (ed. Colon. 1686). 

^ De Trinitate, ii. 1. 

The Church and the Empire. 


It might have been supposed that the conclusions of 
so imposing a body as an oecumenical council would have 
made strife to cease. In the end this was no doubt the 
case ; the principal dogmatic statements of the great 
councils have been received into the life of the Church. 
But at the time when the councils sat, a defeated and dis- 
appointed party could always find grounds for cavilling at 
their decrees, and emperors were invoked, not always 
in vain, to overrule ecclesiastical synods. The defeated 
Arians sought the help of the Arian Constantius, and 
Athanasius^ makes that emperor address an assembly of 
bishops at Milan in the words, " What I will, let that be 
taken for a fixed rule. Obey, or ye shall be driven from 
the empire." But it was not without indignation that 
men saw the interference of the emperor in the affairs of 
the Church. Leontius^ bishop of Trijjolis, though an 
Arian, reproached Constantius with deserting his proper 
province, the superintendence of the state and the army, 
to interfere with matters which properly belonged to the 
bishops alone. 

6. While the Church was spreading, growing, and 
organising itself under its new circumstances, the old 
heathenism was declining and withering away. When 
Constantino came into power heathenism still covered the 
empire ; its adherents, however inferior in all that gives 
life to religion, were probably greatly superior in numbers 
to the servants of Christ. In the time of Justinian it did 
but drag on a feeble existence in some carefully concealed 
den in a great city or among the rude dwellers in some 
mountain fastness. How was this brought about ? 

It was not by a sudden and violent suppression. The 
emperor Constantino, whatever were his real sentiments 
with regard to religion, proceeded very cautiously with 
regard to paganism. He used his power against it only so 
far that in the East he converted some almost disused 

^ Hist. Arian. ad Monachos, c. 33. 

2 Suidas s.v. Kf.bvTws, quoted by 
Gieseler, K.-G. i. 482, note k. 

3 H. G. Tzschirner, Der Fall 
des Heidenthums, herausg. von M. 
C. W, Niedner; S. T. Eudiger, 
De statu Paganorum sub Impp. 

Christ, post Constantinum; A. 
Beugnot, Hist, de la Destruction 
dxL Paganisme en Occident, \ E. 
Chastel, Hist, de la Destruction 
du Paganisme dans V Empire d'O- 
rient; Ernst v. Lasaulx, Untergang 
des Hellenismus. 

Chap. IX. 

The Fall 
OF Pagan- 





The Church and the Empire. 

temples into Christian churches, and suppressed certain 
worships which — like those of Aphrodite and of some 
Oriental and Egyptian deities — were morally offensive*. 
To acknowledge himself personally a Christian was one 
thing ; to attack the ancient religions of the empire was 
another. Even on the earliest of his coins the Christian 
symbol ^ appears on his helmet as a kind of personal 
badge ; but it was not until the year 323 that the image 
of Mars, the tutelary deity of the Roman armies, and 
the inscription, " Soli invicto comiti," vanished from the 
imperial coinage. In their place appeared allegorical 
figures, with inscriptions such as " Spes publica," " Beata 
tranquillitas," which were not distinctly either pagan or 
Christian I His new city of Constantinople he endeavoured 
to preserve from the contamination of paganism ^ though 
even here the ol'd goddess Rhea and the Fortune of Rome 
had shrines*. At the end of his life he is said to have 
formally forbidden idolatry. His son Constantius alludes 
to this in a law of the year 341®, and it seems to be con- 
firmed by the words of Eusebius and Theodoret". Still, it 
is remarkable that no such law is to be found in any 
collection, and some have consequently supposed that it 
was almost immediately repealed, others that it related 
only to immoral forms of idolatry, against which the em- 
peror had already begun to wage war'. Certainly it was 
never carried into execution ; and the pagan rhetorician 
Libanius*, many years later, could appeal to the fact that 
Constantino had not interfered with the legal ceremonies 
of the old religions. 

Constantino left three sons, the eldest of whom, Con- 
stantino II., fell in battle against his brothers. The two 
remaining, very inferior to their father in the art of ruling, 
divided the heritage, Constans becoming Emperor of the 
West, Constantius of the East. Neither of them kept 
towards the old religions the same moderation which their 
father had done. They joined in issuing a severe edict 

^ Eusebius, Vita Constantini, iii. 

2 F. W. Madden, in Diet. Chr. 
Antiq. p. 1277. 

^ Eusebius, V. C. in. 48. 

'' Zosimus, II. 31. 

^ Codex Theodos. xvi. tit. 10, 1. 2. 

6 Euseb. V. C. II. 55 ; cf. iv. 23, 
25; Theodoret, H. E. v. 21. 

^ Eusebius, Vita Constant, ii. 45. 

^ Oratio pro Templis, 3 (ii. 161, 
ed. Eeiske), ttjs Kara vofiovs tIepaTrelas 

The Church and the Empire. 


against paganism \ bnt Constans had to act in his own 
government with caution and discretion, as paganism still 
retained a firm hold on the people of the West. Thus he 
forbade^ the destruction of heathen temples outside the 
city walls, as being often rather adjuncts of public games 
than special supports of paganism. A traveller^ who 
visited Rome in 347 found there seven vestals still remain- 
ing, and the worship of Jupiter, of the Sun, and of the 
Mother of the gods, still carried on. Constantius was less 
fettered, as in his portion of the empire paganism was less 
powerful ; and when in 350 the death of his brother left 
him sole emperor he proceeded against heathen super- 
stitions with great rigour. As the edicts hitherto issued 
failed to put down heathen practices, in the year 353 he 
forbade* he told heathenish ceremonies under pain of death 
and confiscation of goods. Prefects who did not enforce 
the law were to be liable to the same punishments. Only 
to Rome and Alexandria it was not applied. The em- 
peror himself saw without emotion the old ceremonies still 
maintained in Rome, and did not interfere with the cus- 
toms which he found there^ But he saw danger to the 
state in the continued existence of paganism, while the 
Christians approved of his measures against it, and urged 
him to further efforts. One effect of the severe laws 
against paganism was, that many persons came into the 
Church who, convinced perhaps of the weakness of the 
heathen deities who endured such insults®, had no very 
solid belief in Christ nor much disposition to practise 
Christian virtues'. And some, perplexed by the ceaseless 
strife of conflicting parties, attempted to frame a religion 
on the ground of the great truths recognised by all. Such 
were the Massalians, or "praying people," described by 
Epiphanius® as gathering together, from the time of Con- 
stantine, in simple places of prayer, often mere open en- 

1 God. Theodos. lib. xvi. tit. 10, 

'^ Codex Theodos. xvi. 10. 3. 

^ See the anonymous Vehis 
Orhis Descriptio, p. 35 (ed. J. 
Gothofred), quoted by Gieseler, 
I. 844, note o, 

4 Codex Theod. xvi. 10. 4. 

B See Symmachus, Ejnst. x. 61 ; 

given also in Ambrosii Opera in. 
872 (ed. Benedict.). 

8 Eusebius, VitaConstant. iii. 57. 

^ lb. IV. 54; Libanius, Or at. pro 
Templis (ii. 177, ed. Eeiske). 

8 Haresis 80, cc. 1, 2. Cyril of 
Alexandria {De Adoratione, lib. iir. 
(t. 92, ed. Aubert) mentions these 
as Oeoae^Hs. 

The Church and the Empire. 

closures, to worship the one God whom they called the 
All-sovereign'; or again in other places meeting at dawn 
and at sunset, with abundant kindling of lights, uttering 
chants and songs of praise^ made by earnest men of their 
own brotherhood. These worshippers were found princi- 
pally in Palestine and Phoenicia. A kindred sect existed 
about the same time in Cappadocia, of which we have 
some account in Gregory Nazianzen's funeral sermon^ for 
his father, who had belonged to it in his youth. These 
too worshipped only the All-sovereign, the Most High*, 
but in their practices they seem to have mingled Parsism 
and Judaism. They rejected idols and sacrifice, but 
honoured fire and lights; they reverenced the Sabbath, 
and observed the Mosaic prescriptions as to clean and 
unclean meats, while they rejected circumcision. The 
" Worshippers of HeavenV' who appeared at the end of 
the fourth century in Africa, were probably a kindred 

The pagans were now in the condition in which the 
Christians had been a generation or two earlier — they 
were persecuted by the civil government. As was natural, 
they attacked the Church with such weapons as were at 
their command. They spoke and wrote against Chris- 
tianity; what was good and true in it was, they said, 
borrowed from the old philosophers ; what it had of its 
own was superstition. Nay, sacred things were even 
burlesqued in the theatres^ And the disputes among 
Christians about matters which were to the heathen unin- 
telligible did not incline them to look favourably on their 
religion. Heathenism long kept its hold on the schools 
and on literature. Heathens taught rhetoric at Athens 
and philosophy at Alexandria. The principal orators of 
the time were still heathens, like Libanius, the teacher of 
John Chrysostom. Neoplatonism sought to rejuvenize 
paganism, to defend it philosophically, to cover its im- 
moral myths with a decent cloak of allegory. In this 

^ HavTOKpdropa, the word uced in 

the first clause of the Nicene Creed. 

* 'EiiKprjfj.iai, whence the name 

3 Oral. 18 [al. 19], c. 5. See 
K. UUmann, Gregory of Nazianzum, 
tr. by Cox. 

^ Tw v\piiTTov, whence the name 

' Codex TJieod. xvi. 5, 43, and 
8, 19 ; laws of 408 and 409. 

6 Euseb. V. G. ii. 61; Greg. 
Nazianz. Oral. i. p. 34. 

The Church and the Emjnre. 

way unstable spirits were sometimes attracted and drawn 

In the latter half of the fourth century the hopes of 
the pagans experienced a sudden revival. Julian^ the 
son of Julius Constantius younger brother of the great 
Constantino, had been brought up as a Christian among 
men whose Christianity was little likely to attract a very 
imaginative boy. It was probably his dreamy tempera- 
ment, as it seemed unlikely to lead him to strive for pre- 
eminence in the empire, which saved him from the watch- 
ful jealousy of his cousin Constantius, who — Christian as 
he thought himself — had no scruple in removing any one 
who stood in his way. When in early manhood he studied 
at Athens, his fellow-student Gregory of Nazianzus^ fore- 
boded the misery which he was destined to bring on the 
Empire ; while the pagan teacher Libanius thought that 
his profession of Christianity hung upon him like an ass's 
skin on a lion. Julian was evidently fascinated by the 
beauty and naturalness of the Greek classical literature 
much as many Italian princes of the Renascence were, but 
we must not suppose that he adopted the myths and 
opinions of popular paganism. This was hardly possible 
in that age and with his training. It was with paganism 
as it appeared in the allegories of the Neoplatonists, and 
in the mysteries which were the delight of the initiated, 
that he was in love ; a paganism which gave its main 
worship to one supreme deity, and regarded the gods of 
the Pantheon as mere personifications of his varied attri- 
butes. The Christianity of the house of Constantine re- 
pelled him, as indeed it could scarcely fail to do. 

Sent, still young and inexperienced, to preside in Gaul, 
then torn by intestine divisions and harassed by the 

1 Gregory of Nazianzus complains 
(Orat. XX. p. 331; xuii. p. 787) of 
the injurious influence of the schools 
iit Athens. 

2 On Julian, see S. Johnson, 
Julian the Apostate (London, 1682); 
A. Neander, der Kaiser Julia n ii.sein 
Zeitalter (trans, by G. V. Cox) ; V. 
Teuffel, De Juliano Christ ianismi 
contemptorc etosore; D. F. Strauss, 
Der Ilomanticer aiif dem Throne der 
Cdsaren; C. Semisch, Julian der 

Abtriinnige; J. F. A. Muecke, Fla- 
vitis Claudius Julian us; F. Kode, 
Geschichte der Reaction K. Julians 
gegen die Ghristl. Kirche; H. A. 
Naville, Julien I'Apostat et sa Phi- 
losophic de P oly the i sine ; G. H. 
Eendall, The Emperor Julian (Cam- 
bridge, 1879), gives an excellent 
bibliography of the subject; J. 
Wordsworth, in Diet, of Chr. 
Biogr. in. 484 ff. 

^ Oratio v. pp. 161 f. 

The Church and the Empire. 

Teutonic tribes on the frontier, in four years he pacified 
the country and secured it for the time from external 
invasion\ His success, while it endeared him to the 
provincials and the army, excited the jealousy of his 
cousin the emperor, and, to save his own life, he was 
compelled to lead his army against that of Constantius. 
The mastership of the empire hung in doubt, when Con- 
stantius fell sick and died in the neighbourhood of Tarsus. 
Julian, the next heir, was generally accepted as his suc- 
cessor, and in December of the same year made his entry 
into Constantinople ^ 

As ruler of the Roman world Julian could not but give 
effect to the convictions which had mastered him. Even 
on his march through Illyria against his cousin he had 
caused the temples of the national deities to be opened and 
their worship resumed. Fairly on the throne, he pro- 
claimed general freedom of worship, and exhorted every 
one frankly to confess the faith that was in him, and to 
live in accordance with it^. But with all his professed 
regard for religious equality, he looked upon himself 
as chosen by the gods to restore the old religions in the 
empire. He was too wise to proceed against Christianity 
by the method of blood and iron which had already so 
signally failed, but he set in motion a more light-handed 
persecution which might in time have produced important 
effects. Paganism was restored to almost all its old 
privileges. An edict was issued for the restoration to 
the temples of their confiscated endowments, most of 
which had been transferred to Christian churches. Much 
trouble and litigation ensued. The Christian clergy lost 
its privileges, payments to Christian churches from the 
public funds were withdrawn, the philosophic emperor 
alleging that he did the Christians no wrong in conferring 
on them the blessing of poverty. He forbade the use of 
classical literature in Christian schools, on the ground — no 
doubt ironical — that it was unseemly that books written 
by men who served the old heathen deities should be 
expounded by those who believed the gods of Greece to be 
mere evil demons, misleading the minds of men^ As 

1 Ammianus Marcellinus, libb. 


- Amm. Marcellinus, xxii. 2, 3. 

3 Ammianus Marcellinus, XXII. 5. 

■* Juliaui Epiat. 42 ; Orosius, 

Hist. VII. 30 ; Socrates, //. E. iii. 

The Church and the Empire. 


Christianity had not yet produced a philosophic literature 
of its own, he was aware that his edict, if carried into 
effect, would separate the rising generation of Christians 
from the highest culture of their time. He had a great 
contempt for much that he saw in the Christianity of his 
time, but he had not lived in the midst of it without find- 
ing something in it which was lacking in heathendom. 
He was conscious of a moral and spiritual power in the 
religion of Christ which he would fain have transferred to 
paganism. He recommended in the strongest terms to 
his pagan subjects brotherly love and mutual helpfulness ; 
the priests of his religion, in particular, he exhorted to 
lead pure and beneficent lives'; but he rejected with scorn 
the " Galikean " who was the source of the virtues which 
he admired. 

The effect, however, of Julian's proceedings was pro- 
bably much less than he had expected. The pagans doubt- 
less walked with a prouder step, and it is to be feared that 
some professing Christians joined the religion of the court. 
The fierce dissensions among Christians no doubt en- 
couraged their enemies to hope that the time of their 
dissolution was at hand. But in fact the restoration of 
paganism made little progress. Julian himself complained 
that few offered sacrifice, and those only to please him ; 
there was no love for the old gods. And in truth the 
emperor's own personality did not give dignity and im- 
pressiveness to his religion. He was no pagan of the old 
type, vigorous and healthy in mind and body. He was 
rather an ascetic professor, careless about his dress and his 
person, and with an odd manner which suggested nervous 
disorder^. But what he might have effected in a long 
reign must remain unknown. In the midst of his reforms 
he marched against the Persians, carrying on a war which 
Constantius had bequeathed to him, and fell in battle 
bravely fighting and encouraging his hard-pressed troops, 
Avhen he had reigned little more than a year and a half. 
With him fell the hopes of a pagan revival. The Galilteau 
had indeed conquered. Well had the banished Athanasius 

11 ff.; Sozomen, H. E. v. 16 ff.; 
Thfodoret, H. E.iu. 8ff. 

^ See his letter to Arsacius, in 

Sozomen, H. E. v. 16. 

^ Greff. Nazianz. Orat. v. c. 23. 

The Church and the Emjiire. 

prophesied of Julian, that he would pass away like a 

A kind of awe fell upon the army at the death of 
Julian. None of the pagan generals were willing to 
succeed him, and the army chose Jovian, aPannonian, who 
was so zealous a Christian that his religion had brought 
him into discredit with the late emperor. He however 
died before he reached Constantinople, and another 
Pannonian, Valentinian, was chosen by the soldiery to 
succeed him. He, with their assent, shared the imperial 
dignity with his brother Valens, to whom he entrusted the 
command of the Eastern portion of the empire, while he 
himself took charge of the West. Valentinian was too 
much occupied with the wars and troubles of his time to 
interfere much with the affairs of religion, but Valens, a 
decided Arian,was guilty of great cruelty towards those who 
opposed him. Valentinian was succeeded in the Empire of 
the West by his two sons, Gratian and Valentinian II, the 
latter a child of four years old. The real control rested of 
course with the former, who after the death of Valens 
associated with himself the Spaniard Theodosius, a worthy 
fellow-countryman of Trajan, as Emperor of the East. 
Gratian was under the influence of the greatest prelate of 
the West, Ambrose of Milan\ First of the Roman em- 
perors, he renounced the dignity of Pontifex Maximus^ 
and withdrew from the Vestal virgins, on whom the very 
existence of the city was thought to depend, the privileges 
and the endowments which the Christian emperors had 
hitherto respected ^ After Gratian's death, Valentinian 
caused the altar of Victory to be removed from the 
vestibule of the senate-house at Rome. This venerable 
altar, with its statue of the winged Victory, had been 
placed there by Augustus, and before it for many genera- 
tions the senators had taken their oath of fealty to the 
state. It had been removed by Constans, but Julian had 
restored it to its place. The removal of an object so long 

^ C. Merivale, Early Church 
History, pp. 19 ff. 

* Zosimus.iv. 3G. On the dignity 
of Pontifex Maximus, see J. A. 
Bosius, De Pontificatu Maxivio 
Impp. Christ., inGnevii 'Thesaurus, 
V. 271 ff.; De la Bastie, Du Souve- 

rain Pontif. des Emp. Rom., in 
M6m. de VAcaddmie des Inscript. 

XV. 75 ff. ; J. Eckhel, Doct. Nuvim. 
Vett. 386 ff. 

3 Symmachus, Epist. x. 61 ; 
Ambrose, Epist. 17; Code.v Theod. 

XVI. 10. 20. 

The Church and the Empire. 


venerated, and associated with so long a line of successes, 
could not fail to rouse the deepest emotion in the ad- 
herents of the old faith. These had a worthy representa- 
tive in the consular Symmachus, the prefect of the city, 
who addressed the emperor in words which are not without 
a certain pathos, begging him earnestly to leave to the 
senate-house its chief ornament, to permit senators who 
had now grown old to hand on to their descendants the 
emblem of good fortune which had been committed to 
them in their youth, to leave undisturbed the form of 
worship under which they had driven Hannibal from their 
walls and, in victory after victory, subdued the world. 
The humility of Syramachus's appeal shews the great 
change which had come over the great city; the once 
dominant and arrogant heathenism pleads for the toleration 
of a single observance. It pleaded in vain. Ambrose 
insisted that the Christian faith forbade the restoration of 
the altar, and the emperor decided that what the Christian 
faith required should be done\ 

Theodosius I., one of the greatest rulers of the de- 
clining empire, did much to complete the work which was 
begun under Constantine. When he, after the death of 
Valentinian II., became sole ruler of the empire, he for- 
bade in the most emphatic terms all sorts and conditions 
of men to offer sacrifice to senseless idols, or even to 
practise private worship before the domestic shrines. To 
pour a libation of wine to the tutelary genius or to hang a 
garland before the penates was made criminaP, though 
heathen worship still lingered in Rome^ and Alexandria. 
But the zeal of Christian mobs had outrun the legislation 
of the emperors. Already many temples had been de- 
stroyed^ Some few were turned into churches, but gene- 
rally Christians had too great a horror of spots once dedi- 
cated to the worship of denions to permit such a trans- 
formation. The statues of the deities were broken to 
fragments. In vain Libanius pleaded with his country- 

1 Symmachus, Epist. x. 61; 
Ambrose, Epist. 17 and 18 ad 
Valentiiiianum; cf. Epist. 57 ad 
Eugenivm. There is a good ac- 
count of the controversy between 
Symmachus and Ambrose in Ville- 

main's Eloquence Chrelienne, pp. v. 21. 

514 ff. (ed. 1858). 

' Codex Theod. xvi. 10, 12. 

3 Zosimus, IV. 59. 

* Libanius, Pro Templis, pp. 162, 
168, 192 ff. (ed. Eeiske); Sozomen, 
//. E. VII. 15; Theodoret, H. E. 

The GJnirch and the Empire. 

men to spare the temples as monuments of art and orna- 
ments of the towns ; the destruction went on. St Martin 
of Tours was especially active in promoting the destruction 
of temples in his neighbourhood, not without vigorous 
opposition from the inhabitants \ And the African bishops 
in the year 899 ^ supplicated the emperors to remove the 
remains of idolatry from Africa, and to destroy at any rate 
those temples which, being in remote places, served no 
purpose of ornament. But the emperor Honorius, dread- 
ing perhaps the wrath of the pagans, who were still 
numerous and attributed every public misfortune to the 
neglect of the ancient deities, tried to restrain the zeal of 
the Christians, and put forth two edicts^, to the effect 
that popular festivals were not to be interfered with, and 
that temples which had been cleared of superstitious ob- 
jects were not to be destroyed. The Goths, however, 
under Alaric, who had none of the old Roman respect for 
antiquity, destroyed ruthlessly. It was when Arcadius was 
emperor that the Vandal Stilicho caused the Sibylline 
books to be burned ; the Rome of the Sibyl was indeed 
near its end. 

As was natural, heathendom lingered longest among 
the country folk (pagani) of remote districts, slow to 
receive new ideas, and so the word " paganus came to be 
equivalent to heathen^" But it was not only among 
unlettered labourers that Christianity was slow to find 
admission ; many old families prided themselves on be- 
longing still to their ancestral religion. In the last agony 
of the Western Empire, when Alaric was before the walls 
of Rome, the pagans in the senate determined to sacrifice 
on the Capitol and in other temples® — a proceeding con- 
nived at, says a pagan historian", by Pope Innocent him- 
self And many of the philosophic class clung to the new 
paganism, or at any rate refused Christianity. One of the 
most famous of these was Hypatia, daughter of the philo- 
sopher Theon. This lady was a distinguished teacher of 
the Neoplatonic school at Alexandria, and was thought to 

1 Sulpicius Severus, Vita S. Mar- 
tini, cc. 13 — 15. 

2 Codex Eccl. Afi-icame, c. 58. 

3 Codex Theod. xvi. 10. 17, 18. 

■» Codex Theodos. xvt. 7. 2; 10. 

20. "Quos usitato nomine paga- 
nos vocamus," Angustin, Retract. 
II. 43. 

® Sozomen, H. E. ix. 0. 

" Zosimus, V. 41. 

The Church and the Empire. 


have great influence with Orestes, the prefect of the city, 
who was not on good terras with Cyril, the bishop. What- 
ever may have been the immediate cause, she was seized 
one day by a rabble of Christians, and dragged from her 
carriage into a neighbouring church, where she was killed 
with potsherds, and her body, torn limb from limb, carried 
out and burnt. This deed, says Socrates \ a Christian 
witness, brought grievous shame on Cyril and the Church 
in Alexandria, where all men respected the talent and the 
modesty of Hypatia. 

Until the reign of Justinian nothing was added to the 
laws against paganism. Sacrifice remained forbidden, and 
either ceased altogether, or was celebrated in secrecy and 
silence. Pagan celebrations were no longer public and 
national, but the mysteries of adepts. In Rome itself, 
however, heathen practices long retained a kind of pub- 
licity. Even in the middle of the fifth century Salvian* 
complained that the sacred fowls were still kept by the 
consuls, and auguries still sought from the flight of birds. 
And at a yet later date the festival of the Lupercalia, 
perhaps as old as the city itself, and intended as a puri- 
fication of the primitive settlement on the Palatine, was 
still celebrated, and was thought to give fertility to the 
land, to its flocks, its herds, and its human inhabitants. 
Pope Gelasius issued a decree^ against it. The Romans 
dreaded the curse of infertility if the usual propitiations 
were unperformed, but the bishop was resolute, and 
threatened to excommunicate the whole city if his decree 
was disobeyed. The rude festival came to an end, and it 
has sometimes been supposed that the Christian feast of 
the Purification, held in the same month, was designed to 
take its place*. Justinian resolved to put an end to what- 
ever remained of heathenism. For this purpose he sought 
to crush the non-Christian philosophy which nourished 
pagan modes of thought. He closed the philosophic 
schools of Athens ^ which had been for centuries a kind of 

1 H. E. VII. 15. 

- J>e Guhernatione Dei, vi. 2 
(p. 127, ed. Pauly). 

^ Adv. And romachiim Senatorem, 
in Mansi, viii. 95 ff. 

* Durandus, Beleth, Baronius 

and Pope Benedict XIV. adopt this 
supposition; see Diet, of Christ. 
Antiq. p. 1141. 

* Joh. Malala, Hist. Chron. pt. 
II. p. 187 (ed. Hody). 


Chap. IX. 

c. 440. 

calia sup- 
c. 492. 




TJie Church and the Empire. 

Chap. IX. 


Fall of 
Home, 410. 

De Civi- 
taie Dei. 

university. Many of the philosophers took refuge under 
the more tolerant sway of the Persian king\ who, when 
he was able to make terms with the emperor, stipulated 
that they should be allowed to return to their own country. 
The schools however remained closed. But Justinian was 
not satisfied with forbidding pagan observances; he ordered 
that his subjects should be baptized*, on pain of confisca- 
tion and exile — a violation of the rights of conscience 
which had hitherto been unknown. The patrician Photius 
sought death itself rather than submit to the Christian 
rite^ — one of the few martyrs of paganism, if a suicide 
may bear that name. 

From this time there was in the Empire but little 
open and avowed paganism, whether in East or West. 
An important part of the Empire however, including 
Macedonia, Thessaly, Hellas, and the Peloponnesus, was 
soon after Justinian's time overrun by a swarm of Sla- 
vonic tribes, who introduced their own form of paganism 
and maintained it until the ninth century. And the 
Mainotes in Peloponnesus, secure in their mountains and 
their poverty, continued to worship Poseidon and Aphrodite 
until Basil the Macedonian in the ninth century compelled 
them to conform to Christianity*. In Sicily, in Sardinia, 
and in Corsica there were many heathens at the end of the 
sixth century, and for these even Gregory the Great did 
not hesitate to recommend such methods of conversion as 
flogging and imprisonment ^ But in general it may be 
said that after the time of Justinian heathen practices 
either vanished altogether or were disguised under Chris- 
tian names. 

It was in the great crash of the Roman world, when 
Alaric and his Goths were ravaging the West, when men's 
hearts were failing them for fear, and many said that the 
desertion of the old gods, under whose auspices Rome had 
conquered the world, was the cause of the presents mis- 
fortunes, that Augustin wrote his great work on the City 
of God. Of this he himself gives ® the following account. 

1 Agathias, De hup. Jvstiniani, 
II. 30. See Wesseling, Obscrvat. 
Varia, i. 28. 

2 Ciidex Justin, i. 11 (De Pa- 
ganis), 1. 10. 

^ Gilibon's Rome, c. 47 (vi. 37, 

ed. Smith). 

* Constaut. Porphyrog. De Ad- 
ministr. Imj). c. 50. 

6 Greg. Episti. iii. 62; iv. 26; v. 
41; VIII. 1; IX. l]5. 

^ Eetractationes, ii. 43. 

The Church and the Eininre. 


It consists of twenty-two books. In the first five he sought 
to refute those who asserted that temporal prosperity de- 
pended on the due payment of worship to the many gods 
of the Gentiles ; in the next five, those who, admitting 
that no form of religion could avert the misfortunes which 
were the lot of humanity, contended that polytheism was 
necessary to secure happiness in the world to come. In 
the remaining books he passes from refuting his adver- 
saries to developing the positive side of his faith in God's 
government of the world. In the first four books of this 
second part he describes the rise of the two kingdoms, the 
kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world ; in the 
next four their spread and progress ; in the last four, the 
purposes which they severally subserve. The heathen, he 
indignantly observes, far from complaining of Christianity, 
ought to be grateful to it for the protection which it had 
given them. When, in the whole history of the pagan 
world, had it been heard that the victors had spared the van- 
quished for the sake of the gods of the vanquished ? But 
in the sack of Rome the Christian shrines had been found 
a safe refuge from the Gothic soldiery. They were not to 
think that a catastrophe such as the fall of Rome was to 
be regarded with despair ; it was but the passage from the 
old order to the new, the painful birth of a better age\ 
The same God who had caused the Romans, still pagan, to 
rise to such a height of empire, could under the yoke of 
Christ give them a better kingdom^. And Orosius', who, 
at Augustin's instigation wrote a sketch of the history of 
the world with the intention of vindicating the ways of 
God to man, saw even more clearly than his master that 
the barbarians were beginning a new era, and that future 
generations would look back to rude warriors of that day 
as kings and founders of kingdoms. Salvian* saw the 
manifest judgment of God in the success of the Teutonic 
tribes. They increase, he said, day by day, we decrease ; 
they are lifted up, we are cast down ; they flourish, we are 
withered. And he found a reason for this superiority in 
the greater social purity of the Goths and Vandals. What 
hope, he exclaims, can there be for the Roman state when 


^ De Civitate Dei, i. If.; n. 2. 
^ Sermo 105 j De Civ, Dei, iv. 7, 
28; V. 23, 

3 Hist, adv. Paganos, vii. 39, 41. 
* De Guhernatione Dei, vii. 11, 




The Church and the Empire. 

Chap. IX 

the barbarians are more chaste and pure than the Romans? 
Nay rather, when there is chastity among the barbarians 
and none among ourselves. Such were some of the 
thoughts called forth by the fall of heathendom and of the 
great heathen city which had been enabled for so long a 
time to riile the nations. Faithful souls saw in the 
calamities which then fell upon the earth at once the 
punishment of sin and the hope of better things to come. • 


Theology and Theologians, 

1. The fourth century, which gave to the Church 
power and dignity, brought also a great accession of 
literary activity. In the Greek Church especially the ex- 
position of Scripture was steadily prosecuted and Christian 
eloquence largely developed. General culture still remained 
classical. If some of the Christian writers had their genius 
nursed in the solitude of the desert, many shared in the 
highest education of their time. The school of Athens still 
flourished. There were to be found philosophers who were 
ready to initiate disciples into the mysteries of Neopla- 
tonism, sophists who taught the dialectic art, grammarians 
who expounded the great writers who were the glory of 
ancient Greece. There some of those who were afterwards 
to adorn Greek theology studied under the guidance of 
the most illustrious teachers of paganism. But the 
general feeling towards the great pagans was in this age 
very different from that which had animated Clement of 
Alexandria and the early apologists. These sought in the 
ancient documents of heathendom for traces of the work- 
ing of the ever-present Word ; the Christian writers of the 
second period, while many of them were fully conscious of 
the intellectual greatness and the perfect form of the 
Greek and Latin models, were yet torn with scruples if 
they gave to them an eager and admiring study. Jerome 

1 Full accounta of the authors 
of this period are to be foiind iu 
Dupin's Nouvelle Bibliotlirque des 
Autenrs Eccl., Ceillier's Hist. G4- 
nerale des Autetirs Sacres et Eccl., 

Cave's Scriptorum Eccl. Ilist.Lite- 
rarin, Fessler's Institutioncs Patro- 
lo(jiae, Mzog'a Grundrint< der Palro- 
lofjie, and other Patrologies. 

Chap. X. 


A thens. 

of the 

Shrink iiu/ 




Theology and Theologians. 

Chap. X. 


Want of 

and Epit(> 

for Style. 

was filled with horror and remorse for the ardent study 
and admiration which he had given to Cicero ; Augustin 
deplored the "wine of error" which was given to the 
young Christian to drink in the choice words of the 
ancient writers \ Such men were conscious that a spirit 
which was not that of Christ underlay the beauty of the 
old world. 

But in spite of this feeling, we are conscious that 
Christian literature shines with the evening-glow of clas- 
sical culture up to about the middle of the fifth century. 
The Council of Chalcedon seems to mark an epoch. The 
long dogmatic controversies, though they caused much 
writing, were not favourable to the quiet cultivation from 
which the best literature proceeds. As is natural, there 
is found a correspondence between the general culture of 
any period and its theology, for theology arises from the 
application of the intellect to revealed truth. Christian 
truth came into contact with philosophy both as a friend 
and as an enemy; in both characters it received an influ- 
ence. And when Greek philosophy came to an end, all 
the vigour and originality of Christian theology came to an 
end with it^ Men like Athanasius and Basil are found 
no more after the middle of the fifth century. And the 
barbarian invaders of the Empire destroyed much of the 
old social life. In the end, they produced the great 
literature of modern Europe ; but at first the Teutons 
were a destructive rather than a creative force. What- 
ever the cause, about the middle of the fifth century a 
great change came over Christian literature. The vigorous 
intellectual life of an earlier period was lost in dulness or 
tawdriness. We see no longer the spirit of enquiry and 
philosophy; literature contents itself with bringing toge- 
ther and epitomizing old matter, with a view rather to 
edification than to the extension of knowledge. So utterly 
did even a Roman of high rank come to despise the graces 
of style, that Gregory the Great exults, in the manner of 
a modern Puritan, that he had no need to trouble himself 
with the rules of Donatus'; and he is very indignant with 

^ Confess., i. 26. 
2 See Eanke, Weltgeschichte, iv. 
2, p. 20 £f. 

'^ Epist. ad Leandrinii, prefixed 

to the Exposition of Job. Do- 
natus was a well-known Roman 
grammarian, wLo was Jerome's 

Theology and Theologians. 


Desiderius of Vienne for having ventured to lecture on 
some of the classical writers \ The story told by John of 
Salisbury^, that he burned the ancient treasures of the 
Palatine library, is perhaps not worthy of belief. It was 
a highly significant sign that original literature and frank 
discussion had ceased when pope Hormisdas — if it was he 
— put forth a list of books^ which the Mthful were not 
permitted to read. Most of these are however really 
heretical or falsely attributed to the persons whose name 
they bear. 

We find everywhere the two great principles of human 
nature in perpetual conflict. On the one hand, respect 
for authority, dread of change, desire to maintain the state 
of things in which each man finds himself. On the other, 
more reliance on the powers which God has given to man, 
more hopefulness, more readiness to leave the things 
which are behind and to press forward to those which are 
before. To speak generally, we may say that the Latin 
Church took the conservative side, the Greek that of fi-ee 
discussion and enquiry. But this description is by no 
means complete and exhaustive. The Churches were 
separated by no impassable barrier; much respect for 
authority was found in the East, and some free enquiry 
in the West. 

2. The great representative in the East of the freer 
tone in matters of dogma and exegesis was the School of 
Antioch*. It owes its origin, no doubt, to the impulse 
given by Origen to theology, but it ran an independent 
course. Instead of the Origenistic allegorizing of the 
Bible, in the School of Antioch the leading men insisted 
on the necessity of grammatical and historical exposition^ 
Not that they rejected type and allegory, but that they 
insisted that all edifying exegesis must be founded on au 

^ Epist. XI. 54 ad Desiderium. 

^ Policratiats, ii. 20; viii. 19. 

^ In Decretum Gratiani, P. i. 
Dist. XV. c. 3; Hardouin, Cone. ii. 
940. It is commonly ascribed to 
Gelasius (494), but it is doubtful 
whether it is really older than the 
eighth century. See W. E. Scuda- 
more, in Diet. Chr. Antiq. ii. 1721, 
s.v. Prohibited Books. 

* See p. 07. Sijecial treatises 

on the Antiochene School are Miin- 
ter. Die Antioch. Seltule, in Staud- 
lin und Tzschirner's Archiv, vol. i. 
pt. 1; C. Hornung, Schola Antio- 
elicna; Kihn, Die Bedeutung der 
Antioeh. Schule axtf Exeget. Gebiet; 
Hergenrother, Die Antioch. Schule. 
® ToO a\\y]yopLKov to 'urropiKov 
ir\etaTov oaov TrporifxcS/xev, says Dio- 
dorus, quoted by Harnack, Dog- 
mengeachichle ii., p. 78 note. 

Chap. X. 

514 (?). 

Schools of 

School of 
Antioch i. 


Theology and Theologians. 

accurate understanding of the words of Scripture in their 
literal and historical sense, which the allegorists pure and 
simple altogether disregarded. " The authority of Christ 
Himself and of His Apostles encourages us to search for a 
deep and spiritual meaning under the ordinary words of 
Scripture, which however cannot be gained by any arbi- 
trary allegorizing, but only by following out patiently the 
course of God's dealings with man\" This was the prin- 
ciple of the Antiochenes. They looked to reason rather 
than to authority to explain and develope dogma, taking 
theu^ stand on Scripture. They were anxious that the 
human element in the Lord Himself, in His Word, and in 
His Church, should receive the consideration which it 
sometimes seemed in danger of losing. In this effort it is 
not to be denied that some of them took too little account 
of the divine element, and failed to grasp the full signifi- 
cance of the work of Christ as Incarnate Saviour and 
Redeemer. The influence of this school was great in the 
East during the fourth and fifth centuries, and when it 
grew weak in its early home the Antiochene Cassian 
planted an offshoot in Gaul. 

A very noteworthy figure in the School of Antioch is 
Eusebius, bishop of Emesa, of whom Jerome * wrote that 
his elegant and forcible style caused him to be much 
studied by those who wished to distinguish themselves in 
popular oratory. In the fragments which remain of his 
numerous works Eusebius appears as a representative of 
those who thought that much of the theological dissension 
of his time arose from the morbid desire to know more 
than Scripture had revealed. " Confess," he says, " that 
which is written of the Father and the Son, and do not 
require that which is not written." " If a dogma is not in 
Scripture let it not be taught ; if it is in Scripture, let it 
not be extinguished ^" His desire to avoid adding to Scrip- 
ture propositions of man's device seems to have perplexed 
his contemporaries, for while Jerome* describes him as a 
ringleader of the Arians, Socrates^ and Sozomen" agree 

1 E. F. Westcott, Introduction 
to the Gospels, p. 382. 

* Catalogus, c. 91. 

8 See Hase, Kirchengescliichtc 
auf Grundlage Akadein. Vorlesun- 

gen, i. 502. 

* Chronicon, ad ann. X Cou- 

^ H. E. II. 9. 

6 //. E. III. 6. 

Theology and Theologians. 


in saying that he was suspected of holding Sabellian 

Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem \ lived through the greater 
part of the eventful fourth century. Once suspected of 
heretical opinions, he was persecuted by the Arian emperor 
Valens for his adherence to orthodoxy, and was among 
those who sat at the Council of Constantinople in 381. 
The Catechetical Lectures which he delivered while still a 
presbyter in Jerusalem, the first part of the series to those 
who were preparing for baptism, the latter part to the 
newly baptized, are a most valuable record both of the 
instruction which it was thought necessary to give to those 
who came to be baptized, and of the state of the liturgy of 
Jerusalem at the time when they were delivered. 

But the most flourishing period of the Antiochene 
School begins with Eusebius's pupil Diodorus^ who in the 
year 378 was consecrated by Meletius to the see of Tarsus'. 
He wrote commentaries on many of the books of the Old 
Testament, giving his principal attention to the actual 
words of Scripture and disregarding allegory in his desire 
to reach the true historical sense of the text*. He seems 
however to have fully recognised the divine element in the 
typical events of the sacred history. He was an energetic 
defender of the orthodox faith against the Arians, and 
taught John Chrysostom his principles of Scripture inter- 

John ®, sometimes called from his see John of Constan- 

1 W. Cave, Hist. Lit. i. 211; 
Colin in Ersch u. Gruber'sEyicycZ. 
vol. 23, s.v. : J. van Volleuhoven 
De Cyrilli Catechesihus; H. Plitt, 
De Cyr. Oratt. Catechet.; J. H. 
Newman, Pref. to translation in 
the Library of the Fathers ; E. 
Venables in Diet. Chr. Biogr. i. 

2 Jerome, Catal. 119; W. Cave, 
Hist. Lit. I. 266; E. Venables in 
Diet. Chr. Biogr. i. 836 ; L. Diestel, 
Gesch. d. Alt. Test. 128. 

» Theodoret H. E. v. 4. 

* Socrates H.E. v. 3; Sozoraen 
VIII. 2. 

^ Palladius, Dialogus de Vita 
J oh. Chrys., in Montlaucon's 

Chrysost. Opera, vol. 13; Socrates 
H. E. VI. 3—21; Sozomenviii. 2 — 
23; Theodoret //. E. v. 27—31; 
Isidore Pelus. Epistt. — Lives by 
Montfaucon (Chrys. Opera, xiii. 
91 ff.). Cave {Lives of the Fathers, 
III. 237 ff.), Neander (Der Heilige 
Chrysostomos), Am. Thierry {St 
Jean Chrys. et I'Lnp. Eudoxie), 
Btihringer (in Die Kirche Christi 
u. ihre Zexigen, vol. ix. 2nded.), W. 
B. W. Stephens {St Chrysostom, 
his Life and Times), F. H. Chase 
(Chrysostom, a Study in the Hist, 
of Biblical Interpretation), B. W. 
Bush {Life and Times of St Chry- 
sostom, B.T. S.), F. W. Farrar, Lives 
of the Fathers, ii. 615 ff. 


Theology and Theologians. 

Chap. X. 

c, 369. 


c. 374. 


"u)i the 

tinople, and afterwards, from his splendid eloquence, John 
of the Golden Mouth, Chrysostomos, was born about the 
year 347 at Antioch, of distinguished family both on his 
father's and his mother's side. His father died while the 
son was yet a child, and the young widow Anthusa, devoting 
herself to the education of her son, implanted in his infant 
mind the seeds of that earnest piety which he never lost. 
His early training under the pagan rhetorician Libanius, 
who regretted that the Christians had stolen his most pro- 
mising pupil \ in no way injured his faith in Christ. After 
he had for a short time practised as an advocate with so 
much success that the highest offices seemed open to him, 
he withdrew from the turmoil of a worldly life, and de- 
voted himself to reading and meditating on Holy Scripture. 
Meletius, bishop of Antioch, seeing how highly gifted he 
was, instructed him in the great Christian verities, bap- 
tized him, and ordained him to the office of reader. When 
in the troublous year 370 Meletius and several of the 
neighbouring bishops were deposed, it was hoped that 
John would be induced to fill one of the vacant sees. He 
however avoided the unquiet dignity which he induced his 
friend Basil to accept. A few years later, his mother 
being probably dead, he joined a community of monks in 
the neighbourhood of Antioch, where he thought he had 
found a harbour of refuge from the rough waves of this 
troublesome world. Here, in company with men like- 
minded, such as Theodore, afterwards of Mopsuestia, he 
devoted himself to the ascetic life and the study of the 
Bible under the guidance of the learned Diodorus, after- 
wards bishop of Tarsus, and Carterius^ until about the 
year 380. To this period belong his earliest writings. 
His health having broken down under the severity of his 
ascetic practices he returned to Antioch, where Meletius, 
now restored to his see, ordained him deacon, and his suc- 
cessor Flavian promoted him to the priesthood, giving 
him special permission to preach in the cathedral church. 
His reputation rose to the highest pitch when in the fol- 
lowing year he preached a course of sermons to encourage 
the people of Antioch when they were dreading the em- 
peror's vengeance for a tumult in which his statues had 

1 Sozonien, viii. 2. 

^ Socrates vi. 3. 

Theology and Theologians. 


been overthrown. For several years he continued to use 
his great influence in Antioch against sects and heresies 
and against the pagan frivolity and luxury which were 
corrupting the Christian Church. 

In the year 397 this career came to an end. The 
emperor Arcadius chose him, very much against his own 
wish, to be patriarch of Constantinople in succession to 
Nectarius, and he received consecration as bishop from 
Theophilus of Alexandria, who was afterwards to over- 
throw him. As in his high position he spared neither 
heresy nor corruption in high places, and endeavoured 
strenuously to introduce a higher standard of life and work 
among the bishops and clergy, there were soon many 
powerful persons who desired the removal of this new 
John Baptist. These made common cause with the em- 
press Eudoxia, who had herself been greatly offended by 
the freedom of John's preaching against licentiousness of 
life. Theophilus of Alexandria, who had himself been 
summoned to Constantinople to answer before the patri- 
arch and the council of his diocese to grave charges, was 
ready enough to prefer counter-charges against John. A 
synod summoned at The Oak, a suburb of Chalcedon, at 
which Theophilus, supported by the empress, himself 
presided, deposed the good patriarch in his absence, — 
for he steadily refused to acknowledge its authority. The 
emperor Arcadius, requested by the synod and influenced 
by his wife at all costs to remove him from his see, caused 
him in the dusk of a September evening to be conducted 
to the coast of Bithynia. Thereupon there arose in the 
city, where the people generally had been deeply im- 
pressed by the holiness and beneficence of their bishop, 
so fierce a tumult that the terrified emperor ordered his 
recall. With the most enthusiastic expressions of joy he 
was escorted back to the church from which he had been 
expelled. The hostility of the empress however knew no 
remission, and the good bishop who reproved her was 
again banished, first to Nicsea, then to Cucusus in the 
bleak district of the Taurus range. Even from this 
remote spot his influence was felt, and the emperor 
ordered his removal to Pityus on the eastern shore of the 
Black Sea. He died however under brutal treatment, on 
his journey thither. 


Theology and Theologians. 

In this great teacher we see the most eager zeal for 
perfect smiplicity and even rigour of life united with the 
most tender love for the souls of men. With all his 
championship of orthodoxy in belief, with all his devotion 
to monastic austerity, he still preached Christian love and 
beneficence as the most excellent gifts ; and his practice 
corresponded to his preaching. But his greatest legacy 
to the Church is found in the sermons and homilies, in 
which he expounded a large part both of the Old and 
the New Testament. In this exegetic work, uniting as he 
does simple and natural explanation of the text with 
earnest and eloquent application of it to the cii'cumstances 
of his hearers, he is the flower of the great School of 
Antioch. Few nobler names are found in the Church's 
roll of saints than that of John Chrysostom. 

Perhaps the most remarkable product of the Antio- 
chene school of Scriptural interpretation was Theodore*, a 
presbyter of Antioch who became bishop of Mopsuestia in 
Cilicia. He was a steady opponent of the allegorical 
method of interpreting Scripture, and perhaps carried the 
historical and critical spirit to excess. He anticipated, in 
fact, several of the conclusions which have become more 
familiar to us in the present century I But through- 
out the history of the Israelites he sees God's prepa- 
ration of His people for better things to come, he finds 
types of the Saviour, and he always acknowledges the 
reality of prophecy ^ Few men were in higher repute 
for earnest work and sanctity of life. Everywhere he was 
regarded as the herald of the truth and the teacher of the 
Church ; even distant Churches received instruction from 
him. " We believe as Theodore believed ; long live the 
faith of Theodore," was a cry often heard in the Churches 
of the East*. Yet one hundred and twenty-five years 

i P. F. Sieffert, Theod. Mops. 
Veteris Test, sobrie interpretandi 
Vindex; 0. F. Fritzsehe, De Theod. 
Mops. Vita et Scriptis ; H. Kihn, 
Theod. V. Mops, und Junilius Afri- 
canus als Exegeten; H. B. Swete 
in Diet. Chr. Biogr. iv. 934. 

2 The allegations against Theo- 
dore are found in ii. Cone. Constant. 
GoUat. IV. § C3 ff., in Ilardouiu 

Cone. III. 8G ft'.; and in Leontius 
c. Nestorium, in Galland, Bibl. 
Patrum xii. G86 ff. He was de- 
fended by Facundus, De/t'ns. Trium 
Capit. (Galland, us. xi. 665 ff.) 

* L. Diestel, Gesch. d. Alten 
Testaments, 129 ff. 

* Cyril Alexand. Epist. 69 
((| noted by Swete, D. C. B. iv. 

Theology and Theologians. 


after his death the fifth General Council, under the influ- 
ence of Justinian, condemned his works. It was perhaps 
the stir which followed this condemnation which caused 
some of his works to be translated into Latin and circulated 
in the West, where they had hitherto been almost un- 

To the Antiochene School belongs also Theodoret^ 
Born at Antioch, from his cradle devoted to a life of 
religion, and visited frequently by ]:»ious monks, it is not 
wonderful that when he became a man he entered a 
monastery, from which he reluctantly withdrew on being 
chosen bishop of Cyrus or Cyrrhus in the Euphratensis, 
a wide-spread diocese containing many churches, and 
abounding in heresies of various kinds which the good 
bishop endeavoured to combat. In his interpretation of 
Scripture he is a disciple of Theodore, but without the 
occasional extravagance of his master. " For appreciation, 
terseness of expression, and good sense, [his commentaries 
on St Paul] are perhaps unsurpassed;... but they have 
little claim to originality, and he who has read Chrysostom 
and Theodore of Mopsuestia will find scarcely anything in 
Theodoret which he has not seen before... He professes 
nothing more than to gather his stores from the blessed 
fathers ^" In controversy and in history he is as remark- 
able as in exegesis. He presents himself to us in his 
works and in the accounts of his contemporaries as "a 
great and holy bishop, an accomplished man of letters, an 
acute and accurate scientific theologian, a sound and 
skilful controversialist,... a church historian learned and 
generally impartial ; an eloquent and persuasive preacher, 
almost rivalling in his celebrity and his power over his 
hearers his great fellow-townsman John Chrysostom^." 
He has " a place of his own in the literature of the first 
centuries, and a place in which he has no rival ^" We 

^ J. Gamier, Dissertationes, ap- 
pended to Sirmond's edition of 
Theod. Opera; lie N. Tillemont, 
Mem. Eccl. xiv., xv. ; W. Cave, 
Hist. Lit. I. 405 (ed. Basel); J. A. 
Fabricius, Bibl. Gr(eca,vu., 429 ff., 
VIII. 277 ff. ; E. Binder, Etudes sur 
Theodoret (Geneva, 1844) ; Specht, 

Theod. V. Mopsuest. u. Theodoret 
(Miinchen, 1871). 

2 J. B. Lightfoot, Ep. to Gala- 
tiam, p. 220 (1st Ed.). 

* B. Venables, in Diet. Chr. 
Biogr. iv. 905. 

* J, H. Newman, Historical 
Sketches, in. 32G. 

Chap. X. 

borne. 3'JO. 

Bishop of 
c. 457. 


Theology and Theologians. 

" feel towards him as we can hardly feel towards any of 
his contemporaries in East or West^" 

3. While in Western Syria the Greek language and 
Greek culture prevailed, in Eastern Syria the native tongue 
was the language of theology, which there took oriental 
forms of thought and style. Here arose a divinity decked 
with florid poetical imagery, exhorting men to a holy 
and ascetic life, and often tinged with mysticism. It 
resembled the West-Syrian School in favouring an exe- 
gesis which took account of the exact and literal sense of 
the words of Scripture, though in dogmatic prepossessions 
it came nearer to the later Alexandrian school. The 
principal seats of this school were Nisibis and Edessa. 

James, bishop of Nisibis^ though a Syrian and living 
on the confines of the Empire, took an eager interest in the 
dogmatic controversies of his time, defending the orthodox 
cause in many writings. His works have perished, but his 
influence lived in his pupil Ephraem^ also a Syrian. This 
distinguished "prophet of the Syrians" was born probably 
at Nisibis, but when Nisibis fell into the hands of the 
Persians removed to Edessa, near which city he lived an 
ascetic life and was greatly venerated by his countrymen. 
It was mainly Ephraem's influence which gave to the 
theological literature of the Syrians its peculiar form, in 
which the dogma of the Church is presented rather in the 
figurative style which is dear to the East than in the 
dialectics of the West. This is true especially of his homi- 
lies and treatises, which are written in a poetical form 
attractive to those whom he addressed. This gives his 
compositions a certain elevation of style, and occasionally 
raises them to the rank of true lyric poetry. He also 
commented on the Old Testament, and on the Diatessaron 
of Tatian. All his works seem to have been written in 
Syriac, though they were soon translated into Greek. 

^ W. Bright, Later Treatises of 
Athanasius, p. 149 (quoted by 
Veiiables, U.S.). 

- Theodoret, Hist. Relig. c. 1; 
II. E. II. 30.— W. Cave, Ilis^t. Lit. 
I. 189; E. Venables in Lict. Chr. 
Biogr. III. 325. 

■' C. V. Lcngerke, Be Ephraemo 
Syro Sacrce Scripturce Interprets, 

and De Ephraemi arte hermeneu- 
tica; 3. Alsleben, Lebeii d. Ileil. 
Ephracm; R. Payne Smith in Diet. 
Chr. Biogr. ii. 137 ff. Select Hymns 
and Homilies of Ephraem, and also 
some of his expositions, were trans- 
lated into English by the Eev. H. 

Theology and Theologians. 


Beyond the bounds of the Roman Empire, in the king- 
dom of Persia, seems to have existed in the fourth century 
a Christianity almost untouched by the dogmatic storms 
which agitated the Greek Church, of which the most 
remarkable representative is the Persian sage Aphrahat 
(Aphraates^), who was bishop of Mar Mattai near Mosul. 
His homilies or tracts shew that he was influenced by 
Jewish methods of exposition, though he blames the Jews 
for their legalism, their national exclusiveness, and theii- 
refusal to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah. He appears 
to have made use of Tatian's Diatessaron, and to have been 
to some extent influenced by his views. In his confession 
of faith ^ he seems to have derived nothing from the current 
formularies of his time, but to have drawn his views of our 
Lord's Divinity direct from Scripture itself 

A conspicuous leader of the West-Syrian party was 
Ibas', bishop of Edessa, where he had previously taught 
theology, and where he had great influence. He was an 
ardent admirer of Theodore of Mopsuestia, whose works he 
translated into Syriac and constantly recommended. As 
was natural, he did not escape the suspicion of heresy 
which fell upon Theodore, and his postumous fame is in 
fact due quite as much to the controversy which arose 
about him as to his own merits, for there is nothing to 
indicate that he was a man of original genius. 

Procopius of Gaza* heads the long series of those 
useful commentators who are simply compilers, putting 
together the thoughts of those who have gone before them 
without venturing on originality. He wrote in a neat and 
concise style commentaries on most of the books of the 
Old Testament. 

1 W. Wright, The Homilies of 
Aphruates (London, 186'J), and 
Cutal. of Syr. MSS. in Brit. Mus. 
II. 401 ; Sasse, Proleg. in Aphr. 
Serm. (Lpz., 1879); J. Forget, De 
Vita et Scriptis Aphr. (Louvain, 
1882); G. Bert, Vbersetzung etc. in 
Gebbardt u. Harnack's Texte u. 
Vntersuchungen in. 3 and 4 ; W. 
Moller, Kirchengeschichte i. 417- 

2 Horn. I. 15. 

3 Many particulars of Ibas's 
Life are found in the Defensio 

Tritim Capit. by Facundus of Her- 
ruiane. Ibas's famous letter to 
Maris is quoted in the Acta of the 
Second Council of Constantinople. 
Collat. 6 (Hardouin in. 140).— W. 
Cave, Hist. Lit. i. 426 ; Assemani, 
Biblioth. Orient, i. 199 ff. and in. 
Ixx. ff. ; E. Venables in Diet. Chr. 
Biogr. in. 192. 

* Photius, Codices 160, 206; W. 
Cave, Hist. Lit. i. 504 ; L. Diestel, 
Gesch. d. Alten Test. 125. 

Chap. X. 




bishop of 
c. 436— 
457 (?). 

of Gaza, 
fl. c. 520. 


Theology and Theologians. 

Chap. X. 


c. 551. 







A notable off-shoot of the Syrian School was Junilius\ 
an African, who held high office in the imperial palace at 
Constantinople. He, at the urgent request of Primasius 
of Adrumetum, who visited Constantinople in consequence 
of some of the disputes of the sixth century, wrote a book 
which, under the title of "Instituta regularia Divinge 
Legis," is in fact an " Introduction " to Holy Scripture, 
founded on one by Paul, a Persian trained at Nisibis. We 
have in this work a reflexion of the views of Theodore of 
Mopsuestia as to the relative value of the books of Holy 
Scripture. Primasius'"' himself also published comments 
on St Paul's Epistles and on the Apocalypse, drawn from 
the works of earlier expositors. 

4. The old characteristics of Alexandria, the Alexan- 
dria of Clement and Origen, were the eager pursuit of 
learning, the application of pagan culture and philosophy 
to the discussion of the Christian faith, and the allegorical 
interpretation of Scripture. And these characteristics 
were still found in many of the prominent Alexandrians 
of a subsequent period. This school of thought however 
gradually died out in the course of the fourth century, and 
was succeeded by a race of theologians who attached very 
much more importance to tradition and the authority of 
the Church. These were opposed to their brethren at 
Antioch in that they tended to dwell on the divine rather 
than the human nature of the Incarnate Word^ Eusebius 
of Caesarea may be said to represent the older school, Atha- 
nasius the transition, while Cyril is the most conspicuous 
example of the new. 

In the fourth century the man who, though not an 
Alexandrian by birth, best represents the learning, the 
breadth, the general culture of the Alexandrian School, is 
certainly Eusebius® of Cossarea. At Csesarea in Palestine 

1 H. Kihn, Theodor v. Mops, 
tintl Junilius; G. Salmon, in Diet. 
Clir. Biogr. in. 534. 

2 W. Cave, Hist. Lit. i. 525; 
H. Kihn, Theodor, p. 248 ff. 

3 See p. 70, u. 1, and add E, 
Vacherot, Histoire Crit. de VEcole 
d'Ale.xaiidrie, and C. Kingsley, 
Alexandria and her Schools. 

* "It is only as the apologist of 

Catholic Christianity that Gregory 
of Nyssa feels himself fully com- 
mitted to the historical personality 
of Christ. Where he plays the 
philosopher and steps out freely he 
lias little or nothing to say of the 
historical Christ." A. Harnack, 
Dogmengcschiehte, ii. 167. 

