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of Mursa, and the fate of the two rivals depended Chap.
on thechance of war, the son of Constantine passed in the anxious moments in a church of the martyrs,
under the walls of the city. His spiritual com
forter, Valens, the arian bishop of the diocese, et employed the most artful precautions to obtain
such early intelligence as might secure either his
favour or bis escape. A secret chain of swift and r. trusty messengers informed him of the vicissitudes
of the battle; and while the courtiers stood $trembling round their affrighted master, Valens i assured him that the Gallic legions gave way, and
insinuated, with some presence of mind, that the glorious event had been revealed to him by an angel. The grateful emperor ascribed his success
to the merits and intercession of the bishop of f
Mursa, whose faith had deserved the public and miraculous approbation of heaven." The arians,
who considered as their own the victory of Conestantius, preferred his glory to that of his father.
Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, immediately composed the description of a celestial cross, encircled with a splendid rainbow, which, during the festival of Pentecost, about the third hour of the day, had
• Sulpicius Severus, in Hist. Sacra. I. ii, p. 405, 406.
+ Cyril (apud Baron. a. D. 353, No. 26), expressly observes, that in the reign of Constantine the cross had been found in the bowels of the earth ; but that it had appeared, in the reign of Con.stantius, in the midst of the heavens. This opposition evidently proves, that Cyril was ignorant of the stupendous miracle to which the conversion of Constantine io attributed ; and this ignorance is the more surprising, since it was no more than twelve years after his death that Cyril was consecrated bishop of Jerusalem, by the Immediate successor of Eusebius of Cæsarea. See Tillemont, Mem Eccles. tom. vidi, pe 715.
CHAP. appeared over the mount of Olives; to the edifiXX1. cation of the devout pilgrims, and the people of
the holy city." The size of the meteor was gradually magnified; and the arian historian has rentured to affirm, that it was conspicuous to the two armies in the plains of Pannonia ; and that the tyrant, who is purposely represented as an idolater, fled before the auspicious sign of ortho
đox christianity. Árian
The sentiments of a judicious stranger, who councils.
has impartially considered the progress of civil or ecclesiastical discord, are always entitled to our notice; and a short passage of Ammianus, who served in the armies, and studied the character, of Constantius, is perhaps of more value than many pages of theological invectives. “ The christian " religion, which, in itself," says that moderate historian, " is plain and simple, he confounded
by the dotage of superstition. Instead of re“ conciling the parties by the tweight of his authoš “ rity, he cherished and propagated, by verbal “ disputes, the differences which his vain curiosity " had excited. The highways were covered with " troops of bishops, galloping from every side to " the assemblies, which they call synods; and “ while they laboured to reduce the whole sect to
their own particular opinions, the public estab
u It is not easy to determine how far the ingenuity of Cyril might be assisted by some natural appearances of a solar halo.
* Philostorgius, 1. iii, c. 26. He is followed by the author of the Alexandriàn Chronicle, by Cedrenus, and by Nicephorus (see Gothofred. Dissert. p. 188). They could not refuse a miracle, eyes from the hand of an enemy.
tout “ lishment of the posts was almost ruined by their CHAP. he: “ hasty and repeated journeys.” Our more intere timate knowledge of theecclesiastical transactions his of the reign of Constantius, would furnish an ris ample commentary on this remarkable passage ;
which justifies the rational apprehensions of Athanasius, that the restless activity of the clergy, who wandered round the empire in search of the true faith, would excite the contempt and laughter of the unbelieving world.” As soon as the emperor was relieved from the terrors of the civil war, he devoted the leisure of his winter-quarters at Arles, Milan, Sirmium, and Constantinople, to the amusements or toils of controversy; the sword of the magistrate, and even of the tyrant, was unsheathed, to enforce the reasons of the theologian; and, as he opposed the orthodox faith of Nice, it is readily confessed that his incapacity and igno. rance were equal to his presumption. The eunuchs, the women, and the bishops, who governed the vain and feeble mind of the emperor, had inspired him with an insuperable dislike to the Homoousion ; but his timid conscience was
y So curious a passage well deserves to be transcribed. Christianam religionem absolutam et simplicem, anili superstitione confundens; in quâ scrutandâ perplexius, quam componendâ gravius excitaret discidia plurima ; quæ progressa fusius aluit concertatione verborum, ut catervis antistitum jumentis publicis ultro citroque discurrentibus, per synodos (quas appellant) dum ritum omnem ad suum trahere conantur (Valesius reads conatur) rei vehiculariæ concideret nervos. Ammianus, xxi, 16.
2 Athanas, tom. i, p. 870.
a Socrates, l, ii, c. 35–47. Sozomen, 1. iv, c. 12-30. Theodoret, À 1. ii, o. 18–32. Philostorg. l. iv, G. 4-12, l. v, c. 1-4. 1. vi. c. 1-5. VOL. III.
CHAP. alarmed by the impiety of Ætius. The guilt of XXI.
that atheist was aggravated by the suspicious favour of the unfortunate Gallus ; and even the deaths of the imperial ministers who had been massacred at Antioch, were imputed to the suggestions of that dangerous sophist. The mind of Constantius, which could neither be moderated by reason, nor fixed by faith, was blindly impelled to either side of the dark and empty abyss, by his horror of the opposite extreme; he alternately embraced and condemned the sentiments; he successively banished and recalled the leaders, of the arian and semi-arian factions. During the season of public business or festivity he employed whole days, and even nights, in selecting the words, and weighing the syllables, which composed his fluctuating creeds. The subject of his meditation still pursuedand occupied his slumbers; the incoherent dreams of the emperor were received as celestial visions; and he accepted with complacency the lofty title of bishop of bishops, from those ecclesiastics who forgot the interest of their order for the gratification of their passions. The design of establishing an uniformity of doctrine, which had engaged him to convene so many synods in Gaul,' Italy, Illyricum, and Asia, was repeatedly baffled by his own
b Sozomen, l. iv, c. 23. Athanas. tom. i, p. 831. Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. tom. vii, p. 947) has collected several instances of the haughty fanaticism of Constantius from the detached treatises of Lu. cifer of Cagliari. The very titles of these treatises inspire zeal and terror ; “ Moriendum pro Dei Filio." “ De Regibus Apostaticis." " De non conveniendo cum Hæretico.” “ De non parcendo in “ Deum delinquentibus.”
levity, by the divisions of the arians, and by the chaP. resistance of the catholics; and he resolved, as the last and decisive effort, imperiously to dictate the decrees of a general council. The destructive earthquake of Nicomedia, the difficulty of finding a convenient place, and perhaps some secret motives of policy, produced an alteration in the summons. The bishops of the East were directed to meet at Seleucia, in Isauria ; while those of the West held their deliberations at Rimini, on the. coast of the Hadriatic; and, instead of two or three deputies from each province, the whole episcopal body was ordered to march. The Eastern council, after consuming four days in fierce and unavailing debate, separated without any definitive conclusion. The council of the West was protracted till the seventh month. Taurus, the prætorian prefect, was instructed not to dismiss the prelates till they should all be united in the same opinion; and his efforts were supported by a power of banishing fifteen of the most refractory, and a promise of the consulship if he achieved so difficult an adventure. prayers and threats, the authority of the sovereign, the sophistry of Valens and Ursacius, the distress of cold and hunger, and the tedious melancholy of a hopeless exile, at length extorted the reluctant consent of the bishops of Rimini. The deputies of the East and of the West attended the emperor in the palace of Constantinople, and he enjoyed the satisfaction of imposing on the world a profession of faith which established the likeness,without expressing the consubstantiality, of the Son of
His A. D. 360.