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Bishop Kaye commences with a narration of the rise of the Arian heresy, in which he places before us the accounts of that event given respectively by Socrates and Sozomen; historians whose statements it has been too much the custom of theological writers to contrast, instead of attempting, as they might, to reconcile them with each other. The former lays the real blame of the whole dispute and division on Arius alone. He says that as Alexander was speaking one day, in the 'presence of the Presbytery and the other Clergy, somewhat 'too boldly on the great Mystery of the Unity in Trinity, Arius, imagining that he was introducing the doctrine of Sabellius, immediately contradicted him; and, actuated by a love of contention, proceeded to lay down a scheme of his own, in which, arguing from human things to Divine, he main'tained, that if' God the Father begat God the Son, it is plain that 'the latter had a beginning of existence, and that there was a time when He was not; from which it also results, that He had his existence from nothing.' Or, as Bishop Kaye forcibly says, 'In other words, He was a created being made out of things that were not.' Socrates goes on to say that the heresy soon spread through the whole of Egypt, Libya, and the Upper Thebes, and at length diffused itself over the rest of the provinces and cities; and that Alexander, finding how widely the evil had extended, thereupon, in much anger, called a council of many Bishops, in which Arius and his supporters were formally excommunicated.

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The relation of Sozomen differs but slightly from this of Socrates. He tells us that Arius had been at first a zealous defender of the faith, but had, at the same time, upheld the innovations of the schismatical Meletius, on abandoning whom, he was ordained deacon by Peter, then Bishop of Alexandria, but was soon after excommunicated by that prelate, for condemning his rejection of the Meletian baptism. Having asked pardon for his offence, he was restored to communion and to the exercise of his office, by Achillas, and by him eventually promoted to the priesthood, Alexander himself holding him in high repute, until he presumed to teach those opinions of which no one had ever before heard. According to this historian, Alexander was accused by some of supineness for not interposing authoritatively on the first broaching of his heresy by Arius, and putting a stop to novelties which seemed to be opposed to the faith; but he himself thought it better, if possible, to obtain unanimity of opinion by persuasion, than to compel it by force. He therefore suffered the question to be freely debated by the Clergy; and when a first council could arrive at no decisive conclusion, he assembled a second, in which, after some hesitation, applauding, says Sozomen, now the one side and now the other,

he finally decided in favour of those who held that the Son was co-essential and co-eternal with the Father, and commanded Arius to receive the same doctrine. And on the heresiarch refusing to retract his former statements, he excommunicated him and such of the Clergy as supported him. It would seem that there is no real difference of statement in these two historians, and that their accounts may be easily harmonized; the apparent variation arising only from the fact that the account of Sozomen is more exact and ample than that of Socrates.


The immediate result of this necessary act on the part of Alexander was, that Arius forthwith proceeded to array his forces for a formal contest with his Bishop. He wrote to Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia, to whom he stated his belief that the Son was not ingenerate, nor in any respect a part of the Ingenerate, nor from any subject matter, but from things 'which were not. He subsisted by the will and counsel (of the Father) before all times and ages, Perfect God, Only 'begotten, Unchangeable; and He was not, before He was begotten, or created, or predestined, or founded.' Eusebius expressed his perfect approbation of this doctrine, saying, that what was made could not be before it was made, and must have a beginning of existence.1 Alexander, on his part, sent to other Bishops and Metropolitans, to notify the heresy for which Arius had been condemned, and to caution them against receiving him into communion. Of the many letters which he wrote, that addressed to his namesake of Constantinople, and an encyclical epistle, have come down to us: in the former, he describes the Arians,' to use Bishop Kaye's words, as selecting those passages of Scripture which speak of the humiliation of Christ, and passing over those which declare His Godhead; thus insidiously instilling their opinions. 'into the minds of those who frequented their assemblies. Ebion, he says, Artemas, and Paul of Samosata, were the fore'runners of Arius; but he derived his doctrine immediately 'from Lucian, who had adopted the cause of Paul, and had ' remained out of the communion of the Church during the incumbency of three successive Bishops of Antioch.' Alexander adds, that three Syrian Bishops, supposed by Valesius to be Eusebius of Cæsarea, Theodotus, and Paulinus, had espoused the cause of Arius, and confirmed him in his error."

