The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Edward Gibbon

Part 12 out of 15

full, rational, correct, and moderate. In his learned work, De
Rebus Christianis ante Constantinum (Helmstadt 1753, in 4to.,)
see the Nazarenes and Ebionites, p. 172 - 179, 328 - 332. The
Gnostics in general, p. 179, &c. Cerinthus, p. 196 - 202.
Basilides, p. 352 - 361. Carpocrates, p. 363 - 367. Valentinus,
p. 371 - 389 Marcion, p. 404 - 410. The Manichaeans, p. 829 -
837, &c.]
I. A laudable regard for the honor of the first proselyte
has countenanced the belief, the hope, the wish, that the
Ebionites, or at least the Nazarenes, were distinguished only by
their obstinate perseverance in the practice of the Mosaic rites.

Their churches have disappeared, their books are obliterated:
their obscure freedom might allow a latitude of faith, and the
softness of their infant creed would be variously moulded by the
zeal or prudence of three hundred years. Yet the most charitable
criticism must refuse these sectaries any knowledge of the pure
and proper divinity of Christ. Educated in the school of Jewish
prophecy and prejudice, they had never been taught to elevate
their hopes above a human and temporal Messiah. ^2 If they had
courage to hail their king when he appeared in a plebeian garb,
their grosser apprehensions were incapable of discerning their
God, who had studiously disguised his celestial character under
the name and person of a mortal. ^3 The familiar companions of
Jesus of Nazareth conversed with their friend and countryman,
who, in all the actions of rational and animal life, appeared of
the same species with themselves. His progress from infancy to
youth and manhood was marked by a regular increase in stature and
wisdom; and after a painful agony of mind and body, he expired on
the cross. He lived and died for the service of mankind: but the
life and death of Socrates had likewise been devoted to the cause
of religion and justice; and although the stoic or the hero may
disdain the humble virtues of Jesus, the tears which he shed over
his friend and country may be esteemed the purest evidence of his
humanity. The miracles of the gospel could not astonish a people
who held with intrepid faith the more splendid prodigies of the
Mosaic law. The prophets of ancient days had cured diseases,
raised the dead, divided the sea, stopped the sun, and ascended
to heaven in a fiery chariot. And the metaphorical style of the
Hebrews might ascribe to a saint and martyr the adoptive title of
Son of God.

[Footnote 2: Jew Tryphon, (Justin. Dialog. p. 207) in the name of
his countrymen, and the modern Jews, the few who divert their
thoughts from money to religion, still hold the same language,
and allege the literal sense of the prophets.

Note: See on this passage Bp. Kaye, Justin Martyr, p. 25. -
Note: Most of the modern writers, who have closely examined
this subject, and who will not be suspected of any theological
bias, Rosenmuller on Isaiah ix. 5, and on Psalm xlv. 7, and
Bertholdt, Christologia Judaeorum, c. xx., rightly ascribe much
higher notions of the Messiah to the Jews. In fact, the dispute
seems to rest on the notion that there was a definite and
authorized notion of the Messiah, among the Jews, whereas it was
probably so vague, as to admit every shade of difference, from
the vulgar expectation of a mere temporal king, to the
philosophic notion of an emanation from the Deity. - M.]
[Footnote 3: Chrysostom (Basnage, Hist. des Juifs, tom. v. c. 9,
p. 183) and Athanasius (Petav. Dogmat. Theolog. tom. v. l. i. c.
2, p. 3) are obliged to confess that the Divinity of Christ is
rarely mentioned by himself or his apostles.]

