He gave audience to the ambassadors of the tyrant, with whom he was afterj accused of holding a secret correspondence;(120) and the emperor Constantius repeatedly assured his dearest father, the most revered Athanasius, that, notwithstanding the malicious rumours which were circulated by their common enemies, he had inherited the sentiments, as well as the throne, of his deceased brother.(131), Gratitude and humanity would have disposed, the primate of Egypt to deplore the untimely sate of Constans, and to abhor the guilt of Magmentius; but as he clearly understood that the apprehensions of Constantius were his only safeguard, the fervour of his prayers for the success of the righteous cause might perhaps be somewhat abated. The ruin of Athanasius was no longer contrived by the obscure malice of a few bigoted or angry bishops, who abused the authority of a credulous monarch. #. monarch himself avowed the resolution, which he had so long suppressed, of avenging his private injuries . and the first winter after his victory, which he passed at Arles, ..";op oyed against an enemy more odious to him than the vanquished tyrant Of Uraul. [A. D. 353–355..] . If the emperor had capriciously decreed the death of the most eminent and virtuous citizen of the republic, the cruel order would have been executed without hesitation, by the ministers of open violence or of specious injustice. The caution, the delay, the difficulty with which he proceeded in the condemnation and punishment of a popular bishop, discovered to the world that the privileges .P the church ho". ready revived a sense of order and freedom in the Roman government. The sentence which was pronounced in the synod of Tyre, and subscribed by a large majority of the eastern bishops, had never been expressly repealed; and as '. had been once degraded from his episcopal dignity by the judgment of his brethren, every subsequent act might be considered as #o. and even criminal. But the memory of the firm and effectual support which the primate of Egypt had derived from the attachment of the western church, engaged Constantius to suspend the execution of the sentence, till he had ...”the concurrence of the Latin bishops. Two years were consumed in ecclesiastical negotiations: and the important cause between the emperor and one of his subjects was solemnly debated, first in the synod of Arles, and afterward in the great council of Milan,(123) which consisted of above three hundred bishops. . Their integrity was gradually undermined by the arguments of the Arians, the dexterity of the eunuchs, and the pressing solicitations of a prince, who gratified his revenge at the expense of his dignity; and exposed his own passions, while he influenced those of the clergy. Corruption, the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty, was successfully practised: honours, gifts, and immunities were offered and accepted as the price of an episcopal vote;(124) and the condemnation of the Alexandrian primate was artfully represented as the only measure which could restore the peace and union of the Catholic church The friends of Athanasius were not, however, wanting to their leader, or to their cause. With a manly spirit, which the sanctity of their character rendered less dangerous, they maintained, in public debate and in private conserence with the emperor, the eternal obligation of religion and justice. They declared, that neither the hope of his favour, nor the fear of his displeasure, should prevail on them to join in the condemnation of an absent, an innocent, a

(120) Athanasius (tom. i. p. 677,678) defends his innocence by pathetic complaints, solemn assertions, and specious arguments. He admits that letters had been forged in his name, but he requests that his own secretaries, and those of the tyrant, may be examined, whether those letters had been written by the former or received by the latter. (121) Athanas. tom. i. p. 825–844. (122) Athanas. tom. i. p. 861. Theodoret, I.ii. c. 16. The emperor declared, that he was more desirous to subdue Athanasius, than he had been to vanquish Magnentius or Sylvanus. (123) The affairs of the council of Milan are so imperfectly and erroneously related by the Greek writers, that we must rejoice in the supply of some letters by Eusebius, extracted by Baronius from the archives of the church of Vercelle, and of an old life of Dionysius of Milan, published by Bollandus. See Baronius, A. D. 355. and Tillemont, vii. p. 1415. (124) The honours, presents, feasts, which seduced so many bishops, are mentioned with indignation by those who were too pure of too proud to accept them. “We combat (says Hilary of Poitiers) against Constantius, the Antichrist; who strokes the belly instead of scourging the back;" qui non dorsa cardit, sed ventrem palpat. Hilarius contra Constant. c. 5. p. 124.

