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is with us, the God of Jacob is our helper :" for we are not merely children of God, but the Son also calls us brethren. Their saying that Christ is God in truth, gives us no uneasiness : for he was true, and he is true. The Arians made false deductions ; but the bishops, having detected their deceitfulness in this matter, collected from Scripture those passages which say of Christ that He is the glory, the fountain, the stream, and the figure of the substance; and they quoted the following words : "In thy light we shall see light ;" and likewise, “I and the Father are one. They then clearly and briefly confessed that the Father and the Son are of the same substance ; for this, indeed, is the signification of the passages which have been mentioned. The complaint of the Arians, that these precise words are not to be found in Scripture, is a vain argument; and it may besides be objected to them, that their impious assertions are not taken from Scripture ; for it is not written, that the Son was created, and that there was a period in which he did not exist : and also, that they themselves complain of having been condemned for using expressions which, though certainly not scriptural, are yet, they say, consonant with religion. They drew words from the dunghill, and published them upon earth. The bishops, on the contrary, did not invent any expressions themselves ; but, having received the testimony of the fathers, they wrote accordingly. Indeed, formerly, as far back as about one hundred and thirty years, the bishops of the great city of Rome, and of our city,' disproved the assertion, that the Son is a creature, and that he is not of the substance of the Father. Eusebius, bishop of Cæsarea, is acquainted with these facts : he, at one time, favoured the Arian heresy ; but he afterwards signed the confession of faith of the Council of Nice. He wrote to inform his diocesans, that the word “consubstantial” is found in certain ancient documents, and is used by illustrious bishops and learned writers as a term for expressing the Divinity of the Father and of the Son.

Some of the bishops, who had carefully concealed their obnoxious opinions, consented to coincide with the council when

Constantinople. He alludes to Dionysius, Bishop of Rome, and (in the opinion of Valesius) to Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, who had each formally condemned the Arian formulary.

? See Socrates, Eccl. Hist. b. i. ch. 8.

they perceived that it was very strong in point of numbers ; and thus did they draw upon themselves the condemnation of the prophet, “God the Creator of all cried unto them, This people honour me with their lips, but have removed their heart far from me” (Isa. xxix. 13). Theonas and Secundus, not choosing to dissimulate in the same way, were excommunicated by one consent as those who esteemed the Arian blasphemy above evangelical doctrines. The bishops then returned to the council, and drew up twenty laws to regulate the discipline of the church.

CHAP. IX.-FACTS RELATING TO MELITIUS THE EGYPTIAN,

FROM WHOM ORIGINATED THE MELITIAN SCHISMS, WHICH REMAIN TO THIS DAY.-SYNODICAL EPISTLE RESPECTING HIM.

AFTER Melitius had been ordained bishop, which was not long before the Arian controversy, he was convicted of impiety by the most holy Peter, bishop and martyr of Alexandria, and was deposed by him." But he did not acquiesce in his deposition, but excited troubles and commotions in Thebes and in the countries round Egypt, and sought the chief power in Alexandria. A letter was written to the church of Alexandria, stating what had been decreed against these innovations. It was as follows:

SYNODICAL EPISTLE. “ To the church of Alexandria which, by the grace of God, is great and holy, and to the beloved brethren in Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis, the bishops who have been convened to the great and holy council of Nice, send greeting in the Lord.

“ The great and holy council of Nice having been convened by the grace of God, and by the appointment of the most religious emperor, Constantine, who summoned us from different provinces and cities, we judge it requisite to inform you by letter what we have debated and examined, decreed and established. In the first place, the impious perverseness of Arius was investigated before our most religious emperor, Constantine. His impiety was unanimously condemned, as well as the blasphemous sentiments which he had propounded for the purpose of dishonouring the Son of God, alleging that

1 Melitius first propagated his heresy A. D. 306, and was deposed the same year.

He was created, that before he was made he existed not, that there was a period in which he had no existence, and that he can, according to his own free-will, be capable either of virtue or of vice. The holy council condemned all these assertions, and impatiently refused to listen to such impious and foolish opinions, and such blasphemous expressions. The final decision concerning him you already know, or will soon hear ; but we will not mention it now, lest we should appear to trample upon a man who has already received the recompence due to his sins. Theonas, bishop of Marmarica, and Secundus, bishop of Ptolemais, have, however, been led astray by his impiety, and have received the same sentence. But after we had, by the grace of God, been delivered from these false and blasphemous opinions, and from those persons who dared to raise discord and division among a once peaceable people ; there yet remained the temerity of Melitius, and of those ordained by him. We shall now inform you, beloved brethren, of the decrees of the council on this subject. It was decided by the holy council that Melitius should be treated with clemency, though, strictly speaking, he was not worthy of the least concession. He was permitted to remain in his own city, but was divested of all power, whether of nomination or of ordination, neither was he to exercise these functions in any province or city: he only retained the mere title and the honour of the episcopal office. Those who had received ordination at his hands, were to submit to a more holy reordination ;' they were to be admitted to communion, and were to receive the honour of the ministry ; but in every

diocese and church they were to be accounted inferior to those who were ordained before them by Alexander, our muchhonoured fellow-minister. It was decreed that they should not elect or nominate, or indeed do anything without the consent of the bishops of the catholic and apostolical church, who are under Alexander. But those who, by the grace of God, and in answer to prayer, have been preserved from schism,