Yet in the insufficient creed of the Nazarenes and the
Ebionites, a distinction is faintly noticed between the heretics,
who confounded the generation of Christ in the common order of
nature, and the less guilty schismatics, who revered the
virginity of his mother, and excluded the aid of an earthly
father. The incredulity of the former was countenanced by the
visible circumstances of his birth, the legal marriage of the
reputed parents, Joseph and Mary, and his lineal claim to the
kingdom of David and the inheritance of Judah. But the secret
and authentic history has been recorded in several copies of the
Gospel according to St. Matthew, ^4 which these sectaries long
preserved in the original Hebrew, ^5 as the sole evidence of
their faith. The natural suspicions of the husband, conscious of
his own chastity, were dispelled by the assurance (in a dream)
that his wife was pregnant of the Holy Ghost: and as this distant
and domestic prodigy could not fall under the personal
observation of the historian, he must have listened to the same
voice which dictated to Isaiah the future conception of a virgin.
The son of a virgin, generated by the ineffable operation of the
Holy Spirit, was a creature without example or resemblance,
superior in every attribute of mind and body to the children of
Adam. Since the introduction of the Greek or Chaldean
philosophy, ^6 the Jews ^7 were persuaded of the preexistence,
transmigration, and immortality of souls; and providence was
justified by a supposition, that they were confined in their
earthly prisons to expiate the stains which they had contracted
in a former state. ^8 But the degrees of purity and corruption
are almost immeasurable. It might be fairly presumed, that the
most sublime and virtuous of human spirits was infused into the
offspring of Mary and the Holy Ghost; ^9 that his abasement was
the result of his voluntary choice; and that the object of his
mission was, to purify, not his own, but the sins of the world.
On his return to his native skies, he received the immense reward
of his obedience; the everlasting kingdom of the Messiah, which
had been darkly foretold by the prophets, under the carnal images
of peace, of conquest, and of dominion. Omnipotence could
enlarge the human faculties of Christ to the extend of is
celestial office. In the language of antiquity, the title of God
has not been severely confined to the first parent, and his
incomparable minister, his only-begotten son, might claim,
without presumption, the religious, though secondary, worship of
a subject of a subject world.

[Footnote 4: The two first chapters of St. Matthew did not exist
in the Ebionite copies, (Epiphan. Haeres. xxx. 13;) and the
miraculous conception is one of the last articles which Dr.
Priestley has curtailed from his scanty creed.

Note: The distinct allusion to the facts related in the two
first chapters of the Gospel, in a work evidently written about
the end of the reign of Nero, the Ascensio Isaiae, edited by
Archbishop Lawrence, seems convincing evidence that they are
integral parts of the authentic Christian history. - M.]

[Footnote 5: It is probable enough that the first of the Gospels
for the use of the Jewish converts was composed in the Hebrew or
Syriac idiom: the fact is attested by a chain of fathers -
Papias, Irenaeus, Origen, Jerom, &c. It is devoutly believed by
the Catholics, and admitted by Casaubon, Grotius, and Isaac
Vossius, among the Protestant critics. But this Hebrew Gospel of
St. Matthew is most unaccountably lost; and we may accuse the
diligence or fidelity of the primitive churches, who have
preferred the unauthorized version of some nameless Greek.
Erasmus and his followers, who respect our Greek text as the
original Gospel, deprive themselves of the evidence which
declares it to be the work of an apostle. See Simon, Hist.
Critique, &c., tom. iii. c. 5 - 9, p. 47 - 101, and the
Prolegomena of Mill and Wetstein to the New Testament.

Note: Surely the extinction of the Judaeo-Christian
community related from Mosheim by Gibbon himself (c. xv.)
accounts both simply and naturally for the loss of a composition,
which had become of no use - nor does it follow that the Greek
Gospel of St. Matthew is unauthorized. - M.]
[Footnote 6: The metaphysics of the soul are disengaged by Cicero
(Tusculan. l. i.) and Maximus of Tyre (Dissertat. xvi.) from the
intricacies of dialogue, which sometimes amuse, and often
perplex, the readers of the Phoedrus, the Phoedon, and the Laws
of Plato.]

[Footnote 7: The disciples of Jesus were persuaded that a man
might have sinned before he was born, (John, ix. 2,) and the
Pharisees held the transmigration of virtuous souls, (Joseph. de
Bell. Judaico, l. ii. c. 7;) and a modern Rabbi is modestly
assured, that Hermes, Pythagoras, Plato, &c., derived their
metaphysics from his illustrious countrymen.]
[Footnote 8: Four different opinions have been entertained
concerning the origin of human souls: 1. That they are eternal
and divine. 2. That they were created in a separate state of
existence, before their union with the body. 3. That they have
been propagated from the original stock of Adam, who contained in
himself the mental as well as the corporeal seed of his
posterity. 4. That each soul is occasionally created and
embodied in the moment of conception. - The last of these
sentiments appears to have prevailed among the moderns; and our
spiritual history is grown less sublime, without becoming more

[Footnote 9: It was one of the fifteen heresies imputed to
Origen, and denied by his apologist, (Photius, Bibliothec. cod.
cxvii. p. 296.) Some of the Rabbis attribute one and the same
soul to the persons of Adam, David, and the Messiah.]