^ Scattered notices of him are 
found in the works of Athanasius, 

Theology and Theologians. 


he passed his youth ; there he listened to the expositions 
of Dorotheus^ ; there he revelled with the delight of a book- 
worm in the splendid library of the rich presbyter Para- 
philusl So conscious was he of his obligations to this 
munificent friend that he chose to be distinguished as 
"Pamphilus's Eusebius;" what he was, Pamphilus had 
made him. He saw in the persecution under Diocletian 
the churches levelled with the ground, the Holy Books 
committed to the flames, the clergy hunted hither and 
thither amid the jeers and insults of the mob^ Pam- 
philus himself died a martyr's death. Eusebius in later 
times was accused of having escaped death by sacrificing*. 
There seems however to be no evidence of this, and in 
the fierce disputes of the fourth century any testimony 
which existed would certainly have been produced. It 
was probably not long after the restoration of peace to the 
Church that Eusebius was chosen bishop of Csesarea, and 
in that office — though an effort was made to translate him 
to a more important see — he died. 

At the Council of Nicsea he played a prominent part. 
His learning and ability no doubt entitled him to distinc- 
tion, but the position which he held was probably due 
rather to his intimacy with the emperor than to his own 
excellent qualities. "He was the clerk of the imperial 
closet ; he was the interpreter, the chaplain, the confessor 
of Constantine^." Nor do these cordial relations with his 
imperial friend appear to have suffered any interruption. 
He had in fact that union of pliancy and ability which 
fitted him to become the confidant of a great man who on 
some points needed informing and guiding. 

Eusebius's relations with the emperor and the Church 

Jerome, Socrates, Sozomen, and 
Theodoret; but his own writings 
are the principal sources of in- 
formation as to his life. Cave, 
Tillemont and Fabricius give much 
information about him and his 
writings. See also Valesius Be 
Vita Scriptisqvf Eusebii prefixed 
to his edition of the Hist. Eccl.; 
Stroth, Lebeii v. Schriften d. Exis., 
prefixed to his translation of the 
Ch. Hist.; H. Stein, Eusebius v. 
Cdsarea; W. Bright, Life prefixed 


to Oxford reprint of Hist. Eccl. 
(1872); J. B. Lightfoot in Diet. 
Chr. Biogr. ii. 308 ff. 

1 See p. 67. 

2 See p. 75. 

3 Hist. Eccl. viri. 2 ff. 

■• By Potammon at the Council 
of Tyre (335) ; see Epiphanius, 
Haeres. 68, c. 8 ; and Lightfoot in 
D. C. B. 311. 

5 A. P. ^t&nlej, Eastern Church, 
p. 102 (3rd Ed.). 


Chap. X. 

d. before 


Theology and Theologians. 

Chap. X. 

must have brought upon him very onerous and anxious 
duties, yet he found time for much study and incessant 
literary productiveness. He wrote history; he defended 
Christianity against Jews and Gentiles; he discussed 
dogma; he interpreted Scripture; he delivered orations; 
and he had a large correspondence. In fact, he must have 
been one of the most unwearied workers that the world 
has seen. He is best known by his ecclesiastical history, 
which shews an extraordinary amount of reading, and the 
general sincerity and good faith of which can scarcely be 
doubted \ In spite of defects which are patent to a later 
time, he had probably in his own age no superior in the 
critical faculty any more than in multifarious learning and 
in knowledge of mankind. No ancient writer is so abso- 
lutely indispensable to the student. " In the Ecclesiastical 
History, in the Chronicle, and in the Preparation, he has 
preserved for us a vast amount of early literature in three 
several spheres, which would otherwise have been irre- 
trievably lost," He had the instinct of genius for choosing 
themes which are of permanent and not merely temporary 
interest. Standing as he did between the old world of 
paganism and the new world of Christianity, " he saw the 
greatness of the crisis ; he seized the opportunity ; he, and 
he only, preserved the past in all its phases, in history, in 
doctrine, in criticism, even in topography, for the instruc- 
tion of the future. This is his real title to greatness-." 

Writing while paganism was still a living force, he 
gave much of his thought and toil to the vindication of 
Christianity^ Not only in his directly apologetic works, 
but everywhere, his mind turns to the defence of the 
Faith. A true Alexandrian, "he sought out the elements 
of truth in pre-existing philosophical systems or popular 
religions ; and, thus obtaining a foothold, he worked 
onward in his assault on paganism. . . .It was the only method 
which could achieve success^" 

His works were after his death fiercely attacked and 
defended. But probably the words of Pope Pelagius 11.^ 
— " Holy Church weigheth the hearts of her faithful ones 

1 Lightfoot in D. G. B. 324. 

2 Ibid. 345. 

' His success in this is noted by 
Evagrius, if.£. i. 1. 

* Lightfoot in D. C. B. 346. 
^ Epist. 5, quoted by Lightfoot, 
D.C.i?. 848. 

Theology and Theologians. 


with kindliness rather than their words with rigour" 
— express the general sentiment of the learned in the 
Church towards one of the ablest of her sons. At an early 
date he was numbered among the saints, and May 30 
assigned to his commemoration ^ 

But the most impressive figure among the Alexan- 
drians is no doubt Athanasiusl This great man was born 
iu Alexandria of Christian parents towards the end of the 
third century. Even as a child sportively imitating the 
ceremonies of the Church he attracted the notice of the 
bishop of that city, Alexander, who received him into his 
own house and caused him to receive the best education 
of his time ^ His theological studies led him to ponder 
especially on the great mystery of the relation of the 
Father to the Son and to mankind. Drawn afterwards 
by the spirit of asceticism into the wilderness, he passed 
some time in retirement with the famous hermit St An- 
thony*, and never ceased to admire and recommend the 
ascetic life. On his return to his native city bishop 
Alexander ordained him deacon and adopted him as a 
confidential adviser and secretary. In his earliest writings 
he entered the lists as the champion of Christianity 
against the assaults of educated paganism, but the publi- 
cation in 320 of the specious errors of Arius made the 
contest against Arianism in defence of the true deity of 
the Son the work of his life. In this no pressure of theo- 
logians of a broader school, no frowns of high-placed 
tyranny, no suffering or banishment, could bend his in- 
trepid spirit. In 328 he was chosen, on the death of his 
friend Alexander, to be bishop of Alexandria, and in that 
see, after attempts at deposition by the Imperial powxr 

^ In an ancient Syrian Martyr- 
ology translated from the Greek, 
which can hardly be dated more 
than fifty years after his death. 
See Lightfoot, u.s. , where may also 
be seen the curious story of his 
canonisation in the West. 

- The principal authority for 
the life of Athanasius is found in 
his own writings. Those treatises 
which contain the chief biographi- 
cal information have been collected 
and edited by W. Bright (Oxford, 

1881). There are modern Lives by 
B. de Montfaucon, in the Bene- 
dictine Edition of his works; J. A. 
Mohler, Athanasius der Crrosse; 
W. Bright in Diet. Ghr. Biogr. i. 
179 ff.; F. W. Farrar in Lives of 
the Fathers, i. 445 if.; E. Wheler 
Bush, St Athanasius (S.P.C.K.); 
E. Fialon, St Athanase. 

8 Sozomen ii. 17 ; Theodoret 
H. E. I. 26. 

* See the Preface to his Life of 
St Anthony. 


Chap. X. 

sius, horn 
c. 296. 




Theology and Theologiam 

Chap. X. 

Died, May 
2, 373. 



and repeated banishment, he died. No calumny was able 
to shake the affection which his flock bore him. Whenever 
he was able to return, the city rejoiced. When he died 
Arianism was, mainly in consequence of his efforts, draw- 
ing near extinction. He had sometimes stood almost alone 
against the world, but in the end he triumphed. 

In spite of his wandering and persecuted life he left 
behind numerous works of the highest value. He intro- 
duced into the defence of Christianity against unbelievers 
a more systematic method than that of the earlier apolo- 
gists, shewing from the principles of reason which all 
acknowledged both the truth of the revelation of GoD in 
the Word and the absurdity of the pagan objections to it. 
He treated in dogmatic and controversial treatises of the 
great doctrines of the Incarnation and the Holy Trinity; 
he made valuable contributions to the history of his own 
time ; he interpreted Scripture ; he exhorted men to holi- 
ness of life. And in all his writings he appears as a true 
Alexandrian, a disciple of Clement and Origen. It is the 
constant presence of the creative Word in the world that 
He has made which gives it its law and its harmony; 
and where the Word is, there is also the Father\ We 
are not to regard the universe as something apart and 
aloof from God, but as maintained by a constant exertion 
of the divine power. God never leaves man, His last 
great work, even when fallen from his first estate ; man 
too is renewed by the Word^. 

Few men have combined in the same degree as Atha- 
nasius the active and the contemplative faculties. Capa- 
ble as he was of regarding fixedly the highest mysteries 
of the Godhead, he shewed gi-eat skill and dexterity in the 
practical conduct of affairs. He knew how to avoid snares 
and to seize opportunities. If the perversity of those who 
attempted by sophistry to draw aside the faithful from 
the right way sometimes provoked him to vehemence of 
expression, with fair and reasonable ojiponents he was 
calm and charitable. Of all the Greek Fathers he is the 
least diffuse, the most simple, and consequently the most 
forcible. He writes as one too much in earnest to be 

» Contra Gentea, §§ 40—45. See 
Dorner, Person Christi, p. 833 £f. 

De Incarnatione, §§ 1 — 7, 11 


Theology and Theologians. 


anxious about expression. It was not without reason that 
his contemporaries regarded him as the model bishop, the 
standard of orthodoxy, the trumpet that gave no uncer- 
tain sound'. And this reputation lives even to this day. 

The man who perhaps best maintained in Alexandria 
itself the method of Origen was Didymus"^, who, though 
blind from his childhood, made himself acquainted with 
all the science accessible to him, and acquired a wonderful 
knowledge of Holy Scripture. Appointed by Athanasius 
to take charge of the catechetical school, he was the last 
teacher who maintained something of its ancient fame, 
and taught such men as Jerome and Rufinus. After his 
death about 895 it sank into obscurity. Of his numerous 
exegetical works, once in high repute, only a small por- 
tion remains, but some of his other works are preserved, 
either in the original or in a Latin version. The earnest 
worker, seeking knowledge without the aid of sight and 
clinging to the best traditions of his school even when 
they had fallen under suspicion, is a venerable and pathe- 
tic figure. 

The two writers who bear the name of Apollinaris or 
Apolinarius are so intimately connected that, in their 
purely literary labours, it is hardly possible to separate 
them. The elder was born at Alexandria, but is found, 
about the year 335 at Laodicea, where he was a presbyter. 
Here he married and had a son of the same name, after- 
wards bishop of Laodicea. Both father and son were on 
intimate terms with the heathen rhetoricians Libanius 
and Epiphanius of Petra, whose lectures they attended, 
and from whom they no doubt derived some culture. 
When Julian interdicted the reading of pagan authors in 
Christian schools, an attempt was made to produce a 
Christian literature which might take their place. The 
father and son, working together, turned the early 
portion of the biblical history into a Homeric poem in 
twenty-four books, and produced lyrics, tragedies, and 
comedies, after the manner of Pindar, Euripides and Me- 
nander: even the writings of the New Testament were 

1 Gregor. Nazianz. Oratio 21, c. 
37; 25, c. 11; Basil, Epist. 80. 

* Jerome, De Viris Illust. 109 ; 
Epist. 84 ; Apol. adv. Lib, Bufmi, i. 

6; 11. 16; iii. 27; Socrates, iv. 25; 
Sozomen, iii. 15; Theodoret, H. E. 
IV. 29. 

Chap. X. 

borne. 310. 

c. 340. 

c. 395. 

naris the 
elder, at 
c. 335, 


died 390. 




Theology and Theologians. 

Chap. X. 

nms, born 
c. 315. 

Bishop of 



Died, 403. 

brought into the form of Platonic dialogues, the Psalms 
turned into Greek hexameters, by this unwearied pair. It 
cannot, however, be said that those productions of this 
kind which remain to us shew any poetical genius, or were 
ever likely to supersede the writers whom they imitated 
or plagiarized. They were only produced to supply a 
special want, and when the occasion for them passed away 
they ceased to be read. It was the younger Apollinaris 
who in the latter part of the fourth century propounded 
the peculiar opinions by which his name came to be too 
well known. 

One of the most learned men of the fourth century 
was Epiphanius\ who, born of Hebrew parents in Pales- 
tine about the year 315, early devoted himself to the 
ascetic life, and founded, while still a young man, a mo- 
nastery near Eleutheropolis in his native country. In 
middle life he was called to the episcopal see of Salamis 
— the modern Constantia — in Cyprus, and was conspicuous 
from that time forth as an ardent promoter of monasticism 
and a leading opponent of the more philosophical treat- 
ment of the Christian faith which originated, he believed, 
with Origen. It is therefore not surprising that he 
plunged eagerly into the Origenistic controversy, in which 
he displayed perhaps more learning than judgment. He 
died in the year 403, leaving behind him several writings, 
of which by far the most important is the Paiiarion, a 
Treatise against the Heresies, which is of the highest 
value to the historian of the Church. The writer is indeed 
credulous and uncritical, but he has preserved many frag- 
ments of lost works, and many traditions which would 
otherwise have perished. His hot temper frequently led 
him astray, but he was all his life a faithful defender of 
the orthodox belief. His own age regarded him as a 

Next to Athanasius in importance among Greek theo- 

1 The principal sources for the 
life of Epiphanius are — beside his 
own works — Socrates, H.E. vi. 10, 
12—14; Sozomen, //. E. vi. 32, 
VII. 27, vin. 14, 15; Jerome, De 
Viris Illiist. 114; Epist. 38 [Gl] 
Ad Pammach. ; 39 [02] Ad Theo- 
phil.; Apol. adv. Rujlnum, lib. ii.; 

Palladius, Dial, de Vita Chrysost. 
Modern works relating to him are 
Gervais, L'Histoire et la Vie de 
St Epiphane ; Fabricius, Bibl, 
Graeca, viii. 261 ff. (ed. Harless); 
R. A. Lipsius in Diet. Chr. Biogr. 
II. 149 ff. , and Zur Quellenhritik 
des Epiphanios, 

Theology and Theologians. 


logians are no doubt the great Cappadocians, Basil with 
his friend Gregory of Nazianzus and his brother Gregory 
of Nyssa. 

Basil ^ was born about the year 330 at Caesarea in 
Cappadocia. His father, of the same name, was a Christian, 
a man of considerable wealth and a much-respected citizen. 
His mother Emmelia was the daughter of a martyr, so 
that the future bishop was brought up in a family where 
the memory of the early struggles of the Church was still 
lively, and where his youthful imagination would be 
stimulated by hearing of the constancy of those who gave 
their lives for the faith. The results shew how deep an 
impression was made upon the children, Basil was edu- 
cated first in Ccesarea, then in Constantinople, — perhaps 
under Libanius — and finally in Athens, where the literary 
culture was as yet but slightly tinged with Christianity, 
under the famous sophist Himerius and others ^ Here a 
common devotion to the studies of the place and to the 
faith of Christ drew him into still closer friendship with 
Gregory, afterwards known as Nazianzen, whom he already 
knew as a fellow-countryman. Here the two young men 
saw the future emperor Julian, already perhaps pondering 
on the restoration of the paganism which he loved. On 
Basil's return home he was seized with a passion for the 
monastic life to which he was to give so powerful an 
impulse, and declined the opportunities for worldly ad- 
vancement which his position, his ability, and his educa- 
tion offered him. After a period of retirement he began 
the work of the ministry as reader in the church of his 
native Cassarea. Hitherto he had taken no part in the 
dogmatic contests which were waged around him ; now he 
came in contact with the Homoiousian party, but soon 
threw in his lot with those who maintained the formula 
of Nicsea, and became one of their chief leaders in the 
later conflicts which led to the Council of Constantinople 

^ Jerome, De Viris Illustr. c. 116; 
Theodoret, H. E. rv. 19; Philo- 
storgius, H. E. viii. 11 ff. ; Vita by 
Garnier in the Bened. Ed. ol Opera 
Greg.; F. Bohringer, Die Kirche 
Christi m. ihre Zeugen, Band 3 ; 
E. Fialon, Etude sur St Basile etc.; 
A. F. Villemain, Eloquence Chrit. 

104 £f. ; E. Venables in Bict. Chr. 
Biogr. i. 282 ff.; F. W. Farrar, 
Lives of the Fathers, ii. 1 ff. ; K. 
Travers Smith, Basil the Great 

2 Greg. Nazianz. Oratio4:3, c. 14; 
Socrates, iv. 26; Sozomen, vi. 17. 

Chap. X, 

The Three 
Basil, born 
c. 330, 

c. 357. 


Theology and Theologians. 

Chap. X. 

c. 370. 
Died 379. 




c. 361. 

and the extinction of Arianism. In the year 370 he was 
chosen bishop of Cajsarea, where nine years later he died, 
having done a great work in a life which did not pass its 
fiftieth year. 

His theology was mainly founded on the study of 
Origen, from whose works he made, with the help of his 
friend Gregory, a series of characteristic extracts, still 
preserved, under the title of Philocalia. The influence of 
Origen is manifest in Basil's famous work on the Six Days 
of Creation — the Hexaemeron — although the tendency to 
allegory appears here in a less extravagant form than in 
Origen. But however Basil may have leaned towards the 
theology and exegesis of Origen, he was in all the essen- 
tial points of Christian doctrine truly Athanasian. No 
one saw more clearly the real nature of the points in 
dispute between the Arians and their opponents, as 
appears from his books against Eunomius and on the 
Holy Spirit. His letters too, which have a pleasant 
classical tinge, are of the highest interest. St Basil was, 
as we shall presently see, an ardent promoter of monas- 
ticism, but he had none of the littleness which sometimes 
clings to an ascetic. No one among the Fathers gives a 
stronger impression of largeness and fairness of mind, so 
that he might seem to have been divinely sent to heal 
the wounds of an age of controversy. His blameless life, 
his beneficence, his weight of character, his learning and 
clearness of thought all contributed to this end. It was 
not without reason that after ages called him "the Great." 

With Basil is naturally coupled his life-long friend 
Gregory Nazianzen*, whose father — also named Gregory — 
after belonging in early life to the theistic sect called 
Hypsistarii, had been brought into the Church by the 
influence of his devout wife Nonna, and in the end became 
bishop of Nazianzus. The son, after his years of study in 
Athens, for a while shared Basil's monastic retirement. 
When he returned to the world he was ordained — not 
without reluctance — to the priesthood by his father*, and 

^ Life by Clemencet prefixed to 
the Benedictine Edition of his 
Works ; C. Ullmann, Gregorius 
von Nazianz. (tr. by Cox); Benoit, 
St Gregoire de Nazianze; H. W. 

Watkins in Diet. Chr. Biogr. ii. 
741 ff. ; F. W. Farrar, Lives of the 
Fathers, i. 659 S. 

^ Carmen xi. de Vita sxia, 340 ff. 
See also Oratio 2, De Fuga sua. 

Theology and Theologians. 


a few years later was sent by Basil as bishop to a little 
town called Sasima. Here he found himself out of place*, 
and was glad to escape from it and become coadjutor to 
his aged father at Nazianzus. On his death he declined to 
become his successor and went into retirement, until, after 
the death of the emperor Valens, tlie orthodox community 
which still maintained itself in Constantinople chose him 
for their bishop. There he employed his active mind and 
well-trained eloquence in defending the doctrines of the 
Nicene Fathers, and gained the name of Theologus, the 
assertor of the divinity of the Logos. He was listened to 
by crowds, on whom he did not fail to impress the need of 
love to God and a holy life as well as of a right belief, 
Theodosius transferred him and his followers to the prin- 
cipal church in Constantinople, from which the Arian 
bishop was expelled, and at the synod of Constantinople 
in the year 381 he was formally chosen as bishop of that 
city. This election was however by many regarded as 
invalid, and it was not long before Gregory, weary of the 
strife of tongues and longing for rest, resigned his see ^ and 
passed the remainder of his life in quiet in his native city 
or in the neighbouring Arianzus. He died about the year 

There may be seen in Gregory's varied and troubled 
life a struggle between the shrinking of a cultivated and 
sensitive man from the rudeness of ecclesiastical conflict, 
and the sense of duty, quickened perhaps by the conscious- 
ness of power, which impelled him to engage in it. If the 
time had permitted it he would perhaps have led his life 
" in cot or learned shade," but he lived in an age when no 
good man could be a mere spectator, and, with whatever 
shrinking, he came forward to defend the truth. He left 
behind him discourses, letters and poems. It is evident 
that he, like Basil, had a real love for the old classic litera- 
ture ; yet he thought that the true philosophy was to be 
found in monastic retreat from the world*. He assailed 
Julian in two orations which he called pasquinades* ; he 
defended himself before the people of Nazianzus for his 
reluctance to undertake the priesthood ; he preached fre- 

1 Carm. xi. 439 ff. 
« Oratio 42. 

* Oratio 2, cc. 5 and 7. 


Theology and Theologians. 

quently on festivals; but his most famous sermons are 
those^ in which he maintained the Divinity of the Son 
and the Holy Spirit — a subject to which indeed he con- 
stantly recurs. His letters, which are written in a clear 
and simple style, often supply valuable material for history. 
His poems, especially that which contains a half- satirical 
account of his own life, are of some value for their matter 
if not for their poetry. Generally, we may say that while 
Gregory sometimes, when his feelings are roused, rises to 
true eloquence, his manner is too often artificial, self-con- 
scious, and overloaded with allusions which are to us 
obscure. In originality and force of reasoning he is not 
to be compared with Athanasius or even with Gregory of 

Gregory of Nyssa ^ was a younger brother of Basil, who 
about the year 371 sent him, though married, to preside 
as bishop over the little town of Nyssa in Cappadocia'. 
In the persecution which befel the Nicene party in the 
reign of Valens he was deposed by a synod, at the instiga- 
tion of Demosthenes, the governor of Cappadocia, for various 
crimes falsely alleged against him, and withdrew into soli- 
tude. He returned however after the death of Valens, 
and was received with great joy by the community. Hence- 
forth he was a prominent figure in the Church, and at 
Constantinople in the year 381 pronounced the funeral 
oration over the remains of Meletius, who died there, and 
a few years later over those of the young Pulcheria, 
daughter of Theodosius I., and the empress Flacilla. He 
was present in a council at Constantinople in the year 
394*, and probably died soon after. Gregory of Nyssa is 
the most philosophical, and the most infiuenced by the 
theology of Origen, of the Cappadocian trio ; but, however 
speculative, he was as firm as Athanasius himself in his 
defence of the orthodox doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and 
stood by the side of his brother Basil in his contest against 

1 Orattones 27— 31. 

'^ Tlie principal authorities for 
the life of Gregory are his own 
works and the letters of Basil and 
Gregory Naz. ; Jerome, De Viris 
must. c. 128; Socrates, iv. 2G; 
Theodoret, H. E. iv. 30; v. 8. 
Livea in Cave, Hist. Lit. i 244 

(ed. 1741) ; Schrockh, K. G. xiv. 
1 ff.; J. Eupp, Gregors v. Nyss. 
Lehcn u. Meinungen ; E. Venables 
in Diet. Chr. Biogr. ii. 7G1 &. ; F. 
W. Farrar, Lives of the Fathers, ir. 
75 ff. 

3 Basil, Kj'ist- 225. 

* Hardouiu, i. 955. 

Tlieology and Theologians. 


heretical dogma. He also wrote on the soul and the re- 
surrection, and a " Catcchetic Discourse," intended to shew 
by what methods Jews, Gentiles and heretics might best 
be brought to the knowledge of the truth. His disposition 
seems to have been gentle and amiable, and no one of the 
Fathers stands more clear of all suspicion of meanness or 
underhand dealing. It was not without reason that Vincen- 
tius of Lerins' pronounced him a worthy brother of St Basil, 
and that the second Council of Nicsea^ quoted him as of 
the highest authority. 

Isidore, head of the monastery near the Pelusiote 
mouth of the Nile, stands out as one who in an age of 
fierce controversy never became a mere partizan. While 
on the whole siding with Cyril of Alexandria, he never 
lent himself to his violent measures ; while he did not 
wholly reject allegorical interpretation, he yet valued 
highly the historical method of the School of Antioch. 
His numerous letters, some of which give spiritual counsel, 
while others discuss matters of interpretation, are of great 
value for the history of his time. He lived so ascetically 
that, says Evagrius^ he passed to the angelic life while yet 
on earth. 

A remarkable product of the pagan schools of Alex- 
andria is Synesius*. Born about the year 370 of a good 
family* at Cyrene in the Egyptian Pentapolis, he studied 
Neo-Platonism under Hypatia'', the lady in the doctor's 
gown, of whom to the last he spoke with affection as his 
intellectual mother. He afterwards visited Athens only 
to be disillusioned ; it had nothing but great memories, he 
says ; the real focus of philosophy was found in Alexandria^ 
From about the year 400 he spent his time principally 

^ Covimonitorium, c. 30. 

2 Actio 6; Hardouin, r\'. 725. 

3 H. E. I. 15.— H. A. Niemeyer, 
De Isid. Pelus. Vita Scriptis et 
Boctrina; W. Bright in Diet. Chr. 
Biogr. III. 315. 

* D. Petavius, Vita Synesii, ap- 
pended to Synesii Opera, 1G41 ; L. 
Holstenius, Be Sijnesio, in Read- 
ing's Edition of Script. Hist. Eccl. 
III. 612 ff. ; G. Krabinger, Sijne.'iios 
Leben, prefixed to his edition of 
the Speech to Arcadiiis, and art. in 

Wetzer u. Welte's Kirchenlex. x. 
594 ff. ; H. Druon, Etudes sur la 
Vie de Synesius; W. Volkmann, 
Sijnesius von Cyrene; J. E. Hal- 
comb in Diet. Chr. Biogr. iv. 
756 ft.; A. Gardner, Sy7tesius of 
Cyrene (S.P.C.K.). See also J. 
Huber, Die Philosophie der Kir- 
chenvater, 315 ff. ; Yi\\, Elo- 
quence Chret. 209 ff. 

■' Epistt. 50 and 57. 

6 Ibid. 10 and 16. 

' Ibid, 136. 

Chap. X. 

Isidore of 
borne. 370, 
died c. 450. 

6orH C.370; 


Theology and Theologians. 

on his estate at Gyrene, leading the life of a cultivated 
country-gentleman, engaged in agriculture and field-sports. 
He also kept up his philosophic studies, though in this he 
felt himself isolated in the midst of people who hardly 
knew whether they were not living in the reign of Aga- 
memnon \ It was on another visit to Alexandria that he 
married a Christian wife^, a circumstance which no doubt 
aided his conversion to Christianity, the history of which 
is obscure. He was living at Cyrene when, in the year 
409, the people, oppressed by a brutal governor, begged 
him, theii' most influential neighbour, to be their bishop 
and protector^ He was extremely reluctant to undertake 
this office ; not only was he married and unwilling to 
separate from his wife, but his views in several points 
were, he felt, hardly to be reconciled with the current 
theology of the time, and he was conscious that it would 
be difficult for him to adopt the decorous life of a bishop. 
Still, his love for his people and the persuasion of Theophi- 
lus of Alexandria prevailed. He was consecrated to the 
see of Ptolemais, and discharged his duty faithfully in a 
time of great difficulty and distress. He is supposed to 
have died about the year 414, bowed down by the weight 
of public and private cares. With him comes to an end 
the history of the ancient Christianity of the Libyan Pen- 
tapolis. Synesius does not belong to the first order of 
minds, but he is a remarkable example of one whose 
philosophical principles were coloured and ennobled rather 
than displaced by ChrLstianity^ and he gives a clearer and 
purer reflexion of his school than a stronger character 
would have done. 

Nemesius*, bishop of Emesa in Syria, is also an in- 
stance of a Christianized philosopher. Although, so far 
as is known, he was a perfect)}^ orthodox teacher, he seems 
to have turned his attention mainly to the great questions 
which interest all thoughtful men from age to age — the 
nature of man, his relation to the universe, the immor- 
tality of the soul, the reconciliation of the freedom of the 
will with the providence and omnipotence of God. His 

1 ETpist. 101. 

2 Ihid. 105. 

3 Evagrius, H. E. i. 15. 
* Epist, 95. 

5 H. Bitter, Christl. PMlosophie, 
II. 461 ff. ; J. Huber, Philosophie 
der Kirchenvater, 321 ff. ; E. Ven- 
ables in Diet. Ghr. Biogr, iv. 16. 

Tlieology and Tlieologians. 


treatise on the Nature of Man, still extant', shews him 
to have studied human physiology as well as psychology, 
and is an important contribution to philosophical theory. 

Cyril, the famous archbishop of Alexandria^, is the 
chief representative of an Alexandrian School very diffe- 
rent from that which derived its first impulse from Origen. 
He was the nephew and successor of bishop Theophilus, 
by whom he had been brought up, and whom in character 
he much resembled. His election to the see was not 
effected without violence, and he had not long occupied it 
when a quarrel arose between the archbishop and the 
Jews which led to his expelling them from the city at the 
head of a furious mob. Some of Cyril's partizans pelted 
Orestes, the prefect of the city, with stones, — conduct 
which, rightly or wrongly, brought discredit on their 
bishop. Cp'il entered with great zeal and vigour into the 
controversies of his time, and it is indeed as a very able 
controversial leader and writer that he is chiefly known. 
His best friends will scarcely deny that he was too vehe- 
ment and imperious to be altogether wise, or even just; 
but his "faults were not inconsistent with great and 
heroic virtues, faith, firmness, intrepidity, fortitude, endur- 
ance, perse\^erance\" 

We see in the writings which bear the name of Diony- 
sius the Areopagite^ a Neo-Platonic system disguised 
under terms taken from the language of the Church. 
God is absolute and unconditioned Being. To Him no 
definition, no description, hardly any epithet can properly 
apply. He is beyond all time and space. He is the 
source of all existence^ But He condescends to develope 

1 In De la Bigne's jBtftZfotfe. Vett. 
Patrum, torn. 8; Migne's Patrol. 
Series Gr. torn. 40. Separate ed. 
by J. Fell, Oxon. 1671. 

2 W. Cave, Hist. Lit. i. 391.— 
W. Bright in Diet. Chr. Biogr. i. 
763 ff. ; Kopallik, Cyril von Ale.r- 
and. (Mainz, 1881). 

3 3. B..'Kev{nia.n, Historic Slietch- 
es, III. 342. 

* J. Ussher, Diss, de Scriptis 
Dion. Areop., appended to his Hist. 
Dogmatical J. L. Mosheim, De 
turbata per recent. Platonicos Ec- 
clesia; J. G. Engelhardt, De Dion. 

Areop. Plotinizante,&ndiDe Origine 
Script. Areop.; A. Frothingham, 
Stephen Bar Sudaili, the Syrian 
Mystic, and the Book of Hiero- 
theos; B. F. Westcott in Contemp. 
Bev. May, 1867; J. Huber, PhUo- 
sophie der Kirchenvriter, 327 ff. ; 
J. H. Lupton ia Diet. Chr. Biogr, 
I. 841 ff. Pearson (Vind. lywit. c. 
10) supposes these writings to be 
of the fourth century ; Baumgarten- 
Crusius (De Dion. Areop.) of the 

® De Divinis Nominibus, i. 1, 7; 
in. 1; V. 4, etc. 

Chap. X. 

of Alexan- 

the Areo- 
c. 500. 


Theology and Theologians. 

Himself in a series of beings, a heavenly and an earthly 
hierarchy, through whom on the one hand He reveals 
Himself, so far as may be, to man, and on the other 
enables man to ascend towards the Being of Beings Him- 
self \ At the head of the heavenly hierarchy stands the 
Holy Trinity ; the earthly hierarchy through the sacra- 
ments or "mysteries" of the Church provides man with 
the means of purification and of rising towards God. 
These remarkable treatises were first cited, so far as we 
know, by the Monophysites at a Conference in Constanti- 
nople'^ in the sixth century, and were probably written by 
some disciple of Proclus of Constantinople in the previous 
generation. It is, however, possible that the main por- 
tions of them were written anonymously at an earlier date 
— perhaps in the fourth century — and were interpolated 
at the beginning of the sixth by some controversialist 
Avith the view of making them pass for the work of Dio- 
nysius^ At the Conference their spuriousness was at once 
recognised, but nevertheless from the beginning of the 
seventh century to the days of Laurentius Valla in the 
fifteenth they were in the highest repute, and their 
account of the ranks and degrees of angels was generally 
accepted. Their teaching also largely influenced mediaeval 
theory about the Sacraments of the Church. 

During the period when Christian doctrine was still in 
some respects undefined, the philosophy of Plato, a seeker 
i-ather than a dogmatist, had been a dominant influence 
in the formation of theology. But when theology became 
more definite the logical system of Aristotle was found 
better adapted for the use of theologians. The influence 
of Aristotelian modes of thought is found in Leontius of 
Byzantium*, a Scythian monk, who was conspicuous in 
controversy in the sixth century ; and even more in 
Johannes Philoponus^ the labour-lover, who took the 
opposite side in the divisions of Justinian's time. 

^ This is found in the treatises 
ou the Celestial and the Eccle- 
siastical Hierarchy. Dean Colet's 
tract on these works has been pub- 
lished by the Rev. J. H. Lupton. 

* Hardouin, C<mc. ii. 1162. 

3 Dom Pitra, Analecta Sacra, 
torn. III. 

* Fr. Loofs, Leontius V. Bijzant., 
in Texte und Untersiichungen von 
Gebhardt u. Harnack, iii. 1 and 2. 

^ Trechsel in Studieu u. Krit. 
1835; A. Nauck in Ersch u. Gru- 
her's Encycl. s. v.; T. W. Davids 
in Diet. Chr. Biogr. iii. 425. 

Theolofjy and Theologians. 


5. The (Jhurches of the West were much less disturbed 
by speculative questions than those of the East. The Latin 
theologians were for the most part rather deeply interested 
spectators of the contest which in the fourth and fifth 
centuries shook the oriental Churches to their foundations, 
than active combatants, though they were greatly influ- 
enced by the works of their Greek contemporaries. On the 
other hand, in practical questions, such as the nature and 
powers of the Church, the relation of the gi^ace of God to 
the soul of man, and the like, they took a much keener 
interest than their Eastern brethren. The Romans when 
they accepted the yoke of Christ retained the old govern- 
ing spirit of the Empire, and the Latin theology generally 
has more of the practical than of the speculative spirit. 
When Greek philosophy came to an end, and no longer 
supplied a training for theologians, the Romans still found 
in the study of law an intellectual exercise which preserved 
their minds from torpidity. Latin theology is in fact the 
work of men who regarded the problems submitted to 
them with the eyes of lawyers rather than of philosophers. 
The greatest names among the Latins are those of St 
Ambrose, St Augustine, and Leo I., who, while retaining 
their own distinctive traits, were in harmony with the 
Alexandrian school of Athanasius and his followers. 
Hilary of Poitiers, Jerome in his earlier days, and Rufinus, 
were more du'ectly influenced by the theology to which 
Origen had given its character. In the south of Gaul was 
found a group of theologians who had drawn their original 
inspiration from the school of Antioch. 

Hilary^ (Hilarius), the Athanasius of the West, was 
bom at Poitiers about the year 320 of heathen parents, 
but, after trying in vain to satisfy the hunger of his soul 
with philosophy, was admitted by baptism into the Church 
of Christ. Chosen about the year 350 to be bishop of his 

1 For the literary characteristics 
of the Latin writers see J. C. Balir, 
Die Christlichen Dichter unci Ge- 
scJiichtschreiber Boms; Die Christ- 
lich-Romische Theologie; and A. 
Ebert, Gesch. der Christlich-Latei- 
nischen Literatur. 

2 Jerome, De Viris Illust. c. 100 ; 
Gregory of Tours, De Gloria Con- 
fess, c. 2. J. Eeinkens, Hilarius 

von Poitiers; Hansen, Vie de St 
Hilaire ; Baltzer, Die Theologie des 
Hil. von Poitiers; J. Forster, Zur 
Theologie des Hil. in Studien u. 
Kritiken, 1888 ; J. Fessler, Patro- 
logie, I. 436 ff.; A. Ebert, Gesch. 
der Christlich-Lateinischen Litera- 
tur, I. 128 ff. ; J. G. Cazenove in 
Diet. Chr. Biogr. in. 5-1 ff. 

Chap. X. 


Hilary of 



c. 350. 


Theology and Theologians. 

native city, he contended so earnestly for the faith which 
was then persecuted that in the year 856 the Arian 
Emperor Constantius banished him to Phrygia. When in 
the year 860 he was permitted to return to his see, he 
used his utmost efforts for the restoration of orthodoxy 
both in his own country and in Italy, where at a council 
in Milan he entered the lists against the Arian bishop of 
that city, Auxentius. He died in the year 866. Hilary 
was one of the few Latins who understood the theology of 
the East, which he no doubt learned more thoroughly 
during his banishment; hence he was a most valuable link 
between the Greek and the Latin Church. He wrote 
commentaries on Scripture which shew the influence of 
Origen, but he is best known by his great treatise on 
the Trinity, in which he defends the Faith of Nicsea. 
He also wrote hymns, but it is by no means certain 
that any of these have come down to our time. Hilary 
recognised, much more than most of his contemporaries, 
the importance of a good literary style as a vehicle of 
truth. When he invokes God's help for his work on the 
Holy Trinity, he prays not only for enlightenment but 
also for the power of correct exjjression^; he who conveys 
the message of a King should do it in words not unworthy*. 
If, in spite of his pains, his does not rival the style of the 
Classical or even of the Silver age of Latinity, we must 
remember that he had to find or fashion equivalents for 
Greek theological terms in Latin — a much less copious 
and flexible language. Under the circumstances, he could 
scarcely avoid occasional obscurity and inelegance. Yet 
he is always terse and forcible, and his manifest earnest- 
ness and unaffectedness keep the reader's attention better 
than the more rhetorical displays of some other writers. 

One of the noblest and most impressive figures in the 
great company of the saints is St Ambrose \ Ambrosius, 

^ De Trin. i. 38. 

^ Tract, in Ps. xiii. 

^ The Life by I'aulinus, a second 
translated from the Greek, and a 
carefully compiled Life by the 
Benedictines themselves, are to be 
found in the Benedictine ed. of the 
works of Ambrose. Others are, 
W. Cave, Hist. Lit. i. 2G1 : F, 

Bohringer, Die Kirche Christi u. 
Hire Zeugen, vol. 10 (2nd ed.); J. 
Forster, Ambrosius von Mailand; 
J. LI. Davies, in Diet. Chr. Biogr. 
I. 91 if. ; C. Merivale, Lectures on 
Early Ch. Hist., Lect. i; F. W. 
Farrar, Lives of the Fathers, ii. 
112 £f. 

Theology and Theologians. 


the son of a Roman of high military rank, became an 
advocate in Rome, where he practised until he was ap- 
pointed " consular " governor of North Italy, and came to 
reside at Milan. In the year 374 the see of Milan became 
vacant by the death of the Arian bishop Auxentius, and 
the people clamorously demanding Ambrose, who shewed 
Christian virtues though he was not yet baptized, for 
their bishop, he found himself unable to resist a call 
which he recognized as the voice of God, He sold his 
property, distributed the proceeds among the poor, and at 
once devoted himself to the study of theology and the 
duties of his office. He died on April 4, 397. 

His literary works are not of the first importance and 
do not shew much originality. He drew largely from 
Greek sources, and was influenced in his interpretation of 
Scripture by the Alexandrian School, sometimes perhaps 
directly by Philo, His work on the Duties of the Clergy 
is a treatise on morality, founded on Cicero's well-known 
discourse on Duties, but penetrated throughout by the 
spirit of Christianity; while the earlier writer has in his 
mind the typical Roman statesman, the Christian contem- 
plates one who serves God here and is to serve Him 
better hereafter. He is also believed to have written 
hymns which have maintained their vogue even to this 
day. And if his writings do not shew much creative 
power, we at least see in them not the facile declamation 
of a rhetorician, but the sober style of one to whom the 
old classics were familiar, and who had been trained in 
great affairs. But the bent of his mind was practical. 
His personal influence was extraordinary, in his own city 
almost irresistible. He could defy so powerful a person 
as Theodosius, while over the young emperor Gratian he 
seems to have had complete ascendancy. The very soldiers 
could not be induced to act against the great prelate. St 
Augustin^ gives an interesting account of his manner of 
life at Milan, where his door was open to all and whoso- 
ever would might enter unannounced, though no one 
ventured to disturb him if he was found with his eyes 
bent on a book. He received his clients as an old Roman 
patrician might have done. For many years he was the 

^ Confess, vi. 3. 

Chap. X. 



4 Apr. 397. 




Theology and Theologians. 

Chap. X. 

St Jerome, 

At Rome, 
c. 363. 


In Syria, 

most powerful man in the Western Church, in which no 
important matter was transacted without him ; but perhaps 
the greatest and most fruitful of his works was the con- 
version of St Augustin. 

St Jerome \ one of the greatest of the Latin Fathers, 
was born rather more than three hundred years after the 
Lord's death in a little town called Stridon on the frontier 
between Dalmatia and Pannonia, on the border of the 
modern Herzegovina, being thus one of that race of hardy 
mountaineers which in the declining days of the Roman 
Empire supplied so many able men to her service. His 
name, Eusebius Hieronymus, is Greek, but he always 
wrote in Latin, though he had, as we shall see, a far more 
intimate connexion with the East than any other Latin 
Father. His parents, who were Christian, were rich 
enough to give him an excellent education **. Still young, 
he went to Rome, where he not only received a literary 
training but also cultivated that dialectic skill which in 
later days served him well in his numerous controversies^. 
Here he began to acquire a library*, and to study Greek 
philosophy. Here too he was baptized, no doubt after the 
usual careful preparation. From the great city he passed 
to Treves and thence to Aquileia^ still eagerly pursuing 
his studies. 

But a great change was soon to pass over the life of 
the young student. It was probably in Aquileia that he 
received the first impulse to asceticism, and it was perhaps 
this which drove him to the East, then the land of monks 
and hermits. In Syria a dear friend who was with him 
died, and he himself lay long on a sick-bed. While his 
fevered mind was distracted between love for the old 
classic writers and the feeling that he ought to live more 
completely to Christ, he was deeply impressed by a vivid 

^ St Jerome's own letters are the 
principal authority for his life, as 
he is but little mentioned by his 
contemporaries. Modern biogra- 
phies are: — Am. Thierry, St Je- 
rome; A. F. Villemain, Eloquence 
Chretienne, p. 320 flf. (ed. 1858); 
O. Zockler, Hieronymus, sein Le- 
ben und Wirken; W. H. Fremantle 
in Diet. Chr. Biogr. in. 29 £f. ; 

F. W. Farrar, Lives of the Fathers, 
II. 203 ff. ; E. L. Cutis, St Jerome 
(S. P. C. K.). 

2 See his Preface to Job ; Epist. 
21, c. 30; 66, 0. 4; c. Rufinum, 

3 Epist, 50, 0. 1; in Galat. ri. 

* Epist. 22, c. 30. 

5 Ibid. 3, c. 5; 4, c. 10. 

Theology and Theologians. 


dreamt He abandoned, for the time at least, his classics 
and his philosophy, and rushed into the Syrian desert. 
There he occupied himself at first with the hand-labour 
which has often soothed burning brains, and afterwards 
with the transcription of books. But he found no peace. 
His desert solitude was filled with voluptuous visions of 
the world which he wished to leave. Prayer and medita- 
tion were often impossible ^ 

But one thing happened in Jerome's retirement which 
makes an epoch in the history of the Christian Church; 
he learned Hebrew from a converted Jew^. He was pro- 
bably the first member of the Latin Church who was able 
to read the Scriptures of the Old Testament in the 
original tongue; and this learning was to bear much fruit. 

When Jerome left the desert he betook himself to 
Antioch, where he was ordained priest with the under- 
standing that he was not to be required to undertake a 
pastoral charge*. Thence he passed to Constantinople, 
where he read the Scriptures with Gregory of Nazianzus 
and improved his knowledge of Greek®. About two years 
after his arrival in Constantinople we find him again in 
Rome, where he acted as secretary to pope Damasus, and 
was for a time, though still only a presbyter, one of the 
greatest powers in Christendom. It was at the bidding 
of Damasus that he undertook a revision of the Old Latin 
translation of the New Testament", the copies of which 
varied in an extraordinary degree; he also revised the 
Latin Version of the Old Testament with the help of the 
Septuagint, and somewhat later translated it afresh from 
the Hebrew^. His labours were received with no favour by 
the multitude. The Old Latin was the only Bible they 
knew ; in the instruction of the young, in sermons and 
devotional writings, it had grown familiar ; its quaintness, 
its very faults were dear. But in the end Jerome's revised 
vei'sion became, what it is to this day, the Bible in common 

^ Epist. 22, c. 1, 

2 To this period belong Epistt. 
5 — 14. See De Viris Illustr. c. 

3 Epist. 125, c. 12. 

* C. Joarmem Hierosol. c. 41. 
^ III Esaiam, vi. 1 ; in Eplies. v. 
32; De Viris Illust. c. 117; c. Jo- 

vinianuvi i. 13. 

6 Epistt. 19, 20, 21, 

' He gives some account of this 
in the Prologus Galeatus to tlie 
Books of Kings. See B. F. Westcott 
in Smith's Diet, of the Bible, iii. 
1G96 ff. 

IG — 2 

Chap. X. 

In the 
desert, 374. 




In Con- 
ple, 380. 

At Home, 

Old Latin, 




Theology and Theologians. 


in Rome. 

Rome, 385. 

At Bethle- 
hem, 386. 

Died, 420. 

use, the Versio Vulgata, in every part of the Latin 
Church. Its influence on Latin theology has been enor- 
mous, since for a thousand years Latin writers, with the 
rarest possible exceptions, knew the Scriptures in no other 
form than that which Jerome had given them. 

But Jerome's life in Rome was by no means wholly 
literary; he gained there a very remarkable influence in the 
highest ranks. He was not a man to compromise with 
the paganism which still pervaded Roman society. In the 
midst of luxury he practised and advocated simplicity and 
even rigour of life. Over certain noble ladies, in particu- 
lar, his influence was great and lasting \ Fashionable 
society lampooned him, and in the year 385 he left the 
half pagan city"^ for the Holy Land, and in the following 
year, when he was about forty years old, settled at Bethle- 
hem. His devoted friend Paulla, a Roman lady of rank 
and wealth, soon followed him, and by her means a monas- 
tery was built over which Jerome presided, and a convent 
for women of which she herself was the head. There was 
also a hospice for the pilgrims who now began to pour 
into Palestine to visit the place made sacred by the Lord's 
footsteps ^ There he passed the last thirty-four years of 
his life, and there he died, worn out with constant toil, 
and in poverty, which he sometimes mentions in his 
letters, but of which he never complains. He and Paulla 
had spent their means on the establishments at Bethle- 
hem. The day of his death is generally believed to have 
been Sept. 80, A.D. 420, when he must have been between 
seventy and eighty years of age*. But as to this there is 
much uncertainty. 

Though the last years of Jerome's life were spent in 
one spot, they were full of mental activity. It was at 
Bethlehem that he finished his translation of the Bible. 
But beside this great work there was hardly a controversy 
of his time in which he did not eagerly engage, so that he 
left behind a large collection of letters and other writings. 

1 Epistt. 39, c. 1; 45, cc. 2, 3, 
5, 7; 49, cc. 1 and 4; 50, c. 3; 66, 
0. 9. lu this period Epistt. 23, 34, 
and 37 — 44, weie written. 

2 Ibid. 45. 

3 Ibid. 108, cc. 6, 14, 10; 66, 
c. 14; 129, c. 4. 

* Prosper Aquitan. Chronicon 
ad an. 420 (col. 741 0pp. ed. Paris). 
Spurious works relating to St Je- 
rome are attributed to Eusebius of 
Cremona, Augustin and Cyril of 

Theology and Theologians. 


St Jerome is generally painted as an emaciated man, 
in a cave or cell, with a book; and this representation 
indicates the two things for which he is chiefly remarkable 
— his devotion to the ascetic life and his learning. Until 
the time of Erasmus he remained the first scholar of the 
Western Church ; a scholar, not only in his love for the 
old classic writers, and in his vigorous and expressive 
style, but in bringing a scholarly spirit to the interpreta- 
tion of the Bible. He was not content, like his prede- 
cessors in the West, to know the Scriptures only at second 
hand ; he would know the original text, and illustrate it 
by all the grammatical and historical knowledge which 
was within his reach. His great snare was his vehemence 
of temperament. With his incisive satirical bitterness 
and contempt for his opponents he scarcely ever put pen 
to paper without making a life-long enemy. Still, with 
all his faults, Jerome had immense influence on his own 
age, and remains one of the most striking figures in 
Christian antiquity. 

One whose name is always connected with that of 
Jerome, his friend in youth, his foe in old age, was Tp-an- 
nius Rufinus. Born near Aquileia, he early entered a 
monastery in that city. His passion for the ascetic life 
drew him, like Jerome, to the old home of asceticism, 
Egypt, where he saw the great Athanasius and visited 
many of the monks and hermits who peopled the Thebaid. 
But he also made the acquaintance of the learned Didy- 
mus in Alexandria, where he stayed several years, and 
acquired that love for the Greek theology, and most of all 
for Origen, which bore fruit in after years. In the year 
377 he passed on to Jerusalem, where for twenty years he 
lived as a monk on the Mount of Olives, during which 
period he was embroiled with Jerome on the questions 
which arose about Origen. In the year 397 he returned 
to Italy, having been for the time reconciled to Jerome. 
The strife, however, broke out anew, and was carried on 
by both the parties with the most ruthless animosity. 
From the time of his return to Italy, Rufinus lived mostly 
at Aquileia, engaged in literary work, until the invasion 
of the West-Goths drove him to seek refuge in the South. 
He died in Messina in the year 410. The fame of Rufinus 
rests principally on his translations. He published a free 

Chap. X. 

born C.S4.0. 

c. 370. 

At Jerusa- 
lem, 377. 

In Italy, 

Died, 410. 


Theology and Theologians. 

Chap. X. | translation or adaptation of Eusebius's Church History, 
which he continued to the death of Theodosius I.; he 
collected and translated lives of the Egyptian ascetics ; he 
made Origen known in the West by translating a portion 
of his works ; and it is to him that we owe our knowledge 
of the Clementine Recognitions, the original of which is 
lost. Without being a man of original power he rendered 
great service to the Western Church. His Lives of the 
Saints have retained considerable influence even to our 
own time. 

The greatest of the Latin Fathers, the source and 
fount indeed of most of the Latin theology, was, it is 
generally agreed, Aurelius Augustinus, whom we com- 
monly know as St Augustin\ And of all the Fathers he 
is best known to us, for in his Confessions he gives us a 
history of his religious opinions such as few men have left 
behind. He was born on the 13th Nov., 354, at Tagaste 
in Numidia, and received his first religious impressions 
from his good Christian mother Monica"''. Endowed with 
the highest mental gifts and a temperament burning with 
Southern passion, he was in early days equally eager in 
the study of letters and in the pursuit of sensuous enjoy- 
ment. In this life of excitement the religious impressions 
of his childhood were for a time obliterated. It was the 
reading of Cicero's Hortensius which roused again in 
him the longing for the attainment of truth and for a 
higher and nobler life^. He read Scripture, but found its 
simplicity bald and unsatisfying^ He turned in his rest- 
lessness to the pretentious sect of the Manichaeans*, then 
widely spread in South Africa, attracted by their rigorous 
life and their claim to possess a hidden wisdom. From his 
nineteenth to his twenty-eighth year he remained in the 
outer circle of the sect, hoping at last by initiation to 

1 Possiclius, Vita S. Aur. Anqus- 
tini; Vita S. Augustini in the Bene- 
dictine Opera; vol. 15, p. 1 ff. ed. 
Bassano 1797; vol. 32, p. 66 ff. in 
M\gixQ'a Patrologia; F. IBobringer, 
Die Kirclie Chr. u. ihre Zeugen, 
vol. 11 (2nd ed.) ; C. Bindemann, 
Der Heilige Augustinus; Flottes, 
Etudes sur St Augustin; B. C. 
Trench, Augnstin as Interpreter of 
Scripture, in his Exposition of the 

Sermon on the Mount from St Au- 
gustin; W. Cunningham, S, Austin 
and his Place in the History of 
Christian Thought; E. L. Cutts, 
St Augustine (S. P. C. K.) ; F. W. 
Farrar, Lives of the Fathers, ii. 
403 ff. 

^ Confessiones, i. 11. 

3 lb. HI. 4. 

* lb. III. 5. 
6 lb. m. 6. 

Theology and Theologians. 


attain the knowledge of their mysteries \ Undeceived at 
last, he fell into despair of all truth I From this painful 
state he was to some extent relieved by the works of the 
Neo-Platonists, which led him into a new world of thought. 
While the Manichseans had represented the world as 
agitated by the ceaseless contest of good and bad, of which 
man was the almost helpless sport, Neo-Platonism taught 
him that the good was the only real existence, that the 
bad was but the absence of good'. 

It was in this state of mind that Augustin, who had 
already taught rhetoric with success in Tagaste and in 
Carthage, passed over to Rome and thence to Milan. He 
was then religious after a fashion, but regarded Chris- 
tianity as only for such as could not rise to the heights of 
philosophy. It was at this time that he became conscious 
of the divine force of St Paul's Epistles and that he fell 
under the influence of St Ambrose. He attended his 
preaching from admiration of his oratory and found him- 
self pricked to the heart by the truths which he delivered. 
After a painful inward struggle he acknowledged the truth 
as it is in Christ Jesus, and was baptized by Ambrose in 
the year 387, together with his natural son Adeodatus. 
From this time began the controversy, which only ended 
with his life, against his old allies the Manichseans. 

In the year after his baptism he returned to Africa, 
where he lived in the country in a kind of monastic soli- 
tude, until in 392 he was ordained presbyter, much against 
his will, in Hippo Regius. Three years later he became 
its bishop. Henceforward, though bishop of a little town 
of no fame or importance, he belonged to the Church at 
large. He was in constant communication with all parts 
of the Latin Church, urging, advising, controverting. He 
died on the 28th of August, 430, while Hippo was besieged 
by the invading army of the Vandals. 

He had unceasingly employed both tongue and pen in 
the service of the Church. He vindicated the ways of 
God to man against those who distrusted divine provi- 
dence; he asserted the true idea of the Church against 
those who resisted its authority ; in a society still hot with. 
the embers of the Arian controversy he expounded the 

^ Confessiones, iv. 1. 

2 lb. V. 7, 10, 11. 

3 lb. VII. 9 if. 

Chap. X. 

in Rome, 



Bishop of 

Died, 430. 


Theology and Theologians. 

mystery of the Holy Trinity; he maintained man's need 
of the grace of God against those who contended that 
his natural powers were sufficient for him. In a word, 
there was no prominent question of his time which he did 
not discuss and illustrate, and his influence generally 
settled the disputed points in the form which he preferred. 
He had a quick and lively fancy, and a mind of almost un- 
equalled ingenuity and readiness. Arguments and analo- 
gies never fail him. Probably no writer has produced so 
many striking maxims. But it is not his imagination or 
his dialectic skill which has given him the immense and 
abiding influence which he has in fact exercised in Latin 
Christianity. This he owes to a combination of dialectic 
power with an earnestness in believing, a conviction of 
the lost condition of those who deliberately reject the gifts 
which Christ has left in His Church, a knowledge of the 
human heart, a devoutness, tenderness, and sympathy, 
such as has fallen to the lot of few. It would be too 
much to say that his treatment of great questions is 
always adequate and satisfactory. His extraordinary skill 
in reply seems sometimes to have hidden even from him- 
self the real force of the statement which he answers ; and, 
writing as he did in haste and with warmth, he found in 
cooler moments many things in his own works which he 
wished to withdraw or modify \ But, take him for all in 
all, no writer in the Latin Church was ever endowed with 
more brilliant gifts or used them with greater zeal for the 
glory of God than St Augustin. 

An excellent instance of a man of wealth and culture 
brought to forsake the world is Paulinus of Nola^, who 
was born at Bordeaux of a wealthy and distinguished 
Roman family. While still in Bordeaux he was a pupil of 
the poet Ausonius, a friend of his father's. In 379 he was 
consul and everything seemed to promise him a brilliant 
secular career, when a new influence turned him aside. 

' Few writers have displayed so 
much candour iu acknowledging 
their own errors as St Augustin in 
his Retractationcs, 

2 H. Vaughan, The Life of the 
blessed Paulinus (Lond. 1654) ; A. 
Buse, PauUn v. Nola u. s. Zeit; 

J. J. Ampere, Hist. Lit. de la 
France, torn. i. p. 271 ff. ; La- 
grange, Vie de St Paitlin (reviewed 
by Gaston Boissier in Revue des 
deux Moiides, 1878, vol. 28); A. 
Ebert, Christ. Lat. Lit. i. 284 ff. ; 
W. Moller Kirchengeschichte, i. 384. 

Theology and Theologians. 


He was greatly struck by the veneration paid to Christian 
martyrs ; Martin of Tours and Ambrose gained great influ- 
ence on his mind, and he was seized with a great anxiety 
lest the last day should overtake him while engaged in 
things that profit not. When a much longed-for child 
was taken away after a few days' life, he and his wife, who 
was also rich, agreed to sell that they had and give to the 
poor, and so to withdraw from the peril of riches and from 
the deceitful world. His family were greatly troubled, 
but Martin was delighted with the man who had supplied 
an almost unique example of obedience to a hard precept 
of the Gospel\ In a hospice which they had built at 
Nola he and his wife spent their days in the most 
rigorous self-mortification. But in all his austerity Pauli- 
nus retained his naturally kindly and genial character. 
Friend as he was of Jerome and Augustin, he did not 
break with Rufinus and Pelagius. His writings consist 
of Letters and Poems, often of great interest for the 
history of the time as well as for the life of the poet him- 
self. It is curious to see the utmost rudeness of life 
recommended in the language of courtly and artificial 
poetry ; almost as if Quakerism had been preached in the 
style of Pope. He was chosen Bishop of Nola in the year 
409, and died there in 431. 

Another Latin poet, like Paulinus of distinguished 
family and engaged in early years in affairs of state, was 
the Spaniard Prudentiusl He, feeling as he grew old 
that the pursuits in which he had been engaged were such 
as profit not in the day of judgment, set himself to hymn, 
in a style imitative of the old Roman poets, the heroes of 
the noble army of martyrs, and even to inveigh in verse 
against the enemies of Christian truth. 

Leo^, the first pope of that name, was also the first 

^ Sulpicius Severus, Vita Mar- 
tini, c. 25. 

