HISTORY of the





From Constantine the Great to Gregory the Great

a.d. 311–600.


This third volume covers the eventful period of Christian emperors, patriarchs, and ecumenical Councils, from Constantine the Great to Gregory the Great. It completes the History of Ancient Christianity, which is the common inheritance of Greek, Latin, and Evangelical Christendom.

The first edition was published in 1867, and has not undergone any important changes. But in the revision of 1884 the more recent literature was added in an Appendix.

In this edition the Appendix has been revised and enriched with the latest literature. A few changes have also been made in the text to conform it to the present state of research (e.g., pp. 29, 353, 688, 689).

The Author.

New York, July, 1889.


With sincere thanks to God for continued health and strength, I offer to the public a history of the eventful period of the Church from the beginning of the fourth century to the close of the sixth. This concludes my history of Ancient Christianity.

It was intended at first to condense the third period into one volume, but regard to symmetry made it necessary to divide it into two volumes of equal size with the first which appeared several years ago. This accounts for the continuous paging of the second and third volumes.

In preparing this part of my Church History for the press, I have been deprived of the stimulus of an active professorship, and been much interrupted in consequence of other labors, a visit to Europe, and the loss of a part of the manuscript, which had to be rewritten. But, on the other hand, I have had the great advantage of constant and free access to several of the best libraries of the country. Especially am I indebted to the Astor Library, and the Union Theological Seminary Library of New York, which are provided with complete sets of the Greek and Latin fathers, and nearly all other important sources of the history of the first six centuries.

I have used different editions of the fathers (generally the Benedictine), but these I have carefully indicated when they vary in the division of chapters and sections, or in the numbering of orations and epistles, as in the works of Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, Jerome, Augustine, and Leo. In addition to the primary sources, I have constantly consulted the later historians, German, French, and English.

In the progress of the work I have been filled with growing admiration for the great scholars of the seventeenth and early part of the eighteenth century, who have with amazing industry and patience collected the raw material from the quarries, and investigated every nook and corner of Christian Antiquity. I need only refer to the Benedictine editors of the fathers; to the Bollandists, in the department of hagiography; to Mansi and Hardouin, in the collection of the Acts of Councils; to Gallandi, Dupin, Ceillier, Oudin, Cave, Fabricius, in patristics and literary history; to Petau's Theologica dogmata, Tillemont's Mémoires, Bull's Defensio Fidei Nicaenae, Bingham's Antiquities, Walch's Ketzerhistorie. In learning, acumen, judgment, and reverent spirit, these and similar works are fully equal, if not superior, to the best productions of the modern Teutonic press; while we cheerfully concede to the latter the superiority in critical sifting, philosophical grasp, artistic reproduction of the material, and in impartiality and freedom of spirit, without which there can be no true history. Thus times and talents supplement each other.

With all due regard for the labors of distinguished predecessors and contemporaries, I have endeavored, to the best of my ability, to combine fulness of matter with condensation in form and clearness of style, and to present a truthful and lively picture of the age of Christian emperors, patriarchs, and ecumenical Councils. Whether, and how far, I have succeeded in this, competent judges will decide.

I must again express my profound obligation to my friend, the Rev. Dr. Yeomans, of Rochester, for his invaluable assistance in bringing these volumes before the public in a far better English dress than I could have given them myself. I have prepared the work in German, and have sent the copy to Leipsic, where a German edition will appear simultaneously with the American. Some portions I have myself reproduced in English, and have made considerable additions throughout in the final revision of the copy for the press. But the body of the work has been translated from manuscript by Dr. Yeomans. He has performed his task with that consummate union of faithfulness and freedom which does full justice both to the thought of the author and the language of the reader, and which has elicited the unqualified praise of the best judges for his translation of my History of the Apostolic Church, and that of the first three centuries.

The work has been, for the translator as well as for the author, truly a labor of love, which carries in it its own exceeding great reward. For what can be more delightful and profitable than to revive for the benefit of the living generation, the memory of those great and good men who were God's own chosen instruments in expounding the mysteries of divine truth, and in spreading the blessings of Christianity over the face of the earth?

It is my wish and purpose to resume this work as soon as other engagements will permit, and to complete it according to the original plan. In the mean time I have the satisfaction of having finished the first great division of the history of Christianity, which, in many respects, is the most important, as the common inheritance of the Greek, Latin, and Evangelical churches. May God bless it as a means to promote the cause of truth, and to kindle that devotion to his service which is perfect freedom.

Philip Schaff.

5 Bible House, New York, Nov. 8, 1866.




Sources and Literature,

§ 1. Introduction and General View.



Sources and Literature,

§ 2. Constantine The Great. a.d. 306–337.

§ 3. The Sons of Constantine. a.d. 337–361.

§ 4. Julian the Apostate, and the Reaction of Paganism. a.d. 361–363.

§ 5. From Jovian to Theodosius. a.d. 363–392.

§ 6. Theodosius the Great and his Successors. a.d. 392–550.

§ 7. The Downfall of Heathenism.


Sources and Literature,

§ 8. Heathen Polemics. New Objections.

§ 9. Julian's Attack upon Christianity.

§ 10. The Heathen Apologetic Literature.

§ 11. Christian Apologists and Polemics.

§ 12. Augustine's City of God. Salvianus.



Sources and Literature,

§ 13. The New Position of the, Church in the Empire.

§ 14. Rights and Privileges of the Church. Secular Advantages.

§ 15. Support of the Clergy.

§ 16. Episcopal Jurisdiction and Intercession.

§ 17. Legal Sanction of Sunday.

§ 18. Influence of Christianity on Civil Legislation. The Justinian Code.

§ 19. Elevation of Woman and the Family.

§ 20. Social Reforms. The Institution of Slavery.

§ 21. Abolition of Gladiatorial Shows.

§ 22. Evils of the Union of Church and State. Secularization of the Church.

§ 23. Worldliness and Extravagance.

§ 24. Byzantine Court Christianity.

§ 25. Intrusion of Politics into Religion.

§ 26. The Emperor-Papacy and the Hierarchy.

§ 27. Restriction of Religious Freedom, and Beginnings of Persecution of Heretics.



Sources and Literature,

§ 28. Origin of Christian Monasticism. Comparison with other forms of Asceticism.

§ 29. Development of Monasticism.

§ 30. Nature and Aim of Monasticism.

§ 31. Monasticism and the Bible.

§ 32. Lights and Shades of Monastic Life.

§ 33. Position of Monks in the Church.

§ 34. Influence and Effect of Monasticism.

§ 35. Paul of Thebes and St. Anthony.

§ 36. Spread of Anchoretism. Hilarion.

§ 37. St. Symeon and the Pillar Saints.

§ 38. Pachomius and the Cloister life.

§ 39. Fanatical and Heretical Monastic Societies in The East.

§ 40. Monasticism in the West. Athanasius, Ambrose, Augustine, Martin of Tours.

§ 41. St. Jerome as a Monk.

§ 42. St. Paula.

§ 43. Benedict of Nursia.

§ 44. The Rule of St. Benedict.

§ 45. The Benedictines. Cassiodorus.

§ 46. Opposition to Monasticism. Jovinian.

§ 47. Helvidius, Vigilantius, and Aerius.



Sources and Literature,

§ 48. Schools of the Clergy.

§ 49. Clergy and Laity. Elections.

§ 50. Marriage and Celibacy of the Clergy.

§ 51. Moral Character of the Clergy in general.

§ 52. The Lower Clergy.

§ 53. The Bishops.

§ 54. Organization of the Hierarchy: Country Bishop, City Bishops, and Metropolitans.

§ 55. The Patriarchs.

§ 56. Synodical Legislation on the Patriarchal Power and Jurisdiction.

§ 57. The Rival Patriarchs of Old and New Rome.

§ 58. The Latin Patriarch.

§ 59. Conflicts and Conquests of the Latin Patriarchate.

§ 60. The Papacy.

§ 61. Opinions of the Fathers.

§ 62. The Decrees of Councils on the Papal Authority.

§ 63. Leo the Great. a.d. 440–461.

§ 64. The Papacy from Leo I to Gregory I. a.d. 461–590.

§ 65. The Synodical System. The Ecumenical Councils.

§ 66. List of the Ecumenical Councils of the Ancient Church,

§ 67. Books of Ecclesiastical Law.



Sources and Literature,

§ 68. Decline of Discipline.

§ 69. The Donatist Schism. External History.

§ 70. Augustine and the Donatists. Their Persecution and Extinction.

§ 71. Internal History of the Donatist Schism. Dogma of the Church.

§ 72. The Roman Schism of Damasus and Ursinus.

§ 73. The Meletian Schism at Antioch.



Sources and Literature,

§ 74. The Revolution in Cultus.

§ 75. The Civil and Religious Sunday.

§ 76. The Church Year.

§ 77. The Christmas Cycle.

§ 78. The Easter Cycle.

§ 79. The Time of the Easter Festival.

§ 80. The Cycle of Pentecost.

§ 81. The Exaltation of the Virgin Mariology.

§ 82. Mariolatry.

§ 83. The Festivals of Mary.

§ 84. The Worship of Martyrs and Saints.

§ 85. Festivals of the Saints.

§ 86. The Christian Calendar. The Legends of the Saints. The Acta Sanctorum.

§ 87. Worship of Relics. Dogma of the Resurrection. Miracles of Relics.

§ 88. Observations on the Miracles of the Nicene Age.

§ 89. Processions and Pilgrimages.

§ 90. Public Worship of the Lord's Day. Scripture-Reading and Preaching.

§ 91. The Sacraments in General.

§ 92. Baptism.

§ 93. Confirmation.

§ 94. Ordination.

§ 95. The Sacrament of the Eucharist.

§ 96. The Sacrifice of the Eucharist.

§ 97. The Celebration o f the Eucharist.

§ 98. The Liturgies. Their Origin and Contents.

§ 99. The Oriental Liturgies.

§ 100. The Occidental Liturgies.

§ 101. Liturgical Vestments.



Sources and Literature,

§ 102. Religion and Art.

§ 103. Church Architecture.

§ 104. The Consecration of Churches.

§ 105. Interior Arrangement of Churches.

§ 106. Architectural Style. The Basilicas.

§ 107. The Byzantine Style.

§ 108. Baptisteries. Grave-Chapels, and Crypts.

§ 109. Crosses and Crucifixes.

§ 110. Images of Christ.

§ 111. Images of Madonna and Saints.

§ 112. Consecrated Gifts.

§ 113. Church Poetry and Music.

§ 114. The Poetry of the Oriental Church.

§ 115. The Latin Hymn.

§ 116. The Latin Poets and Hymns.



Sources and Literature,

§ 117. General Observations. Doctrinal Importance of the Period. Influence of the Ancient Philosophy.

§ 118. Sources of Theology. Scripture and Tradition.

I. – The Trinitarian Controversies.

General Literature of the Arian Controversy.

§ 119. The Arian Controversy down to the Council of Nicaea, 318–325.

§ 120. The Council of Nicaea, 325.

§ 121. The Arian and Semi-Arian Reaction, a.d. 325–361.

§ 122. The Final Victory of Orthodoxy, and the Council of Constantinople, 381.

§ 123. The Theological Principles involved: Import of the Controversy.

§ 124. Arianism.

§ 125. Semi-Arianism.

§ 126. Revived Sabellianism. Marcellus and Photinus.

§ 127. The Nicene Doctrine of the Consubstantiality of the Son with the Father.

§ 128. The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

§ 129. The Nicene and Constantinopolitan Creed.

§ 130. The Nicene, Doctrine of the Trinity. The Trinitarian Terminology.

§ 131. The Post-Nicene Trinitarian Doctrine of Augustine.

§ 132. The Athanasian Creed.

II. – The Origenistic Controversies.

§133. The Orgenistic Controversy in Palestine. Epiphanius, Rufinus, and Jerome, a.d. 394–399.

§ 134. The Origenistic Controversy in Egypt and Constantinople. Theophilus and Chrysostom a.d. 399–407.

III. – The Christological Controversies.

§ 135. General View. Alexandrian and Antiochian Schools.

§ 136. The Apollinarian Heresy, a.d. 362–381.

§ 137. The Nestorian Controversy, a.d. 428–431.

§ 138. The Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, a.d. 431. The Compromise.

§ 139. The Nestorians.

§ 140. The Eutychian Controversy. The Council of Robbers, a.d. 449.

§ 141. The Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, a.d. 451.

§ 142. The Orthodox Christology—Analysis and Criticism.

§ 143. The Monophysite Controversies.

§ 144. The Three, Chapters, and the Fifth Ecumenical Council, a.d. 553.

§ 145. The Monophysite Sects: Jacobites, Copts, Abyssinians, Armenians, Maronites.

IV. – The Anthropological Controversies.

Works on the Pelagian Controversy in General.

§ 146. Character of the Pelagian Controversy.

§ 147. External History of the Pelagian Controversy, a.d. 411–431.

§ 148. The Pelagian Controversy in Palestine.

§ 149. Position of the Roman Church. Condemnation of Pelagianism.

§ 150. The Pelagian System: Primitive State and Freedom of Man; the Fall.

§ 151. The Pelagian System Continued: Doctrine, of Human Ability and Divine Grace.

§ 152. The Augustinian System: The Primitive State of Man, and Free Will.

§ 153. The Augustinian System: The Fall and its Consequences.

§ 154. The Augustinian System: Original Sin, and the Origin of the Human Soul.

§ 155. Arguments for the Doctrine of Original Sin and Hereditary Guilt.

§ 156. Answers to Pelagian Objections.

§ 157. Augustine's Doctrine of Redeeming Grace.

§ 158. The Doctrine of Predestination.

§ 159. Semi-Pelagianism.

§ 160. Victory of Semi-Augustinianism. Council of Orange, a.d. 529.



I.—The Greek Fathers.

§ 161. Eusebius of Caesarea.

§ 162. The Church Historians after Eusebius.

§ 163. Athanasius the Great.

§ 164. Basil the Great.

§ 165. Gregory of Nyssa.

§ 166. Gregory Nazianzen.

§ 167. Didymus of Alexandria.

§ 168. Cyril of Jerusalem.

§ 169. Epiphanius.

§ 170. John Chrysostom.

§ 171. Cyril of Alexandria.

§ 172. Ephraem the Syrian.

II.—The Latin Fathers.

§ 173. Lactantius.

§ 174. Hilary of Poitiers.

§ 175. Ambrose.

§ 176. Jerome as a Divine and Scholar.

§ 177. The Works of Jerome.

§ 178. Augustine.

§ 179. The Works of Augustine.

§ 180. The Influence of Augustine upon Posterity and his Relation to Catholicism and Protestantism.

Alphabetical Index to the Second and Third Volumes,

Appendix to the Revised Edition of 1884. Addenda et Corrigenda.

Alphabetical Index to the Third Volume.




a. d. 311–590.


I. Christian Sources: (a) The Acts Of Councils; in the Collectiones conciliorum of Hardouin, Par. 1715 sqq. 12 vols. fol.; Mansi, Flor. et Ven. 1759 sqq. 31 vols. fol.; Fuchs: Bibliothek der Kirchenversammlungen des 4ten und 5ten Jahrh. Leipz. 1780 sqq.; and Bruns: Biblioth. eccl. vol. i. Canones Apost. et Conc. saec. iv.–vii. Berol. 1839.

(b) The Imperial Laws and Decrees referring to the church, in the Codex Theodosianus, collected a.d. 438, the Codex Justinianeus, collected in 529, and the Cod. repetitae praelectionis of 534.

(c) The Official Letters of popes (in the Bullarium Romanum), patriarchs, and bishops.

(d) The writings of all the Church Fathers from the beginning of the 4th century to the end of the 6th. Especially of Eusebius, Athanasius, Basil, the two Gregories, the two Cyrils, Chrysostom, and Theodoret, of the Greek church; and Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, and Leo the Great, of the Latin. Comp. the Benedictine Editions of the several Fathers; the Maxima Bibliotheca veterum Patrum, Lugd. 1677 sqq. (in all 27 vols. fol.), vols. iii.–xi.; Gallandi: Biblioth. vet. Patrum, etc. Ven. 1765 sqq. (14 vols. fol.), vols. iv.–xii.

(e) Contemporary Church Historians, (1) of the Greek church: Eusebius of Caesarea († about 340): the ninth and tenth books of his H. E. down to 324, and his biography of Constantine the Great, see § 2 infra; Socrates Scholasticus of Constantinople: Histor. ecclesiast. libri vii, a.d. 306–439; Hermias Sozomen of Constantinople: H. eccl. l. ix, a.d. 323–423; Theodoret, bishop of Cyros in Mesopotamia: H. eccl. l. v, a.d. 325–429; the Arian Philostorgius: H. eccl. l. xii, a.d. 318–425, extant only in extracts in Photius Cod. 40; Theodorus Lector, of Constantinople, epitomizer of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret, continuing the latter down to 518, preserved in fragments by Nicephorus Callistus; Evagrius of Antioch: H. eccl. l. vi, a.d. 431–594; Nicephorus Callistus (or Niceph. Callisti), about 1330, author of a church history in 23 books, to a.d. 911 (ed. Fronto Ducaeus, Par. 1630). The historical works of these Greek writers, excepting the last, are also published together under the title: Historiae ecclesiasticae Scriptores, etc., Graec. et Lat., with notes by H. Valesius (and G. Reading), Par. 1659–1673; and Cantabr. 1720, 3 vols. fol. (2) Of the Latin church historians few are important: Rufinus, presb. of Aquileia (†410), translated Eusebius and continued him in two more books to 395; Sulpicius Severus, presb. in Gaul: Hist. Sacra, l. ii, from the creation to a.d. 400; Paulus Orosius, presbyter in Spain: Historiarum libri vii. written about 416, extending from the creation to his own time; Cassiodorus, about 550: Hist. tripartite, l. xii. a mere extract from the works of the Greek church historians, but, with the work of Rufinus, the chief source of historical knowledge through the whole middle age; and Jerome († 419): De viris illustrious, or Catalogus scriptorum eccles., written about 392, continued under the same title by Gennadius, about 495, and by Isidor of Seville, about 630.

(f) For chronology, the Greek Pascavlion, or Chronicon Paschale (wrongly called Alexandrinum), primarily a table of the passovers from the beginning of the world to a.d. 354 under Constantius, with later additions down to 628. (Ed. Car. du Fresne Dom. du Cange. Par. 1688, and L. Dindorf, Bonn. 1832, 2 vols.) The Chronicle of Eusebius and Jerome (Cronika; suggravmmata, pantodaph; iJstoriva), containing an outline of universal history down to 325, mainly after the chronography of Julius Africanus, and an extract from the universal chronicle in tabular form down to 379, long extant only in the free Latin translation and continuation of Jerome (ed. Jos. Scaliger. Lugd. Batav. 1606 and later), since 1792 known also in an Armenian translation (ed. J. Bapt. Aucher. Ven. 1818, and Aug. Mai, Script. vet. nov. coll. 1833. Tom. viii). In continuation of the Latin chronicle of Jerome, the chronicle of Prosper of Aquitania down to 455; that of the Spanish bishop Idatius, to 469; and that of Marcellinus Comes, to 534. Comp. Chronica medii aevi post Euseb. atque Hieron., etc. ed. Roesler, Tüb. 1798.

II. Heathen Sources: Ammianus Marcellinus (officer under Julian, honest and impartial): Rerum gestarum libri xiv-xxxi, a.d. 353–378 (the first 13 books are lost), ed. Jac. Gronov. Lugd. Batav. 1693 fol., and J. A. Ernesti, Lips. 1778 and 1835. Eunapius (philosopher and historian; bitter against the Christian emperors): Cronikh; iJstoriva, a.d. 268–405, extant only in fragments, ed. Bekker and Niebuhr, Bonn. 1829. Zosimus (court officer under Theodosius II., likewise biassed): @Istoriva neva, l. vi, a.d. 284–410, ed. Cellarius 1679, Reitemeier 1784, and Imm. Bekker, Bonn. 1837. Also the writings of Julian the Apostate (against Christianity), Libanius and Symmachus (philosophically tolerant), &c. Comp. the literature at § 2 and 4.


Besides the contemporary histories named above under 1 (e) among the sources, we should mention particularly Baronius (R.C. of the a.d.Ultramontane school, † 1607): Annales Eccles. vol. iii.–viii. (a heavy and unreadable chronicle, but valuable for reference to original documents). Tillemont (R.C. leaning to Jansenism, † 1698): Mémoires, etc., vol. vi.–xvi. (mostly biographical, minute, and conscientious). Gibbon († 1794): Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, from ch. xvii. onward (unsurpassed in the skilful use of sources and artistic composition, but skeptical and destitute of sympathy with the genius of Christianity). Schröckh (moderate Lutheran, † 1808): Christl. Kirchengesch. Theil v.–xviii. (A simple and diffuse, but thorough and trustworthy narrative). Neander (Evangel. † 1850): Allg. Gesch. der Chr. Rel. und Kirche. Hamb. vol. iv.–vi., 2d ed. 1846 sqq. Engl. transl. by Torrey, vol. ii. (Profound and genial in the genetic development of Christian doctrine and life, but defective in the political and aesthetic sections, and prolix and careless in style and arrangement). Gieseler (Protest. † 1854): Kirchengesch. Bonn. i. 2. 2d ed. 1845. Engl. transl. by Davidson, and revised by H. B. Smith, N. York, vol. i. and ii. (Critical and reliable in the notes, but meagre, dry, and cold in the text).

Isaac Taylor (Independent): Ancient Christianity, and the Doctrines of the Oxf. Tracts for the Times. Lond. 4th ed. 1844. 2 vols. (Anti-Puseyite). Böhringer (G. Ref.): Kirchengeschichte in Biographieen, vol. i. parts 3 and 4. Zür. 1845 sq. (from Ambrose to Gregory the Great). Carwithen And Lyall: History of the Christian Church from the 4th to the 12th Cent. in the Encycl. Metrop. 1849; published separately in Lond. and Glasg. 1856. J. C. Robertson (Angl.): Hist. of the Christ. Church to the Pontificate of Gregory the Great. Lond. 1854 (pp. 166–516). H. H. Milman (Angl.): History of Christianity from the Birth of Christ to the abolition of Paganism in the Roman Empire. Lond. 1840 (New York, 1844), Book III. and IV. Milman: Hist. of Latin Christianity; including that of the Popes to the Pontificate of Nicholas V. Lond. 1854 sqq. 6 vols., republished in New York, 1860, in 8 vols. (vol. i. a resumé of the first six centuries to Gregory I., the remaining vols. devoted to the middle ages). K. R. Hagenbach (G. Ref.):Die Christl. Kirche vom 4ten his 6ten Jahrh. Leipz. 1855 (2d vol. of his popular "Vorlesungen über die ältere Kirchengesch."). Albert de Broglie (R.C.): L'église et l'empire romain au IVme siècle. Par. 1855–'66. 6 vols. Ferd. Christ. Baur: Die Christl. Kirche vom Anfang des vierten bis zum Ende des sechsten Jahrhunderts in den Hauptmomenten ihrer Entwicklung. Tüb. 1859 (critical and philosophical). Wm. Bright: A History of the Church from the Edict of Milan, a.d. 313, to the Council of Chalcedon, a.d. 451. Oxf. and Lond. 1860. Arthur P. Stanley: Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church. Lond. 1861 (pp. 512), republished in New York from the 2d Lond. ed. 1862 (a series of graphic pictures of prominent characters and events in the history of the Greek and Russian church, but no complete history).

§ 1. Introduction and General View.

From the Christianity of the Apostles and Martyrs we proceed to the Christianity of the Patriarchs and Emperors.

The third period of the history of the Church, which forms the subject of this volume, extends from the emperor Constantine to the pope Gregory I.; from the beginning of the fourth century to the close of the sixth. During this period Christianity still moves, as in the first three centuries, upon the geographical scene of the Graeco-Roman empire and the ancient classical culture, the countries around the Mediterranean Sea. But its field and its operation are materially enlarged, and even touch the barbarians on the limit of the empire. Above all, its relation to the temporal power, and its social and political position and import, undergo an entire and permanent change. We have here to do with the church of the Graeco-Roman empire, and with the beginning of Christianity among the Germanic barbarians. Let us glance first at the general character and leading events of this important period.

The reign of Constantine the Great marks the transition of the Christian religion from under persecution by the secular government to union with the same; the beginning of the state-church system. The Graeco-Roman heathenism, the most cultivated and powerful form of idolatry, which history knows, surrenders, after three hundred years' struggle, to Christianity, and dies of incurable consumption, with the confession: Galilean, thou hast conquered! The ruler of the civilized world lays his crown at the feet of the crucified Jesus of Nazareth. The successor of Nero, Domitian, and Diocletian appears in the imperial purple at the council of Nice as protector of the church, and takes his golden throne at the nod of bishops, who still bear the scars of persecution. The despised sect, which, like its Founder in the days of His humiliation, had not where to lay its head, is raised to sovereign authority in the state, enters into the prerogatives of the pagan priesthood, grows rich and powerful, builds countless churches out of the stones of idol temples to the honor of Christ and his martyrs, employs the wisdom of Greece and Rome to vindicate the foolishness of the cross, exerts a molding power upon civil legislation, rules the national life, and leads off the history of the world. But at the same time the church, embracing the mass of the population of the empire, from the Caesar to the meanest slave, and living amidst all its institutions, received into her bosom vast deposits of foreign material from the world and from heathenism, exposing herself to new dangers and imposing upon herself new and heavy labors.

The union of church and state extends its influence, now healthful, now baneful, into every department of our history.

The Christian life of the Nicene and post-Nicene age reveals a mass of worldliness within the church; an entire abatement of chiliasm with its longing after the return of Christ and his glorious reign, and in its stead an easy repose in the present order of things; with a sublime enthusiasm, on the other hand, for the renunciation of self and the world, particularly in the hermitage and the cloister, and with some of the noblest heroes of Christian holiness.

Monasticism, in pursuance of the ascetic tendencies of the previous period, and in opposition to the prevailing secularization of Christianity, sought to save the virgin purity of the church and the glory of martyrdom by retreat from the world into the wilderness; and it carried the ascetic principle to the summit of moral heroism, though not rarely to the borders of fanaticism and brutish stupefaction. It spread with incredible rapidity and irresistible fascination from Egypt over the whole church, east and west, and received the sanction of the greatest church teachers, of an Athanasius, a Basil, a Chrysostom, an Augustine, a Jerome, as the surest and shortest way to heaven.

It soon became a powerful rival of the priesthood, and formed a third order, between the priesthood and the laity. The more extraordinary and eccentric the religion of the anchorets and monks, the more they were venerated among the people. The whole conception of the Christian life from the fourth to the sixteenth century is pervaded with the ascetic and monastic spirit, and pays the highest admiration to the voluntary celibacy, poverty, absolute obedience, and excessive self-punishments of the pillar-saints and the martyrs of the desert; while in the same degree the modest virtues of every-day household and social life are looked upon as an inferior degree of morality.

In this point the old Catholic ethical ideas essentially differ from those of evangelical Protestantism and modern civilization. But, to understand and appreciate them, we must consider them in connection with the corrupt social condition of the rapidly decaying empire of Rome. The Christian spirit in that age, in just its most earnest and vigorous forms, felt compelled to assume in some measure an anti-social, seclusive character, and to prepare itself in the school of privation and solitude for the work of transforming the world and founding a new Christian order of society upon the ruins of the ancient heathenism.

In the development of doctrine the Nicene and post-Nicene age is second in productiveness and importance only to those of the apostles and of the reformation. It is the classical period for the objective fundamental dogmas, which constitute the ecumenical or old Catholic confession of faith. The Greek church produced the symbolical definition of the orthodox view of the holy Trinity and the person of Christ, while the Latin church made considerable advance with the anthropological and soteriological doctrines of sin and grace. The fourth and fifth centuries produced the greatest church fathers, Athanasius and Chrysostom in the East, Jerome and Augustine in the West. All learning and science now came into the service of the church, and all classes of society, from the emperor to the artisan, took the liveliest, even a passionate interest, in the theological controversies. Now, too, for the first time, could ecumenical councils be held, in which the church of the whole Roman empire was represented, and fixed its articles of faith in an authoritative way.

Now also, however, the lines of orthodoxy were more and more strictly drawn; freedom of inquiry was restricted; and all as departure from the state-church system was met not only, as formerly, with spiritual weapons, but also with civil punishments. So early as the fourth century the dominant party, the orthodox as well as the heterodox, with help of the imperial authority practised deposition, confiscation, and banishment upon its opponents. It was but one step thence to the penalties of torture and death, which were ordained in the middle age, and even so lately as the middle of the seventeenth century, by state-church authority, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, and continue in many countries to this day, against religious dissenters of every kind as enemies to the prevailing order of things. Absolute freedom of religion and of worship is in fact logically impossible on the state-church system. It requires the separation of the spiritual and temporal powers. Yet, from the very beginning of political persecution, loud voices rise against it and in behalf of ecclesiastico-religious toleration; though the plea always comes from the oppressed party, which, as soon as it gains the power, is generally found, in lamentable inconsistency, imitating the violence of its former oppressors. The protest springs rather from the sense of personal injury, than from horror of the principle of persecution, or from any clear apprehension of the nature of the gospel and its significant words: "Put up thy sword into the sheath;" "My kingdom is not of this world."

The organization of the church adapts itself to the political and geographical divisions of the empire. The powers of the hierarchy are enlarged, the bishops become leading officers of the state and acquire a controlling influence in civil and political affairs, though more or less at the expense of their spiritual dignity and independence, especially at the Byzantine court. The episcopal system passes on into the metropolitan and patriarchal. In the fifth century the patriarchs of Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem stand at the head of Christendom. Among these Rome and Constantinople are the most powerful rivals, and the Roman patriarch already puts forth a claim to universal spiritual supremacy, which subsequently culminates in the mediaeval papacy, though limited to the West and resisted by the constant protest of the Greek church and of all non-Catholic sects. In addition to provincial synods we have now also general synods, but called by the emperors and more or less affected, though not controlled, by political influence.

From the time of Constantine church discipline declines; the whole Roman world having become nominally Christian, and the host of hypocritical professors multiplying beyond all control. Yet the firmness of Ambrose with the emperor Theodosius shows, that noble instances of discipline are not altogether wanting.

Worship appears greatly enriched and adorned; for art now comes into the service of the church. A Christian architecture, a Christian sculpture, a Christian painting, music, and poetry arise, favoring at once devotion and solemnity, and all sorts of superstition and empty display. The introduction of religious images succeeds only after long and violent opposition. The element of priesthood and of mystery is developed, but in connection with a superstitious reliance upon a certain magical operation of outward rites. Church festivals are multiplied and celebrated with great pomp; and not exclusively in honor of Christ, but in connection with an extravagant veneration of martyrs and saints, which borders on idolatry, and often reminds us of the heathen hero-worship not yet uprooted from the general mind. The multiplication and accumulation of religious ceremonies impressed the senses and the imagination, but prejudiced simplicity, spirituality, and fervor in the worship of God. Hence also the beginnings of reaction against ceremonialism and formalism.

Notwithstanding the complete and sudden change of the social and political circumstances of the church, which meets us on the threshold of this period, we have still before us the natural, necessary continuation of the pre-Constantine church in its light and shade, and the gradual transition of the old Graeco-Roman Catholicism into the Germano-Roman Catholicism of the middle age.

Our attention will now for the first time be turned in earnest, not only to Christianity in the Roman empire, but also to Christianity among the Germanic barbarians, who from East and North threaten the empire and the entire civilization of classic antiquity. The church prolonged, indeed, the existence of the Roman empire, gave it a new splendor and elevation, new strength and unity, as well as comfort in misfortune; but could not prevent its final dissolution, first in the West (a.d. 476), afterwards (1453) in the East. But she herself survived the storms of the great migration, brought the pagan invaders under the influence of Christianity, taught the barbarians the arts of peace, planted a higher civilization upon the ruins of the ancient world, and thus gave new proof of the indestructible, all-subduing energy of her life.

In a minute history of the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries we should mark the following subdivisions:

1. The Constantinian and Athanasian, or the Nicene and Trinitarian age, from 311 to the second general council in 381, distinguished by the conversion of Constantine, the alliance of the empire with the church, and the great Arian and semi-Arian controversy concerning the Divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

2. The post-Nicene, or Christological and Augustinian age, extending to the fourth general council in 451, and including the Nestorian and Eutychian disputes on the person of Christ, and the Pelagian controversy on sin and grace.

3. The age of Leo the Great (440–461), or the rise of the papal supremacy in the West, amidst the barbarian devastations which made an end to the western Roman empire in 476.

4. The Justinian age (527–565), which exhibits the Byzantine state-church despotism at the height of its power, and at the beginning of its decline.

5. The Gregorian age (590–604) forms the transition from the ancient Graeco-Roman to the mediaeval Romano-Germanic Christianity, and will be more properly included in the church history of the middle ages.




J. G. Hoffmann: Ruina Superstitionis Paganae. Vitemb. 1738. Tzschirner: Der Fall des Heidenthums. Leipz. 1829. A. Beugnot: Histoire de la destruction du paganisme en occident. Par. 1835. 2 vols. Et. Chastel (of Geneva): Histoire de la destruction du paganisme dans l'empire d'orient. Par. 1850. E. v. Lasaulx: Der Untergang des Hellenismus u. die Einziehung seiner Tempelgüter durch die christl. Kaiser. Münch. 1854. F. Lübker: Der Fall des Heidenthums. Schwerin, 1856. Ch. Merivale: Conversion of The Roman Empire. New York, 1865.

§ 2. Constantine The Great. a.d. 306–337.

1. Contemporary Sources: Lactantius († 330): De mortibus persecutorum, cap. 18 sqq. Eusebius: Hist. Eccl. l. Ix. et x.; also his panegyric and very partial Vita Constantini, in 4 books (Eij" tovn bivon tou' makarivou Kwnstantivnou tou' basilevw") and his Panegyricus or De laudibus Constantini; in the editions of the hist. works of Euseb. by Valesius, Par. 1659–1673, Amstel. 1695, Cantabr. 1720; Zimmermann, Frcf. 1822; Heinichen, Lips. 1827–30; Burton, Oxon. 1838. Comp. the imperial documents in the Codex Theodos.l. xvi. also the Letters and Treatises of Athanasius († 373), and on the heathen side the Panegyric of Nazarius at Rome (321) and the Caesars of Julian († 363).

2. Later sources: Socrates: Hist. Eccl. l. i. Sozomenus: H. E. l. i et ii. Zosimus (a heathen historian and court-officer, comes et advocatus fisci, under Theodosius II.): Jistoriva neva, l. ii. ed. Bekker, Bonn. 1837. Eusebius and Zosimus present the extremes of partiality for and against Constantine. A just estimate of his character must be formed from the facts admitted by both, and from the effect of his secular and ecclesiastical policy.

3. Modern authorities. Mosheim: De reb. Christ. ante Const. M. etc., last section (p. 958 sqq. In Murdock's Engl. transl., vol. ii. p. 454–481). Nath. Lardner, in the second part of his great work on the Credibility of the Gospel History, see Works ed. by Kippis, Lond. 1838, vol. iv. p. 3–55. Abbé de Voisin: Dissertation critique sur la vision de Constantin. Par. 1774. Gibbon: l.c. chs. xiv. and xvii.–xxi. Fr. Gusta: Vita di Constantino il Grande. Foligno, 1786. Manso: Das Leben Constantins des Gr. Bresl. 1817. Hug (R.C.): Denkschrift zur Ehrenrettung Constant. Frieb. 1829. Heinichen: Excurs. in Eus. Vitam Const. 1830. Arendt (R.C.): Const. u. sein Verb. zum Christenthum. Tüb. (Quartalschrift) 1834. Milman: Hist. of Christianity, etc., 1840, book iii. ch. 1–4. Jacob Burckhardt: Die Zeit Const. des Gr. Bas. 1853. Albert de Broglie: L'église et l'empire romain au IVme siècle. Par. 1856 (vols. i. and ii.). A. P. Stanley: Lectures on the Hist. of the Eastern Church, 1862, Lect. vi. p. 281 sqq. (Am. Ed.). Theod. Keim: Der Uebertritt Constantins des Gr. zum Christenthum. Zürich, 1862 (an apology for Constantine's character against Burckhardt's view).

The last great imperial persecution of the Christians under Diocletian and Galerius, which was aimed at the entire uprooting of the new religion, ended with the edict of toleration of 311 and the tragical ruin of the persecutors.1 The edict of toleration was an involuntary and irresistible concession of the incurable impotence of heathenism and the indestructible power of Christianity. It left but a step to the downfall of the one and the supremacy of the other in the empire of the Caesars.

This great epoch is marked by the reign of Constantine I.2 He understood the signs of the times and acted accordingly. He was the man for the times, as the times were prepared for him by that Providence which controls both and fits them for each other. He placed himself at the head of true progress, while his nephew, Julian the Apostate, opposed it and was left behind. He was the chief instrument for raising the church from the low estate of oppression and persecution to well deserved honor and power. For this service a thankful posterity has given him the surname of the Great, to which he was entitled, though not by his moral character, yet doubtless by his military and administrative ability, his judicious policy, his appreciation and protection of Christianity, and the far-reaching consequences of his reign. His greatness was not indeed of the first, but of the second order, and is to be measured more by what he did than by what he was. To the Greek church, which honors him even as a canonized saint, he has the same significance as Charlemagne to the Latin.

Constantine, the first Christian Caesar, the founder of Constantinople and the Byzantine empire, and one of the most gifted, energetic, and successful of the Roman emperors, was the first representative of the imposing idea of a Christian theocracy, or of that system of policy which assumes all subjects to be Christians, connects civil and religious rights, and regards church and state as the two arms of one and the same divine government on earth. This idea was more fully developed by his successors, it animated the whole middle age, and is yet working under various forms in these latest times; though it has never been fully realized, whether in the Byzantine, the German, or the Russian empire, the Roman church-state, the Calvinistic republic of Geneva, or the early Puritanic colonies of New England. At the same time, however, Constantine stands also as the type of an undiscriminating and harmful conjunction of Christianity with politics, of the holy symbol of peace with the horrors of war, of the spiritual interests of the kingdom of heaven with the earthly interests of the state.

In judging of this remarkable man and his reign, we must by all means keep to the great historical principle, that all representative characters act, consciously or unconsciously, as the free and responsible organs of the spirit of their age, which moulds them first before they can mould it in turn, and that the spirit of the age itself, whether good or bad or mixed, is but an instrument in the hands of divine Providence, which rules and overrules all the actions and motives of men.

Through a history of three centuries Christianity had already inwardly overcome the world, and thus rendered such an outward revolution, as has attached itself to the name of this prince, both possible and unavoidable. It were extremely superficial to refer so thorough and momentous a change to the personal motives of an individual, be they motives of policy, of piety, or of superstition. But unquestionably every age produces and shapes its own organs, as its own purposes require. So in the case of Constantine. He was distinguished by that genuine political wisdom, which, putting itself at the head of the age, clearly saw that idolatry had outlived itself in the Roman empire, and that Christianity alone could breathe new vigor into it and furnish its moral support. Especially on the point of the external Catholic unity his monarchical politics accorded with the hierarchical episcopacy of the church. Hence from the year 313 he placed himself in close connection with the bishops, made peace and harmony his first object in the Donatist and Arian controversies and applied the predicate "catholic" to the church in all official documents. And as his predecessors were supreme pontiffs of the heathen religion of the empire, so he desired to be looked upon as a sort of bishop, as universal bishop of the external affairs of the church.3 All this by no means from mere self-interest, but for the good of the empire, which, now shaken to its foundations and threatened by barbarians on every side, could only by some new bond of unity be consolidated and upheld until at least the seeds of Christianity and civilization should be planted among the barbarians themselves, the representatives of the future. His personal policy thus coincided with the interests of the state. Christianity appeared to him, as it proved in fact, the only efficient power for a political reformation of the empire, from which the ancient spirit of Rome was fast departing, while internal, civil, and religious dissensions and the outward pressure of the barbarians threatened a gradual dissolution of society.

But with the political he united also a religious motive, not clear and deep, indeed, yet honest, and strongly infused with the superstitious disposition to judge of a religion by its outward success and to ascribe a magical virtue to signs and ceremonies. His whole family was swayed by religious sentiment, which manifested itself in very different forms, in the devout pilgrimages of Helena, the fanatical Arianism of Constantia, and Constantius, and the fanatical paganism of Julian. Constantine adopted Christianity first as a superstition, and put it by the side of his heathen superstition, till finally in his conviction the Christian vanquished the pagan, though without itself developing into a pure and enlightened faith.4

At first Constantine, like his father, in the spirit of the Neo-Platonic syncretism of dying heathendom, reverenced all the gods as mysterious powers; especially Apollo, the god of the sun, to whom in the year 308 he presented munificent gifts. Nay, so late as the year 321 he enjoined regular consultation of the soothsayers5 in public misfortunes, according to ancient heathen usage; even later, he placed his new residence, Byzantium, under the protection of the God of the Martyrs and the heathen goddess of Fortune;6 and down to the end of his life he retained the title and the dignity of a Pontifex Maximus, or high-priest of the heathen hierarchy.7 His coins bore on the one side the letters of the name of Christ, on the other the figure of the Sun-god, and the inscription "Sol invictus." Of course there inconsistencies may be referred also to policy and accommodation to the toleration edict of 313. Nor is it difficult to adduce parallels of persons who, in passing from Judaism to Christianity, or from Romanism to Protestantism, have so wavered between their old and their new position that they might be claimed by both. With his every victory, over his pagan rivals, Galerius, Maxentius, and Licinius, his personal leaning to Christianity and his confidence in the magic power of the sign of the cross increased; yet he did not formally renounce heathenism, and did not receive baptism until, in 337, he was laid upon the bed of death.

He had an imposing and winning person, and was compared by flatterers with Apollo. He was tall, broad-shouldered, handsome, and of a remarkably vigorous and healthy constitution, but given to excessive vanity in his dress and outward demeanor, always wearing an oriental diadem, a helmet studded with jewels, and a purple mantle of silk richly embroidered with pearls and flowers worked in gold,8 His mind was not highly cultivated, but naturally clear, strong, and shrewd, and seldom thrown off its guard. He is said to have combined a cynical contempt of mankind with an inordinate love of praise. He possessed a good knowledge of human nature and administrative energy and tact.

His moral character was not without noble traits, among which a chastity rare for the time,9 and a liberality and beneficence bordering on wastefulness were prominent. Many of his laws and regulations breathed the spirit of Christian justice and humanity, promoted the elevation of the female sex, improved the condition of slaves and of unfortunates, and gave free play to the efficiency of the church throughout the whole empire. Altogether he was one of the best, the most fortunate, and the most influential of the Roman emperors, Christian and pagan.

Yet he had great faults. He was far from being so pure and so venerable as Eusebius, blinded by his favor to the church, depicts him, in his bombastic and almost dishonestly eulogistic biography, with the evident intention of setting him up as a model for all future Christian princes. It must, with all regret, be conceded, that his progress in the knowledge of Christianity was not a progress in the practice of its virtues. His love of display and his prodigality, his suspiciousness and his despotism, increased with his power.

The very brightest period of his reign is stained with gross crimes, which even the spirit of the age and the policy of an absolute monarch cannot excuse. After having reached, upon the bloody path of war, the goal of his ambition, the sole possession of the empire, yea, in the very year in which he summoned the great council of Nicaea, he ordered the execution of his conquered rival and brother-in-law, Licinius, in breach of a solemn promise of mercy (324).10 Not satisfied with this, he caused soon afterwards, from political suspicion, the death of the young Licinius, his nephew, a boy of hardly eleven years. But the worst of all is the murder of his eldest son, Crispus, in 326, who had incurred suspicion of political conspiracy, and of adulterous and incestuous purposes towards his step-mother Fausta, but is generally regarded as innocent. This domestic and political tragedy emerged from a vortex of mutual suspicion and rivalry, and calls to mind the conduct of Philip II. towards Don Carlos, of Peter the Great towards his son Alexis, and of Soliman the Great towards his son Mustapha. Later authors assert, though gratuitously, that the emperor, like David, bitterly repented of this sin. He has been frequently charged besides, though it would seem altogether unjustly, with the death of his second wife Fausta (326?), who, after twenty years, of happy wedlock, is said to have been convicted of slandering her stepson Crispus, and of adultery with a slave or one of the imperial guards, and then to have been suffocated in the vapor of an over-heated bath. But the accounts of the cause and manner of her death are so late and discordant as to make Constantine's part in it at least very doubtful.11

At all events Christianity did not produce in Constantine a thorough moral transformation. He was concerned more to advance the outward social position of the Christian religion, than to further its inward mission. He was praised and censured in turn by the Christians and Pagans, the Orthodox and the Arians, as they successively experienced his favor or dislike. He bears some resemblance to Peter the Great both in his public acts and his private character, by combining great virtues and merits with monstrous crimes, and he probably died with the same consolation as Peter, whose last words were: "I trust that in respect of the good I have striven to do my people (the church), God will pardon my sins." It is quite characteristic of his piety that he turned the sacred nails of the Saviour's cross which Helena brought from Jerusalem, the one into the bit of his war-horse, the other into an ornament of his helmet. Not a decided, pure, and consistent character, he stands on the line of transition between two ages and two religions; and his life bears plain marks of both. When at last on his death bed he submitted to baptism, with the remark, "Now let us cast away all duplicity," he honestly admitted the conflict of two antagonistic principles which swayed his private character and public life.12

From these general remarks we turn to the leading features of Constantine's life and reign, so far as they bear upon the history of the church. We shall consider in order his youth and training, the vision of the Cross, the edict of toleration, his legislation in favor of Christianity, his baptism and death.

Constantine, son of the co-emperor Constantius Chlorus, who reigned over Gaul, Spain, and Britain till his death in 306, was born probably in the year 272, either in Britain or at Naissus (now called Nissa), a town of Dardania, in Illyricum.13 His mother was Helena, daughter of an innkeeper,14 the first wife of Constantius, afterwards divorced, when Constantius, for political reasons, married a daughter of Maximian.15 She is described by Christian writers as a discreet and devout woman, and has been honored with a place in the catalogue of saints. Her name is identified with the discovery of the cross and the pious superstitions of the holy places. She lived to a very advanced age and died in the year 326 or 327, in or near the city of Rome. Rising by her beauty and good fortune from obscurity to the splendor of the court, then meeting the fate of Josephine, but restored to imperial dignity by her son, and ending as a saint of the Catholic church: Helena would form an interesting subject for a historical novel illustrating the leading events of the Nicene age and the triumph of Christianity in the Roman empire.

Constantine first distinguished himself in the service of Diocletian in the Egyptian and Persian wars; went afterwards to Gaul and Britain, and in the Praetorium at York was proclaimed emperor by his dying father and by the Roman troops. His father before him held a favorable opinion of the Christians as peaceable and honorable citizens, and protected them in the West during the Diocletian persecution in the East. This respectful tolerant regard descended to Constantine, and the good effects of it, compared with the evil results of the opposite course of his antagonist Galerius, could but encourage him to pursue it. He reasoned, as Eusebius reports from his own mouth, in the following manner: "My father revered the Christian God and uniformly prospered, while the emperors who worshipped the heathen gods, died a miserable death; therefore, that I may enjoy a happy life and reign, I will imitate the example of my father and join myself to the cause of the Christians, who are growing daily, while the heathen are diminishing." This low utilitarian consideration weighed heavily in the mind of an ambitious captain, who looked forward to the highest seat of power within the gift of his age. Whether his mother, whom he always revered, and who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in her eightieth year (a.d. 325), planted the germ of the Christian faith in her son, as Theodoret supposes, or herself became a Christian through his influence, as Eusebius asserts, must remain undecided. According to the heathen Zosimus, whose statement is unquestionably false and malicious, an Egyptian, who came out of Spain (probably the bishop Hosius of Cordova, a native of Egypt, is intended), persuaded him, after the murder of Crispus (which did not occur before 326), that by converting to Christianity he might obtain forgiveness of his sins.

The first public evidence of a positive leaning towards the Christian religion he gave in his contest with the pagan Maxentius, who had usurped the government of Italy and Africa, and is universally represented as a cruel, dissolute tyrant, hated by heathens and Christians alike,16 called by the Roman people to their aid, Constantine marched from Gaul across the Alps with an army of ninety-eight thousand soldiers of every nationality, and defeated Maxentius in three battles; the last in October, 312, at the Milvian bridge, near Rome, where Maxentius found a disgraceful death in the waters of the Tiber.

Here belongs the familiar story of the miraculous cross. The precise day and place cannot be fixed, but the event must have occurred shortly before the final victory over Maxentius in the neighborhood of Rome. As this vision is one of the most noted miracles in church history, and has a representative significance, it deserves a closer examination. It marks for us on the one hand the victory of Christianity over paganism in the Roman empire, and on the other the ominous admixture of foreign, political, and military interests with it.17 We need not be surprised that in the Nicene age so great a revolution and transition should have been clothed with a supernatural character.

The occurrence is variously described and is not without serious difficulties. Lactantius, the earliest witness, some three years after the battle, speaks only of a dream by night, in which the emperor was directed (it is not stated by whom, whether by Christ, or by an angel) to stamp on the shields of his soldiers "the heavenly sign of God," that is, the cross with the name of Christ, and thus to go forth against his enemy.18 Eusebius, on the contrary, gives a more minute account on the authority of a subsequent private communication of the aged Constantine himself under oath—not, however, till the year 338, a year after the death of the emperor, his only witness, and twenty-six years after the event.19 On his march from Gaul to Italy (the spot and date are not specified), the emperor, whilst earnestly praying to the true God for light and help at this critical time, saw, together with his army,20 in clear daylight towards evening, a shining cross in the heavens above the sun) with the inscription: "By this conquer,"21 and in the following night Christ himself appeared to him while he slept, and directed him to have a standard prepared in the form of this sign of the cross, and with that to proceed against Maxentius and all other enemies. This account of Eusebius, or rather of Constantine himself, adds to the night dream of Lactantius the preceding vision of the day, and the direction concerning the standard, while Lactantius speaks of the inscription of the initial letters of Christ's name on the shields of the soldiers. According to Rufinus,22 a later historian, who elsewhere depends entirely on Eusebius and can therefore not be regarded as a proper witness in the case, the sign of the cross appeared to Constantine in a dream (which agrees with the account of Lactantius), and upon his awaking in terror, an angel (not Christ) exclaimed to him: "Hoc vince." Lactantius, Eusebius, and Rufinus are the only Christian writers of the fourth century, who mention the apparition. But we have besides one or two heathen testimonies, which, though vague and obscure, still serve to strengthen the evidence in favor of some actual occurrence. The contemporaneous orator Nazarius, in a panegyric upon the emperor, pronounced March 1, 321, apparently at Rome, speaks of an army of divine warriors and a divine assistance which Constantine received in the engagement with Maxentius, but he converts it to the service of heathenism by recurring to old prodigies, such as the appearance of Castor and Pollux.23

This famous tradition may be explained either as a real miracle implying a personal appearance of Christ,24 or as a pious fraud,25 or as a natural phenomenon in the clouds and an optical illusion,26 or finally as a prophetic dream.

The propriety of a miracle, parallel to the signs in heaven which preceded the destruction of Jerusalem, might be justified by the significance of the victory as marking a great epoch in history, namely, the downfall of paganism and the establishment of Christianity in the empire. But even if we waive the purely critical objections to the Eusebian narrative, the assumed connection, in this case, of the gentle Prince of peace with the god of battle, and the subserviency of the sacred symbol of redemption to military ambition, is repugnant to the genius of the gospel and to sound Christian feeling, unless we stretch the theory of divine accommodation to the spirit of the age and the passions and interests of individuals beyond the ordinary limits. We should suppose, moreover, that Christ, if he had really appeared to Constantine either in person (according to Eusebius) or through angels (as Rufinus and Sozomen modify it), would have exhorted him to repent and be baptized rather than to construct a military ensign for a bloody battle.27 In no case can we ascribe to this occurrence, with Eusebius, Theodoret, and older writers, the character of a sudden and genuine conversion, as to Paul's vision of Christ on the way to Damascus;28 for, on the one hand, Constantine was never hostile to Christianity, but most probably friendly to it from his early youth, according to the example of his father; and, on the other, he put off his baptism quite five and twenty years, almost to the hour of his death.

The opposite hypothesis of a mere military stratagem or intentional fraud is still more objectionable, and would compel us either to impute to the first Christian emperor at a venerable age the double crime of falsehood and perjury, or, if Eusebius invented the story, to deny to the "father of church history" all claim to credibility and common respectability. Besides it should be remembered that the older testimony of Lactantius, or whoever was the author of the work on the Deaths of Persecutors, is quite independent of that of Eusebius, and derives additional force from the vague heathen rumors of the time. Finally the Hoc vince which has passed into proverbial significance as a most appropriate motto of the invincible religion of the cross, is too good to be traced to sheer falsehood. Some actual fact, therefore, must be supposed to underlie the tradition, and the question only is this, whether it was an external visible phenomenon or an internal experience.

The hypothesis of a natural formation of the clouds, which Constantine by an optical illusion mistook for a supernatural sign of the cross, besides smacking of the exploded rationalistic explanation of the New Testament miracles, and deriving an important event from a mere accident, leaves the figure of Christ and the Greek or Latin inscription: By this sign thou shalt conquer! altogether unexplained.

We are shut up therefore to the theory of a dream or vision, and an experience within the mind of Constantine. This is supported by the oldest testimony of Lactantius, as well as by the report of Rufinus and Sozomen, and we do not hesitate to regard the Eusebian cross in the skies as originally a part of the dream,29 which only subsequently assumed the character of an outward objective apparition either in the imagination of Constantine, or by a mistake of the memory of the historian, but in either case without intentional fraud. That the vision was traced to supernatural origin, especially after the happy success, is quite natural and in perfect keeping with the prevailing ideas of the age.30 Tertullian and other ante-Nicene and Nicene fathers attributed many conversions to nocturnal dreams and visions. Constantine and his friends referred the most important facts of his life, as the knowledge of the approach of hostile armies, the discovery of the holy sepulchre, the founding of Constantinople, to divine revelation through visions and dreams. Nor are we disposed in the least to deny the connection of the vision of the cross with the agency of divine Providence, which controlled this remarkable turning point of history. We may go farther and admit a special providence, or what the old divines call a providentia specialissima; but this does not necessarily imply a violation of the order of nature or an actual miracle in the shape of an objective personal appearance of the Saviour. We may refer to a somewhat similar, though far less important, vision in the life of the pious English Colonel James Gardiner.31 The Bible itself sanctions the general theory of providential or prophetic dreams and nocturnal visions through which divine revelations and admonitions are communicated to men.32

The facts, therefore, may have been these. Before the battle Constantine, leaning already towards Christianity as probably the best and most hopeful of the various religions, seriously sought in prayer, as he related to Eusebius, the assistance of the God of the Christians, while his heathen antagonist Maxentius, according to Zosimus,33 was consulting the sibylline books and offering sacrifice to the idols. Filled with mingled fears and hopes about the issue of the conflict, he fell asleep and saw in a dream the sign of the cross of Christ with a significant inscription and promise of victory. Being already familiar with the general use of this sign among the numerous Christians of the empire, many of whom no doubt were in his own army, he constructed the labarum,34 or rather he changed the heathen labarum into a standard of the Christian cross with the Greek monogram of Christ,35 which he had also put upon the shields of the soldiers. To this cross-standard, which now took the place of the Roman eagles, he attributed the decisive victory over the heathen Maxentius.

Accordingly, after his triumphal entrance into Rome, he had his statue erected upon the forum with the labarum in his right hand, and the inscription beneath: "By this saving sign, the true token of bravery, I have delivered your city from the yoke of the tyrant."36 Three years afterwards the senate erected to him a triumphal arch of marble, which to this day, within sight of the sublime ruins of the pagan Colosseum, indicates at once the decay of ancient art, and the downfall of heathenism; as the neighboring arch of Titus commemorates the downfall of Judaism and the destruction of the temple. The inscription on this arch of Constantine, however, ascribes his victory over the hated tyrant, not only to his master mind, but indefinitely also to the impulse of Deity;37 by which a Christian would naturally understand the true God, while a heathen, like the orator Nazarius, in his eulogy on Constantine, might take it for the celestial guardian power of the "urbs aeterna."

At all events the victory of Constantine over Maxentius was a military and political victory of Christianity over heathenism; the intellectual and moral victory having been already accomplished by the literature and life of the church in the preceding period. The emblem of ignominy and oppression38 became thenceforward the badge of honor and dominion, and was invested in the emperor's view, according to the spirit of the church of his day, with a magic virtue.39 It now took the place of the eagle and other field-badges, under which the heathen Romans had conquered the world. It was stamped on the imperial coin, and on the standards, helmets, and shields of the soldiers. Above all military representations of the cross the original imperial labarum shone in the richest decorations of gold and gems; was intrusted to the truest and bravest fifty of the body guard; filled the Christians with the spirit of victory, and spread fear and terror among their enemies; until, under the weak successors of Theodosius II., it fell out of use, and was lodged as a venerable relic in the imperial palace at Constantinople.

After this victory at Rome (which occurred October 27, 312), Constantine, in conjunction with his eastern colleague, Licinius, published in January, 313, from Milan, an edict of religious toleration, which goes a step beyond the edict of the still anti-Christian Galerius in 311, and grants, in the spirit of religious eclecticism, full freedom to all existing forms of worship, with special reference to the Christian.40 The edict of 313 not only recognized Christianity within existing limits, but allowed every subject of the Roman empire to choose whatever religion he preferred.41 At the same time the church buildings and property confiscated in the Diocletian persecution were ordered to be restored, and private property-owners to be indemnified from the imperial treasury.

In this notable edict, however, we should look in vain for the modern Protestant and Anglo-American theory of religious liberty as one of the universal and inalienable rights of man. Sundry voices, it is true, in the Christian church itself, at that time, as before and after, declared against all compulsion in religion.42 But the spirit of the Roman empire was too absolutistic to abandon the prerogative of a supervision of public worship. The Constantinian toleration was a temporary measure of state policy, which, as indeed the edict expressly states the motive, promised the greatest security to the public peace and the protection of all divine and heavenly powers, for emperor and empire. It was, as the result teaches, but the necessary transition step to a new order of things. It opened the door to the elevation of Christianity, and specifically of Catholic hierarchical Christianity, with its exclusiveness towards heretical and schismatic sects, to be the religion of the state. For, once put on equal footing with heathenism, it must soon, in spite of numerical minority, bear away the victory from a religion which had already inwardly outlived itself.

From this time Constantine decidedly favored the church, though without persecuting or forbidding the pagan religions. He always mentions the Christian church with reverence in his imperial edicts, and uniformly applies to it, as we have already observed, the predicate of catholic. For only as a catholic, thoroughly organized, firmly compacted, and conservative institution did it meet his rigid monarchical interest, and afford the splendid state and court dress he wished for his empire. So early as the year 313 we find the bishop Hosius of Cordova among his counsellors, and heathen writers ascribe to the bishop even a magical influence over the emperor. Lactantius, also, and Eusebius of Caesarea belonged to his confidential circle. He exempted the Christian clergy from military and municipal duty (March, 313); abolished various customs and ordinances offensive to the Christians (315); facilitated the emancipation of Christian slaves (before 316); legalized bequests to catholic churches (321); enjoined the civil observance of Sunday, though not as dies Domini, but as dies Solis, in conformity to his worship of Apollo, and in company with an ordinance for the regular consulting of the haruspex (321); contributed liberally to the building of churches and the support of the clergy; erased the heathen symbols of Jupiter and Apollo, Mars and Hercules from the imperial coins (323); and gave his sons a Christian education.

This mighty example was followed, as might be expected, by a general transition of those subjects, who were more influenced in their conduct by outward circumstances, than by inward conviction and principle. The story, that in one year (324) twelve thousand men, with women and children in proportion, were baptized in Rome, and that the emperor had promised to each convert a white garment and twenty pieces of gold, is at least in accordance with the spirit of that reign, though the fact itself, in all probability, is greatly exaggerated.43

Constantine came out with still greater decision, when, by his victory over his Eastern colleague and brother-in-law, Licinius, he became sole head of the whole Roman empire. To strengthen his position, Licinius had gradually placed himself at the head of the heathen party, still very numerous, and had vexed the Christians first with wanton ridicule44 then with exclusion from civil and military office, with banishment, and in some instances perhaps even with bloody persecution. This gave the political strife for the monarchy between himself and Constantine the character also of a war of religions; and the defeat of Licinius in the battle of Adrianople in July, 324, and at Chalcedon in September, was a new triumph of the standard of the cross over the sacrifices of the gods; save that Constantine dishonored himself and his cause by the execution of Licinius and his son.

The emperor now issued a general exhortation to his subjects to embrace the Christian religion, still leaving them, however, to their own free conviction. In the year 325, as patron of the church, he summoned the council of Nice, and himself attended it; banished the Arians, though he afterwards recalled them; and, in his monarchical spirit of uniformity, showed great zeal for the settlement of all theological disputes, while he was blind to their deep significance. He first introduced the practice of subscription to the articles of a written creed and of the infliction of civil punishments for non-conformity. In the years 325–329, in connection with his mother, Helena, he erected magnificent churches on the sacred spots in Jerusalem.

As heathenism had still the preponderance in Rome, where it was hallowed by its great traditions, Constantine, by divine command as he supposed,45 in the year 330, transferred the seat of his government to Byzantium, and thus fixed the policy, already initiated by Domitian, of orientalizing and dividing the empire. In the selection of the unrivalled locality he showed more taste and genius than the founders of Madrid, Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg, or Washington. With incredible rapidity, and by all the means within reach of an absolute monarch, he turned this nobly situated town, connecting two seas and two continents, into a splendid residence and a new Christian Rome, "for which now," as Gregory of Nazianzen expresses it, "sea and land emulate each other, to load it with their treasures, and crown it queen of cities."46 Here, instead of idol temples and altars, churches and crucifixes rose; though among them the statues of patron deities from all over Greece, mutilated by all sorts of tasteless adaptations, were also gathered in the new metropolis.47 The main hall in the palace was adorned with representations of the crucifixion and other biblical scenes. The gladiatorial shows, so popular in Rome, were forbidden here, though theatres, amphitheatres, and hippodromes kept their place. It could nowhere be mistaken, that the new imperial residence was as to all outward appearance a Christian city. The smoke of heathen sacrifices never rose from the seven hills of New Rome except during the short reign of Julian the Apostate. It became the residence of a bishop who not only claimed the authority of the apostolic see of neighboring Ephesus, but soon outshone the patriarchate of Alexandria and rivalled for centuries the papal power in ancient Rome.

The emperor diligently attended divine worship, and is portrayed upon medals in the posture of prayer. He kept the Easter vigils with great devotion. He would stand during the longest sermons of his bishops, who always surrounded him, and unfortunately flattered him only too much. And he even himself composed and delivered discourses to his court, in the Latin language, from which they were translated into Greek by interpreters appointed for the purpose.48 General invitations were issued, and the citizens flocked in great crowds to the palace to hear the imperial preacher, who would in vain try to prevent their loud applause by pointing to heaven as the source of his wisdom. He dwelt mainly on the truth of Christianity, the folly of idolatry, the unity and providence of God, the coming of Christ, and the judgment. At times he would severely rebuke the avarice and rapacity of his courtiers, who would loudly applaud him with their mouths, and belie his exhortation by their works.49 One of these productions is still extant,50 in which he recommends Christianity in a characteristic strain, and in proof of its divine origin cites especially the fulfilment of prophecy, including the Sibylline books and the Fourth Eclogue of Virgil, with the contrast between his own happy and brilliant reign and the tragical fate of his persecuting predecessors and colleagues.

Nevertheless he continued in his later years true upon the whole to the toleration principles of the edict of 313, protected the pagan priests and temples in their privileges, and wisely abstained from all violent measures against heathenism, in the persuasion that it would in time die out. He retained many heathens at court and in public office, although he loved to promote Christians to honorable positions. In several cases, however, he prohibited idolatry, where it sanctioned scandalous immorality, as in the obscene worship of Venus in Phenicia; or in places which were specially sacred to the Christians, as the sepulchre of Christ and the grove of Mamre; and he caused a number of deserted temples and images to be destroyed or turned into Christian churches. Eusebius relates several such instances with evident approbation, and praises also his later edicts against various heretics and schismatics, but without mentioning the Arians. In his later years he seems, indeed, to have issued a general prohibition of idolatrous sacrifice; Eusebius speaks of it, and his sons in 341 refer to an edict to that effect; but the repetition of it by his successors proves, that, if issued, it was not carried into general execution under his reign.

With this shrewd, cautious, and moderate policy of Constantine, which contrasts well with the violent fanaticism of his sons, accords the postponement of his own baptism to his last sickness.51 For this he had the further motives of a superstitious desire, which he himself expresses, to be baptized in the Jordan, whose waters had been sanctified by the Saviour's baptism, and no doubt also a fear, that he might by relapse forfeit the sacramental remission of sins. He wished to secure all the benefit of baptism as a complete expiation of past sins, with as little risk as possible, and thus to make the best of both worlds. Deathbed baptisms then were to half Christians of that age what deathbed conversions and deathbed communions are now. Yet he presumed to preach the gospel, he called himself the bishop of bishops, he convened the first general council, and made Christianity the religion of the empire, long before his baptism! Strange as this inconsistency appears to us, what shall we think of the court bishops who, from false prudence, relaxed in his favor the otherwise strict discipline of the church, and admitted him, at least tacitly, to the enjoyment of nearly all the privileges of believers, before he had taken upon himself even a single obligation of a catechumen!

When, after a life of almost uninterrupted health, he felt the approach of death, he was received into the number of catechumens by laying on of hands, and then formally admitted by baptism into the full communion of the church in the year 337, the sixty-fifth year of his age, by the Arian (or properly Semi-Arian) bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, whom he had shortly before recalled from exile together with Arius.52 His dying testimony then was, as to form, in favor of heretical rather than orthodox Christianity, but merely from accident, not from intention. He meant the Christian as against the heathen religion, and whatever of Arianism may have polluted his baptism, was for the Greek church fully wiped out by the orthodox canonization. After the solemn ceremony he promised to live thenceforth worthily of a disciple of Jesus; refused to wear again the imperial mantle of cunningly woven silk richly ornamented with gold; retained the white baptismal robe; and died a few days after, on Pentecost, May 22, 337, trusting in the mercy of God, and leaving a long, a fortunate, and a brilliant reign, such as none but Augustus, of all his predecessors, had enjoyed. "So passed away the first Christian Emperor, the first Defender of the Faith, the first Imperial patron of the Papal see, and of the whole Eastern Church, the first founder of the Holy Places, Pagan and Christian, orthodox and heretical, liberal and fanatical, not to be imitated or admired, but much to be remembered, and deeply to be studied."53

His remains were removed in a golden coffin by a procession of distinguished civilians and the whole army, from Nicomedia to Constantinople, and deposited, with the highest Christian honors, in the church of the Apostles,54 while the Roman senate, after its ancient custom, proudly ignoring the great religious revolution of the age, enrolled him among the gods of the heathen Olympus. Soon after his death, Eusebius set him above the greatest princes of all times; from the fifth century he began to be recognized in the East as a saint; and the Greek and Russian church to this day celebrates his memory under the extravagant title of "Isapostolos," the "Equal of the apostles."55 The Latin church, on the contrary, with truer tact, has never placed him among the saints, but has been content with naming him "the Great," in just and grateful remembrance of his services to the cause of Christianity and civilization.

§ 3. The Sons of Constantine. a.d. 337–361.

For the literature see § 2 and § 4.

With the death of Constantine the monarchy also came, for the present, to an end. The empire was divided among his three sons, Constantine II., Constans, and Constantius. Their accession was not in Christian style, but after the manner of genuine Turkish, oriental despotism; it trod upon the corpses of the numerous kindred of their father, excepting two nephews, Gallus and Julian, who were saved only by sickness and youth from the fury of the soldiers. Three years later followed a war of the brothers for the sole supremacy. Constantine II. was slain by Constans (340), who was in turn murdered by a barbarian field officer and rival, Magnentius (350). After the defeat and the suicide of Magnentius, Constantius, who had hitherto reigned in the East, became sole emperor, and maintained himself through many storms until his natural death (353–361).

The sons of Constantine did their Christian education little honor, and departed from their father's wise policy of toleration. Constantius, a temperate and chaste, but jealous, vain, and weak prince, entirely under the control of eunuchs, women, and bishops, entered upon a violent suppression of the heathen religion, pillaged and destroyed many temples, gave the booty to the church, or to his eunuch, flatterers, and worthless favorites, and prohibited, under penalty of death, all sacrifices and worship of images in Rome, Alexandria, and Athens, though the prohibition could not be carried out. Hosts now came over to Christianity, though, of course, for the most part with the lips only, not with the heart. But this emperor proceeded with the same intolerance against the adherents of the Nicene orthodoxy, and punished them with confiscation and banishment. His brothers supported Athanasius, but he himself was a fanatical Arian. In fact, he meddled in all the affairs of the church, which was convulsed during his reign with doctrinal controversy. He summoned a multitude of councils, in Gaul, in Italy, in Illyricum, and in Asia; aspired to the renown of a theologian; and was fond of being called bishop of bishops, though, like his father, he postponed baptism till shortly before his death.

There were there, it is true, who justified this violent suppression of idolatry, by reference to the extermination of the Canaanites under Joshua.56 But intelligent church teachers, like Athanasius, Hosius, and Hilary, gave their voice for toleration, though even they mean particularly toleration for orthodoxy, for the sake of which they themselves had been deposed and banished by the Arian power. Athanasius says, for example: "Satan, because there is no truth in him, breaks in with axe and sword. But the Saviour is gentle, and forces no one, to whom he comes, but knocks and speaks to the soul: Open to me, my sister?57 If we open to him, he enters; but if we will not, he departs. For the truth is not preached by sword and dungeon, by the might of an army, but by persuasion and exhortation. How can there be persuasion where fear of the emperor is uppermost? How exhortation, where the contradicter has to expect banishment and death?" With equal truth Hilary confronts the emperor with the wrong of his course, in the words: "With the gold of the state thou burdenest the sanctuary of God, and what is torn from the temples, or gained by confiscation, or extorted by punishment, thou obtrudest upon God."

By the laws of history the forced Christianity of Constantius must provoke a reaction of heathenism. And such reaction in fact ensued, though only for a brief period immediately after this emperor's death.

§ 4. Julian the Apostate, and the Reaction of Paganism. a.d. 361–363.


These agree in all the principal facts, even to unimportant details, but differ entirely in spirit and in judgment; Julian himself exhibiting the vanity of self-praise, Libanius and Zosimus the extreme of passionate admiration, Gregory and Cyril the opposite extreme of hatred and abhorrence, Ammianus Marcellinus a mixture of praise and censure.

1. Heathen sources: Juliani imperatoris Opera, quae supersunt omnia, ed. by Petavius, Par. 1583; and more completely by Ezech. Spanhemius, Lips. 1696, 2 vols. fol. in one (Spanheim gives the Greek original with a good Latin version, and the Ten Books of Cyril of Alex. against Julian). We have from Julian: Misopogon (Misopwvgon, the Beard-hater, a defence of himself against the accusations of the Antiochians); Caesares (two satires on his predecessors); eight Orationes; sixty-five Epistolae (the latter separately and most completely edited, with shorter fragments, by Heyler, Mog. 1828); and Fragments of his three or seven Books kata; Cristianw'n in the Reply of Cyril. Libanius: jEpitavfio" ejp j jIoulianw'/ , in Lib. Opp. ed. Reiske, Altenb. 1791–97. 4 vols. Mamertinus: Gratiarum actio Juliano. The relevant passages in the heathen historians Ammianus Marcellinus (I.c. lib. xxi-xxv. 3), Zosimus and Eunapius.

2. Christian Sources (all in Greek): the early church historians, Socrates (l. iii.), Sozomen (I. v. and vi.), Theodoret (I. iii.). Gregory Naz.: Orationes invectivae in Jul. duae, written some six months after the death of Julian (Opp. tom. i.). Cyril of Alex.: Contra impium Jul. libri x. (in the Opp. Cyr., ed. J. Aubert, Par. 1638, tom. vi., and in Spanheim's ed. of the works of Julian).


Tillemont: Memoires, etc., vol. vii. p. 322–423 (Venice ed.), and Histoire des empereurs Rom. Par. 1690 sqq., vol. iv. 483–576. Abbé De la Bleterie: Vie de l'empereur Julien. Amst. 1735. 2 vols. The same in English, Lond. 1746. W. Warburton: Julian. Lond. 3d ed. 1763. Nath. Lardner: Works, ed. Dr. Kippis, vol. vii. p. 581 sqq. Gibbon: l.c. ch. xxii.–xxiv., particularly xxiii. Neander: Julian u. sein Zeitalter. Leipz. 1812 (his first historical production), and Allg. K. G., iii. (2d ed. 1846), p. 76–148. English ed. Torrey, ii. 37–67. Jondot (R.C.): Histoire de l'empereur Julien. 1817, 2 vols. C. H. Van Herwerden: De Juliano imper. religionis Christ. hoste, eodemque vindice. Lugd. Bat. 1827. G. F. Wiggers: Jul. der Abtrünnige. Leipz. 1837 (in Illgen's Zeitschr. f. Hist. Theol.). H. Schulze: De philos. et moribus Jul. Strals. 1839. D. Fr. Strauss (author of the mythological "Leben Jesu"): Der Romantiker auf dem Thron der Caesaren, oder Julian der Abtr. Manh. 1847 (containing a clear survey of the various opinions concerning Julian from Libanius and Gregory to Gibbon, Schlosser, Neander, and Ullmann, but hiding a political aim against King Frederick William IV. of Prussia). J. E. Auer (R.C.): Kaiser Jul. der Abtr. im Kampf mit den Kirchenvaetern seiner Zeit. Wien, 1855. W. Mangold: Jul. der Abtr. Stuttg. 1862. C. Semisch: Jul. der Abtr. Bresl. 1862. F. Lübker: Julians Kampf u. Ende. Hamb. 1864.

Notwithstanding this great conversion of the government and of public sentiment, the pagan religion still had many adherents, and retained an important influence through habit and superstition over the rude peasantry, and through literature and learned schools of philosophy and rhetoric at Alexandria, Athens, &c., over the educated classes. And now, under the lead of one of the most talented, energetic, and notable Roman emperors, it once more made a systematic and vigorous effort to recover its ascendency in the Roman empire. But in the entire failure of this effort heathenism itself gave the strongest proof that it had outlived itself forever. It now became evident during the brief, but interesting and instructive episode of Julian's reign, that the policy of Constantine was entirely judicious and consistent with the course of history itself, and that Christianity really carried all the moral vigor of the present and all the hopes of the future. At the same time this temporary persecution was a just punishment and wholesome discipline for a secularized church and clergy.58

Julian, surnamed the Apostate (Apostata), a nephew of Constantine the Great and cousin of Constantius, was born in the year 331, and was therefore only six years old when his uncle died. The general slaughter of his kindred, not excepting his father, at the change of the throne, could beget neither love for Constantius nor respect for his court Christianity. He afterwards ascribed his escape to the special favor of the old gods. He was systematically spoiled by false education and made the enemy of that very religion which pedantic teachers attempted to force upon his free and independent mind, and which they so poorly recommended by their lives. We have a striking parallel in more recent history in the case of Frederick the Great of Prussia. Julian was jealously watched by the emperor, and kept in rural retirement almost like a prisoner. With his step-brother Gallus, he received a nominally Christian training under the direction of the Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia and several eunuchs; he was baptized; even educated for the clerical order, and ordained a Lector.59 He prayed, fasted, celebrated the memory of the martyrs, paid the usual reverence to the bishops, besought the blessing of hermits, and read the Scriptures in the church of Nicomedia. Even his plays must wear the hue of devotion. But this despotic and mechanical force-work of a repulsively austere and fiercely polemic type of Christianity roused the intelligent, wakeful, and vigorous spirit of Julian to rebellion, and drove him over towards the heathen side. The Arian pseudo-Christianity of Constantius produced the heathen anti-Christianity of Julian; and the latter was a well-deserved punishment of the former. With enthusiasm and with untiring diligence the young prince studied Homer, Plato, Aristotle, and the Neo-Platonists. The partial prohibition of such reading gave it double zest. He secretly obtained the lectures of the celebrated rhetorician Libanius, afterwards his eulogist, whose productions, however, represent the degeneracy of the heathen literature in that day, covering emptiness with a pompous and tawdry style, attractive only to a vitiated taste. He became acquainted by degrees with the most eminent representatives of heathenism, particularly the Neo-Platonic philosophers, rhetoricians, and priests, like Libanius, Aedesius, Maximus, and Chrysanthius. These confirmed him in his superstitions by sophistries and sorceries of every kind. He gradually became the secret head of the heathen party. Through the favor and mediation of the empress Eusebia he visited for some months the schools of Athens (a.d. 355), where he was initiated in the Eleusinian mysteries, and thus completed his transition to the Grecian idolatry.

This heathenism, however, was not a simple, spontaneous growth; it was all an artificial and morbid production. It was the heathenism of the Neo-Platonic, pantheistic eclecticism, a strange mixture of philosophy, poesy, and superstition, and, in Julian at least, in great part an imitation or caricature of Christianity. It sought to spiritualize and revive the old mythology by uniting with it oriental theosophemes and a few Christian ideas; taught a higher, abstract unity above the multiplicity of the national gods, genii, heroes, and natural powers; believed in immediate communications and revelations of the gods through dreams, visions, oracles, entrails of sacrifices, prodigies; and stood in league with all kinds of magical and theurgic arts.60 Julian himself, with all his philosophical intelligence, credited the most insipid legends of the gods, or gave them a deeper, mystic meaning by the most arbitrary allegorical interpretation. He was in intimate personal intercourse with Jupiter, Minerva, Apollo, Hercules, who paid their nocturnal visits to his heated fancy, and assured him of their special protection. And he practised the art of divination as a master.61 Among the various divinities he worshipped with peculiar devotion the great king Helios, or the god of the sun, whose servant he called himself, and whose ethereal light attracted him even in tender childhood with magic force. He regarded him as the centre of the universe, from which light, life, and salvation proceed upon all creatures.62 In this view of a supreme divinity he made an approach to the Christian monotheism, but substituted an airy myth and pantheistic fancy for the only true and living God and the personal historical Christ.

His moral character corresponds with the preposterous nature of this system. With all his brilliant talents and stoical virtues, he wanted the genuine simplicity and naturalness, which are the foundation of all true greatness of mind and character. As his worship of Helios was a shadowy reflection of the Christian monotheism, and so far an involuntary tribute to the religion he opposed, so in his artificial and ostentatious asceticism we can only see a caricature of the ecclesiastical monasticism of the age which he so deeply despised for its humility and spirituality. He was full of affectation, vanity, sophistry, loquacity, and a master in the art of dissimulation. Everything he said or wrote was studied and calculated for effect. Instead of discerning the spirit of the age and putting himself at the head of the current of true progress, he identified himself with a party of no vigor nor promise, and thus fell into a false and untenable position, at variance with the mission of a ruler. Great minds, indeed, are always more or less at war with their age, as we may see in the reformers, in the apostles, nay, in Christ himself. But their antagonism proceeds from a clear knowledge of the real wants and a sincere devotion to the best interests of the age; it is all progressive and reformatory, and at last carries the deeper spirit of the age with itself, and raises it to a higher level. The antagonism of Julian, starting with a radical misconception of the tendency of history and animated by selfish ambition, was one of retrogression and reaction, and in addition, was devoted to a bad cause. He had all the faults, and therefore deserved the tragic fate, of a fanatical reactionist.

His apostasy from Christianity, to which he was probably never at heart committed, Julian himself dates as early as his twentieth year, a.d. 351. But while Constantius lived, he concealed his pagan sympathies with consummate hypocrisy, publicly observed Christian ceremonies, while secretly sacrificing to Jupiter and Helios, kept the feast of Epiphany in the church at Vienne so late as January, 361, and praised the emperor in the most extravagant style, though he thoroughly hated him, and after his death all the more bitterly mocked him.63 For ten years he kept the mask. After December, 355, the student of books astonished the world with brilliant military and executive powers as Caesar in Gaul, which was at that time heavily threatened by the German barbarians; he won the enthusiastic love of the soldiers, and received from them the dignity of Augustus. Then he raised the standard of rebellion against his suspicious and envious imperial cousin and brother-in-law, and in 361 openly declared himself a friend of the gods. By the sudden death of Constantius in the same year he became sole head of the Roman empire, and in December, as the only remaining heir of the house of Constantine,64 made his entry into Constantinople amidst universal applause and rejoicing over escape from civil war.

He immediately gave himself, with the utmost zeal, to the duties of his high station, unweariedly active as prince, general, judge, orator, high-priest, correspondent, and author. He sought to unite the fame of an Alexander, a Marcus Aurelius, a Plato, and a Diogenes in himself. His only recreation was a change of labor. He would use at once his hand in writing, his ear in hearing, and his voice in speaking. He considered his whole time due to his empire and the culture of his own mind. The eighteen short months of his reign Dec. 361-June 363) comprehend the plans of a life-long administration and most of his literary works. He practised the strictest economy in the public affairs, banished all useless luxury from his court, and dismissed with one decree whole hosts of barbers, cup-bearers, cooks, masters of ceremonies, and other superfluous officers, with whom the palace swarmed, but surrounded himself instead with equally useless pagan mystics, sophists, jugglers, theurgists, soothsayers, babblers, and scoffers, who now streamed from all quarters to the court. In striking contrast with his predecessors, he maintained the simplicity of a philosopher and an ascetic in his manner of life, and gratified his pride and vanity with contempt of the pomp and pleasures of the imperial purple. He lived chiefly on vegetable diet, abstaining now from this food, now from that, according to the taste of the god or goddess to whom the day was consecrated. He wore common clothing, usually slept on the floor, let his beard and nails grow, and, like the strict anachorets of Egypt, neglected the laws of decency and cleanliness.65 This cynic eccentricity and vain ostentation certainly spoiled his reputation for simplicity and self-denial, and made him ridiculous. It evinced, also, not so much the boldness and wisdom of a reformer, as the pedantry and folly of a reactionist. In military and executive talent and personal bravery he was not inferior to Constantine; while in mind and literary culture he far excelled him, as well as in energy and moral self-control; and, doubtless to his own credit, he closed his public career at the age at which his uncle's began; but he entirely lacked the clear, sound common sense of his great predecessor, and that practical statesmanship, which discerns the wants of the age, and acts according to them. He had more uncommon sense than common sense, and the latter is often even more important than the former, and indispensable to a good practical statesman. But his greatest fault as a ruler was his utterly false position towards the paramount question of his time: that of religion. This was the cause of that complete failure which made his reign as trackless as a meteor.

The ruling passion of Julian, and the soul of his short but most active, remarkable, and in its negative results instructive reign, was fanatical love of the pagan religion and bitter hatred of the Christian, at a time when the former had already forever given up to the latter the reins of government in the world. He considered it the great mission of his life to restore the worship of the gods, and to reduce the religion of Jesus first to a contemptible sect, and at last, if possible, to utter extinction from the earth. To this he believed himself called by the gods themselves, and in this faith he was confirmed by theurgic arts, visions, and dreams. To this end all the means, which talent, zeal, and power could command, were applied; and the failure must be attributed solely to the intrinsic folly and impracticability of the end itself.

I. To look, first, at the positive side of his plan, the restoration and reformation of heathenism:

He reinstated, in its ancient splendor, the worship of the gods at the public expense; called forth hosts of priests from concealment; conferred upon them all their former privileges, and showed them every honor; enjoined upon the soldiers and civil officers attendance at the forsaken temples and altars; forgot no god or goddess, though himself specially devoted to the worship of Apollo, or the sun; and notwithstanding his parsimony in other respects, caused the rarest birds and whole herds of bulls and lambs to be sacrificed, until the continuance of the species became a subject of concern.66 He removed the cross and the monogram of Christ from the coins and standards, and replaced the former pagan symbols. He surrounded the statues and portraits of the emperors with the signs of idolatry, that every one might be compelled to bow before the gods, who would pay the emperors due respect. He advocated images of the gods on the same grounds on which afterwards the Christian iconolaters defended the images of the saints. If you love the emperor, if you love your father, says he, you like to see his portrait; so the friend of the gods loves to look upon their images, by which he is pervaded with reverence for the invisible gods, who are looking down upon him.

Julian led the way himself with a complete example. He discovered on every occasion the utmost zeal for the heathen religion, and performed, with the most scrupulous devotion, the offices of a pontifex maximus, which had been altogether neglected, although not formally abolished, under his two predecessors. Every morning and evening he sacrificed to the rising and setting sun, or the supreme light-god; every night, to the moon and the stars; every day, to some other divinity. Says Libanius, his heathen admirer: "He received the rising sun with blood, and attended him again with blood at his setting." As he could not go abroad so often as he would, he turned his palace into a temple and erected altars in his garden, which was kept purer than most chapels. "Wherever there was a temple," says the same writer, "whether in the city or on the hill or the mountain top, no matter how rough, or difficult of access, he ran to it." He prostrated himself devoutly before the altars and the images, not allowing the most violent storm to prevent him. Several times in a day, surrounded by priests and dancing women, he sacrificed a hundred bulls, himself furnishing the wood and kindling the flames. He used the knife himself, and as haruspex searched with his own hand the secrets of the future in the reeking entrails.

But his zeal found no echo, and only made him ridiculous in the eyes of cultivated heathens themselves. He complains repeatedly of the indifference of his party, and accuses one of his priests of a secret league with Christian bishops. The spectators at his sacrifices came not from devotion, but from curiosity, and grieved the devout emperor by their rounds of applause, as if he were simply a theatrical actor of religion. Often there were no spectators at all. When he endeavored to restore the oracle of Apollo Daphneus in the famous cypress grove at Antioch, and arranged for a magnificent procession, with libation, dances, and incense, he found in the temple one solitary old priest, and this priest ominously offered in sacrifice—a goose.67

At the same time, however, Julian sought to renovate and transform heathenism by incorporating with it the morals of Christianity; vainly thinking thus to bring it back to its original purity. In this he himself unwittingly and unwillingly bore witness to the poverty of the heathen religion, and paid the highest tribute to the Christian; and the Christians for this reason not inaptly called him an "ape of Christianity."

In the first place, he proposed to improve the irreclaimable priesthood after the model of the Christian clergy. The priests, as true mediators between the gods and men, should be constantly in the temples, should occupy themselves with holy things, should study no immoral or skeptical books of the school of Epicurus and Pyrrho, but the works of Homer, Pythagoras, Plato, Chrysippus, and Zeno; they should visit no taverns nor theatres, should pursue no dishonorable trade, should give alms, practise hospitality, live in strict chastity and temperance, wear simple clothing, but in their official functions always appear in the costliest garments and most imposing dignity. He borrowed almost every feature of the then prevalent idea of the Christian priesthood, and applied it to the polytheistic religion.68 Then, he borrowed from the constitution and worship of the church a hierarchical system of orders, and a sort of penitential discipline, with excommunication, absolution, and restoration, besides a fixed ritual embracing didactic and musical elements. Mitred priests in purple were to edify the people regularly with sermons; that is, with allegorical expositions and practical applications of tasteless and immoral mythological stories! Every temple was to have a well arranged choir, and the congregation its responses. And finally, Julian established in different provinces monasteries, nunneries, and hospitals for the sick, for orphans, and for foreigners without distinction of religion, appropriated to them considerable sums from the public treasury, and at the same time, though fruitlessly, invited voluntary contributions. He made the noteworthy concession, that the heathens did not help even their own brethren in faith; while the Jews never begged, and "the godless Galileans," as he malignantly styled the Christians, supplied not only their own, but even the heathen poor, and thus aided the worst of causes by a good practice.

But of course all these attempts to regenerate heathenism by foreign elements were utterly futile. They were like galvanizing a decaying corpse, or grafting fresh scions on a dead trunk, sowing good seed on a rock, or pouring new wine into old bottles, bursting the bottles and wasting the wine.

II. The negative side of Julian's plan was the suppression and final extinction of Christianity.

In this he proceeded with extraordinary sagacity. He abstained from bloody persecution, because he would not forego the credit of philosophical toleration, nor give the church the glory of a new martyrdom. A history of three centuries also had proved that violent measures were fruitless. According to Libanius it was a principle with him, that fire and sword cannot change a man's faith, and that persecution only begets hypocrites and martyrs. Finally, he doubtless perceived that the Christians were too numerous to be assailed by a general persecution without danger of a bloody civil war. Hence he oppressed the church "gently,"69 under show of equity and universal toleration. He persecuted not so much the Christians as Christianity, by endeavoring to draw off its confessors. He thought to gain the result of persecution without incurring the personal reproach and the public danger of persecution itself. His disappointments, however, increased his bitterness, and had he returned victorious from the Persian war, he would probably have resorted to open violence. In fact, Gregory Nazianzen and Sozomen, and some heathen writers also, tell of local persecutions in the provinces, particularly at Anthusa and Alexandria, with which the emperor is, at least indirectly, to be charged. His officials acted in those cases, not under public orders indeed, but according to the secret wish of Julian, who ignored their illegal proceedings as long as he could, and then discovered his real views by lenient censure and substantial acquittal of the offending magistrates.

He first, therefore, employed against the Christians of all parties and sects the policy of toleration, in hope of their destroying each other by internal controversies. He permitted the orthodox bishops and all other clergy, who had been banished under Constantius, to return to their dioceses, and left Arians, Apollinarians, Novatians, Macedonians, Donatists, and so on, to themselves. He affected compassion for the "poor, blind, deluded Galileans, who forsook the most glorious privilege of man, the worship of the immortal gods, and instead of them worshipped dead men and dead men's bones." He once even suffered himself to be insulted by a blind bishop, Maris of Chalcedon, who, when reminded by him, that the Galilean God could not restore his eyesight, answered: "I thank my God for my blindness, which spares me the painful sight of such an impious Apostate as thou." He afterwards, however, caused the bishop to be severely punished.70 So in Antioch, also, he bore with philosophic equanimity the ridicule of the Christian populace, but avenged himself on the inhabitants of the city by unsparing satire in the Misopogon. His whole bearing towards the Christians was instinct with bitter hatred and accompanied with sarcastic mockery.71 This betrays itself even in the contemptuous term, Galileans, which he constantly applies to them after the fashion of the Jews, and which he probably also commanded to be given them by others.72 He considered them a sect of fanatics contemptible to men and hateful to the gods, and as atheists in open war with all that was sacred and divine in the world.73 He sometimes had representatives of different parties dispute in his presence, and then exclaimed: "No wild beasts are so fierce and irreconcilable as the Galilean sectarians." When he found that toleration was rather profitable than hurtful to the church, and tended to soften the vehemence of doctrinal controversies, he proceeded, for example, to banish Athanasius, who was particularly offensive to him, from Alexandria, and even from Egypt, calling this greatest man of his age an insignificant manikin,74 and reviling him with vulgar language, because through his influence many prominent heathens, especially heathen women, passed over to Christianity. His toleration, therefore, was neither that of genuine humanity, nor that of religious indifferentism, but a hypocritical mask for a fanatical love of heathenism and a bitter hatred of Christianity.

This appears in his open partiality and injustice against the Christians. His liberal patronage of heathenism was in itself an injury to Christianity. Nothing gave him greater joy than an apostasy, and he held out the temptation of splendid reward; thus himself employing the impure means of proselyting, for which he reproached the Christians. Once he even advocated conversion by violent measures. While he called heathens to all the higher offices, and, in case of their palpable disobedience, inflicted very mild punishment, if any at all, the Christians came to be everywhere disregarded, and their complaints dismissed from the tribunal with a mocking reference to their Master's precept, to give their enemy their cloak also with their coat, and turn the other cheek to his blows.75 They were removed from military and civil office, deprived of all their former privileges, oppressed with taxes, and compelled to restore without indemnity the temple property, with all their own improvements on it, and to contribute to the support of the public idolatry. Upon occasion of a controversy between the Arians and the orthodox at Edessa, Julian confiscated the church property and distributed it among his soldiers, under the sarcastic pretence of facilitating the Christians' entrance into the kingdom of heaven, from which, according to the doctrine of their religion (comp. Matt. xix. 23, 24), riches might exclude them.

Equally unjust and tyrannical was the law, which placed all the state schools under the direction of heathens, and prohibited the Christians teaching the sciences and the arts.76 Julian would thus deny Christian youth the advantages of education, and compel them either to sink in ignorance and barbarism, or to imbibe with the study of the classics in the heathen schools the principles of idolatry. In his view the Hellenic writings, especially the works of the poets, were not only literary, but also religious documents to which the heathens had an exclusive claim, and he regarded Christianity irreconcilable with genuine human culture. The Galileans, says he in ridicule, should content themselves with expounding Matthew and Luke in their churches, instead of profaning the glorious Greek authors. For it is preposterous and ungrateful, that they should study the writings of the classics, and yet despise the gods, whom the authors revered; since the gods were in fact the authors and guides of the minds of a Homer, a Hesiod, a Demosthenes, a Thucydides, an Isocrates, and a Lysias, and these writers consecrated their works to Mercury or the muses.77 Hence he hated especially the learned church teachers, Basil, Gregory of Nazianzen, Apollinaris of Laodicea, who applied the classical culture to the refutation of heathenism and the defence of Christianity. To evade his interdict, the two Apollinaris produced with all haste Christian imitations of Homer, Pindar, Euripides, and Menander, which were considered by Sozomen equal to the originals, but soon passed into oblivion. Gregory also wrote the tragedy of "The Suffering Christ," and several hymns, which still exist. Thus these fathers bore witness to the indispensableness of classical literature for a higher Christian education, and the church has ever since maintained the same view.78

Julian further sought to promote his cause by literary assaults upon the Christian religion; himself writing, shortly before his death, and in the midst of his preparations for the Persian campaign, a bitter work against it, of which we shall speak more fully in a subsequent section.79

3. To the same hostile design against Christianity is to be referred the favor of Julian to its old hereditary enemy, Judaism.

The emperor, in an official document affected reverence for that ancient popular religion, and sympathy with its adherents, praised their firmness under misfortune, and condemned their oppressors. He exempted the Jews from burdensome taxation, and encouraged them even to return to the holy land and to rebuild the temple on Moriah in its original splendor. He appropriated considerable sums to this object from the public treasury, intrusted his accomplished minister Alypius with the supervision of the building, and promised, if he should return victorious from the Persian war, to honor with his own presence the solemnities of reconsecration and the restoration of the Mosaic sacrificial worship.80

His real purpose in this undertaking was certainly not to advance the Jewish religion; for in his work against the Christians he speaks with great contempt of the Old Testament, and ranks Moses and Solomon far below the pagan lawgivers and philosophers. His object in the rebuilding of the temple was rather, in the first place, to enhance the splendor of his reign, and thus gratify his personal vanity; and then most probably to put to shame the prophecy of Jesus respecting the destruction of the temple (which, however, was actually fulfilled three hundred years before once for all), to deprive the Christians of their most popular argument against the Jews, and to break the power of the new religion in Jerusalem.81

The Jews now poured from east and west into the holy city of their fathers, which from the time of Hadrian they had been forbidden to visit, and entered with fanatical zeal upon the great national religious work, in hope of the speedy irruption of the Messianic reign and the fulfilment of all the prophecies. Women, we are told, brought their costly ornaments, turned them into silver shovels and spades, and carried even the earth and stones of the holy spot in their silken aprons. But the united power of heathen emperor and Jewish nation was insufficient to restore a work which had been overthrown by the judgment of God. Repeated attempts at the building were utterly frustrated, as even a contemporary heathen historian of conceded credibility relates, by fiery eruptions from on subterranean vaults;82 and, perhaps, as Christian writers add, by a violent whirlwind, lightning, earthquake, and miraculous signs, especially a luminous cross, in the heavens,83 so that the workmen either perished in the flames, or fled from the devoted spot in terror and despair. Thus, instead of depriving the Christians of a support of their faith, Julian only furnished them a new argument in the ruins of this fruitless labor.

The providential frustration of this project is a symbol of the whole reign of Julian, which soon afterward sank into an early grave. As Caesar he had conquered the barbarian enemies of the Roman empire in the West; and now he proposed, as ruler of the world, to humble its enemies in the East, and by the conquest of Persia to win the renown of a second Alexander. He proudly rejected all proposals of peace; crossed the Tigris at the head of an army of sixty-five thousand men, after wintering in Antioch, and after solemn consultation of the oracle; took several fortified towns in Mesopotamia; exposed himself to every hardship and peril of war; restored at the same time, wherever he could, the worship of the heathen gods; but brought the army into a most critical position, and, in an unimportant nocturnal skirmish, received from a hostile arrow a mortal wound. He died soon after, on the 27th of June, 363, in the thirty-second year of his life; according to heathen testimony, in the proud repose and dignity of a Stoic philosopher, conversing of the glory of the soul (the immortality of which, however, he considered at best an uncertain opinion);84 but according to later and somewhat doubtful Christian accounts, with the hopeless exclamation: "Galilean, thou hast conquered!"85 The parting address to his friends, which Ammianus puts into his mouth, is altogether characteristic. It reminds one of the last hours of Socrates, without the natural simplicity of the original, and with a strong admixture of self-complacence and theatrical affectation. His body was taken, at his own direction, to Tarsus, the birthplace of the apostle Paul, whom he hated more than any other apostle, and a monument was erected to him there, with a simple inscription, which calls him a good ruler and a brave warrior, but says nothing of his religion.

So died, in the prime of life, a prince, who darkened his brilliant military, executive, and literary talents, and a rare energy, by fanatical zeal for a false religion and opposition to the true; perverted them to a useless and wicked end; and earned, instead of immortal honor, the shame of an unsuccessful Apostate. Had he lived longer, he would probably have plunged the empire into the sad distraction of a religious civil war. The Christians were generally expecting a bloody persecution in case of his successful return from the Persian war. We need, therefore, the less wonder that they abhorred his memory. At Antioch they celebrated his death by festal dancings in the churches and theatres.86 Even the celebrated divine and orator, Gregory Nazianzen, compared him to Pharaoh, Ahab, and Nebuchadnezzar.87 It has been reserved for the more impartial historiography of modern times to do justice to his nobler qualities, and to endeavor to excuse, or at least to account for his utterly false position toward Christianity, by his perverted education, the despotism of his predecessor, and the imperfections of the church in his day.

With Julian himself fell also his artificial, galvanized heathenism, "like the baseless fabric of a vision, leaving no wreck behind," save the great doctrine, that it is impossible to swim against the stream of history or to stop the progress of Christianity. The heathen philosophers and soothsayers, who had basked in his favor, fell back into obscurity. In the dispersion of their dream they found no comfort from their superstition. Libanius charges the guilt upon his own gods, who suffered Constantius to reign twenty years, and Julian hardly twenty months. But the Christians could learn from it, what Gregory Nazianzen had said in the beginning of this reign, that the church had far more to fear from enemies within, than from without.

§ 5. From Jovian to Theodosius. a.d. 363–392.

I. The heathen sources here, besides Ammianus Marcellinus (who unfortunately breaks off at the death of Valens), Zosimus and Eunapius (who are very partial), are: Libanius: JUpe;r tw'n iJerw'n, or Oratio pro templis (first complete ed. by L. de Sinner, in Novus Patrum Grace. saec. iv. delectus, Par. 1842). Symmachus: Epist. x. 61 (ed. Pareus, Frcf. 1642). On the Christian side: Ambrose: Epist. xvii. and xviii. ad Valentinian. II. Prudentius: Adv. Symmachum. Augustin: De civitate Dei, l. v. c. 24–26 (on the emperors from Jovinian to Theodosius, especially the latter, whom he greatly glorifies). Socr.: l. iii. c. 22 sqq. Sozom.: l. vi. c. 3 sqq. Theodor.: l. iv. c. 1 sqq. Cod. Theodos.: l. ix.–xvi.

II. De la Bleterie: Histoire de l'empereur Jovien. Amsterd. 1740, 2 vols. Gibbon: chap. xxv–xxviii. Schröckh: vii. p. 213 sqq. Stuffken: De Theodosii M. in rem christianam meritis. Lugd. Batav. 1828

From this time heathenism approached, with slow but steady step, its inevitable dissolution, until it found an inglorious grave amid the storms of the great migration and the ruins of the empire of the Caesars, and in its death proclaimed the victory of Christianity. Emperors, bishops, and monks committed indeed manifold injustice in destroying temples and confiscating property; but that injustice was nothing compared with the bloody persecution of Christianity for three hundred years. The heathenism of ancient Greece and Rome died of internal decay, which no human power could prevent.

After Julian, the succession of Christian emperors continued unbroken. On the day of his death, which was also the extinction of the Constantinian family, the general Jovian, a Christian (363–364), was chosen emperor by the army. He concluded with the Persians a disadvantageous but necessary peace, replaced the cross in the labarum, and restored to the church her privileges, but, beyond this, declared universal toleration in the spirit of Constantine. Under the circumstances, this was plainly the wisest policy. Like Constantine, also, he abstained from all interference with the internal affairs of the church, though for himself holding the Nicene faith and warmly favorable to Athanasius. He died in the thirty-third year of his age, after a brief reign of eight months. Augustin says, God took him away sooner than Julian, that no emperor might become a Christian for the sake of Constantine's good fortune, but only for the sake of eternal life.

His successor, Valentinian I. (died 375), though generally inclined to despotic measures, declared likewise for the policy of religious freedom,88 and, though personally an adherent of the Nicene orthodoxy, kept aloof from the doctrinal controversies; while his brother and co-emperor, Valens, who reigned in the East till 378, favored the Arians and persecuted the Catholics. Both, however, prohibited bloody sacrifices89 and divination. Maximin, the representative of Valentinian at Rome, proceeded with savage cruelty against all who were found guilty of the crime of magic, especially the Roman aristocracy. Soothsayers were burnt alive, while their meaner accomplices were beaten to death by straps loaded with lead. In almost every case recorded the magical arts can be traced to pagan religious usages.

Under this reign heathenism was for the first time officially designated as paganismus, that is, peasant-religion; because it had almost entirely died out in the cities, and maintained only a decrepit and obscure existence in retired villages.90 What an inversion of the state of things in the second century, when Celsus contemptuously called Christianity a religion of mechanics and slaves! Of course large exceptions must in both cases be made. Especially in Rome, many of the oldest and most respectable families for a long time still adhered to the heathen traditions, and the city appears to have preserved until the latter part of the fourth century a hundred and fifty-two temples and a hundred and eighty-three smaller chapels and altars of patron deities.91 But advocates of the old religion—a Themistius, a Libanius, and a Symmachus—limited themselves to the claim of toleration, and thus, in their oppressed condition, became, as formerly the Christians were, and as the persecuted sects in the Catholic church and the Protestant state churches since have been, advocates of religious freedom.