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The exact order of events that followed, it is now scarcely possible to ascertain: it seems, however, certain that Arius soon after left Alexandria, and betook himself to Palestine, and

1 Athanasius, De Synodis, § 17; Kaye, p. 7.

2 And see Theodoret, Hist. Book i. chap. 3.

that from Nicomedia he wrote to Alexander, but in a strain which did not at all tend to heal the breach. He terms the Son 'a perfect creature of God, but not as one of the creatures; an offspring, but not as one of those who are generated.' He now also composed his Thalia,' which exhibits statements, if possible, still more shocking and detestable. A council was soon after summoned by Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia, and his partisans in Bithynia, from which they wrote, as Sozomen says, to the Bishops in all places' to hold communion with him. In reply to this, a third council appears to have been held at Alexandria, in which Arius was a second time formally excommunicated by Alexander, with the concurrence of nearly one hundred Bishops, and in which, as would seem, the encyclical letter, of which Socrates gives a copy, was written. The chief substance of this letter is thus given by Bishop Kaye:

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They affirmed that God was not always a Father: that there was a time when He was not a Father: that the Word of God did not always exist, but was made out of things which were not. The self-existing God having made Him who was not out of things which were not, there was consequently a time when He did not exist. The Son is a Being created and made; neither is He like in essence to the Father; nor the true Word of the Father by nature, nor His true Wisdom, but one of the things made and generated. The titles "Word and Wisdom" are improperly applied to Him, inasmuch as He Himself was made by the proper Word (or Reason) of God, and by the Wisdom in God, in which God made both Him and all things. He is, therefore, by nature liable to change, like all other rational creatures. The Word is also extraneous to and separate from the essence of God. Moreover, the Father is ineffable by the Son; for the Son neither perfectly nor accurately knows the Father, nor can perfectly see Him. The Son does not even know His own essence as it is; for He was made for our sakes, that God might use Him as an instrument in creating us: He would not have subsisted if God had not thought fit to create us. The Arians do not appear to have shrunk from the consequences of their opinions; for, when asked whether the Word of God might be perverted as the devil was, they answered in the affirmative, since He is by nature liable to change.

'We learn from the letter not only the tenets of Arius, but also the manner in which Alexander refuted them by appealing to Scripture.

To the assertion that there was a time when the Word was not, Alexander opposed John i. 1: "In the beginning was the Word."

To the assertion that the Son was one of the things made, the title of Only-Begotten, and the declaration of S. John i. 3, that all things were made by Him. He who was the Maker could not be on a level with the things which He made, nor could He who was the Only-Begotten be numbered with them.

To the assertion that the Word of God was made from things that were not, Alexander opposed Psalms xlv. 1; cx. 3.

To the assertion that the Son is unlike in essence to the Father, Colossians i. 15, where the Son is called the image; and Hebrews i. 3, where He is called the radiance of the glory of the Father; and John xiv. 9, where -Christ says to Philip, "He who hath seen Me, hath seen the Father."

1 Sozomen, i. 15; Fleury, book x. § 37.



'How,' Alexander asks, if the Son is the Word, or Reason, and Wisdom of God, can it be said that there was a time when He was not? for that were to say that God was then without the Word or Reason (aλoyos), and without Wisdom. How can He be liable to variation or change, Who says of Himself, I am in the Father and the Father in me' (John xiv. 10); and I and the Father are One' (John x. 30); and of whom it is said by the Prophet, 'I am, and I change not?' Alexander refers also to Hebrews xiii. 8, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.'

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To the assertion that the Son was made for us, Alexander opposes 1 Cor. viii. 6, where St. Paul says that all things are by Him; and to the assertion that He did not perfectly know the Father, the declaration of Christ himself (John x. 15): As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father.' If the Son's knowledge of the Father is imperfect, so must also be the Father's knowledge of the Son; such is the impiety to which the assertions of Arius lead.'-Pp. 10—13.