2 J. Brys, Be Vita et Scriptis 
Pnid. (Louvain, 1855) ; DclaviRiie, 
De Lyrica apiid Prud. Poesi (Tou- 
louse 1849) ; C. Brockhaus, Pru- 
dentins's Bedeutung fiir die Kir- 
che; A. Ebert, Christl. Pat. Lit. 
I. 243 ff.; W. Lock in Diet. Chr. 
Biogr. iv. 500. Some of his poems 

have been translated by the Ecv. 
F. St John Thackeray and others. 

' W. Arendt, Leo der Grosse u. s. 
Zeit; A. de St Ch6ron, Hist, de 
St Leon; E. Perthel, Leo's I. Le- 
hen %i. Leliren; A. Ebert, Christl. 
Lat. Lit. I. 447 ff. ; C. Merivale, 
Lectures on Early Ch. Hist., Lect. 


Theology and Theologians. 

pope of whom we know any literaiy productions. It 
was during his tenure of the Papacy that he delivered 
the sermons which have come down to us. If they have 
not Augustin's wealth of thought nor Ambrose's eloquence, 
they are written in a style which is good for its time, 
clear, vigorous, and by no means common-place. He 
attains perhaps his highest eloquence when he speaks of 
that see of Rome which he had himself done so much to 
raise to power over the Church. Leo's letters are also of 
the highest interest as documents of Church History, but 
these should perhaps be regarded rather as despatches 
from the papal chancery than as the work of the pope 
himself \ In any case, they are well written. 

Severinus Boethius^ a Roman philosopher and states- 
man, holds a place apart in the history of the Church. 
Born in Rome, he rose to high place and dignity under 
the gi-eat king of the East-Goths, Theoderic. Falling, 
however under suspicion of a treasonable correspondence 
with the court of Byzantium, he was cast into prison and 
in the year 525 put to death. During his captivity he 
wrote his treatise "on the Consolation of Philosophy," 
which, though it rather breathes the spirit of the old 
Roman Stoicism than of Christianity, brought to its 
author the reputation of a great theologian and was much 
studied in the Middle Ages, as the work of 

"That holy soul who maketh manifest 
The cheating world to him who hears aright^." 

Mediaeval readers probably found in him something which 
was wanting in the Scholastic theology. In Pavia, where 
he was buried, he has even been venerated under the title 
of St Severinus, and the Papal Congregazione dei Riti in 

1 Arendt, Leo d. G. p. 421. 

"^ The principal authorities for 
the life of Boethius are the letters 
of Cassiodorus and Ennodius, and 
the History of Procopius. Modern 
writings are [Gervais] Hist, de 
Boece (Paris, 1715); Heyne, Cen- 
sura Boethii, in Opusc. vi. 143; F. 
Hand, in Ersch u. Gruber's En- 
cyclop. XI. 283; Gust. Baur, De 
Boethio (Darmst. 1841) ; F. Nitzsch, 

d. System d, Boeth. and Boeth. u. 
Dante; Prietzel, Boethius u. seine 
Stellung zum Christentum; A. Hil- 
debrand, Boethius u. seine Stellung 
zum Christentum; E. M. Young in 
Diet. Chr. Biogr. i. 320. Boe- 
thius's treatise De Consol. Phil. 
was translated by King Alfred. 

^ Dante, Paradise, x. 125 (Plump- 
tre's translation); compare Con- 
vito, II. 13. 

Theology and Theologians. 


1884 expressly allowed this cultus. His translations and 
explanations of some of the treatises of Aristotle greatly 
influenced the philosophy of the Schoolmen. It is doubt- 
ful whether he was really the author of the dogmatic 
treatises attributed to him. 

Chap. X. 

Controversies on the Faith. 

I, Stall dards of Doctrine. 

1. The Scriptures^ had in the fourth century, as in 
all ages, a unique respect. Every dogmatic statement 
must be capable of proof from Scripture^, and opinions 
which wanted this support could not be recognized as 
essential to the Catholic faith. This universal recognition 
of Scripture as of the highest authority seems to presume 
that the limits of Scripture are exactly known. But in 
fact, though there was in ancient times no very conspicuous 
controversy on the matter, there was no absolute agree- 
ment in all parts of the Church as to the contents of the 
Sacred Canon. 

With regard to the Old Testament, the most compe- 
tent judges among the ancient Fathers recognized only the 
books of the Hebrew canon as irrefragable, and regarded 
the later additions of the Alexandrians, contained in the 
Septuagint, as of much less weight and value. This view 
prevailed in the Greek Church, and was supported by the 
great authority of Athanasius^ He recognized only the 
books of the Hebrew canon as in the strictest sense cano- 
nical ; others, contained in the Greek canon, he held might 
be read " for example of life and instruction of manners" — 
a rule adopted by the English Church — while he applied 

1 See p. 108, n. 1, and add J. 
Kirchhofer, Quellensamrnlung zur 
Geschichte des Neutestam. Canons; 
Overbeck, Zur Geschichte des 
Canons; Th. Zahn, Geschichte des 
Neutest. Canons. 

' Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. iv. 
17 : del yap irepl tQu Trjs niffreciis 
fivaTrjpiwv /j.7]5e rh rvxbv avev tuv 
OeLuiv Trapadi8oa0ai ypacpwv. 

3 Epist. Festal, (a.d. 365), torn. i. 
pt. ii. p. 962 (ed. Ben.). 

Controversies on the Faith. 


the term " apocrypha " to spurious books which claimed Chap. XI. 
authority under venerable names. Still, copies of the 
Septuagint translation, to which a special sanctity was 
given by the legend of its origin, continued to be sent 
forth, and gave currency to the non-Hebrew books which 
formed part of it, though it can scarcely be said that even 
to this day the Greek Church has adopted the Alexandrian 
canon. In the Western Church Rufinus' gave his authority 
to a division equivalent to that of Athanasius. The first 
class, from which the faith is to be established, he called 
Canonical ; the second Ecclesiastical ; the third Apocryphal. 
Jerome^ however used the word "Apocrypha" so as to 
include all books not found in the Hebrew canon, and this 
is the sense which has become familiar in the Anglican 
Church. This usage is also adopted in the so-called six- 
tieth canon of the Council of Laodicea^ which, if not 
genuine, is probably an ancient gloss. Still, the current 
Latin Bible was a translation from the Septuagint, giving 
no indication that the books contained in it were not all of 
the same authority, and the great leaders of the Latin 
Church were unwilling to draw distinctions which might 
shake the received tradition. Hence Augustin, who is 
followed by the great mass of later Latin writers, cites all 
the books in question as alike Scripture, and, when he 
gives a list of the books of which " the whole canon of the 
Scriptures " consists*, makes no clear distinction between 
the strictly canonical and the other books. It was doubt- 
less under his influence that, at the third Council of Carth- 
age^ a list of the books of Holy Scripture was agreed upon 
in which the Apocryphal books are mingled with those of 
the Hebrew canon. From this period " usage received all 
the books of the enlarged canon more and more generally 
as equal in all respects ; learned tradition kept alive the 
distinction between the Hebrew canon and the Apocrypha 
which had been drawn by Jerome**." 

As regards the New Testament, the Latin Church 
adopted in the fourth century the complete canon which 

^ Expos, in SyviboL, cc. 37, 38. 

2 In the Prologus Galeatus, pre- 
fixed to the Books of Kings. 

3 Hardouin, Cone. i. 791. 

* De Doctrina Christiana, ii. 8. 

s Can. 47, in Hardouin, Cone. r. 

" Westcott, Bible in the Chtirdi, 
p. 190. 


Controversies on the Faith. 

is received at present, though occasional doubts were still 
expressed as to the admission of the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
and the apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans was often 
inserted among those of St Paul. The Church of Alex- 
andria also received the full canon of the Latin Church. 
In the East generally it was otherwise. The great writers 
of the Syrian Church supply no evidence of the use of the 
Epistle of Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, or the Apocaljrpse, 
while Junilius places the Epistle of St James in the same 
class with these books which were not universally re- 
ceived. The Churches of Asia Minor received generally 
all the books of the New Testament contained in the 
African canon except the Apocalypse. This is definite- 
ly excluded from the list of Gregory of Nazianzus", 
and pronounced spurious in that of Amphilochius^ It is 
not included in the Laodicene canon, nor in that given by 
Cyril of Jerusalem ^ Epiphanius however, though he 
notices the doubts which were entertained as to this book, 
adopts the canon* of Africa and the West, which includes 
it. The Church of Constantinople does not seem to have 
recognized it until a late period. 

Everywhere and by all schools of thought the Holy 
Scriptures were accepted as inspired, in a very special 
manner, by God Himself^; and almost everywhere the 
allegorical — often called the spiritual — method of inter- 
pretation was adopted. Plain history vanished in a cloud 
of mystic meaning, often of gi-eat beauty. Orthodox and 
heretical disputants alike commonly used this method. So 
clear-sighted a theologian as Athanasius however, though 
brought up in the very home of allegory, saw the necessity, 
for any sound interpretation of St Paul, of taking account 
of the time of writing, the person of the writer, and the 
matter about which he wrote''. 

2. Besides the Scriptures, it was generally acknow- 
ledged that very great respect was to be paid to the voice 
of the actually existing Church, to the developments of a 

1 Carmina, xii. 31; in Westcott 
on the Canon, 574. 

2 Iambi ad Seleucum; in West- 
cott, 575. 

3 Cateches. iv. 33. 

* Hares. 76, p. 941 Petav. 

5 See Westcott's essay on the 
Primitive Doctrine of Inspiration, 
in his Introduction to the Gospels, 
p. 383 ff. 

* Orat. c. Arianos, i. 54, 


Controversies on the Faith. 


body having a coutiuuous and divine life. In matters of 
ritual, the actual usage of the Church was held sufficient 
to justify such things as the trine immersion in baptism, 
or the words of the Invocation in the Holy Eucharist, 
which were confessedly not found in Holy Scripture*. But 
in matters of doctrine also, in an age when there was a 
fierce war of parties which all claimed the support of the 
Scriptures, appeal was made to the voice of the Church 
itself This voice was found in the formularies of faith set 
forth by the representatives of the whole Church solemnly 
assembled in council. In the end, it turned out not to be 
always easy to determine what councils were to be held to 
represent the whole Church I 

3. We have seen already^ that it was found necessary 
to draw up short summaries of the faith of Christians, 
both for the instruction of those who were without and 
for the confirmation of those who were within the Church. 
Such Rules of Faith were found at this period in various 
Churches, but no one formula was universally adopted by 
the whole of the Christian Church. In the fourth century 
this was changed. The whole Church by its representatives 
in council set forth a confession of faith ^ which was to be 
adopted by all Catholics throughout the world. The 
Church itself appears as giving authority to a Creed, not 
as independent of Scripture, but as founded on it. It 
was admitted that a council which fairly represented 
the Church at large, meeting and deliberating as in God's 
sight, might look for special guidance and enlightenment 
of the Holy Ghost. Constantino^ claims such guidance 
for the Council of Nicsea ; Isidore of Pelusium® speaks of 
it as divinely inspired; Basil the Great^ says that the 
Fathers of Nicsea spake not without the influence of the 
Holy Spirit ; the Fathers themselves * express a humble 
trust that what they have done is well-pleasing to God the 

^ Basil, De Spiritu Sancto, § 67, 
ed. Bened. 

2 See p. 196. 

8 p. lllff. Add to note, C. A. 
Swainson, art. Creed, in Diet. Chr. 
Biogr.i. 695 ff. 

* 'Ei' oKlyoi^ Tocs (TtIxois rb Trfic 
doyfia ttJs irlareois TrepiXa/xjSai'dyue- 
vov. Cyril of Jerusalem, Cateche.f. 

V. 12. 

» Socrates, H. E. i. 9, p. 30. 

« Epist. TV. 99. 

7 Epist. 114. 

* In their Synodical Epistle, 
Theodoret, //. E.i.8, p. 33. The 
coj^y in Socrates (H. E. i. 9, p. 30) 
differs somewhat from that given 
by Theodoret. 


Controversies on the Faith. 

The Abian 


Father in the Holy Spirit. Yet even St Augustin did not 
regard the decisions of an oecumenical council as absolutely 
conclusive for all time ; a later council may be called upon 
to amend the decisions of an earlier*; when Rimini is 
quoted against Nicsea, recourse must be had to that which 
all parties acknowledge — Scripture and reason^ 

II. The Holy Trinity. 

1. The greatest dogmatic conflict which the Church 
had to endure broke out in the early part of the fourth 
century. Alius was a person of considerable mark among 
the presbyters of Alexandria. He is described as a man 
of impressive appearance and of strictly ascetic life, yet 
with kindly and attractive manner and bearing; but he 
was charged with a certain vanity and lightness of mind. 
He had been a pupil of the famous Lucian of Antioch, 
who had been accused of sharing the opinions of Paul of 
Samosata^, and these views he also was thought to hold. 
The first beginnings of the strife are obscured by discrep- 
ancy of testimony, but on the tenets of Arius there is 
practically no doubt. In his view the Son is a creation out 
of nothing by the will of God the Father ; a divine being, 
created before the worlds, but still a creature. As a father 
must exist before his son, the Son of God is not co-eternal 
with the Father ; there was a time when He was not. It 
was through Him that God made the worlds, yet He is not in 
His proper nature incapable of sin, though by the exertion 
of His own will he was preserved from it^. Against this 

' De Baptismo c. Donatistas, 
n. 3. 

2 C. Maximin. Avian, ii. 14. 3. 

3 The original documents on this 
subject are the histories of Euse- 
bius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodo- 
ret, and Philostorgius. The last- 
named, of whose work only an 
epitome by Photius remains, gives 
the Arian view. Information of 
the highest value is found in the 
works of Athanasius, and some 
fragments of Arian works are pre- 
served; see Fragmenta Arianorum, 
in Angelo Mai's Script. Vet. Nova 
Collectio, torn. 3 (Rome, 1828). See 
also Epiphanius, Hceres. 69 — 77. 

Of modern works on the subject 
may be mentioned, besides the prin- 
cipal Church-histories, L. Maim- 
bourg, Histoire de VArianisme; 0. 
W. F. Walch, Hist, der Ketzereien, 
vols. 2 and 3; J. H. Newman, 
Avians of the Fourth Century ; F. C. 
Baur, Lehre von der Drtieinigkeit, 
I. 306—825; J. A. Dorner, Person 
Christi, i. 773—939 (2nd Ed.), 
trans, by Alexander and Simon; 
H. M. Gwatkin, Stzidies of Arian- 
ism ; A. Harnack, Lehrhuch der 
Do(imengeschichte, ii. 182 — 275. 

* See p. 118. 

^ Arius's opinions were stated 
by himself in a letter to Eusebius 

Controversies on the Faith. 


Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, asserted the co-existence 
of God the Father and God the Son from all eternity; 
never was there a time when the Father was not the 
Father, when the Son was not the Son^ Doctrines so 
startling as those of Arius could not pass unquestioned. 
For some years the Church in Alexandria was disturbed 
by the disputes which arose about them. Alexander 
probably hoped to overcome Arius by gentle treatment. 
When he was disappointed in his hope, Arius was at 
length excommunicated by a synod of about one hundred 
African and Libyan bishops, and with him certain presby- 
ters and deacons of Alexandria, while the Libyan bishops 
Theonas and Secundus were deposed from their offices. 

Driven from Alexandria, Arius betook himself to 
Palestine, whence he wrote to his old fellow-student under 
Lucian, Eusebius the influential bishop of Nicomedia, who 
at once bestirred himself to gain adherents for him. He 
was so successful that a Bithynian synod under his influ- 
ence pronounced in favour of the opinions of Arius, and 
Eusebius of Ca^sarea attempted to mediate between Alex- 
ander and his presbyter ^ To whatever influence it may 
have been due, Arius returned to Alexandria and resumed 
his functions. Several bishops took his part, but Alex- 
ander and his friends remained firm. And not only did 
bishop contend with bishop ; mob contended with mob in 
many cities of the East. 

It was at this critical time that Constantine overcame 
Licinius and became sole ruler of the Eoman world. 
When the strife in the Church came to his knowledge, he 
wrote, or caused to be written, a remarkable letter' to 
Alexander and Arius. The discussion appeared to him a 
mere play of nimble wits, asking questions which ought not 
to be asked and giving answers which ought not to be 
given; he begs the combatants therefore to restore to 
their emperor his quiet days and tranquil nights by making 
such mutual concessions as may restore peace to the 
Church. The letter however produced no good result, 

of Nicomedia preseryed by Theo- 
doret, H. E. i. 5. Compare his 
Epist. ad Alexandrum, in Athana- 
sius, dc Synodo Arim. c. 16. 

1 See the letter of Alexander in 


Theodoret, i. 4, p. 11 f. 

2 Sozomen, H. E. i. 15, p. 33. 

3 In Eusebius, Vita Constant, ii. 


Chap. XI. 

Sijnod at 
c. 320. 

A.D. 323. 


Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. 



summons a 

A.D. 325. 

nor could Hosius of Cordova, the emperor's confidential 
adviser, who brought it to Alexandria, effect a reconcilia- 
tion between the opposing parties\ There was one in 
Alexandria who, though his works belong mainly to a 
later period, had already the influence which his character 
could not fail to win, and who would certainly not tolerate 
any compromise with error. This was Athanasius, who 
was constantly by the side of Alexander, and who main- 
tained now, as throughout his eventful life, with all his 
force the great truth, that the Son was God from all 
eternity, and that He became very Man. It is to be 
observed, that Athanasius connects the Divinity of the 
Son with the Redemption of man much more prominently 
than his contemporaries. How, he asks, could Christ 
make us partakers of the Divine nature, if He were Him- 
self only a partaker, and not the source and origin of it ? 
This lies indeed at the root of the Athanasian theology; 
in the Son we have the Father ; whoso knoweth the Son 
knoweth the Father ; if the Son be a creature, we cannot 
worship Him^. One who held these views could evidently 
not concede one jot or one tittle to the Arians. 

Constantino's well-meant attempt therefore came to 
nothing. As however the emperor attached the utmost 
importance to the unity of the Church, which he hoped to 
make the chief bond of the unwieldy empire, he deter- 
mined to make yet another effort to secure it. He 
resolved, by the advice of Hosius, to invite the bishops of 
the whole Church to a council at Nicsea^ in Bithynia, not 
far from the southern shore of the Black Sea. The em- 
peror himself issued the summonses, placed the public 
posting-houses at the disposal of the bishops who journied 
to Bithynia, and provided for their maintenance. From 
all parts ©f the empire they came, and even from beyond 
its limits arrived a Persian and a Scythian ^ They came, 
we may well believe, full of hope at the new prospects 
which were opening to the Church, and with some 

1 Sozomen, H. E. i. 16. 

^ See, for example, De Synodis, 
c. 51 ; c. Arian. Orat. i. 10, 12, 30, 
38, 39; II. 16, 17, 20, 24; iii. 16. 

8 Among the principal works on 
this Council are, T. Ittig, Hist. 
ConciUi Nir<'')ii; J. Kaye, Atha- 

nasius and the Council of Niccea; 
C. J. Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, i. 
219 ff.; A. P. Stanley, Eastern 
Church, Lectt. 2 — 5 ; A. de Broglie, 
L'Eglise et VEmpire, vols. 1 and 
4 Socrates, H. E. i. 8, p. 19. 

Controversies on the Faith. 

curiosity to see the great ruler of the Roman world. The 
bishop of Rome, who was precluded by his advanced age 
from undertaking the journey to Nica?a, was represented by 
two presbyters. His name does not appear in any of the 
documents connected with the council, and it is quite un- 
certain whether he was one of those whose advice the 
emperor privately sought. Eusebius^ reckons the number 
of bishops who took part in the council at more than two 
hundred and fifty, and these were accompanied by a very 
large number of presbyters, deacons, and other attendants. 
Among the deacons was Athanasius. Athanasius'^ makes 
the whole number three hundred and eighteen, a number 
which Ambrose' observed with delight was that of Abra- 
ham's trained servants*, and which has ever since remained 
the traditional number of attendants at the council, so 
that it is frequently referred to as "the three hundred and 
eighteen." The Greeks attended in large numbers; of 
the Latins, who were much less numerous, the most dis- 
tinguished representatives were the well-known Hosius 
and Csecilian of Carthage. Many of those who were 
present were highly respected for their piety and for the 
sufferings which they had endured in the still recent 
persecution ; some were distinguished theologians ; some 
were probably simple men to whom the very watch- 
words of the contest were new and strange. There were 
present also at some of the preliminary discussions many 
laymen, skilled rhetoricians, ready to advocate the views 
of one side or other. It was the fluent talk of these 
gentlemen which roused one of the confessors, himself a 
layman, to declare that Christ and the Apostles handed 
down to us no dialectic art or vain craft, but simple 
maxims guarded by faith and good works". It is not 
improbable that (as Rufinus" implies) even heathen philo- 
sophers took part in these informal debates. 

The great assembly met in the largest room of the 
palace at Nicsea, in which there was placed at one end a 
gilded chair for the emperor, while the seats of the bishops 
were arranged on each side. When the members of the 

1 Vita Constant, in. 8. 
^ Epist. ad Afros, c. 2. 
' Epist. ad Gratian. De Fide, i. 
prol. 3. 

•* Gen. xiv. 14. 

B Socrates, H. E. i. 8, p. 19. 

« Hist. Eccl. X. 3. 



Controve7's{es on the Faith. 

council were placed, the emperor, in splendid robes, en- 
tered the hall, without military guard, and passed with 
stately tread to the seat placed for him, in which however 
he did not place himself until some of the bishops mo- 
tioned him to do so. When he was seated, one of the 
bishops — either Eusebius of Csesarea^ or Eustathius of 
Antioch^ — rose and addressed him. When this address 
was ended, Constantine rose, and with a pleasant counte- 
nance and in a gentle voice made his reply, thanking God 
for having permitted him to see the representatives of the 
Church brought together into one assembly, and earnestly 
entreating his hearers to maintain the peace and harmony 
which became the ministers of God^. On concluding his 
speech — which was in Latin, and was at once rendered 
into Greek by an interpreter — he handed over the conduct 
of the meeting to the presidents and left the hall. Who 
the presidents {irpoehpot) were is uncertain. It is natural 
to suppose that Hosius of Cordova, who was the emperor's 
confidant, and whose name stands first among the signa- 
tures to the decrees, was at any rate one of them. Others 
were probably the prelates of the two great sees of Alex- 
andria and Antioch, Alexander and Eustathius ; perhaps 
also Eusebius of Csesarea. 

There were three groups in the assembly; the small 
party of Arians, under the guidance of Eusebius of Nico- 
media; the party of Alexander, to which the Western 
bishops generally belonged; and the moderate men, 
who looked upon Eusebius of Csesarea as their leader. 
It was acknowledged on all hands that the council was 
bound to produce such an authoritative statement of the 
true faith as might serve to guide the minds of believers 
in their present perplexity. The party who were soon 
called Eusebians, from their leader the bishop of Nicome- 
dia, first proposed a form of Creed which was little less 
than undisguised Arianism. When this had been rejected 
with indignation, Eusebius of Csesarea put forward for 

1 Sozomen, i. 17. 

2 Theodoret, i. 6. The extant 
oration however said to have been 
delivered by Eustathius on this oc- 
casion (see Fabricius, Bihl. Gnec. 
ix. p. 132 ff.) is unquestionably of 
much later date than the council. 

and Bishop Lightfoot (Bid. Chr. 
Biogr. ii. 313) has no doubt that 
Eusebius was the orator. 

2 Eusebius, Vita Const, in. 12; 
Sozomen, i, 19; Socrates, i. 8; 
Theodoret, H. E. i. 7. 

Controversies on the Faith. 

adoption the Creed which he had himself received as a 
catechumen and taught as a presbyter and a bishop ^ 
This was drawn up in terms either actually Scriptural or 
already familiar to the Church. The emperor approved 
it; the council at first said nothing against it. But it 
did not in set terms repudiate Arian doctrine. Alex- 
ander and his friends consequently insisted on the inser- 
tion of more exact definitions, and this was supported by 
the earnest eloquence and keen dialectics of Athanasius. 
After several proposals and long debates a formula was at 
length arrived at to which all but a very small minority 
were content to subscribe^. This differs in several parti- 
culars from the Creed with which we are familiar under 
the name "Nicene." The beginning of the second clause 
ran thus: — "And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of 
God, begotten from the Father only-born, that is from the 
essence of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, 
Very God from Very God, begotten, not made, of one and 
the same essence with the Father; through Whom all 
things were made." And the Creed, which ends with the 
words "and in the Holy Ghost," was followed by an ana- 
thema on those who say that there was a time when the 
Son was not, that before He was begotten He was not, 
that He came into being out of things that were not ; 
and on those who allege that He is of a different 
substance or essence from God [the Father] and is 
capable of being created or changed or altered. In a 
word, all the characteristic opinions of the Arians were 
condemned. To this Creed nearly all the bishops who 
were present assented, some — as Eusebius of Csesarea 
— with great reluctance. Only two refused at the time 
to accept it, but two others — Eusebius of Nicomedia 
and Theognis of Nicsea — continued to hold communion 
Avith Arius. The latter was condemned, and banished by a 
decree of the emperor, who endeavoured to fix upon him 
and his adherents the nick-name " Porphyiian," from 
Porphyry, the well-known pagan enemy of the faith of 

1 Theodoret, i. 12, p. 38. 

2 This is found in the letter of 
Eusebius to the peoijle of Ctesarea, 
given in Theodoret, H. E. i. 12, 

p. 38 f.; Socrates, i. 8, p. 24; in 
Mansi, Cone. ii. 916 ; Hahn's Bihlio- 
thek, p. 78 ff. 
3 Socrates, i. 9, p. 31. 


Controversies on the Faith. 

It might have been expected that the ahnost luiauimous 
decision of such an assembly as that of Nicaea would have 
put an end to the strife. This was however very far from 
being the case ; it was rather the beginning than the end. 
The West indeed generally accepted the Nicene Faith, but 
in the East there arose opponents of it in almost every 
city. It was not that all these sympathized with the 
views of Arius, but that a large party in the Church 
was reluctant to receive a document which described 
the mysteries of the faith in other than Scriptural terms, 
and which even adopted a word (o/xoovo-io'i) which had 
been condemned by a provincial council as favouring the 
views of Paul of Samosata, who denied the Divinity of 
the Son altogether \ This party was commonly called 
Semiarian. Eusebius of Csesarea however, its leader, 
was himself orthodox ^ He expressly repudiates the 
two main theses of Arius, that the Word was a creature 
and that there was a time when He was not^. The 
opposition to the Nicene decision was moreover strength- 
ened by the fact that the views of the emperor himself 
changed, probably under the influence of his sister 
Constantia, a disciple of Eusebius of Nicomedia. This 
prelate kept up a vigorous agitation against Athanasius, 
who had become bishop of Alexandria, and several re- 
spected bishops took the side of Arius, who had meantime 
diffused his views in a popular work called Thalia. Arius 
was allowed to submit to the emperor a statement of his 
belief which avoided the particular terms which had given 
most offence. Constantine was still bent upon promoting 
unity ; and he seems to have been led to believe that it 
would conduce to this end if both Athanasius and his 
active supporter Eustathius were removed from the 
positions which they occupied. Eustathius was deposed 
and banished in the year 330, and Eusebius of Nicomedia 
then proceeded to attack Athanasius by stirring up against 
him all the discontented in his own diocese, especially 

1 See p. 118, n. 3. The word 
ofjioovaios first occurs in Irenseus's 
account of the Valentinians, Hceres. 
I. 5. § 1. 

2 Bishop Bull and Dr Cave are 
among Ins defenders, and even Dr 
Newman admits {ArianK, p. 2G2) 

that there is nothing in his works 
to convict him of heresy. 

* C. Marcelhim, i. 4, p. 22; De 
Eccl. Theol. i. 2, 3, p. 61 f., ib. 8, 
9, 10, p. 66 f.; Theoph. ii. 3. See 
Lifjhtfoot, in Diet. Chr. Biogr. ii. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


the Meletians', who thought that they were aggl•ieved^ 
Athanasius however was able to defend himself successfully 
before the emperor against these attacks. But his enemies 
gave him no rest, and in the year 335 he had to appear 
before a synod convened by the emperor at Tyre*, at 
which sixty bishops, mainly Eusebians, were present. 
This synod deposed Athanasius from his see, and the 
bishops who composed it, proceeding to Jerusalem for the 
consecration of the church of the Anastasis which the 
emperor had built, declared themselves favourable to the 
recall of Arius *. Athanasius meantime had presented him- 
self before the emperor at Constantinople, and his visit had 
at first the effect which his remarkable personal influence 
seldom failed to produce. But when his opponents ap- 
peared, and alleged against him that he had boasted that 
he was able to prevent the usual fleet of corn-ships from 
leaving the harbour of Alexandria, the emperor changed 
his mind, and sentenced him to be banished to Treves. 
Preparations were made for the solemn restitution of Arius 
to his office in Alexandria, which were however stopped by 
his sudden death. After the death of Constantine Atha- 
nasius returned to his see, but the influence of Eusebius 
of Nicomedia, who had been raised by Constantius, the 
new ruler of the East, to the throne of Constantinople, 
rendered his position untenable. He was compelled to 
give place to an intruding bishop, Gregory, who was thrust 
upon the exasperated Alexandrians by actual armed force. 
He was kindly received in his exile by Julius, bishop of 
Rome. At Rome too Marcellus^ bishop of Ancyra, who 
had been at Nictea one of the most ardent defenders of 
the Homoousian creed, was hospitably entertained. In his 

1 See above, p. 151. 

2 Epiphanius(7/(P)Ts.68,p. 72.3a) 
seems to imply that Athanasius 
dealt roughly with them — "7)^07- 
Kal^ev, e|3tdf ero." 

3 Athanasius, Apol. 11.; Socrates, 
I. 28ff. ; Sozomen, II. 25 ; Theodo- 
ret, I. 28 ff. Documents in Har- 
douin, Cone. i. 539 ff. ; a good 
summary in Cave, Hist. Lit., 1. 
353 (ed. Basel, 1741). 

^ Athanasius, Aj)ol. 11.; Socrates, 
I. 28 f.; Sozomen, 11. 25; Theodo- 

ret, I. 29 ff.; Hardouin i. 551 ff. 

5 The views of Marcellus are 
known princijially from the two 
treatises of Eusebius of Ctesarea 
(c. Marcelluvi and De Theolopia 
Eccl.) against him. See also Cyril 
of Jerusalem, Catech. xv. 27 — 33 ; 
Epiphanius, Hares. 72. Modern 
works on him are: H. Eettberg, 
Marcelliana (Gottingen, 1794) ; Th. 
Zahn, Marcell von Ancyra; also 
his art. in Herzog's R. E. p. 279 
(2nd ed.). 


Controversies on the Faith. 

horror of Aiianism, this prelate seems to have fallen into a 
doctrine too nearly resembling Sabellianism. He repre- 
sented the Word in such a way that He did not appear as 
the Second Person in the Godhead, the Son from all eternity. 
The name " Son " is properly given to Him (in this view) 
only so far as He was incarnate, not in His proper nature. 
Doubtless the Word proceeded forth from God, and in His 
humanity was a distinct Person ; but He is destined, when 
He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to GoD the 
Father, again to be absorbed into the Divine Unity. The 
synod at Constantinople in 336 condemned his doctrine 
and deposed him from his office. Like Athanasius, he 
returned to his see on the death of Constantine, and like 
him he was compelled to flee for refuge, which he found at 
Rome. Here he presented to the bishop his confession of 
faith, in terms practically identical with the creed of 
Rome\ and was admitted to communion. 

When it became known in the East that men deprived 
of office by Eastern synods had been admitted to com- 
munion at Rome, great dissatisfaction arose. An important 
synod was held at Antioch (known as the "Dedication- 
Synod," from the circumstance that the bishops composing, 
it attended the dedication of a church in that city), the 
canons of which were afterwards adopted into the universal 
code. At this assembly no less than four confessions of 
faith were produced ^ the second of which — known as 
Lucian's — without using the word Homoousios, repudiated 
in the strongest terms the characteristic doctrine of the 
Arians with regard to the Person of the Son, while the 
third condemned the opinions of Marcellus, who is classed 
with Sabellius and Paul of Samosata. This synod con- 
firmed the sentence passed at Tyre upon Athanasius, and 
condemned generally any bishop who, being deposed by a 
synod, should appeal to another synod of the same kind, or 
to the emperor^. In the winter of the same year pope 
Julius held the council, of which he had some months before 
given notice to the Eastern prelates, in Rome\ Athana- 

1 Epiphanius, Hares. 72, c. 3, 
p. 836. The creed of Marcellns 
may conveniently be compared with 
the Eoman in Heurtley's Harmonia 
Symholica, p. 21 ff,, or Hahn's 
Bibliothek, p. 13 f . See also Lumby, 

Creeds, p. 122. 

2 Hahn's Bibliothek, pp. 184, 
103 ff. 

3 Canons 4 and 12. 

* Sijnodical Epistle in Hardouin 
I. 609 ff. 

Controversies on the Faith 


sius, after a full examination of the charges against him, 
was pronounced innocent, and his right to communicate 
with the Roman Church fully recognized. Marcellus was 
declared orthodox. There was thus a clear divergence of 
the West fi-om the East. 

With a view of putting an end to this dissension, the 
two emperors, Constans and Constantius, agreed to call a 
Council at Sardica^ — S^fia in Bulgaria — on the frontiers 
of the two empires, but in the dominion of the Western. 
This however was far from promoting unity. No sooner 
did the Eastern clergy who were present learn that their 
Western brethren intended to treat Athanasius and Mar- 
cellus as lawful bishops than they left the council and 
assembled separately at Philippopolis. Those who remained 
at Sardica again acquitted Athanasius of the charges 
against him, and passed sentence of deposition against 
some of the most prominent bishops of the opposing party. 
Those who assembled at Philippopolis, on the other hand, 
sent out to the bishops of their party, and to the clergy in 
general, a letter^ explaining their position, and condemning 
the conduct of Athanasius and Marcellus. To this was 
appended a confession of their faith', founded on the fourth 
of those which had been produced at Antioch. They con- 
demned the opinions of Arius and those of Marcellus alike. 

The bishops of the East, assembled at Antioch, feeling 
that they were regarded with suspicion in the Western 
Church as inclining to Arianism, again endeavoured to 
clear themselves from the charge. In an Exposition of 
their Faith, which from its length came to be known as 
the Prolix Exposition, they expressed their belief in " the 
only-born Son of GoD, begotten of the Father before all 
ages ; God from God, Light from Light ; through Whom 
all things were made;" and they anathematized those who 
affirmed that the Son was made from nothing (e^ ovk 
ovTcov), or from a different substance (e^ erepa<i viroGTo.- 
creo)?), or that there was a time when He was not. The 
ninth chapter of the Prolix Exposition might indeed be 

1 On the canons of Sardica, see 
above, p. 187, n. 3 ; on the date, see 
Diet. Chr. Antiq. p. 1842; Diet. 
Chr. liiofir. i. 190; Mansi, m. 87 ff. 
The original authorities are Socra- 

tes, II. 20; Sozomen, iii. 12. 

- Hardouin, i. 671 ff. , from Hilary, 
De Stjnodis, c. 34. 

3 In Hahn, p. 107 f. 

Chap. XI. 

Council of 
3-44 (?) 



Prolix Ex- 


Controversies on the Faith. 

considered as a paraphrase of the word Homoousios. But 
they also condemned those who said that it was not by 
wishing or willing that the Father begat the Son. In this 
they condemned the Athanasians, who held that the eternal 
generation of the Son is of the essence of the Father, as 
inseparable from Him as His holiness or His wisdom. To 
say that the Son was produced by the wish or will of the 
Father seemed to them to approach perilously near to 
saying that He was a creature — though against this conclu- 
sion the bishops at Antioch had expressly guarded them- 
selves. The Eastern bishops seem to have been genuinely 
anxious to find terms of agreement with their Western 
brethren, and they were certainly very far from holding 
those opinions of Arius which had been condemned ; but 
no reconciliation was effected. A Western council at 
Milan rejected their overture. 

They also found themselves under the necessity of con- 
demning a new heresy, that of Photinus\ He was a fellow- 
countryman and disciple of Marcellus, and the Antiochene 
sentence of condemnation seems to attribute to him little 
or nothing beyond the views of his master. As however 
the Western council at Milan also condemned Photinus 
while it protected Marcellus, it seems probable that he 
maintained not merely that the Son had no personal 
existence from eternity, but that Christ was simply a man, 
destined by God to a unique work, and so wrought upon 
by His inworking as to attain divine excellence'''. 

The emperor Constantius had hitherto been unfriendly 
to Athanasius and his party. At last, hard pressed by the 
Persians and anxious at all costs to restore peace in his 
dominions, he permitted the great bishop to return to 
Alexandria, where meanwhile the intruder Gregory had 
died. He was received with a tumult of joy by his faith- 
ful people. The Orientals were dissatisfied at the restora- 
tion of Athanasius without the decree of a council, but 
otherwise the difference between the opposing parties seems 
at this time to have been reduced to two points — the 
refusal of the Western bishops to condemn Marcellus, and 

1 Of Photinus's writings not 
even fragments are preserved. His 
opinions are gathered from Epi- 
phanius, Hares. 71, and from the 

condemnations of councils. 

2 A. Harnack, Dofimcn-Gesch. ii. 
242, n. 1. But see Zahu, Marcell, 
p. 192. 

Gontrovei'sies on the Faith. 


the continued rejection by the Easterns of the word Ho- 
moonsios. Those opinions of Arius which had been con- 
demned at Nicsea were ahnost everywhere rejected. 

But the death of Constans brought about a great 
change in the politics of the time. Constantius had paid 
a certain deference to his brother, who favoured Atha- 
nasius ; now he asserted his independence, and perhaps 
wished to repay the humiliation which he thought he had 
suffered at the hands of the Western bishops. A synod 
which met at Sirmium in 351 put forth a Confession of 
Faith ^ identical with the fourth of Antioch, and deposed 
Photinus, who had up to this time remained in possession 
of the see of Sirmium. To the Confession was appended a 
long series of anathemas, in the eighteenth of which the 
Son is expressly declared to be subordinate to the Father 
(inTOTeTaj/u,evo<;). This was not generally accepted in the 
West, though so high an authority as Hilary''^ of Poictiers 
thought it compatible with orthodoxy. When, shortly 
afterwards, Constantius became, by his victory over the 
usurper Magnentius, the sole ruler of the empire, he acted 
with more vigour and decision in the affairs of the Church. 
From synods assembled at Arles^ and Milan^he succeeded 
in extorting the condemnation of Athanasius as a rebel, 
leaving the theological question for the present out of 
sight. The orthodox were not compelled to accept any 
new formula of belief, but the more sharp-sighted among 
them could not fail to be aware that in the condemnation 
of Athanasius lurked more than a personal question. The 
few bishops who refused to concur — Paulinus of Treves, 
Eusebius of Vercelli, Lucifer of Cagliari, and Dionysius 
of Milan — were driven into exile, and to these were soon 
added Liberius of Rome, Hilary of Poictiers, and the aged 
Hosius of Cordova. Early in the year 356 his sentence of 
deposition was formally communicated to Athanasius, who 
at once withdrew into the wilderness and was lost to sight. 
He was beyond the emperor's power, for no one would 
earn the price put upon his head by betraying him to his 

1 111 Athanasius, De Synodis, 
c. 27 ; Socrates, ii. 30; Hahn, 
p. 115; Hardouin, i. 701. 

= De Synodis, c. 37ff. 

3 Sulpicius Severus, Citron, ii. 

39. 2; Hilar. Pictav. Lib. ad Con- 

■* Athanasius, Hist. Avian, ad 
Monach. Socrates, ii. 3G; Sozo- 
men, iv. 9; Hardouin, i. 607. 


Death of 

Sinn i an 

Fall of 
tius, 353. 

Synods of 
Aries, 353, 

Feb. 856. 


Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. 

A etius, 



enemies. George of Cappadocia was brought into Alex- 
andria by force of arms as his successor. The unity of the 
Church seemed to be restored ; the emperor seemed to be 
supreme over it ; the party opposed to Athanasius seemed 
to be completely victorious. 

But in fact the political victory of the Eastern bishops 
brought about their ruin. No sooner was the pressure of 
adversity removed than the anti-Nicene party flew asunder. 
They had only been united by their hostility to Athanasius 
and the Homoousion. The real Arianism, the Ai'ianism 
which had been condemned at Nicsea, started once more 
into full view, Aetius* and Eunomius"'', keen and ruthless 
dialecticians, carried it to its logical issue and declined all 
compromise with orthodoxy. These " Anomojans " declared 
that the Son was different in essence from the Father, 
unlike (aVoyLtoto?) in essence and in all respects. However 
superior the Son might be to the other parts of creation, 
He was still created. The great majority of the Oriental 
theologians did not share these views. They maintained 
that the Son was like (o/xoio<;) the Father in esseuce and 
in all respects, and that His Eternal Generation was by no 
means an act of creation*. But they declined — alarmed, 
perhaps, by the theories of Marcellus — to admit that the 
Father and the Son are of one and the same essence. The 
leaders of this Homoiousian party were George of Laodicea, 
Eustathius of Sebaste, Eusebius of Emesa, and Basil of 
Ancyi'a, and their views made some impression even upon 
eager advocates of the Nicene doctrines, like Hilary of 
Poictiers*, who were in exile among them. 

The emperor was still eager for unity at any price, and 
the court-party among the bishops — especially the pliant 
Ursacius of Singidunum and Valens of Mursa, with Acacius 
of Cajsarea and Eudoxius of Antioch — were anxious to 

1 Epiphanius, Hares. 76, c. 10, 
p. 924 ff.; Gregory Nyssen, c. Eu- 
nomium, i. 6; J. A. Fabricius, 
Biblioth. Grceca, ix. 227 ff. (ed. 

2 The treatises of Basil and 
Gregory Nyssen against Euno- 
mius; Socrates, iv. 7 ; Sozomen, vi. 
8, 26 ; Philostorgius iii. 20 ; rv. 8, 
9; V. 3; VI. 5, 4; Fabricius, Bibl. 
Gr. IX. 207 ff. C. R. W. Klose, 

Gcschichte unci Lehre des Euno- 
mius (Kiel, 1833). 

^ Athanasius himself admitted 
{Be Synodis, c. 41) that the ex- 
pression ofMoios Kar' ovalav, taken 
in connexion with the distinction 
drawn between begetting and cre- 
ating, was capable of an orthodox 

* As is evident from his De Sy- 

Controversies on the Faith. 


devise a formula which should unite Homoeans and Ano- 
moeans. By a third Sirmian council, at which the emperor 
was present, the words Homoousios and Homoiousios were 
absolutely forbidden, as not contained in Scripture, and as 
attempting to define matters above the reach of man's 
understanding \ The subordination of the Son was again 
affirmed. This formula was mainly the work of Western 
bishops, hitherto the great champions of orthodoxy, but it 
was highly displeasing in the East. Constantius seems 
in some way to have been won over to the views of the 
more moderate party, and a fourth Sirmian council put 
forth as their Faith that which had been set forth at the 
Dedication-Council of Antioch in the year 341, together 
with the condemnation of Paul of Samosata and Photinus 
which had been agreed upon at Sirmium ten years later^ 

In the year 858 the exiled Liberius bought his return 
to Rome by subscribing (to use his own words) " the true 
Catholic Faith received at Sirmium by many brethren 
and fellow-bishops," and repudiating Athanasius\ What 
was the formula which he subscribed, whether the First 
or the Second of Sirmium, has been matter of vehement 
dispute. It is however hardly possible to suppose that 
the indignation which Hilary* expresses against the weak- 
ness of the Roman bishop can have been called forth by 
his having accepted a formula which he himself thought 
compatible with orthodoxy. He must therefore have sub- 
scribed the Second. Hosius was also allowed to return 
home on accepting this formula, which he did under 
durance, but without repudiating Athanasius^ 

The emperor however was still dissatisfied. He de- 
signed that a great synod under his own influence should 
devise a formula in which the various parties might agree. 

1 Socrates, ii. 30, p. 128; Atha- 
nasius, De Synodis, c. 28; the 
original Latin in Hilary, De Sy- 
nodis, c. 11. Hahn, p. 119. 

2 Sozomen, H. E. iv. 15, p. 150. 
^ Of the fall of Liberius there is 

the most express and undoubted 
testimony in Athanasius, Hist. 
Arian. 41; Apol. c. Arian. 89; 
Hilary, c. Constantium, 11; Sozo- 
men IV. 15; Jerome, De Viris II- 
lust. 97. 

"* Fragment vi., where Liberius's 
own letter is given with Hilary's 
comments. The genuineness of 
this letter is admitted by almost 
all the most distinguished histo- 
rians and critics from Baronius to 
Dr Dbllinger and Cardinal New- 

^ Athanasius, Hist. Arian. 44. 
See T. D. C. Morse in Diet. Chr. 
Bioqr. ni. 171 ff. 

Chap. XI. 



Fall of 



Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. 

Council of 



Council at 
Nice, 359. 

Formula of 

Synod of 

What actually came to pass however was not one synod 
but two. In May, 359, four hundred Western bishops as- 
sembled at Rimini^ who were required by the emperor to 
debate only matters of doctrine, and forbidden to separate 
until they should have arrived at a conclusion. Ursacius 
and Valens however, who acted as the emperor's ministers 
in ecclesiastical affairs, were at first altogether unable to 
carry out his wish that the formula lately settled at Sir- 
mium should be accepted. The great majority of the 
assembly held firmly to the faith of Nicsea, condemned 
Arianism and deposed its friends — including Ursacius and 
Valens — from their sees. But the delegates who carried 
the decrees of the synod to the emperor, without being 
admitted to an audience, were carried by Ursacius and his 
friends to Nice'' in Thrace, where a small council was held, 
which was compelled or persuaded to accept a formula — 
known as that of Nice — in all its main points identical 
with that to which the Western bishops had assented at 
Sirmium two years before. This declared the Son " like 
the Father Who begat Him according to the Scriptures, 
Whose begetting no man knows but the Father Who 
begat Him." Bearing this confession, and still carrying 
with them the delegates, Ursacius and Valens returned to 
Rimini, where by mingled threats and persuasions they 
caused the weary and terrified bishops to accept it. 

Meantime, an Oriental s_yaiod had assembled at Seleu- 
cia I The Homoiousians, with whom some of the Nicene 
party had made common cause, were in the majority, 
among them being the much-respected Hilary of Poictiers, 
then in exile in the East ; but the minority of decided 
Arians, under the leadership of Acacius and Eudoxius, 
was still considerable. Passion ran high in the council, 
and the majority ended by passing sentence of deposition 

1 Socrates, ii. 37 ; Sozomen, iv. 
17, IH, 19; Theodoret, H. E. ii. 
18 ff. ; Sulpicius Severus, Chron. 
II. 41 ff. Some fraj^ments of the 
Acta are preserved in Jerome's 
Dial. adv. Lucifcrum. Hardouin, 
Cone. I. 711 ff. 

2 Socrates, ii. 37, p. 141; Sozo- 
men, iv. 19, p. 159 ; in Halin, p. 12G; 
some portions of the Acta are pre- 
served in the Vragmenta of Hilary 

of Poictiers; Hardouin i. 719. So- 
crates (u.s.) declares that Nice {tSIktJ) 
was expressly chosen as the seat of 
the council in order that its canons 
mif^ht be confused with those of 
Niciea (Nt^aia). 

^ Socrates, ii. 39, 40; Socrates, 
IV. 23, 24; Sulpicius Severus, ii. 
42; Hilary, c. Gonstantium; Basil, 
Epist. 74; Hardouin i. 721. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


on their chief opponents. But the emperor had still to 
be reckoned with, and he determined, while shewing his 
repugnance to the extreme Arians by banishing Aetius, 
to force the formula of Nice upon the East as well as the 
West. He gained his end, and in a council at Constanti- 
nople^ in the following year this confession" was again put 
forth, with the addition, that the word ova-la, which was not 
commonly intelligible and which had given gi-eat offence, 
should no longer be used; and that the word v7r6aTaai<i 
should not be applied to the Persons of the Holy Trinity. 
The emperor seemed for the moment to have brought to 
pass the unity for which he was so anxious ; but a scarcely 
disguised Arianism was in fact established in the Church, 
and even Eunomius obtained a bishopric. In Gaul, where 
Julian, who was indifferent to Christian dogma, had already 
been proclaimed Augustus, the orthodox bishops made 
their voices heard. In November, 361, Constantius died 
on his march against his cousin. 

The emperor Julian was an implacable enemy of 
Christianity, yet his short reign was in fact a blessing in 
disguise. For nearly two years the Church, however 
injured in its property and its privileges, was entirely 
free from imperial interference in matters of doctrine. 
The gain in this far outweighed the loss, for during this 
period the leaders in the Church, no longer harassed by 
imperial politics, came to understand each other better, 
and even to discern points of agreement where all had 
once seemed hostile. 

For some time past the Homoiousians seem to have 
been coming to the conviction that, in spite of their 
repugnance to the Homoousion, their views were in fact 
much nearer to those of the Nicene party than to those ol 
such Arians as Aetius and Eunomius^. Athanasius, again 

1 Socrates, ii. 41 ; Nicephorus ix. 
44; Athanasius, De Synodis, c. 30. 

2 In Hahn, p. 129. It is worthy 
of note that Ulphilas the Goth was 
one of those who subscribed to this 

^ By th i s time the leading thinkers 
had seen the latent ambiguity in the 
word 6/jioouaios. If the word ovala 
means the essence of an individual — 
that which makes him what he is — 

then to apply the word o^oot'tnos 
to the Son would be to merge His 
Personality in that of the Father, 
to make Father and Son one indi- 
vidual. In this sense no doubt the 
term had been rejected at Antioch. 
But St Basil pointed out {Epist. 
42) that ovaia denotes that which is 
common to all the individuals of a 
species, and so bfj^oomios maybe used 
to describe the identity of nature 

Chap. XI. 

Council at 
nople, 360. 

Council of 



3G1— 363. 

mation of 


Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. 

Synod of 
A lexan- 
dria, 362. 

of til t' Holy 

returned from banishment, earnestly sought to unite all 
the parties which were not absolutely Arian. He did not 
indeed waver in his allegiance to the Nicene Faith, but 
he induced a synod which met at Alexandria^ to pardon 
the fall of those who had been unawares seduced into 
Arianism, and to facilitate their admission to communion 
with the orthodox Church. And, what was even more 
important, the opposing parties, when they were face to 
face, came to understand the ambiguity Avhich lurks in 
such words as "essence^" and "substance^" The Nicene 
party admitted that their opponents, when they spoke of 
three "Substances," by no means intended to deny the 
unity of the Godhead ; their opponents allowed that those 
who maintained the " one essence " did not intend to deny 
the Trinity of Persons*. It would seem that the synod 
deprecated the use of the ambiguous terms altogether®. 

The settlement of the dispute was however rendered 
difficult by two circumstances. 

In the first place, the doctrine of the personality of the 
Holy Spirit ^ which had attracted little attention during 
the first thirty years of the Arian divisions, now came into 
prominence. At Nicsea the simplest expression of belief in 
the Holy Ghost had been held sufficient. The Lucianist 
Confession'' of 341 added to this the words "which is 
given for the comforting and sanctifying and perfecting of 
them that believe." The synod of Sirmium of 351 indi- 
cates that diversity of opinion on this subject had already 
begun, when it anathematizes* those who spoke of the 
Holy Spirit as " unbegotten." When the question was 
once mooted, Athanasius, as might have been expected, 
made a firm stand against error. It was clear to him 
that it was of vital importance to recognize the Holy 
Ghost as God. Either the Holy Ghost is God, or He is a 

in the Father and the Son without 
impairing the distinction of thuir 
Persons. That this was the sense 
in which o/xooi^o-ios was adoioted by 
the Church is clear from the Creed 
of Chalcedon, which calls the Son 
o/JLooijo'iov T(j3 Uarpl Kara t7}v OedTTjTa 
Kal ofioovcrtov t6v avrbv rjfuv Kara ttjv 

1 Socrates, in. 7 ; Sozomen, v. 12; 
RufinuR, H. E. I. 28 ; Kpistola Sy- 

noiJalis in Hardouin, i. 729. 

2 Oi5(T/a. 

^ 'TwdcrTacni. 

* See the Synodal Letter, Har- 
douin, I. 733. 

5 Socrates, m. 8, p. 179. 

" On this controversy, see H. B. 
Swete, in Diet. Chr. Biog. iii. 120 ff. 

^ Hahn, p. 18(5. See above, p. 

8 Avafhfivi. 20, in Hahn, p. 118. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


creature; and a creature He can not be\ He can not be, 
as was held by some, merely one of the ministering spirits 
sent forth to do service for them that shall inherit salva- 
tion I As such views as these were in the air, Athanasius 
required the members of the Alexandrian council not only 
to accept the Creed of Nica^a but to repudiate the doctrine 
that the Holy Spirit was a creature. This was however 
vehemently opposed by a party to whom Epiphanius' gives 
the name Pneumatomachi, but who were more commonly 
known as Macedonians from their following the leadership 
of Macedonius^ This Macedonius had more than once 
appeared as the Arian candidate for the episcopal throne 
of Constantinople, and was in fact chosen by his party and 
placed in possession of his church by the authority of Con- 
stantius, amid scenes of violence and blood®. It was by 
the favour of Constantius that he was supported, and when 
this was withdrawn he fell^ In his retirement he is said 
to have put forth the view with which his name is 
connected, that the Spirit is not Very God, and is there- 
fore a creature and minister of God. Many of those who 
shrank from the Arian depreciation of the Son of God 
were yet not disposed to admit that the Holy Spirit also 
is of one essence with the Father. From this arose 
divided counsels. In the end those who held the lower 
view of the Holy Spirit came to be so completely identified 
with the Semiarians that this term was used as synony- 
mous with Pneumatomachi ^ 

The union of all the enemies of Arianism was also 
much hindered by the state of affairs in the important 
metropolis Antioch. Its bishop Eustathius, an active and 
much-respected member of the Nicene party, had been 
deposed in the year 830. He had been followed by men 
of the middle-party which prevailed in the East, until in 
847 a decided Arian, Eudoxius, in an irregular manner, 
became bishop. On his translation to Constantinople 

1 Athauasius, ad Serapion. i. 23, 

2 Heb. I. li. 

3 Hares. 74. 

* They were also called Maratho- 
nians, from Marathonius, who had 
served as deacon under Macedonius, 
and was thought to have been the 


real author of the opinions which 
bear the latter's name. See So- 
crates II. 45, p. 162. 
5 Socrates ii. 6, 16; Sozomen 

III. 7, 9. 

^ Socrates ii. 38, 42; Sozomen 

IV. 24. 

7 Cone. Constantino]}. (381) c. 1. 


Chap. XI. 



thius de- 
posed, 330. 





Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. 





Lucifer of 

Meletius, previously bishop of Sebaste in Aimenia, was 
chosen by the dominant party to succeed him\ He, 
though at the time of his election thought to incline to 
Arianism, taught as bishop a doctrine too nearly allied to 
the Nicene Faith to be pleasing to the Arians. He was 
consequently dispossessed by the emperor and the Arian 
Euzoius set up in his place ''; but a considerable portion of 
the Antiochene church continued to regard Meletius as 
their lawful bishop. There were thus in Antioch at the 
time of the Alexandrian council three separate commu- 
nions; the Eustathians, whose leader and guide was then 
a presbyter called Paulinus; the Meletians; and the 
Euzoians. The policy of Athanasius and other leaders of 
the council was to permit, so far as possible, those in 
actual possession of ecclesiastical offices to retain them, 
provided that they received the Faith of Nicsea, With 
regard to Antioch, the council naturally felt itself bound 
to support the Eustathians, who in troublous times had 
adhered to the orthodox belief. As however the Eusta- 
thians differed in fact but little from the Meletians, and 
had no bishop of their own in Antioch ^ there was good 
ground for hope that they would accept Meletius on his 
return as their bishop, and that in this way the Eusta- 
thians and Meletians would be united. But the hot- 
headed Lucifer of Cagliari, with more zeal than discretion, 
hurried to Antioch, where he arrived before the delegates 
from the council, and consecrated Paulinus as bishop of 
that city\ There was thus introduced a discord which 
extended far beyond the walls of Antioch, since the 
Orientals generally did not recognize Paulinus, but Mele- 
tius, as lawful bishop of Antioch, while Athanasius and 
the Western bishops could not repudiate Paulinus, as 
being the representative of the most steadfast confessors 
of the Nicene Faith. Lucifer, an eager and honest fanatic, 
was altogether opposed to the gentler methods which were 
in favour at Alexandria, from which it would occasionally 
result, that men who had suffered and been banished for 

^ Socrates ii. 44. 

" Socr. u. s. 

^ It is just possible that Exista- 
thius was still living (Herzog's 
Real-Encycl. ix. 534 note: 2nd 

ed.), but he was at any rate at 
a distance and had resigned his 
* Socrates in. 6. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


their steadfast adherence to the orthodox faith might, on 
their return home, find their places occupied by those 
whose greater pliancy had permitted them to adopt the 
views of the dominant power for the time being. He con- 
tended that no one who had committed himself by adhesion 
to an erroneous creed under the iron rule of Constantius 
should be admitted to the communion of the Church with- 
out loss of the office which he held, and that all who had 
been banished for conscience sake should re-enter on all 
their old privileges. As Lucifer's principle would have de- 
posed, for instance, all the bishops who had subscribed the 
conclusions of Kimini, it could of course not be accepted; 
and he, as many other good men have done who cannot 
admit compromise, gradually drifted away from the Catholic 
Church, in which he thought that a base worldliness pre- 
vailed over right and justice. The party of Luciferians 
was however neither numerous nor of long continuance. 

In the following year an important synod was held at 
Aiitioch, at which the Nicene Faith was accepted and a 
document sent to the emperor — Julian's successor Jovian 
— in which it was explained that "essence" in the Nicene 
Faith was not used in the philosophic sense, but was 
intended to repudiate the error of those who maintained 
that the Son was created out of nothing\ The hostility 
of Valens, Jovian's successor, who was a decided Arian, 
tended to consolidate the union of parties, and the time 
was now at hand when men of philosophic training, belong- 
ing to a generation which had not known the acrimony of 
the early struggles, made their iufluence felt. The most 
important of these were the great Cappadocians, Basil and 
the two Gregories, of Nyssa and of Nazianzus. 

On the death of Jovian, Valentinian was chosen em- 
peror by the troops, and at once adopted as colleague his 
brother Valens, to whom he gave the charge of the East. 
Valentinian favoured the Nicene views which were domi- 
nant in the West. Here there was little Arianism, though 
a few Arian bishops appointed by Constantius — as Aux- 
entius at Milan — still held their sees. A Roman synod 
under Damasus declared its adhesion to the Nicene faith, 
deposed Auxentius, and excommunicated him and his fol- 

^ Socrates in. 25; Sozomen vi. 4j Hardouin i. 741. 