respectable brother.(125) They affirmed, with apparent reason, that the illegal and obsolete decrees of the council of Tyre had long since been tacitly abolished by the Imperial edicts, the honourable re-establishment of the archbishop of Alexandria, and the silence or recantation of his most clamorous adversaries. They alleged, that his innocence had been attested by the unanimous bishops of pt, and had o in the councils of Rome and Sardica,(126) by the impartial judgment of the Latin church. They deplored the hard condition of Athanasius, who, after enjoying so many years, his seat, his reputation, and the seeming confidence of his sovereign, was again called upon to confute the most groundless and extravagant accusations. Their language was specious: their conduct was honourable: but in this long and obstinate contest, which fixed the eyes of the whole empire on a single bishop, the ecclesiastical factions were prepared to sacrifice truth and justice, to the more interesting objects of defending, or removing the intrepid champion of the Nicene faith. The Arians still thought it * to disguise in ambiguous o their real sentiments and designs; but the orthodox bishops, armed with the favour of the people, and the decrees of a general council, insisted on every occasion, and particularly at Milan, that their adversaries should purge themselves from the suspicion of heresy, before they presumed to arraign the conduct of the great Athanasius.(127) [A. D. 355..] But the voice of reason, (if reason was indeed on the side of Athanasius) was silenced by the clamours of a factious or venal majority; and the councils of Arles and Milan were not dissolved till the archbishop of Alexandria had been solemnly condemned and deposed by the judgment of the Western, as well as of the Eastern church. The bishops who had opposed, were required to subscribe the sentence; and to unite in religious communion with the suspected leaders of the adverse party. . A formulary of consent was transmitted by the messengers of state to the absent bishops: and all those who refused to submit their §. opinion to the public and inspired wisdom of the councils of Arles and Milan, were immediate } banished by the emperor, who affected to execute the decrees of the Catholic church. Among those relates who led the honourable band of confessors and exiles, Liberius of ome, Osius of Cordova, Paulanus of Treves, Dionysius of Milan, Eusebius of Vercellae, Lucifer of Cagliari, and Hilary of Poitiers, may deserve to be particularly distinguished. The eminent station of Liberius, who governed the capital of the empire; the Fo merit and long experience of the venerable Osius, who was revered as the favourite of the great Constantine, and the father of the Nicene faith; placed those prelates at the head of the Latin church: and their example, either of submission or resistance, would probably be imitated by the episcopal crowd. But the repeated attempts of the emperor to seduce or to intimidate the bishops of Rome and Cordova, were for some time ineffectual. The Spaniard declared himself ready to suffer under Constantius, as he had suffered threescore years before, under his grandfather Maximian. . The Roman, in the presence of his sovereign, asserted the innocence of Athanasius, and his own freedom. When he was banished to Beraea in Thrace, he sent back a large sum which had been offered for the accommodation of his journey, and insulted the court of Milan by the hau hty remark, that the emperor and his eunuchs might want that gold to pay their soldiers and their ...”. The resolution of Liberius and Osius was at length subdued by the hardships of exile and confinement. The Roman pontiff pur

(125) Something of this opposition is mentioned by Animianus (xv. 7), who had a very dark and superficial knowledge of ecclesiastical history, Liberius. ..... perseverantur renitebatur, nec visum hominem, nec auditum damnare nefas ultimum stepe exclaimans; aperte scilicet recalcitrans Imperatoris arbitrio Idenim ille Athanasio semper infestus, &c.

{126) More properly by the orthodox part of the council of Sardica. If the bishops of both parties had fairly voted, the division would have been 94 to 76. M. de Tillemont (see tom. viii. p. 1147–1158.) is justly surprised that so small a majority should have proceeded so vigorously against their adve the principal of whom they immediately deposed.

(127) Sulp. Severus in Hist. Sacra. I.ii. p. 412.