In consequence, probably, of this letter, certain Bishops of Palestine finding Alexander firm in his rejection of the heresiarch, came together, and gave him and his adherents permission to assemble the people who were their followers in church (ekkλŋoláčev), on condition that they submitted to Alexander, and endeavoured to be restored to peace and communion with him. One of these Bishops was Eusebius of Cæsarea, the historian, of whom we now first hear as an active partisan of Arius.

Affairs remained in this position until Constantine, after the defeat of Licinius, A. D. 324, desiring the aid of the Bishops of the East, of which in the time of Constantine Egypt was reckoned a part, to put an end to the Donatist schism, and finding that they themselves were in a state of division, sent Hosius to Alexandria with a letter addressed jointly to Alexander and Arius, entreating them to terminate their differences, and restore to him his former peace. A council was held at Alexandria, but the efforts of Hosius met with no success, and he was compelled to return to Constantine at Nicomedia, without having been able to decide either the Arian or any of the minor questions which he had been despatched to settle.

Constantine now determined to refer the matter to a General Council; and in consequence, in the year 325, upwards of three hundred Bishops met from every country at the city of Nicæa in Bithynia. Bishop Kaye and other historians have given an account of the acts of the Council, and the deeds of the Emperor, and we shall therefore confine ourselves to the narration of such of their proceedings which have come down to us as have regard to the great doctrinal question then at issue. In these, S. Athanasius, then one of the Deacons of S. Alexander, bore the chief part. He, although only yet in his diaconate, was seated, as S. Gregory Nazianzen tells us, in the first place

of the assembly, and his chief opponents were Eusebius of Nicomedia, Theognis of Nice, and Maris of Chalcedon.1

The Arians, as we are informed by S. Athanasius, were asked by the bishops with gentleness and humanity to give a reason for, and proofs of their assertions; but as soon as they began to speak they convicted themselves, for they contradicted ' each other, and were quickly reduced to silence, by which the turpitude of their heresy stood confessed. They were not 'ashamed to say that the Son was not in time before He was begotten, and even He was made from nothing (è§ ovk övτwv), and hence the Father was not always a father, but when the 'Son was created and made, then God was called his Father; for the Word is a creature and a work, and strange to, and unlike the Father in essence.'


Now, too, they openly broached their doctrine, that Christ was not the true Wisdom and Word of God, saying, according to the same authority, The Son was not by nature the true Word of the Father, nor His only and true Wisdom; but, being a creature, and one of the things made, He is improperly 'called Word and Wisdom, for even He was created, like all things, by the Word which was in God; for the same reason, also, He is not very God." Of the particular reasonings and discussions by which the Fathers of the Council refuted these monstrous and most wicked assertions we are unhappily ignorant, but the documents by which their authors attempted to support them were chiefly the following:


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1. A letter of Eusebius of Nicomedia, mentioned by S. Ambrose, who gives a short extract from it in his work De Fide, book iii. chap. 15, in which it is said, that if we call the Son of 'God true God, and uncreate, we confess Him to be of one 'substance with the Father' (opoovotos); an admission which, according to S. Ambrose, was the actual cause of the term oμoovotos being introduced into the creed, namely, to use his own words, ut tanquam evaginato ab ipsis gladio, caput hæreseos amputarent. From the close resemblance of the statements in this letter to the one which Eusebius addressed to Paulinus of Tyre previously to the Council, of which Theodoret has given a copy in the 6th chapter of the 1st book of his history, Fleury supposes that they may have been one and the same.

2. A document, if indeed it be not the letter last mentioned, offered by certain Arians, and referred to by Theodoret, Hist. i. 7, as TiσTéws didaσkaλía, and, as it would appear, by Eustathius of Antioch, [quoted ib. chap. 8,] as тò yрáμμа тns Evσeßiov

1 And see Socrates, i. 8.

2 S. Athanasius, Nic. Def. § 3.

3 S. Gregory, Orat. 21; cited by Tillemont, History of the Council of Nice, § 8.

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