The same toleration continued under Gratian, son and successor of Valentinian (375–383). After a time, however; under the influence of Ambrose, bishop of Milan, this emperor went a step further. He laid aside the title and dignity of Pontifex Maximus, confiscated the temple property, abolished most of the privileges of the priests and vestal virgins, and withdrew, at least in part, the appropriation from the public treasury for their support.92 By this step heathenism became, like Christianity before Constantine and now in the American republic, dependent on the voluntary system, while, unlike Christianity, it had no spirit of self-sacrifice, no energy of self-preservation. The withdrawal of the public support cut its lifestring, and left it still to exist for a time by vis inertiae alone. Gratian also, in spite of the protest of the heathen party, removed in 382 the statue and the altar of Victoria, the goddess of victory, in the senate building at Rome, where once the senators used to take their oath, scatter incense, and offer sacrifice; though he was obliged still to tolerate there the elsewhere forbidden sacrifices and the public support of some heathen festivities. Inspired by Ambrose with great zeal for the Catholic faith, he refused freedom to heretics, and prohibited the public assemblies of the Eunomians, Photinians, and Manichaeans.

His brother, Valentinian II. (383–392), rejected the renewed petition of the Romans for the restoration of the altar of Victoria (384). The eloquent and truly venerable prefect Symmachus, who, as princeps senatus and first Pontifex in Rome, was now the spokesman of the heathen party, prayed the emperor in a dignified and elegant address, but in the tone of apologetic diffidence, to make a distinction between his private religion and the religio urbis, to respect the authority of antiquity and the rights of the venerable city, which had attained the dominion of the world under the worship of the gods. But Ambrose of Milan represented to the emperor, in the firm tone of episcopal dignity and conscious success, that the granting of the petition would be a sanctioning of heathenism and a renunciation of his Christian convictions; denied, that the greatness of Rome was due to idolatry, to which indeed her subjugated enemies were likewise addicted; and contrasted the power of Christianity, which had greatly increased under persecution and had produced whole hosts of consecrated virgins and ascetics, with the weakness of heathenism, which, with all its privileges, could hardly maintain the number of its seven vestals, and could show no works of benevolence and mercy for the oppressed. The same petition was renewed in 389 to Theodosius, but again through the influence of Ambrose rejected. The last national sanctuary of the Romans had hopelessly fallen. The triumph, which the heathen party gained under the usurper Eugenius (392–394), lasted but a couple of years; and after his defeat by Theodosius, six hundred of the most distinguished patrician families, the Annii, Probi, Anicii, Olybii, Paulini, Bassi, Gracchi, &c., are said by Prudentius to have gone over at once to the Christian religion.

§ 6. Theodosius the Great and his Successors. a.d. 392–550.

J. R. Stuffken: Diss. de Theod. M. in rem. Christ. meritis. Leyden, 1828. M. Fléchier: Histoire de Theodose le Grand. Par. 1860.

The final suppression of heathenism is usually, though not quite justly, ascribed to the emperor Theodosius I., who, on this account, as well as for his victories over the Goths, his wise legislation, and other services to the empire, bears the distinction of the Great, and deserves, for his personal virtues, to be counted among the best emperors of Rome.93 A native of Spain, son of a very worthy general of the same name, he was called by Gratian to be co-emperor in the East in a time of great danger from the threatening barbarians (379), and after the death of Valentinian, he rose to the head of the empire (392–395). He labored for the unity, of the state and the supremacy of the Catholic religion. He was a decided adherent of the Nicene orthodoxy, procured it the victory at the second ecumenical council (381), gave it all the privileges of the state religion, and issued a series of rigid laws against all heretics and schismatics. In his treatment of heathenism, for a time he only enforced the existing prohibition of sacrifice for purposes of magic and divination (385), but gradually extended it to the whole sacrificial worship. In the year 391 he prohibited, under heavy fine, the visiting of a heathen temple for a religious purpose; in the following year, even the private performance of libations and other pagan rites. The practice of idolatry was therefore henceforth a political offence, as Constantius had already, though prematurely, declared it to be, and was subjected to the severest penalties.94

Yet Theodosius by no means pressed the execution of these laws in places where the heathen party retained considerable strength; he did not exclude heathens from public office, and allowed them at least full liberty of thought and speech. His countryman, the Christian poet Prudentius, states with approbation, that in the distribution of the secular offices, he looked not at religion, but at merit and talent, and raised the heathen Symmachus to the dignity of consul.95 The emperor likewise appointed the heathen rhetorician, Themistius, prefect of Constantinople, and even intrusted him with the education of his son Arcadius. He acknowledged personal friendship toward Libanius, who addressed to him his celebrated plea for the temples in 384 or 390; though it is doubtful whether he actually delivered it in the imperial presence. In short this emperor stood in such favor with the heathens, that after his death he was enrolled by the Senate, according to ancient custom, among the gods.96

Theodosius issued no law for the destruction of temples. He only continued Gratian's policy of confiscating the temple property and withdrawing entirely the public contribution to the support of idolatry. But in many places, especially in the East, the fanaticism of the monks and the Christian populace broke out in a rage for destruction, which Libanius bitterly laments. He calls these iconoclastic monks "men in black clothes, as voracious as elephants, and insatiably thirsty, but concealing their sensuality under an artificial paleness." The belief of the Christians, that the heathen gods were living beings, demons,97 and dwelt in the temples, was the leading influence here, and overshadowed all artistic and archaeological considerations. In Alexandria, a chief seat of the Neo-Platonic mysticism, there arose, at the instigation of the violent and unspiritual bishop Theophilus,98 a bloody conflict between heathens and Christians, in which the colossal statue and the magnificent temple of Serapis, next to the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus in Rome the proudest monument of heathen architecture,99 was destroyed, without verifying the current expectation that upon its destruction the heavens would fall (391). The power of superstition once broken by this decisive blow, the other temples in Egypt soon met a similar fate; though the eloquent ruins of the works of the Pharaohs, the Ptolemies, and the Roman emperors in the valley of the Nile still stand and cast their twilight into the mysterious darkness of antiquity. Marcellus, bishop of Apamea in Syria, accompanied by an armed band of soldiers and gladiators, proceeded with the same zeal against the monuments and vital centres of heathen worship in his diocese, but was burnt alive for it by the enraged heathens, who went unpunished for the murder. In Gaul, St. Martin of Tours, between the years 375 and 400, destroyed a multitude of temples and images, and built churches and cloisters in their stead.

But we also hear important protests from the church against this pious vandalism. Says Chrysostom at Antioch in the beginning of this reign, in his beautiful tract on the martyr Babylas: "Christians are not to destroy error by force and violence, but should work the salvation of men by persuasion, instruction, and love." In the same spirit says Augustin, though not quite consistently: "Let us first obliterate the idols in the hearts of the heathen, and once they become Christians they will either themselves invite us to the execution of so good a work [the destruction of the idols], or anticipate us in it. Now we must pray for them, and not exasperate them." Yet he commended the severe laws of the emperors against idolatry.

In the west the work of destruction was not systematically carried on, and the many ruined temples of Greece and Italy at this day prove that even then reason and taste sometimes prevailed over the rude caprice of fanaticism, and that the maxim, It is easier to tear down than to build up, has its exceptions.

With the death of Theodosius the empire again fell into two parts, which were never afterward reunited. The weak sons and successors of this prince, Arcadius in the east (395–408) and Honorius in the west (395–423), and likewise Theodosius II., or the younger (son of Arcadius, 408–450), and Valentinian III. (423–455), repeated and in some cases added to the laws of the previous reign against the heathen. In the year 408, Honorius even issued an edict excluding heathens from civil and military office;100 and in 423 appeared another edict, which questioned the existence of heathens.101 But in the first place, such laws, in the then critical condition of the empire amidst the confusion of the great migration, especially in the West, could be but imperfectly enforced; and in the next place, the frequent repetition of them itself proves that heathenism still had its votaries. This fact is witnessed also by various heathen writers. Zosimus wrote his "New History," down to the year 410, under the reign and at the court of the younger Theodosius (appearing in the high office of comes and advocatus fisci, as he styles himself), in bitter prejudice against the Christian emperors. In many places the Christians, in their work of demolishing the idols, were murdered by the infuriated pagans.

Meantime, however, there was cruelty also on the Christian side. One of the last instances of it was the terrible tragedy of Hypatia. This lady, a teacher of the Neo-Platonic philosophy in Alexandria, distinguished for her beauty, her intelligence, her learning, and her virtue, and esteemed both by Christians and by heathens, was seized in the open street by the Christian populace and fanatical monks, perhaps not without the connivance of the violent bishop Cyril, thrust out from her carriage, dragged to the cathedral, completely stripped, barbarously murdered with shells before the altar, and then torn to pieces and burnt, a.d. 415.102 Socrates, who relates this, adds: "It brought great censure both on Cyril and on the Alexandrian church."

§ 7. The Downfall of Heathenism.

The final dissolution of heathenism in the eastern empire may be dated from the middle of the fifth century. In the year 435 Theodosius II. commanded the temples to be destroyed or turned into churches. There still appear some heathens in civil office and at court so late as the beginning of the reign of Justinian I. (527–567). But this despotic emperor prohibited heathenism as a form of worship in the empire on pain of death, and in 529 abolished the last intellectual seminary of it, the philosophical school of Athens, which had stood nine hundred years. At that time just seven philosophers were teaching in that school,103 the shades of the ancient seven sages of Greece,—a striking play of history, like the name of the last west-Roman emperor, Romulus Augustus, or, in contemptuous diminutive, Augustulus, combining the names of the founder of the city and the founder of the empire.

In the West, heathenism maintained itself until near the middle of the sixth century, and even later, partly as a private religious conviction among many cultivated and aristocratic families in Rome, partly even in the full form of worship in the remote provinces and on the mountains of Sicily, Sardinia,104 and Corsica, and partly in heathen customs and popular usages like the gladiatorial shows still extant in Rome in 404, and the wanton Lupercalia, a sort of heathen carnival, the feast of Lupercus, the god of herds, still celebrated with all its excesses in February, 495. But, in general, it may be said that the Graeco-Roman heathenism, as a system of worship, was buried under the ruins of the western empire, which sunk under the storms of the great migration. It is remarkable that the northern barbarians labored with the same zeal in the destruction of idolatry as in the destruction of the empire, and really promoted the victory of the Christian religion. The Gothic king Alaric, on entering Rome, expressly ordered that the churches of the apostles Peter and Paul should be spared, as inviolable sanctuaries; and he showed a humanity, which Augustin justly attributes to the influence of Christianity (even perverted Arian Christianity) on these barbarous people. The Christian name, he says, which the heathen blaspheme, has effected not the destruction, but the salvation of the city.105 Odoacer, who put an end to the western Roman empire in 476, was incited to his expedition into Italy by St. Severin, and, though himself an Arian, showed great regard to the catholic bishops. The same is true of his conqueror and successor, Theodoric the Ostrogoth, who was recognized by the east-Roman emperor Anastasius as king of Italy (a.d. 500), and was likewise an Arian. Thus between the barbarians and the Romans, as between the Romans and the Greeks and in a measure also the Jews, the conquered gave laws to the conquerors. Christianity triumphed over both.

This is the end of Graeco-Roman heathenism, with its wisdom, and beauty. It fell a victim to a slow but steady process of incurable consumption. Its downfall is a sublime tragedy which, with all our abhorrence of idolatry, we cannot witness without a certain sadness. At the first appearance of Christianity it comprised all the wisdom, literature, art, and political power of the civilized world, and led all into the field against the weaponless religion of the crucified Nazarene. After a conflict of four or five centuries it lay prostrate in the dust without hope of resurrection. With the outward protection of the state, it lost all power, and had not even the courage of martyrdom; while the Christian church showed countless hosts of confessors and blood-witnesses, and Judaism lives to-day in spite of all persecution. The expectation, that Christianity would fall about the year 398, after an existence of three hundred and sixty-five years,106 turned out in the fulfilment to relate to heathenism itself. The last glimmer of life in the old religion was its pitiable prayer for toleration and its lamentation over the ruin of the empire. Its best elements took refuge in the church and became converted, or at least took Christian names. Now the gods were dethroned, oracles and prodigies ceased, sibylline books were burned, temples were destroyed, or transformed into churches, or still stand as memorials of the victory of Christianity.107

But although ancient Greece and Rome have fallen forever, the spirit of Graeco-Roman paganism is not extinct. It still lives in the natural heart of man, which at this day as much as ever needs regeneration by the spirit of God. It lives also in many idolatrous and superstitious usages of the Greek and Roman churches, against which the pure spirit of Christianity has instinctively protested from the beginning, and will protest, till all remains of gross and refined idolatry shall be outwardly as well as inwardly overcome, and baptized and sanctified not only with water, but also with the spirit and fire of the gospel.

Finally the better genius of ancient Greece and Rome still lives in the immortal productions of their poets, philosophers, historians, and orators,—yet no longer an enemy, but a friend and servant of Christ. What is truly great, and noble, and beautiful can never perish. The classic literature had prepared the way for the gospel, in the sphere of natural culture, and was to be turned thenceforth into a weapon for its defence. It passed, like the Old Testament, as a rightful inheritance, into the possession of the Christian church, which saved those precious works of genius through the ravages of the migration of nations and the darkness of the middle ages, and used them as material in the rearing of the temple of modern civilization. The word of the great apostle of the Gentiles was here fulfilled: "All things are yours." The ancient classics, delivered from the demoniacal possession of idolatry, have come into the service of the only true and living God, once "unknown" to them, but now everywhere revealed, and are thus enabled to fulfil their true mission as the preparatory tutors of youth for Christian learning and culture. This is the noblest, the most worthy, and most complete victory of Christianity, transforming the enemy into friend and ally.



§ 8. Heathen Polemics. New Objections.

I. Comp. The sources at §§ 4 and 5, especially the writings of Julian The Apostate Katav Cristianw'n, and Libanius, uJpe;r tw'n iJerw'n. Also Pseudo-lucian: Philopatris (of the age of Julian or later, comprised in the works of Lucian). Proclus (412–487): xviii ejpiceirhvmata katav cristianw'n (preserved in the counter work of Joh. Philoponus: De aeternitate mundi, ed. Venet. 1535). In part also the historical works of Eunapius and Zosimus.

II. Marqu. d'Argens: defense du paganisme par l'emper. Julien en grec et en franc. (collected from fragments in Cyril), avec des dissertat. Berl. 1764, sec. ed. Augmentée, 1767. This singular work gave occasion to two against it by G. Fr. Meier, Halle, 1764, And W. Crichton, Halle, 1765, in which the arguments of Julian were refuted anew. Nath. Lardner, in his learned collection of ancient heathen testimonies for the credibility of the Gospel History, treats also largely of Julian. See his collected works, ed. by Dr. Kippis, Lond. 1838, vol. vii. p. 581–652. Schröckh: vi. 354–385. Neander: iii. 77 sqq. (Engl. transl. of Torrey ii. 84–93).

The internal conflict between heathenism and Christianity presents the same spectacle of dissolution on the one hand and conscious power on the other. And here the Nicene age reaped the fruit of the earlier apologists, who ably and fearlessly defended the truth of the true religion and refuted the errors of idolatry in the midst of persecution.108 The literary opposition to Christianity had already virtually exhausted itself, and was now thrown by the great change of circumstances into apology for heathenism; while what was then apology on the Christian side now became triumphant polemics. The last enemy was the Neo-Platonic philosophy, as taught particularly in the schools of Alexandria and Athens even down to the fifth century. This philosophy, however, as we have before remarked,109 was no longer the product of pure, fresh heathenism, but an artificial syncretism of elements heathen and Christian, Oriental and Hellenic, speculative and theurgic, evincing only the growing weakness of the old religion and the irresistible power of the new.

Besides the old oft-refuted objections, sundry new ones came forward after the time of Constantine, in some cases the very opposite of the earlier ones, touching not so much the Christianity of the Bible as more or less the state-church system of the Nicene and post-Nicene age, and testifying the intrusion of heathen elements into the church. Formerly simplicity and purity of morals were the great ornament of the Christians over against the prevailing corruption; now it could be justly observed that, as the whole world had crowded into the church, it had let in also all the vices of the world. Against those vices, indeed, the genuine virtues of Christianity proved themselves as vigorous as ever. But the heathen either could not or would not look through the outward appearance and discriminate the wheat from the chaff. Again: the Christians of the first three centuries had confessed their faith at the risk of life, maintained it under sufferings and death, and claimed only toleration; now they had to meet reproach from the heathen minority for hypocrisy, selfishness, ambition, intolerance, and the spirit of persecution against heathens, Jews, and heretics. From being suspected as enemies to the emperor and the empire, they now came to be charged in various ways with servile and fawning submission to the Christian rulers. Formerly known as abhorring every kind of idolatry and all pomp in worship, they now appeared in their growing veneration for martyrs and relics to reproduce and even exceed the ancient worship of heroes.

Finally, even the victory of Christianity was branded as a reproach. It was held responsible by the latest heathen historians not only for the frequent public calamities, which had been already charged upon it under Marcus Aurelius and in the time of Tertullian, but also for the decline and fall of the once so mighty Roman empire. But this objection, very popular at the time, is refuted by the simple fact, that the empire in the East, where Christianity earlier and more completely prevailed, outlived by nearly ten centuries the western branch. The dissolution of the west-Roman empire was due rather to its unwieldy extent, the incursion of barbarians, and the decay of morals, which was hastened by the introduction of all the vices of conquered nations, and which had already begun under Augustus, yea, during the glorious period of the republic; for the republic would have lasted much longer if the foundations of public and private virtue had not been undermined.110 Taken from a higher point of view, the downfall of Rome was a divine judgment upon the old essentially heathen world, as the destruction of Jerusalem was a judgment upon the Jewish nation for their unbelief. But it was at the same time the inevitable transition to a new creation which Christianity soon began to rear on the ruins of heathendom by the conversion of the barbarian conquerors, and the founding of a higher Christian civilization. This was the best refutation of the last charge of the heathen opponents of the religion of the cross.

§ 9. Julian's Attack upon Christianity.

For Literature comp. § 4 p. 39, 40.

The last direct and systematic attack upon the Christian religion proceeded from the emperor Julian. In his winter evenings at Antioch in 363, to account to the whole world for his apostasy, he wrote a work against the Christians, which survives, at least in fragments, in a refutation of it by Cyril of Alexandria, written about 432. In its three books, perhaps seven (Cyril mentions only three111), it shows no trace of the dispassionate philosophical or historical appreciation of so mighty a phenomenon as Christianity in any case is. Julian had no sense for the fundamental ideas of sin and redemption or the cardinal virtues of humility and love. He stood entirely in the sphere of naturalism, where the natural light of Helios outshines the mild radiance of the King of truth, and the admiration of worldly greatness leaves no room for the recognition of the spiritual glory of self-renunciation. He repeated the arguments of a Celsus and a Porphyry in modified form; expanded them by his larger acquaintance with the Bible, which he had learned according to the letter in his clerical education; and breathed into all the bitter hatred of an Apostate, which agreed ill with his famous toleration and entirely blinded him to all that was good in his opponents. He calls the religion of "the Galilean" an impious human invention and a conglomeration of the worst elements of Judaism and heathenism without the good of either; that is, without the wholesome though somewhat harsh discipline of the former, or the pious belief in the gods, which belongs to the latter. Hence he compares the Christians to leeches, which draw all impure blood and leave the pure. In his view, Jesus, "the dead Jew," did nothing remarkable during his lifetime, compared with heathen heroes, but to heal lame and blind people and exorcise daemoniacs, which is no very great matter.112 He was able to persuade only a few of the ignorant peasantry, not even to gain his own kinsmen.113 Neither Matthew, nor. Mark, nor Luke, nor Paul called him God. John was the first to venture so far, and procured acceptance for his view by a cunning artifice.114 The later Christians perverted his doctrine still more impiously, and have abandoned the Jewish sacrificial worship and ceremonial law, which was given for all time, and was declared irrevocable by Jesus himself.115 A universal religion, with all the peculiarities of different national characters, appeared to him unreasonable and impossible. He endeavored to expose all manner of contradictions and absurdities in the Bible. The Mosaic history of the creation was defective, and not to be compared with the Platonic. Eve was given to Adam for a help, yet she led him astray. Human speech is put into the mouth of the serpent, and the curse is denounced on him, though he leads man on to the knowledge of good and evil, and thus proves himself of great service. Moses represents God as jealous, teaches monotheism, yet polytheism also in calling the angels gods. The moral precepts of the decalogue are found also among the heathen, except the commands, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," and, "Remember the Sabbath day." He prefers Lycurgus and Solon to Moses. As to Samson and David, they were not very remarkable for valor, and exceeded by many Greeks and Egyptians, and all their power was confined within the narrow limits of Judea. The Jews never had any general equal to Alexander or Caesar. Solomon is not to be compared with Theognis, Socrates, and other Greek sages; moreover he is said to have been overcome by women, and therefore does not deserve to be ranked among wise men. Paul was an arch-traitor; calling God now the God of the Jews, now the God of the Gentiles, now both at once; not seldom contradicting the Old Testament, Christ, and himself, and generally accommodating his doctrine to circumstances. The heathen emperor thinks it absurd that Christian baptism should be able to cleanse from gross sins, while it cannot remove a wart, or gout, or any bodily evil. He puts the Bible far below the Hellenic literature, and asserts, that it made men slaves, while the study of the classics educated great heroes and philosophers. The first Christians he styles most contemptible men, and the Christians of his day he charges with ignorance, intolerance, and worshipping dead persons, bones, and the wood of the cross.

With all his sarcastic bitterness against Christianity, Julian undesignedly furnishes some valuable arguments for the historical character of the religion he hated and assailed. The learned and critical Lardner, after a careful analysis of his work against Christianity, thus ably and truthfully sums up Julian's testimony in favor of it:

"Julian argues against the Jews as well as against the Christians. He has borne a valuable testimony to the history and to the books of the New Testament, as all must acknowledge who have read the extracts just made from his work. He allows that Jesus was born in the reign of Augustus, at the time of the taxing made in Judea by Cyrenius: that the Christian religion had its rise and began to be propagated in the times of the emperors Tiberius and Claudius. He bears witness to the genuineness and authenticity of the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the Acts of the Apostles: and he so quotes them, as to intimate, that these were the only historical books received by Christians as of authority, and the only authentic memoirs of Jesus Christ and his apostles, and the doctrine preached by them. He allows their early date, and even argues for it. He also quotes, or plainly refers to the Acts of the Apostles, to St. Paul's Epistles to the Romans, the Corinthians, and the Galatians. He does not deny the miracles of Jesus Christ, but allows him to have 'healed the blind, and the lame, and demoniacs,' and 'to have rebuked the winds, and walked upon the waves of the sea.' He endeavors indeed to diminish these works; but in vain. The consequence is undeniable: such works are good proofs of a divine mission. He endeavors also to lessen the number of the early believers in Jesus, and yet he acknowledgeth, that there were 'multitudes of such men in Greece and Italy,' before St. John wrote his gospel. He likewise affects to diminish the quality of the early believers; and yet acknowledgeth, that beside 'menservants, and maidservants,' Cornelius, a Roman centurion at Caesarea, and Sergius Paulus, proconsul of Cyprus, were converted to the faith of Jesus before the end of the reign of Claudius. And he often speaks with great indignation of Peter and Paul, those two great apostles of Jesus, and successful preachers of his gospel. So that, upon the whole, he has undesignedly borne witness to the truth of many things recorded in the books of the New Testament: he aimed to overthrow the Christian religion, but has confirmed it: his arguments against it are perfectly harmless, and insufficient to unsettle the weakest Christian. He justly excepts to some things introduced into the Christian profession by the late professors of it, in his own time, or sooner; but has not made one objection of moment against the Christian religion, as contained in the genuine and authentic books of the New Testament."116

The other works against Christianity are far less important.

The dialogue Philopatris, or The Patriot, is ascribed indeed to the ready scoffer and satirist Lucian (died about 200), and joined to his works; but it is vastly inferior in style and probably belongs to the reign of Julian, or a still later period;117 since it combats the church doctrine of the Trinity and of the procession of the Spirit from the Father, though not by argument, but only by ridicule. It is a frivolous derision of the character and doctrines of the Christians in the form of a dialogue between Critias, a professed heathen, and Triephon, an Epicurean, personating a Christian. It represents the Christians as disaffected to the government, dangerous to civil society, and delighting in public calamities. It calls St. Paul a half bald, long-nosed Galilean, who travelled through the air to the third heaven (2 Cor. 12, 1–4).

The last renowned representative of Neo-Platonism, Proclus of Athens (died 487), defended the Platonic doctrine of the eternity of the world, and, without mentioning Christianity, contested the biblical doctrine of the creation and the end of the world in eighteen arguments, which the Christian philosopher, John Philoponus, refuted in the seventh century.

The last heathen historians, Eunapius and Zosimus, of the first half of the fifth century, indirectly assailed Christianity by a one-sided representation of the history of the Roman empire from the time of Constantine, and by tracing its decline to the Christian religion; while, on the contrary, Ammianus Marcellinus (died about 390) presents with honorable impartiality both the dark and the bright sides of the Christian emperors and of the Apostate Julian.118

§ 10. The Heathen Apologetic Literature.

After the death of Julian most of the heathen writers, especially the ablest and most estimable, confined themselves to the defence of their religion, and thus became, by reason of their position, advocates of toleration; and, of course, of toleration for the religious syncretism, which in its cooler form degenerates into philosophical indifferentism.

Among these were Themistius, teacher of rhetoric, senator, and prefect of Constantinople, and afterwards preceptor of the young emperor Arcadius; Aurelius Symmachus, rhetorician, senator, and prefect of Rome under Gratian and Valentinian II., the eloquent pleader for the altar of Victoria; and above all, the rhetorician Libanius, friend and admirer of Julian, alternately teaching in Constantinople, Nicomedia, and Antioch. These all belong to the second half of the fourth century, and represent at once the last bloom and the decline of the classic eloquence. They were all more or less devoted to the Neo-Platonic syncretism. They held, that the Deity had implanted in all men a religious nature and want, but had left the particular form of worshiping God to the free will of the several nations and individuals; that all outward constraint, therefore, was contrary to the nature of religion and could only beget hypocrisy. Themistius vindicated this variety of the forms of religion as favorable to religion itself, as many Protestants justify the system of sects. "The rivalry of different religions," says he in his oration on Jovian, "serves to stimulate zeal for the worship of God. There are different paths, some hard, others easy, some rough, others smooth, leading to the same goal. Leave only one way, and shut up the rest, and you destroy emulation. God would have no such uniformity among men .... The Lord of the universe delights in manifoldness. It is his will, that Syrians, Greeks, Egyptians should worship him, each nation in its own way, and that the Syrians again should divide into small sects, no one of which agrees entirely with another. Why should we thus enforce what is impossible?" In the same style argues Symmachus, who withholds all direct opposition to Christianity and contends only against its exclusive supremacy.

Libanius, in his plea for the temples addressed to Theodosius I. (384 or 390), called to his aid every argument, religious, political, and artistic, in behalf of the heathen sanctuaries, but interspersed bitter remarks against the temple-storming monks. He asserts among other things, that the principles of Christianity itself condemn the use of force in religion, and commend the indulgence of free conviction.

Of course this heathen plea for toleration was but the last desperate defence of a hopeless minority, and an indirect self-condemnation of heathenism for its persecution of the Christian religion in the first three centuries.

§ 11. Christian Apologists and Polemics.


I. The Greek Apologists: Eusebius Caes.: Proparaskeuh; eujaggelikhv (Preparatio evang.), and !Apovdeixi" eujaggelikhv (Demonstratio evang.); besides his controversial work against Hierocles; and his Theophany, discovered in 1842 in a Syriac version (ed. Lee, Lond. 1842). Athanasius: Kata;tw'n JEllhvnwn (Oratio contra Gentes), and Peri; th'" ejnanqrwphvsew" tou' Lovgou (De incarnatione Verbi Dei): two treatises belonging together (Opera, ed. Bened. tom. i. 1 sqq.). Cyril of Alex.: Contra impium Julianum libri X (with extracts from the three books of Julian against Christianity). Theodoret: Graecarum affectionum curatio ( JEllhnikw'n qerapeutikh; paqhmavtwn), disput. XII.

II. The Latin Apologists: Lactantius: Instit. divin. l. vii (particularly the first three books, de falsa religione, de origine erroris, and de falsa sapientia; the third against the heathen philosophy). Julius Firmicus Maternus: De errore profanarum religionum (not mentioned by the ancients, but edited several times in the sixteenth century, and latterly by F. Münter, Havn. 1826). Ambrose: Ep. 17 and 18 (against Symmachus). Prudentius: In Symmachum (an apologetic poem). Paul. Orosius: Adv. paganos historiarum l. vii (an apologetic universal history, against Eunapius and Zosimus). Augustine: De civitate Dei l. xxii (often separately published). Salvianus: De gubernatione Dei l. viii (the eighth book incomplete).


Comp. in part the apologetic literature at § 63 of vol. i. Also Schrökh: vii., p. 263–355. Neander: iii., 188–195 (Engl. ed. of Torrey, ii., 90–93). Döllinger (R.C.): Hdbuch der K. G., vol. I., part 2, p. 50–91.K. Werner (R.C.): Geschichte der Apolog. und polem. Literatur der christl. Theol. Schaffh. 1861–'65, 4 vols. vol. i.

In the new state of things the defence of Christianity was no longer of so urgent and direct importance as it had been before the time of Constantine. And the theological activity of the church now addressed itself mainly to internal doctrinal controversy. Still the fourth and fifth centuries produced several important apologetic works, which far outshone the corresponding literature of the heathen.

(1) Under Constantine we have Lactantius in Latin, Eusebius and Athanasius in Greek, representing, together with Theodoret, who was a century later, the close of the older apology.

Lactantius prefaces his vindication of Christian truth with a refutation of the heathen superstition and philosophy; and he is more happy in the latter than in the former. He claims freedom for all religions, and represents the transition standpoint of the Constantinian edicts of toleration.

Eusebius, the celebrated historian, collected with diligence and learning in several apologetic works, above all in his "Evangelic Preparation," the usual arguments against heathenism, and in his "Evangelic Demonstration" the positive evidences of Christianity, laying chief stress upon the prophecies.

With less scholarship, but with far greater speculative compass and acumen, the great Athanasius, in his youthful productions "against the Greeks," and "on the incarnation of the Logos" (before 325), gave in main outline the argument for the divine origin, the truth, the reasonableness, and the perfection of the Christian religion. These two treatises, particularly the second, are, next to Origen's doctrinal work De principiis, the first attempt to construct a scientific system of the Christian religion upon certain fundamental ideas of God and world, sin and redemption; and they form the ripe fruit of the positive apology in the Greek church. The Logos, Athanasius teaches, is the image of the living, only true God. Man is the image of the Logos. In communion with him consist the original holiness and blessedness of paradise. Man fell by his own will, and thus came to need redemption. Evil is not a substance of itself, not matter, as the Greeks suppose, nor does it come from the Creator of all things. It is an abuse of freedom on the part of man, and consists in selfishness or self-love, and in the dominion of the sensuous principle over the reason. Sin, as apostasy from God, begets idolatry. Once alienated from God and plunged into finiteness and sensuousness, men deified the powers of nature, or mortal men, or even carnal lusts, as in Aphrodite. The inevitable consequence of sin is death and corruption. The Logos, however, did not forsake men. He gave them the law and the prophets to prepare them for salvation. At last he himself became man, neutralized in human nature the power of sin and death, restored the divine image, uniting us with God and imparting to us his imperishable life. The possibility and legitimacy of the incarnation lie in the original relation of the Logos to the world, which was created and is upheld by him. The incarnation, however, does not suspend the universal reign of the Logos. While he was in man, he was at the same time everywhere active and reposing in the bosom of the Father. The necessity of the incarnation to salvation follows from the fact, that the corruption had entered into human nature itself, and thus must be overcome within that nature. An external redemption, as by preaching God, could profit nothing. "For this reason the Saviour assumed humanity, that man, united with life, might not remain mortal and in death, but imbibing immortality might by the resurrection be immortal. The outward preaching of redemption would have to be continually repeated, and yet death would abide in man."119 The object of the incarnation is, negatively, the annihilation of sin and death; positively, the communication of righteousness and life and the deification of man.120 The miracles of Christ are the proof of his original dominion over nature, and lead men from nature-worship to the worship of God. The death of Jesus was necessary to the blotting out of sin and to the demonstration of his life-power in the resurrection, whereby also the death of believers is now no longer punishment, but a transition to resurrection and glory.—This speculative analysis of the incarnation Athanasius supports by referring to the continuous moral effects of Christianity, which is doing great things every day, calling man from idolatry, magic, and sorceries to the worship of the true God, obliterating sinful and irrational lusts, taming the wild manners of barbarians, inciting to a holy walk, turning the natural fear of death into rejoicing, and lifting the eye of man from earth to heaven, from mortality to resurrection and eternal glory. The benefits of the incarnation are incalculable, like the waves of the sea pursuing one another in constant succession.

(2) Under the sons of Constantine, between the years 343 and 350, Julius Firmicus Maternus, an author otherwise unknown to us,121 wrote against heathenism with large knowledge of antiquity, but with fanatical zeal, regarding it, now on the principle of Euhemerus, as a deification of mortal men and natural elements, now as a distortion of the biblical history.122 At the close, quite mistaking the gentle spirit of the New Testament, he urges the sons of Constantine to exterminate heathenism by force, as God commanded the children of Israel to proceed against the Canaanites; and openly counsels them boldly to pillage the temples and to enrich themselves and the church with the stolen goods. This sort of apology fully corresponds with the despotic conduct of Constantius, which induced the reaction of heathenism under Julian.

(3) The attack of Julian upon Christianity brought out no reply on the spot,123 but subsequently several refutations, the chief one by Cyril of Alexandria († 444), in ten books "against the impious Julian," still extant and belonging among his most valuable works. About the same time Theodoret wrote an apologetic and polemic work: "The Healing of the Heathen Affections," in twelve treatises, in which he endeavors to refute the errors of the false religion by comparison of the prophecies and miracles of the Bible with the heathen oracles, of the apostles with the heroes and lawgivers of antiquity, of the Christian morality with the immorality of the heathen world.

§ 12. Augustine's City of God. Salvianus.

(4) Among the Latin apologists we must mention Augustine, Orosius, and Salvianus, of the fifth century. They struck a different path from the Greeks, and devoted themselves chiefly to the objection of the heathens, that the overthrow of idolatry and the ascendency of Christianity were chargeable with the misfortunes and the decline of the Roman empire. This objection had already been touched by Tertullian, but now, since the repeated incursions of the barbarians, and especially the capture and sacking of the city of Rome under the Gothic king Alaric in 410, it recurred with peculiar force. By way of historical refutation the Spanish presbyter Orosius, at the suggestion of Augustine, wrote an outline of universal history in the year 417.

Augustine himself answered the charge in his immortal work "On the city of God," that is) the church of Christ, in twenty-two books, upon which he labored twelve years, from 413 to 426, amidst the storms of the great migration and towards the close of his life. He was not wanting in appreciation of the old Roman virtues, and he attributes to these the former greatness of the empire, and to the decline of them he imputes her growing weakness. But he rose at the same time far above the superficial view, which estimates persons and things by the scale of earthly profit and loss, and of temporary success. "The City of God" is the most powerful, comprehensive, profound, and fertile production in refutation of heathenism and vindication of Christianity, which the ancient church has bequeathed to us, and forms a worthy close to her literary contest with Graeco-Roman paganism.124 It is a grand funeral discourse upon the departing universal empire of heathenism, and a lofty salutation to the approaching universal order of Christianity. While even Jerome deplored in the destruction of the city the downfall of the empire as the omen of the approaching doom of the world,125 the African father saw in it only a passing revolution preparing the way for new conquests of Christianity. Standing at that remarkable turning-point of history, he considers the origin, progress, and end of the perishable kingdom of this world, and the imperishable kingdom of God, from the fall of man to the final judgment, where at last they fully and forever separate into hell and heaven. The antagonism of the two cities has its root in the highest regions of the spirit world, the distinction of good and evil angels; its historical evolution commences with Cain and Abel, then proceeds in the progress of paganism and Judaism to the birth of Christ, and continues after that great epoch to his return in glory. Upon the whole his philosophy of history is dualistic, and does not rise to the unity and comprehensiveness of the divine plan to which all the kingdoms of this world and even Satan himself are made subservient. He hands the one city over to God, the other to the demons. Yet he softens the rigor of the contrast by the express acknowledgment of shades in the one, and rays of light in the other. In the present order of the world the two cities touch and influence each other at innumerable points; and as not all Jews were citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, so there were on the other hand true children of God scattered among the heathen like Melchisedek and Job, who were united to the city of God not by a visible, but by an invisible celestial tie. In this sublime contrast Augustine weaves up the whole material of his Scriptural and antiquarian knowledge, his speculation, and his Christian experience, but interweaves also many arbitrary allegorical conceits and empty subtleties. The first ten books he directs against heathenism, showing up the gradual decline of the Roman power as the necessary result of idolatry and of a process of moral dissolution, which commenced with the introduction of foreign vices after the destruction of Carthage; and he represents the calamities and approaching doom of the empire as a mighty preaching of repentance to the heathen, and at the same time as a wholesome trial of the Christians, and as the birth-throes of a new creation. In the last twelve books of this tragedy of history he places in contrast the picture of the supernatural state of God, founded upon a rock, coming forth renovated and strengthened from all the storms and revolutions of time, breathing into wasting humanity an imperishable divine life, and entering at last, after the completion of this earthly work, into the sabbath of eternity, where believers shall rest and see, see and love, love and praise, without end.126

Less important, but still noteworthy and peculiar, is the apologetic work of the Gallic presbyter, Salvianus, on providence and the government of the world.127 It was composed about the middle of the fifth century (440–455) in answer at once to the charge that Christianity occasioned all the misfortunes of the times, and to the doubts concerning divine providence, which were spreading among Christians themselves. The blame of the divine judgments he places, however, not upon the heathens, but upon the Christianity of the day, and, in forcible and lively, but turgid and extravagant style, draws an extremely unfavorable picture of the moral condition of the Christians, especially in Gaul, Spain, Italy, and Africa. His apology for Christianity, or rather for the Christian faith in the divine government of the world, was also a polemic against the degenerate Christians. It was certainly unsuited to convert heathens, but well fitted to awaken the church to more dangerous enemies within, and stimulate her to that moral self-reform, which puts the crown upon victory over outward foes. "The church," says this Jeremiah of his time, "which ought everywhere to propitiate God, what does she, but provoke him to anger?128 How many may one meet, even in the church, who are not still drunkards, or debauchees, or adulterers, or fornicators, or robbers, or murderers, or the like, or all these at once, without end? It is even a sort of holiness among Christian people, to be less vicious." From the public worship of God, he continues, and almost during it, they pass to deeds of shame. Scarce a rich man, but would commit murder and fornication. We have lost the whole power of Christianity, and offend God the more, that we sin as Christians. We are worse than the barbarians and heathen. If the Saxon is wild, the Frank faithless, the Goth inhuman, the Alanian drunken, the Hun licentious, they are by reason of their ignorance far less punishable than we, who, knowing the commandments of God, commit all these crimes. He compares the Christians especially of Rome with the Arian Goths and Vandals, to the disparagement of the Romans, who add to the gross sins of nature the refined vices of civilization, passion for theatres, debauchery, and unnatural lewdness. Therefore has the just God given them into the hands of the barbarians and exposed them to the ravages of the migrating hordes.

This horrible picture of the Christendom of the fifth century is undoubtedly in many respects an exaggeration of ascetic and monastic zeal. Yet it is in general not untrue; it presents the dark side of the picture, and enables us to understand more fully on moral and psychological grounds the final dissolution of the western empire of Rome.




The church laws of the Christian emperors from Constantine to Justinian, collected in the Codex Theodosianus of the year 438 (edited, with a learned commentary, by Jac. Gothofredus, Lyons, 1668, in six vols. fol.; afterwards by J. D. Ritter, Lips. 1736, in seven vols.; and more recently, with newly discovered books and fragments, by G. Haenel, Bonn, 1842), and in the Codex Justinianeus of 534 (in the numerous editions of the Corpus juris civilis Romani). Also Eusebius: Vita Constant., and H. Eccl. l. x. On the other hand, the lamentations of the church fathers, especially Gregory Naz., Chrysostom, and Augustine (in their sermons), over the secularized Christianity of their time.


C. G. de Rhoer: Dissertationes de effectu religionis Christianae in jurisprudentiam Romanam. Groning. 1776. Martini: Die Einführung der christl. Religion als Staatsreligion im röm. Reiche durch Constantin. Münch. 1813. H. O. de Meysenburg: De Christ. religionis vi et effectu in jus civile. Gött. 1828. C. Riffel (R.C.): Gesch. Darstellung des Verhältnisses zwischen Kirche u. Staat. Mainz. 1838, vol. i. Troplong: De l'influence du Christianisme sur le droit civil des Romains. Par. 1843. P. E. Lind: Christendommens inflydelse paa den sociale forfatning. Kjobenh. 1852. B. C. Cooper: The Free Church of Ancient Christendom and its Subjugation by Constantine. Lond. 1851(?)

Comp. also Gibbon, chap. xx. Schröckh, several sections from vol. v. onward. Neander, iii. 273–303. Milman, Anc. Christ. Book iv. ch. 1.

§ 13. The New Position of the Church in the Empire.

The previous chapter has shown us how Christianity gradually supplanted the Graeco-Roman heathenism and became the established religion in the empire of the Caesars. Since that time the church and the state, though frequently jarring, have remained united in Europe, either on the hierarchical basis, with the temporal power under the tutelage of the spiritual, or on the caesaro-papal, with the spiritual power merged in the temporal; while in the United States of America, since the end of the eighteenth century, the two powers have stood peacefully but independently side by side. The church could now act upon the state; but so could the state act upon the church; and this mutual influence became a source of both profit and loss, blessing and curse, on either side.

The martyrs and confessors of the first three centuries, in their expectation of the impending end of the world and their desire for the speedy return of the Lord, had never once thought of such a thing as the great and sudden change, which meets us at the beginning of this period in the relation of the Roman state to the Christian church. Tertullian had even held the Christian profession to be irreconcilable with the office of a Roman emperor.129 Nevertheless, clergy and people very soon and very easily accommodated themselves to the new order of things, and recognized in it a reproduction of the theocratic constitution of the people of God under the ancient covenant. Save that the dissenting sects, who derived no benefit from this union, but were rather subject to persecution from the state and from the established Catholicism, the Donatists for an especial instance, protested against the intermeddling of the temporal power with religious concerns.130 The heathen, who now came over in a mass, had all along been accustomed to a union of politics with religion, of the imperial with the sacerdotal dignity. They could not imagine a state without some cultus, whatever might be its name. And as heathenism had outlived itself in the empire, and Judaism with its national exclusiveness and its stationary character was totally disqualified, Christianity must take the throne.

The change was as natural and inevitable as it was great. When Constantine planted the standard of the cross upon the forsaken temples of the gods, he but followed the irresistible current of history itself. Christianity had already, without a stroke of sword or of intrigue, achieved over the false religion the internal victory of spirit over matter, of truth over falsehood, of faith over superstition, of the worship of God over idolatry, of morality over corruption. Under a three hundred years' oppression, it had preserved its irrepressible moral vigor, and abundantly earned its new social position. It could not possibly continue a despised sect, a homeless child of the wilderness, but, like its divine founder on the third day after his crucifixion, it must rise again, take the reins of the world into its hands, and, as an all-transforming principle, take state, science, and art to itself, to breathe into them a higher life and consecrate them to the service of God. The church, of course, continues to the end a servant, as Christ himself came not to be ministered unto, but to minister; and she must at all times suffer persecution, outwardly or inwardly, from the ungodly world. Yet is she also the bride of the Son of God, therefore of royal blood; and she is to make her purifying and sanctifying influence felt upon all orders of natural life and all forms of human society. And from this influence the state, of course, is not excepted. Union with the state is no more necessarily a profanation of holy things than union with science and art, which, in fact, themselves proceed from God, and must subserve his glory.

On the other hand, the state, as a necessary and divine institution for the protection of person and property, for the administration of law and justice, and for the promotion of earthly weal, could not possibly persist forever in her hostility to Christianity, but must at least allow it a legal existence and free play; and if she would attain a higher development and better answer her moral ends than she could in union with idolatry, she must surrender herself to its influence. The kingdom of the Father, to which the state belongs, is not essentially incompatible with the church, the kingdom of the Son; rather does "the Father draw to the Son," and the Son leads back to the Father, till God become "all in all." Henceforth should kings again be nursing fathers, and queens nursing mothers to the church,131 and the prophecy begin to be fulfilled: "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."132

The American reparation of church and state, even if regarded as the best settlement of the true relation of the two, is not in the least inconsistent with this view. It is not a return to the pre-Constantinian basis, with its spirit of persecution, but rests upon the mutual reverential recognition and support of the two powers, and must be regarded as the continued result of that mighty revolution of the fourth century.

But the elevation of Christianity as the religion of the state presents also an opposite aspect to our contemplation. It involved great risk of degeneracy to the church. The Roman state, with its laws, institutions, and usages, was still deeply rooted in heathenism, and could not be transformed by a magical stroke. The christianizing of the state amounted therefore in great measure to a paganizing and secularizing of the church. The world overcame the church, as much as the church overcame the world, and the temporal gain of Christianity was in many respects cancelled by spiritual loss. The mass of the Roman empire was baptized only with water, not with the Spirit and fire of the gospel, and it smuggled heathen manners and practices into the sanctuary under a new name. The very combination of the cross with the military ensign by Constantine was a most doubtful omen, portending an unhappy mixture of the temporal and the spiritual powers, the kingdom which is of the earth, and that which is from heaven. The settlement of the boundary between the two powers, which, with all their unity, remain as essentially distinct as body and soul, law and gospel, was itself a prolific source of errors and vehement strifes about jurisdiction, which stretch through all the middle age, and still repeat themselves in these latest times, save where the amicable American separation has thus far forestalled collision.

Amidst all the bad consequences of the union of church and state, however, we must not forget that the deeper spirit of the gospel has ever reacted against the evils and abuses of it, whether under an imperial pope or a papal emperor, and has preserved its divine power for the salvation of men under every form of constitution. Though standing and working in the world, and in many ways linked with it, yet is Christianity not of the world, but stands above it.

Nor must we think the degeneracy of the church began with her union with the state.133 Corruption and apostasy cannot attach to any one fact or personage, be he Constantine or Gregory I. or Gregory VII. They are rooted in the natural heart of man. They revealed themselves, at least in the germ, even in the apostolic age, and are by no means avoided, as the condition of America proves, by the separation of the two powers. We have among ourselves almost all the errors and abuses of the old world, not collected indeed in any one communion, but distributed among our various denominations and sects. The history of the church presents from the beginning a twofold development of good and of evil, an incessant antagonism of light and darkness, truth and falsehood, the mystery of godliness and the mystery of iniquity, Christianity and Antichrist. According to the Lord's parables of the net and of the tares among the wheat, we cannot expect a complete separation before the final judgment, though in a relative sense the history of the church is a progressive judgment of the church, as the history of the world is a judgment of the world.

§ 14. Rights and Privileges of the Church. Secular Advantages.

The conversion of Constantine and the gradual establishment of Christianity as the religion of the state had first of all the important effect of giving the church not only the usual rights of a legal corporation, which she possesses also in America, and here without distinction of confessions, but at the same time the peculiar privileges, which the heathen worship and priesthood had heretofore enjoyed. These rights and privileges she gradually secured either by tacit concession or through special laws of the Christian emperors as laid down in the collections of the Theodosian and Justinian Codes.134 These were limited, however, as we must here at the outset observe, exclusively to the catholic or orthodox church.135 The heretical and schismatic sects without distinction, excepting the Arians during their brief ascendency under Arian emperors, were now worse off than they had been before, and were forbidden the free exercise of their worship even under Constantine upon pain of fines and confiscation, and from the time of Theodosius and Justinian upon pain of death. Equal patronage of all Christian parties was totally foreign to the despotic uniformity system of the Byzantine emperors and the ecclesiastical exclusiveness and absolutism of the popes. Nor can it be at all consistently carried out upon the state-church basis; for every concession to dissenters loosens the bond between the church and the state.

The immunities and privileges, which were conferred upon the catholic church in the Roman empire from the time of Constantine by imperial legislation, may be specified as follows:

1. The exemption of the clergy from most public burdens.

Among these were obligatory public services,136 such as military duty, low manual labor, the bearing of costly dignities, and in a measure taxes for the real estate of the church. The exemption,137 which had been enjoyed, indeed, not by the heathen priests alone, but at least partially by physicians also and rhetoricians, and the Jewish rulers of synagogues, was first granted by Constantine in the year 313 to the catholic clergy in Africa, and afterwards, in 319, extended throughout the empire. But this led many to press into the clerical office without inward call, to the prejudice of the state; and in 320 the emperor made a law prohibiting the wealthy138 from entering the ministry, and limiting the increase of the clergy, on the singular ground, that "the rich should bear the burdens of the world, the poor be supported by the property of the church." Valentinian I. issued a similar law in 364. Under Valentinian II. and Theodosius I. the rich were admitted to the spiritual office on condition of assigning their property to others, who should fulfill the demands of the state in their stead. But these arbitrary laws were certainly not strictly observed.

Constantine also exempted the church from the land tax, but afterwards revoked this immunity; and his successors likewise were not uniform in this matter. Ambrose, though one of the strongest advocates of the rights of the church, accedes to the fact and the justice of the assessment of church lands;139 but the hierarchy afterwards claimed for the church a divine right of exemption from all taxation.

2. The enrichment and endowment of the church.

Here again Constantine led the way. He not only restored (in 313) the buildings and estates, which had been confiscated in the Diocletian persecution, but granted the church also the right to receive legacies (321), and himself made liberal contributions in money and grain to the support of the clergy and the building of churches in Africa,140 in the Holy Land, in Nicomedia, Antioch, and Constantinople. Though this, be it remembered, can be no great merit in an absolute monarch, who is lord of the public treasury as he is of his private purse, and can afford to be generous at the expense of his subjects. He and his successors likewise gave to the church the heathen temples and their estates and the public property of heretics; but these more frequently were confiscated to the civil treasury or squandered on favorites. Wealthy subjects, some from pure piety, others from motives of interest, conveyed their property to the church, often to the prejudice of the just claims of their kindred. Bishops and monks not rarely used unworthy influences with widows and dying persons; though Augustine positively rejected every legacy, which deprived a son of his rights. Valentinian I. found it necessary to oppose the legacy-hunting of the clergy, particularly in Rome, with a law of the year 370,141 and Jerome acknowledges there was good reason for it.142 The wealth of the church was converted mostly into real estate, or at least secured by it. And the church soon came to own the tenth part of all the landed property. This land, to be sure, had long been worthless or neglected, but under favorable conditions rose in value with uncommon rapidity. At the time of Chrysostom, towards the close of the fourth century, the church of Antioch was strong enough to maintain entirely or in part three thousand widows and consecrated virgins besides many poor, sick, and strangers.143 The metropolitan churches of Rome and Alexandria were the most wealthy. The various churches of Rome in the sixth century, besides enormous treasures in money and gold and silver vases, owned many houses and lands not only in Italy and Sicily, but even in Syria, Asia Minor, and Egypt.144 And when John, who bears the honorable distinction of the Almsgiver for his unlimited liberality to the poor, became patriarch of Alexandria (606), he found in the church treasury eight thousand pounds of gold, and himself received ten thousand, though be retained hardly an ordinary blanket for himself, and is said on one occasion to have fed seven thousand five hundred poor at once.145

The control of the ecclesiastical revenues vested in the bishops. The bishops distributed the funds according, to the prevailing custom into three or four parts: for themselves, for their clergy, for the current expenses of worship, and for the poor. They frequently exposed themselves to the suspicion of avarice and nepotism. The best of them, like Chrysostom and Augustine, were averse to this concernment with earthly property, since it often conflicted with their higher duties; and they preferred the poverty of earlier times, because the present abundant revenues diminished private beneficence.

And most certainly this opulence had two sides. It was a source both of profit and of loss to the church. According to the spirit of its proprietors and its controllers, it might be used for the furtherance of the kingdom of God, the building of churches, the support of the needy, and the founding of charitable institutions for the poor, the sick, for widows and orphans, for destitute strangers and aged persons,146 or perverted to the fostering of indolence and luxury, and thus promote moral corruption and decay. This was felt by serious minds even in the palmy days of the external power of the hierarchy. Dante, believing Constantine to be the author of the pope's temporal sovereignty, on the ground of the fictitious donation to Sylvester, bitterly exclaimed:

"Your gods ye make of silver and of gold;

And wherein differ from idolaters,

Save that their god is one—yours hundred fold?

Ah, Constantine! what evils caused to flow,

Not thy conversion, but that plenteous dower

Thou on the first rich Father didst bestow!"147

§ 15. Support of the Clergy.

3. The better support of the clergy was another advantage connected with the new position of Christianity in the empire.

Hitherto the clergy had been entirely dependent on the voluntary contributions of the Christians, and the Christians were for the most part poor. Now they received a fixed income from the church funds and from imperial and municipal treasuries. To this was added the contribution of first-fruits and tithes, which, though not as yet legally enforced, arose as a voluntary custom at a very early period, and probably in churches of Jewish origin existed from the first, after the example of the Jewish law.148 Where these means of support were not sufficient, the clergy turned to agriculture or some other occupation; and so late as the fifth century many synods recommended this means of subsistence, although the Apostolical Canons prohibited the engagement of the clergy in secular callings under penalty of deposition.149

This improvement, also, in the external condition of the clergy was often attended with a proportional degeneracy in their moral character. It raised them above oppressive and distracting cares for livelihood, made them independent, and permitted them to devote their whole strength to the duties of their office; but it also favored ease and luxury, allured a host of unworthy persons into the service of the church, and checked the exercise of free giving among the people. The better bishops, like Athanasius, the two Gregories, Basil, Chrysosotom, Theodoret, Ambrose, Augustine, lived in ascetic simplicity, and used their revenues for the public good; while others indulged their vanity, their love of magnificence, and their voluptuousness. The heathen historian Ammianus gives the country clergy in general the credit of simplicity, temperance, and virtue, while he represents the Roman hierarchy, greatly enriched by the gifts of matrons, as extreme in the luxury of their dress and their more than royal banquets;150 and St. Jerome agrees with him.151 The distinguished heathen prefect, Praetextatus, said to Pope Damasus, that for the price of the bishopric of Rome he himself might become a Christian at once. The bishops of Constantinople, according to the account of Gregory Nazianzen,152 who himself held that see for a short time, were not behind their Roman colleagues in this extravagance, and vied with the most honorable functionaries of the state in pomp and sumptuous diet. The cathedrals of Constantinople and Carthage had hundreds of priests, deacons, deaconesses, subdeacons, prelectors, singers, and janitors.153

It is worthy of notice, that, as we have already intimated, the two greatest church fathers gave the preference in principle to the voluntary system in the support of the church and the ministry, which prevailed before the Nicene era, and which has been restored in modern times in the United States of America. Chrysostom no doubt perceived that under existing circumstances the wants of the church could not well be otherwise supplied, but he was decidedly averse to the accumulation of treasure by the church, and said to his hearers in Antioch: "The treasure of the church should be with you all, and it is only your hardness of heart that requires her to hold earthly property and to deal in houses and lands. Ye are unfruitful in good works, and so the ministers of God must meddle in a thousand matters foreign to their office. In the days of the apostles people might likewise have given them houses and lands; why did they prefer to sell the houses and lands and give the proceeds? Because this was without doubt the better way. Your fathers would have preferred that you should give alms of your incomes, but they feared that your avarice might leave the poor to hunger; hence the present order of things."154 Augustine desired that his people in Hippo should take back the church property and support the clergy and the poor by free gifts.155

§ 16. Episcopal Jurisdiction and Intercession.

4. We proceed to the legal validity, of the episcopal jurisdiction, which likewise dates from the time of Constantine.

After the manner of the Jewish synagogues, and according to the exhortation of St. Paul,156 the Christians were accustomed from the beginning to settle their controversies before the church, rather than carry them before heathen tribunals; but down to the time of Constantine the validity, of the bishop's decision depended on the voluntary, submission of both parties. Now this decision was invested with the force of law, and in spiritual matters no appeal could be taken from it to the civil court. Constantine himself, so early as 314, rejected such an appeal in the Donatist controversy with the significant declaration: "The judgment of the priests must be regarded as the judgment of Christ himself."157 Even a sentence of excommunication was final; and Justinian allowed appeal only to the metropolitan, not to the civil tribunal. Several councils, that of Chalcedon, for example, in 451, went so far as to threaten clergy, who should avoid the episcopal tribunal or appeal from it to the civil, with deposition. Sometimes the bishops called in the help of the state, where the offender contemned the censure of the church. Justinian I. extended the episcopal jurisdiction also to the monasteries. Heraclius subsequently (628) referred even criminal causes among the clergy to the bishops, thus dismissing the clergy thenceforth entirely from the secular courts; though of course holding them liable for the physical penalty, when convicted of capital crime,158 as the ecclesiastical jurisdiction ended with deposition and excommunication. Another privilege, granted by Theodosius to the clergy, was, that they should not be compelled by torture to bear testimony before the civil tribunal.

This elevation of the power and influence of the bishops was a salutary check upon the jurisdiction of the state, and on the whole conduced to the interests of justice and humanity; though it also nourished hierarchical arrogance and entangled the bishops, to the prejudice of their higher functions, in all manner of secular suits, in which they were frequently called into consultation. Chrysostom complains that "the arbitrator undergoes incalculable vexations, much labor, and more difficulties than the public judge. It is hard to discover the right, but harder not to violate it when discovered. Not labor and difficulty alone are connected with office, but also no little danger."159 Augustine, too, who could make better use of his time, felt this part of his official duty a burden, which nevertheless he bore for love to the church.160 Others handed over these matters to a subordinate ecclesiastic, or even, like Silvanus, bishop of Troas, to a layman.161

5. Another advantage resulting from the alliance of the church with the empire was the episcopal right of intercession.

The privilege of interceding with the secular power for criminals, prisoners, and unfortunates of every kind had belonged to the heathen priests, and especially to the vestals, and now passed to the Christian ministry, above all to the bishops, and thenceforth became an essential function of their office. A church in Gaul about the year 460 opposed the ordination of a monk to the bishopric, because, being unaccustomed to intercourse with secular magistrates, though he might intercede with the Heavenly Judge for their souls, he could not with the earthly for their bodies. The bishops were regarded particularly as the guardians of widows and orphans, and the control of their property was intrusted to them. Justinian in 529 assigned to them also a supervision of the prisons, which they were to visit on Wednesdays and Fridays, the days of Christ's passion.

The exercise of this right of intercession, one may well suppose, often obstructed the course of justice; but it also, in innumerable cases, especially in times of cruel, arbitrary despotism, protected the interests of innocence, humanity, and mercy. Sometimes, by the powerful pleadings of bishops with governors and emperors, whole provinces were rescued from oppressive taxation and from the revenge of conquerors. Thus Flavian of Antioch in 387 averted the wrath of Theodosius on occasion of a rebellion, journeying under the double burden of age and sickness even to Constantinople to the emperor himself, and with complete success, as an ambassador of their common Lord, reminding him of the words: "If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."162

6. With the right of intercession was closely connected the right of asylum in churches.

In former times many of the heathen temples and altars, with some exceptions, were held inviolable as places of refuge; and the Christian churches now inherited also this prerogative. The usage, with some precautions against abuse, was made law by Theodosius II. in 431, and the ill treatment of an unarmed fugitive in any part of the church edifice, or even upon the consecrated ground, was threatened with the penalty of death.163

Thus slaves found sure refuge from the rage of their masters, debtors from the persecution of inexorable creditors, women and virgins from the approaches of profligates, the conquered from the sword of their enemies, in the holy places, until the bishop by his powerful mediation could procure justice or mercy. The beneficence of this law, which had its root not in superstition alone, but in the nobler sympathies of the people, comes most impressively to view amidst the ragings of the great migration and of the frequent intestine wars.164

§ 17. Legal Sanction of Sunday.

7. The civil sanction of the observance of Sunday and other festivals of the church.

The state, indeed, should not and cannot enforce this observance upon any one, but may undoubtedly and should prohibit the public disturbance and profanation of the Christian Sabbath, and protect the Christians in their right and duty of its proper observance. Constantine in 321 forbade the sitting of courts and all secular labor in towns on "the venerable day of the sun," as he expresses himself, perhaps with reference at once to the sun-god, Apollo, and to Christ, the true Sun of righteousness; to his pagan and his Christian subjects. But he distinctly permitted the culture of farms and vineyards in the country, because frequently this could be attended to on no other day so well;165 though one would suppose that the hard-working peasantry were the very ones who most needed the day of rest. Soon afterward, in June, 321, he allowed the manumission of slaves on Sunday;166 as this, being an act of benevolence, was different from ordinary business, and might be altogether appropriate to the day of resurrection and redemption. According to Eusebius, Constantine also prohibited all military exercises on Sunday, and at the same time enjoined the observance of Friday in memory of the death of Christ.167

Nay, he went so far, in well-meaning but mistaken zeal, as to require of his soldiers, even the pagan ones, the positive observance of Sunday, by pronouncing at a signal the following prayer, which they mechanically learned: "Thee alone we acknowledge as God; thee we confess as king; to thee we call as our helper; from thee we have received victories; through thee we have conquered enemies. Thee we thank for good received; from thee we hope for good to come. Thee we all most humbly beseech to keep our Constantine and his God-fearing sons through long life healthy and victorious."168 Though this formula was held in a deistical generalness, yet the legal injunction of it lay clearly beyond the province of the civil power, trespassed on the rights of conscience, and unavoidably encouraged hypocrisy and empty formalism.

Later emperors declared the profanation of Sunday to be sacrilege, and prohibited also the collecting of taxes and private debts (368 and 386), and even theatrical and circus performances, on Sunday and the high festivals (386 and 425).169 But this interdiction of public amusements, on which a council of Carthage (399 or 401) with reason insisted, was probably never rigidly enforced, and was repeatedly supplanted by the opposite practice, which gradually prevailed all over Europe.170

§ 18. Influence of Christianity on Civil Legislation. The Justinian Code.

Comp. on this subject particularly the works cited at § 13, sub ii, by Rhoer, Meysenburg, and Troplong; also Gibbon, chap. xliv (an admirable summary of the Roman law), Milman: Lat. Christianity, vol. I. B. iii. chap. 5, and in part the works of Schmidt and Chastel on the influence of Christianity upon society in the Roman empire, quoted in vol. i. § 86.

While in this way the state secured to the church the well-deserved rights of a legal corporation, the church exerted in turn a most beneficent influence on the state, liberating it by degrees from the power of heathen laws and customs, from the spirit of egotism, revenge, and retaliation, and extending its care beyond mere material prosperity to the higher moral interests of society. In the previous period we observed the contrast between Christian morality and heathen corruption in the Roman empire.171 We are now to see how the principles of Christian morality gained public recognition, and began at least in some degree to rule the civil and political life.

As early as the second century, under the better heathen emperors, and evidently under the indirect, struggling, yet irresistible influence of the Christian spirit, legislation took a reformatory, humane turn, which was carried by the Christian emperors as far as it could be carried on the basis of the ancient Graeco-Roman civilization. Now, above all, the principle of justice and equity, humanity and love, began to assert itself in the state. For Christianity, with its doctrines of man's likeness to God, of the infinite value of personality, of the original unity of the human race, and of the common redemption through Christ, first brought the universal rights of man to bear in opposition to the exclusive national spirit, the heartless selfishness, and the political absolutism of the old world, which harshly separated nations and classes, and respected man only as a citizen, while at the same time it denied the right of citizenship to the great mass of slaves, foreigners, and barbarians.172

Christ himself began his reformation with the lowest orders of the people, with fishermen and taxgatherers, with the poor, the lame, the blind, with demoniacs and sufferers of every kind, and raised them first to the sense of their dignity and their high destiny. So now the church wrought in the state and through the state for the elevation of the oppressed and the needy, and of those classes which under the reign of heathenism were not reckoned at all in the body politic, but were heartlessly trodden under foot. The reformatory motion was thwarted, it is true, to a considerable extent, by popular custom, which is stronger than law, and by the structure of society in the Roman empire, which was still essentially heathen and doomed to dissolution. But reform was at last set in motion, and could not be turned back even by the overthrow of the empire; it propagated itself among the German tribes. And although even in Christian states the old social maladies are ever breaking forth from corrupt human nature, sometimes with the violence of revolution, Christianity is ever coming in to restrain, to purify, to heal, and to console, curbing the wild passions of tyrants and of populace, vindicating the persecuted, mitigating the horrors of war, and repressing incalculable vice in public and in private life among Christian people. The most cursory comparison of Christendom with the most civilized heathen and Mohammedan countries affords ample testimony of this.

Here again the reign of Constantine is a turning point. Though an oriental despot, and but imperfectly possessed with the earnestness of Christian morality, he nevertheless enacted many laws, which distinctly breathe the spirit of Christian justice and humanity: the abolition of the punishment of crucifixion, the prohibition of gladiatorial games and cruel rites, the discouragement of infanticide, and the encouragement of the emancipation of slaves. Eusebius says he improved most of the old laws or replaced them by new ones.173 Henceforward we feel beneath the toga of the Roman lawgiver the warmth of a Christian heart. We perceive the influence of the evangelical preaching and exhortations of the father of monasticism out of the Egyptian desert to the rulers of the world, Constantine and his sons: that they should show justice and mercy to the poor, and remember the judgment to come.

Even Julian, with all his hatred of the Christians, could not entirely renounce the influence of his education and of the reigning spirit of the age, but had to borrow from the church many of his measures for the reformation of heathenism. He recognized especially the duty of benevolence toward all men, charity to the poor, and clemency to prisoners; though this was contrary to the heathen sentiment, and though he proved himself anything but benevolent toward the Christians. But then the total failure of his philanthropic plans and measures shows that the true love for man can thrive only in Christian soil. And it is remarkable, that, with all this involuntary concession to Christianity, Julian himself passed not a single law in line with the progress of natural rights and equity.174

His successors trod in the footsteps of Constantine, and to the end of the West Roman empire kept the civil legislation under the influence of the Christian spirit, though thus often occasioning conflicts with the still lingering heathen element, and sometimes temporary apostasy and reaction. We observe also, in remarkable contradiction, that while the laws were milder in some respects, they were in others even more severe and bloody than ever before: a paradox to be explained no doubt in part by the despotic character of the Byzantine government, and in part by the disorders of the time.175

It now became necessary to collect the imperial ordinances176 in a codex or corpus juris. Of the first two attempts of this kind, made in the middle of the fourth century, only some fragments remain.177 But we have the Codex Theodosianus, which Theodosius II. caused to be made by several jurists between the years 429 and 438. It contains the laws of the Christian emperors from Constantine down, adulterated with many heathen elements; and it was sanctioned by Valentinian III. for the western empire. A hundred years later, in the flourishing period of the Byzantine state-church despotism, Justinian I., who, by the way, cannot be acquitted of the reproach of capricious and fickle law-making, committed to a number of lawyers, under the direction of the renowned Tribonianus,178 the great task of making a complete revised and digested collection of the Roman law from the time of Hadrian to his own reign; and thus arose, in the short period of seven years (527–534), through the combination of the best talent and the best facilities, the celebrated Codex Justinianeus, which thenceforth became the universal law of the Roman empire, the sole text book in the academies at Rome, Constantinople, and Berytus, and the basis of the legal relations of the greater part of Christian Europe to this day.179

This body of Roman law180 is an important source of our knowledge of the Christian life in its relations to the state and its influence upon it. It is, to be sure, in great part the legacy of pagan Rome, which was constitutionally endowed with legislative and administrative genius, and thereby as it were predestined to universal empire. But it received essential modification through the orientalizing change in the character of the empire from the time of Constantine, through the infusion of various Germanic elements, through the influence of the law of Moses, and, in its best points, through the spirit of Christianity. The church it fully recognizes as a legitimate institution and of divine authority, and several of its laws were enacted at the direct instance of bishops. So the "Common Law," the unwritten traditional law of England and America, though descending from the Anglo-Saxon times, therefore from heathen Germandom, has ripened under the influence of Christianity and the church, and betrays this influence even far more plainly than the Roman code, especially in all that regards the individual and personal rights and liberties of man.

§ 19. Elevation of Woman and the Family.

The benign effect of Christianity on legislation in the Graeco-Roman empire is especially noticeable in the following points:

1. In the treatment of women. From the beginning, Christianity labored, primarily in the silent way of fact, for the elevation of the female sex from the degraded, slavish position, which it occupied in the heathen world;181 and even in this period it produced such illustrious models of female virtue as Nonna, Anthusa, and Monica, who commanded the highest respect of the heathens themselves. The Christian emperors pursued this work, though the Roman legislation stops considerably short of the later Germanic in regard to the rights of woman. Constantine in 321 granted women the same right as men to control their property, except in the sale of their landed estates. At the same time, from regard to their modesty, he prohibited the summoning them in person before the public tribunal. Theodosius I. in 390 was the first to allow the mother a certain right of guardianship, which had formerly been intrusted exclusively to men. Theodosius II. in 439 interdicted, but unfortunately with little success, the scandalous trade of the lenones, who lived by the prostitution of women, and paid a considerable license tax to the state.182 Woman received protection in various ways against the beastly passion of man. The rape of consecrated virgins and widows was punishable, from the time of Constantine, with death.183

2. In the marriage laws, Constantine gave marriage its due freedom by abolishing the old Roman penalties against celibacy and childlessness.184 On the other hand, marriage now came to be restricted under heavy penalties by the introduction of the Old Testament prohibitions of marriage within certain degrees of consanguinity, which subsequently were arbitrarily extended even to the relation of cousin down to the third remove.185 Justinian forbade also marriage between godparent and godchild, on the ground of spiritual kinship. But better than all, the dignity and sanctity of marriage were now protected by restrictions upon the boundless liberty of divorce which had obtained from the time of Augustus, and had vastly hastened the decay of public morals. Still, the strict view of the fathers, who, following the word of Christ, recognized adultery alone as a sufficient ground of divorce, could not be carried out in the state.186 The legislation of the emperors in this matter wavered between the licentiousness of Rome and the doctrine of the church. So late as the fifth century we hear a Christian author complain that men exchange wives as they would garments, and that the bridal chamber is exposed to sale like a shoe on the market! Justinian attempted to bring the public laws up to the wish of the church, but found himself compelled to relax them; and his successor allowed divorce even on the ground of mutual consent.187

Concubinage was forbidden from the time of Constantine, and adultery punished as one of the grossest crimes.188 Yet here also pagan habit ever and anon reacted in practice, and even the law seems to have long tolerated the wild marriage which rested only on mutual agreement, and was entered into without convenant, dowry, or ecclesiastical sanction.189 Solemnization by the church was not required by the state as the condition of a legitimate marriage till the eighth century. Second marriage, also, and mixed marriages with heretics and heathens, continued to be allowed, notwithstanding the disapproval of the stricter church teachers; only marriage with Jews was prohibited, on account of their fanatical hatred of the Christians.190

3. The power of fathers over their children, which according to the old Roman law extended even to their freedom and life, had been restricted by Alexander Severus under the influence of the monarchical spirit, which is unfavorable to private jurisdiction, and was still further limited under Constantine. This emperor declared the killing of a child by its father, which the Pompeian law left unpunished, to be one of the greatest crimes.191 But the cruel and unnatural practice of exposing children and selling them into slavery continued for a long time, especially among the laboring and agricultural classes. Even the indirect measures of Valentinian and Theodosius I. could not eradicate the evil. Theodosius in 391 commanded that children which had been sold as slaves by their father from poverty, should be free, and that without indemnity to the purchasers; and Justinian in 529 gave all exposed children without exception their freedom.192

§ 20. Social Reforms. The Institution of Slavery.

4. The institution of slavery193 remained throughout the empire, and is recognized in the laws of Justinian as altogether legitimate.194 The Justinian code rests on the broad distinction of the human race into freemen and slaves. It declares, indeed, the natural equality of men, and so far rises above the theory of Aristotle, who regards certain races and classes of men as irrevocably doomed, by their physical and intellectual inferiority, to perpetual servitude; but it destroys the practical value of this concession by insisting as sternly as ever on the inferior legal and social condition of the slave, by degrading his marriage to the disgrace of concubinage, by refusing him all legal remedy in case of adultery, by depriving him of all power over his children, by making him an article of merchandise like irrational beasts of burden, whose transfer from vender to buyer was a legal transaction as valid and frequent as the sale of any other property. The purchase and sale of slaves for from ten to seventy pieces of gold, according to their age, strength, and training, was a daily occurrence.195 The number was not limited; many a master owning even two or three thousand slaves.

The barbarian codes do not essentially differ in this respect from the Roman. They, too, recognize slavery as an ordinary condition of mankind and the slave as a marketable commodity. All captives in war became slaves, and thousands of human lives were thus saved from indiscriminate massacre and extermination. The victory of Stilicho over Rhadagaisus threw 200,000 Goths and other Germans into the market, and lowered the price of a slave from twenty-five pieces of gold to one. The capture and sale of men was part of the piratical system along all the shores of Europe. Anglo-Saxons were freely sold in Rome at the time of Gregory the Great. The barbarian codes prohibited as severely as the Justinian code the debasing alliance of the freeman with the slave, but they seem to excel the latter in acknowledging the legality and religious sanctity of marriages between slaves; that of the Lombards on the authority of the Scripture sentence: "Whom God has joined together, let no man put asunder."

The legal wall of partition, which separated the slaves from free citizens and excluded them from the universal rights of man, was indeed undermined, but by no means broken down, by the ancient church, who taught only the moral and religious equality of men. We find slaveholders even among the bishops and the higher clergy of the empire. Slaves belonged to the papal household at Rome, as we learn incidentally from the acts of a Roman synod held in 501 in consequence of the disputed election of Symmachus, where his opponents insisted upon his slaves being called in as witnesses, while his adherents protested against this extraordinary request, since the civil law excluded the slaves from the right of giving testimony before a court of justice.196 Among the barbarians, likewise, we read of slaveholding churches, and of special provisions to protect their slaves.197 Constantine issued rigid laws against intermarriage with slaves, all the offspring of which must be slaves; and against fugitive slaves (a.d. 319 and 326), who at that time in great multitudes plundered deserted provinces or joined with hostile barbarians against the empire. But on the other hand he facilitated manumission, permitted it even on Sunday, and gave the clergy the right to emancipate their slaves simply by their own word, without the witnesses and ceremonies required in other cases.198 By Theodosius and Justinian the liberation of slaves was still further encouraged. The latter emperor abolished the penalty of condemnation to servitude, and by giving to freed persons the rank and rights of citizens, he removed the stain which had formerly attached to that class.199 The spirit of his laws favored the gradual abolition of domestic slavery. In the Byzantine empire in general the differences of rank in society were more equalized, though not so much on Christian principle as in the interest of despotic monarchy. Despotism and extreme democracy meet in predilection for universal equality and uniformity. Neither can suffer any overshadowing greatness, save the majesty of the prince or the will of the people. The one system knows none but slaves; the other, none but masters.

Nor was an entire abolition of slavery at that time at all demanded or desired even by the church. As in the previous period, she still thought it sufficient to insist on the kind Christian treatment of slaves, enjoining upon them obedience for the sake of the Lord, comforting them in their low condition with the thought of their higher moral freedom and equality, and by the religious education of the slaves making an inward preparation for the abolition of the institution. All hasty and violent measures met with decided disapproval. The council of Gangra threatens with the ban every one, who under pretext of religion seduces slaves into contempt of their masters; and the council of Chalcedon, in its fourth canon, on pain of excommunication forbids monasteries to harbor slaves without permission of the masters, lest Christianity be guilty of encouraging insubordination. The church fathers, so far as they enter this subject at all, seem to look upon slavery as at once a necessary evil and a divine instrument of discipline; tracing it to the curse on Ham and Canaan.200 It is true, they favor emancipation in individual cases, as an act of Christian love on the part of the master, but not as a right on the part of the slave; and the well-known passage: "If then mayest be made free, use it rather," they understand not as a challenge to slaves to take the first opportunity to gain their freedom, but, on the contrary, as a challenge to remain in their servitude, since they are at all events inwardly free in Christ, and their outward condition is of no account.201

Even St. Chrysostom, though of all the church fathers the nearest to the emancipation theory and the most attentive to the question of slavery in general, does not rise materially above this view.202 According to him mankind were originally created perfectly free and equal, without the addition of a slave. But by the fall man lost the power of self-government, and fell into a threefold bondage: the bondage of woman under man, of slave under master, of subject under ruler. These three relations he considers divine punishments and divine means of discipline. Thus slavery, as a divine arrangement occasioned by the fall, is at once relatively justified and in principle condemned. Now since Christ has delivered us from evil and its consequences, slavery, according to Chrysostom, is in principle abolished in the church, yet only in the sense in which sin and death are abolished. Regenerate Christians are not slaves, but perfectly free men in Christ and brethren among themselves. The exclusive authority of the one and subjection of the other give place to mutual service in love. Consistently carried out, this view leads of course to emancipation. Chrysostom, it is true, does not carry it to that point, but he decidedly condemns all luxurious slaveholding, and thinks one or two servants enough for necessary help, while many patricians had hundreds and thousands. He advises the liberation of superfluous slaves, and the education of all, that in case they should be liberated, they may know how to take care of themselves. He is of opinion that the first Christian community at Jerusalem, in connection with community of goods, emancipated all their slaves;203 and thus he gives his hearers a hint to follow that example. But of an appeal to slaves to break their bonds, this father shows of course no trace; he rather, after apostolic precedent, exhorts them to conscientious and cheerful obedience for Christ's sake, as earnestly as he inculcates upon masters humanity and love. The same is true of Ambrose, Augustine, and Peter Chrysologus of Ravenna († 458).

St. Augustine, the noblest representative of the Latin church, in his profound work on the "City of God," excludes slavery from the original idea of man and the final condition of society, and views it as an evil consequent upon sin, yet under divine direction and control. For God, he says, created man reasonable and lord only over the unreasonable, not over man. The burden of servitude was justly laid upon the sinner. Therefore the term servant is not found in the Scriptures till Noah used it as a curse upon his offending son. Thus it was guilt and not nature that deserved that name. The Latin word servus is supposed to be derived from servare [servire rather], or the preservation of the prisoners of war from death, which itself implies the desert of sin. For even in a just war there is sin on one side, and every victory humbles the conquered by divine judgment, either reforming their sins or punishing them. Daniel saw in the sins of the people the real cause of their captivity. Sin, therefore, is the mother of servitude and first cause of man's subjection to man; yet this does not come to pass except by the judgment of God, with whom there is no injustice, and who knows how to adjust the various punishments to the merits of the offenders .... The apostle exhorts the servants to obey their masters and to serve them ex animo, with good will; to the end that, if they cannot be made free from their masters, they may make their servitude a freedom to themselves by serving them not in deceitful fear, but in faithful love, until iniquity be overpassed, and all man's principality and power be annulled, and God be all in all.204

As might be expected, after the conversion of the emperors, and of rich and noble families, who owned most slaves, cases of emancipation became more frequent.205 The biographer of St. Samson Xenodochos, a contemporary of Justinian, says of him: "His troop of slaves he would not keep, still less exercise over his fellow servants a lordly authority; he preferred magnanimously to let them go free, and gave them enough for the necessaries of life."206 Salvianus, a Gallic presbyter of the fifth century, says that slaves were emancipated daily.207 On the other hand, very much was done in the church to prevent the increase of slavery; especially in the way of redeeming prisoners, to which sometimes the gold and silver vessels of churches were applied. But we have no reliable statistics for comparing even approximately the proportion of the slaves to the free population at the close of the sixth century with the proportion in the former period.

We infer then, that the Christianity of the Nicene and post-Nicene age, though naturally conservative and decidedly opposed to social revolution and violent measures of reform, yet in its inmost instincts and ultimate tendencies favored the universal freedom of man, and, by elevating the slave to spiritual equality with the master, and uniformly treating him as capable of the same virtues, blessings, and rewards, has placed the hateful institution of human bondage in the way of gradual amelioration and final extinction. This result, however, was not reached in Europe till many centuries after our period, nor by the influence of the church alone, but with the help of various economical and political causes, the unprofitableness of slavery, especially in more northern latitudes, the new relations introduced by the barbarian conquests, the habits of the Teutonic tribes settled within the Roman empire, the attachment of the rural slave to the soil, and the change of the slave into the serf, who was as immovable as the soil, and thus, in some degree independent on the caprice and despotism of his master.

5. The poor and unfortunate in general, above all the widows and orphans, prisoners and sick, who were so terribly neglected in heathen times, now drew the attention of the imperial legislators. Constantine in 315 prohibited the branding of criminals on the forehead, "that the human countenance," as he said, "formed after the image of heavenly beauty, should not be defaced."208 He provided against the inhuman maltreatment of prisoners before their trial.209 To deprive poor parents of all pretext for selling or exposing their children, he had them furnished with food and clothing, partly at his own expense and partly at that of the state.210 He likewise endeavored, particularly by a law of the year 331, to protect the poor against the venality and extortion of judges, advocates, and tax collectors, who drained the people by their exactions.211 In the year 334 he ordered that widows, orphans, the sick, and the poor should not be compelled to appear be. fore a tribunal outside their own province. Valentinian, in 365, exempted widows and orphans from the ignoble poll tax.212 In 364 he intrusted the bishops with the supervision of the poor. Honorius did the same in 409. Justinian, in 529, as we have before remarked, gave the bishops the oversight of the state prisons, which they were to visit on Wednesdays and Fridays, to bring home to the unfortunates the earnestness and comfort of religion. The same emperor issued laws against usury and inhuman severity in creditors, and secured benevolent and religious foundations by strict laws against alienation of their revenues from the original design of the founders. Several emperors and empresses took the church institutions for the poor and sick, for strangers, widows, and orphans, under their special patronage, exempted them from the usual taxes, and enriched or enlarged them from their private funds.213 Yet in those days, as still in ours, the private beneficence of Christian love took the lead, and the state followed at a distance, rather with ratification and patronage than with independent and original activity.214

§ 21. Abolition of Gladiatorial Shows.

6. And finally, one of the greatest and most beautiful victories of Christian humanity over heathen barbarism and cruelty was the abolition of gladiatorial contests, against which the apologists in the second century had already raised the most earnest protest.215

These bloody shows, in which human beings, mostly criminals, prisoners of war, and barbarians, by hundreds and thousands killed one another or were killed in fight with wild beasts for the amusement of the spectators, were still in full favor at the beginning of the period before us. The pagan civilization here proves itself impotent. In its eyes the life of a barbarian is of no other use than to serve the cruel amusement of the Roman people, who wish quietly to behold with their own eyes and enjoy at home the martial bloodshedding of their frontiers. Even the humane Symmachus gave an exhibition of this kind during his consulate (391), and was enraged that twenty-nine Saxon prisoners of war escaped this public shame by suicide.216 While the Vestal virgins existed, it was their special prerogative to cheer on the combatants in the amphitheatre to the bloody work, and to give the signal for the deadly stroke.217

The contagion of the thirst for blood, which these spectacles generated, is presented to us in a striking example by Augustine in his Confessions.218 His friend Alypius, afterward bishop of Tagaste, was induced by some friends in 385 to visit the amphitheatre at Rome, and went resolved to lock himself up against all impressions. "When they reached the spot," says Augustine, "and took their places on the hired seats, everything already foamed with bloodthirsty delight. But Alypius, with closed eyes, forbade his soul to yield to this sin. O had he but stopped also his ears! For when, on the fall of a gladiator in the contest, the wild shout of the whole multitude fell upon him, overcome by curiosity he opened his eyes, though prepared to despise and resist the sight. But he was smitten with a more grievous wound in the soul than the combatant in the body, and fell more lamentably .... For when he saw the blood, he imbibed at once the love of it, turned not away, fastened his eyes upon it, caught the spirit of rage and vengeance before he knew it, and, fascinated with the murderous game, became drunk with bloodthirsty joy .... He looked, shouted applause, burned, and carried with him thence the frenzy, by which he was drawn to go back, not only with those who had taken him there, but before them, and taking others with him."

Christianity finally succeeded in closing the amphitheatre. Constantine, who in his earlier reign himself did homage to the popular custom in this matter, and exposed a great multitude of conquered barbarians to death in the amphitheatre at Treves, for which he was highly commended by a heathen orator,219 issued in 325, the year of the great council of the church at Nice, the first prohibition of the bloody spectacles, "because they cannot be pleasing in a time of public peace."220 But this edict, which is directed to the prefects of Phoenicia, had no permanent effect even in the East, except at Constantinople, which was never stained with the blood of gladiators. In Syria and especially in the West, above all in Rome, the deeply rooted institution continued into the fifth century. Honorius (395–423), who at first considered it indestructible, abolished the gladiatorial shows about 404, and did so at the instance of the heroic self-denial of an eastern monk by the name of Telemachus, who journeyed to Rome expressly to protest against this inhuman barbarity, threw himself into the arena, separated the combatants, and then was torn to pieces by the populace, a martyr to humanity.221 Yet this put a stop only to the bloody combats of men. Unbloody spectacles of every kind, even on the high festivals of the church and amidst the invasions of the barbarians, as we see by the grievous complaints of a Chrysostom, an Augustine, and a Salvian, were as largely and as passionately attended as ever; and even fights with wild animals, in which human life was generally more or less sacrificed, continued,222 and, to the scandal of the Christian name, are tolerated in Spain and South America to this day.

§ 22. Evils of the Union of Church and State. Secularization of the Church.

We turn now to the dark side of the union of the church with the state; to the consideration of the disadvantages which grew out of their altered relation after the time of Constantine, and which continue to show themselves in the condition of the church in Europe to our own time.

These evil results may be summed up under the general designation of the secularization of the church. By taking in the whole population of the Roman empire the church became, indeed, a church of the masses, a church of the people, but at the same time more or less a church of the world. Christianity became a matter of fashion. The number of hypocrites and formal professors rapidly increased;223 strict discipline, zeal, self-sacrifice, and brotherly love proportionally ebbed away; and many heathen customs and usages, under altered names, crept into the worship of God and the life of the Christian people. The Roman state had grown up under the influence of idolatry, and was not to be magically transformed at a stroke. With the secularizing process, therefore, a paganizing tendency went hand in hand.

Yet the pure spirit of Christianity could by no means be polluted by this. On the contrary it retained even in the darkest days its faithful and steadfast confessors, conquered new provinces from time to time, constantly reacted, both within the established church and outside of it, in the form of monasticism, against the secular and the pagan influences, and, in its very struggle with the prevailing corruption, produced such church fathers as Athanasius, Chrysostom, and Augustine, such exemplary Christian mothers as Nonna, Anthusa, and Monica, and such extraordinary saints of the desert as Anthony, Pachomius, and Benedict. New enemies and dangers called forth new duties and virtues, which could now unfold themselves on a larger stage, and therefore also on a grander scale. Besides, it must not be forgotten, that the tendency to secularization is by no means to be ascribed only to Constantine and the influence of the state, but to the deeper source of the corrupt heart of man, and did reveal itself, in fact, though within a much narrower compass, long before, under the heathen emperors, especially in the intervals of repose, when the earnestness and zeal of Christian life slumbered and gave scope to a worldly spirit.

The difference between the age after Constantine and the age before consists, therefore, not at all in the cessation of true Christianity and the entrance of false, but in the preponderance of the one over the other. The field of the church was now much larger, but with much good soil it included far more that was stony, barren, and overgrown with weeds. The line between church and world, between regenerate and unregenerate, between those who were Christians in name and those who were Christians in heart, was more or less obliterated, and in place of the former hostility between the two parties there came a fusion of them in the same outward communion of baptism and confession. This brought the conflict between light and darkness, truth and falsehood, Christ and antichrist, into the bosom of Christendom itself.

§23. Worldliness and Extravagance.

The secularization of the church appeared most strikingly in the prevalence of mammon worship and luxury compared with the poverty and simplicity of the primitive Christians. The aristocracy of the later empire had a morbid passion for outward display and the sensual enjoyments of wealth, without the taste, the politeness, or the culture of true civilization. The gentlemen measured their fortune by the number of their marble palaces, baths, slaves, and gilded carriages; the ladies indulged in raiment of silk and gold ornamented with secular or religious figures, and in heavy golden necklaces, bracelets, and rings, and went to church in the same flaunting dress as to the theatre.224 Chrysostom addresses a patrician of Antioch: "You count so and so many acres of land, ten or twenty palaces, as many baths, a thousand or two thousand slaves, carriages plated with silver and gold."225 Gregory Nazianzen, who presided for a time in the second ecumenical council of Constantinople in 381, gives us the following picture, evidently rhetorically colored, yet drawn from life, of the luxury of the degenerate civilization of that period: "We repose in splendor on high and sumptuous cushions, upon the most exquisite covers, which one is almost afraid to touch, and are vexed if we but hear the voice of a moaning pauper; our chamber must breathe the odor of flowers, even rare flowers; our table must flow with the most fragrant and costly ointment, so that we become perfectly effeminate. Slaves must stand ready, richly adorned and in order, with waving, maidenlike hair, and faces shorn perfectly smooth, more adorned throughout than is good for lascivious eyes; some, to hold cups both delicately and firmly with the tips of their fingers, others, to fan fresh air upon the head. Our table must bend under the load of dishes, while all the kingdoms of nature, air, water and earth, furnish copious contributions, and there must be almost no room for the artificial products of cook and baker .... The poor man is content with water; but we fill our goblets with wine to drunkenness, nay, immeasurably beyond it. We refuse one wine, another we pronounce excellent when well flavored, over a third we institute philosophical discussions; nay, we count it a pity, if he does not, as a king, add to the domestic wine a foreign also."226 Still more unfavorable are the pictures which, a half century later, the Gallic presbyter, Salvianus, draws of the general moral condition of the Christians in the Roman empire.227

It is true, these earnest protests against degeneracy themselves, as well as the honor in which monasticism and ascetic contempt of the world were universally held, attest the existence of a better spirit. But the uncontrollable progress of avarice, prodigality, voluptuousness, theatre going, intemperance, lewdness, in short, of all the heathen vices, which Christianity had come to eradicate, still carried the Roman empire and people with rapid strides toward dissolution, and gave it at last into the hands of the rude, but simple and morally vigorous barbarians. When the Christians were awakened by the crashings of the falling empire, and anxiously asked why God permitted it, Salvian, the Jeremiah of his time, answered: "Think of your vileness and your crimes, and see whether you are worthy of the divine protection."228 Nothing but the divine judgment of destruction upon this nominally Christian, but essentially heathen world, could open the way for the moral regeneration of society. There must be new, fresh nations, if the Christian civilization prepared in the old Roman empire was to take firm root and bear ripe fruit.

§ 24. Byzantine Court Christianity.

The unnatural confusion of Christianity with the world culminated in the imperial court of Constantinople, which, it is true, never violated moral decency so grossly as the court of a Nero or a Domitian, but in vain pomp and prodigality far outdid the courts of the better heathen emperors, and degenerated into complete oriental despotism. The household of Constantius, according to the description of Libanius,229 embraced no less than a thousand barbers, a thousand cup bearers, a thousand cooks, and so many eunuchs, that they could be compared only to the insects of a summer day. This boundless luxury was for a time suppressed by the pagan Julian, who delighted in stoical and cynical severity, and was fond of displaying it; but under his Christian successors the same prodigality returned; especially under Theodosius and his sons. These emperors, who prohibited idolatry upon pain of death, called their laws, edicts, and palaces "divine," bore themselves as gods upon earth, and, on the rare occasions when they showed themselves to the people, unfurled an incredible magnificence and empty splendor.

"When Arcadius," to borrow a graphic description from a modern historian, "condescended to reveal to the public the majesty of the sovereign, he was preceded by a vast multitude of attendants, dukes, tribunes, civil and military officers, their horses glittering with golden ornaments, with shields of gold set with precious stones, and golden lances. They proclaimed the coming of the emperor, and commanded the ignoble crowd to clear the streets before him. The emperor stood or reclined on a gorgeous chariot, surrounded by his immediate attendants, distinguished by shields with golden bosses set round with golden eyes, and drawn by white mules with gilded trappings; the chariot was set with precious stones, and golden fans vibrated with the movement, and cooled the air. The multitude contemplated at a distance the snow-white cushions, the silken carpets, with dragons inwoven upon them in rich colors. Those who were fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of the emperor, beheld his ears loaded with golden rings, his arms with golden chains, his diadem set with gems of all hues, his purple robes, which, with the diadem, were reserved for the emperor, in all their sutures embroidered with precious stones. The wondering people, on their return to their homes, could talk of nothing but the splendor of the spectacle: the robes, the mules, the carpets, the size and splendor of the jewels. On his return to the palace, the emperor walked on gold; ships were employed with the express purpose of bringing gold dust from remote provinces, which was strewn by the officious care of a host of attendants, so that the emperor rarely set his foot on the bare pavement."230

The Christianity of the Byzantine court lived in the atmosphere of intrigue, dissimulation, and flattery. Even the court divines and bishops could hardly escape the contamination, though their high office, with its sacred functions, was certainly a protecting wall around them. One of these bishops congratulated Constantine, at the celebration of the third decennium of his reign (the tricennalia), that he had been appointed by God ruler over all in this world, and would reign with the Son of God in the other! This blasphemous flattery was too much even for the vain emperor, and he exhorted the bishop rather to pray God that he might be worthy to be one of his servants in this world and the next.231 Even the church historian and bishop Eusebius, who elsewhere knew well enough how to value the higher blessings, and lamented the indescribable hypocrisy of the sham Christianity around the emperor,232 suffered himself to be so far blinded by the splendor of the imperial favor, as to see in a banquet, which Constantine gave in his palace to the bishops at the close of the council of Nice, in honor of his twenty years' reign (the vicennalia), an emblem of the glorious reign of Christ upon the earth!233

And these were bishops, of whom many still bore in their body the marks of the Diocletian persecution. So rapidly had changed the spirit of the age. While, on the other hand, the well-known firmness of Ambrose with Theodosius, and the life of Chrysostom, afford delightful proof that there were not wanting, even in this age, bishops of Christian earnestness and courage to rebuke the sins of crowned heads.

§ 25. Intrusion of Politics into Religion.

With the union of the church and the state begins the long and tedious history of their collisions and their mutual struggles for the mastery: the state seeking to subject the church to the empire, the church to subject the state to the hierarchy, and both very often transgressing the limits prescribed to their power in that word of the Lord: "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." From the time of Constantine, therefore, the history of the church and that of the world in Europe are so closely interwoven, that neither can be understood without the other. On the one hand, the political rulers, as the highest members and the patrons of the church, claimed a right to a share in her government, and interfered in various ways in her external and internal affairs, either to her profit or to her prejudice. On the other hand, the bishops and patriarchs, as the highest dignitaries and officers of the state religion, became involved in all sorts of secular matters and in the intrigues of the Byzantine court. This mutual intermixture, on the whole, was of more injury than benefit to the church and to religion, and fettered her free and natural development.

Of a separation of religion and politics, of the spiritual power from the temporal, heathen antiquity knew nothing, because it regarded religion itself only from a natural point of view, and subjected it to the purposes of the all-ruling state, the highest known form of human society. The Egyptian kings, as Plutarch tells us, were at the same time priests, or were received into the priesthood at their election. In Greece the civil magistrate had supervision of the priests and sanctuaries.234 In Rome, after the time of Numa, this supervision was intrusted to a senator, and afterward united with the imperial office. All the pagan emperors, from Augustus235 to Julian the Apostate, were at the same time supreme pontiffs (Pontifices Maximi), the heads of the state religion, emperor-popes. As such they could not only perform all priestly functions, even to offering sacrifices, when superstition or policy prompted them to do so, but they also stood at the head of the highest sacerdotal college (of fifteen or more Pontifices), which in turn regulated and superintended the three lower classes of priests (the Epulones, Quindecemviri, and Augures), the temples and altars, the sacrifices, divinations, feasts, and ceremonies, the exposition of the Sibylline books, the calendar, in short, all public worship, and in part even the affairs of marriage and inheritance.

Now it may easily be supposed that the Christian emperors, who, down to Gratian (about 380), even retained the name and the insignia of the Pontifex Maximus, claimed the same oversight of the Christian religion established in the empire, which their predecessors had had of the heathen; only with this material difference, that they found here a stricter separation between the religious element and the political, the ecclesiastical and the secular, and were obliged to bind themselves to the already existing doctrines, usages, and traditions of the church which claimed divine institution and authority.

§ 26. The Emperor-Papacy and the Hierarchy.

And this, in point of fact, took place first under Constantine, and developed under his successors, particularly under Justinian, into the system of the Byzantine imperial papacy,236 or of the supremacy of the state over the church.

Constantine once said to the bishops at a banquet, that he also, as a Christian emperor, was a divinely appointed bishop, a bishop over the external affairs of the church, while the internal affairs belonged to the bishops proper.237 In this pregnant word he expressed the new posture of the civil sovereign toward the church in a characteristic though indefinite and equivocal way. He made there a distinction between two divinely authorized episcopates; one secular or imperial, corresponding with the old office of Pontifex Maximus, and extending over the whole Roman empire, therefore ecumenical or universal; the other spiritual or sacerdotal, divided among the different diocesan bishops, and appearing properly in its unity and totality only in a general council.

Accordingly, though not yet even baptized, he acted as the patron and universal temporal bishop of the church;238 summoned the first ecumenical council for the settlement of the controversy respecting the divinity of Christ; instituted and deposed bishops; and occasionally even delivered sermons to the people; but on the other hand, with genuine tact (though this was in his earlier period, a.d. 314), kept aloof from the Donatist controversy, and referred to the episcopal tribunal as the highest and last resort in purely spiritual matters. In the exercise of his imperial right of supervision he did not follow any clear insight and definite theory so much as an instinctive impulse of control, a sense of politico-religious duty, and the requirements of the time. His word only raised, did not solve, the question of the relation between the imperial and the sacerdotal episcopacy and the extent of their respective jurisdictions in a Christian state.

This question became thenceforth the problem and the strife of history both sacred and secular, ran through the whole mediaeval conflict between emperor and pope, between imperial and hierarchical episcopacy, and recurs in modified form in every Protestant established church.

In general, from this time forth the prevailing view was, that God has divided all power between the priesthood and the kingdom (sacerdotium et imperium), giving internal or spiritual affairs, especially doctrine and worship, to the former, and external or temporal affairs, such as government and discipline, to the latter.239 But internal and external here vitally interpenetrate and depend on each other, as soul and body, and frequent reciprocal encroachments and collisions are inevitable upon state-church ground. This becomes manifest in the period before us in many ways, especially in the East, where the Byzantine despotism had freer play, than in the distant West.

The emperors after Constantine (as the popes after them) summoned the general councils, bore the necessary expenses, presided in the councils through commissions, gave to the decisions in doctrine and discipline the force of law for the whole Roman empire, and maintained them by their authority. The emperors nominated or confirmed the most influential metropolitans and patriarchs. They took part in all theological disputes, and thereby inflamed the passion of parties. They protected orthodoxy and punished heresy with the arm of power. Often, however, they took the heretical side, and banished orthodox bishops from their sees. Thus Arianism, Nestorianism, Eutychianism, and Monophysitism successively found favor and protection at court. Even empresses meddled in the internal and external concerns of the church. Justina endeavored with all her might to introduce Arianism in Milan, but met a successful opponent in bishop Ambrose. Eudoxia procured the deposition and banishment of the noble Chrysostom. Theodora, raised from the stage to the throne, ruled the emperor Justinian, and sought by every kind of intrigue to promote the victory of the Monophysite heresy. It is true, the doctrinal decisions proceeded properly from the councils, and could not have maintained themselves long without that sanction. But Basiliscus, Zeno, Justinian I., Heraclius, Constans II., and other emperors issued many purely ecclesiastical edicts and rescripts without consulting the councils, or through the councils by their own influence upon them. Justinian opens his celebrated codex with the imperial creed on the trinity and the imperial anathema against Nestorius, Eutyches, Apollinaris, on the basis certainly of the apostolic church and of the four ecumenical councils, but in the consciousness of absolute legislative and executive authority even over the faith and conscience of all his subjects.

The voice of the catholic church in this period conceded to the Christian emperors in general, with the duty of protecting and supporting the church, the right of supervision over its external affairs, but claimed for the clergy, particularly for the bishops, the right to govern her within, to fix her doctrine, to direct her worship. The new state of things was regarded as a restoration of the Mosaic and Davidic theocracy on Christian soil, and judged accordingly. But in respect to the extent and application of the emperor's power in the church, opinion was generally determined, consciously or unconsciously, by some special religious interest. Hence we find that catholics and heretics, Athanasians and Arians, justified or condemned the interference of the emperor in the development of doctrine, the appointment and deposition of bishops, and the patronage and persecution of parties, according as they themselves were affected by them. The same Donatists who first appealed to the imperial protection, when the decision went against them denounced all intermeddling of the state with the church. There were bishops who justified even the most arbitrary excesses of the Byzantine despotism in religion by reference to Melchizedek and the pious kings of Israel, and yielded them selves willing tools of the court. But there were never wanting also fearless defenders of the rights of the church against the civil power. Maximus the Confessor declared before his judges in Constantinople, that Melchizedek was a type of Christ alone, not of the emperor.

In general the hierarchy formed a powerful and wholesome check on the imperial papacy, and preserved the freedom and independence of the church toward the temporal power. That age had only the alternative of imperial or episcopal despotism; and of these the latter was the less hurtful and the more profitable, because it represented the higher intellectual and moral interests. Without the hierarchy, the church in the Roman empire and among the barbarians would have been the football of civil and military despots. It was, therefore, of the utmost importance, that the church, at the time of her marriage with the state, had already grown so large and strong as to withstand all material alteration by imperial caprice, and all effort to degrade her into a tool. The Apostolic Constitutions place the bishops even above all kings and magistrates.240 Chrysostom says that the first ministers of the state enjoyed no such honor as the ministers of the church. And in general the ministers of the church deserved their honor. Though there were prelates enough who abused their power to sordid ends, still there were men like Athanasius, Basil, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Augustine, Leo, the purest and most venerable characters, which meet us in the fourth and fifth centuries, far surpassing the contemporary emperors. It was the universal opinion that the doctrines and institutions of the church, resting on divine revelation, are above all human power and will. The people looked, in blind faith and superstition, to the clergy as their guides in all matters of conscience, and even the emperors had to pay the bishops, as the fathers of the churches, the greatest reverence, kiss their hands, beg their blessing, and submit to their admonition and discipline. In most cases the emperors were mere tools of parties in the church. Arbitrary laws which were imposed upon the church from without rarely survived their makers, and were condemned by history. For there is a divine authority above all thrones, and kings, and bishops, and a power of truth above all the machinations of falsehood and intrigue.