(128) The exile of Liberius is mentioned by Ammianus, xv. 7. See Theodoret, l. ii. c. 16. Athanas. tom. i. p. 834–837. Hilar. Fragment. i.

chased his return by some criminal compliances; and afterward expiated his guilt by a seasonable repentance. Persuasion and violence were employed to extort the reluctant signature of the decrepid bishop of Cordova, whose strength was broken, and whose faculties were perhaps impaired, by the weight of a hundred years; and the insolent triumph of the Arians provoked some of the orthodox party to treat with inhuman severity the character, or rather the memory of an unfortunate old man, to whose former services Christianity itself was so deeply indebted.(129

The fall of Liberius and Osius reflected a brighter lustre on the firmness of those bishops who still adhered, with unshaken fidelity, to the cause of Athanasius and religious truth. The ingenious malice of their enemies had deprived them of the benefit of mutual comfort and advice, separated those illustrious exiles into distant provinces, and carefully selected the most inhospitable spots of a great empire.(130). Yet they soon experienced that the deserts of Libya, and the most barbarous tracts of ěj were less inhospitable than the residence of those cities in which an Arian bishop could satiate, without restraint, the exquisite rancour of theological hatred.(131) Their consolation was derived from the consciousness of rectitude and independence, from the applause, the visits, the letters, and the liberal alms of their adherents;(132) and from the satisfaction which they soon enjoyed of observing the intestine divisions of the adversaries of the Nicene faith. Such was the nice and capricious taste of the emperor Constantius, and so easily was he offended by the slightest deviation from his imaginary standard of Christian truth; that he persecuted, with equal zeal, those who defended the consubstantiality, those who asserted the sinilur substance, and those who denied the likeness, of the Son of God. Three bishops degraded and banished for those adverse opinions, might possibly meet in the same place of exile; and according to the difference of their temper, might either pity or insult the blind enthusiasm of their antaÉ. whose present sufferings would never be compensated by future addiness.

f . D. ...] The disgrace and exile of the orthodox bishops of the West were designed as so many preparatory *::: to the ruin of Athanasius himself.(133). Six-and-twenty months had elapsed, during which the jumperial court secretly laboured, by the most insidious arts, to remove him from Alexandria, and to withdraw the allowance which supplied his popular liberality. But when the primate of Egypt, deserted and proscribed by the Latin church, was left destitute of any foreign support, Constantius despatched two of his secretaries with a verbal commission to announce and execute the order of his banishment. As the justice of the sentence was publicly avowed by the whole party, the only motive which could restrain Constantius from giving his messengers the sanction of a written mandate must be imputed to his doubt of the event; and to a sense of the danger to which he might expose the second city and the most sertile province of the empire, if the people should persist in the resolution of defending, by force of arms, the innocence of their spiritual father. Such extreme caution afforded Athanasius a specious pretence respectfully to

(129). The life of Osius is collected by Tillemont (tom. vi. p. 524–561), who in the most extravagant terms first admires, and then reprobates, the bishop of Cordova. In the midst of their lamentations on his fall, the prudence of Athanasius may be distinguished from the blind and intemperate zeal of Hitary

(130) The confessors of the West were successively banished to the deserts of Arabia or Thebais, the lonely places of Mount Taurus, the wildest parts of Phrygia, which were in the sion of the impious Montanists, &c. When the heretic Ætius was too favourably entertained at Mopsuestia, in Cilicia, the place of his exile was changed, by the advice of Acacius, to Amblada, a district inhabited by savages, and infested by war and pestilence, Philostorg. I. v. c. 2.

(131) See the cruel treatment and strange obstinacy of Eusebius, in his own letters, published by Baronius, A.D. 356. No. 92–102.

(132) Caeterum exules satis constat, totius orbis studiis celebratos uniasque eis in sumptum affatim congestas legationibus quoque eos plebis Catholicæ ex omnibus serre provinciis frequentatos. Sulp. Sever. Hist. Sacra. p. 414. Athanas. tom. i. p. 836–840.