II. The seeds of the faith, which had slowly arisen in the
rocky and ungrateful soil of Judea, were transplanted, in full
maturity, to the happier climes of the Gentiles; and the
strangers of Rome or Asia, who never beheld the manhood, were the
more readily disposed to embrace the divinity, of Christ. The
polytheist and the philosopher, the Greek and the Barbarian, were
alike accustomed to conceive a long succession, an infinite chain
of angels or daemons, or deities, or aeons, or emanations,
issuing from the throne of light. Nor could it seem strange or
incredible, that the first of these aeons, the Logos, or Word of
God, of the same substance with the Father, should descend upon
earth, to deliver the human race from vice and error, and to
conduct them in the paths of life and immortality. But the
prevailing doctrine of the eternity and inherent pravity of
matter infected the primitive churches of the East. Many among
the Gentile proselytes refused to believe that a celestial
spirit, an undivided portion of the first essence, had been
personally united with a mass of impure and contaminated flesh;
and, in their zeal for the divinity, they piously abjured the
humanity, of Christ. While his blood was still recent on Mount
Calvary, ^10 the Docetes, a numerous and learned sect of
Asiatics, invented the phantastic system, which was afterwards
propagated by the Marcionites, the Manichaeans, and the various
names of the Gnostic heresy. ^11 They denied the truth and
authenticity of the Gospels, as far as they relate the conception
of Mary, the birth of Christ, and the thirty years that preceded
the exercise of his ministry. He first appeared on the banks of
the Jordan in the form of perfect manhood; but it was a form
only, and not a substance; a human figure created by the hand of
Omnipotence to imitate the faculties and actions of a man, and to
impose a perpetual illusion on the senses of his friends and
enemies. Articulate sounds vibrated on the ears of the
disciples; but the image which was impressed on their optic nerve
eluded the more stubborn evidence of the touch; and they enjoyed
the spiritual, not the corporeal, presence of the Son of God.
The rage of the Jews was idly wasted against an impassive
phantom; and the mystic scenes of the passion and death, the
resurrection and ascension, of Christ were represented on the
theatre of Jerusalem for the benefit of mankind. If it were
urged, that such ideal mimicry, such incessant deception, was
unworthy of the God of truth, the Docetes agreed with too many of
their orthodox brethren in the justification of pious falsehood.
In the system of the Gnostics, the Jehovah of Israel, the Creator
of this lower world, was a rebellious, or at least an ignorant,
spirit. The Son of God descended upon earth to abolish his
temple and his law; and, for the accomplishment of this salutary
end, he dexterously transferred to his own person the hope and
prediction of a temporal Messiah.

[Footnote 10: Apostolis adhuc in seculo superstitibus, apud
Judaeam Christi sanguine recente, Phantasma domini corpus
asserebatur. Hieronym, advers. Lucifer. c. 8. The epistle of
Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, and even the Gospel according to St.
John, are levelled against the growing error of the Docetes, who
had obtained too much credit in the world, 1 John, iv. 1 - 5.)]
[Footnote 11: About the year 200 of the Christian aera, Irenaeus
and Hippolytus efuted the thirty-two sects, which had multiplied
to fourscore in the time of Epiphanius, (Phot. Biblioth. cod.
cxx. cxxi. cxxii.) The five books of Irenaeus exist only in
barbarous Latin; but the original might perhaps be found in some
monastery of Greece.]