Chap. XI. 

Synod at 

nian I. 



Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. 





Bishop of 



Death of 
sius, 373. 


Synod at 
sacus, 365. 

lowers'; and an Illyrian council a few years later applied 
the word Homoousios to each of the Persons of the Holy 
Trinity^ The successor of Auxentius at Milan was the 
great Ambrose, who was not only himself a bulwark of 
orthodoxy, but was able to control in ecclesiastical matters 
the young emperor Gratian. 

In the East however Valens, who had been baptized 
by the Arian bishop Eudoxius of Constantinople and was 
still under his influence, wished to walk in the steps of 
Constantius. Athanasius was too powerful a person in 
Alexandria to be removed from his see, but on his death 
his orthodox successor Peter was thrust out by main force, 
and an Arian named Lucius enthroned in his place. The 
Egyptian monks, who had been devoted to Athanasius, 
suffered persecution. But the further East, where Valens 
generally resided with the view of watching the Persian 
frontier, suffered most from his ill-tempered violence. The 
most horrible act attributed to him was the death of a large 
number of delegates of the orthodox party who had come 
to lay before him the wrong and injustice which they had 
to endure. They were put on board a ship, which took 
fire when out at sea — set on fire, it was believed, in ac- 
cordance with instructions from high quarters — and all the 
delegates perished, the crew alone making their escape'. 

Throughout this disastrous period however the recon- 
ciliation of the Homoiousian with the Nicene party con- 
tinued to make progress. The former did indeed, in a 
council held at Lampsacus*, maintain the views expressed 
in the Dedication-Council at Antioch more than twenty 
years before ; but as they condemned the Eudoxians they 
had to suffer at the hands of the emperor the same per- 
secution as the Nicene party. In their distress they 
turned to the Western emperor and the Roman bishop, 
sending three bishops as a deputation to Valentinian and 
Liberius, with instructions to accept the Homoousion and 
to seek communion with Rome. Valentinian being in Gaul, 
Liberius alone received them on their arrival in Rome. 
To him the deputies explained, that when they spoke of 

1 Sozomen vi. 23 ; Theodoret ii. 
22; Hardouin i. 771. 

^ EpistolaSynodicainJI&vdouiai. 

3 Socrates iv. 16; Sozomen vi. 
14 ; Theodoret iv. 24. 
^ Socrates iv. 4: Sozomen vi. 7. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


the Son as " like the Father in all things " they meant 
precisely what was intended to be expressed by Homo- 
ousion ; and they handed him a document as the confession 
of their faith in which, after anathematizing Arius and 
several other heretics, they declared their hearty assent to 
the Nicene Creed. Liberius now admitted them to com- 
munion, and dismissed them with letters to the bishops 
who had sent them\ Difficulties however were not at an 
end, for one of the delegates, Eustathius of Sebaste, fell 
back into Arianism and drew others after him. But it 
was now evident that the real convictions of the great 
majority of Church teachers inclined to the doctrines ol' 
which Athanasius had been the great exponent and de- 
fender. The negotiations with Rome for the restoration 
of peace to the Church, though supported by Basil and — 
so long as he lived — by Athanasius, proceeded for some 
time but slowly in consequence of the distrust which 
the Western leaders felt towards the theologians of the 
East. On the death of Valens, however, in the year 378, 
a great change came over the political circumstances 
of the empire. Gratian, the surviving emperor, who had 
always been favourable to Athanasian teaching, permitted 
the bishops who had been banished by Valens to return 
to their sees. In the autumn of the same year an im- 
portant council of one hundred and forty-six Eastern 
bishops was held at Antioch^ at which the letter of Dama- 
sus and the Roman sjmod of the year 369^, in favour of the 
Nicene Faith, was approved and accepted. In the follow- 
ing year Gratian chose as his colleague in the empire the 
noble Spaniard Theodosius, who immediately after his 
baptism issued an edict* in favour of the orthodox faith in 
the Holy Trinity, and strongly condemnatory of heresy. 
In the year 381 met the Council of Constantinople, which, 
though only attended by one hundred and fifty bishops, 
and those entirely from the Eastern Empire, came to be 
regarded, from its epoch-making character, as cecumenical^ 

1 Socrates iv. 12; Sozomen vi. 
11 ; Hardouin i. 743. 

2 See Gregory Nyssen, Vita Ma- 
crina, p. 187, and Oratio de vis qui 
adi'iuit Hierosoh/ma. The Synodi- 
cal Epistle which appears as the 
69th of St Basil's letters was pro- 

bably sent forth by this Synod. 

* Sozomen vi. 23. 

^ Codex Theodos. xvi. i. 2 ; So- 
crates Yii. 4; Theodoret, H. E. 
IV. 16. 

^ It calls itself ij olKovixeviKT) avvo- 
5os in its Synodical Epistle; see 

Chap. XI. 

tation to 

Death of 
Aug. 378. 

Council of 




381, 382. 


Controversies on the Faith. 

This famous assembly confirmed the Creed agreed upon 
at Nicsea, and anathematized those who rejected or im- 
pugned its It has frequently been stated that at this 
council the Creed of Nicsea was brought, by certain alter- 
ations, omissions and additions, into the form in which it 
is now recited in our churches. This is however an error. 
The Creed which we know as " Nicene" is found in a tract 
of Epiphanius^ which can scarcely be dated later than the 
year 374, and does not appear there as anything new. It 
is in fact the Creed of Jerusalem with certain Nicene 
additions '. No early historian mentions any Creed having 
been put forth by this council as its own, but all mention 
its adhesion to the Nicene ; while the Fathers of Constan- 
tinople themselves assert most emphatically that whatever 
persecutions or afflictions they had endured they had borne 
for the sake of the evangelic faith ratified at Nicaea in 
Bithynia by the three hundred and eighteen Fathers*. 
No words could more plainly express the fact that they 
supposed themselves to have ratified the very Creed 
adopted at Nicsea, and not any subsequent modification 
of it. If they put forth the " Constantinopolitan " Creed, 
they can only have done so in the belief that it was the 
Nicene ; and it is hardly credible that a hundred and fifty 
bishops from all parts of the East, in an age when dogmatic 
formulas were keenly scrutinized, can have been so mis- 
taken. What is certain is that the Creed in question was 
produced at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, and was 
ultimately received by the whole Church. 

But Theodosius was still anxious about the unity of 
the Church, which had even now been but imperfectly 

Theodoret, H. E. v, 9, p. 206. No 
external aiithority seems to call it 
(Ecumenical before the middle of 
the fifth century in the East. The 
West was still later in acknow- 
ledging it. 

1 Socrates v. 8; Sozomen vii. 
7—9; Theodoret, H. E. v. 8f.; 
Hardouin i. 807 £f. ; Cave, Hist. 
Lit. I. 363 ff. 

2 Ancoratus, c. 118, p. 122 f. 
Epiphanius appears to regard it 
as the Creed of Nicaea, used at 

3 On this point see F. J. A. 

Hort, T2V0 Dissertations, p. 73 ff . ; 
J. R. Lumby, Creeds, p. 69 tf. ; 
C. A. Swainson, Creeds, p. 92 ff. 
The "Constantinopolitan" Creed 
may be conveniently compared with 
the real Nicene Creed and with 
the Creed of Jerusalem, in Hort, 
p. 140 ff. 

* Theodoret, H. E. v. 9, p. 205. 
The so-called seventh canon of 
Constantinople, to which this 
Creed is appended, is almost cer- 
tainly wrongly attributed to that 
council. See Hardouin's marginal 
note, I. 812. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


attained. In the year 383 he caused a conference to be 
held at Constantinople \ to which representatives of the 
various parties were summoned and presented written 
statements of their faith. Even Eunomius gave in his 
creed. The emperor, after reading the various professions, 
accepted that which declared the several Persons of the 
Holy Trinity Homoousian. Those who refused it he de- 
clared heretical, forbade to teach, to ordain bishops, or even 
to meet together for worship'^ 

In the West the empress Justina, who ruled in the 
name of her young son Valentinian II., was a passionate 
supporter of the Arians. Under her influence complete 
freedom of worship was granted to those who accepted the 
formula of Rimini, and all who opposed the carrying out of 
this measure were threatened with severe punishment^ 
From all parts of the empire the discomfited Arians sought 
refuge at Milan, where she held her court. She would fain 
have given them possession of a church, but here she found 
herself powerless against the great Ambrose, whose influ- 
ence in the city was greater than hers*. Justina however 
died in the year 388, and her son could scarcely refuse to 
Theodosius, who had given him the victory over the usurper 
Maximus, the support which he desired for the orthodox 
party. From this time Arianism declined throughout the 
empire and gradually died away. From the end of the 
fourth century it is only found, as a living force, among 
the nations which pressed in from the frontiers. 

The Arian controversy, beginning with the great ques- 
tion of the nature of the Divine Son, His eternal Sonship, 
had in its course involved the question of the Personality 
and Coequality of the Holy Spirit, and led to a more exact 
definition of the Trinity in Unity. It came to be recog- 
nised that while the Father is God, the Son is God, and 
the Holy Ghost is God, yet they are not three Gods, but 
one God. In Greek theology, mainly under the influence 
of Basil the Great and his school, the expression of the 
great mystery which obtained general currency was, " one 
Essence® in three Substances®" or personalities. The 

1 Socrates V. 10; Sozomenvn. 12. Sermo de Basilicis Tradendh; So- 

^ Codex Theod. Tit, DeHcsreticis, crates v. 11; Sozomen vii. 13; 

leges 11 and 12. Theocloret, //. E. v. Id. 

» Codex Theod. xiii. i. 3. ^ Ovala. 

* Ambrose, E^'^stf. 20, 21, and the * 'TTrodTclo-ets. 

Chap. XI. 

at Con- 
nople, 383, 

and the 

385, 386. 

dies, 388. 


Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. 


Council of 





special characteristic of the Father is that He is unbegot- 
ten, of the Son that He is begotten, of the Holy Ghost that 
He proceeds^ from the Father, or — to use the form now 
for many centuries current in the West — from the Father 
and the Son. There were however some who — taking the 
word " substance " to be equivalent to "essence" — preferred 
to express the distinction of being by the word " person ^ " 
rather than " substance." In the West, the language of 
theology on this point was elaborated mainly by St Augus- 
tin^. He, holding that in Latin there was no distinction 
between " essentia " and " substantia," expressed the three- 
fold distinction in the one " substantia " by the words 
" Tres Personge*." The so-called Athanasian Creed pro- 
bably does not fall within the period treated in this book. 
It is however little more than a full and methodical ex- 
pression of the views of St Augustin. 

With regard to the " Procession " of the Holy Spirit, 
the Orientals, anxious to avoid any appearance of recog- 
nizing more than one source or origin of being, always 
clung to the expression of the " Constantinopolitan " Creed, 
whicli represents the Spirit as proceeding from the Father. 
In the West, the gi-eat influence of Hilary of Poictiers, 
Ambrose and Augustin gave weight to the proposition 
that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the 
Son, and this received the authority of the first council at 
Toledo^ In the year 589, the third council" at the same 
place set forth the "Constantinopolitan" Creed itself with 
the clause relating to the Holy Spirit in the form "ex 
Patre et Filio procedentem," and in this form it has for 
many centuries been recited in the Western Church. 

' The Father is dyiwTjToi, the 
Son yevuyjTos, the Holy Ghost iK- 

^ UpoaWTTOV. 

2 In the treatise De Trinitate. 

* Ylp6(Tuirov and Persona however 
are not fully equivalent. The former 
always retained something of its 
original meaning — countenance. 

The latter, a Roman law term, more 
decidedly expressed individual ex- 

5 Hardouin, Cone. i. 993; Hahn, 
Bibliothek, p. 130. This council 
probably took place as late as the 
time of Leo I.; see H. B. Swete in 
Diet, of Chr. Antiq. iii. 129 ff. 

« Hardouin iii. 471. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


III. The Incarnate Son. 

The Arian controversy was critical and indeed vital for 
the Church inasmuch as it concerned the very essence of 
Christianity, The whole scheme of redemption failed if 
the Son was not indeed from all eternity " Very God from 
Very God." But it was equally true, to look at the matter 
from the other side, that Christ could not be the true re- 
presentative of humanity unless He were "perfect Man 
of the substance of His mother born in the world, of a 
reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting," so that " God 
and Man is one Christ." The controversies then on the 
nature of the Incarnation which followed that on the Con- 
substantiality of the Eternal Son were scarcely less im- 
portant. So the opinions of Apollinaris, who denied to the 
Incarnate Son a "reasonable soul;" of Nestorius, who re- 
garded the body of the Lord simply as an instrument 
moved by the indwelling deity ; of the Monophysites, who 
either considered the Human Nature to be absorbed by 
the Divine, or the two Natures to be so mingled and con- 
fused as to form but one ; all these had to be met and 
overcome in order to preserve the faith of the Church. 

1. Apollinaris of Laodicea\ a keen opponent of Arian- 
ism, was led in the course of his dialectic to consider the 
union of God and Man in one Person. A complete man 
he held to consist of three parts, a material body, an 
" irrational soul " or vital principle animating the body, 
and a spirit, intellect or rational souP, which includes 
not only intelligence but will. Now the third and 
highest of these could not, he believed, coexist in the 
same individual with the divinity; he taught therefore 
that in the Incarnation, instead of the spirit, intellect or 
rational soul, the Divine Logos or Word entered into a 
man. In short, the Incarnation was simply the entering 
of the Word into the living body of a man, which with- 
out it would have been simply animal. What in an ordi- 
nary man is the human reason and will, was in the Saviour 
the Divine Logos. 

Chap. XI. 

leads to 
heresies on 
the Incar- 

1 See p. 229. Greek authors write 
his name 'AiroKii'dpios. Socrates ii. 
46; Theodoret, if. E. v. 3. 

^ 'Edfia, ij/vxv oKoyoi, and irveu^a, 
vovi, or ^vxh XoyiKtj. 



c. 362. 

Controversies on the Faith. 

This doctrine soon attracted great attention. It open- 
ed a new line of thought and suggested new difficulties to 
those who wished to define exactly to themselves the great 
mystery of the union of the Human and the Divine in 
one person. ApoUinaris's literary talent soon brought him 
many adherents. There can be little doubt that it was 
with reference to him, though his name is not mentioned, 
that the Alexandrian Council of the year 362 insisted that 
the body of the Saviour was not an irrational one\ 

The importance attached to the doctrine of Apollinaris 
is evident from the numerous refutations bestowed upon it 
by some of the greatest teachers of the time, which form 
now our principal authorities for the history of the Apol- 
linarian heresy. Athanasius", Gregory of Nazianzus^ 
Gregory of Nyssa*, and Theodore of Mopsuestia^ wrote 
against it. These theologians pointed out how perilous 
were the opinions of Apollinaris to the Christian faith, 
and controverted the expositions of Scripture by which he 
sought to defend them. Athanasius in particular insists 
upon the folly and impiety of attempting to define so 
ineffable a mystery as the union of God and man in one 
person. Even in an ordinary man the indwelling of the 
Holy Spirit is not a thing explicable in the forms of human 
understanding. Theodore, as able in dogma as in exe- 
gesis, asserted vigorously the presence in Christ of a true 
rational soul. Without a soul capable of human suffering, 
how could He feel the agony in Gethsemane ? Unless 
He had a human mind, how could He grow in wisdom ? 
Growth of mind and mental agony imply the presence of 
human qualities, not merely of an animal body. There 
must therefore have been two complete natures, the divine 
and human, in the Lord. In the West also opposition 
sprang up to the new conception of the indwelling of the 
Deity in Christ. Hilary of Poictiers opposed Apollinaris 
in the spirit of Athanasius. Augustin also contended for 
the presence of a true human soul — not merely a vital 

^ 'Eijifxa...ovK dvorjTOv eXx^v 6 2w- 
T7)p. Hardouin, Cone. i. 736. 

^ Delticarnatione c.Apolinarivm. 
Athanasius does not name him, 
though he combats his opinions. 

3 Epistt. ad Nectarium and ad 
Chelidonium (Orat. 51, rt'2). 

* Antirrheticus c. ApoUn. 

° Fragments of Theodore's work 
are preserved in the records of the 
Council of Constantinople (553) 
which condemned liim (Hardouin 
III. 14 ff.). 

Controversies on the Faith. 


principle — in the Lord ; there were two natures in His one 

But while Apollinaris's sharp definitions were gener- 
ally rejected, there were probably many orthodox believers 
who unconsciously read Apolliuarian treatises under the 
venerable names of Justin Martyr, Gregory Thaumatur- 
gus, Julius of Rome, and even Athanasius himselP. Some 
of the adherents of the new sect were apparently not very 
scrupulous as to the means whereby they gave currency to 
their opinions. 

In the year 375 Apollinaris left the Church and became 
the leader of a sect, which was one of those anathematized 
by the First Council of Constantinople*. He died fifteen 
years later, but his followers maintained themselves under 
various appellations — such as Dimoerites^, from their re- 
cognizing in Christ only two of the three component parts 
of human nature — in spite of persecution by the state, 
until they were either reconciled to the Catholic Church 
or absorbed into the Monophysites. 

2. The movement begun by Apollinaris soon caused 
further agitation. When speculation once seized on the 
great mystery of the union of God and Man in one Person, 
it was difficult for the fallible human intellect to avoid 
error, even when sincerely aiming at truth. The theolo- 
gians of the Antiochene School took occasion from the 
controversy with Apollinaris to insist more emphatically 
on the reality and perfection both of the Divine and the 
Human Nature in Christ. The most distinguished teach- 
ers among them, Diodorus of Tarsus and Theodore of Mo- 
psuestia, insisted on the perfect Manhood of Christ in their 
writings, which were held in the highest esteem in the 
Eastern churches. Thus Theodore* taught that " Our 

Chap. XI. 

1 The greater part of the ^ndeais 
rri's irlareus attributed to Justin, 
the treatise t; Kara fx^pos tticttis at- 
tributed to Gregory Thaumatiirgus, 
the supposed letter of JuHus of 
Kome to Dionysius, with the treatise 
under the same author's name Trepl 
T7JS €v 'Kpi.a'Tqj €v6Tr]Tos, and the short 
book De Incarnatione Dei Verbi 
which bears the name of Athana- 
sius, are thought to be the work of 
Apollinaris or his disciples. See 

Caspari, Alte u. Neue Quellen zur 
Geachichte des Tan/symbols, p. 65 ff. 
(Christiania, 1879) ; Draseke in 
Zeitschrift fiir KirchengescMchte, 
VI. Iff.; 503 ff.; Titus Bostrensis, 
ed. Lagarde. 

^ Canon 1. 

3 Epiphanius, Hares. 11. 

* His Confession is given in 
Mansi iv. 1347 ff. ; Hardouin i. 
1515 ff. ; Hahn, Bihliothek der 
Symbole, 229 ff.; the portion quoted 

aris leaves 

dies 390. 



tion on the 

of Mo- 


Controversies on the Faith. 

Lord God the Word took upon Him perfect Man of the 
seed of Abraham and David... of a reasonable soul and 
human flesh subsisting. Which Man, like us in nature, 
fashioned by the power of the Holy Spirit in the Virgin's 
womb, born of a woman, born under the law, He in an 
ineffable manner connected with Himself." After the 
Ascension " He receives the adoration of all creation, 
inasmuch as the connexion which He has with the 
Divine Nature is an indissoluble one." These words, 
" connected with Himself," " connexion V' which were 
thought insufficient to express the union ^ of the two 
Natures, were destined to bear a prominent part in 
controversy. The Alexandrians on the other hand inclined 
to exalt the Godhead in our Lord, even at the risk of di- 
minishing the perfection of his Manhood. They were ac- 
customed, in fact, to speak of Christ as in all respects God, 
even during His humiliation, His "emptying of Hhnself," 
on earth. Hence it is not very surprising that a Galilean 
monk in Africa, Leporius, who had taught, not that Very 
God was born Man, but that the Perfect Man was born 
together with God, was admonished to confess that the 
eternal Son of God, born before the ages from the Father, 
in these last days was of the Holy Spirit and Mary ever- 
virgin made Man, born God®. This was in fact to say 
that the Blessed Virgin was the " Mother of God," and that 
epithet seems from about this time to have been commonly 
applied to her by those who favoured the Alexandrian 
theology, as a protest against those who spoke of the Di- 
vinity of Christ as merely " connected with " His Humanity. 
Nestorius*, who had been long a monk and afterwards 
a presbyter in Antioch, was in the year 428 raised to the 
patriarchal throne of Constantinople. He was, if not an 

above in Gieselcr, if.-G. i. 441 n.b. 
Latin translation in Maiius Mer- 
cator, p. 41 ff. (ed. Baluze). 
1 avvrjxpev €avT(^, ffvvacpeia. 

^ 'dvUldLV. 

3 The Epistola Episcop. Africm 
ad Episc.Gallicc and Leparii L-ibellus 
Emendatlo7iis are in Mansi iv. 517 
ff. ; Hardouin 1. 1261 ff.; the Libelhis 
in Hahn, Bibliothek, 226 ff. See 
Hefele, Conriliengeschichte, ii. 124. 

* The original documents of Nes- 

torianism in Mansi, Cone. iv. 567 ff. 
and v.; Hardouin, Cone. i. 1271 ff.; 
Marius Mercator ,De Hceresi Nestor.; 
Liberatus, Breviarium Causce Nes- 
tor, et Eutych.; Leontius Byzant., 
De Sectis, act. 5-10. — See also Ja- 
blonski, De Nestoriamsmo ; Salig, 
de Eutychidnhmo ante Eutychem; 
C. W. F. Walch, Ketzerhhtorie 
V. — VIII.; F. C. Baur, Dreieiniykeit, 
I. 69;? ff. ; J. A. Dorner, Person 
Christi, vol. ii. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


actual pupil of Theodore of Mopsuestia, at any rate thorough- 
ly imbued Avith the spiint of the Antiochene School. He 
was a pious and zealous man, but in the government of his 
diocese he shewed, as might perhaps have been expected 
from his previous training, great stiffness and want of tact 
in dealing with men, together with too great readiness 
to persecute opponents. " Give me," he exclaimed to the 
emperor in his inaugural discourse, "a land purged of 
heretics, and I will give you heaven in return ; help me 
to vanquish the heretics, and I will help you to vanquish 
the Persians^" With these views it is not surprising that 
he set himself to put down all heresies without discrimi- 
nation. To doubt the cousubstantiality of the Son and to 
celebrate Easter on the wrong day were in his eyes equally 
criminal. It was not long before he broached that opinion 
on the Incarnation which caused his fall. 

Anastasius, a presbyter whom Nestorius had brought 
with him from Antioch, declared from the pulpit — " Let 
no man call Mary the Mother of God^, for she is a human 
being, and it is impossible for God to be born of a human 
being ^" It was not perhaps altogether unnatural, while 
men were vehemently asserting the Son of God to have 
been begotten of the Father before all ages, that Anasta- 
sius and others like-minded should have been startled to 
hear it affirmed that Christ, as God, was born of His 
human mother. But Anastasius's protest seems to have 
been misunderstood ; it was taken as if the preacher had 
represented Jesus to have been a mere man. The ex- 
citement increased when a bishop, Dorotheus, who chanced 
to be in the capital at the time, exclaimed in a sermon, 
" Cursed be the man who calls Mary the Mother of 
God," and Nestorius neither restrained nor censured 
him*. The question whether the title "Mother of God" 
could properly be applied to the Virgin Mary was from 
this time vehemently discussed by both clergy and laity. 
At last Nestorius himself intervened. In his teaching he 
rejected the disputed expression as giving rise to false 
conceptions ; but he carefully guarded himself against the 
supposition that he denied the Divinity of the Lord, and 

^ Socrates vii. 29. 

^ deOTOKOS. 

2 Socrates vii. 32 ; Evagrius i. 2. 

* Cyril Alex. Epist. 6, p. 30 ; 9, 
p. 37. 

Chap. XI. 

Mother of 


Controversies on the Faith. 

proposed to give to the Virgin the title " Mother of Christ '." 
While he was preaching a sermon in which this view was 
expounded, he was interrupted by a layman exclaiming, 
" The Eternal Word Himself" submitted to a second birth '^" 
Thereupon arose a violent disturbance, as some of the 
audience took the part of Nestorius while others sided 
with the layman who had interrupted him. Nestorius 
resumed his discourse, praised the zeal of those who had 
taken his part, and spoke contemptuously of the interrup- 
ter. In this excited state of public feeling Proclus of 
Cyzicus, on the invitation of Nestorius himself, preached in 
Constantinople on a festival of the Virgin. In the presence 
of the patriarch he delivered a florid panegyric of the 
Virgin as Mother of the Incarnate Word, and declared 
that those who refused her that title denied by impli- 
cation the Divinity of Christ. When he ceased, Nes- 
torius himself spoke, and begged the assembly not to be 
dazzled by the brilliant oration which they had heard. 
He afterwards preached several sermons' on the same 
subject, in which he explained in what sense he could 
accept the expression " Mother of God," and even went so 
far as to say that Mary was to be honoured because she 
had received God within her. According to Cyril*, Nes- 
torius taught as follows. As the woman produces the body 
of her child, but God breathes into it a soul, and hence 
the woman cannot be called the mother of the soul, but 
only of the animal portion of the human being; so Mary 
bore the human being who was interpenetrated by the 
Word of God, and is consequently not the Mother of 
God. This was not satisfactory ; the excitement grew 
stronger. A paper was displayed publicly in Constanti- 
nople in which Nestorius was compared to Paul of Samo- 
sata. A monk went so far as to attempt to hinder him 
from ascending the pulpit, thinking him a heretic and 

1 Extracts from Nestorius's Ser- 
mons in the Acta of the Council of 
Ephesus, Mansi iv. 1197 ff. ; Latin 
translation in Marius Mercator, 
p. 53 ff. (ed. Baluze). In the first 
sermon occurs the phrase — "Non 
peperit creatura increabilem, sed 
peperit hominem deitatis instru- 

2 Crril Alex. Adv. Nestorium, i. 
5, p. 20. 

3 Extracts from Nestorius's ser- 
mons are given in Mansi iv. 1197; 
and in Marius Mercator, p. 53 ff. 
(ed. Baluze). See Gieseler, K.-G. 
I. 444. 

^ Adv. Nestorium, i. 2. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


unworthy to teach the Christian peopled And the fire 
which smouldered in the city was soon stirred by an 
impulse from without. 

Cyril of Alexandria was the most prominent representa- 
tive of the Alexandrian School. Even before Nestorius 
was raised to the see of Constantinople, Cyril had expressed 
in a treatise on the Incarnation views not easily to be 
reconciled with his. When he controverted Nestorius, 
there is no doubt that he did so from sincere conviction. 
Yet it would seem that in the heat of controversy he attri- 
buted to his opponent opinions which he did not hold ; he 
perhaps disliked him for his efforts to restore the fair fame 
of Chrysostom^; and the conflict was embittered by the 
rivalry between the ancient see of Alexandria and the 
new throne of Constantinople. 

When he heard of the proceedings in the capital he 
proceeded at first gently and cautiously, for Nestorius 
was in favour at the imperial court. Without naming him, 
he defended the use of the title " Mother of God " in one 
of his usual Easter Pastorals, and also in an admonitory 
letter to the monks of Egypt, among whom were found 
adherents of the Nestorian opinion. By this second letter, 
which was widely circulated, Nestorius felt himself ag- 
grieved. Cyril sought to justify what he had said in a 
letter to Nestorius^, and the latter^ replied. After this 
Cyiil used his utmost efforts to strengthen his party in 
Constantinople, and to weaken the influence of Nestorius 
at court. Moreover he brought the Western Church into 
the conflict by a letter to pope Celestinus^ in which he 
charged Nestorius with denying the Divinity of Christ 
and asserting that it was but a man who died for us. In 
vain Nestorius explained^ that he was ready to style the 

^ Basilii Diac, et Monach. Sup- 
pUcatio, in Hardouin, Cone. i. 

^ Marcellinus Comes mentions 
{Ckronicon, ann. 428) that immedi- 
ately after Nestorius's accession to 
the See of Constantinople, John, 
"who had been driven into exile 
by the envy of bad bishops," began 
to be commemorated there on 
Sep. 26. 

3 Hardouin i. 1273. 

4 Hardouin i. 1277. 

5 In Mansi iv. 1012 ff. ; together 
with the memorandum given to 
Posidonius, his legate. Nestorius 
(in Mansi v, 762) says that Cyril 
turned to Celestinus "ut ad sim- 
pliciorem quam qui posset vim 
dogmatum subtilius penetrare." 
That he did not understand the 
points at issue is likely enough. 

^ In Epist. III. ad Celestinum; 
Mansi rv. 1021, v. 725. 

Chap. XI. 

Cyril's in- 



Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. 








Council of 




Virgin the M(jther of God, if that title was understood to 
refer to the union of God and Man in one Christ ; he was 
declared a heretic by a Roman synods Celestinus charged 
Cyril to execute the decree of this synod, and if Nestorius 
refused to recant, to remove him from his see'"' — an unheard- 
of claim on the part of the bishop and a provincial synod 
of Rome. The support of Rome did however no doubt 
give confidence to Cyril, who went on his way undaunted- 
ly. He wrote to Nestorius a letter in the name of an Alex- 
andrian synod, calling upon him to recant his errors, and 
subjoining a schedule of twelve propositions which were 
condemned'. The most important point in these was, 
that the natural union of the two natures in Christ was 
insisted upon, and the notion of a mere binding together 
in one person condemned*. Nestorius responded by a list 
of twelve condemned propositions of an opposite character^ 
These were received with favour in the churches of Syria 
and Asia Minor, where Cyril's opinions were distrusted as 
involving a mingling or coalescing of the two natures in 
Christ. Theodoret, the church-historian, at the suggestion 
of John bishop of Antioch, wrote a special treatise to refute 
them. To remedy the confusion and division which arose, 
Theodosius II. called a general Council at Ephesus, to 
which both Cyril and Nestorius were summoned. Cyril 
with his adherents arrived first at the place appointed, 
and — in spite of the solemn warning of Isidore of Pelu- 
sium® — refusing to wait the arrival of the Asiatic bishops, 
who had been detained on the way, and were still a few 
days' journey from the city, opened the proceedings. Nes- 
torius, himself a member of the synod, was summoned as 
to a tribunal which was to judge him, and, on his refusal 
to appear, was condemned and a sentence of deposition 
pronounced against him''. A few days after this the 
Asiatic bishops arrived, and found to their surprise that 
the great question was already decided. They met under 

1 Cave, Hist. Lit. i. 474. 

2 The letter of Celestinus in Har- 
douin I. 1321. 

2 These dvade/j.aTta/j.ol are given 
in Hardouin, Coiic. i. 1291 ff.; and 
in Gieseler, K.-G. i. 449 f. 

* ^vuffts <pv(n,K'ri, not merely avvd- 

^ These are given in a Latin 
translation by Marius Mercator, 
p. 142 ff. (ed. Baluze). In Har- 
douin I. 1297 ff.; Gieseler i. 451 f. 

6 Epist. I. 310. 

^ Sentence in Hardouin i. 1421 ; 
Mansi v. 783 ; Gieseler i. 455. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


the presidency of John of Antioch, and passed sentence of 
deposition on Cyril and his principal ally, Memnon bishop 
of Ephesus\ Theodosius, offended by the arrogant beha- 
viour of Cyril, at first confirmed all the three sentences. 
In the end however Cyril and Memnon were allowed to 
remain in possession of their sees, while Nestorius was 
compelled to withdraw to the monastery in the neighbour- 
hood of Antioch whence he had come. The emperor how- 
ever, thinking there was no essential difference between 
the parties, was anxious for a reconciliation, for which 
John of Antioch and Theodoret also exerted themselves"''. 
Cyril did not formally withdraw his list of condemned 
propositions, but he agreed to accept a Confession of Faith 
probably drawn up by Theodoret at the request of John. 
In this the Lord is confessed as "of a reasonable soul and 
a body subsisting ; begotten of the Father before the ages 
as touching His Godhead, and incarnate in these last days 
for us and for our salvation of Mary the Virgin as touching 
His Manhood ; for there came to pass a union of two 
natures.... According to this conception of union without 
confusion we confess the Holy Virgin to be Mother of 
God, because God the Word took flesh and became Man, 
and from His conception united with Himself the shrine 
[i.e. the human body] received from her^" This formula 
was by no means generally acceptable to Cj^il's partizans. 
Cyril himself and the emperor seem to have been as 
anxious for peace as John and Theodoret ; but a consider- 
able number of the Eastern bishops who favoured Nestorius 
remained in opposition. Nestorius himself was about four 
years after his return to Antioch driven from his monas- 
tery and sentenced to pass the rest of his days at 
Petra*. It is probable however that this sentence was 
not carried out, as we find that he actually went to an 
oasis in Upper Egypt. There he was carried off by a 
wandering tribe, and, after being set at liberty, was 
dragged hither and thither by imperial officials until 
he died an unknown death^. 

1 Hardouin i. 1450 ff. 

^ See the documents in Hardouin 
I. 1690 f.; Mausi v. 291 ff.; Hahn, 
Bibliothek, 137 f. Compare Hefele, 
Coiiciliengeschichte, u. 211 f. and 
245 f. 


^ Mansi v. 291; Hardouin i. 
1691 ; Hahn 137. 

■* Imperial Decree iu Hardouin 
I. 1670. 

s Evagrius, H. E. i. 7. 

Chap. XI. 


sion, 433. 


Died after 


Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. 

of Nest or- 

RahuJds of 

We have seen that the difference between Nestorius 
and his opponents was not so fundamental but that men 
like Cyril on one side and John of Antioch on the other 
could discover terms of accommodation. But important 
matters did in fact underlie the controversy. It was not 
only the true Humanity of the Son which was in question 
but also the estimation in which the Virgin was to be 
held. When Nestorius asked, " If God has a Mother, why 
should we blame the heathen who speak of mothers of 
gods^ ?" he was an unskilful controversialist and gave need- 
less offence. Still, it was from this time that the process 
began which in the end transferred to the Virgin Mary 
the old pagan title of " Queen of Heaven ^" And in the 
Christological controversy there is a real and important 
difference between the thorough-going members of each 
party. The Nestorian extreme is the recognition of two 
natures in Christ so distinct as to be incapable of forming 
a unity. The Cyrillic extreme is the conception of God 
clothed in flesh abiding among men ; God taking man's 
physical frame upon Him rather than man's nature ; for a 
human reason and will are essential to the completeness 
of man's nature. Nestorius by no means intended to make 
tw^o persons in Christ, Cyi'il by no means intended to deny 
that He was Very Man; but in this case, as in many 
others, consequences were drawn from j)roposi1^ions which 
their authors would certainly have disowned. 

Nestorianism did not come to an end on the condem- 
nation of its founder, though Cyril and his party gained 
more and more the upper hand and won over both the 
emperor and John of Antioch. Nestorius was succeeded 
in the see of Constantinople by Proclus, so that within a 
short time after the Council of Ephesus the three great 
Patriarchal sees of Alexandria, Constantinople and Rome 
were in the hands of opponents of Nestorianism. Great 
efforts were made to crush it, but some of the Eastern 
bishops refused to be put down. Rabulas bishop of Edessa, 
though himself a pupil of Theodore of Mopsuestia, joined 
Cyril in condemning the writings of Diodorus and Theo- 
dore, and expelled from the school of Edessa those teachers 

1 Sermon I., in Marius Mercator, 
p. 53. See Gieseler, A'.-G. i. 444. 
^ Jeremiah vii. 18. Ave lleglna 

ccclorum and BeqinaCali hctare are 
well-known hymns to the Virgin. 

Controversies on the Faith. 

who were suspected of Nestorian leanings. But John of 
Antioch was opposed to blackening the memory of these 
distinguished Antiochenes, and the emperor forbade the 
post-mortem condemnation of men who had departed in 
communion with the Church. On the death of Rabulas in 
435, Ibas, one of the teachers expelled from Edessa and an 
avowed disciple of Theodore, became his successor. Some 
other of the banished teachers betook themselves to Persia, 
where, especially in Nisibis, the opinions of Theodore were 
held in high respect. These Persian Nestorians maintain- 
ed an active intercourse with Edessa so long as Ibas ruled 
there. At a later date, under the emperor Zcno, the school 
of Edessa, the last stronghold of the Nestorians within the 
empire, was destroyed. Its teachers for the most part 
took refuge under the more tolerant sway of Persia, and 
founded there a Church which was not in communion 
with the Church of the empire. This body produced 
several men of learning, and is not extinct even at this 

3. The compromise entered into between Cjnril and 
John of Antioch did not permanently settle the serious 
question which was mooted in the Nestorian dispute. It 
broke out afresh when Dioscorus, a hot-headed and violent 
man, succeeded Cyril as patriarch of Alexandria, and at 
once began to attack those whom he suspected of Nes- 
torianism. Actual division however did not arise until 
Eutyches, the aged archimandrite of a monastery in Con- 
stantinople and an old adherent of Cyril's, proclaimed his 
views. Into the Person of Christ, he said, there enter no 
doubt two distinct Natures, but after their union only one is 
to be recognised : the Humanity in Him is so completely 

1 The original authorities in 
Mansi v and vi, Hardouin ii. 1 — 
768; Gelasius (?), Breviculiis Hist. 
Eutychian. in Mansi vii. 1060 ; 
Libcratus, Breviarium; Evagrius, 
H. E. I. 9ff. ; the Acts of the 
Second Synod of Ephesus in Syriac, 
puliUshed with Enghsh translation 
by Periy (London, 1887); a sup- 
posed account by Dioscorus of the 
Council of Chalcedon translated 
from the Coptic by lievillout (Re- 
inie Egyptol. 1880, p. 187, 1882, p. 

21, 1883, p. 17) is declared by E. 
Amelineau [Moivnnents pour servir 
a VHistoire de I'Eyypte Chret. aux 
lyme gf yme Siccle/) to be spurious 
(see Moller, K.-G. -I-IO).— C. W. F. 
Walch, Historic der Ketzereicn, vi. 
1 — 640 ; J. A. Dorner, Person 
Cliristi, Yol. II.; Hefele, Conciiien- 
ficschichte ii. 126 — in. 284. On 
Pope Leo's intervention, see Guer- 
rino Amelli, S. Leone e VOrienfe 
(Home 1882). 


died 43.5. 

Ibas suc- 

in Persia. 

School of 


of Ale.ran- 
dria, 444. 


Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. 



Synod at 
nople, 4i9. 

absorbed by the Divinity, that even the Body of Christ 
is not to be regarded as of the same species with ours. 
This was startling even to those who might be considered 
members of the same party. Eusebius, bishop of Dory- 
Iseum, once an eager partisan of Cyril and a vigorous 
opponent of Nestorius, laid the case before Flavian, pa- 
triarch of Constantinople, and his domestic counciP. 
Flavian, a moderate follower of the Antiochene school, 
took action reluctantly, foreseeing the troubles which 
might follow, and Eutyches at first refused to appear. 
After three summonses however he presented himself, 
and declared that as to one of the charges — that of having 
said that Christ brought His Body with Him from 
Heaven — he was guiltless. As to the rest, he said that 
he had never allowed himself to enquire curiously into 
the nature''' of the Lord's Body, and had not been accus- 
tomed to say that it was of the same esseuce as ours^; 
but if it was his duty to say that He took flesh of the 
Virgin and was of the same essence with us, he would 
say it ; but he persisted that, though the Lord was pro- 
duced from two Natures before the union^, after the 
union there was but one^ In the end Eutyches was 
deprived of his orders, excommunicated, and deposed from 
his office of archimandrite*^. He had however powerful 
supporters ; he was favoured by the imperial Court, and 
also by Dioscorus, who readily seized this opportunity to 
join in the fray. By favour of the empress, Eutyches 
obtained a rehearing of his case before a synod at Con- 
stantinople'' in the following year, which however did not 
reverse the previous sentence. Dioscorus then, in spite 
of the opposition of Flavian and Pope Leo, induced the 
emperor to summon to Ephesus an oecumenical council, 
at which, to use the expression of the emperor's letter 
to the synods all that devilish root might be extirpated 

^ The crvi'odoi ivSTj/xovcra, com- 
posed of bishoiDS and other eccle- 
siastical dignitaries who hapjiened 
to be in Constantinople at the time. 
It is said to have consisted of about 
56 bishops and archimandrites. 
Cave, Hist. Lit. i. 480. The Acts 
of this Council are in Mansi vi. 
G40ff.; Hardouinii. 649 ff. 

- (pvcrioXoyetv. 

' ofioovai.oj' rjfjuv. 

* yeyefvijadai tK 5vo (pvcrecji' wpb 

5 Compare with this the letter 
of Eutj'ches to Pope Leo, in Mansi 
V. 1015. 

^ See the sentence in Hardouiu 
11. 167. 

7 In Hardouin ii. 171 If. 

8 Hardouin ii. 7'J. 

Contr'oversies on the Faith. 


and the Nestorians cast out of the churches. Dioscorus 
himself presided in the council ^ which soon became a 
scene of the utmost violence and confusion. Eutyches 
was restored to his rank and office, while his accuser, 
Eusebius of Dorylseum, was not even granted a hearing, 
but was deposed, together with Flavian, by the intimi- 
dated bishops. When some of them gave signs of pro- 
testing, Dioscorus called in a band of soldiers and monks, 
who with loud shouts and threats put down all opposition. 
" Cut in two those who talk of two Natures," was the cry. 
Flavian was so roughly handled that he died on his way 
to the place of banishment to which he had been sen- 
tenced. Hilary, the legate of the Roman bishop, saved 
himself by flight, as did also Eusebius of Doryloeum. In 
subsequent sittings the most distinguished members of 
the Antiochene party — Ibas of Edessa, Irenaeus of Tyre, 
Domnus and Theodoret, — had sentence of deposition passed 
upon them, while the emperor forbade the circulation of 
Theodoret's writings, and condemned them to be burnt. 
This "Band of Brigands'"', as Leo of Rome called it, marks 
the culmination of the power of the Alexandrian patriarch 
and his party. 

But the reaction soon set in. On the death of Theo- 
dosius II. the imperial government came into the hands 
of his sister Pulcheria and her husband JMarcian, a man 
of real ability. The bishop of Rome had already, in a 
letter to Flavian^ endeavoured to set forth the right 
doctrine which was endangered by the errors of Nestorius 
and Eutyches, but at the Ephesine meeting his legates 
had not been heard. All those who had been injured 
by the Band of Brigands now turned for help to Leo, who 

1 The Acta in Mansi v. — vii. ; 
Hardouin ii. 71 ff. Special treatises 
on this Council are Lewald, Die 
sogenannte Rduher-Synode, in Zeit- 
schrift fiir Hist. Theol. xin. 1 ; 
Martin, Le Paeudo-Synode de Bri- 
ganddf/e (Paris, 1875). 

^ " Latrocinium Ephesinum," 
Leo, Epist. 95 ad Pulcheriam ; aivo- 
Sos \Tj(TTpLK7i, Theophanes, Chrono- 
graph, p. 86 (Gieseler i. 464). 

3 This famous letter, the " Tome" 
of Leo, is Eiiist. 28 in the Ballerini 

edition of Leo's Works. Given by 
Harvey, Viyidex CathoUcus, i. 209 
3. Its most characteristic phrases 
are — "In Integra veri hominis per- 
fectaque natura natus est Deus, 
totus in suis, totus in nostris... 
humana augens, divina non minu- 
ens... Tenet enim sine defectu pro- 
prietatem suam utraque natura, et 
sicut formam servi Dei forma non 
adimit, ita formam Dei servi forma 
non minuit. " 

Chap. XL 


"Band of 

13 June, 


Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. 

Council of 

was very willing to decide the matter in a Western council 
under his own influence. The course however preferred 
by the rulers of the state was to summon an oecumenical 
council in some spot not too far removed from Constanti- 
nople to be under the influence of the Court. Such a 
council accordingly met at Chalcedon^ in the year 451, 
annulled the decisions of the Band of Brigands, and de- 
posed Dioscorus on account of his violent injustice. It 
recognised Cyril as orthodox ; but when it was proposed 
to vindicate the orthodoxy of Theodoret also, there arose a 
vehement opposition, and the resolution respecting him 
was not passed until he had agreed to condemn Nestorius. 
On the basis of the compromise of 483 and Leo's letter 
to Flavian a formula''* was drawn up to the following 
effect. Our one Lord Jesus Christ is perfect in Godhead 
and perfect in Manhood, Very God and Very Man of a 
reasonable soul and a body, of one essence with the Father 
as touching His Godhead, of one essence with us as touch- 
ing his Manhood ^ in all respects like to us, sin only ex- 
cepted ; begotten of the Father before the ages as touching 
His Godhead, but in these last days, for us and for our 
salvation, born of Mary the Virgin, the Mother of God, 
as touching His Manhood ; one and the same recognised as 
Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, in two Natures* without 
confusion, without change, without distinction, without 
separation. And the difference of Natures is in no way 
abolished by the Union ; rather, the projoerties of each 
Nature are preserved and run together in one Person and 
one Substance: the one Son, Only-begotten, God- Word, 
Lord Jesus Christ is not parted or divided into two 
Persons. The intention of this was to reject both Euty- 
ches's practical denial of two Natures in the Incarnate 
Son, and the division of the Godhead and the Manhood 
which was attributed to Nestorius. But, with all the 

1 Evagrius, H. E. n. 4. 

2 In Hardouin ii. 450 ; Mansi vii. 
108; Harvey Vindex Cathol. ni. 
.•{8 ff. ; Ronth, Opiiscula, 422 ff. ; 
flahn, Bibliothek, p. 84 f. 

^ ofioovffws Ti3 warpl KOLTa, ttjv 
OeSrrjTa /cat 6/xoovai.os rjfuy Kara T-qv 

* iv Si'io (pvcreaiv. Tliat tLis, and 

not iK 8vo ipvaeijj', is the right read- 
ing is evident from the discussion 
in the Council itself, from the 
Latin translation "in duabus na- 
turis," and from abundant testi- 
mony besides. See Hahn u. s. 
note 347, and Hefele, Concilien- 
gesch. ii. 451 f. 

(Controversies on the Faith. 


care with which it was drawn, it still seemed to favour 
Nestorius rather than Eutyches, and was to those who 
followed the teaching of Cyril a stone of stumbling and a 
rock of offence. It was from the Council of Chalcedon that 
there sprang the gi-eat Monophysite controversy which 
raged from the middle of the fifth century to the end 
of the sixth, and shook to their foundations both the 
Church and the empire. 

4. The first signs of the coming trouble appeared in 
Palestine. A monk named Theodosias, on his return from 
Chalcedon, caused by his fanatical preaching against the 
council an alarming disturbance^ With the help of liber- 
ated convicts Jerusalem was sacked and burnt, its bishop 
Juvenal compelled to take flight, and Theodosius ruled for 
more than a year in his stead. In vain the emperor 
Marcian* strove to overcome the prejudices of the monks ; 
they held on their way, supported by the widow of the 
emperor Theodosius II., Eudocia — once Athenais* — who 
was then living in Palestine. When the insurrection was 
at last put down Theodosius took refuge among the monks 
on Sinai, where the emperor was powerless to reach him. 
In Egypt a powerful party refused to acknowledge the 
deposition of Dioscorus by the council, and the election of 
Proterius as his successor in the see of Alexandria led to 
a riot in which a party of soldiers was burned alive by 
the mob in the Serapeum, to which they had retreated^ 
Proterius was only safe under a military guard. After 

Chap. XI. 

1 The principal authorities are, 
the documents in Mausi vn. — ix.; 
Hardouin ii. and in.; Zacharias 
Rhetor, in Land's Anecdota Syri- 
aca, vol. 3 (Leyden, 1870); Eva- 
grius H. E. libb. 2 — 5; Liberatus, 
Breviarium ; John of Ephesus, 
Church History, Syriac, ed. Cure- 
ton (Oxford, 1853), English by 
Payne-Smith (Oxf. 18G0); Theo- 
phanes, Chi-onographia, in Corpus 
Scriptorum Byzant., and in separate 
edition by De Boor (Leipzig, 1883 
— 5); the writings of Leontius of 
Byzantium ; Timotheus Presbyter, 
De Receptione Hceret. in Cotelerius, 
Monum. Eccl. Grcecce, ii. 377; Aua- 
los (in Migne, Ser. Gr.89) — Gieseler, 

Commentatio qua Monophys. opi- 
niones illustrantur, 2 parts (Gottin- 
gen 1835 and 1838); Loofs, Leon- 
tius von Byzanz. 

2 On the events of this period, 
see the Life of St Euthymius by 
Cyril of Scythopolis in Cotelerii 
Monumenta Eccl. Grcecce ii. 200 ff.; 
and in a shorter and probably more 
authentic form in the Benedictine 
Analecta Grceca, p. 1 ff. (Paris, 

^ See his letter, Hardouin ii. 667 

* On this lady see Gibbon, oh- 
32 (iv. 164, ed. Smith), and Gre- 
giirovius, Athenais oder Gesch. einer 
Byzant. Kniscrin. 

^ Evagrius, H. E. ii. 5. 

Troubles in 




Controversies on the Faith. 

the death of the emperor Marcian and the accession of 
Leo, the adherents of Dioscorus took courage to elect as 
patriarch Timotheus Aehirus \ who had followed Dioscorus 
into banishment. In the disturbances which followed, 
Proterius was murdered by the partisans of Timotheus in 
a baptistery to which he had fled for refuge ^ After a 
majority of the bishops had expressed themselves in favour 
of the maintenance of the definition of Chalcedony the 
emperor Leo I. restored, so far as external power could, 
the authority of the orthodox Church. Timotheus Aelurus 
was banished, and another Timotheus, known as Salopha- 
ciolus or Basilicus, was chosen in his place*. Even in 
Antioch, the very place where in general Alexandrian 
theology was most unfavourably received, Monophysitism 
now cropped up at the instigation of a monk known as 
Peter the Fuller, who was supported by the emperor's 
son-in-law Zeno. Peter had sufficient influence to cause 
to be inserted in the Trisagion the words " who wast 
crucified for us " in such a way as to make it appear 
that the Son of God in His deity suffered for us®. After 
the death of Leo I. and his grandson, the Monophysite Zeno 
himself succeeded, only to be overthrown by Basiliscus. 
This usurper depended on the support of those who were 
opposed to the Definition of Chalcedon, which in a circular 
letter or Encyclic" he expressly rejected. The Encyclic 
was accepted by many bishops, and those who had been 
banished by Leo, Timotheus Aelurus and Peter the 
Fuller among them, returned to their sees. Basiliscus 
was however in his turn overthrown by Zeno, and the 
adherents of the Chalcedonian formula came again into 
power, Peter Mongus, who on the death of Timotheus 
Aelurus, which had occurred in the meanwhile, had 
succeeded him on the throne of Alexandria, was com- 
pelled to vacate it, and Salophaciolus, who was popular 

^ MXovpos iu Evagrius, "EXou/5oj 
in Theophanes. It lias been sng- 
gestecl that this is a corruption of 
"Epoi'Xos, the HeruHan. See Moller, 
K.-G. p. 444, n. 2, As it stands, 
it means "the cat." 

2 Evagrius, H. K. ii. 8. 

3 See their letters in Hardouin 
II. 705 ff. 

* Evagrius ii, 11. 

^ So that the Greek rpiaayLov ran 
— ^'A7ios 6 6e6<s, aycos lax^'P^^t dyios 
dOlvaros [6 (XTavpioOels 8i' ij/itds], 
iXi-qaov ri/xds. See Smith and 
Cheetham's Diet, of Chr. Antiq. p. 
1997. That God was crucitied for 
us was a favourite tenet of the 

® In Evagrius, H. E. in. 4, 

Controversies on the Fnith. 


with all parties, was restored. Peter the Fuller was com- 
pelled to leave Antioch. Zeno, who had (as we have seen) 
once favoured the Monophysites, but who had probably 
no very strong conviction on the matter, saw the import- 
ance of putting an end to the theological feud. He put 
forth, with the advice of Acacius, patriarch of Constanti- 
nople, who had greatly aided him to recover power, a 
Confession of Faith intended to promote union, commonly 
called the Henoticon ^ It attempted to avoid at any rate 
the terms which had given most offence. After describing 
the Lord as co-essential with the Father and also with 
Man in the terms adopted at Chalcedon, and giving the 
epithet Theotokos to the Virgin, it proceeded to insist 
that it was one and the same person who wrought wonders 
and endured suffering — thus virtually accepting the " God 
crucified" of the Monophysites — and it anathematized 
those who held other views whether in the Council of 
Chalcedon or in any other. This was submitted to the 
bishops for subscription. 

The Henoticon had not the effect which the emperor 
had hoped from it, but it had others which he had not 
contemplated. Peter Mongus accepted it, and was there- 
fore confirmed by imperial power in the patriarchal throne 
of Alexandria to which he had been elected as a Mono- 
physite. Peter the Fuller was made patriarch of Antioch. 
But the strict Monophysites were just as little contented 
with it as the adherents of the Chalcedonian Definition, 
and the latter sought and found support in Rome. The 
then pope, Felix HI., finding that his threats remained un- 
noticed and that his legates were overawed and cajoled by 
Acacius, at last condemned the Henoticon and excommu- 
nicated Acacius '^ Thus intercommunion ceased between 
the Latin Church and so much of the Greek Church as 
remained in communion with Acacius, though the ad- 
herents of Chalcedon throughout the empire maintained 
communion with Rome. The Henoticon, in fact, was very 
far from being a bond of union. In Constantinople the 
decrees of Chalcedon were highly esteemed, in Alexandria 

Chap. XI. 

^ T6 evioTiKOf. In Evagrius in. 

2 Evagrius in. 18. Felix's letter 
conveying the seuteuce in Mansi 

VII. 1053. Acacius retaliated by 
striking out the name of Felix 
from the Diptychs (Theophanes, p. 







Controversies on the Faith. 

they were rejected, in the East opinions were divided. 
The Henoticon might serve to promote formal unity, 
but there could not fail to arise friction between the 
parties and sometimes open division. Anastasius when 
he ascended the imperial throne set himself simply to 
maintain peace and good order in the empire \ He held 
that it was unworthy of an emperor to persecute the wor- 
shippers of Christ and the citizens of Rome ^ and faithfully 
observed the promise, which he had made to the patriarch 
on his accession, to make no change in the Henoticon. 
Nevertheless the Monophysite party tended to gain strength, 
Xenajas, called by the Greeks Philoxenus^ who had been 
made bishop of Hierapolis in the days of Peter the Fuller, 
contended strongly for the Monophysite view, and was 
certainly not discouraged by the emperor. He was aided 
by Severus a monk who had gained considerable power at 
the imperial court. When however under his influence an 
attempt was made to introduce at Constantinople also the 
Monophysite interpolation — " who wast crucified for us " — 
into the Trisagion, so fierce a revolt took place that Ana- 
stasius, brave soldier as he was, grew timid, and ranged 
himself more decidedly with the adherents of the Chalce- 
donian decrees. Moreover, he entered into negotiations 
with Rome for the renewal of intercommunion, but the 
discussions as to the terms of peace were prolonged, and no 
definite conclusion had been reached at the end of his 
reign. When he died he shared the fate of all who in 
times of heated controversy have not been partisans ; his 
memory was loaded with opprobrious epithets, as "Arian" 
and " Manichsean ^" When Justin succeeded, the guidance 
of ecclesiastical affairs came practically into the hands of 
his nephew Justinian. There was at once a change. The 
patriarch John of Constantinople found himself compelled 
to anathematize the Monophysites and solemnly to accept 
the Decrees of Chalcedon. The orthodox throughout the 
East everywhere rose against their late oppressors, and the 

1 Evagrius iii. 30. 

- Gibbon's Rome, c. 47 (vi. .31 
ed. Smith). 

•* He was the patron of the well- 
known Philoxenian Version of the 
New Testament, which was maile 

by Polycari) (.508) and dedicated to 
him. See Westcott in Smith's 
Diet, of the Bible, in. 1635. 

4 Evagrius, H. E. m. 32 ; Theo- 
dorus Lector, H. E. ii. C. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


emperor made overtures to Hormisdas for the restoration | 
of peace and intercommunion with Rome, which actually | 
came to pass in 519, Severus, who had become patriarch 
of Antioch, and other leading Monophysites were driven 
from their sees, and fled to Egypt, where their party was 
so strong that the imperial government did not think it 
prudent to interfere. 

Alexandria seemed to be infected with a morbid 
passion for theological distinctions. No sooner did the 
Monophysite leaders find themselves together in that city 
than they became divided among themselves S Severus 
maintained that the Body of the Lord was not so changed 
by the iudwelling of the Divinity but that it re- 
mained liable to corruption, whence his adherents received 
from their opponents the nickname of " Phthartolatrse," 
worshippers of the corruptible ; while Julius, bishop of 
Halicarnassus, asserted that the Human Nature of Christ 
was so absorbed in the Divine that He was not subject to 
the accidents of humanity or to corruption ; what He 
suffered He had sutfered from no natural necessity, but of 
His own free will for the redemption of man. Hence the 
followers of Julian were styled Aphthartodocetse, as hold- 
ing the opinion of the incorruptibility of Christ's Body. 
Again, Themistius, an Alexandrian deacon, propounded 
the question, whether Christ during His life on earth was 
omniscient. And at a later date, as if there were not al- 
ready divisions enough, the great Aristotelian, Johannes 
Philoponus^, asserted that if there are two natures in Christ, 
there must needs be two substances, for " nature " and 
" substance " are the same thing ; he also represented the 
Resurrection as a wholly new creation, and was thought to 
have fallen into Tritheism in his view of the Holy Trinity; 
while Damian, patriarch of Alexandria, on the other hand, 
was held to have fallen into Sabellianism. At the same 
time the Alexandrian sophist Stephen Niobes ^ put forth 
the opinion, condemned by the other Monophysites, that 

1 These divisions are specially 
treated by Timotheus Presbyter in 
his Be Variis Htereticis etc. (Cote- 
lerius Momim. Eccl. Gr. iii. 377 
ff.). See also Walch, Ketzerhis- 
torie, viii. 520 ff. 

2 Leontius, De Sectis, Act. 5, c. 

6, quoted by Gieseler, i. 635, note. 
See also Job. Damascenus De Ihc- 
resibus, c. 83. 

3 Dionysius Patr. Antiocli. in 
Assemani, Bibl. Orient, ii. 72 ; 
Timotheus u. s. pp. 307, 407 ff., 
417 ff. 

Chap. XI. 




nus, c. 5G0. 