(133) Ample materials for the history of this third persecution of Athanasius may be found in his own works. See particularly his very able apology to Constantius (tom. i. p. 673), his first Apology sor his flight (p. 701), his prolix Epistle to the Solitaries (p. 808), and the original Protest of the people of Alex andria against the violence committed by Syrianus (p.866). Sozomen (l. iv. c.9) has thrown into the narrative two or three luminous and important circuinstances.

dispute the truth of an order which he could not reconcile, either with the equity, or with the former declarations, of his gracious master. The civil powers of Egypt, found themselves inadequate to the task of persuading or compelling the primate to abdicate his episcopal throne; and they were obliged to conclude a treaty with the popular leaders of Alexandria, by which it was stipulated, that all proceedings and hostilities should be suspended till the emperor's pleasure had been more distinctly ascertained. By this seeming moderation, the Catholics were deceived into a false and fatal security; while the legions of the Upper Egypt, and of Libya, advanced, by secret orders and hasty marches, to besiege, or rather to surprise, a capital, habituated to sedition, and inflamed by religious o The position of Alexander, between the sea and the lake Maereotis, facilitated the approach and landing of the troops, who were introduced into the heart of the city, before any effectual measures could be taken, either to shut the gates, or to occupy the important posts of defence. At the hour of midnight, twenty-three days after the signature of the treaty, Syrianus, duke of Egypt, at the head of five thousand soldiers, armed and prepared for an assault, unexpectedly invested the church of St. Theonas, where the archbishop, with a party of his clergy and people, performed their nocturnal devotions. The doors of the sacred edifice yielded to the impetuosit of the attack, which was accompanied with every horrid circumstance of tumult and bloodshed; but, as the bodies of the slain, and the fragments of military weapons, remained the next day an unexceptionable evidence in the possession of the Catholics, the enterprise of Syrianus may be considered as a successful irruption, rather than as an absolute conquest. The other churches of the cit were profaned by similar outrages; and during at least four months, Alexandria was exposed to the insults of a licentious army, stimulated by the ecclesiastics of a hostile faction. Many of the faithful were killed; who may deserve the name of martyrs, if their deaths were neither provoked nor revenged; bishops and presbyters were treated with cruel ignominy; consecrated virgins were stripped naked, scourged, and violated; #. houses of wealthy citizens were plundered; and, under the mask of religious zeal, lust, avarice, and private resentment, were gratified with impunity, and even with applause. The Pagans of Alexandria, who still formed a numerous and discontented party, were easily persuaded to desert a bishop whom they feared and esteemed. The hopes of some peculiar favours, and the apprehension of being involved in the . penalties of rebellion, o them to promise their support to the estined successor of Athanasius, the famous George of Cappadocia. The usurper, after receiving the consecration of an Arian synod, was placed on the episcopal throne by the arms of Sebastian, who had been appointed Count of ypt for the execution of that important design. In the use, as well as in the acquisition, of power, the tyrant George disregarded the laws of religion, of justice, and of humanity; and the same scenes of violence and scandal which ad been exhibited in #. capital, were repeated in more than ninety episcopal cities of pt. Encouraged by success, Constantius ventured to approve the conduct of his ministers. By a public and passionate epistle, the emperor congratulates the deliverance of Alexandria from a popular tyrant, who deluded his blind votaries by the magic of his eloquence; expatiates on the virtues and piety of the most reverend George, the elected bishop ; and aspires, as the É. and benefactor of the city, to surpass the fame of Alexander himself. ut he solemnly declares his unalterable resolution to pursue with fire and sword the seditious adherents of the wicked Athanasius, who, by flying from ustice, has confessed his guilt, and escaped the ignominious death which he ad so often 3.8;

(134) Athanasius had lately sent for Antony, and some of his chosen monks. They descended from their mountain, announced to the Alexandrians the sanctity of Athanasius, and were honourably conducted by the archbishop as far as the gates of the city. Athanas. tom. ii. p. 491,492. See likewise Rufinus, iii. 164, in Wit. Patr. p. 524.