One of the most subtile disputants of the Manichaean school
has pressed the danger and indecency of supposing, that the God
of the Christians, in the state of a human foetus, emerged at the
end of nine months from a female womb. The pious horror of his
antagonists provoked them to disclaim all sensual circumstances
of conception and delivery; to maintain that the divinity passed
through Mary like a sunbeam through a plate of glass; and to
assert, that the seal of her virginity remained unbroken even at
the moment when she became the mother of Christ. But the
rashness of these concessions has encouraged a milder sentiment
of those of the Docetes, who taught, not that Christ was a
phantom, but that he was clothed with an impassible and
incorruptible body. Such, indeed, in the more orthodox system, he
has acquired since his resurrection, and such he must have always
possessed, if it were capable of pervading, without resistance or
injury, the density of intermediate matter. Devoid of its most
essential properties, it might be exempt from the attributes and
infirmities of the flesh. A foetus that could increase from an
invisible point to its full maturity; a child that could attain
the stature of perfect manhood without deriving any nourishment
from the ordinary sources, might continue to exist without
repairing a daily waste by a daily supply of external matter.
Jesus might share the repasts of his disciples without being
subject to the calls of thirst or hunger; and his virgin purity
was never sullied by the involuntary stains of sensual
concupiscence. Of a body thus singularly constituted, a question
would arise, by what means, and of what materials, it was
originally framed; and our sounder theology is startled by an
answer which was not peculiar to the Gnostics, that both the form
and the substance proceeded from the divine essence. The idea of
pure and absolute spirit is a refinement of modern philosophy:
the incorporeal essence, ascribed by the ancients to human souls,
celestial beings, and even the Deity himself, does not exclude
the notion of extended space; and their imagination was satisfied
with a subtile nature of air, or fire, or aether, incomparably
more perfect than the grossness of the material world. If we
define the place, we must describe the figure, of the Deity. Our
experience, perhaps our vanity, represents the powers of reason
and virtue under a human form. The Anthropomorphites, who
swarmed among the monks of Egypt and the Catholics of Africa,
could produce the express declaration of Scripture, that man was
made after the image of his Creator. ^12 The venerable Serapion,
one of the saints of the Nitrian deserts, relinquished, with many
a tear, his darling prejudice; and bewailed, like an infant, his
unlucky conversion, which had stolen away his God, and left his
mind without any visible object of faith or devotion. ^13

[Footnote 12: The pilgrim Cassian, who visited Egypt in the
beginning of the vth century, observes and laments the reign of
anthropomorphism among the monks, who were not conscious that
they embraced the system of Epicurus, (Cicero, de Nat. Deorum, i.
18, 34.) Ab universo propemodum genere monachorum, qui per totam
provinciam Egyptum morabantur, pro simplicitatis errore susceptum
est, ut e contraric memoratum pontificem (Theophilus) velut
haeresi gravissima depravatum, pars maxima seniorum ab universo
fraternitatis corpore decerneret detestandum, (Cassian,
Collation. x. 2.) As long as St. Augustin remained a Manichaean,
he was scandalized by the anthropomorphism of the vulgar

[Footnote 13: Ita est in oratione senex mente confusus, eo quod
illam imaginem Deitatis, quam proponere sibi in oratione
consueverat, aboleri de suo corde sentiret, ut in amarissimos
fletus, crebrosque singultus repente prorumpens, in terram
prostratus, cum ejulatu validissimo proclamaret; "Heu me miserum!
tulerunt a me Deum meum, et quem nunc teneam non habeo, vel quem
adorem, aut interpallam am nescio." Cassian, Collat. x. 2.]

III. Such were the fleeting shadows of the Docetes. A more
substantial, though less simple, hypothesis, was contrived by
Cerinthus of Asia, ^14 who dared to oppose the last of the
apostles. Placed on the confines of the Jewish and Gentile
world, he labored to reconcile the Gnostic with the Ebionite, by
confessing in the same Messiah the supernatural union of a man
and a God; and this mystic doctrine was adopted with many
fanciful improvements by Carpocrates, Basilides, and Valentine,
^15 the heretics of the Egyptian school. In their eyes, Jesus of
Nazareth was a mere mortal, the legitimate son of Joseph and
Mary: but he was the best and wisest of the human race, selected
as the worthy instrument to restore upon earth the worship of the
true and supreme Deity. When he was baptized in the Jordan, the
Christ, the first of the aeons, the Son of God himself, descended
on Jesus in the form of a dove, to inhabit his mind, and direct
his actions during the allotted period of his ministry. When the
Messiah was delivered into the hands of the Jews, the Christ, an
immortal and impassible being, forsook his earthly tabernacle,
flew back to the pleroma or world of spirits, and left the
solitary Jesus to suffer, to complain, and to expire. But the
justice and generosity of such a desertion are strongly
questionable; and the fate of an innocent martyr, at first
impelled, and at length abandoned, by his divine companion, might
provoke the pity and indignation of the profane. Their murmurs
were variously silenced by the sectaries who espoused and
modified the double system of Cerinthus. It was alleged, that
when Jesus was nailed to the cross, he was endowed with a
miraculous apathy of mind and body, which rendered him insensible
of his apparent sufferings. It was affirmed, that these
momentary, though real, pangs would be abundantly repaid by the
temporal reign of a thousand years reserved for the Messiah in
his kingdom of the new Jerusalem. It was insinuated, that if he
suffered, he deserved to suffer; that human nature is never
absolutely perfect; and that the cross and passion might serve to
expiate the venial transgressions of the son of Joseph, before
his mysterious union with the Son of God. ^16