Controversies on the Faith. 

after the Incarnation there was in Christ no distinction of 
Natures whatever. 

Justinian, when he became emperor, was probably 
much more anxious to restore unity to the Church than 
to give the victory to any particular phase of doctrine ; 
while his wife Theodora, a woman of great force of 
character and very influential in the government, was 
believed to favour the Monophysites. It was part of the 
emperor's great task of restoring the reign of law and order 
in the empire to put an end to the distracted condition of 
the Church. He caused conferences to be held between 
Catholic and Monophysite bishops \ without much result. 
The Monophysite formula, " God was crucified for us," 
which had already occasioned so much disturbance, and 
which was rejected by many Catholics, was declared by 
Justinian, in a formal enactment^ to be orthodox ; he 
anathematized those who refused to confess that one of 
the Persons of the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity was 
crucified for us. This was accepted by the pope^, but did 
not conciliate the Monophysites. They were still in 
Egypt the dominant party, though, under the emperor's 
influence, a Catholic, Paulus, had become patriarch of 
Alexandria. For a short time they had a supporter in 
the See of Constantinople, Anthimus, whose election had 
been furthered by Theodora. In the year 536 however 
the Roman bishop Agapetus, who had come to Constanti- 
nople to plead for the Gothic king, Theodahad, then hard 
pressed by Beli sarins, had sufficient influence to bring 
about the disgrace of Anthimus, and Mennas was raised 
to the vacant throne. The latter in the year of his elec- 
tion held a council at Constantinople* at which Anthimus 
and other leading Monophysites were excommunicated ; 
and Justinian forbade Anthimus and Severus to enter the 
capital. Meantime Agapetus had died at Constantinople, 
and the deacon Vigilius, who was in his company, is said 
to have made a compact with Theodora, that if he were 

^ The minutes of the Collatio 
Gatholicoruni cum Severianis in 
Mansi viii. 817 ff. ; Hardouin ii. 
1159 ff. Several conferences are 
mentioned in a document given by 
Assemani, Bihl. Orient, ii. 8i). 

■■^ Coder, I. 1. 6 ; Justinian's 

Epist. ad Joannem Papain in Har- 
douin II. 1146. 

^ See his letter in reply to 
Justinian, Hardouin ii. 1148 ; Mansi 
VIII. 797. 

* Hardouin ii. 1185 ff.; Cave, 
Hht. Lit. I. 556 f. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


chosen pope he would disregard the Council of Chalcedon 
and re-enter into communion with those who refused to 
accept its definition. In his absence Silverius had been 
chosen pope in Rome, but Belisarius, then all-powerful in 
Italy, at Theodora's bidding easily procured the banish- 
ment of Silverius on a charge of treason, and the election 
of the time-serving Vigilius, who managed to hold his 
own against the rightful pope. But in the midst of the 
orthodox West he found it impossible to keep the promise 
which he had made to the heterodox Theodora \ His 
duplicity is indeed very evident ; for while to the Mono- 
physite bishops he professed entire agreement with their 
principles, to Justinian and to the orthodox patriarch he 
declared his perfect orthodoxy I 

Meantime Theodorus Ascidas, bishop of the Cappa- 
docian CaBsarea, had presented himself at the imperial 
court and gained the confidence of the emperor. This 
prelate persuaded Justinian® that he might gratify the 
Monophysites without actually rejecting the decrees of 
Chalcedon, if he were to condemn not only Theodore of 
Mopsuestia, whom even the orthodox held in suspicion, 
but also the treatises in which Theodoret had opposed 
Cyril, and the letter of Ibas to Maris, although at Chalce- 
don the two latter had been expressly declared orthodox. 
In the year 544 he accordingly issued an edict'* in which 
all these writings were condemned, commonly known as 
the edict of the Three Chapters or Articles, which was 
generally welcomed in the East, but steadily resisted in 
the West. Justinian, nothing daunted, summoned Vigilius 
to Constantinople, where he succeeded in persuading or 
compelling him to issue a formal decision^ to the same 
effect as the edict. But in yielding to the emperor he 
gave the gravest offence to the clergy of his own province. 

1 Letter to Anthimus etc. in 
Liberatus, Breviarium, c. 22, and 
in the Chronicon of Victor Tumin. 
(Canisii Lectiones Ant. i. 330). 

- Epistola ad Justinianuiii, in 
Mansi rx. 35 f. ; ad Mennam, 3S f. 

•* See on this point the evidence 
of Domitian of Ancyra in Faciindi 
Dejensio Trium Capit. iv. 4; and 
Liberati Brev. c. 24 ; in Gieseler i. 
641, note i. 

■* Of this edict only a few fra<,'- 
ments have been preserved, by 
Facundus, Defensio, ii. 3; iv. 4. 
See Walch, Ketzerldstorie, viii. 150 

^ This judicatum is also lost, 
with the exception of a fragment 
contained in Justinian's letter to 
the Fifth fficum. Council; Mansi 
IX. 181. The circumstances are 
narrated by Facundus. 

Chap. XL 

Pope, 538. 









Cojitroversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. 



at Con- 
ple, 553. 

(lies, 555. 

A synod in Illyria sent to the emperor a set defence of 
the writings which he had impugned ^ In Africa the 
condemned writings were defended by one of the ablest 
men of the time, Facundus of Hermiane, who wrote in 
a fearless and candid spirit without regard to temporary 
popularity. He saw clearly the evils which sprang from 
the constant hair-splitting of the Greeks, from the ten- 
dency of ignorant persons to pronounce arrogant judg- 
ments, and from the interference of the civil government, 
which, after all, cannot coerce men's thoughts^. Guided 
by him, the African bishops not only controverted the 
emperor's views, but also formally excommunicated Vi- 
gilius'. Under this pressure the unlucky pope summoned 
courage to refuse to accept a dogmatic statement*, em- 
bodying the condemnation of the Three Articles, which 
the emperor put forth in the year 551. Justinian, much 
perplexed, summoned a council at Constantinople, known 
as the Fifth Oecumenical, which Vigilius refused to at- 
tend; he even defended the condemned writings in a 
formal ordinance ^ The council thereupon, under the 
emperor's influence, approved all the edicts on matters of 
dogma which he had put forth, and directed the name 
of Vigilius to be removed from the list of those commemo- 
rated in the Eucharists While these things were done 
at Constantinople, Narses had restored the imperial 
authority in Italy; and tlie pope saw with dismay that 
even in Rome he would not be out of the reach of the 
emperor's arm. It was perhaps this consideration which 
induced him to accept the decrees of the council, which 
he did in 554''. In the following year he left Constanti- 
nople to return to Rome, but died on his journey at 
Syracuse. Pelagius, who was chosen as his successor by 
those who favoured the emperor's proceedings, ignoring 

^ Victor Tunun. Chronicon, p. 

^ See his Defensio, xii. 4 ; quoted 
by Neander, iv. 274 f. 

3 Victor Tunun. u. s., quoted by 
Gieseler, K.-G. i. G43, note p. 

•* 'Ofj.o\oyia wi(TT€0}s 'lovar. Avto- 
Kparopos, in Chron. Alexandr. p. 
3 14 ff. (ed. Diifresne) ; in Mansi ix. 
537 fif. On Vigilius's conduct, see 
the Epistola Clcricorinn Italics (a.d. 

551) in Mansi ix. 151 ff.; Hardouin 
HI. 47. 

^ Mansi ix. 61 ff. ; Hardouin iii. 
10 ff. 

" The Acta of this Council are 
in Mansi IX. 157 ff.; Hardouin in. 
51 ff. 

'' See his Epist. ad Eutychium, 
in Mansi ix. 413 ff. ; Hardouin iii. 
213 ff. 

Cont7'oversies on the Faith. 


his own previous declarations, at once accepted the decrees 
of the Fifth Council i. 

Justinian was oven still not weary of interfering in 
theological controversies, and shortly before his death, 
in his eagerness at all costs to bring the Monophysites 
back to the Church, he declared the views of the Aphthar- 
todocetse to be orthodox^ Eutychius, patriarch of Con- 
stantinople, was banished for refusing to accept this, and 
Anastasius Sinaita, patriarch of Antioch, only escaped a 
similar fate by the death of the emperor. His successor, 
Justin II., did not attempt to carry out his policy. 

Justinian's attempts to regulate the dogma of the 
Church, while it alienated the Western Church, did not 
win the Monophysites. On the contrary, it was in his 
reign that they drew together and formed separate com- 
munities. Few of the Egyptians accepted the Patriarch 
of Alexandria who had been appointed under the influence 
of Justinian ; the great majority chose a Patriarch of their 
owTi, and so formed a schismatical church which was never 
reconciled^ ; and the ^thiopic Church^ cast in its lot with 
the Alexandrian. In Armenia® also the Monophysite 
party, favoured by the Persian rulers of the country, gained 
the upper hand towards the end of the fifth century. 
Early in the sixth the synod of Theoria declared itself in 
favour of Monophysite views, and about the year six hun- 
dred the Armenian Church ceased to be in communion 
with the Iberian, which adhered to the decrees of Chalce- 
don. In S}Tia and Mesopotamia the Monophysites, perse- 
cuted and forsaken, seemed on the point of disappearing 
altogether, when they were revived by the extraordinary 
energy of Jacob Baradai, and in consequence came to be 
called Jacobites®. In the West too there arose a long- 
enduring schism in consequence of the acceptance by the 

Chap. XI, 

last effort, 

death, .565. 


A lexan- 



Syria and 




^ Victor Tunun., Chronicon, an. 
555, quoted by Gieseler i. 645, 
note X. 

2 Evafrrius, H. E. iv. .39 — 41, 

3 See Taki-Eddini Makrizi, Hist. 
Cojititaruni Christiunorum, Arabic 
and Latin, ed. H. J. Wetzer (Sulz- 
bach 1828) ; E. Eenaudot, Hist. 
Patriarch. Ale.randr. Jacohit. ; M. 
Lo Quien, Oriens Christianus, ii. 
357 ff. (ed. Paris 1740). 

* J. Ludolph, Hist. ^Ahiopica; 
M. Veyssier La Croze, Hist, dti 
Christianisme d'Ethiopie et d'Arme- 
nie (La Haye, 1739). 

^ Saint-Martin, Memoires sur 
VArminic (Paris, 1828); Clem. 
Galanus, Hist. Armena Eccl. et 
Politica; Le Quien, O. C. i. 136 ff. 

^ Assemani, Biblioth. Orient., 
torn. 2. 


Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. I Eoman pontiff of the decrees of Constantinople. The 
churches which acknowledged Aquileia as their metropolis 
renounced communion with the Roman Church, as did 
also the western portion of Northern Italy under the au- 
thority of Milan. Never perhaps was the dignity of the 
see of Rome in so great peril as in the days when the 
weakest of the popes was brought into collision with the 
strongest of the emperors. The papacy lost for the time 
the prestige of independence which was its proudest pre- 
rogative. The strong hand of Gregory the Great brought 
back Milan and the greater part of Northern Italy to the 
Roman obedience, but it was at the cost of ignoring the 
Fifth GEcumenical Councils 

IV. The Origenistic Controversy. 

Origen was, as we have seen, in the third century the 
great teacher of theology in the Christian Church. The 
time however came when they who had followed in his 
footsteps turned against their guide. Origen's teaching 
was that of a time of seeking and forming, and seemed to 
some of those who looked back to it from the stand-point 
of a more definite system to transgress the bounds of ortho- 
doxy. All the great party-leaders of the fourth century 
had appealed to him. The Arians claimed his support for 
their doctrine that the Lord was a created being and sub- 
ordinate to the Father ; their opponents found in his works 
the assertion that the Son was begotten of the Father 
fi^om all eternity. He had, in fact, for several generations 
many distinguished adherents both in Antioch and in 

^ See Ins Ejnslolce, iv. 2 — 4, 38, 
39. He accepts the first four 
(Ecumenical Councils, and is silent 
about the Fifth. 

2 The priuciijal original authori- 
ties are, for the first part, Soci-ates 
■VI. 7ff., Sozomen viii. 11 ff., and 
Jerome's letters of the period ; for 
the second, the Life of St Sabas 
by Cyril of Scythopolis (in Cote- 
lerii Monum. Eccl. Graccc, iii. 220 
if.): Liberati Breviarium (in (lal- 
land, Bihlioth. Patrnm, xii. Ill) ft'. ; 
and in Migne, Patrol. Lat. Ixviii.); 
and Evagrius H. E. iv. 38. — More 

recent works on the subject are 
Huet's Origeiiiava, in his edition of 
the Commentaries, rej^rinted in 
Migne, Patrol. Gr. torn. 17; C. W. 
F. Walch, Hist, dcr Ketzereien,YU. 
3S3ff.; ^iii. 280 ff.; Viucenzi, St 
Greg. Ny-'^s. et Origcnis Nova De- 
feiisio (Rome 1865), criticised in 
Thcol. Qiuirtalschrift (Tubingen) 
1867, p. 331 ff.; Hcfele in Wetzer 
and Welte's Kirchen-Lexikon, vii. 
844 ff. ; A. W. W. Dale in Smith 
and Wace's Diet. Chr. Biogr. iv. 
142 ff. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


Alexandria. These no doubt studied and understood him ; 
but many joined in the fray who did not. Men whose con- 
ceptions of God and of the soul of man were — however little 
they were conscious of it — materialistic, naturally hated his 
spiritual teaching, and regarded him as the most subtle 
and the most dangerous of heretics. Many of the monks 
were of this anthropomorphic school ; yet it was among 
monks and hermits that Epiphanius detected what he 
thought a heresy derived from the teaching of Origen, and 
he felt himself bound, as the champion of orthodoxy, to 
try to close the source of error \ His first steps with this 
view were taken on a visit which he paid to Jerusalem. 
Here in the later years of the fourth century had been 
formed a group of men devoted equally to ascetic life and 
to the study of theology. The centre of this group was 
John, the Bishop of Jerusalem, himself an ardent admirer 
of Origen. Among its members were Rufinus, who during 
his stay in Egypt had been a pupil of the Origenist Didy- 
mus ; and Jerome, then an eager student of the works of 
Origen, whose fame, whether as a theologian or as an expo- 
sitor of Scripture, he desired to emulate. He had already 
begun to make his master known to the West by means 
of Latin translations, when murmurs against his orthodoxy 
reached his ears, and soon afterwards Epiphanius came 
into his neighbourhood and preached against his errors. 
Epiphanius was generally reverenced as a saint, and great 
regard was paid to his opinions. Bishop John however, 
who seems to have regarded him as a narrow-minded 
fanatic, was not won over. Epiphanius thereupon broke off 
communion with him, and requii'ed Jerome and his monks 
at Bethlehem to do the same. He himself, ignoring the 
episcopal rights of John, ordained Jerome's brother, Pauli- 
nianus, to the priesthood. Jerome now found many errors 
in the author whom he had lately admired, and so severed 
himself from his old friend Rufinus, who could not so 
readily leave his first love. 

By the intervention of Theophilus of Alexandria the 
strife in Palestine was for the time appeased ^. But Rufi- 
nus after his return to the West published a translation of 
Pamphilus's Defence of Origen, in the preface to which he 

1 The Ori^enists form the G4th 
heresy in Epiphanius's Panarion. 

'^ Jerome, Epistt. 59 — 63; 
ed. Vallarsi) ; [al. 80— 9r.]. 



Chap. XI. 

ian Ori- 

nius in 

tions, 898. 


Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. 

to Origeii, 


glanced at his detractors, but at the same time guarded 
himself against the supposition that he himself shared the 
opinions attributed to him on the Trinity and on the 
Resurrection. These opinions, he contended, were not 
Origen's, but interpolated by heretics into his works. 
Further, in the preface to his translation of Origen JDe 
Principiis he attempted to defend his practice of toning 
down certain risky expressions of his author, alleging that 
Jerome in his Origenistic period had done the same. Je- 
rome, greatly provoked, replied\ denying the truth of some 
of Rufinus's allegations, and trying by all means to clear 
himself of the charge of Origenism. The principal false 
opinions which he attributed to the incriminated teacher 
were these. Origen declares that as it is improper to say 
that the Son can see the Father, so it is unbefitting to 
suppose that the Spirit can see the Son ; and that souls 
are in this body bound as in a prison-house, while before 
man was created, they were among the blessed beings in 
heavenly places. He asserts that the devil and the evil 
spirits will sometime repent and be numbered among the 
blessed ones. He interprets the " coats of skins " which 
were given to Adam and his wife after the Fall to mean 
human bodies. He denies the resurrection of the flesh. 
He allegorizes Paradise in such a way as to deprive it of 
all historical reality, making the trees angels and the rivers 
the heavenly virtues. The waters which were above the 
heavens he understands to be divine and supernal powers, 
the waters on and under the earth devilish and infernal 
powers. He asserts that man, after his expulsion from 
Paradise, lost the image and likeness of God in which he 
had been made. Thereupon arose a painful literary con- 
test between Jerome and Rufinus^ exasperated probably 
by the former friendship of the combatants. The Roman 
bishop Anastasius, instigated by Marcella and other friends 
of Jerome, summoned Rufinus to appear and answer for 
himself before his tribunal. Rufinus however, though he 
sent a written defence, did not appear, and Anastasius 
proceeded to condemn Origen, of whose works he avowedly 
knew nothing, and to express strong disapproval of Rufinus*. 

^ Epist. 41 [al. 84]. Apologia adv. Rufimim; in Hieron. 

2 Oil one side, Eufini Apologia in Opera, ii. 455 ff. ed. Vallarsi. 
Hieron.; on the other, Hierouymi ^ Anastasii Epist. ad Joannem 

Gontroversies on the Faith. 


Theophilus himself had in 399 declared himself op- 
posed to the anthropomorphism which, in the strongest 
opposition to the views of Origen, attributed to God a 
human form ; God, he contended, alone of all existing 
things, was to be conceived as purely immaterial. In con- 
sequence of this declaration he was fiercely attacked by 
some of the fanatical monks of the Egyptian desert, and so 
cowed that he consented to condemn the works of Origen \ 
On this change of views, he attacked the Nitrian monks, 
who were for the most part devoted to Origen, and with 
whom he had once been in entire sympathy. Against 
these men and all who held their views he proceeded with 
unrelenting harshness. At a synod in Alexandria^ about 
the year 400 a sentence of condemnation was passed on all 
who taught the doctrines of Origen or even read his books. 
When the Origenistic monks refused to obey the decrees 
of the synod, Theophilus incited the anthropomorphists 
among them, who were the majority, to drive out these 
Origenist brethren. These, escaping with some difficulty, 
found no refuge even with their friend John of Jerusalem ; 
for Theophilus in an encyclical letter had stigmatized 
them as wild and dangerous fanatics. They at last re- 
solved to present themselves at the imperial court at Con- 
stantinople, where they hoped for the support of its bishop, 
John Chrysostom^ 

The bishop received them kindly and took measures 
for their maintenance. As they were for the present under 
anathema, he felt himself precluded from admitting them 
to communion, but he wrote to Theophilus, begging him 
to absolve the refugees. These however had no mind to 
submit tamely to Theophilus's proceedings and desired to 
bring a formal charge against him before the emperor. It 
was at the same time f^xlsely reported to Theophilus that 
John had admitted the monks to communion. Chrysostom 
was anxious to keep clear of a violent controversy, but the 
aggrieved monks gained the ear of the empress Eudoxia, 
and brought it to pass that the emperor summoned a 

Hieros. (Coustant, p. 719; Migne's 
Patrol. Lat. xx. 1)8 ff. ; Gieseler, 
K.-G. I. 410). 

' Socrates, fl". £. VI. 7; Sozomen 
H. E. VIII. 11. 

2 Socrates vi. 7; Sulpicius Seve- 

rus, Dialogus i. 6. Fragments of 
its decrees are found in Justinian's 
Letter to Mennas, afterwards re- 
ferred to. 

3 Socrates vi. 9; Sozomen viii. 


Chap. XI. 

^ides, 399. 

Synod at 
dria, 400 ? 

monks at 


Controversies on tlie Faith. 

Chap. XI. 





sy renewed 
in the sixth 

Sahas at 
nople, 530, 

synod to Constantinople, over which the bishop of that 
city was to preside, to pass judgment on the proceedings 
of Theophihis, who was duly cited to appear. The effect 
of this citation was that he conceived a violent hatred for 
Chrysostom, whom he determined to ruin. He worked 
upon Epiphanius, now a very old man, to take a fresh step 
in his opposition to the opinions of Origen. This bishop 
summoned a synod of his diocese, Cyprus, which anathe- 
matized the writings of OrigenS He then took a journey 
to Constantinople'^, where he requested Chrysostom to 
withdraw his protection from the monks and join in the 
condemnation which had just been pronounced in Cyprus. 
Chrysostom, though by no means an undiscriminating ad- 
mirer of Origen, not unnaturally resisted this attempt at 
dictation, and Epiphanius, a man of honest and straight- 
forward character, finding that he had been misled as to 
the views of his opponents', probably began to suspect 
that he was being made the tool of an intriguer. He 
therefore left the capital and sailed for Cyprus, but died 
before he reached home. The further proceedings of 
Eudoxia and Theophilus against the good bishop of Con- 
stantinople do not belong to the Origenistic controversy*. 
His enemies were determined to accomplish his ruin, and 
the charges brought against him, without any regard to 
their truth, were such as gave the civil power a pretext 
for interfering. Theophilus, in spite of all he had said 
against him, continued to devote himself to the study of 
Origen, and for this and other reasons incurred the con- 
tempt of all right-minded men^ 

In spite of official condemnation the influence of Ori- 
gen's genius lived on. In the sixth century there were 
many Origenists among the monks of the great monasteries 
founded by St Sabas in Palestine, and four of these were 
expelled from the " New Laura ^ " by their abbat Agapetus 
on account of their opinions. His successor Mamas rein- 
stated them, but in the year 530 Sabas himself visited 
Constantinople and begged the emperor Justinian to expel 

^ Socrates vi. 10 ; Sozomon viii. 
14.— Cave, Hist. Lit. i. 370. 
2 Socrates vi. 12. 
•' Sozomen viii. 15. 
^ See p. 21'J. 

^ Socrates vi. 17. 

^ A LavTi-a was an a;.'gregation of 
separate cells, under the control of 
a .superior. See Diet. Chr. Ant. ii. 

Controversies on the Faith 


the Origenists. Before however any steps could be taken 
to effect this, Sabas died, and Origenism continued to 
spread in Palestine, especially through the influence of a 
monk named Domitian, and of Theodoras Ascidas^ who 
was prominent in the Monophysite controversy. Both 
these men had influence at court, and under their protec- 
tion the Origenists gained the upper hand in the Lauras, 
and expelled their opponents. The latter were however 
favoured by Ephraim, patriarch of Antioch '\ and the em- 
peror Justinian, when the dispute was brought before him, 
was induced by the Roman legate Pelagius (afterwards 
pope), to put forth a theological treatise against Origen, 
ending with a list of opinions which he held to deserve 
anathema^. This was subscribed by Mennas the patriarch, 
and by " those bishops who were in Constantinople at the 
time* ; " that is, by those who constituted the Home 
Synod® of that city. The same synod appears to have 
anathematized fifteen propositions found, or said to be 
found, in the works of Origen". As however Cyril of 
Scythopolis and Evagrius agree in stating that the Fifth 
Q^^cumenical Council, held at Constantinople, condemned 
Origen, these anathemas have been attributed to that 
council, even by authorities as early as the latter part of 
the eighth century. But as three popes of the sixth century 
attribute to the Fifth Council only the decision on the 
" Three Chapters ^ " and say nothing of any canon affecting 
Origen, while the Acts of the council contain no mention 
of any discussion of Origen's opinions, we may fairly pre- 
sume that the anathemas have the sanction only of the 
Home Synod of Constantinople, which was simply the echo 
of Justinian. Origen appears indeed to be condemned in 
the eleventh canon of the Fifth Council, but the name is 
probably interpolated I Theodoras Ascidas seems in fact 
to have diverted the emperor's attention from the Origen- 

1 See p. 301. 

2 Cyril Scyth. Vita S. Sahae, c. 

3 Mansi ix. 487 ff. ; Hardouin 
III. 243 ff. 

* "Quam subscripserunt una 
cum Menna archiepiscopo episcopi 
apud Constantinopolim reperti." 
Liberatus, Breviariicm, c. 23. 

6 I,vvoSo9 ev5t]fj.ova-a. See p. 292. 
« Hardouia ni. 283 ff. These 

anathemas were brought to light 
by Peter Lambeck of Vienna in the 
seventeenth century. 

7 See p. 301. 

^ This is Hefele's opinion, Kir- 
chen-Lex. yii. 850. 

Chap. XI. 

dies 531. 






A nathemas 
to Fifth 


Controversies on the Faith. 

ists, whom he favoured though he had subscribed the 
emperor's edict against them, and under his protection 
they became dominant in Palestine. They were soon how- 
ever divided against themselves. One party, considering 
the soul of Christ to have existed before the Incarnation 
and to be itself divine, received from their friends the name 
of Protoktista3, but from their enemies that of Tetraditje, 
as making four persons in the divine essence. Another 
was that of the Isochristi, who taught that in the end all 
souls would become like that of Christ. A representative 
of the latter, Macarius, the second of that name, was even 
elected to the patriarchal throne of Jerusalem. The Pro- 
toktistae now, seeing the danger of being crushed, gave 
up their theory of preexistence and rejoined the orthodox 
Church. Macarius was driven from his see by Justinian, 
who caused the Catholic Eustochius to be appointed in his 
stead. The Lauras of Palestine were purged of Origenists. 
From this time the Origenists as a party vanish from 
history, but there have never been wanting distinguished 
men who have honoured Origen as one of the leaders of 
Christian thought. 

V. Priscillianism. 

A Western echo of Eastern error is probably to be 
found in the Spanish sect of Priscillianists. This derived 
its origin and its name from Priscillian \ a man of wealth, 
family and education ^, and evidently of an enthusiastically 
religious temperament. In his works Priscillian shews 
himself an earnest believer in Christ the only God ; in fact, 

1 Priscilliani qua supersunt, dis- 
covered in a Wiirzburg MS. in 1885, 
and published by the discoverer, 
Gr. Schejjss, at Vienna in 1889 
(Corpus Script. Eccles. Lat., vol. 
18) ; Sulpicius Severus, Chronicon 
II. 46 — 51, and Dialogus iii. 11 ff. ; 
Pacati Drepanii Paiwgi/ricus (XII. 
Pant'pyrici Latini, ed. Biihrens, p. 
297 ff.) ; P. Orosii Gommonitorium 
(with Priscillian's Remains, ed. 
Schepss); Augustin, De Hccres. c. 
70 ; Jerome, Df Viris lUust. c. 121 ; 
Leonis M. Epist. 93 ad Turrihlum. 
— C. W. F. Walch, Hist, der Ket- 
zereien, iv. 378 ff.; v. Vries, Diss. 

Crit. de Prise. (Utrecht 1745); 
Liibker, De Hceres. Prise.; Man- 
dernach, Gesch. des Priscill. These 
are to some extent antiquated by 
the discovery of Priscillian's Ee- 
mains. Since that time have been 
published, G. Schepss, Priscillia- 
71US, ein neu aufge/uudener Schrift- 
steUer (Wiirzburg 1886), reviewed 
by Loofs, Theol. Literaturzeitung, 
1886, col. 392 ff. ; W. Moller, Kir- 
chengeschichte, i. 462 ff. ; Paret, 
Priscill. ein Reformator des 4. Jahr- 

2 Sulpicius Severus, Chronic, ii. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


he so emphasizes the Godhead of Christ and the unity of 
God as to suggest that he regarded the Holy Trinity some- 
what as Svvedenborg in later days regarded it^ ; and he 
seems to have taken a view of the Incarnation which did 
not much differ from that of ApoUinaris. He insisted 
with great earnestness on the wide distribution of the gift 
of prophecy in the Church of Christ ; it Avas, he taught, by 
no means limited to the prophets of the Canonical Scrip- 
tures^; everywhere and at all times might God raise up 
witnesses for Himself. Doubtless he regarded himself as 
such a witness. From his exposition of the Creed it may 
probably be inferred that he believed in the immortality 
of the soul, hardly in the resurrection of the flesh ^, What- 
ever dogmas he may have held, it is clear that he was 
possessed by a strongly ascetic spirit. He felt keenly the 
contrast between the Church and the world ; that the 
friendship of the world is enmity with God was a living 
principle with him*. He seems to have been influenced 
by Origen, perhaps also by the Luciferians, the disciples of 
Lucifer of Cagliari^, who were numerous in Spain. What- 
ever may have been the errors of Priscillian, we can hardly 
fail to recognize in him one of those eager sj)irits which 
can draw to them sympathetic souls. 

Not finding the Church of his own day sufficiently 
pure from the world, he established meetings of his dis- 
ciples, not with a view, it would appear, of separating 
them from the Catholic Church ", but of raising them to 
a higher level of Christian life. These conventicles had 
however probably the effect of making the Priscillianists 
less regular attendants at the public worship of the Church ; 
at all events, they gave offence to those in authority. The 
bishop of Cordova, Hyginus, informed the metropolitan, 
Idacius of Merida, of the spread of this irregular worship, 
and a council, at which twelve bishops attended, was held 
at Saragossa^ to consider the matter. It passed eight canons 
intended principally to check the irregular meetings. They 


^ "Nullum alium deum esse cre- 
dentes nisi Christum Deum Dei 
Filium," Tractatus i. p. 31 ; cf. pp. 
25, 39, and Orosii Covimonit. p. 

2 Tractatus i. p. 82 ; iii. p. 41 ff. 

3 lb. II. p. 37. 

4 Ih. IV. p. 57. 

6 See p. 274. 

® "Qui sibi sectarum nomen impo- 
nunt Christiani nomen amittunt." 
Tract. 11. p. 39. 

'' Sulpicius Sev. Chron. ii. 47; 
Hardouin, Co7ic. i. 805. 

forms con- 

Council at 



Controversies on the Faith. 

forbade women to be present at conventicles where men 
exhorted, or themselves to meet for mutual instruction. 
They forbade all persons to go into seclusion during Lent 
or during the three weeks preceding the Epiphany, and 
strictly enjoined them to attend the services in their 
churches regularly during those periods. They forbade 
such ascetic practices as fasting on Sunday or walking 
barefoot. They forbade any man to assume the title of 
teacher (doctor) without authority. That these canons 
were directed against the Priscillianists there is no doubt, 
though they are nowhere named in them\ They do not 
impute false doctrine to those whom they have in view, 
but censure irregularities and excessive asceticism ; an 
asceticism which probably disinclined those who practised 
it, as it did the English Puritans in later days, to take 
part in the festivities of Christmastide. The Priscillian- 
ists were not present at the council, having apparently not 
been summoned^, but in their absence two bishops, In- 
stantius and Salvianus, who had been won over to the 
side of the ascetics, with Elpidius and Priscillian himself, 
who were laymen, were condemned and excommunicated ^ 
Ithacius, bishop of Sossuba — who was probably the more 
ready to proceed vigorously against ascetics, as he was 
himself a man much given to self-indulgence * — was com- 
missioned to bring this decree to the knowledge of all 
bishops, and especially of Hyginus ^, who had received the 
heretics to communion. Idacius, after his return to Merida, 
was accused of some unnamed transgression, upon which 
many of his clergy withdrew from communion with him^ 
Priscillian, now bishop of Avila, coming to Merida with a 
view to make peace, was beaten by some of Idacius's 
partizans, but seems nevertheless to have found some fa- 
vour with the laity of the place '. 

There was now serious division and heated controversy 
in several cities of Spain, and, as is usual in such cases, 
charges and counter-charges flew thickly about. It was 

^ The heading "contra Priscilli- 
anistas," which is given in Har- 
douin and elsewhere, is modern. 

2 Prise. Tract, ii. p. 35. 

3 Sulpic. Sev. Chron. ii. 47. 

* "Fuit audax, loquens, impii- 
dens, sumptuosus, ventri et gulae 

plurimum impertiens" (Sulpic. 
Sev. Chron. ii. 50). 

6 I read (with Moller, K.-G. 465) 
"commonefacerefin Sulpicius u.s. 

6 Priscill. Tract, ii. p. 39. 

7 lb. p. 40. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


discovered that the Priscillianists were Gnostics or Mani- 
chseans, and given to magical arts — a charge to which 
some plausibility was given by their seclusion and asceti- 
cism. Priscillian himself repudiated and condemned Manes 
in the most emphatic manner \ as he did also the Arians, 
the Patripassians and many other heretics ; but it is not 
improbable that, consciously or unconsciously, he agreed 
with some of the Gnostics in regarding the soul as having 
left the realms of light and purity and become entangled 
in the chains of evil matter^. He not only adopted the 
curious fancy, which appears in almanacs even to our own 
time, that the several signs of the Zodiac influenced each 
some particular part of the human body, as Aries the head, 
Taurus the neck, Gemini the arms. Cancer the breast, and 
so forth ; but he recognized a similar correspondence in 
the twelve Patriarchs to the parts of the soul, as Reuben 
to the head, Judah to the breast, Levi to the heart, and 
the rest^ As he was followed by certain ladies who were 
devoted to him, it is not wonderful that charges of immo- 
rality were made against him. 

Whatever was his guilt, his enemies were powerful, and 
procured from the weak emperor Gratian a rescript banish- 
ing the Priscillianists from the empire *. Priscillian then, 
with the bishops of his party, betook himself to Italy ^ 
hoping to convince Damasus of Rome and the great Am- 
brose, one of the chief advisers of the young emperor, of 
his innocence. In this he failed, but he succeeded — it was 
said by bribery — in procuring a rescript, repealing that 
which had been issued against him and his followers, and 
ordering the restitution of their churches, to which they 
accordingly returned''. Ithacius now became an exile. 
Just at this crisis Maximus, a Spaniard, put Gratian to 
flight and seized the imperial power. To him Ithacius 
turned, and induced him to order Instantius and Priscillian 

1 Tract. I. p. 22; ii. p. 39. 

2 Orosii Cummonit. c. 2 ; Leo, 
Epist. 93 ad Turribium. Sulpicius 
(Chron. ii. 46) supposes that he 
mibibed Gnosticism from Marcus, 
an Egyptian Gnostic, through his 
teacher Elpidius. The teaching of 
Basilides seems to have reached 
Spain (Baur, Kirchen-Gesch. ii. 
74). Priscillian and his followers 

highly valued an apocryphal book 
called Memoria Apostolorum. Oro- 
sius, Commonit. c. 2, p. 154. 

2 Orosius, Commonit. c. 2; Leo 
ad Titirib. Pref. and cc. 11 and 12. 

4 Sulpic. Sev. Chron. ii. 47, § (5. 

^ lb. II. 48. Priscillian's ai^peal 
to Damasus forms Tractatiis ii. 
in Scliepss' edii. 

6 Sulpic. Sev. u. s. 48, §^ 5, 6. 

Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. I to be brought before a synod at Bordeaux. Instantius was 
"^; '^r~^ deposed from his bishopric, while Priscillian, refusing to 
admit the authority of the council, appealed to the usurp- 
ing emperor \ He deputed Evodius, a man of harsh and 
stern character, to hold the trial, at which Ithacius, who 
had so keen a scent for heresy that he discovered it even 
in the saintly Martin of Tours, appeared as his accuser. 
Evodius found the accused guilty of sorcery ^ and the 
emperor sentenced him to death, together with some of 
his followers. Instantius was banished to the Scilly 
islands. The remains of those who were put to death 
were carried to Spain, where the devotees who had before 
honoured Priscillian as a saint now reverenced him as a 
martyr ^ 

The charge on which Priscillian was condemned was 
fairly within the cognizance of an imperial tribunal, but as 
everyone knew that he had in fact suffered as a heretic, 
many of the best men of the time were offended that 
spiritual error should have been punished by a civil court, 
and that even to the shedding of blood. Martin of Tours 
remonstrated in the most energetic manner both with 
Maximus and with Ithacius*, and public feeling was so 
strong against the latter that he was deposed from his see. 
Idacius quitted his by voluntary resignation. The whole 
proceeding had in the opinion of a contemporary, Sulpicius 
Severus*, a very unfortunate effect upon the Church. Pris- 
cillian and his companions head the long and dreary list of 
those who have suffered for their opinions at the hands of 
Christians the same pains and penalties which Christians 
had once endured at the hands of pagans. 

VI. Pelagianism^. 

The relation of man's . will to God's will is a mystery 
which has exercised the wit of man in almost all ages, 
though it did not become the occasion of discussion and 

1 Sulpic. Sev. u. s. 49. 

2 "Maleficii." Sulpicius {Chron. 
II. 50) states that he did not deny 
" obscenis se studuisse doctiinis, 
nocturnos etiam turpium foomina- 
rum egisse couventus nudumque 
orare solitum." 

3 Sulpic. Sev. u. s. .51 § 7. 

4 lb. 50 § 5, 

5 lb. 51, §§ 5, 6. 

* The sources for the Pelagian 
controversy are Pelagius's writings, 
Expositiones in Epistt. Pauli, 
Epist. ad Demetriadem, and Libel- 

Controversies on the Faith. 


division in the Church until the bcffinnincj of the fifth 
century. Up to that time theologians and simple Chris- 
tians had alike been contented to believe that both 
human effort and divine grace were necessary for the work 
of salvation, without attempting to allot to each its exact 
influence. This acquiescence was brought to an end by 
St Augustin. He, a man of warm feeling and vivid 
imagination, supremely conscious of the divine mercy by 
which he had been brought from darkness to light, 
eminently capable of giving an intellectual form to his 
convictions and of stating a belief in a definite proposition, 
gave in his teaching so much weight to the grace of God 
in leading us to good, that he left, or seemed to leave, 
nothing to the will of man. The great problem of grace 
and free-will had not indeed presented itself to him in the 
early days after his conversion with the force with which 
it came upon him in later life ; but before he wrote his 
Confessions he had reached — perhaps through his Neo- 
Platonic studies — the conclusion that as all good comes 
from God, from Him comes even the gift of faith, the 
beginning of good in man\ His opinions were developed 
and defined in the course of controversy, but they did not 
originate in it. 

It was probably about the year 405 that Pelagius, a 
British monk of ascetic life, began at Rome to exhort men 
to leave the worldly and frivolous life which too many of 
them led. Often he received the reply, " it is too hard for 
us ; we cannot do it ; we are but men ; sinful flesh doth 

his Fidei ad Innocentium ; all in 
Hieronymi Opera, torn. xi. (ed. 
Vallarsi); Augustin's Antipelagian 
treatises in vol. x. of the Benedic- 
tine edn., the jji-incipal of which 
have been published at Oxford in 
one vol. edited by W. Bright; Je- 
rome's Ejnst. ad Ctesiphontem and 
Dhilogi c. Pelag. in vol. 2 of Opera, 
ed. Vallarsi; V. Oxos,m.&, Liber Apolo- 
geticus (Opera, p. 601 ff. ed. Zange- 
meister) ; Marius Mercator, Coniiiio- 
nitoriiim adv. Hceres. Pelagli et 
Ccelestii and Commonit. super No- 
mine C celesta {Opera, ed. Baluze, pp. 
Iff. and 132 ff.); Acta of Councils 
relating to Pelagiauism. — There are 
learned works on Pelagianism by 

G. J. Voss (Hist, de Controvers. 
Pelag.) H. Noris (Hist. Pelagiana), 
C. F. W. Walch {Ketzerhistorie, 
IV. and v.), F. Wiggers (Pragin. 
Darsfclltiiig des Augustinismus u. 
Pelag), Worter (Der Pelagianis- 
vius), Klasen {Die innere Enttoicke- 
lung des Pelagianismus), and J. 
L. Jacobi {Die Lehre des Pela- 
gins). The relation of Augustin to 
Pelagianism is well described by J. 
B. Mozley {The Augustinian Doc- 
trine of Predestination). Much valu- 
able matter is found in Jean Gar- 
nier's editions of Julian of Eclanum 
and Marius Mercator. 

1 De Prcedesiinatione 7 ; De Dono 
Persev. 55; Contra Julianumvi. 39. 


defined in 




in Rome, 
c. 405. 


Controversies on the Faith. 

grossly close us in\" He heard too Augustin's famous 
words repeated — " Grant what Thou commandest, and cora- 
raand what Thou wilt^" — and was offended thereat ^ This 
view seemed to him to leave nothing for man to do ; 
obedience became almost mechanical. Here two great 
principles are found opposed. St A.ugustin's was, in the 
main, that of St Paul, that not he himself lived, but 
Christ lived in him ; but his early Manicha^an training 
had given his mind a bias which led him to regard man 
too much as the sport of hostile forces, a good and an evil. 
Pelagius's view of life tended to approximate to that of 
the old pagan philosophers, especially to that of the Stoics. 
In ancient philosophic systems man is always regarded as 
the master of his own destiny; it is always presumed that if 
he sees the right he will pursue it ; no account is taken of 
the weakness which arises from the defects of .human 
nature. And this contrast of principles was no doubt 
heightened by the character of those who were the most 
prominent disputants. St Augustin was eager and 
earnest, sympathizing keenly with the weakness and the 
struggles of the multitude who sought his counsel. Pela- 
gius was a monk. So far as we can gather from our 
imperfect sources, he was a man of calm temperament to 
whom the great struggle of the spirit against the flesh 
was comparatively unknown. He was anxious to promote 
virtuous living, to rouse an enervated generation to the 
need of strenuous effort and self-denial, to forward the 
half-Stoical teaching which had unconsciously influenced 
so many educated Christians. He had studied Greek 
theology to an extent very unusual in the West, and is 
thought to have derived some of his opinions from Theo- 
dore of Mopsuestia. Caslestius, whom we constantly find 
by the side of'Pelagius, and who probably exaggerated 
his opinions, had been an advocate in Rome until he was 
converted by Pelagius. Both Pelagius and Ca3lestius were 
laymen when they first become known to us. 

When Pelagius controverted St Augustin 's opinions, his 
opposition does not seem to have occasioned any excite- 
ment at Rome. He appears to have been cautious and 
circumspect ; but his pupil Caslestius was younger, bolder, 

^ Epist. ad Demetriadem, c. 3. 
^ Angiistiu, Confessiones, x. 29. 

^ De Dovo Persev. 53. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


full of the zeal of a new convert, and not afraid of the 
logical consequences of his principles. In him appears a 
new feature of the great controversy. He was understood 
to deny the transmission of Adam's sin to his descendants, 
and from this to draw the inference that in the baptism of 
infants there is no remission of sins\ About the year 411 
we find both Pelagius and Crelestius in Africa. Pelagius, 
who was no lover of strife, seems to have left that pro- 
vince when he found that his presence there occasioned 
dissension, but Ca^lestius sought to be appointed a pres- 
byter in Carthage. There in the year 412 Paulinus, a 
deacon of Milan, before a synod over which the bishop of 
Carthage presided, charged him with holding the following 
erroneous opinions ^ That Adam was created mortal, and 
would have died even if he had not sinned ; that the sin 
of Adam injured himself alone, and not mankind ; that 
new-born children are in the same state of innocency in 
which Adam was before his fall ; that all do not die 
through the death or fall of Adam, nor through the Resur- 
rection of Christ shall all rise ; that the Kingdom of 
Heaven may be attained through the Law as well as 
through the Gospel ; that even before the coming of the 
Lord a man might live without sin, if he would. Cseles- 
tius, admitted to plead his own cause, declared that he 
held that infants ought to be baptized. The transmission 
of Adam's sin he considered an open question, since he 
had heard Catholics both affirm and deny it. In the end 
he was excommunicated by the council, and passed over 
to Ephesus, whence, after becoming a presbyter, he betook 
himself to Constantinople. 

Pelagius meantime had gone into Palestine, whence he 
wrote a conciliatory letter to Augustin, who replied, if 
with considerable reserve, at any rate amicably'. He also 
attempted to become friendly with Jerome ; but as he had 
already been admitted to the friendship of John of Jeru- 
salem, with whom Jerome had a quarrel, he found there 
no favour. Jerome wrote fiercely against him*, connecting 
him — probably not unjustly — with the already suspected 

1 Augustin, De Peccatorum Mcri- 
tis, III. 12. 

^ Augustin, De Peccato Orif/. ii. 
2 ff. ; in Hardouin Cone. i. 1201. 

^ Augustin, De Gestis Pelagii, c. 

■* Ivpiat. 133 ad Gtcsii^hontcrn, 
autl Dialogi c. FeUujiuin. 

Chap. XI. 

of Gceles- 

No heri- 
tage of sin. 

in A frica, 
c. 411. 

Council at 

in Con- 


Controversies on the Faith. 

Origen. A statement of his own opinions, which Cselestius 
had circulated, and which became widely known, also tended 
to bring the more cautions Pelagius into ill repute. 
Orosius, the well-known pupil and friend of Augustin, at 
last brought it to pass that John cited Pelagius to answer 
for himself before a meeting of the presbytery of Jeru- 
salem. Before this assembly Pelagius declared that he 
believed a sinless life to be impossible without the grace 
of God, and was thereupon acquitted'. Orosius had to 
speak through an interpreter, and probably failed to make 
his audience understand the importance of a speculation 
altogether unfamiliar to them. But the opponents of 
Pelagius did not rest. In December of the same year 
they brought his doctrines before a Palestinian synod at 
Diospolis", the ancient Lydda. He did not deny that he 
held the opinions attributed to him, but was able so to 
explain them that the assembled prelates, fourteen in 
number, declared his orthodoxy unimpeachable. The pro- 
positions of C^elestius which had been condemned at Car- 
thage were then produced, and Pelagius was asked whether 
he assented to them. Some of them he expressly re- 
jected ; as to others, he held that he ought not to be 
questioned, since the sayings were none of his ; but he 
nevertheless anathematized those who held them. The 
synod thereupon decided that he was a true Catholic, and 
worthy of admission to communion^ His mode of thought 
was in fact much more consonant than St Augustin's with 
that prevailing in the East. 

But in Africa the decisions of Diospolis were very far 
from satisfactory. In the year 416 synods assembled at 
Carthage and at Milevis; at Milevis Augustin was present. 
Both these assemblies condemned Pelagius, and appealed 
for support to Innocent, bishop of Ilome\ He received 
the appeal with delight, regarding it as an acknowledge- 
ment that nothing could be finally concluded by a pro- 
vincial synod without the assent of the see of Rome, and 
at once decided that Pelagius and Ca?lestius should be 

^ Orosius himself wrote an ac- 
count of these transactions in his 
Liber Apologeticus {Opera, ed. 
Zangemeister, G03 ff.) ; Ilardouin, 
Cone. I. 1207. 

2 Hardouin i. 1209. Short ac- 

count in Augustin, De Pecc. Orig. 
II. 11. 

3 Augustin, De Gestis Pelagii, 

* The synodical epistles in Au- 
gustin, Epistt. 175, 176. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


excommunicated until they had extricated themselves from Chap. xi. 
the snare of the deviP. 

Upon this Pelagius sent to Rome his ably drawn 
Confession of Faith^ with a treatise in defence of it^ 
Some of the things laid to his charge he declared to be 
inventions of the enemy, others he explained away ; but 
he adhered to his main proposition, that all men had 
received from God such a power of will as to enable them 
to perform good works, while Christians had special means 
of grace. This document never came into the hands of 
Innocent ; he was dead before it reached Rome. It was 
received by his successor Zosimus. At the same time Zosimus 
Ccelestius softened some of his more offensive propositions, ^M^^t 417. 
especially with regard to infant baptism*, and the result 
was that Zosimus at a Roman synod restored both him 
and Pelagius to communion, and blamed the Africans for 
their too hasty zeal^. In Carthage there was great indig- 
nation, and a synod convened to consider the matter 
refused to repeal the former decision". This energetic 
resistance daunted the pope, who now wrote that the 
Africans had misunderstood him, if they supposed that 
he had come to a final decision in the matter of Cselestius; 
the case was still undecided''. Immediately on the receipt 
of this epistle a council was held, attended by more than Council at 
two hundred bishops from all the provinces of Africa, at j ^^^^^''"'d^' 
which not only was Pelagianism condemned in the most 
direct and unambiguous terms, but appeals to Rome were 
forbidden on pain of excommunication ^ A fresh person 
now appeared on the scene; the emperor put forth a 
rescrijDt condemning the new heretics^ Zosimus there- 
upon faced about. He joined in the excommunication 
of Pelagius and Caelestius, having discovered that such 
matters as grace, free-will, and original sin were of the 
essence of the Faith, and required all bishops to subscribe 
his circular letter*" of condemnation. Eighteen refused, 

1 Innocentii Epistt. 30 — 33; Au- 
giistini Epiatt. 181—184. 

•- In Hahn's Bibliothek, § 133. 

•* Fragments of this are found in 
Avigustin, De Gratia Ghristi and De 
Fecc. Orig. 

* Fragment of his Libellus in 
Aug. De Pecc. Orifj. 5 ff. 

' Zosimi Epistt. 3, 4. 

* Prosper, c. Collatorem 5. 

^ Zosimi Epist. 15. 

8 Canons with those of Milevis, 
Hardouin i. 1217. 

9 In Hardouin i. 1229. 

^^ Epistola tractoria ; fragments 
in Augustin x. App. p. 108 (ed. 


Controversies on the Faith. 

among them a very notable person, Julian of Eclanum. 
He was more vigorous and downright than the cautious 
Pelagius and more wary than the fiery Ciaelestius^ He 
had considerable dialectic power, and was never weary of 
discussing and defining. This prelate wrote in the name 
of the eighteen dissenting bishops two very frank letters 
to the pope, not however maintaining all the propositions 
of Ceelestius. From this time Julian becomes a prominent 
figure. St Augustin, who was a friend of Julian's family, 
replied to his letters with gentleness and moderation. 
But Julian — a rash youth, as St Augustin calls him — 
had no reverence for the greatest man in Christendom ; 
he drew remorselessly all the logical consequences of his 
doctrines, and pointed out the Manichaan mode of thought 
which was latent in them. Augustin protested that he 
had no conscious leaning to Manichseism, but it was not 
easy to shew that no relics of his Manichsean training 
lingered in his mind. From this arose a controversy 
which lasted as long as Augustin lived, and in the stress 
of which he developed the decidedly predestinarian views 
which are found in his later treatises''. 

The end of Pelagius is obscure; he simply vanishes 
from history. The unwearied Ceelestius, though banished 
from Italy, was able to induce pope Cselestinus to investi- 
gate the matter afresh. By this however he gained 
nothing, and departed to Constantinople, which, as Julian 
and other friends also settled there, became the head- 
quarters of the Pelagian camp. The friendship which 
the patriarch Nestorius shewed them had important con- 
sequences ; on the one hand it drew on Nestorius the 
displeasure of the pope, on the other it brought upon 
the Pelagians the suspicion of Nestorianisra. It was 
perhaps in consequence of this supposed connexion that 
the followers of Nestorius and of Cselestius were con- 
demned together at the Council of Ephesus^ in 431. In 

Bened.). Tillemont (xiii. 738 ff.) 
has shewn that this letter was not 
written before the council and the 
Imperial Rescript. The change of 
front at Rome is alluded to hy 
Augufitin, C . dims Epistt. I'elag. 11. '6. 
^ Julian's statement of his behef 
is given in Hahu's Bihliothek, § 

135, p. 219. 

2 This controversy brought out 
Augustin's C. duas Epistt. Pelag., 
De Nuptiis, etc., Libb. vl c. Julia- 
num, and Opus Imperfertum c, JxlI., 
on which he was working at the 
time of his death. 

^ Canon 4, in Hardouin i. 1623. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


spite however of this mention in an CEcumenical Council, 
there were probably few theologians in the East who had 
studied Pelagianism, and still fewer who sided with 

The positions of the Pelagians which were condemned 
were, in brief, (1) that the Grace of God is not absolutely 
necessary for every man, whether before or after baptism, 
in order to his eternal salvation ; and (2) that there is no 
hereditary transmission of the sin of Adam, and therefore 
that in the baptism of infants there is not, strictly, any 
remission of sins. On the other hand, the doctrine of 
St Augustin was, that mankind has become through the 
fall of Adam a mass of sin, so that a man cannot turn 
and prepare himself, by his own natural strength, to faith 
and calling upon God ; and that we have no power to do 
good works pleasant and acceptable to God without the 
grace of God through Christ preventing us that we may 
have a good will, and working with us when we have that 
good will. We need for our salvation, to use the common 
terms, grace prevenient and grace cooperant. This grace 
is freely given, not for any merit in them, to a certain 
fixed number of persons who are called, chosen, justified, 
sanctified, and brought to everlasting life, in accordance 
with God's eternal decree. In baptism, the " laver of 
regeneration," the taint of original sin is washed away, 
but the capacity for actual sin remains. Renewal is still 

Pelagianism was condemned, but Augustinism was not 
received as the doctrine of the Catholic Church. The 
doctrine of predestination, of irresistible gi'ace given to a 
limited number, seemed to many something new and 
startling. Even in the lifetime of Augustin, the oppo- 
sition to his innovation, as many thought it, made itself 
felt. Was then the human will, it was asked, altogether 
inoperative in the work of salvation ? Were good works 
altogether superfluous ? Was it possible for men to sit 
with their hands in their laps, making no effort to obey 
their Lord's commands, and yet be saved ? The monks of 
Hadrametum in North Africa, in particular, seem to have 
held that such was St Augustin's teaching, and to have 
drawn the inference that it was useless to attempt the 
conversion of a sinner, except by intercessory prayer, 

c. 21 

Chap. XI. 

of Pela- 
and Axi- 

stage of 

Monks at 


Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. 

writes to 

dies, 430. 

The oppo- 
sition to 

and Vin- 
cent ius. 


Augustin, hearing of their perversion, as he deemed it, of 
his words, wrote to them^ explaining that he was by no 
means indifferent as to the life of believers ; that a child 
of God must feel himself impelled by the Holy Spirit to 
do right; that men who have not such grace ought to 
pray that they may receive it; but he still maintained 
that the bestowal of such grace depends wholly upon 
God's eternal decree. 

Soon afterwards. Prosper and other friends^ informed 
him that in Marseilles, and elsewhere in Southern Gaul, 
the doctrine of irresistible grace was not accepted, because 
it seemed to leave no room for exhortations to Christian 
life. Augustin replied^ in such a way as to strengthen 
the hands of his friends, while he gave fresh offence to 
his opponents. Soon afterwards he died, leaving disciples 
to carry on the war who resembled their master rather in 
zeal than in ability. The monks of Southern Gaul now 
broke out into more open opposition ; it is easy to under- 
stand how St Augustin's doctrine presented itself to 
ascetics trained mainly under Greek influence. Among 
these the two most distinguished were John Cassian, the 
father of South-Gallican monasticism, and Vincentius of 
Lerins, a monastery on an island not far from Antibes. 
The former had already stated his views on absolute pre- 
destination and the doctrines which follow from it. He 
was offended at unconditional predestination, limited 
grace, and the bondage of the human will. The grace of 
God is, he said, indispensably necessary to our salvation. 
Still, the good will, good thoughts, right belief which 
prepare for the reception of the grace of God are attainable 
by man. Grace is necessary for the perfecting, but not 
for the beginning of our faith. It is only those who strive 
to enter in who are helped by graced It works with 

^ The treatise De Gratia et 
Libero Arhitrio. 

2 Aug. Epistt. 225, 226. 

3 In the treatises De Prcedestina- 
tione Sanctorum and Dc Bono Per- 

* Those who joined this opposi- 
tion are commonly called in mo- 
dern books Semi-Pelagians. As 
however this term does not occur 
in any contemporary, or nearly 

contemporary, document, and does 
not fairly describe their position, 
it seemed best to avoid it. 

^ "Ut dicimus conatus humanos 
adprehendere [perfectionem] per 
se ipsos non posse sine adjutorio 
Dei, ita pronuntiamus laborantibus 
tantum et desudantibus misericor- 
diam Dei gratiamque conferri." 
Instit. XII. 14. 

Contr'oversies on the Faith. 


mau's will. It is only exceptionally that God's grace goes 
before, occasioning the first exertion of man's will, and 
even then it is not irresistible. It is a fundamental truth 
that God wills the salvation of all men, and not of a 
certain limited number only. As to the Fall, he taught 
that the sin of Adam and Eve has corrupted the whole 
race and occasioned an irresistible propensity to sin. 
Still, man's nature is not so wholly corrupt that it retains 
no capacity for good\ In short, Cassian was more alive 
than most of his contemporaries to the truth that God's 
judgments are far above out of our sight, and that the 
mystery of the coexistence of man's free-will and God's 
omnipotence cannot be explained by a sharply defined 
theory. Perhaps in his anxiety to avoid fatalism he 
somewhat tended towards justification by our own works. 

Vincentius, in a treatise which is now probably the 
best known of all the writings of that age, discussed the 
whole question of the test of heresy. His general teach- 
ing may be summed up in the words — innovation is 
heresy. Innovators may quote Scripture to their pur- 
pose, but if their opinions differ from those of the Fathers 
who have lived holily, wisely, and consistently in the faith 
and communion of the Catholic Church, they are heretics. 
Against such a consent no holy and learned man, bishop, 
confessor, or martyr though he be, is to be listened to 
for an instant. And he condemns under his canon those 
who declare that in their society there is so great, so 
special, so personal an influx of the grace of God, that 
without toil, without zeal, without earnestness, though 
they neither ask nor seek nor knock, their votaries are 
held up by angels so that they dash not their foot against 
a stone. The reference to some who held a perversion 
of Augustinian theology is manifest, but it is also tolerably 
clear that Vincentius refers to a sect^ and not to those 
doctors within the Church who defended the views of 

Chap. XI. 

^ "Non amisissehumanum genua 
post praevaricationem Adte scien- 
tiam boni etiam apostoli sententia 
evidentissime declaratur." Collatio 
XII. 12 § 3. 

•■' When he speaks (c. 37, al. 26) 
of persons who state that "in ec- 

clesia sua, id est, in communionis 
su£e conventiculo," such gifts are 
given, he seems to refer to some 
sectarian body, Hke those which 
have been common enough in 
recent times, all the members of 
which were supposed to be " saved." 


tius^ 8 
torhivi, c. 


Controversies on the Faith. 

Chap. XI. 

Prosper of 

The De 



" Pr cedes- 
c. 445? 

Faustus of 
lilez, tl. c. 

Si/ nod at 
c. 475. 