The Western church, as a whole, preserved her independence far more than the Eastern; partly through the great firmness of the Roman character, partly through the favor of political circumstances, and of remoteness from the influence and the intrigues of the Byzantine court. Here the hierarchical principle developed itself from the time of Leo the Great even to the absolute papacy, which, however, after it fulfilled its mission for the world among the barbarian nations of the middle ages, degenerated into an insufferable tyranny over conscience, and thus exposed itself to destruction. In the Catholic system the freedom and independence of the church involve the supremacy of an exclusive priesthood and papacy; in the Protestant, they can be realized only on the broader basis of the universal priesthood, in the self-government of the Christian people; though this is, as yet, in all Protestant established churches more or less restricted by the power of the state.

§ 27. Restriction of Religious Freedom, and Beginnings of Persecution of Heretics.

Sam. Eliot: History of Liberty. Boston, 1858, 4 vols. Early Christians, vols. i. and ii. The most important facts are scattered through the sections of the larger church histories on the heresies, the doctrinal controversies, and church discipline.

An inevitable consequence of the union of church and state was restriction of religious freedom in faith and worship, and the civil punishment of departure from the doctrine and discipline of the established church.

The church, dominant and recognized by the state, gained indeed external freedom and authority, but in a measure at the expense of inward liberty and self-control. She came, as we have seen in the previous section, under the patronage and supervision of the head of the Christian state, especially in the Byzantine empire. In the first three centuries, the church, with all her external lowliness and oppression, enjoyed the greater liberty within, in the development of her doctrines and institutions, by reason of her entire separation from the state.

But the freedom of error and division was now still more restricted. In the ante-Nicene age, heresy and schism were as much hated and abhorred indeed, as afterward, yet were met only in a moral way, by word and writing, and were punished with excommunication from the rights of the church. Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and even Lactantius were the first advocates of the principle of freedom of conscience, and maintained, against the heathen, that religion was essentially a matter of free will, and could be promoted only by instruction and persuasion not by outward force.241 All they say against the persecution of Christians by the heathen applies in full to the persecution of heretics by the church. After the Nicene age all departures from the reigning state-church faith were not only abhorred and excommunicated as religious errors, but were treated also as crimes against the Christian state, and hence were punished with civil penalties; at first with deposition, banishment, confiscation, and, after Theodosius, even with death.

This persecution of heretics was a natural consequence of the union of religious and civil duties and rights, the confusion of the civil and the ecclesiastical, the judicial and the moral, which came to pass since Constantine. It proceeded from the state and from the emperors, who in this respect showed themselves the successors of the Pontifices Maximi, with their relation to the church reversed. The church, indeed, steadfastly adhered to the principle that, as such, she should employ only spiritual penalties, excommunication in extreme cases; as in fact Christ and the apostles expressly spurned and prohibited all carnal weapons, and would rather suffer and die than use violence. But, involved in the idea of Jewish theocracy and of a state church, she practically confounded in various ways the position of the law and that of the gospel, and in theory approved the application of forcible measures to heretics, and not rarely encouraged and urged the state to it; thus making herself at least indirectly responsible for the persecution. This is especially, true of the Roman church in the times of her greatest power, in the middle age and down to the end of the sixteenth century; and by this course that church has made herself almost more offensive in the eyes of the world and of modern civilization than by her peculiar doctrines and usages. The Protestant reformation dispelled the dream that Christianity was identical with an outward organization, or the papacy, and gave a mighty shock thereby to the principle of ecclesiastical exclusiveness. Yet, properly speaking, it was not till the eighteenth century that a radical revolution of views was accomplished in regard to religious toleration; and the progress of toleration and free worship has gone hand in hand with the gradual loosening of the state-church basis and with the clearer separation of civil and religious rights and of the temporal and spiritual power.

In the, beginning of his reign, Constantine proclaimed full freedom of religion (312), and in the main continued tolerably true to it; at all events he used no violent measures, as his successors did. This toleration, however, was not a matter of fixed principle with him, but merely of temporary policy; a necessary consequence of the incipient separation of the Roman throne from idolatry, and the natural transition from the sole supremacy of the heathen religion to the same supremacy of the Christian. Intolerance directed itself first against heathenism; but as the false religion gradually died out of itself, and at any rate had no moral energy for martyrdom, there resulted no such bloody persecutions of idolatry under the Christian emperors, as there had been of Christianity under their heathen predecessors. Instead of Christianity, the intolerance of the civil power now took up Christian heretics, whom it recognized as such. Constantine even in his day limited the freedom and the privileges which he conferred, to the catholic, that is, the prevailing orthodox hierarchical church, and soon after the Council of Nice, by an edict of the year 326, expressly excluded heretics and schismatics from these privileges.242 Accordingly he banished the leaders of Arianism and ordered their writings to be burned, but afterward, wavering in his views of orthodoxy and heterodoxy, and persuaded over by some bishops and his sister, he recalled Arius and banished Athanasius. He himself was baptized shortly before his death by an Arian bishop. His son Constantius was a fanatical persecutor both of idolatry and the Nicene orthodoxy, and endeavored with all his might to establish Arianism alone in the empire. Hence the earnest protest of the orthodox bishops, Hosius, Athanasius, and Hilary, against this despotism and in favor of toleration;243 which came, however, we have to remember, from parties who were themselves the sufferers under intolerance, and who did not regard the banishment of the Arians as unjust.

Under Julian the Apostate religious liberty was again proclaimed, but only as the beginning of return to the exclusive establishment of heathenism; the counterpart, therefore, of Constantine's toleration. After his early death Arianism again prevailed, at least in the East, and showed itself more, intolerant and violent than the catholic orthodoxy.

At last Theodosius the Great, the first emperor who was baptized in the Nicene faith, put an end to the Arian interregnum, proclaimed the exclusive authority of the Nicene creed, and at the same time enacted the first rigid penalties not only against the pagan idolatry, the practice of which was thenceforth a capital crime in the empire, but also against all Christian heresies and sects. The ruling principle of his public life was the unity of the empire and of the orthodox church. Soon after his baptism, in 380, he issued, in connection with his weak coëmperors, Gratian and Valentinian II., to the inhabitants of Constantinople, then the chief seat of Arianism, the following edict: "We, the three emperors, will, that all our subjects steadfastly adhere to the religion which was taught by St. Peter to the Romans, which has been faithfully preserved by tradition, and which is now professed by the pontiff Damasus, of Rome, and Peter, bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to the institution of the apostles and the doctrine of the gospel, let us believe in the one Godhead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, of equal majesty in the holy Trinity. We order that the adherents of this faith be called Catholic Christians; we brand all the senseless followers of other religions with the infamous name of heretics, and forbid their conventicles assuming the name of churches. Besides the condemnation of divine justice, they must expect the heavy penalties which our authority, guided by heavenly wisdom, shall think proper to inflict."244 In the course of fifteen years this emperor issued at least fifteen penal laws against heretics,245 by which he gradually deprived them of all right to the exercise of their religion, excluded them from all civil offices, and threatened them with fines, confiscation, banishment, and in some cases, as the Manichaeans, the Audians, and even the Quartodecimanians, with death.

From Theodosius therefore dates the state-church theory of the persecution of heretics, and the embodiment of it in legislation. His primary design, it is true, was rather to terrify and convert, than to punish, the refractory subjects.246

From the theory, however, to the practice was a single step; and this step his rival and colleague, Maximus, took, when, at the instigation of the unworthy bishop Ithacius, he caused the Spanish bishop, Priscillian, with six respectable adherents of his Manichaean-like sect (two presbyters, two deacons, the poet Latronian, and Euchrocia, a noble matron of Bordeaux), to be tortured and beheaded with the sword at Treves in 385. This was the first shedding of the blood of heretics by a Christian prince for religious opinions. The bishops assembled at Treves, with the exception of Theognistus, approved this act.

But the better feeling of the Christian church shrank from it with horror. The bishops Ambrose of Milan,247 and Martin of Tours,248 raised a memorable protest against it, and broke off all communion with Ithacius and the other bishops who had approved the execution. Yet it should not be forgotten that these bishops, at least Ambrose, were committed against the death penalty in general, and in other respects had no indulgence for heathens and heretics.249 The whole thing, too, was irregularly done; on the one hand the bishops appeared as accusers in a criminal cause, and on the other a temporal judge admitted an appeal from the episcopal jurisdiction, and pronounced an opinion in a matter of faith. Subsequently the functions of the temporal and spiritual courts in the trial of heretics were more accurately distinguished.

The execution of the Priscillianists is the only instance of the bloody punishment of heretics in this period, as it is the first in the history of Christianity. But the propriety of violent measures against heresy was thenceforth vindicated even by the best fathers of the church. Chrysostom recommends, indeed, Christian love toward heretics and heathens, and declares against their execution, but approved the prohibition of their assemblies and the confiscation of their churches; and he acted accordingly against the Novatians and the Quartodecimanians, so that many considered his own subsequent misfortunes as condign punishment.250 Jerome, appealing to Deut. xiii. 6–10, seems to justify even the penalty of death against religious errorists.251

Augustine, who himself belonged nine years to the Manichaean sect, and was wonderfully converted by the grace of God to the Catholic church, without the slightest pressure from without, held at first the truly evangelical view, that heretics and schismatics should not be violently dealt with, but won by instruction and conviction; but after the year 400 he turned and retracted this view, in consequence of his experience with the Donatists, whom he endeavored in vain to convert by disputation and writing, while many submitted to the imperial laws.252 Thenceforth he was led to advocate the persecution of heretics, partly by his doctrine of the Christian state, partly by the seditious excesses of the fanatical Circumcelliones, partly by the hope of a wholesome effect of temporal punishments, and partly by a false interpretation of the Cogite intrare, in the parable of the great supper, Luke xiv. 23.253 "It is, indeed, better," says he, "that men should be brought to serve God by instruction than by fear of punishment or by pain. But because the former means are better, the latter must not therefore be neglected .... Many must often be brought back to their Lord, like wicked servants, by the rod of temporal suffering, before they attain the highest grade of religious development .... The Lord himself orders that the guests be first invited, then compelled, to his great supper."254 This father thinks that, if the state be denied the right to punish religious error, neither should she punish any other crime, like murder or adultery, since Paul, in Gal. v. 19, attributes divisions and sects to the same source in the flesh.255 He charges his Donatist opponents with inconsistency in seeming to approve the emperors' prohibitions of idolatry, but condemning their persecution of Christian heretics. It is to the honor of Augustine's heart, indeed, that in actual cases he earnestly urged upon the magistrates clemency and humanity, and thus in practice remained true to his noble maxim: "Nothing conquers but truth, the victory of truth is love."256 But his theory, as Neander justly observes, "contains the germ of the whole system of spiritual despotism, intolerance, and persecution, even to the court of the Inquisition."257 The great authority of his name was often afterward made to justify cruelties from which he himself would have shrunk with horror. Soon after him, Leo the Great, the first representative of consistent, exclusive, universal papacy, advocated even the penalty of death for heresy.258

Henceforth none but the persecuted parties, from time to time, protested against religious persecution; being made, by their sufferings, if not from principle, at least from policy and self-interest, the advocates of toleration. Thus the Donatist bishop Petilian, in Africa, against whom Augustine wrote, rebukes his Catholic opponents, as formerly his countryman Tertullian had condemned the heathen persecutors of the Christians, for using outward force in matters of conscience; appealing to Christ and the apostles, who never persecuted, but rather suffered and died. "Think you," says he, "to serve God by killing us with your own hand? Ye err, ye err, if ye, poor mortals, think this; God has not hangmen for priests. Christ teaches us to bear wrong, not to revenge it." The Donatist bishop Gaudentius says: "God appointed prophets and fishermen, not princes and soldiers, to spread the faith." Still we cannot forget, that the Donatists were the first who appealed to the imperial tribunal in an ecclesiastical matter, and did not, till after that tribunal had decided against them, turn against the state-church system.




1. Greek: Socrates: Hist. Eccles. lib. iv. cap. 23 sqq. Sozomen: H. E. l. i. c. 12–14; iii. 14; vi. 28–34. Palladius (first a monk and disciple of the younger Macarius, then bishop of Helenopolis in Bithynia, ordained by Chrysostom; †431): Historia Lausiaca (JIstoriva pro;" Lau'son, a court officer under Theodosius II, to whom the work was dedicated), composed about 421, with enthusiastic admiration, from personal acquaintance, of the most celebrated contemporaneous ascetics of Egypt. Theodoret (†457): Historia religiosa, seu ascetica vivendi ratio (filovqeo" iJstopiva), biographies of thirty Oriental anchorets and monks, for the most part from personal observation. Nilus the Elder (an anchoret on Mt. Sinai, † about 450): De vita ascetica, De exercitatione monastica, Epistolae 355, and other writings.

2. Latin: Rufinus (†410): Histor. Eremitica, S. Vitae Patrum. Sulpicius Severus (about 400): Dialogi III. (the first dialogue contains a lively and entertaining account of the Egyptian monks, whom he visited; the two others relate to Martin of Tours). Cassianus (†432): Institutiones coenobiales, and Collationes Patrum (spiritual conversations of eastern monks).

Also the ascetic writings of Athanasius (Vita Antonii), Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, Chrysostom, Nilus, Isidore of Pelusium, among the Greek; Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome (his Lives of anchorets, and his letters), Cassiodorus, and Gregory the Great, among the Latin fathers.


L. Holstenius (born at Hamburg 1596, a Protest., then a Romanist convert, and librarian of the Vatican): Codex regularum monastic., first Rom. 1661; then, enlarged, Par. and Augsb. in 6 vols. fol. The older Greek Menologia (mhnolovgia), and Menaea (mhnai'a), and the Latin Calendaria and Martyrologia, i.e. church calendars or indices of memorial days (days of the earthly death and heavenly birth) of the saints, with short biographical notices for liturgical use. P. Herbert Rosweyde (Jesuit): Vitae Patrum, sive Historiae Eremiticae, libri x. Antw. 1628. Acta Sanctorum, quotquot toto orbe coluntur, Antw. 1643–1786, 53 vols. fol. (begun by the Jesuit Bollandus, continued by several scholars of his order, called Bollandists, down to the 11th Oct. in the calendar of saints' days, and resumed in 1845, after long interruption, by Theiner and others). D'achery and Mabillon (Benedictines): Acta Sanctorum ordinis S. Benedicti, Par. 1668–1701, 9 vols. fol. (to 1100). Pet. Helyot (Franciscan): Histoire des ordres monastiques religieux et militaires, Par. 1714–'19, 8 vols. 4to. Alban Butler (R.C.): The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and other principal Saints (arranged according to the Catholic calendar, and completed to the 31st Dec.), first 1745; often since (best ed. Lond. 1812–'13) in 12 vols.; another, Baltimore, 1844, in 4 vols). Gibbon: Chap. xxxvii. (Origin, Progress, and Effects of Monastic Life; very unfavorable, and written in lofty philosophical contempt). Henrion (R.C.): Histoire des ordres religieux, Par. 1835 (deutsch bearbeitet von S. Fehr, Tüb. 1845, 2 vols.). F. v. Biedenfeld: Ursprung u. s. w. saemmtlicher Mönchsorden im Orient u. Occident, Weimar, 1837, 3 vols. Schmidt (R.C.): Die Mönchs-, Nonnen-, u. geistlichen Ritterorden nebst Ordensregeln u. Abbildungen., Augsb. 1838, sqq. H. H. Milman (Anglican): History of Ancient Christianity, 1844, book iii. ch. 11. H. Ruffner (Presbyterian): The Fathers of the Desert, New York, 1850, 2 vols. (full of curious information, in popular form). Count de Montalembert (R.C.): Les Moines d'Occident depuis St. Bénoit jusqu'à St. Bernard, Par. 1860, sqq. (to embrace 6 vols.); transl. into English: The Monks of the West, etc., Edinb. and Lond. 1861, in 2 vols. (vol. i. gives the history of monasticism before St. Benedict, vol. ii. is mainly devoted to St. Benedict; eloquently eulogistic of, and apologetic for, monasticism). Otto Zöckler: Kritische Geschichte der Askese. Frankf. a. M. 1863. Comp. also the relevant sections of Tillemont, Fleury, Schröckh (vols. v. and viii.), Neander, and Gieseler.

§ 28. Origin of Christian Monasticism. Comparison with other forms of Asceticism.

Hospinian: De origine et progressu monachatus, l. vi., Tig. 1588, and enlarged, Genev. 1669, fol. J. A. Möhler (R.C.): Geschichte des Mönchthums in der Zeit seiner Entstehung u. ersten Ausbildung, 1836 (in his collected works, Regensb. vol. ii. p. 165 sqq.). Isaac Taylor (Independent): Ancient Christianity, Lond. 1844, vol. i. p. 299 sqq. A. Vogel: Ueber das Mönchthum, Berl. 1858 (in the "Deutsche Zeitschrift für christl. Wissenschaft," etc.). P. Schaff: Ueber den Ursprung und Charakter des Mönchthums (in Dorner's, etc. "Jahrbücher für deutsche Theol.," 1861, p. 555 ff.). J. Cropp: Origenes et causae monachatus. Gott. 1863.

In the beginning of the fourth century monasticism appears in the history of the church, and thenceforth occupies a distinguished place. Beginning in Egypt, it spread in an irresistible tide over the East and the West, continued to be the chief repository of the Christian life down to the times of the Reformation, and still remains in the Greek and Roman churches an indispensable institution and the most productive seminary of saints, priests, and missionaries.

With the ascetic tendency in general, monasticism in particular is found by no means only in the Christian church, but in other religions, both before and after Christ, especially in the East. It proceeds from religious seriousness, enthusiasm, and ambition; from a sense of the vanity of the world, and an inclination of noble souls toward solitude, contemplation, and freedom from the bonds of the flesh and the temptations of the world; but it gives this tendency an undue predominance over the social, practical, and world-reforming spirit of religion. Among the Hindoos the ascetic system may be traced back almost to the time of Moses, certainly beyond Alexander the Great, who found it there in full force, and substantially with the same characteristics which it presents at the present day.259 Let us consider it a few moments.

The Vedas, portions of which date from the fifteenth century before Christ, the Laws of Menu, which were completed before the rise of Buddhism, that is, six or seven centuries before our era, and the numerous other sacred books of the Indian religion, enjoin by example and precept entire abstraction of thought, seclusion from the world, and a variety of penitential and meritorious acts of self-mortification, by which the devotee assumes a proud superiority over the vulgar herd of mortals, and is absorbed at last into the divine fountain of all being. The ascetic system is essential alike to Brahmanism and Buddhism, the two opposite and yet cognate branches of the Indian religion, which in many respects are similarly related to each other as Judaism is to Christianity, or also as Romanism to Protestantism. Buddhism is a later reformation of Brahmanism; it dates probably from the sixth century before Christ (according to other accounts much earlier), and, although subsequently expelled by the Brahmins from Hindostan, it embraces more followers than any other heathen religion, since it rules in Farther India, nearly all the Indian islands, Japan, Thibet, a great part of China and Central Asia to the borders of Siberia. But the two religions start from opposite principles. Brahmanic asceticism260 proceeds from a pantheistic view of the world, the Buddhistic from an atheistic and nihilistic, yet very earnest view; the one if; controlled by the idea of the absolute but abstract unity and a feeling of contempt of the world, the other by the idea of the absolute but unreal variety and a feeling of deep grief over the emptiness and nothingness of all existence; the one is predominantly objective, positive, and idealistic, the other more subjective, negative, and realistic; the one aims at an absorption into the universal spirit of Brahm, the other consistently at an absorption into nonentity, if it be true that Buddhism starts from an atheistic rather than a pantheistic or dualistic basis. "Brahmanism"—says a modern writer on the subject261—"looks back to the beginning, Buddhism to the end; the former loves cosmogony, the latter eschatology. Both reject the existing world; the Brahman despises it, because he contrasts it with the higher being of Brahma, the Buddhist bewails it because of its unrealness; the former sees God in all, the other emptiness in all." Yet as all extremes meet, the abstract all-entity of Brahmanism and the equally abstract non-entity or vacuity of Buddhism come to the same thing in the end, and may lead to the same ascetic practices. The asceticism of Brahmanism takes more the direction of anchoretism, while that of Buddhism exists generally in the social form of regular convent life.

The Hindoo monks or gymnosophists (naked philosophers), as the Greeks called them, live in woods, caves, on mountains, or rocks, in poverty, celibacy, abstinence, silence: sleeping on straw or the bare ground, crawling on the belly, standing all day on tiptoe, exposed to the pouring rain or scorching sun with four fires kindled around them, presenting a savage and frightful appearance, yet greatly revered by the multitude, especially the women, and performing miracles, not unfrequently completing their austerities by suicide on the stake or in the waves of the Ganges. Thus they are described by the ancients and by modern travellers. The Buddhist monks are less fanatical and extravagant than the Hindoo Yogis and Fakirs. They depend mainly on fasting, prayer, psalmody, intense contemplation, and the use of the whip, to keep their rebellious flesh in subjection. They have a fully developed system of monasticism in connection with their priesthood, and a large number of convents; also nunneries for female devotees. The Buddhist monasticism, especially in Thibet, with its vows of celibacy, poverty, and obedience, its common meals, readings, and various pious exercises, bears such a remarkable resemblance to that of the Roman Catholic church that Roman missionaries thought it could be only explained as a diabolical imitation.262 But the original always precedes the caricature, and the ascetic system was completed in India long before the introduction of Christianity, even if we should trace this back to St. Bartholomew and St. Thomas.

The Hellenic heathenism was less serious and contemplative, indeed, than the Oriental; yet the Pythagoreans were a kind of monastic society, and the Platonic view of matter and of body not only lies at the bottom of the Gnostic and Manichaean asceticism, but had much to do also with the ethics of Origen and the Alexandrian School.

Judaism, apart from the ancient Nazarites,263 had its Essenes in Palestine264 and its Therapeutae in Egypt;265 though these betray the intrusion of foreign elements into the Mosaic religion, and so find no mention in the New Testament.

Lastly, Mohammedanism, though in mere imitation of Christian and pagan examples, has, as is well known, its dervises and its cloisters.266

Now were these earlier phenomena the source, or only analogies, of the Christian monasticism? That a multitude of foreign usages and rites made their way into the church in the age of Constantine, is undeniable. Hence many have held, that monasticism also came from heathenism, and was an apostasy from apostolic Christianity, which Paul had plainly foretold in the Pastoral Epistles.267 But such a view can hardly be reconciled with the great place of this phenomenon in history; and would, furthermore, involve the entire ancient church, with its greatest and best representatives both east and west, its Athanasius, its Chrysostom, its Jerome, its Augustine, in the predicted apostasy from the faith. And no one will now hold, that these men, who all admired and commended the monastic life, were antichristian errorists, and that the few and almost exclusively negative opponents of that asceticism, as Jovinian, Helvidius, and Vigilantius, were the sole representatives of pure Christianity in the Nicene and next following age.

In this whole matter we must carefully distinguish two forms of asceticism, antagonistic and irreconcilable in spirit and principle, though similar in form: the Gnostic dualistic, and the Catholic. The former of these did certainly come from heathenism; but the latter sprang independently from the Christian spirit of self-denial and longing for moral perfection, and, in spite of all its excrescences, has fulfilled an important mission in the history of the church.

The pagan monachism, the pseudo-Jewish, the heretical Christian, above all the Gnostic and Manichaean, is based on in irreconcilable metaphysical dualism between mind and matter; the Catholic Christian Monachism arises from the moral conflict between the spirit and the flesh. The former is prompted throughout by spiritual pride and selfishness; the latter, by humility and love to God and man. The false asceticism aims at annihilation of the body and pantheistic absorption of the human being in the divine; the Christian strives after the glorification of the body and personal fellowship with the living God in Christ. And the effects of the two are equally different. Though it is also unquestionable, that, notwithstanding this difference of principle, and despite the condemnation of Gnosticism and Manichaeism, the heathen dualism exerted a powerful influence on the Catholic asceticism and its view of the world, particularly upon anchoretism and monasticism in the East, and has been fully overcome only in evangelical Protestantism. The precise degree of this influence, and the exact proportion of Christian and heathen ingredients in the early monachism of the church, were an interesting subject of special investigation.

The germs of the Christian monasticism may be traced as far back as the middle of the second century, and in fact faintly even in the anxious ascetic practices of some of the Jewish Christians in the apostolic age. This asceticism, particularly fasting and celibacy, was commended more or less distinctly by the most eminent ante-Nicene fathers, and was practised, at least partially, by a particular class of Christians (by Origen even to the unnatural extreme of self-emasculation).268 So early as the Decian persecution, about the year 250, we meet also the first instances of the flight of ascetics or Christian philosophers into the wilderness; though rather in exceptional cases, and by way of escape from personal danger. So long as the church herself was a child of the desert, and stood in abrupt opposition to the persecuting world, the ascetics of both sexes usually lived near the congregations or in the midst of them, often even in the families, seeking there to realize the ideal of Christian perfection. But when, under Constantine, the mass of the population of the empire became nominally Christian, they felt, that in this world-church, especially in such cities as Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople, they were not at home, and voluntarily retired into waste and desolate places and mountain clefts, there to work out the salvation of their souls undisturbed.

Thus far monachism is a reaction against the secularizing state-church system and the decay of discipline, and an earnest, well-meant, though mistaken effort to save the virginal purity of the Christian church by transplanting it in the wilderness. The moral corruption of the Roman empire, which had the appearance of Christianity, but was essentially heathen in the whole framework of society, the oppressiveness of taxes269 the extremes of despotism and slavery, of extravagant luxury and hopeless poverty, the repletion of all classes, the decay of all productive energy in science and art, and the threatening incursions of barbarians on the frontiers—all favored the inclination toward solitude in just the most earnest minds.

At the same time, however, monasticism afforded also a compensation for martyrdom, which ceased with the Christianization of the state, and thus gave place to a voluntary martyrdom, a gradual self-destruction, a sort of religious suicide. In the burning deserts and awful caverns of Egypt and Syria, amidst the pains of self-torture, the mortification of natural desires, and relentless battles with hellish monsters, the ascetics now sought to win the crown of heavenly glory, which their predecessors in the times of persecution had more quickly and easily gained by a bloody death.

The native land of the monastic life was Egypt, the land where Oriental and Grecian literature, philosophy, and religion, Christian orthodoxy and Gnostic heresy, met both in friendship and in hostility. Monasticism was favored and promoted here by climate and geographic features, by the oasis-like seclusion of the country, by the bold contrast of barren deserts with the fertile valley of the Nile, by the superstition, the contemplative turn, and the passive endurance of the national character, by the example of the Therapeutae, and by the moral principles of the Alexandrian fathers; especially by Origen's theory of a higher and lower morality and of the merit of voluntary poverty and celibacy. Aelian says of the Egyptians, that they bear the most exquisite torture without a murmur, and would rather be tormented to death than compromise truth. Such natures, once seized with religious enthusiasm, were eminently qualified for saints of the desert.

§ 29. Development of Monasticism.

In the historical development of the monastic institution we must distinguish four stages. The first three were completed in the fourth century; the remaining one reached maturity in the Latin church of the middle age.

The first stage is an ascetic life as yet not organized nor separated from the church. It comes down from the ante-Nicene age, and has been already noticed. It now took the form, for the most part, of either hermit or coenobite life, but continued in the church itself, especially among the clergy, who might be called half monks.

The second stage is hermit life or anchoretism.270 It arose in the beginning of the fourth century, gave asceticism a fixed and permanent shape, and pushed it to even external separation from the world. It took the prophets Elijah and John the Baptist for its models, and went beyond them. Not content with partial and temporary retirement from common life, which may be united with social intercourse and useful labors, the consistent anchoret secludes himself from all society, even from kindred ascetics, and comes only exceptionally into contact with human affairs, either to receive the visits of admirers of every class, especially of the sick and the needy (which were very frequent in the case of the more celebrated monks), or to appear in the cities on some extraordinary occasion, as a spirit from another world. His clothing is a hair shirt and a wild beast's skin; his food, bread and salt; his dwelling, a cave; his employment, prayer, affliction of the body, and conflict with satanic powers and wild images of fancy. This mode of life was founded by Paul of Thebes and St. Anthony, and came to perfection in the East. It was too eccentric and unpractical for the West, and hence less frequent there, especially in the rougher climates. To the female sex it was entirely unsuited. There was a class of hermits, the Sarabaites in Egypt, and the Rhemoboths in Syria, who lived in bands of at least two or three together; but their quarrelsomeness, occasional intemperance, and opposition to the clergy, brought them into ill repute.

The third step in the progress of the monastic life brings us to coenobitism or cloister life, monasticism in the ordinary sense of the word.271 It originated likewise in Egypt, from the example of the Essenes and Therapeutae, and was carried by St. Pachomius to the East, and afterward by St. Benedict to the West. Both these ascetics, like the most celebrated order-founders of later days, were originally hermits. Cloister life is a regular organization of the ascetic life on a social basis. It recognizes, at least in a measure, the social element of human nature, and represents it in a narrower sphere secluded from the larger world. As hermit life often led to cloister life, so the cloister life was not only a refuge for the spirit weary of the world, but also in many ways a school for practical life in the church. It formed the transition from isolated to social Christianity. It consists in an association of a number of anchorets of the same sex for mutual advancement in ascetic holiness. The coenobites live, somewhat according to the laws of civilization, under one roof, and under a superintendent or abbot.272 They divide their time between common devotions and manual labor, and devote their surplus provisions to charity; except the mendicant monks, who themselves live by alms. In this modified form monasticism became available to the female sex, to which the solitary desert life was utterly impracticable; and with the cloisters of monks, there appear at once cloisters also of nuns.273 Between the anchorets and the coenobites no little jealousy reigned; the former charging the latter with ease and conformity to the world; the latter accusing the former of selfishness and misanthropy. The most eminent church teachers generally prefer the cloister life. But the hermits, though their numbers diminished, never became extinct. Many a monk was a hermit first, and then a coenobite; and many a coenobite turned to a hermit.

The same social impulse, finally, which produced monastic congregations, led afterward to monastic orders, unions of a number of cloisters under one rule and a common government. In this fourth and last stage monasticism has done most for the diffusion of Christianity and the advancement of learning,274 has fulfilled its practical mission in the Roman Catholic church, and still wields a mighty influence there. At the same time it became in some sense the cradle of the German reformation. Luther belonged to the order of St. Augustine, and the monastic discipline of Erfurt was to him a preparation for evangelical freedom, as the Mosaic law was to Paul a schoolmaster to lead to Christ. And for this very reason Protestantism is the end of the monastic life.

§ 30. Nature and Aim of Monasticism.

Monasticism was from the first distinguished as the contemplative life from the practical.275 It passed with the ancient church for the true, the divine, or Christian philosophy,276 an unworldly purely apostolic, angelic life.277 It rests upon an earnest view of life; upon the instinctive struggle after perfect dominion of the spirit over the flesh, reason over sense, the supernatural over the natural, after the highest grade of holiness and an undisturbed communion of the soul with God; but also upon a morbid depreciation of the body, the family, the state, and the divinely established social order of the world. It recognizes the world, indeed, as a creature of God, and the family and property as divine institutions, in opposition to the Gnostic Manichaean asceticism, which ascribes matter as such to an evil principle. But it makes a distinction between two grades of morality: a common and lower grade, democratic, so to speak, which moves in the natural ordinances of God; and a higher, extraordinary, aristocratic grade, which lies beyond them and is attended with special merit. It places the great problem of Christianity not in the transformation, but in the abandonment, of the world. It is an extreme unworldliness, over against the worldliness of the mass of the visible church in union with the state. It demands entire renunciation, not only of sin, but also of property and of marriage, which are lawful in themselves, ordained by God himself, and indispensable to the continuance and welfare of the human race. The poverty of the individual, however, does not exclude the possession of common property; and it is well known, that some monastic orders, especially the Benedictines, have in course of time grown very rich. The coenobite institution requires also absolute obedience to the will of the superior, as the visible representative of Christ. As obedience to orders and sacrifice of self is the first duty of the soldier, and the condition of military success and renown, so also in this spiritual army in its war against the flesh, the world, and the devil, monks are not allowed to have a will of their own. To them may be applied the lines of Tennyson:278

"Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs but to do and die."

Voluntary poverty, voluntary celibacy, and absolute obedience form the three monastic vows, as they are called, and are supposed to constitute a higher virtue and to secure a higher reward in heaven.

But this threefold self-denial is only the negative side of the matter, and a means to an end. It places man beyond the reach of the temptations connected with earthly possessions, married life, and independent will, and facilitates his progress toward heaven. The positive aspect of monasticism is unreserved surrender of the whole man, with all his time and strength, to God; though, as we have said, not within, but without the sphere of society and the order of nature. This devoted life is employed in continual prayer, meditation, fasting, and castigation of the body. Some votaries went so far as to reject all bodily employment, for its interference with devotion. But in general a moderate union of spiritual exercises with scientific studies or with such manual labor as agriculture, basket making, weaving, for their own living and the support of the poor, was held not only lawful but wholesome for monks. It was a proverb, that a laborious monk was beset by only one devil; an idle one, by a legion.

With all the austerities and rigors of asceticism, the monastic life had its spiritual joys and irresistible charms for noble, contemplative, and heaven-aspiring souls, who fled from the turmoil and vain show of the city as a prison, and turned the solitude into a paradise of freedom and sweet communion with God and his saints; while to others the same solitude became a fruitful nursery of idleness, despondency, and the most perilous temptations and ultimate ruin.279

§ 31. Monasticism and the Bible.

Monasticism, therefore, claims to be the highest and purest form of Christian piety and virtue, and the surest way to heaven. Then, we should think, it must be preëminently commended in the Bible, and actually exhibited in the life of Christ and the apostles. But just in this biblical support it falls short.

The advocates of it uniformly refer first to the examples of Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist;280 but these stand upon the legal level of the Old Testament, and are to be looked upon as extraordinary personages of an extraordinary age; and though they may be regarded as types of a partial anchoretism (not of cloister life), still they are nowhere commended to our imitation in this particular, but rather in their influence upon the world.

The next appeal is to a few isolated passages of the New Testament, which do not, indeed, in their literal sense require the renunciation of property and marriage, yet seem to recommend it as a special, exceptional form of piety for those Christians who strive after higher perfection.281

Finally, as respects the spirit of the monastic life, reference is sometimes made even to the poverty of Christ and his apostles, to the silent, contemplative Mary, in contrast with the busy, practical Martha, and to the voluntary community of goods in the first Christian church in Jerusalem.

But this monastic interpretation of primitive Christianity mistakes a few incidental points of outward resemblance for essential identity, measures the spirit of Christianity by some isolated passages, instead of explaining the latter from the former, and is upon the whole a miserable emaciation and caricature. The gospel makes upon all men virtually the same moral demand, and knows no distinction of a religion for the masses and another for the few.

Jesus, the model for all believers, was neither a coenobite, nor an anchoret, nor an ascetic of any kind, but the perfect pattern man for universal imitation. There is not a trace of monkish austerity and ascetic rigor in his life or precepts, but in all his acts and words a wonderful harmony of freedom and purity, of the most comprehensive charity and spotless holiness. He retired to the mountains and into solitude, but only temporarily, and for the purpose of renewing his strength for active work. Amidst the society of his disciples, of both sexes, with kindred and friends, in Cana and Bethany, at the table of publicans and sinners, and in intercourse with all classes of the people, he kept himself unspotted from the world, and transfigured the world into the kingdom of God. His poverty and celibacy have nothing to do with asceticism, but represent, the one the condescension of his redeeming love, the other his ideal uniqueness and his absolutely peculiar relation to the whole church, which alone is fit or worthy to be his bride. No single daughter of Eve could have been an equal partner of the Saviour of mankind, or the representative head of the new creation.

The example of the sister of Lazarus proves only, that the contemplative life may dwell in the same house with the practical, and with the other sex, but justifies no separation from the social ties.

The life of the apostles and primitive Christians in general was anything but a hermit life; else had not the gospel spread so quickly to all the cities of the Roman world. Peter was married, and travelled with his wife as a missionary. Paul assumes one marriage of the clergy as the rule, and notwithstanding his personal and relative preference for celibacy in the then oppressed condition of the church, he is the most zealous advocate of evangelical freedom, in opposition to all legal bondage and anxious asceticism.

Monasticism, therefore, in any case, is not the normal form of Christian piety. It is an abnormal phenomenon, a humanly devised service of God,282 and not rarely a sad enervation and repulsive distortion of the Christianity of the Bible. And it is to be estimated, therefore, not by the extent of its self-denial, not by its outward acts of self-discipline (which may all be found in heathenism, Judaism, and Mohammedanism as well), but by the Christian spirit of humility and love which animated it. For humility is the groundwork, and love the all-ruling principle, of the Christian life, and the distinctive characteristic of the Christian religion. Without love to God and charity to man, the severest self-punishment and the utmost abandonment of the world are worthless before God.283

§ 32. Lights and Shades of Monastic Life.

The contrast between pure and normal Bible-Christianity and abnormal Monastic Christianity, will appear more fully if we enter into a close examination of the latter as it actually appeared in the ancient church.

The extraordinary rapidity with which this world-forsaking form of piety spread, bears witness to a high degree of self-denying moral earnestness, which even in its mistakes and vagrancies we must admire. Our age, accustomed and wedded to all possible comforts, but far in advance of the Nicene age in respect to the average morality of the masses, could beget no such ascetic extremes. In our estimate of the diffusion and value of monasticism, the polluting power of the theatre, oppressive taxation, slavery, the multitude of civil wars, and the hopeless condition of the Roman empire, must all come into view. Nor must we, by any means, measure the moral importance of this phenomenon by numbers. Monasticism from the beginning attracted persons of opposite character and from opposite motives. Moral earnestness and religious enthusiasm were accompanied here, as formerly in martyrdom, though even in larger measure than there, with all kinds of sinister motives; indolence, discontent, weariness of life, misanthropy, ambition for spiritual distinction, and every sort of misfortune or accidental circumstance. Palladius, to mention but one illustrious example, tells of Paul the Simple,284 that, from indignation against his wife, whom he detected in an act of infidelity, he hastened, with the current oath of that day, "in the name of Jesus,"285 into the wilderness; and immediately, though now sixty years old, under the direction of Anthony, he became a very model monk, and attained an astonishing degree of humility, simplicity, and perfect submission of will.

In view of these different motives we need not be surprised that the moral character of the monks varied greatly, and presents opposite extremes. Augustine says he found among the monks and nuns the best and the worst of mankind.

Looking more closely, in the first place, at anchoretism, we meet in its history unquestionably many a heroic character, who attained an incredible mastery over his sensual nature, and, like the Old Testament prophets and John the Baptist, by their mere appearance and their occasional preaching, made an overwhelming impression on his contemporaries, even among the heathen. St. Anthony's visit to Alexandria was to the gazing multitude like the visit of a messenger from the other world, and resulted in many conversions. His emaciated face, the glare of his eye, his spectral yet venerable form, his contempt of the world, and his few aphoristic sentences told more powerfully on that age and people than a most elaborate sermon. St. Symeon, standing on a column from year to year, fasting, praying, and exhorting the visitors to repentance, was to his generation a standing miracle and a sign that pointed them to heaven. Sometimes, in seasons of public calamity, such hermits saved whole cities and provinces from the imperial wrath, by their effectual intercessions. When Theodosius, in 387, was about to destroy Antioch for a sedition, the hermit Macedonius met the two imperial commissaries, who reverently dismounted and kissed his hands and feet; he reminded them and the emperor of their own weakness, set before them the value of men as immortal images of God, in comparison with the perishable statues of the emperor, and thus saved the city from demolition.286 The heroism of the anchoretic life, in the voluntary renunciation of lawful pleasures and the patient endurance of self-inflicted pains, is worthy of admiration in its way, and not rarely almost incredible.

But this moral heroism—and these are the weak points of it—oversteps not only the present standard of Christianity, but all sound measure; it has no support either in the theory or the practice of Christ and the apostolic church; and it has far more resemblance to heathen than to biblical precedents. Many of the most eminent saints of the desert differ only in their Christian confession, and in some Bible phrases learnt by rote, from Buddhist fakirs and Mohammedan dervises. Their highest virtuousness consisted in bodily exercises of their own devising, which, without love, at best profit nothing at all, very often only gratify spiritual vanity, and entirely obscure the gospel way of salvation.

To illustrate this by a few examples, we may choose any of the most celebrated eastern anchorets of the fourth and fifth centuries, as reported by the most credible contemporaries.

The holy Scriptures instruct us to pray and to labor; and to pray not only mechanically with the lips, as the heathen do, but with all the heart. But Paul the Simple said daily three hundred prayers, counting them with pebbles, which he carried in his bosom (a sort of rosary); when he heard of a virgin who prayed seven hundred times a day, he was troubled, and told his distress to Macarius, who well answered him: "Either thou prayest not with thy heart, if thy conscience reproves thee, or thou couldst pray oftener. I have for six years prayed only a hundred times a day, without being obliged to condemn myself for neglect." Christ ate and drank like other men, expressly distinguishing himself thereby from John, the representative of the old covenant; and Paul recommends to us to use the gifts of God temperately, with cheerful and childlike gratitude.287 But the renowned anchoret and presbyter Isidore of Alexandria (whom Athanasius ordained) touched no meat, never ate enough, and, as Palladius relates, often burst into tears at table for shame, that he, who was destined to eat angels' food in paradise, should have to eat material stuff like the irrational brutes. Macarius the elder, or the Great, for a long time ate only once a week, and slept standing and leaning on a staff. The equally celebrated younger Macarius lived three years on four or five ounces of bread a day, and seven years on raw herbs and pulse. Ptolemy spent three years alone in an unwatered desert, and quenched his thirst with the dew, which he collected in December and January, and preserved in earthen vessels; but he fell at last into skepticism, madness, and debauchery.288 Sozomen tells of a certain Batthaeus, that by reason of his extreme abstinence, worms crawled out of his teeth; of Alas, that to his eightieth year he never ate bread; of Heliodorus, that he spent many nights without sleep, and fasted without interruption seven days.289 Symeon, a Christian Diogenes, spent six and thirty years praying, fasting, and preaching, on the top of a pillar thirty or forty feet high, ate only once a week, and in fast times not at all. Such heroism of abstinence was possible, however, only in the torrid climate of the East, and is not to be met with in the West.

Anchoretism almost always carries a certain cynic roughness and coarseness, which, indeed, in the light of that age, may be leniently judged, but certainly have no affinity with the morality of the Bible, and offend not only good taste, but all sound moral feeling. The ascetic holiness, at least according to the Egyptian idea, is incompatible with cleanliness and decency, and delights in filth. It reverses the maxim of sound evangelical morality and modern Christian civilization, that cleanliness is next to godliness. Saints Anthony and Hilarion, as their admirers, Athanasius the Great and Jerome the Learned, tell us, scorned to comb or cut their hair (save once a year, at Easter), or to wash their hands or feet. Other hermits went almost naked in the wilderness, like the Indian gymnosophists.290 The younger Macarius, according to the account of his disciple Palladius, once lay six months naked in the morass of the Scetic desert, and thus exposed himself to the incessant attacks of the gnats of Africa, "whose sting can pierce even the hide of a wild boar." He wished to punish himself for his arbitrary revenge on a gnat, and was there so badly stung by gnats and wasps, that he was thought to be smitten with leprosy, and was recognized only by his voice.291 St. Symeon the Stylite, according to Theodoret, suffered himself to be incessantly tormented for a long time by twenty enormous bugs, and concealed an abscess full of worms, to exercise himself in patience and meekness. In Mesopotamia there was a peculiar class of anchorets, who lived on grass, spending the greater part of the day in prayer and singing, and then turning out like beasts upon the mountain.292 Theodoret relates of the much lauded Akepsismas, in Cyprus, that he spent sixty years in the same cell, without seeing or speaking to any one, and looked so wild and shaggy, that he was once actually taken for a wolf by a shepherd, who assailed him with stones, till he discovered his error, and then worshipped the hermit as a saint.293 It was but a step from this kind of moral sublimity to beastly degradation. Many of these saints were no more than low sluggards or gloomy misanthropes, who would rather company with wild beasts, with lions, wolves, and hyenas, than with immortal men, and above all shunned the face of a woman more carefully than they did the devil. Sulpitius Severus saw an anchoret in the Thebaid, who daily shared his evening meal with a female wolf; and upon her discontinuing her visits for some days by way of penance for a theft she had committed, he besought her to come again, and comforted her with a double portion of bread.294 The same writer tells of a hermit who lived fifty years secluded from all human society, in the clefts of Mount Sinai, entirely destitute of clothing, and all overgrown with thick hair, avoiding every visitor, because, as he said, intercourse with men interrupted the visits of the angels; whence arose the report that he held intercourse with angels.295

It is no recommendation to these ascetic eccentricities that while they are without Scripture authority, they are fully equalled and even surpassed by the strange modes of self-torture practised by ancient and modern Hindoo devotees, for the supposed benefit of their souls and the gratification of their vanity in the presence of admiring spectators. Some bury themselves—we are told by ancient and modern travellers—in pits with only small breathing holes at the top, while others disdaining to touch the vile earth, live in iron cages suspended from trees. Some wear heavy iron collars or fetters, or drag a heavy chain fastened by one end round their privy parts, to give ostentatious proof of their chastity. Others keep their fists hard shut, until their finger nails grow through the palms of their hands. Some stand perpetually on one leg; others keep their faces turned over one shoulder, until they cannot turn them back again. Some lie on wooden beds, bristling all over with iron spikes; others are fastened for life to the trunk of a tree by a chain. Some suspend themselves for half an hour at a time, feet uppermost, or with a hook thrust through their naked back, over a hot fire. Alexander von Humboldt, at Astracan, where some Hindoos had settled, found a Yogi in the vestibule of the temple naked, shrivelled up, and overgrown with hair like a wild beast, who in this position had withstood for twenty years the severe winters of that climate. A Jesuit missionary describes one of the class called Tapasonias, that he had his body enclosed in an iron cage, with his head and feet outside, so that he could walk, but neither sit nor lie down; at night his pious attendants attached a hundred lighted lamps to the outside of the cage, so that their master could exhibit himself walking as the mock light of the world.296

In general, the hermit life confounds the fleeing from the outward world with the mortification of the inward world of the corrupt heart. It mistakes the duty of love; not rarely, under its mask of humility and the utmost self-denial, cherishes spiritual pride and jealousy; and exposes itself to all the dangers of solitude, even to savage barbarism, beastly grossness, or despair and suicide. Anthony, the father of anchorets, well understood this, and warned his followers against overvaluing solitude, reminding them of the proverb of the Preacher, iv. 10: "Woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."

The cloister life was less exposed to these errors. It approached the life of society and civilization. Yet, on the other hand, it produced no such heroic phenomena, and had dangers peculiar to itself. Chrysostom gives us the bright side of it from his own experience. "Before the rising of the sun," says he of the monks of Antioch, "they rise, hale and sober, sing as with one mouth hymns to the praise of God, then bow the knee in prayer, under the direction of the abbot, read the holy Scriptures, and go to their labors; pray again at nine, twelve, and three o'clock; after a good day's work, enjoy a simple meal of bread and salt, perhaps with oil, and sometimes with pulse; sing a thanksgiving hymn, and lay themselves on their pallets of straw without care, grief, or murmur. When one dies, they say: 'He is perfected;' and all pray God for a like end, that they also may come to the eternal sabbath-rest and to the vision of Christ." Men like Chrysostom, Basil, Gregory, Jerome, Nilus, and Isidore, united theological studies with the ascetic exercises of solitude, and thus gained a copious knowledge of Scripture and a large spiritual experience.

But most of the monks either could not even read, or had too little intellectual culture to devote themselves with advantage to contemplation and study, and only brooded over gloomy feelings, or sank, in spite of the unsensual tendency of the ascetic principle, into the coarsest anthropomorphism and image worship. When the religious enthusiasm faltered or ceased, the cloister life, like the hermit life, became the most spiritless and tedious routine, or hypocritically practised secret vices. For the monks carried with them into their solitude their most dangerous enemy in their hearts, and there often endured much fiercer conflicts with flesh and blood, than amidst the society of men.

The temptations of sensuality, pride, and ambition externalized and personified themselves to the anchorets and monks in hellish shapes, which appeared in visions and dreams, now in pleasing and seductive, now in threatening and terrible forms and colors, according to the state of mind at the time. The monastic imagination peopled the deserts and solitudes with the very worst society, with swarms of winged demons and all kinds of hellish monsters.297 It substituted thus a new kind of polytheism for the heathen gods, which were generally supposed to be evil spirits. The monastic demonology and demonomachy is a strange mixture of gross superstitions and deep spiritual experiences. It forms the romantic shady side of the otherwise so tedious monotony of the secluded life, and contains much material for the history of ethics, psychology, and pathology.

Especially besetting were the temptations of sensuality, and irresistible without the utmost exertion and constant watchfulness. The same saints, who could not conceive of true chastity without celibacy, were disturbed, according to their own confession, by unchaste dreams, which at least defiled the imagination.298 Excessive asceticism sometimes turned into unnatural vice; sometimes ended in madness, despair, and suicide. Pachomius tells us, so early as his day, that many monks cast themselves down precipices, others ripped themselves up, and others put themselves to death in other ways.299

A characteristic trait of monasticism in all its forms is a morbid aversion to female society and a rude contempt of married life. No wonder, then, that in Egypt and the whole East, the land of monasticism, women and domestic life never attained their proper dignity, and to this day remain at a very low stage of culture. Among the rules of Basil is a prohibition of speaking with a woman, touching one, or even looking on one, except in unavoidable cases. Monasticism not seldom sundered the sacred bond between husband and wife, commonly with mutual consent, as in the cases of Ammon and Nilus, but often even without it. Indeed, a law of Justinian seems to give either party an unconditional right of desertion, while yet the word of God declares the marriage bond indissoluble. The Council of Gangra found it necessary to oppose the notion that marriage is inconsistent with salvation, and to exhort wives to remain with their husbands. In the same way monasticism came into conflict with love of kindred, and with the relation of parents to children; misinterpreting the Lord's command to leave all for His sake. Nilus demanded of the monks the entire suppression of the sense of blood relationship. St. Anthony forsook his younger sister, and saw her only once after the separation. His disciple, Prior, when he became a monk, vowed never to see his kindred again, and would not even speak with his sister without closing his eyes. Something of the same sort is recorded of Pachomius. Ambrose and Jerome, in full earnest, enjoined upon virgins the cloister life, even against the will of their parents. When Hilary of Poictiers heard that his daughter wished to marry, he is said to have prayed God to take her to himself by death. One Mucius, without any provocation, caused his own son to be cruelly abused, and at last, at the command of the abbot himself, cast him into the water, whence he was rescued by a brother of the cloister.300

Even in the most favorable case monasticism falls short of harmonious moral development, and of that symmetry of virtue which meets us in perfection in Christ, and next to him in the apostles. It lacks the finer and gentler traits of character, which are ordinarily brought out only in the school of daily family life and under the social ordinances of God. Its morality is rather negative than positive. There is more virtue in the temperate and thankful enjoyment of the gifts of God, than in total abstinence; in charitable and well-seasoned speech, than in total silence; in connubial chastity, than in celibacy; in self-denying practical labor for the church. than in solitary asceticism, which only pleases self and profits no one else.

Catholicism, whether Greek or Roman, cannot dispense with the monastic life. It knows only moral extremes, nothing of the healthful mean. In addition to this, Popery needs the monastic orders, as an absolute monarchy needs large standing armies both for conquest and defence. But evangelical Protestantism, rejecting all distinction of a twofold morality, assigning to all men the same great duty under the law of God, placing the essence of religion not in outward exercises, but in the heart, not in separation from the world and from society, but in purifying and sanctifying the world by the free spirit of the gospel, is death to the great monastic institution.

§ 33. Position of Monks in the Church.

As to the social position of monasticism in the system of ecclesiastical life: it was at first, in East and West, even so late as the council of Chalcedon, regarded as a lay institution; but the monks were distinguished as religiosi from the seculares, and formed thus a middle grade between the ordinary laity and the clergy. They constituted the spiritual nobility, but not the ruling class; the aristocracy, but not the hierarchy of the church. "A monk," says Jerome, "has not the office of a teacher, but of a penitent, who endures suffering either for himself or for the world." Many monks considered ecclesiastical office incompatible with their effort after perfection. It was a proverb, traced to Pachomius: "A monk should especially shun women and bishops, for neither will let him have peace."301 Ammonius, who accompanied Athanasius to Rome, cut off his own ear, and threatened to cut out his own tongue, when it was proposed to make him a bishop.302 Martin of Tours thought his miraculous power deserted him on his transition from the cloister to the bishopric. Others, on the contrary, were ambitious for the episcopal chair, or were promoted to it against their will, as early as the fourth century. The abbots of monasteries were usually ordained priests, and administered the sacraments among the brethren, but were subject to the bishop of the diocese. Subsequently the cloisters managed, through special papal grants, to make themselves independent of the episcopal jurisdiction. From the tenth century the clerical character was attached to the monks. In a certain sense, they stood, from the beginning, even above the clergy; considered themselves preëminently conversi and religiosi, and their life vita religiosa; looked down with contempt upon the secular clergy; and often encroached on their province in troublesome ways. On the other hand, the cloisters began, as early as the fourth century, to be most fruitful seminaries of clergy, and furnished, especially in the East, by far the greater number of bishops. The sixth novel of Justinian provides that the bishops shall be chosen from the clergy, or from the monastery.

In dress, the monks at first adhered to the costume of the country, but chose the simplest and coarsest material. Subsequently, they adopted the tonsure and a distinctive uniform.

§ 34. Influence and Effect of Monasticism.

The influence of monasticism upon the world, from Anthony and Benedict to Luther and Loyola, is deeply marked in all branches of the history of the church. Here, too, we must distinguish light and shade. The operation of the monastic institution has been to some extent of diametrically opposite kinds, and has accordingly elicited the most diverse judgments. "It is impossible," says Dean Milman,303 "to survey monachism in its general influence, from the earliest period of its inworking into Christianity, without being astonished and perplexed with its diametrically opposite effects. Here it is the undoubted parent of the blindest ignorance and the most ferocious bigotry, sometimes of the most debasing licentiousness; there the guardian of learning, the author of civilization, the propagator of humble and peaceful religion." The apparent contradiction is easily solved. It is not monasticism, as such, which has proved a blessing to the church and the world; for the monasticism of India, which for three thousand years has pushed the practice of mortification to all the excesses of delirium, never saved a single soul, nor produced a single benefit to the race. It was Christianity in monasticism which has done all the good, and used this abnormal mode of life as a means for carrying forward its mission of love and peace. In proportion as monasticism was animated and controlled by the spirit of Christianity, it proved a blessing; while separated from it, it degenerated and became at fruitful source of evil.

At the time of its origin, when we can view it from the most favorable point, the monastic life formed a healthful and necessary counterpart to the essentially corrupt and doomed social life of the Graeco-Roman empire, and the preparatory school of a new Christian civilization among the Romanic and Germanic nations of the middle age. Like the hierarchy and the papacy, it belongs with the disciplinary institutions, which the spirit of Christianity uses as means to a higher end, and, after attaining that end, casts aside. For it ever remains the great problem of Christianity to pervade like leaven and sanctify all human society in the family and the state, in science and art, and in all public life. The old Roman world, which was based on heathenism, was, if the moral portraitures of Salvianus and other writers of the fourth and fifth centuries are even half true, past all such transformation; and the Christian morality therefore assumed at the outset an attitude of downright hostility toward it, till she should grow strong enough to venture upon her regenerating mission among the new and, though barbarous, yet plastic and germinal nations of the middle age, and plant in them the seed of a higher civilization.

Monasticism promoted the downfall of heathenism and the victory of Christianity in the Roman empire and among the barbarians. It stood as a warning against the worldliness, frivolity, and immorality of the great cities, and a mighty call to repentance and conversion. It offered a quiet refuge to souls weary of the world, and led its earnest disciples into the sanctuary of undisturbed communion with God. It was to invalids a hospital for the cure of moral diseases, and at the same time, to healthy and vigorous enthusiasts an arena for the exercise of heroic virtue.304 It recalled the original unity and equality of the human race, by placing rich and poor, high and low upon the same level. It conduced to the abolition, or at least the mitigation of slavery.305 It showed hospitality to the wayfaring, and liberality to the poor and needy. It was an excellent school of meditation, self-discipline, and spiritual exercise. It sent forth most of those catholic, missionaries, who, inured to all hardship, planted the standard of the cross among the barbarian tribes of Northern and Western Europe, and afterward in Eastern Asia and South America. It was a prolific seminary of the clergy, and gave the church many of her most eminent bishops and popes, as Gregory I. and Gregory VII. It produced saints like Anthony and Bernard, and trained divines like Chrysostom and Jerome, and the long succession of schoolmen and mystics of the middle ages. Some of the profoundest theological discussions, like the tracts of Anselm, and the Summa of Thomas Aquinas, and not a few of the best books of devotion, like the "Imitation of Christ," by Thomas a Kempis, have proceeded from the solemn quietude of cloister life. Sacred hymns, unsurpassed for sweetness, like the Jesu dulcis memoria, or tender emotion, like the Stabat mater dolorosa, or terrific grandeur, like the Dies irae, dies illa, were conceived and sung by mediaeval monks for all ages to come. In patristic and antiquarian learning the Benedictines, so lately as the seventeenth century, have done extraordinary service. Finally, monasticism, at least in the West, promoted the cultivation of the soil and the education of the people, and by its industrious transcriptions of the Bible, the works of the church fathers, and the ancient classics, earned for itself, before the Reformation, much of the credit of the modern civilization of Europe. The traveller in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, England, and even in the northern regions of Scotland and Sweden, encounters innumerable traces of useful monastic labors in the ruins of abbeys, of chapter houses, of convents, of priories and hermitages, from which once proceeded educational and missionary influences upon the surrounding hills and forests. These offices, however, to the progress of arts and letters were only accessory, often involuntary, and altogether foreign to the intention of the founders of monastic life and institutions, who looked exclusively to the religious and moral education of the soul. In seeking first the kingdom of heaven, these other things were added to them.

But on the other hand, monasticism withdrew from society many useful forces; diffused an indifference for the family life, the civil and military service of the state, and all public practical operations; turned the channels of religion from the world into the desert, and so hastened the decline of Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and the whole Roman empire. It nourished religious fanaticism, often raised storms of popular agitation, and rushed passionately into the controversies of theological parties; generally, it is true, on the side of orthodoxy, but often, as at the Ephesian "council of robbers," in favor of heresy, and especially in behalf of the crudest superstition. For the simple, divine way of salvation in the gospel, it substituted an arbitrary, eccentric, ostentatious, and pretentious sanctity. It darkened the all-sufficient merits of Christ by the glitter of the over-meritorious works of man. It measured virtue by the quantity of outward exercises instead of the quality of the inward disposition, and disseminated self-righteousness and an anxious, legal, and mechanical religion. It favored the idolatrous veneration of Mary and of saints, the worship of images and relics, and all sorts of superstitious and pious fraud. It circulated a mass of visions and miracles, which, if true, far surpassed the miracles of Christ and the apostles and set all the laws of nature and reason at defiance. The Nicene age is full of the most absurd monks' fables, and is in this respect not a whit behind the darkest of the middle ages.306 Monasticism lowered the standard of general morality in proportion as it set itself above it and claimed a corresponding higher merit; and it exerted in general a demoralizing influence on the people, who came to consider themselves the profanum vulgus mundi, and to live accordingly. Hence the frequent lamentations, not only of Salvian, but of Chrysostom and of Augustine, over the indifference and laxness of the Christianity of the day; hence to this day the mournful state of things in the southern countries of Europe and America, where monasticism is most prevalent, and sets the extreme of ascetic sanctity in contrast with the profane laity, but where there exists no healthful middle class of morality, no blooming family life, no moral vigor in the masses. In the sixteenth century the monks were the bitterest enemies of the Reformation and of all true progress. And yet the greatest of the reformers was a pupil of the convent, and a child of the monastic system, as the boldest and most free of the apostles had been the strictest of the Pharisees.

§ 35. Paul of Thebes and St. Anthony.

I. Athanasius: Vita S. Antonii (in Greek, Opera, ed. Ben. ii. 793–866). The same in Latin, by Evagrius, in the fourth century. Jerome: Catal. c. 88 (a very brief notice of Anthony); Vita S. Pauli Theb. (Opera, ed. Vallars, ii. p. 1–12). Sozom: H. E. l. i. cap. 13 and 14. Socrat.: H. E. iv. 23, 25.

II. Acta Sanctorum, sub Jan. 17 (tom. ii. p. 107 sqq.). Tillemont: Mem. tom. vii. p. 101–144 (St. Antoine, premier père des solitaires d'Egypte). Butler (R.C.): Lives of the Saints, sub Jan. 17. Möhler (R.C.): Athanasius der Grosse, p. 382–402. Neander: K. G. iii. 446 sqq. (Torrey's Engl. ed. ii. 229–234). Böhringer: Die Kirche Christi in Biographien, i. 2, p. 122–151. H. Ruffner: l.c. vol. i. p. 247–302 (a condensed translation from Athanasius, with additions). K. Hase: K. Gesch. § 64 (a masterly miniature portrait).

The first known Christian hermit, as distinct from the earlier ascetics, is the fabulous Paul of Thebes, in Upper Egypt. In the twenty-second year of his age, during the Decian persecution, a.d. 250, he retired to a distant cave, grew fond of the solitude, and lived there, according to the legend, ninety years, in a grotto near a spring and a palm tree, which furnished him food, shade, and clothing,307 until his death in 340. In his later years a raven is said to have brought him daily half a loaf, as the ravens ministered to Elijah. But no one knew of this wonderful saint, till Anthony, who under a higher impulse visited and buried him, made him known to the world. After knocking in vain for more than an hour at the door of the hermit, who would receive the visits of beasts and reject those of men, he was admitted at last with a smiling face, and greeted with a holy kiss. Paul had sufficient curiosity left to ask the question, whether there were any more idolaters in the world, whether new houses were built in ancient cities and by whom the world was governed? During this interesting conversation, a large raven came gently flying and deposited a double portion of bread for the saint and his guest. "The Lord," said Paul, "ever kind and merciful, has sent us a dinner. It is now sixty years since I have daily received half a loaf, but since thou hast come, Christ has doubled the supply for his soldiers." After thanking the Giver, they sat down by the fountain; but now the question arose who should break the bread; the one urging the custom of hospitality, the other pleading the right of his friend as the elder. This question of monkish etiquette, which may have a moral significance, consumed nearly the whole day, and was settled at last by the compromise that both should seize the loaf at opposite ends, pull till it broke, and keep what remained in their hands. A drink from the fountain, and thanksgiving to God closed the meal. The day afterward Anthony returned to his cell, and told his two disciples: "Woe to me, a sinner, who have falsely pretended to be a monk. I have seen Elijah and John in the desert; I have seen St. Paul in paradise." Soon afterward he paid St. Paul a second visit, but found him dead in his cave, with head erect and hands lifted up to heaven. He wrapped up the corpse, singing psalms and hymns, and buried him without a spade; for two lions came of their own accord, or rather from supernatural impulse, from the interior parts of the desert, laid down at his feet, wagging their tails, and moaning distressingly, and scratched a grave in the sand large enough for the body of the departed saint of the desert! Anthony returned with the coat of Paul, made of palm leaves, and wore it on the solemn days of Easter and Pentecost.

The learned Jerome wrote the life of Paul, some thirty years afterward, as it appears, on the authority of Anathas and Macarius, two disciples of Anthony. But he remarks, in the prologue, that many incredible things are said of him, which are not worthy of repetition. If he believed his story of the grave-digging lions, it is hard to imagine what was more credible and less worthy of repetition.

In this Paul we have an example, of a canonized saint, who lived ninety years unseen and unknown in the wilderness, beyond all fellowship with the visible church, without Bible, public worship, or sacraments, and so died, yet is supposed to have attained the highest grade of piety. How does this consist with the common doctrine of the Catholic church respecting the necessity and the operation of the means of grace? Augustine, blinded by the ascetic spirit of his age, says even, that anchorets, on their level of perfection, may dispense with the Bible. Certain it is, that this kind of perfection stands not in the Bible, but outside of it.

The proper founder of the hermit life, the one chiefly instrumental in giving it its prevalence, was St. Anthony of Egypt. He is the most celebrated, the most original, and the most venerable representative of this abnormal and eccentric sanctity, the "patriarch of the monks," and the "childless father of an innumerable seed."308

Anthony sprang from a Christian and honorable Coptic family, and was born about 251, at Coma, on the borders of the Thebaid. Naturally quiet, contemplative, and reflective, he avoided the society of playmates, and despised all higher learning. He understood only his Coptic vernacular, and remained all his life ignorant of Grecian literature and secular science.309 But he diligently attended divine worship with his parents, and so carefully heard the Scripture lessons, that he retained them in memory.310 Memory was his library. He afterward made faithful, but only too literal use of single passages of Scripture, and began his discourse to the hermits with the very uncatholic-sounding declaration: "The holy Scriptures give us instruction enough." In his eighteenth year, about 270, the death of his parents devolved on him the care of a younger sister and a considerable estate. Six months afterward he heard in the church, just as he was meditating on the apostles' implicit following of Jesus, the word of the Lord to the rich young ruler: "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me."311 This word was a voice of God, which determined his life. He divided his real estate, consisting of three hundred acres of fertile land, among the inhabitants of the village, and sold his personal property for the benefit of the poor, excepting a moderate reserve for the support of his sister. But when, soon afterward, he heard in the church the exhortation, "Take no thought for the morrow,"312 he distributed the remnant to the poor, and intrusted his sister to a society of pious virgins.313 He visited her only once after—a fact characteristic of the ascetic depreciation of natural ties.

He then forsook the hamlet, and led an ascetic life in the neighborhood, praying constantly, according to the exhortation: "Pray without ceasing;" and also laboring, according to the maxim: "If any will not work, neither should he eat." What he did not need for his slender support, he gave to the poor. He visited the neighboring ascetics, who were then already very plentiful in Egypt, to learn humbly and thankfully their several eminent virtues; from one, earnestness in prayer; from another, watchfulness; from a third, excellence in fasting; from a fourth, meekness; from all, love to Christ and to fellow men. Thus he made himself universally beloved, and came to be reverenced as a friend of God.

But to reach a still higher level of ascetic holiness, he retreated, after the year 285, further and further from the bosom and vicinity of the church, into solitude, and thus became the founder of an anchoretism strictly so called. At first he lived in a sepulchre; then for twenty years in the ruins of a castle; and last on Mount Colzim, some seven hours from the Red Sea, a three days' journey east of the Nile, where an old cloister still preserves his name and memory.

In this solitude he prosecuted his ascetic practices with ever-increasing rigor. Their monotony was broken only by basket making, occasional visits, and battles with the devil. In fasting he attained a rare abstemiousness. His food consisted of bread and salt, sometimes dates; his drink, of water. Flesh and wine he never touched. He ate only once a day, generally after sunset, and, like the presbyter Isidore, was ashamed that an immortal spirit should need earthly nourishment. Often he fasted from two to five days. Friends, and wandering Saracens, who always had a certain reverence for the saints of the desert, brought him bread from time to time. But in the last years of his life, to render himself entirely independent of others, and to afford hospitality to travellers, he cultivated a small garden on the mountain, near a spring shaded by palms.314 Sometimes the wild beasts of the forest destroyed his modest harvest, till he drove them away forever with the expostulation: "Why do you injure me, who have never done you the slightest harm? Away with you all, in the name of the Lord, and never come into my neighborhood again." He slept on bare ground, or at best on a pallet of straw; but often he watched the whole night through in prayer. The anointing of the body with oil he despised, and in later years never washed his feet; as if filthiness were an essential element of ascetic perfection. His whole wardrobe consisted of a hair shirt, a sheepskin, and a girdle. But notwithstanding all, he had a winning friendliness and cheerfulness in his face.

Conflicts with the devil and his hosts of demons were, as with other solitary saints, a prominent part of Anthony's experience, and continued through all his life. The devil appeared to him in visions and dreams, or even in daylight, in all possible forms, now as a friend, now as a fascinating woman, now as a dragon, tempting him by reminding him of his former wealth, of his noble family, of the care due to his sister, by promises of wealth, honor, and renown, by exhibitions of the difficulty of virtue and the facility of vice, by unchaste thoughts and images, by terrible threatening of the dangers and punishments of the ascetic life. Once he struck the hermit so violently, Athanasius says, that a friend, who brought him bread, found him on the ground apparently dead. At another time he broke through the wall of his cave and filled the room with roaring lions, howling wolves, growling bears, fierce hyenas, crawling serpents and scorpions; but Anthony turned manfully toward the monsters, till a supernatural light broke in from the roof and dispersed them. His sermon, which he delivered to the hermits at their request, treats principally of these wars with demons, and gives also the key to the interpretation of them: "Fear not Satan and his angels. Christ has broken their power. The best weapon against them is faith and piety .... The presence of evil spirits reveals itself in perplexity, despondency, hatred of the ascetics, evil desires, fear of death .... They take the form answering to the spiritual state they find in us at the time.315 They are the reflex of our thoughts and fantasies. If thou art carnally minded, thou art their prey; but if thou rejoicest in the Lord and occupiest thyself with divine things, they are powerless .... The devil is afraid of fasting, of prayer, of humility and good works. His illusions soon vanish, when one arms himself with the sign of the cross."

Only in exceptional cases did Anthony leave his solitude; and then he made a powerful impression on both Christians and heathens with his hairy dress and his emaciated, ghostlike form. In the year 311, during the persecution under Maximinus, he appeared in Alexandria in the hope of himself gaining the martyr's crown. He visited the confessors in the mines and prisons, encouraged them before the tribunal, accompanied them to the scaffold; but no one ventured to lay hands on the saint of the wilderness. In the year 351, when a hundred years old, he showed himself for the second and last time in the metropolis of Egypt, to bear witness for the orthodox faith of his friend Athanasius against Arianism, and in a few days converted more heathens and heretics than had otherwise been gained in a whole year. He declared the Arian denial of the divinity of Christ worse than the venom of the serpent, and no better than heathenism which worshipped the creature instead of the Creator. He would have nothing to do with heretics, and warned his disciples against intercourse with them. Athanasius attended him to the gate of the city, where he cast out an evil spirit from a girl. An invitation to stay longer in Alexandria he declined, saying: "As a fish out of water, so a monk out of his solitude dies." Imitating his example, the monks afterward forsook the wilderness in swarms whenever orthodoxy was in danger, and went in long processions with wax tapers and responsive singing through the streets, or appeared at the councils, to contend for the orthodox faith with all the energy of fanaticism, often even with physical force.

Though Anthony shunned the society of men, yet he was frequently visited in his solitude and resorted to for consolation and aid by Christians and heathens, by ascetics, sick, and needy, as a heaven-descended physician of Egypt for body and soul. He enjoined prayer, labor, and care of the poor, exhorted those at strife to the love of God, and healed the sick and demoniac with his prayer. Athanasius relates several miracles performed by him, the truth of which we leave undecided though they are far less incredible and absurd than many other monkish stories of that age. Anthony, his biographer assures us, never boasted when his prayer was heard, nor murmured when it was not, but in either case thanked God. He cautioned monks against overrating the gift of miracles, since it is not our work, but the grace of the Lord; and he reminds them of the word: "Rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." To Martianus, an officer, who urgently besought him to heal his possessed daughter, he said: "Man, why dost thou call on me? I am a man, as thou art. If thou believest, pray to God, and he will hear thee." Martianus prayed, and on his return found his daughter whole.

Anthony distinguished himself above most of his countless disciples and successors, by his fresh originality of mind. Though uneducated and limited, he had sound sense and ready mother wit. Many of his striking answers and felicitous sentences have come down to us. When some heathen philosophers once visited him, he asked them: "Why do you give yourselves so much trouble to see a fool?" They explained, perhaps ironically, that they took him rather for a wise man. He replied: "If you take me for a fool, your labor is lost; but if I am a wise man, you should imitate me, and be Christians, as I am." At another time, when taunted with his ignorance, he asked: "Which is older and better, mind or learning?" The mind, was the answer. "Then," said the hermit, "the mind can do without learning." "My book," he remarked on a similar occasion, "is the whole creation, which lies open before me, and in which I can read the word of God as often as I will." The blind church-teacher, Didymus, whom he met in Alexandria, he comforted with the words: "Trouble not thyself for the loss of the outward eye, with which even flies see; but rejoice in the possession of the spiritual eye, with which also angels behold the face of God, and receive his light."316 Even the emperor Constantine, with his sons, wrote to him as a spiritual father, and begged an answer from him. The hermit at first would not so much as receive the letter, since, in any case, being unable to write, he could not answer it, and cared as little for the great of this world as Diogenes for Alexander. When told that the emperor was a Christian, he dictated the answer: "Happy thou, that thou worshippest Christ. Be not proud of thy earthly power. Think of the future judgment, and know that Christ is the only true and eternal king. Practise justice and love for men, and care for the poor." To his disciples he said on this occasion: "Wonder not that the emperor writes to me, for he is a man. Wonder much more that God has written the law for man, and has spoken to us by his own Son."

During the last years of his life the patriarch of monasticism withdrew as much as possible from the sight of visitors, but allowed two disciples to live with him, and to take care of him in his infirm old age. When he felt his end approaching, he commanded them not to embalm his body, according to the Egyptian custom, but to bury it in the earth, and to keep the spot of his interment secret. One of his two sheepskins he bequeathed to the bishop Serapion, the other, with his underclothing, to Athanasius, who had once given it to him new, and now received it back worn out. What became of the robe woven from palm leaves, which, according to Jerome, he had inherited from Paul of Thebes, and wore at Easter and Pentecost, Athanasius does not tell us. After this disposition of his property, Anthony said to his disciples: "Children, farewell; for Anthony goes away, and will be no more with you." With these words he stretched out his feet and expired with a smiling face, in the year 356, a hundred and five years old. His grave remained for centuries unknown. His last will was thus a protest against the worship of saints and relics, which, however, it nevertheless greatly helped to promote. Under Justinian, in 561, his bones, as the Bollandists and Butler minutely relate, were miraculously discovered, brought to Alexandria, then to Constantinople, and at last to Vienne in South France, and in the eleventh century, during the raging of an epidemic disease, the so-called "holy fire," or "St. Anthony's fire," they are said to have performed great wonders.

Athanasius, the greatest man of the Nicene age, concludes his biography of his friend with this sketch of his character: "From this short narrative you may judge how great a man Anthony was, who persevered in the ascetic life from youth to the highest age. In his advanced age he never allowed himself better food, nor change of raiment, nor did he even wash his feet. Yet he continued healthy in all his parts. His eyesight was clear to the end, and his teeth sound, though by long use worn to mere stumps. He retained also the perfect use of his hands and feet, and was more robust and vigorous than those who are accustomed to change of food and clothing and to washing. His fame spread from his remote dwelling on the lone mountain over the whole Roman empire. What gave him his renown, was not learning nor worldly wisdom, nor human art, but alone his piety toward God .... And let all the brethren know, that the Lord will not only take holy monks to heaven, but give them celebrity in all the earth, however deep they may bury themselves in the wilderness."

The whole Nicene age venerated in Anthony a model saint.317 This fact brings out most characteristically the vast difference between the ancient and the modern, the old Catholic and the evangelical Protestant conception of the nature of the Christian religion. The specifically Christian element in the life of Anthony, especially as measured by the Pauline standard, is very small. Nevertheless we can but admire the needy magnificence, the simple, rude grandeur of this hermit sanctity even in its aberration. Anthony concealed under his sheepskin a childlike humility, an amiable simplicity, a rare energy of will, and a glowing love to God, which maintained itself for almost ninety years in the absence of all the comforts and pleasures of natural life, and triumphed over all the temptations of the flesh. By piety alone, without the help of education or learning, he became one of the most remarkable and influential men in the history of the ancient church. Even heathen contemporaries could not withhold from him their reverence, and the celebrated philosopher Synesius, afterward a bishop, before his conversion reckoned Anthony among those rare men, in whom flashes of thought take the place of reasonings, and natural power of mind makes schooling needless.318

§ 36. Spread of Anchoretism. Hilarion.

The example of Anthony acted like magic upon his generation, and his biography by Athanasius, which was soon translated also into Latin, was a tract for the times. Chrysostom recommended it to all as instructive and edifying reading.319 Even Augustine, the most evangelical of the fathers, was powerfully affected by the reading of it in his decisive religious struggle, and was decided by it in his entire renunciation of the world.320

In a short time, still in the lifetime of Anthony, the deserts of Egypt, from Nitria, south of Alexandria, and the wilderness of Scetis, to Libya and the Thebaid, were peopled with anchorets and studded with cells. A mania for monasticism possessed Christendom, and seized the people of all classes like an epidemic. As martyrdom had formerly been, so now monasticism was, the quickest and surest way to renown upon earth and to eternal reward in heaven. This prospect, with which Athanasius concludes his life of Anthony, abundantly recompensed all self-denial and mightily stimulated pious ambition. The consistent recluse must continually increase his seclusion. No desert was too scorching, no rock too forbidding, no cliff too steep, no cave too dismal for the feet of these world-hating and man-shunning enthusiasts. Nothing was more common than to see from two to five hundred monks under the same abbot. It has been supposed, that in Egypt the number of anchorets and cenobites equalled the population of the cities.321 The natural contrast between the desert and the fertile valley of the Nile, was reflected in the moral contrast between the monastic life and the world.

The elder Macarius322 introduced the hermit life in the frightful desert of Scetis; Amun or Ammon,323 on the Nitrian mountain. The latter was married, but persuaded his bride, immediately after the nuptials, to live with him in the strictest abstinence. Before the end of the fourth century there were in Nitria alone, according to Sozomen, five thousand monks, who lived mostly in separate cells or laurae, and never spoke with one another except on Saturday and Sunday, when they assembled for common worship.

From Egypt the solitary life spread to the neighboring countries.

Hilarion, whose life Jerome has written graphically and at large,324 established it in the wilderness of Gaza, in Palestine and Syria. This saint attained among the anchorets of the fourth century an eminence second only to Anthony. He was the son of pagan parents, and grew up "as a rose among thorns." He went to school in Alexandria, diligently attended church, and avoided the circus, the gladiatorial shows, and the theatre. He afterward lived two months with St. Anthony, and became his most celebrated disciple. After the death of his parents, he distributed his inheritance among his brothers and the poor, and reserved nothing, fearing the example of Ananias and Sapphira, and remembering the word of Christ: "Whosoever he be of you, that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."325 He then retired into the wilderness of Gaza, which was inhabited only by robbers and assassins; battled, like Anthony, with obscene dreams and other temptations of the devil; and so reduced his body—the "ass," which ought to have not barley, but chaff—with fastings and night watchings, that, while yet a youth of twenty years, he looked almost like a skeleton. He never ate before sunset. Prayers, psalm singing, Bible recitations, and basket weaving were his employment. His cell was only five feet high, lower than his own stature, and more like a sepulchre than a dwelling. He slept on the ground. He cut his hair only once a year, at Easter. The fame of his sanctity gradually attracted hosts of admirers (once, ten thousand), so that he had to change his residence several times, and retired to Sicily, then to Dalmatia, and at last to the island of Cyprus, where he died in 371, in his eightieth year. His legacy, a book of the Gospels and a rude mantle, he made to his friend Hesychius, who took his corpse home to Palestine, and deposited it in the cloister of Majumas. The Cyprians consoled themselves over their loss, with the thought that they possessed the spirit of the saint. Jerome ascribes to him all manner of visions and miraculous cures.

§ 37. St. Symeon and the Pillar Saints.

Respecting St. Symeon, or Simeon Stylites, we have accounts from three contemporaries and eye witnesses, Anthony, Cosmas, and especially Theodoret (Hist. Relig. c. 26). The latter composed his narrative sixteen years before the death the saint.

Evagrius: H. E. i. c. 13. The Acta Sanctorum and Butler, sub Jan. 5. Uhlemann: Symeon, der erste Säulenheilige in Syrien. Leipz. 1846. (Comp. also the fine poem of A. Tennyson: St. Symeon Stylites, a monologue in which S. relates his own experience.)

It is unnecessary to recount the lives of other such anchorets; since the same features, even to unimportant details, repeat themselves in all.326 But in the fifth century a new and quite original path327 was broken by Symeon, the father of the Stylites or pillar saints, who spent long years, day and night, summer and winter, rain and sunshine, frost and heat, standing on high, unsheltered pillars, in prayer and penances, and made the way to heaven for themselves so passing hard, that one knows not whether to wonder at their unexampled self-denial, or to pity their ignorance of the gospel salvation. On this giddy height the anchoretic asceticism reached its completion.

St. Symeon the Stylite, originally a shepherd on the borders of Syria and Cilicia, when a boy of thirteen years, was powerfully affected by the beatitudes, which he heard read in the church, and betook himself to a cloister. He lay several days, without eating or drinking, before the threshold, and begged to be admitted as the meanest servant of the house. He accustomed himself to eat only once a week, on Sunday. During Lent he even went through the whole forty days without any food; a fact almost incredible even for a tropical climate.328 The first attempt of this kind brought him to the verge of death; but his constitution conformed itself, and when Theodoret visited him, he had solemnized six and twenty Lent seasons by total abstinence, and thus surpassed Moses, Elias, and even Christ, who never fasted so but once. Another of his extraordinary inflections was to lace his body so tightly that the cord pressed through to the bones, and could be cut off only with the most terrible pains. This occasioned his dismissal from the cloister. He afterward spent some time as a hermit upon a mountain, with an iron chain upon his feet, and was visited there by admiring and curious throngs. When this failed to satisfy him, he invented, in 423, a new sort of holiness, and lived, some two days' journey (forty miles) east of Antioch, for six and thirty years, until his death, upon a pillar, which at the last was nearly forty cubits high;329 for the pillar was raised in proportion as he approached heaven and perfection. Here he could never lie nor sit, but only stand, or lean upon a post (probably a banister), or devoutly bow; in which last posture he almost touched his feet with his head—so flexible had his back been made by fasting. A spectator once counted in one day no less than twelve hundred and forty-four such genuflexions of the saint before the Almighty, and then gave up counting. He wore a covering of the skins of beasts, and a chain about his neck. Even the holy sacrament he took upon his pillar. There St. Symeon stood many long and weary days, and weeks, and months, and years, exposed to the scorching sun, the drenching rain, the crackling frost, the howling storm, living a life of daily death and martyrdom, groaning under the load of sin, never attaining to the true comfort and peace of soul which is derived from a child-like trust in Christ's infinite merits, earnestly striving after a superhuman holiness, and looking to a glorious reward in heaven, and immortal fame on earth. Alfred Tennyson makes him graphically describe his experience in a monologue to God:

'Although I be the basest of mankind,

From scalp to sole one slough and crust of sin,

Unfit for earth, unfit for heaven, scarce meet

For troops of devils, mad with blasphemy,

I will not cease to grasp the hope I hold

Of saintdom, and to clamor, moan, and sob

Battering the gates of heaven with storms of prayer:

Have mercy, Lord, and take away my sin.

* * * * * *

Oh take the meaning, Lord: I do not breathe,

Not whisper, any murmur of complaint.

Pain heaped ten hundredfold to this, were still

Less burthen, by ten hundredfold, to bear,

Than were those lead-like tons of sin, that crushed

My spirit flat before Thee.

O Lord, Lord,

Thou knowest I bore this better at the first,

For I was strong and hale of body then;

And though my teeth, which now are dropt away,

Would chatter with the cold, and all my beard

Was tagged with icy fringes in the moon,

I drowned the whoopings of the owl with sound

Of pious hymns and psalms, and sometimes saw

An angel stand and watch me, as I sang.

Now am I feeble grown: my end draws nigh—

I hope my end draws nigh: half deaf I am,

So that I scarce can hear the people hum

About the column's base; and almost blind,

And scarce can recognize the fields I know.

And both my thighs are rotted with the dew,

Yet cease I not to clamor and to cry,

While my stiff spine can hold my weary head,

Till all my limbs drop piecemeal from the stone:

Have mercy, mercy; take away my sin."

Yet Symeon was not only concerned about his own salvation. People streamed from afar to witness this standing wonder of the age. He spoke to all classes with the same friendliness, mildness, and love; only women he never suffered to come within the wall which surrounded his pillar. From this original pulpit, as a mediator between heaven and earth, he preached repentance twice a day to the astonished spectators, settled controversies, vindicated the orthodox faith, extorted laws even from an emperor, healed the sick wrought miracles, and converted thousands of heathen Ishmaelites, Iberians, Armenians, and Persians to Christianity, or at least to the Christian name. All this the celebrated Theodoret relates as an eyewitness during the lifetime of the saint. He terms him the great wonder of the world,330 and compares him to a candle on a candlestick, and to the sun itself, which sheds its rays on every side. He asks the objector to this mode of life to consider that God often uses very striking means to arouse the negligent, as the history of the prophets shows;331 and concludes his narrative with the remark: "Should the saint live longer, he may do yet greater wonders, for he is a universal ornament and honor of religion."

He died in 459, in the sixty-ninth year of his age, of a long-concealed and loathsome ulcer on his leg; and his body was brought in solemn procession to the metropolitan church Of Antioch.

Even before his death, Symeon enjoyed the unbounded admiration of Christians and heathens, of the common people, of the kings of Persia, and of the emperors Theodosius II., Leo, and Marcian, who begged his blessing and his counsel. No wonder, that, with all his renowned humility, he had to struggle with the temptations of spiritual pride. Once an angel appeared to him in a vision, with a chariot of fire, to convey him, like Elijah, to heaven, because the blessed spirits longed for him. He was already stepping into the chariot with his right foot, which on this occasion he sprained (as Jacob his thigh), when the phantom of Satan was chased away by the sign of the cross. Perhaps this incident, which the Acta Sanctorum gives, was afterward invented, to account for his sore, and to illustrate the danger of self-conceit. Hence also the pious monk Nilus, with good reason, reminded the ostentatious pillar saints of the proverb: "He that exalteth himself shall be abased."332

Of the later stylites the most distinguished were Daniel († 490), in the vicinity of Constantinople, and Symeon the younger († 592), in Syria. The latter is said to have spent sixty-eight years on a pillar. In the East this form of sanctity perpetuated itself, though only in exceptional cases, down to the twelfth century. The West, so far as we know, affords but one example of a stylite, who, according to Gregory of Tours, lived a long time on a pillar near Treves, but came down at the command of the bishop, and entered a neighboring cloister.

§ 38. Pachomius and the Cloister life.

On St. Pachomius we have a biography composed soon after his death by a monk of Tabennae, and scattered accounts in Palladius, Jerome (Regula Pachomii, Latine reddita, Opp. Hieron. ed. Vallarsi, tom. ii. p. 50 sqq.), Rufinus, Sozomen, &c. Comp. Tillemont, tom. vii. p. 167–235, and the Vit. Sanct. sub Maj. 14.

Though the strictly solitary life long continued in use, and to this day appears here and there in the Greek and Roman churches, yet from the middle of the fourth century monasticism began to assume in general the form of the cloister life, as incurring less risk, being available for both sexes, and being profitable to the church. Anthony himself gave warning, as we have already observed, against the danger of entire isolation, by referring to the proverb: "Woe to him that is alone." To many of the most eminent ascetics anchoretism was a stepping stone to the coenobite life; to others it was the goal of coenobitism, and the last and highest round on the ladder of perfection.

The founder of this social monachism was Pachomius, a contemporary of Anthony, like him an Egyptian, and little below him in renown among the ancients. He was born about 292, of heathen parents, in the Upper Thebaid, served as a soldier in the army of the tyrant Maximin on the expedition against Constantine and Licinius, and was, with his comrades, so kindly treated by the Christians at Thebes, that he was won to the Christian faith, and, after his discharge from the military service, received baptism. Then, in 313, he visited the aged hermit Palemon, to learn from him the way to perfection. The saint showed him the difficulties of the anchorite life: "Many," said he, "have come hither from disgust with the world, and had no perseverance. Remember, my son, my food consists only of bread and salt; I drink no wine, take no oil, spend half the night awake, singing psalms and meditating on the Scriptures, and sometimes pass the whole night without sleep." Pachomius was astounded, but not discouraged, and spent several years with this man as a pupil.

In the year 325 he was directed by an angel, in a vision, to establish on the island of Tabennae, in the Nile, in Upper Egypt, a society of monks, which in a short time became so strong that even before his death (348) it numbered eight or nine cloisters in the Thebaid, and three thousand (according to some, seven thousand), and, a century later, fifty thousand members. The mode of life was fixed by a strict rule of Pachomius, which, according to a later legend, an angel communicated to him, and which Jerome translated into Latin. The formal reception into the society was preceded by a three-years' probation. Rigid vows were not yet enjoined. With spiritual exercises manual labor was united, agriculture, boat building, basketmaking, mat and coverlet weaving, by which the monks not only earned their own living, but also supported the poor and the sick. They were divided, according to the grade of their ascetic piety, into four and twenty classes, named by the letters of the Greek alphabet. They lived three in a cell. They ate in common, but in strict silence, and with the face covered. They made known their wants by signs. The sick were treated with special care. On Saturday and Sunday they partook of the communion. Pachomius, as abbot, or archimandrite, took the oversight of the whole; each cloister having a separate superior and a steward.

Pachomius also established a cloister of nuns for his sister, whom he never admitted to his presence when she would visit him, sending her word that she should be content to know that he was still alive. In like manner, the sister of Anthony and the wife of Ammon became centres of female cloister life, which spread with great rapidity.

Pachomius, after his conversion never ate a full meal, and for fifteen years slept sitting on a stone. Tradition ascribes to him all sorts of miracles, even the gift of tongues and perfect dominion over nature, so that he trod without harm on serpents and scorpions, and crossed the Nile on the backs of crocodiles!333 Soon after Pachomius, fifty monasteries arose on the Nitrian mountain, in no respect inferior to those in the Thebaid. They maintained seven bakeries for the benefit of the anchorets in the neighboring Libyan desert, and gave attention also, at least in later days, to theological studies; as the valuable manuscripts recently discovered there evince.

From Egypt the cloister life spread with the rapidity of the irresistible spirit of the age, over the entire Christian East. The most eminent fathers of the Greek church were either themselves monks for a time, or at all events friends and patrons of monasticism. Ephraim propagated it in Mesopotamia; Eustathius of Sebaste in Armenia and Paphlagonia; Basil the Great in Pontus and Cappadocia. The latter provided his monasteries and nunneries with clergy, and gave them an improved rule, which, before his death (379), was accepted by some eighty thousand monks, and translated by Rufinus into Latin. He sought to unite the virtues of the anchorite and coenobite life, and to make the institution useful to the church by promoting the education of youth, and also (as Athanasius designed before him) by combating Arianism among the people.334 He and his friend Gregory Nazianzen were the first to unite scientific theological studies with the ascetic exercises of solitude. Chrysostom wrote three books in praise and vindication of the monastic life, and exhibits it in general in its noblest aspect.

In the beginning of the fifth century, Eastern monasticism was most worthily represented by the elder Nilus of Sinai, a pupil and venerator of Chrysostom, and a copious ascetic writer, who retired with his son from a high civil office in Constantinople to Mount Sinai, while his wife, with a daughter, travelled to an Egyptian cloister;335 and by the abbot Isidore, of Pelusium, on the principal eastern mouth of the Nile, from whom we have two thousand epistles.336 The writings of these two men show a rich spiritual experience, and an extended and fertile field of labor and usefulness in their age and generation.

§ 39. Fanatical and Heretical Monastic Societies in The East.

Acta Concil. Gangrenensis, in Mansi, ii. 1095 sqq. Epiphan.: Haer. 70, 75 and 80. Socr.: H. E. ii. 43. Sozom.: iv. 24. Theodor.: H. E. iv. 9, 10; Fab. haer. iv. 10, 11. Comp. Neander: iii. p. 468 sqq. (ed. Torrey, ii. 238 sqq.).

Monasticism generally adhered closely to the orthodox faith of the church. The friendship between Athanasius, the father of orthodoxy, and Anthony, the father of monachism, is on this point a classical fact. But Nestorianism also, and Eutychianism, Monophysitism, Pelagianism, and other heresies, proceeded from monks, and found in monks their most vigorous advocates. And the monastic enthusiasm ran also into ascetic heresies of its own, which we must notice here.

1. The Eustathians, so named from Eustathius, bishop of Sebaste and friend of Basil, founder of monasticism in Armenia, Pontus, and Paphlagonia. This sect asserted that marriage debarred from salvation and incapacitated for the clerical office. For this and other extravagances it was condemned by a council at Gangra in Paphlagonia (between 360 and 370), and gradually died out.

2. The Audians held similar principles. Their founder, Audius, or Udo, a layman of Syria, charged the clergy of his day with immorality, especially avarice and extravagance. After much persecution, which he bore patiently, he forsook the church, with his friends, among whom were some bishops and priests, and, about 330, founded a rigid monastic sect in Scythia, which subsisted perhaps a hundred years. They were Quartodecimans in the practice of Easter, observing it on the 14th of Nisan, according to Jewish fashion. Epiphanius speaks favorably of their exemplary but severely ascetic life.

3. The Euchites or Messalians,337 also called Enthusiasts, were roaming mendicant monks in Mesopotamia and Syria (dating from 360), who conceived the Christian life as an unintermitted prayer, despised all physical labor, the moral law, and the sacraments, and boasted themselves perfect. They taught, that every man brings an evil demon with him into the world, which can only be driven away by prayer; then the Holy Ghost comes into the soul, liberates it from all the bonds of sense, and raises it above the need of instruction and the means of grace. The gospel history they declared a mere allegory. But they concealed their pantheistic mysticism and antinomianism under external conformity to the Catholic church. When their principles, toward the end of the fourth century, became known, the persecution of both the ecclesiastical and the civil authority fell upon them. Yet they perpetuated themselves to the seventh century, and reappeared in the Euchites and Bogomiles of the middle age.

§ 40. Monasticism in the West. Athanasius, Ambrose, Augustine, Martin of Tours.

I. Ambrosius: De Virginibus ad Marcellinam sororem suam libri tres, written about 377 (in the Benedictine edition of Ambr. Opera, tom. ii. p. 145–183). Augustinus (a.d. 400): De Opere Monachorum liber unus (in the Bened. ed., tom. vi. p. 476–504). Sulpitius Severus (about a.d. 403): Dialogi tres (de virtutibus monachorum orientalium et de virtutibus B. Martini); and De Vita Beati Martini (both in the Bibliotheca Maxima vet. Patrum, tom. vi. p. 349 sqq., and better in Gallandi's Bibliotheca vet. Patrum, tom. viii. p. 392 sqq.).

II. J. Mabillon: Observat. de monachis in occidente ante Benedictum (Praef. in Acta Sanct. Ord. Bened.). R. H. Milman: Hist. of Latin Christianity, Lond. 1854, vol. i. ch. vi. p. 409–426: "Western Monasticism." Count de Montalembert: The Monks of the West, Engl. translation, vol. i. p. 379 sqq.

In the Latin church, in virtue partly of the climate, partly of the national character,338 the monastic life took a much milder form, but assumed greater variety, and found a larger field of usefulness than in the Greek. It produced no pillar saints, nor other such excesses of ascetic heroism, but was more practical instead, and an important instrument for the cultivation of the soil and the diffusion of Christianity and civilization among the barbarians.339 Exclusive contemplation was exchanged for alternate contemplation and labor. "A working monk," says Cassian, "is plagued by one devil, an inactive monk by a host." Yet it must not be forgotten that the most eminent representatives of the Eastern monasticism recommended manual labor and studies; and that the Eastern monks took a very lively, often rude and stormy part in theological controversies. And on the other hand, there were Western monks who, like Martin of Tours, regarded labor as disturbing contemplation.

Athanasius, the guest, the disciple, and subsequently the biographer and eulogist of St. Anthony, brought the first intelligence of monasticism to the West, and astounded the civilized and effeminate Romans with two live representatives of the semi-barbarous desert-sanctity of Egypt, who accompanied him in his exile in 340. The one, Ammonius, was so abstracted from the world that he disdained to visit any of the wonders of the great city, except the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul; while the other, Isidore, attracted attention by his amiable simplicity. The phenomenon excited at first disgust and contempt, but soon admiration and imitation, especially among women, and among the decimated ranks of the ancient Roman nobility. The impression of the first visit was afterward strengthened by two other visits of Athanasius to Rome, and especially by his biography of Anthony, which immediately acquired the popularity and authority of a monastic gospel. Many went to Egypt and Palestine, to devote themselves there to the new mode of life; and for the sake of such, Jerome afterward translated the rule of Pachomius into Latin. Others founded cloisters in the neighborhood of Rome, or on the ruins of the ancient temples and the forum, and the frugal number of the heathen vestals was soon cast into the shade by whole hosts of Christian virgins. From Rome, monasticism gradually spread over all Italy and the isles of the Mediterranean, even to the rugged rocks of the Gorgon and the Capraja, where the hermits, in voluntary exile from the world, took the place of the criminals and political victims whom the justice or tyranny and jealousy of the emperors had been accustomed to banish thither.

Ambrose, whose sister, Marcellina, was among the first Roman nuns, established a monastery in Milan,340 one of the first in Italy, and with the warmest zeal encouraged celibacy even against the will of parents; insomuch that the mothers of Milan kept their daughters out of the way of his preaching; whilst from other quarters, even from Mauritania, virgins flocked to him to be consecrated to the solitary life.341 The coasts and small islands of Italy were gradually studded with cloisters.342

Augustine, whose evangelical principles of the free grace of God as the only ground of salvation and peace were essentially inconsistent with the more Pelagian theory of the monastic life, nevertheless went with the then reigning spirit of the church in this respect, and led, with his clergy, a monk-like life in voluntary poverty and celibacy,343 after the pattern, as he thought, of the primitive church of Jerusalem; but with all his zealous commendation he could obtain favor for monasticism in North Africa only among the liberated slaves and the lower classes.344 He viewed it in its noblest aspect, as a life of undivided surrender to God, and undisturbed occupation with spiritual and eternal things. But he acknowledged also its abuses; he distinctly condemned the vagrant, begging monks, like the Circumcelliones and Gyrovagi, and wrote a book (De opere monachorum) against the monastic aversion to labor.

Monasticism was planted in Gaul by Martin of Tours, whose life and miracles were described in fluent, pleasing language by his disciple, Sulpitius Severus,345 a few years after his death. This celebrated saint, the patron of fields, was born in Pannonia (Hungary), of pagan parents. He was educated in Italy, and served three years, against his will, as a soldier under Constantius and Julian the Apostate. Even at that time he showed an uncommon degree of temperance, humility, and love. He often cleaned his servant's shoes, and once cut his only cloak in two with his sword, to clothe a naked beggar with half; and the next night he saw Christ in a dream with the half cloak, and plainly heard him say to the angels: "Behold, Martin, who is yet only a catechumen, hath clothed me."346 He was baptized in his eighteenth year; converted his mother; lived as a hermit in Italy; afterward built a monastery in the vicinity of Poictiers (the first in France); destroyed many idol temples, and won great renown as a saint and a worker of miracles. About the year 370 he was unanimously elected by the people, against his wish, bishop of Tours on the Loire, but in his episcopal office maintained his strict monastic mode of life, and established a monastery beyond the Loire, where he was soon surrounded with eighty monks. He had little education, but a natural eloquence, much spiritual experience, and unwearied zeal. Sulpitius Severus places him above all the Eastern monks of whom he knew, and declares his merit to be beyond all expression. "Not an hour passed," says he,347 "in which Martin did not pray .... No one ever saw him angry, or gloomy, or merry. Ever the same, with a countenance full of heavenly serenity, he seemed to be raised above the infirmities of man. There was nothing in his mouth but Christ; nothing in his heart but piety, peace, and sympathy. He used to weep for the sins of his enemies, who reviled him with poisoned tongues when he was absent and did them no harm .... Yet he had very few persecutors, except among the bishops." The biographer ascribes to him wondrous conflicts with the devil, whom he imagined he saw bodily and tangibly present in all possible shapes. He tells also of visions, miraculous cures, and even, what no oriental anchoret could boast, three instances of restoration of the dead to life, two before and one after his accession to the bishopric;348 and he assures us that he has omitted the greater part of the miracles which had come to his ears, lest he should weary the reader; but he several times intimates that these were by no means universally credited, even by monks of the same cloister. His piety was characterized by a union of monastic humility with clerical arrogance. At a supper at the court of the tyrannical emperor Maximus in Trier, he handed the goblet of wine, after he himself had drunk of it, first to his presbyter, thus giving him precedence of the emperor.349 The empress on this occasion showed him an idolatrous veneration, even preparing the meal, laying the cloth, and standing as a servant before him, like Martha before the Lord.350 More to the bishop's honor was his protest against the execution of the Priscillianists in Treves. Martin died in 397 or 400: his funeral was attended by two thousand monks, besides many nuns and a great multitude of people; and his grave became one of the most frequented centres of pilgrimage in France.

In Southern Gaul, monasticism spread with equal rapidity. John Cassian, an ascetic writer and a Semipelagian († 432), founded two cloisters in Massilia (Marseilles), where literary studies also were carried on; and Honoratus (after 426, bishop of Arles) established the cloister of St. Honoratus on the island of Lerina.

§ 41. St. Jerome as a Monk.

S. Eus. Hieronymi: Opera omnia, ed. Erasmus (assisted by Oecolampadius), Bas. 1516–'20, 9 vols. fol.; ed. (Bened.) Martianay, Par. 1693–1706, 5 vols. fol. (incomplete); ed. Vallarsi and Maffei, Veron. 1734–'42, 11 vols. fol., also Venet. 1766 (best edition). Comp. especially the 150 Epistles, often separately edited (the chronological order of which Vallarsi, in tom. i. of his edition, has finally established).

For extended works on the life of Jerome see Du Pin (Nouvelle Biblioth. des auteurs Eccles. tom. iii. p. 100–140); Tillemont (tom. xii. 1–356); Martianay (La vie de St. Jerôme, Par. 1706); Joh. Stilting (in the Acta Sanctorum, Sept. tom. viii. p. 418–688, Antw. 1762); Butler (sub Sept. 30); Vallarsi (in Op. Hieron., tom. xi. p. 1–240); Schröckh (viii. 359 sqq., and especially xi. 3–254); Engelstoft (Hieron. Stridonensis, interpres, criticus, exegeta, apologeta, historicus, doctor, monachus, Havn. 1798); D. v. Cölln (in Ersch and Gruber's Encycl. sect. ii. vol. 8); Collombet (Histoire de S. Jérôme, Lyons, 1844); and O. Zöckler (Hieronymus, sein Leben und Wirken. Gotha, 1865).

The most zealous promoter of the monastic life among the church fathers was Jerome, the connecting link between Eastern and Western learning and religion. His life belongs almost with equal right to the history of theology and the history of monasticism. Hence the church art generally represents him as a penitent in a reading or writing posture, with a lion and a skull, to denote the union of the literary and anchoretic modes of life. He was the first learned divine who not only recommended but actually embraced the monastic mode of life, and his example exerted a great influence in making monasticism available for the promotion of learning. To rare talents and attainments,351 indefatigable activity of mind, ardent faith, immortal merit in the translation and interpretation of the Bible, and earnest zeal for ascetic piety, he united so great vanity and ambition, such irritability and bitterness of temper, such vehemence of uncontrolled passion, such an intolerant and persecuting spirit, and such inconstancy of conduct, that we find ourselves alternately attracted and repelled by his character, and now filled with admiration for his greatness, now with contempt or pity for his weakness.

Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymus was born at Stridon,352 on the borders of Dalmatia, not far from Aquileia, between the years 331 and 342.353 He was the son of wealthy Christian parents, and was educated in Rome under the direction of the celebrated heathen grammarian Donatus, and the rhetorician Victorinus. He read with great diligence and profit the classic poets, orators, and philosophers, and collected a considerable library. On Sundays he visited, with Bonosus and other young friends, the subterranean graves of the martyrs, which made an indelible impression upon him. Yet he was not exempt from the temptations of a great and corrupt city, and he lost his chastity, as he himself afterward repeatedly acknowledged with pain.

About the year 370, whether before or after his literary tour to Treves and Aquileia is uncertain, but at all events in his later youth, he received baptism at Rome and resolved thenceforth to devote himself wholly, in rigid abstinence, to the service of the Lord. In the first zeal of his conversion he renounced his love for the classics, and applied himself to the study of the hitherto distasteful Bible. In a morbid ascetic frame, he had, a few years later, that celebrated dream, in which he was summoned before the judgment seat of Christ, and as a heathen Ciceronian,354 so severely reprimanded and scourged, that even the angels interceded for him from sympathy with his youth, and he himself solemnly vowed never again to take worldly books into his hands. When he woke, he still felt the stripes, which, as he thought, not his heated fancy, but the Lord himself had inflicted upon him. Hence he warns his female friend Eustochium, to whom several years afterward (a.d. 384) he recounted this experience, to avoid all profane reading: "What have light and darkness, Christ and Belial (2 Cor. vi. 14), the Psalms and Horace, the Gospels and Virgil, the Apostles and Cicero, to do with one another? ... We cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of the demons at the same time."355 But proper as this warning may be against overrating classical scholarship, Jerome himself, in his version of the Bible and his commentaries, affords the best evidence of the inestimable value of linguistic and antiquarian knowledge, when devoted to the service of religion. That oath, also, at least in later life, he did not strictly keep. On the contrary, he made the monks copy the dialogues of Cicero, and explained Virgil at Bethlehem, and his writings abound in recollections and quotations of the classic authors. When Rufinus of Aquileia, at first his warm friend, but afterward a bitter enemy, cast up to him this inconsistency and breach of a solemn vow, he resorted to the evasion that he could not obliterate from his memory what he had formerly read; as if it were not so sinful to cite a heathen author as to read him. With more reason he asserted, that all was a mere dream, and a dream vow was not binding. He referred him to the prophets, "who teach that dreams are vain, and not worthy of faith." Yet was this dream afterward made frequent use of, as Erasmus laments, to cover monastic obscurantism.

After his baptism, Jerome divided his life between the East and the West, between ascetic discipline and literary labor. He removed from Rome to Antioch with a few friends and his library, visited the most celebrated anchorets, attended the exegetical lectures of the younger Apollinaris in Antioch, and then (374) spent some time as an ascetic in the dreary Syrian desert of Chalcis. Here, like so many other hermits, he underwent a grevious struggle with sensuality, which he described ten years after with indelicate minuteness in a long letter to his virgin friend Eustochium.356 In spite of his starved and emaciated body, his fancy tormented him with wild images of Roman banquets and dances of women; showing that the monastic seclusion from the world was by no means proof against the temptations of the flesh and the devil. Helpless he cast himself at the feet of Jesus, wet them with tears of repentance, and subdued the resisting flesh by a week of fasting and by the dry study of Hebrew grammar (which, according to a letter to Rusticus,357 he was at that time learning from a converted Jew), until he found peace, and thought himself transported to the choirs of the angels in heaven. In this period probably falls the dream mentioned above, and the composition of several ascetic writings, full of heated eulogy of the monastic life.358 His biographies of distinguished anchorets, however, are very pleasantly and temperately written.359 He commends monastic seclusion even against the will of parents; interpreting the word of the Lord about forsaking father and mother, as if monasticism and Christianity were the same. "Though thy mother"—he writes, in 373, to his friend Heliodorus, who had left him in the midst of his journey to the Syrian desert—"with flowing hair and rent garments, should show thee the breasts which have nourished thee; though thy father should lie upon the threshold; yet depart thou, treading over thy father, and fly with dry eyes to the standard of the cross. This is the only religion of its kind, in this matter to be cruel .... The love of God and the fear of hell easily, rend the bonds of the household asunder. The holy Scripture indeed enjoins obedience to parents; but he who loves them more than Christ, loses his soul .... O desert, where the flowers of Christ are blooming!. O solitude, where the stones for the new Jerusalem are prepared! O retreat, which rejoices in the friendship of God! What doest thou in the world, my brother, with thy soul greater than the world? How long wilt thou remain in the shadow of roofs, and in the smoky dungeon of cities? Believe me, I see here more of the light."360 The eloquent appeal, however, failed of the desired effect; Heliodorus entered the teaching order and became a bishop.

The active and restless spirit of Jerome soon brought him again upon the public stage, and involved him in all the doctrinal and ecclesiastical controversies of those controversial times. He received the ordination of presbyter from the bishop Paulinus in Antioch, without taking charge of a congregation. He preferred the itinerant life of a monk and a student to a fixed office, and about 380 journeyed to Constantinople, where he heard the anti-Arian sermons of the celebrated Gregory Nazianzen, and translated the Chronicle of Eusebius and the homilies of Origen on Jeremiah and Ezekiel. In 382, on account of the Meletian schism, he returned to Rome with Paulinus and Epiphanius. Here he came into close connection with the bishop, Damasus, as his theological adviser and ecclesiastical secretary,361 and was led by him into new exegetical labors, particularly the revision of the Latin version of the Bible, which he completed at a later day in the East.

At the same time he labored in Rome with the greatest zeal, by mouth and pen, in the cause of monasticism, which had hitherto gained very little foothold there, and met with violent opposition even among the clergy. He had his eye mainly upon the most wealthy and honorable classes of the decayed Roman society, and tried to induce the descendants of the Scipios, the Gracchi, the Marcelli, the Camilli, the Anicii to turn their sumptuous villas into monastic retreats, and to lead a life of self-sacrifice and charity. He met with great success. "The old patrician races, which founded Rome, which had governed her during all her period of splendor and liberty, and which overcame and conquered the world, had expiated for four centuries, under the atrocious yoke of the Caesars, all that was most hard and selfish in the glory of their fathers. Cruelly humiliated, disgraced, and decimated during that long servitude, by the masters whom degenerate Rome had given herself, they found at last in Christian life, such as was practised by the monks, the dignity of sacrifice and the emancipation of the soul. These sons of the old Romans threw themselves into it with the magnanimous fire and persevering energy which had gained for their ancestors the empire of the world. 'Formerly,' says St. Jerome, 'according to the testimony of the apostles, there were few rich, few noble, few powerful among the Christians. Now it is no longer so. Not only among the Christians, but among the monks are to be found a multitude of the wise, the noble, and the rich.'... The monastic institution offered them a field of battle where the struggles and victories of their ancestors could be renewed and surpassed for a loftier cause, and over enemies more redoubtable. The great men whose memory hovered still over degenerate Rome had contended only with men, and subjugated only their bodies; their descendants undertook to strive with devils, and to conquer souls .... God called them to be the ancestors of a new people, gave them a new empire to found, and permitted them to bury and transfigure the glory of their forefathers in the bosom of the spiritual regeneration of the world."362

Most of these distinguished patrician converts of Jerome were women—such widows as Marcella, Albinia, Furia, Salvina, Fabiola, Melania, and the most illustrious of all, Paula, and her family; or virgins, as Eustochium, Apella, Marcellina, Asella, Felicitas, and Demetrias. He gathered them as a select circle around him; he expounded to them the Holy Scriptures, in which some of these Roman ladies were very well read; he answered their questions of conscience; he incited them to celibate life, lavish beneficence, and enthusiastic asceticism; and flattered their spiritual vanity by extravagant praises. He was the oracle, biographer, admirer, and eulogist of these holy women, who constituted the spiritual nobility of Catholic Rome. Even the senator Pammachius, son in-law to Paula and heir to her fortune, gave his goods to the poor, exchanged the purple for the cowl, exposed himself to the mockery of his colleagues, and became, in the flattering language of Jerome, the general in chief of Roman monks, the first of monks in the first of cities.363 Jerome considered second marriage incompatible with genuine holiness; even depreciated first marriage, except so far as it was a nursery of brides of Christ; warned Eustochium against all intercourse with married women; and hesitated not to call the mother of a bride of Christ, like Paula, a "mother-in-law of God."364

His intimacy with these distinguished women, whom he admired more, perhaps, than they admired him, together with his unsparing attacks upon the immoralities of the Roman clergy and of the higher classes, drew upon him much unjust censure and groundless calumny, which he met rather with indignant scorn and satire than with quiet dignity and Christian meekness. After the death of his patron Damasus, a.d. 384, he left Rome, and in August, 385, with his brother Paulinian, a few monks, Paula, and her daughter Eustochium, made a pilgrimage "from Babylon to Jerusalem, that not Nebuchadnezzar, but Jesus, should reign over him." With religious devotion and inquiring mind he wandered through the holy places of Palestine, spent some time in Alexandria, where he heard the lectures of the celebrated Didymus; visited the cells of the Nitrian mountain; and finally, with his two female friends, in 386, settled in the birthplace of the Redeemer, to lament there, as he says, the sins of his youth, and to secure himself against others.

In Bethlehem he presided over a monastery till his death, built a hospital for all strangers except heretics, prosecuted his literary studies without cessation, wrote several commentaries, and finished his improved Latin version of the Bible—the noblest monument of his life—but entangled himself in violent literary controversies, not only with opponents of the church orthodoxy like Helvidius (against whom he had appeared before, in 384), Jovinian, Vigilantius, and Pelagius, but also with his long-tried friend Rufinus, and even with Augustine.365 Palladius says, his jealousy could tolerate no saint beside himself, and drove many pious monks away from Bethlehem. He complained of the crowds of monks whom his fame attracted to Bethlehem.366 The remains of the Roman nobility, too, ruined by the sack of Rome, fled to him for food and shelter. At the last his repose was disturbed by incursions of the barbarian Huns and the heretical Pelagians. He died in 419 or 420, of fever, at a great age. His remains were afterward brought to the Roman basilica of Maria Maggiore, but were exhibited also and superstitiously venerated in several copies in Florence, Prague, Clugny, Paris, and the Escurial.367

The Roman church has long since assigned him one of the first places among her standard teachers and canonical saints. Yet even some impartial Catholic historians venture to admit and disapprove his glaring inconsistencies and violent passions. The Protestant love of truth inclines to the judgment, that Jerome was indeed an accomplished and most serviceable scholar and a zealous enthusiast for all which his age counted holy, but lacking in calm self-control and proper depth of mind and character, and that he reflected, with the virtues, the failings also of his age and of the monastic system. It must be said to his credit, however, that with all his enthusiastic zeal and admiration for monasticism, he saw with a keen eye and exposed with unsparing hand the false monks and nuns, and painted in lively colors the dangers of melancholy, hypochondria, the hypocrisy and spiritual pride, to which the institution was exposed.368

§ 42. St. Paula.

Hieronymus: Epitaphium Paulae matris, ad Eustochium virginem, Ep. cviii. (ed. Vallarsi, Opera, tom. i. p. 684 sqq.; ed. Bened. Ep. lxxxvi). Also the Acta Sanctorum, and Butler's Lives of Saints, sub Jan. 26.

Of Jerome's many female disciples, the most distinguished is St. Paula, the model of a Roman Catholic nun. With his accustomed extravagance, he opens his eulogy after her death, in. 404, with these words: "If all the members of my body were turned into tongues, and all my joints were to utter human voices, I should be unable to say anything worthy of the holy and venerable Paula."

She was born in 347, of the renowned stock of the Scipios and Gracchi and Paulus Aemilius,369 and was already a widow of six and thirty years, and the mother of five children, when, under the influence of Jerome, she renounced all the wealth and honors of the world, and betook herself to the most rigorous ascetic life. Rumor circulated suspicion, which her spiritual guide, however, in a letter to Asella, answered with indignant rhetoric: "Was there, then, no other matron in Rome, who could have conquered my heart, but that one, who was always mourning and fasting, who abounded in dirt,370 who had become almost blind with weeping, who spent whole nights in prayer, whose song was the Psalms, whose conversation was the gospel, whose joy was abstemiousness, whose life was fasting? Could no other have pleased me, but that one, whom I have never seen eat? Nay, verily, after I had begun to revere her as her chastity deserved, should all virtues have at once forsaken me?" He afterward boasts of her, that she knew the Scriptures almost entirely by memory; she even learned Hebrew, that she might sing the psalter with him in the original; and continually addressed exegetical questions to him, which he himself could answer only in part.

Repressing the sacred feelings of a mother, she left her daughter Ruffina and her little son Toxotius, in spite of their prayers and tears, in the city, of Rome,371 met Jerome in Antioch, and made a pilgrimage to Palestine and Egypt. With glowing devotion, she knelt before the rediscovered cross, as if the Lord were still hanging upon it; she kissed the stone of the resurrection which the angel rolled away; licked with thirsty tongue the pretended tomb of Jesus, and shed tears of joy as she entered the stable and beheld the manger of Bethlehem. In Egypt she penetrated into the desert of Nitria, prostrated herself at the feet of the hermits, and then returned to the holy land and settled permanently in the birthplace of the Saviour. She founded there a monastery for Jerome, whom she supported, and three nunneries, in which she spent twenty years as abbess, until 404.

She denied herself flesh and wine, performed, with her daughter Eustochium, the meanest services, and even in sickness slept on the bare ground in a hair shirt, or spent the whole night in prayer. "I must," said she, "disfigure my face, which I have often, against the command of God, adorned with paint; torment the body, which has participated in many idolatries; and atone for long laughing by constant weeping." Her liberality knew no bounds. She wished to die in beggary, and to be buried in a shroud which did not belong to her. She left to her daughter (she died in 419) a multitude of debts, which she had contracted at a high rate of interest for benevolent purposes.372

Her obsequies, which lasted a week, were attended by the bishops of Jerusalem and other cities of Palestine, besides clergy, monks, nuns, and laymen innumerable. Jerome apostrophizes her: "Farewell, Paula, and help with prayer the old age of thy adorer!"

§ 43. Benedict of Nursia.

Gregorius M.: Dialogorum, l. iv. (composed about 594; lib. ii. contains the biography of St. Benedict according to the communications of four abbots and disciples of the saint, Constantine, Honoratus, Valentinian, and Simplicius, but full of surprising miracles). Mabillon and other writers of the Benedictine congregation of St. Maurus: Acta Sanctorum ordinis S. Benedicti in saeculorum classes distributa, fol. Par. 1668–1701, 9 vols. (to the year 1100), and Annales ordinis S. Bened. Par. 1703–'39, 6 vols. fol. (to 1157). Dom (Domnus) Jos. De Mège: Vie de St. Benoit, Par. 1690. The Acta Sanctorum, and Butler, sub Mart. 21. Montalembert: The Monks of the West, vol. ii. book iv.

Benedict of Nursia, the founder of the celebrated order which bears his name, gave to the Western monasticism a fixed and permanent form, and thus carried it far above the Eastern with its imperfect attempts at organization, and made it exceedingly profitable to the practical, and, incidentally, also to the literary interests of the Catholic Church. He holds, therefore, the dignity of patriarch of the Western monks. He has furnished a remarkable instance of the incalculable influence which a simple but judicious moral rule of life may exercise on many centuries.

Benedict was born of the illustrious house of Anicius, at Nursia (now Norcia) in Umbria, about the year 480, at the time when the political and social state of Europe was distracted and dismembered, and literature, morals, and religion seemed to be doomed to irremediable ruin. He studied in Rome, but so early as his fifteenth year he fled from the corrupt society of his fellow students, and spent three years in seclusion in a dark, narrow, and inaccessible grotto at Subiaco.373 A neighboring monk, Romanus, furnished him from time to time his scanty food, letting it down by a cord, with a little bell, the sound of which announced to him the loaf of bread. He there passed through the usual anchoretic battles with demons, and by prayer and ascetic exercises attained a rare power over nature. At one time, Pope Gregory tells us, the allurements of voluptuousness so strongly tempted his imagination that he was on the point of leaving his retreat in pursuit of a beautiful woman of previous acquaintance; but summoning up his courage, he took off his vestment of skins and rolled himself naked on thorns and briers, near his cave, until the impure fire of sensual passion was forever extinguished. Seven centuries later, St. Francis of Assisi planted on that spiritual battle field two rose trees, which grew and survived the Benedictine thorns and briers. He gradually became known, and was at first taken for a wild beast by the surrounding shepherds, but afterward reverenced as a saint.

After this period of hermit life he began his labors in behalf of the monastery proper. In that mountainous region he established in succession twelve cloisters, each with twelve monks and a superior, himself holding the oversight of all. The persecution of an unworthy priest caused him, however, to leave Subiaco and retire to a wild but picturesque mountain district in the Neapolitan province, upon the boundaries of Samnium and Campania. There he destroyed the remnants of idolatry, converted many of the pagan inhabitants to Christianity by his preaching and miracles, and in the year 529, under many difficulties, founded upon the ruins of a temple of Apollo the renowned cloister of Monte Cassino,374 the alma mater and capital of his order. Here he labored fourteen years, till his death. Although never ordained to the priesthood, his life there was rather that of a missionary and apostle than of a solitary. He cultivated the soil, fed the poor, healed the sick, preached to the neighboring population, directed the young monks, who in increasing numbers flocked to him, and organized the monastic life upon a fixed method or rule, which he himself conscientiously observed. His power over the hearts, and the veneration in which he was held, is illustrated by the visit of Totila, in 542, the barbarian king, the victor of the Romans and master of Italy, who threw himself on his face before the saint, accepted his reproof and exhortations, asked his blessing, and left a better man, but fell after ten years' reign, as Benedict had predicted, in a great battle with the Graeco-Roman army under Narses. Benedict died, after partaking of the holy communion, praying, in standing posture, at the foot of the altar, on the 21st of March, 543, and was buried by the side of his sister, Scholastica, who had established, a nunnery near Monte Cassino and died a few weeks before him. They met only once a year, on the side of the mountain, for prayer and pious conversation. On the day of his departure, two monks saw in a vision a shining pathway of stars leading from Monte Cassino to heaven, and heard a voice, that by this road Benedict, the well beloved of God, had ascended to heaven.

His credulous biographer, Pope Gregory I., in the second book of his Dialogues, ascribes to him miraculous prophecies and healings, and even a raising of the dead.375 With reference to his want of secular culture and his spiritual knowledge, he calls him a learned ignorant and an unlettered sage.376 At all events he possessed the genius of a lawgiver, and holds the first place among the founders of monastic orders, though his person and life are much less interesting than those of a Bernard of Clairvaux, a Francis of Assisi, and an Ignatius of Loyola.377

§ 44. The Rule of St. Benedict.

The Regula Benedicti has been frequently edited and annotated, best by Holstenius: Codex reg. Monast. tom. i. p. 111–135; by Dom Marténe: Commentarius in regulam S. Benedicti literalis, moralis, historicus, Par. 1690, in 4to.; by Dom Calmet, Par. 1734, 2 vols.; and by Dom Charles Brandes (Benedictine of Einsiedeln), in 3 vols., Einsiedeln and New York, 1857. Gieseler gives the most important articles in his Ch. H. Bd. i. AbtheiI. 2, § 119. Comp. also Montalembert, l.c. ii. 39 sqq.

The rule of St. Benedict, on which his fame rests, forms an epoch in the history of monasticism. In a short time it superseded all contemporary and older rules of the kind, and became the immortal code of the most illustrious branch of the monastic army, and the basis of the whole Roman Catholic cloister life.378 It consists of a preface or prologue, and a series of moral, social, liturgical, and penal ordinances, in seventy-three chapters. It shows a true knowledge of human nature, the practical wisdom of Rome, and adaptation to Western customs; it combines simplicity with completeness, strictness with gentleness, humility with courage, and gives the whole cloister life a fixed unity and compact organization, which, like the episcopate, possessed an unlimited versatility and power of expansion. It made every cloister an ecclesiola in ecclesia, reflecting the relation of the bishop to his charge, the monarchical principle of authority on the democratic basis of the equality of the brethren, though claiming a higher degree of perfection than could be realized in the great secular church. For the rude and undisciplined world of the middle age, the Benedictine rule furnished a wholesome course of training and a constant stimulus to the obedience, self-control, order, and industry which were indispensable to the regeneration and healthy growth of social life.379

The spirit of the rule may be judged from the following sentences of the prologus, which contains pious exhortations: "Having thus," he says, "my brethren, asked of the Lord who shall dwell in his tabernacle, we have heard the precepts prescribed to such a one. If we fulfil these conditions, we shall be heirs of the kingdom of heaven. Let us then prepare our hearts and bodies to fight under a holy obedience to these precepts; and if it is not always possible for nature to obey, let us ask the Lord that he would deign to give us the succor of his grace. Would we avoid the pains of hell and attain eternal life, while there is still time, while we are still in this mortal body, and while the light of this life is bestowed upon us for that purpose, let us run and strive so as to reap an eternal reward. We must then form a school of divine servitude, in which, we trust, nothing too heavy or rigorous will be established. But if, in conformity with right and justice, we should exercise a little severity for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity, beware of fleeing under the impulse of terror from the way of salvation, which cannot but have a hard beginning. When a man has walked for some time in obedience and faith, his heart will expand, and he will run with the unspeakable sweetness of love in the way of God's commandments. May he grant that, never straying from the instruction of the Master, and persevering in his doctrine in the monastery until death, we may share by patience in the sufferings of Christ, and be worthy to share together his kingdom."380 The leading provisions of this rule are as follows:

At the head of each society stands an abbot, who is elected by the monks, and, with their consent, appoints a provost (praepositus), and, when the number of the brethren requires, deans over the several divisions (decaniae), as assistants. He governs, in Christ's stead, by authority and example, and is to his cloister, what the bishop is to his diocese. In the more weighty matters he takes the congregation of the brethren into consultation; in ordinary affairs only the older members. The formal entrance into the cloister must be preceded by a probation of novitiate of one year (subsequently it was made three years), that no one might prematurely or rashly take the solemn step. If the novice repented his resolution, he could leave the cloister without hindrance; if he adhered to it, he was, at the close of his probation, subjected to an examination in presence of the abbot and the monks, and then, appealing to the saints, whose relics were in the cloister, he laid upon the altar of the chapel the irrevocable vow, written or at least subscribed by his own hand, and therewith cut off from himself forever all return to the world.

From this important arrangement the cloister received its stability and the whole monastic institution derived additional earnestness, solidity, and permanence.

The vow was threefold, comprising stabilitas, perpetual adherence to the monastic order; conversio morum, especially voluntary poverty and chastity, which were always regarded as the very essence of monastic piety under all its forms; and obedientia coram Deo et sanctis ejus, absolute obedience to the abbot, as the representative of God and Christ. This obedience is the cardinal virtue of a monk.381

The life of the cloister consisted of a judicious alternation of spiritual and bodily exercises. This is the great excellence of the rule of Benedict, who proceeded here upon the true principle, that idleness is the mortal enemy of the soul and the workshop of the devil.382 Seven hours were to be devoted to prayer, singing of psalms, and meditation;383 from two to three hours, especially on Sunday, to religious reading; and from six to seven hours to manual labor in doors or in the field, or, instead of this, to the training of children, who were committed to the cloister by their parents (oblati).384

Here was a starting point for the afterward celebrated cloister schools, and for that attention to literary pursuits, which, though entirely foreign to the uneducated Benedict and his immediate successors, afterward became one of the chief ornaments of his order, and in many cloisters took the place of manual labor.

In other respects the mode of life was to be simple, without extreme rigor, and confined to strictly necessary things. Clothing consisted of a tunic with a black cowl (whence the name: Black Friars); the material to be determined by the climate and season. On the two weekly fast days, and from the middle of September to Easter, one meal was to suffice for the day. Each monk is allowed daily a pound of bread and pulse, and, according to the Italian custom, half a flagon (hemina) of wine; though he is advised to abstain from the wine, if he can do so without injury to his health. Flesh is permitted only to the weak and sick,385 who were to be treated with special care. During the meal some edifying piece was read, and silence enjoined. The individual monk knows no personal property, not even his simple dress as such; and the fruits of his labor go into the common treasury. He should avoid all contact with the world, as dangerous to the soul, and therefore every cloister should be so arranged, as to be able to carry on even the arts and trades necessary for supplying its wants.386 Hospitality and other works of love are especially commended.

The penalties for transgression of the rule are, first, private admonition, then exclusion from the fellowship of prayer, next exclusion from fraternal intercourse, and finally expulsion from the cloister, after which, however, restoration is possible, even to the third time.

§ 45. The Benedictines. Cassiodorus.

Benedict had no presentiment of the vast historical importance, which this rule, originally designed simply for the cloister of Monte Cassino, was destined to attain. He probably never aspired beyond the regeneration and salvation of his own soul and that of his brother monks, and all the talk of later Catholic historians about his far-reaching plans of a political and social regeneration of Europe, and the preservation and promotion of literature and art, find no support whatever in his life or in his rule. But he humbly planted a seed, which Providence blessed a hundredfold. By his rule he became, without his own will or knowledge, the founder of an order, which, until in the thirteenth century the Dominicans and Franciscans pressed it partially into the background, spread with great rapidity over the whole of Europe, maintained a clear supremacy, formed the model for all other monastic orders, and gave to the Catholic church an imposing array of missionaries, authors, artists, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and popes, as Gregory the Great and Gregory VII. In less than a century after the death of Benedict, the conquests of the barbarians in Italy, Gaul, Spain were reconquered for civilization, and the vast territories of Great Britain, Germany, and Scandinavia incorporated into Christendom, or opened to missionary labor; and in this progress of history the monastic institution, regulated and organized by Benedict's rule, bears an honorable share.

Benedict himself established a second cloister in the vicinity of Terracina, and two of his favorite disciples, Placidus and St. Maurus,387 introduced the "holy rule," the one into Sicily, the other into France. Pope Gregory the Great, himself at one time a Benedictine monk, enhanced its prestige, and converted the Anglo-Saxons to the Roman Christian faith, by Benedictine monks. Gradually the rule found so general acceptance both in old and in new institutions, that in the time of Charlemagne it became a question, whether there were any monks at all, who were not Benedictines. The order, it is true, has degenerated from time to time, through the increase of its wealth and the decay of its discipline, but its fostering care of religion, of humane studies, and of the general civilization of Europe, from the tilling of the soil to the noblest learning, has given it an honorable place in history and won immortal praise. He who is familiar with the imposing and venerable tomes of the Benedictine editions of the Fathers, their thoroughly learned prefaces, biographies, antiquarian dissertations, and indexes, can never think of the order of the Benedictines without sincere regard and gratitude.

The patronage of learning, however, as we have already said, was not within the design of the founder or his rule. The joining of this to the cloister life is duel if we leave out of view the learned monk Jerome, to Cassiodorus, who in 538 retired from the honors and cares of high civil office, in the Gothic monarchy of Italy,388 to a monastery founded by himself at Vivarium389 (Viviers), in Calabria in Lower Italy. Here he spent nearly thirty years as monk and abbot, collected a large library, encouraged the monks to copy and to study the Holy Scriptures, the works of the church fathers, and even the ancient classics, and wrote for them several literary and theological text-books, especially his treatise De institutione divinarum literarum, a kind of elementary encyclopaedia, which was the code of monastic education for many generations. Vivarium at one time almost rivalled Monte Cassino, and Cassiodorus won the honorary title of the restorer of knowledge in the sixth century.390

The Benedictines, already accustomed to regular work, soon followed this example. Thus that very mode of life, which in its founder, Anthony, despised all learning, became in the course of its development an asylum of culture in the rough and stormy times of the migration and the crusades, and a conservator of the literary treasures of antiquity for the use of modern times.

§ 46. Opposition to Monasticism. Jovinian.

I. Chrysostomus: Pro;" tou;" polemou'vta" toi'" ejpi; to; monavzein ejnavgousin (a vindication of monasticism against its opponents, in three books). Hieronymus: Ep. 61, ad Vigilantium (ed. Vallars. tom. i. p. 345 sqq.); Ep. 109, ad Riparium (i. 719 sqq.); Adv. Helvidium (a.d. 383); Adv. Jovinianum (a.d. 392); Adv. Vigilantium (a.d. 406). All these three tracts are in Opera Hieron. tom. ii. p. 206–402. Augustinus: De haeres. cap. 82 (on Jovinian), and c. 84 (on Helvidius and the Helvidians). Epiphanius: Haeres. 75 (on Aerius).

II. Chr. W. F. Walch: Ketzerhistorie (1766), part iii. p. 585 (on Helvidius and the Antidikomarianites); p. 635 sqq. (on Jovinian); and p. 673 sqq. (on Vigilantius). Vogel: De Vigilantio haeretico orthodoxo, Gött. 1756. G. B. Lindner: De Joviniano et Vigilantio purioris doctrinae antesignanis, Lips. 1839. W. S. Gilly: Vigilantius and his Times, Lond. 1844. Comp. also Neander: Der heil. Joh. Chrysostomus, 3d ed. 1848, vol. i. p. 53 sqq.; and Kirchengesch, iii. p. 508 sqq. (Torrey's translation, ii. p. 265 sqq.). Baur: Die christliche Kirche von 4–6ten Jahrh. 1859, p. 311 sqq.

Although monasticism was a mighty movement of the age, engaging either the cooperation or the admiration of the whole church, yet it was not exempt from opposition. And opposition sprang from very different quarters: now from zealous defenders of heathenism, like Julian and Libanius, who hated and bitterly reviled the monks for their fanatical opposition to temples and idol-worship; now from Christian statesmen and emperors, like Valens, who were enlisted against it by its withdrawing so much force from the civil and military service of the state, and, in the time of peril from the barbarians, encouraging idleness and passive contemplation instead of active, heroic virtue; now from friends of worldly indulgence, who found themselves unpleasantly disturbed and rebuked by the religious earnestness and zeal of the ascetic life; lastly, however, also from a liberal, almost protestant, conception of Christian morality, which set itself at the same time against the worship of Mary and the saints, and other abuses. This last form of opposition, however, existed mostly in isolated cases, was rather negative than positive in its character, lacked the spirit of wisdom and moderation, and hence almost entirely disappeared in the fifth century, only to be revived long after, in more mature and comprehensive form, when monasticism had fulfilled its mission for the world.

To this class of opponents belong Helvidius, Jovinian, Vigilantius, and Aerius. The first three are known to us through the passionate replies of Jerome, the last through the Panarion of Epiphanius. They figure in Catholic church history among the heretics, while they have received from many Protestant historians a place among the "witnesses of the truth" and the forerunners of the Reformation.

We begin with Jovinian, the most important among them, who is sometimes compared, for instance, even by Neander, to Luther, because, like Luther, he was carried by his own experience into reaction against the ascetic tendency and the doctrines connected with it. He wrote in Rome, before the year 390 a work, now lost, attacking monasticism in its ethical principles. He was at that time himself a monk, and probably remained so in a free way until his death. At all events he never married, and according to Augustine's account, he abstained "for the present distress,"391 and from aversion to the encumbrances of the married state. Jerome pressed him with the alternative of marrying and proving the equality of celibacy with married life, or giving up his opposition to his own condition.392 Jerome gives a very unfavorable picture of his character, evidently colored by vehement bitterness. He calls Jovinian a servant of corruption, a barbarous writer, a Christian Epicurean, who, after having once lived in strict asceticism, now preferred earth to heaven, vice to virtue, his belly to Christ, and always strode along as an elegantly dressed bridegroom. Augustine is much more lenient, only reproaching Jovinian with having misled many Roman nuns into marriage by holding before them the examples of pious women in the Bible. Jovinian was probably provoked to question and oppose monasticism, as Gieseler supposes, by Jerome's extravagant praising of it, and by the feeling against it, which the death of Blesilla (384) in Rome confirmed. And he at first found extensive sympathy. But he was excommunicated and banished with his adherents at a council about the year 390, by Siricius, bishop of Rome, who was zealously opposed to the marriage of priests. He then betook himself to Milan, where the two monks Sarmatio and Barbatian held forth views like his own; but he was treated there after the same fashion by the bishop, Ambrose, who held a council against him. From this time he and his party disappear from history, and before the year 406 he died in exile.393

According to Jerome, Jovinian held these four points (1) Virgins, widows, and married persons, who have once been baptized into Christ, have equal merit, other things in their conduct being equal. (2) Those, who are once with full faith born again by baptism, cannot be overcome (subverti) by the devil. (3) There is no difference between abstaining from food and enjoying it with thanksgiving. (4) All, who keep the baptismal covenant, will receive an equal reward in heaven.

He insisted chiefly on the first point; so that Jerome devotes the whole first book of his refutation to this point, while he disposes of all the other heads in the second. In favor of the moral equality of married and single life, he appealed to Gen. ii. 24, where God himself institutes marriage before the fall; to Matt. xix. 5, where Christ sanctions it; to the patriarchs before and after the flood; to Moses and the prophets, Zacharias and Elizabeth, and the apostles, particularly Peter, who lived in wedlock; also to Paul, who himself exhorted to marriage,394 required the bishop or the deacon to be the husband of one wife,395 and advised young widows to marry and bear children.396 He declared the prohibition of marriage and of divinely provided food a Manichaean error. To answer these arguments, Jerome indulges in utterly unwarranted inferences, and speaks of marriage in a tone of contempt, which gave offence even to his friends.397 Augustine was moved by it to present the advantages of the married life in a special work, De bono conjugali, though without yielding the ascetic estimate of celibacy.398

Jovinian's second point has an apparent affinity with the Augustinian and Calvinistic doctrine of the perseverantia sanctorum. It is not referred by him, however, to the eternal and unchangeable counsel of God, but simply based on 1 Jno. iii. 9, and v. 18, and is connected with his abstract conception of the opposite moral states. He limits the impossibility of relapse to the truly regenerate, who "plena fide in baptismate renati sunt," and makes a distinction between the mere baptism of water and the baptism of the Spirit, which involves also a distinction between the actual and the ideal church.

His third point is aimed against the ascetic exaltation of fasting, with reference to Rom. xiv. 20, and 1 Tim. iv. 3. God, he holds, has created all animals for the service of man; Christ attended the marriage feast at Cana as a guest, sat at table with Zaccheus, with publicans and sinners, and was called by the Pharisees a glutton and a wine-bibber; and the apostle says: To the pure all things are pure, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.

He went still further, however, and, with the Stoics, denied all gradations of moral merit and demerit, consequently also all gradations of reward and punishment. He overlooked the process of development in both good and evil. He went back of all outward relations to the inner mind, and lost all subordinate differences of degree in the great contrast between true Christians and men of the world, between regenerate and unregenerate; whereas, the friends of monasticism taught a higher and lower morality, and distinguished the ascetics, as a special class, from the mass of ordinary Christians. As Christ, says he, dwells in believers, without difference of degree, so also believers are in Christ without difference of degree or stages of development. There are only two classes of men, righteous and wicked, sheep and goats, five wise virgins and five foolish, good trees with good fruit and bad trees with bad fruit. He appealed also to the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, who all received equal wages. Jerome answered him with such things as the parable of the sower and the different kinds of ground, the parable of the different numbers of talents with corresponding rewards, the many mansions in the Father's house (by which Jovinian singularly understood the different churches on earth), the comparison of the resurrection bodies with the stars, which differ in glory, and the passage: "He which soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully, shall reap also bountifully."399

§ 47. Helvidius, Vigilantius, and Aerius.

See especially the tracts of Jerome quoted in the preceding section.

Helvidius, whether a layman or a priest at Rome it is uncertain, a pupil, according to the statement of Gennadius, of the Arian bishop Auxentius of Milan, wrote a work, before the year 383, in refutation of the perpetual virginity of the mother of the Lord—a leading point with the current glorification of celibacy. He considered the married state equal in honor and glory to that of virginity. Of his fortunes we know nothing. Augustine speaks of Helvidians, who are probably identical with the Antidicomarianites of Epiphanius. Jerome calls Helvidius, indeed, a rough and uneducated man,400 but proves by quotations of his arguments, that he had at least some knowledge of the Scriptures, and a certain ingenuity. He appealed in the first place to Matt. i. 18, 24, 25, as implying that Joseph knew his wife not before, but after, the birth of the Lord; then to the designation of Jesus as the "first born" son of Mary, in Matt. i. 25, and Luke ii. 7; then to the many passages, which speak of the brothers and sisters of Jesus; and finally to the authority of Tertullian and Victorinus. Jerome replies, that the "till" by no means always fixes a point after which any action must begin or cease;401 that, according to Ex. xxxiv. 19, 20; Num. xviii. 15 sqq., the "first born" does not necessarily imply the birth of other children afterward, but denotes every one, who first opens the womb; that the "brothers" of Jesus may have been either sons of Joseph by a former marriage, or, according to the wide Hebrew use of the term, cousins; and that the authorities cited were more than balanced by the testimony of Ignatius, Polycarp(?), and Irenaeus. "Had Helvidius read these," says he, "he would doubtless have produced something more skilful."

This whole question, it is well known, is still a problem in exegesis. The perpetua virginitas of Mary has less support from Scripture than the opposite theory. But it is so essential to the whole ascetic system, that it became from this time an article of the Catholic faith, and the denial of it was anathematized as blasphemous heresy. A considerable number of Protestant divines,402 however, agree on this point with the Catholic doctrine, and think it incompatible with the dignity of Mary, that, after the birth of the Son of God and Saviour of the world, she should have borne ordinary children of men.

Vigilantius, originally from Gaul,403 a presbyter of Barcelona in Spain, a man of pious but vehement zeal, and of literary talent, wrote in the beginning of the fifth century against the ascetic spirit of the age and the superstition connected with it. Jerome's reply, dictated hastily in a single night at Bethlehem in the year 406, contains more of personal abuse and low witticism, than of solid argument. "There have been," he says, "monsters on earth, centaurs, syrens, leviathans, behemoths .... Gaul alone has bred no monsters, but has ever abounded in brave and noble men,—when, of a sudden, there has arisen one Vigilantius, who should rather be called Dormitantius,404 contending in an impure spirit against the Spirit of Christ, and forbidding to honor the graves of the martyrs; he rejects the Vigils—only at Easter should we sing hallelujah; he declares abstemiousness to be heresy, and chastity a nursery of licentiousness (pudicitiam, libidinis seminarium) .... This innkeeper of Calagurris405 mingles water with the wine, and would, according to ancient art, combine his poison with the genuine faith. He opposes virginity, hates chastity, cries against the fastings of the saints, and would only amidst jovial feastings amuse himself with the Psalms of David. It is terrible to bear, that even bishops are companions of his wantonness, if those deserve this name, who ordain only married persons deacons, and trust not the chastity of the single."406 Vigilantius thinks it better for a man to use his money wisely, and apply it gradually to benevolent objects at home, than to lavish it all at once upon the poor or give it to the monks of Jerusalem. He went further, however, than his two predecessors, and bent his main efforts against the worship of saints and relics, which was then gaining ascendency and was fostered by monasticism. He considered it superstition and idolatry. He called the Christians, who worshipped the "wretched bones" of dead men, ash-gatherers and idolaters.407 He expressed himself sceptically respecting the miracles of the martyrs, contested the practice of invoking them and of intercession for the dead, as useless, and declared himself against the Vigils, or public worship in the night, as tending to disorder and licentiousness. This last point Jerome admits as a fact, but not as an argument, because the abuse should not abolish the right use.

The presbyter Aerius of Sebaste, about 360, belongs also among the partial opponents of monasticism. For, though himself an ascetic, he contended against the fast laws and the injunction of fasts at certain times, considering them an encroachment upon Christian freedom. Epiphanius also ascribes to him three other heretical views: denial of the superiority of bishops to presbyters, opposition to the usual Easter festival, and opposition to prayers for the dead.408 He was hotly persecuted by the hierarchy, and was obliged to live, with his adherents, in open fields and in caves.



Comp. in part the literature in vol. i. § 105 and 110 (to which should be added now, P. A. de Lagarde: Constitutiones Apostolorum, Lips. and Lond., 1862); also Gibbon, ch. xx.; Milman: Hist. of Ancient Christianity, book iv. c. 1 (Amer. ed. p. 438 sqq.), and the corresponding sections in Bingham, Schroeckh, Plank, Neander, Gieseler, Baur, etc. (see the particular literature below).

§ 48. Schools of the Clergy.

Having in a former section observed the elevation of the church to the position of the state religion of the Roman empire, and the influence of this great change upon the condition of the clergy and upon public morality, we turn now to the internal organization and the development of the hierarchy under its new circumstances. The step of progress which we here find distinguishing the organization of this third period from the episcopal system of the second and the apostolic supervision of the first, is the rise of the patriarchal constitution and of the system of ecumenical councils closely connected with it. But we must first glance at the character and influence of the teaching order in general.

The work of preparation for the clerical office was, on the one hand, materially facilitated by the union of the church with the state, putting her in possession of the treasures, the schools, the learning, and the literature of classic heathendom, and throwing the education of the rising generation into her hands. The numerous doctrinal controversies kept the spirit of investigation awake, and among the fathers and bishops of the fourth and fifth centuries we meet with the greatest theologians of the ancient church. These gave their weighty voices for the great value of a thorough education to the clerical office, and imparted much wholesome instruction respecting the studies proper to this purpose.409 The African church, by a decree of the council of Carthage, in 397, required of candidates a trial of their knowledge and orthodoxy. A law of Justinian, of the year 541, established a similar test in the East.

But on the other hand, a regular and general system of clerical education was still entirely wanting. The steady decay of the classic literature, the gradual cessation of philosophical and artistic production, the growth of monastic prejudice against secular learning and culture, the great want of ministers in the suddenly expanded field of the church, the uneasy state of the empire, and the barbarian invasions, were so many hinderances to thorough theological preparation. Many candidates trusted to the magical virtue of ordination. Others, without inward call, were attracted to the holy office by the wealth and power of the church. Others had no time or opportunity for preparation, and passed, at the instance of the popular voice or of circumstances, immediately from the service of the state to that of the church, even to the episcopal office; though several councils prescribed a previous test of their capacity in the lower degrees of reader, deacon, and presbyter. Often, however, this irregularity turned to the advantage of the church, and gave her a highly gifted man, like Ambrose, whom the acclamation of the people called to the episcopal see of Milan even before he was baptized. Gregory Nazianzen laments that many priests and bishops came in fresh from the counting house, sunburnt from the plow, from the oar, from the army, or even from the theatre, so that the most holy order of all was in danger of becoming the most ridiculous. "Only he can be a physician," says he, "who knows the nature of diseases; he, a painter, who has gone through much practice in mixing colors and in drawing forms; but a clergyman may be found with perfect ease, not thoroughly wrought, of course, but fresh made, sown and full blown in a moment, as the legend says of the giants.410 We form the saints in a day, and enjoin them to be wise, though they possess no wisdom at all, and bring nothing to their spiritual office, except at best a good will."411 If such complaints were raised so early as the end of the Nicene age, while the theological activity of the Greek church was in its bloom, there was far more reason for them after the middle of the fifth century and in the sixth, especially in the Latin church, where, even among the most eminent clergymen, a knowledge of the original languages of the Holy Scriptures was a rare exception.

The opportunities which this period offered for literary and theological preparation for the ministry, were the following:

1. The East had four or five theological schools, which, however, were far from supplying its wants.

The oldest and most celebrated was the catechetical school of Alexandria. Favored by the great literary treasures, the extensive commercial relations, and the ecclesiastical importance of the Egyptian metropolis, as well as by a succession of distinguished teachers, it flourished from the middle of the second century to the end of the fourth, when, amidst the Origenistic, Nestorian, and Monophysite confusion, it withered and died. Its last ornament was the blind, but learned and pious Didymus (340–395).

From the Alexandrian school proceeded the smaller institution of Caesarea in Palestine, which was founded by Origen, after his banishment from Alexandria, and received a new but temporary impulse in the beginning of the fourth century from his admirer, the presbyter Pamphilus, and from his friend Eusebius. It possessed the theological library which Eusebius used in the preparation of his learned works.

Far more important was the theological school of Antioch, founded about 290 by the presbyters Dorotheus and Lucian. It developed in the course of the fourth century a severe grammatico-historical exegesis, counter to the Origenistic allegorical method of the Alexandrians; now in connection with the church doctrine, as in Chrysostom; now in a rationalizing spirit, as in Theodore of Mopsuestia and Nestorius.

The seminary at Edessa, a daughter of the Antiochian school, was started by the learned deacon, Ephraim Syrus († 378), furnished ministers for Mesopotamia and Persia, and stood for about a hundred years.

The Nestorians, at the close of the fifth century, founded a seminary at Nisibis in Mesopotamia, which was organized into several classes and based upon a definite plan of instruction.

The West had no such institutions for theological instruction, but supplied itself chiefly from cloisters and private schools of the bishops. Cassiodorus endeavored to engage Pope Agapetus in founding a learned institution in Rome, but was discouraged by the warlike disquietude of Italy. Jerome spent some time at the Alexandrian school under the direction of Didymus.

2. Many priests and bishops, as we have already observed, emanated from the monasteries, where they enjoyed the advantages of retirement from the world, undisturbed meditation, the intercourse of kindred earnest minds, and a large spiritual experience; but, on the other hand, easily sank into a monkish narrowness, and rarely attained that social culture and comprehensive knowledge of the world and of men, which is necessary, especially in large cities, for a wide field of labor.

3. In the West there were smaller diocesan seminaries, under the direction of the bishops, who trained their own clergy, both in theory and in practice, as they passed through the subordinate classes of reader, sub-deacon, and deacon.

Augustine set a good example of this sort, having at Hippo a "monasterium clericorum," which sent forth many good presbyters and bishops for the various dioceses of North Africa. Similar clerical monasteries or episcopal seminaries arose gradually in the southern countries of Europe, and are very common in the Roman Catholic church to this day.

4. Several of the most learned and able fathers of the fourth century received their general scientific education in heathen schools, under the setting sun of the classic culture, and then studied theology either in ascetic retirement or under some distinguished church teacher, or by the private reading of the Scriptures and the earlier church literature.

Thus Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen were in the high school of Athens at the same time with the prince Julian the Apostate; Chrysostom attended the lectures of the celebrated rhetorician Libanius in Antioch; Augustine studied at Carthage, Rome, and Milan; and Jerome was introduced to the study of the classics by the grammarian Donatus of Rome. The great and invaluable service of these fathers in the development and defence of the church doctrine, in pulpit eloquence, and especially in the translation and exposition of the Holy Scriptures, is the best evidence of the high value of a classical education. And the church has always, with good reason, acknowledged it.

§ 49. Clergy and Laity. Elections.

The clergy, according to the precedent of the Old Testament, came to be more and more rigidly distinguished, as a peculiar order, from the body of the laity. The ordination, which was solemnized by the laying on of hands and prayer, with the addition at a later period of an anointing with oil and balsam, marked the formal entrance into the special priesthood, as baptism initiated into the universal priesthood; and, like baptism, it bore an indefeasible character (character indelebilis). By degrees the priestly office assumed the additional distinction of celibacy and of external marks, such as tonsure, and sacerdotal vestments worn at first only during official service, then in every-day life. The idea of the universal priesthood of believers retreated in proportion, though it never passed entirely out of sight, but was from time to time asserted even in this age. Augustine, for example, says, that as all are called Christians on account of their baptism, so all believers are priests, because they are members of the one High Priest.412

The progress of the hierarchical principle also encroached gradually upon the rights of the people in the election of their pastors.413 But in this period it did not as yet entirely suppress them. The lower clergy were chosen by the bishops, the bishops by their colleagues in the province and by the clergy. The fourth canon of Nice, probably at the instance of the Meletian schism, directed that a bishop should be instituted and consecrated by all, or at least by three, of the bishops of the province. This was not aimed, however, against the rights of the people, but against elec-tion by only one bishop—the act of Meletius. For the con-sent of the people in the choice of presbyters, and especially of bishops, long remained, at least in outward form, in memory of the custom of the apostles and the primitive church. There was either a formal vote,414 particularly when there were three or more candidates before the people, or the people were thrice required to signify their confirmation or rejection by the formula: "Worthy," or "unworthy."415 The influence of the people in this period appears most prominently in the election of bishops. The Roman bishop Leo, in spite of his papal absolutism, asserted the thoroughly democratic principle, long since abandoned by his successors: "He who is to preside over all, should be elected by all."416 Oftentimes the popular will decided before the provincial bishops and the clergy assembled and the regular election could be held. Ambrose of Milan and Nectarius of Constantinople were appointed to the bishopric even before they were baptized; the former by the people, the latter by the emperor Theodosius; though in palpable violation of the eightieth apostolic canon and the second Nicene.417 Martin of Tours owed his elevation likewise to the popular voice, while some bishops objected to it on account of his small and wasted form.418 Chrysostom was called from Antioch to Constantinople by the emperor Arcadius, in consequence of a unanimous vote of the clergy and people.419 Sometimes the people acted under outside considerations and the management of demagogues, and demanded unworthy or ignorant men for the highest offices. Thus there were frequent disturbances and collisions, and even bloody conflicts, as in the election of Damasus in Rome. In short, all the selfish passions and corrupting influences, which had spoiled the freedom of the popular political elections in the Grecian and Roman republics, and which appear also in the republics of modern times, intruded upon the elections of the church. And the clergy likewise often suffered themselves to be guided by impure motives. Chrysostom laments that presbyters, in the choice of a bishop, instead of looking only at spiritual fitness, were led by regard for noble birth, or great wealth, or consanguinity and friendship.420 The bishops themselves sometimes did no better. Nectarius, who was suddenly transferred, in 381, by the emperor Theodosius, from the praetorship to the bishopric of Constantinople, even before he was baptized,421 wished to ordain his physician Martyrius deacon, and when the latter refused, on the ground of incapacity, he replied: "Did not I, who am now a priest, formerly live much more immorally than thou, as thou thyself well knowest, since thou wast often an accomplice of my many iniquities?" Martyrius, however, persisted in his refusal, because he had continued to live in sin long after his baptism, while Nectarius had become a new man since his.422

The emperor also, after the middle of the fourth century, exercised a decisive influence in the election of metropolitans and patriarchs, and often abused it in a despotic and arbitrary way.

Thus every mode of appointment was evidently exposed to abuse, and could furnish no security against unworthy candidates, if the electors, whoever they might be, were destitute of moral earnestness and the gift of spiritual discernment.

Toward the end of the period before us the republican element in the election of bishops entirely disappeared. The Greek church after the eighth century vested the franchise exclusively in the bishops.423 The Latin church, after the eleventh century, vested it in the clergy of the cathedral church, without allowing any participation to the people. But in the West, especially in Spain and France, instead of the people, the temporal prince exerted an important influence, in spite of the frequent protest of the church.

Even the election of pope, after the downfall of the West Roman empire, came largely under control of the secular authorities of Rome; first, of the Ostrogothic kings; then, of the exarchs of Ravenna in the name of the Byzantine emperor; and, after Charlemagne, of the emperor of Germany; till, in 1059, through the influence of Hildebrand (afterward Gregory VII.), it was lodged exclusively with the college of cardinals, which was filled by the pope himself. Yet the papal absolutism of the middle age, like the modern Napoleonic military despotism in the state, found it well, under favorable prospects, to enlist the democratic principle for the advancement of its own interests.

§ 50. Marriage and Celibacy of the Clergy.

The progress and influence of monasticism, the general exaltation of the ascetic life above the social, and of celibacy above the married state, together with the increasing sharpness of the distinction between clergy and laity, all tended powerfully toward the celibacy of the clergy. What the apostle Paul, expressly discriminating a divine command from a human counsel, left to each one's choice, and advised, in view of the oppressed condition of the Christians in the apostolic age, as a safer and less anxious state only for those who felt called to it by a special gift of grace, now, though the stress of circumstances was past, was made, at least in the Latin church, an inexorable law. What had been a voluntary, and therefore an honorable exception, now became the rule, and the former rule became the exception. Connubial intercourse appeared incompatible with the dignity and purity of the priestly office and of priestly functions, especially with the service of the altar. The clergy, as the model order, could not remain below the moral ideal of monasticism, extolled by all the fathers of the church, and must exhibit the same unconditional and undivided devotion to the church within the bosom of society, which monasticism exhibited without it. While placed by their calling in unavoidable contact with the world, they must vie with the monks at least in the virtue of sexual purity, and thereby increase their influence over the people. Moreover, the celibate life secured to the clergy greater independence toward the state and civil society, and thus favored the interests of the hierarchy. But, on the other hand, it estranged them more and more from the sympathies and domestic relations of the people, and tempted them to the illicit indulgence of appetite, which, perhaps, did more injury to the cause of Christian morality and to the true influence of the clergy, than the advantage of forced celibacy could compensate.

In the practice of clerical celibacy, however, the Greek and the Latin churches diverged in the fourth century, and are to this day divided. The Greek church stopped halfway, and limited the injunction of celibacy to the higher clergy, who were accordingly chosen generally from the monasteries or from the ranks of widower-presbyters; while the Latin church extended the law to the lower clergy, and at the same time carried forward the hierarchical principle to absolute papacy. The Greek church differs from the Latin, not by any higher standard of marriage, but only by a closer adherence to earlier usage and by less consistent application of the ascetic principle. It is in theory as remote from the evangelical Protestant church as the Latin is, and approaches it only in practice. It sets virginity far above marriage, and regards marriage only in its aspect of negative utility. In the single marriage of a priest it sees in a measure a necessary evil, at best only a conditional good, a wholesome concession to the flesh for the prevention of immorality,424 and requires of its highest office bearers total abstinence from all matrimonial intercourse. It wavers, therefore, between a partial permission and a partial condemnation of priestly marriage.

In the East, one marriage was always allowed to the clergy, and at first even to bishops, and celibacy was left optional. Yet certain restrictions were early introduced, such as the prohibition of marriage after ordination (except in deacons and subdeacons), as well as of second marriage after baptism; the apostolic direction, that a bishop should be the husband of one wife,425 being taken as a prohibition of successive polygamy, and at the same time as an allowance of one marriage. Besides second marriage, the marrying of a concubine, a widow, a harlot, a slave, and an actress, was forbidden to the clergy. With these restrictions, the "Apostolic Constitutions" and "Canons" expressly permitted the marriage of priests contracted before ordination, and the continuance of it after ordination.426 The synod of Ancyra, in 314, permitted deacons to marry even after ordination, in case they had made a condition to that effect beforehand; otherwise they were to remain single or lose their office.427 The Synod of New Caesarea, which was held at about the same time, certainly before 325, does not go beyond this, decreeing: "If a presbyter (not a deacon) marry (that is, after ordination), he shall be expelled from the clergy; and if he practise lewdness, or become an adulterer, he shall be utterly thrust out and held to penance."428 At the general council of Nice, 325, it was proposed indeed, probably by the Western bishop Hosius,429 to forbid entirely the marriage of priests; but the motion met with strong opposition, and was rejected. A venerable Egyptian bishop, Paphnutius, though himself a strict ascetic from his youth up, and a confessor who in the last persecution had lost an eye and been crippled in the knee, asserted with impressiveness and success, that too great rigor would injure the church and promote licentiousness and that marriage and connubial intercourse were honorable and spotless things.430 The council of Gangra in Paphlagonia (according to some, not till the year 380) condemned, among several ascetic extravagances of the bishop Eustathius of Sebaste and his followers, contempt for married priests and refusal to take part in their ministry.431 The so-called Apostolic Canons, which, like the Constitutions, arose by a gradual growth in the East, even forbid the clergy, on pain of deposition and excommunication, to put away their wives under the pretext of religion.432 Perhaps this canon likewise was occasioned by the hyper-asceticism of Eustathius.

Accordingly we not unfrequently find in the Oriental church, so late as the fourth and fifth centuries, not only priests, but even bishops living in wedlock. One example is the father of the celebrated Gregory Nazianzen, who while bishop had two sons, Gregory and the younger Caesarius, and a daughter. Others are Gregory of Nyssa, who, however, wrote an enthusiastic eulogy of the unmarried life, and lamented his loss of the crown of virginity; and Synesius († about 430), who, when elected bishop of Ptolemais in Pentapolis, expressly stipulated for the continuance of his marriage connection.433 Socrates, whose Church History reaches down to the year 439, says of the practice of his time, that in Thessalia matrimonial intercourse after ordination had been forbidden under penalty of deposition from the time of Heliodorus of Trica, who in his youth had been an amatory writer; but that in the East the clergy and bishops voluntarily abstained from intercourse with their wives, without being required by any law to do so; for many, he adds, have had children during their episcopate by their lawful wives.434 There were Greek divines, however, like Epiphanius, who agreed with the Roman theory. Justinian I. was utterly opposed to the marriage of priests, declared the children of such connection illegitimate, and forbade the election of a married man to the episcopal office (a.d. 528). Nevertheless, down to the end of the seventh century, many bishops in Africa, Libya, and elsewhere, continued to live in the married state, as is expressly said in the twelfth canon of the Trullan council; but this gave offence and was forbidden. From that time the marriage of bishops gradually disappears, while marriage among the lower clergy continues to be the rule.

This Trullan council, which was the sixth ecumenical435 (a.d. 692), closes the legislation of the Eastern church on the subject of clerical marriage. Here—to anticipate somewhat—the continuance of a first marriage contracted before ordination was prohibited in the case of bishops on pain of deposition, but, in accordance with the Apostolic Constitutions and Canons, allowed in the case of presbyters and deacons (contrary to the Roman practice), with the Old Testament restriction, that they abstain from sexual intercourse during the season of official service, because he who administers holy things must be pure.436 The same relation is thus condemned in the one case as immoral, in the other approved and encouraged as moral; the bishop is deposed if he retains his lawful wife and does not, immediately after being ordained, send her to a distant cloister; while the presbyter or deacon is threatened with deposition and even excommunication for doing the opposite and putting his wife away.

The Western church, starting from the perverted and almost Manichaean ascetic principle, that the married state is incompatible with clerical dignity and holiness, instituted a vigorous effort at the end of the fourth century, to make celibacy, which had hitherto been left to the option of individuals, the universal law of the priesthood; thus placing itself in direct contradiction to the Levitical law, to which in other respects it made so much account of conforming. The law, however, though repeatedly enacted, could not for a long time be consistently enforced. The canon, already mentioned, of the Spanish council of Elvira in 305, was only provincial. The first prohibition of clerical marriage, which laid claim to universal ecclesiastical authority, at least in the West, proceeded in 385 from the Roman church in the form of a decretal letter of the bishop Siricius to Himerius, bishop of Tarragona in Spain, who had referred several questions of discipline to the Roman bishop for decision. It is significant of the connection between the celibacy of the clergy and the interest of the hierarchy, that the first properly papal decree, which was issued in the tone of supreme authority, imposed such an unscriptural, unnatural, and morally dangerous restriction. Siricius contested the appeal of dissenting parties to the Mosaic law, on the ground that the Christian priesthood has to stand not merely for a time, but perpetually, in the service of the sanctuary, and that it is not hereditary, like the Jewish; and he ordained that second marriage and marriage with a widow should incapacitate for ordination, and that continuance in the married state after ordination should be punished with deposition.437 And with this punishment he threatened not bishops only, but also presbyters and deacons. Leo the Great subsequently, extended the requirement of celibacy even to the subdiaconate. The most eminent Latin church fathers, Ambrose, Jerome, and even Augustine—though the last with more moderation—advocated the celibacy of priests. Augustine, with Eusebius of Vercella before him (370), united their clergy in a cloister life, and gave them a monastic stamp; and Martin of Tours, who was a monk from the first, carried his monastic life into his episcopal office. The councils of Italy, Africa, Spain, and Gaul followed the lead of Rome. The synod of Clermont, for example (a.d. 535), declared in its twelfth canon: "No one ordained deacon or priest may continue matrimonial intercourse. He is become the brother of her who was his wife. But since some, inflamed with lust, have rejected the girdle of the warfare [of Christ], and returned to marriage intercourse, it is ordered that such must lose their office forever." Other councils, like that of Tours, 461, were content with forbidding clergymen, who begat children after ordination, to administer the sacrifice of the mass, and with confining the law of celibacy ad altiorem gradum.438

But the very fact of the frequent repetition of these enactments, and the necessity of mitigating the penalties of transgression, show the great difficulty of carrying this unnatural restriction into general effect. In the British and Irish church, isolated as it was from the Roman, the marriage of priests continued to prevail down to the Anglo-Saxon period.

But with the disappearance of legitimate marriage in the priesthood, the already prevalent vice of the cohabitation of unmarried ecclesiastics with pious widows and virgins "secretly brought in,"439 became more and more common. This spiritual marriage, which had begun as a bold ascetic venture, ended only too often in the flesh, and prostituted the honor of the church.

The Nicene council of 325 met the abuse in its third canon with this decree: "The great council utterly forbids, and it shall not be allowed either to a bishop, or a priest, or a deacon, or any other clergyman, to have with him a sunqeivsakto", unless she be his mother, or sister, or aunt, or some such person, who is beyond all suspicion."440 This canon forms the basis of the whole subsequent legislation of the church de cohabitatione clericorum et mulierum. It had to be repeatedly renewed and strengthened; showing plainly that it was often disobeyed. The council of Toledo in Spain, a.d. 527 or 531, ordered in its third canon: "No clergyman, from the subdeacon upward, shall live with a female, be she free woman, freed woman, or slave. Only a mother, or a sister, or other near relative shall keep his house. If he have no near relative, his housekeeper must live in a separate house, and shall under no pretext enter his dwelling. Whosoever acts contrary to this, shall not only be deprived of his spiritual office and have the doors of his church closed, but shall also be excluded from all fellowship of Catholics." The Concilium Agathense in South Gaul, a.d. 506, at which thirty-five bishops met, decreed in the tenth and eleventh canons: "A clergyman shall neither visit nor receive into his house females not of his kin; only with his mother, or sister, or daughter, or niece may he live. Female slaves, also, and freed women, must be kept away from the house of a clergyman." Similar laws, with penalties more or less severe, were passed by the council of Hippo, 393, of Angers, 453, of Tours, 461, of Lerida in Spain, 524, of Clermont, 535, of Braga, 563, of Orleans, 538, of Tours, 567.441 The emperor Justinian, in the twenty-third Novelle, prohibited the bishop having any woman at all in his house, but the Trullan council of 692 returned simply to the Nicene law.442 The Western councils also made attempts to abolish the exceptions allowed in the Nicene canon, and forbade clergymen all intercourse with women, except in presence of a companion.

This rigorism, however, which sheds an unwelcome light upon the actual state of things that made it necessary, did not better the matter, but rather led to such a moral apathy, that the Latin church in the middle age had everywhere to contend with the open concubinage of the clergy, and the whole energy of Gregory VII. was needed to restore in a measure the old laws of celibacy, without being sufficient to prevent the secret and, to morality, far more dangerous violations of it.443 The later ecclesiastical legislation respecting the mulieres subintroductae is more lenient, and, without limiting the intercourse of clergymen to near kindred, generally excludes only concubines and those women "de quibus possit haberi suspicio."444

§ 51. Moral Character of the Clergy in general.

Augustine gives us the key to the true view of the clergy of the Roman empire in both light and shade, when he says of the spiritual office: "There is in this life, and especially in this day, nothing easier, more delightful, more acceptable to men, than the office of bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, if the charge be administered superficially and to the pleasure of men; but nothing in the eye of God more wretched, mournful, and damnable. So also there is in this life, and especially in this day, nothing more difficult, more laborious) more hazardous than the office of bishop, or presbyter, or deacon; but nothing in the eye of God more blessed, if the battle be fought in the manner enjoined by our Captain."445 We cannot wonder, on the one hand that, in the better condition of the church and the enlarged field of her labor, a multitude of light-minded and unworthy men crowded into the sacred office, and on the other, that just the most earnest and worthy bishops of the day, an Ambrose, an Augustine, a Gregory Nazianzen, and a Chrysostom, trembled before the responsibility of the office, and had to be forced into it in a measure against their will, by the call of the church.

Gregory Nazianzen fled into the wilderness when his father, without his knowledge, suddenly consecrated him priest in the presence of the congregation (361). He afterward vindicated this flight in his beautiful apology, in which he depicts the ideal of a Christian priest and theologian. The priest must, above all, he says, be a model of a Christian, offer himself a holy sacrifice to God, and be a living temple of the living God. Then he must possess a deep knowledge, of souls, and, as a spiritual physician, heal all classes of men of various diseases of sin, restore, preserve, and protect the divine image in them, bring Christ into their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and make them partakers of the divine nature and of eternal salvation. He must, moreover, have at command the sacred philosophy or divine science of the world and of the worlds, of matter and spirit, of good and evil angels, of the all-ruling Providence, of our creation and regeneration, of the divine covenants, of the first and second appearing of Christ, of his incarnation, passion, and resurrection, of the end of all things and the universal judgment, and above all, of the mystery of the blessed Trinity; and he must be able to teach and elucidate these doctrines of faith in popular discourse. Gregory, sets forth Jesus as the perfect type of the priest, and next to him he presents in an eloquent picture the apostle Paul, who lived only for Christ, and under all circumstances and amid all trials by sea and land, among Jews and heathen, in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness, in freedom and bonds, attested the divine power of the gospel for the salvation of the world. This ideal, however, Gregory found but seldom realized. He gives on the whole a very unfavorable account of the bishops, and even of the most celebrated councils of his day, charging them with ignorance unworthy means of promotion, ambition, flattery, pride, luxury, and worldly mindedness. He says even: "Our danger now is, that the holiest of all offices will become the most ridiculous; for the highest clerical places are gained not so much by virtue, as by iniquity; no longer the most worthy, but the most powerful, take the episcopal chair."446 Though his descriptions, especially in the satirical poem "to himself and on the bishops," composed probably after his resignation in Constantinople (a.d. 381), may be in many points exaggerated, yet they were in general drawn from life and from experience.447

Jerome also, in his epistles, unsparingly attacks the clergy of his time, especially the Roman, accusing them of avarice and legacy hunting, and drawing a sarcastic picture of a clerical fop, who, with his fine scented clothes, was more like a bridegroom than a clergyman.448 Of the rural clergy', however, the heathen Ammianus Marcellinus bears a testimony, which is certainly reliable, to their simplicity, contentment, and virtue.449

Chrysostom, in his celebrated treatise on the priesthood,450 written probably, before his ordination (somewhere between the years 375 and 381), or while he was deacon (between 381 and 386), portrayed the theoretical and practical qualifications, the exalted duties, responsibilities, and honors of this office, with youthful enthusiasm, in the best spirit of his age. He requires of the priest, that he be in every respect better than the monk, though, standing in the world, he have greater dangers and difficulties to contend with.451 He sets up as the highest object of the preacher, the great principle stated by, Paul, that in all his discourses he should seek to please God alone, not men. "He must not indeed despise the approving demonstrations of men; but as little must he court them, nor trouble himself when his hearers withhold them. True and imperturbable comfort in his labors he finds only in the consciousness of having his discourse framed and wrought out to the approval of God."452 Nevertheless the book as a whole is unsatisfactory. A comparison of it with the "Reformed Pastor" of Baxter, which is far deeper and richer in all that pertains to subjective experimental Christianity and the proper care of souls, would result emphatically in favor of the English Protestant church of the seventeenth century.453

We must here particularly notice a point which reflects great discredit on the moral sense of many of the fathers, and shows that they had not wholly freed themselves from the chains of heathen ethics. The occasion of this work of Chrysostom was a ruse, by which he had evaded election to the bishopric, and thrust it upon his friend Basil.454 To justify this conduct, he endeavors at large, in the fifth chapter of the first book, to prove that artifice might be lawful and useful; that is, when used as a means to a good end. "Manifold is the potency of deception, only it must not be employed with knavish intent. And this should be hardly called deception, but rather a sort of accommodation (oijkonomiva), wisdom, art, or sagacity, by which one can find many ways of escape in an exigency, and amend the errors of the soul." He appeals to biblical examples, like Jonathan and the daughter of Saul, who by deceiving their father rescued their friend and husband; and, unwarrantably, even to Paul, who became to the Jews a Jew, to the Gentiles a Gentile, and circumcised Timothy, though in the Epistle to the Galatians he pronounced circumcision useless. Chrysostom, however, had evidently learned this, loose and pernicious principle respecting the obligation of truthfulness, not from the Holy Scriptures, but from the Grecian sophists.455 Besides, he by no means stood alone in the church in this matter, but had his predecessors in the Alexandrian fathers,456 and his followers in Cassian, Jerome, and other eminent Catholic divines.

Jerome made a doubtful distinction between gumnastikw'" scribere and dogmatikw'" scribere, and, with Origen, explained the severe censure of Paul on Peter in Antioch, for example, as a mere stroke of pastoral policy, or an accommodation to the weakness of the Jewish Christians at the expense of truth.457 But Augustine's delicate Christian sense of truth revolted at this construction, and replied that such an interpretation undermined the whole authority of Holy Scripture; that an apostle could never lie, even for a good object; that, in extremity, one should rather suppose a false reading, or wrong translation, or suspect his own apprehension; but that in Antioch Paul spoke the truth and justly censured Peter openly for his inconsistency, or for a practical (not a theoretical) error, and thus deserves the praise of righteous boldness, as Peter on the other hand, by his meek submission to the censure, merits the praise of holy humility.458

Thus in Jerome and Augustine we have the representatives of two opposite ethical views: one, unduly subjective, judging all moral acts merely by their motive and object, and sanctioning, for example, tyrannicide, or suicide to escape disgrace, or breach of faith with heretics (as the later Jesuitical casuistry does with the utmost profusion of sophistical subtlety); the other, objective, proceeding on eternal, immutable principles and the irreconcilable opposition of good and evil, and freely enough making prudence subservient to truth, but never truth subservient to prudence.

Meantime, in the Greek church also, as early as the fourth century, the Augustinian view here and there made its way; and Basil the Great, in his shorter monastic Rule,459 rejected even accommodation (oijkonomiva) for a good end, because Christ ascribes the lie, without distinction of kinds, exclusively to Satan.460 In this respect, therefore, Chrysostom did not stand at the head of his age, but represented without doubt the prevailing view of the Eastern church.

The legislation of the councils with reference to the clergy, shows in general the earnestness and rigor with which the church guarded the moral purity and dignity of her servants. The canonical age was, on the average, after the analogy of the Old Testament, the five-and-twentieth year for the diaconate, the thirtieth for the priesthood and episcopate. Catechumens, neophytes, persons baptized at the point of death, penitents, energumens (such as were possessed of a devil), actors, dancers, soldiers, curials (court, state, and municipal officials),461 slaves, eunuchs, bigamists, and all who led a scandalous life after baptism, were debarred from ordination. The frequenting of taverns and theatres, dancing and gambling, usury and the pursuit of secular business were forbidden to clergymen. But on the other hand, the frequent repetition of warnings against even the lowest and most common sins, such as licentiousness, drunkenness, fighting, and buffoonery, and the threatening of corporal punishment for certain misdemeanors, yield an unfavorable conclusion in regard to the moral standing of the sacred order.462 Even at the councils the clerical dignity was not seldom desecrated by outbreaks of coarse passion; insomuch that the council of Ephesus, in 449, is notorious as the "council of robbers."

In looking at this picture, however, we must not forget that in this, period of the sinking empire of Rome the task of the clergy was exceedingly difficult, and amidst the nominal conversion of the whole population of the empire, their number and education could not keep pace with the sudden and extraordinary expansion of their field of labor. After all, the clerical office was the great repository of intellectual and moral force for the world. It stayed the flood of corruption; rebuked the vices of the times; fearlessly opposed tyrannical cruelty; founded institutions of charity and public benefit; prolonged the existence of the Roman empire; rescued the literary treasures of antiquity; carried the gospel to the barbarians, and undertook to educate and civilize their rude and vigorous hordes. Out of the mass of mediocrities tower the great church teachers of the fourth and fifth centuries, combining all the learning, the talent, and the piety of the time, and through their immortal writings mightily moulding the succeeding ages of the world.

§ 52. The Lower Clergy.

As the authority and influence of the bishops, after the accession of Constantine, increased, the lower clergy became more and more dependent upon them. The episcopate and the presbyterate were now rigidly distinguished. And yet the memory of their primitive identity lingered. Jerome, at the end of the fourth century, reminds the bishops that they owe their elevation above the presbyters, not so much to Divine institution as to ecclesiastical usage; for before the outbreak of controversies in the church there was no distinction between the two, except that presbyter is a term of age, and bishop a term of official dignity; but when men, at the instigation of Satan, erected parties and sects, and, instead of simply following Christ, named themselves of Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, all agreed to put one of the presbyters at the head of the rest, that by his universal supervision of the churches, he might kill the seeds of division.463 The great commentators of the Greek church agree with Jerome in maintaining the original identity of bishops and presbyters in the New Testament.464

In the episcopal or cathedral churches the Presbyters still formed the council of the bishop. In town and country congregations, where no bishop officiated, they were more independent. Preaching, administration of the sacraments, and care of souls were their functions. In. North Africa they were for a long time not allowed to preach in the presence of the bishop; until Augustine was relieved by his bishop of this restriction. The seniores plebis in the African church of the fourth and fifth centuries were not clergymen, but civil personages and other prominent members of the congregation.465

In the fourth century arose the office of archpresbyter, whose duty it was to preside over the worship, and sometimes to take the place of the bishop in his absence or incapacity.

The Deacons, also called Levites, retained the same functions which they had held in the preceding period. In the West, they alone, not the lectors, were allowed to read in public worship the lessons from the Gospels; which, containing the words of the Lord, were placed above the Epistles, or the words of the apostles. They were also permitted to baptize and to preach. After the pattern of the church in Jerusalem, the number of deacons, even in large congregations, was limited to seven; though not rigidly, for the cathedral of Constantinople had, under Justinian I., besides sixty presbyters, a hundred deacons, forty deaconesses, ninety subdeacons, a hundred and ten lectors, twenty-five precentors, and a hundred janitors—a total of five hundred and twenty-five officers. Though subordinate to the presbyters, the deacons frequently stood in close relations with the bishop, and exerted a greater influence. Hence they not rarely looked upon ordination to the presbyterate as a degradation. After the beginning of the fourth century an archdeacon stood at the head of the college, the most confidential adviser of the bishop, his representative and legate, and not seldom his successor in office. Thus Athanasius first appears as archdeacon of Alexandria at the council of Nice, clothed with important influence; and upon the death of the latter he succeeds to the patriarchal chair of Alexandria.

The office of Deaconess, which, under the strict separation of the sexes in ancient times, and especially in Greece, was necessary to the completion of the diaconate, and which originated in the apostolic age,466 continued in the Eastern church down to the twelfth century. It was frequently occupied by the widows of clergymen or the wives of bishops, who were obliged to demit the married state before entering upon their sacred office. Its functions were the care of the female poor, sick, and imprisoned, assisting in the baptism of adult women, and, in the country churches of the East, perhaps also of the West, the preparation of women for baptism by private instruction.467 Formerly, from regard to the apostolic precept in 1 Tim. v. 9, the deaconesses were required to be sixty years of age.468 The general council of Chalcedon, however, in 451, reduced the canonical age to forty years, and in the fifteenth canon ordered: "No female shall be consecrated deaconess before she is forty years old, and not then without careful probation. If, however, after having received consecration, and having been some time in the service, she marry, despising the grace of God, she with her husband shall be anathematized." The usual ordination prayer in the consecration of deaconesses, according to the Apostolic Constitutions, runs thus: "Eternal God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of man and woman, who didst fill Miriam and Deborah and Hannah and Huldah with the Spirit, and didst not disdain to suffer thine only-begotten Son to be born of a woman; who also in the tabernacle and the temple didst appoint women keepers of thine holy gates: look down now upon this thine handmaid, who is designated to the office of deacon, and grant her the Holy Ghost, and cleanse her from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, that she may worthily execute the work intrusted to her, to thine honor and to the praise of thine Anointed; to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be honor and adoration forever. Amen."469

The noblest type of an apostolic deaconess, which has come down to us from this period, is Olympias, the friend of Chrysostom, and the recipient of seventeen beautiful epistles from him.470 She sprang from a respectable heathen family, but received a Christian education; was beautiful and wealthy; married in her seventeenth year (a.d. 384) the prefect of Constantinople, Nebridius; but in twenty months after was left a widow, and remained so in spite of the efforts of the emperor Theodosius to unite her with one of his own kindred. She became a deaconess; lived in rigid asceticism; devoted her goods to the poor; and found her greatest pleasure in doing good. When Chrysostom came to Constantinople, he became her pastor, and guided her lavish benefaction by wise counsel. She continued faithful to him in his misfortune; survived him by several years, and died in 420, lamented by all the poor and needy in the city and in the country around.

In the West, on the contrary, the office of deaconess was first shorn of its clerical character by a prohibition of ordination passed by the Gallic councils in the fifth and sixth centuries;471 and at last it was wholly abolished. The second synod of Orleans, in 533, ordained in its eighteenth canon: "No woman shall henceforth receive the benedictio diaconalis [which had been substituted for ordinatio], on account of the weakness of this sex." The reason betrays the want of good deaconesses, and suggests the connection of this abolition of an apostolic institution with the introduction of the celibacy of the priesthood, which seemed to be endangered by every sort of female society. The adoption of the care of the poor and sick by the state, and the cessation of adult baptisms and of the custom of immersion, also made female assistance less needful. In modern times, the Catholic church, it is true, has special societies or orders of women, like the Sisters of Mercy, for the care of the sick and poor, the training of children, and other objects of practical charity; and in the bosom of Protestantism also similar benevolent associations have arisen, under the name of Deaconess Institutes, or Sisters' Houses, though in the more free evangelical spirit, and without the bond of a vow.472 But, though quite kindred in their object, these associations are not to be identified with the office of deaconess in the apostolic age and in the ancient church. That was a regular, standing office in every Christian congregation, corresponding to the office of deacon; and has never since the twelfth century been revived, though the local work of charity has never ceased.

To the ordinary clergy there were added in this period sundry extraordinary church offices, rendered necessary by the multiplication of religious functions in large cities and dioceses:

1. Stewards.473 These officers administered the church property under the supervision of the bishop, and were chosen in part from the clergy, in part from such of the laity as were versed in law. In Constantinople the "great steward" was a person of considerable rank, though not a clergyman. The council of Chalcedon enjoined upon every episcopal diocese the appointment of such officers, and the selection of them from the clergy, "that the economy of the church might not be irresponsible, and thereby the church property be exposed to waste and the clerical dignity be brought into ill repute."474 For conducting the litigation of the church, sometimes a special advocate, called the e[kdiko", or defensor, was appointed.

2. Secretaries,475 for drawing the protocols in public ecclesiastical transactions (gesta ecclesiastica). They were usually clergymen, or such as had prepared themselves for the service of the church.

3. Nurses or Parabolani,476 especially in connection with the larger church hospitals. Their office was akin to that of the deacons, but had more reference to the bodily assistance than to the spiritual care of the sick. In Alexandria, by the fifth century, these officers formed a great guild of six hundred members, and were not rarely misemployed as a standing army of episcopal domination.477 Hence, upon a complaint of the citizens of Alexandria against them, to the emperor Theodosius II., their number were reduced to five hundred. In the West they were never introduced.

4. Buriers of the Dead478 likewise belonged among these ordines minores of the church. Under Theodosius II. there were more than a thousand of them in Constantinople.

§ 53. The Bishops.

The bishops now stood with sovereign power at the head of the clergy and of their dioceses. They had come to be universally regarded as the vehicles and propagators of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and the teachers and lawgivers of the church in all matters of faith and discipline. The specific distinction between them and the presbyters was carried into everything; while yet it is worthy of remark, that Jerome, Chrysostom, and Theodoret, just the most eminent exegetes of the ancient church, expressly acknowledged the original identity of the two offices in the New Testament, and consequently derive the proper episcopate, not from divine institution, but only from church usage.479

The traditional participation of the people in the election, which attested the popular origin of the episcopal office, still continued, but gradually sank to a mere formality, and at last became entirely extinct. The bishops filled their own vacancies, and elected and ordained the clergy. Besides ordination, as the medium for communicating the official gifts, they also claimed from the presbyters in the West, after the fifth century, the exclusive prerogatives of confirming the baptized and consecrating the chrism or holy ointment used in baptism.480 In the East, on the contrary, confirmation (the chrism) is performed also by the presbyters, and, according to the ancient custom, immediately follows baptism.

To this spiritual preëminence of the bishops was now added, from the time of Constantine, a civil importance. Through the union of the church with the state, the bishops became at the same time state officials of weight, and enjoyed the various privileges which accrued to the church from this connection.481 They had thenceforth an independent and legally valid jurisdiction; they held supervision of the church estates, which were sometimes very considerable, and they had partial charge even of the city, property; they superintended the morals of the people, and even of the emperor; and they exerted influence upon the public legislation. They were exempt from civil jurisdiction, and could neither be brought as witnesses before a court nor be compelled to take an oath. Their dioceses grew larger, and their power and revenues increased. Dominus beatissimus (makariwvtato"), sanctissimus (aJgiwvtato"), or reverendissimus, Beatitudo or Sanctitas tua, and similar high-sounding titles, passed into universal use. Kneeling, kissing of the hand, and like tokens of reverence, came to be shown them by all classes, up to the emperor himself. Chrysostom, at the end of the fourth century, says: "The heads of the empire (hyparchs) and the governors of provinces (toparchs) enjoy no such honor as the rulers of the church. They are first at court, in the society of ladies, in the houses of the great. No one has precedence of them."

To this position corresponded the episcopal insignia, which from the fourth century became common: the ring, as the symbol of the espousal of the bishop to the church; the crosier or shepherd's staff (also called crook, because it was generally curved at the top); and the pallium,482, a shoulder cloth, after the example of the ephod of the Jewish high-priest, and perhaps of the sacerdotal mantle worn by the Roman emperors as pontifices maximi. The pallium is a seamless cloth hanging over the shoulders, formerly of white linen, in the West subsequently of white lamb's wool, with four red or black crosses wrought in it with silk. According to the present usage of the Roman church the wool is taken from the lambs of St. Agnes, which are every year solemnly blessed and sacrificed by the pope in memory of this pure virgin. Hence the later symbolical meaning of the pallium, as denoting the bishop's following of Christ, the good Shepherd, with the lost and reclaimed sheep upon his shoulders. Alexandrian tradition traced this vestment to the evangelist Mark; but Gregory Nazianzen expressly says that it was first given by Constantine the Great to the bishop Macarius of Jerusalem.483 In the East it was worn by all bishops, in the West by archbishops only, on whom, from the time of Gregory I., it was conferred by the pope on their accession to office. At first the investiture was gratuitous, but afterward came to involve a considerable fee, according to the revenues of the archbishopric.

As the bishop united in himself all the rights and privileges of the clerical office, so he was expected to show himself a model in the discharge of its duties and a follower of the great Archbishop and Archshepherd of the sheep. He was expected to exhibit in a high degree the ascetic virtues, especially that of virginity, which, according to Catholic ethics, belongs to the idea of moral perfection. Many a bishop, like Athanasius, Basil, Ambrose, Augustine, Chrysostom, Martin of Tours, lived in rigid abstinence and poverty, and devoted his income to religious and charitable objects.

But this very power and this temporal advantage of the episcopate became also a lure for avarice and ambition, and a temptation to the lordly and secular spirit. For even under the episcopal mantle the human heart still beat, with all those weaknesses and passions, which can only be overcome by the continual influence of Divine grace. There were metropolitans and patriarchs, especially in Alexandria, Constantinople, and Rome, who, while yet hardly past the age of persecution, forgot the servant form of the Son of God and the poverty of his apostles and martyrs, and rivalled the most exalted civil officials, nay, the emperor himself, in worldly pomp and luxury. Not seldom were the most disgraceful intrigues employed to gain the holy office. No wonder, says Ammianus, that for so splendid a prize as the bishopric of Rome, men strive with the utmost passion and persistence, when rich presents from ladies and a more than imperial sumptuousness invite them.484 The Roman prefect, Praetextatus, declared jestingly to the bishop Damasus, who had obtained the office through a bloody battle of parties, that for such a price he would at once turn Christian himself.485 Such an example could not but shed its evil influence on the lower clergy of the great cities. Jerome sketches a sarcastic description of the Roman priests, who squandered all their care on dress and perfumery, curled their hair with crisping pins, wore sparkling rings, paid far too great attention to women, and looked more like bridegrooms than like clergymen.486 And in the Greek church it was little better. Gregory Nazianzen, himself a bishop, and for a long time patriarch of Constantinople, frequently mourns the ambition, the official jealousies, and the luxury of the hierarchy, and utters the wish that the bishops might be distinguished only by a higher grade of virtue.

§ 54. Organization of the Hierarchy: Country Bishop, City Bishops, and Metropolitans.

The episcopate, notwithstanding the unity of the office and its rights, admitted the different grades of country bishop, ordinary city bishop, metropolitan, and patriarch. Such a distinction had already established itself on the basis of free religious sentiment in the church; so that the incumbents of the apostolic sees, like Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, and Rome, stood at the head of the hierarchy. But this gradation now assumed a political character, and became both modified and confirmed by attachment to the municipal division of the Roman empire.

Constantine the Great divided the whole empire into four praefectures (the Oriental, the Illyrian, the Italian, and the Gallic); the praefectures into vicariates, dioceses, or proconsulates, fourteen or fifteen in all;487 and each diocese again into several provinces.488 The praefectures were governed by Praefecti Praetorio, the dioceses by Vicarii, the provinces by Rectores, with various titles—commonly Praesides.

It was natural, that after the union of church and state the ecclesiastical organization and the political should, so far as seemed proper, and hence of course with manifold exceptions, accommodate themselves to one another. In the East this principle of conformity was more palpably and rigidly carried out than in the West. The council of Nice in the fourth century proceeds upon it, and the second and fourth ecumenical councils confirm it. The political influence made itself most distinctly felt in the elevation of Constantinople to a patriarchal see. The Roman bishop Leo, however, protested against the reference of his own power to political considerations, and planted it exclusively upon the primacy of Peter; though evidently the Roman see owed its importance to the favorable cooperation of both these influences. The power of the patriarchs extended over one or more municipal dioceses; while the metropolitans presided over single provinces. The word diocese (dioivkhsi") passed from the political into the ecclesiastical terminology, and denoted at first a patriarchal district, comprising several provinces (thus the expression occurs continually in the Greek acts of councils), but afterward came to be applied in the West to each episcopal district. The circuit of a metropolitan was called in the East an eparchy (ejparciva), in the West provincia. An ordinary bishopric was called in the East a parish (paroikiva), while in the Latin church the term (parochia) was usually applied to a mere pastoral charge.

The lowest rank in the episcopal hierarchy was occupied by the country bishops,489 the presiding officers of those rural congregations, which were not supplied with presbyters from neighboring cities. In North Africa, with its multitude of small dioceses, these country bishops were very numerous, and stood on an equal footing with the others. But in the East they became more and more subordinate to the neighboring city bishops; until at last, partly on account of their own incompetence, chiefly for the sake of the rising hierarchy, they were wholly extinguished. Often they were utterly unfit for their office; at least Basil of Caesarea, who had fifty country bishops in his metropolitan district, reproached them with frequently receiving men totally unworthy into the clerical ranks. And moreover, they stood in the way of the aspirations of the city bishops; for the greater the number of bishops, the smaller the diocese and the power of each, though probably the better the collective influence of all upon the church. The council of Sardica, in 343, doubtless had both considerations in view, when, on motion of Hosius, the president, it decreed: "It is not permitted, that, in a village or small town, for which a single priest is sufficient, a bishop should be stationed, lest the episcopal dignity and authority suffer scandal;490 but the bishops of the eparchy (province) shall appoint bishops only for those places where bishops have already been, or where the town is so populous that it is considered worthy to be a bishopric." The place of these chorepiscopi was thenceforth supplied either by visitators (periodeu'tai), who in the name of the bishop visited the country congregations from time to time, and performed the necessary functions, or by resident presbyters (parochi), under the immediate supervision of the city bishop.

Among the city bishops towered the bishops of the capital cities of the various provinces. They were styled in the East metropolitans, in the West usually archbishops.491 They had the oversight of the other bishops of the province; ordained them, in connection with two or three assistants; summoned provincial synods, which, according to the fifth canon of the council of Nice and the direction of other councils, were to be held twice a year; and presided in such synods. They promoted union among the different churches by the reciprocal communication of synodal acts, and confirmed the organism of the hierarchy.

This metropolitan constitution, which had gradually arisen out of the necessities of the church, became legally established in the East in the fourth century, and passed thence to the Graeco-Russian church. The council of Nice, at that early day, ordered in the fourth canon, that every new bishop should be ordained by all, or at least by three, of the bishops of the eparchy (the municipal province), under the direction and with the sanction of the metropolitan.492 Still clearer is the ninth canon of the council of Antioch, in 341: "The bishops of each eparchy (province) should know, that upon the bishop of the metropolis (the municipal capital) also devolves a care for the whole eparchy, because in the metropolis all, who have business, gather together from all quarters. Hence it has been found good, that he should also have a precedence in honor,493 and that the other bishops should do nothing without him—according to the old and still binding canon of our fathers—except that which pertains to the supervision and jurisdiction of their parishes (i.e. dioceses in the modern terminology), and the provinces belonging to them; as in fact they ordain presbyters and deacons, and decide all judicial matters. Otherwise they ought to do nothing without the bishop of the metropolis, and he nothing without the consent of the other bishops." This council, in the nineteenth canon, forbade a bishop being ordained without the presence of the metropolitan and the presence or concurrence of the majority of the bishops of the province.

In Africa a similar system had existed from the time of Cyprian, before the church and the state were united. Every province had a Primas; the oldest bishop being usually chosen to this office. The bishop of Carthage, however, was not only primate of Africa proconsularis, but at the same time, corresponding to the proconsul of Carthage, the ecclesiastical head of Numidia and Mauretania, and had power to summon a general council of Africa.494

§ 55. The Patriarchs.

Mich. Le Quien (French Dominican, † 1788): Oriens Christianus, in quatuor patriarchatus digestus, quo exhibentur ecclesiae, patriarchae caeterique preasules totius Orientis. Opus posthumum, Par. 1740, 3 vols. fol. (a thorough description of the oriental dioceses from the beginning to 1732). P. Jos. Cautelius (Jesuit): Metropolitanarum urbium historia civilis et ecclesiastic in qua Romanae Sedis dignitas et imperatorum et regum in eam merits explicantur, Par. 1685 (important for ecclesiastical statistics of the West, and the extension of the Roman patriarchate). Bingham (Anglican): Antiquities, l. ii. c. 17. Joh. El. Theod. Wiltsch (Evangel.): Handbuch der Kirchl. Geographie u. Statistik, Berl. 1846, vol. i. p. 56 sqq. Friedr. Maassen (R.C.): Der Primat des Bischofs von Rom. u. die alten Patriarchalkirchen, Bonn, 1853. Thomas Greenwood: Cathedra Petri, a Political History of the Latin Patriarchate, Lond. 1859 sqq. (vol. i. p. 158–489). Comp. my review of this work in the Am. Theol. Rev., New York, 1864, p. 9 sqq.

Still above the metropolitans stood the five Patriarchs,495 the oligarchical summit, so to speak, the five towers in the edifice of the Catholic hierarchy of the Graeco-Roman empire.

These patriarchs, in the official sense of the word as already fixed at the time of the fourth ecumenical council, were the bishops of the four great capitals of the empire, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople; to whom was added, by way of honorary distinction, the bishop of Jerusalem, as president of the oldest Christian congregation, though the proper continuity of that office had been broken by the destruction of the holy city. They had oversight of one or more dioceses; at least of two or more provinces or eparchies.496 They ordained the metropolitans; rendered the final decision in church controversies; conducted the ecumenical councils; published the decrees of the councils and the church laws of the emperors; and united in themselves the supreme legislative and executive power of the hierarchy. They bore the same relation to the metropolitans of single provinces, as the ecumenical councils to the provincial. They did not, however, form a college; each acted for himself. Yet in important matters they consulted with one another, and had the right also to keep resident legates (apocrisiarii) at the imperial court at Constantinople.

In prerogative they were equal, but in the extent of their dioceses and in influence they differed, and had a system of rank among themselves. Before the founding of Constantinople, and down to the Nicene council, Rome maintained the first rank, Alexandria the second, and Antioch the third, in both ecclesiastical and political importance. After the end of the fourth century this order was modified by the insertion of Constantinople as the second capital, between Rome and Alexandria, and the addition of Jerusalem as the fifth and smallest patriarchate.

The patriarch of Jerusalem presided only over the three meagre provinces of Palestine;497 the patriarch of Antioch, over the greater part of the political diocese of the Orient, which comprised fifteen provinces, Syria, Phenicia, Cilicia, Arabia, Mesopotamia, &c.;498 the patriarch of Alexandria, over the whole diocese of Egypt with its nine rich provinces, Aegyptus prima and secunda, the lower and upper Thebaid, lower and upper Libya, &c.;499 the patriarch of Constantinople, over three dioceses, Pontus, Asia Minor, and Thrace, with eight and twenty provinces, and at the same time over the bishoprics among the barbarians;500 the patriarch of Rome gradually extended his influence over the entire West, two prefectures, the Italian and the Gallic, with all their dioceses and provinces.501

The patriarchal system had reference primarily only to the imperial church, but indirectly affected also the barbarians, who received Christianity from the empire. Yet even within the empire, several metropolitans, especially the bishop of Cyprus in the Eastern church, and the bishops of Milan, Aquileia, and Ravenna in the Western, during this period maintained their autocracy with reference to the patriarchs to whose dioceses they geographically belonged. In the fifth century, the patriarchs of Antioch attempted to subject the island of Cyprus, where Paul first had preached the gospel, to their jurisdiction; but the ecumenical council of Ephesus, in 431, confirmed to the church of Cyprus its ancient right to ordain its own bishops.502 The North African bishops also, with all respect for the Roman see, long maintained Cyprian's spirit of independence, and in a council at Hippo Regius, in 393, protested against such titles as princeps sacerdotum, summus sacerdos, assumed by the patriarchs, and were willing only to allow the title of primae sedis episcopus.503

When, in consequence of the Christological controversies, the Nestorians and Monophysites split off from the orthodox church, they established independent schismatic patriarchates, which continue to this day, showing that the patriarchal constitution answers most nearly to the oriental type of Christianity. The orthodox Greek church, as well as the schismatic sects of the East, has substantially remained true to the patriarchal system down to the present time; while the Latin church endeavored to establish the principle of monarchical centralization so early as Leo the Great, and in the course of the middle age produced the absolute papacy.

§ 56. Synodical Legislation on the Patriarchal Power and Jurisdiction.

To follow now the ecclesiastical legislation respecting this patriarchal oligarchy in chronological order:

The germs of it already lay in the ante-Nicene period, when the bishops of Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome, partly in virtue of the age and apostolic origin of their churches, partly, on account of the political prominence of those three cities as the three capitals of the Roman empire, steadily asserted a position of preëminence. The apostolic origin of the churches of Rome and Antioch is evident from the New Testament: Alexandria traced its Christianity, at least indirectly through the evangelist Mark, to Peter, and was politically more important than Antioch; while Rome from the first had precedence of both in church and in state. This preëminence of the oldest and most powerful metropolitans acquired formal legislative validity and firm establishment through the ecumenical councils of the fourth and fifth centuries.

The first ecumenical council of Nice, in 325, as yet knew nothing of five patriarchs, but only the three metropolitans above named, confirming them in their traditional rights.504 In the much-canvassed sixth canon, probably on occasion of the Meletian schism in Egypt, and the attacks connected with it on the rights of the bishop of Alexandria, that council declared as follows:

"The ancient custom, which has obtained in Egypt, Libya, and the Pentapolis, shall continue in force, viz.: that the bishop of Alexandria have rule over all these [provinces], since this also is customary with the bishop of Rome [that is, not in Egypt, but with reference to his own diocese]. Likewise also at Antioch and in the other eparchies, the churches shall retain their prerogatives. Now, it is perfectly clear, that, if any one has been made bishop without the consent of the metropolitan, the great council does not allow him to be bishop."505

The Nicene fathers passed this canon not as introducing anything new, but merely as confirming an existing relation on the basis of church tradition; and that, with special reference to Alexandria, on account of the troubles existing there. Rome was named only for illustration; and Antioch and all the other eparchies or provinces were secured their admitted rights.506 The bishoprics of Alexandria, Rome, and Antioch were placed substantially on equal footing, yet in such tone, that Antioch, as the third capital of the Roman empire, already stands as a stepping stone to the ordinary metropolitans. By the "other eparchies" of the canon are to be understood either all provinces, and therefore all metropolitan districts, or more probably, as in the second canon of the first council of Constantinople, only the three eparchates of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Ephesus, and Asia Minor, and Heraclea in Thrace, which, after Constantine's division of the East, possessed similar prerogatives, but were subsequently overshadowed and absorbed by Constantinople. In any case, however, this addition proves that at that time the rights and dignity of the patriarchs were not yet strictly distinguished from those of the other metropolitans. The bishops of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch here appear in relation to the other bishops simply as primi inter pares, or as metropolitans of the first rank, in whom the highest political eminence was joined with the highest ecclesiastical. Next to them, in the second rank, come the bishops of Ephesus in the Asiatic diocese of the empire, of Neo-Caesarea in the Pontic, and of Heraclea in the Thracian; while Constantinople, which was not founded till five years later, is wholly unnoticed in the Nicene council, and Jerusalem is mentioned only under the name of Aelia.

Between the first and second ecumenical councils arose the new patriarchate of Constantinople, or New Rome, built by Constantine in 330, and elevated to the rank of the imperial residence. The bishop of this city was not only the successor of the bishop of the ancient Byzantium, hitherto under the jurisdiction of the metropolitan of Heraclea, but, through the favor of the imperial court and the bishops who were always numerously assembled there, it placed itself in a few decennia among the first metropolitans of the East, and in the fifth century became the most powerful rival of the bishop of old Rome.

This new patriarchate was first officially recognized at the first ecumenical council, held at Constantinople in 381, and was conceded "the precedence in honor, next to the bishop of Rome," the second place among all bishops; and that, on the purely political consideration, that New Rome was the residence of the emperor.507 At the same time the imperial city and the diocese of Thrace (whose ecclesiastical metropolis hitherto had been Heraclea) were assigned as its district.508

Many Greeks took this as a formal assertion of the equality of the bishop of Constantinople with the bishop of Rome, understanding "next" or "after" (metav) as referring only to time, not to rank. But it is more natural to regard this as conceding a primacy of honor, which the Roman see could claim on different grounds. The popes, as the subsequent protest of Leo shows, were not satisfied with this, because they were unwilling to be placed in the same category with the Constantinopolitan fledgling, and at the same time assumed a supremacy of jurisdiction over the whole church. On the other hand, this decree was unwelcome also to the patriarch of Alexandria, because this see had hitherto held the second rank, and was now required to take the third. Hence the canon was not subscribed by Timotheus of Alexandria, and was regarded in Egypt as void. Afterward, however, the emperors prevailed with the Alexandrian patriarchs to yield this point.

After the council of 381, the bishop of Constantinople indulged in manifold encroachments on the rights of the metropolitans of Ephesus and Caesarea in Cappadocia, and even on the rights of the other patriarchs. In this extension of his authority he was favored by the fact that, in spite of the prohibition of the council of Sardica, the bishops of all the districts of the East continually resided in Constantinople, in order to present all kinds of interests to the emperor. These concerns of distant bishops were generally referred by the emperor to the bishop of Constantinople and his council, the suvnodo" ejndhmou'sa, as it was called, that is, a council of the bishops resident (ejndhmouvntwn) in Constantinople, under his presidency. In this way his trespasses even upon the bounds of other patriarchs obtained the right of custom by consent of parties, if not the sanction of church legislation. Nectarius, who was not elected till after that council, claimed the presidency at a council in 394, over the two patriarchs who were present, Theophilus of Alexandria and Flavian of Antioch; decided the matter almost alone; and thus was the first to exercise the primacy over the entire East. Under his successor, Chrysostom, the compass of the see extended itself still farther, and, according to Theodoret,509 stretched over the capital, over all Thrace with its six provinces, over all Asia (Asia proconsularis) with eleven provinces, and over Pontus, which likewise embraced eleven provinces; thus covering twenty-eight provinces in all. In the year 400, Chrysostom went "by request to Ephesus," to ordain there Heraclides of Ephesus, and at the same time to institute six bishops in the places of others deposed for simony.510 His second successor, Atticus, about the year 421, procured from the younger Theodosius a law, that no bishop should be ordained in the neighboring dioceses without the consent of the bishop of Constantinople.511 This power still needed the solemn sanction of a general council, before it could have a firm legal foundation. It received this sanction at Chalcedon.

The fourth ecumenical council, held at Chalcedon in 451 confirmed and extended the power of the bishop of Constantinople, by ordaining in the celebrated twenty-eighth canon:

"Following throughout the decrees of the holy fathers, and being "acquainted with the recently read canon of the hundred and fifty bishops [i.e. the third canon of the second ecumenical council of 381], we also have determined and decreed the same in reference to the prerogatives of the most holy church of Constantinople or New Rome. For with reason did the fathers confer prerogatives (ta; presbei'a) on the throne [the episcopal chair] of ancient Rome, on account of her character as the imperial city (dia; to; basileuvein); and, moved by the same consideration, the hundred and fifty bishops recognized the same prerogatives (ta; i[sa "presbei'a) also in the most holy throne of New Rome; with good reason judging, that the city, which is honored with the imperial dignity and the senate [i.e. where the emperor and senate reside], and enjoys the same [municipal] privileges as the ancient imperial Rome, should also be equally elevated in ecclesiastical respects, and be the second after he(deutevran met j ejkeivnhn.¼."

"And [we decree] that of the dioceses of Pontus, Asia [Asia proconsularis], and Thrace, only the metropolitans, but in such districts of those dioceses as are occupied by barbarians, also the [ordinary] bishops, be ordained by the most holy throne of the most holy church at Constantinople; while of course every metropolitan in those dioceses ordains the new bishops of a province in concurrence with the existing bishops of that province, as is directed in the divine (qeivoi") canons. But the metropolitans of those dioceses, as already said, shall be ordained by the archbishop (ajrciepiskovpou) of Constantinople, after they shall have been unanimously elected in the usual way, and he [the archbishop of Constantinople] shall have been informed of it."

We have divided this celebrated Chalcedonian canon into two parts, though in the Greek text the parts are (by Kai; w{ste) closely connected. The first part assigns to the bishop of Constantinople the second rank among the patriarchs, and is simply a repetition and confirmation of the third canon of the council of Constantinople; the second part goes farther, and sanctions the supremacy, already actually exercised by Chrysostom and his successors, of the patriarch of Constantinople, not only over the diocese of Thrace, but also over the dioceses of Asia Minor and Pontus, and gives him the exclusive right to ordain both the metropolitans of these three dioceses, and all the bishops of the barbarians512 within those bounds. This gave him a larger district than any other patriarch of the East. Subsequently an edict of the emperor Justinian, in 530, added to him the special prerogative of receiving appeals from the other patriarchs, and thus of governing the whole Orient.