[Footnote 14: St. John and Cerinthus (A.D. 80. Cleric. Hist.
Eccles. p. 493) accidentally met in the public bath of Ephesus;
but the apostle fled from the heretic, lest the building should
tumble on their heads. This foolish story, reprobated by Dr.
Middleton, (Miscellaneous Works, vol. ii.,) is related, however,
by Irenaeus, (iii. 3,) on the evidence of Polycarp, and was
probably suited to the time and residence of Cerinthus. The
obsolete, yet probably the true, reading of 1 John, iv. 3 alludes
to the double nature of that primitive heretic.

Note: Griesbach asserts that all the Greek Mss., all the
translators, and all the Greek fathers, support the common
reading. - Nov. Test. in loc. - M]
[Footnote 15: The Valentinians embraced a complex, and almost
incoherent, system. 1. Both Christ and Jesus were aeons, though
of different degrees; the one acting as the rational soul, the
other as the divine spirit of the Savior. 2. At the time of the
passion, they both retired, and left only a sensitive soul and a
human body. 3. Even that body was aethereal, and perhaps
apparent. - Such are the laborious conclusions of Mosheim. But I
much doubt whether the Latin translator understood Irenaeus, and
whether Irenaeus and the Valetinians understood themselves.]

[Footnote 16: The heretics abused the passionate exclamation of
"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Rousseau, who has
drawn an eloquent, but indecent, parallel between Christ and
Socrates, forgets that not a word of impatience or despair
escaped from the mouth of the dying philosopher. In the Messiah,
such sentiments could be only apparent; and such ill-sounding
words were properly explained as the application of a psalm and
IV. All those who believe the immateriality of the soul, a
specious and noble tenet, must confess, from their present
experience, the incomprehensible union of mind and matter. A
similar union is not inconsistent with a much higher, or even
with the highest, degree of mental faculties; and the incarnation
of an aeon or archangel, the most perfect of created spirits,
does not involve any positive contradiction or absurdity. In the
age of religious freedom, which was determined by the council of
Nice, the dignity of Christ was measured by private judgment
according to the indefinite rule of Scripture, or reason, or
tradition. But when his pure and proper divinity had been
established on the ruins of Arianism, the faith of the Catholics
trembled on the edge of a precipice where it was impossible to
recede, dangerous to stand, dreadful to fall and the manifold
inconveniences of their creed were aggravated by the sublime
character of their theology. They hesitated to pronounce; that
God himself, the second person of an equal and consubstantial
trinity, was manifested in the flesh; ^17 that a being who
pervades the universe, had been confined in the womb of Mary;
that his eternal duration had been marked by the days, and
months, and years of human existence; that the Almighty had been
scourged and crucified; that his impassible essence had felt pain
and anguish; that his omniscience was not exempt from ignorance;
and that the source of life and immortality expired on Mount
Calvary. These alarming consequences were affirmed with
unblushing simplicity by Apollinaris, ^18 bishop of Laodicea, and
one of the luminaries of the church. The son of a learned
grammarian, he was skilled in all the sciences of Greece;
eloquence, erudition, and philosophy, conspicuous in the volumes
of Apollinaris, were humbly devoted to the service of religion.
The worthy friend of Athanasius, the worthy antagonist of Julian,
he bravely wrestled with the Arians and Polytheists, and though
he affected the rigor of geometrical demonstration, his
commentaries revealed the literal and allegorical sense of the
Scriptures. A mystery, which had long floated in the looseness of
popular belief, was defined by his perverse diligence in a
technical form; and he first proclaimed the memorable words, "One
incarnate nature of Christ," which are still reechoed with
hostile clamors in the churches of Asia, Egypt, and Aethiopia. He
taught that the Godhead was united or mingled with the body of a
man; and that the Logos, the eternal wisdom, supplied in the
flesh the place and office of a human soul. Yet as the profound
doctor had been terrified at his own rashness, Apollinaris was
heard to mutter some faint accents of excuse and explanation. He
acquiesced in the old distinction of the Greek philosophers
between the rational and sensitive soul of man; that he might
reserve the Logos for intellectual functions, and employ the
subordinate human principle in the meaner actions of animal life.