After the death of Augustiu his friend Prosper of 
Aquitaine became the principal champion of Augustin- 
ism^ He admitted that his master had spoken some- 
what harshly'^ when he said that God did not will the 
salvation of all men ; and he represented that predestina- 
tion was to life and not to death, that God's choice was 
not capricious, but just and righteous. He failed to con- 
vince the monks, but he succeeded in obtaining a letter 
from pope Cffilestinus ^ in which the opponents of Augus- 
tinism were blamed, while little was said as to the main 
points in dispute. After this Prosper again replied to 
Cassian, maintaining with considerable ability his Au- 
gustinian views, and then retired from the conflict. The 
unknown writer of the treatise on the Calling of the 
Gentiles* sought to reconcile the proposition, that God 
wills that all men should be saved, with the fact that 
all men are not saved. The book shews at any rate that 
some of the Augustinians were conscious of the difficulty 
of their position, and it was no doubt written in the in- 
terests of peace. On the other hand, there appeared, 
probably about the year 445, a book called 'Pradesti- 
natus'®, in which a forged Augustinian treatise, setting 
forth fatalist doctrine in a form which no genuine Augus- 
tinian would recognise, was criticised from a Pelagian 
point of view. What was the effect of this unprincipled 
work we have no means of knowing ; but we know that 
the monks of Southern Gaul held their ground, and pro- 
duced in Faustus bishop of Riez their ablest champion. 
This able and excellent j^relate, who took part in all the 
controversies of his time, had been abbot of Lerins, and 
in his see never forgot his love for the monastic life. 
He opposed both the teaching of the Pelagians, and the 
immoral doctrine (as he held it to be) of absolute pre- 
destination and the utter annihilation of the human will. 
It was no doubt under his influence that a synod at 
Arles^, about the year 475, and another at Lyons, con- 

1 He wrote Pro Augustino respon- 
siones ad Capitula ohjectionum Gal- 
lorum calumniantium; Eespimsioiics 
, . ad capit. Ohjectionum Vincen- 
tiariim; and other works. 

2 "Durius," Resp. ad Capit. Gall., 
quoted by Harnack, D.-G. iii. 223. 

3 Epist. 21. 

* In Prosper's Works, p. 847, ed. 
Palis 1711. Also in Leo's Works, 
ii. 167 ft', (ed. Ballerini). 

s First brought to light in 1643 ; 
in Galland, Biblioth. Patr. x. 357 ff. 

* Hardouiu ii. 805 ff. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


demned the predestinarian error; and it was to defend 
their decision that he wrote his treatise on Grace and 
Freewill \ His contention is that, granting that man 
since the Fall is unable to attain salvation by his own 
power, he is still capable of resisting or yielding to the 
Grace of God. Though it be true that without grace 
man cannot turn to God, still grace will be given through 
means, such as preaching and the threatening of the law. 
To those who, like the monks, prided themselves on their 
works, he says, what have we that we have not re- 
ceived ? 

While in Gaul the middle-party, with the powerful 
aid of Faustus, held its own, in Africa the tradition of 
Augustin was still lively, and in Rome his name at least 
carried weight. In the early years of the fifth century 
certain Scythian monks, who had already fomented dis- 
sension in Constantinople, mingled in the fray in the 
West. Their leader was Maxentius. These monks 
handed to the legate of pope Hormisdas in Constanti- 
nople a statement of their belief, in which they emphati- 
cally rejected the views of those— Faustus of Riez is 
specially censured — who denied the absolute necessity of 
divine grace to begin the work of salvation, and said that 
it is for man to will, for God to finish the work. Four 
of their number journeyed to Rome, where they found 
no favour. Their statement however found much accept- 
ance among the African bishops who, under pressure of 
the Vandal invasion of Africa, had found refuge in Sar- 
dinia, especially with Fulgentius of Ruspe, their champion, 
a man of considerable intellectual power. He wrote not 
only against Pelagius but against Faustus, whom, without 
naming, he accused of depreciating God's grace in com- 
parison with man's powers. When Possessor, an African 
bishop, wrote to Hormisdas, asking his judgment on the 
matters stirred by the Scythian monks, the pope replied 
with very great caution, referring to Augustin as an 
exponent of the belief of the Roman Church in regard 
to grace and freewill '\ His caution brought out a reply 

Chap. XI. 

' His principal works are in 
Bibliotheca Mux. Patrum. viii. 523 
£f. Epist. ad Lucidum in Hardouin 





11. 809. 

2 Hardouin ii. 1038. 


d. 533. 



Controversies on tJie Faith. 

Chap. XI. 


c. 521. 

Council of 



Council at 

from Maxentius^ which was at any rate sufficiently out- 
spoken ; if, he said, the writings of Augustin were to be 
taken as a standard, Faustus was beyond all doubt a 
heretic. Fulgentius continued the controversy against 
the middle-party, in certain treatises in which, while 
strongly maintaining Augustinian predestination, he at- 
tempted to shew that it did not involve predestination 
to sin. The African bishops also from their Sardinian 
exile sent a declaration^ to Constantinople, in which they 
directed attention to Hormisdas's acceptance of Augustin 
as a standard, and drew the inference that Faustus, so 
far as he differed from him, must be a heretic. Gradually 
even in Gaul itself, the very focus of the opposition, 
there arose a reaction in favour of Augustinism, the 
leaders of which were Avitus of Vienne and Csesarius 
of Aries, the latter of whom was favoured by pope 
Felix IV. In the year 529, on the occasion of the con- 
secration of a church, a council was held at Orange ^ in 
the province of Aries, over which Csesarius presided as 
metropolitan. The conclusions were subscribed by four- 
teen bishops and eight men of illustrious^ rank, including 
Liberius, the prefect of the Gauls and founder of the 
church. These canons, which follow the general lines 
of a document sent down from Rome, contain an un- 
ambiguous acceptance of the Augustinian doctrine of 
original sin and of the impotence of man's will to turn 
to good, so that faith itself is a gift of grace ; but they 
do not admit a predestination to evil ; those who do evil 
do it of their own free will*. And they lay down that 
all baptized persons receive through Christ such a gift 
of grace that they may, if they will, fulfil all the con- 
ditions necessary for salvation ^ These conclusions were 
confirmed by the Roman bishop, Boniface II. A council 
at Valence ^, which took place about the same time, and 
was attended not only by the bishops of the province 
of Vienne, but by representatives of the province of Aries, 

' Responsio ad Epist. Hormisdae 
Papa;, in lUbl. Max. Pair. ix. 570; 
Migne's Patrol., Ser. Gr. 86, p. 93. 

2 In Hardouin ii. 1055 ff. 

3 Hardouin ii. 1097. 

•• The "illustrious" were Roman 

officials of the highest rank (Gib- 
bon, c. 17). 

5 Can. 23. 

« Can. 25, 

7 Hardouin II. 1103. 

Controversies on the Faith. 


made decrees in a similar sense. Pelagianism was thought 
to be at an end. 

The Pelagian controversy constitutes an epoch in the 
history of dogma. Hitherto dogmatic contests had been 
almost wholly about the object of Christian faith, the 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The opinions of Pelagius 
were in fact not recognised at first as dogmatic, either by 
himself or by others ^ ; they belonged (it was thought) to 
that region of theological opinion within which men may 
lawfully differ. And the language used on both sides was 
full of unobserved ambiguities. " Liberty " was sometimes 
taken to mean the power of willing freely, sometimes to 
mean the power of acting as one wills. It is commonly 
used to designate freedom from external coercion, but 
St Augustin uses it to designate freedom from the power 
of sin. The time had not yet come for men to recognise 
an " antinomy of reason " ; to admit that the laws of the 
human mind may force us to acknowledge truths which 
are to our limited faculties incompatible. Since the ex- 
istence of antinomies has been admitted, it has come to 
be felt by the thoughtful everywhere, that they who 
discuss " fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute," 
will find " no end, in wandering mazes lost \" The ex- 
treme predestinarian views have consequently come to be 
merely opinions of sects and parties. 

Even the immense authority of St Augustin could 
not indvice men to accept frankly all the consequences 
which were drawn from his theory of man's lost and 
ruined condition. His views in their origin did not 
satisfy the rule of Vincentivis ; they had not been ac- 
cepted at all times by all men in all places ; and in fact 
they never became Catholic. We see plainly enough 
in the works of Gregory the Great that he labours in 
vain to adopt Augustin's views in their integrity ; almost 
in spite of himself, he addresses men as if they were 
free to receive and obey his exhortations, and so to attain 
salvation *. 

1 See the Creed of Caelestius, in 
Kahn^ B BibUothek, § 134; Harnack, 
Dogmengeschichte, iii. 153, 161. 

- Milton, Paradise Lost, ii. 560. 
^ See P. C. Baur, K.-G. ii. 215 f. 

Chap. XI. 





did not 

Chap. XH. 

Law and 
Code of 

of Church 



1. It has already been observed^ that the precepts of 
Christian morality tended to become a code of positive 
law^ having its own interpreters in the rulers of the 
Church. This tendency becomes more prominent in the 
fourth and following centuries. Men came to look more 
and more to the authority of the Church to determine 
both the special acts and the general conduct which were 
to be required of Christians. Hence there arose a more 
systematic treatment of moral questions and a more regu- 
lar method of dealing with sin and disorder. 

In the early part of the period of which we are treat- 
ing each province had its own code and customs, but 
local peculiarities were gradually eliminated, and the 
whole Church within the empire came to have one law. 
A kind of public opinion was formed on the matter before 
any actual codification took place. It was generally 
agreed that the canons of oecumenical synods and certain 
imperial decrees accepted by the Church were of universal 
obligation ; but there were some synods, of too much im- 
portance to be regarded as simply provincial and yet 
scarcely universal, about the canons of which there was 
doubt. Several of these in course of time came to be 

1 P. 147. 

" See p. 148, note 5; and add 
G. et H. Justelli Bihliotheca Juris 
Canon. Vet. ; J. Pitra Juris Eccl. 
GrcBcorum Hist et Momimenta ; F. 

Maassen Geschichte der Quellen... 
des Canon. Rechts in Abendlande; 
F. Walter Lehrbuch des Kirchen- 
rechts. Book II. 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 


recognised as everywhere valid. The codes of Theodosius 
and of Justinian contained many provisions relating to 
matters ecclesiastical, and it was perhaps the example 
of the imperial codification which induced Joannes Scho- 
lasticus, originally a lawyer, afterwards patriarch of Con- 
stantinople, about the year 570 to arrange systematically 
the whole ecclesiastical law of the Eastern Churchy This 
became the standard book of reference and manual of 
instruction for Oriental students. He also added to his 
collection of canons the imperial laws relating to the 
several matters treated of in the canons. This work, 
called the Nomocanon, was composed apparently within 
the year after Justinian's death". A later hand added 
four laws of Heraclius relating to matters ecclesiastical. 

The Roman Church at the beginning of the fifth 
century recognized only the canons of Nicsea, under which 
name however those of Sardica were included, as of uni- 
versal oblig;itionl Others, said Innocent I., the Church 
does not accept. But in the latter half of the same 
century we find extant a Latin translation of a Greek 
collection of canons*. The imperfection and obscurity of 
this translation however induced Dionysius Exiguus, a 
Scythian monk who understood both Greek and Latin, to 
undertake a new edition, which probably appeared in the 
time of pope Symmachus, between the years 498 and 
514^ The first part of this collection contains a careful 
translation of those canons which were generally acknow- 
ledged by the Greeks, together with the Latin canons of 
Sardica, and the code which was sanctioned by a council 
at Carthage in the year 419 for the use of the African 
Church. The second part contains the decretals of the 
popes, so far as they could then be discovered in Rome, 
from Siricius, who became pope in 38.5, to Anastasius, 
who died in 497. These decretals are for the most part 
letters giving opinions on cases submitted by distant 

1 Printed in Justelli Bibliotlipca, 
II. 499 ff. Compare Assemani Bib- 
liotheca, iii. 354 ff. 

" Zaccliariae Hist. Juris Grceco- 
Rom. § 22, nn. 3, 4, 7 ; Heimbach 
'AuiKdora, I. p. xliv. ff. 

3 See the Ballerini in Galland 
De Vetustis Canonum Collectioni- 

bus, I. 303 ff. 

* Justelli Bihliotheca i. 275 ff. ; 
also in Leonis M. Opera, ed. Bal- 
lerini, ni. 473 ff., and Mansi Cone. 
Yi. 1005 ff. 

5 Ed. F. Pithoeus (Paris, 1687) ; 
Justelli Biblioth. i. 97 ff.; cf. Bal- 
lerini in Leonis Opera in. 174. 

Chap. XII. 

Code of 
sius, 438, 
of Justi- 
nian, 534. 
of Joannes 
cus, c. 570. 







Discipline and Life of the Church. 

authorities. This Code of Dionysius came to be received 
in Rome and in the West generally as having the autho- 
rity of law, and was completed by the addition from time 
to time of later documents. A collection of canons for 
the use of the Spanish Church was made probably in the 
first half of the seventh century by Isidore of Seville \ 
This contains in its first division, together with the greater 
part of the current Greek Church-law, certain canons of 
Spanish and of Gallican councils ; in the second division 
the decretals of the Dionysian Code, with the addition of 
certain letters of the popes relating to Spanish and Galli- 
can affairs. The "Breviarium" drawn up by Fulgentius 
Ferrandus^ a deacon of Carthage, about the year 547, 
independently of the Dionysian Code, seems to have at- 
tained less vogue. 

Another source of Church-law was the penitential 
system, the beginnings of which we have already seen^ 
They who sinned against the law of God were at once 
punished and purified by passing through a course of 
humiliation and mortification before they could be re- 
admitted to the full privileges of the faithful. This course 
was called by the general name of penitence or penance, 
and those who were undergoing it were penitents. This 
system brought with it the necessity of instruction in the 
application of appropriate remedies; for penalties might 
vary from a short period of fasting or abstinence to a 
sentence which hardly permitted the offender to receive 
the sacrament on his death-bed. Many directions on these 
matters are given in the canons of councils ; but in- 
structions were also issued from time to time by dis- 
tinguished ecclesiastics with a view of securing uni- 
formity in the administration of penitential discipline. 
Such documents, for instance, as the epistles of St Basil 
and his brother Gregory of Nyssa on the subject of peni- 
tence were held in such respect as to have almost the 
force of law. That of St Gregory* is rather a treatise 
on what we may call the psychology of sin than an at- 
tempt to assign special penalties to special sins; while 

1 Codex Canonnm Eccl. Ilispa- 
nicF. (Madrid, 1808); Galland Bih- 
linth. I. 500 ff. 

2 Justelli Biblioth. i. 456 ff. 

3 P. 147. 

^ In Beveridge's Synodicon, ii. 
151 ff. 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 


those of Basil \ dealing mainly with the sins of idolatry, 
murder, and fornication, allot to each form of sin its 
appropriate punishment. The latter had great influence 
in the East, and received synodical sanction at the Trullan 
council- in 692. In the West, the papal decretals some- 
times deal, though not systematically, with sins for which 
penitence is prescribed. Fragments still exist of British 
and Irish penitentials of great antiquity, mainly devoted 
to the enforcement of purity of life and the discharge of 
Christian duty, and to the extirpation of the ferocious 
and licentious passions of the old heathen life. Sixteen 
canons are extant of the book of St David of Menevia ^ 
— now called from him St David's — and similar canons 
of councils held under the same bishop, which imply a 
rude and impure state of life among those for whom they 
were intended. Another ancient penitential, bearing the 
name of Vinniaus or Finian^, and probably contemporary, 
or nearly so, with St David's, enumerates the principal 
sins of clergy and laity, with their appropriate penalties. 
Of about the same date is the Prefatio Gildce de Peni- 
tential, which gives a more detailed account of the several 
penances than the other early books. Among the earliest 
existing penitentials are those of Ireland'', some possibly 
drawn up by, or under the influence of, St Patrick him- 
self In these appears the system of compounding for sins 
by the surrender of money or other worldly goods, which 
was afterwards conspicuous both in the ecclesiastical and 
the civil codes of the Northern nations of Europe. The 
numerous and interesting English Penitentials do not fall 
within the chronological limits of this work. 

In the fourth and fifth centuries a great change crept 
over the whole penitential system. The old rule, that an 
excommunicated person could only once in his lifetime be 
re-admitted to the Church, after confession and penance, fell 

^ The three Canonical Letters to 
Amphilochius (in Synodicon, n. 
47 ff.). These letters are not how- 
ever quoted by any writer before 
Joannes Scholasticus in the sixth 
century, and are thought by Bin- 
terim (Denkwurdigkeiten, V. 3, 
36G ff.), following Molkenbuhr, to 
be spurious. 

^ Canon 2. 

^ Haddan and Stubbs Councils 
and Documents, i. 118 ff. 

* Wasserschleben Bussordnun- 
gen, 108 ff. 

^ Councils and Documents, i. 
113 ff. 

•^ Biissordnunr/en, 13H ff. 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 

into disuse. The same person was more than once admitted 
to the ranks of penitents and to the hope of" restoration. 
It was one of the charges made against Chrysnstom at the 
Synod of the Oak\ that he had said, "if thou sinnest again, 
again repent ; as often as thou sinnest, come to me and 
I will heal thee." In the days immediately following the 
Decian persecution, when large numbers of the lapsed 
flocked to obtain absolution from the Church, so that 
their public confessions became a scandal, a discreet 
presbyter was chosen to decide, after private hearing, 
what penance the offenders should undergo before ad- 
mission to communion l Such a penitentiary presbyter 
was generally appointed in the several Churches until 
Nectarius, patriarch of Constantinople in 891 abrogated 
the office in his own Church, in consequence of a scandal 
which had arisen, and many other bishops followed his 
example, Socrates^ seems to imply that after this it was 
left to each man's conscience to decide whether he was 
worthy to approach the mysteries. In Rome, pope Sim- 
plicius appointed a penitentiary in the latter part of the 
fifth century. This private confession was the natural 
result of the extension of Christianity to society in 
general. Sins which might be confessed to a small as- 
sembly of friends bound together by the most intimate 
union of thought and feeling could hardly be uttered 
before a large congregation of comparatively indifferent 
persons. Moreover, some of the sins which excluded the 
sinner from communion were also crimes which might 
bring him under the cognizance of the law of the land, 
and some sins, as adultery, involved others besides the 
person confessing. 

Augustin^ contemplates the daily prayer as sufficient 
atonement for the little sins which we inevitably commit 
in daily life, while the more deadly sins, which separate 
men from the Body of Christ, require public and formal 
penance. These more deadly sins are those against the 
majesty of God Himself, as blasphemy, idolatry, heresy 
and sorcery; or actual offences against one's neighbour, as 
murder, adultery, theft and perjury, and openly expressed 

^ Hardouin i. lOil. 
" Sozomen vii. IG. 

3 H. E. V. 19. 

"• Be Symb. ad Catcch. c. 7. 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 


hatred'. No layman who had done penance could ever be 
admitted to the ranks of the clergy, and no cleric could 
be admitted to penance without previous deposition from 
his office ^ The general principle which Augnstin' laid 
down, that secret sins might be confessed secretly, while 
open sins must be confessed openly, was probably largely 
adopted by bishops in their penitential discipline, Leo 
the Great*, however, condemned in vigorous language the 
conduct of those bishops who compelled penitents to read 
aloud in the church a complete list of their sins, holding 
that it was sufficient for the relief of the conscience if 
men confessed their sin to the priests alone, and that this 
course was also desirable for the avoiding of scandal. 
From this time, probably, public confession of sin became 

Almsgiving, or bequests to the Church, also came 
to be recognised as a means of atoning for sin. "If 
thou hast money," says St Ambrose®, "buy off thy sin. 
The Lord is not for sale (venalis), but thou thyself art for 
sale ; buy thyself off by thy works, buy thyself off by 
thy moneys. Vile is money, but precious is mercy." 
Salvian' insists that the only thing which a man can 
do on his death-bed for the good of his soul is to leave all 
his goods to the Church ; but the offering must be ac- 
companied by real contrition of heart in order to be 
efficacious. Men like St Augustin® warned their flocks 
against leaving money to the Church in a fit of anger 
against their natural heirs, but still the practice grew of 
making the Church the legatee of at least a portion of a 
man's worldly goods. 

And not only did the dying leave their goods to the 
Church; offerings were also made for the departed. "It 
cannot be denied," says St Augustin^ "that the souls of 
the departed are comforted by the piety of their surviving 
friends when the mediatorial sacrifice is offered for them 
and alms are given on their behalf in the church; but 

1 Cone. Arelat. ii. c. 50. 

^ Sirieius ad Himer. c. 14, in 
Hardouin i. 851. 

» Sermo 82, c. 7, § 10. 

•» Epist. 168 [al. 136] c. 2. 

^ De Elia et Jejiniio, C. 20. 
(Gieseler i. 584, n. b.) 

6 Cf. Daniel iv. 24, Vulg. 

^ Ad Ecclesiam i. 10. 

* Sermo 49 De Diversis (quoted 
by Ford St Mark illustrated, p. 

^ Enchiridion ad Laiirentium, c. 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 

these things only profit those who so lived as to deserve 
to be benefited by them." As few would believe that 
their friends had lived so ill as to receive no benefit from 
their offerings, or so well as not to require them, the effect 
of this principle was that offerings were made for almost 
all the departed. 

The Christian Church brought comfort to an age in 
the throes of dissolution; before a generation which had 
fallen into moral laxity it held up a standard of nobler 
and purer life. It handed on to the new world which 
arose on the ruins of the Western Empire the torch of 
truth which it had received from above. It diffused 
through Society a more tender feeling for the weak and 
suffering, and so in the end introduced a more humane 
spirit into general legislation* and popular customs. The 
gladiatorial shows which had delighted the Romans were 
forbidden indeed by Constautine^ but they were not really 
put down until the noble self-sacrifice of the monk Tele- 
machus produced so deep an impression that the rescript 
against the practice, which Honorius issued immediately 
afterwards, really brought it to an end''. 

Attempts were made to restrain scenical representa- 
tions within the bounds of decency and good order*. The 
wretched lot of slaves and captives was mitigated ; the 
almost unlimited power which the old Roman law gave to 
a father over his children was restricted ; above all, the 
condition of women was changed, and the same chastity 
was looked for in men which had once been expected 
only from women. The laws which inflicted disabilities 
on the unmarried were repealed^, and celibates placed on 
an equality with the married ; while difficulties were 
placed in the way of second marriages ^ With regard 
to divorce a discrepancy arose between the law of the 
empire and the law of the Church, which had never re- 
cognized any ground for divorce except adultery. The great 
freedom of separation which prevailed in pagan times 
was indeed restrained, but the civil law permitted many 

^ It was noticed (Euseb. Vita 
Constant, iv. 26) that this process 
had already begun under Constan- 

2 Codex Theod. xv. 12. 

3 Theodoret H. E. v. 26. 

* Codex Theod. xv, titt. 5, 6, 7. 

* lb. VIII. 16. 
« lb. III. 8. 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 


divorces which the Church did not sanction', and from 
this permission scandals arose. "Hear ye now," cries a 
preacher^ at the end of the fourth century, "ye that 
change your wives as readily as your cloaks, ye that so 
often and so easily build bridal chambers, ye that on 
a small provocation write a bill of divorcement, ye that 
leave many widows while ye still live; be ye fully assured 
that marriage is dissolved only by death and by adultery." 
Jerome also bewails the difference of the laws. " The 
laws of Caesar," he says^, "differ from those of Christ; 
Papinian [the great jurist] lays down one thing, Paul 
a different thing." 

The duty of beneficence, whether to ascetics or to 
others who were in need, came into prominence in the 
Church and produced great results. The Church, be- 
come rich through the privileges bestowed upon it, was 
the principal protector of the poor and helpless in the 
needful time of trouble. The bishops had generally the 
chief control of ecclesiastical funds, and they were rarely 
found wanting in their due administration. In large cities 
the lists of those who were supported or succoured by the 
alms of churchmen often included some thousands of 
names. Rome was divided, for the purpose of poor-relief, 
into seven regions, each under the care of a deacon, and in 
each region a special edifice* was built for his use in dis- 
tributing relief. When St Chrysostom was at Antioch three 
thousand names were on the list of those who depended 
on the Church for daily bread®, and in Constantinople the 
same excellent prelate fed seven thousand. Special insti- 
tutions were developed for the care of the stranger, the 
sick, the helpless of every kind. The great hospital which 
St BasiP founded at Csesarea was no doubt a model for many 
others. Similar hospitals were soon erected in many cities 
both of the East and the West. The well-known friends 
of Jerome, Fabiola and Pammachius, founded hospitals in 
Rome and in the neighbouring Portus''; Paulinus estab- 

^ Codex Theod. iii. 16. 

* Asterius Amasenus IIoiii. 5, 
in Combefis Auctarium Novum i. 
82 ; Gieseler i. 608, note o. 

3 Epist. 84 [al. 30] Ad Oceanum, 
c. 1. 

■* Diaconia. See Diet. Chr. An- 

tiq. p. 549. 

5 Horn. 66 [al. 67] iu Matthauvi. 

6 Epistt. 94 [al. 372] ad Hcliam; 
142 [al. 374]; 143 [428]; Greg. 
Nazianz. Oral. 20. 

7 Jerome Epist. 66, § 11. 



St Basil's 
c. 870. 


Discipline and Life of the Church. 

Chap. XU. 

of the 

Faults of 
the Laity. 


lished one in Nola. Such institutions were maintained 
either from the common funds of the Church, or from 
special donations of land or money. 

The income of the Church in its earlier and simpler 
ages was derived from the offerings of the faithful ; but 
when, under the privilege granted by Christian emperors, 
the Church itself became possessed of considerable property, 
these oblations became relatively of less importance. Still, 
rich offerings were made, especially on Saints' Days and 
other high festivals, which were devoted partly to the 
maintenance of the clergy, partly to the succour of the 
poor. The bishops, who disposed of great riches, generally 
lived very simply, though there were no doubt some who 
justified the sneer of Ammianus Marcellinus^ that it was 
no wonder that men fought for the possession of the see of 
Rome, seeing the wealth and splendour which they enjoyed 
who attained it. 

But while there was in the Church no lack of Christian 
virtues, evils also appeared which were perhaps insepar- 
able from a time of transition. When Constantine gave 
his favour to the Church, a multitude pressed into it who 
were still pagan at heart, taking with them many of the 
vices and superstitions of heathenism. Constantine seems 
to have contemplated this bringing over of the common 
herd from impure motives as one end of his liberality 
to the Church. Few, he said, were influenced by a 
real love of truth '^ ; he could draw men to the doctrine 
of salvation more readily by abundant largess than by 
preaching^ He bestowed honours and privileges upon 
cities which accepted Christianity ^ Christian writers 
did not deny that many entered the Church who were 
Christian only in name. Eusebius ' tells us that he had 
himself observed the injury done by the flocking in of 
greedy and worthless men who lowered the standard of 
social life, and by the dissimulation of those who slunk 
into the Church with a mere outward show of Christianity. 
Augustin " declares that few sought Jesus for Jesus' sake ; 
most sought their own ends in their proiession of the 

^ Rerum Gestaruvi Lib. xxvii. 3. 


2 Eusebins Vita Constant, iii. 21. 

3 lb. HI. 58. 

* lb. IV. 38, 39. 

6 lb. IV. 54. 

^ In Joannem, Tract, 25, § 10. 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 


faith. When Christians said these things it is not wonder- 
ful if a pagan * declared that many of those who filled the 
Churches were no more Christians than a player-king is 
a king. It was necessary to forbid even men in Holy 
Orders to use art-magic or incantations, to cast horoscopes 
or to practise astrology, to make phylacteries or amulets^; 
and to warn all persons against practising secret idolatry 
and attending heathen festivals*. Nor was the Church 
altogether free from superstitions of Jewish origin *. 

And the clergy did not in all cases give to the laity 
an example of the highest Christian life. When office in 
the Church no longer brought with it trouble and danger, 
but honour and power, it was eagerly sought for, and that 
sometimes by unworthy means. Gregory of Nazianzus* 
laments and Jerome^ declaims against the eager pressing 
of ambitious and self-seeking men into places of honour 
in the Church ; the luxury, the flattery, the legacy- 
hunting, the trading of some unworthy members of the 
clergy. We must of course bear in mind that the 
language of Gregory is that of a sensitive man weary of 
the strife of tongues and the wiles of intrigue, while 
Jerome's is that of a bitter and unsparing satirist, him- 
self devoted to the ascetic life ; but neither one nor the 
other is likely to have spoken utterly without warrant. 
And if confirmation of their words be required, it is un- 
fortunately to be found in a law of the emperor Leo of 
the year 469 '', which forbids men to gain Holy Orders 
by bribery, and rebukes the avarice which hung as a 
cloud over the altar. Far from seeking the sacred office 
a man should not accept it unless compelled. We have 
here the germ of 710I0 episcopari. 

Two causes, it is to be feared, tended to demoralize 
the clergy. One was the excessive prevalence of dog- 

^ Libanius Orat. pro Templis 
(ii. 177, ed. Reiske). 

2 Cone. Laodic. c. 36, in Har- 
douin I. 787. 

3 lb. 35, 39. 

4 Chrysostom adv. Judceos Ora- 
tiones viii., in Opera i. 716 ff. 

6 Orat. 43 [al. 20] in Laudem 
Basilii; Apol. de Fuga sua, Orat. 
1 [al. 2]. Compare the curious 


passage from his Carmen de se 
ipso, in Gieseler i. 590. 

^ Epist. 34 [al. 2] ad Nepotianum ; 
18 [al. 22] ad Eustochimn. See 
also the sermon printed with those 
of Ambrose (In Dom. xxii post 
Pentec.) and Augustin {App. Sermo 
82) on Luke iii. 14. 

7 Codex Justin, i. 3. 31. 


Chap. XII. 


Faults of 
the Clergy. 

Laio of 

of dispute. 


Discipline and Life of the Church. 

Chap. XII. 





matic disputes, which sometimes withdrew men's thoughts 
from the necessity of a holy life. It is easier, and perhaps 
more profitable, to be a partizan than a saint. The other 
was, for the East, the imperial Court at Constantinople\ 
When the emperor perpetually interfered in affairs of 
dogma, and it was of the last importance to gain his ear, 
bishops and priests jostled with courtiers and lackeys in 
the ante-rooms of the palace, and no doubt lost in spiritu- 
ality what they gained in power. 

2. When the world mingled with the Church, the 
question could scarcely fail sometimes to arise — Can an 
organisation be said to be the Church of Christ when 
not only many of its members, but some even of its 
priests, are leading lives which shew no trace of Christian 
holiness ? Are the sacraments efficacious which are ad- 
ministered by impure hands ? What amount of corrup- 
tion in an existing Church justifies those of its members 
who desire purity in forming a separate society? Can 
anything justify separation ? These were the questions 
which underlay the wretched conflict in the African 
Church in the fourth and fifth centuries, though the con- 
troversy first arose on a special point, and that one which 
could not emerge except in an age of persecution. 

The schism referred to arose out of the last persecu- 
tion, when they who delivered up the sacred books to 
the persecutors were stigmatized as " traditores." Men- 
surius^ bishop of Carthage is said to have given up 

1 See the picture of this court in 
Ammianus Marcellinus xxii. 4. 

2 Optatus Milev. De Schismate 
Donatistarum (Dupin in his edition 
of this work gives a Historia Dona- 
tistarum, Monumenta Vet. ad Hist. 
Donatist. pertinentia, and other 
documents) ; Augustin c. Epist. 
Partneniani, De Bivptismo, c. Literas 
Petiliani, c. Cresconium, Breviculus 
Gollationum. In the Appendix to 
vol. IX. of the Benedictine edition 
of Aug. Opera are given Excerpta 
et scripta Vetera ad Donat. Hist, 
pertinentia. There is an essay by 
Valesius De Schismate Donat. ap- 
pended to Eusebius (i. 775 ff. Bead- 
ing's Edition). See also H. Noris 
Hist. Donatistarum in his Opera 

(ed. Ballerini), vol. iv. C. P. W. 
Walch Ketzerhistorie, Bd. iv. ; F. 
Eibbeck Donatus u. Augustin; C. 
Bindemann Der Heilige Augus- 
tinus, n. 366 ff.; in. 178 ff.; D. 
Volter Ursprung des Donatismus; 
Hefele in Kirchenlexicon in. 254 flf. ; 
J. M. Fuller in Diet. Chr. Biog. i. 
881 ff. ; F. W. Farrar Lives of the 
Fathers, n. 514 ff. 

8 For Augustin's account of Men- 
surius see Breviculus Collat. D. iii. 
c. 13, no. 25; cf. Csecilian, lb. c. 
14, no. 26. The Donatist account 
in the Acta Saturnini etc. (Baluze's 
3Iiscellanea,u.72 ; DuTpin's Optatus 
156 ff.) is obviously a gross exag- 
geration (Gieseler i. 323, n. 2). 

Discijdine and Life of the Cliurch. 


heretical books to the agents of the government instead 
of those which they sought — an act which to the more 
rigorous appeared an unworthy evasion. But he and his 
archdeacon Caecilian had probably given deeper offence 
by opposing the extravagant honours given to confessors, 
and the belief in the efficacy of relics. When Mensurius 
died, Caecilian was somewhat hastily elected as his suc- 
cessor by the bishops of the Carthaginian province only, 
and at once consecrated by Felix, bishop of Aptunga\ 
As the bishop of Carthage had primatial jurisdiction over 
Numidia also, the bishops of that province were naturally 
aggrieved that the election had taken place without them. 
In their anger they declared that the newly- consecrated 
bishop was almost a traditor, and that his consecrator 
was no better. The offer of Caecilian, to be reconsecrated 
by Numidian bishops if anything had been done irregu- 
larly, was received by them with scorn and contumely. 
Passion was already too hot to listen to the words of truth 
and soberness. They chose as bishop a reader named 
Majorinus^, and, on his death in 315, Donatus, who 
headed the schism with so much zeal and ability that it 
came to be known by his name. 

Everywhere but in Africa Caecilian was recognised as 
the legitimate bishop of Carthage. In Africa, the party 
which had chosen Majorinus, soon after the battle of the 
Milvian Bridge had made Constantino master of Western 
Europe, applied to him to name Gallican judges who 
might decide the questions at issue between them and 
Caecilian. Constantino was very unwilling to interfere in 
the affairs of the Church, but nevertheless named Ma- 
ternus of Cologne, Reticius of Autun, and Marinus of 
Ai"les to adjudicate. These three, with fifteen Italian 
bishops, met at Rome under the presidency of the bishop 
of that city, and, finding that the charges were not proved, 
fully acquitted Caecilian^. To the dissident bishops the 
proposal was made that, if they would return into the 
fold of the Church, each bishop should retain his office ; 
and that in a city where there were two bishops, the 
senior should remain, while for the other a see should be 

1 Optatus I. 18. 

2 Optatus (i. 19) declares that 
many of the bishops who chose 

Majorinus were themselves tradi- 
tors. See also Aug. Epist. 43, § 10. 
^ Optatus I. 25. 


Chap. XIL 

Bixhop of 

nus, then 
ance to 



Discipline and Life of the Church. 

Chap. XII. 

Council at 



appeal to 

provided elsewhere. When the Synod broke up, both 
Csecilian and Donatus were for a time detained in Italy, 
while two of its members were deputed to carry the 
official tidings of its decision into Africa \ The Donatists 
were in no way appeased, but complained that their charge 
against Felix of Aptunga, the consecrator of Csecilian, 
had not been heard. He was accordingly brought before 
the proconsul at Carthage, and the falsehood of the charge 
against him made abundantly clear by the evidence of 
the imperial officials who had been concerned in the per- 
secution 2. Further, the whole matter was referred to 
a Council at Aries ^ — the first ever called by imperial 
authority — which decided again in favour of Csecilian and 
against his accusers. The proposal which had been made 
in the previous year by the Synod at Rome to Donatist 
bishops who renounced their schism, was renewed. On 
the point specially at issue it was laid down that an 
ordination by a traditor was valid, if the person ordained 
was duly qualified*. It was also enacted, no doubt with 
a view to the Donatists, that false accusers should incur 
the penalty of excommunication ® ; and declared that bap- 
tism in the name of the Holy Trinity was valid, even 
when conferred by a heretic''. In these decisions as to 
ordination and baptism the principle is of course affirmed, 
that the sacraments are effectual, because of Christ's in- 
stitution and promise, though they be ministered by evil 

The Donatists were still dissatisfied, and again appealed 
to the emperor, who now determined to hear the parties in 
person. He sat for this purpose at Milan, and after hear- 
ing the pleadings on both sides acquitted Csecilian and 
declared the charges against him to be calumnies. Constan- 
tine however soon became aware that the Donatists, far from 
respecting his sentence, were more active and aggressive 
than ever under their vigorous head, Donatus "the Great," 
and was at last moved to take secular measures against 
them. He decreed that their churches should be taken 
from them, and their most distinguished bishops driven 

' Optatus I. 26. 

2 Optatus I. 27. 

3 Tlie documents connected with 
this conncil, and the canons, are 

given in Haidouin i. 259 ff. 
* Canon 13. 
6 c. 14. 
« c. 8. 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 


into exile. These measures roused the schismatics to fury, 
and probably first caused the formation of the bands of 
ruffians, who were afterwards so notorious under the name 
of Circumcellions. They did not fail also to try to gain the 
ear of the emperor, to whom they wrote, that they would 
never hold communion with his blackguard of a bishop*, 
and requested full freedom for their worship and the recall 
of the banished Donatists. In a few years the emperor 
seems to have become convinced that it was impossible to 
crush the sect by violence, and that it was worth while to 
try the effect of gentle treatment. He repealed therefore 
all the edicts against them, permitted the return of their 
bishops, and declared in a rescript to his vice-gerent in 
Africa that these frantic people must be left to the judg- 
ment of God. He also exhorted the Catholics to patience, 
which was indeed much required, as the schismatics not 
only behaved in the most outrageous manner towards 
them generally, but even drove them out of their own 
churches^ Of any further measures of Constantino with 
reference to the Donatists we know nothing, but we know 
that in his life-time they so increased and multiplied in 
Africa, that, at a Synod which they held in the year 330, 
two hundred and seventy bishops of their party were 
present. But outside Africa they fovmd few adherents. 
We hear only of two Donatist congregations in Europe — 
one in Spain, the other in Rome. They seem to have 
been particularly anxious to establish themselves under 
the shadow of the apostolic see, but here they were only 
able to hold a meeting on a hill outside the city, whence 
they were nicknamed Montenses, Campitse, and Rupitae. 

When Constans succeeded to that portion of the 
empire to which Africa belonged, and attempted to put 
down the Donatists, the Circumcellions burst out into 
new furyl Contemporary authorities describe them as 
gangs of fanatics, generally of the lowest class, who, misled 
by some of better condition, under pretence of extraordi- 
nary zeal declined all honest labour and held a kind of 
communism. They begged or seized food and led a 
vagabond life, haunting and plundering the farmers' barns 
and granaries, whence they derived the name by which 

1 "Antistiti ipsins nebuloni," 
Aug. Breviculus Collat. m. 39. 

2 Optatus VI. 6, 7. 

3 Optatus ni. 4. 

Chap. XII. 


of the 


Discipline and Life of the Church. 

Chap. XII. 


Cons tans' 

they are best known\ They called themselves Agonistici, 
combatants for Christ. With the help of these sturdy 
marauders the Donatist chiefs resisted the agents of the 
civil power, and not unfrequently seized the churches of 
the Catholics by main force. They often scoured the 
highways in great companies, treated those whom they 
met, especially priests of the Catholic party, with the 
greatest brutality, committed burglaries, and indulged in 
drunkenness and all kinds of violence"''. With all this, 
they had a morbid longing for martyrdom. They inter- 
rupted the worship both of Christians and of pagans in the 
most outrageous manner with the deliberate purpose of 
being killed by the incensed worshippers ; nay, it is even 
said that they bribed men to put them to death. Their 
war-cry of "Deo laudes" was heard with terror^ This 
state of lawlessness continued, with some intermission, up 
to and during the time when Augustin was bishop of 
Hippo. It is not to be supposed that all the Donatists, 
many of whom were undoubtedly men of pure life, looked 
with favour upon the conduct of these vagabonds. Far 
from it. About the year 345 some of the Donatist bishops 
besought the imperial general Taurinus to put them down 
by force of arms, and he did his best to comply*. 

About the year 343 died Csecilian of Carthage, whose 
election to the bishopric had been the beginning of strife. 
As however a Catholic, Gratus, was chosen to succeed him, 
the Donatists continued in schism. Africa was at this 
time in a wretched and impoverished condition, and the 
Circumcellion bands had probably been swelled by the 
addition of many whose principal desire was at any rate to 
get food. Constans therefore in 348 sent two commis- 
sioners, Paulus and Macarius, to that country to relieve 
the distress and to attempt the restoration of peace. But 
Donatus and other leaders of this party roused a re- 
bellion, which compelled the commissioners to assert their 

^ Augustin c. Cresconiiim i. 28. 
"Genus hominum . . . maxime in 
agris territans et victus sui causa 
cellas circumieus rusticanas, unde 
circumcellionum nomen accepit." 
See also in Ps. 132, § 3. See I. 
Gregory Smith in Diet. Chr. Antiq. 
I. 393. 

2 Optatus II. 17, 18, 19, 23; iii. 
4; VI. 1 — 6; Aug. c. Cresconium 
in. § 46. 

^ Augustin Hceres. c. G9 ; c. Gau- 
deiitium i. § 32; Epist. 185, § 12. 

^ Aug. in Ps. 32, § 6; c. Literas 
Petiliani ii. § 14R. 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 


authority by force, and so to bring about a state of things 
of which the Donatists bitterly complained. Macarius 
caused several to be executed, and others to be driven 
into exile, among the latter the great Donatus him- 
self \ The effect of these measures was, that so long as 
Constans, and after him Constantius reigned, the Donatists 
were reduced to silence and secrecy. 

A change took place under Julian, who did not interfere 
in ecclesiastical quarrels, and allowed exiled ecclesiastics 
of all parties to return to their homes. Among these the 
Donatists returned, and the apostasy of their deliverer did 
not prevent the advocates of purity in the Church from 
singing his praises, Donatus had died in exile, but Par- 
menian'"' was chosen in his place as schismatical bishop of 
Carthage, and his followers, no longer repressed by the 
civil power, again committed all kinds of excess, and it 
was not until Valentinian I. and Gratian came into power 
that measures were taken to repress them. After earlier 
edicts had failed, Gratian, in the year 378, issued an edict 
forbidding all assemblies of the Donatists and confiscating 
their churches I But their own divisions — which, says 
Augustin, were innumerable — were more injurious to 
them than imperial persecution. The first schism within 
the schism was formed by the learned Tichonius, He 
combated the two most characteristic tenets of his sect — 
that a church which tolerates sinners ceases to be a true 
church, and that those who come over from such a church 
should be re-baptized ^ He probably desired to bring 
about a reconciliation between the Church and the schis- 
matics, but he only incurred, as mediators usually do, the 
hatred of the leaders of his party. The Kogatians, the 
party of Rogatus, bishop of Cartenna, who repudiated 
the Circumcellions, and were (says Augustin®) the most 
moderate of the Donatist sects, shared the same fate. 
These appear to have been small parties, but other leaders 

1 Optatus III. cc. 1 — 7; Passio 
MarcuU, in Mabillon's Analecta 
Vet. p. 182 ff.; Passio Maximiani 
et Isaac, in Dupin's Monument. 
Donat. p. 197 ff.; Augustin c. Epist. 
Parmen. i. 11 ; c. Lit. Petil. ii. 20, 
39 f.; in. 25 f.; c. Crescon. in. 49. 

2 On Parmenian's character and 

writings, see Optatus i. 4, 5; and 
Augustin c, Parmeniiin. 

3 Codex Theod. lib. xvx. tit. 0, 
1. 2. 

^ August, c. Parmenian. i. 1 ; ii. 

13, 31. 

^ c. Epist. 
Petil. II. 83. 

Chap, XII. 






Schism of 
c. 373. 

c. 3G8. 

Parmen. i. 10; c. 


Discipline and Life of the Church. 

attracted a larger following. Primian, who, on the death 
of Parmenian, about the year 392, became Donatist bishop 
of Carthage, very much relaxed the strict rule which had 
hitherto prevailed, and admitted to communion persons 
who were highly offensive to the more rigorous party\ 
When these openly opposed him, they were themselves 
excommunicated. Among the excommunicated was a 
deacon called Maximian. A considerable number of the 
Donatist bishops sided with him, and, at a council held 
about the year 393, deposed Primian, and chose Maximian 
in his place ^. Primian, however, resisted deposition, and 
a still more numerous council, held at Bagai, deposed 
Maximian, excommunicated him and his adherents, and 
declared Primian to be still bishop '. After this the 
Maximianists had to endure the most furious persecution 
at the hands of the main body of their fellow-schismatics. 
While Donatism was torn by these internal struggles, 
Augustin became bishop of Hippo and Hunorius emperor 
of the West. From the time when Augustin took charge 
of his diocese, where the Donatists were very numerous, 
he did not cease to attempt the conversion of the schis- 
matics by treatises, by preaching, by conferences, by 
letters. At the same time he set himself so to raise 
the standard of Christian life in his own community that 
the puritans should have no excuse for remaining separate 
from it. In the local councils which were held under his 
influence very easy conditions were offered to those schis- 
matics who desired to return to the Church*, even so 
far as to permit their clergy to retain the positions which 
they had assumed. Few Donatist bishops were willing 
to engage in the conferences which he proposed ; they 
not unnaturally shrank from meeting so powerful a dis- 
putant as the bishop of Hippo face to face, and some 
preferred to calumniate him behind his back. Even a 
formal invitation to a conference which was put forth by 
a council at Carthage in the year 403® was flatly de- 
clined by the Donatists. They were in fact enraged by 
Augustin's success in making proselytes, and again broke 

^ Augustin, Sermo II in Ps. 36. 
2 Augustin u. s. and c. Crescon. 
IV. 6 ff., c. Parmen. i. 4. 
8 Aug. c. Crescon. iv. 4. 

■* Codex Eccl. African, c. 66, in 
Hardouin i. 899. 

« 76. c. 92, Hard. i. 914. 

Discipline and Life of tJie Church 


out into acts of violence, which probably led to the edict 
of Honorius against those who disturbed religious ser- 
vices \ Up to this time the Catholic bishops had ab- 
stained from invoking the secular arm against the schis- 
matics ; Augustin in particular had protested against it 
with some vehemence. The violence of the Donatists 
however at last induced them to have recourse even to 
this, and a Synod at Carthage in the year 404 stipplicated 
the emperor to put in force a law of Theodosius which 
inflicted a heavy fine on frequenters of schismatical as- 
semblies ^ Before however the deputies from the Synod 
reached the emperor, he had already issued an edict 
punishing lay schismatics by fines and their clergy by 
banishment ; and he soon after published a series of still 
more severe decrees ^ enjoining that the Donatists in 
particular should be deprived of their churches. Many 
conversions, or seeming conversions, followed, and there- 
upon another edict was issued in the year 407 in which, 
while free pardon was offered to those who returned to 
the Church, the severest punishment was denounced 
against those who remained obdurate. In the year 409 
however the political circumstances of that disturbed 
time induced Honorius to change his policy, and gi^ant 
freedom in the practice of their religion to all parties 
alike — a toleration which lasted only a few months. 
About the same time when this edict was withdrawn, 
the Catholic bishops renewed their proposal of a con- 
ference, to be held under imperial authority. The em- 
peror at once gave directions for such a conference to be 
held at Carthage*, and in 411 sent the tribune Mar- 
cellinus to Africa as his commissioner, to preside over 
the disputation and to decide in his name on the ques- 
tions at issue. Marcellinus was a man of high character 
and a good Christian ; but he had a fatal disqualification 
for the task which he had undertaken — he was an in- 
timate friend of Augustin's, who had dedicated to him 
his great work on the City of God. It was therefore 
impossible for the Donatists, already suspicious, to accept 

^ Codex Theod. xvi. ii. 31. 

2 Hardouin i. 917. 

8 Codex Theod. xvi. tit. 5. 

* Minutes of the Collatio in Har- 

douin I. 1043 ff. There is also a 
Brevicidus Collationis by Augustin 
{0pp. xir. 685 ff. ). 

Uhap. XII. 

Edict of 



Synod at 

Edicts of 

at Car- 
thage, 411. 



Discipline and Life of the Church. 

him as an impartial judge in their cause. There Hocked 
to Carthage two hundred and eighty-six Catholic bishops 
and two hundred and seventy-nine Donatists. Each side 
chose seven representatives. On the Catholic side Aure- 
lian of Carthage and Augustin himself were the leaders 
in debate ; on the side of the Donatists, Primian of Car- 
thage, Petilian of Constantine and Emeritus of Csesarea. 
Before the debate began, the Catholics declared formally 
in writing that if the Donatist could prove that the 
Church, except in the Donatist society, had utterly died 
out under the plague of sin, they would all submit them- 
selves and resign their sees. If on the other hand they 
(the Catholics) should demonstrate that the Church of 
Christ dispersed throiighout the world could not possibly 
have died out through the sins of some of its members, 
then it would be the duty of the Donatists to return to 
communion with the Chvirch for the salvation of their 
souls ; and they declared that in thus acting the bishops 
should not lose their office \ On this the conference 
began, exactly one hundred years after the commence- 
ment of the schism, and continued three days. The 
Donatists, who at first objected to sit 'with the sinners, 
that is, with the Catholics, made various attempts to lead 
the discussion to subordinate questions, and it was not 
until the third day that they could be induced to face 
the question of principle, whether a Church which tole- 
rates sinners in the midst of it ceases to be a Church; 
and the question of fact, who was the cause of the schism. 
With regard to the first, Augustin soon reduced the 
Donatists to silence. With regard to the second, the 
evidence of authentic contemporary documents so clearly 
proved the innocence of Csecilian and of Felix of Ap- 
tuDga, that Marcellinus gave a formal decision that the 
Catholics had proved their case on all points. A few 
days afterwards he issued an edict, under the powers of 
the emperor's commission, forbidding Donatists to hold 
any kind of religious meeting and commanding them to 
hand over their churches to the Catholics. The Donatists 
appealed to the emperor, but he confirmed the decision 
of his plenipotentiary, and in 412 put forth a new edict '^ 

^ CoZiatio6, inHardouini. 1056f. ^ Codex Theod. xvi. v. 52. 

Discipline and Life of the Church 


inflicting heavy fines on the Donatists and banishment Chap . XII. 
on their bishops if they continued in their schism. Many 
hundreds now returned in their terror to the Church. | 
Marcellinus, who had presided over the Conference, him- 
self fell under suspicion of treason and was executed in 
the year 418, but Honorius still proceeded against the 
Donatists ; and in 414 published another edict by which 
those of them who persisted in their schism were de- 
prived of civil rights ; and soon afterwards, in spite of 
the protest of Augustin, he forbade them to assemble for 
worship under pain of death \ From this time the num- 
ber of the Donatists began to diminish, though the em- 
perors still thought it necessary to issue severe edicts 
against them. But in the year 428 North Africa was 
conquered by the Vandals, when Catholics and Donatists 
were lost in the Arian cloud. Some small remnants seem 
however to have maintained themselves until their country 
fell in the seventh century under the dominion of the 

There is no reason to doubt that the leaders of the 
Donatists were, however mistaken, men worthy of respect ; 
and the principle for which they contended was a highly 
important one — no less than the purity of the Church 
of Christ. The Church, said a Donatist bishop ■, should 
be pure and undefiled. True, the Lord predicted that 
there should be tares among the wheat, but that was 
in the field of the world, not of the Church. Our oppo- 
nents, said another^, seem to regard the name "Catholic" 
as belonging to certain nations or races ; but that name 
properly belongs to a society in which the sacraments 
are administered with full efficacy, which is perfect, which 
is undefiled, not to races. They contended, in short, that 
the conception of Catholicism includes not only outward 
and visible connexion with the Church, but a holiness of 
life worthy of a disciple of Christ ; that the presence of 
the Spirit must be attested by the fruits of the Spirit, 
and this especially in the case of the ministers of the 

1 Codex Theod. xvi. v, 54 and 55. 

2 CoUatio Carthag. iii. c. 258. 

3 lb. III. c. 102. We might com- 
pare Montaigne, Essais ii. 12 — 

"Nous sommes Chrestiens k mesme 
tiltre que nous sommes ou Peii- 
gordins ou Allemans." 

Discipline and Life of the Ghurch. 

So far well. But when, instead of trying to raise the 
standard of holiness within the Church, they constituted a 
society of their own outside it, virtually unchurching the 
rest of the world, their spiritual pride wrought its usual 
results. They became " heady, high-minded " ; their 
moving principle came to be, not desire for greater holi- 
ness, but furious party-spirit and contempt for their oppo- 
nents. St Paul recognized the corrupt Church of Corinth 
as a Christian Church because he saw there the Gospel 
taught and the sacraments duly administered ; the Dona- 
tists were not content to acknowledge the Church of 
Carthage on these grounds. To hold the sacraments 
invalid because administered by men whom a sect or 
party hold to be unworthy of their sacred office, while 
they are not condemned by the legitimate ecclesiastical 
tribunals, would be to cast a shade of uncertainty upon 
all sacred ministrations whatever. Few will hesitate to 
admit that St Augustin was right in resisting the arro- 
gant claim of a part of the community to pronounce who 
can and who cannot administer a valid sacrament. 

But perhaps the worst effect of the Donatist con- 
troversy was the appeal which resulted from it to the 
civil power to put down the schismatics by force. The 
Catholics had of course a right to require that the govern- 
ment of the country should preserve order, protect its 
subjects from violence, and secure them in the possession 
of their own buildings and other property. There is no 
reason to suppose that Augustin and his friends were 
animated by anything but a sincere desire for the good 
of the Church ; but when they begged the emperor to 
put down the Donatists, as such, by temporal penalties, 
they entered on the way which led directly to the Holy 
Inquisition and the statute De Heretico Comhurendo. The 
office of Inquisitor of the Faith, the name of which after- 
wards became so odious, was actually instituted under 
Theodosius ^ 

8. Donatism was a headstrong and unfortunate at- 
tempt to constitute a pure society in the midst of a Church 

1 Gibbon's Rome, c. 27, p. 374, 
ed. Smith. 

- G. Calixtus De Conjiigio Cleri- 
corum; Ant. u. Aug. Theiner Die 

Einfithning der erzwungenen Ehelo- 
sigkeit hei den Christl. GeistUchen; 
von Holtzendorf Der Priestercoli- 
hat; H. C. Lea Sketch of Sacerdotal 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 


too hastily judged impure. This had no enduring effects ; 
but a puritan movement of another kind had an influence 
upon the Church which was both deep and lasting. When 
the world and the Church were mingled together, the 
mass of Christians came to be far removed from the 
eager faith which had enabled the little band of earlier 
days to endure persecution with steadfastness and even 
mth joy. The multitude led a life influenced no doubt 
by the commands of Christ, yet not very gi-eatly differing 
from that of such pagans as truly sought to do their duty 
according to the light which was given them. Hence there 
came into prominence a distinction, not altogether un- 
known in earlier days, between the commands which all 
men are bound to obey and the counsels of perfection 
which comparatively few can observe. There are, says 
EusebiusS within the Church two kinds of life. First, 
that which is above the ordinary social life of man, which 
admits not of marriage, nor of the possession of property, 
nor of any superfluity, but devotes itself wholly and en- 
tirely to the service of God through the excess of heavenly 
love. Those who follow this life, guided by the right pre- 
cepts of true piety and the promptings of a soul cleansed 
from sin, give themselves to good words and works, by 
which they propitiate the Deity and offer sacrifice on 
behalf of their fellow-men. Secondly, there is the lower 
and more natural life, which permits men to enter into 
chaste marriage, to attend to the business of the house, 
to aid those who are carrying on a just war, to engage, 
so far as religion allows, in farming and merchandize and 
the other occupations of civil life, giving set seasons to 
mortification, to instruction, and to hearing the Word 
of God. To this lower stage of Christian life all, Greek 
or barbarian, are bound to attain. That is, a distinction 
was drawn between the counsels of perfection which were 
necessary for the higher life, and the universal precepts 
which all are bound to observe. Those who attain the 
former are to the general body of Christians what trained 
athletes^ are to those whose bodily powers are not 

Celibacy (Philadelphia, 1869) ; Lau- 
rin Der GuUhat der Geistlichen nach 
kanonischen Recht; A. W. W. Dale 
The Synod of Elvira and Christian 

Lije in the Fourth Century. 

^ Demonstratio Evang. i. 8. 

2 The word dcr/cetc was especially 
used of the training for athletic 


DiscijjUne and Life of the Churcli. 

specially developed. To these ascetics everything that 
tended to give grace and beauty to the life of man, un- 
less in the actual service of the sanctuary, seemed at 
best superfluous, probably sinful. Marriage, in particular, 
was no longer regarded by such teachers as a blessed 
state, instituted by God in the time of man's innocency, 
but as a necessary evil, which inevitably brought with 
it a low^ering of the spiritual state and entangled a man 
in the affairs of this world. It is only permitted to the 
common herd ; they who aspire to the angelic life must 
neither marry nor be given in marriage. Not content with 
rendering their due honour to purity and chastity, with 
reverencing those who lived in continence for the King- 
dom of Heaven's sake, many teachers represented the 
great passion which was implanted in man for the con- 
tinuance of his race as in itself sinful ; nay, as the very 
source and fount of sin. St Augustin, unconsciously in- 
fluenced by his early Manichseism, greatly contributed 
to diffuse this view of life \ 

When this view of the superior holiness of celibacy 
came to prevail in the Church, it followed almost of 
course that Christians desired those who were engaged 
about their most sacred mysteries to be celibate. Early 
in the fourth century it began to be recommended that 
the clergy of the three higher orders, if they had wives, 
should be as though they had none^ In the great 
council of Nicsea it was proposed by some of the ascetic 
party to introduce this practice into the Church at large. 
This was however defeated by Paphnutius, an Egyptian 
ascetic of high repute, who vehemently entreated the 
bishops not to lay an intolerable yoke upon the clergy, 
since honourable is marriage and the bed undeflled. It 
was sufficient to lay down, according to a custom already 
ancient, that no man should contract marriage after ad- 
mission to Holy Orders ^ To this the Synod assented, 
hence, by a natural lib, xiv. 


figure, it was applied to those who 
trained themselves by self-denial 
to run with endurance the race 
which is set before us. 'Aa-Kriral 
are equivalent to ddX-qral, Plato 
nepub. 403 E. 