The council of Chalcedon in this decree only followed consistently the oriental principle of politico-ecclesiastical division. Its intention was to make the new political capital also the ecclesiastical capital of the East, to advance its bishop over the bishops of Alexandria and Antioch, and to make him as nearly as possible equal to the bishop of Rome. Thus was imposed a wholesome check on the ambition of the Alexandrian patriarch, who in various ways, as the affair of Theophilus and Dioscurus shows, had abused his power to the prejudice of the church.

But thus, at the same time, was roused the jealousy of the bishop of Rome, to whom a rival in Constantinople, with equal prerogatives, was far more dangerous than a rival in Alexandria or Antioch. Especially offensive must it have been to him, that the council of Chalcedon said not a word of the primacy of Peter, and based the power of the Roman bishop, like that of the Constantinopolitan, on political grounds; which was indeed not erroneous, yet only half of the truth, and in that respect unfair.

Just here, therefore, is the point, where the Eastern church entered into a conflict with the Western, which continues to this day. The papal delegates protested against the twenty-eighth canon of the Chalcedonian council, on the spot, in the sixteenth and last session of the council; but in vain, though their protest was admitted to record. They appealed to the sixth canon of the Nicene council, according to the enlarged Latin version, which, in the later addition, "Ecclesia Romana semper habuit primatum," seems to assign the Roman bishop a position above all the patriarchs, and drops Constantinople from notice; whereupon the canon was read to them in its original form from the Greek Acts, without that addition, together with the first three canons of the second ecumenical council with their express acknowledgment of the patriarch of Constantinople in the second rank.513 After the debate on this point, the imperial commissioners thus summed up the result: "From the whole discussion, and from what has been brought forward on either side, we acknowledge that the primacy over all (pro; pavntwn ta; prwtei'a) and the most eminent rank (kai; th;n ejxeivreton timhvn) are to continue with the archbishop of old Rome; but that also the archbishop of New Rome should enjoy the same precedence of honor (ta; presbei'a th'" timh'"), and have the right to ordain the metropolitans in the dioceses of Asia, Pontus, and Thrace," &c. Now they called upon the council to declare whether this was its opinion; whereupon the bishops gave their full, emphatic consent, and begged to be dismissed. The commissioners then closed the transactions with the words: "What we a little while ago proposed, the whole council hath ratified;" that is, the prerogative granted to the church of Constantinople is confirmed by the council in spite of the protest of the legates of Rome.514

After the council, the Roman bishop, Leo, himself protested in three letters of the 22d May, 452; the first of which was addressed to the emperor Marcian, the second to the empress Pulcheria, the third to Anatolius, patriarch of Constantinople.515 He expressed his satisfaction with the doctrinal results of the council, but declared the elevation of the bishop of Constantinople to the patriarchal dignity to be a work of pride and ambition—the humble, modest pope!—to be an attack upon the rights of other Eastern metropolitans—the invader of the same rights in Gaul!—especially upon the rights of the Roman see guaranteed by the council of Nice—on the authority of a Roman interpolation—and to be destructive of the peace of the church—which the popes have always sacredly kept! He would hear nothing of political considerations as the source of the authority of his chair, but pointed rather to Divine institution and the primacy of Peter. Leo speaks here with great reverence of the first ecumenical council, under the false impression that that council in its sixth canon acknowledged the primacy of Rome; but with singular indifference of the second ecumenical council, on account of its third canon, which was confirmed at Chalcedon. He charges Anatolius with using for his own ambition a council, which had been called simply for the extermination of heresy and the establishment of the faith. But the canons of the Nicene council, inspired by the Holy Ghost, could be superseded by no synod, however great; and all that came in conflict with them was void. He exhorted Anatolius to give up his ambition, and reminded him of the words: Tene quod habes, ne alius accipiat coronam tuam.516

But this protest could not change the decree of the council nor the position of the Greek church in the matter, although, under the influence of the emperor, Anatolius wrote an humble letter to Leo. The bishops of Constantinople asserted their rank, and were sustained by the Byzantine emperors. The twenty-eighth canon of the Chalcedonian council was expressly confirmed by Justinian I., in the 131st Novelle (c. 1), and solemnly renewed by the Trullan council (can. 36), but was omitted in the Latin collections of canons by Prisca, Dionysius, Exiguus, and Isidore. The loud contradiction of Rome gradually died away; yet she has never formally acknowledged this canon, except during the Latin empire and the Latin patriarchate at Constantinople, when the fourth Lateran council, under Innocent III., in 1215, conceded that the patriarch of Constantinople should hold the next rank after the patriarch of Rome, before those of Alexandria and Antioch.517

Finally, the bishop of Jerusalem, after long contests with the metropolitan of Caesarea and the patriarch of Antioch, succeeded in advancing himself to the patriarchal dignity; but his distinction remained chiefly a matter of honor, far below the other patriarchates in extent of real power. Had not the ancient Jerusalem, in the year 70, been left with only a part of the city wall and three gates to mark it, it would doubtless, being the seat of the oldest Christian congregation, have held, as in the time of James, a central position in the hierarchy. Yet as it was, a reflection of the original dignity of the mother city fell upon the new settlement of Aelia Capitolina, which, after Adrian, rose upon the venerable ruins. The pilgrimage of the empress Helena, and the magnificent church edifices of her son on the holy places, gave Jerusalem a new importance as the centre of devout pilgrimage from all quarters of Christendom. Its bishop was subordinate, indeed, to the metropolitan of Caesarea, but presided with him (probably secundo loco) at the Palestinian councils.518 The council of Nice gave him an honorary precedence among the bishops, though without affecting his dependence on the metropolitan of Caesarea. At least this seems to be the meaning of the short and some. what obscure seventh canon: "Since it is custom and old tradition, that the bishop of Aelia (Jerusalem) should be honored, he shall also enjoy the succession of honor,519 while the metropolis (Caesarea) preserves the dignity allotted to her." The legal relation of the two remained for a long time uncertain, till the fourth ecumenical council, at its seventh session, confirmed the bishop of Jerusalem in his patriarchal rank, and assigned to him the three provinces of Palestine as a diocese, without opposition.

§ 57. The Rival Patriarchs of Old and New Rome.

Thus at the close of the fourth century we see the Catholic church of the Graeco-Roman empire under the oligarchy of five coordinate and independent patriarchs, four in the East and one in the West. But the analogy of the political constitution, and the tendency toward a visible, tangible representation of the unity of the church, which had lain at the bottom of the development of the hierarchy from the very beginnings of the episcopate, pressed beyond oligarchy to monarchy; especially in the West. Now that the empire was geographically and politically severed into East and West, which, after the death of Theodosius, in 395, had their several emperors, and were never permanently reunited, we can but expect in like manner a double head in the hierarchy. This we find in the two patriarchs of old Rome and New Rome; the one representing the Western or Latin church, the other the Eastern or Greek. Their power and their relation to each other we must now more carefully observe.

The organization of the church in the East being so largely influenced by the political constitution, the bishop of the imperial capital could not fail to become the most powerful of the four oriental patriarchs. By the second and fourth ecumenical councils, as we have already seen, his actual preëminence was ratified by ecclesiastical sanction, and he was designated to the foremost dignity.520 From Justinian I. he further received supreme appellate jurisdiction, and the honorary title of ecumenical patriarch, which he still continues to bear.521 He ordained the other patriarchs, not seldom decided their deposition or institution by his influence, and used every occasion to interfere in their affairs, and assert his supreme authority, though the popes and their delegates at the imperial court incessantly protested. The patriarchates of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria were distracted and weakened in the course of the fifth and sixth centuries by the tedious monophysite controversies, and subsequently, after the year 622, were reduced to but a shadow by the Mohammedan conquests. The patriarchate of Constantinople, on the contrary, made important advances southwest and north; till, in its flourishing period, between the eighth and tenth centuries, it embraced, besides its original diocese, Calabria, Sicily, and all the provinces of Illyricum, the Bulgarians, and Russia. Though often visited with destructive earthquakes and conflagrations, and besieged by Persians, Arabians, Hungarians, Russians, Latins, and Turks, Constantinople maintained itself to the middle of the fifteenth century as the seat of the Byzantine empire and centre of the Greek church. The patriarch of Constantinople, however, remained virtually only primus inter pares, and has never exercised a papal supremacy over his colleagues in the East, like that of the pope over the metropolitans of the West; still less has he arrogated, like his rival in ancient Rome, the sole dominion of the entire church. Toward the bishop of Rome he claimed only equality of rights and coordinate dignity.

In this long contest between the two leading patriarchs of Christendom, the patriarch of Rome at last carried the day. The monarchical tendency of the hierarchy was much stronger in the West than in the East, and was urging a universal monarchy in the church.

The patriarch of Constantinople enjoyed indeed the favor of the emperor, and all the benefit of the imperial residence. New Rome was most beautifully and most advantageously situated for a metropolis of government, of commerce, and of culture, on the bridge between two continents; and it formed a powerful bulwark against the barbarian conquests. It was never desecrated by an idol temple, but was founded a Christian city. It fostered the sciences and arts, at a time when the West was whelmed by the wild waves of barbarism; it preserved the knowledge of the Greek language and literature through the middle ages; and after the invasion of the Turks it kindled by its fugitive scholars the enthusiasm of classic studies in the Latin church, till Greece rose from the dead with the New Testament in her hand, and held the torch for the Reformation.

But the Roman patriarch had yet greater advantages. In him were united, as even the Greek historian Theodoret concedes,522 all the outward and the inward, the political and the spiritual conditions of the highest eminence.

In the first place, his authority rested on an ecclesiastical and spiritual basis, reaching back, as public opinion granted, through an unbroken succession, to Peter the apostle; while Constantinople was in no sense an apostolica sedes, but had a purely political origin, though, by transfer, and in a measure by usurpation, it had possessed itself of the metropolitan rights of Ephesus523 Hence the popes after Leo appealed almost exclusively to the divine origin of their dignity, and to the primacy of the prince of the apostles over the whole church.

Then, too, considered even in a political point of view, old Rome had a far longer and grander imperial tradition to show, and was identified in memory with the bloom of the empire; while New Rome marked the beginning of its decline. When the Western empire fell into the hands of the barbarians, the Roman bishop was the only surviving heir of this imperial past, or, in the well-known dictum of Hobbes, "the ghost of the deceased Roman empire, sitting crowned upon the grave thereof."

Again, the very remoteness of Rome from the imperial court was favorable to the development of a hierarchy independent of all political influence and intrigue; while the bishop of Constantinople had to purchase the political advantages of the residence at the cost of ecclesiastical freedom. The tradition of the donatio Constantini, though a fabrication of the eighth century, has thus much truth: that the transfer of the imperial residence to the East broke the way for the temporal power and the political independence of the papacy.

Further, amidst the great trinitarian and christological controversies of the Nicene and post-Nicene age, the popes maintained the powerful prestige of almost undeviating ecumenical orthodoxy and doctrinal stability;524 while the see of Constantinople, with its Grecian spirit of theological restlessness and disputation, was sullied with the Arian, the Nestorian, the Monophysite, and other heresies, and was in general, even in matters of faith, dependent on the changing humors of the court. Hence even contending parties in the East were accustomed to seek counsel and protection from the Roman chair, and oftentimes gave that see the coveted opportunity to put the weight of its decision into the scale. This occasional practice then formed a welcome basis for a theory of jurisdiction. The Roma locuta est assumed the character of a supreme and final judgment. Rome learned much and forgot nothing. She knew how to turn every circumstances with consummate administrative tact, to her own advantage.

Finally, though the Greek church, down to the fourth ecumenical council, was unquestionably the main theatre of church history and the chief seat of theological learning, yet, according to the universal law of history, "Westward the star of empire takes its way," the Latin church, and consequently the Roman patriarchate, already had the future to itself. While the Eastern patriarchates were facilitating by internal quarrels and disorder the conquests of the false prophet, Rome was boldly and victoriously striking westward, and winning the barbarian tribes of Europe to the religion of the cross.

§ 58. The Latin Patriarch.

These advantages of the patriarch of Rome over the patriarch of Constantinople are at the same time the leading causes of the rise of the papacy, which we must now more closely pursue.

The papacy is undeniably the result of a long process of history. Centuries were employed in building it, and centuries have already been engaged upon its partial destruction. Lust of honor and of power, and even open fraud,525 have contributed to its development; for human nature lies hidden under episcopal robes, with its steadfast inclination to abuse the power intrusted to it; and the greater the power, the stronger is the temptation, and the worse the abuse. But behind and above these human impulses lay the needs of the church and the plans of Providence, and these are the proper basis for explaining the rise, as well as the subsequent decay, of the papal dominion over the countries and nations of Europe.

That Providence which moves the helm of the history of world and church according to an eternal plan, not only prepares in silence and in a secrecy unknown even to themselves the suitable persons for a given work, but also lays in the depths of the past the foundations of mighty institutions, that they may appear thoroughly furnished as soon as the time may demand them. Thus the origin and gradual growth of the Latin patriarchate at Rome looked forward to the middle age, and formed part of the necessary, external outfit of the church for her disciplinary mission among the heathen barbarians. The vigorous hordes who destroyed the West-Roman empire were to be themselves built upon the ruins of the old civilization, and trained by an awe-inspiring ecclesiastical authority and a firm hierarchical organization, to Christianity and freedom, till, having come of age, they should need the legal schoolmaster no longer, and should cast away his cords from them. The Catholic hierarchy, with its pyramid-like culmination in the papacy, served among the Romanic and Germanic peoples. until the time of the Reformation, a purpose similar to that of the Jewish theocracy and the old Roman empire respectively in the inward and outward preparation for Christianity. The full exhibition of this pedagogic purpose belongs to the history of the middle age; but the foundation for it we find already being laid in the period before us.

The Roman bishop claims, that the four dignities of bishop, metropolitan, patriarch, and pope or primate of the whole church, are united in himself. The first three offices must be granted him in all historical justice; the last is denied him by the Greek church, and by the Evangelical, and by all non-Catholic sects.

His bishopric is the city of Rome, with its cathedral church of St. John Lateran, which bears over its main entrance the inscription: Omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput; thus remarkably outranking even the church of St. Peter—as if Peter after all were not the first and highest apostle, and had to yield at last to the superiority of John, the representative of the ideal church of the future. Tradition says that the emperor Constantine erected this basilica by the side of the old Lateran palace, which had come down from heathen times, and gave the palace to Pope Sylvester; and it remained the residence of the popes and the place of assembly for their councils (the Lateran councils) till after the exile of Avignon, when they took up their abode in the Vatican beside the ancient church of St. Peter.

As metropolitan or archbishop, the bishop of Rome had immediate jurisdiction over the seven suffragan bishops, afterward called cardinal bishops, of the vicinity: Ostia, Portus, Silva candida, Sabina, Praeneste, Tusculum, and Albanum.

As patriarch, he rightfully stood on equal footing with the four patriarchs of the East, but had a much larger district and the primacy of honor. The name is here of no account, since the fact stands fast. The Roman bishops called themselves not patriarchs, but popes, that they might rise the sooner above their colleagues; for the one name denotes oligarchical power, the other, monarchical. But in the Eastern church and among modern Catholic historians the designation is also quite currently applied to Rome.

The Roman patriarchal circuit primarily embraced the ten suburban provinces, as they were called, which were under the political jurisdiction of the Roman deputy, the Vicarius Urbis; including the greater part of Central Italy, all Upper Italy, and the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica.526 In its wider sense, however, it extended gradually over the entire west of the Roman empire, thus covering Italy, Gaul, Spain, Illyria, southeastern Britannia, and northwestern Africa.527

The bishop of Rome was from the beginning the only Latin patriarch, in the official sense of the word. He stood thus alone, in the first place, for the ecclesiastical reason, that Rome was the only sedes apostolica in the West, while in the Greek church three patriarchates and several other episcopal sees, such as Ephesus, Thessalonica, and Corinth, shared the honor of apostolic foundation. Then again, he stood politically alone, since Rome was the sole metropolis of the West, while in the East there were three capitals of the empire, Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch. Hence Augustine, writing from the religious point of view, once calls Pope Innocent I. the "ruler of the Western church;"528 and the emperor Justinian, on the ground of political distribution, in his 109th Novelle, where he speaks of the ecclesiastical division of the whole world, mentions only five known patriarchates, and therefore only one patriarchate of the West. The decrees of the ecumenical councils, also, know no other Western patriarchate than the Roman, and this was the sole medium through which the Eastern church corresponded with the Western. In the great theological controversies of the fourth and fifth centuries the Roman bishop appears uniformly as the representative and the organ of all Latin Christendom.

It was, moreover, the highest interest of all orthodox churches in the West, amidst the political confusion and in conflict with the Arian Goths, Vandals, and Suevi, to bind themselves closely to a common centre, and to secure the powerful protection of a central authority. This centre they could not but find in the primitive apostolic church of the metropolis of the world. The Roman bishops were consulted in almost all important questions of doctrine or of discipline. After the end of the fourth century they issued to the Western bishops in reply, pastoral epistles and decretal letters,529 in which they decided the question at first in the tone of paternal counsel, then in the tone of apostolic authority, making that which had hitherto been left to free opinion, a fixed statute. The first extant decretal is the Epistola of Pope Siricius to the Spanish bishop Himerius, a.d. 385, which contains, characteristically, a legal enforcement of priestly celibacy, thus of an evidently unapostolic institution; but in this Siricius appeals to "generalia decreta," which his predecessor Liberius had already issued. In like manner the Roman bishops repeatedly caused the assembling of general or patriarchal councils of the West (synodos occidentales), like the synod of Axles in 314. After the sixth and seventh centuries they also conferred the pallium on the archbishops of Salona, Ravenna, Messina, Syracuse, Palermo, Arles, Autun, Sevilla, Nicopolis (in Epirus), Canterbury, and other metropolitans, in token of their superior jurisdiction.530

§ 59. Conflicts and Conquests of the Latin Patriarchate.

But this patriarchal power was not from the beginning and to a uniform extent acknowledged in the entire West. Not until the latter part of the sixth century did it reach the height we have above described.531 It was not a divine institution, unchangeably fixed from the beginning for all times, like a Biblical article of faith; but the result of a long process of history, a human ecclesiastical institution under providential direction. In proof of which we have the following incontestable facts:

In the first place, even in Italy, several metropolitans maintained, down to the close of our period, their own supreme headship, independent of Roman and all other jurisdiction.532 The archbishops of Milan, who traced their church to the apostle Barnabas, came into no contact with the pope till the latter part of the sixth century, and were ordained without him or his pallium. Gregory I., in 593, during the ravages of the Longobards, was the first who endeavored to exercise patriarchal rights there: he reinstated an excommunicated presbyter, who had appealed to him.533 The metropolitans of Aquileia, who derived their church from the evangelist Mark, and whose city was elevated by Constantine the Great to be the capital of Venetia and Istria, vied with Milan, and even with Rome, calling themselves "patriarchs," and refusing submission to the papal jurisdiction even under Gregory the Great.534 The bishop of Ravenna likewise, after 408, when the emperor Honorius selected that city for his residence, became a powerful metropolitan, with jurisdiction over fourteen bishoprics. Nevertheless he received the pallium from Gregory the Great, and examples occur of ordination by the Roman bishop.535

The North African bishops and councils in the beginning of the fifth century, with all traditional reverence for the apostolic see, repeatedly protested, in the spirit of Cyprian, against encroachments of Rome, and even prohibited all appeal in church controversies from their own to a transmarine or foreign tribunal, upon pain of excommunication.536 The occasion of this was an appeal to Rome by the presbyter Apiarius, who had been deposed for sundry offences by Bishop Urbanus, of Sicca, a disciple and friend of Augustine, and whose restoration was twice attempted, by Pope Zosimus in 418, and by Pope Coelestine in 424. From this we see that the popes gladly undertook to interfere for a palpably unworthy priest, and thus sacrificed the interests of local discipline, only to make their own superior authority felt. The Africans referred to the genuine Nicene canon (for which Zosimus had substituted the Sardican appendix respecting the appellate jurisdiction of Rome, of which the Nicene council knew nothing), and reminded the pope, that the gift of the Holy Ghost, needful for passing a just judgment, was not lacking to any province, and that he could as well inspire a whole province as a single bishop. The last document in the case of this appeal of Apiarius is a letter of the (twentieth) council of Carthage, in 424, to Pope Coelestine I., to the following purport:537 "Apiarius asked a new trial, and gross misdeeds of his were thereby brought to light. The papal legate, Faustinus, has, in the face of this, in a very harsh manner demanded the reception of this man into the fellowship of the Africans, because he has appealed to the pope and been received into fellowship by him. But this very thing ought not to have been done. At last has Apiarius himself acknowledged all his crimes. The pope may hereafter no longer so readily give audience to those who come from Africa to Rome, like Apiarius, nor receive the excommunicated into church communion, be they bishops or priests, as the council of Nice (can. 5) has ordained, in whose direction bishops are included. The assumption of appeal to Rome is a trespass on the rights of the African church, and what has been [by Zosimus and his legates] brought forward as a Nicene ordinance for it, is not Nicene, and is not to be found in the genuine copies of the Nicene Acts, which have been received from Constantinople and Alexandria. Let the pope, therefore, in future send no more judges to Africa, and since Apiarius has now been excluded for his offences, the pope will surely not expect the African church to submit longer to the annoyances of the legate Faustinus. May God the Lord long preserve the pope, and may the pope pray for the Africans." In the Pelagian controversy the weak Zosimus, who, in opposition to the judgment of his predecessor Innocent, had at first expressed himself favorably to the heretics, was even compelled by the Africans to yield. The North African church maintained this position under the lead of the greatest of the Latin fathers, St. Augustine, who in other respects contributed more than any other theologian or bishop to the erection of the Catholic system. She first made submission to the Roman jurisdiction, in the sense of her weakness, under the shocks of the Vandals. Leo (440–461) was the first pope who could boast of having extended the diocese of Rome beyond Europe into another quarter of the globe.538 He and Gregory the Great wrote to the African bishops entirely in the tone of paternal authority without provoking reply.

In Spain the popes found from the first a more favorable field. The orthodox bishops there were so pressed in the fifth century by the Arian Vandals, Suevi, Alani, and soon after by the Goths, that they sought counsel and protection with the bishop of Rome, which, for his own sake, he was always glad to give. So early as 385, Siricius, as we have before observed, issued a decretal letter to a Spanish bishop. The epistles of Leo to Bishop Turibius of Asturica, and the bishops of Gaul and Spain,539 are instances of the same authoritative style. Simplicius (467–483) appointed the bishop Zeno of Sevilla papal vicar,540 and Gregory the Great, with a paternal letter, conferred the pallium on Leander, bishop of Sevilla.541

In Gaul, Leo succeeded in asserting the Roman jurisdiction, though not without opposition, in the affair of the archbishop Hilary of Arles, or Arelate. The affair has been differently represented from the Gallican and the ultramontane points of view.542 Hilary (born 403, died 449), first a rigid monk, then, against his will, elevated to the bishopric, an eloquent preacher, an energetic prelate, and the first champion of the freedom of the Gallican church against the pretensions of Rome, but himself not free from hierarchical ambition, deposed Celidonius, the bishop of Besançon, at a council in that city (synodus Vesontionensis), because he had married a widow before his ordination, and had presided as judge at a criminal trial and pronounced sentence of death; which things, according to the ecclesiastical law, incapacitated him for the episcopal office. This was unquestionably an encroachment on the province of Vienne, to which Besaçon belonged. Pope Zosimus had, indeed, in 417, twenty-eight years before, appointed the bishop of Arles, which was a capital of seven provinces, to be papal vicar in Gaul, and had granted him metropolitan rights in the provinces Viennensis, and Narbonensis prima and secunda, though with the reservation of causae majores.543 The metropolitans of Vienne, Narbonne, and Marseilles, however, did not accept this arrangement, and the succeeding popes found it best to recognize again the old metropolitans.544 Celidonius appealed to Leo against that act of Hilary. Leo, in 445, assembled a Roman council (concilium sacerdotum), and reinstated him, as the accusation of Hilary, who himself journeyed on foot in the winter to Rome, and protested most vehemently against the appeal, could not be proven to the satisfaction of the pope. In fact, he directly or indirectly caused Hilary to be imprisoned, and, when he escaped and fled back to Gaul, cut him off from the communion of the Roman church, and deprived him of all prerogatives in the diocese of Vienne, which had been only temporarily conferred on the bishop of Arles, and were by a better judgment (sententia meliore) taken away. He accused him of assaults on the rights of other Gallican metropolitans, and above all of insubordination toward the principality of the most blessed Peter; and he goes so far as to say: "Whoso disputes the primacy of the apostle Peter, can in no way lessen the apostle's dignity, but, puffed up by the spirit of his own pride, he destroys himself in hell."545 Only out of special grace did he leave Hilary in his bishopric. Not satisfied with this, he applied to the secular arm for help, and procured from the weak Western emperor, Valentinian III., an edict to Aetius, the magister militum of Gaul, in which it is asserted, almost in the words of Leo, that the whole world (universitas; in Greek, oijkoumevnh) acknowledges the Roman see as director and governor; that neither Hilary nor any bishop might oppose its commands; that neither Gallican nor other bishops should, contrary to the ancient custom, do anything without the authority of the venerable pope of the eternal city; and that all decrees of the pope have the force of law.

The letter of Leo to the Gallican churches, and the edict of the emperor, give us the first example of a defensive and offensive alliance of the central spiritual and temporal powers in the pursuit of an unlimited sovereignty. The edict, however, could of course have power, at most, only in the West, to which the authority of Valentinian was limited. In fact, even Hilary and his successors maintained, in spite of Leo, the prerogatives they had formerly received from Pope Zosimus, and were confirmed in them by later popes.546 Beyond this the issue of the contest is unknown. Hilary of Arles died in 449, universally esteemed and loved, without, so far as we know, having become formally reconciled with Rome;547 though, notwithstanding this, he figures in a remarkable manner in the Roman calendar, by the side of his papal antagonist Leo, as a canonical saint. Undoubtedly Leo proceeded in this controversy far too rigorously and intemperately against Hilary; yet it was important that he should hold fast the right of appeal as a guarantee of the freedom of bishops against the encroachments of metropolitans. The papal despotism often proved itself a wholesome check upon the despotism of subordinate prelates.

With Northern Gaul the Roman bishops came into less frequent contact; yet in this region also there occur, in the fourth and fifth centuries, examples of the successful assertion of their jurisdiction.

The early British church held from the first a very isolated position, and was driven back, by the invasion of the pagan Anglo-Saxons, about the middle of the fifth century, into the mountains of Wales, Cornwallis, Cumberland, and the still more secluded islands. Not till the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons under Gregory the Great did a regular connection begin between England and Rome.

Finally, the Roman bishops succeeded also in extending their patriarchal power eastward, over the praefecture of East Illyria. Illyria belonged originally to the Western empire, remained true to the Nicene faith through the Arian controversies, and for the vindication of that faith attached itself closely to Rome. When Gratian, in 379, incorporated Illyricum Orientale with the Eastern empire, its bishops nevertheless refused to give up their former ecclesiastical connection. Damasus conferred on the metropolitan Acholius, of Thessalonica, as papal vicar, patriarchal rights in the new praefecture. The patriarch of Constantinople endeavored, indeed, repeatedly, to bring this ground into his diocese, but in vain. Justinian, in 535, formed of it a new diocese, with an independent patriarch at Prima Justiniana (or Achrida, his native city); but this arbitrary innovation had no vitality, and Gregory I. recovered active intercourse with the Illyrian bishops. Not until the eighth century, under the emperor Leo the Isaurian, was East Illyria finally severed from the Roman diocese and incorporated with the patriarchate of Constantinople.548

§ 60. The Papacy.

Literature, as in § 55, and vol. i. § 110.

At last the Roman bishop, on the ground of his divine institution, and as successor of Peter, the prince of the apostles, advanced his claim to be primate of the entire church, and visible representative of Christ, who is the invisible supreme head of the Christian world. This is the strict and exclusive sense of the title, Pope.549

Properly speaking, this claim has never been fully realized, and remains to this day an apple of discord in the history of the church. Greek Christendom has never acknowledged it, and Latin, only under manifold protests, which at last conquered in the Reformation, and deprived the papacy forever of the best part of its domain. The fundamental fallacy of the Roman system is, that it identifies papacy and church, and therefore, to be consistent, must unchurch not only Protestantism, but also the entire Oriental church from its origin down. By the "una sancta catholica apostolica ecclesia" of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed is to be understood the whole body of Catholic Christians, of which the ecclesia Romana, like the churches of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Constantinople, is only one of the most prominent branches. The idea of the papacy, and its claims to the universal dominion of the church, were distinctly put forward, it is true, so early as the period before us, but could not make themselves good beyond the limits of the West. Consequently the papacy, as a historical fact, or so far as it has been acknowledged, is properly nothing more than the Latin patriarchate run to absolute monarchy.

By its advocates the papacy is based not merely upon church usage, like the metropolitan and patriarchal power, but upon divine right; upon the peculiar position which Christ assigned to Peter in the well-known words: "Thou art Peter, and on this rock will I build my church."550 This passage was at all times taken as an immovable exegetical rock for the papacy. The popes themselves appealed to it, times without number, as the great proof of the divine institution of a visible and infallible central authority in the church. According to this view, the primacy is before the apostolate, the head before the body, instead of the reverse.

But, in the first place, this preëminence of Peter did not in the least affect the independence of the other apostles. Paul especially, according to the clear testimony of his epistles and the book of Acts, stood entirely upon his own authority, and even on one occasion, at Antioch, took strong ground against Peter. Then again, the personal position of Peter by no means yields the primacy to the Roman bishop, without the twofold evidence, first that Peter was actually in Rome, and then that he transferred his prerogatives to the bishop of that city. The former fact rests upon a universal tradition of the early church, which at that time no one doubted, but is in part weakened and neutralized by the absence of any clear Scripture evidence, and by the much more certain fact, given in the New Testament itself, that Paul labored in Rome, and that in no position of inferiority or subordination to any higher authority than that of Christ himself. The second assumption, of the transfer of the primacy to the Roman bishops, is susceptible of neither historical nor exegetical demonstration, and is merely an inference from the principle that the successor in office inherits all the official prerogatives of his predecessor. But even granting both these intermediate links in the chain of the papal theory, the double question yet remains open: first, whether the Roman bishop be the only successor of Peter, or share this honor with the bishops of Jerusalem and Antioch, in which places also Peter confessedly resided; and secondly, whether the primacy involve at the same time a supremacy of jurisdiction over the whole church, or be only an honorary primacy among patriarchs of equal authority and rank. The former was the Roman view; the latter was the Greek.

An African bishop, Cyprian († 258), was the first to give to that passage of the 16th of Matthew, innocently as it were, and with no suspicion of the future use and abuse of his view, a papistic interpretation, and to bring out clearly the idea of a perpetual cathedra Petri. The same Cyprian, however, whether consistently or not, was at the same time equally animated with the consciousness of episcopal equality and independence, afterward actually came out in bold opposition to Pope Stephen in a doctrinal controversy on the validity of heretical baptism, and persisted in this protest to his death.551

§ 61. Opinions of the Fathers.

A complete collection of the patristic utterances on the primacy of Peter and his successors, though from the Roman point of view, may be found in the work of Rev. Jos. Berington and Rev. John Kirk: "The Faith of Catholics confirmed by Scripture and attested by the Fathers of the first five centuries of the Church," 3d ed., London, 1846, vol. ii. p. 1–112. Comp. the works quoted sub § 55, and a curious article of Prof. Ferd. Piper, on Rome, the eternal city, in the Evang. Jahrbuch for 1864, p. 17–120, where the opinions of the fathers on the claims of the urbs aeterna and its many fortunes are brought out.

We now pursue the development of this idea in the church fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries. In general they agree in attaching to Peter a certain primacy over the other apostles, and in considering him the foundation of the church in virtue of his confession of the divinity of Christ; while they hold Christ to be, in the highest sense, the divine ground and rock of the church. And herein lies a solution of their apparent self-contradiction in referring the petra in Matt. xvi. 18, now to the person of Peter, now to his confession, now to Christ. Then, as the bishops in general were regarded as successors of the apostles, the fathers saw in the Roman bishops, on the ground of the ancient tradition of the martyrdom of Peter in Rome, the successor of Peter and the heir of the primacy. But respecting the nature and prerogatives of this primacy their views were very indefinite and various. It is remarkable that the reference of the rock to Christ, which Augustine especially defended with great earnestness, was acknowledged even by the greatest pope of the middle ages, Gregory VII., in the famous inscription he sent with a crown to the emperor Rudolph: "Petra [i.e., Christ] dedit Petro [i.e., to the apostle], Petrus [the pope] diadema Rudolpho."552 It is worthy of notice, that the post-Nicene, as well as the ante-Nicene fathers, with all their reverence for the Roman see, regarded the heathenish title of Rome, urbs aeterna, as blasphemous, with reference to the passage of the woman sitting upon a scarlet-colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, Rev. xvii. 3.553 The prevailing opinion seems to have been, that Rome and the Roman empire would fall before the advent of Antichrist and the second coming of the Lord.554

1. The views of the Latin fathers.

The Cyprianic idea was developed primarily in North Africa, where it was first clearly pronounced.

Optatus, bishop of Milevi, the otherwise unknown author of an anti-Donatist work about a.d. 384, is, like Cyprian, thoroughly possessed with the idea of the visible unity of the church; declares it without qualification the highest good, and sees its plastic expression and its surest safeguard in the immovable cathedra Petri, the prince of the apostles, the keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, who, in spite of his denial of Christ, continued in that relation to the other apostles, that the unity of the church might appear in outward fact as an unchangeable thing, invulnerable to human offence. All these prerogatives have passed to the bishops of Rome, as the successors of this apostle.555

Ambrose of Milan († 397) speaks indeed in very high terms of the Roman church, and concedes to its bishops a religious magistracy like the political power of the emperors of pagan Rome;556 yet he calls the primacy of Peter only a "primacy of confession, not of honor; of faith, not of rank,"557 and places the apostle Paul on an equality with Peter.558 Of any dependence of Ambrose, or of the bishops of Milan in general during the first six centuries, on the jurisdiction of Rome, no trace is to be found.

Jerome († 419), the most learned commentator among the Latin fathers, vacillates in his explanation of the petra; now, like Augustine, referring it to Christ,559 now to Peter and his confession.560 In his commentary on Matt. xvi., he combines the two interpretations thus: "As Christ gave light to the apostles, so that they were called, after him, the light of the world, and as they received other designations from the Lord; so Simon, because he believed on the rock, Christ, received the name Peter, and in accordance with the figure of the rock, it is justly said to him: 'I will build my church upon thee (super te),' " He recognizes in the Roman bishop the successor of Peter, but advocates elsewhere the equal rights of the bishops,561 and in fact derives even the episcopal office, not from direct divine institution, but from the usage of the church and from the presidency in the presbyterium.562 He can therefore be cited as a witness, at most, for a primacy of honor, not for a supremacy of jurisdiction. Beyond this even the strongest passage of his writings, in a letter to his friend, Pope Damasus (a.d. 376), does not go: "Away with the ambition of the Roman head; I speak with the successor of the fisherman and disciple of the cross. Following no other head than Christ, I am joined in the communion of faith with thy holiness, that is, with the chair of Peter. On that rock I know the church to be built."563 Subsequently this father, who himself had an eye on the papal chair, fell out with the Roman clergy, and retired to the ascetic and literary solitude of Bethlehem, where he served the church by his pen far better than he would have done as the successor of Damasus.

Augustine († 430), the greatest theological authority of the Latin church, at first referred the words, "On this rock I will build my church," to the person of Peter, but afterward expressly retracted this interpretation, and considered the petra to be Christ, on the ground of a distinction between petra (ejpi; tauvth/ th'/ pevtra/) and Petrus (su; ei| Pevtro"); a distinction which Jerome also makes, though with the intimation that it is not properly applicable to the Hebrew and Syriac Cephas.564 "I have somewhere said of St. Peter" thus Augustine corrects himself in his Retractations at the close of his life565—"that the church is built upon him as the rock; a thought which is sung by many in the verses of St. Ambrose:

'Hoc ipsa petra ecclesiae

Canente, culpam diluit.'566

(The Rock of the church himself

In the cock-crowing atones his guilt.)

But I know that I have since frequently said, that the word of the Lord, 'Thou art Petrus, and on this petra I will build my church,' must be understood of him, whom Peter confessed as Son of the living God; and Peter, so named after this rock, represents the person of the church, which is founded on this rock and has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven. For it was not said to him: 'Thou art a rock' (petra), but, 'Thou art Peter' (Petrus); and the rock was Christ, through confession of whom Simon received the name of Peter. Yet the reader may decide which of the two interpretations is the more probable." In the same strain he says, in another place: "Peter, in virtue of the primacy of his apostolate, stands, by a figurative generalization, for the church .... When it was said to him, 'I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven,' &c., he represented the whole church, which in this world is assailed by various temptations, as if by floods and storms, yet does not fall, because it is founded upon a rock, from which Peter received his name. For the rock is not so named from Peter, but Peter from the rock (non enim a Petro petra, sed Petrus a petra), even as Christ is not so called after the Christian, but the Christian after Christ. For the reason why the Lord says, 'On this rock I will build my church' is that Peter had said: 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,' On this rock, which then hast confessed, says he will build my church. For Christ was the rock (petra enim erat Christus), upon which also Peter himself was built; for other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Thus the church, which is built upon Christ, has received from him, in the person of Peter, the keys of heaven; that is, the power of binding and loosing sins."567 This Augustinian interpretation of the petra has since been revived by some Protestant theologians in the cause of anti-Romanism.568 Augustine, it is true, unquestionably understood by the church the visible Catholic church, descended from the apostles, especially from Peter, through the succession of bishops; and according to the usage of his time he called the Roman church by eminence the sedes apostolica.569 But on the other hand, like Cyprian and Jerome, he lays stress upon the essential unity of the episcopate, and insists that the keys of the kingdom of heaven were committed not to a single man, but to the whole church, which Peter was only set to represent.570 With this view agrees the independent position of the North African church in the time of Augustine toward Rome, as we have already observed it in the case of the appeal of Apiarius, and as it appears in the Pelagian controversy, of which Augustine was the leader. This father, therefore, can at all events be cited only as a witness to the limited authority of the Roman chair. And it should also, in justice, be observed, that in his numerous writings he very rarely speaks of that authority at all, and then for the most part incidentally; showing that he attached far less importance to this matter than the Roman divines.571

The later Latin fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries prefer the reference of the petra to Peter and his confession, and transfer his prerogatives to the Roman bishops as his successors, but produce no new arguments. Among them we mention Maximus of Turin (about 450), who, however, like Ambrose, places Paul on a level with Peter;572 then Orosius, and several popes; above all Leo, of whom we shall speak more fully in the following section.

2. As to the Greek fathers: Eusebius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Basil, the two Gregories, Ephraim, Syrus, Asterius, Cyril of Alexandria, Chrysostom, and Theodoret refer the petra now to the confession, now to the person, of Peter; sometimes to both. They speak of this apostle uniformly in very lofty terms, at times in rhetorical extravagance, calling him the "coryphaeus of the choir of apostles," the prince of the apostles," the "tongue of the apostles," the "bearer of the keys," the "keeper of the kingdom of heaven," the "pillar," the "rock," the "firm foundation of the church." But, in the first place, they understand by all this simply an honorary primacy of Peter, to whom that power was but first committed, which the Lord afterward conferred on all the apostles alike; and, in the second place, they by no means favor an exclusive transfer of this prerogative to the bishop of Rome, but claim it also for the bishops of Antioch, where Peter, according to Gal. ii., sojourned a long time, and where, according to tradition, he was bishop, and appointed a successor.

So Chrysostom, for instance, calls Ignatius of Antioch a "successor of Peter, on whom, after Peter, the government of the church devolved,"573 and in another place says still more distinctly: "Since I have named Peter, I am reminded of another Peter [Flavian, bishop of Antioch], our common father and teacher, who has inherited as well the virtues as the chair of Peter. Yea, for this is the privilege of this city of ours [Antioch], to have first (ejn ajrch'/) had the coryphaeus of the apostles for its teacher. For it was proper that the city, where the Christian name originated, should receive the first of the apostles for its pastor. But after we had him for our teacher, we, did not retain him, but transferred him to imperial Rome."574

Theodoret also, who, like Chrysostom, proceeded from the Antiochian school, says of the "great city of Antioch," that it has the "throne of Peter."575 In a letter to Pope Leo he speaks, it is true, in very extravagant terms of Peter and his successors at Rome, in whom all the conditions, external and internal, of the highest eminence and control in the church are combined.576 But in the same epistle he remarks, that the "thrice blessed and divine double star of Peter and Paul rose in the East and shed its rays in every direction;" in connection with which it must be remembered that he was at that time seeking protection in Leo against the Eutychian robber-council of Ephesus (449), which had unjustly deposed both himself and Flavian of Constantinople.

His bitter antagonist also, the arrogant and overbearing Cyril of Alexandria, descended some years before, in his battle against Nestorius, to unworthy flattery, and called Pope Coelestine "the archbishop of the whole [Roman] world."577 The same prelates, under other circumstances, repelled with proud indignation the encroachments of Rome on their jurisdiction.

§ 62. The Decrees of Councils on the Papal Authority.

Much more important than the opinions of individual fathers are the formal decrees of the councils.

First mention here belongs to the council of Sardica in Illyria (now Sofia in Bulgaria) in 343,578 during the Arian controversy. This council is the most favorable of all to the Roman claims. In the interest of the deposed Athanasius and of the Nicene orthodoxy it decreed:

(1) That a deposed bishop, who feels he has a good cause, may apply, out of reverence to the memory of the apostle Peter, to the Roman bishop Julius, and shall leave it with him either to ratify the deposition or to summon a new council.

(2) That the vacant bishopric shall not be filled till the decision of Rome be received.

(3) That the Roman bishop, in such a case of appeal, may, according to his best judgment, either institute a new trial by the bishops of a neighboring province, or send delegates to the spot with full power to decide the matter with the bishops.579

Thus was plainly committed to the Roman bishops an appellate and revisory jurisdiction in the case of a condemned or deposed bishop even of the East. But in the first place this authority is not here acknowledged as a right already existing in practice. It is conferred as a new power, and that merely as an honorary right, and as pertaining only to the bishop Julius in person.580 Otherwise, either this bishop would not be expressly named, or his successors would be named with him. Furthermore, the canons limit the appeal to the case of a bishop deposed by his comprovincials, and say nothing of other cases. Finally, the council of Sardica was not a general council, but only a local synod of the West, and could therefore establish no law for the whole church. For the Eastern bishops withdrew at the very beginning, and held an opposition council in the neighboring town of Philippopolis; and the city of Sardica, too, with the praefecture of Illyricum, at that time belonged to the Western empire and the Roman patriarchate: it was not detached from them till 379. The council was intended, indeed, to be ecumenical; but it consisted at first of only a hundred and seventy bishops, and after the recession of the seventy-six Orientals, it had only ninety-four; and even by the two hundred signatures of absent bishops, mostly Egyptian, to whom the acts were sent for their approval, the East, and even the Latin Africa, with its three hundred bishoprics, were very feebly represented. It was not sanctioned by the emperor Constantius, and has by no subsequent authority been declared ecumenical.581 Accordingly its decrees soon fell into oblivion, and in the further course of the Arian controversy, and even throughout the Nestorian, where the bishops of Alexandria, and not those of Rome, were evidently at the head of the orthodox sentiment, they were utterly unnoticed.582 The general councils of 381, 451, and 680 knew nothing of such a supreme appellate tribunal, but unanimously enacted, that all ecclesiastical matters, without exception, should first be decided in the provincial councils, with the right of appeal—not to the bishop of Rome, but to the patriarch of the proper diocese. Rome alone did not forget the Sardican decrees, but built on this single precedent a universal right. Pope Zosimus, in the case of the deposed presbyter Apiarius of Sicca (a.d. 417–418), made the significant mistake of taking the Sardican decrees for Nicene, and thus giving them greater weight than they really possessed; but he was referred by the Africans to the genuine text of the Nicene canon. The later popes, however, transcended the Sardican decrees, withdrawing from the provincial council, according to the pseudo-Isidorian Decretals, the right of deposing a bishop, which had been allowed by Sardica, and vesting it, as a causa major, exclusively in themselves.

Finally, in regard to the four great ecumenical councils, the first of Nice, the first of Constantinople, that of Ephesus, and that of Chalcedon: we have already presented their position on this question in connection with their legislation on the patriarchal system.583 We have seen that they accord to the bishop of Rome a precedence of honor among the five officially coequal patriarchs, and thus acknowledge him primus inter pares, but, by that very concession, disallow his claims to supremacy of jurisdiction, and to monarchical authority over the entire church. The whole patriarchal system, in fact, was not monarchy, but oligarchy. Hence the protest of the Roman delegates and of Pope Leo against the decrees of the council of Chalcedon in 451, which coincided with that of Constantinople in 381. This protest was insufficient to annul the decree, and in the East it made no lasting impression; for the subsequent incidental concessions of Greek patriarchs and emperors, like that of the usurper Phocas in 606, and even of the sixth ecumenical council of Constantinople in 680, to the see of Rome, have no general significance, but are distinctly traceable to special circumstances and prejudices.

It is, therefore, an undeniable historical fact, that the greatest dogmatic and legislative authorities of the ancient church bear as decidedly against the specific papal claims of the Roman bishopric, is in favor of its patriarchal rights and an honorary primacy in the patriarchal oligarchy. The subsequent separation of the Greek church from the Latin proves to this day, that she was never willing to sacrifice her independence to Rome, or to depart from the decrees of her own greatest councils.

Here lies the difference, however, between the Greek and the Protestant opposition to the universal monarchy of the papacy. The Greek church protested against it from the basis of the oligarchical patriarchal hierarchy of the fifth century; in an age, therefore, and upon a principle of church organization, which preceded the grand agency of the papacy in the history of the world. The evangelical church protests against it on the basis of a freer conception of Christianity, seeing in the papacy an institution, which indeed formed the legitimate development of the patriarchal system, and was necessary for the training of the Romanic and Germanic Nations of the middle ages, but which has virtually fulfilled its mission and outlived itself. The Greek church never had a papacy; the evangelical historically implies one. The papacy stands between the age of the patriarchal hierarchy and the age of the Reformation, like the Mosaic theocracy between the patriarchal period and the advent of Christianity. Protestantism rejects at once the papal monarchy and the patriarchal oligarchy, and thus can justify the former as well as the latter for a certain time and a certain stage in the progress of the Christian world.

§ 63. Leo the Great. a.d. 440–461.

I. St. Leo Magnus: Opera omnia (sermones et epistolae), ed. Paschas. Quesnel., Par. 1675, 2 vols. 4to. (Gallican, and defending Hilary against Leo, hence condemned by the Roman Index); and ed. Petr. et Hieron. Ballerini (two very learned brothers and presbyters, who wrote at the request of Pope Benedict XIV.), Venet. 1753–1757, 3 vols. fol. (Vol. i. contains 96 Sermons and 173 Epistles, the two other volumes doubtful writings and learned dissertations.) This edition is reprinted in Migne's Patrologiae Cursus completus, vol. 54–57, Par. 1846.

II. Acta Sanctorum: sub Apr. 11 (Apr. tom. ii. p. 14–30, brief and unsatisfactory). Tillemont: Mem. t. xv. p. 414–832 (very full). Butler: Lives of the Saints, sub Apr. 11. W. A. Arendt (R.C.): Leo der Grosse u. seine Zeit, Mainz, 1835 (apologetic and panegyric). Edw. Perthel: P. Leo's I. Leben u. Lehren, Jena, 1843 (Protestant). Fr. Boehringer: Die Kirche Christi u. ihre Zeugen, Zürich, 1846, vol. i. div. 4, p. 170–309. Ph. Jaffé: Regesta Pontif. Rom., Berol. 1851, p. 34 sqq. Comp. also Greenwood: Cathedra Petri, Lond. 1859, vol. i. bk. ii. chap. iv.-vi. (The Leonine Period); and H. H. Milman: Hist. of Latin Christianity, Lond. and New York, 1860, vol. i. bk. ii. ch. iv.

In most of the earlier bishops of Rome the person is eclipsed by the office. The spirit of the age and public opinion rule the bishops, not the bishops them. In the preceding period, Victor in the controversy on Easter, Callistus in that on the restoration of the lapsed, and Stephen in that on heretical baptism, were the first to come out with hierarchical arrogance; but they were somewhat premature, and found vigorous resistance in Irenaeus, Hippolytus, and Cyprian, though on all three questions the Roman view at last carried the day.

In the period before us, Damasus, who subjected Illyria to the Roman jurisdiction, and established the authority of the Vulgate, and Siricius, who issued the first genuine decretal letter, trod in the steps of those predecessors. Innocent I. (402–417) took a step beyond, and in the Pelagian controversy ventured the bold assertion, that in the whole Christian world nothing should be decided without the cognizance of the Roman see, and that, especially in matters of faith, all bishops must turn to St. Peter.584

But the first pope, in the proper sense of the word, is Leo I., who justly bears the title of "the Great" in the history of the Latin hierarchy. In him the idea of the Papacy, as it were, became flesh and blood. He conceived it in great energy and clearness, and carried it out with the Roman spirit of dominion, so far as the circumstances of the time at all allowed. He marks the same relative epoch in the development of the papacy, as Cyprian in the history of the episcopate. He had even a higher idea of the prerogatives of the see of Rome than Gregory the Great, who, though he reigned a hundred and fifty years later, represents rather the patriarchal idea than the papal. Leo was at the same time the first important theologian in the chair of Rome, surpassing in acuteness and depth of thought all his predecessors, and all his successors down to Gregory I. Benedict XIV. placed him (a.d. 1744) in the small class of doctores ecclesiae, or authoritative teachers of the catholic faith. He battled with the Manichaean, the Priscillianist, the Pelagian, and other heresies, and won an immortal name as the finisher of the orthodox doctrine of the person of Christ.

The time and place of the birth and earlier life of Leo are unknown. His letters, which are the chief source of information, commence not before the year 442. Probably a Roman585—if not one by birth, he was certainly a Roman in the proud dignity of his spirit and bearing, the high order of his legislative and administrative talent, and the strength and energy of his will—he distinguished himself first under Coelestine (423–432) and Sixtus III. (432–440) as archdeacon and legate of the Roman church. After the death of the latter, and while himself absent in Gaul, he was elected pope by the united voice of clergy, senate, and people, and continued in that office one-and-twenty years (440–461). His feelings at the assumption of this high office, he himself thus describes in one of his sermons: "Lord, I have beard your voice calling me, and I was afraid: I considered the work which was enjoined on me, and I trembled. For what proportion is there between the burden assigned to me and my weakness, this elevation and my nothingness? What is more to be feared than exaltation without merit, the exercise of the most holy functions being intrusted to one who is buried in sin? Oh, you have laid upon me this heavy burden, bear it with me, I beseech you be you my guide and my support."

During the time of his pontificate he was almost the only great man in the Roman empire, developed extraordinary activity, and took a leading part in all the affairs of the church. His private life is entirely unknown, and we have no reason to question the purity of his motives or of his morals. His official zeal, and all his time and strength, were devoted to the interests of Christianity. But with him the interests of Christianity were identical with the universal dominion of the Roman church.

He was animated with the unwavering conviction that the Lord himself had committed to him, as the successor of Peter, the care of the whole church.586 He anticipated all the dogmatical arguments by which the power of the papacy was subsequently established. He refers the petra, on which the church is built, to Peter and his confession. Though Christ himself—to sum up his views on the subject—is in the highest sense the rock and foundation, besides which no other can be laid, yet, by transfer of his authority, the Lord made Peter the rock in virtue of his great confession, and built on him the indestructible temple of his church. In Peter the fundamental relation of Christ to his church comes, as it were, to concrete form and reality in history. To him specially and individually the Lord intrusted the keys of the kingdom of heaven; to the other apostles only in their general and corporate capacity. For the faith of Peter the Lord specially prayed in the hour of his passion, as if the standing of the other apostles would be the firmer, if the mind of their leader remained unconquered. On Peter rests the steadfastness of the whole apostolic college in the faith. To him the Lord, after his resurrection, committed the care of his sheep and lambs. Peter is therefore the pastor and prince of the whole church, through whom Christ exercises his universal dominion on earth. This primacy, however, is not limited to the apostolic age, but, like the faith of Peter, and like the church herself, it perpetuates itself; and it perpetuates itself through the bishops of Rome, who are related to Peter as Peter was related to Christ. As Christ in Peter, so Peter in his successors lives and speaks and perpetually executes the commission: "Feed my sheep." It was by special direction of divine providence, that Peter labored and died in Rome, and sleeps with thousands of blessed martyrs in holy ground. The centre of worldly empire alone can be the centre of the kingdom of God. Yet the political position of Rome would be of no importance without the religious considerations. By Peter was Rome, which had been the centre of all error and superstition, transformed into the metropolis of the Christian world, and invested with a spiritual dominion far wider than her former earthly empire. Hence the bishopric of Constantinople, not being a sedes apostolica, but resting its dignity on a political basis alone, can never rival the Roman, whose primacy is rooted both in divine and human right. Antioch also, where Peter only transiently resided, and Alexandria, where he planted the church through his disciple Mark, stand only in a secondary relation to Rome, where his bones repose, and where that was completed, which in the East was only laid out. The Roman bishop is, therefore, the primus omnium episcoporum, and on him devolves the plenitudo potestatis, the solicitudo omnium pastorum, and communis cura universalis ecclesiae.587

Leo thus made out of a primacy of grace and of personal fitness a primacy of right and of succession. Of his person, indeed, he speaks in his sermons with great humility, but only thereby the more to exalt his official character. He tells the Romans, that the true celebration of the anniversary of his accession is, to recognize, honor, and obey, in his lowly person, Peter himself, who still cares for shepherd and flock, and whose dignity is not lacking even to his unworthy heir.588 Here, therefore, we already have that characteristic combination of humility and arrogance, which has stereotyped itself in the expressions: "Servant of the servants of God," "vicar of Christ," and even "God upon earth." In this double consciousness of his personal unworthiness and his official exaltation, Leo annually celebrated the day of his elevation to the chair of Peter. While Peter himself passes over his prerogative in silence, and expressly warns against hierarchical assumption,589 Leo cannot speak frequently and emphatically enough of his authority. While Peter in Antioch meekly submits to the rebuke of the junior apostle Paul,590 Leo pronounces resistance to his authority to be impious pride and the sure way to hell.591 Obedience to the pope is thus necessary to salvation. Whosoever, says he, is not with the apostolic see, that is, with the head of the body, whence all gifts of grace descend throughout the body, is not in the body of the church, and has no part in her grace. This is the fearful but legitimate logic of the papal principle, which confines the kingdom of God to the narrow lines of a particular organization, and makes the universal spiritual reign of Christ dependent on a temporal form and a human organ. But in its very first application this papal ban proved itself a brutum fulmen, when in spite of it the Gallican archbishop Hilary, against whom it was directed, died universally esteemed and loved, and then was canonized. This very impracticability of that principle, which would exclude all Greek and Protestant Christians from the kingdom of heaven, is a refutation of the principle itself.

In carrying his idea of the papacy into effect, Leo displayed the cunning tact, the diplomatic address, and the iron consistency which characterize the greatest popes of the middle age. The circumstances in general were in his favor: the East rent by dogmatic controversies; Africa devastated by the barbarians; the West weak in a weak emperor; nowhere a powerful and pure bishop or divine, like Athanasius, Augustine, or Jerome, in the former generation; the overthrow of the Western empire at hand; a new age breaking, with new peoples, for whose childhood the papacy was just the needful school; the most numerous and last important general council convened; and the system of ecumenical orthodoxy ready to be closed with the decision concerning the relation of the two natures in Christ.

Leo first took advantage of the distractions of the North African church under the Arian Vandals, and wrote to its bishops in the tone of an acknowledged over-shepherd. Under the stress of the times, and in the absence of a towering, character like Cyprian and Augustine, the Africans submitted to his authority (443). He banished the remnants of the Manichaeans and Pelagians from Italy, and threatened the bishops with his anger, if they should not purge their churches of the heresy. In East Illyrian which was important to Rome as the ecclesiastical outpost toward Constantinople, he succeeded in regaining and establishing the supremacy, which had been acquired by Damasus, but had afterward slipped away. Anastasius of Thessalonica applied to him to be confirmed in his office. Leo granted the prayer in 444, extending the jurisdiction of Anastasius over all the Illyrian bishops, but reserving to them a right of appeal in important cases, which ought to be decided by the pope according to divine revelation. And a case to his purpose soon presented itself, in which Leo brought his vicar to feel that he was called indeed to a participation of his care, but not to a plentitude of power (plenitudo potestatis). In the affairs of the Spanish church also Leo had an opportunity to make his influence felt, when Turibius, bishop of Astorga, besought his intervention against the Priscillianists. He refuted these heretics point by point, and on the basis of his exposition the Spaniards drew up an orthodox regula fidei with eighteen anathemas against the Priscillianist error.

But in Gaul he met, as we have already, seen, with a strenuous antagonist in Hilary of Arles, and, though he called the secular power to his aid, and procured from the emperor Valentinian an edict entirely favorable to his claims, he attained but a partial victory.592 Still less successful was his effort to establish his primacy in the East, and to prevent his rival at Constantinople from being elevated, by the famous twenty-eighth canon of Chalcedon, to official equality with himself.593 His earnest protest against that decree produced no lasting effect. But otherwise he had the most powerful influence in the second stage of the Christological controversy. He neutralized the tyranny of Dioscurus of Alexandria and the results of the shameful robber-council of Ephesus (449), furnished the chief occasion of the fourth ecumenical council, presided over it by his legates (which the Roman bishop had done at neither of the three councils before), and gave the turn to the final solution of its doctrinal problem by that celebrated letter to Flavian of Constantinople, the main points of which were incorporated in the new symbol. Yet he owed this influence by no means to his office alone, but most of all to his deep insight of the question, and to the masterly tact with which he held the Catholic orthodox mean between the Alexandrian and Antiochian, Eutychian and Nestorian extremes. The particulars of his connection with this important dogma belong, however, to the history of doctrine.

Besides thus shaping the polity and doctrine of the church, Leo did immortal service to the city of Rome, in twice rescuing it from destruction.594 When Attila, king of the Huns, the "scourge of God," after destroying Aquileia, was seriously threatening the capital of the world (A. D. 452), Leo, with only two companions, crozier in hand, trusting in the help of God, ventured into the hostile camp, and by his venerable form, his remonstrances, and his gifts, changed the wild heathen's purpose. The later legend, which Raphael's pencil has employed, adorned the fact with a visible appearance of Peter and Paul, accompanying the bishop, and, with drawn sword, threatening Attila with destruction unless he should desist.595 A similar case occurred several years after (455), when the Vandal king Genseric, invited out of revenge by the empress Eudoxia, pushed his ravages to Rome. Leo obtained from him the promise that at least he would spare the city the infliction of murder and fire; but the barbarians subjected it to a fourteen days' pillage, the enormous spoils of which they transported to Carthage; and afterward the pope did everything to alleviate the consequent destitution and suffering, and to restore the churches.596

Leo died in 461, and was buried in the church of St. Peter. The day and circumstances of his death are unknown.597

The literary works of Leo consist of ninety-six sermons and one hundred and seventy-three epistles, including epistles of others to him. They are earnest, forcible, full of thought, churchly, abounding in bold antitheses and allegorical freaks of exegesis, and sometimes heavy, turgid, and obscure in style. His collection of sermons is the first we have from a Roman bishops In his inaugural discourse he declared preaching to be his sacred duty. The sermons are short and simple, and were delivered mostly on high festivals and on the anniversaries of his own elevation.598 Other works ascribed to him, such as that on the calling of all nations,599 which takes a middle ground on the doctrine of predestination, with the view to reconcile the Semipelagians and Augustinians, are of doubtful genuineness.

§ 64. The Papacy from Leo I to Gregory I. a.d. 461–590.

The first Leo and the first Gregory are the two greatest bishops of Rome in the first six centuries. Between them no important personage appears on the chair of Peter; and in the course of that intervening century the idea and the power of the papacy make no material advance. In truth, they went farther in Leo's mind than they did in Gregory's. Leo thought and acted as an absolute monarch; Gregory as first among the patriarchs; but both under the full conviction that they were the successors of Peter.

After the death of Leo, the archdeacon Hilary, who had represented him at the council of Ephesus, was elected to his place, and ruled (461–468) upon his principles, asserting the strict orthodoxy in the East and the authority of the primacy in Gaul.

His successor, Simplicius (468–483), saw the final dissolution of the empire under Romulus Augustulus (476), but, as he takes not the slightest notice of it in his epistles, he seems to have ascribed to it but little importance. The papal power had been rather favored than hindered in its growth by the imbecility of the latest emperors. Now, to a certain extent, it stepped into the imperial vacancy, and the successor of Peter became, in the mind of the Western nations, sole heir of the old Roman imperial succession.

On the fall of the empire the pope became the political subject of the barbarian and heretical (for they were Arian) kings; but these princes, as most of the heathen emperors had done, allowed him, either from policy, or from ignorance or indifference, entire freedom in ecclesiastical affairs. In Italy the Catholics had by far the ascendency in numbers and in culture. And the Arianism of the new rulers was rather an outward profession than an inward conviction. Odoacer, who first assumed the kingdom of Italy (476–493), was tolerant toward the orthodox faith, yet attempted to control the papal election in 483 in the interest of the state, and prohibited, under penalty of the anathema, the alienation of church property by any bishop. Twenty years later a Roman council protested against this intervention of a layman, and pronounced the above prohibition null and void, but itself passed a similar decree against the alienation of church estates.600

Pope Felix II., or, according to another reckoning,III. (483–492), continued the war of his predecessor against the Monophysitism of the East, rejected the Henoticon of the emperor Zeno, as an unwarrantable intrusion of a layman in matters of faith, and ventured even the excommunication of the bishop Acacius of Constantinople. Acacius replied with a counter anathema, with the support of the other Eastern patriarchs; and the schism between the two churches lasted over thirty years, to the pontificate of Hormisdas.

Gelasius I. (492–496) clearly announced the principle, that the priestly power is above the kingly and the imperial, and that from the decisions of the chair of Peter there is no appeal. Yet from this pope we have, on the other hand, a remarkable testimony against what he pronounces the "sacrilege" of withholding the cup from the laity, the communio sub una specie.

Anastasius II. (496–498) indulged in a milder tone toward Constantinople, and incurred the suspicion of consent to its heresy.601

His sudden death was followed by a contested papal election, which led to bloody encounters. The Ostrogothic king Theodoric (the Dietrich of Bern in the Niebelungenlied), the conqueror and master of Italy (493–526), and, like Odoacer, an Arian, was called into consultation in this contest, and gave his voice for Symmachus against Laurentius, because Symmachus had received the majority of votes, and had been consecrated first. But the party of Laurentius, not satisfied with this, raised against Symmachus the reproach of gross iniquities, even of adultery and of squandering the church estates. The bloody scenes were renewed, priests were murdered, cloisters were burned, and nuns were insulted. Theodoric, being again called upon by the senate for a decision, summoned a council at Rome, to which Symmachus gave his consent; and a synod, convoked by a heretical king, must decide upon the pope! In the course of the controversy several councils were held in rapid succession, the chronology of which is disputed.602 The most important was the synodus palmaris,603 the fourth council under Symmachus, held in October, 501. It acquitted this pope without investigation, on the presumption that it did not behove the council to pass judgment respecting the successor of St. Peter. In his vindication of this council—for the opposition was not satisfied with it—the deacon Ennodius, afterward bishop of Pavia († 521), gave the first clear expression to the absolutism upon which Leo had already acted: that the Roman bishop is above every human tribunal, and is responsible only to God himself.604 Nevertheless, even in the middle age, popes were deposed and set up by emperors and general councils. This is one of the points of dispute between the absolute papal system and the constitutional episcopal system in the Roman church, which was left unsettled even by the council of Trent.

Under Hormisdas (514–523) the Monophysite party in the Greek church was destroyed by the energetic zeal of the orthodox emperor Justin, and in 519 the union of that church with Rome was restored, after a schism of five-and-thirty years.

Theodoric offered no hinderance to the transactions and embassies, and allowed his most distinguished subject to assert his ecclesiastical supremacy over Constantinople. This semi-barbarous and heretical prince was tolerant in general, and very liberal toward the Catholic church; even rising to the principle, which has waited till the modern age for its recognition, that the power of the prince should be restricted to civil government, and should permit no trespass on the conscience of its subjects." No one," says he, "shall be forced to believe against his will." Yet, toward the close of his reign, on mere political suspicion, he ordered the execution of the celebrated philosopher Boethius, with whom the old Roman literature far more worthily closes, than the Roman empire with Augustulus; and on the same ground he caused the death of the senator Symmachus and the incarceration of Pope John I. (523–526).

Almost the last act of his reign was the nomination of the worthy Felix III. (IV.) to the papal chair, after a protracted struggle of contending parties. With the appointment he issued the order that hereafter, as heretofore, the pope should be elected by clergy and people, but should be confirmed by the temporal prince before assuming his office; and with this understanding the clergy and the city gave their consent to the nomination.

Yet, in spite of this arrangement, in the election of Boniface II. (530–532) and John II. (532–535) the same disgraceful quarrelling and briberies occurred;—a sort of chronic disease in the history of the papacy.

Soon after the death of Theodoric (526) the Gothic empire fell to pieces through internal distraction and imperial weakness. Italy was conquered by Belisarius (535), and, with Africa, again incorporated with the East Roman empire, which renewed under Justinian its ancient splendor, and enjoyed a transient after-summer. And yet this powerful, orthodox emperor was a slave to the intriguing, heretical Theodora, whom he had raised from the theatre to the throne; and Belisarius likewise, his victorious general, was completely under the power of his wife Antonina.

With the conquest of Italy the popes fell into a perilous and unworthy dependence on the emperor at Constantinople, who reverenced, indeed, the Roman chair, but not less that of Constantinople, and in reality sought to use both as tools of his own state-church despotism. Agapetus (535–536) offered fearless resistance to the arbitrary course of Justinian, and successfully protested against the elevation of the Eutychian Anthimus to the patriarchal see of Constantinople. But, by the intrigues of the Monophysite empress, his successor, Pope Silverius (a son of Hormisdas, 536–538), was deposed on the charge of treasonable correspondence with the Goths, and banished to the island of Pandataria, whither the worst heathen emperors used to send the victims of their tyranny, and where in 540 he died—whether a natural or a violent death, we do not know.

Vigilius, a pliant creature of Theodora, ascended the papal chair under the military protection of Belisarius (538–554). The empress had promised him this office and a sum of money, on condition that he nullify the decrees of the council of Chalcedon, and pronounce Anthimus and his friends orthodox. The ambitious and doubled-tongued prelate accepted the condition, and accomplished the deposition, and perhaps the death, of Silverius. In his pontificate occurred the violent controversy of the three chapters and the second general council of Constantinople (553). His administration was an unprincipled vacillation between the dignity and duties of his office and subservience to an alien theological and political influence; between repeated condemnation of the three chapters in behalf of a Eutychianizing spirit, and repeated retraction of that condemnation. In Constantinople, where he resided several years at the instance of the emperor, he suffered much personal persecution, but without the spirit of martyrdom, and without its glory. For example, at least according to Western accounts, he was violently torn from the altar, upon which he was holding with both hands so firmly that the posts of the canopy fell in above him; he was dragged through the streets with a rope around his neck, and cast into a common prison; because he would not submit to the will of Justinian and his council. Yet he yielded at last, through fear of deposition. He obtained permission to return to Rome, but died in Sicily, of the stone, on his way thither (554).

Pelagius I. (554–560), by order of Justinian, whose favor he had previously gained as papal legate at Constantinople, was made successor of Vigilius, but found only two bishops ready to consecrate him. His close connection with the East, and his approval of the fifth ecumenical council, which was regarded as a partial concession to the Eutychian Christology, and, so far, an impeachment of the authority of the council of Chalcedon, alienated many Western bishops, even in Italy, and induced a temporary suspension of their connection with Rome. He issued a letter to the whole Christian world, in which he declared his entire agreement with the first four general councils, and then vindicated the fifth as in no way departing from the Chalcedonian dogma. But only by the military aid of Narses could he secure subjection; and the most refractory bishops, those of Aquileia and Milan, he sent as prisoners to Constantinople.

In these two Justinian-made popes we see how much the power of the Roman hierarchy was indebted to its remoteness from the Byzantine despotism, and how much it was injured by contact with it.

With the descent of the Arian Longobards into Italy, after 668, the popes again became more independent of the Byzantine court. They continued under tribute indeed to the ex-archs in Ravenna, as the representatives of the Greek emperors (from 554), and were obliged to have their election confirmed and their inauguration superintended by them. But the feeble hold of these officials in Italy, and the pressure of the Arian barbarians upon them, greatly favored the popes, who, being the richest proprietors, enjoyed also great political consideration in Italy, and applied their influence to the maintenance of law and order amidst the reigning confusion.

In other respects the administrations of John III. (560–573), Benedict I. (574–578), and Pelagius II. (578–590), are among the darkest and the most sterile in the annals of the papacy.

But with Gregory I. (590–604) a new period begins. Next to Leo I. he was the greatest of the ancient bishops of Rome, and he marks the transition of the patriarchal system into the strict papacy of the middle ages. For several reasons we prefer to place him at the head of the succeeding period. He came, it is true, with more modest claims than Leo, who surpassed him in boldness, energy, and consistency. He even solemnly protested, as his predecessor Pelagius II. had done, against the title of universal bishop, which the Constantinopolitan patriarch, John Jejunator, adopted at a council in 587;605 he declared it an antichristian assumption, in terms which quite remind us of the patriarchal equality, and seem to form a step in recession from the ground of Leo. But when we take his operations in general into view, and remember the rigid consistency of the papacy, which never forgets, we are almost justified in thinking, that this protest was directed not so much against the title itself, as against the bearer of it, and proceeded more from jealousy of a rival at Constantinople, than from sincere humility.606 From the same motive the Roman bishops avoided the title of patriarch, as placing them on a level with the Eastern patriarchs, and preferred the title of pope, from a sense of the specific dignity of the chair of Peter. Gregory is said to have been the first to use the humble-proud title: "Servant of the servants of God." His successors, notwithstanding his protest, called themselves "the universal bishops" of Christendom. What he had condemned in his oriental colleagues as antichristian arrogance, the later popes considered but the appropriate expression of their official position in the church universal.

§ 65. The Synodical System. The Ecumenical Councils.

I. The principal sources are the Acts of the Councils, the best and most complete collections of which are those of the Jesuit Sirmond (Rom. 1608–1612, 4 vols. fol.); the so-called Collectio regia (Paris, 1644, 37 vols. fol.; a copy of it in the Astor Libr., New York); but especially those of the Jesuit Hardouin († 1729): Collectio maxima Conciliorum generalium et provincialium (Par. 1715 sqq., 12 vols. fol.), coming down to 1714, and very available through its five copious indexes (tom. i. and ii. embrace the first six centuries; a copy of it, from Van Ess's library, in the Union Theol. Sem. Library, at New York); and the Italian Joannes Dominicus Mansi (archbishop of Lucca, died 1769): Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collection, Florence, 1759-'98, in 31 (30) vols. fol. This is the most complete and the best collection down to the fifteenth century, but unfinished, and therefore without general indexes; tom. i. contains the Councils from the beginning of Christianity to a.d. 304; tom. ii.-ix. include our period to a.d. 590 (I quote from an excellent copy of this rare collection in the Union Theol. Sem. Libr., at New York, 30 t. James Darling, in his Cyclop. Bibliographica, p. 740–756, gives the list of the contents of an earlier edition of the Councils by Nic. Coleti, Venet., 1728, in 23 vols., with a supplement of Mansi, in 6 vols. 1748-'52, which goes down to 1727, while the new edition of Mansi only reaches to 1509. Brunet, in the "Manuel Du Libraire," quotes the edition of Mansi, Florence, 1759–1798, with the remark: "Cette collection, dont le dernier volume s'arrête à l'année 1509, est peu commune à Paris ou elle revenait à 600 fr." Strictly speaking its stops in the middle of the 15th century, except in a few documents which reach further.) Useful abstracts are the Summa Conciliorum of Barth. Caranza, in many editions; and in the German language, the Bibliothek der Kirchenversammlungen (4th and 5th centuries), by Fuchs, Leipz., 1780–1784, 4 vols.

II. Chr. Wilh. Franz Walch (Luth.): Entwurf einer vollstaendigen Historie der Kirchenversammlungen, Leipz., 1759. Edw. H. Landon (Anglic.): A manual of Councils of the Holy Catholick Church, comprising the substance of the most remarkable and important canons, alphabetically arranged, 12mo. London, 1846. C. J. Hefele (R.C.): Conciliengeshichte, Freiburg, 1855–1863, 5 vols. (a very valuable work, not yet finished; vol. v. comes down to a.d. 1250). Comp. my Essay on Oekumenische Concilien, in Dorner's Annals of Ger. Theol. vol. viii. 326–346.

Above the patriarchs, even above the patriarch of Rome, stood the ecumenical or general councils,607 the highest representatives, of the unity and authority of the old Catholic church. They referred originally to the Roman empire, but afterward included the adjacent barbarian countries, so far as those countries were represented in them by bishops. They rise up like lofty peaks or majestic pyramids from the plan of ancient church history, and mark the ultimate authoritative settlement of the general questions of doctrine and discipline which agitated Christendom in the Graeco-Roman empire.

The synodical system in general had its rise in the apostolic council at Jerusalem,608 and completed its development, under its Catholic form, in the course of the first five centuries. Like the episcopate, it presented a hierarchical gradation of orders. There was, first, the diocesan or district council, in which the bishop of a diocese (in the later sense of the word) presided over his clergy; then the provincial council, consisting of the metropolitan or archbishop and the bishops of his ecclesiastical province; next, the patriarchal council, embracing all the bishops of a patriarchal district (or a diocese in the old sense of the term); then the national council, inaccurately styled also general, representing either the entire Greek or the entire Latin church (like the later Lateran councils and the council of Trent); and finally, at the summit stood the ecumenical council, for the whole Christian world. There was besides these a peculiar and abnormal kind of synod, styled suvnodo" ejndhmou'sa, frequently held by the bishop of Constantinople with the provincial bishops resident (ejndhmou'nte") on the spot.609

In the earlier centuries the councils assembled without fixed regularity, at the instance of present necessities, like the Montanist and the Easter controversies in the latter part of the second century. Firmilian of Cappadocia, in his letter to Cyprian, first mentions, that at his time, in the middle of the third century, the churches of Asia Minor held regular annual synods, consisting of bishops and presbyters. From that time we find an increasing number of such assemblies in Egypt, Syria, Greece, Northern Africa, Italy, Spain, and Gaul. The council of Nicaea, a.d. 325, ordained, in the fifth canon, that the provincial councils should meet twice a year: during the fast season before Easter, and in the fall.610 In regard to the other synods no direction was given.

The Ecumenical councils were not stated, but extraordinary assemblies, occasioned by the great theological controversies of the ancient church. They could not arise until after the conversion of the Roman emperor and the ascendancy of Christianity as the religion of the state. They were the highest, and the last, manifestation of the power of the Greek church, which in general took the lead in the first age of Christianity, and was the chief seat of all theological activity. Hence in that church, as well as in others, they are still held in the highest veneration, and kept alive in the popular mind by pictures in the churches. The Greek and Russian Christians have annually commemorated the seven ecumenical councils, since the year 842, on the first Sunday in Lent, as the festival of the triumph of orthodoxy611 and they live in the hope that an eighth ecumenical council shall yet heal the divisions and infirmities of the Christian world. Through their symbols of faith those councils, especially of Nice and of Chalcedon, still live in the Western church, both Roman Catholic and Evangelical Protestant.

Strictly speaking, none of these councils properly represented the entire Christian world. Apart from the fact that the laity, and even the lower clergy, were excluded from them, the assembled bishops themselves formed but a small part of the Catholic episcopate. The province of North Africa alone numbered many more bishops than were present at either the second, the third, or the fifth general council.612 The councils bore a prevailingly oriental character, were occupied with Greek controversies, used the Greek language, sat in Constantinople or in its vicinity, and consisted almost wholly of Greek members. The Latin church was usually represented only by a couple of delegates of the Roman bishop; though these delegates, it is true, acted more or less in the name of the entire West. Even the five hundred and twenty, or the six hundred and thirty members of the council of Chalcedon, excepting the two representatives of Leo I., and two African fugitives accidentally present, were all from the East. The council of Constantinople in 381 contained not a single Latin bishop, and only a hundred and fifty Greek, and was raised to the ecumenical rank by the consent of the Latin church toward the middle of the following century. On the other hand, the council of Ephesus, in 449, was designed by emperor and pope to be an ecumenical council; but instead of this it has been branded in history as the synod of robbers, for its violent sanction of the Eutychian heresy. The council of Sardica, in 343, was likewise intended to be a general council, but immediately after its assembling assumed a sectional character, through the secession and counter-organization of the Eastern bishops.

It is, therefore, not the number of bishops present, nor even the regularity of the summons alone, which determines the ecumenical character of a council, but the result, the importance and correctness of the decisions, and, above all, the consent of the orthodox Christian world.613

The number of the councils thus raised by the public opinion of the Greek and Latin churches to the ecumenical dignity, is seven. The succession begins with the first council of Nicaea, in the year 325, which settled the doctrine of the divinity of Christ, and condemned the Arian heresy. It closes with the second council of Nice, in 787, which sanctioned the use of images in the church. The first four of these councils command high theological regard in the orthodox Evangelical churches, while the last three are less important and far more rarely mentioned.

The ecumenical councils have not only an ecclesiastical significance, but bear also a political or state-church character. The very name refers to the oijkoumevnh, the orbis Romanus, the empire. Such synods were rendered possible only by that great transformation, which is marked by the accession of Constantine. That emperor caused the assembling of the first ecumenical council, though the idea was probably suggested to him by friends among the bishops; at least Rufinus says, he summoned the council "ex sacerdotum sententia." At all events the Christian Graeco-Roman emperor is indispensable to an ecumenical council in the ancient sense of the term; its temporal head and its legislative strength.

According to the rigid hierarchical or papistic theory, as carried out in the middle ages, and still asserted by Roman divines, the pope alone, as universal head of the church, can summon, conduct, and confirm a universal council. But the history of the first seven, or, as the Roman reckoning is, eight, ecumenical councils, from 325 to 867, assigns this threefold power to the Byzantine emperors. This is placed beyond all contradiction, by the still extant edicts of the emperors, the acts of the councils, the accounts of all the Greek historians, and the contemporary Latin sources. Upon this Byzantine precedent, and upon the example of the kings of Israel, the Russian Czars and the Protestant princes of Germany, Scandinavia, and England—be it justly or unjustly—build their claim to a similar and still more extended supervision of the church in their dominions.

In the first place, the call of the ecumenical councils emanated from the emperors.614 They fixed the place and time of the assembly, summoned the metropolitans and more distinguished bishops of the empire by an edict, provided the means of transit, and paid the cost of travel and the other expenses out of the public treasury. In the case of the council of Nicaea and the first of Constantinople the call was issued without previous advice or consent from the bishop of Rome.615 In the council of Chalcedon, in 451, the papal influence is for the first time decidedly prominent; but even there it appears in virtual subordination to the higher authority of the council, which did not suffer itself to be disturbed by the protest of Leo against its twenty-eighth canon in reference to the rank of the patriarch of Constantinople. Not only ecumenical, but also provincial councils were not rarely called together by Western princes; as the council of Arles in 314 by Constantine, the council of Orleans in 549 by Childebert, and—to anticipate an instance—the synod of Frankfort in 794 by Charlemagne. Another remarkable fact has been already mentioned: that in the beginning of the sixth century several Orthodox synods at Rome, for the purpose of deciding the contested election of Symmachus, were called by a secular prince, and he the heretical Theodoric; yet they were regarded as valid.

In the second place, the emperors, directly or indirectly, took an active part in all but two of the ecumenical councils summoned by them, and held the presidency. Constantine the Great, Marcian, and his wife Pulcheria, Constantine Progonatus, Irene, and Basil the Macedonian, attended in person; but generally the emperors, like the Roman bishops (who were never present themselves), were represented by delegates or commissioners, clothed with full authority for the occasion. These deputies opened the sessions by reading the imperial edict (in Latin and Greek) and other documents. They presided in conjunction with the patriarchs, conducted the entire course of the transactions, preserved order and security, closed the council, and signed the acts either at the head or at the foot of the signatures of the bishops. In this prominent position they sometimes exercised, when they had a theological interest or opinion of their own, no small influence on the discussions and decisions, though they had no votum; as the presiding officers of deliberative and legislative bodies generally have no vote, except when the decision of a question depends upon their voice.

To this presidency of the emperor or of his commissioners the acts of the councils and the Greek historians often refer. Even Pope Stephen V. (a.d. 817) writes, that Constantine the Great presided in the council of Nice. According to Eusebius, he introduced the principal matters of business with a solemn discourse, constantly attended the sessions, and took the place of honor in the assembly. His presence among the bishops at the banquet, which he gave them at the close of the council, seemed to that panegyrical historian a type of Christ among his saints!616 This prominence of Constantine in the most celebrated and the most important of all the councils is the more remarkable, since at that time he had not yet even been baptized. When Marcian and Pulcheria appeared with their court at the council of Chalcedon, to confirm its decrees, they were greeted by the assembled bishops in the bombastic style of the East, as defenders of the faith, as pillars of orthodoxy, as enemies and persecutors of heretics; the emperor as a second Constantine, a new Paul, a new David; the empress as a second Helena; with other high-sounding predicates.617 The second and fifth general councils were the only ones at which the emperor was not represented, and in them the presidency was in the hands of the patriarchs of Constantinople.

But together with the imperial commissioners, or in their absence, the different patriarchs or their representatives, especially the legates of the Roman bishop, the most powerful of the patriarchs, took part in the presiding office. This was the case at the third and fourth, and the sixth, seventh, and eighth universal councils.

For the emperor's connection with the council had reference rather to the conduct of business and to the external affairs of the synod, than to its theological and religious discussions. This distinction appears in the well-known dictum of Constantine respecting a double episcopate, which we have already noticed. And at the Nicene council the emperor acted accordingly. He paid the bishops greater reverence than his heathen predecessors had shown the Roman senators. He wished to be a servant, not a judge, of the successors of the apostles, who are constituted priests and gods on earth. After his opening address, he "resigned the word" to the (clerical) officers of the council,618 by whom probably Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, Eustathius of Antioch, and Hosius of Cordova—the latter as special friend of the emperor, and as representative of the Western churches and perhaps of the bishop of Rome—are to be understood. The same distinction between a secular and spiritual presidency meets us in Theodosius II., who sent the comes Candidian as his deputy to the third general council, with full power over the entire business proceedings, but none over theological matters themselves; "for"—wrote he to the council-, "it is not proper that one who does not belong to the catalogue of most holy bishops, should meddle in ecclesiastical discussions." Yet Cyril of Alexandria presided at this council, and conducted the business, at first alone, afterward in conjunction with the papal legates; while Candidian supported the Nestorian opposition, which held a council of its own under the patriarch John of Antioch.

Finally, from the emperors proceeded the ratification of the councils. Partly by their signatures, partly by special edicts, they gave the decrees of the council legal validity; they raised them to laws of the realm; they took pains to have them observed, and punished the disobedient with deposition and banishment. This was done by Constantine the Great for the decrees of Nice; by Theodosius the Great for those of Constantinople; by Marcian for those of Chalcedon. The second ecumenical council expressly prayed the emperor for such sanction, since he was present neither in person nor by commission. The papal confirmation, on the contrary, was not considered necessary, until after the fourth general council, in 451.619 And notwithstanding this, Justinian broke through the decrees of the fifth council, of 553, without the consent, and in fact despite the intimated refusal of Pope Vigilius. In the middle ages, however, the case was reversed. The influence of the pope on the councils increased, and that of the emperor declined; or rather, the German emperor never claimed so preëminent a position in the church as the Byzantine. Yet the relation of the pope to a general council, the question which of the two is above the other, is still a point of controversy between the curialist or ultramontane and the episcopal or Gallican schools.

Apart from this predominance of the emperor and his commissioners, the character of the ecumenical councils was thoroughly hierarchical. In the apostolic council at Jerusalem, the elders and the brethren took part with the apostles, and the decision went forth in the name of the whole congregation.620 But this republican or democratic element, so to call it, had long since given way before the spirit of aristocracy. The bishops alone, as the successors and heirs of the apostles, the ecclesia docens, were members of the councils. Hence, in the fifth canon of Nice, even a provincial synod is termed "the general assembly of the bishops of the province." The presbyters and deacons took part, indeed, in the deliberations, and Athanasius, though at the time only a deacon, exerted probably more influence on the council of Nice by his zeal and his gifts, than most of the bishops; but they had no votum decisivum, except when, like the Roman legates, they represented their bishops. The laity were entirely excluded.

Yet it must be remembered, that the bishops of that day were elected by the popular voice. So far as that went, they really represented the Christian people, and were not seldom called to account by the people for their acts, though they voted in their own name as successors of the apostles. Eusebius felt bound to justify, his vote at Nice before his diocese in Caesarea, and the Egyptian bishops at Chalcedon feared an uproar in their congregations.

Furthermore, the councils, in an age of absolute despotism, sanctioned the principle of common public deliberation, as the best means of arriving at truth and settling controversy. They revived the spectacle of the Roman senate in ecclesiastical form, and were the forerunners of representative government and parliamentary legislation.

In matters of discipline the majority decided; but in matters of faith unanimity was required, though, if necessary, it was forced by the excision of the dissentient minority. In the midst of the assembly an open copy of the Gospels lay upon a desk or table, as, a symbol of the presence of Christ, whose infallible word is the rule of all doctrine. Subsequently the ecclesiastical canons and the relics of the saints were laid in similar state. The bishops—at least according to later usage—sat in a circle, in the order of the dates of their ordination or the rank of their sees; behind them, the priests; before or beside them, the deacons. The meetings were opened and closed with religious solemnities in liturgical style. In the ancient councils the various subjects were discussed in open synod, and the Acts of the councils contain long discourses and debates. But in the council of Trent the subjects of action were wrought up in separate committees, and only laid before the whole synod for ratification. The vote was always taken by heads, till the council of Constance, when it was taken by nations, to avoid the preponderance of the Italian prelates.

The jurisdiction of the ecumenical councils covered the entire legislation of the church, all matters of Christian faith and practice (fidei et morum), and all matters of organization arid worship. The doctrinal decrees were called dogmata or symbola; the disciplinary, canones. At the same time, the councils exercised, when occasion required, the highest judicial authority, in excommunicating bishops and patriarchs.

The authority of these councils in the decision of all points of controversy was supreme and final.

Their doctrinal decisions were early invested with infallibility; the promises of the Lord respecting the indestructibleness of his church, his own perpetual presence with the ministry, and the guidance of the Spirit of truth, being applied in the full sense to those councils, as representing the whole church. After the example of the apostolic council, the usual formula for a decree was: Visum est Sprirtui Sancto et nobis.621 Constantine the Great, in a circular letter to the churches, styles the decrees of the Nicene council a divine command;622 a phrase, however, in reference to which the abuse of the word divine, in the language of the Byzantine despots, must not be forgotten. Athanasius says, with reference to the doctrine of the divinity of Christ: "What God has spoken by the council of Nice, abides forever."623 The council of Chalcedon pronounced the decrees of the Nicene fathers unalterable statutes, since God himself had spoken through them.624 The council of Ephesus, in the sentence of deposition against Nestorius, uses the formula: "The Lord Jesus Christ, whom he has blasphemed, determines through this most holy council."625 Pope Leo speaks of an "irretractabilis consensus" of the council of Chalcedon upon the doctrine of the person of Christ. Pope Gregory the Great even placed the first four councils, which refuted and destroyed respectively the heresies and impieties of Arius, Macedonius, Nestorius, and Eutyches, on a level with the four canonical Gospels.626 In like manner Justinian puts the dogmas of the first four councils on the same footing with the Holy Scriptures, and their canons by the side of laws of the realm.627 The remaining three general councils have neither a theological importance, nor therefore an authority, equal to that of those first four, which laid the foundations of ecumenical orthodoxy. Otherwise Gregory would have mentioned also the fifth council, of 553, in the passage to which we have just referred. And even among the first four there is a difference of rank; the councils of Nice and Chalcedon standing highest in the character of their results.

Not so with the rules of discipline prescribed in the canones. These were never considered universally binding, like the symbols of faith; since matters of organization and usage, pertaining rather to the external form of the church, are more or less subject to the vicissitude of time. The fifteenth canon of the council of Nice, which prohibited and declared invalid the transfer of the clergy from one place to another,628 Gregory Nazianzen, fifty-seven years later (382), reckons among statutes long dead.629 Gregory himself repeatedly changed his location, and Chrysostom was called from Antioch to Constantinople. Leo I. spoke with strong disrespect of the third canon of the second ecumenical council, for assigning to the bishop of Constantinople the first rank after the bishop of Rome; and for the same reason be protested against the twenty-eighth canon of the fourth ecumenical council.630 Indeed the Roman church has made no point of adopting all the disciplinary laws enacted by those synods.

Augustine, the ablest and the most devout of the fathers, conceived, in the best vein of his age, a philosophical view of this authority of the councils, which strikes a wise and wholesome mean between the extremes of veneration and disparagement, and approaches the free spirit of evangelical Protestantism. He justly subordinates these councils to the Holy Scriptures, which are the highest and the perfect rule of faith, and supposes that the decrees of a council may be, not indeed set aside and repealed, yet enlarged and completed by, the deeper research of a later day. They embody, for the general need, the results already duly prepared by preceding theological controversies, and give the consciousness of the church, on the subject in question, the clearest and most precise expression possible at the time. But this consciousness itself is subject to development. While the Holy Scriptures present the truth unequivocally and infallibly, and allow no room for doubt, the judgment of bishops may be corrected and enriched with new truths from the word of God, by the wiser judgment of other bishops; the judgment of the provincial council by that of a general; and the views of one general council by those of a later.631 In this Augustine presumed, that all the transactions of a council were conducted in the spirit of Christian humility, harmony, and love; but had he attended the council of Ephesus, in 431, to which he was summoned about the time of his death, he would, to his grief, have found the very opposite spirit reigning there. Augustine, therefore, manifestly acknowledges a gradual advancement of the church doctrine, which reaches its corresponding expression from time to time through the general councils; but a progress within the truth, without positive error. For in a certain sense, as against heretics, he made the authority of Holy Scripture dependent on the authority of the catholic church, in his famous dictum against the Manichaean heretics: "I would not believe the gospel, did not the authority of the catholic church compel me."632 In like manner Vincentius Lerinensis teaches, that the church doctrine passes indeed through various stages of growth in knowledge, and becomes more and more clearly defined in opposition to ever-rising errors, but can never become altered or dismembered.633

The Protestant church makes the authority of the general councils, and of all ecclesiastical tradition, depend on the degree of its conformity to the Holy Scriptures; while the Greek and Roman churches make Scripture and tradition coordinate. The Protestant church justly holds the first four general councils in high, though not servile, veneration, and has received their statements of doctrine into her confessions of faith, because she perceives in them, though compassed with human imperfection, the clearest and most suitable expression of the teaching of the Scriptures respecting the Trinity and the divine-human person of Christ. Beyond these statements the judgment of the church (which must be carefully distinguished from theological speculation) has not to this day materially advanced;—the highest tribute to the wisdom and importance of those councils. But this is not saying that the Nicene and the later Athanasian creeds are the non plus ultra of all the church's knowledge of the articles therein defined. Rather is it the duty of theology and of the church, while prizing and holding fast those earlier attainments, to study the same problems ever anew, to penetrate further and further these sacred fundamental mysteries of Christianity, and to bring to light new treasures from the inexhaustible mines of the Word of God, under the guidance of the same Holy Spirit, who lives and works in the church at this day as mightily as he did in the fifth century and the fourth. Christology, for example, by the development of the doctrine of the two states of Christ in the Lutheran church, and of the three offices of Christ in the Reformed, has been substantially enriched; the old Catholic doctrine, which was fixed with unerring tact at the council of Chalcedon, being directly concerned only with the two natures of Christ, as against the dualism of Nestorius and the monophysitism of Eutyches.

With this provision for further and deeper soundings of Scripture truth, Protestantism feels itself one with the ancient Greek and Latin church in the bond of ecumenical orthodoxy. But toward the disciplinary canons of the ecumenical councils its position is still more free and independent than that of the Roman church. Those canons are based upon an essentially unprotestant, that is, hierarchical and sacrificial conception of church order and worship, which the Lutheran and Anglican reformation in part, and the Zwinglian and Calvinistic almost entirely renounced. Yet this is not to say that much may not still be learned, in the sphere of discipline, from those councils, and that perhaps many an ancient custom or institution is not worthy to be revived in the spirit of evangelical freedom.

The moral character of those councils was substantially parallel with that of earlier and later ecclesiastical assemblies, and cannot therefore be made a criterion of their historical importance and their dogmatic authority. They faithfully reflect both the light and the shade of the ancient church. They bear the heavenly treasure in earthen vessels. If even among the inspired apostles at the council of Jerusalem there was much debate,634 and soon after, among Peter, Paul, and Barnabas, a violent, though only temporary collision, we must of course expect much worse of the bishops of the Nicene and the succeeding age, and of a church already interwoven with a morally degenerate state. Together with abundant talents, attainments, and virtues, there were gathered also at the councils ignorance, intrigues, and partisan passions, which had already been excited on all sides by long controversies preceding and now met and arrayed themselves, as hostile armies, for open combat. For those great councils, all occasioned by controversies on the most important and the most difficult problems of theology, are, in fact, to the history of doctrine, what decisive battles are to the history of war. Just because religion is the deepest and holiest interest of man, are religious passions wont to be the most violent and bitter; especially in a time when all classes, from imperial court to market stall, take the liveliest interest in theological speculation, and are drawn into the common vortex of excitement. Hence the notorious rabies theologorum was more active in the fourth and fifth centuries than it has been in any other period of history, excepting, perhaps, in the great revolution of the sixteenth century, and the confessional polemics of the seventeenth.

We have on this point the testimony of contemporaries and of the acts of the councils themselves. St. Gregory Nazianzen, who, in the judgment of Socrates, was the most devout and eloquent man of his age,635 and who himself, as bishop of Constantinople, presided for a time over the second ecumenical council, had so bitter an observation and experience as even to lose, though without sufficient reason, all confidence in councils, and to call them in his poems "assemblies of cranes and geese." "To tell the truth" thus in 382 (a year after the second ecumenical council, and doubtless including that assembly in his allusion) he answered Procopius, who in the name of the emperor summoned him in vain to a synod—"to tell the truth, I am inclined to shun every collection of bishops, because I have never yet seen that a synod came to a good end, or abated evils instead of increasing them. For in those assemblies (and I do not think I express myself too strongly here) indescribable contentiousness and ambition prevail, and it is easier for one to incur the reproach of wishing to set himself up as judge of the wickedness of others, than to attain any success in putting the wickedness away. Therefore I have withdrawn myself, and have found rest to my soul only in solitude."636 It is true, the contemplative Gregory had an aversion to all public life, and in such views yielded unduly to his personal inclinations. And in any case he is inconsistent; for he elsewhere speaks with great respect of the council of Nice, and was, next to Athanasius, the leading advocate of the Nicene creed. Yet there remains enough in his many unfavorable pictures of the bishops and synods of his time, to dispel all illusions of their immaculate purity. Beausobre correctly observes, that either Gregory the Great must be a slanderer, or the bishops of his day were very remiss. In the fifth century it was no better, but rather worse. At the third general council, at Ephesus, 431, all accounts agree that shameful intrigue, uncharitable lust of condemnation, and coarse violence of conduct were almost as prevalent as in the notorious robber-council of Ephesus in 449; though with the important difference, that the former synod was contending for truth, the latter for error. Even at Chalcedon, the introduction of the renowned expositor and historian Theodoret provoked a scene, which almost involuntarily reminds us of the modern brawls of Greek and Roman monks at the holy sepulchre under the restraining supervision of the Turkish police. His Egyptian opponents shouted with all their might: "The faith is gone! Away with him, this teacher of Nestorius!" His friends replied with equal violence: "They forced us [at the robber-council] by blows to subscribe; away with the Manichaeans, the enemies of Flavian, the enemies of the faith! Away with the murderer Dioscurus? Who does not know his wicked deeds? The Egyptian bishops cried again: Away with the Jew, the adversary of God, and call him not bishop!" To which the oriental bishops answered: "Away with the rioters, away with the murderers! The orthodox man belongs to the council!" At last the imperial commissioners interfered, and put an end to what they justly called an unworthy and useless uproar.637

In all these outbreaks of human passion, however, we must not forget that the Lord was sitting in the ship of the church, directing her safely through the billows and storms. The Spirit of truth, who was not to depart from her, always triumphed over error at last, and even glorified himself through the weaknesses of his instruments. Upon this unmistakable guidance from above, only set out by the contrast of human imperfections, our reverence for the councils must be based. Soli Deo gloria; or, in the language of Chrysostom: Dovxa tw'/ qew'/ pavntwn e{neken!

§ 66. List of the Ecumenical Councils of the Ancient Church,

We only add, by way of a general view, a list of all the ecumenical councils of the Graeco-Roman church, with a brief account of their character and work.

1. The Concilium Nicaenum I., a.d. 325; held at Nicaea in Bithynia, a lively commercial town near the imperial residence of Nicomedia, and easily accessible by land and sea. It consisted of three hundred and eighteen bishops,638 besides a large number of priests, deacons, and acolytes, mostly from the East, and was called by Constantine the Great, for the settlement of the Arian controversy. Having become, by decisive victories in 323, master of the whole Roman empire, he desired to complete the restoration of unity and peace with the help of the dignitaries of the church. The result of this council was the establishment (by anticipation) of the doctrine of the true divinity of Christ, the identity of essence between the Son and the Father. The fundamental importance of this dogma, the number, learning, piety and wisdom of the bishops, many of whom still bore the marks of the Diocletian persecution, the personal presence of the first Christian emperor, of Eusebius, "the father of church history," and of Athanasius, "the father of orthodoxy" (though at that time only archdeacon), as well as the remarkable character of this epoch, combined in giving to this first general synod a peculiar weight and authority. It is styled emphatically "the great and holy council," holds the highest place among all the councils, especially with the Greeks,639 and still lives in the Nicene Creed, which is second in authority only to the ever venerable Apostles' Creed. This symbol was, however, not finally settled and completed in its present form (excepting the still later Latin insertion of filioque), until the second general council. Besides this the fathers assembled at Nicaea issued a number of canons, usually reckoned twenty on various questions of discipline; the most important being those on the rights of metropolitans, the time of Easter, and the validity of heretical baptism.

2. The Concilium Constantinopolitanum I., a.d. 381 summoned by Theodosius the Great, and held at the imperial city, which had not even name in history till five years after the former council. This council, however, was exclusively oriental, and comprised only a hundred and fifty bishops, as the emperor had summoned none but the adherents of the Nicene party, which had become very much reduced under the previous reign. The emperor did not attend it. Meletius of Antioch was president till his death; then Gregory Nazianzen; and, after his resignation, the newly elected patriarch Nectarius of Constantinople. The council enlarged the Nicene confession by an article on the divinity and personality of the Holy Ghost, in opposition to the Macedonians or Pneumatomachists (hence the title Symbolum Nicaeno-Constantinopolitanum), and issued seven more canons, of which the Latin versions, however, give only the first four, leaving the genuineness of the other three, as many think, in doubt.

3. The Concilium Ephesinum, a.d. 431; called by Theodosius II., in connection with the Western co-emperor Valentinian III., and held under the direction of the ambitious and violent Cyril of Alexandria. This council consisted of, at first, a hundred and sixty bishops, afterward a hundred and ninety-eight,640 including, for the first time, papal delegates from Rome, who were instructed not to mix in the debates, but to sit as judges over the opinions of the rest. It condemned the error of Nestorius on the relation of the two natures in Christ, without, stating clearly the correct doctrine. It produced, therefore, but a negative result, and is the least important of the first four councils, as it stands lowest also in moral character. It is entirely rejected by the Nestorian or Chaldaic Christians. Its six canons relate exclusively to Nestorian and Pelagian affairs, and are wholly omitted by Dionysius Exiguus in his collection.

4. The Concilium Chalcedonense, a.d. 451; summoned by the emperor Marcian, at the instance of the Roman bishop Leo; held at Chalcedon in Bithynia, opposite Constantinople; and composed of five hundred and twenty (some say six hundred and thirty) bishops.641 Among these were three delegates of the bishop of Rome, two bishops of Africa, and the rest all Greeks and Orientals. The fourth general council fixed the orthodox doctrine of the person of Christ in opposition to Eutychianism and Nestorianism, and enacted thirty canons (according to some manuscripts only twenty-seven or twenty-eight), of which the twenty-eighth was resisted by the Roman legates and Leo I. This was the most numerous, and next to the Nicene, the most important of all the general councils, but is repudiated by all the Monophysite sects of the Eastern church.

5. The Concilium Constantinopolitanum II. was assembled a full century later, by the emperor Tustinian, a.d. 553, without consent of the pope, for the adjustment of the tedious Monophysite controversy. It was presided over by the patriarch Eutychius of Constantinople, consisted of only one hundred and sixty-four bishops, and issued fourteen anathemas against the three chapters,642 so called, or the christological views of three departed bishops and divines, Theodore of Mopsueste, Theodoret of Cyros, and Ibas of Edessa, who were charged with leaning toward the Nestorian heresy. The fifth council was not recognized, however, by many Western bishops, even after the vacillating Pope Vigilius gave in his assent to it, and it induced a temporary schism between Upper Italy and the Roman see. As to importance, it stands far below the four previous councils. Its Acts, in Greek, with the exception of the fourteen anathemas, are lost.

Besides these, there are two later councils, which have attained among the Greeks and Latins an undisputed ecumenical authority: the Third Council of Constantinople, under Constantine Progonatus, a.d. 680, which condemned Monothelitism (and Pope Honorius, † 638),643 and consummated the old Catholic christology; and the Second Council of Nicaea, under the empress Irene, a.d. 787, which sanctioned the image-worship of the Catholic church, but has no dogmatical importance.

Thus Nicaea—now the miserable Turkish hamlet Is-nik644—has the honor of both opening and closing the succession of acknowledged ecumenical councils.