With the moderate Docetes, he revered Mary as the spiritual,
rather than as the carnal, mother of Christ, whose body either
came from heaven, impassible and incorruptible, or was absorbed,
and as it were transformed, into the essence of the Deity. The
system of Apollinaris was strenuously encountered by the Asiatic
and Syrian divines whose schools are honored by the names of
Basil, Gregory and Chrysostom, and tainted by those of Diodorus,
Theodore, and Nestorius. But the person of the aged bishop of
Laedicea, his character and dignity, remained inviolate; and his
rivals, since we may not suspect them of the weakness of
toleration, were astonished, perhaps, by the novelty of the
argument, and diffident of the final sentence of the Catholic
church. Her judgment at length inclined in their favor; the
heresy of Apollinaris was condemned, and the separate
congregations of his disciples were proscribed by the Imperial
laws. But his principles were secretly entertained in the
monasteries of Egypt, and his enemies felt the hatred of
Theophilus and Cyril, the successive patriarchs of Alexandria.
[Footnote 17: This strong expression might be justified by the
language of St. Paul, (1 Tim. iii. 16;) but we are deceived by
our modern Bibles. The word which was altered to God at
Constantinople in the beginning of the vith century: the true
reading, which is visible in the Latin and Syriac versions, still
exists in the reasoning of the Greek, as well as of the Latin
fathers; and this fraud, with that of the three witnesses of St.
John, is admirably detected by Sir Isaac Newton. (See his two
letters translated by M. de Missy, in the Journal Britannique,
tom. xv. p. 148 - 190, 351 - 390.) I have weighed the arguments,
and may yield to the authority of the first of philosophers, who
was deeply skilled in critical and theological studies.
Note: It should be Griesbach in loc. The weight of
authority is so much against the common reading in both these
points, that they are no longer urged by prudent
controversialists. Would Gibbon's deference for the first of
philosophers have extended to all his theological conclusions? -
[Footnote 18: For Apollinaris and his sect, see Socrates, l. ii.
c. 46, l. iii. c. 16 Sazomen, l. v. c. 18, 1. vi. c. 25, 27.
Theodoret, l. v. 3, 10, 11. Tillemont, Memoires Ecclesiastiques,
tom. vii. p. 602 - 638. Not. p. 789 - 794, in 4to. Venise, 1732.

The contemporary saint always mentions the bishop of Laodicea as
a friend and brother. The style of the more recent historians is
harsh and hostile: yet Philostorgius compares him (l. viii. c. 11
- 15) to Basil and Gregory.]