1 See particularly the treatises 
against Julian, and De Civ. Dei, 

2 Cone. Elih. (c. 310) c. 33 
(Hardouin i. 253). 

3 Socrates 1. 11. Compare Stan- 
ley's Eastern Church, Lect. v. § 3 ; 
and Bishop Hooper in Words- 
worth's Eccl. Biogr. ii. 377 (3rd 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 


The Council of Gangra\ somewhat later than that of 
Nicsea, went so far as to anathematize those who refused 
to receive the Eucharist from a married priest. Still, 
the general drift of opinion in the Church was unfavour- 
able to the marriage of the clergy of the higher orders, 
and it was generally felt, both by the laity and by the 
clerics themselves, that the celibacy of the monks gave 
them a reputation for holiness among the faithful which 
was disadvantageous to the married clergy. Hence, it 
came to be the rule in the East that bishops at any rate, 
if they were married, should live as if they were not. 
Even to this, however, there were exceptions. Socrates ^ 
tells us that many bishops in the East had children in 
lawful wedlock during their episcopate, though most of 
them voluntarily practised continence. It seems pro- 
bable that Gregory of Nazianzus was born after his father 
became a bishop'. Synesius early in the fifth century 
accepted the bishopric of Ptolemais only on condition 
that he should be allowed to retain his wife *, which was 
evidently contrary to the usual rule. 

In the West a stricter custom prevailed. In 385 the 
Roman bishop Siricius ®, stigmatizing in no measured 
terms the vile passions of the married, enjoined celibacy 
on bishops, priests, and deacons. Edicts of Innocent I. ^ 
in the year 405, and of Leo I.'' in the year 443, enjoined 
at any rate the strictest continence, which was also pre- 
scribed in the canons of numerous councils^ It was far, 
however, from receiving universal obedience. The great 
Church of Milan, claiming the authority of its greatest 
bishop, St Ambrose, and bearing the repute of having 
the best clergy in Italy, was content with the ancient 
rule which permitted only one marriage to a cleric. When 
Hildebrand in the eleventh century entered on his re- 
forms, " marriage was all but universal among the Lom- 

^ Procem. and can. 4. 

2 H. E. V. 22, p. 296. 

3 H. W. Watkins in Diet. Chr. 
Biogr. ii. 741. 

* Synes. Epist. 105, p. 246; 
Calixtus De Conjug. Cleric, p. 
235 ; Schrockh K.-G. vn. 163 ff. 
T. B. Halcomb (in Diet. Chr. 
Biogr. iv. 775) thinks it improbable 
that he continued to cohabit with 

his wife. 

7 (in 

^ Epist. ad Uimerium, 
Hardouin i. 849). 

^ Ad Victricium, § 9 (Hardouin 
I. 1001). 

'^ Ad Rusticum, § 2 (Hardouin 
I. 1761). 

8 E.g. II Carthag. c. 2; I Tolet. 
0. 1 ; I Arausia. 22, 23 ; II Arelat. 
c. 2. 

Chap. XH. 





Discipline and Life of the Church. 

bard clergy \" Even the famous archbishop Heribert of 
Milan was married, and " his wedlock neither diminished 
his power nor barred his canonization ^" In the British 
and Irish Churches the marriage of the clergy seems to 
have been practised to a comparatively late date I 

The civil legislation followed the ecclesiastical but 
slowly. Edicts of Constantius and Constans* in the 
years 358 and 357 expressly exempted from certain 
exactions the wives and children of the clergy, who are 
clearly recognized as legitimate. Justinian by a law of 
A.D, 528 enacted that no one should be chosen bishop 
who had children or grand-children, because the charge 
of a family tended to distract a man from spiritual 
things ^. At a later date he recognized ^ the ancient 
exclusion from the priesthood or diaconate of such as 
had married two wives or a divorced person or a widow. 
In all this it seems to be admitted that otherwise married 
men might be admitted to the ranks of the clergy. 

4. The desire for the more perfect state produced also 
further effects. If the higher life involved the renuncia- 
tion of marriage, of property and of secular business, it 
could not be led in the midst of an ordinary household or 
among the usual cares and distractions of a world still 
half-pagan. Hence arose the strong impulse which led 
multitudes to betake themselves to utter solitude in the 
desert, or to form communities in which the spiritual life 
should be the first object of existence. Hermits and monks 
were a protest against the merely secular life, only re- 

1 Milman, Latin Christianity, 
Bk. VI. c. 3 (vol. III. p. 440, 3rd 
edition). In the note here will be 
found an account of the various 
readings of the passage of St Am- 
brose which is appealed to. 

2 Milman u. s. p. 441. 

* "The canons attributed to St 
Patrick (but of the seventh century), 
canon 6, recognize the relation of 
the 'clericus et uxor ejus.'" J. 
Pryce, Ancient British Church, p. 
201, n. 2. 

* Codex Theod. lib. xvi. tit. ii. 
11. 10, 14. 

^ Codex Justin, lib. i. c. de Epi- 
scopis, 1. 42, 

•' Novell. Const. G, quoted by 
Schrockh K.-G. xvi. 328. 

^ E. Hospinianus, De Origine et 
Progressu Monachatus ; L. Bulteau, 
Hist. Monastique d'Orient; B. P. 
Helyot, Hist, des Ordres Religieux; 
B. Pez, Bihliotheca Ascetica; C. W. 
F. Walch, Pragmatische Geschichte 
der vomehmsten Mi'mchsorden ; A. 
P. Alteserra, Asceticon; L. Hol- 
stenius, Codex Regularum; J. A. 
Mohler, in Gesammelte Schriften, i. 
165 ff. ; W. Mangold, De Monachatus 
Originihus et Causis; A. Harnack, 
Das Monchthum, seine Ideale u. 
seine Geschichte; I. Gregory Smith, 
The Rise of Christian Monasticism. 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 


lieved by a few religious observances, into which too many 
Christians allowed themselves to fall. The motives which 
led the various brethren to become ascetics no doubt 
differed as the men differed ; but it is not difficult to 
understand the charm which, in the midst of a restless 
and yet enervated world, was found in a life which offered, 
or seemed to offer, rest and freedom from worldly care. 
And the terrible calamities which fell upon the empire in 
the fifth and sixth centuries no doubt increased the desire 
to fly away from tumult to calm and safety. 

Solitude, the perfect quiet of a hut or cave in the 
desert, where a spring, a little garden and a palm-tree 
supplied all that was necessary for human life in the 
genial climate of Egypt, first drew men to leave the haunts 
of their fellows. We have seen already how St Anthony 
withdrew into the wilderness. Many soon followed his 
example. And it was not long before the unrestrained 
fancy of the solitaries led them to adopt strange forms of 
life. Some spent long years on the top of lofty pillars. 
Simeon\ the most noted of these pillar-saints, who lived 
in the early part of the fifth century, established himself 
on a column which was finally raised to the height of sixty 
feet from the ground. There he remained some thirty 
years, exhorting to repentance those who flocked to him, 
settling disputes, making enemies to be at one, converting 
pagans. Men otherwise careless were arrested by so extra- 
ordinary a spectacle. The danger that men would come 
to think that some special merit attached to this form of 
mortification was early pointed out by Nilus^ himself an 
ascetic ; there was nothing worthy of praise in living on a 
pillar, but there was great danger lest a pillar-saint should 
be intoxicated by the undeserved praise which he actually 
received. "He that exalteth himself shall be abased." 

A still more strange phenomenon were the BoaKOi or 
Grazers, who divested themselves of almost all the attri- 
butes of humanity. They had no habitations, but wandered 
about, like wild beasts, on mountains and uncultivated 
plains, supporting a wretched existence on such herbs and 

1 EvagriusH.Jf.i. 13; Theodoret 
Hist. Reliy. c. 26; Lives in Acta 
Sanctorum, 5 Jan. pp. 264 £f. ; Fa- 
bricius, Blblioth. Grceca, x. 522 ; S. 


E. Assemani, Acta SS. Mariyrum, 
II. 227 ff.; E. M. de Vogue, Syrie 
Centrale, i. 141 ff. 
2 Epist. ii. 114. 


Chap. Xn. 


Simeon, c. 



Discipline and Life of the Church. 

Chap. XII. 

Evils of 




at Taben- 
na, c. 335. 

fruits as the earth brought forth of itself They seem 
however to have come together for the services of the 
Church \ 

But Christian virtues, the excellencies of those w^ho by 
their very profession belong to a body, cannot be fully 
developed in solitude. It is hard to reconcile the life 
of a hermit with the essential character of Christian love, 
since the hermit regards his own good only, while charity 
seeketh not her own. Nor will a man in solitude come to 
the knowledge of his own defects, since he has no one to 
admonish and correct him. "Woe to him that is alone 
when he falleth, and hath not another to lift him up^" 
Hence men soon came to feel the necessity for community 
in the religious life. A common life brings with it the 
necessity of rule and order, and so tends to correct the 
fantastic excesses into which solitaries too readily fell. 

The first step towards the formation of a religious 
community was taken when a number of hermits built 
their cells near to each other, "like the wigwams of an 
Indian encampment, clustering round the chapel of the 
community I" Such an assemblage of huts crowded to- 
gether was called a Laura. The hermits who inhabited 
it assembled together for divine service, and admitted the 
authority of a chief, generally the person whose fame had 
drawn others about him. The most famous founder of 
communities of this kind was St Sabas, the remains of 
whose earliest buildings are still to be found on the river 

But the first who gave a definite rule and order to a 
body of men, withdrawn from the world for the sake of 
religion and living a common life, seems to have been 
Pachomius*, who gave rules for a body of monks dwelling 
together on an island of the Nile called Tabenna^ He 
founded not merely a monastery but an Order, for daughter- 

1 Sozomen H. E. vi. 33 ; Theo- 
doret H. E., i. 21, §§ 11, 12. 

2 Ecclesiastes iv. 10. See Basil, 
RegulcE Fusius Tract, c. 7, and 
Nilus, Epist. III. 73 (quoted by Ne- 
ander, iii. 331). 

^ I. Gregory Smith, in Diet. Chr. 
Antiq. n. QSi. 

* Sozomen in. 14. Lives of Pa- 
chomius, of doubtful value, are 

given in Eosweyd's Vita Patnim 
(Migne's Patrol. Lat. 73, 230 ff.), 
Acta Sanctorum, 14 Mali, iii. 295, 
and in Surius, Hist. Sanctorum, 
14 Mali, p. 408 (from Simeon Me- 

5 Valesius (on Sozomen iii. 14) 
contends that the proper name of 
the island was Tabennesus. Others 
write Tabennie. 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 


monasteries soon sprang up which followed the Hule of 
Tabenna and acknowledged the authority of its head, 
called the Abbas, or Father. It is not easy to say how 
much of the extant Rule' which bears the name of Pacho- 
mius is really due to him, how much to subsequent de- 
velopment, but the general characteristics we can scarcely 
err in attributing to the Founder. The brethren of this 
society were taught to avoid the temptations which 
arise from idleness. They plaited mats and baskets from 
the reeds of the Nile, they cultivated the ground, they 
built boats. Tailors, smiths, carpenters, and tanners were 
found among them. The sale of their products first sup- 
plied the wants of the society, and then that which re- 
mained over was given to relieve the wants of the sick and 
the poor and needy. Prisoners also were not forgotten. 
Twice a year the superiors of the several daughter-com- 
munities met at the chief monastery, when each gave an 
account of the administration of his office. A candidate 
for admission to the brotherhood was not received at once. 
He was first asked whether he was seeking refuge from 
some civil penalty ; whether he was a free man and there- 
fore competent to choose for himself his mode of life ; 
whether he was capable of resigning all that he had. If 
he was able to answer these questions satisfactorily, he 
had to submit to a three years' period of probation. 
Finally, if he passed through this successfully, he was 
admitted to the brotherhood, solemnly pledging himself 
to live according to the monastic rule. On the first and 
last day of each week the monks laid aside the skins which 
they commonly wore and came into the sanctuary to receive 
the holy mysteries. Every day and night they said fre- 
quent prayers. Palladius is said to have founded also the 
earliest convent for women, with a rule similar to that of 
the men''. To these sisters was given the name "nonna," 
derived perhaps from an Egyptian word^ whence such 

1 A Latin translation of the so- 
called Rule of Paehomius is in 
Holstein's Codex Regularum, i. 95 ff. 
An outline of it is given by Palla- 
dius, Hist. Lausiaca c. 38, and by 
Sozomen iii. 14. 

2 Rosweyd's Vita; Pat rum i. c. 
28; Hist. Lausiaca, cc. 34 and 38. 

3 According to Jablonski [Opusc. 
ed. Te Water, i. 176, quoted by 
Gieseler i. 541) the word is properly 
"Enuueneh" or " Nueneh." But 
"nonna" is more probably a child's 
word, formed like "papa" and 
"mama." See Skeat, Etymol. 
Diet. s.v. l^tin. 


Chap. XII. 

Rule of 


Discipline and Life of the Church. 

sisters have almost everywhere been distinguished as 
"nuns" or by some equivalent appellation. The general 
characteristics of the Tabenna'ite monasticism may be said 
to be simplicity of life, labour, devotion, and obedience. 

A greater than Pachomius, St Basil, was the founder of 
an Order ^ which endures in the Greek Church even unto 
this day. He designed, says his panegyrist Gregory of 
Nazianzus*^, to unite the excellencies of the contemplative 
and the practical life, and his Rule bears the stamp of his 
good sense and knowledge of mankind. He recommends 
nothing repulsive or unpractical. What he regarded as 
the proper end and aim of asceticism was to render the 
body the obedient servant of the higher nature, not to 
cripple it by unmeaning austerities. His monks were to 
praise God and pray to Him, after the Psalmist's example, 
seven times a day, but they were not to make devotion an 
excuse for idleness. They, like those of Pachomius, were 
to labour for their own living at such trades as could be 
pursued without noise, and especially at the tilling of the 
ground. All that was earned was the property of the 
community ; no man called anything his own. All that 
was required was kept in a common storehouse and dis- 
pensed at the discretion of the superior. No special rule 
was made as to the food to be taken, but the superior was 
to judge what was sufficient in each case. The use of 
wine was not forbidden. The monk's clothing was to be 
of the simplest and coarsest kind. Signs were, so far as 
possible, to take the place of words, except in divine 
service. Children who were presented by their lawful 
guardians were to be received and trained, but were not 
to be entered on the list of monks until they were of an 
age to understand the meaning of monastic vows. All 
postulants had to undergo a period of probation. St Basil's 
mother and sister united with other women to lead a 
monastic life. He permitted those who desired to enter 
a convent to take the vows at sixteen or seventeen years 
of age^ The African Church at a somewhat later date 
did not permit this before twenty-five*, and a law of the 

^ St Basil's ascetic precepts are 
found in his Sermones Ascetici, his 
Regulce fusius tractatce, and his 
Eegulce brevius tractatce. 

2 Orat. 20 in Laud. Basil. , p. 358, 
quoted by Gieseler i. 537. 
•* Regula, c. 7. 
* Cone. Hippoji., c. 1. 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 



empire refused to recognize such vows as valid if taken \ Chap. Xll 
before the age of forty \ 

St Basil's institutions were wise, and where he ruled 
they were doubtless wisely carried out; but the adminis- 
tration of even the wisest code will sometimes fall into 
incompetent hands. Men found their way into cloisters 
who had no real vocation for the ascetic life. Some came 
in who had nothing to leave in the world and much to gain 
in the convent, making their profession of godliness a 
means of gain^ Such were eager to find occasion for 
activity outside their house. These formed the black 
rabble who incurred the contempt of cultivated heathens ', 
who plundered and destroyed temples, who were constantly 
employed as the tools of fanatical partizans in the disputes 
about dogma of which they understood no more than the 
Ephesian mob did of the teaching of St Paul. 

There were many who, like Chrysostom, acquired in | Evilsofth 

monastic retirement, from their own failures and re- 
coveries, a deep knowledge of the weakness of human 
nature and of the way to peace. But many, attempting 
to annihilate desires which are deeply rooted in man, were 
persecuted by impure thoughts ; and there was a general 
tendency to attempt to cure these rather by bodily morti- 
fication than by heartfelt devotion, A seeking after 
Pharisaic self-righteousness, combined with an abject fear 
of malignant fiends, too often took the place of the trustful 
spirit of Christian love. 

A peculiar form of monasticism was that of the Audians, 
who were, says Epiphanius*, restive and schismatical, but 
not heretical. These took their rise from one Audius, or 
Udo, a layman of Mesopotamia, whose zeal for religion was 
offended by what he thought the easy and luxurious lives 
of the higher clergy. He founded several ascetic societies, 
in which the Paschal festival was celebrated at the same 
time as that of the Jews, and the literal interpretation of 
such passages of Scripture as seem to ascribe a human 
body to the Deity was insisted upon. Audius at an 
advanced age was banished to the northern coast of the 

1 Edict of Majorian, a.d. 458, ^ Zosimus v. 23 ; Eunapius Vita 
quoted by MoUer, K.-G-. 395. Com- JEdesii, quoted by Gieseler, n. 
pare Cone. Casaraug. i. c. 8. 537, n.t. 

2 Nilus Tract. ad Magnam, p. 297, * Hceres. 70, c. 1. See also Theo- 
quoted by Neander, iii. 340, doret, H. E. iv. 10, 


c. 340. 


Discipline and Life of the Church. 

Chap. XII. 


sius in 
Eonie, 340. 

in Rovie, 




Black Sea, where he is said to have introduced monasticism 
among the Goths. This sect is believed to have dis- 
appeared about the end of the fourth century. 

In the West, as was natural, monasticism ran a very 
different course. The practical good sense and calmer judg- 
ment of the Western leaders gave it such a form as answered 
to the needs of their Church. When first the banished 
Athanasius brought monks into the West they were looked 
upon as something extravagant ; but under the fostering 
care of men like Ambrose in Milan, Jerome in Rome, and 
Martin in Tours, they soon became familiar objects. 

In Rome, Jerome attained extraordinary influence, 
especially with the weaker sex. The country-houses of 
Roman ladies became nunneries, where devout widows 
and maidens led an ascetic life. Tenderly nurtured women 
sacrificed to this over-mastering impulse position, friends, 
even life itself. At a time when, in spite of the Christianity 
of the emperors, a large portion of the Romans who were 
most distinguished in literature and politics still clung to 
the old faith ; when many of the leading ecclesiastics were 
engaged in unseemly squabbles and contests for place'^; 
the more sensitive souls were driven to seek a refuge in 
monastic life. Augustin found in Rome about the year 388 
several convents presided over by men of worth and ability, 
where the brethren led a peaceful life without needless 
restrictions, maintaining themselves by the labour of their 
hands ; and houses of women in which the sisters were 
instructed in faith and doctrine by the superiors, and 
occupied themselves in spinning and weaving. Both men 
and women performed miracles of fasting. 

The islands on the West coast of Italy, and soon after- 
wards those on the South coast of Gaul, came to be peopled 
with men seeking a refuge from the storms of the world 
and opportunity for Christian contemplation, who mingled 
their chants with the plashing of the waves. Pious ladies, 
such as Jerome's friend Fabiola, turned the stream of their 
munificence to these island-monasteries, which in the 
terrible times of the Teutonic invasion became places of 
refuge for arts and letters, as well as for Christian life. 

^ J. Mabillon, Observationes de 
Monachis in occidente ante Bene- 
dictum, in Acta SS. Bened, i. 1 ff. ; 

C. de Montalembert, The Monks of 
the West. 
2 Sec antca, p. 178. 

Discipline and Life of the Ghnrch. 


Of these island-monasteries by far the most famous was 
that of Lerinum. Honoratus', born of a noble family of 
Belgic Gaul, was warned by a divine voice to repair to the 
island, to which his name was afterwards given. It was 
then absolutely desolate, but he set himself to establish a 
monastery there, and soon drew round him a body of 
disciples, among the first of whom was a young man 
named Hilary, whom by prayers and tears he prevailed 
upon to renounce the world. The fame of his piety caused 
him to be chosen bishop of Aries, but he held that dignity 
no more than two years, dying somewhat suddenly in the 
early part of the year 429. Lerinum became an im- 
portant clergy-school for Southern Gaul, and trained many 
bishops, among them Hilary of Aries and Eucherius of 
Lyons, while two successive abbats, Maximus and Faustns, 
became bishops of Riez. From this monastery too came 
forth one of the most famous books of the fifth century, 
the Commonitorium of Vincentius. 

On the Continent, the religious house which was founded 
by St Martin in the neighbourhood of Poitiers about the 
year 360 is regarded as the earliest monastery in Gaul. 
But a far more important community was that founded in 
Southern Gaul by John Cassian. 

Cassian^ was probably born in Southern Gaul, to which 
his writings unquestionably belong, about the year 360. 
While still young he entered a convent at Bethlehem^, 
where he received his first training in religion. Once 
initiated in the ascetic life, he was seized with a longing 
to visit the native land of asceticism, Egypt. Among the 
Egyptian monks and hermits he remained in all ten years, 
and then passed on to Constantinople, where he was 
ordained deacon by the great John Chrysostom. When 
the patriarch was banished, it is thought that Cassian 
paid a visit on his behalf to Rome. Ten years later we 
find him in Marseilles, near which place he founded two 
convents, for men and for women respectively, after the 

Chap. XII. 

c. 410. 

^ Hilarii Sermo de Vita S. Hono- 
rati, in Migne Patrol. Lat. l. 
1249 ff., and in Surius, Hist. Sanct. 
Jan. 16; Gallia Christiana 1.527; 
R. Gravers Smith in Diet. Chr. 
Bioqr. III. 138. 

- W. Cave, Hist. Lit. i. 410; G. 

F. Wiggers, De J. Cassiano 3Ias- 
siliensi {Rostock, 1824); J. Fessler, 
Instit. Patrologice, ii. 751 ff. ; I. 
Gregory Smith, in Diet. Chr. Biogr. 
I. 414; A. Ebert, Christlich-Latein. 
Literatur, i. 331. 
^ De Goinoh. Inst. in. 4. 

c. 3G0. 


Cassian, o. 
3G0— 433. 

c. 390. 




Discipline and Life of the Church 

model of those which he had seen in the East. By the 
example of these monasteries, and still more by the series 
of writings which he now began, he gave an immense 
impulse to the spread of monastic institutions, especially 
in Gaul and Sj^ain. He died at a very advanced age, in 
the highest reputation for sanctity, probably shortly after 
the year 433. He wrote in later life on the Nestorian 
controversy, but his most famous works are the book on 
Monastic Institutions^ and the account of certain conversa- 
tions which he describes himself as having held, in company 
with his friend Germanus, with some of the most renowned 
Egyptian anchorites. In the first-named book he describes 
principally the Egyptian system with a view to the in- 
struction of Gaul. He shews us the dress of the Egyptian 
monks, the girdle of their loins, the hood just covering the 
head, the linen tunic with sleeves barely reaching to the 
elbow, the cord through which the skirts of the garment 
may be drawn for greater freedom in labour, the short 
mantle over head and shoulders, the goat-skin thrown over 
all ; the sandals on the feet and the staff in the hand. He 
wisely orders that if a hair-shirt is worn — he does not 
recommend it — it shall be concealed, not made a show 
of ^; and generally he reminds the brethren that a monk's 
dress should be distinguished by simplicity, not singularity, 
and that the Egyptian dress is not in all respects suited 
for the climate of GauP. The postulant for admission must 
sit at least ten days before the door of the monastery, 
enduring the scorn and the contemptuous questions of the 
brethren as they pass to and fro*. When admitted, he 
spends his first year in a novices' room, outside the convent 
proper, under the care of one of the older monks®; and 
when permitted to enter the convent itself, he is again 
under the special charge of one of the seniors, until he has 
perfectly learned the lesson of implicit obedience. If he 
cannot endure the trial, the clothes in which he entered 
are put upon him again and he is sent forth into the 
worlds It is worth noting, that although the monk must 
part with his worldly goods, the house which he enters 

1 Its full title is De Coenobioruvi * Instit. i. 10. 
Institutis et de oeto principalmm * lb. iv. 3. 
vitiorum remediis libri duodecim. ^ lb. iv. 7. 

2 Instit. I. 2. « lb. IV. C 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 


is on no account to receive them\ Once within the 
monastery, the monk is to have nothing of his own — 
not even his thoughts^ The meals of the Gallican monks 
were to be meagre, but not so scanty as those' in Egypt, 
which, Cassian is aware, would not be sufficient to sustain 
life in GauP. In Egypt they were eaten in silence, in 
Cappadocia with reading of Scripture*. Of offences, some 
were to be corrected by spiritual rebuke, some with stripes 
or by expulsion from the house'. 

In the latter portion of the work Cassian treats of the 
principal sins and failings to which hermits and monks 
were especially liable, their causes and their cure. These 
are gluttony, sins of the flesh, avarice, anger, gloominess, 
torpor®, vanity, and pride. These seem to be mentioned in 
the order of the difficulty of their treatment. The coarser 
and more obvious sins, which can be readily subjected to 
discipline, stand first ; then come those more subtle sins 
which are often the product of the ascetic life itself. 
Torpor was the special trial of the solitary, whom it 
attacked most in the weary hour of noon, whence it was 
known as the demon that destroyeth in the noon-day^ 
Useful labour was the great antidote ; and here the writer 
takes occasion to commend the industry of the monks of 
Egypt, who not only maintained themselves by their 
labour, but also assisted to support othersl The nature 
of vanity, that juggling fiend which can put on the dis- 
guise of a virtue, and which, when it seems to be over- 
come, rises again to make the sinner vain of his own 
victory^, is sketched with a masterly hand. Pride, though 
the first of sins, is nevertheless the last to make its ap- 
pearance ; it rises out of the excellent virtues which a man 
possesses, and spoils them all'". With the combating of 
this most subtle evil the book concludes. 

The " Collations " may be regarded as a supplement to 
the Institutes, being intended to lead ascetics to a yet 

1 Tiistit. IV. 4. 
^ lb. IV. 9. 

3 lb. IV. 11. 

4 lb. IV. 17. 

5 16. IV. 16. 

*! Acedia (d/ojS^a), the dulness of 
feeling which sometimes steals over 
a man, and renders him indifferent 
even about his own salvation; 

"torpor mentis bona spiritualia 
inchoare abhorrentis " (Ferraris 
Bibliotheca, s. v.) 

7 "D8emoniummeridiannm,"P». 
90 [our 91] V. 6 Vulg. ; Instit. x. 1, 

8 Instit. X. 22. 

» lb. XI. 7. 

10 lb. XII. ^. 


Discipline and Life of the Church. 

higher degree of holiness than that contemplated in 
the earlier work. Cassian recognises^ the much greater 
difficulty of his present task, inasmuch as the forming of 
the inner man so as to enable it steadily to contemplate 
God and to rise towards perfection is greater than that of 
subjecting the outer man to authority and precept. These 
Collations, which were specially written with a view to being 
read by monks and hermits, were intended to point the 
way to the ideal perfection of ascetic life by shewing how 
the principal questions likely to arise in such a life were 
treated by those who were its leaders. Here we find the 
results of meditation as well as the lessons of practical life, 
philosophic discussion as well as moral precept, frequently 
illustrated by examples from the stores of memory or 
legend. The end and aim of the monk's calling^; the 
respective advantages of the monastic and the solitary 
life^; the three great renunciations which the monk makes 
— of his earthly riches, of his own passions and propensi- 
ties, and of the present world*; perfection, and most of all 
divine love^; spiritual knowledge, and especially the various 
methods of interpreting Holy Scripture*'; God's gifts of 
graced under which head many miracles are related, with 
the wholesome caution, that the great lesson to be learned 
of Christ is not to work wonders, but to be meek and 
lowly of heart ; the various kinds of prayer and thanks- 
giving^ — such and suchlike are the subjects treated of 
The speculative spirit which is visible throughout shews 
that the great leaders of asceticism were not unfaithful to 
the Christian philosophy which was still found in the 
Alexandrian schools. The influence of the book was im- 
mense, as St Benedict^ ordered it to be constantly read at 
a certain hour in the houses of his oi'der; and it was 
perhaps the philosophic thought which is found in many 
of the Collations which gave to the monks that bent 
to mental toil and abstract discussion which made the 
monasteries of the West for many generations the chief 
centres of literature and intellectual life. 

1 Preface to Pt. I. 

•> Collatio 14. 

2 Collatio 1. 

•> lb. 15. 

3 Ih. 19. 

8 lb. 9. 

4 D). 3, §G. 

9 liecjuJa c. 42 

'^ lb. 11. 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 


But all the efforts of previous founders of monasteries 
fall into the shade when we compare them with those of 
Benedict of Nursia. The career of the Benedictine Order 
is the most signal testimony to the virtue and the wisdom 
of its first legislator. Benedict, the son of a noble family 
in Umbria, received a literary education in Rome, but, 
shocked at the dissipated life which he saw around him, 
fled at an early age from the great city and took refuge in 
an almost inaccessible cave in the Sabine hills, near 
Subiaco, where he depended for sustenance on the charity 
of the neighbours. Like very many who have attempted 
to crush the natural passions, he was haunted by visions 
of the fair forms which he had left behind. He shared 
the fate of other famous hermits, in that his solitude 
became populous with the throng of men who were 
attracted by his fame. It was probably this circumstance 
which induced him to forsake Subiaco with his com- 
panions, and to journey southward to Monte Cassino in 
Campania, where he founded what became the most 
famous monastery in the world, the model after which, 
more or less directly, all other Western monasteries have 
been formed. The Rule which he gave was stern, but not 
too stern for human frailty to endure. It trained men to 
be strong, not fanciful. 

At the head of every monastery was a paternal ruler, 
an abbat, chosen by the major part of the monks them- 
selves; under him was a "prsepositus" or provost whom he 
appointed, and again under him, if the monastery was so 
large as to require them, subordinates called "decani" or 
deans, who took the superintendence each of ten brethren. 
As each new brother was admitted to a monastery he was 
required to pledge himself in the most solemn manner 
to the three great principles of monastic life, firmness of 
resolution, change of life, and obedience to God and His 
saints ^ As it was of the very essence of monastic vows 
that they should be lifelong, no one was allowed to take 

1 B. Haeften, Disquisit. Monast. 
lib.xii; ^ctoS.S'.Bollandi, 21 March; 
J. Mabillon Acta SS. Ord. Bened., 
and Annales Ord. Bened.; Fabri- 
cius, Biblioth. Lat. i. 43 ; Rule in 
Holstein'a Codex Regularum, i. 
Ill n.—L. Tosti, Storia di Monte 

Cassino (Napoli 1842) ; C. Brandes, 
d. Bened. Orden, in Tithing. Qiiar- 
talschrift 1851, pt. 1. Dautier, Les 
Monasteres Benedictins. 

^ " Stabilitas, conversio morum, 
obedientia coram Deo et Sanctis 

Discipline and Life of the Ghurcli. 

them until he had passed through a period of probation, 
in which every opportunity was given to the novice to 
learn the real nature of his own calling, and to the 
superiors of the society to discover whether he had the 
qualities which a good monk should have. With a view 
of deterring waverers, the act of reception was made an 
especially solemn one. The novice to be received had to 
lay on the altar of the church of the monastery, with 
solemn invocation of the saints whose relics were there, a 
written engagement to observe the Rule. The man who 
could not with a clear conscience affirm his earnest inten- 
tion of remaining in the brotherhood to his life's end could 
be no true monk; nor the man who could not resign his 
natural wishes and passions so as to be guided in all 
things by the monastic Rule. As in the Rule of Pacho- 
mius, so in the Benedictine, not only did the brethren 
observe the several hours of the Divine Office, but they 
had to undertake regular manual labour, often of some 
severity. Idleness was, their founder thought, the mortal 
enemy of the soul. In order to cut off any excuse for the 
monks' absenting themselves from their house, each convent 
was enjoined to provide for itself, so far as might be, all ne- 
cessary supplies of food and clothes and the like. The third 
vow bound the monk to the most absolute and implicit 
obedience to the superior. Whatever was commanded by 
one in authority he was bound to obey at once as a Divine 
command. This prompt obedience was the first step in 
the road of humility; by it the monk testified that nothing 
was dearer to him than the work of Christ. When the 
novice was required to regard his abbat as one who stood 
in the place of Christ, we may clearly see that the Bene- 
dictine Order was from the first a Church within the 
Church ; what the bishop was to the diocese, that was the 
abbat to his convent. The difference was, that the nar- 
rower circle aimed at a higher level of Christian life than 
was possible for the wider. And as the strength of the 
Church lies in the fact that it is a growing tree, capable 
of adapting itself to its environment, so the Benedictine 
Order, without departing from the intention of its founder, 
has been able to accommodate itself to each of the many 
ages through which it has lived. Benedict did not enjoin 
upon his monks an excessive asceticism. While his prin- 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 


ciples were stern and unbending, he did not make the 
monastic life wearisome by petty restrictions. His Rule 
became the model for all the monastic Rules of the West, 
in which we consequently find, with all differences of 
detail, a certain uniformity of type. The great glory of 
the Benedictine Order is, that it impressed upon a world 
in the process of dissolution the capacity for renewal which 
is to be found in a life of order, industry, obedience and 
simplicity. Whether in the humbler office of tilling the 
land, or in the higher of preserving literature and promot- 
ing sound and thorough study, the Benedictines have a 
well-earned fame, though they wrought for the sake of 
the work, and not for their own glory. The literary labours 
however for which the Benedictines have been so distin- 
guished were not directly prescribed by the founder; the 
credit of setting monks to work at literature belongs to 

Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus^ (or Cassiodorius) was a 
Roman of distinguished family, who held high offices of 
state under the Gothic king Theoderic. On the fall of 
the East-Gothic kingdom in 540, being now an old man, 
he withdrew to his property in Bruttium, where he 
founded a convent, the Monasterium Vivariense. He 
thought it nobler to be the slave of Christ than to rule 
the kingdoms of this world I In the wreck of the empire 
he was anxious to preserve learning. To this end he gave 
to his society his own excellent library, which he continued 
to augment until his death ^ "Not only were the monks 
incited by his example to the study of classical and sacred 
literature; he trained them likewise to the careful tran- 
scription of manuscripts, in the purchase of which large 
sums were continually disbursed. Bookbinding, gardening, 
and medicine were among the pursuits of the less intellec- 
tual members of the fraternity*. The system took root and 
spread beyond the boundaries of Italy, so that the multipli- 

1 Vita Cassiodori, prefixed to 
Garet's edition of his Opera (Roueu, 
1G79; Migne's Patrol. Lat. vol. 69); 
Denis de Ste Marthe, Vie de Cas- 
siodore (Paris 1694) ; De Buat, 
Leben Cassiodors, in Trans, of R. 
Acad. Munich, i. 79 ff.; A. Thor- 
becke, Cassiodorus Senator (Heidel- 

berg 1867); A. Franz, iV. A. Cas- 
siodorius Senator (Breslau 1872) ; E. 
M. Young, in Diet. Chr. Blogr. i. 
416 ff. ; A. Ebert, Christl.-Latein. 
Lit. I. 474ff. 

* De Anima, sub Jin. 

8 De histit. Divin. Lit. c. 8. 

* lb. 28, 30, 31. 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 

cation of manuscripts became gradually as much a recog- 
nised employment of monastic life as prayer or fasting \" 

The tendency to asceticism was not unopposed. Even 
St Chrysostom, himself a monk and an earnest advocate 
of monastic life, emphatically rejected the distinction which 
was in his day commonly drawn between the counsels of 
perfection which were for the few and the easier precepts 
which might suffice for the many. He knew how degrad- 
ing was the notion that men could not attain true Christian 
life in the midst of the family and the world. The beati- 
tudes, the precepts of the Lord and His Apostles, these 
are not for the monk alone, but for all the members of 
Christ ^ A man who has a wife and children may see the 
Lord, as Isaiah saw Him, if he has but Isaiah's spirit ^ 
Those who run away from the world in which the battle 
has to be fought are deserters from the great army\ 

A very different kind of critic was Jovinian^, who had 
also originally been a monk, but had become convinced of 
the unsoundness of the principle on which monasticism 
was generally defended. He declared (it was said) that 
the merits of virgins are just the same as those of the 
married and the widowed who have been bajDtized into 
Christ, if the general holiness of their lives is the same; 
and that abstinence from food has no higher merit than 
the thankful participation of it^ Inorthodox opinions 
are also attributed to him with which we are not at 
present concerned. Jovinian's reasoning is said to have 
influenced certain nuns so strongly that they broke their 
vows and married. His teaching excited the indignation 
of pope Siricius, who in a consistory of the Roman clergy 
condemned and excommunicated him and eight of his 
adherents as guilty of innovation and heresy^ Jovinian 
betook himself to Milan, hoping perhajDS for the protection 
of the emperor, who then held his court there. But in 
matters of faith Ambrose was there almost all-powerful, 

1 E. M. Young in Diet. Chr. Biogr. 
I. 417. 

^ In Hebrceos, Horn. vii. c. 4. 

* Horn, de Seraphinis (vi. 138 ed. 

^ In II Corinth. Horn. vi. c. 4. 

^ Jerome Adv. Jovinianum; Au- 
gustin De Nupt. et Concept, ii. 23 

Retractat. ii. 23.— C. W. F. Walch, 
Hist, der Ketzereien, in. 635 ff. ; 
W. B. Lindner, De Joviniano et 

6 Jerome Adv. Jov. i. 2; Aug. Dc 
Hares, c. 82. 

7 Hardouin Cone. i. 852. 

Discipline and Life of the Church. 


and from Milan also the heretic had to flee. Ambrose 
also issued a letter^ of warning against some of his own 
monks who, like Jovinian, denied the peculiar merit of 

Monks, as such, were at first simply lay people, and 
attended the services, or at any rate received the Eucharist, 
at some neighbouring church'"'. In process of time however 
it was felt to be unfitting that the brethren of a monastery 
should depend for sacred ministrations on the clergy of a 
church which, as the founders of religious houses preferred 
remote sites, was often at some distance, and it became 
customary for one of the older brethren, generally the 
abbat himself, to be a presbyter and to administer the 
sacraments within the convent walls^. The society had 
then precisely the same relation to the bishop of the 
diocese as a village with its presbyter. It was not until 
the time of Benedict that it was regarded as essential for 
a convent to have its own church and its own clergy*. 
But as the monastic life was regarded as the highest form 
of Christianity and attracted many men who would other- 
wise have become clergymen, it became usual from the 
time of pope Siricius^ to ordain monks. From the end 
of the fourth century, in fact, the monasteries came to be 
looked upon as the best schools for the clergy, and especially 
for the bishops. Monks were not unfrequently ordained 
against their own wish®, and even those of the clergy who 
were not monks frequently lived in a community which 
differed little from a convent. 

The old custom of making monasteries subject to the 
bishop of the diocese was broken in upon in Africa early 
in the sixth century. Religious Houses there sought 
greater independence by making themselves subject to 
distant bishops, especially to the bishop of Carthage I 

1 Epist. 63. 

2 Theodoret Hist. RcHg. c. 12; 
Cassian Iiistit. v. 26 ; Collat. vii. 34. 

^ Augustin De Moribus Eccl. 
Cath. c. 33. The famous abbat 
Papbnutius was a presbyter, but 
he walked five miles to church on 
Saturday and Sunday, though he 
was the sole teacher and director 
of his community. See Cassian 
Collat. Ill, 1; X. 2. 

* Alteserrae Asceticon vii., c. 2, 
r. 597. 

^ Epist. 1 ad Himcrium, c. 13. 

^ See instances in Eosweyd Vit(S 
Patrum iii. 99; Theodoret Hist. 
Relig. cc. 13, 15, 19, 21; Socrates 
H. E. VII. 6, p. 320. 

'' Synodus Carthag. a.d. 525, dies 
ii, in Hardouin Cone. ii. 1082 S. 
Compare Cone. Carth. a.d. 534, 
Hardouin it. 1178. 

Chap. XII. 

Monks not 

c. 385. 

Monks and 


Discipline and Life of the Church. 

Chap. XII. | Elsewhere the right of each bishop to take the spiritual 
oversight of convents within his diocese was strenuously 
maintained S but this was carefully restricted to such 
matters as belong to the office of a bishop ; the general 
care of the "lay multitude" of monks was reserved to the 
abbat alone, unless the interference of the bishop was 
specially invoked^ 

The imperial government, which found it necessary to 
provide that men should not escape their civic duties, and 
especially the duty of tax -paying, by receiving ordination, 
made an exception in favour of those who had become 
monks in early youth^; these might receive Orders, 
forfeiting thereupon a fourth part of their property. The 
law also provided that a married person, man or woman, 
should not carry off all the family property on adopting 
the monastic life*, and it dissolved the marriage when one 
of the parties took the vows^ It deprived parents of the 
right to forbid their children to enter a monastery, or to 
disinherit them for that cause"; and masters also could 
not prevent their bond-servants from becoming monks''. 
But if it made entrance easy, it made exit difficult. A 
monk who left his monastery, whether to enter another or 
to go into the world, was to leave whatever goods he had 
in the hands of that which he had first entered^ 

^ Cone. Aurelian. i. c. 19 (a.d. 
511) ; Epaon. c. 19 (a.d. 517) ; Are- 
lat. v., c. 2 (a.d. 554). 

2 Cone. Arelat. iii. (c. a.d. 455), 
in Hardouin ii. 780. 

Codex Justin, i. iii. 53. * lb, 
Justin Novella 123, c. 40. 
Codex I. iii. 55. 
Novella v. De Monachis, c. 2, 
lb. c. 4. 



I. The most essential portions of Christian worship 
were not exposed to all men without distinction \ The 
fear of impious imitations or parodies, such as Justin* 
thought that he saw in the mysteries of Mithras, no doubt 
restrained Christians from making public in a world still 
largely pagan rites which they themselves reverenced with 
the deepest awe. In Justin's description, it does not 
appear that any but the baptized were present at the 
administration of Baptism or the Eucharist, nor is the 
form of the consecration of the elements revealed. As in 
the apostolic age non-believers might be present at ordi- 
nary meetings for reading of the Scriptures and preaching^, 
so in the fourth and fifth centuries unbaptized persons 
were admitted to hear the Bible lessons and exposition 
which might prepare them for admission to the inner 
mysteries of the faith. Those who were admitted to this 
more open worship were however for the most part not 
mere heathens, but either catechumens seeking admission 
to the mysteries, or penitents desiring re-admission; and 
the portion of the eucharistic service at which they were 

1 On this Disciplina Arcani see 
Theod. Meier (who is said to have 
invented the phrase) De Recondita 
Vet. Eccl, Theolof)ia (Heknstadt 
1677); E. von Schelstrate in his 
Antiquitas Illustrata (1678) and in 
a special treatise, De Disciplina 
Arcani (1685), the latter a reply 
to W. E. Tenzel's Diss. De Discip. 
Arcani (1683); Tenzel rejoined in 
a much larger work, printed in his 


Exercit. Selectee, pars posterior, p. 
19ff; seealso Bingham's. -Ijii/r/x/f/Vs, 
Bk. X. c. 5; Frommaun, De Disci- 
plina Arcani; E. Eothe, De Discipl. 
Arcani, and art. in Herzog's E. E. 
I. 469 ff. ; C. A. G. v. Zezschwitz, 
System der Christl. Kirchl. Kate- 
chetik, I. 154 ff. 

2 Apologia i. 66. Comijare Ter- 
tuUiau De Prccscript, 40. 

3 1 Cor. xiv. 23. 


Ch. XIII. 




Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 

Ch. xm. 


Seasons of 

present was called the Liturgy (or the Mass) of the Cate- 
chumens. To these, at the end of their instruction, which 
might extend over two or three years, were imparted what 
were regarded as the most sacred treasures of the Christian 
faith — the essentials of the baptismal rite and the confes- 
sion of faith to be made by the baptized, the Lord's 
Prayer, the form of consecrating and administering the 
Holy Eucharist. The baptismal confession became the pass- 
word ^ by which Christians knew each other, and also the 
solemn promise of allegiance which the Christian soldier 
made to the great Captain \ As may be supposed from 
the reservation of the Creed, the doctrine of the Holy 
Trinity was not spoken of in the presence of heathens ^ 
To the carefully guarded secrets of the Christians the 
name " mystery " came to be applied, as to rites only known 
to the initiated^ 

1. The mystery which surrounded the most sacred rites 
of the Church of course gave greater importance to the 
catechumenate®, the preparatory instruction through which 
all candidates for baptism had to pass. The usual solemn 
seasons of baptism were Easter and Pentecost, the latter 
called in English White-Sunday, from the appearance of 
the newly-baptized in their white robes '' ; but in the East 
the Epiphany, when the baptism of the Lord was com- 
memorated, was regarded as an appropriate time for 
baptism, and in the West Christmas and Saints' Days, 
especially the Nativity of St John Baptist. The bishops 
of Rome however strongly insisted on the observance of 
the ancient seasons, unless in the case of those who were in 
danger of death ^ Where the great season of baptism was 

1 Si5/x/3oXov. " Symbola discreta 
unusquisque dux suis militibus tra- 
dit...ut si forte occurrerit quis de 
quo dubitetur, interrogatus sym- 
bolum prodat an sit hostis an so- 
cius." Eufinus, De Symholo, 2. 
Maximus of Turin (quoted by Zez- 
schwitz, 1. 173) ai^plies the military 
word "tessera" to tlie Creed in the 
same sense. 

^ "Hoc Sacramento militans ab 
hostibus provocor. " Tertull. Scor- 
piace 4. But "sacramentum" is 
also used, in a more general sense, 
for the rites of Baptism and the 

Eucharist, as in "ecclesiarum sa- 
cramenta," Adv. Marcion. in. 22. 
^ Cyril. Hierosol. Catech. vi. 29. 

■* MvffTTjpLOl'. 

^ Me/j.vrjfx^i'oi. 

^ Von Zezschwitz, Katechetik, 
I. 227 ff. ; E. H. Plumptre in Diet. 
Chr. Antiq. i. 317 ff. 

7 This is clearly shewn by W. W. 
Skeat, Etymolog. English Diet. s. v. 
Whitsunday. Ti'ie Old-EngHsh name 
for this day was however Pente- 

8 Siricius Ad Himerium, c. 2, 
in Hardonin i. 847 ; Leo, Ad Epi- 

Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and A rt. 


Easter-Eve, those among the catechumens who were near 
the end of their course were, during Lent, brought under 
more special instruction. To these " competentes," as they 
were called \ the articles of the Creed, the nature of the 
Sacraments and of the penitential discipline of the Church, 
were carefully explained. The forty days of catechizing 
were a period of fasting, vigil, prayer, and continence. An 
epoch in the instruction was the solemn delivery of the 
Creed by word of mouth to the candidates, which took 
place at Rome in the fourth week of Lent, generally on 
the Wednesday ; at Milan on the eve of Palm-Sunday ; in 
Gaul and in Gothic Spain on Palm-Sunday itself; in Pro- 
consular Africa probably on the eve of the fourth Sunday 
in Lent I This was followed by the giving of the Lord's 
Prajyer^, At Rome, and perhaps elsewhere, the giving of 
the Creed was preceded by the solemn handing over of the 
Gospels ^ 

The ceremonies of baptism itself — the interrogations, 
the renunciations, the exorcisms, the blessing of the water, 
the unctions, the three immersions, the milk and honey, the 
imposition of hands — remained essentially the same as in 
the preceding period ^ though with some additional details. 
The kindling of lamps immediately after the baptism is 
first heard of in the fourth century ; as is also the 
putting-on of white apparel®, which, if first assumed on 
Easter-Eve, was worn until the Sunday after Easter, known 
as the Sunday of the Putting-off the White Garments^. 
Another ceremony which appears early in the fourth 
century is the washing of the feet of the baptized ^ But 

scvpos Sicilice, c. 1, in Hardouin i. 
1755. Compare Cone. Gerundense 
2; Autissiodorense, c. 17. See 
Smith and Cheetham's Diet. Chr. 
Antiq. p. 165. 

1 The more elaborate classifi- 
cation of catechumens, which is 
sometimes supposed to have existed, 
is probably founded on a mis- 
understanding of the authorities. 
See F. X. Funk in the Tubingen 
TJu'ol. Quartalschrift, 1883, pp. 41 

^ See W. E. Scudamore in Diet. 
Chr. Antiq. s. v. Traditio Symboli, 
p. 1994. 

' St Augustin's sermons 56—59 

were composed for such an occasion. 
See Duchesne, Culte, p. 291. 

* The Abbe Duchesne (u. s.) be- 
lieves that this scene is represented 
typically in that of the Lord giving 
the Law, frequently found in an- 
cient art. 

6 See p. 152. 

6 Cyril of Jerusalem, Cateeh. 
Myst. IV. c. 8; Ambrose De Mys- 
teriis, c. 6. (The authenticity of 
this treatise is doubted; but see 
Fessler's Instit. Patrol, r. 688.) 

'' Dominica in albis depositis ; 
J£vpLaK7] TTJs diaKaiv7]crl/j,ov. 

** Ambrose u. s. 


Ch. XIII. 


Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 

if the changes in the actual ceremony were unimportant, 
its general asj)ect changed much when the Church gained 
its freedom. " It would be difficult to imagine any scene 
more moving than that pictured to us in the pages of St 
Cyril \ when on the eve of the Saviour's resurrection, at 
the doors of the church of the Anastasis [at Jerusalem] 
the white-robed band of the newly-baptized was seen 
approaching from the neighbouring baptistery, and the 
darkness was turned into day in the brightness of unnum- 
bered lights. As the joyous chant swelled upwards — 
Blessed is he whose unrighteousness is forgiven and whose 
sin is covered — it might well be thought that angels' voices 
were heard echoing the glad acclaim — Blessed is the man 
unto whom the Lord imputeth no sin, and in whose spirit 
there is no guile ^." 

It is clear that in the period with which we are dealing 
baptism was commonly administered to such as were 
capable of instruction in the mysteries. Yet infants were 
also baptized. " Let the lambs of our flock be sealed from 
the first," said Isaac the Great ^ in the early part of the 
fifth century, "that the Robber may see the mark im- 
pressed upon their bodies and tremble... Let the children 
of the kingdom be carried from the womb to baptism." A 
great hindrance to the baptism of infants was the desire 
to reserve for a later age the sacrament which might (it 
was thought) wash away the sins of the previous life. 
Even the pious Monica preferred to defer her son's baptism 
when she saw him no longer in peril of death*. Those 
who were lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God 
wished to defer the purifying washing to the latest moment 
of their lives. Against this view, which, as may be sup- 
posed, was not favourable to morality, the greatest teachers 
most earnestly protested ^ and it gradually ceased to 

The chrismation and laying-on of hands followed in 
ancient times immediately on the washing of water, and 

^ Prcefat. ad Catcch. 

^ W. B. Marriott in Diet. Chr. 
Antiq. p. 157. 

3 In Assemani's Bihlioth. Orient. 
r. 221, quoted by Marriott u. s. p. 
170. Compare Constt. Apost. vi. 
15 § 4, "BaTrrffere 8i v/xwi' Kal ra 


* Augustin, Confess, i. 11. 

5 Gregory of Nyssa wrote against 
those who deferred baptism (Opera, 
u. 124 and 215, Ed. Paris, 1638) 
and Basil (Opera, ii. 1057, ed. Ben. 
1839) exliorted men to receive it. 

Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 


thiw is still the custom of the East. In the West, if no 
bishop was present at the baptism, the baptized were 
presented to him afterwards at some convenient season, 
this part of the service being reserved to the episcopal 
order. The Arabic canons, called Nicene\ desire the 
chorepiscopus in his circuits to cause the boys and girls to 
be brought to him, that he may sign them with the cross, 
pray over them, lay his hands upon them, and bless them. 
When heretics were readmitted to the Church, even if their 
baptism was held valid, they were in almost all cases 
required to receive imposition of hands from a Catholic 

A layman was permitted to baptize one who lay in 
peril of death, who, if he survived, was to be brought to 
the bishop for the laying-on of hands 2. An African 
Council in the year 398 forbade women to baptize '^ ; not- 
withstanding which in later times mid wives were instructed 
to baptize new-born infants in case of need. 

The question of the validity of baptism conferred by 
heretics, already agitated in the second century, reappear- 
ed at a later time, especially in connexion with the 
Donatists. The general conclusion arrived at in the 
West may be stated in the words of St Augustin with 
regard to Marcion. " If Marcion," he says *, " hallowed 
baptism by the Evangelic Words, in the name of the 
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, the rite 
was sound, even though his own faith, as he understood by 
those words something different from that which Catholic 
truth teaches, was not sound, but stained with the fictions 
of falsehood." And he elsewhere defines his conception of 
the effect of baptism among heretics. In heresy men 
may have baptism, although it does not begin to avail them 
unto salvation until they have been converted from the 
error of their ways ^ On this principle the Second Council 
of Aries® directed that Photinians coming over to the 
Church should be baptized, but that Bonosians should not, 

1 Canon 55, in Hardouin i. 472. 
See on the whole subject Martene, 
De Bit. Antiq. lib. i. c. ii. 

2 Cone. Eliberit. c. 38, in Har- 
douin I. 254. 

^ Cone. Garthag. iv. c. 100; 
Hard. i. 984. 

* C. Petilianum, c. 3. 

® De Baptismo c. Donatistas, i. 
12; IV. 4 and 25; v. 5 and 8, etc. 
See Marriott in Diet. Chr. Ant. 

^ Canons 16, 17; probably a.d. 

Ch. XIII. 






Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 

Ch. XIII. 



c. 388. 

A.D. 389. 

ist ic 

in t}ie 

as they had already received baptism in the name of the 
Holy Trinity. Id the East the view prevailed that bap- 
tism must be received from blameless priests or it became 
pollution \ To this effect Athanasius ^ declares that he 
who is sprinkled by heretics is rather defiled in ungodliness 
than redeemed with the ransom of Christ. 

Jovinian, a man in other respects also eccentric, as- 
cribed extravagant effects to baptism. He endeavoured 
to shew, said his opponent Jerome^, that they who had 
received baptism in the fulness of faith could not be 
tempted of the devil. If any were so tempted, they had 
received the baptism of water only, and not of the Spirit. 
All who had kept their baptism unstained had the same 
reward in the Kingdom of Heaven, as — on the other hand 
— all who fell had the same punishment. His views 
were condemned by Ambrose* and by Siricius^ bishop of 

2. The doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, important as it 
is, did not become the subject of any conspicuous controversy 
or of synodal decision within the first six centuries. There 
was no sharp authoritative definition of the effect of 
Eucharistic consecration. Various teachers expressed their 
opinions in diverse ways without condemning those who 
expressed theii' views differently. All agreed that there 
was something in the Mystery to be looked upon with 
reverence and awe" ; all agreed that the Bread and Wine 
became, by priestly consecration, in some sense the Body 
and Blood of Christ; but the nature of the change was 
variously conceived and expressed. Some regarded the 
Presence of Christ in the Elements as a spiritual one, 
effectual only to the faithful receiver ; others conceived 
the effect of consecration rather as a change of substance' 
in the Bread and Wine ; while the greater number of 
teachers adopted neither of these views to the exclusion 
of the other. Almost all spoke of a change or trans- 

^ Constt. Apost. VI. 15; Canones 
Apost. 47, 68. 

^ Contra Arian. Oratio, n. § 43. 

^ Adv. Jovinian. ii. 1, 35; 19, 

20. Compare Angnstin, De Hcercs, 

* Epist. 42 ad Siricium. 

® Epist. 7 ad Diversos Episc. in 

Hardouin i. 852. 

^ ^pLKrbp and "tremendum" are 
common epithets. 

"^ "Substance" is here used as 
equivalent to oiffla or {jirbdracns, 
that which underlies the visible and 
palpable in any object (Socrates, 
H. E. iii. 7). 

Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 


formation^, terms which were also applied to the baptismal 
Avater and to chrism after benediction. Those who were 
most under the influence of Origen, as Eusebius of 
Csesarea'^, Athanasius^, and Gregory of Nazianzus^ in- 
clined to the more spiritual view, which also found 
vigorous support in the West from Augustin^ and his 
followers, influenced as they were by the belief that only 
those who were predestinated to life could really and 
truly feed upon the Son of God. Cyril of Jerusalem^ 
Chrysostom^, Hilary of Poictiers^ and Ambrose® incline 
rather to the conception of a change in the substance of 
the Elements. Gregory of Nyssa'" held the peculiar view 
that as, during the Lord's earthly life, bread and wine 
became by assimilation part of His natural Body, so, after 
His Ascension, by the working of His divine power, the 
consecrated Bread and Wine become part of His glorified 
Body. The Nestorian controversy was not without effect 
upon the views which were held as to the nature of the 
Eucharistic change. Those who held that the divine 
Nature of Christ did not annihilate the human, also held 
that the presence of Christ in the Eucharistic Elements 
did not annihilate the proper substance of the Bread and 
Wine. It remains, said Theodoret", in its own essence or 
substance ; the proper nature or substance of the Bread 
and Wine, said pope Gelasius^'^, does not cease to exist. 
Still, the popular tendency was naturally to the more 
obvious and easily conceivable view of the mystic change, 
and this is found embodied in liturgies. The definite 
doctrine of transubstantiation emerged from the scholastic 
philosophy in the Middle Ages. 

We have already seen that from very ancient times 
the Eucharist was regarded as, in some sense, a sacrifice, 
as in it was commemorated and pleaded the one all- 
sufficient sacrifice of Christ. This conception acquired 

^ Mera^oXi?, transfiguratio. 

" Denwnstratio Evaiig. i. 10, § 
28 ff. : Thcol. Ecclesiast. iii. 12. 

3 E2)ist. 4 ad Serapionem. 

* Omt. 1, p. 38; 3, p. 70; 17, p. 

5 In Joannem, Tract. 25, pars 
2; 26, c. 18; Be Civ. Dei, xxi. 25. 

® Catech. 22, c. 4; but compare 
c. 3. 

^ Horn. 54 on John vi. 54; com- 
pare Horn. 83 on Matt, xxviii. 

s De Trinitate, vin. 13. 

8 De Mysteriis, c. 9. 

" Oratio Gatechet. c. 37. 

" Eranistes, Dial. 2 (iv. 126 ; ed. 

1- DeDtiabusNaturis ; inEouth's 
Opuscula, 493. 

Cn. XIII. 



Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 

Ch. XIII. 

The Holy 





greater prominence in the fourth century, and the Fathers 
sometimes use expressions which almost seem to imply 
that in the Holy Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ is re- 
peated, without shedding of blood. Such expressions as 
" the spiritual sacrifice," " the bloodless service," are 
frequent, both in sermons and in liturgies \ but still they 
imply rather a commemoration than an actual sacrifice^. 
Yet Chrysostom also speaks as if in the consecrated 
Eucharist the Lamb that was slain were actually lying 
on the altar^ The connexion of propitiatory masses with 
the doctrine of purgatorial fire is not found before the 
time of Gregory the Great. 