Uvotikwrépa xelpotovía. Compare Socrates, Eccl. Hist. i. 9. Valesius very correctly argues against the view which would interpret the word Xelpotovía as merely the ecclesiastical benediction, and not what he calls “Sacramentum ordinis.” By the 6th Canon of the council of Nice it was ordained that the consecration of bishops without the consent of their metropolitans was void: and the Melitian bishops had been consecrated without the consent of Alexander, who was the metropolitan of Egypt.

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and have continued blameless in the catholic and apostolic church, are to have the power of electing, and of nominating those who are worthy of the clerical office, and are permitted to do everything that accords with law and the authority of the church. If it should happen, that any of those now holding an office in the church should die, then let those recently admitted be advanced to the honours of the deceased, provided only that they appear worthy, and that the people choose them, and that the election be confirmed and ratified by the catholic bishop of Alexandria. The same privilege has been conceded to all the others. With respect to Melitius, however, an exception has been made, both on account of his former insubordination, and of the rashness and impetuosity of his disposition; for if the least authority were accorded to him, he might abuse it by again exciting confusion. These are the things which relate to Egypt, and to the holy church of Alexandria. If any other resolutions were carried, you will hear of them from Alexander, our most honoured fellow-minister and brother, who will give you still more accurate information, because he himself directed, as well as participated in, everything that took place. We must also apprize you, that, according to your prayers, we were all of one mind respecting the most holy paschal feast, so that our brethren of the East, who did not previously celebrate the festival as the Romans, and as you, and, indeed, as all have done from the beginning, will henceforth celebrate it with you. Rejoice, then, in the success of our undertakings, and in the general peace and concord, and in the extirpation of every schism; and receive with the greatest honour and the most fervent love Alexander, our fellow-minister and your bishop, who imparted joy to us by his presence, and who, at a very advanced period of life, has undergone so much fatigue for the purpose of restoring peace among you. Pray for us all, that what we have equitably decreed may remain stedfast, through our Lord Jesus Christ, being done, as we trust, according to the good will of God and the Father in the Holy Ghost, to whom be glory for ever and

Amen.”

THE CON-SUBSTANTIAL AND ETERNAL TRINITY. Notwithstanding the endeavours of that divine assembly of bishops to suppress the unsound theories of Melitius, vestiges of his infatuation remain to this day ; for there are in some

ever.

districts assemblies of monks who neglect sound doctrine, and observe certain vain points of discipline, upholding the same infatuated views as the Jews and the Samaritans. emperor also wrote to those bishops who were unable to attend the council, an account of its transactions. And I consider it of importance to insert this epistle in my work, as it clearly evidences the piety of the writer.

The great

CHAP. X.-THE EPISTLE OF THE EMPEROR CONSTANTINE, CON

CERNING THE MATTERS TRANSACTED AT THE COUNCIL, ADDRESSED TO THOSE BISHOPS WHO WERE NOT PRESENT.

“ CONSTANTINE AUGUSTUS to the churches.

Viewing the common prosperity enjoyed at this moment, as the result of the great power of Divine grace, I am desirous that the blessed members of the catholic church should be preserved in one faith, in sincere love, and in one form of religion, towards Almighty God. But, because no firmer or more effective measure could be adopted to secure this end, than that of submitting each holy mode of worship to the examination of all or most of all the bishops, I convened as many of them as possible, and took my seat among them as one of yourselves ; for I will not deny that truth which is the source of the greatest joy to me, namely, that I am your fellow-servant. Every doubtful point obtained a careful investigation, until doctrines pleasing to God, and conducive to unity, were fully established, so that no room remained for division or controversy concerning the faith. The commemoration of the paschal feast being then debated, it was unanimously decided, that it should everywhere be celebrated upon the same day. What can be more lovely, or more reasonable, than that that festival by which we have received the hope of immortality, should be carefully celebrated by all with the same order, and in the same unvarying mode ? It was, in the first place, declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this holy festival, because their hands are imbued in crime, and their minds blinded with defilement. By rejecting their custom, we substitute and hand down to succeeding ages one which is more reasonable, and which has been observed ever since the day of our Lord's sufferings. Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews,

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