(135) Athanas. tom. i. p. 694. The emperor, or his Arian secretaries, while they express their resentment, y their fears and esteem of Athanasius.


Athanasius had indeed escaped from the most imminent dangers; and the adventures of that extraordinary man deserve and fix our attention. On the memorable night when the church of St. Theonas was invested by the troops of Syrianus, the archbishop, seated on his throne, expected, with calm and intrepid dignity, the approach of death. While the public devotion was interrupted by shouts of rage, and cries of terror, he animated his trembling contion to express their religious confidence by chanting one of the psalms of avid, which celebrates the triumph of the God of 1sraes over the haughty and impious tyrant of Egypt. The doors were at length burst open ; a cloud of arrows was discharged among the people; the soldiers, with drawn swords, rushed forward into the sanctuary; and the dreadful gleam of their armour was reflected by the holy luminaries which burnt round the altar.(136) Athanasius still rejected the pious importunity of the monks and presbyters, who were attached to his person; and nobly refused to desert his episcopal station, till he had dismissed in safety the last of the congregation. The darkness and tumult of the night favoured the retreat of the archbishop; and though he was oppressed by the waves of an agitated multitude, though he was thrown to the ground, and left without sense or motion, he still recovered his undaunted i. and eluded the eager search of the soldiers, who were instructed b their Arian guides, that the head of Athanasius would be the most acceptable resent to the emperor. From that moment the primate of Egypt disappeared rom the eyes of his enemies, and remained above six years concealed in impenetrable *†† 7) [A. D. 356–362.]. The despotic power of his implacable enemy filled the whole extent of the Roman world; and the exasperated monarch had endeavoured, by a very pressing epistle to the Christian princes of Ethiopia," to exclude Athanasius from the most remote and sequestered regions of the earth. Counts, praefects, tribunes, whole armies, were successively employed to pursue a bishop and a fugitive; the vigilance of the civil and military powers was excited by the imperial edicts; liberal rewards were promised to the man who should produce Athanasius, either alive or dead ; and the most severe penalties were denounced against those who should dare to protect the public enemy.(138) But the deserts jo. were now peopled by a race .*. yet submissive fanatics, who preferred the commands of their abbot to the laws of their sovereign. The numerous disciples of Antony and Pachomius received the fugitive primate as their father, i. the patience and humility with which he conformed to their strictest institutions, collected every word which dropped from his lips as the genuine effusions of inspired wisdom; and persuaded themselves, that their prayers, their fasts, and their vigils, were less meritorious than the zeal which they expressed, and the dangers which they braved, in the defence of truth and innocence.(139) The monasteries of Egypt were seated in lonely and desolate places, on the summit of mountains, or in the islands of the Nile; and the sacred horn or trumpet of Tabenne was the well known signal which assembled several thousand robust and determined monks, who, for the most part, had been the peasants of the adjacent country. When their dark retreats were invaded by a . force, which it was impossible to resist, they silently stretched out their necks to the executioner; and supported their national character, that tortures could never wrest from an Egyptian the

(136) These minute circumstances are curious, as they are literally transcribed from the protest, which was publicly presented three days afterward by the Catholics of Alexandria. See Athanas, tom. i

- i. (137) The Jansenists have often compared Athanasius and Arnauld, and have expatiated with pleasure on the faith and zeal, the merit and exile, of those celebrated doctors. This concealed parallel is very dexterously managed by the Abbé de la Bleterie, Vie de Jovien, tom. i. p. 130. (138) Hinc jam toto orbe profugus Athanasius, nec ullus eitutus ad latendum super-erat locus. Tribuni, Prefecti,Comites, exercitus quoque, ad pervestigandum eum moventuredictis Imperialibus; premia * proponuntur, si quis eum vivum, si id minus, caput certe Athanasii detulisset. Rufin. I. . c. 1 (139) Gregor. Nazianzen, somi. Orat. xxi. p. 384, 385. See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. vii. p.-176. —o. my * *, *, t, p

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