From this time forth the Greeks and Latins part, and ecumenical councils are no longer to be named. The Greeks considered the second Trullan645 (or the fourth Constantinopolitan) council of 692, which enacted no symbol of faith, but canons only, not an independent eighth council, but an appendix to the fifth and sixth ecumenical councils (hence, called the Quinisexta sc. synodus); against which view the Latin church has always protested. The Latin church, on the other hand, elevates the fourth council of Constantinople, a.d. 869,646 which deposed the patriarch Photius, the champion of the Greek church in her contest with the Latin, to the dignity of an eighth ecumenical council; but this council was annulled for the Greek church by the subsequent restoration of Photius. The Roman church also, in pursuance of her claims to exclusive catholicity, adds to the seven or eight Greek councils twelve or more Latin general councils, down to the Vatican (1870); but to all these the Greek and Protestant churches can concede only a sectional character. Three hundred and thirty-six years elapsed between the last undisputed Graeco-Latin ecumenical council of the ancient church (a.d. 787), and the first Latin ecumenical council of the mediaeval church (1123). The authority of the papal see had to be established in the intervening centuries.647

§ 67. Books of Ecclesiastical Law.

I. Bibiliotheca juris canonici veteris, ed. Voellus (theologian of the Sorbonne) and Justellus (Justeau, counsellor and secretary to the French king), Par. 1661, 2 vols. fol. (Vol. i. contains the canons of the universal church, Greek and Latin, the ecclesiastical canons of Dionysius Exiguus, or of the old Roman church, the canons of the African church, etc. See a list of contents in Darling's Cyclop. Bibliographica, p. 1702 sq.)

II. See the literature in vol. ii. § 56 (p. 183). The brothers Ballerini: De antiquis tum editis tum ineditis collectionibus et collectoribus canonum ad Gratianum usque in ed. Opp. Leon M. Ven., 1753 sqq. The treatises of Quesnel, Marca, Constant, Drey, Theiner, etc., on the history of the collections of canons. Comp. Ferd. Walther: Lehrbuch des Kirchenrechts, p. 109 sqq., 8th ed., 1839.

The universal councils, through their disciplinary enactments or canons, were the main fountain of ecclesiastical law. To their canons were added the decrees of the most important provincial councils of the fourth century, at Ancyra (314), Neo-Caesarea (314), Antioch (341), Sardica (343), Gangra (365), and Laodicea (between 343 and 381); and in a third series, the orders of eminent bishops, popes, and emperors. From these sources arose, after the beginning of the fifth century, or at all events before the council of Chalcedon, various collections of the church laws in the East, in North Africa, in Italy, Gaul, and Spain; which, however, had only provincial authority, and in many respects did not agree among themselves. A codex canonum ecclesiae universae did not exist. The earlier collections because eclipsed by two, which, the one in the West, the other in the East, attained the highest consideration.

The most important Latin collection comes from the Roman, though by descent Scythian, abbot Dionysius Exiguus,648 who also, notwithstanding the chronological error at the base of his reckoning, immortalized himself by the introduction of the Christian calendar, the "Dionysian Era." It was a great thought of this "little" monk to view Christ as the turning point of ages, and to introduce this view into chronology. About the year 500 Dionysius translated for the bishop Stephen of Salona a collection of canons from Greek into Latin, which is still extant, with its prefatory address to Stephen.649 It contains, first, the, fifty so-called Apostolic Canons, which pretend to have been collected by Clement of Rome, but in truth were a gradual production of the third and fourth centuries;650 then the canons of the most important councils of the fourth and fifth centuries, including those of Sardica and Africa; and lastly, the papal decretal letters from Siricius (385) to Anastasius II. (498). The Codex Dionysii was gradually enlarged by additions, genuine and spurious, and through the favor of the popes, attained the authority of law almost throughout the West. Yet there were other collections also in use, particularly in Spain and North Africa.

Some fifty years after Dionysius, John Scholasticus, previously an advocate, then presbyter at Antioch, and after 564 patriarch of Constantinople, published a collection of canons in Greek,651 which surpassed the former in completeness and convenience of arrangement, and for this reason, as well as the eminence of the author, soon rose to universal authority in the Greek church. In it he gives eighty-five Apostolic Canons, and the ordinances of the councils of Ancyra (314) and Nicaea (325), down to that of Chalcedon (451), in fifty titles, according to the order of subjects. The second Trullan council (Quinisextum, of 692), which passes with the Greeks for ecumenical, adopted the eighty-five Apostolic Canons, while it rejected the Apostolic Constitutions, because, though, like the canons, of apostolic origin, they had been early adulterated. Thus arose the difference between the Greek and Latin churches in reference to the number of the so-called Apostolic canons; the Latin church retaining only the fifty of the Dionysian collection.

The same John, while patriarch of Constantinople, compiled from the Novelles of Justinian a collection of the ecclesiastical state-laws or novmoi, as they were called in distinction from the synodal church-laws or kanovne". Practical wants then led to a union of the two, under the title of Nomocanon.

These books of ecclesiastical law served to complete and confirm the hierarchical organization, to regulate the life of the clergy, and to promote order and discipline; but they tended also to fix upon the church an outward legalism, and to embarrass the spirit of progress.



§ 68. Decline of Discipline.

The principal sources are the books of ecclesiastical law and the acts of councils. Comp. the literature at § 67, and at vol. i. § 114.

The union of the church with the state shed, in general, an injurious influence upon the discipline of the church; and that, in two opposite directions.

On the one hand it increased the stringency of discipline and led to a penal code for spiritual offences. The state gave her help to the church, lent the power of law to acts of suspension and excommunication, and accompanied those acts with civil penalties. Hence the innumerable depositions and banishments of bishops during the theological controversies of the Nicene and the following age, especially under the influence of the Byzantine despotism and the religious intolerance and bigotry of the times. Even the penalty of death was decreed, at least against the Priscillianists, though under the protest of nobler divines, who clave to the spiritual character of the church and of her weapons.652 Heresy was regarded as the most grievous and unpardonable crime against society, and was treated accordingly by the ruling party, without respect of creed.

But on the other hand discipline became weakened. With the increasing stringency against heretics, firmness against practical errors diminished. Hatred of heresy and laxity of morals, zeal for purity of doctrine and indifference to purity of life, which ought to exclude each other, do really often stand in union. Think of the history of Pharisaism at the time of Christ, of orthodox Lutheranism in its opposition to Spener and the Pietistic movement, and of prelatical Anglicanism in its conflict with Methodism and the evangelical party. Even in the Johannean age this was the case in the church of Ephesus, which prefigured in this respect both the light and shade of the later Eastern church.653 The earnest, but stiff, mechanical penitential discipline, with its four grades of penance, which had developed itself during the Dioclesian persecution,654 continued in force, it is true, as to the letter, and was repeatedly reaffirmed by the councils of the fourth century. But the great change of circumstances rendered the practical execution of it more and more difficult, by the very multiplication and high position, of those on whom it ought to be enforced. In that mighty revolution under Constantine the church lost her virginity, and allied herself with the mass of heathendom, which had not yet experienced an inward change. Not seldom did the emperors themselves, and other persons of authority, who ought to have led the way with a good example, render themselves, with all their zeal for theoretical orthodoxy, most worthy of suspension and excommunication by their scandalous conduct, while they were surrounded by weak or worldly bishops, who cared more for the favor of their earthly masters, than for the honor of their heavenly Lord and the dignity of the church. Even Eusebius, otherwise one of the better bishops of his time, had no word of rebuke for the gross crimes of Constantine, but only the most extravagant eulogies for his merits.

In the Greek church the discipline gradually decayed, to the great disadvantage of public morality, and every one was allowed to partake of the communion according to his conscience. The bishops alone reserved the right of debarring the vicious from the table of the Lord. The patriarch Nectarius of Constantinople, about 390, abolished the office of penitential priest (presbyter poenitentiarius), who was set over the execution of the penitential discipline. The occasion of this act was furnished by a scandalous occurrence: the violation of a lady of rank in the church by a worthless deacon, when she came to submit herself to public penance. The example of Nectarius was soon followed by the other oriental bishops.655

Socrates and Sozomen, who inclined to the severity of the Novatians, date the decline of discipline and of the former purity of morals from this act. But the real cause lay further back, in the connection of the church with the temporal power. Had the state been pervaded with the religious earnestness and zeal of Christianity, like the Genevan republic, for example, under the reformation of Calvin, the discipline of the church would have rather gained than lost by the alliance. But the vast Roman state could not so easily and quickly lay aside its heathen traditions and customs; it perpetuated them under Christian names. The great mass of the people received, at best, only John's baptism of repentance, not Christ's baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire.

Yet even under these new conditions the original moral earnestness of the church continued, from time to time, to make itself known. Bishops were not wanting to confront even the emperors, as Nathan stood before David after his fall, in fearless rebuke. Chrysostom rigidly insisted, that the deacon should exclude all unworthy persons from the holy communion, though by his vehement reproof of the immoralities of the imperial court, he brought upon himself at last deposition and exile." Though a captain," says he to those who administer the communion, "or a governor, nay, even one adorned with the imperial crown, approach [the table of the Lord] unworthily, prevent him; you have greater authority than he .... Beware lest you excite the Lord to wrath, and give a sword instead of food. And if a new Judas should approach the communion, prevent him. Fear God, not man. If you fear man, he will treat you with scorn; if you fear God, you will appear venerable even to men."656 Synesius excommunicated the worthless governor of Pentapolis, Andronicus, for his cruel oppression of the poor and contempt of the exhortations of the bishop, and the discipline attained the desired effect. The most noted example of church discipline is the encounter between Ambrose and Theodosius I. in Milan about the year 390. The bishop refused the powerful and orthodox emperor the communion, and thrust him back from the threshold of the church, because in a tempest of rage he had caused seven thousand persons in Thessalonica., regardless of rank, sex, or guilt, to be hewn down by his soldiers in horrible cruelty on account of a riot. Eight months afterward Ambrose gave him absolution at his request, after he had submitted to the public penance of the church and promised in future not to execute a death penalty until thirty days after the pronouncing of it, that he might have time to revoke it if necessary, and to exercise mercy.657 Here Ambrose certainly vindicated—though perhaps not without admixture of hierarchical loftiness—the dignity and rights of the church against the state, and the claims of Christian temperance and mercy against gross military power." Thus," says a modern historians "did the church prove, in a time of unlimited arbitrary power, the refuge of popular freedom, and saints assume the part of tribunes of the people."658

§ 69. The Donatist Schism. External History.

I. Sources. Augustine: Works against the Donatists (Contra epistolam Parmeniani, libri iii.; De baptismo, contra Donatistas, libri vii.; Contra literas Petiliani, libri iii.; De Unitate Ecclesiae, lib. unus; Contra Cresconium, grammaticum Donat., libri iv.; Breviculus Collationis cum Donatistis; Contra Gaudentium, etc.), in the 9th vol. of his Opera, ed. Bened. (Paris, 1688). Optatus Milevitanus (about 370): De schismate Donatistarum. L. E. Du Pin: Monumenta vett. ad Donatist. Hist. pertinentia, Par. 1700. Excerpta et Scripta vetera ad Donatistarum Historiam pertinentia, at the close of the ninth volume of the Bened. ed. of Augustine's works.

II. Literature. Valesius: De schism. Donat. (appended to his ed. of Eusebius). Walch: Historie der Ketzereien, etc., vol. iv. Neander: Allg. K. G. ii. 1, p. 366 sqq. (Torrey's Engl. translation, ii. p. 182 sqq.). A. Roux: De Augustine adversario Donat. Lugd. Bat. 1838. F. Ribbeck: Donatus u. Augustinus, oder der erste entscheidende Kampf zwischen Separatismus u. Kirche., Elberf. 1858. (The author was for a short time a Baptist, and then returned to the Prussian established church, and wrote this work against separatism.)

Donatism was by far the most important schism in the church of the period before us. For a whole century it divided the North African churches into two hostile camps. Like the schisms of the former period,659 it arose from the conflict of the more rigid and the more indulgent theories of discipline in reference to the restoration of the lapsed. But through the intervention of the Christianized state, it assumed at the same time an ecclesiastico-political character. The rigoristic penitential discipline had been represented in the previous period especially by the Montanists and Novatians, who were still living; while the milder principle and practice had found its most powerful support in the Roman church, and, since the time of Constantine, had generally prevailed.

The beginnings of the Donatist schism appear in the Dioclesian persecution, which revived that controversy concerning church discipline and martyrdom. The rigoristic party, favored by Secundus of Tigisis, at that time primate of Numidia, and led by the bishop Donatus of Casae Nigrae, rushed to the martyr's crown with fanatical contempt of death, and saw in flight from danger, or in the delivering up of the sacred books, only cowardice and treachery, which should forever exclude from the fellowship of the church. The moderate party, at whose head stood the bishop Mensurius and his archdeacon and successor Caecilian, advocated the claims of prudence and discretion, and cast suspicion on the motives of the forward confessors and martyrs. So early as the year 305 a schism was imminent, in the matter of an episcopal election for the city of Cita. But no formal outbreak occurred until after the cessation of the persecution in 311; and then the difficulty arose in connection with the hasty election of Caecilian to the bishopric of Carthage. The Donatists refused to acknowledge him, because in his ordination the Numidian bishops were slighted, and the service was performed by the bishop Felix of Aptungis, or Aptunga, whom they declared to be a traditor, that is, one who had delivered up the sacred writings to the heathen persecutors. In Carthage itself he had many opponents, among whom were the elders of the congregation (seniores plebis), and particularly a wealthy and superstitious widow, Lucilla, who was accustomed to kiss certain relics before her daily communion, and seemed to prefer them to the spiritual power of the sacrament. Secundus of Tigisis and seventy Numidian bishops, mostly of the rigoristic school, assembled at Carthage deposed and excommunicated Caecilian, who refused to appear, and elected the lector Majorinus, a favorite of Lucilla, in his place. After his death, in 315, Majorinus was succeeded by Donatus, a gifted man, of fiery energy and eloquence, revered by his admirers as a wonder worker, and styled The Great. From this man, and not from the Donatus mentioned above, the name of the party was derived.660

Each party endeavored to gain churches abroad to its side, and thus the schism spread. The Donatists appealed to the emperor Constantine—the first instance of such appeal, and a step which they afterward had to repent. The emperor, who was at that time in Gaul, referred the matter to the Roman bishop Melchiades (Miltiades) and five Gallican bishops, before whom the accused Caecilian and ten African bishops from each side were directed to appear. The decision went in favor of Caecilian, and he was now, except in Africa, universally regarded as the legitimate bishop of Carthage. The Donatists remonstrated. A second investigation, which Constantine intrusted to the council of Arles (Arelate) in 314, led to the same result. When the Donatists hereupon appealed from this ecclesiastical tribunal to the judgment of the emperor himself, he likewise declared against them at Milan in 316, and soon afterward issued penal laws against them, threatening them with the banishment of their bishops and the confiscation of their churches.

Persecution made them enemies of the state whose help they had invoked, and fed the flame of their fanaticism. They made violent resistance to the imperial commissioner, Ursacius, and declared that no power on earth could induce them to hold church fellowship with the "rascal" (nebulo) Caecilian. Constantine perceived the fruitlessness of the forcible restriction of religion, and, by an edict in 321, granted the Donatists full liberty of faith and worship. He remained faithful to this policy of toleration, and exhorted the Catholics to patience and indulgence. At a council in 330 the Donatists numbered two hundred and seventy bishops.

Constans, the successor of Constantine, resorted again to violent measures; but neither threats nor promises made any impression on the party. It came to blood. The Circumcellions, a sort of Donatist mendicant monks, who wandered about the country among the cottages of the peasantry,661 carried on plunder, arson, and murder, in conjunction with mutinous peasants and slaves, and in crazy zeal for the martyr's crown, as genuine soldiers of Christ, rushed into fire and water, and threw themselves down from rocks. Yet there were Donatists who disapproved this revolutionary frenzy. The insurrection was suppressed by military force; several leaders of the Donatists were executed, others were banished, and their churches were closed or confiscated. Donatus the Great died in exile. He was succeeded by one Parmenianus.

Under Julian the Apostate the Donatists again obtained, with all other heretics and schismatics, freedom of religion, and returned to the possession of their churches, which they painted anew, to redeem them from their profanation by the Catholics. But under the subsequent emperors their condition grew worse, both from persecutions without and dissensions within. The quarrel between the two parties extended into all the affairs of daily life; the Donatist bishop Faustinus of Hippo, for example, allowing none of the members of his church to bake bread for the Catholic inhabitants.

§ 70. Augustine and the Donatists. Their Persecution and Extinction.

At the end of the fourth century, and in the beginning of the fifth, the great Augustine, of Hippo, where there was also a strong congregation of the schismatics, made a powerful effort, by instruction and persuasion, to reconcile the Donatists with the Catholic church. He wrote several works on the subject, and set the whole African church in motion against them. They feared his superior dialectics, and avoided him wherever they could. The matter, however, was brought, by order of the emperor in 411, to a three days' arbitration at Carthage, attended by two hundred and eighty-six Catholic bishops and two hundred and seventy-nine Donatist.662

Augustine, who, in two beautiful sermons before the beginning of the disputation, exhorted to love, forbearance and meekness, was the chief speaker on the part of the Catholics Petilian, on the part of the schismatics. Marcellinus, the imperial tribune and notary, and a friend of Augustine, presided, and was to pass the decisive judgment. This arrangement was obviously partial, and secured the triumph of the Catholics. The discussions related to two points: (1) Whether the Catholic bishops Caecilian and Felix of Aptunga were traditors; (2) Whether the church lose her nature and attributes by fellowship with heinous sinners. The balance of skill and argument was on the side of Augustine, though the Donatists brought much that was forcible against compulsion in religion, and against the confusion of the temporal and the spiritual powers. The imperial commissioner, as might be expected, decided in favor of the Catholics. The separatists nevertheless persisted in their view, but their appeal to the emperor continued unsuccessful.

More stringent civil laws were now enacted against them, banishing the Donatist clergy from their country, imposing fines on the laity, and confiscating the churches. In 415 they were even forbidden to hold religious assemblies, upon pain of death.

Augustine himself, who had previously consented only to spiritual measures against heretics, now advocated force, to bring them into the fellowship of the church, out of which there was no salvation. He appealed to the command in the parable of the supper, Luke, xiv. 23, to "compel them to come in;" where, however, the "compel" (ajnavgkason) is evidently but a vivid hyperbole for the holy zeal in the conversion of the heathen, which we find, for example, in the apostle Paul.663

New eruptions of fanaticism ensued. A bishop Gaudentius threatened, that if the attempt were made to deprive him of his church by force, he, would burn himself with his congregation in it, and vindicated this intended suicide by the example of Rhazis, in the second book of Maccabees (ch. xiv.).

The conquest of Africa by the Arian Vandals in 428 devastated the African church, and put an end to the controversy, as the French Revolution swept both Jesuitism and Jansenism away. Yet a remnant of the Donatists, as we learn from the letters of Gregory I., perpetuated itself into the seventh century, still proving in their ruins the power of a mistaken puritanic zeal and the responsibility and guilt of state-church persecution. In the seventh century the entire African church sank under the Saracenic conquest.

§ 71. Internal History of the Donatist Schism. Dogma of the Church.

The Donatist controversy was a conflict between separatism and catholicism; between ecclesiastical purism and ecclesiastical eclecticism; between the idea of the church as an exclusive community of regenerate saints and the idea of the church as the general Christendom of state and people. It revolved around the doctrine of the essence of the Christian church, and, in particular, of the predicate of holiness. It resulted in the completion by Augustine of the catholic dogma of the church, which had been partly developed by Cyprian in his conflict with a similar schism.664

The Donatists, like Tertullian in his Montanistic writings, started from an ideal and spiritualistic conception of the church as a fellowship of saints, which in a sinful world could only be imperfectly realized. They laid chief stress on the predicate of the subjective holiness or personal worthiness of the several members, and made the catholicity of the church and the efficacy of the sacraments dependent upon that. The true church, therefore, is not so much a school of holiness, as a society of those who are already holy; or at least of those who appear so; for that there are hypocrites not even the Donatists could deny, and as little could they in earnest claim infallibility in their own discernment of men. By the toleration of those who are openly sinful, the church loses, her holiness, and ceases to be church. Unholy priests are incapable of administering sacraments; for how can regeneration proceed from the unregenerate, holiness from the unholy? No one can give what he does not himself possess. He who would receive faith from a faithless man, receives not faith but guilt.665 It was on this ground, in fact, that they rejected the election of Caecilian: that he had been ordained bishop by an unworthy person. On this ground they refused to recognize the Catholic baptism as baptism at all. On this point they had some support in Cyprian, who likewise rejected the validity of heretical baptism, though not from the separatist, but from the catholic point of view, and who came into collision, upon this question, with Stephen of Rome.666

Hence, like the Montanists and Novatians, they insisted on rigorous church discipline, and demanded the excommunication of all unworthy members, especially of such as had denied their faith or given up the Holy Scriptures under persecution. They resisted, moreover, all interference of the civil power in church affairs; though they themselves at first had solicited the help of Constantine. In the great imperial church, embracing the people in a mass, they saw a secularized Babylon, against which they set themselves off, in separatistic arrogance, as the only true and pure church. In support of their views, they appealed to the passages of the Old Testament, which speak of the external holiness of the people of God, and to the procedure of Paul with respect to the fornicator at Corinth.

In opposition to this subjective and spiritualistic theory of the church, Augustine, as champion of the Catholics, developed the objective, realistic theory, which has since been repeatedly reasserted, though with various modifications, not only in the Roman church, but also in the Protestant, against separatistic and schismatic sects. He lays chief stress on the catholicity of the church, and derives the holiness of individual members and the validity of ecclesiastical functions from it. He finds the essence of the church, not in the personal character of the several Christians, but in the union of the whole church with Christ. Taking the historical point of view, he goes back to the founding of the church, which may be seen in the New Testament, which has spread over all the world, and which is connected through the unbroken succession of bishops with the apostles and with Christ. This alone can be the true church. It is impossible that she should all at once disappear from the earth, or should exist only in the African sect of the Donatists.667 What is all that they may say of their little heap, in comparison with the great catholic Christendom of all lands? Thus even numerical preponderance here enters as an argument; though under other circumstances it may prove too much, and would place the primitive church at a clear disadvantage in comparison with the prevailing Jewish and heathen masses, and the Evangelical church in its controversy with the Roman Catholic.

From the objective character of the church as a divine institution flows, according to the catholic view, the efficacy of all her functions, the Sacraments in particular. When Petilian, at the Collatio cum Donatistis, said: "He who receives the faith from a faithless priest, receives not faith, but guilt," Augustine answered: "But Christ is not unfaithful (perfidus), from whom I receive faith (fidem), not guilt (reatum). Christ, therefore, is properly the functionary, and the priest is simply his organ." "My origin," said Augustine on the same occasion, "is Christ, my root is Christ, my head is Christ. The seed, of which I was born, is the word of God, which I must obey even though the preacher himself practise not what he preaches. I believe not in the minister by whom I am baptized, but in Christ, who alone justifies the sinner and can forgive guilt."668

Lastly, in regard to church discipline, the opponents of the Donatists agreed with them in considering it wholesome and necessary, but would keep it within the limits fixed for it by the circumstances of the time and the fallibility of men. A perfect separation of sinners from saints is impracticable before the final judgment. Many things must be patiently borne, that greater evil may be averted, and that those still capable of improvement may be improved, especially where the offender has too many adherents." Man," says Augustine, "should punish in the spirit of love, until either the discipline and correction come from above, or the tares are pulled up in the universal harvest."669 In support of this view appeal was made to the Lord's parables of the tares among the wheat, and of the net which gathered together of every kind (Matt. xiii.). These two parables were the chief exegetical battle ground of the two parties. The Donatists understood by the field, not the church, but the world, according to the Saviour's own exposition of the parable of the tares;670 the Catholics replied that it was the kingdom of heaven or the church to which the parable referred as a whole, and pressed especially the warning of the Saviour not to gather up the tares before the final harvest, lest they root up also the wheat with them. The Donatists, moreover, made a distinction between unknown offenders, to whom alone the parable of the net referred, and notorious sinners. But this did not gain them much; for if the church compromises her character for holiness by contact with unworthy persons at all, it matters not whether they be openly unworthy before men or not, and no church whatever would be left on earth.

On the other hand, however, Augustine, who, no more than the Donatists, could relinquish the predicate of holiness for the church, found himself compelled to distinguish between a true and a mixed, or merely apparent body of Christ; forasmuch as hypocrites, even in this world, are not in and with Christ, but only appear to be.671 And yet he repelled the Donatist charge of making two churches. In his view it is one and the same church, which is now mixed with the ungodly, and will hereafter be pure, as it is the same Christ who once died, and now lives forever, and the same believers, who are now mortal and will one day put on immortality'.672

With some modification we may find here the germ of the subsequent Protestant distinction of the visible and invisible church; which regards the invisible, not as another church, but as the ecclesiola in ecclesia (or ecclesiis), as the smaller communion of true believers among professors, and thus as the true substance of the visible church, and as contained within its limits, like the soul in the body, or the kernel in the shell. Here the moderate Donatist and scholarly theologian, Tychoius,673 approached Augustine; calling the church a twofold body of Christ,674 of which the one part embraces the true Christians, the other the apparent.675 In this, as also in acknowledging the validity of the Catholic baptism, Tychonius departed from the Donatists; while he adhered to their views on discipline and opposed the Catholic mixture of the church and the world. But neither he nor Augustine pursued this distinction to any clearer development. Both were involved, at bottom, in the confusion of Christianity with the church, and of the church with a particular outward organization.

§ 72. The Roman Schism of Damasus and Ursinus.

Rufinus: Hist. Eccl. ii. 10. Hieronymus: Chron. ad ann. 366. Socrates: H. E. iv. 29 (all in favor of Damasus). Faustinus et Marcellinus (two presbyters of Ursinus): Libellus precum ad Imper. Theodos. in Bibl. Patr. Lugd. v. 637 (in favor of Ursinus). With these Christian accounts of the Roman schism may be compared the impartial statement of the heathen historian Ammianus Marcellinus, xxvii. c. 3, ad ann. 367.

The church schism between Damasus and Ursinus (or Ursicinus) in Rome, had nothing to do with the question of discipline, but proceeded partly from the Arian controversy, partly from personal ambition.676 For such were the power and splendor of the court of the successor of the Galilean fisherman, even at that time, that the distinguished pagan senator, Praetextatus, said to Pope Damasus: "Make me a bishop of Rome, and I will be a Christian to-morrow."677 The schism presents a mournful example of the violent character of the episcopal elections at Rome. These elections were as important events for the Romans as the elections of the emperors by the Praetorian soldiers had formerly been. They enlisted and aroused all the passions of the clergy and the people.

The schism originated in the deposition and banishment of the bishop Tiberius, for his orthodoxy, and the election of the Arian Felix678 as pope in opposition by the arbitrary will of the emperor Constantius (a.d. 355). Liberius, having in his exile subscribed the Arian creed of Sirmium, 679 was in 358 reinstated, and Felix retired, and is said to have subsequently repented his defection to Arianism. The parties, however, continued.

After the death of Liberius in 366, Damasus was, by the party of Felix, and Ursinus by the party of Liberius, elected successor of Peter. It came to repeated bloody encounters; even the altar of the Prince of Peace was desecrated, and in a church whither Ursinus had betaken himself, a hundred and thirty-seven men lost their lives in one day.680 Other provinces also were drawn into the quarrel. It was years before Damasus at last, with the aid of the, emperor, obtained undisputed possession of his office, and Ursinus was banished. The statements of the two parties are so conflicting in regard to the priority and legitimacy of election in the two cases, and the authorship of the bloody scenes, that we cannot further determine on which side lay the greater blame. Damasus, who reigned from 367 to 384) is indeed depicted as in other respects a violent man,681 but he was a man of learning and literary taste, and did good service by his patronage of Jerome's Latin version of the Bible, and by the introduction of the Latin Psalter into the church song.682

§ 73. The Meletian Schism at Antioch.

Hieronymus: Chron. ad ann. 864. Chrysostomus: Homilia in S. Patrem nostrum Meletium, archiepiscopum magnae Antiochiae (delivered a.d. 386 or 387, in Montfaucon's ed. of Chrysost. Opera, tom. ii. p. 518–523). Sozomen: H. E. iv. 28; vii. 10, 11. Theodor.: H. E. V. 3, 35. Socrates: H. E. iii. 9; v. 9, 17. Comp. Walch: Ketzerhistorie, part iv. p. 410 sqq.

The Meletian schism at Antioch683 was interwoven with the Arian controversies, and lasted through more than half a century.

In 361 the majority of the Antiochian church elected as bishop Meletius, who had formerly been an Arian, and was ordained by this party, but after his election professed the Nicene orthodoxy. He was a man of rich persuasive eloquence, and of a sweet and amiable disposition, which endeared him to the Catholics and Arians. But his doctrinal indecision offended the extremists of both parties. When he professed the Nicene faith, the Arians deposed him in council, sent him into exile, and transferred his bishopric to Euzoius, who had formerly been banished with Arius.684 The Catholics disowned Euzoius, but split among themselves; the majority adhered to the exiled Meletius, while the old and more strictly orthodox party, who had hitherto been known as the Eustathians, and with whom Athanasius communicated, would not recognize a bishop of Arian consecration, though Catholic in belief, and elected Paulinus, a presbyter of high character, who was ordained counter-bishop by Lucifer of Calaris.685

The doctrinal difference between the Meletians and the old Nicenes consisted chiefly in this: that the latter acknowledged three hypostases in the divine trinity, the former only three prosopa; the one laying the stress on the triplicity of the divine essence, the other on its unity.

The orthodox orientals declared for Meletius, the occidentals and Egyptians for Paulinus, as legitimate bishop of Antioch. Meletius, on returning from exile under the protection of Gratian, proposed to Paulinus that they should unite their flocks, and that the survivor of them should superintend the church alone; but Paulinus declined, since the canons forbade him to take as a colleague one who had been ordained by Arians.686 Then the military authorities put Meletius in possession of the cathedral, which had been in the hands of Euzoius. Meletius presided, as senior bishop, in the second ecumenical council (381), but died a few days after the opening of it—a saint outside the communion of Rome. His funeral was imposing: lights were borne before the embalmed corpse, and psalms sung in divers languages, and these honors were repeated in all the cities through which it passed on its transportation to Antioch, beside the grave of St. Babylas.687 The Antiochians engraved his likeness on their rings, their cups, and the walls of their bedrooms. So St. Chrysostom informs us in his eloquent eulogy on Meletius.688 Flavian was elected his successor, although Paulinus was still alive. This gave rise to fresh troubles, and excited the indignation of the bishop of Rome. Chrysostom labored for the reconciliation of Rome and Alexandria to Flavian. But the party of Paulinus, after his death in 389, elected Evarius as successor († 392), and the schism continued down to the year 413 or 415, when the bishop Alexander succeeded in reconciling the old orthodox remnant with the successor of Meletius. The two parties celebrated their union by a splendid festival, and proceeded together in one majestic stream to the church.689

Thus a long and tedious schism was brought to a close, and the church of Antioch was permitted at last to enjoy that peace which the Athanasian synod of Alexandria in 362 had desired for it in vain.690



I. The ancient Liturgies; the Acts of Councils; and the ecclesiastical writers of the period.

II. The archaeological and liturgical works of Martene, Mamachi, Bona, Muratori, Pelicia, Asseman, Renaudot, Binterim, and Staudenmeier, of the Roman Catholic church; and Bingham, Augusti, Siegel, Alt, Piper, Neale, and Daniel, of the Protestant.

§ 74. The Revolution in Cultus.

The change in the legal and social position of Christianity with reference to the temporal power, produced a mighty effect upon its cultus. Hitherto the Christian worship had been confined to a comparatively small number of upright confessors, most of whom belonged to the poorer classes of society. Now it came forth from its secrecy in private houses, deserts, and catacombs, to the light of day, and must adapt itself to the higher classes and to the great mass of the people, who had been bred in the traditions of heathenism. The development of the hierarchy and the enrichment of public worship go hand in hand. A republican and democratic constitution demands simple manners and customs; aristocracy and monarchy surround themselves with a formal etiquette and a brilliant court-life. The universal priesthood is closely connected with a simple cultus; the episcopal hierarchy, with a rich, imposing ceremonial.

In the Nicene age the church laid aside her lowly servant-form, and put on a splendid imperial garb. She exchanged the primitive simplicity of her cultus for a richly colored multiplicity. She drew all the fine arts into the service of the sanctuary, and began her sublime creations of Christian architecture, sculpture, painting, poetry, and music. In place of the pagan temple and altar arose everywhere the stately church and the chapel in honor of Christ, of the Virgin Mary, of martyrs and saints. The kindred ideas of priesthood, sacrifice, and altar became more fully developed and more firmly fixed, as the outward hierarchy grew. The mass, or daily repetition of the atoning sacrifice of Christ by the hand of the priest, became the mysterious centre of the whole system of worship. The number of church festivals was increased; processions, and pilgrimages, and a multitude of significant and superstitious customs and ceremonies were introduced. The public worship of God assumed, if we may so speak, a dramatic, theatrical character, which made it attractive and imposing to the mass of the people, who were as yet incapable, for the most part, of worshipping God in spirit and in truth. It was addressed rather to the eye and the ear, to feeling and imagination, than to intelligence and will. In short, we already find in the Nicene age almost all the essential features of the sacerdotal, mysterious, ceremonial, symbolical cultus of the Greek and Roman churches of the present day.

This enrichment and embellishment of the cultus was, on one hand, a real advance, and unquestionably had a disciplinary and educational power, like the hierarchical organization, for the training of the popular masses. But the gain in outward appearance and splendor was balanced by many a loss in simplicity and spirituality. While the senses and the imagination were entertained and charmed, the heart not rarely returned cold and hungry. Not a few pagan habits and ceremonies, concealed under new names, crept into the church, or were baptized only with water, not with the fire and Spirit of the gospel. It is well known with what peculiar tenacity a people cleave to religious usages; and it could not be expected that they should break off in an instant from the traditions of centuries. Nor, in fact, are things which may have descended from heathenism, to be by any means sweepingly condemned. Both the Jewish cultus and the heathen are based upon those universal religious wants which Christianity must satisfy, and which Christianity alone can truly meet. Finally, the church has adopted hardly a single existing form or ceremony of religion, without at the same time breathing into it a new spirit, and investing it with a high moral import. But the limit of such appropriation it is very hard to fix, and the old nature of Judaism and heathenism which has its point of attachment in the natural heart of man, continually betrayed its tenacious presence. This is conceded and lamented by the most earnest of the church fathers of the Nicene and post-Nicene age, the very persons who are in other respects most deeply involved in the Catholic ideas of cultus.

In the Christian martyr-worship and saint-worship, which now spread with giant strides over the whole Christian world, we cannot possibly mistake the succession of the pagan worship of gods and heroes, with its noisy popular festivities. Augustine puts into the mouth of a heathen the question: "Wherefore must we forsake gods, which the Christians themselves worship with us?" He deplores the frequent revels and amusements at the tombs of the martyrs; though he thinks that allowance should be made for these weaknesses out of regard to the ancient custom. Leo the Great speaks of Christians in Rome who first worshipped the rising sun, doing homage to the pagan Apollo, before repairing to the basilica of St. Peter. Theodoret defends the Christian practices at the graves of the martyrs by pointing to the pagan libations, propitiations, gods, and demigods. Since Hercules, Aesculapitis, Bacchus, the Dioscuri, and many other objects of pagan worship were mere deified men, the Christians, he thinks, cannot be blamed for honoring their martyrs—not making them gods but venerating them as witnesses and servants of the only, true God. Chrysostom mourns over the theatrical customs, such as loud clapping in applause, which the Christians at Antioch and Constantinople brought with them into the church. In the Christmas festival, which from the fourth century spread from Rome over the entire church, the holy commemoration of the birth of the Redeemer is associated—to this day, even in Protestant lands—with the wanton merriments of the pagan Saturnalia. And even in the celebration of Sunday, as it was introduced by Constantine, and still continues on the whole continent of Europe, the cultus of the old sun-god Apollo mingles, with the remembrance of the resurrection of Christ; and the widespread profanation of the Lord's Day, especially on the continent of Europe, demonstrates the great influence which heathenism still exerts upon Roman and Greek Catholic, and even upon Protestant, Christendom.

§ 75. The Civil and Religious Sunday.

Geo. Holden: The Christian Sabbath. Lond. 1825 (see ch. v.). John T. Baylee: History of the Sabbath. Lond. 1857 (see chs. x.-xiii.). James Aug. Hessey: Sunday, its Origin, History, and present Obligation; Bampton Lectures preached before the University of Oxford. Lond. 1860 (Patristic and high-Anglican). James Gilfillan: The Sabbath viewed in the Light of Reason, Revelation, and History, with Sketches of its Literature. Edinb. and New York, 1862 (The Puritan and Anglo-American view). Robert Cox: The Literature on the Sabbath Question. Edinb. 1865, 2 vols. (Latitudinarian, but very full and learned).

The observance of Sunday originated in the time of the apostles, and ever since forms the basis of public worship, with its ennobling, sanctifying, and cheering influences, in all Christian lands.

The Christian Sabbath is, on the one hand, the continuation and the regeneration of the Jewish Sabbath, based upon God's resting from the creation and upon the fourth commandment of the decalogue, which, as to its substance, is not of merely national application, like the ceremonial and civil law, but of universal import and perpetual validity for mankind. It is, on the other hand, a new creation of the gospel, a memorial of the resurrection of Christ and of the work of redemption completed and divinely sealed thereby. It rests, we may say, upon the threefold basis of the original creation, the Jewish legislation, and the Christian redemption, and is rooted in the physical, the moral, and the religious wants of our nature. It has a legal and an evangelical aspect. Like the law in general, the institution of the Christian Sabbath is a wholesome restraint upon the people, and a schoolmaster to lead them to Christ. But it is also strictly evangelical: it was originally made for the benefit of man, like the family, with which it goes back beyond the fall to the paradise of innocence, as the second institution of God on earth; it was "a delight" to the pious of the old dispensation (Isa. lviii. 13), and now, under the new, it is fraught with the glorious memories and blessings of Christ's resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Christian Sabbath is the ancient Sabbath baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost, regenerated, spiritualized, and glorified. It is the connecting link of creation and redemption, of paradise lost, and paradise regained, and a pledge and preparation for the saints' everlasting rest in heaven.691

The ancient church viewed the Sunday mainly, we may say, one-sidedly and exclusively, from its Christian aspect as a new institution, and not in any way as a continuation of the Jewish Sabbath. It observed it as the day of the commemoration of the resurrection or of the now spiritual creation, and hence as a day of sacred joy and thanksgiving, standing in bold contrast to the days of humiliation and fasting, as the Easter festival contrasts with Good Friday.

So long as Christianity was not recognized and protected by the state, the observance of Sunday was purely religious, a strictly voluntary service, but exposed to continual interruption from the bustle of the world and a hostile community. The pagan Romans paid no more regard to the Christian Sunday than to the Jewish Sabbath.

In this matter, as in others, the accession of Constantine marks the beginning of a new era, and did good service to the church and to the cause of public order and morality. Constantine is the founder, in part at least, of the civil observance of Sunday, by which alone the religious observance of it in the church could be made universal and could be properly secured. In the year 321 he issued a law prohibiting manual labor in the cities and all judicial transactions, at a later period also military exercises, on Sunday.692 He exempted the liberation of slaves, which as an act of Christian humanity and charity, might, with special propriety, take place on that day.693 But the Sunday law of Constantine must not be overrated. He enjoined the observance, or rather forbade the public desecration of Sunday, not under the name of Sabbatum or Dies Domini, but under its old astrological and heathen title, Dies Solis, familiar to all his subjects, so that the law was as applicable to the worshippers of Hercules, Apollo, and Mithras, as to the Christians. There is no reference whatever in his law either to the fourth commandment or to the resurrection of Christ. Besides he expressly exempted the country districts, where paganism still prevailed, from the prohibition of labor, and thus avoided every appearance of injustice. Christians and pagans had been accustomed to festival rests. Constantine made these rests to synchronize, and gave the preference to Sunday, on which day Christians from the beginning celebrated the resurrection of their Lord and Saviour. This and no more was implied in the famous enactment of 321. It was only a step in the right direction, but probably the only one which Constantine could prudently or safely take at that period of transition from the rule of paganism to that of Christianity.

For the army, however, he went beyond the limits of negative and protective legislation, to which the state ought to confine itself in matters of religion, and enjoined a certain positive observance of Sunday, in requiring the Christian soldiers to attend Christian worship, and the heathen soldiers, in the open field, at a given signal, with eyes and hands raised towards heaven, to recite the following, certainly very indefinite, form of prayer: "Thee alone we acknowledge as God, thee we reverence as king, to thee we call as our helper. To thee we owe our victories, by thee have we obtained the mastery of our enemies. To thee we give thanks for benefits already received, from thee we hope for benefits to come. We all fall at thy feet, and fervently beg that thou wouldest preserve to us our emperor Constantine and his divinely beloved sons in long life healthful and victorious."694

Constantine's successors pursued the Sunday legislation which he had initiated, and gave a legal sanction and civil significance also to other holy days of the church, which have no Scriptural authority, so that the special reverence due to the Lord's Day was obscured in proportion as the number of rival claims increased. Thus Theodosius I. increased the number of judicial holidays to one hundred and twenty-four. The Valentinians, I. and II., prohibited the exaction of taxes and the collection of moneys on Sunday, and enforced the previously enacted prohibition of lawsuits. Theodosius the Great, in 386, and still more stringently the younger Theodosius, in 425, forbade theatrical performances, and Leo and Anthemius, in 460, prohibited other secular amusements, on the Lord's Day.695 Such laws, however, were probably never rigidly executed. A council of Carthage, in 401, laments the people's passion for theatrical and other entertainments on Sunday. The same abuse, it is well known, very generally prevails to this day upon the continent of Europe in both Protestant and Roman Catholic countries, and Christian princes and magistrates only too frequently give it the sanction of their example.

Ecclesiastical legislation in like manner prohibited needless mechanical and agricultural labor, and the attending of theatres and other public places of amusement, also hunting and weddings, on Sunday and on feast days. Besides such negative legislation, to which the state must confine itself, the church at the same time enjoined positive observances for the sacred day, especially the regular attendance of public worship, frequent communion, and the payment of free-will offerings (tithes). Many a council here confounded the legal and the evangelical principles, thinking themselves able to enforce by the threatening of penalties what has moral value only as a voluntary act. The Council of Eliberis, in 305, decreed the suspension from communion of any person living in a town who shall absent himself for three Lord's Days from church. In the same legalistic spirit, the council of Sardica,696 in 343, and the Trullan council697 of 692, threatened with deposition the clergy who should unnecessarily omit public worship three Sundays in succession, and prescribed temporary excommunication for similar neglect among the laity. But, on the other hand, the councils, while they turned the Lord's Day itself into a legal ordinance handed down from the apostles, pronounced with all decision against the Jewish Sabbatism. The Apostolic Canons and the council of Gangra (the latter, about 450, in opposition to the Gnostic Manichaean asceticism of the Eustathians) condemn fasting on Sunday.698 In the Greek church this prohibition is still in force, because Sunday, commemorating the resurrection of Christ, is a day of spiritual joy. On the same symbolical ground kneeling in prayer was forbidden on Sunday and through the whole time of Easter until Pentecost. The general council of Nicaeea, in 325, issued on this point in the twentieth canon the following decision: "Whereas some bow the knee on Sunday and on the days of Pentecost [i.e., during the seven weeks after Easter], the holy council, that everything may everywhere be uniform, decrees that prayers be offered to God in a standing posture." The Trullan council, in 692, ordained in the ninetieth canon: "From Saturday evening to Sunday evening let no one bow the knee." The Roman church in general still adheres to this practice.699 The New Testament gives no law for such secondary matters; the apostle Paul, on the contrary, just in the season of Easter and Pentecost, before his imprisonment, following an inward dictate, repeatedly knelt in prayer.700 The council of Orleans, in 538, says in the twenty-eighth canon: "It is Jewish superstition, that one may not ride or walk on Sunday, nor do anything to adorn the house or the person. But occupations in the field are forbidden, that people may come to the church and give themselves to prayer."701

As to the private opinions of the principal fathers on this subject, they all favor the sanctification of the Lord's Day, but treat it as a peculiarly Christian institution, and draw a strong, indeed a too strong, line of distinction between it and the Jewish Sabbath; forgetting that they are one in essence and aim, though different in form and spirit, and that the fourth commandment as to its substance—viz., the keeping holy of one day out of seven—is an integral part of the decalogue or the moral law, and hence of perpetual obligation.702 Eusebius calls Sunday, but not the Sabbath, "the first and chief of days and a day of salvation," and commends Constantine for commanding that "all should assemble together every week, and keep that which is called the Lord's Day as a festival, to refresh even their bodies and to stir up their minds by divine precepts and instruction."703 Athanasius speaks very highly of the Lord's Day, as the perpetual memorial of the resurrection, but assumes that the old Sabbath has deceased.704 Macarius, a presbyter of Upper Egypt (350), spiritualizes the Sabbath as a type and shadow of the true Sabbath given by the Lord to the soul—the true and eternal Sabbath, which is freedom from sin.705 Hilary represents the whole of this life as a preparation for the eternal Sabbath of the next. Epiphanius speaks of Sunday as an institution of the apostles, but falsely attributes the same origin to the observance of Wednesday and Friday as half fasts. Ambrose frequently mentions Sunday as an evangelical festival, and contrasts it with the defunct legal Sabbath. Jerome makes the same distinction. He relates of the Egyptian coenobites that they "devote themselves on the Lord's Day to nothing but prayer and reading the Scriptures." But he mentions also without censure, that the pious Paula and her companions, after returning from church on Sundays, "applied themselves to their allotted works and made garments for themselves and others." Augustine likewise directly derives Sunday from the resurrection, and not from the fourth commandment. Fasting on that day of spiritual joy he regards, like Ambrose, as a grave scandal and heretical practice. The Apostolical Constitutions in this respect go even still further, and declare: "He that fasts on the Lord's Day is guilty of sin." But they still prescribe the celebration of the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday in addition to the Christian Sunday. Chrysostom warns Christians against sabbatizing with the Jews, but earnestly commends the due celebration of the Lord's Day. Leo the Great, in a beautiful passage—the finest of all the patristic utterances on this subject—lauds the Lord's Day as the day of the primitive creation, of the Christian redemption, of the meeting of the risen Saviour with the assembled disciples, of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, of the principal Divine blessings bestowed upon the world.706 But he likewise brings it in no connection with the fourth commandment, and with the other fathers leaves out of view the proper foundation of the day in the eternal moral law of God.

Besides Sunday, the Jewish Sabbath also was distinguished in the Eastern church by the absence of fasting and by standing in prayer. The Western church, on the contrary, especially the Roman, in protest against Judaism, observed the seventh day of the week as a fast day, like Friday. This difference between the two churches was permanently fixed by the fifty-fifth canon of the Trullan council of 692: "In Rome fasting is practised on all the Saturdays of Quadragesima [the forty days' fast before Easter]. This is contrary to the sixty-sixth apostolic canon, and must no longer be done. Whoever does it, if a clergyman, shall be deposed; if a layman, excommunicated."

Wednesday and Friday also continued to be observed in many countries as days commemorative of the passion of Christ (dies stationum), with half-fasting. The Latin church, however, gradually substituted fasting on Saturday for fasting on Wednesday.

Finally, as to the daily devotions: the number of the canonical hours was enlarged from three to seven (according to Ps. cxix. 164: "Seven times in a day will I praise thee But they were strictly kept only in the cloisters, under the technical names of matina (about three o'clock), prima (about six), tertia (nine), sexta (noon), nona (three in the afternoon), vesper (six), completorium (nine), and mesonyctium or vigilia (midnight). Usually two nocturnal prayers were united. The devotions consisted of prayer, singing, Scripture reading, especially in the Psalms, and readings from the histories of the martyrs and the homilies of the fathers. In the churches ordinarily only morning and evening worship was held. The high festivals were introduced by a night service, the vigils.

§ 76. The Church Year.

R. Hospinian: Festa Christian. (Tiguri, 1593) Genev. 1675. M. A. Nickel (R.C.): Die heil. Zeiten u. Feste nach ihrer Entstehung u. Feier in der Kath. Kirche, Mainz, 1825 sqq. 6 vols. Pillwitz: Geschichte der heil. Zeiten. Dresden, 1842. E. Ranke: Das kirchliche Pericopensystem aus den aeltesten Urkunden dargelegt. Berlin, 1847. Fr. Strauss (late court preacher and professor in Berlin): Das evangelische Kirchenjahr. Berl. 1850. Lisco: Das christliche Kirchenjahr. Berl. (1840) 4th ed. 1850. Bobertag: Das evangelische Kirchenjahr, &c. Breslau, 1857. Comp. also Augusti: Handbuch der Christlichen Archaeologie, vol. i. (1836), pp. 457–595.

After the, fourth century, the Christian year, with a cycle of regularly recurring annual religious festivals, comes forth in all its main outlines, though with many fluctuations and variations in particulars, and forms thenceforth, so to speak, the skeleton of the Catholic cultus.

The idea of a religious year, in distinction from the natural and from the civil year, appears also in Judaism, and to some extent in the heathen world. It has its origin in the natural necessity of keeping alive and bringing to bear upon the people by public festivals the memory of great and good men and of prominent events. The Jewish ecclesiastical year was, like the whole Mosaic cultus, symbolical and typical. The Sabbath commemorated the creation and the typical redemption, and pointed forward to the resurrection and the true redemption, and thus to the Christian Sunday. The passover pointed to Easter, and the feast of harvest to the Christian Pentecost. The Jewish observance of these festivals originally bore an earnest, dignified, and significant character, but in the hands of Pharisaism it degenerated very largely into slavish Sabbatism and heartless ceremony, and provoked the denunciation of Christ and the apostles. The heathen festivals of the gods ran to the opposite extreme of excessive sensual indulgence and public vice.707

The peculiarity of the Christian year is, that it centres in the person and work of Jesus Christ, and is intended to minister to His glory. In its original idea it is a yearly representation of the leading events of the gospel history; a celebration of the birth, passion, and resurrection of Christ, and of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, to revive gratitude and devotion. This is the festival part, the semestre Domini. The other half, not festal, the semestre ecclesiae, is devoted to the exhibition of the life of the Christian church, its founding, its growth, and its consummation, both is a whole, and in its individual members, from the regeneration to the resurrection of the dead. The church year is, so to speak, a chronological confession of faith; a moving panorama of the great events of salvation; a dramatic exhibition of the gospel for the Christian people. It secures to every important article of faith its place in the cultus of the church, and conduces to wholeness and soundness of Christian doctrine, as against all unbalanced and erratic ideas.708 It serves to interweave religion with the, life of the people by continually recalling to the popular mind the most important events upon which our salvation rests, and by connecting them with the vicissitudes of the natural and the civil year. Yet, on the other hand, the gradual overloading of the church year, and the multiplication of saints' days, greatly encouraged superstition and idleness, crowded the Sabbath and the leading festivals into the background, and subordinated the merits of Christ to the patronage of saints. The purification and simplification aimed at by the Reformation became an absolute necessity.

The order of the church year is founded in part upon the history of Jesus and of the apostolic church; in part, especially in respect to Easter and Pentecost, upon the Jewish sacred year; and in part upon the natural succession of seasons; for the life of nature in general forms the groundwork of the higher life of the spirit, and there is an evident symbolical correspondence between Easter and spring, Pentecost and the beginning of harvest, Christmas and the winter solstice, the nativity of John the Baptist and the summer solstice.

The Christian church year, however, developed itself spontaneously from the demands of the Christian worship and public life, after the precedent of the Old Testament cultus, with no positive direction from Christ or the apostles. The New Testament contains no certain traces of annual festivals; but so early as the second century we meet with the general observance of Easter and Pentecost, founded on the Jewish passover and feast of harvest, and answering to Friday and Sunday in the weekly cycle. Easter was a season of sorrow, in remembrance of the passion; Pentecost was a time of joy, in memory of the resurrection of the Redeemer and the outpouring of the Holy Ghost.709 These two festivals form the heart of the church year. Less important was the feast of the Epiphany, or manifestation of Christ as Messiah. In the fourth century the Christmas festival was added to the two former leading feasts, and partially took the place of the earlier feast of Epiphany, which now came to be devoted particularly to the manifestation of Christ among the Genthes. And further, in Easter the pavsca staurwvsimon and ajnastavsimon came to be more strictly distinguished, the latter being reckoned a season of joy.

From this time, therefore, we have three great festival cycles, each including a season of preparation before the feast and an after-season appropriate: Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. The lesser feasts of Epiphany and Ascension arranged themselves under these.710 All bear originally a christological character, representing the three stages of the redeeming work of Christ: the beginning, the prosecution, and the consummation. All are for the glorification of God in Christ.

The trinitarian conception and arrangement of the festal half of the church year is of much later origin, cotemporary with the introduction of the festival of the Trinity (on the Sunday after Pentecost). The feast of Trinity dates from the ninth or tenth century, and was first authoritatively established in the Latin church by Pope John XXII., in 1334, as a comprehensive closing celebration of the revelation of God the Father, who sent His Son (Christmas), of the Son, who died for us and rose again (Easter), and of the Holy Ghost, who renews and sanctifies us (Pentecost).711 The Greek church knows nothing of this festival to this day, though she herself, in the Nicene age, was devoted with special earnestness and zeal to the development of the doctrine of the Trinity. The reason of this probably is, that there was no particular historical fact to give occasion for such celebration, and that the mystery of the holy Trinity, revealed in Christ, is properly the object of adoration in all the church festivals and in the whole Christian cultus.

But with these three great feast-cycles the ancient church was not satisfied. So early as the Nicene age it surrounded them with feasts of Mary, of the apostles, of martyrs, and of saints, which were at first only local commemorations, but gradually assumed the character of universal feasts of triumph. By degrees every day of the church year became sacred to the memory of a particular martyr or saint, and in every case was either really or by supposition the day of the death of the saint, which was significantly called his heavenly birth-day.712 This multiplication of festivals has at bottom the true thought, that the whole life of the Christian should be one unbroken spiritual festivity. But the Romish calendar of saints anticipates an ideal condition, and corrupts the truth by exaggeration, as the Pharisees made the word of God "of none effect" by their additions. It obliterates the necessary distinction between Sunday and the six days of labor, to the prejudice of the former, and plays into the hands of idleness. And finally, it rests in great part upon uncertain legends and fantastic myths, which in some cases even eclipse the miracles of the gospel history, and nourish the grossest superstition.

The Greek oriental church year differs from the Roman in this general characteristic: that it adheres more closely to the Jewish ceremonies and customs, while the Roman attaches itself to the natural year and common life. The former begins in the middle of September (Tisri), with the first Sunday after the feast of the Holy Cross; the latter, with the beginning of Advent, four weeks before Christmas. Originally Easter was the beginning of the church year, both in the East and in the West; and the Apostolic Constitutions and Eusebius call the month of Easter the "first month" (corresponding to the month Nisan, which opened the sacred year of the Jews, while the first of Tisri, about the middle of our September, opened their civil year). In the Greek church also the lectiones continuae of the Holy Scriptures, after the example of the Jewish Parashioth and Haphthoroth, became prominent and the church year came to be divided according to the four Evangelists; while in the Latin church, since the sixth century, only select sections from the Gospels, and Epistles, called pericopes, have been read. Another peculiarity of the Western church year, descending from the fourth century, is the division into four portions, of three months each, called Quatember,713 separated from each other by a three days' fast. Pope Leo I. delivered several sermons on the quarterly Quatember fast,714 and urges especially on that occasion charity to the poor. Instead of this the Greek church has a division according to the four Gospels, which are read entire in course; Matthew next after Pentecost, Luke beginning on the fourteenth of September, Mark at the Easter fast, and John on the first Sunday after Easter.

So early as the fourth century the observance of the festivals was enjoined under ecclesiastical penalties, and was regarded as an established divine ordinance. But the most eminent church teachers, a Chrysostom, a Jerome, and an Augustine, expressly insist, that the observance of the Christian festivals must never be a work of legal constraint, but always an act of evangelical freedom; and Socrates, the historian, says, that Christ and the apostles have given no laws and prescribed no penalties concerning it.715

The abuse of the festivals soon fastened itself on the just use of them and the sensual excesses of the pagan feasts, in spite of the earnest warnings of several fathers, swept in like a wild flood upon the church. Gregory Nazianzen feels called upon, with reference particularly to the feast of Epiphany, to caution his people against public parade, splendor of dress, banquetings, and drinking revels, and says: "Such things we will leave to the Greeks, who worship their gods with the belly; but we, who adore the eternal Word, will find our only satisfaction in the word and the divine law, and in the contemplation of the holy object of our feast."716 On the other hand, however, the Catholic church, especially after Pope Gregory I. (the "pater caerimoniarum"), with a good, but mistaken intention, favored the christianizing of heathen forms of cultus and popular festivals, and thereby contributed unconsciously to the paganizing of Christianity in the Middle Age. The calendar saints took the place of the ancient deities, and Rome became a second time a pantheon. Against this new heathenism, with its sweeping abuses, pure Christianity was obliged with all earnestness and emphasis to protest.

Note. – The Reformation of the sixteenth century sought to restore the entire cultus, and with it the Catholic church year, to its primitive Biblical simplicity; but with different degrees of consistency. The Lutheran, the Anglican, and the German Reformed churches—the latter with the greater freedom—retained the chief festivals, Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, together with the system of pericopes, and in some cases also the days of Mary and the apostles (though these are passing more and more out of use); while the strictly Calvinistic churches, particularly the Presbyterians and Congregationalists, rejected all the yearly festivals as human institutions, but, on the other hand, introduced a proportionally stricter observance of the weekly day of rest instituted by God Himself. The Scotch General Assembly of August 6th, 1575, resolved: "That all days which heretofore have been kept holy, besides the Sabbath-days, such as Yule day [Christmas], saints' days, and such others, may be abolished, and a civil penalty be appointed against the keepers thereof by ceremonies, banqueting, fasting, and such other vanities." At first, the most of the Reformers, even Luther and Bucer, were for the abolition of all feast days, except Sunday; but the genius and long habits of the people were against such a radical reform. After the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth century the strict observance of Sunday developed itself in Great Britain and North America; while the Protestantism of the continent of Europe is much looser in this respect, and not essentially different from Catholicism. It is remarkable, that the strictest observance of Sunday is found just in those countries where the yearly feasts have entirely lost place in the popular mind: Scotland and New England. In the United States, however, for some years past, the Christmas and Easter festivals have regained ground without interfering at all with the strict observance of the Lord's day, and promise to become regular American institutions. Good Friday and Pentecost will follow. On Good Friday of the year 1864 the leading ministers of the different evangelical churches in New York (the Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Dutch and German Reformed, Lutheran, Congregational, Methodist, and Baptist) freely united in the celebration of the atoning death of their common Saviour and in humiliation and prayer to the great edification of the people. It is acknowledged more and more that the observance of the great facts of the evangelical history to the honor of Christ is a common inheritance of primitive Christianity and inseparable from Christian worship." These festivals" (says Prof. Dr. Henry B. Smith in his admirable opening sermon of the Presbyterian General Assembly, N. S., of 1864, on Christian Union and Ecclesiastical Re-union), "antedate, not only our (Protestant) divisions, but also the corruptions of the Papacy; they exalt the Lord and not man; they involve a public and solemn recognition of essential Christian facts, and are thus a standing protest against infidelity; they bring out the historic side of the Christian faith, and connect us with its whole history; and all in the different denominations could unite in their observance without sacrificing any article of their creed or discipline." There is no danger that American Protestantism will transgress the limits of primitive evangelical simplicity in this respect, and ever return to the papal Mariolatry and Hagiolatry. The Protestant churches have established also many new annual festivals, such as the feasts of the Reformation, of Harvest-home, and of the Dead in Germany; and in America, the frequent days of fasting and prayer, besides the annual Thanksgiving-day, which originated in Puritan New England, and has been gradually adopted in almost all the states of the Union, and quite recently by the general government itself, as a national institution. With the pericopes, or Scripture lessons, the Reformed church everywhere deals much more freely than the Lutheran, and properly reserves the right to expound the whole word of Scripture in any convenient order according to its choice. The Gospels and Epistles may be read as a regular part of the Sabbath service; but the minister should be free to select his text from any portion of the Canonical Scriptures; only it is always advisable to follow a system and to go, if possible, every year through the whole plan and order of salvation in judicious adaptation to the church year and the wants of the people.

§ 77. The Christmas Cycle.

Besides the general literature given in the previous section, there are many special treatises on the origin of the Christmas festival, by Bynaeus, Kindler, Ittig, Vogel, Wernsdorf, Jablonsky, Planck, Hagenbach, P. Cassel, &c. Comp. Augusti: Archaeol. i. 533.

The Christmas festival717 is the celebration of the incarnation of the Son of God. It is occupied, therefore, with the event which forms the centre and turning-point of the history of the world. It is of all the festivals the one most thoroughly interwoven with the popular and family life, and stands at the head of the great feasts in the Western church year. It continues to be, in the entire Catholic world and in the greater part of Protestant Christendom, the grand jubilee of children, on which innumerable gifts celebrate the infinite love of God in the gift of his only-begotten Son. It kindles in mid-winter a holy fire of love and gratitude, and preaches in the longest night the rising of the Sun of life and the glory of the Lord. It denotes the advent of the true golden age, of the freedom and equality of all the redeemed before God and in God. No one can measure the joy and blessing which from year to year flow forth upon all ages of life from the contemplation of the holy child Jesus in his heavenly innocence and divine humility.

Notwithstanding this deep significance and wide popularity, the festival of the birth of the Lord is of comparatively late institution. This may doubtless be accounted for in the following manner: In the first place, no corresponding festival was presented by the Old Testament, as in the case of Easter and Pentecost. In the second place, the day and month of the birth of Christ are nowhere stated in the gospel history, and cannot be certainly determined. Again: the church lingered first of all about the death and resurrection of Christ, the completed fact of redemption, and made this the centre of the weekly worship and the church year. Finally: the earlier feast of Epiphany afforded a substitute. The artistic religious impulse, however, which produced the whole church year, must sooner or later have called into existence a festival which forms the groundwork of all other annual festivals in honor of Christ. For, as Chrysostom, some ten years, after the introduction of this anniversary in Antioch, justly said, without the birth of Christ there were also no baptism, passion, resurrection, or ascension, and no outpouring of the Holy Ghost; hence no feast of Epiphany, of Easter, or of Pentecost.

The feast of Epiphany had spread from the East to the West. The feast of Christmas took the opposite course. We find it first in Rome, in the time of the bishop Liberius, who on the twenty-fifth of December, 360, consecrated Marcella, the sister of St. Ambrose, nun or bride of Christ, and addressed her with the words: "Thou seest what multitudes are come to the birth-festival of thy bridegroom."718 This passage implies that the festival was already existing and familiar. Christmas was introduced in Antioch about the year 380; in Alexandria, where the feast of Epiphany was celebrated as the nativity of Christ, not till about 430. Chrysostom, who delivered the Christmas homily in Antioch on the 25th of December, 386,719 already calls it, notwithstanding its recent introduction (some ten years before), the fundamental feast, or the root, from which all other Christian festivals grow forth.

The Christmas festival was probably the Christian transformation or regeneration of a series of kindred heathen festivals—the Saturnalia, Sigillaria, Juvenalia, and Brumalia—which were kept in Rome in the month of December, in commemoration of the golden age of universal freedom and equality, and in honor of the unconquered sun, and which were great holidays, especially for slaves and children.720 This connection accounts for many customs of the Christmas season, like the giving of presents to children and to the poor, the lighting of wax tapers, perhaps also the erection of Christmas trees, and gives them a Christian import; while it also betrays the origin of the many excesses in which the unbelieving world indulges at this season, in wanton perversion of the true Christmas mirth, but which, of course, no more forbid right use, than the abuses of the Bible or of any other gift of God. Had the Christmas festival arisen in the period of the persecution, its derivation from these pagan festivals would be refuted by the then reigning abhorrence of everything heathen; but in the Nicene age this rigidness of opposition between the church and the world was in a great measure softened by the general conversion of the heathen. Besides, there lurked in those pagan festivals themselves, in spite of all their sensual abuses, a deep meaning and an adaptation to a real want; they might be called unconscious prophecies of the Christmas feast. Finally, the church fathers themselves721 confirm the symbolical reference of the feast of the birth of Christ, the Sun of righteousness, the Light of the world, to the birth-festival of the unconquered sun,722 which on the twenty-fifth of December, after the winter solstice, breaks the growing power of darkness, and begins anew his heroic career. It was at the same time, moreover, the prevailing opinion of the church in the fourth and fifth centuries, that Christ was actually born on the twenty-fifth of December; and Chrysostom appeals, in behalf of this view, to the date of the registration under Quirinius (Cyrenius), preserved in the Roman archives. But no certainly respecting the birthday of Christ can be reached from existing data.723

Around the feast of Christmas other festivals gradually gathered, which compose, with it, the Christmas Cycle. The celebration of the twenty-fifth of December was preceded by the Christmas Vigils, or Christmas Night, which was spent with the greater solemnity, because Christ was certainly born in the night.724

After Gregory the Great the four Sundays before Christmas began to be devoted to the preparation for the coming of our Lord in the flesh and for his second coming to the final judgment. Hence they were called Advent Sundays. With the beginning of Advent the church year in the West began. The Greek church reckons six Advent Sundays, and begins them with the fourteenth of November. This Advent season was designed to represent and reproduce in the consciousness of the church at once the darkness and the yearning and hope of the long ages before Christ. Subsequently all noisy amusements and also weddings were forbidden during this season. The pericopes are selected with reference to the awakening of repentance and of desire after the Redeemer.

From the fourth century Christmas was followed by the memorial days of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr (Dec. 26), of the apostle and evangelist John (Dec. 27), and of the Innocents of Bethlehem (Dec. 28), in immediate succession; representing a threefold martyrdom: martyrdom in will and in fact (Stephen), in will without the fact (John), and in fact without the will, an unconscious martyrdom of infanthe innocence. But Christian martyrdom in general was regarded by the early church as a heavenly birth and a fruit of the earthly birth of Christ. Hence the ancient festival hymn for the day of St. Stephen, the leader of the noble army of martyrs: "Yesterday was Christ born upon earth, that to-day Stephen might be born in heaven."725 The close connection of the feast of John the, Evangelist with that of the birth of Christ arises from the confidential relation of the beloved disciple to the Lord, and from the fundamental thought of his Gospel: "The Word was made flesh." The innocent infant-martyrs of Bethlehem, "the blossoms of martyrdom, the rosebuds torn off by the hurricane of persecution, the offering of first-fruits to Christ, the tender flock of sacrificial lambs," are at the same time the representatives of the innumerable host of children in heaven.726 More than half of the human race are said to die in infancy, and yet to children the word emphatically applies: "Theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The mystery of infant martyrdom is constantly repeated. How many children are apparently only born to suffer, and to die; but in truth the pains of their earthly birth are soon absorbed by the joys of their heavenly birth, and their temporary cross is rewarded by an eternal crown.

Eight days after Christmas the church celebrated, though not till after the sixth or seventh century, the Circumcision and the Naming of Jesus. Of still later origin is the Christian New Year's festival, which falls on the same day as the Circumcision. The pagan Romans solemnized the turn of the year, like the Saturnalia, with revels. The church teachers, in reaction, made the New Year a day of penance and prayer. Thus Augustine, in a sermon: "Separate yourselves from the heathen, and at the change of the year do the opposite of what they do. They give each other gifts; give ye alms instead. They sing worldly songs; read ye the word of God. They throng the theatre come ye to the church. They drink themselves drunken; do ye fast."

The feast of Epiphany727 on the contrary, on the sixth of January, is older, as we have already observed, than Christmas itself, and is mentioned by Clement of Alexandria. It refers in general to the manifestation of Christ in the world, and originally bore the twofold character of a celebration of the birth and the baptism of Jesus. After the introduction of Christmas, it lost its reference to the birth. The Eastern church commemorated on this day especially the baptism of Christ, or the manifestation of His Messiahship, and together with this the first manifestation of His miraculous power at the marriage at Cana. The Westem church, more Genthe-Christian in its origin, gave this festival, after the fourth century, a special reference to the adoration of the infant Jesus by the wise men from the east,728 under the name of the feast of the Three Kings, and transformed it into a festival of Genthe missions; considering the wise men as the representatives of the nobler heathen world.729 Thus at the same time the original connection of the feast with the birth of Christ was preserved. Epiphany forms the close of the Christmas Cycle. It was an early custom to announce the term of the Easter observance on the day of Epiphany by the so-called Epistolae paschales, or gravmmata pascavlia. This was done especially by the bishop of Alexandria, where astronomy most flourished, and the occasion was improved for edifying instructions and for the discussion of important religious questions of the day.

§ 78. The Easter Cycle.

Easter is the oldest and greatest annual festival of the church. As to its essential idea and observance, it was born with the Christian Sunday on the morning of the resurrection.730 Like the passover with the Jews, it originally marked the beginning of the church year. It revolves entirely about the person and the work of Christ, being devoted to the great saving fact of his passion and resurrection. We have already spoken of the origin and character of this festival,731 and shall confine ourselves here to the alterations and enlargements which it underwent after the Nicene age.

The Easter festival proper was preceded by a forty days' season of repentance and fasting, called Quadragesima, at least as early as the year 325; for the council of Nice presupposes the existence of this season.732 This fast was an imitation of the forty days' fasting of Jesus in the wilderness, which itself was put in typical connection with the forty days' fasting of Moses733 and Elijah,734 and the forty years' wandering of Israel through the desert. At first a free-will act, it gradually assumed the character of a fixed custom and ordinance of the church. Respecting the length of the season much difference prevailed, until Gregory I. (590–604) fixed the Wednesday of the sixth week before Easter, Ash Wednesday as it is called,735 as the beginning of it. On this day the priests and the people sprinkled themselves with dust and ashes, in token of their perishableness and their repentance, with the words: "Remember, O man, that dust thou art, and unto dust thou must return; repent, that thou mayest inherit eternal life." During Quadragesima criminal trials and criminal punishments, weddings, and sensual amusements were forbidden; solemn, earnest silence was imposed upon public and private life; and works of devotion, penances and charity were multiplied. Yet much hypocrisy was practised in the fasting; the rich compensating with exquisite dainties the absence of forbidden meats. Chrysostom and Augustine are found already lamenting this abuse. During the days preceding the beginning of Lent, the populace gave themselves up to unrestrained merriment, and this abuse afterward became legitimized in all Catholic countries, especially in Italy (flourishing most in Rome, Venice, and Cologne), in the Carnival.736

The six Sundays of Lent are called Quadragesima prima, secunda, and so on to sexta. They are also named after the initial words of the introit in the mass for the day: Invocabit (Ps. xci. 15), Reminiscere, (Ps. xxv. 6), Oculi (Ps. xxxiv. 15), Laetare (Is. lxvi. 10), Judica (Ps. xliii. 1), Palmarum (from Matt. xxi. 8). The three Sundays preceding Quadragesima are called respectively Estomihi (from Ps. xxxi. 2) or Quinquagesima (i.e., Dominica quinquagesimae diei, viz., before Easter), Sexagesima, and Septuagesima; which are, however, inaccurate designations. These three Sundays were regarded as preparatory to the Lenten season proper. In the larger cities it became customary to preach daily during the Quadragesimal fast; and the usage of daily Lenten sermons (Quadragesimales, or sermones Quadragesimales) has maintained itself in the Roman church to this day.

The Quadragesimal fast culminates in the Great, or Silent, or Holy Week,737 which is especially devoted to the commemoration of the passion and death of Jesus, and is distinguished by daily public worship, rigid fasting, and deep silence. This week, again, has its prominent days. First Palm Sunday,738 which has been, in the East since the fourth century, in the West since the sixth, observed in memory of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem for His enthronement on the cross. Next follows Maundy Thursday,739 in commemoration of the institution of the Holy Supper, which on this day was observed in the evening, and was usually connected with a love feast, and also with feet-washing. The Friday of the Holy Week is distinguished from all others as Good Friday,740 the day of the Saviour's death; the day of the deepest penance and fasting of the year, stripped of all Sunday splendor and liturgical pomp, veiled in the deepest silence and holy sorrow; the communion omitted (which had taken place the evening before), altars unclothed, crucifixes veiled, lights extinguished, the story of the passion read, and, instead of the church hymns, nothing sung but penitential psalms. Finally the Great Sabbath,741 the day of the Lord's repose in the grave and descent into Hades; the favorite day in all the year for the administration of baptism, which symbolizes participation in the death of Christ.742 The Great Sabbath was generally spent as a fast day, even in the Greek church, which usually did not fast on Saturday.

In the evening of the Great Sabbath began the Easter Vigils,743 which continued, with Scripture reading, singing, and prayer, to the dawn of Easter morning, and formed the solemn transition from the pavsca staurwvsimon to the pavsca ajnastavsimon, and from the deep sorrow of penitence over the death of Jesus to the joy of faith in the resurrection of the Prince of life. All Christians, and even many pagans, poured into the church with lights, to watch there for the morning of the resurrection. On this night the cities were splendidly illuminated, and transfigured in a sea of fire; about midnight a solemn procession surrounded the church, and then triumphally entered again into the "holy gates," to celebrate Easter. According to an ancient tradition, it was expected that on Easter night Christ would come again to judge the world.744

The Easter festival itself745 began with the jubilant salutation, still practized in the Russian church: "The Lord is risen !" and the response: "He is truly risen!746 Then the holy kiss of brotherhood scaled the newly fastened bond of love in Christ. It was the grandest and most joyful of the feasts. It lasted a whole week, and closed with the following Sunday, called the Easter Octave,747 or White Sunday,748 when the baptized appeared in white garments, and were solemnly incorporated into the church.

§ 79. The Time of the Easter Festival.

Comp. the Literature in vol. i. at § 99; also L. Ideler: Handbuch der Chronologie. Berlin, 1826. Vol. ii. F. Piper: Geschichte des Osterfestes. Berlin, 1845. Hefele: Conciliengeschichte. Freiburg, 1855. Vol. i. p. 286 ff.

The time of the Easter festival became, after the second century, the subject of long and violent controversies and practical confusions, which remind us of the later Eucharistic disputes, and give evidence that human passion and folly have sought to pervert the great facts and institutions of the New Testament from holy bonds of unity into torches of discord, and to turn the sweetest honey into poison, but, with all their efforts, have not been able to destroy the beneficent power of those gifts of God.

These Paschal controversies descended into the present period, and ended with the victory of the Roman and Alexandrian practice of keeping Easter, not, like Christmas and the Jewish Passover, on a fixed day of the month, whatever day of the week it might be, but on a Sunday, as the day of the resurrection of our Lord. Easter thus became, with all the feasts depending on it, a movable feast; and then the different reckonings of the calendar led to many inconveniences and confusions. The exact determination of Easter Sunday is made from the first full moon after the vernal equinox; so that the day may fall on any Sunday between the 22d day of March and the 25th of April.

The council of Arles in 314 had already decreed, in its first canon, that the Christian Passover be celebrated "uno die et uno tempore per omnem orbem," and that the bishops of Rome should fix the time. But as this order was not universally obeyed, the fathers of Nicaea proposed to settle the matter, and this was the second main object of the first ecumenical council in 325. The result of the transactions on this point, the particulars of which are not known to us, does not appear in the canons (probably out of consideration for the numerous Quartodecimanians), but is doubtless preserved in the two circular letters of the council itself and the emperor Constantine.749 The feast of the resurrection was thenceforth required to be celebrated everywhere on a Sunday, and never on the day of the Jewish passover, but always after the fourteenth of Nisan, on the Sunday after the first vernal full moon. The leading motive for this regulation was opposition to Judaism, which had dishonored the passover by the crucifixion of the Lord." We would," says the circular letter of Constantine in reference to the council of Nice, "we would have nothing in common with that most hostile people, the Jews; for we have received from the Redeemer another way of honoring God [the order of the days of the week], and harmoniously adopting this method, we would withdraw ourselves from the evil fellowship of the Jews. For what they pompously assert, is really utterly absurd: that we cannot keep this feast at all without their instruction .... It is our duty to have nothing in common with the murderers of our Lord." This bitter tone against Judaism runs through the whole letter.

At Nicaea, therefore, the Roman and Alexandrian usage with respect to Easter triumphed, and the Judaizing practice of the Quartodecimanians, who always celebrated Easter on the fourteenth of Nisan, became thenceforth a heresy. Yet that practice continued in many parts of the East, and in the time of Epiphanius, about a.d. 400, there were many, Quartodecimanians, who, as he says, were orthodox, indeed, in doctrine, but in ritual were addicted to Jewish fables, and built upon the principle: "Cursed is every one who does not keep his passover on the fourteenth of Nisan."750 They kept the day with the Communion and with fasting till three o'clock. Yet they were divided into several parties among themselves. A peculiar offshoot of the Quartodecimanians was the rigidly ascetic Audians, who likewise held that the passover must be kept at the very same time (not after the same manner) with the Jews, on the fourteenth of Nisan, and for their authority appealed to their edition of the Apostolic Constitutions.

And even in the orthodox church these measures did not secure entire uniformity. For the council of Nicaea, probably from prudence, passed by the question of the Roman and Alexandrian computation of Easter. At least the Acts contain no reference to it.751 At all events this difference remained: that Rome, afterward as before, fixed the vernal equinox, the terminus a quo of the Easter full moon, on the 18th of March, while Alexandria placed it correctly on the 21st. It thus occurred, that the Latins, the very year after the Nicene council, and again in the years 330, 333, 340, 341, 343, varied from the Alexandrians in the time of keeping Easter. On this account the council of Sardica, as we learn from the recently discovered Paschal Epistles of Athanasius, took the Easter question again in hand, and brought about, by mutual concessions, a compromise for the ensuing fifty years, but without permanent result. In 387 the difference of the Egyptian and the Roman Easter amounted to fully five weeks. Later attempts also to adjust the matter were in vain, until the monk Dionysius Exiguus, the author of our Christian calendar, succeeded in harmonizing the computation of Easter on the basis of the true Alexandrian reckoning; except that the Gallican and British Christians adhered still longer to the old custom, and thus fell into conflict with the Anglo-Saxon. The introduction of the improved Gregorian calendar in the Western church in 1582 again produced discrepancy; the Eastern and Russian church adhered to the Julian calendar, and is consequently now about twelve days behind us. According to the Gregorian calendar, which does not divide the months with astronomical exactness, it sometimes happens that the Paschal full moon is put a couple of hours too early, and the Christian Easter, as was the case in 1825, coincides with the Jewish Passover, against the express order of the council of Nicaea.

§ 80. The Cycle of Pentecost.

The whole period of seven weeks from Easter to Pentecost bore a joyous, festal character. It was called Quinquagesima, or Pentecost in the wider sense,752 and was the memorial of the exaltation of Christ at the right hand of the Father, His repeated appearances during the mysterious forty days, and His heavenly headship and eternal presence in the church. It was regarded as a continuous Sunday, and distinguished by the absence of all fasting and by standing in prayer. Quinquagesima formed a marked contrast with the Quadragesima which preceded. The deeper the sorrow of repentance had been in view of the suffering and dying Saviour, the higher now rose the joy of faith in the risen and eternally living Redeemer. This joy, of course, must keep itself clear of worldly amusements, and be sanctified by devotion, prayer, singing, and thanksgiving; and the theatres, therefore, remained closed through the fifty days. But the multitude of nominal Christians soon forgot their religious impressions, and sought to compensate their previous fasting with wanton merry-making.

The seven Sundays after Easter are called in the Latin church, respectively, Quasimodo-geniti, Misericordia Domini, Jubilate, Cantate, Rogate, (or, Vocem jucunditatis), Exaudi, and Pentecoste. In the Eastern church the Acts of the Apostles are read at this season.

Of the fifty festival days, the fortieth and the fiftieth were particularly prominent. The fortieth day after Easter, always a Thursday, was after the fourth century dedicated to the exaltation of Christ at the right hand of God, and hence named Ascension Day.753 The fiftieth day, or the feast of Pentecost in the stricter sense,754 was the kernel and culminating point of this festival season, as Easter day was of the Easter cycle. It was the feast of the Holy Ghost, who on this day was poured out upon the assembled disciples with the whole fulness of the accomplished redemption; and it was at the same time the birth-day of the Christian church. Hence this festival also was particularly prized for baptisms and ordinations. Pentecost corresponded to the Jewish feast of that name, which was primarily the feast of first-fruits, and afterward became also the feast of the giving of the law on Sinai, and in this twofold import was fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Ghost and the founding of the Christian church." Both revelations of the divine law," writes Jerome to Fabiola, "took place on the fiftieth day after the passover; the one on Sinai, the other on Zion; there the mountain was shaken, here the temple; there, amid flames and lightnings, the tempest roared and the thunder rolled, here, also with mighty wind, appeared tongues of fire; there the sound of the trumpet pealed forth the words of the law, here the cornet of the gospel sounded through the mouth of the apostles."

The celebration of Pentecost lasted, at least ultimately, three days or a whole week, closing with the Pentecostal Octave, which in the Greek church (so early as Chrysostom) was called The Feast of all Saints and Martyrs,755 because the martyrs are the seed and the beauty of the church. The Latin church, on the contrary, though not till the tenth century, dedicated the Sunday after Pentecost to the Holy Trinity, and in the later times of the Middle Age, further added to the festival part of the church year the feast of Corpus Christi, in celebration of the mystery of transubstantiation, on the Thursday after Trinity. It thus invested the close of the church year with a purely dogmatic import. Protestantism has retained the feast of Trinity, in opposition to the Antitrinitarians; but has, of course, rejected the feast of Corpus Christi.

In the early church, Pentecost was the last great festival of the Christian year. Hence the Sundays following it, till Advent, were counted from Whitsunday.756 The number of the Sundays in the second half of the church year therefore varies between twenty-seven and twenty-two, according to the time of Easter. In this part of the year we find even in the old lectionaries and sacramentaries some subordinate, feasts in memory of great men of the church; such as the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, the founders of the church (June 29); the feast of the chief martyr, Laurentius, the representative of the church militant (August, 10); the feast of the archangel Michael, the representative of the church triumphant (September 29).

§ 81. The Exaltation of the Virgin Mariology.

Canisius (R.C.): De Maria Virgine libri quinque. Ingolst. 1577. Lamberertini (R.C.): Comment. dum De J. Christi, matrisque ejus festis. Patav. 1751. Perrone (R.C.): De Immaculata B. V. Mariae conceptu. Rom. 1848. (In defence of the new papal dogma of the sinless conception of Mary.) F. W. Genthe: Die Jungfrau Maria, ihre Evangelien u. ihre Wunder. Halle, 1852. Comp. also the elaborate article, "Maria, Mutter des Herrn," by Steitz, in Herzog's Protest. Real-Encycl. (vol. ix. p. 74 ff.), and the article, "Maria, die heil. Jungfrau," by Reithmayr (R.C.) in Wetzer u. Welte's Kathol. Kirchenlex. (vi. 835 ff.); also the Eirenicon-controversy between Pusey and J. H. Newman, 1866.

Into these festival cycles a multitude of subordinate feasts found their way, at the head of which stand the festivals of the holy Virgin Mary, honored as queen of the army of saints.

The worship of Mary was originally only a reflection of the worship of Christ, and the feasts of Mary were designed to contribute to the glorifying of Christ. The system arose from the inner connection of the Virgin with the holy mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God; though certainly, with this leading religious and theological interest other motives combined. As mother of the Saviour of the world, the Virgin Mary unquestionably holds forever a peculiar position among all women, and in the history of redemption. Even in heaven she must stand peculiarly near to Him whom on earth she bore nine months under her bosom, and whom she followed with true motherly care to the cross. It is perfectly natural, nay, essential, to sound religious feeling, to associate with Mary the fairest traits of maidenly and maternal character, and to revere her as the highest model of female purity, love, and piety. From her example issues a silent blessing upon all generations, and her name and memory are, and ever will be, inseparable from the holiest mysteries and benefits of faith. For this reason her name is even wrought into the Apostles' Creed, in the simple and chaste words: "Conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary."

The Catholic church, however, both Latin and Greek, did not stop with this. After the middle of the fourth century it overstepped the wholesome Biblical limit, and transformed the mother of the Lord"757 into a mother of God, the humble handmaid of the Lord"758 into a queen of heaven, the "highly favored"759 into a dispenser of favors, the "blessed among women"760 into an intercessor above all women, nay, we may almost say, the redeemed daughter of fallen Adam, who is nowhere in Holy Scripture excepted from the universal sinfulness, into a sinlessly holy co-redeemer. At first she was acquitted only of actual sin, afterward even of original; though the doctrine of the immaculate conception of the Virgin was long contested, and was not established as an article of faith in the Roman church till 1854. Thus the veneration of Mary gradually degenerated into the worship of Mary; and this took so deep hold upon the popular religious life in the Middle Age, that, in spite of all scholastic distinctions between latria, and dulia, and hyrerdulia, Mariolatry practically prevailed over the worship of Christ. Hence in the innumerable Madonnas of Catholic art the human mother is the principal figure, and the divine child accessory. The Romish devotions scarcely utter a Pater Noster without an Ave Maria, and turn even more frequently and naturally to the compassionate, tender-hearted mother for her intercessions, than to the eternal Son of God, thinking that in this indirect way the desired gift is more sure to be obtained. To this day the worship of Mary is one of the principal points of separation between the Graeco-Roman Catholicism and Evangelical Protestantism. It is one of the strongest expressions of the fundamental Romish error of unduly exalting the human factors or instruments of redemption, and obstructing, or rendering needless, the immediate access of believers to Christ, by thrusting in subordinate mediators. Nor can we but agree with nearly all unbiased historians in regarding the worship of Mary as an echo of ancient heathenism. It brings plainly to mind the worship of Ceres, of Isis, and of other ancient mothers of the gods; as the worship of saints and angels recalls the hero-worship of Greece and Rome. Polytheism was so deeply rooted among the people, that it reproduced itself in Christian forms. The popular religious want had accustomed itself even to female deities, and very naturally betook itself first of all to Mary, the highly favored and blessed mother of the divine-human Redeemer, as the worthiest object of adoration.

Let us trace now the main features in the historical development of the Catholic Mariology and Mariolatry.

The New Testament contains no intimation of any worship or festival celebration of Mary. On the one hand, Mary, is rightly called by Elizabeth, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, "the mother of the Lord"761—but nowhere "the mother of God," which is at least not entirely synonymous—and is saluted by her, as well as by the angel Gabriel, as "blessed among women;"762 nay, she herself prophesies in her inspired song, which has since resounded through all ages of the church, that "henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."763 Through all the youth of Jesus she appears as a devout virgin, full of childlike innocence, purity, and humility; and the few traces we have of her later life, especially the touching scene at the cross,764 confirm this impression. But, on the other hand, it is equally unquestionable, that she is nowhere in the New Testament excepted from the universal sinfulness and the universal need of redemption, and represented as immaculately holy, or as in any way an object of divine veneration. On the contrary, true to the genuine female character, she modestly stands back throughout the gospel history, and in the Acts and the Epistles she is mentioned barely once, and then simply as the "mother of Jesus;"765 even her birth and her death are unknown. Her glory fades in holy humility before the higher glory of her Son. In truth, there are plain indications that the Lord, with prophetic reference to the future apotheosis of His mother according to the flesh, from the first gave warning against it. At the wedding in Cana He administered to her, though leniently and respectfully, a rebuke for premature zeal mingled perhaps with maternal vanity.766 On a subsequent occasion he put her on a level with other female disciples, and made the carnal consanguinity subordinate to the spiritual kinship of the doing of the will of God.767 The well-meant and in itself quite innocent benediction of an unknown woman upon His mother He did not indeed censure, but He corrected it with a benediction upon all who hear the word of God and keep it, and thus forestalled the deification of Mary by confining the ascription within the bounds of moderation.768

In striking contrast with this healthful and sober representation of Mary in the canonical Gospels are the numerous apocryphal Gospels of the third and fourth centuries, which decorated the life of Mary with fantastic fables and wonders of every kind, and thus furnished a pseudo-historical foundation for an unscriptural Mariology and Mariolatry.769 The Catholic church, it is true, condemned this apocryphal literature so early as the Decrees of Gelasius;770 yet many of the fabulous elements of it—such as the names of the parents of Mary, Joachim (instead of Eli, as in Luke iii. 23) and Anna,771 the birth of Mary in a cave, her education in the temple, and her mock marriage with the aged Joseph772—passed into the Catholic tradition.

The development of the orthodox Catholic Mariology and Mariolatry originated as early as the second century in an allegorical interpretation of the history of the fall, and in the assumption of an antithetic relation of Eve and Mary, according to which the mother of Christ occupies the same position in the history of redemption as the wife of Adam in the history of sin and death.773 This idea, so fruitful of many errors, is ingenious, but unscriptural, and an apocryphal substitute for the true Pauline doctrine of an antitypical parallel between the first and second Adam.774 It tends to substitute Mary for Christ. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian, are the first who present Mary as the counterpart of Eve, as a "mother of all living" in the higher, spiritual sense, and teach that she became through her obedience the mediate or instrumental cause of the blessings of redemption to the human race, as Eve by her disobedience was the fountain of sin and death.775 Irenaeus calls her also the "advocate of the virgin Eve," which, at a later day, is understood in the sense of intercessor.776 On this account this father stands as the oldest leading authority in the Catholic Mariology; though with only partial justice; for he was still widely removed from the notion of the sinlessness of Mary, and expressly declares the answer of Christ in John ii. 4, to be a reproof of her premature haste.777 In the same way Tertullian, Origen, Basil the Great, and even Chrysostom, with all their high estimate of the mother of our Lord, ascribe to her on one or two occasions (John ii. 3; Matt. xiii. 47) maternal vanity, also doubt and anxiety, and make this the sword (Luke ii. 35) which, under the cross, passed through her soul.778 In addition to this typological antithesis of Mary and Eve, the rise of monasticism supplied the development of Mariology a further motive in the enhanced estimate of virginity, without which no true holiness could be conceived. Hence the virginity of Mary, which is unquestioned for the part of her life before the birth of Christ, came to be extended to her whole life, and her marriage with the aged Joseph to be regarded as a mere protectorate, and, therefore, only a nominal marriage. The passage, Matt. i. 25, which, according to its obvious literal meaning (the e{w" and prwtovtoko" 779), seems to favor the opposite view, was overlooked or otherwise explained; and the brothers of Jesus,780 who appear fourteen or fifteen times in the gospel history and always in close connection with His mother, were regarded not as sons of Mary subsequently born, but either as sons of Joseph by a former marriage (the view of Epiphanius), or, agreeably to the wider Hebrew use of the term ;aj cousins of Jesus (Jerome).781 It was felt—and this feeling is shared by many devout Protestants—to be irreconcilable with her dignity and the dignity of Christ, that ordinary children should afterward proceed from the same womb out of which the Saviour of the world was born. The name perpetua virgo, ajei; parqevno", was thenceforth a peculiar and inalienable predicate of Mary. After the fourth century it was taken not merely in a moral sense, but in the physical also, as meaning that Mary conceived and produced the Lord clauso utero.782 This, of course, required the supposition of a miracle, like the passage of the risen Jesus through the closed doors. Mary, therefore, in the Catholic view, stands entirely alone in the history of the world in this respect, as in others: that she was a married virgin, a wife never touched by her husband.783

Epiphanius, in his seventy-eighth Heresy, combats the advocates of the opposite view in Arabia toward the end of the fourth century (367), as heretics under the title of Antidikomarianites, opposers of the dignity of Mary, i.e., of her perpetual virginity. But, on the other hand, he condemns, in the seventy-ninth Heresy, the contemporaneous sect of the Collyridians in Arabia, a set of fanatical women, who, as priestesses, rendered divine worship to Mary, and, perhaps in imitation of the worship of Ceres, offered little cakes (kollurivde") to her; he claims adoration for God and Christ alone. Jerome wrote, about 383, with indignation and bitterness against Helvidius and Jovinian, who, citing Scripture passages and earlier church teachers, like Tertullian, maintained that Mary bore children to Joseph after the birth of Christ. He saw in this doctrine a desecration of the temple of the Holy Ghost, and he even compares Helvidius to Erostratus, the destroyer of the temple at Ephesus.784 The bishop Bonosus of Sardica was condemned for the same view by the Illyrican bishops, and the Roman bishop Siricius approved the sentence, a.d. 392.

Augustine went a step farther. In an incidental remark against Pelagius, he agreed with him in excepting Mary, "propter honorem Domini," from actual (but not from original) sin.785 This exception he is willing to make from the sinfulness of the race, but no other. He taught the sinless birth and life of Mary, but not her immaculate conception. He no doubt assumed, as afterward Bernard of Clairvaux and Thomas Aquinas, a sanctificatio in utero, like that of Jeremiah (Jer. i. 5) and John the Baptist (Luke i. 15), whereby, as those two men were fitted for their prophetic office, she in a still higher degree was sanctified by a special operation of the Holy Ghost before her birth, and prepared to be a pure receptacle for the divine Logos. The reasoning of Augustine backward from the holiness of Christ to the holiness of His mother was an important turn, which was afterward pursued to further results. The same reasoning leads as easily to the doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary, though also, just as well, to a sinless mother of Mary herself, and thus upward to the beginning, of the race, to another Eve who never fell. Augustine's opponent, Pelagius, with his monastic, ascetic idea of holiness and his superficial doctrine of sin, remarkably outstripped him on this point, ascribing to Mary perfect sinlessness. But, it should be remembered, that his denial of original sin to all men, and his excepting of sundry saints of the Old Testament besides Mary, such as Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Melchizedek, Samuel, Elijah, Daniel, from actual sin,786 so that pavnte" in Rom. v. 12, in his view, means only a majority, weaken the honor he thus appears to confer upon the mother of the Lord. The Augustinian view long continued to prevail; but at last Pelagius won the victory on this point in the Roman church.787

Notwithstanding this exalted representation of Mary, there appear no clear traces of a proper worship of Mary, as distinct from the worship of saints in general, until the Nestorian controversy of 430. This dispute formed an important turning-point not only in Christology, but in Mariology also. The leading interest in it was, without doubt, the connection of the virgin with the mystery of the incarnation. The perfect union of the divine and human natures seemed to demand that Mary might be called in some sense the mother of God, qeotovko", Deipara; for that which was born of her was not merely the man Jesus, but the God-Man Jesus Christ.788 The church, however, did, of course, not intend by that to assert that she was the mother of the uncreated divine essence—for this would be palpably absurd and blasphemous—nor that she herself was divine, but only that she was the human point of entrance or the mysterious channel for the eternal divine Logos. Athanasius and the Alexandrian church teachers of the Nicene age, who pressed the unity of the divine and the human in Christ to the verge of monophysitism, had already used this expression frequently and without scruple,789 and Gregory Nazianzen even declares every one impious who denies its validity.790 Nestorius, on the contrary, and the Antiochian school, who were more devoted to the distinction of the two natures in Christ, took offence at the predicate qeotovko", saw in it a relapse into the heathen mythology, if not a blasphemy against the eternal and unchangeable Godhead, and preferred the expression Cristotovko", mater Christi. Upon this broke out the violent controversy between him and the bishop Cyril of Alexandria, which ended in the condemnation of Nestorianism at Ephesus in 431.

Thenceforth the qeotovko" was a test of orthodox Christology, and the rejection of it amounted to the beginning or the end of all heresy. The overthrow of Nestorianism was at the same time the victory of Mary-worship. With the honor of the Son, the honor also of the Mother was secured. The opponents of Nestorius, especially Proclus, his successor in Constantinople († 447), and Cyril of Alexandria († 444), could scarcely find predicates enough to express the transcendent glory of the mother of God. She was the crown of virginity, the indestructible temple of God, the dwelling place of the Holy Trinity, the paradise of the second Adam, the bridge from God to man, the loom of the incarnation, the sceptre of orthodoxy; through her the Trinity is glorified and adored, the devil and demons are put to flight, the nations converted, and the fallen creature raised to heaven.791 The people were all on the side of the Ephesian decision, and gave vent to their joy in boundless enthusiasm, amidst bonfires, processions, and illuminations.

With this the worship of Mary, the mother of God, the queen of heaven, seemed to be solemnly established for all time. But soon a reaction appeared in favor of Nestorianism, and the church found it necessary to condemn the opposite extreme of Eutychianism or Monophysitism. This was the office of the council of Chalcedon in 451: to give expression to the element of truth in Nestorianism, the duality of nature in the one divine-human person of Christ. Nevertheless the qeotovko" was expressly retained, though it originated in a rather monophysite view.792

§ 82. Mariolatry.

Thus much respecting the doctrine of Mary. Now the corresponding practice. From this Mariology follows Mariolatry. If Mary is, in the strict sense of the word, the mother of God, it seems to follow as a logical consequence, that she herself is divine, and therefore an object of divine worship. This was not, indeed, the meaning and purpose of the ancient church; as, in fact, it never asserted that Mary was the mother of the essential, eternal divinity of the Logos. She was, and continues to be, a created being, a human mother, even according to the Roman and Greek doctrine. But according to the once prevailing conception of her peculiar relation to deity, a certain degree of divine homage to Mary, and some invocation of her powerful intercession with God, seemed unavoidable, and soon became a universal practice.

The first instance of the formal invocation of Mary occurs in the prayers of Ephraim Syrus († 379), addressed to Mary and the saints, and attributed by the tradition of the Syrian church, though perhaps in part incorrectly, to that author. The first more certain example appears in Gregory Nazianzen († 389), who, in his eulogy on Cyprian, relates of Justina that she besought the virgin Mary to protect her threatened virginity, and at the same time disfigured her beauty by ascetic self-tortures, and thus fortunately escaped the amours of a youthful lover (Cyprian before his conversion).793 But, on the other hand, the numerous writings of Athanasius, Basil, Chrysostom, and Augustine, furnish no example of an invocation of Mary. Epiphanius even condemned the adoration of Mary, and calls the practice of making offerings to her by the Collyridian women, blasphemous and dangerous to the soul.794 The entire silence of history respecting the worship of the Virgin down to the end of the fourth century, proves clearly that it was foreign to the original spirit of Christianity, and belongs among the many innovations of the post-Nicene age.

In the beginning of the fifth century, however, the worship of saints appeared in full bloom, and then Mary, by reason of her singular relation to the Lord, was soon placed at the head, as the most blessed queen of the heavenly host. To her was accorded the hyperdulia (uJperdouleiva)—to anticipate here the later scholastic distinction sanctioned by the council of Trent—that is, the highest degree of veneration, in distinction from mere dulia (douleiva), which belongs to all saints and angels, and from latria (latreiva), which, properly speaking, is due to God alone. From that time numerous churches and altars were dedicated to the holy Mother of God, the perpetual Virgin; among them also the church at Ephesus in which the anti-Nestorian council of 431 had sat. Justinian I., in a law, implored her intercession with God for the restoration of the Roman empire, and on the dedication of the costly altar of the church of St. Sophia he expected all blessings for church and empire from her powerful prayers. His general, Narses, like the knights in the Middle Age, was unwilling to go into battle till he had secured her protection. Pope Boniface IV. in 608 turned the Pantheon in Rome into a temple of Mary ad martyres: the pagan Olympus into a Christian heaven of gods. Subsequently even her images (made after an original pretending to have come from Luke) were divinely worshipped, and, in the prolific legends of the superstitious Middle Age, performed countless miracles, before some of which the miracles of the gospel history grow dim. She became almost coördinate with Christ, a joint redeemer, invested with most of His own attributes and acts of grace. The popular belief ascribed to her, as to Christ, a sinless conception, a sinless birth, resurrection and ascension to heaven, and a participation of all power in heaven and on earth. She became the centre of devotion, cultus, and art, the popular symbol of power, of glory, and of the final victory of catholicism over all heresies.795 The Greek and Roman churches vied throughout the Middle Age (and do so still) in the apotheosis of the human mother with the divine-human child Jesus in her arms, till the Reformation freed a large part of Latin Christendom from this unscriptural semi-idolatry and concentrated the affection and adoration of believers upon the crucified and risen Saviour of the world, the only Mediator between God and man.

A word more: respecting the favorite prayer to Mary, the angelic greeting, or the Ave Maria, which in the Catholic devotion runs parallel to the Pater Noster. It takes its name from the initial words of the salutation of Gabriel to the holy Virgin at the annunciation of the birth of Christ. It consists of three parts:

(1) The salutation of the angel (Luke i. 28):

Ave Maria, gratiae plena, Dominus tecum!

(2) The words of Elizabeth (Luke i. 42):

Benedicta tu in mulieribus796, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.

(3) The later unscriptural addition, which contains the prayer proper, and is offensive to the Protestant and all sound Christian feeling:

Sancta Maria, mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis. Amen.

Formerly this third part, which gave the formula the character of a prayer, was traced back to the anti-Nestorian council of Ephesus in 431, which sanctioned the expression mater Dei, or Dei genitrix (qeotovko"). But Roman archaeologists797 now concede that it is a much later addition, made in the beginning of the sixteenth century (1508), and that the closing words, nunc et in hora mortis, were added even after that time by the Franciscans. But even the first two parts did not come into general use as a standing formula of prayer until the thirteenth century.798 From that date the Ave Maria stands in the Roman church upon a level with the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed, and with them forms the basis of the rosary.

§ 83. The Festivals of Mary.

This mythical and fantastic, and, we must add, almost pagan and idolatrous Mariology impressed itself on the public cultus in a series of festivals, celebrating the most important facts and fictions of the life of the Virgin, and in some degree running parallel with the festivals of the birth, resurrection, and ascension of Christ.

1. The Annunciation of Mary799 commemorates the announcement of the birth of Christ by the archangel Gabriel,800 and at the same time the conception of Christ; for in the view of the ancient church Mary conceived the Logos (Verbum) through the ear by the word of the angel. Hence the festival had its place on the 25th of March, exactly nine months before Christmas; though in some parts of the church, as Spain and Milan, it was celebrated in December, till the Roman practice conquered. The first trace of it occurs in Proclus, the opponent and successor of Nestorius in Constantinople after 430; then it appears more plainly in several councils and homilies of the seventh century.

2. The Purification of Mary801 or Candlemas, in memory of the ceremonial purification of the Virgin,802 forty days after the birth of Jesus, therefore on the 2d of February (reckoning from the 25th of December); and at the same time in memory of the presentation of Jesus in the temple and his meeting of Simeon and Anna.803 This, like the preceding, was thus originally as much a festival of Christ as of Mary, especially in the Greek church. It is supposed to have been introduced by Pope Gelasius in 494, though by some said not to have arisen till 542 under Justinian I., in consequence of a great earthquake and a destructive pestilence. Perhaps it was a Christian transformation of the old Roman lustrations or expiatory sacrifices (Februa, Februalia), which from the time of Numa took place in February, the month of purification or expiation.804 To heathen origin is due also the use of lighted tapers, with which the people on this festival marched, singing, out of the church through the city. Hence the name Candlemas.805

3. The Ascension, or Assumption rather, of Mary806 is celebrated on the 15th of August. The festival was introduced by the Greek emperor Mauritius (582–602); some say, under Pope Gelasius († 496). In Rome, after the ninth century, it is one of the principal feasts, and, like the others, is distinguished with vigil and octave.