In the celebration of the Holy Eucharist the same 
elements are found which were already in use in the third 
century, but — as in the case of baptism — with some 
amplification and added splendour. The first portion of 
the service, to which catechumens were admitted, con- 
sisted principally of prayer and reading of passages of 
Holy Scripture'*. 

The readings of Scripture in the Eucharistic office 
were in ancient times three ; the Prophecy^, or reading 
from the Old Testament ; the Apostle or Epistle ; and the 
Gospel. A rubric in the Liturgy of St James" directs the 
reading of a passage from the Old Testament ; and the 
practice still continued in the West in the latter part of 
the sixth century''. The reading of a portion from " the 
Apostle" — that is, St Paul — or from an epistle of some 
other apostolic writer, and from a Gospel, has probably 
been universal from the earliest times to the present day. 
The allusions to the practice are almost innumerable. 
At an early date certain books seem to have been appro- 
priated to certain ecclesiastical seasons, and the readings 

1 Cyril, Catechet. 23, c. 8 ; Lit. S. 
Jacobi in Neale's Tetralo(jia,-p. 137 ; 
S. Chrysost. ib. p. 136. 

^ 'AvdnvrjO'tv epya^6/j.e9a. dvaLas, 
Chrysostom, Horn. 17 in Hebr. c. 
3; " Christiani peracti sacrificiime- 
moriam celebrant." Augustin, C. 
Faustum, 20, c. 18. 

' Sermons 32 and 35, pp. 416, 
435, quoted by Kurtz, Ilamlbuch, 
I. 2, p. 324. 

^ The distinction between the 

Liturgy of the Catechumens and 
that of the Faithful of course be- 
came unmeaning when Infant- 
baptism prevailed everywhere and 
paganism was unknown; but the 
form remained. 

^ See W. E. Scudamore in Diet. 
Clir. Antiq. s. v. Prophecy. 

^ Neale's Tetralogia, p. 31. 

'' Gregory of Tours, Hist. Franc. 
iv. 16. 

Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 


to have been taken from them in order, unless the course 
was interrupted by some festival for which there were 
proper lections. It was, for instance, an established rule 
in St Chrysostom's time that the Acts of the Apostles 
should be read in the period between Easter and Pente- 
cost*; and St Augustin^ apologizes for interrupting his 
course on St John, in which he had followed the order of 
the Eucharistic lections, because a Saint's Day intervened 
the lections of which he was not at liberty to change. 
No table of Epistles and Gospels now exists which is 
certainly earlier than the time of Gregory the Great, but 
" even the earliest Greek manuscripts bear distinct traces 
of having been used for liturgical purposesV' and " the 
fact that the same lections were employed by the Fathers 
of the fourth and fifth centuries as the subjects of their 
homilies proves the very early date of their assignment to 
particular days*." 

The word of exhortation and the exposition of Scrip- 
ture were, as we have already seen®, regarded as a due 
preparation for the Eucharistic feast. In the fourth 
century jjreaching was regarded as a special function of 
the bishop, but not to the entire exclusion of presbyters. 
Chrysostom, still a presbyter, says at the end of a sermon 
preached at Antioch, that he must now be silent and 
make way for his Master. No layman, not even a monk, 
however distinguished, was permitted to preach in a 
church I In some cases, a portion of a sermon was ad- 
dressed to the general congregation, including catechumens 
and others, while another was reserved for the faithful 
when they alone remained^ Sozomen^ tells us that in 

^ Chrysost. Horn. i. in Acta 

2 Exposit. in i. Joan. p. 235 
(quoted by Kurtz, Handbuch, ii. 

<* F. H. Scrivener in Diet. Chr, 
Antiq. s. v. Lectionary, p. 1)54. 

^ E. Venables in D. C. A. s. v. 
Epistle, p. 622. See also W. E. 
Scudamore, ib. s. v. Gospel, pp. 940 

5 B. Ferrarius, De Ritu Sacra- 
rum Eccl. Vet. Concionum; H. T. 
Tzschirner, De Claris Eccl. Vet. 
Oratoribus Gomm. IX. (Leipzig, 

1817 ff.); Paniel, Geschichte der 
Christl. Beredsamkeit; Lentz, 
Gesch. d. Christ. Homiletik; A. 
Nebe, Zur Gesch. d. Predigt; R. 
Eothe, Gesch. d. Predigt; Moule, 
Christian Oratory of the First Four 
Centuries (Camb. 1864) ; Ker, Lec- 
tures on the Hist, of Preaching. 

6 p. 154. 

^ Leo I. Eplst. 32 ad Pamma- 

^ Mdller, Kirchengeschichte, i. 

3 Hist. Eccl. VII. 19. See Bing- 
ham's Antiq. xiv. iv. 3. 

ch. xm. 

proper for 

ing 5, 


Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 

Rome neither the bishop preached nor anyone else. If 
this was the case, the custom certainly was broken through 
in the fifth century by Leo the Great, of whom we have 
many sermons. To speak generally, preaching was fre- 
quent in the great town churches, but comparatively rare 
in the country villages ; not that presbyters in charge of 
a church where there was no bishop were forbidden to 
preach, but that they frequently lacked the will or the 
power. It was to correct this state of things that pres- 
byters were everywhere enjoined to preach, and that, 
where they were unable to do so, deacons were empowered 
to read homilies of the Fathers \ The bishop commonly 
delivered his address sitting on his throne at the east end 
of the sanctuary, though he often came forward, in order 
to be better heard, to the rail which separated the 
sanctuary from the nave, or to the desk from which the 
lessons were read. 

It must not be supposed, however, that it was only in 
the Eucharistic office that sermons were preached. There 
are, for instance, two sermons of Augustin's on the same 
subject^ the second of which must have been preached in 
the afternoon. Chrysostom also preached at a later hour 
than that of communion, though it appears that he had to 
combat a superstitious objection to hearing sermons after 
taking foodl 

Oratory occupied in the early centuries but a subor- 
dinate place in the Western Church, but in the East 
it was much more prominent and important, and was 
sedulously cultivated, the Greek preachers adopting the 
style which was taught in the schools of rhetoric by such 
men as Libanius. From the schools also the practice 
of applauding admired passages passed into the churches, 
much against the wish of the greatest preachers. Chrys- 
ostom* has to remind his hearers that they did not come 
to church to see a stage-play. Sermons were for the 
most part carefully prepared orations delivered without a 
manuscript; but we hear occasionally of sermons being 
read. In Syria sermons in a loosely metrical style were 
in much favour. 

1 Cone. Vasense u. c. 2 (a.d. 529). 

2 Psalm 88. 

3 Horn. 10 in Genesin. See Scu- 

damore, Notitia Eucharistica, p. 
271, note 3 (1st ed.). 

* Horn, in Matt. xvii. c. 7. 

Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 


Of the later portion of the Liturgy, at which only the in- 
itiated, the enlightened, were allowed to be present, St Cyril 
of Jerusalem, in the last of his lectures to his catechumens^ 
sujDplies us with an exact and trustworthy account, as it 
existed in the mother of Churches in the middle of the 
fourth century. It is to this effect. First, the deacon 
presents to the bishop, and to the presbyters who encircle 
the sanctuary, water to wash their hands, symbolizing the 
purity with which we ought, to approach the holy mys- 
teries. He then exhorts the brethren to give each other 
the Holy Kiss, a token of the oneness of their souls. The 
bishop then exclaims, " Lift up your hearts," and the faith- 
ful respond, " We lift them up unto the Lord ; " then, "Let 
us give thanks unto the Lord our God," to which the 
response is, " It is meet and right." Then God's mercies 
in heaven and earth, through angels and men, are com- 
memorated, the strain ending in " Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord 
God of Sabaoth." "Then," proceeds Cyril, " we beseech the 
merciful God to send forth the Holy Spirit upon the 
elements displayed on the altar, that He may make the 
bread the Body of Christ and the wine the Blood of 
Christ ; for certainly whatever the Holy Spirit may have 
touched is hallowed and changed. Next,... over that pro- 
pitiatory sacrifice we beseech God for the peace of the 
Church, for the good ordering of the world, for kings, for 
our soldiers and allies, for those who are sick or in trouble, 
and in short we all pray for all who need help, and so we 
offer this sacrifice. Then we commemorate those who 
have gone to rest b3fore us, first among them patriarchs, 
prophets, apostles, martyrs, that God through their prayers 
and intercessions may accept our prayer. After these, we 
commemorate those holy fathers and bishops and all others 
of our body who have gone to rest before us, believing that 
the greatest benefit will accrue to their souls on whose 
behalf prayer is offered while the holy and awful sacri- 
fice is displayed." Upon this intercession followed the 
Lord's Prayer. Then the bishop says, " Holy things for 
holy men " — the consecrated elements are holy, fit for the 
holy alone to receive — to which the response is made, 
" One only is holy. One only is the Lord, even Jesus 

1 Gatech. Mtjstag. v. p. 323 ed. 
Beued.; in Harvey's Eccl. Anglic. 

Vindex, in. 307 ff. 

Ch. XIII. 


of hands. 


Cor da. 


sion for 
the living, 

and the 







Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 

Christ." Then the chanter sings the words, " taste and 
see how gracious the Lord is," and the communicants 
approach, holding out the right hand supported by the 
left, so as to receive the Body in the palm, saying Amen 
upon reception. Cyril recommends his neophytes to touch 
their eyes with the holy particle before partaking. After 
the Body, the cup of the Blood is received, reverently, 
with bowed head, the recipient saying Amen. With the 
moisture remaining on the lips the communicant is recom- 
mended to touch the forehead, the eyes and the other 
organs of the senses. Then he is to wait for the prayer 
and to give thanks to God Who has granted to him so 
great mysteries. 

In this description it may be observed that there is no 
mention of the recitation of the Words of Institution or of 
the Oblation of the Consecrated Elements. St Cyril was 
perhaps unwilling to mention these in such a manner as 
to run the risk of bringing them to the knowledge of the 
heathen. However this may have been, they are so 
absolutely universal in all existing liturgies that it is 
impossible to doubt that they are derived from very early, 
if not absolutely from primitive times^. 

The characteristics above enumerated are found, with 
many differences of detail and of arrangement, in almost 
all the liturgies which have come down to us. These fall 
into five divisions ; the Palestinian, of which the Greek 
Liturgy of St James, corresponding in its principal features 
with that described by St Cyril, is probably the earliest 
example; the Alexandriaa, typified by that called St Mark's; 
the East-Syrian or Nestorian ; the Hispano-Gallican ; and 
the Roman, from which the Ambrosian differs but little. 
Of these the first three may be called Eastern, the other 
two Western, though the latter also, especially the Spanish, 
shew traces of an Eastern origin. 

We find in nearly all liturgies, after the Sanctus, Com- 
memoration of the Lord's Life, or of some event in it, and 
of the Institution of the Eucharist, Oblation, prayer for 
living and dead, leading on to the Lord's Prayer, with its 

1 It is certain that the recitation 
of the Words of Institution in con- 
secrating the Eucharist was re- 
garded as an immemorial custom 

in the fourth century; see Chrys- 
ostom, Horn. i. de Prodit. Judce, 
c. 6. 

Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 


Embolismus or expansion of the petition, " Deliver us from 
evil." In the Eastern liturgies always, sometimes in the 
Gallican and Spanish, but not in the Roman or Ambrosian, 
we have an Epiklesis or prayer for the descent of the Hol}'^ 
Spirit upon the elements. In the Alexandrian (St Mark's) 
liturgy alone, the prayers for the living and the dead, and 
for acceptance of the sacrifice, are inserted in the Preface 
which intervenes between the Sursum, Corda and the 
Sanctus. The East- Syrian liturgies differ from Pales- 
tinian mainly in having the intercession for living and 
dead before the Epiklesis. The most remarkable pecu- 
liarity of the Roman rite is, that the commemoration of 
the living is separated from that of the dead and precedes 
consecration. The peculiarities of the Gallican rite shew 
that it belongs to a wholly different family from the 
Roman. In it the prayers for living and dead, with the 
kiss of peace, follow the oblation of the unconsecrated 
elements and precede the Sursum Corda. The Sanctus 
is immediately followed by the prayer called Collectio post 
Sanctus, and this again by the recitation of the words 
of Institution. The solemn processions at the bringing 
in of the Book of the Gospels — the " Lesser Entrance " — 
and at the bringing in of the Elements — the " Greater 
Entrance " — are peculiarly Eastern. And it is not only 
in arrangement and in some details that the Eastern 
liturgies differ from the Western. While in the East the 
liturgical forms are fixed, and nothing varies from day to 
day except the Lections and some of the Hymns ; in the 
West almost everything changes with the festival. The 
Roman Liturgy has regularly changing Collects, as well as 
Lections and Hymns, and had anciently an almost equal 
store of changing Prefaces \ In the Liturgies of the 
Gallican type even the prayers which accompany the 
Consecration change with the season. And the style of 
the East is markedly different from that of the West. 
While the prayers of the East are long, and remarkable 
for a certain solemn magniloquence, in those of the West, 
of which we have familiar instances in our own Anglican 
Collects, we are at once struck by a terse and even laconic 
expressiveness. The "gorgeous East" is contrasted 

1 The number of Prefaces in the 
Gelasian Sacramentary is much 

larger than in the modern Eoman 

Ch. XIII. 


A lexan- 





Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 

Ch. XIII. 




mixed ivitli 



of Com- 

here, as in many other points, with the more sober and 
practical West. 

The Elements were still offered by the members of the 
Church. It would seem to follow that the bread was that 
which was commonly used in households, though it may 
no doubt have been specially prepared. In the East there 
is no question that from the first the bread provided for 
the Eucharist has always been leavened, while in the 
West there can scarcely be said to be any distinct proof of 
the use of unleavened cakes before the time of Leo IX. 
(c. 1050)\ It was indifferent whether the wine was white 
or red, so that it was made from the juice of the grape^ 
The mixing of water with the wine was almost universal, and 
was thought to symbolize the blood and water which flowed 
from the Lord's pierced side, or the two Natures in the 
Person of Christ^ To avoid the latter symbolism the 
Armenian Monophy sites used pure wine*. The conse- 
crated elements were called Eulogise, a name afterwards 
applied to that portion of the oblations which had not 
been consecrated, and which was distributed after celebra- 
tion to those who had not communicated^. The old custom 
of sending consecrated eulogise, as a sign of brotherly feel- 
ing, to distant Churches or Bishops, was forbidden by the 
Council of Laodicea in the fourth century ^ Ordinarily, 
any remains of the consecrated elements were consumed 
by the clergy, or, it would seem, in some cases by innocent 
children'', infant-communion being still practised^ Com- 
munion in one kind, that of bread only, was only heard of 
among the Manichseans^ 

As in the course of the fourth and fifth centuries the 
commemorative and sacrificial aspect of the Holy Eu- 

^ Bona, De Rebus Liturg ids, lib. 
I. 0. 23; W. E. Scudamore, Notitia 
Eucharistica, p. 749 ff. (Ist ed.); 
Smith and Cheetham's Diet. Chr. 
Antiq. s. V. Elements. 

2 Scudamore, Notitia, p. 769 f.; 
Diet. Chr. Antiq. p. 604. 

2 Clementine Liturgy, Constt. 
Apost. viii. 12, § 16; there are 
similar directions in most of the 
Greek Liturgies. See also Cone, 
Garth, in. c. 24; Codex Can. Afri- 
can, c. 37. 

* This practice was condemned 
by the Cone. Trullan. c. 32, to- 
gether with that of the Aquarians, 
who used water without wine. 

^ Called also avridoopov (Scuda- 
more, Notitia, p. 793 J Diet. Chr, 
Antiq. 628 f.). 

6 About A.D. 365, in canon 14. 

7 Evagrius, //. E. iv. 36. 

8 Scudamore in Diet. Chr. An- 
tiq. s.v. Infant-Cov)vui)ii)iii. 

9 See p. 105. 

Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 


charist came to be more regarded than the receiving the 
heavenly food, the faithful communicated less frequently. 
In the East they are said to have contented themselves 
with one communion in the year^ ; but daily communion 
was not infrequent, and Christian teachers urged the 
faithful to communicate at least weekly 2. Councils 
threatened with excommunication those who did not at 
any rate communicate at the three great festivals^. 

Even in the time of Tertullian* it seems to have been 
regarded as becoming that the recipients and the ministers 
of Holy Communion should be fasting. But the necessity 
of communicating fasting does not appear to have been 
recognised before the fourth century. From that time 
there is a general consent of testimony^ that the sacra- 
ment could only be given to those who had not taken 
food on the day of reception. It was emphatically laid 
down by conciliar decrees^ that the clergy who administered 
the Eucharist must be fasting. The one exception was on 
Maundy Thursday'. 

The whole service took, during the fourth and following 
centuries, an aspect of greater stateliness and splendour. 
The number of clergy was greatly increased, and they 
appeared in special and appropriate vestments ^ These 
were derived from the dress once almost universal among 
the upper classes of the Empire both in East and West ; 
the long tunic with some kind of super-vestment, which 
bore various names. The white tunic used as the cere- 
monial dress of a Christian minister came to be known 
simply as alba, the modern alb. Other varieties of the 
tunic were the dalmatic and the Greek sticharion, both of 

^ Pseudo-Ambrosius, De Sacra- 
mentis, v. 4. 

2 Augustin, Epist. 54 ad Janu- 
arhim; Gennadius, De Dogm. Ec- 
cles. c. 23. 

•* Cone. Agathense (a.d. 506), c. 

* De Corona, c. 3; De Orationc, 
c. 14. 

" e.g. Basil, Horn. ii. De Jejunio, 
p. 13; Chrysostom in 1 Cor. Ham. 
27, p. 231; Ad Pop. Antioch. Serrn. 
9, p. 103 ; Epist. 125, p. 683 ; Au- 
gustin, Epist. 118 c. 6. 

^ Autissiod. 0. 19; Mati^con. ii. 

c. 9. 

'' Augustin ?<. s.; Codex Canon. 
Afric. c. 41=111. Cone. Carthag. 
c. 29. 

8 W. B. Marriott, Vestiarium 
Christianum; C. J. Hefele, Die li- 
turgischen Geiodnder, in Beitriige 
zur Kircliengeschielite u. a. w. ii. 
150 ft'. ; D. Eock, Hierurgia, p. 414 
ff. ; F. Bock, Die liturgisrhen Ge- 
xv'dnder des Mittelalters ; the ar- 
ticles on the several vestments in 
Smith and Cheetham's Diet. Chr. 

Cn. XIII. 





Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 

which we find mentioned as lay garments before they 
were appropriated to the services of the sanctuary. The 
upper robe appears as the <^aiv6\r)<i, or planeta; at a 
later date as the casiila, our "chasuble." A strip of cloth 
passed round the neck, so that the ends hung down in 
front, or, for a deacon, passed over the left shoulder, was 
called the orarium, in much later times the stole ; and a 
similar strip passed round the wrist, the maniple. There 
is little doubt that the omophorion and the pallium are 
simply modifications of the stole. "The colour of the 
liturgical vestments up to the Middle Ages was always 
white, for all orders of the clergy^" As early as the 
fourth century we find the pastoral staff regarded as one 
of the insignia of a bishop^ Rings were used by bishops, 
as by other dignified persons, from early times'; but there 
seems to be no distinct proof of their being regarded as 
symbols of office before the latter half of the sixth 
century*. Early in the seventh century we find stole, 
ring, and staff recognised as characteristic of a bishop, 
stole and chasuble of a priest, stole and alb of a deacon^ 
The Gregorian Sacramentary states expressly^, that no 
cleric stands in the church at any time with covered head, 
unless he have an infirmity. " It may be safely asserted 
that no case has been at all made out for a general use of 
an official head-dress of Christian ministers during the 
first eight or nine centuries after Christ ^" 

The burning of incense, as a natural symbol of praise 
and prayer rising towards God, and as surrounding offerers 
and offerings with a sweet odour, seems to have come into 
use in the fourth century. Incense is permitted by the 
Apostolical Canons^ to be presented at the time of offering, 

1 Hefele, Lit. Gewander, p. 156. 

2 Gregory Nazianz. Orat. 42, 
quoted by H. T. Armfield in Diet. 
Ghr. Antiq. p. 1567. Compare Ce- 
lestinus Ad Episc. Gallia, c. 1, in 
Hardouin i. 1258 ; Isidore of Se- 
ville, De Off. Eccl. c. 5. 

3 The ring of Caius, bishop of 
Eome (t 296), was found when hia 
tomb was opened in 1622 (Aringhi, 
Jlovia Subt. ii. 426; Boldetti, Cimit. 
p. 102 f.). 

* C. Babington in Diet, Ghr. 

Antiq. p. 1805. See also Martigny, 
Des Anneaux chez les Premiers 
Chretiens et de VAnneau episeopal 
en particulier (Macon 1858), and 
Diet, des Antiq. Chret. s. v. An- 
neau episcopal. 

^ IV. Cone. Tolet. c. 28 (a.d. 633). 

" p. 38, in Quadragesima. 

^ E. Sinker, in Diet. Ghr. Antiq. 
1216. But see the instance of Gre- 
gory of Nazianzus, infra, p. 394. 

8 Canon 3 [al. 4]. 

Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 


but the Pseudo-Dionysius^, possibly writing in the fourth 
century, seems to be the first who distinctly testifies to 
its use in religious ceremonial. Its use is prescribed in 
ancient liturgies", but it is difiicult to fix a date for their 
several component parts. A thurible of gold is said^ to 
have been sent by a king of Persia to a church in Antioch 
about the year 594. The sign of the cross was constantly 
used both by the ministers in divine service and by lay 
people. " Make the sign of the cross," says Cyril of Jeru- 
salem^, "on thy forehead, that the demons, seeing the 
mark of the King, may tremble and flee away. Make this 
sign when thou eatest and when thou drinkest, when thou 
liest down and when thou risest up, when thou speakest 
and when thou walkest." The kiss of peace ^ was almost 
everywhere introduced in the Eucharistic celebration ; 
and the faithful, as a mark of reverence, frequently kissed 
the door-posts of the holy house or the steps of the 
sanctuary", while the officiating ministers kissed the altar 
and the book of the Gospels''. " At an early period we 
find fountains, or basins supplied with fresh water, near 
the doors of churches, especially in the East, that they 
who entered might wash their hands at least before they 
worshipped ^" The earliest mention of blessing water, 
other than that for baptism, seems to be that in the 
Apostolical Constitutions^ which describes the practice 
probably of the latter part of the fourth century. There 
is no trace of the use of holy water in the West until a 
much later period. The ceremonial use of lights'" was 
probably earlier. Beginning in the assemblies before 
dawn or in the darkness of the catacombs, the use of 

1 Hierarch. Ecclesiant. c. 3, sec. 

2 e.g. that of St James, Tetra- 
logia Liturri. 55. 

* By Evagrius, II. E. vi. 21 
§ 18.— See E. F. Littledale, In- 
cense, a Liturgical Essay ; W. E. 
Scuclamore, art. lucerne, iu Diet. 
Chr. Antiq. p. 830 ff. 

* Catech. rv. 14. Compare Chrys- 
ostom in I. Cor. Horn. 12; Au- 
gustin, Sermo 19 De Sanctis. 

^ See (e.g.) Lit. S. Jacobi, in 
Daniel's Code.v Liturg. iv. 104 ; 
S. Marcilb. 149. 


Ambrose, Epist. 33 [al. 14]; 
Pseudo-Dionys. Hierarch. Eccl. 
c. II. § 4 ; Chrysostom in II. Cor. 
Horn. 30, § 1, Prudentius, Peristeph. 
Hymn. ii. 519; xi. 193; Paulinas 
Nol. ill Natal, S. Felicis, Poem. vi. 

'' See on the whole subject W. 
E. Scudamore in Diet. Chr. Antiq. 
p. 902 ff. 

^ W. E. Scudamore inDict. Chr. 
Antiq. p. 777. 

9 viii. 29. 

1° W. E. Scudamore in Diet. 
Chr. Antiq. p. 993 ff. 


Ch. XIII. 

Sign of the 

The Kiss. 

of hands. 





Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 

Ch. XIII. 

Posture of 

Turnhig to 
the East. 



at Milan, 

lamps was maintained when the services were in the light 
of day on account of their symbolism and their festive 
character^ There are also traces as early as the fourth 
century of the practice of maintaining an ever-burning 
lamp in the sanctuary '^. Kneeling was the usual posture 
of prayer in the churches, except on Sundays and in the 
season between Easter and Pentecost, when it was desired 
to express exulting joy rather than humiliation, and so 
the faithful prayed standing. The praying figures of the 
Roman catacombs are represented standing with arms 
expanded and hands open^ All faces were turned to- 
wards the East^ where the sun arose, the natural symbol 
of the Light of the World. 

In early times the voices of the congregation had no 
doubt taken a large share in the responsive portion of the 
service, but as the music came to be more elaborate it fell 
more and more into the hands of the trained singers who 
formed the choir. The Council of Laodicea^ would indeed 
have confined all singing in church to these. The singing 
consisted either of sentences chanted by the lay people in 
response to the clergy, or of psalms or psalm-like com- 
positions chanted in alternate strains by a choir divided 
into two bands. The latter method is believed to have 
been introduced, perhaps after the example of the Syrians, 
by Flavian and Diodorus about the year 350 at Antioch, 
whence it spread rapidly throughout the world". This 
kind of music was brought into use by Ambrose at Milan 
to cheer the hearts of the faithful under the oppression of 
the Arian empress Justina', and soon spread over the 
Western Church. Augustin however somewhat dreaded 
the concord of sweet sounds ^ thinking that he was some- 
times more moved by the music than by the matter of 
what he heard ; and he says that Athanasius preferred 

^ In earlier times the kindling 
of useless lights gave miich offence. 
See Tertullian, Apol. 35 and 46 ; 
De Idolol. 15; Lactantius, Instit. 
VI. 2. 

^ Epiphauius, Epist. ad Joann. 
Jlieros. (opp. iv. 2, p. 85, ed. Diu- 
dorf); Pauliuus Nol. Carm. Nat. 
III. 98. 

8 Diet. Chr. Antiq., pp. 723 ff. 

and 1463 ff., s. w. Genuflexion and 

* Constt. Apost. ii. 57, 10; Basil 
De Spiritu Sancto, c. 66 [al. 27]. 

6 Can. 15 (c. a.d. 370). 

6 Theodoret, H. E. ii. 24, § 9; 
Basil Epist. 207, ad Clericos Neo- 

^ Augustin, Confessiones, jx. 7. 

8 u. s. X. 32. 

Ecclesiastical Cei'emomes and Art. 


a simple monotoue to more elaborate music. Jerome^ was 
indignant with the operatic singers of his time, and 
Chrysostom^ did not like the devil's tunes to be applied 
to the songs of angels. 

3. Besides the Eucharistic celeorations, the faithful 
had also meetings for worship of another kind. We have 
already seen^ that before the end of the third century, 
hours of prayer were prescribed for the devout ; in the 
fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries the hour-system was 
developed so that seven hours were observed^ The 
Eastern and Western offices for the several hours, widely 
us they now differ, probably owe their origin to a common 
source. The earliest form " appears to have consisted in 
the recitation of psalms, together with prayers and hymns, 
but with no lessons ; and to have been designed for use 
during the night and in the early morning. SS. Basil^ 
and Chrysostom and others often speak of these services. 
The origin of these prayers has been traced" with much 
probability to the ' Eighteen Prayers ' used in the Jewish 
synagogue.... The earliest form of the Roman office appears 
to have consisted solely of the psalter, so distributed as to 
be recited once a week. At the end of the appointed 
number of psalms for the daily office Pater Noster was 
said'. This seems to have constituted the entire office, 
which contained no lessons, hymns, or collects... Lessons 
were in early times only read at the mass... The nocturnal 
office of the Eastern Church and the Mozarabic matins 
contain no lessons at the present time^" But the Council 
of Laodicea® (about A.D. 360) enjoined that in assemblies 
for worshij) the psalms should not be said continuously, 
but that after each psalm there should be a lection, and 
this only from Canonical Scripture ; and in Cassian's" 
time we find that the custom of reading two Scripture 
lessons between every twelve psalms was an immemorial 

1 III Epist. ad Ephes. v. I'J. 

^ Horn. 1 in illiid Vidi dominum, 
p. 97 E. 

3 p. 158. 

* The Egyptian practice is de- 
scribed by Cassian Instittit. ii. c. 
1 — 4; for the Western, see Martene, 
De Antiq. Eccl. Ritibus, lib. iv. 
and De Antiq. Monachorum Ritibus. 

s See especially, Epist. G3 ad about a.d. 416. 


^ P. Freeman, Principles of Di- 
vine Service, i. 64 ff. 

' Pseudo-Athanasius, De Vir- 
gin it ate. 

^ H. J. Hotham in Diet. Chr. 
Antiq. p. 1444 li'. 

'■' CO. 17 and 60. 
1" Distitut. II. 4 and 6, written 


Ch. XIII. 






Ecclesiastical Cer^emonies and Art. 

Ch. XIII. 

of Holy 



custom with the monks of Egypt. St Benedict^ in the 
offices which he instituted prescribed no lesson during the 
short nights of summer, but during the winter half of the 
year there were to be three lections, and these not only 
from Scripture, but from those doctors of the Church who 
were in the highest repute. The elaborate system of hour- 
offices ultimately formed could naturally only be kept up 
in a religious house. 

If lections did not from the first form part of the non- 
eucharistic office, the reading of Scripture was at any rate 
highly commended. It was the mark of a good Christian 
to be familiar with Holy Scripture^ Copies of the Bible 
were commonly on sale'', and rooms were provided in 
churches to which those who would might retire to medi- 
tate on God's law*. Such teachers as Chrysostom and 
Augustin rejected with indignation the excuses of the lay 
people, who alleged that they had no time to read the 
Scriptures, or that they were unable to understand them. 
The former, in fact, traces the corruptions of the Church 
to the prevailing ignorance of Scripture ^ 

Litanies or " Rogationes," processions, that is, about 
the fields, with supplications for fruitful seasons and for 
freedom from pestilence and famine, were instituted by 
Mamertus, bishop of Vienne, in the year 452, on the three 
days immediately preceding Ascension Day®. 

4. Marriage \ signifying to us as it does the mystical 
union that is betwixt Christ and His Church ^, has from 
primitive times received the blessing of the Christian 
ministry. The anxious care of the Church for the sacred- 
ness of family life caused it to forbid the union of near 
kindred whether by blood or by mai-riage ^ while in some 

1 Ch. 9. 
p. 951, s. V. 


See Diet. Chr. 

2 Jerome, Epist. 107 § 12. 

"* Augustin in Ps. 36, i. § 2. 

* Paulinus of Nola, Epist. 321. 

^ Procem. in Epist. ad Rom. See 
Neander, iii. 377 ff. 

® Sidonius Apolliuaris, Epistt. 
V. 14; VII. 1; Gregory of Tours, ii. 
34. See Diet. Chr. Antiq. p. 1809. 

' C. F. Stiiudlin, Geschichte dcr 
Vorstellungen u. Lehre von der 
Ehe; Bingham's A)itiq. Bk. 22; 
Martene, De Antiq. Eccl. Ritibus, 

I. ix. 3; A. J. Binterim, Denkwiir- 
digkeiten, Bd. 6, Th. 2; J. M. 
Neale, Eastern Church, Ditroduc- 
tion, p. 1011 ff.; F. Mejrick in 
Diet. Chr. Antiq. p. 1092 ff.; J. H. 
Kurtz, Handbuch der K.-G. § 278. 

8 The word "saeramentum,"the 
Vulgate rendering of ixvarrtpiov in 
Eph. V. 32, is frequently applied to 
marriage. See Augustin, De Nupt. 
et Concup. i. 11. 

9 Cone. Agath. c. 61 (a.d. 506); 
Epaon. c. 30 (a.d. 517). 

Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 


cases it recognised the validity of unions which the state 
did not sanction, as, for instance, those between slave and 
free*. Marriages of Catholics with heathens, Jews or 
heretics were naturally discouraged, and were punished by 
a period of penance. Adultery of either husband or wife 
was generally recognised as a ground of divorce, and also 
unnatural crimes and apostasy from the faith. Remarriage 
of persons who had been divorced was permitted by some 
authorities ^ but in the end came to be forbidden even to 
the innocent party ^ 

Prayers and benedictions for the Mass which accom- 
panied marriage are found in the Gelasian Sacramentary ^; 
but no account of the marriage ceremonies of the West, 
which differed in some points from those of the East, seems 
to be found earlier than that of Pope Nicholas I. in the 
ninth century, who describes to the Bulgarians ^ the im- 
memorial usage of the Latin Church — a usage which pro- 
bably dates from an earlier period than the sixth century. 
With us, he says, no band of gold or silver, or of any other 
metal, is placed on the heads of the contracting parties in 
the marriage ceremony. We have, first, the betrothal, an 
engagement to contract marriage at a future time, entered 
into with the full consent of the parties themselves and of 
those in whose power they are, their parents or guardians. 
The bridegroom gives earnest (arrhae) to the bride by 
placing a ring on her finger, and, either then or at some 
other time appointed, hands to the bride, in the presence 
of witnesses summoned for the purpose, a formal contract 
to provide the dowry mutually agreed upon. In the 
church, they present themselves with the oblations which 
they are to offer to God by the hand of the priest, and not 
till then do they receive the sacred veil anci the benedic- 
tion, as the first pair received a blessing in Paradise. 
Those who marry a second time however do not receive 
the veil. On leaving the church there are placed on 

1 It is to such cases that I. Cone. 
Tolet. c. 17 (a.d. 398), which seems 
to sanction concubinage, refers. 

^ Ambrosiaster [Hilary] in 1 Cor. 
vii. 15; Epiphanius, Hceres. 59, c. 
4. Augustin (De Fide et Opere c. 
19) is doubtful. 

» Codex Keel. Afric. c. 102 ; In- 
nocent I. ad Exsupcrium, c. G, in 

Hardouin i. 1005. See H. Ham- 
mond On Polygamij and Divorees, 
in Works, i. 447 ff. (Loud. 1774), 
and E. B. Pusey in Library of 
the Fathers, x. 443 ff. 

■* ni. 52, vol. 74, p. 1213 ff. 

^ Hardouin Cone. v. 854. 

Ch. XIII. 





and Bene- 


Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 

Ch. XIII. 




Joining of 

Care of 
Sick and 

their heads crowns which are kept there for the purpose ; 
and, the nuptial rites being thus completed, they are 
exhorted, with God's help, to lead a life of unity for ever 
after. These are, the pope says, the principal ceremonies 
in marriage, tliough there are others in use which he 
does not think it necessary to specify ; and he lays it 
down very clearly that nothing is absolutely necessary 
for a valid marriage but the mutual consent of the parties 
to be married, quoting Chrysostom to the same effect \ 

The Greek practice, with which the pope contrasts his 
own, was to place crowns on the heads of the bride and 
bridegroom soon after the service began. The use of the 
ring seems almost universal, but while in the West the 
bridegroom alone gives a ring to the bride as earnest in 
the betrothal ceremony, in the East the bride also gives a 
ring to the bridegroom ^. The crowning is so important a 
rite in the Greek Church that it gives name to the mar- 
riage-service^ while in the Latin Church it seems little 
more than a country-custom of putting a peculiar head- 
dress on the wedded pair when they left the church. The 
pope does not mention the joining of hands, but it is clear 
that this was a usual observance both in East and West *. 
The veil spoken of is not the bride's veil, but a purple 
covering spread over both bride and bridegroom at the 
time of the benediction as a token of their union^ 

5. As may readily be supposed, the Christian Church 
did not neglect the sick and dying. Not only did the mini- 

1 IIomil.?>2 inMatthaum. "The 
itiedia3val formula Ego conjungo 
vos in matr i monium ...ha,s not a 
little contributed to form wrong 
ideas on the subject of marriage 
with the rites of religion, and to 
give credit to the notion that the 
bond of matrimony depends on the 
authority of the priest. The Coun- 
cil of Trent {Sess. xxiv. De Refonn. 
Matr. c. 1) mentions the formula 
without making it obligatory." 
Duchesne, Culte Chret. p. 415 n. 1. 

^ 'Appapusvil^eTai. See the ^Ako- 
\ov0la i-rrl fxvTjarpois in Daniel Co- 
dex Lit. IV. 518. 

^ ' AKoXovOia rod (rTe(pavwfiaTOS, 
Daniel u. s. 520. There are allu- 

sions to this practice in Palladius, 
Hist. Lausiaca, c. 8; Evagrius, 
H. E. vi. 1 ; Gregory of Tours, i. 
42; Acta S. Amatoris in Acta SS. 
May 1, quoted by Marteue, B. A. 
ii. i25. 

•* It is alluded to by TertuUian, 
De Virgg. Velandis c. 11, and by 
Gregory of Nazianzus, Epist. 57 
ad Anysium. 

^ St Ambrose {Exhort, ad Virg. 
c. 6) derives nubere from this veil 
or "cloud." See also De Virgini- 
tate, c. 15; Epist. 19; Siricius ad 
Div. Episcop. in Hardouin Cone. 
i. 852; Isidore Hisp. De Div. Off. 
ii. c. 12, quoted by Martene, B. A, 
ii. 125. 

Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 


sters of the Church visit the sick ^, offer prayer with and 
for them, lay hands upon them, and administer Holy 
Communion to them, but they also, after the Apostolic 
precept and example, anointed them with oil in the name 
of the Lord '\ Innocent I. early in the fifth century seems 
to have been the first to apply the word " sacramentum " 
to this rite, and it was not until a much later period that 
it came to be regarded simply as a safeguard for one 
actually on the point of death and to be called Extreme 
Unction. According to the Pseudo-Areopagite ^ the body 
of the departed was anointed with oil in a quasi-sacra- 
mental manner, but this testimony is unsupported, and 
probably represents the writer's sense of what would be 
fitting, rather than the fact. The wreath often placed on 
the head of the corpse was probably intended simply as 
an emblem of victory over death, but found objectors as 
savouring of paganism. The superstitious custom of 
placing a consecrated host within the lips of a corpse or in 
the coffin was condemned by several councils*. Violent 
expressions of grief, tearing of the garments, the use of 
sackcloth and ashes, the bearing of cypress-branches, 
and the like, were held to belong rather to those who 
sorrowed without hope than to those who had Christ in 
them, the hope of glory ^ The fimeral-|)rocession was 
almost always in the full light of day, though lamps and 
torches were borne in it, as well as branches of olive and 
palm. The philosophic emperor Julian forbade funerals 
in the daytime, especially on the ground that to meet 
them was of ill omen^ From the fourth century onward 

1 Possidius, Vita Augustini, c. 

2 On this rite, which has been 
the subject of much controversy, 
see Mabillon, J)e Extrerna Unc- 
tione in the Preface to Acta SS. 
Ben. Sffic. I.; Martene, De Ant. 
Eccl. Ritibus, Ub. i. c. 7 ; J. Dal- 
laius, De Duobus Latinorum ex 
inictione Sacraineittis ; C. Kortholt 
Diss, de extrerna Unctions, in Diss. 
Anti-Baroniance, vi. 163 ff. ; W. E. 
Scudamore in Diet. Ghr. Antiq. 
p. 2004. 

* Hierarch. Eccl. c. 7. On the 
whole subject of Burial, see Mar- 

tene, De Rit. Eccl. Antiq. lib. iii. 
cc. 12—15; L. A. Muratori, De 
Vet. Christ. Sepidchris in Anecdota 
I. Dis. 17, and De Antiq. Chr. 
Sej). in Anecdota Grceca, Dis. 3 ; 
Bingham's Autiq. Bk. 23, c. 8; 
Rejjort on Burial Rites to Lower 
House of Convocation, 1877; Diet. 
Chr. Antiq. s. vv. Burial and Ob- 
sequies of the Dead. 

* III. Carthag. c. 6 (a.d. 397); 
Trullan. c. 83 (a.d. 692). 

■' Gone. III. Tolet. c. 22 (A.n. 

* Codex Tlieodos. ix. 17, 5. 

Oh. Xm. 


of Corpse 







Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 

Ch. XIII. 

tion, who 
fied for. 

attempts seem to have been made to bury as near as possi- 
ble to a church, for an edict of Gratian repeats the old 
law against burying in cities, and expressly provides that 
no exception is to be made for places hallowed by the 
remains of apostles or martyrs \ The custom of holding a 
banquet, or celebrating the Eucharist at the tomb "^ still 
lingered in the fourth century. A custom arose in early 
times of placing lights on graves. This, which seems to 
have been derived from paganism, was condemned by the 
Council of Elvira ^, and in the early part of the fifth century 
was attacked by Vigilantius, to whom Jerome* replied in 
rather a half-hearted way, pleading that it was a practice 
of simple-minded people who meant no harm by it. 

G. Great care was exercised in the choice of persons 
to be ordained ^ Some classes were altogether excluded, as 
catechumens, persons newly baptized, baptized privately 
in severe sickness, or by heretics, or who after baptism 
had lived unworthily of their vocation ; penitents ; those 
who had been twice married ; possessed or epileptic per- 
sons, or such as had suffered any bodily mutilation ; all 
who exhibited themselves on the stage or in the cii'cus; 
all slaves, and even freedmen who were not clear of every 
obligation towards their former masters; all whose con- 
dition of life did not afford them the necessary freedom to 
devote themselves to the service of the Church, as soldiers 
or members of the civil service. The state forbade those 
who were responsible for the payment of the imperial 
taxes — the curiales — to be withdrawn from this duty by 
ordination^ In early times a bishop seems not to have 
been ordained under the age of fifty years; Justinian's 
legislation required thirty-five ; in practice, it was held 
sufficient if a bishop-elect had attained thirty years. 
Strict enquiry was made as to a candidate's soundness 
in the faith, his blamelessness of life, and his social con- 

1 Codex Theodos. ix. 17, 6. 

2 See p. 159. 

* Can. 34, probably about a.d. 
325, but possibly earlier. 

* C. Vigilantium, § 8. 

" J. Morinus, De Sacris Ordina- 
tionihus; F. Halierius De Sacris 
Electionibus et Ordinationibus (Ro- 
ma) 1749) ; Martene, De Rit. Eccl. 

Antiquis, lib. i. c. 8; Bingham's 
Antiq. Bks. 2 and 3; E. Hatch in 
Diet. Chr. Antiq. s.vv. Orders, 
Holy; Ordinal; Ordination. 

^ This, with other conditions 
imposed by the imperial govern- 
ment, is found in Justinian's No- 
vella 123 (Migne's Patrol. Lat. 72. 
p. 1019 ff. ). 

Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 


dition. A provincial council^ in the sixth century decreed 
that no one should be ordained to the priesthood who had 
not served a year at least as lector or subdeacon. No one 
was ordained except to a particular church, his title to 
orders^ Among the few exceptions to this rule were 
Paulinus and Jerome. The clergy in the period of which 
we are now treating were probably rarely educated for 
their work in a school of theology^. Such schools do not 
appear to have existed in the West, and in the East those 
which arose at Alexandria, Antioch, and elsewhere, seem 
to have come to an end or lost their influence in the 
troubles of the fifth and sixth centuries. So long as the 
great pagan schools, such as those of Athens and Alex- 
andria, continued to flourish, many young men of Christian 
families sought in them general culture and philosophical 
training, while they afterwards specially prepared them- 
selves for the priesthood in the subordinate offices of the 
Church or in monastic retirement. When, however, it 
became customary for the clergy of a city to live together 
in one dwelling under the superintendence of the bishop, 
such clergy-houses commonly became seminaries in which 
candidates for orders were trained for their future work. 

The ceremonies which were used in admitting a person 
to the office for which he had been chosen were mainly 
two ; the imposition of hands, with prayer for the special 
grace required ; and the formal delivery of the insignia and 
instruments of office. The laying on of hands with a view 
to the conferring of spiritual gifts was in most cases the 
privilege of the episcopal order only, but the presbyters 
who were present also laid their hands on the head of one 
who was being ordained presbyter, and there was no laying 
on of hands in the admission to office of subdeacons and 
others who filled the lower ranks in the service of the 
Church*. The delivery, to one admitted to an office, of the 
instruments which he was to use was a natural inaugura- 

^ Bracarense i. [al. ii.] c. 20 
(a.d. 5G3), in Hardouin Cone. iii. 

2 Diet. Chr. Antiq. pp. 1486, 
1556, 1966. The rule is found in 
Cone. Chalced. c. 6 (a.d, 451). 

^ Justinian (Nov. 123) insists on 
the necessity of training for the 

clergy. That it had been neglected 
appears from his words, "alii [cle- 
rici] ne ipsas quidem sacras obla- 
tionis et sacri baptismatis preces 
scire dicuntur." 

* The Constt. Apostt. however 
(viii. 21, 22), prescribe imposition 
of hands for subdeacon and reader. 

Cn. XIII. 

of the 

Ttites of 


Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 

Ch. XIII. 

The Cycle 
OF Festi- 
oil Festi- 

tion of his new functions. A reader had to read; the 
book was delivered to him, and he read\ A subdeacon 
had to wash the bishop's hands ; a pitcher and towel were 
delivered to him, as well as the chalice and paten of which 
he was to have charge ^ A deacon had, in southern coun- 
tries, to drive away insects from the oblations upon the 
altar; a fan for this purpose was delivered to him^ The 
delivery of the eucharistic vessels to a presbyter is not 
found in the oldest Western ordinals*. Gregory of Na- 
zianzus tells us^ that when he was made bishop he was 
vested by his ordainers in a long tunic or alb and a mitre, 
but scarcely any other allusion to the custom of vesting a 
candidate is found until a much later date®. A peculiar 
ceremony in the oixlination of a bishop was the holding of 
the book of the gospels over his head by two bishops while 
he received the benediction and the imposition of the hands 
of the other bishops''. The use of chrism in ordination 
is first alluded to by Gregory the Greats From early 
times the clergy were forbidden to wear long hair, and "in 
the latter part of the sixth century the tonsure seems to 
have become definitely established as a mark of separation 
between clergy and laity"." The shape of the tonsure 
varied in different Churches. 

II. Socrates^" the historian, noticing the diversity of 
practice in different regions with regard to the observance 
of the Paschal festival, points out that the observance of 
special days and months and years had no Scriptural 
authority. The Mosaic law had (he says) no direct bear- 
ing upon the Christian Church, and the ceremonies and 
observances which he saw in actual use had arisen, 
for the most part, simply from local use and wont. The 
cycle of festivals satisfied a craving of human nature. As 
for the Apostles, they did not aim at giving rules for 
feast days, but at promoting piety and righteousness. 
This is true ; the end of the observance of special days 
and hours is the maintaining and raising of the spiritual 

1 Statuta Eccl. Antiqua, c. 8. 

2 lb. c. 5. 

^ Euchologion, p. 253. See Mar- 
tene, De Rit. Eel. Antiq. i. iv. 8, 
§ 5 and viii. 11, ordo 19; E. Vari- 
ables in Diet. Chr. Antiq. 675 f, 

* Diet. Chr. Antiq. p. 1508. 

^ Orat. X. in seipsum, p. 241. 
« Cone. Tolet. iv. c. 28 (a.d. 633). 
'' Stat. Eeel. Antiq. c. 2. 
^ Expos, in I. Regum, c. 4. 
» Diet. Chr. Antiq. p. 1491. 
1" Hist. Eccl. V. 22, p. 292. 

Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 


life of the Church ; but in time festivals and fasts of uni- 
versal observance ac(|uire a sacredness which few dispute. 

i. The Lord's Day and the "stations" of Wednesday 
and Friday were already observed before the end of the 
third century. Constantino is said^ to have closed the law- 
courts and forbidden labour on the Friday as well as on 
the Sunday, the Wednesday being probably always a day 
less strictly observed. Socrates^ notes, as a primeval 
custom of the Alexandrians, that on the Wednesday and 
Friday the Scriptiu'es are read and expositions given in 
the churches ; that, in short, everything belonging to the 
solemn assembly is done, except the actual celebration. 
Everywhere, in the early part of the fifth century, there 
was a celebration of the Holy Eucharist on the Sabbath 
(Saturday), excepting at Alexandria and Rome, where a 
local custom forbade it ; while in the parts of Egypt bor- 
dering on Alexandria and in the Thebaid the inhabitants 
had a custom on that day differing from that of the rest of 
Christendom ; they partook of the Eucharist in the even- 
ing after a sumptuous repast^ In the West, however, 
and particularly at Rome, Saturday became a fast-day, 
and had no celebration of the Eucharist*. Four times in 
the year, once in each of the four seasons of the year 
(quatuor tempera), three days of the week, our Ember 
Days, were observed with special solemnity. This custom 
appears to be peculiar to the Roman Patriarchate, and not 
to be older than the fifth century^ 

2, The disputes as to the proper time of celebrating 
Easter still continued in the period with which we are 
now concerned. At the Council of Nicoea it was agreed 
that all the Churches should conform to the use which 
was observed in Egypt, Africa, Italy, and the West 
generally^. It is not clear that the council laid down 
any rule for the determination of Easter-Day^ ; certainly 

1 Sozomen, i. 8, p. 20. 

2 V. 22, p. 295. This resembles 
tbe custom of the EngUsh Church, 
of saying the "Ante-commuuion" 
Service, and preaching, when no 
celebration follows. 

a Socrates, v. 22, p. 295; Sozo- 
men, VII. 19, p. 308. This pecu- 
liarity was probably derived from 
the Jews, whose custom was to 

"eat the fat and drink the sweet" 
on a day which was "holy to the 
Lord." See Nehemiah viii. 10. 

4 Cone. Elih. c. 26 (title); Du- 
chesne, Gulte Chretien, p. 222. 

^ Duchesne, u. s. p. 223. 

8 Theodoret, H. E. i. 10; So- 
crates, i. 9; Eusebius, Vita Con- 
stant, iii. 18. 

"^ Ambrose however (EpLst. 23 ad 

Cn. XIII. 

The Week. 


Date of 



Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 

it did not put an end to the controversy. The Qiiartode- 
ciman practice still required to be repressed at the time of 
the Council of Constantinople* in the year 381, and, indeed, 
did not die out until the sixth century. Even Rome and 
Alexandria often celebrated their Easter on a different 
day. This difference arose partly from the fact that the two 
Churches used different cycles for the computation of the 
day of the Paschal full-moon, partly from the Komans holding 
that Easter-Day must never fall earlier than the 16th day 
of the Paschal moon, while the Alexandrians allowed it to 
be celebrated on the 15th; and the Roman tradition did 
not allow Easter-Day to fall later than April 21st, while 
Alexandrian custom extended the Paschal limit to the 
25th^ The Britons observed Easter-Sunday so early as 
the 14th day of the Paschal moon, if it so fell according 
to their anti(|uated cycle^— a practice which became a 
point of difference between them and the Roman mis- 
sionaries under Augustin. An important step towards 
uniformity was made when Victorius of Aquitaine, about 
A.D. 457, composed a new cycle combining the Alexandrian 
lunar cycle of nineteen years with the solar cycle of 
twenty-eight years, thus forming the Victorian Period of 
532 years. Still, discrepancies occurred'*, until the matter 
was finally set at rest by the Roman abbat Dionysius 
Exiguus, the same who introduced the era "Anno Domini" 
into Chronology. He employed the Victorian Period in 
the Easter Table which he constructed, and in fact seems 
to have done little more than adapt the Victorian calcula- 
tions to his own era of the Nativity. The Table of 
Dionysius was received almost universally in East and 
West, and from this time we have little controversy about 
the date of Easter-Day, except where, as in Britain, the 
Roman missionaries found a Church standing on older 
ways than their own. 

The forty days preceding Easter are mentioned as days 

Episc. per Mmil.), believed that the 
Council did lay down a rule. See 
Butcher, Ecclesiastical Calendar, 
p. 267. 

1 Canon 7. 

^ De Rossi, Inscript. Christiana:, 
I. Ixxxii. — xcvii. ; Br. Krusch, T)cr 
Hi-JiiJirige Ostercyclus u. seine 

Quellen (Leipzig 1880); Bulletin 
Critique, i. 2^3. 

3 Bede, H. E. ii. 2. 

* Br. Krusch, Die Einfilhrung 
des Gricchischcn Paschalritus im 
Abendlande, in Neues Arcliiv, ix. 

Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 


of special observance from the fourth century \ and are Ch. XIII. 
regarded as the time for preparing candidates for baptism, 
penitents for absolution, and the faithful generally for 
joining worthily in the Paschal festival. One of the ob- 
servances of such a season was naturally fasting, but the 
nature and extent of this varied considerably in different 
places. The extension of the Lenten fast in the Alex- 
andrian patriarchate may be traced in the Festal Letters 
of Athanasius from the year 329 to 347. At the earliest 
date he speaks of the season of the Forty Days and the 
week of fasting ; at the latest, of the Forty Days' fast and 
the Holy Week before Easter-. At Rome only three 
weeks before Easter were at this time observed by fasting, 
and even in these the Sabbath and the Lord's Day* were not 
lasts. In the Church of Antioch and its dependencies the 
Forty Days seem to have been distinguished from Holy 
Week^, while at Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Rome, Holy 
Week was included in them®. Towards the middle of the 
fifth century the Churches generally agreed in observing 
specially the six weeks preceding Easter. Deducting- 
Sundays, this period included only thirty-six days® of 
actual fasting — a circumstance which led to the addition 
to the Lent fast of the four days preceding the First 
Sunday in Lent. This addition was, however, not made, 
in Rome at least, until after the time of Gregory the 

The week which immediately precedes Easter Day, 
the emphatically "Holy" Week, was specially observed 
from a very early period. The term " Palm Sunday " does 
not seem to be applied to the Lord's Day which begins 
this week by any earlier authority than Isidore of Seville^, 
in the early part of the seventh century. On the Thurs- 
day in this week, our Maundy Thursday, the Institution 
of the Holy Eucharist was specially commemorated, and 
in some Churches the faithful communicated on this day^ 


1 Cone. Laodiceniiin, c. 49 ff. 
(c. A.D. 370). 

- Duchesne, Culte Ghret. 232. 

3 Socrates, v. 22, p. 294. 

* Chrysostom in Genesin, Horn. 
30, c. 1 ; Goiist. Apost. v. 13. See 
Duchesne, u. s. 233. 

6 Duchesne, u. s. 

'' This was regarded as the tithe 
of the year; see Cassian Collat, 
XXI. 25. 

7 Be Officiis, i. 28. 

8 Cone. Garthag. m. c. 29 (a.d. 
397); Augustin, Epist. 118 ad 
Jannar. c. 7; Chrysostom, F.pist. 
12;-,, p. 683. 


Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art. 

Ch. XIII. 

after taking their evening meal — a reminiscence of the 
circumstances of the original Institution. Good Friday, 
the day on which tlie Lord's Crucifixion was commemo- 
rated, was a day for the strictest fasting and for every 
display of sadness and mourning. On this day there was 
no Eucharists At Jerusalem, the true Cross was exposed 
to the faithful, who on this day alone were permitted to 
ajiproach and kiss it. On Easter-Eve the joy of the 
approaching festival began to appear ; troops of neophytes 
were buried with Christ in baptism, and numbers of the 
faithful passed the night in the churches waiting for 
His Resurrection ^ Abundant lamps were lighted^, and 
in some places fires were kindled^ The introduction of 
the blessing of the Paschal Taper is attributed^ to Pope 
Zosimus, early in the fifth century. The Day of the 
Resurrection itself was celebrated with every sign of joy 
and exultation, which was prolonged in some degree to 
the Feast of Pentecost. From the middle of the fourth 
century the fortieth day after Easter, Holy Thursday, was 
observed as a commemoration of the Lord's Ascension^ 
In the East the Manifestation of the Lord, both at His 
birth and at His baptism, was celebrated on the sixth of 
January in the fourth century', while at the same period 
in Rome and its dependencies the twenty-fifth of December 
was observed as the day of Christ's Nativity ^ but the 
Festival of Jan. 6 seems to have been then unknown 
there. In the fifth century the observance of the 25 Dec. 
as the Nativity had spread into the East, and that of the 
6 Jan. as the Epiphany, the Manifestation of Christ to 

1 At what date it became custo- 
mary to celebrate no Eucharist on 
this day is uncertain, but none is 
mentioned in the directions for the 
observance of Good Friday given 
in Apost. Const, v. 18. Duchesne 
(CitUe, 238) thinks that tlie early 
portion of the Eoman Liturgy for 
this day preserves the ancient type 
of a service without consecration. 
The Mass of Presanctified is not 
earlier than the seventh or eighth 

- Const, A^mst. v. 1!(. 

■* Cyril, Catech. i. 15 ; Eusebius, 
Vifn Const, iv. 22. 

4 Martone, De Bit. Antiq. iv. 24. 
3 ; G. T. Stokes in Diet. Chr. Biogr. 
IV. 204, s. Y. Patricius. 

^ By the Liher Pontificalis, re- 
ferred to by Duchesne, Culte, 242. 

^ See H. Browne, in Diet. Chr. 
Antiq. i. 145. 

^ Cassian, CoUat. x. 2. 

8 The Liherian Calendar (a.d. 
330) has the entry: "viii kal. Jan. 
natus Christus in Betleem Judea," 
but no notice of the Epiphany on 
Jan. 6 (Duchesne, Cultc, 248). See 
E. Sinker in Diet. Chr. Antiq. s. v. 

Ecclesiastical Ceremonies avd Art. 


the Gentiles and also His Baptism, had extended into the 
West, so that both festivals were observed by almost the 
whole Church. The first mention of the Epiphany in the 
West appears to be in the year SGO, when Julian, not yet 
a declared pagan, attended the Church services on that 
day at Vienne in GauP. Forty days after the com- 
memoration of the Lord's Nativity followed that of His 
Presentation in the Temple. On the octave of the 
Nativity was commemorated His Circumcision, when the 
name Jesus was given. The 25 December was probably 
chosen for the conmiemoration of Christ's birth because it 
was, according to the Roman Calendar then current, the 
winter solstice. The day on which the sun, as it were 
new-born, turns again towards us was thought a fitting 
epoch to commemorate the advent of the Sun of Right- 

3. From an early age, commemorations of the prin- 
cipal saints mentioned in Scripture came to have special 
days assigned to them, A commemoration of the Holy 
Virgin seems to have been associated with that of the 
Lord's Birth ^. Rome does not seem to have adopted 
any festival in honour of the Virgin before the seventh 
century^ St Stephen, St Peter, St James, St John and 
St Paul were, at any rate in some Churches, commemorated 
between Christmas and New- Year's Day*. And not onl}^ 
these, but the other Apostles, came, as might be expected, 
to receive special commemorations in every land which 
the sound of their voices had reached. But besides the 
Scriptural saints, a crowd of names of martyrs and others 
who had served Christ in their gen