It rests, however, on a purely apocryphal foundation.

The entire silence of the apostles and the primitive church teachers respecting the departure of Mary stirred idle curiosity to all sorts of inventions, until a translation like Enoch's and Elijah's was attributed to her. In the time of Origen some were inferring from Luke ii. 35, that she had suffered martyrdom. Epiphanius will not decide whether she died and was buried, or not. Two apocryphal Greek writings de transitu Mariae, of the end of the fourth or beginning of the fifth century, and afterward pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite and Gregory of Tours († 595), for the first time contain the legend that the soul of the mother of God was transported to the heavenly paradise by Christ and His angels in presence of all the apostles, and on the following morning807 her body also was translated thither on a cloud and there united with the soul. Subsequently the legend was still further embellished, and, besides the apostles, the angels and patriarchs also, even Adam and Eve, were made witnesses of the wonderful spectacle.

Still the resurrection and ascension of Mary are in the Roman church only a matter of "devout and probable opinion," not an article of faith;808 and a distinction is made between the ascensio of Christ (by virtue of His divine nature) and the assumptio of Mary (by the power of grace and merit).

But since Mary, according to the most recent Roman dogma, was free even from original sin, and since death is a consequence of sin, it should strictly follow that she did not die at all, and rise again, but, like Enoch and Elijah, was carried alive to heaven.

In the Middle Age—to anticipate briefly—yet other festivals of Mary arose: the Nativity of Mary,809 after a.d. 650; the Presentation of Mary,810 after the ninth century, founded on the apocryphal tradition of the eleven years' ascetic discipline of Mary in the temple at Jerusalem; the Visitation of Mary811 in memory of her visit to Elizabeth; a festival first mentioned in France in 1247, and limited to the western church; and the festival of the Immaculate Conception,812 which arose with the doctrine of the sinless conception of Mary, and is interwoven with the history of that dogma down to its official and final promulgation by Pope Pius IX. in 1854.

§ 84. The Worship of Martyrs and Saints.

I. Sources: The Memorial Discourses of Basil the Great on the martyr Mamas (a shepherd in Cappadocia, † about 276), and on the forty martyrs (soldiers, who are said to have suffered in Armenia under Licinius in 320); of Gregory Naz. on Cyprian († 248), on Athanasius († 372), and on Basil († 379); of Gregory Of Nyssa on Ephraim Syrus († 378), and on the megalomartyr Theodorus; of Chrysostom on Bernice and Prosdoce, on the Holy Martyrs, on the Egyptian Martyrs, on Meletius of Antioch; several homilies of Ambrose, Augustine, Leo the Great, Peter Chrysologus Caesarius, &c.; Jerome against Vigilantius. The most important passages of the fathers on the veneration of saints are conveniently collected in: The Faith of Catholics on certain points of controversy, confirmed by Scripture and attested by the Fathers. By Berington and Kirk, revised by Waterworth." 3d ed. 1846, vol. iii. pp. 322–416.

II. The later Literature: (1) On the Roman Catholic side: The Acta Sanctorum of the Bollandists, thus far 58 vols. fol. (1643–1858, coming down to the 22d of October). Theod. Ruinart: Acta primorum martyrum sincera et selecta. Par. 1689 (confined to the first four centuries). Laderchio: S. patriarcharum et prophetarum, confessorum, cultus perpetuus, etc. Rom. 1730. (2) On the Protestant side: J. Dallaeus: Adversus Latinorum de cultus religiosi objecto traditionem. Genev. 1664. Isaac Taylor: Ancient Christianity. 4th ed. Lond. 1844, vel. ii. p. 173 ff. ("Christianized demonolatry in the fourth century.")

The system of saint-worship, including both Hagiology and Hagiolatry, developed itself at the same time with the worship of Mary; for the latter is only the culmination of the former.

The New Testament is equally ignorant of both. The expression a{gioi, sancti, saints, is used by the apostles not of a particular class, a spiritual aristocracy of the church, but of all baptized and converted Christians without distinction; because they are separated from the world, consecrated to the service of God, washed from the guilt of sin by the blood of Christ, and, notwithstanding all their remaining imperfections and sins, called to perfect holiness. The apostles address their epistles to "the saints" i.e., the Christian believers, "at Rome, Corinth, Ephesus," &c.813

After the entrance of the heathen masses into the church the title came to be restricted to bishops and councils and to departed heroes of the Christian faith, especially the martyrs of the first three centuries. When, on the cessation of persecution, the martyr's crown, at least within the limits of the Roman empire, was no longer attainable, extraordinary ascetic piety, great service to the church, and subsequently also the power of miracles, were required as indispensable conditions of reception into the Catholic calendar of saints. The anchorets especially, who, though not persecuted from without, voluntarily crucified their flesh and overcame evil spirits, seemed to stand equal to the martyrs in holiness and in claims to veneration. A tribunal of canonization did not yet exist. The popular voice commonly decided the matter, and passed for the voice of God. Some saints were venerated only in the regions where they lived and died; others enjoyed a national homage; others, a universal.

The veneration of the saints increased with the decrease of martyrdom, and with the remoteness of the objects of reverence. "Distance lends enchantment to the view;" but "familiarity" is apt "to breed contempt." The sins and faults of the heroes of faith were lost in the bright haze of the past, while their virtues shone the more, and furnished to a pious and superstitious fancy the richest material for legendary poesy.

Almost all the catholic saints belong to the higher degrees of the clergy or to the monastic life. And the monks were the chief promoters of the worship of saints. At the head of the heavenly chorus stands Mary, crowned as queen by the side of her divine Son; then come the apostles and evangelists, who died a violent death, the protomartyr Stephen, and the martyrs of the first three centuries; the patriarchs and prophets also of the Old Covenant down to John the Baptist; and finally eminent hermits and monks, missionaries, theologians, and bishops, and those, in general, who distinguished themselves above their contemporaries in virtue or in public service. The measure of ascetic self-denial was the measure of Christian virtue. Though many of the greatest saints of the Bible, from the patriarch Abraham to Peter, the prince of the apostles, lived in marriage, the Romish ethics, from the time of Ambrose and Jerome, can allow no genuine holiness within the bonds of matrimony, and receives only virgines and some few vidui and viduae into its spiritual nobility.814 In this again the close connection of saint-worship with monasticism is apparent.

To the saints, about the same period, were added angels as objects of worship. To angels there was ascribed in the church from the beginning a peculiar concern with the fortunes of the militant church, and a certain oversight of all lands and nations. But Ambrose is the first who expressly exhorts to the invocation of our patron angels, and represents it as a duty.815 In favor of the guardianship and interest of angels appeal was rightly made to several passages of the Old and New Testaments: Dan. x. 13, 20, 21; xii. 1; Matt. xviii. 10; Luke xv. 7; Heb. i. 14; Acts xii. 15. But in Col. ii. 18, and Rev. xix. 10; xxii. 8, 9, the worship of angels is distinctly rebuked.

Out of the old Biblical notion of guardian angels arose also the idea of patron saints for particular countries, cities, churches, and classes, and against particular evils and dangers. Peter and Paul and Laurentius became the patrons of Rome; James, the patron of Spain; Andrew, of Greece; John, of theologians; Luke, of painters; subsequently Phocas, of seamen; Ivo, of jurists; Anthony, a protector against pestilence; Apollonia, against tooth-aches; &c.

These different orders of saints and angels form a heavenly hierarchy, reflected in the ecclesiastical hierarchy on earth. Dionysius the Areopagite, a fantastical Christian Platonist of the fifth-century, exhibited the whole relation of man to God on the basis of the hierarchy; dividing the hierarchy into two branches, heavenly and earthly, and each of these again into several degrees, of which every higher one was the mediator of salvation to the one below it.

These are the outlines of the saint-worship of our period. Now to the exposition and estimate of it, and then the proofs.

The worship of saints proceeded originally, without doubt, from a pure and truly Christian source, to wit: a very deep and lively sense of the communion of saints, which extends over death and the grave, and embraces even the blessed in heaven. It was closely connected with love to Christ, and with gratitude for everything great and good which he has done through his instruments for the welfare of posterity. The church fulfilled a simple and natural duty of gratitude, when, in the consciousness of unbroken fellowship with the church triumphant, she honored the memory of the martyrs and confessors, who had offered their life for their faith, and had achieved victory for it over all its enemies. She performed a duty of fidelity to her own children, when she held up for admiration and imitation the noble virtues and services of their fathers. She honored and glorified Christ Himself when she surrounded Him with an innumerable company of followers, contemplated the reflection of His glory in them, and sang to His praise in the Ambrosian Te Deum:

"The glorious company of the Apostles praise thee;

The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise thee;

The noble army of Martyrs praise thee;

The holy church throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee;

The Father, of an infinite majesty;

Thine adorable, true, and only Son;

Also the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.

Thou art the King of glory, O Christ;

Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.

When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man, thou didst not abhor the Virgin's womb;816

When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers."

In the first three centuries the veneration of the martyrs in general restricted itself to the thankful remembrance of their virtues and the celebration of the day of their death as the day of their heavenly birth.817 This celebration usually took place at their graves. So the church of Smyrna annually commemorated its bishop Polycarp, and valued his bones more than gold and gems, though with the express distinction: "Christ we worship as the Son of God; the martyrs we love and honor as disciples and successors of the Lord, on account of their insurpassable love to their King and Master, as also, we wish to be their companions and fellow disciples."818 Here we find this veneration as yet in its innocent simplicity.

But in the Nicene age it advanced to a formal invocation of the saints as our patrons (patroni) and intercessors (intercessores, mediatores) before the throne of grace, and degenerated into a form of refined polytheism and idolatry. The saints came into the place of the demigods, Penates and Lares, the patrons of the domestic hearth and of the country. As once temples and altars to the heroes, so now churches and chapels819 came to be built over the graves of the martyrs, and consecrated to their names (or more precisely to God through them). People laid in them, as they used to do in the temple of Aesculapius, the sick that they might be healed, and hung in them, as in the temples of the gods, sacred gifts of silver and gold. Their graves were, as Chrysostom says, move splendidly adorned and more frequently visited than the palaces of kings. Banquets were held there in their honor, which recall the heathen sacrificial feasts for the welfare of the manes. Their relics were preserved with scrupulous care, and believed to possess miraculous virtue. Earlier, it was the custom to pray for the martyrs (as if they were not yet perfect) and to thank God for their fellowship and their pious example. Now such intercessions for them were considered unbecoming, and their intercession was invoked for the living.820

This invocation of the dead was accompanied with the presumption that they take the deepest interest in all the fortunes of the kingdom of God on earth, and express it in prayers and intercessions.821 This was supposed to be warranted by some passages of Scripture, like Luke xv. 10, which speaks of the angels (not the saints) rejoicing over the conversion of a sinner, and Rev. viii. 3, 4, which represents an angel as laying the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne of God. But the New Testament expressly rebukes the worship of the angels (Col. ii. 18; Rev. xix. 10; xxii. 8, 9), and furnishes not a single example of an actual invocation of dead men; and it nowhere directs us to address our prayers to any creature. Mere inferences from certain premises, however plausible, are, in such weighty matters, not enough. The intercession of the saints for us was drawn as a probable inference from the duty of all Christians to pray for others, and the invocation of the saints for their intercession was supported by the unquestioned right to apply to living saints for their prayers, of which even the apostles availed themselves in their epistles.

But here rises the insolvable question: How can departed saints hear at once the prayers of so many Christians on earth, unless they either partake of divine omnipresence or divine omniscience? And is it not idolatrous to clothe creatures with attributes which belong exclusively to Godhead? Or, if the departed saints first learn from the omniscient God our prayers, and then bring them again before God with their powerful intercessions, to what purpose this circuitous way? Why not at once address God immediately, who alone is able, and who is always ready, to hear His children for the sake of Christ?

Augustine felt this difficulty, and concedes his inability to solve it. He leaves it undecided, whether the saints (as Jerome and others actually supposed) are present in so many places at once, or their knowledge comes through the omniscience of God, or finally it comes through the ministry of angels.822 He already makes the distinction between latreiva, or adoration due to God alone, and the invocatio (douleiva) of the saints, and firmly repels the charge of idolatry, which the Manichaean Faustus brought against the catholic Christians when he said: "Ye have changed the idols into martyrs, whom ye worship with the like prayers, and ye appease the shades of the dead with wine and flesh." Augustine asserts that the church indeed celebrates the memory of the martyrs with religious solemnity, to be stirred up to imitate them, united with their merits, and supported by their prayers,823 but it offers sacrifice and dedicates altars to God alone. Our martyrs, says he, are not gods; we build no temples to our martyrs, as to gods; but we consecrate to them only memorial places, as to departed men, whose spirits live with God; we build altars not to sacrifice to the martyrs, but to sacrifice with them to the one God, who is both ours and theirs.824

But in spite of all these distinctions and cautions, which must be expected from a man like Augustine, and acknowledged to be a wholesome restraint against excesses, we cannot but see in the martyr-worship, as it was actually practised, a new form of the hero-worship of the pagans. Nor can we wonder in the least. For the great mass of the Christian people came, in fact, fresh from polytheism, without thorough conversion, and could not divest themselves of their old notions and customs at a stroke. The despotic form of government, the servile subjection of the people, the idolatrous homage which was paid to the Byzantine emperors and their statues, the predicates divina, sacra, coelestia, which were applied to the utterances of their will, favored the worship of saints. The heathen emperor Julian sarcastically reproached the Christians with reintroducing polytheism into monotheism, but, on account of the difference of the objects, revolted from the Christian worship of martyrs and relics, as from the "stench of graves and dead men's bones." The Manichaean taunt we have already mentioned. The Spanish presbyter Vigilantius, in the fifth century, called the worshippers of martyrs and relics, ashes-worshippers and idolaters,825 and taught that, according to the Scriptures, the living only should pray with and for each other. Even some orthodox church teachers admitted the affinity of the saint-worship with heathenism, though with the view of showing that all that is good in the heathen worship reappears far better in the Christian. Eusebius cites a passage from Plato on the worship of heroes, demi-gods, and their graves, and then applies it to the veneration of friends of God and champions of true religion; so that the Christians did well to visit their graves, to honor their memory there, and to offer their prayers.826 The Greeks, Theodoret thinks, have the least reason to be offended at what takes place at the graves of the martyrs; for the libations and expiations, the demi-gods and deified men, originated with themselves. Hercules, Aesculapius, Bacchus, the Dioscuri, and the like, are deified men; consequently it cannot be a reproach to the Christians that they—not deify, but—honor their martyrs as witnesses and servants of God. The ancients saw nothing censurable in such worship of the dead. The saints, our helpers and patrons, are far more worthy of such honor. The temples of the gods are destroyed, the philosophers, orators, and emperors are forgotten, but the martyrs are universally known. The feasts of the gods are now replaced by the festivals of Peter, Paul, Marcellus, Leontius, Antonins, Mauricius, and other martyrs, not with pagan pomp and sensual pleasures, but with Christian soberness and decency.827

Yet even this last distinction which Theodoret asserts, sometimes disappeared. Augustine laments that in the African church banqueting and revelling were daily practised in honor of the martyrs,828 but thinks that this weakness must be for the time indulged from regard to the ancient customs of the pagans.

In connection with the new hero-worship a new mythology also arose, which filled up the gaps of the history of the saints, and sometimes even transformed the pagan myths of gods and heroes into Christian legends.829 The superstitious imagination, visions, and dreams, and pious fraud famished abundant contributions to the Christian legendary poesy.

The worship of the saints found eloquent vindication and encouragement not only, in poets like Prudentius (about 405) and Paulinus of Nola (died 431), to whom greater freedom is allowed, but even in all the prominent theologians and preachers of the Nicene and post-Nicene age. It was as popular as monkery, and was as enthusiastically commended by the leaders of the church in the East and West.

The two institutions, moreover, are closely connected and favor each other. The monks were most zealous friends of saint-worship in their own cause. The church of the fifth century already went almost as far in it as the Middle Age, at all events quite as far as the council of Trent; for this council does not prescribe the invocation of the saints, but confines itself to approving it as "good and useful" (not as necessary) on the ground of their reigning with Christ in heaven and their intercession for us, and expressly remarks that Christ is our only, Redeemer and Saviour.830 This moderate and prudent statement of the doctrine, however, has not yet removed the excesses which the Roman Catholic people still practise in the worship of the saints, their images, and their relics. The Greek church goes even further in theory than the Roman; for the confession of Peter Mogilas (which was subscribed by the four Greek patriarchs in 1643, and again sanctioned by the council of Jerusalem in 1672), declares it duty and propriety (crevo") to implore the intercession (mesiteiva) of Mary and the saints with God for us.

We now cite, for proof and further illustration, the most important passages from the church fathers of our period on this point. In the numerous memorial discourses of the fathers, the martyrs are loaded with eulogies, addressed as present, and besought for their protection. The universal tone of those productions is offensive to the Protestant taste, and can hardly be reconciled with evangelical ideas of the exclusive and all-sufficient mediation of Christ and of justification by pure grace without the merit of works. But it must not be forgotten that in these discourses very much is to be put to the account of the degenerate, extravagant, and fulsome rhetoric of that time. The best church fathers, too, never separated the merits of the saints from the merits of Christ, but considered the former as flowing out of the latter.

We begin with the Greek fathers. Basil the Great calls the forty soldiers who are said to have suffered martyrdom under Licinius in Sebaste about 320, not only a "holy choir," an "invincible phalanx," but also "common patrons of the human family, helpers of our prayers and most mighty intercessors with God."831

Ephraim Syrus addresses the departed saints, in general, in such words as these: "Remember me, ye heirs of God, ye brethren of Christ, pray to the Saviour for me, that I through Christ may be delivered from him who assaults me from day to day;" and the mother of a martyr: "O holy, true, and blessed mother, plead for me with the saints, and pray: 'Ye triumphant martyrs of Christ, pray for Ephraim, the least, the miserable,' that I may find grace, and through the grace of Christ may be saved."

Gregory of Nyssa asks of St. Theodore, whom he thinks invisibly present at his memorial feast, intercessions for his country, for peace, for the preservation of orthodoxy, and begs him to arouse the apostles Peter and Paul and John to prayer for the church planted by them (as if they needed such an admonition!). He relates with satisfaction that the people streamed to the burial place of this saint in such multitudes that the place looked like an ant hill. In his Life of St. Ephraim, he tells of a pilgrim who lost himself among the barbarian posterity of Ishmael, but by the prayer, "St. Ephraim, help me!"832 and the protection of the saint, happily found his way home. He himself thus addresses him at the close: "Thou who standest at the holy altar, and with angels servest the life-giving and most holy Trinity, remember us all, and implore for us the forgiveness of sins and the enjoyment of the eternal kingdom."833

Gregory Nazianzen is convinced that the departed Cyprian guides and protects his church in Carthage more powerfully by his intercessions than he formerly did by his teachings, because he now stands so much nearer the Deity; he addresses him as present, and implores his favor and protection.834 In his eulogy on Athanasius, who was but a little while dead, he prays: "Look graciously down upon us, and dispose this people to be perfect worshippers of the perfect Trinity; and when the times are quiet, preserve us—when they are troubled, remove us, and take us to thee in thy fellowship."

Even Chrysostom did not rise above the spirit of the time. He too is an eloquent and enthusiastic advocate of the worship of the saints and their relics. At the close of his memorial discourse on Sts. Bernice and Prosdoce—two saints who have not even a place in the Roman calendar—he exhorts his hearers not only on their memorial days but also on other days to implore these saints to be our protectors: "For they have great boldness not merely during their life but also after death, yea, much greater after death.835 For they now bear the stigmata of Christ [the marks of martyrdom], and when they show these, they can persuade the King to anything." He relates that once, when the harvest was endangered by excessive rain, the whole population of Constantinople flocked to the church of the Apostles, and there elected the apostles Peter and Andrew, Paul and Timothy, patrons and intercessors before the throne of grace.836 Christ, says he on Heb. i. 14, redeems us as Lord and Master, the angels redeem us as ministers.

Asterius of Amasia calls the martyr Phocas, the patron of mariners, "a pillar and foundation of the churches of God in the world, the most renowned of the martyrs, who draws men of all countries in hosts to his church in Sinope, and who now, since his death, distributes more abundant nourishment than Joseph in Egypt."

Among the Latin fathers, Ambrose of Milan is one of the first and most decided promoters of the worship of saints. We cite a passage or two. "May Peter, who so successfully weeps for himself, weep also for us, and turn upon us the friendly look of Christ.837 The angels, who are appointed to guard us, must be invoked for us; the martyrs, to whose intercession we have claim by the pledge of their bodies, must be invoked. They who have washed away their sins by their own blood, may pray for our sins. For they are martyrs of God, our high priests, spectators of our life and our acts. We need not blush to use them as intercessors for our weakness; for they also knew the infirmity of the body when they gained the victory over it."838

Jerome disputes the opinion of Vigilantius, that we should pray for one another in this life only, and that the dead do not hear our prayers, and ascribes to departed saints a sort of omnipresence, because, according to Rev. xiv. 4, they follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.839 He thinks that their prayers are much more effectual in heaven than they were upon earth. If Moses implored the forgiveness of God for six hundred thousand men, and Stephen, the first martyr, prayed for his murderers after the example of Christ, should they cease to pray, and to be heard, when they are with Christ?

Augustine infers from the interest which the rich man in hell still had in the fate of his five surviving brothers (Luke xvi. 27), that the pious dead in heaven must have even far more interest in the kindred and friends whom they have left behind.840 He also calls the saints our intercessors, yet under Christ, the proper and highest Intercessor, as Peter and the other apostles are shepherds under the great chief Shepherd.841 In a memorial discourse on Stephen, he imagines that martyr, and St. Paul who stoned him, to be present, and begs them for their intercessions with the Lord with whom they reign.842 He attributes miraculous effects, even the raising of the dead, to the intercessions of Stephen.843 But, on the other hand, he declares, as we have already observed, his inability to solve the difficult question of the way in which the dead can be made acquainted with our wishes and prayers. At all events, in Augustine's practical religion the worship of the saints occupies a subordinate place. In his "Confessions" and "Soliloquies" he always addresses himself directly to God, not to Mary nor to martyrs.

The Spanish poet Prudentius flees with prayers and confessions of sin to St. Laurentius, and considers himself unworthy to be heard by Christ Himself.844

The poems of Paulinus of Nola are full of direct prayers for the intercessions of the saints, especially of St. Felix, in whose honor he erected a basilica, and annually composed an ode, and whom he calls his patron, his father, his lord. He relates that the people came in great crowds around the wonder-working relics of this saint on his memorial day, and could not look on them enough.

Leo the Great, in his sermons, lays great stress on the powerful intercession of the apostles Peter and Paul, and of the Roman martyr Laurentius.845

Pope Gregory the Great, at the close of our period, went much farther.

According to this we cannot wonder that the Virgin Mary and the saints are interwoven also in the prayers of the liturgies,846 and that their merits and intercession stand by the side of the merits of Christ as a ground of the acceptance of our prayers.

§ 85. Festivals of the Saints.

The system of saint-worship, like that of the worship of Mary, became embodied in a series of religious festivals, of which many had only a local character, some a provincial, some a universal. To each saint a day of the year, the day of his death, or his heavenly birthday, was dedicated, and it was celebrated with a memorial oration and exercises of divine worship, but in many cases desecrated by unrestrained amusements of the people, like the feasts of the heathen gods and heroes.

The most important saints' days which come down from the early church, and bear a universal character, are the following:

1. The feast of the two chief apostles Peter and Paul,847 on the twenty-ninth of June, the day of their martyrdom. It is with the Latins and the Greeks the most important of the feasts of the apostles, and, as the homilies for the day by Gregory Nazianzen, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Augustine, and Leo the Great show, was generally introduced as early as the fourth century

2. Besides this, the Roman church has observed since the fifth century a special feast in honor of the prince of the apostles and for the glorification of the papal office: the feast of the See of Peter848 on the twenty-second of February, the day on which, according to tradition, he took possession of the Roman bishopric. With this there was also an Antiochan St. Peter's day on the eighteenth of January, in memory of the supposed episcopal reign of this apostle in Antioch. The Catholic liturgists dispute which of these two feasts is the older. After Leo the Great, the bishops used to keep the Natales. Subsequently the feast of the Chains of Peter849 was introduced in memory of the chains which Peter wore, according to Acts xii. 6, under Herod at Jerusalem, and, according to the Roman legend, in the prison at Rome under Nero.

3. The feast of John, the apostle and evangelist, on the twenty-seventh of December, has already been mentioned in connection with the Christmas cycle.850

4. Likewise the feast of the protomartyr Stephen, on the twenty-sixth of December, after the fourth century.851

5. The feast of John the Baptist, the last representative of the saints before Christ. This was, contrary to the general rule, a feast of his birth, not his martyrdom, and, with reference to the birth festival of the Lord on the twenty-fifth of December, was celebrated six months earlier, on the twenty-fourth of June, the summer solstice. This was intended to signify at once his relation to Christ and his well-known word: "He must increase, but I must decrease." He represented the decreasing sun of the ancient covenant; Christ, the rising sun of the new.852 In order to celebrate more especially the martyrdom of the Baptist, a feast of the Beheading of John,853 on the twenty-ninth of August, was afterward introduced; but this never became so important and popular as the feast of his birth.

6. To be just to all the heroes of the faith, the Greek church, after the fourth century, celebrated a feast of All Saints on the Sunday after Pentecost (the Latin festival of the Trinity).854 The Latin church, after 610, kept a similar feast, the Festum Omnium Sanctorum, on the first of November; but this did not come into general use till after the ninth century.

7. The feast of the Archangel Michael,855 the leader of the hosts of angels, and the representative of the church triumphant,856 on the twenty-ninth of September. This owes its origin to some miraculous appearances of Michael in the Catholic legends.857 The worship of the angels developed itself simultaneously with the worship of Mary and the saints, and churches also were dedicated to angels, and called after their names. Thus Constantine the Great built a church to the archangel Michael on the right bank of the Black Sea, where the angel, according to the legend, appeared to some ship-wrecked persons and rescued them from death. Justinian I. built as many as six churches to him. Yet the feast of Michael, which some trace back to Pope Gelasius I., a.d. 493, seems not to have become general till after the ninth century.

§ 86. The Christian Calendar. The Legends of the Saints. The Acta Sanctorum.

This is the place for some observations on the origin and character of the Christian calendar with reference to its ecclesiastical elements, the catalogue of saints and their festivals.

The Christian calendar, as to its contents, dates from the fourth and later centuries; as to its form, it comes down from classical antiquity, chiefly from the Romans, whose numerous calendars contained, together with astronomical and astrological notes, tables also of civil and religious festivals and public sports. Two calendars of Christian Rome still extant, one of the year 354, the other of the year 448,858 show the transition. The former contains for the first time the Christian week beginning with Sunday, together with the week of heathen Rome; the other contains Christian feast days and holidays, though as yet very few, viz., four festivals of Christ and six martyr days. The oldest purely Christian calendar is a Gothic one, which originated probably in Thrace in the fourth century. The fragment still extant859 contains thirty-eight days for November and the close of October, among which seven days are called by the names of saints (two from the Bible, three from the church universal, and two from the Gothic church).

There are, however, still earlier lists of saints' days, according to the date of the holiday; the oldest is a Roman one of the middle of the fourth century, which contains the memorial days of twelve bishops of Rome and twenty-four martyrs, together with the festival of the birth of Christ and the festival of Peter on the twenty-second of February.

Such tables are the groundwork of the calendar and the martyrologies. At first each community or province had its own catalogue of feasts, hence also its own calendar. Such local registers were sometimes called diptycha860 (divptuca), because they were recorded on tables with two leaves; yet they commonly contained, besides the names of the martyrs, the names also of the earlier bishops and still living benefactors or persons, of whom the priests were to make mention by name in the prayer before the consecration of the elements in the eucharist. The spread of the worship of a martyr, which usually started from the place of his martyrdom, promoted the interchange of names. The great influence of Rome gave to the Roman festival-list and calendar the chief currency in the West.

Gradually the whole calendar was filled up with the names of saints. As the number of the martyrs exceeded the number of days in the year, the commemoration of several must fall upon the same day, or the canonical hours of cloister devotion must be given up. The oriental calendar is richer in saints from the Old Testament than the occidental.861

With the calendars are connected the Martyrologia, or Acta Martyrum, Acta Sanctorum, called by the Greeks Menologia and Menaea.862 There were at first only "Diptycha" and "Calendaria martyrum," i.e., lists of the names of the martyrs commemorated by the particular church in the order of the days of their death on the successive days of the year, with or without statements of the place and manner of their passion. This simple skeleton became gradually animated with biographical sketches, coming down from different times and various authors, containing a confused mixture of history and fable, truth and fiction, piety and superstition, and needing to be used with great critical caution. As these biographies of the saints were read on their annual days in the church and in the cloisters for the edification of the people, they were called Legenda.

The first Acts of the Martyrs come down from the second and third centuries, in part from eye-witnesses, as, for example, the martyrdom of Polycarp (a.d. 167), and of the martyrs of Lyons and Vienne in South Gaul; but most of them originated, at least in their present form, in the post-Constantinian age. Eusebius wrote a general martyrology, which is lost. The earliest Latin martyrology is ascribed to Jerome, but at all events contains many later additions; this father, however, furnished valuable contributions to such works in his "Lives of eminent Monks" and his "Catalogue of celebrated Church Teachers." Pope Gelasius thought good to prohibit or to restrict the church reading of the Acts of the Saints, because the names of the authors were unknown, and superfluous and incongruous additions by heretics or uneducated persons (idiotis) might be introduced. Gregory the Great speaks of a martyrology in use in Rome and elsewhere, which is perhaps the same afterward ascribed to Jerome and widely spread. The presentMartyrologium Romanum, which embraces the saints of all countries, is an expansion of this, and was edited by Baronius with a learned commentary at the command of Gregory XIII. and Sixtus V. in 1586, and afterward enlarged by the Jesuit Heribert Rosweyd.

Rosweyd († 1629) also sketched, toward the close of the sixteenth century, the plan for the celebrated "Acta Sanctorum, quotquot toto orbe coluntur," which Dr. John van Bolland († 1665) and his companions and continuators, called Bollandists (Henschen, † 1681; Papenbroek, † 1714; Sollier, † 1740; Stiltinck, † 1762, and others of inferior merit), published at Antwerp in fifty-three folio volumes, between the years 1643 and 1794 (including the two volumes of the second series), under the direction of the Jesuits, and with the richest and rarest literary aids.863 This work contains, in the order of the days of the year, the biography of every saint in the Catholic calendar, as composed by the Bollandists, down to the fifteenth of October, together with all the acts of canonization, papal bulls, and other ancient documents belonging thereto, with learned treatises and notes; and that not in the style of popular legends, but in the tone of thorough historical investigation and free criticism, so far as a general accordance with the Roman Catholic system of faith would allow.864 It was interrupted in 1773 by the abolition of the order of the Jesuits, then again in 1794, after a brief resumption of labor and the publication of two more volumes (the fifty-second and fifty-third), by the French Revolution and invasion of the Netherlands and the partial destruction of the literary, material; but since 1845 (or properly since 1837) it has been resumed at Brussels under the auspices of the same order, though not with the same historical learning and critical acumen, and proceeds tediously toward completion.865 This colossal and amazing work of more than two centuries of pious industry and monkish learning will always remain a rich mine for the system of martyr and saint-worship and the history of Christian life.

§ 87. Worship of Relics. Dogma of the Resurrection. Miracles of Relics.

Comp. the Literature at § 84. Also J. Mabillon (R.C.): Observationes de sanctorum reliquiis (Praef. ad Acta s. Bened. Ordinis). Par. 1669. Barrington and Kirk (R.C.): The Faith of Catholics, &c. Lond. 1846. Vol. iii. pp. 250–307. On the Protestant side, J. H. Jung: Disquisitio antiquaria de reliqu. et profanis et sacris earumque cultu, ed. 4. Hannov. 1783.

The veneration of martyrs and saints had respect, in the first instance, to their immortal spirits in heaven, but came to be extended, also, in a lower degree, to their earthly remains or relics.866 By these are to be understood, first, their bodies, or rather parts of them, bones, blood, ashes; then all which was in any way closely connected with their persons, clothes, staff, furniture, and especially the instruments of their martyrdom. After the time of Ambrose the cross of Christ also, which, with the superscription and the nails, are said to have been miraculously discovered by the empress Helena in 326,867 was included, and subsequently His crown of thorns and His coat, which are preserved, the former, according to the legend, in Paris, and the latter in Treves.868 Relics of the body of Christ cannot be thought of, since He arose without seeing corruption, and ascended to heaven, where, above the reach of idolatry and superstition, He is enthroned at the right hand of the Father. His true relics are the Holy Supper and His living presence in the church to the end of the world.

The worship of relics, like the worship of Mary and the saints, began in a sound religious feeling of reverence, of love, and of gratitude, but has swollen to an avalanche, and rushed into all kinds of superstitious and idolatrous excess. "The most glorious thing that the mind conceives," says Goethe, "is always set upon by a throng of more and more foreign matter."

As Israel could not sustain the pure elevation of its divinely revealed religion, but lusted after the flesh pots of Egypt and coquetted with sensuous heathenism so it fared also with the ancient church.

The worship of relics cannot be derived from Judaism; for the Levitical law strictly prohibited the contact of bodies and bones of the dead as defiling.869 Yet the isolated instance of the bones of the prophet Elisha quickening by their contact a dead man who was cast into his tomb,870 was quoted in behalf of the miraculous power of relics; though it should be observed that even this miracle did not lead the Israelites to do homage to the bones of the prophet nor abolish the law of the uncleanness of a corpse.

The heathen abhorred corpses, and burnt them to ashes, except in Egypt, where embalming was the custom and was imitated by the Christians on the death of martyrs, though St. Anthony protested against it. There are examples, however, of the preservation of the bones of distinguished heroes like Theseus, and of the erection of temples over their graves.871

The Christian relic worship was primarily a natural consequence of the worship of the saints, and was closely connected with the Christian doctrine of the resurrection of the body, which was an essential article of the apostolic tradition, and is incorporated in almost all the ancient creeds. For according to the gospel the body is not an evil substance, as the Platonists, Gnostics, Manichaeans held, but a creature of God; it is redeemed by Christ; it becomes by the regeneration an organ and temple of the Holy Ghost; and it rests as a living seed in the grave, to be raised again at the last day, and changed into the likeness of the glorious body of Christ. The bodies of the righteous "grow green" in their graves, to burst forth in glorious bloom on the morning of the resurrection. The first Christians from the beginning set great store by this comforting doctrine, at which the heathen, like Celsus and Julian, scoffed. Hence they abhorred also the heathen custom of burning, and adopted the Jewish custom of burial with solemn religious ceremonies, which, however, varied in different times and countries.

But in the closer definition of the dogma of the resurrection two different tendencies appeared: a spiritualistic, represented by the Alexandrians, particularly by Origen and still later by the two Gregories; the other more realistic, favored by the Apostles' Creed,872 advocated by Tertullian, but pressed by some church teachers, like Epiphanius and Jerome, in a grossly materialistic manner, without regard to the sw'ma pveumatikovn of Paul and the declaration that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God."873 The latter theory was far the more consonant with the prevailing spirit of our period, entirely supplanted the other, and gave the mortal remains of the saints a higher value, and the worship of them a firmer foundation.

Roman Catholic historians and apologists find a justification of the worship and the healing virtue of relics in three facts of the New Testament: the healing of the woman with the issue of blood by the touch of Jesus' garment;874 the healing of the sick by the shadow of Peter;875and the same by handkerchiefs from Paul.876

These examples, as well as the miracle wrought by the bones of Elisha, were cited by Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, Ambrose, Chrysostom, and other fathers, to vindicate similar and greater miracles in their time. They certainly mark the extreme limit of the miraculous, beyond which it passes into the magical. But in all these cases the living and present person was the vehicle of the healing power; in the second case Luke records merely the popular belief, not the actual healing; and finally neither Christ nor the apostles themselves chose that method, nor in any way sanctioned the superstitions on which it was based.877 At all events, the New Testament and the literature of the apostolic fathers know nothing of an idolatrous veneration of the cross of Christ or the bones and chattels of the apostles. The living words and acts of Christ and the apostles so completely absorbed attention that we have no authentic accounts of the bodily appearance, the incidental externals, and transient possessions of the founders of the church. Paul would know Christ after the spirit, not after the flesh. Even the burial places of most of the apostles and evangelists are unknown. The traditions of their martyrdom and their remains date from a much later time, and can claim no historical credibility.

The first clear traces of the worship of relics appear in the second century in the church of Antioch, where the bones of the bishop and martyr Ignatius († 107) were preserved as a priceless treasure;878 and in Smyrna, where the half-burnt bones of Polycarp († 167) were considered "more precious than the richest jewels and more tried than gold."879 We read similar things in the Acts of the martyrs Perpetua and Cyprian. The author of the Apostolic Constitutions880 exhorts that the relics of the saints, who are with the God of the living and not of the dead, be held in honor, and appeals to the miracle of the bones of Elisha, to the veneration which Joseph showed for the remains of Jacob, and to the bringing of the bones of Joseph by Moses and Joshua into the promised land.881 Eusebius states that the episcopal throne of James of Jerusalem was preserved to his time, and was held in great honor.882

Such pious fondness for relics, however, if it is confined within proper limits, is very natural and innocent, and appears even in the Puritans of New England, where the rock in Plymouth, the landing place of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620, has the attraction of a place of pilgrimage, and the chair of the first governor of Massachusetts is scrupulously preserved, and is used at the inauguration of every new president of Harvard University.

But toward the middle of the fourth century the veneration of relics simultaneously with the worship of the saints, assumed a decidedly superstitious and idolatrous character. The earthly remains of the martyrs were discovered commonly by visions and revelations, often not till centuries after their death, then borne in solemn processions to the churches and chapels erected to their memory, and deposited under the altar;883 and this event was annually celebrated by a festival.884 The legend of the discovery of the holy cross gave rise to two church festivals: The Feast of the Invention of the Cross885 on the third of May, which has been observed in the Latin church since the fifth or sixth century; and The Feast of the Elevation of the Cross,886 on the fourteenth of September, which has been observed in the East and the West, according to some since the consecration of the church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335, according to others only since the reconquest of the holy cross by the emperor Heraclius in 628. The relics were from time to time displayed to the veneration of the believing multitude, carried about in processions, preserved in golden and silver boxes, worn on the neck as amulets against disease and danger of every kind, and considered as possessing miraculous virtue, or more strictly, as instruments through which the saints in heaven, in virtue of their connection with Christ, wrought miracles of healing and even of raising the dead. Their number soon reached the incredible, even from one and the same original; there were, for example, countless splinters of the pretended cross of Christ from Jerusalem, while the cross itself is said to have remained, by a continued miracle, whole and undiminished! Veneration of the cross and crucifix knew no bounds, but can, by no means, be taken as a true measure of the worship of the Crucified; on the contrary, with the great mass the outward form came into the place of the spiritual intent, and the wooden and silver Christ was very often a poor substitute for the living Christ in the heart.887

Relics became a regular article of trade, but gave occasion, also, for very many frauds, which even such credulous and superstitious relic-worshippers as St. Martin of Tours888 and Gregory the Great889 lamented. Theodosius I., as early as 386, prohibited this trade; and so did many councils; but without success. On this account the bishops found themselves compelled to prove the genuineness of the relics by historical tradition, or visions, or miracles.

At first, an opposition arose to this worship of dead men's bones. St. Anthony, the father of monasticism († 356), put in his dying protest against it, directing that his body should be buried in an unknown place. Athanasius relates this with approbation,890 and he caused several relics which had been given to him to be fastened up, that they might be out of the reach of idolatry.891 But the opposition soon ceased, or became confined to inferior or heretical authors, like Vigilantius and Eunomius, or to heathen opponents like Porphyry and Julian. Julian charges the Christians, on this point, with apostasy from their own Master, and sarcastically reminds them of His denunciation of the Pharisees, who were like whited sepulchres, beautiful without, but within full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.892 This opposition, of course, made no impression, and was attributed to sheer impiety. Even heretics and schismatics, with few exceptions, embraced this form of superstition, though the Catholic church denied the genuineness of their relics and the miraculous virtue of them

The most and the best of the church teachers of our period, Hilary, the two Gregories, Basil, Chrysostom, Isidore of Pelusium, Theodoret, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Leo, even those who combated the worship of images on this point, were carried along by the spirit of the time, and gave the weight of their countenance to the worship of relics, which thus became an essential constituent of the Greek and Roman Catholic religion. They went quite as far as the council of Trent,893 which expresses itself more cautiously, on the worship of relics as well as of saints, than the church fathers of the Nicene age. With the good intent to promote popular piety by sensible stimulants and tangible supports, they became promoters of dangerous errors and gross superstition.

To cite some of the most important testimonies:

Gregory Nazianzen thinks the bodies of the saints can as well perform miracles, as their spirits, and that the smallest parts of the body or of the symbols of their passion are as efficacious as the whole body.894

Chrysostom values the dust and ashes of the martyrs more highly than gold or jewels, and ascribes to them the power of healing diseases and putting death to flight.895 In his festal discourse on the translation of the relics of the Egyptian martyrs from Alexandria to Constantinople, he extols the bodies of the saints in eloquent strains as the best ramparts of the city against all visible enemies and invisible demons, mightier than walls, moats, weapons, and armies.896

"Let others," says Ambrose, "heap up silver and gold; we gather the nails wherewith the martyrs were pierced, and their victorious blood, and the wood of their cross."897 He himself relates at large, in a letter to his sister, the miraculous discovery of the bones of the twin brothers Gervasius and Protasius, two otherwise wholly unknown and long-forgotten martyrs of the persecution under Nero or Domitian.898 This is one of the most notorious relic miracles of the early church. It is attested by the most weighty authorities, by Ambrose and his younger contemporaries, his secretary and biographer Paulinus, the bishop Paulinus of Nola, and Augustine, who was then in Milan; it decided the victory of the Nicene orthodoxy over the Arian opposition of the empress Justina; yet is it very difficult to be believed, and seems at least in part to rest on pious frauds.899

The story is, that when Ambrose, in 386, wished to consecrate the basilica at Milan, he was led by a higher intimation in a vision to cause the ground before the doors of Sts. Felix and Nahor to be dug up, and there he found two corpses of uncommon size, the heads severed from the bodies (for they died by the sword), the bones perfectly preserved, together with a great quantity of fresh blood.900 These were the saints in question. They were exposed for two days to the wondering multitude, then borne in solemn procession to the basilica of Ambrose, performing on the way the healing of a blind man, Severus by name, a butcher by trade, and afterward sexton of this church. This, however, was not the only miracle which the bones performed. "The age of miracles returned," says Ambrose. "How many pieces of linen, how many portions of dress, were cast upon the holy relics and were recovered with the power of healing from that touch.901 It is a source of joy to all to touch but the extremest portion of the linen that covers them; and whoso touches is healed. We give thee thanks, O Lord Jesus, that thou hast stirred up the energies of the holy martyrs at this time, wherein thy church has need of stronger defence. Let all learn what combatants I seek, who are able to contend for us, but who do not assail us, who minister good to all, harm to none." In his homily De inventione SS. Gervasii et Protasii, he vindicates the miracle of the healing of the blind man against the doubts of the Arians, and speaks of it as a universally acknowledged and undeniable fact: The healed man, Severus, is well known, and publicly testifies that he received his sight by the contact of the covering of the holy relics.

Jerome calls Vigilantius, for his opposition to the idolatrous veneration of ashes and bones, a wretched man, whose condition cannot be sufficiently pitied, a Samaritan and Jew, who considered the dead unclean; but he protects himself against the charge of superstition. We honor the relics of the martyrs, says he, that we may adore the God of the martyrs; we honor the servants, in order thereby to honor the Master, who has said: "He that receiveth you, receiveth me."902 The saints are not dead; for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is not a God of the dead, but of the living. Neither are they enclosed in Abraham's bosom as in a prison till the day of Judgment, but they follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.903

Augustine believed in the above-mentioned miraculous discovery of the bodies of Gervasius and Protasius, and the healing of the blind man by contact with them, because he himself was then in Milan, in 386, at the time of his conversion,904 and was an eye-witness, not indeed of the discovery of the bones—for this he nowhere says—but of the miracles, and of the great stir among the people.905

He gave credit likewise to the many miraculous cures which the bones of the first martyr Stephen are said to have performed in various parts of Africa in his time.906 These relics were discovered in 415, nearly four centuries after the stoning of Stephen, in an obscure hamlet near Jerusalem, through a vision of Gamaliel, by a priest of Lucian; and some years afterward portions of them were transported to Uzali, not far from Utica, in North Africa, and to Spain and Gaul, and everywhere caused the greatest ado in the superstitious populace.

But Augustine laments, on the other hand, the trade in real and fictitious relics, which was driven in his day,907 and holds the miracles to be really superfluous, now that the world is converted to Christianity, so that he who still demands miracles, is himself a miracle.908 Though he adds, that to that day miracles were performed in the name of Jesus by the sacraments or by the saints, but not with the same lustre, nor with the same significance and authority for the whole Christian world.909 Thus he himself furnishes a warrant and an entering wedge for critical doubt in our estimate of those phenomena.910

§ 88. Observations on the Miracles of the Nicene Age.

Comp. on the affirmative side especially John H. Newman (now R.C., then Romanizing Anglican): Essay on Miracles, in the 1st vol. of the English translation of Fleury's Ecclesiastical History, Oxford, 1842; on the negative, Isaac Taylor (Independent): Ancient Christianity, Lond. 4th ed. 1844. Vol. ii. pp. 233–365. Dr. Newman previously took the negative side on the question of the genuineness of the church miracles in a contribution to the Encyclopaedia Metropolitana, 1830.

In the face of such witnesses as Ambrose and Augustine, who must be accounted in any event the noblest and most honorable men of the early church, it is venturesome absolutely to deny all the relic-miracles, and to ascribe them to illusion and pious fraud. But, on the other hand, we should not be bribed or blinded by the character and authority of such witnesses, since experience sufficiently proves that even the best and most enlightened men cannot wholly divest themselves of superstition and of the prejudices of their age911 Hence, too, we should not ascribe to this whole question of the credibility of the Nicene miracles an undue dogmatic weight, nor make the much wider issue between Catholicism and Protestantism dependent on it.912 In every age, as in every man, light and shade in fact are mingled, that no flesh should exalt itself above measure. Even the most important periods of church history, among which the Nicene age, with all its faults, must be numbered, have the heavenly treasure in earthen vessels, and reflect the spotless glory of the Redeemer in broken colors.

The most notorious and the most striking of the miracles of the fourth century are Constantine's vision of the cross (a.d. 312), the finding of the holy cross (a.d. 326), the frustration of Julian's building of the temple (a.d. 363) the discovery of the relics of Protasius and Gervasius (a.d. 386), and subsequently (a.d. 415) of the bones of St. Stephen, with a countless multitude of miraculous cures in its train. Respecting the most important we have already spoken at large in the proper places.

We here offer some general remarks on this difficult subject.

The possibility of miracles in general he only can deny who does not believe in a living God and Almighty Maker of heaven and earth. The laws of nature are organs of the free will of God; not chains by which He has bound Himself forever, but elastic threads which He can extend and contract at His pleasure. The actual occurrence of miracles is certain to every believer from Holy Scripture, and there is no passage in the New Testament to limit it to the apostolic age. The reasons which made miracles necessary as outward proofs of the divine mission of Christ and the apostles for the unbelieving Jews of their time, may reappear from time to time in the unbelieving heathen and the skeptical Christian world; while spiritual miracles are continually taking place in regeneration and conversion. In itself, it is by no means unworthy and incredible that God should sometimes condescend to the weakness of the uneducated mass, and should actually vouchsafe that which was implored through the mediation of saints and their relics.

But the following weighty considerations rise against the miracles of the Nicene and post-Nicene age; not warranting, indeed, the rejection of all, yet making us at least very cautious and doubtful of receiving them in particular:

1. These miracles have a much lower moral tone than those of the Bible, while in some cases they far exceed them in outward pomp, and make a stronger appeal to our faculty of belief. Many of the monkish miracles are not so much supernatural and above reason, as they are unnatural and against reason, attributing even to wild beasts of the desert, panthers and hyenas, with which the misanthropic hermits lived on confidential terms, moral feelings and states, repentance and conversion913 of which no trace appears in the New Testament.914

2. They serve not to confirm the Christian faith in general, but for the most part to support the ascetic life, the magical virtue of the sacrament, the veneration of saints and relics, and other superstitious practices, which are evidently of later origin, and are more or less offensive to the healthy evangelical mind.915

3. The further they are removed from the apostolic age, the more numerous they are, and in the fourth century alone there are more miracles than in all the three preceding centuries together, while the reason for them, as against the power of the heathen world, was less.

4. The church fathers, with all the worthiness of their character in other respects, confessedly lacked a highly cultivated sense of truth, and allowed a certain justification of falsehood ad majorem Dei gloriam, or fraus pia, under the misnomer of policy or accommodation;916 with the solitary exception of Augustine, who, in advance of his age, rightly condemned falsehood in every form.

5. Several church fathers like Augustine, Martin of Tours, and Gregory I., themselves concede that in their time extensive frauds with the relics of saints were already practised; and this is confirmed by the fact that there were not rarely numerous copies of the same relics, all of which claimed to be genuine.

6. The Nicene miracles met with doubt and contradiction even among contemporaries, and Sulpitius Severus makes the important admission that the miracles of St. Martin were better known and more firmly believed in foreign countries than in his own.917

7. Church fathers, like Chrysostom and Augustine, contradict themselves in a measure, in sometimes paying homage to the prevailing faith in miracles, especially in their discourses on the festivals of the martyrs, and in soberer moments, and in the calm exposition of the Scriptures, maintaining that miracles, at least in the Biblical sense, had long since ceased.918

We must moreover remember that the rejection of the Nicene miracles by no means justifies the inference of intentional deception in every case, nor destroys the claim of the great church teachers to our respect. On the contrary, between the proper miracle and fraud there lie many intermediate steps of self-deception, clairvoyance, magnetic phenomena and cures, and unusual states of the human soul, which is full of deep mysteries, and stands nearer the invisible spirit-world than the everyday mind of the multitude suspects. Constantine's vision of the cross, for example, may be traced to a prophetic dream;919 and the frustration of the building of the Jewish temple under Julian, to a special providence, or a historical judgment of God.920 The mytho-poetic faculty, too, which freely and unconsciously produces miracles among children, may have been at work among credulous monks in the dreary deserts and magnified an ordinary event into a miracle. In judging of this obscure portion of the history of the church we must, in general, guard ourselves as well against shallow naturalism and skepticism, as against superstitious mysticism, remembering that

"There are more things in heaven and on earth,

Than are dreamed of in our philosophy."

§ 89. Processions and Pilgrimages.

Early Latin dissertations on pilgrimages by J. Gretser, Mamachi, Lazari, J. H. Heidegger, etc. J. Marx (R.C.): Das Wallfahren in der katholischen Kirche, historisch-kritisch dargestellt. Trier, 1842. Comp. the relevant sections in the church archaeologies of Bingham, Augusti, Binterim, &c.

Solemn religious processions on high festivals and special occasions had been already customary among the Jews,921 and even among the heathen. They arise from the love of human nature for show and display, which manifests itself in all countries in military parades, large funerals, and national festivities.

The oppressed condition of the church until the time of Constantine made such public demonstrations impossible or unadvisable.

In the fourth century, however, we find them in the East and in the West, among orthodox and heretics,922 on days of fasting and prayer, on festivals of thanksgiving, at the burial of the dead, the induction of bishops, the removal of relics, the consecration of churches, and especially in times of public calamity. The two chief classes are thanksgiving and penitential processions. The latter were also called cross-processions, litanies.923

The processions moved from church to church, and consisted of the clergy, the monks, and the people, alternately saying or singing prayers, psalms, and litanies. In the middle of the line commonly walked the bishop as leader, in surplice, stole, and pluvial, with the mitre on his head, the crozier in his left hand, and with his right hand blessing the people. A copy of the Bible, crucifixes, banners, images and relics, burning tapers or torches, added solemn state to the procession.924

Regular annual processions occurred on Candlemas, and on Palm Sunday. To these was added, after the thirteenth century, the procession on Corpus Christi, in which the sacrament of the altar is carried about and worshipped.

Pilgrimages are founded in the natural desire to see with one's own eyes sacred or celebrated places, for the gratification of curiosity, the increase of devotion, and the proving of gratitude.925 These also were in use before the Christian era. The Jews went up annually to Jerusalem at their high festivals as afterward the Mohammedans went to Mecca. The heathen also built altars over the graves of their heroes and made pilgrimages thither.926 To the Christians those places were most interesting and holy of all, where the Redeemer was born, suffered, died, and rose again for the salvation of the world.

Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land appear in isolated cases even in the second century, and received a mighty impulse from the example of the superstitiously pious empress Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. In 326, at the age of seventy-nine, she made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, was baptized in the Jordan, discovered the holy cross, removed the pagan abominations and built Christian churches on Calvary and Olivet, and at Bethany.927 In this she was liberally supported by her son, in whose arms she died at Nicomedia in 327. The influence of these famous pilgrims' churches extended through the whole middle age, to the crusades, and reaches even to most recent times.928

The example of Helena was followed by innumerable pilgrims who thought that by such journeys they made the salvation of their souls more sure. They brought back with them splinters from the pretended holy cross, waters from the Jordan, earth from Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and other genuine and spurious relics, to which miraculous virtue was ascribed.929

Several of the most enlightened church fathers, who approved pilgrimages in themselves, felt it necessary to oppose a superstitious estimate of them, and to remind the people that religion might be practised in any place. Gregory of Nyssa shows that pilgrimages are nowhere enjoined in the Scriptures, and are especially unsuitable and dangerous for women, and draws a very unfavorable picture of the immorality prevailing at places of such resort. "Change of place," says he, "brings God no nearer. Where thou art, God will come to thee, if the dwelling of thy soul is prepared for him."930 Jerome describes with great admiration the devout pilgrimage of his friend Paula to the East, and says that he himself, in his Bethlehem, had adored the manger and birthplace of the Redeemer;931 but he also very justly declares that Britain is as near heaven as Jerusalem, and that not a journey to Jerusalem, but a holy living there, is the laudable thing.932

Next to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and other localities of the Holy Land, Rome was a preëminent place of resort for pilgrims from the West and East, who longed to tread the threshold of the princes of the apostles (limina apostolorum). Chrysostom regretted that want of time and health prevented him from kissing the chains of Peter and Paul, which made devils tremble and angels rejoice.

In Africa, Hippo became a place of pilgrimage on account of the bones of St. Stephen; in Campania, the grave of St. Felix, at Nola; in Gaul, the grave of St. Martin of Tours († 397). The last was especially renowned, and was the scene of innumerable miracles.933 Even the memory of Job drew many pilgrims to Arabia to see the ash heap, and to kiss the earth, where the man of God endured so much.934

In the Roman and Greek churches the practice of pilgrimage to holy places has maintained itself to the present day. Protestantism has divested the visiting of remarkable places, consecrated by great men or great events, of all meritoriousness and superstitious accessories, and has reduced it to a matter of commendable gratitude and devout curiosity. Within these limits even the evangelical Christian cannot view without emotion and edification the sacred spots of Palestine, the catacombs of Rome, the simple slabs over Luther and Melanchthon in the castle-church of Wittenberg, the monuments of the English martyrs in Oxford, or the rocky landing-place of the Puritanic pilgrim fathers in Massachusetts. He feels himself nearer to the spirit of the great dead; but he knows that this spirit continues not in their dust, but lives immortally with God and the saints in heaven.

§ 90. Public Worship of the Lord's Day. Scripture-Reading and Preaching.

J.A. Schmidt: De primitive ecclesiae lectionibus. Helmst. 1697. E. Ranke: Das kirchliche Perikopensystem aus den Ältesten Urkunden der röm. Liturgie. Berlin, 1847. H. T. Tzschirner: De claris Eccles. vet. oratoribus Comment. i.-ix. Lips. 1817 sqq. K. W. F. Paniel: Pragmatische Geschichte der christl. Beredtsamkeit. Leipz. 1839 ff.

The order and particular parts of the ordinary public worship of God remain the same as they were in the previous period. But the strict separation of the service of the Catechumens,935 consisting of prayer, scripture reading, and preaching, from the service of the faithful,936 consisting of the communion, lost its significance upon the universal prevalence of Christianity and the union of church and state. Since the fifth century the inhabitants of the Roman empire were now considered as Christians at least in name and confession and could attend even those parts of the worship which were formerly guarded by secrecy against the profanation of pagans. The Greek term liturgy, and the Latin term mass, which is derived from the customary formula of dismission,937 was applied, since the close of the fourth century (398), to the communion service or the celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice. This was the divine service in the proper sense of the term, to which all other parts were subordinate. We shall speak of it more fully hereafter.938 We have to do at present with those parts which were introductory to the communion and belong to the service of the catechumens as well as to that of the communicants.

The reading of a portion of the Holy Scriptures continued to be an essential constituent of divine service. Upon the close of the church canon, after the Council of Carthage in 397, and other synods, the reading of uncanonical books (such as writings of the apostolic fathers) was forbidden, with the exception of the legends of the martyrs on their memorial days.

There was as yet no obligatory system of pericopes, like that of the later Greek and Roman churches. The lectio continua, or the reading and exposition of whole books of the Bible, remained in practice till the fifth century, and the selection of books for the different parts and services of the church year was left to the judgment of the bishop. At high festivals, however, such portions were read as bore special reference to the subject of the celebration. By degrees, after the example of the Jewish synagogue,939 a more complete yearly course of selections from the New Testament for liturgical use was arranged, and the selections were called lessons or pericopes.940 In the Latin church this was done in the fifth century; in the Greek, in the eighth. The lessons941 were taken from the Gospels and from the Epistles, or the Apostle (in part also from the Prophets), and were therefore called the Gospel and the Epistle for the particular Sunday or festival. Some churches, however, had three, or even four lessons, a Gospel, an Epistle, and a section from the Old Testament and from the Acts. Many manuscripts of the New Testament contained only the pericopes or lessons for public worship,942 and many of these again, only the Gospel pericopes.943 The Alexandrian deacon Euthalius, about 460, divided the Gospel and the Apostle, excepting the Revelation, into fifty-seven portions each, for the Sundays and feast days of the year; but they were not generally received, and the Eastern church still adhered for a long time to the lectio continua. Among the Latin lectionaries still extant, the Lectionarium Gallicanum, dating from the sixth or seventh century, and edited by Mabillon, and the so-called Comes (i.e., Clergyman's Companion) or Liber Comitis, were in especial repute. The latter is traced by tradition to the learned Jerome, and forms the groundwork of the Roman lectionary and the entire Western System of pericopes, which has passed from the Latin church into the Anglican and the Lutheran, but has undergone many changes in the course of time.944 This selection of Scripture portions was in general better fitted to the church year, but had the disadvantage of withholding large parts of the holy Scriptures from the people.

The lessons were read from the ambo or reading desk by the lector, with suitable formulas of introduction; usually the Epistle first, and then the Gospel; closing with the doxology or the singing of a psalm. Sometimes the deacon read the Gospel from the altar, to give it special distinction as the word of the Lord Himself.

The church fathers earnestly enjoined, besides this, diligent private reading of the Scriptures; especially Chrysostom, who attributed all corruption in the church to the want of knowledge of the Scriptures. Yet he already found himself compelled to combat the assumption that the Bible is a book only for clergy and monks, and not for the people; an assumption which led in the middle age to the notorious papal prohibitions of the Scriptures in the popular tongues. Strictly speaking, the Bible has been made what it was originally intended to be, really a universal book of the people, only by the invention of the art of printing, by the spirit of the Reformation, and by the Bible Societies of modern times. For in the ancient church, and in the middle age, the manuscripts of the Bible were so rare and so dear, and the art of reading was so limited, that the great mass were almost entirely dependent on the fragmentary reading of the Scriptures in public worship. This fact must be well considered, to forestall too unfavorable a judgment of that early age.

The reading of the Scripture was followed by the sermon, based either on the pericope just read, or on a whole book, in consecutive portions. We have from the greatest pulpit orators of antiquity, from Athanasius, Gregory Nazianzen, Basil the Great, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Augustine, connected homilies on Genesis, the Prophets, the Psalms, the Gospels, and the Epistles. But on high festivals a text was always selected suitable and usual for the occasion.945 There was therefore in the ancient church no forced conformity to the pericopes; the advantages of a system of Scripture lessons and a consecutive exposition of entire books of Scripture were combined. The reading of the pericopes belongs properly to the altar-service, and must keep its connection with the church year; preaching belongs to the pulpit, and may extend to the whole compass of the divine word.

Pulpit eloquence in the fourth and fifth centuries reached a high point in the Greek church, and is most worthily represented by Gregory Nazianzen and Chrysostom. But it also often degenerated there into artificial rhetoric, declamatory bombast, and theatrical acting. Hence the abuse of frequent clapping and acclamations of applause among the people.946 As at this day, so in that, many went to church not to worship God, but to hear a celebrated speaker, and left as soon as the sermon was done. The sermon, they said, we can hear only in the church, but we can pray as well at home. Chrysostom often raised his voice against this in Antioch and in Constantinople. The discourses of the most favorite preachers were often written down by stenographers and multiplied by manuscripts, sometimes with their permission, sometimes without.

In the Western church the sermon was much less developed, consisted in most cases of a simple practical exhortation, and took the background of the eucharistic sacrifice. Hence it was a frequent thing there for the people to leave the church at the beginning of the sermon; so that many bishops, who had no idea of the free nature of religion and of worship, compelled the people to hear by closing the doors.

The sermon was in general freely delivered from the bishop's chair or from the railing of the choir (the cancelli), sometimes from the reading-desk. The duty of preaching devolved upon the bishops; and even popes, like Leo I. and Gregory I., frequently preached before the Roman congregation. Preaching was also performed by the presbyters and deacons. Leo I. restricts the right of preaching and teaching to the ordained clergy;947 yet monks and hermits preached not rarely in the streets, from pillars (like St. Symeon), roofs, or trees; and even laymen, like the emperor Constantine and some of his successors, wrote and delivered (though not in church) religious discourses to the faithful people.948

§ 91. The Sacraments in General.

G. L. Hahn: Die Lehre von den Sacramenten in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung innerhalb der abendländischen Kirche bis zum Concil von Trient. Breslau, 1864 (147 pp.). Comp. also the article Sacramente by G. E. Steitz in Herzog's Real-Encyklopädie, vol. xiii. pp. 226–286; and Const. von Schätzler: Die Lehre von der Wirksamkeit der Sacramente ex opere operato. Munich, 1860.

The use of the word sacramentum in the church still continued for a long time very indefinite. It embraced every mystical and sacred thing (omne mysticum sacrumque signum). Tertullian, Ambrose, Hilary, Leo, Chrysostom, and other fathers, apply it even to mysterious doctrines and facts, like the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the incarnation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. But after the fifth century it denotes chiefly sacred forms of worship, which were instituted by Christ and by which divine blessings are mystically represented, sealed, and applied to men. This catholic theological conception has substantially passed into the evangelical churches, though with important changes as to the number and operation of the sacraments.949

Augustine was the first to substitute a clear doctrine of the nature of the sacraments for a vague notion and rhetorical exaggerations. He defines a sacrament to be a visible sign of an invisible grace or divine blessing.950 Two constituents, therefore, belong to such a holy act: the outward symbol or sensible element (the signum, also sacramentum in the stricter sense), which is visible to the eye, and the inward grace or divine virtue (the res or virtus sacramenti), which is an object of faith.951 The two, the sign and the thing signified, are united by the word of consecration.952 From the general spirit of Augustine's doctrine, and several of his expressions, we must infer that he considered divine institution by Christ to be also a mark of such holy ordinance.953 But subsequently this important point retired from the consciousness of the church, and admitted the widening of the idea, and the increase of the number, of the sacraments.

Augustine was also the first to frame a distinct doctrine of the operation of the sacraments. In his view the sacraments work grace or condemnation, blessing or curse, according to the condition of the receiver.954 They operate, therefore, not immediately and magically, but mediately and ethically, not ex opere operato, in the later scholastic language, but through the medium of the active faith of the receiver. They certainly have, as divine institutions, an objective meaning in themselves, like the life-principle of a seed, and do not depend on the subjective condition of the one who administers them (as the Donatists taught); but they reach with blessing only those who seize the blessing, or take it from the ordinance, in faith; they bring curse to those who unworthily administer or receive them. Faith is necessary not as the efficient cause, but as the subjective condition, of the saving operation of the offered grace.955 Augustine also makes a distinction between a transient and a permanent effect of the sacrament, and thereby prepares the way for the later scholastic doctrine of the character indelebilis. Baptism and ordination impress an indelible character, and therefore cannot be repeated. He is fond of comparing baptism with the badge of the imperial service,956 which the soldier always retains either to his honor or to his shame. Hence the Catholic doctrine is: Once baptized, always baptized; once a priest, always a priest. Nevertheless a baptized person, or an ordained person, can be excommunicated and eternally lost. The popular opinion in the church already inclined strongly toward the superstitious view of the magical operation of the sacrament, which has since found scholastic expression in the opus operatum theory.

The church fathers with one accord assert a relative (not absolute) necessity of the sacraments to salvation.957 They saw in them, especially in baptism and the eucharist, the divinely appointed means of appropriating the forgiveness of sins and the grace of God. Yet with this view they firmly held that not the want of the sacraments, but only the contempt of them, was damning.958 In favor of this they appealed to Moses, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, the thief on the cross,—who all, however, belonged to the Old Testament economy—and to many Christian martyrs, who sealed their faith in Christ with their blood, before they had opportunity to be baptized and to commune. The Virgin Mary also, and the apostles, belong in some sense to this class, who, since Christ himself did not baptize, received not the Christian baptism of water, but instead were on the day of Pentecost baptized with Spirit and with fire. Thus Cornelius also received through Peter the gift of the Holy Ghost before baptism; but nevertheless submitted himself afterwards to the outward Sacrament. In agreement with this view, sincere repentance and true faith, and above all the blood-baptism of martyrdom,959 were regarded as a kind of compensation for the sacraments.

The number of the sacraments remained yet for a long time indefinite; though among the church fathers of our period baptism and the Lord's Supper were regarded either as the only Sacraments, or as the prominent ones.

Augustine considered it in general an excellence of the New Testament over the Old, that the number of the sacraments was diminished, but their import enhanced,960 and calls baptism and the Supper, with reference to the water and the blood which flowed from the side of the Lord, the genuine or chief sacraments, on which the church subsists.961 But he includes under the wider conception of the sacrament other mysterious and holy usages, which were commended in the Scriptures,962 naming expressly confirmation,963 marriage,964 and ordination.965 Thus he already recognizes to some extent five Christian sacraments, to which the Roman church has since added penance and extreme unction.

Cyril of Jerusalem, in his Mystagogic Catechism, and Ambrose of Milan, in the six books De Sacramentis ascribed to him, mention only three sacraments: baptism, confirmation, and the Lord's supper; and Gregory of Nyssa likewise mentions three, but puts ordination in the place of confirmation. For in the Eastern church confirmation, or the laying on of hands, was less prominent, and formed a part of the sacrament of baptism; while in the Western church it gradually established itself in the rank of an independent sacrament.

The unknown Greek author of the pseudo-Dionysian writings of the sixth century enumerates six sacraments (musthvria):966(1.) baptism, or illumination; (2.) the eucharist, or the consecration of consecrations; (3.) the consecration with anointing oil, or confirmation; (4.) the consecration of priests; (5.) the consecration of monks; (6.) the consecration of the dead, or extreme unction. Here marriage and penance are wanting; in place of them appears the consecration of monks, which however was afterwards excluded from the number of the sacraments.

In the North African, the Milanese, and the Gallican churches the washing of feet also long maintained the place of a distinct sacrament.967 Ambrose asserted its sacramental character against the church of Rome, and even declared it to be as necessary as baptism, because it was instituted by Christ, and delivered men from original sin, as baptism from the actual sin of transgression;—a view which rightly found but little acceptance.

This uncertainty as to the number of the sacraments continued till the twelfth century.968 Yet the usage of the church from the fifth century downward, in the East and in the West, appears to have inclined silently to the number seven, which was commended by its mystical sacredness. This is shown at least by the agreement of the Greek and Roman churches in this point, and even of the Nestorians and Monophysites, who split off in the fifth century from the orthodox Greek church.969

In the West, the number seven was first introduced, as is usually supposed, by the bishop Otto of Bamberg (1124), more correctly by Peter Lombard (d. 1164), the "Master of Sentences;" rationally and rhetorically justified by Thomas Aquinas and other scholastics (as recently by Möhler) from the seven chief religious wants of human life and human society;970 and finally publicly sanctioned by the council of Florence in 1439 with the concurrence of the Greek church, and established by the council of Trent with an anathema against all who think otherwise.971 The Reformation returned, in this point as in others, to the New Testament; retained none but baptism and the Lord's Supper as proper sacraments, instituted and enjoined by Christ himself; entirely rejected extreme unction (and at first confirmation); consigned penance to the province of the inward life, and confirmation, marriage, and orders to the more general province of sacred acts and usages, to which a more or less sacramental character may be ascribed, but by no means an equality in other respects with baptism and the holy Supper.972

§ 92. Baptism.

For the Literature, see vol. i. § 37, p. 122; especially Höfling (Lutheran): Das Sacrament der Taufe. W. Wall (Anglican): The History of Infant Baptism (1705), new ed. Oxf. 1844, 4vols. C. A. G. v. Zezschwitz: System der christlich kirchlichen Katechetik. Vol. i. Leipz. 1863.

On heretical baptism in particular, See Mattes (R.C.): Ueber die Ketzertaufe, in the Tübingen "Theol. Quartalschrift," for 1849, pp. 571–637, and 1850, pp. 24–69; and G. E. Steitz, art. Ketzertaufe in Herzog's Theol. Encyclop. vol. vii. pp. 524–541 (partly in opposition to Mattes). Concerning the form of baptism, on the Baptist side, T. J. Conant: The Meaning and Use of Baptizein philologically and historically investigated. New York, 1861.

The views of the ante-Nicene fathers concerning baptism and baptismal regeneration were in this period more copiously embellished in rhetorical style by Basil the Great and the two Gregories, who wrote special treatises on this sacrament, and were more clearly and logically developed by Augustine. The patristic and Roman Catholic view on regeneration, however, differs considerably from the one which now prevails among most Protestant denominations, especially those of the more Puritanic type, in that it signifies not so much a subjective change of heart, which is more properly called conversion, but a change in the objective condition and relation of the sinner, namely, his translation from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of Christ. Some modern divines make a distinction between baptismal and moral regeneration, in order to reconcile the doctrine of the fathers with the fact that the evidences of a new life are wholly wanting in so many who are baptized. But we cannot enter here into a discussion of the difficulties of this doctrine, and must confine ourselves to a historical statement.

Gregory Nazianzen sees in baptism all blessings of Christianity combined, especially the forgiveness of sins, the new birth, and the restoration of the divine image. To children it is a seal (sfragiv") of grace and a consecration to the service of God. According to Gregory of Nyssa, the child by baptism is instated in the paradise from which Adam was thrust out. The Greek fathers had no clear conception of original sin. According to the Pelagian Julian of Eclanum, Chrysostom taught: We baptize children, though they are not stained with sin, in order that holiness, righteousness, sonship, inheritance, and brotherhood may be imparted to them through Christ.973

Augustine brought the operation of baptism into connection with his more complete doctrine of original sin. Baptism delivers from the guilt of original sin, and takes away the sinful character of the concupiscence of the flesh,974 while for the adult it at the same time effects the forgiveness of all actual transgressions before baptism. Like Ambrose and other fathers, Augustine taught the necessity of baptism for entrance into the kingdom of heaven, on the ground of John iii. 5, and deduced therefrom, in logical consistency, the terrible doctrine of the damnation of all unbaptized children, though he assigned them the mildest grade of perdition.975

The council of Carthage, in 318, did the same, and in its second canon rejected the notion of a happy middle state for unbaptized children. It is remarkable, however, that this addition to the second canon does not appear in all copies of the Acts of the council, and was perhaps out of some horror omitted.976

In Augustine we already find all the germs of the scholastic and Catholic doctrine of baptism, though they hardly agree properly with his doctrine of predestination, the absolute sovereignty of divine grace and the perseverance of saints. According to this view, baptism is the sacrament of regeneration, which is, negatively, the means of the forgiveness of sin, that is, both of original sin and of actual sins committed before baptism (not after it), and positively, the foundation of the new spiritual life of faith through the impartation of the gratia operans and co-operans. The subjective condition of this effect is the worthy receiving, that is, penitent faith. Since in the child there is no actual sin, the effect of baptism in this case is limited to the remission of the guilt of original sin; and since the child cannot yet itself believe, the Christian church (represented by the parents and the sponsors) here appears in its behalf, as Augustine likewise supposed, and assumes the responsibility of the education of the baptized child to Christian majority.977

As to infant baptism: there was in this period a general conviction of its propriety and of its apostolic origin. Even the Pelagians were no exception; though infant baptism does not properly fit into their system; for they denied original sin, and baptism, as a rite of purification, always has reference to the forgiveness of sins. They attributed to infant baptism an improving effect. Coelestius maintained that children by baptism gained entrance to the higher stage of salvation, the kingdom of God, to which, with merely natural powers, they could not attain. He therefore supposed a middle condition of lower salvation for unbaptized children, which in the above quoted second canon of the council of Carthage—if it be genuine—is condemned. Pelagius said more cautiously: Whither unbaptized children go, I know not; whither they do not go, I know.

But, notwithstanding this general admission of infant baptism, the practice of it was by no means universal. Forced baptism, which is contrary to the nature of Christianity and the sacrament, was as yet unknown. Many Christian parents postponed the baptism of their children, sometimes from indifference, sometimes from fear that they might by their later life forfeit the grace of baptism, and thereby make their condition the worse. Thus Gregory Nazianzen and Augustine, though they had eminently pious mothers, were not baptized till their conversion in their manhood. But they afterward regretted this. Gregory admonishes a mother: "Let not sin gain the mastery in thy child; let him be consecrated even in swaddling bands. Thou art afraid of the divine seal on account of the weakness of nature. What weakness of faith! Hannah dedicated her Samuel to the Lord even before his birth; and immediately after his birth trained him for the priesthood. Instead of fearing human weakness, trust in God."

Many adult catechumens and proselytes likewise, partly from light-mindedness and love of the world, partly from pious prudence and superstitious fear of impairing the magical virtue of baptism, postponed their baptism until some misfortune or severe sickness drove them to the ordinance. The most celebrated example of this is the emperor Constantine, who was not baptized till he was on his bed of death. The postponement of baptism in that day was equivalent to the postponement of repentance and conversion so frequent in ours. This custom was resisted by the most eminent church teachers, but did not give way till the fifth century, when it gradually disappeared before the universal introduction of infant baptism.

Heretical baptism was now generally regarded as valid, if performed in the name of the triune God. The Roman view prevailed over the Cyprianic, at least in the Western church; except among the Donatists, who entirely rejected heretical baptism (as well as the catholic baptism), and made the efficacy of the sacrament depend not only on the ecclesiastical position, but also on the personal piety of the officiating priest.

Augustine, in his anti-Donatistic writings, defends the validity of heretical baptism by the following course of argument: Baptism is an institution of Christ, in the administration of which the minister is only an agent; the grace or virtue of the sacrament is entirely dependent on Christ, and not on the moral character of the administering agent; the unbeliever receives not the power, but the form of the sacrament, which indeed is of no use to the baptized as long as he is outside of the saving catholic communion, but becomes available as soon as he enters it on profession of faith; baptism, wherever performed, imparts an indelible character, or, as he calls it, a "character dominicus," "regius." He compares it often to the "nota militaris," which marks the soldier once for all, whether it was branded on his body by the legitimate captain or by a rebel, and binds him to the service, and exposes him to punishment for disobedience.

Proselyted heretics were, however, always confirmed by the laying on of hands, when received into the catholic church. They were treated like penitents. Leo the Great says of them, that they have received only the form of baptism without the power of sanctification.978

The most eminent Greek fathers of the Nicene age, on the other hand, adhered to the position of Cyprian and Firmilian. Athanasius, Gregory Nazianzen, Basil, and Cyril of Jerusalem regarded, besides the proper form, the true trinitarian faith on the part of the baptizing community, as an essential condition of the validity of baptism. The 45th of the so-called Apostolic Canons threatens those with excommunication who received converted heretics without rebaptism. But a milder view gradually obtained even in the East, which settled at last upon a compromise.

The ecumenical council of Constantinople in 381, in its seventh canon (which, however, is wanting in the Latin versions, and is perhaps later), recognizes the baptism of the Arians, the Sabbatians (a sort of Novatians, so called from their leader Sabbatius), the Quartodecimanians, the Apollinarians, but rejected the baptism of the Eunomians, "who baptize with only one immersion," the Sabellians, "who teach the Son-Fatherhood (uiJopatoriva)," the Montanists (probably because they did not at that time use the orthodox baptismal formula), and all other heretics. These had first to be exercised, then instructed, and then baptized, being treated therefore as heathen proselytes.979 The Trullan council of 692, in its 95th canon repeated this canon, and added the Nestorians, the Eutychians, and the followers of Dioscurus and Severus to the list of those heretics who may be received into the church on a mere recantation of their error. These decisions lack principle and consistency.

The catechetical instruction which preceded the baptism of proselytes and adults, and followed the baptism of children, ended with a public examination (scrutinium) before the congregation. The Creed—in the East the Nicene, in the West the Apostles'—was committed to memory and professed by the candidates or the god-parents of the children.

The favorite times for baptism for adults were Easter and Pentecost, and in the East also Epiphany. In the fourth century, when the mass of the population of the Roman empire went over from heathenism to Christianity, the baptisteries were thronged with proselytes on those high festivals, and the baptism of such masses had often a very imposing and solemn character. Children were usually incorporated into the church by baptism soon after their birth.

Immersion continued to be the usual form of baptism, especially in the East; and the threefold immersion in the name of the Trinity. Yet Gregory the Great permitted also the single immersion, which was customary in Spain as a testimony against the Arian polytheism.980

With baptism, several preparatory and accompanying ceremonies, some of them as early as the second and third centuries, were connected; which were significant, but overshadowed and obscured the original simplicity of the sacrament. These were exorcism, or the expulsion of the devil;981 breathing upon the candidates,982 as a sign of the communication of the Holy Ghost, according to John xx. 22; the touching of the ears,983 with the exclamation: Ephphatha!—from Mark vii. 34, for the opening of the spiritual understanding; the sign of the cross made upon the forehead and breast, as the mark of the soldier of Christ; and, at least in Africa, the giving of salt, as the emblem of the divine word, according to Mark ix. 50; Matt. v. 13 Col. iv. 6. Proselytes generally took also a new name, according to Rev. ii. 17.

In the act of baptism itself, the candidate first, with his face toward the west, renounced Satan and all his pomp and service,984 then, facing the east, he vowed fidelity to Christ,985 and confessed his faith in the triune God, either by rehearsing the Creed, or in answer to questions.986 Thereupon followed the threefold or the single immersion in the name of the triune God, with the calling of the name of the candidate, the deacons and deaconesses assisting. After the second anointing with the consecrated oil (confirmation), the veil was removed, with which the heads of catechumens, in token of their spiritual minority, were covered during divine worship, and the baptized person was clothed in white garments, representing the state of regeneration, purity, and freedom. In the Western church the baptized person received at the same time a mixture of milk and honey, as a symbol of childlike innocence and as a fore-taste of the communion.

§ 93. Confirmation.

Comp. the Literature of Baptism, especially Höfling, and Zezschwitz: Der Katechumenat (first vol. of his System der Katechetik). Leipzig, 1863.

Confirmation, in the first centuries, was closely connected with the act of baptism as the completion of that act, especially in adults. After the cessation of proselyte baptism and the increase of infant baptism, it gradually came to be regarded as an independent sacrament. Even by Augustine, Leo I., and others, it is expressly called sacramentum.987 This independence was promoted by the hierarchical interest, especially in the Latin church, where the performance of this rite is an episcopal function.

The catholic theory of confirmation is, that it seals and completes the grace of baptism, and at the same time forms in some sense a subjective complement to infant baptism, in which the baptized person, now grown to years of discretion, renews the vows made by his parents or sponsors in his name at his baptism, and makes himself personally responsible for them. The latter, however, is more properly a later Protestant (Lutheran and Anglican) view. Baptism, according to the doctrine of the ancient church, admits the man into the rank of the soldiers of Christ; confirmation endows him with strength and courage for the spiritual warfare.

The outward form of confirmation consists in the anointing of the forehead, the nose, the ear, and the breast with the consecrated oil, or a mixture of balsam,988 which symbolizes the consecration of the whole man to the spiritual priesthood; and in the laying on of the hands of the clergyman,989 which signifies and effects the communication of the Holy Ghost for the general Christian calling.990 The anointing takes precedence of the imposition of hands, in agreement with the Old Testament sacerdotal view; while in the Protestant church, wherever confirmation continues, it is entirely abandoned, and only the imposition of hands is retained.

In other respects considerable diversity prevailed in the different parts of the ancient church in regard to the usage of confirmation and the time of performing it.

In the Greek church every priest may administer confirmation or holy unction, and that immediately after baptism; but in the Latin church after the time of Jerome (as now in the Anglican) this function, like the power of ordination, was considered a prerogative of the bishops, who made periodical tours in their dioceses to confirm the baptized. Thus the two acts were often far apart in time.

§ 94. Ordination.

J. Morinus (R.C.): Comment. Hist. so dogm. de sacris Eccles. ordinationibus. Par. 1655, etc. Fr. Halierius (R.C.): De sacris electionibus et ordinationibus. Rom. 1749. 3 vols. fol. G. L. Hahn: l.c. p. 96 and p. 354 ff. Comp. the relevant sections in the archaeological works of Bingham, Augusti, Binterim, etc.

The ordination of clergymen991 was as early as the fourth or fifth century admitted into the number of sacraments. Augustine first calls it a sacrament, but with the remark that in his time the church unanimously acknowledged the sacramental character of this usage.992

Ordination is the solemn consecration to the special priesthood, as baptism is the introduction to the universal priesthood; and it is the medium of communicating the gifts for the ministerial office. It confers the capacity and authority of administering the sacraments and governing the body of believers, and secures to the church order, care, and steady growth to the end of time. A ruling power is as necessary in the church as in the state. In the Jewish church there was a hereditary priestly caste; in the Christian this is exchanged for an unbroken succession of voluntary priests from all classes, but mostly from the middle and lower classes of the people.

Like baptism and confirmation, ordination imparts, according to the later scholastic doctrine, a character indelebilis, and cannot therefore be repeated.993 But this of course does not exclude the possibility of suspension and excommunication in case of gross immorality or gross error. The council of Nice, in 325, acknowledged even the validity of the ordination of the schismatic Novatians.

Corresponding to the three ordines majores there were three ordinations: to the diaconate, to the presbyterate, and to the episcopate.994 Many of the most eminent bishops, however, like Cyprian and Ambrose, received the three rites in quick succession, and officiated only as bishops.

Different from ordination is installation, or induction into a particular congregation or diocese, which may be repeated as often as the minister is transferred.

Ordination was performed by laying on of hands and prayer, closing with the communion. To these were gradually added other preparatory and attendant practices; such as the tonsure995 the anointing with the chrism (only in the Latin church after Gregory the Great), investing with the insignia of the office (the holy books, and in the case of bishops the ring and staff), the kiss of brotherhood, etc. Only bishops can ordain, though presbyters assist. The ordination or consecraion of a bishop generally requires, for greater solemnity, the presence of three bishops.

No one can receive priestly orders without a fixed field of labor which yields him support.996 In the course of time further restrictions, derived in part from the Old Testament, in regard to age, education, physical and moral constitution, freedom from the bonds of marriage, etc., were established by ecclesiastical legislation.

The favorite times for ordination were Pentecost and the quarterly Quatember terms997 (i.e., the beginning of Quadragesima, the weeks after Pentecost, after the fourteenth of September, and after the thirteenth of December), which were observed, after Gelasius or Leo the Great, as ordinary penitential seasons of the church. The candidates were obliged to prepare themselves for consecration by prayer and fasting.

§ 95. The Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Comp. the Literature in vol. i. § 38 and § 102, the corresponding sections in the Doctrine Histories and Archaeologies, and the treatises of G. E. Steitz on the historical development of the doctrine of the Lord's Supper in the Greek church, in Dorner's "Jahrbücher für Deutsche Theologie," for 1864 and 1865. In part also the liturgical works of Neale, Daniel, etc., cited below (§ 98), and Philip Freeman: The Principles of Divine Service. Lond. Part i. 1855, Part ii. 1862. (The author, in the introduction to the second part, states as his object: "To unravel, by means of an historical survey of the ancient belief concerning the Holy Eucharist, viewed as a mystery, and of the later departures from it, the manifold confusions which have grown up around the subject, more especially since the fatal epoch of the eleventh century." But the book treats not so much of the doctrine of the Eucharist, as of the ceremony of it, and the eucharistic sacrifice, with special reference to the Anglican church.)

The Eucharist is both a sacrament wherein God conveys to us a certain blessing, and a sacrifice which man offers to God. As a sacrament, or the communion, it stands at the head of all sacred rites; as a sacrifice it stands alone. The celebration of it under this twofold character forms the holy of holies of the Christian cultus in the ancient church, and in the greater part of Christendom at this day.998

We consider first the doctrine of the Eucharist as a sacrament, then the doctrine of the Eucharist as a sacrifice, and finally the celebration of the eucharistic communion and eucharistic sacrifice.

The doctrine of the sacrament of the Eucharist was not a subject of theological controversy and ecclesiastical action till the time of Paschasius Radbert, in the ninth century; whereas since then this feast of the Saviour's dying love has been the innocent cause of the most bitter disputes, especially in the age of the Reformation, between Papists and Protestants, and among Lutherans, Zwinglians, and Calvinists. Hence the doctrine of the ancient church on this point lacks the clearness and definiteness which the Nicene dogma of the Trinity, the Chalcedonian Christology, and the Augustinian anthropology and soteriology acquired from the controversies preceding them. In the doctrine of baptism also we have a much better right to speak of a consensus patrum, than in the doctrine of the holy Supper.

In general, this period, following the representatives of the mystic theory in the previous one, was already very strongly inclined toward the doctrine of transubstantiation and toward the Greek and Roman sacrifice of the mass, which are inseparable in so far as a real sacrifice requires the real presence of the victim. But the kind and mode of this presence are not yet particularly defined, and admit very different views: Christ may be conceived as really present either in and with the elements (consubstantiation, impanation), or under the illusive appearance of the changed elements (transubstantiation), or only dynamically and spiritually.

In the previous period we distinguish three views: the mystic view of Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus; the symbolical view of Tertullian and Cyprian; and the allegorical or spiritualistic view of Clement of Alexandria and Origen. In the present the first view, which best answered the mystic and superstitious tendency of the time, preponderated, but the second also was represented by considerable authorities.999

I. The realistic and mystic view is represented by several fathers and the early liturgies, whose testimony we shall further cite below. They speak in enthusiastic and extravagant terms of the sacrament and sacrifice of the altar. They teach a real presence of the body and blood of Christ, which is included in the very idea of a real sacrifice, and they see in the mystical union of it with the sensible elements a sort of repetition of the incarnation of the Logos. With the act of consecration a change accordingly takes place in the elements, whereby they become vehicles and organs of the life of Christ, although by no means necessarily changed into another substance. To denote this change very strong expressions are used, like metabolhv, metabavllein, metabavllesqai, metastoiceiou'sqai, metapoiei'sqai, mutatio, translatio, transfiguratio, transformatio;1000 illustrated by the miraculous transformation of water into wine, the assimilation of food, and the pervasive power of leaven.

Cyril of Jerusalem goes farther in this direction than any of the fathers. He plainly teaches some sort of supernatural connection between the body of Christ and the elements, though not necessarily a transubstantiation of the latter. Let us hear the principal passages.1001 "Then follows," he says in describing the celebration of the Eucharist, "the invocation of God, for the sending of his Spirit to make the bread the body of Christ, the wine the blood of Christ. For what the Holy Ghost touches is sanctified and transformed." "Under the type of the bread1002 is given to thee the body, under the type of the wine is given to thee the blood, that thou mayest be a partaker of the body and blood of Christ, and be of one body and blood with him."1003 "After the invocation of the Holy Ghost the bread of the Eucharist is no longer bread, but the body of Christ." "Consider, therefore, the bread and the wine not as empty elements, for they are, according to the declaration of the Lord, the body and blood of Christ." In support of this change Cyril refers at one time to the wedding feast at Cana, which indicates, the Roman theory of change of substance; but at another to the consecration of the chrism, wherein the substance is unchanged. He was not clear and consistent with himself. His opinion probably was, that the eucharistic elements lost by consecration not so much their earthly substance, as their earthly purpose.

Gregory of Nyssa, though in general a very faithful disciple of the spiritualistic Origen, is on this point entirely realistic. He calls the Eucharist a food of immortality, and speaks of a miraculous transformation of the nature of the elements into the glorified body of Christ by virtue of the priestly blessing.1004

Chrysostom likewise, though only incidentally in his homilies, and not in the strain of sober logic and theology, but of glowing rhetoric, speaks several times of a union of our whole nature with the body of Christ in the Eucharist, and even of a manducatio oralis.1005

Of the Latin fathers, Hilary,1006 Ambrose,1007 and Gaudentius († 410) come nearest to the later dogma of transubstantiation. The latter says: "The Creator and Lord of nature, who produces bread from the earth, prepares out of bread his own body, makes of wine his own blood."1008

But closely as these and similar expressions verge upon the Roman doctrine of transubstantiation, they seem to contain at most a dynamic, not a substantial, change of the elements into the body and the blood of Christ. For, in the first place, it must be remembered there is a great difference between the half-poetic, enthusiastic, glowing language of devotion, in which the fathers, and especially the liturgies, speak of the eucharistic sacrifice, and the clear, calm, and cool language of logic and doctrinal definition. In the second place, the same fathers apply the same or quite similar terms to the baptismal water and the chrism of confirmation, without intending to teach a proper change of the substance of these material elements into the Holy Ghost. On the other hand, they not rarely use, concerning the bread and wine, tuvpo", ajntivtupa, figura, signum, and like expressions, which denote rather a symbolical than a metabolical relation of them to the body and blood of the Lord. Finally, the favorite comparison of the mysterious transformation with the incarnation of the Logos, which, in fact, was not an annihilation of the human nature, but an assumption of it into unity with the divine, is of itself in favor of the continuance of the substance of the elements; else it would abet the Eutychian heresy.

II. The symbolical view, though on a realistic basis, is represented first by Eusebius, who calls the Supper a commemoration of Christ by the symbols of his body and blood, and takes the flesh and blood of Christ in the sixth chapter of John to mean the words of Christ, which are spirit and life, the true food of the soul, to believers.1009 Here appears the influence of his venerated Origen, whose views in regard to the sacramental aspect of the Eucharist he substantially repeats.

But it is striking that even Athanasius, "the father of orthodoxy," recognized only a spiritual participation, a self-communication of the nourishing divine virtue of the Logos, in the symbols of the bread and wine, and incidentally evinces a doctrine of the Eucharist wholly foreign to the Catholic, and very like the older Alexandrian or Origenistic, and the Calvinistic, though by no means identical with the latter.1010 By the flesh and blood in the mysterious discourse of Jesus in the sixth chapter of John, which he refers to the Lord's Supper, he understands not the earthly, human, but the heavenly, divine manifestation of Jesus, a spiritual nutriment coming down from above, which the Logos through the Holy Ghost communicates to believers (but not to a Judas, nor to the unbelieving).1011 With this view accords his extending of the participation of the eucharistic food to believers in heaven, and even to the angels, who, on account of their incorporeal nature, are incapable of a corporeal participation of Christ.1012

Gregory Nazianzen sees in the Eucharist a type of the incarnation, and calls the consecrated elements symbols and antitypes of the great mysteries, but ascribes to them a saving virtue.1013

St. Basil, likewise, in explaining the words of Christ, "I live by the Father" (John vi. 57), against, the Arians who inferred from it that Christ was a creature, incidentally gives a spiritual meaning to the fruition of the eucharistic elements. "We eat the flesh of Christ," he says, "and drink His blood, if we, through His incarnation and human life, become partakers of the Logos and of wisdom."1014

Macarius the Elder, a gifted representative of the earlier Greek mysticism († 390), belongs to the same Symbolical school; he calls bread and wine the antitype of the body and blood of Christ, and seems to know only a spiritual eating of the flesh of the Lord.1015

Theodoret, who was acknowledged orthodox by the council of Chalcedon, teaches indeed a transformation (metabavllein) of the eucharistic elements by virtue of the priestly consecration, and an adoration of them, which certainly sounds quite Romish, but in the same connection expressly rejects the idea of an absorption of the elements in the body of the Lord, as an error akin to the Monophysite. "The mystical emblems of the body and blood of Christ," says he, "continue in their original essence and form, they are visible and tangible as they were before [the consecration];1016 but the contemplation of the spirit and of faith sees in them that which they have become, and they are adored also as that which they are to believers."1017

Similar language occurs in an epistle to the monk Caesarius ascribed to Chrysostom, but perhaps not genuine;1018 in Ephraim of Antioch, cited by Photius; and even in the Roman bishop Gelasius at the end of the fifth century (492–496).

The latter says expressly, in his work against Eutyches and Nestorius: "The sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, which we receive, is a divine thing, because by it we are made partakers of the divine-nature. Yet the substance or nature of the bread and wine does not cease. And assuredly the image and the similitude of the body and blood of Christ are celebrated in the performance of the mysteries."1019

It is remarkable that Augustine, in other respects so decidedly catholic in the doctrine of the church and of baptism, and in the cardinal points of the Latin orthodoxy, follows the older African theologians, Tertullian and Cyprian, in a symbolical theory of the Supper, which however includes a real spiritual participation of the Lord by faith, and in this respect stands nearest to the Calvinistic or Orthodox Reformed doctrine, while in minor points he differs from it as much as from transubstantiation and consubstantiation.1020 He was the first to make a clear distinction between the outward sign and the inward grace, which are equally essential to the conception of the sacrament. He maintains the figurative character of the words of institution, and of the discourse of Jesus, on the eating and drinking of his flesh and blood in the sixth chapter of John; with Tertullian, he calls the bread and wine "figurae" "or "signa corporis et sanguinis Christi" (but certainly not mere figures), and insists on a distinction between "that which is visibly received in the sacrament, and that which is spiritually eaten and drunk," or between a carnal, visible manducation of the sacrament, and a spiritual eating of the flesh of Christ and drinking of his blood.1021 The latter he limits to the elect and the believing, though, in opposition to the subjectivism of the Donatists, he asserts that the sacrament (in its objective import) is the body of Christ even for unworthy receivers. He says of Judas, that he only ate the bread of the Lord, while the other apostles "ate the Lord who was the bread." In another place: The sacramentum "is given to some unto life, to others unto destruction;" but the res sacramenti, i.e., "the thing itself of which it is the sacramentum, is given to every one who is partaker of it, unto life." "He who does not abide in Christ, undoubtedly neither eats His flesh nor drinks His blood, though he eats and drinks the sacramentum (i.e., the outward sign) of so great a thing to his condemnation." Augustine at all events lays chief stress on the spiritual participation. "Why preparest thou the teeth and the belly? Believe, and thou hast eaten."1022 He claims for the sacrament religious reverence, but not a superstitious dread, as if it were a miracle of magical effect.1023 He also expressly rejects the hypothesis of the ubiquity of Christ's body, which had already come into use in support of the materializing view, and has since been further developed by Lutheran divines in support of the theory of consubstantiation. "The body with which Christ rose," says he, "He took to heaven, which must be in a place .... We must guard against such a conception of His divinity as destroys the reality of His flesh. For when the flesh of the Lord was upon earth, it was certainly not in heaven; and now that it is in heaven, it is not upon earth." "I believe that the body of the Lord is in heaven, as it was upon earth when he ascended to heaven."1024 Yet this great church teacher at the same time holds fast the real presence of Christ in the Supper. He says of the martyrs: "They have drunk the blood of Christ, and have shed their own blood for Christ." He was also inclined, with the Oriental fathers, to ascribe a saving virtue to the consecrated elements.

Augustine's pupil, Facundus, taught that the sacramental bread "is not properly the body of Christ, but contains the mystery of the body." Fulgentius of Ruspe held the same symbolical view; and even at a much later period we can trace it through the mighty influence of Augustine's writings in Isidore of Sevilla, Beda Venerabilis, among the divines of the Carolingian age, in Ratramnus, and Berengar of Tours, until it broke forth in a modified form with greater force than ever in the sixteenth century, and took permanent foothold in the Reformed churches.

Pope Leo I. is sometimes likewise numbered with the symbolists, but without good reason. He calls the communion a "spiritual food,"1025 as Athanasius had done before, but supposes a sort of assimilation of the flesh and blood of Christ by the believing participation. "What we believe, that we receive with the mouth .... The participation of the body and blood of Christ causes that we pass into that which we receive, and bear Christ in us in Spirit and body." Voluntary abstinence from the wine in the Supper was as yet considered by this pope a sin.1026

III. The old liturgies, whose testimony on this point is as important as that of the church fathers, presuppose the actual presence of Christ in the Supper, but speak throughout in the stately language of sentiment, and nowhere attempt an explanation of the nature and mode of this presence, and of its relation to the still visible forms of bread and wine. They use concerning the consecrated elements such terms as: The holy body, The dear blood, of our Lord Jesus Christ, The sanctified oblation, The heavenly, spotless, glorious, awful, divine gifts, The awful, unbloody, holy sacrifice, &c. In the act of consecration the liturgies pray for the sending down of the Holy Ghost, that he may "sanctify and perfect"1027 the bread and wine, or that he may sanctify and make "them the body and blood of Christ,1028 or bless and make."1029

IV. As to the adoration of the consecrated elements: This follows with logical necessity from the doctrine of transubstantiation, and is the sure touchstone of it. No trace of such adoration appears, however, in the ancient liturgies, and the whole patristic literature yields only four passages from which this practice can be inferred; plainly showing that the doctrine of transubstantiation was not yet fixed in the consciousness of the church.

Chrysostom says: "The wise men adored Christ in the manger; we see him not in the manger, but on the altar, and should pay him still greater homage."1030 Theodoret, in the passage already cited, likewise uses the term proskuvnei'n, but at the same time expressly asserts the continuance of the substance of the elements. Ambrose speaks once of the flesh of Christ "which we to-day adore in the mysteries,"1031 and Augustine, of an adoration preceding the participation of the flesh of Christ.1032

In all these passages we must, no doubt, take the term proskunei'n and adorare in the wider sense, and distinguish the bowing of the knee, which was so frequent, especially in the East, as a mere mark of respect, from proper adoration. The old liturgies contain no direction for any such act of adoration as became prevalent in the Latin church, with the elevation of the host, after the triumph of the doctrine of transubstantiation in the twelfth century.1033

§ 96. The Sacrifice of the Eucharist.

Besides the works already cited on the holy Supper, comp. Höfling: Die Lehre der ältesten Kirche vom Opfer im Leben u. Cultus der Kirche. Erlangen, 1851. The articles: Messe, Messopfer, in Wetzer u. Welte: Kirchenlexicon der kathol. Theologie, vol. vii. (1851), p. 83 ff. G. E. Steitz: Art. Messe u. Messopfer in Herzog's Protest. Real-Encyklopädie, vol. ix. (1858), pp. 375–408. Phil. Freeman: The Principles of Divine Service. Part ii. Oxf. and Lond. 1862. This last work sets out with a very full consideration of the Mosaic sacrificial cultus, and (in the Pref. p. vi.) unjustly declares all the earlier English and German works of Mede, Outram, Patrick, Magee, Bähr, Hengstenberg, and Kurtz, on this subject, entirely unsatisfactory and defective.

The Catholic church, both Greek and Latin, sees in the Eucharist not only a sacramentum, in which God communicates a grace to believers, but at the same time, and in fact mainly, a sacrificium, in which believers really offer to God that which is represented by the sensible elements. For this view also the church fathers laid the foundation, and it must be conceded they stand in general far more on the Greek and Roman Catholic than on the Protestant side of this question. The importance of the subject demands a preliminary explanation of the idea of sacrifice, and a clear discrimination of its original Christian form from its later perversion by tradition.

The idea of sacrifice is the centre of all ancient religions, both the heathen and the Jewish. In Christianity it is fulfilled. For by His one perfect sacrifice on the cross Christ has entirely blotted out the guilt of man, and reconciled him with the righteous God. On the ground of this sacrifice of the eternal High Priest, believers have access to the throne of grace, and may expect their prayers and intercessions to be heard. With this perfect and eternally availing sacrifice the Eucharist stands in indissoluble connection. It is indeed originally a sacrament and the main thing in it is that which we receive from God, not that which we give to God. The latter is only a consequence of the former; for we can give to God nothing which we have not first received from him. But the Eucharist is the sacramentum of a sacrificium, the thankful celebration of the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross, and the believing participation or the renewed appropriation of the fruits of this sacrifice. In other words, it is a feast on a sacrifice. "As oft as ye do eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come."

The Eucharist is moreover, as the name itself implies, on the part of the church a living and reasonable thank-offering, wherein she presents herself anew, in Christ and on the ground of his sacrifice, to God with prayers and intercessions. For only in Christ are our offerings acceptable to God, and only through the continual showing forth and presenting of His merit can we expect our prayers and intercessions to be heard.

In this view certainly, in a deep symbolical and ethical sense, Christ is offered to God the Father in every believing prayer, and above all in the holy Supper; i.e. as the sole ground of our reconciliation and acceptance. This is the deep truth which lies at the bottom of the Catholic mass, and gives it still such power over the religious mind.1034

But this idea in process of time became adulterated with foreign elements, and transformed into the Graeco-Roman doctrine of the sacrifice of the mass. According to this doctrine the Eucharist is an unbloody repetition of the atoning sacrifice of Christ by the priesthood for the salvation of the living and the dead; so that the body of Christ is truly and literally offered every day and every hour, and upon innumerable altars at the same time. The term mass, which properly denoted the dismissal of the congregation (missio, dismissio) at the close of the general public worship, became, after the end of the fourth century, the name for the worship of the faithful,1035 which consisted in the celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice and the communion. The corresponding terms of the Orientals are leitourgiva, qusiva, prosforav.

In the sacrifice of the mass the whole mysterious fulness and glory of the Catholic worship is concentrated. Here the idea of the priesthood reaches its dizzy summit; and here the devotion and awe of the spectators rises to the highest pitch of adoration. For to the devout Catholic nothing can be greater or more solemn than an act of worship in which the eternal Son of God is veritably offered to God upon the altar by the visible hand of the priest for the sins of the world. But though the Catholic worship here rises far above the vain sacrifices of heathendom and the merely typical sacrifices of Judaism, yet that old sacrificial service, which was interwoven with the whole popular life of the Jewish and Graeco-Roman world, exerted a controlling influence on the Roman Catholic service of the Eucharist, especially after the nominal conversion of the whole Roman heathendom, and obscured the original simplicity and purity of that service almost beyond recognition. The sacramentum became entirely eclipsed by the sacrificium, and the sacrificium became grossly materialized, and was exalted at the expense of the sacrifice on the cross. The endless succession of necessary repetitions detracts from the sacrifice of Christ.

The Biblical support of the sacrifice of the mass is weak, and may be reduced to an unduly literal interpretation or a downright perversion of some such passages as Mal. i. 10 f.; 1 Cor. x. 21; Heb. v. 6; vii. 1 f.; xiii. 10. The Epistle to the Hebrews especially is often misapplied, though it teaches with great emphasis the very opposite, viz., the abolition of the Old Testament sacrificial system by the Christian worship, the eternal validity of the sacrifice of our only High Priest on the right hand of the Father, and the impossibility of a repetition of it (comp. x. 14; vii. 23, 24).

We pass now to the more particular history. The ante-Nicene fathers uniformly conceived the Eucharist as a thank-offering of the church; the congregation offering the consecrated elements of bread and wine, and in them itself, to God.1036 This view is in itself perfectly innocent, but readily leads to the doctrine of the sacrifice of the mass, as soon as the elements become identified with the body and blood of Christ, and the presence of the body comes to be materialistically taken. The germs of the Roman doctrine appear in Cyprian about the middle of the third century, in connection with his high-churchly doctrine of the clerical priesthood. Sacerdotium and sacrificium are with him correlative ideas, and a Judaizing conception of the former favored a like Judaizing conception of the latter. The priest officiates in the Eucharist in the place of Christ,1037 and performs an actual sacrifice in the church.1038 Yet Cyprian does not distinctly say that Christ is the subject of the spiritual sacrifice; rather is the mystical body of Christ, the Church, offered to God, and married with Christ.1039

The doctrine of the sacrifice of the mass is much further developed in the Nicene and post-Nicene fathers, though amidst many obscurities and rhetorical extravagances, and with much wavering between symbolical and grossly realistic conceptions, until in all essential points it is brought to its settlement by Gregory the Great at the close of the sixth century. These points are the following:

1. The eucharistic sacrifice is the most solemn mystery of the church, and fills the faithful with a holy awe. Hence the predicates qusiva fobera;, frikth;, ajnaivmakto", sacrificium tremendum, which are frequently applied to it, especially in the Oriental liturgies and homilies. Thus it is said in the liturgy of St. James: "We offer to Thee, O Lord, this awful and unbloody sacrifice." The more surprising is it that the people should have been indifferent to so solemn an act, and that Chrysostom should lament: "In vain is the daily sacrifice, in vain stand we at the altar; there is no one to take part."1040

2. It is not a new sacrifice added to that of the cross, but a daily, unbloody repetition and perpetual application of that one only sacrifice. Augustine represents it, on the one hand, as a sacramentum memoriae a symbolical commemoration of the sacrificial death of Christ; to which of course there is no objection.1041 But, on the other hand, he calls the celebration of the communion verissimum sacrificium of the body of Christ. The church, he says, offers (immolat) to God the sacrifice of thanks in the body of Christ, from the days of the apostles through the sure succession of the bishops down to our time. But the church at the same time offers, with Christ, herself, as the body of Christ, to God. As all are one body, so also all are together the same sacrifice.1042 According to Chrysostom the same Christ, and the whole Christ, is everywhere offered. It is not a different sacrifice from that which the High Priest formerly offered, but we offer always the same sacrifice, or rather, we perform a memorial of this sacrifice.1043 This last clause would decidedly favor a symbolical conception, if Chrysostom in other places had not used such strong expressions as this: "When thou seest the Lord slain, and lying there, and the priest standing at the sacrifice," or: "Christ lies slain upon the altar."1044

3. The sacrifice is the anti-type of the Mosaic sacrifice, and is related to it as substance to typical shadows. It is also especially foreshadowed by Melchizedek's unbloody offering of bread and wine. The sacrifice of Melchizedek is therefore made of great account by Hilary, Jerome, Augustine, Chrysostom, and other church fathers, on the strength of the well-known parallel in the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

4. The subject of the sacrifice is the body of Jesus Christ, which is as truly present on the altar of the church, as it once was on the altar of the cross, and which now offers itself to God through his priest. Hence the frequent language of the liturgies: "Thou art he who offerest, and who art offered, O Christ, our God." Augustine, however, connects with this, as we have already said, the true and important moral idea of the self-sacrifice of the whole redeemed church to God. The prayers of the liturgies do the same.1045

5. The offering of the sacrifice is the exclusive prerogative of the Christian priest. Later Roman divines take the words: "This do (poiei'te) in remembrance of me," as equivalent to: "This offer," and limit this command to the apostles and their successors in office, whereas it is evidently an exhortation to all believers to the commemoration of the atoning death, the communio sacramenti, and not to the immolatio sacrificii.

6. The sacrifice is efficacious for the whole body of the church, including its departed members, in procuring the gifts which are implored in the prayers of the service.

All the old liturgies proceed under a conviction of the unbroken communion of saints, and contain commemorations and intercessions for the departed fathers and brethren, who are conceived to be, not in purgatory, but in communion with God and in a condition of progressive holiness and blessedness, looking forward in pious longing to the great day of consummation.

These prayers for an increase of bliss, which appeared afterwards very inappropriate, form the transition from the original simple commemoration of the departed saints, including the patriarchs, prophets and apostles, to intercessions for the suffering souls in purgatory, as used in the Roman church ever since the sixth century.1046 In the liturgy of Chrysostom, still in use in the Greek and Russian church, the commemoration of the departed reads. "And further we offer to thee this reasonable service on behalf of those who have departed in the faith, our ancestors, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Virgins, and every just spirit made perfect in the faith .... Especially the most holy, undefiled, excellently laudable, glorious Lady, the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary .... the holy John the Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, the holy, glorious and all-celebrated Apostles, and all thy Saints, through whose prayers look upon us, O God. And remember all those that are departed in the hope of the resurrection to eternal life, and give them rest where the light of Thy countenance shines upon them."

Cyril of Jerusalem, in his fifth and last mystagogic Catechesis, which is devoted to the consideration of the eucharistic sacrifice and the liturgical service of God, gives the following description of the eucharistic intercessions for the departed: "When the spiritual sacrifice, the unbloody service of God, is performed, we pray to God over this atoning sacrifice for the universal peace of the church, for the welfare of the world, for the emperor, for soldiers and prisoners, for the sick and afflicted, for all the poor and needy. Then we commemorate also those who sleep, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, that God through their prayers and their intercessions may receive our prayer; and in general we pray for all who have gone from us, since we believe that it is of the greatest help to those souls for whom the prayer is offered, while the holy sacrifice, exciting a holy awe, lies before us."1047

This is clearly an approach to the later idea of purgatory in the Latin church. Even St. Augustine, with Tertullian, teaches plainly, as an old tradition, that the eucharistic sacrifice, the intercessions or suffragia and alms, of the living are of benefit to the departed believers, so that the Lord deals more mercifully with them than their sins deserve.1048 His noble mother, Monica, when dying, told him he might bury her body where he pleased, and should give himself no concern for it, only she begged of him that he would remember her soul at the altar of the Lord.1049

With this is connected the idea of a repentance and purification in the intermediate state between death and resurrection, which likewise Augustine derives from Matt. xii. 32, and 1 Cor. iii. 15, yet mainly as a mere opinion.1050 From these and similar passages, and under the influence of previous Jewish and heathen ideas and customs, arose, after Gregory the Great, the Roman doctrine of the purgatorial fire for imperfect believers who still need to be purified from the dross of their sins before they are fit for heaven, and the institution of special masses for the dead, in which the perversion of the thankful remembrance of the one eternally availing sacrifice of Christ reaches its height, and the idea of the communion utterly disappears.1051

In general, in the celebration of the Lord's Supper the sacrament continually retired behind the sacrifice. In the Roman churches in all countries one may see and hear splendid masses at the high altar, where the congregation of the faithful, instead of taking part in the communion, are mere spectators of the sacrificial act of the priest. The communion is frequently despatched at a side altar at an early hour in the morning.

§ 97. The Celebration o f the Eucharist.

Comp. the Liturgical Literature cited in the next section, especially the works of Daniel, Neale, and Freeman.

The celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice and of the communion was the centre and summit of the public worship of the Lord's day, and all other parts of worship served as preparation and accompaniment. The old liturgies are essentially, and almost exclusively, eucharistic prayers and exercises; they contain nothing besides, except some baptismal formulas and prayers for the catechumens. The word liturgy (leitourgiva), which properly embraces all parts of the worship of God, denotes in the narrower sense a celebration of the eucharist or the mass.

Here lies a cardinal difference between the Catholic and Evangelical cultus: in the former the sacrifice of the mass, in the latter the sermon, is the centre.

With all variations in particulars, especially in the introductory portions, the old Catholic liturgies agree in the essential points, particularly in the prayers which immediately precede and follow the consecration of the elements. They all (excepting some Syriac copies of certain Nestorian and Monophysite formularies) repeat the solemn Words of Institution from the Gospels,1052 understanding them not merely in a declaratory but in an operative sense; they all contain the acts of Consecration, Intercession, and Communion; all (except the Roman) invoke the Holy Ghost upon the elements to sanctify them, and make them actual vehicles of the body and blood of Christ; all conceive the Eucharist primarily as a sacrifice, and then, on the basis of the sacrifice, as a communion.

The eucharistic action in the narrower sense is called the Anaphora, or the canon missae, and begins after the close of the service of the catechumens (which consisted principally of reading and preaching, and extended to the Offertory, i.e., the preparation of the bread and wine, and the placing of it on the altar). It is introduced with the [Anw ta;" kardiva", or Sursum corda, of the priest: the exhortation to the faithful to lift up their hearts in devotion, and take part in the prayers; to which the congregation answers: Habemus ad Dominum, "We lift them up unto the Lord." Then follows the exhortation: "Let us give thanks to the Lord," with the response: "It is meet and right."1053

The first principal act of the Anaphora is the great prayer of thanksgiving, the eujlogiva or eujcaristiva, after the example of the Saviour in the institution of the Supper. In this prayer the priest thanks God for all the gifts of creation and of redemption, and the choir generally concludes the thanksgiving with the so-called Trisagion or Seraphic Hymn (Is. vi. 3), and the triumphal Hosanna (Matt. xx. 9): "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord of Sabaoth; heaven and earth are full of Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest: blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest."

Then follows the consecration and oblation of the elements, by the commemoration of the great facts in the life of Christ, by the rehearsing of the Words of Institution from the Gospels or from Paul, and by the invocation of the Holy Ghost, who brings to pass the mysterious change of the bread and wine into the sacramental body and blood of Christ.1054 This invocation of the Holy Ghost1055 appears in all the Oriental liturgies, but is wanting in the Latin church, which ascribes the consecration exclusively to the virtue of Christ's Words of Institution. The form of the Words of Institution is different in the different liturgies.1056 The elevation of the consecrated elements was introduced in the Latin church, though not till after the Berengarian controversies in the eleventh century, to give the people occasion to show, by the adoration of the host, their faith in the real presence of Christ in the sacrament.

To add an example: The prayer of consecration and oblation in one of the oldest and most important of the liturgies, that of St. James, runs thus: After the Words of Institution the priest proceeds:

"Priest: We sinners, remembering His life-giving passion, His saving cross, His death, and His resurrection from the dead on the third day, His ascension to heaven, and His sitting at the right hand of Thee His God and Father, and His glorious and terrible second appearing, when He shall come in glory to judge the quick and the dead, and to render to every man according to his works,—offer to Thee, O Lord, this awful and unbloody sacrifice;1057 beseeching Thee that Thou wouldst deal with us not after our sins nor reward us according to our iniquities, but according to Thy goodness and unspeakable love to men wouldst blot out the handwriting which is against us Thy suppliants, and wouldst vouchsafe to us Thy heavenly and eternal gifts, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man what Thou, O God, hast prepared for them that love Thee. And reject not Thy people, O loving Lord, for my sake and on account of my sins.

He repeats thrice: For Thy people and Thy Church prayeth to Thee.

People: Have mercy upon us, O Lord God, almighty Father!

Priest: Have mercy upon us, almighty God!

Have mercy upon us, O God, our Redeemer I

Have mercy upon us, O God, according to Thy great mercy, and send upon us, and upon these gifts here present, Thy most holy Spirit, Lord, Giver of life, who with Thee the God and Father, and with Thine only begotten Son, sitteth and reigneth upon one throne, and is of the same essence and co-eternal,1058 who spoke in the law and in the prophets, and in Thy new covenant, who descended in the form of a dove upon our Lord Jesus Christ in the river Jordan, and rested upon Him, who came down upon Thy holy apostles in the form of tongues of fire in the upper room of Thy holy and glorious Zion on the day of Pentecost: send down, O Lord, the same Holy Ghost upon us and upon these holy gifts here present, that with His holy and good and glorious presence He may sanctify this bread and make it the holy body of Thy Christ.1059

People: Amen.

Priest: And this cup the dear blood of Thy Christ.

People: Amen.

Priest (in a low voice): That they may avail to those who receive them, for the forgiveness of sins and for eternal life, for the sanctification of soul and body, for the bringing forth of good works, for the strengthening of Thy holy Catholic church which Thou hast built upon the rock of faith, that the gates of hell may not prevail against her; delivering her from all error and all scandal, and from the ungodly, and preserving her unto the consummation of all things."

After the act of consecration come the intercessions, sometimes very long, for the church, for all classes, for the living, and for the dead from righteous Abel to Mary, the apostles, the martyrs, and the saints in Paradise; and finally the Lord's Prayer. To the several intercessions, and the Lord's Prayer, the people or the choir responds Amen. With this closes the act of eucharistic sacrifice.

Now follows the communion, or the participation of the consecrated elements. It is introduced with the words: "Holy things for holy persons,"1060 and the Kyrie eleison, or (as in the Clementine liturgy) the Gloria in Excelsis: "Glory be to God on high, peace on earth, and good will to men.1061 Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: God is the Lord, and he hath appeared among us." The bishop and the clergy communicate first, and then the people. The formula of distribution in the Clementine liturgy is simply: "The body of Christ;" "The blood of Christ, the cup of life,"1062 to which the receiver answers "Amen." In other liturgies it is longer.1063

The holy act closes with prayers of thanksgiving, psalms, and the benediction.

The Eucharist was celebrated daily, or at least every Sunday. The people were exhorted to frequent communion, especially on the high festivals. In North Africa some communed every day, others every Sunday, others still less frequently.1064 Augustine leaves this to the needs of every believer, but says in one place: "The Eucharist is our daily bread." The daily communion was connected with the current mystical interpretation of the fourth petition in the Lord's Prayer. Basil communed four times in the week. Gennadius of Massilia commends at least weekly communion. In the East it seems to have been the custom, after the fourth century, to commune only once a year, or on great occasions. Chrysostom often complains of the indifference of those who come to church only to hear the sermon, or who attend the eucharistic sacrifice, but do not commune. One of his allusions to this neglect we have already quoted. Some later councils threatened all laymen with excommunication, who did not commune at least on Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost.

In the Oriental and North African churches prevailed the incongruous custom of infant communion, which seemed to follow from infant baptism, and was advocated by Augustine and Innocent I. on the authority of John vi. 53. In the Greek church this custom continues to this day, but in the Latin, after the ninth century, it was disputed or forbidden, because the apostle (1 Cor. xi. 28, 29) requires self-examination as the condition of worthy participation.1065

With this custom appear the first instances, and they exceptional, of a communio sub una specie; after a little girl in Carthage in the time of Cyprian had been made drunk by receiving the wine. But the withholding of the cup from the laity, which transgresses the express command of the Lord: "Drink ye all of it," and is associated with a superstitious horror of profaning the blood of the Lord by spilling, and with the development of the power of the priesthood, dates only from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and was then justified by the scholastic doctrine of concomitance.

In the Greek church it was customary to dip the bread in the wine, and deliver both elements in a spoon.

The customs of house-communion and after-communion for the sick and for prisoners, of distributing the unconsecrated remainder of the bread among the non-communicants, and of sending the consecrated elements, or their substitutes,1066 to distant bishops or churches at Easter as a token of fellowship, are very old.

The Greek church used leavened bread, the Latin, unleavened. This difference ultimately led to intricate controversies.

The mixing of the wine with water was considered essential, and was explained in various mystical ways; chiefly by reference to the blood and water which flowed from the side of Jesus on the cross.

§ 98. The Liturgies. Their Origin and Contents.

J. Goar. (a learned Dominican, † 1653): Eujcolovgion, sive Rituale Graecorum, etc. Gr. et Lat. Par. 1647 (another ed. at Venice, 1740). Jos. Aloys. Assemani (R.C.): Codex Liturgicus ecclesiae universae, ... in quo continentur libri rituales, missales, pontificales, officia, dypticha, etc., ecclesiarum Occidentis et Orientis (published under the auspices of Pope Boniface XIV.). Rom. 1749–'66, 13 vols. Euseb. Renaudot (R.C.): Liturgiarum orientalium collectio. Par. 1716 (reprinted 1847), 2 vols. L. A. Muratori (R.C., † 1750): Liturgia Romana vetus. Venet. 1748, 2 vols. (contains the three Roman sacramentaries of Leo, Gelasius, and Gregory I., also the Missale Gothicum, and a learned introductory dissertation, De rebus liturgicis). W. Palmer (Anglican): Origines Liturgicae. Lond. 1832 (and 1845), 2 vols. (with special reference to the Anglican liturgy). Ths. Brett: A Collection of the Principal Liturgies used in the Christian Church in the celebration of the Eucharist, particularly the ancient (translated into English), with a Dissertation upon them. Lond. 1838 (pp. 465). W. Trollope (Anglican): The Greek Liturgy of St. James. Edinb. 1848. H. A. Daniel (Lutheran, the most learned German liturgist): Codex Liturgicus ecclesiae universae in epitomem redactus. Lips. 1847 sqq. 4 vols. (vol. i. contains the Roman, vol. iv. the Oriental Liturgies). Fr. J. Mone (R.C.): Lateinische u. Griechische Messen aus dem 2ten his 6ten Jahrhundert. Frankf. a. M. 1850 (with valuable treatises on the Gallican, African, and Roman Mass). J. M. Neale († 1866, the most learned Anglican ritualist and liturgist, who studied the Eastern liturgies daily for thirty years, and almost knew them by heart); Tetralogia liturgica; sive S. Chrysostom, S. Jacobi, S. Marci divinae missae: quibus accedit ordo Mozarabicus. Lond. 1849. The Same: The Liturgies of S. Mark, S. James, S. Clement, S. Chrysostom, S. Basil, or according to the use of the churches of Alexandria, Jerusalem, Constantinople. Lond. 1859 f. (in the Greek original, and the same liturgies in an English translation, with an introduction and appendices, also at Lond. 1859). Comp. also Neale's History of the Holy Eastern Church. Lond. 1850; Gen. Introd. vol. second; and his Essays on Liturgiology and Church History. Lond. 1863. (The latter, dedicated to the metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, is a collection of various learned treatises of the author from the "Christian Remembrancer" on the Roman and Gallican Breviary, the Church Collects, the Mozarabic and Ambrosian Liturgies, Liturgical Quotations, etc.) The already cited work, of kindred spirit, by the English Episcopal divine, Freeman, likewise treats much of the old Liturgies, with a predilection for the Western, while Neale has an especial reverence for the Eastern ritual. (Comp. also Bunsen: Christianity and Mankind, Lond. 1854, vol. vii., which contains Reliquiae Liturgicae; the Irvingite work: Readings upon the Liturgy and other Divine Offices of the Church. Lond. 1848–'54; Höfling: Liturgisches Urkundenbuch. Leipz. 1854.)

Liturgy1067 means, in ecclesiastical language,1068 the order and administration of public worship in general, and the celebration of the Eucharist in particular; then, the book or collection of the prayers used in this celebration. The Latin church calls the public eucharistic service Mass, and the liturgical books, sacramentarium, rituale, missale, also libri mysteriorum, or simply libelli.

The Jewish worship consisted more of acts than of words, but it included also fixed prayers and psalms (as Ps. 113–118) and the Amen of the congregation (Comp. 1 Cor. xiv. 16). The pagan Greeks and Romans had, in connection with their sacrifices, some fixed prayers and formulas of consecration, which, however, were not written) but perpetuated by oral tradition. The Indian literature, on the contrary, has liturgical books, and even the Koran contains prescribed forms of prayer.

The New Testament gives us neither a liturgy nor a ritual, but the main elements for both. The Lord's Prayer, and the Words of the Institution of baptism and of the Holy Supper, are the living germs from which the best prayers and baptismal and eucharistic formulas of the church, whether oral or written, have grown. From the confession of Peter and the formula of baptism gradually arose in the Western church the Apostles' Creed, which besides its doctrinal import, has also a liturgical office, as a public profession of candidates for baptism and of the faithful. In the Eastern church the Nicene creed is used instead. The Song of the angelic host is the ground-work of the Gloria in Excelsis. The Apocalypse is one sublime liturgic vision. With these belong also the Psalms, which have passed as a legitimate inheritance to the Christian church, and have afforded at all times the richest material for public edification.

In the ante-Nicene age we find as yet no traces of liturgical books. In each church, of course, a fixed order of worship gradually formed itself, which in apostolic congregations ran back to a more or less apostolic origin, but became enlarged and altered in time, and, until the fourth century, was perpetuated only by oral tradition. For the celebration of the sacraments, especially of the Eucharist, belonged to the Disciplina arcani, and was concealed, as the most holy thing of the church, from the gaze of Jews and heathens, and even of catechumens, for fear of profanation; through a misunderstanding of the warning of the Lord against casting pearls before swine, and after the example of the Samothracian and Eleusinian mysteries.1069 On the downfall of heathenism in the Roman empire the Disciplina arcani gradually disappeared, and the administration of the sacraments became a public act, open to all.

Hence also we now find, from the fourth and fifth centuries onward, a great number of written liturgies, and that not only in the orthodox catholic church, but also among the schismatics (as among the Nestorians, and the Monophysites). These liturgies bear in most cases apostolic names, but in their present form can no more be of apostolic origin than the so-called Apostolic Constitutions and Canons, nor nearly so much as the Apostles' Creed. They contrast too strongly with the simplicity of the original Christian worship, so far as we can infer it from the New Testament and from the writings of the apologists and the ante-Nicene fathers. They contain also theological terms, such as oJmoouvsio" (concerning the Son of God), qeotovko" (concerning the Virgin Mary), and some of them the whole Nicene Creed with the additions of the second oecumenical council of 381, also allusions to the worship of martyrs and saints, and to monasticism, which point unmistakably to the Nicene and post-Nicene age. Yet they are based on a common liturgical tradition, which in its essential elements reaches back to an earlier time, perhaps in some points to the apostolic age, or even comes down from the Jewish worship through the channel of the Jewish Christian congregations. Otherwise their affinity, which in many respects reminds one of the affinity of the Synoptical Gospels cannot be satisfactorily explained. These old catholic liturgies differ from one another in the wording, the number, the length, and the order of the prayers, and in other unessential points, but agree in the most important parts of the service of the Eucharist. They are too different to be derived from a common original, and yet too similar to have arisen each entirely by itself.1070

All the old liturgies combine action and prayer, and presuppose, according to the Jewish custom, the participation of the people, who frequently respond to the prayers of the priest, and thereby testify their own priestly character. These responses are sometimes a simple Amen, sometimes Kyrie eleison, sometimes a sort of dialogue with the priest:

Priest: The Lord be with you!

People: And with thy spirit!

Priest: Lift—up your hearts!

People: We lift them up unto the Lord.

Priest: Let us give thanks!

People: It is meet and right.

Some parts of the liturgy, as the Creed, the Seraphic Hymn, the Lord's Prayer, were said or sung by the priest and congregation together. Originally the whole congregation of the faithful1071 was intended to respond; but with the advance of the hierarchical principle the democratic and popular element fell away, and the deacons or the choir assumed the responses of the congregation, especially where the liturgical language was not intelligible to the people.1072

Several of the oldest liturgies, like those of St. Clement and St. James, have long since gone out of use, and have only a historical interest. Others, like those of St. Basil and St. Chrysostom, and the Roman, are still used, with various changes and additions made at various times, in the Greek and Latin churches. Many of their most valuable parts have passed, through the medium of the Latin mass-books, into the liturgies and agenda of the Anglican, the Lutheran, and some of the Reformed churches.

But in general they breathe an entirely different atmosphere from the Protestant liturgies, even the Anglican not excepted. For in them all the eucharistic sacrifice is the centre around which all the prayers and services revolve. This act of sacrifice for the quick and the dead is a complete service, the sermon being entirely unessential, and in fact usually dispensed with. In Protestantism, on the contrary, the Lord's Supper is almost exclusively Communion, and the sermon is the chief matter in every ordinary service.

Between the Oriental and Occidental liturgies there are the following characteristic differences:

1. The Eastern retain the ante-Nicene division of public worship into two parts: the leitourgiva kathcoumevnwn, Missa Catechumenorum, which is mainly didactic, and the leitourgiva tw'n pistw'n, Missa Fidelium, which contains the celebration of the Eucharist proper. This division lost its primitive import upon the union of church and state, and the universal introduction of infant baptism. The Latin liturgies connect the two parts in one whole.

2. The Eastern liturgies contain, after the Words of Institution, an express Invocation of the Holy Ghost, without which the sanctification of the elements is not fully effected. Traces of this appear in the Gallican liturgies. But in the Roman liturgy this invocation is entirely wanting, and the sanctification of the elements is considered as effected by the priest's rehearsal of the Words of Institution. This has remained a point of dispute between the Greek and the Roman churches. Gregory the Great asserts that the apostles used nothing in the consecration but the Words of Institution and the Lord's Prayer.1073 But whence could he know this in the sixth century, since the New Testament gives us no information on the subject? An invocatio Spiritus Sancti upon the elements is nowhere mentioned; only a thanksgiving of the Lord, preceding the Words of Institution, and forming also, it may be, an act of consecration, though neither in the sense of the Greek nor of the Roman church. The Words of Institution: "This is my body," &c., are more-over addressed not to God, but to the disciples, and express, so to speak, the result of the Lord's benediction.1074 3. The Oriental liturgy allowed, more like the Protestant church, the use of the various vernaculars, Greek, Syriac, Armenian, Coptic, &c.; while the Roman mass, in its desire for uniformity, sacrifices all vernacular tongues to the Latin, and so makes itself unintelligible to the people.

4. The Oriental liturgy is, so to speak, a symbolic drama of the history of redemption, repeated with little alteration every Sunday. The preceding vespers represent the creation, the fall, and the earnest expectation of Christ; the principal service on Sunday morning exhibits the life of Christ from his birth to his ascension; and the prayers and lessons are accompanied by corresponding symbolical acts of the priests and deacon: lighting and extinguishing candles, opening and closing doors, kissing the altar and the gospel, crossing the forehead, mouth, and breast, swinging the censer, frequent change of liturgical vestments, processions, genuflexions, and prostrations. The whole orthodox Greek and Russian worship has a strongly marked Oriental character, and exceeds the Roman in splendor and pomp of symbolical ceremonial.1075

The Roman mass is also a dramatic commemoration and representation of the history of redemption, especially of the passion and atoning death of Christ, but has a more didactic character, and sets forth not so much the objective history, as the subjective application of redemption from the Confiteor to the Postcommunio. It affords less room for symbolical action, but more for word and song, and follows more closely the course of the church year with varying collects and prefaces for the high festivals,1076 thus gaining variety. In this it stands the nearer to the Protestant worship, which, however, entirely casts off symbolical veils, and makes the sermon the centre.

Every Oriental liturgy has two main divisions. The first embraces the prayers and acts before the Anaphora or Oblation (canon Missae) to the Sursum corda; the second, the Anaphora to the close.

The first division again falls into the Mass of the Catechumens, and the Mass of the Faithful, to the Sursum corda. To it belong the Prefatory Prayer, the Introit, Ingressa, or Antiphon, the Little Entrance, the Trisagion, the Scripture Lessons, the Prayers after the Gospel, and the Expulsion of the Catechumens; then the Prayers of the Faithful, the Great Entrance, the Offertory, the Kiss of Peace, the Creed.

The Anaphora comprises the great Eucharistic Prayer of Thanksgiving, the Commemoration of the life of Jesus, the Words of Institution, the Oblation of the Elements, the Invocation of the Holy Ghost, the Great Intercession for Quick and Dead, the Lord's Prayer, and finally the Communion with its proper prayers and acts, the Thanksgiving, and the Dismissal.1077

§ 99. The Oriental Liturgies.

There are, in all, probably more than a hundred ancient liturgies, if we reckon revisals, modifications, and translations. But according to modern investigations they may all be reduced to five or six families, which may be named after the churches in which they originated and were used, Jerusalem (or Antioch), Alexandria, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Rome.1078 Most of them belong to the Orientalchurch; for this church was in general much more productive, and favored greater variety, than the Western, which sought uniformity in organization and worship. And among the Oriental liturgies the Greek are the oldest and most important.

1. The liturgy of St. Clement. This is found in the eighth book of the Apostolic Constitutions, and, with them, is erroneously ascribed to the Roman bishop Clement.1079 It is the oldest complete order of divine service, and was probably composed in the East in the beginning of the fourth century.1080 It agrees most with the liturgy of St. James and of Cyril of Jerusalem, and may for this reason be considered a branch of the Jerusalem family. We know not in what churches, or whether at all, it was used. It was a sort of normal liturgy, and is chiefly valuable for showing the difference between the Nicene or ante-Nicene form of worship and the later additions and alterations.

The Clementine liturgy rigidly separates the service of the catechumens from that of the faithful.1081 It contains the simplest form for the distribution of the sacred elements: "The body of Christ," and "The blood of Christ, the cup of life," with the "Amen" of the congregation to each. In the commemoration of the departed it mentions no particular names of saints, not even the mother of God, who first found a place in public worship after the council of Ephesus in 431; and it omits several prefatory prayers of the priest. Finally it lacks the Nicene creed, and even the Lord's Prayer, which is added to all other eucharistic prayers, and, according to the principles of some canonists, is absolutely necessary.1082

2. The liturgy of St. James. This is ascribed by tradition to James, the brother to the Lord, and bishop of Jerusalem.1083 It, of course, cannot have been composed by him, even considering only the Nicene creed and the expressions oJmoouvsio" and qeotovko", which occur in it, and which belong to the Nicene and post-Nicene theology. The following passage also bespeaks a much later origin: "Let us remember the most holy, immaculate, most glorious, blessed Mother of God and perpetual Virgin Mary, with all saints, that we through their prayers and intercessions may obtain mercy." The first express mention of its use meets us in Proclus of Constantinople about the middle of the fifth century. But it is, as to substance, at all events one of the oldest liturgies, and must have been in use as early as the fourth century; for the liturgical quotations in Cyril of Jerusalem (in his fifth Mystagogic Catechesis), who died in 386, verbally agree with it. It was intended for the church of Jerusalem, which is mentioned in the beginning of the prayer for the church universal, as "the glorious Zion, the mother of all churches."1084

In contents and diction it is the most important of the ancient liturgies, and the fruitful mother of many, among which the liturgies of St. Basil and St. Chrysostom must be separately named.1085 It spread over the whole patriarchate of Antioch, even to Cyprus, Sicily, and Calabria, but was supplanted in the orthodox East, after the Mohammedan conquest, by the Byzantine liturgy. Only once in a year, on the 23d of October, the festival of St. James, it is yet used at Jerusalem and on some islands of Greece.1086

The Syriac liturgy of James is a free translation from the Greek; it gives the Invocation of the Holy Spirit in a larger form, the other prayers in a shorter; and it betrays a later date. It is the source of thirty-nine Monophysite liturgies, which are in use still among the schismatic Syrians or Jacobites.1087

3. The liturgy of St. Mark, or the Alexandrian liturgy. This is ascribed to the well-known Evangelist, who was also, according to tradition, the founder of the church and catechetical school in the Egyptian capital. Such origin involves, of course, a shocking anachronism, since the liturgy contains the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan creed of 381. In its present form it comes probably from Cyril, bishop of Alexandria († 444), who was claimed by the orthodox, as well as the Monophysites, as an advocate of their doctrine of the person of Christ.1088 It agrees, at any rate, exactly with the liturgy which bears Cyril's name.

It is distinguished from the other liturgies by the position of the great intercessory prayer for quick and dead before the Words of Institution and Invocation of the Holy Ghost, instead of after them. It was originally composed in Greek, and afterwards translated into Coptic and Arabic. It was used in Egypt till the twelfth century, and then supplanted by the Byzantine. The Copts still retained it. The Ethiopian canon is an offshoot from it. There are three Coptic and ten Ethiopian liturgies, which belong to the same family.1089

4. The liturgy of Edessa or Mesopotamia, or of All Apostles. This is traced to the apostles Thaddaeus (Adaeus) and Maris, and is confined to the Nestorians. From it afterwards proceeded the Nestorian liturgies: (1) of Theodore the Interpreter; (2) of Nestorius; (3) Narses the Leper; (4) of Barsumas; (5) of Malabar, or St. Thomas. The liturgy of the Thomas-Christians of Malabar has been much adulterated by the revisers of Diamper.1090

5. The liturgy of St. Basil and that of St. Chrysostom form together the Byzantine or ConstantinopolItan liturgy, and passed at the same time into the Graeco-Russian church. Both descend from the liturgy of St. James and give that ritual in an abridged form. They are living books, not dead like the liturgies of Clement and of James.

The liturgy of bishop Basil of Neo-Caesarea († 379) is read in the orthodox Greek, and Russian church, during Lent (except on Palm Sunday), on the eve of Epiphany, Easter and Christmas, and on the feast of St. Basil (1st of January). From it proceeded the Armenian liturgy.

The liturgy of St. Chrysostom († 407) is used on all other Sundays. It is an abridgment and improvement of that of St. Basil, and, through the influence of the distinguished patriarchs of Constantinople, it has since the sixth century dislodged the liturgies of St. James and St. Mark. The original text can hardly be ascertained, as the extant copies differ greatly from one another.

The present Greek and Russian ritual, which surpasses even the Roman in pomp, cannot possibly have come down in all its details from the age of Chrysostom. Chrysostom is indeed supposed, as Proclus says, to have shortened in many respects the worship in Constantinople on account of the weakness of human nature; but the liturgy which bears his name is still in the seventh century called "the Liturgy of the Holy Apostles," and appears to have received his name not before the eighth.

§ 100. The Occidental Liturgies.

The liturgies of the Western church may be divided into three classes: (1) the Ephesian family, which is traced to a Johannean origin, and embraces the Mozarabic and the Gallican liturgies; (2) the Roman liturgy, which, of course, like the papacy itself, must come down from St. Peter; (3) the Ambrosian and Aquileian, which is a mixture of the other two. We have therefore here less diversity than in the East. The tendency of the Latin church everywhere pressed strongly toward uniformity, and the Roman liturgy at last excluded all others.

1. The Old Gallican liturgy,1091 in many of its features, points back, like the beginnings of Christianity in South Gaul, to an Asiatic, Ephesian, and so far we may say Johannean origin, and took its later form in the fifth century. Among its composers, or rather the revisers, Hilary, of Poictiers is particularly named. In the time of Charlemagne it was superseded by the Roman. Gallicanism, which in church organization and polity boldly asserted its rights, suffered itself easily to be Romanized in its worship.

The Old British liturgy was without doubt identical with the Gallican, but after the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons it was likewise supplanted by the Roman.

2. The Old Spanish or (though incorrectly so called) Gothic, also named Mozarabic liturgy.1092 This is in many respects allied to the Gallic, and probably came through the latter from a similar Eastern Source. It appears to have existed before the incursion of the West Goths in 409; for it shows no trace of the influence of the Arian heresy, or of the ritual system of Constantinople.1093 Its present form is attributed to Isidore of Seville and the fourth council of Toledo in 633. It maintained itself in Spain down to the thirteenth century and was then superseded by the Roman liturgy.1094

It has, like the Gallican, besides the Gospels and Epistles, lessons also from the Old Testament;1095 it differs from the Roman liturgy in the order of festivals; and it contains, before the proper sacrificial action, a homiletic exhortation. The formula Sancta Sanctis, before the communion) the fraction of the host into nine parts (in memory of the nine mysteries of the life of Christ), the daily communion, the distribution of the cup by the deacon, remind us of the oriental ritual. The Mozarabic chant has much resemblance to the Gregorian, but exhibits besides a certain independent national character.1096

3. The African liturgy is known to us only through fragmentary quotations in Tertullian, Cyprian, and Augustine, from which we gather that it belonged to the Roman family.

4. The liturgy Of St. Ambrose.1097 This is attributed to the renowned bishop of Milan († 397), and even to St. Barnabas. It is certain, that Ambrose introduced the responsive singing of psalms and hymns, and composed several prayers, prefaces, and hymns. His successor, Simplicius (a.d. 397–400), is supposed to have made several additions to the ritual. Many elements date from the reign of the Gothic kings (a.d. 493–568), and the Lombard kings (a.d. 568–739).

The Ambrosian liturgy is still used in the diocese of Milan; and after sundry vain attempts to substitute the Roman, it was confirmed by Alexander VI. in 1497 by a special bull, as the Ritus Ambrosianus. Excepting some Oriental peculiarities, it coincides substantially with the Roman liturgy, but has neither the pregnant brevity of the Roman, nor the richness and fullness of the Mozarabic. The prayers for the oblation of the sacrificial gifts differ from the Roman; the Apostles' Creed is not recited till after the oblation; some saints of the diocese are received into the canonical lists of the saints; the distribution of the host takes place before the Paternoster, with formulas of its own, &c.

The liturgy which was used for a long time in the patriarchate of Aquileia, is allied to the Ambrosian, and likewise stands midway between the Roman and the Oriental Gallican liturgies.

5. The Roman liturgy is ascribed by tradition, in its main features, to the Apostle Peter, but cannot be historically traced beyond the middle of the fifth century. It has without doubt slowly grown to its present form. The oldest written records of it appear in three sacramentaries, which bear the names of the three Popes, Leo, Gelasius, and Gregory.

(a) The Sacramentarium Leonianum, falsely ascribed to Pope Leo I. († 461), probably dates from the end of the fifth century, and is a planless collection of liturgical formularies. It was first edited in 1735 from a codex of Verona.1098

(b) The Sacramentarium Gelasianum, which was first printed at Rome in 1680, passes for the work of the Roman bishop Gelasius († 492–496), who certainly did compose a Sacramentarium. Many saints' days are wanting in it, which have been in use since the seventh century.

(c) The Sacramentarium Gregorianum, edited by Muratori and others. Gregory I. (590–604) is reputed to be the proper father of the Roman Ordo et Canon Missae, which, with various additions and modifications at later periods, gradually attained almost exclusive prevalence in the Latin church, and was sanctioned by the Council of Trent.

The collection of the various parts of the Roman liturgy1099 in one book is called Missale Romanum, and the directions for the priests are called Rubricae.1100

§ 101. Liturgical Vestments.

Besides the liturgical works already cited, Comp. John England (late R.C. bishop of Charleston, S. C., d. 1842): An Historical Explanation of the Vestments, Ceremonies, etc., appertaining to the holy Sacrifice of the Mass (an Introduction to the American Engl. edition of the Roman Missal). Philad. 1843. Fr. Bock. (R.C.): Geschichte der liturgischen Gewänder des Mittelalters. Bonn, 1856, 2 vols. C. Jos. Hefele: Beiträge zur Kirchengeschichte, Archäologie und Liturgik. Vol ii. Tüb. 1864, p. 150 ff.

The stately outward solemnity of public worship, and the strict separation of the hierarchy from the body of the laity, required corresponding liturgical vesture, after the example of the Jewish priesthood and cultus,1101 symbolical of the grades of the clergy and of the different parts of the worship.

In the Greek church the liturgical vestments and ornaments are the sticharion,1102 and the orarion, or horarion1103 for the deacon; the sticharion, the phelonion,1104 the zone,1105 the epitrachelion,1106 and the epimanikia1107 for the priest; the saccos,1108 the omophorion1109 the epigonation,1110 and the crozier1111 for the bishop. The mitre is not used by the Greeks.

The vestments in the Latin church are the amict or humeral1112 the alb (white cope or surplice),1113 the cincture,1114 the maniple,1115 the orarium or stole1116 for the priest; the chasuble,1117 the dalmatic,1118 the pectoral1119 and the mitre1120 for the bishop; the pallium for the archbishop. To these are to be added the episcopal ring and staff or crozier.

These clerical vestments almost all appear to have been more or less in use before the seventh century, though only in public worship; it is impossible exactly to determine the age of each. The use of priestly vestments itself originated in fact in the Old Testament, and undoubtedly passed into the church through the medium of the Jewish Christianity, but of course with many modifications. Constantine the Great presented the bishop Macarius of Jerusalem a splendid stole wrought with gold for use at baptism.

The Catholic ritualists of course give to the various mass-vestments a symbolical interpretation, which is in part derived from the undeniable meaning of the Jewish priestly garments,1121 but in part is arbitrary, and hence variable. The amict, for example, denotes the collecting of the mind from distraction; the alb, the righteousness and holiness of the priests; the maniple, the fruits of good works; the stole, the official power of the priest; the mitre, the clerical chieftainship; the ring, the marriage of the bishop with the church; the staff his oversight of the flock.

The color of the liturgical garments was for several centuries white; as in the Jewish sacerdotal vesture the white color, the symbol of light and salvation, prevailed. But gradually five ecclesiastical colors established themselves. The material varied, except that for the amict and the alb linen (as in the Old Testament) was prescribed. According to the present Roman custom the sacred vestments, like other sacred utensils and the holy water, must be blessed by the bishop or a clergyman even appointed for the purpose. The Greeks bless them even before each use of them. The Roman Missal, and other liturgical books, give particular directions in the rubrics for the use of the mass vestments.

In everyday life, for the first five or six centuries the clergy universally wore the ordinary citizens' dress; then gradually, after the precedent of the Jewish priests1122 and Christian monks, exchanged it for a suitable official costume, to make manifest their elevation above the laity. So late as the year 428, the Roman bishop Celestine censured some Gallic priests for having, through misinterpretation of Luke xii. 35, exchanged the universally used under-garment (tunica) and over-garment (toga) for the Oriental monastic dress, and rightly reminded them that the clergy should distinguish themselves from other people not so much by outward costume, as by purity of doctrine and of life.1123 Later popes and councils, however, enacted various laws and penalties respecting these externals, and the council of Trent prescribed an official dress befitting the dignity of the priesthood.1124



§ 102. Religion and Art.

Man is a being intellectual, or thinking and knowing, moral, or willing and acting, and aesthetic, or feeling and enjoying. To these three cardinal faculties corresponds the old trilogy of the true, the good, and the beautiful, and the three provinces of science, or knowledge of the truth, virtue, or practice of the good, and art, or the representation of the beautiful, the harmony of the ideal and the real. These three elements are of equally divine origin and destiny.

Religion is not so much a separate province besides these three, as the elevation and sanctification of all to the glory of God. It represents the idea of holiness, or of union with God, who is the original of all that is true, good, and beautiful. Christianity, as perfect religion, is also perfect humanity. It hates only sin; and this belongs not originally to human nature, but has invaded it from without. It is a leaven which pervades the whole lump. It aims at a harmonious unfolding of all the gifts and powers of the soul. It would redeem and regenerate the whole man, and bring him into blessed fellowship with God. It enlightens the understanding, sanctifies the will, gives peace to the heart, and consecrates even the body a temple of the Holy Ghost. The ancient word: "Homo sum, nihil humani a me alienum puto," is fully true only of the Christian. "All things are yours," says the Apostle. All things are of God, and for God. Of these truths we must never lose sight, notwithstanding the manifold abuses or imperfect and premature applications of them.

Hence there is a Christian art, as well as a Christian science, a spiritual eloquence, a Christian virtue. Feeling and imagination are as much in need of redemption, and capable of sanctification, as reason and will.

The proper and highest mission of art lies in the worship of God. We are to worship God "in the beauty of holiness." All science culminates in theology and theosophy, all art becomes perfect in cultus. Holy Scripture gives it this position, and brings it into the closest connection with religion, from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of the Revelation, from the paradise of innocence to the new glorified earth. This is especially true of the two most spiritual and noble arts, of poetry and music, which proclaim the praise of God—in all the great epochs of the history of his kingdom from the beginning to the consummation. A considerable part of the Bible: the Psalms, the book of Job, the song of Solomon, the parables, the Revelation, and many portions of the historical, prophetical, and didactic books, are poetical, and that in the purest and highest sense of the word. Christianity was introduced into the world with the song of the heavenly host, and the consummation of the church will be also the consummation of poetry and song in the service of the heavenly sanctuary.

Art has always, and in all civilized nations, stood in intimate connection with worship. Among the heathen it ministered to idolatry. Hence the aversion or suspicion of the early Christians towards it. But the same is true of the philosophy of the Greeks, and the law of the Romans; yet philosophy and law are not in themselves objectionable. All depends on the spirit which animates these gifts, and the purpose which they are made to serve.

The great revolution in the outward condition of the church under Constantine dissipated the prejudices against art and the hindrances to its employment in the service of the church. There now arose a Christian art which has beautified and enriched the worship of God, and created immortal monuments of architecture, painting, poetry, and melody, for the edification of all ages; although, as the cultus of the early church in general perpetuated many elements of Judaism and heathenism, so the history of Christian art exhibits many impurities and superstitions which provoke and justify protest. Artists have corrupted art, as theologians theology, and priests the church. But the remedy for these imperfections is not the abolition of art and the banishment of it from the church, but the renovation and ever purer shaping of it by the spirit and in the service of Christianity, which is the religion of truth, of beauty, and of holiness.

From this time, therefore, church history also must bring the various arts, in their relation to Christian worship, into the field of its review. Henceforth there is a history of Christian architecture, sculpture, painting, and above all of Christian poetry and music.

§ 103. Church Architecture.

On the history of Architecture in general, comp. the works of Kugler, Kinkel, Schnaase, and others, on the plastic arts; also Kreuser: Der christliche Kirchenbau, seine Geschichte, Symbolik u. Bildnerei, Bonn, 1851. 2 vols., and the English works of Knight, Brown, Close, J. Ferguson (A Hist. of Architecture, Lond. 1865, 3 vols.), etc.

Architecture is required to provide the suitable outward theatre for the public worship of God, to build houses of God among men, where he may hold fellowship with his people, and bless them with heavenly gifts. This is the highest office and glory of the art of building. Architecture is a handmaid of devotion. A beautiful church is a sermon in stone, and its spire a finger pointing to heaven. Under the old covenant there was no more important or splendid building than the temple at Jerusalem, which was erected by divine command and after the pattern of the tabernacle of the wilderness. And yet this was only a significant emblem and shadow of what was to come.

Christianity is, indeed, not bound to place, and may everywhere worship the omnipresent God. The apostles and martyrs held the most solemn worship in modest private dwellings, and even in deserts and subterranean catacombs, and during the whole period of persecution there were few church buildings properly so called. The cause of this want, however, lay not in conscientious objection, but in the oppressed condition of the Christians. No sooner did they enjoy external and internal peace, than they built special places of devotion, which in a normal, orderly condition of the church are as necessary to public worship as special sacred times. The first certain traces of proper church buildings, in distinction from private places, appear in the second half of the third century, during the three-and-forty years' rest between the persecution of Decius and that of Diocletian.1125 But these were destroyed in the latter persecution.

The period of church building properly begins with Constantine the Great. After Christianity was acknowledged by the state, and empowered to hold property, it raised houses of worship in all parts of the Roman empire. There was probably more building of this kind in the fourth century than there has been in an period since, excepting perhaps the nineteenth century in the United States, where, every ten years, hundreds of churches and chapels are erected, while in the great cities of Europe the multiplication of churches by no means keeps pace with the increase of population.1126 Constantine and his mother Helena led the way with a good example. The emperor adorned not only his new residential city, but also the holy Places in Palestine, and the African city Constantine, with basilicas, partly at his own expense, partly from the public treasury. His successors on the throne, excepting Julian, as well as bishops and wealthy laymen, vied with each other in building, beautifying, and enriching churches. This was considered a work pleasing to God and meritorious. Ambition and self-righteousness mingled themselves here, as they almost everywhere do, with zeal for the glory of God. Chrysostom even laments that many a time the poor are forgotten in the church buildings, and suggests that it is not enough to adorn the altar, the walls, and the floor, but that we must, above all, offer the soul a living sacrifice to the Lord.1127 Jerome also rebukes those who haughtily pride themselves in the costly gifts which they offer to God, and directs them to help needy fellow-Christians rather, since not the house of stone, but the soul of the believer is the true temple of Christ.

The fourth century saw in the city of Rome above forty great churches.1128 In Constantinople the Church of the Apostles and the church of St. Sophia, built by Constantine, excelled in magnificence and beauty, and in the fifth century were considerably enlarged and beautified by Justinian. Sometimes heathen temples or other public buildings were transformed for Christian worship. The Emperor Phocas (602–610), for example, gave to the Roman bishop Boniface IV, the Pantheon, built by Agrippa under Augustus, and renowned for its immense and magnificent dome (now called chiesa della rotonda), and it was thenceforth consecrated to the virgin Mary and the martyrs.

But generally the heathen temples, from their small size and their frequent round form, were not adapted for the Christian worship, as this is held within the building, and requires large room for the congregation, that the preaching and the Scripture-reading may be heard; while the heathen sacrifices were performed before the portico, and the multitude looked on without the sanctuary. The sanctuary of Pandrosos, on the Acropolis at Athens, holds but few persons, and even the Parthenon is not so capacious as an ordinary church. The Pantheon in Rome is an exception, and is much larger than most temples. The small round pagan temples were most easily convertible into Christian baptisteries and burial chapels. Far more frequently, doubtless, was the material of forsaken or destroyed temples applied to the building of churches.

§ 104. The Consecration of Churches.

New churches were consecrated with great solemnity by prayer, singing, the communion, eulogies of present bishops, and the depositing of relics of saints.1129 This service set them apart from all profane uses, and designated them exclusively for the service and praise of God and the edification of his people. The dedication of Solomon's temple,1130 as well as the purification of the temple after its desecration by the heathen Syrians,1131 furnished the biblical authority for this custom. In times of persecution the consecration must have been performed in silence. But now these occasions became festivals attended by multitudes. Many bishops, like Theodoret, even invited the pagans to attend them. The first description of such a festivity is given us by Eusebius: the consecration of the church of the Redeemer at the Holy Sepulchre,1132 and of a church at Tyre.1133

After the Jewish precedent,1134 it was usual to celebrate the anniversary of the consecration.1135

Churches were dedicated either to the holy Trinity, or to one of the three divine Persons, especially Christ, or to the Virgin Mary, or to apostles, especially Peter, Paul, and John, or to distinguished martyrs and saints.

The idea of dedication, of course, by no means necessarily involves the superstitious notion of the omnipresent God being inclosed in a definite place. On the contrary, Solomon had long before said at the dedication of the temple at Jerusalem: "Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded." When Athanasius was once censured for assembling the congregation on Easter, for want of room, in a newly built but not yet consecrated church, he appealed to the injunction of the Lord, that we enter into our closet to pray, as consecrating every place. Chrysostom urged that every house should be a church, and every head of a family a spiritual shepherd, remembering the account which he must give even for his children and servants.1136 Not walls and roof, but faith and life, constitute the church,1137 and the advantage of prayer in the church comes not so much from a special holiness of the place, as from the Christian fellowship, the bond of love, and the prayer of the priests.1138 Augustine gives to his congregation the excellent admonition: "It is your duty to put your talent to usury; every one must be bishop in his own house; he must see that his wife, his son, his daughter, his servant, since he is bought with so great a price, continues in the true faith. The apostle's doctrine has placed the master over the servant, and has bound the servant to obedience to the master, but Christ has paid a ransom for both."1139

§ 105. Interior Arrangement of Churches.

The interior arrangement of the Christian churches in part imitated the temple at Jerusalem, in part proceeded directly, from the Christian spirit. It exhibits, therefore, like the whole catholic system, a mixture of Judaism and Christianity. At the bottom of it lay the ideas of the priesthood and of sacrifice, and of fellowship with God administered thereby.

Accordingly, in every large church after Constantine there were three main divisions, which answered, on the one hand, to the divisions of Solomon's temple, on the other, to the three classes of attendants, the catechumens, the faithful, and the priests, or the three stages of approach to God. The evangelical idea of immediate access of the whole believing congregation to the throne of grace, does not yet appear. The priesthood everywhere comes between.

1. The portico: In this again must be distinguished:

(a) The inner portico, a covered hall which belonged to the church itself, and was called provnao", or commonly, from its long, narrow shape, navrqhx, ferula, i.e., literally, staff, rod.1140 The name paradise also occurs, because on one side of the wall of the portico Adam and Eve in paradise were frequently painted,—probably to signify that the fallen posterity of Adam find again their lost paradise in the church of Christ. The inner court was the place for all the unbaptized, for catechumens, pagans, and Jews, and for members of the church condemned to light penance, who might hear the preaching and the reading of the Scriptures, but must withdraw before the administration of the Holy Supper.

(b) The outer portico, aujlhv, atrium, also locus lugentium or hiemantium, which was open, and not in any way enclosed within the sacred walls, hence not a part of the house of God properly so called. Here those under heavy penance, the "weepers"1141 as they were called, must tarry, exposed to all weather, and apply with tears to those entering for their Christian intercessions.

In this outer portico, or atrium, stood the laver,1142 in which, after the primitive Jewish and heathen custom, maintained to this day in the Roman church, the worshipper, in token of inward purification, must wash every time he entered the church.1143

After about the ninth century, when churches were no longer built with spacious porticoes, this laver was transferred to the church itself, and fixed at the doors in the form of a holywater basin, supposed to be an imitation of the brazen sea in the priest's court of Solomon's temple.1144 This symbolical usage could easily gather upon itself superstitious notions of the magical virtue of the holy water. Even in the pseudo-Apostolic Constitutions the consecrated water is called "a means of warding off diseases, frightening away evil spirits, a medicine for body and soul, and for purification from sins;" and though these expressions related primarily to the sacramental water of baptism as the bath of regeneration, yet they were easily applied by the people to consecrated water in general. In the Roman Catholic church the consecration of the water1145 is performed on Easter Sunday evening; in the Greco-Russian church, three times in the year.

2. The temple proper,1146 the holy place,1147 or the nave of the church,1148 as it were the ark of the new covenant. This part extended from the doors of entrance to the steps of the altar, had sometimes two or four side-naves, according to the size of the church, and was designed for the body of the laity, the faithful and baptized. The men sat on the right towards the south (in the men's nave), the women on the left towards the north (in the women's nave), or, in Eastern countries, where the sexes were more strictly separated, in the galleries above.1149 The monks and nuns, and the higher civil officers, especially the emperors with their families, usually had special seats of honor in semicircular niches on both sides of the altar.

About the middle of the main nave was the pulpit or the ambo,1150 or subsequently two desks, at the left the Gospel-desk, at the right the Epistle-desk, where the lector or deacon read the Scripture lessons. The sermon was not always delivered from the pulpit, but more frequently either from the steps of the altar (hence the phrase: "speaking from the rails"), or from the seat of the bishop behind the altar-table.1151

Between the reading-desks and the altar was the odeum,1152 the place for the singers, and at the right and left the seats for the lower clergy (anagnosts or readers, exorcists, acolytes). This part of the nave lay somewhat higher than the floor of the church, though not so high as the altar-choir, and hence was also called the lower choir, and the gradual, because steps (gradus) led up to it. In the Eastern church the choir and nave are scarcely separated, and they form together the naov", or temple hall; in the Western the choir and the sanctuary are put together under the name cancelli or chancel.

3. The most holy place,1153 or the choir proper;1154 called also in distinction from the lower choir, the high choir,1155 for the priests, and for the offering of the sacrifice of the Eucharist. No layman, excepting the emperor (in the east), might enter it. It was semi-circular or conchoidal1156 in form, and was situated at the eastern end of the church, opposite the entrance doors, because the light, to which Christians should turn themselves, comes from the east.1157 It was separated from the other part of the church by rails or a lattice,1158 and by a curtain, or by sacred doors called in the Greek church the picture-wall, iconostas, on account of the sacred paintings on it.1159 While in the Eastern churches this screen is still used, it in time gave place in the West to a low balustrade.

In the middle of the sanctuary stood the altar,1160 generally a table, or sometimes a chest with a lid; at first of wood, then, after the beginning of the sixth century, of stone or marble, or even of silver and gold, with a wall behind it, and an overshadowing, dome-shaped canopy,1161 above which a cross was usually fixed. The altar was hollow, and served as the receptacle for the relics of the martyrs; it was placed, where this was possible, exactly over the grave of a martyr, probably with reference to the passage in the Revelation: "I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held."1162 Often a subterranean chapel or crypt1163 was built under the church, in order to have the church exactly upon the burial place of the saint, and at the same time to keep alive the memory of the primitive worship in underground vaults in the times of persecution.

The altar held therefore the twofold office of a tomb (though at the same time the monument of a new, higher life), and a place of sacrifice. It was manifestly the most holy place in the entire church, to which everything else had regard; whereas in Protestantism the pulpit and the word of God come into the foreground, and altar and sacrament stand back. Hence the altar was adorned also in the richest manner with costly cloths, with the cross, or at a later period the crucifix, with burning tapers, symbolical of Christ the light of the world,1164 and previously consecrated for ecclesiastical use,1165 with a splendid copy of the Holy Scriptures, or the mass-book, but above all with the tabernacle, or little house for preserving the consecrated host, on which in the middle ages the German stone-cutters and sculptors displayed wonderful art.

Side altars did not come into use until Gregory the Great. Ignatius,1166 Athanasius, Gregory Nazianzen, and Augustine know of only one altar in the church. The Greek church has no more to this day. The introduction of such side altars, which however belong not to the altar space, but to the nave of the church, is connected with the progress of the worship of martyrs and relics.

At the left of the altar war, the table of prothesis,1167 on which the elements for the holy Supper were prepared, and which is still used in the Greek church; at the right the sacristy,1168 where the priests robed themselves, and retired for silent prayer. Behind the altar on the circular wall (and under the painting of Christ enthroned, if there was one) stood the bishop's chair,1169 overlooking the whole church. On both sides of it, in a semicircle, were the seats of the presbyters. None but the clergy were allowed to receive the holy Supper within the altar rails.1170

§ 106. Architectural Style. The Basilicas.

Comp. the works on the Basilicas by P. Sarnelli (Antica Basilicografia. Neapoli, 1686), Ciampini (Rom. 1693), Guttensohn & Knapp (Monumenta di Rel. christ., ossia raccolta delle antiche chiese di Roma. Rom. 1822 sqq. 3 vols.; also in German, München, 1843), Bunsen (Die Basiliken des christlichen Roms. München, 1843, a commentary on the preceding), Von Quast (Berl. 1845), and Zestermann (Die antiken und die christlichen Basiliken. Leipz. 1847).

The history of church building, from the simple basilicas of the fourth century to the perfect Gothic cathedrals of the thirteenth and fourteenth, exhibits, like the history of the other Christian arts and the sciences, a gradual subjection and transformation of previous Jewish and heathen forms by the Christian principle. The church succeeded to the inheritance of all nations, but could only by degrees purge this inheritance of its sinful adulterations, pervade it with her spirit, and subject it to her aims; for she fulfils her mission through human freedom, not in spite of it, and does not magically transform nations, but legitimately educates them.

The history of Western architecture is the richer. The East contented itself with the Byzantine style, and adhered more strictly to the forms of the round temples, baptisteries, and mausoleums; while the West, starting from the Roman basilica, developed various styles.

The style of the earliest Christian churches was not copied from the heathen temples, because, apart from their connection with idolatry, which was itself highly offensive to the Christian sentiment, they were in form and arrangement, as we have already remarked, entirely unsuitable to Christian worship. The primitive Christian architecture followed the basilicas, and hence the churches built in this style were themselves called basilicas. The connection of the Christian and heathen basilicas, which has been hitherto recognized, and has been maintained by celebrated connoisseurs,1171 has been denied by some modem investigators,1172 who have claimed for the Christian an entirely independent origin. And it is perfectly true, as concerns the interior arrangement and symbolical import of the building, that these can be ascribed to the Christian mind alone. Nor have any forensic or mercantile basilicas, to our knowledge, been transformed into Christian churches.1173 But in external architectural form there is without question an affinity, and there appears no reason why the church should not have employed this classic form.

The basilicas,1174 or royal halls, were public judicial and mercantile buildings, of simple, but beautiful structure, in the form of a long rectangle, consisting of a main hall, or main nave, two, often four, side naves,1175 which were separated by colonnades from the central space, and were somewhat lower. Here the people assembled for business and amusement. At the end of the hall opposite the entrance, stood a semicircular, somewhat elevated niche (apsis, tribune), arched over with a half-dome, where were the seats of the judges and advocates, and where judicial business was transacted. Under the floor of the tribunal was sometimes a cellar-like place of confinement for accused criminals.

In the history of architecture, too, there is a Nemesis. As the cross became changed from a sign of weakness to a sign of honor and victory, so must the basilica in which Christ and innumerable martyrs were condemned to death, become a place for the worship of the crucified One. The judicial tribune became the altar; the seat of the praetor behind it became the bishop's chair; the benches of the jurymen became the seats of presbyters; the hall of business and trade became a place of devotion for the faithful people; the subterranean jail became a crypt or burial place, the superterrene birth-place, of a Christian martyr. To these were added other changes, especially the introduction of a cross-nave between the apse and the main nave, giving to the basilica the symbolical form of the once despised, but now glorious cross, and forming, so to speak, a recumbent crucifix. The cross with equal arms is called the Greek; that with unequal arms, in which the transept is shorter than the main nave from the entrance to the altar, the Latin. Towers, which express the heavenward spirit of the Christian religion, were not introduced till the ninth century, and were then built primarily for bells.

This style found rapid acceptance in the course of the fourth century with East and West; most of all in Rome, where a considerable number of basilicas, some in their ancient venerable simplicity, some with later alterations, are still preserved. The church of St. Maria Maggiore on the Esquiline hill affords the best view of an ancient basilica; the oldest principal church of Rome—S. Giovanni in Laterano (so named from the Roman patrician family of the Laterans), dedicated to the Evangelist John and to John the Baptist; the church of St. Paul, outside the city on the way to Ostia, which was burnt in 1823, but afterwards rebuilt splendidly in the same style, and consecrated by the pope in December, 1854; also S. Clemente, S. Agnese, and S. Lorenzo, outside the walls—are examples. The old church of St. Peter (Basilica Vaticana), which was built on the spot of this apostle's martyrdom, the Neronian circus, and was torn down in the fifteenth century (the last remnant did not fall till 1606), surpassed all other churches of Rome in splendor and wealth, and was rebuilt, not in the same style, but, as is well known, in the Italian style of the sixteenth century.

Next to Rome, Ravenna is rich in old church buildings, among which the great basilica of S. Apollinare in Classe (in the port town, three miles from the main city, and built about the middle of the sixth century) is the most notable. The transept, as in all the churches of this city, is wanting.

In the East Roman empire there appeared even under Constantine sundry departures and transitions toward the Byzantine style. The oldest buildings there, which follow more or less the style of the Roman basilica, are the church at Tyre, begun in 313, destroyed in the middle ages, but known to us from the description of the historian Eusebius;1176 the original St. Sophia of Constantine in Constantinople; and the churches in the Holy Land, built likewise by him and his mother Helena, at, Mamre or Hebron, at Bethlehem over the birth-spot of Christ, on the Mount of Olives in memory of the ascension, and over the holy sepulchre on Mount Calvary. Justinian also sometimes built basilicas, for variety, together with his splendid Byzantine churches; and of these the church of St. Mary in Jerusalem was the finest, and was destined to imitate the temple of Solomon, but it was utterly blotted out by the Mohammedans.1177

§ 107. The Byzantine Style.

Procopius: De aedificiis Justiniani. L.i.c. 1–3. Car. Dufresne Dom. du Cange: Constantinopolis Christiana. Venet. 1729. Salzenberg und Kortüm: Altchristliche Baudenkmale Constantinopels vom V. bis XII Jahrh. (40 magnificent copperplates and illustrations). Berlin, 1854.

The second style which meets us in this period, is the Byzantine, which in the West modified the basilica style, in the East soon superseded it, and in the Russo-Greek church has maintained itself to this day. It dates from the sixth century, from the reign of the scholarly and art-loving emperor Justinian I. (527–565), which was the flourishing period of Constantinople and of the centralized ecclesiastico-political despotism, in many respects akin to the age of Louis XIV. of France.

The characteristic feature of this style is the hemispherical dome, which, like the vault of heaven with its glory, spanned the centre of the Greek or the Latin cross, supported by massive columns (instead of slender pillars like the basilicas), and by its height and its prominence ruling the other parts of the building. This dome corresponds on the one hand to the centralizing principle of the Byzantine empire,1178 but at the same time, and far more clearly than the flat basilica, to that upward striving of the Christian spirit from the earth towards the height of heaven, which afterwards more plainly expressed itself in the pointed arches and the towers of the Germanic cathedral. "While in the basilica style everything looks towards the end of the building where the altar and episcopal throne are set, and by this prevailing connection the upward direction is denied a free expression, in the dome structure everything concentrates itself about the spacious centre of the building over which, drawing the eye irresistibly upward, rises to an awe-inspiring height the majestic central dome. The basilica presents in the apse a figure of the horizon from which the sun of righteousness arises in his glory; the Byzantine building unfolds in the dome a figure of the whole vault of heaven in sublime, imposing majesty, but detracts thereby from the prominence of the altar, and leaves for it only a place of subordinate import."

The dome is not, indeed, absolutely new. The Pantheon in Rome, whose imposing dome has a diameter of a hundred and thirty-two feet, dates from the age of Augustus, b.c. 26. But here the dome rises on a circular wall, and so strikes root in the earth, altogether in character with the heathen religion. The Byzantine dome rests on few columns connected by arches, and, like the vault of heaven, freely spans the central space of the church in airy height, without shutting up that space by walls.

Around the main central dome1179 stand four smaller domes in a square, and upon each dome rises a lofty gilded cross, which in the earlier churches stands upon a crescent, hung with all sorts of chains, and fastened by these to the dome.

The noblest and most complete building of this kind is the renowned church of St. Sophia at Constantinople, which was erected in lavish Asiatic splendor by the emperor Justinian after a plan by the architects Anthemius of Tralles and Isidore of Miletus (a.d. 532–537), and consecrated to the Redeemer,1180 but was transformed after the Turkish conquest into a Mohammedan mosque (Aja Sofia). It is two hundred and twenty-eight feet broad, and two hundred and fifty-two feet long; the dome, supported by four gigantic columns, rises a hundred and sixty-nine feet high over the altar, is a hundred and eight feet in diameter, and floats so freely and airily above the great central space, that, in the language of the Byzantine court biographer Procopius, it seems not to rest on terra firma, but to hang from heaven by golden chains.1181 The most costly material was used in the building; the Phrygian marble with rose-colored and white veins, the dark red marble of the Nile, the green of Laconia, the black and white spotted of the Bosphorus, the gold-colored Libyan. And when the dome reflected the brilliance of the lighted silver chandeliers, and sent it back doubled from above, it might well remind one of the vault of heaven with its manifold starry glories, and account for the proud satisfaction with which Justinian on the day of the consecration, treading in solemn procession the finished building, exclaimed: "I have outdone thee, O Solomon!"1182 The church of St. Sophia stood thenceforth the grand model of the new Greek architecture, not only for the Christian East and the Russian church, but even for the Mohammedans in the building of their mosques.

In the West the city of Ravenna, on the Adriatic coast, after Honorius, (a.d. 404) the seat of the Western empire, or of the eparchate, and the last refuge of the old Roman magnificence and art, affords beautiful monuments of the Byzantine style; especially in the church of St. Vitale, which was erected by the bishop Maximian in 547.1183

In the West the ground plan of the basilica was usually retained, with pillars and entablature, until the ninth century, and the dome and vaultings of the Byzantine style were united with it. Out of this union arose what is called the Romanesque or the round-arch style, which prevailed from the tenth to the thirteenth century, and was then, from the thirteenth to the fifteenth, followed by the Germanic or pointed-arch style, with its gigantic masterpieces, the Gothic cathedrals. From the fifteenth century eclecticism and confusion prevailed in architecture, till the modern attempts to reproduce the ancient style. The Oriental church, on the contrary, has never gone beyond the Byzantine, its productivity almost entirely ceasing with the age of Justinian. But it is possible that the Graeco Russian church will in the future develop something new.

§ 108. Baptisteries, Grave-Chapels, and Crypts.

Baptisteries or Photisteries,1184 chapels designed exclusively for the administration of baptism, are a form of church building by themselves. In the first centuries baptism was performed on streams in the open air, or in private houses. But after the public exercise of Christian worship became lawful, in the fourth century special buildings for this holy ordinance began to appear, either entirely separate, or connected with the main church (at the side of the western main entrance) by a covered passage; and they were generally, dedicated to John the Baptist. The need of them arose partly from the still prevalent custom of immersion, partly from the fact that the number of candidates often amounted to hundreds and thousands; since baptism was at that time administered) as a rule, only three or four times a year, on the eve of the great festivals (Easter, Pentecost, Epiphany, and Christmas), and at episcopal sees, while the church proper was filled with the praying congregation.

These baptismal chapels were not oblong, like the basilicas, but round (like most of the Roman temples), and commonly covered with a dome. They had in the centre, like the bathing and swimming houses of the Roman watering places, a large baptismal basin,1185 into which several steps descended. Around this stood a colonnade and a circular or polygonal gallery for spectators; and before the main entrance there was a spacious vestibule in the form of an entirely walled rectangle or oval. Generally the baptisteries had two divisions for the two sexes. The interior was sumptuously ornamented; especially the font, on which was frequently represented the symbolical figure of a hart panting for the brook, or a lamb, or the baptism of Christ by John. The earliest baptistery, of the Constantinian church of St. Peter in Rome, whose living flood was supplied from a fountain of the Vatican hill, was adorned with beautiful mosaic, the green, gold, and purple of which were reflected in the water. The most celebrated existing baptistery is that of the Lateran church at Rome, the original plan of which is ascribed to Constantine, but has undergone changes in the process of time.1186

After the sixth century, when the baptism of adults had become rare, it became customary to place a baptismal basin in the porch of the church, or in the church itself, at the left of the entrance, and, after baptism came to be administered no longer by the bishop alone, but by every pastor, each parish church contained such an arrangement. Still baptisteries also continued in use, and even in the later middle ages new ones were occasionally erected.

Finally, after the time of Constantine it became customary to erect small houses of worship or memorial chapels upon the burial-places of the martyrs, and to dedicate them to their memory.1187 These served more especially for private edification.

The subterranean chapels, or crypts, were connected with the churches built over them, and brought to mind the worship of the catacombs in the times of persecution. These crypts always produce a most earnest, solemn impression, and many of them are of considerable archaeological interest.

§ 109. Crosses and Crucifixes.

Jac. Gretser. (R.C.): De cruce Christi. 2 vols. Ingolst. 1608. Just. Lipsius: De cruce Christi. Antw. 1694. Fr. Münter: Die Sinnbilder u. Kunstvorstellungen der alten Christen. Altona, 1825. C. J. Hefele (R.C.): Alter u. älteste Form der Crucifixe (in the 2d vol. of his Beiträge zur Kirchengesch., Archäologie u. Liturgik. Tübingen, 1864, p. 265 sqq.).

The cross, as the symbol of redemption, and the signing of the cross upon the forehead, the eyes, the mouth, the breast, and even upon parts of clothing, were in universal use in this period, as they had been even in the second century, both in private Christian life and in public worship. They were also in many ways abused in the service of superstition; and the nickname cross-worshippers,1188 which the heathen applied to the Christians in the time of Tertullian,1189 was in many cases not entirely unwarranted. Besides simple wooden crosses, now that the church had risen to the kingdom, there were many crosses of silver and gold, or sumptuously set with pearls and gems.1190

The conspicuous part which, according to the statements of Eusebius, the cross played in the life of Constantine, is well known: forming the instrument of his conversion; borne by fifty men, leading him to his victories over Maxentius and Licinius; inscribed upon his banners, upon the weapons of his soldiers in his palace, and upon public places, and lying in the right hand of his own statue. Shortly afterwards Julian accused the Christians of worshipping the wood of the cross. "The sign of universal detestation," says Chrysostom,1191 "the sign of extreme penalty, is now become the object of universal desire and love. We see it everywhere triumphant; we find it on houses, on roofs, and on walls, in cities and hamlets, on the markets, along the roads, and in the deserts, on the mountains and in the valleys, on the sea, on ships, on books and weapons, on garments, in marriage chambers, at banquets, upon gold and silver vessels, in pearls, in painting upon walls, on beds, on the bodies of very sick animals, on the bodies of the possessed [—to drive away the disease and the demon—], at the dances of the merry, and in the brotherhoods of ascetics." Besides this, it was usual to mark the cross on windows and floors, and to wear it upon the forehead.1192 According to Augustine this sign was to remind believers that their calling is to follow Christ in true humility, through suffering, into glory.

We might speak in the same way of the use of other Christian emblems from the sphere of nature; the representation of Christ by a good Shepherd, a lamb, a fish, and the like, which we have already observed in the period preceding.1193

Towards the end of the present period we for the first time meet with crucifixes; that is, crosses not bare, but with the figure of the crucified Saviour upon them. The transition to the crucifix we find in the fifth century in the figure of a lamb, or even a bust of Christ, attached to the cross, sometimes at the top, sometimes at the bottom.1194 Afterwards the whole figure of Christ was fastened to the cross, and the earlier forms gave place to this. The Trullan council of Constantinople (the Quinisextum), a.d. 692, directed in the 82d canon: "Hereafter, instead of the lamb, the human figure of Christ shall be set up on the images."1195 But subsequently the orthodox church of the East prohibited all plastic images, crucifixes among them, and it tolerates only pictures of Christ and the saints. The earlier Latin crucifixes offend the taste and disturb devotion; but the Catholic art in its flourishing period succeeded in combining, in the figure of the suffering and dying Redeemer, the expression of the deepest and holiest anguish with that of supreme dignity. In the middle age there was frequently added to the crucifix a group of Mary, John, a soldier, and the penitent Magdalene, who on her knees embraced the post of the cross.

§ 110. Images of Christ.

Fr. Kugler: Handbuch der Geschichte der Malerei seit Constantin dem Berlin, 1847, 2 vols.; and other works on the history of painting. Also C. Grüneisen: Die bildliche Darstellung der Gottheit. Stuttgart 1828. On the Iconoclastic controversies, comp. Maimbourg (R.C.): Histoire de l'hérésie de l'Iconoclastes. Par. 1679 sqq. 2 vols. Dallaeus (Calvinist): De imaginibus. Lugd. Bat. 1642. Fr. Spanheim: Historia imaginum restituta. Lugd. Bat. 1686. P. E. Jablonski († 1757): De origine imaginum Christi Domini, in Opuscul. ed. Water, Lugd. Bat. 1804, tom. iii. Walch: Ketzergesch., vols. x. and xi. J. Marx: Der Bildersturm der byzantinischen Kaiser. Trier, 1839. W. Grimm: Die Sage vom Ursprunge der Christusbilder. Berlin, 1843, L. Glückselig: Christus-Archäologie, Prag, 1863. Hefele: Beiträge zur Kirchengeschichte, vol. ii. Tüb. 1861 (Christusbilder, p. 254 sqq.). Comp. the liter. in Hase's Leben Jesu, p. 79 (5th ed. 1865).

While the temple of Solomon left to the Christian mind no doubt concerning the lawfulness and usefulness of church architecture, the second commandment seemed directly to forbid a Christian painting or sculpture. "The primitive church," says even a modern Roman Catholic historian,1196 "had no images, of Christ, since most Christians at that time still adhered to the commandment of Moses (Ex. xx. 4); the more, that regard as well to the Gentile Christians as to the Jewish forbade all use of images. To the latter the exhibition and veneration of images would, of course, be an abomination, and to the newly converted heathen it might be a temptation to relapse into idolatry. In addition, the church was obliged, for her own honor, to abstain from images, particularly from any representation of the Lord, lest she should be regarded by unbelievers as merely a new kind and special sort of heathenism and creature-worship. And further, the early Christians had in their idea of the bodily form of the Lord no temptation, not the slightest incentive, to make likenesses of Christ. The oppressed church conceived its Master only under the form of a servant, despised and uncomely, as Isaiah, liii. 2, 3, describes the Servant of the Lord."

The first representations of Christ are of heretical and pagan origin. The Gnostic sect of the Carpocratians worshipped crowned pictures of Christ, together with images of Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, and other sages, and asserted that Pilate had caused a portrait of Christ to be made.1197 In the same spirit of pantheistic hero-worship the emperor Alexander Severus (a.d. 222–235) set up in his domestic chapel for his adoration the images of Abraham, Orpheus, Apollonius, and Christ.

After Constantine, the first step towards images in the orthodox church was a change in the conception of the outward form of Christ. The persecuted church had filled its eye with the humble and suffering servant-form of Jesus, and found therein consolation and strength in her tribulation. The victorious church saw the same Lord in heavenly glory on the right hand of the Father, ruling over his enemies. The one conceived Christ in his state of humiliation (but not in his state of exaltation), as even repulsive, or at least "having no form nor comeliness;" taking too literally the description of the suffering servant of God in Is. lii. 14 and liii. 2, 3.1198 The other beheld in him the ideal of human beauty, "fairer than the children of men," with "grace poured into his lips;" after the Messianic interpretation of Ps. xlv. 3.1199

This alone, however, did not warrant images of Christ. For, in the first place, authentic accounts of the personal appearance of Jesus were lacking; and furthermore it seemed incompetent to human art duly to set forth Him in Whom the whole fulness of the Godhead and of perfect sinless humanity dwelt in unity.

On this point two opposite tendencies developed themselves, giving occasion in time to the violent and protracted image controversies, until, at the seventh ecumenical council at Nice in 787, the use and adoration of images carried the day in the church.

1. On the one side, the prejudices of the ante-Nicene period against images in painting or sculpture continued alive, through fear of approach to pagan idolatry, or of lowering Christianity into the province of sense. But generally the hostility was directed only against images of Christ; and from it, as Neander justly observes,1200 we are by no means to infer the rejection of all representations of religious subjects; for images of Christ encounter objections peculiar to themselves.

The church historian Eusebius declared himself in the strongest manner against images of Christ in a letter to the empress Constantia (the widow of Licinius and sister of Constantine), who had asked him for such an image. Christ, says he, has laid aside His earthly servant-form, and Paul exhorts us to cleave no longer to the sensible;1201 and the transcendent glory of His heavenly body cannot be conceived nor represented by man; besides, the second commandment forbids the making to ourselves any likeness of anything in heaven or in earth. He had taken away from a lady an image of Christ and of Paul, lest it should seem as if Christians, like the idolaters, carried their God about in images. Believers ought rather to fix their mental eye, above all, upon the divinity of Christ, and, for this purpose, to purify their hearts; since only the pure in heart shall see God.1202 The same Eusebius, however, relates of Constantine, without the slightest disapproval, that, in his Christian zeal, he caused the public monuments in the forum of the new imperial city to be adorned with symbolical representations of Christ, to wit, with figures of the good Shepherd and of Daniel in the lion's den.1203 He likewise tells us, that the woman of the issue of blood, after her miraculous cure (Matt. ix. 20), and out of gratitude for it, erected before her dwelling in Caesarea Philippi (Paneas) two brazen statues, the figure of a kneeling woman, and of a venerable man (Christ) extending his hand to help her, and that he had seen these statues with his own eyes at Paneas.1204 In the same place he speaks also of pictures (probably Carpocratian) of Christ and the apostles Peter and Paul, which he had seen, and observes that these cannot be wondered at in those who were formerly heathen, and who had been accustomed to testify their gratitude towards their benefactors in this way.

The narrow fanatic Epiphanius of Cyprus († 403) also seems to have been an opponent of images. For when he saw the picture of Christ or a saint1205 on the altar-curtain in Anablatha, a village of Palestine, he tore away the curtain, because it was contrary to the Scriptures to hang up the picture of a man in the church, and he advised the officers to use the cloth for winding the corpse of some poor person.1206 This arbitrary conduct, however, excited great indignation, and Epiphanius found himself obliged to restore the injury to the village church by another curtain.

2. The prevalent spirit of the age already very decidedly favored this material representation as a powerful help to virtue and devotion, especially for the uneducated classes, whence the use of images, in fact, mainly proceeded.

Plastic representation, it is true, was never popular in the East. The Greek church tolerates no statues, and forbids even crucifixes. In the West, too, in this period, sculpture occurs almost exclusively in bas relief and high relief, particularly on sarcophagi, and in carvings of ivory and gold in church decorations. Sculpture, from its more finite nature, lies farther from Christianity than the other arts.

Painting, on the contrary, was almost universally drawn into the service of religion; and that, not primarily from the artistic impulse which developed itself afterwards, but from the practical necessity of having objects of devout reverence in concrete form before the eye, as a substitute for the sacred books, which were accessible to the educated alone. Akin to this is the universal pleasure of children in pictures.

The church-teachers approved and defended this demand, though they themselves did not so directly need such helps. In fact, later tradition traced it back to apostolic times, and saw in the Evangelist Luke the first sacred painter. Whereof only so much is true: that he has sketched in his Gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles vivid and faithful pictures of the Lord, His mother, and His disciples, which are surely of infinitely greater value than all pictures in color and statues in marble.1207

Basil the Great († 379) says "I confess the appearance of the Son of God in the flesh, and the holy Mary as the mother of God, who bore Him according to the flesh. And I receive also the holy apostles and prophets and martyrs. Their likenesses I revere and kiss with homage, for they are handed down from the holy apostles, and are not forbidden, but on the contrary painted in all our churches."1208 His brother, Gregory of Nyssa, also, in his memorial discourse on the martyr Theodore, speaks in praise of sacred painting, which "is wont to speak silently from the walls, and thus to do much good." The bishop Paulinus of Nola, who caused biblical pictures to be exhibited annually at the festival seasons in the church of St. Felix, thought that by them the scenes of the Bible were made clear to the uneducated rustic, as they could not otherwise be; impressed themselves on his memory, awakened in him holy thoughts and feelings, and restrained him from all kinds of vice.1209 The bishop Leontius of Neapolis in Cyprus, who at the close of the sixth century wrote an apology for Christianity against the Jews, and in it noticed the charge of idolatry, asserts that the law of Moses is directed not unconditionally against the use of religious images, but only against the idolatrous worship of them; since the tabernacle and the temple themselves contained cherubim and other figures; and he advocates images, especially for their beneficent influences. "In almost all the world," says he, "profligate men, murderers, robbers, debauchees, idolaters, are daily moved to contrition by a look at the cross of Christ, and led to renounce the world, and practise every virtue."1210 And Leontius already appeals to the miraculous fact, that blood flowed from many of the images.1211

Owing to the difficulty, already noticed, of worthily representing Christ Himself, the first subjects were such scenes from the Old Testament as formed a typical prophecy of the history of the Redeemer. Thus the first step from the field of nature, whence the earliest symbols of Christ—the lamb, the fish, the shepherd—were drawn, was into the field of pre-Christian revelation, and thence it was another step into the province of gospel history itself. The favorite pictures of this kind were, the offering-up of Isaac—the pre-figuration of the great sacrifice on the cross; the miracle of Moses drawing forth water from the rock with his rod—which was interpreted either, according to 1 Cor. x. 4, of Christ Himself, or, more especially—and frequently, of the birth of Christ from the womb of the Virgin; the suffering Job—a type of Christ in His deepest humiliation; Daniel in the lion's den—the symbol of the Redeemer subduing the devil and death in the underworld; the miraculous deliverance of the prophet Jonah from the whale's belly—foreshadowing the resurrection;1212 and the translation of Elijah—foreshadowing the ascension of Christ.

About the middle of the fifth century, just when the doctrine of the person of Christ reached its formal settlement, the first representations of Christ Himself appeared, even said by tradition to be faithful portraits of the original.1213 From that time the difficulty of representing the God-Man was removed by an actual representation, and the recognition of the images of Christ, especially of the Madonna with the Child, became even a test of orthodoxy, as against the Nestorian heresy of an abstract separation of the two natures in Christ. In the sixth century, according to the testimony of Gregory of Tours, pictures of Christ were hung not only in churches but in almost every private house.1214

Among these representations of Christ there are two distinct types received in the church:

(1) The Salvator picture, with the expression of calm serenity and dignity, and of heavenly gentleness, without the faintest mark of grief. According to the legend, this was a portrait, miraculously imprinted on a cloth, which Christ Himself presented to Abgarus, king of Edessa, at his request.1215 The original is of course lost, or rather never existed, and is simply a mythical name for the Byzantine type of the likeness of Christ which appeared after the fifth century, and formed the basis of all the various representations of Christ until Raphael and Michael Angelo. These pictures present the countenance of the Lord in the bloom of youthful vigor and beauty, with a free, high forehead, clear, beaming eyes, long, straight nose, hair parted in the middle, and a somewhat reddish beard.

(2) The Ecce Homo picture of the suffering Saviour with the crown of thorns. This is traced back by tradition to St. Veronica, who accompanied the Saviour on the way to Golgotha, and gave Him her veil to wipe the sweat from His face; whereupon the Lord miraculously imprinted on the cloth the image of His thorn-crowned head.1216

The Abgarus likeness and the Veronica both lay claim to a miraculous origin, and profess to be eijkovne" ajceiropoivhtai, pictures not made with human hands. Besides these, however, tradition tells of pictures of Christ taken in a natural way by Luke and by Nicodemus. The Salvator picture in the Lateran chapel Sancta Sanctorum in Rome, which is attributed to Luke, belongs to the Edessene or Byzantine type.

With so different pretended portraits of the Lord we cannot wonder at the variations of the pictures of Christ, which the Iconoclasts used as an argument against images. In truth, every nation formed a likeness of its own, according to its existing ideals of art and virtue.

Great influence was exerted upon the representations of Christ by the apocryphal description of his person in the Latin epistle of Publius Lentulus (a supposed friend of Pilate) to the Roman senate, delineating Christ as a man of slender form, noble countenance, dark hair parted in the middle, fair forehead, clear eyes, faultless mouth and nose, and reddish beard.1217 An older, and in some points different, description is that of John of Damascus, or some other writer of the eighth century, who says: "Christ was of stately form, with beautiful eyes, large nose, curling hair, somewhat bent, in the prime of life, with black beard, and sallow complexion, like his mother."1218

No figure of Christ, in color, or bronze, or marble, can reach the ideal of perfect beauty which came forth into actual reality in the Son of God and Son of man. The highest creations of art are here but feeble reflections of the original in heaven, yet prove the mighty influence which the living Christ continually exerts even upon the imagination and sentiment of the great painters and sculptors, and which He will exert to the end of the world.

§ 111. Images of Madonna and Saints.

Besides the images of Christ, representations were also made of prominent characters in sacred history, especially of the blessed Virgin with the Child, of the wise men of the east, as three kings worshipping before the manger,1219 of the four Evangelists, the twelve Apostles, particularly Peter and Paul,1220 of many martyrs and saints of the times of persecution, and honored bishops and monks of a later day.1221

According to a tradition of the eighth century or later, the Evangelist Luke painted not only Christ, but Mary also, and the two leading apostles. Still later legends ascribe to him even seven Madonnas, several of which, it is pretended, still exist; one, for example, in the Borghese chapel in the church of Maria Maggiore at Rome. The Madonnas early betray the effort to represent the Virgin as the ideal of female beauty, purity, and loveliness, and as resembling her divine Son.1222 Peter is usually represented with a round head, crisped hair and beard; Paul, with a long face, bald crown, and pointed beard; both, frequently, carrying rolls in their hands, or the first the cross and the keys (of the kingdom of heaven), the second, the sword (of the word and the Spirit).

Such representations of Christ, of the saints, and of biblical events, are found in the catacombs and other places of burial, on sarcophagi and tombstones, in private houses, on cups and seal rings, and (in spite of the prohibition of the council of Elvira in 305)1223 on the walls of churches, especially behind the altar.

Manuscripts of the Bible also, liturgical books, private houses, and even the vestments of officials in the large cities of the Byzantine empire were ornamented with biblical pictures. Bishop Asterius of Amasea in Pontus, in the second half of the fourth century, protested against the wearing of these "God-pleasing garments,"1224 and advised that it were better with the proceeds of them to honor the living images of God, and support the poor; instead of wearing the palsied on the clothes, to visit the sick; and instead of carrying with one the image of the sinful woman kneeling and embracing the feet of Jesus, rather to lament one's own sins with tears of contrition.

The custom of prostration1225 before the picture, in token of reverence for the saint represented by it, first appears in the Greek church in the sixth century. And then, that the unintelligent people should in many cases confound the image with the object represented, attribute to the outward, material thing a magical power of miracles, and connect with the image sundry superstitious notions—must be expected. Even Augustine laments that among the rude Christian masses there are many image-worshippers,1226 but counts such in the great number of those nominal Christians, to whom the essence of the Gospel is unknown.

As works of art, these primitive Christian paintings and sculptures are, in general, of very little value; of much less value than the church edifices. They are rather earnest and elevated, than beautiful and harmonious. For they proceeded originally not from taste, but from practical want, and, at least in the Greek empire, were produced chiefly by monks. It perfectly befitted the spirit of Christianity, to begin with earnestness and sublimity, rather than, as heathenism, with sensuous beauty. Hence also its repugnance to the nude, and its modest draping of voluptuous forms; only hands, feet, and face were allowed to appear.

The Christian taste, it is well known, afterwards changed, and, on the principle that to the pure all things are pure, it represented even Christ on the cross, and the holy Child at His mother's breast or in His mothers arms, without covering.

Furthermore, in the time of Constantine the ancient classical painting and sculpture had grievously degenerated; and even in their best days they reached no adequate expression of the Christian principle.

In this view, the loss of so many of those old works of art, which, as the sheer apparatus of idolatry, were unsparingly destroyed by the iconoclastic storms of the succeeding period, is not much to be regretted. It was in. the later middle ages, when church architecture had already reached its height, that Christian art succeeded in unfolding an unprecedented bloom of painting and sculpture, and in far surpassing, on the field of painting at least, the masterpieces of the ancient Greeks. Sculpture, which can present man only in his finite limitation, without the flush of life or the beaming eye, like a shadowy form from the realm of the dead, probably attained among the ancient Greeks the summit of perfection, above which even Canova and Thorwaldsen do not rise. But painting, which can represent man in his organic connection with the world about him, and, to a certain degree, in his unlimited depth of soul and spirit, as expressed in the countenance and the eye, has waited for the influence of the Christian principle to fulfil its perfect mission, and in the Christs of Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Beato Angelico, Correggio, and Albrecht Dürer, and the Madonnas of Raphael, has furnished the noblest works which thus far adorn the history of the art.

§ 112. Consecrated Gifts.

It remains to mention in this connection yet another form of decoration for churches, which had already been customary among heathen and Jews: consecrated gifts. Thus the temple of Delphi, for example, had become exceedingly rich through such presents of weapons, silver and golden vessels, statues, &c. In almost every temple of Neptune hung votive tablets, consecrated to the god in thankfulness for deliverance from shipwreck by him.1227 A similar custom seems to have existed among the Jews; for I Sam. xxi. implies that David had deposited the sword of the Philistine Goliath in the sanctuary. In the court of the priests a multitude of swords, lances, costly vessels, and other valuable things, were to be seen.

Constantine embellished the altar space in the church of Jerusalem with rich gifts of gold, silver, and precious stones. Sozomen tells us1228 that Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, in a time of famine, sold the treasures and sacred gifts of the church, and that afterwards some one recognized in the dress of an actress the vestment he once presented to the church.

A peculiar variety of such gifts, namely, memorials of miraculous cures,1229 appeared in the fifth century; at least they are first mentioned by Theodoret, who said of them in his eighth discourse on the martyrs: "That those who ask with the confidence of faith, receive what they ask, is plainly proved by their sacred gifts in testimony of their healing. Some offer feet, others hands, of gold or silver, and these gifts show their deliverance from those evils, as tokens of which they have been offered by the restored." With the worship of saints this custom gained strongly, and became in the middle age quite universal. Whoever recovered from a sickness, considered himself bound first to testify by a gift his gratitude to the saint whose aid he had invoked in his distress. Parents, whose children fortunately survived the teething-fever, offered to St. Apollonia (all whose teeth, according to the legend, had been broken out with pincers by a hangman's servant) gifts of jawbones in wax. In like manner St. Julian, for happily accomplished journeys, and St. Hubert, for safe return from the perils of the chase, were very richly endowed; but the Virgin Mary more than all. Almost every church or chapel which has a miracle-working image of the mother of God, possesses even now a multitude of golden and silver acknowledgments of fortunate returns and recoveries.

§ 113. Church Poetry and Music.

J. Rambach: Anthologie christl. Gesänge aus allen Jahrh. der christl. Kirche. Altona, 1817–'33. H. A. Daniel: Thesaurus hymnologicus. Hal. 1841–'56, 5 vols. Edélestand du Méril: Poésies populaires latines antérieures au douzième siècle. Paris, 1843. C. Fortlage: Gesänge der christl. Vorzeit. Berlin, 1844. G. A. Königsfeld u. A. W. v. Schlegel: Altchristliche Hymnen u. Gesaenge lateinisch u. Deutsch. Bonn, 1847. Second collection by Königsfeld, Bonn, 1865. E. E. Koch: Geschichte des Kirchenlieds u. Kirchengesangs der christl., insbesondere der deutschen evangel. Kirche. 2d ed. Stuttgart, 1852 f. 4 vols. (i. 10–30). F. J. Mone: Latein. Hymnen des Mittelalters (from MSS.), Freiburg, 1853–'55. (Vol. i., hymns of God and angels; ii., h. of Mary; iii., h. of saints.) Bässler: Auswahl Alt-christl. Lieder vom 2–15ten Jahrh. Berlin, 1858. R. Ch. Trench: Sacred Latin Poetry, chiefly lyrical, selected and arranged for use; with Notes and Introduction (1849), 2d ed. improved, Lond. and Cambr. 1864. The valuable hymnological works of Dr. J. M. Neale (of Sackville College, Oxford): The Ecclesiastical Latin Poetry of the Middle Ages (in Henry Thompson's History of Roman Literature, Lond. and Glasgow., 1852, p. 213 ff.); Mediaeval Hymns and Sequences, Lond. 1851; Sequentiae ex Missalibus, 1852; Hymns of the Eastern Church, 1862, several articles in the Ecclesiologist; and a Latin dissertation, De Sequentiis, in the Essays on Liturgiology, etc., p. 359 sqq. (Comp. also J. Chandler: The Hymns of the Primitive Church, now first collected, translated, and arranged, Lond. 1837.)

Poetry, and its twin sister music, are the most sublime and spiritual arts, and are much more akin to the genius of Christianity, and minister far more copiously to the purposes of devotion and edification than architecture, painting, and sculpture. They employ word and tone, and can speak thereby more directly to the spirit than the plastic arts by stone and color, and give more adequate expression to the whole wealth of the world of thought and feeling. In the Old Testament, as is well known, they were essential parts of divine worship; and so they have been in all ages and almost all branches of the Christian church.

Of the various species of religious poetry, the hymn is the earliest and most important. It has a rich history, in which the deepest experiences of Christian life are stored. But it attains full bloom in the Evangelical church of the German and English tongue, where it, like the Bible, becomes for the first time truly the possession of the people, instead of being restricted to priest or choir.

The hymn, in the narrower sense, belongs to lyrical poetry, or the poetry of feeling, in distinction from the epic and dramatic. It differs also from the other forms of the lyric (ode, elegy, sonnet, cantata, &c.) in its devotional nature, its popular form, and its adaptation to singing. The hymn is a popular spiritual song, presenting a healthful Christian sentiment in a noble, simple, and universally intelligible form, and adapted to be read and sung with edification by the whole congregation of the faithful. It must therefore contain nothing inconsistent with Scripture, with the doctrines of the church, with general Christian experience, or with the spirit of devotion. Every believing Christian can join in the Gloria in Excelsis or the Te Deum. The classic hymns, which are, indeed, comparatively few, stand above confessional differences, and resolve the discords of human opinions in heavenly harmony. They resemble in this the Psalms, from which all branches of the militant church draw daily nourishment and comfort. They exhibit the bloom of the Christian life in the Sabbath dress of beauty and holy rapture. They resound in all pious hearts, and have, like the daily rising sun and the yearly returning spring, an indestructible freshness and power. In truth, their benign virtue increases with increasing age, like that of healing herbs, which is the richer the longer they are bruised. They are true benefactors of the struggling church, ministering angels sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation. Next to the Holy Scripture, a good hymn-book is the richest fountain of edification.

The book of Psalms is the oldest Christian hymn-book, inherited by the church from the ancient covenant. The appearance of the Messiah upon earth was the beginning of Christian poetry, and was greeted by the immortal songs of Mary, of Elizabeth, of Simeon, and of the heavenly host. Religion and poetry are married, therefore, in the gospel. In the Epistles traces also appear of primitive Christian songs, in rhythmical quotations which are not demonstrably taken from the Old Testament.1230 We know from the letter of the elder Pliny to Trajan, that the Christians, in the beginning of the second century, praised Christ as their God in songs; and from a later source, that there was a multitude of such songs.1231

Notwithstanding this, we have no complete religious song remaining from the period of persecution, except the song of Clement of Alexandria to the divine Logos—which, however, cannot be called a hymn, and was probably never intended for public use—the Morning Song1232 and the Evening Song1233 in the Apostolic Constitutions, especially the former, the so-called Gloria in Excelsis, which, as an expansion of the doxology of the heavenly hosts, still rings in all parts of the Christian world. Next in order comes the Te Deum, in its original Eastern form, or the kaq j eJkavsthn hJmevran, which is older than Ambrose. The Ter Sanctus, and several ancient liturgical prayers, also may be regarded as poems. For the hymn is, in fact, nothing else than a prayer in the festive garb of poetical inspiration, and the best liturgical prayers are poetical creations. Measure and rhyme are by no means essential.

Upon these fruitful biblical and primitive Christian models arose the hymnology of the ancient catholic church, which forms the first stage in the history of hymnology, and upon which the mediaeval, and then the evangelical Protestant stage, with their several epochs, follow.

§ 114. The Poetry of the Oriental Church.

Comp. the third volume of Daniel's Thesaurus hymnologicus (the Greek section prepared by B. Vormbaum); the works of J. M. Neale, quoted sub § 113; an article on Greek Hymnology in the Christian Remembrancer, for April, 1859, London; also the liturgical works quoted § 98.

We should expect that the Greek church, which was in advance in all branches of Christian doctrine and culture, and received from ancient Greece so rich a heritage of poetry, would give the key also in church song. This is true to a very limited extent. The Gloria in excelsis and the Te Deum are unquestionably the most valuable jewels of sacred poetry which have come down from the early church, and they are both, the first wholly, the second in part of Eastern origin, and going back perhaps to the third or second century.1234 But, excepting these hymns in rhythmic prose, the Greek church of the first six centuries produced nothing in this field which has had permanent value or general use.1235 It long adhered almost exclusively to the Psalms of David, who, as Chrysostom says, was first, middle, and last in the assemblies of the Christians, and it had, in opposition to heretical predilections, even a decided aversion to the public use of uninspired songs. Like the Gnostics before them, the Arians and the Apollinarians employed religious poetry and music as a popular means of commending and propagating their errors, and thereby, although the abuse never forbids the right use, brought discredit upon these arts. The council of Laodicea, about a.d. 360, prohibited even the ecclesiastical use of all uninspired or "private hymns,"1236 and the council of Chalcedon, in 451, confirmed this decree.

Yet there were exceptions. Chrysostom thought that the perverting influence of the Arian hymnology in Constantinople could be most effectually counteracted by the positive antidote of solemn antiphonies and doxologies in processions. Gregory Nazianzen composed orthodox hymns in the ancient measure; but from their speculative theological character and their want of popular spirit, these hymns never passed into the use of the church. The same may be said of the productions of Sophronius of Jerusalem, who glorified the high festivals in Anacreontic stanzas; of Synesius of Ptolemais (about a.d. 410), who composed philosophical hymns; of Nonnus of Panopolis in Egypt, who wrote a paraphrase of the Gospel of John in hexameters; of Eudoxia, the wife of the emperor Theodosius II.; and of Paul Silentiarius, a statesman under Justinian I., from whom we have several epigrams and an interesting poetical description of the church of St. Sophia, written for its consecration. Anatolius, bishop of Constantinople († 458), is properly the only poet of this period who realized to any extent the idea of the church hymn, and whose songs were adapted to popular use.1237

The Syrian church was the first of all the Oriental churches to produce and admit into public worship a popular orthodox poetry, in opposition to the heretical poetry of the Gnostic Bardesanes (about a.d. 170) and his son Harmonius. Ephraim Syrus († 378) led the way with a large number of successful hymns in the Syrian language, and found in Isaac, presbyter of Antioch, in the middle of the fifth century, and especially in Jacob, bishop of Sarug in Mesopotamia († 521), worthy successors.1238

After the fifth century the Greek church lost its prejudices against poetry, and produced a great but slightly known abundance of sacred songs for public worship.

In the history of the Greek church poetry, as well as the Latin, we may distinguish three epochs: (1) that of formation, while it was slowly throwing off classical metres, and inventing its peculiar style, down to about 650; (2) that of perfection, down to 820; (3) that of decline and decay, to 1400 or to the fall of Constantinople. The first period, beautiful as are some of the odes of Gregory of Nazianzen and Sophronius of Jerusalem, has impressed scarcely any traces on the Greek office books. The flourishing period of Greek poetry coincides with the period of the image controversies, and the most eminent poets were at the same time advocates of images; pre-eminent among them being John of Damascus, who has the double honor of being the greatest theologian and the greatest poet of the Greek church.

The flower of Greek poetry belongs, therefore, in a later division of our history. Yet, since we find at least the rise of it in the fifth century, we shall give here a brief description of its peculiar character.

The earliest poets of the Greek church, especially Gregory Nazianzen, in the fourth, and Sophronius of Jerusalem in the seventh century, employed the classical metres, which are entirely unsuitable to Christian ideas and church song, and therefore gradually fell out of use.1239 Rhyme found no entrance into the Greek church. In its stead the metrical or harmonic prose was adopted from the Hebrew poetry and the earliest Christian hymns of Mary, Zacharias, Simeon, and the angelic host. Anatolius of Constantinople († 458) was the first to renounce the tyranny of the classic metre and strike out a new path. The essential points in the peculiar system of the Greek versification are the following:1240

The first stanza, which forms the model of t