V. The grovelling Ebionite, and the fantastic Docetes, were
rejected and forgotten: the recent zeal against the errors of
Apollinaris reduced the Catholics to a seeming agreement with the
double nature of Cerinthus. But instead of a temporary and
occasional alliance, they established, and we still embrace, the
substantial, indissoluble, and everlasting union of a perfect God
with a perfect man, of the second person of the trinity with a
reasonable soul and human flesh. In the beginning of the fifth
century, the unity of the two natures was the prevailing doctrine
of the church. On all sides, it was confessed, that the mode of
their coexistence could neither be represented by our ideas, nor
expressed by our language. Yet a secret and incurable discord
was cherished, between those who were most apprehensive of
confounding, and those who were most fearful of separating, the
divinity, and the humanity, of Christ. Impelled by religious
frenzy, they fled with adverse haste from the error which they
mutually deemed most destructive of truth and salvation. On
either hand they were anxious to guard, they were jealous to
defend, the union and the distinction of the two natures, and to
invent such forms of speech, such symbols of doctrine, as were
least susceptible of doubt or ambiguity. The poverty of ideas and
language tempted them to ransack art and nature for every
possible comparison, and each comparison mislead their fancy in
the explanation of an incomparable mystery. In the polemic
microscope, an atom is enlarged to a monster, and each party was
skilful to exaggerate the absurd or impious conclusions that
might be extorted from the principles of their adversaries. To
escape from each other, they wandered through many a dark and
devious thicket, till they were astonished by the horrid phantoms
of Cerinthus and Apollinaris, who guarded the opposite issues of
the theological labyrinth. As soon as they beheld the twilight of
sense and heresy, they started, measured back their steps, and
were again involved in the gloom of impenetrable orthodoxy. To
purge themselves from the guilt or reproach of damnable error,
they disavowed their consequences, explained their principles,
excused their indiscretions, and unanimously pronounced the
sounds of concord and faith. Yet a latent and almost invisible
spark still lurked among the embers of controversy: by the breath
of prejudice and passion, it was quickly kindled to a mighty
flame, and the verbal disputes ^19 of the Oriental sects have
shaken the pillars of the church and state.

[Footnote 19: I appeal to the confession of two Oriental
prelates, Gregory Abulpharagius the Jacobite primate of the East,
and Elias the Nestorian metropolitan of Damascus, (see Asseman,
Bibliothec. Oriental. tom. ii. p. 291, tom. iii. p. 514, &c.,)
that the Melchites, Jacobites, Nestorians, &c., agree in the
doctrine, and differ only in the expression. Our most learned
and rational divines - Basnage, Le Clerc, Beausobre, La Croze,
Mosheim, Jablonski - are inclined to favor this charitable
judgment; but the zeal of Petavius is loud and angry, and the
moderation of Dupin is conveyed in a whisper.]
The name of Cyril of Alexandria is famous in controversial
story, and the title of saint is a mark that his opinions and his
party have finally prevailed. In the house of his uncle, the
archbishop Theophilus, he imbibed the orthodox lessons of zeal
and dominion, and five years of his youth were profitably spent
in the adjacent monasteries of Nitria. Under the tuition of the
abbot Serapion, he applied himself to ecclesiastical studies,
with such indefatigable ardor, that in the course of one
sleepless night, he has perused the four Gospels, the Catholic
Epistles, and the Epistle to the Romans. Origen he detested; but
the writings of Clemens and Dionysius, of Athanasius and Basil,
were continually in his hands: by the theory and practice of
dispute, his faith was confirmed and his wit was sharpened; he
extended round his cell the cobwebs of scholastic theology, and
meditated the works of allegory and metaphysics, whose remains,
in seven verbose folios, now peaceably slumber by the side of
their rivals. ^20 Cyril prayed and fasted in the desert, but his
thoughts (it is the reproach of a friend) ^21 were still fixed on
the world; and the call of Theophilus, who summoned him to the
tumult of cities and synods, was too readily obeyed by the
aspiring hermit. With the approbation of his uncle, he assumed
the office, and acquired the fame, of a popular preacher. His
comely person adorned the pulpit; the harmony of his voice
resounded in the cathedral; his friends were stationed to lead or
second the applause of the congregation; ^22 and the hasty notes
of the scribes preserved his discourses, which in their effect,
though not in their composition, might be compared with those of
the Athenian orators. The death of Theophilus expanded and
realized the hopes of his nephew. The clergy of Alexandria was
divided; the soldiers and their general supported the claims of
the archdeacon; but a resistless multitude, with voices and with
hands, asserted the cause of their favorite; and after a period
of thirty-nine years, Cyril was seated on the throne of
Athanasius. ^23

[Footnote 20: La Croze (Hist. du Christianisme des Indes, tom. i.
p. 24) avows his contempt for the genius and writings of Cyril.
De tous les on vrages des anciens, il y en a peu qu'on lise avec
moins d'utilite: and Dupin, (Bibliotheque Ecclesiastique, tom.
iv. p. 42 - 52,) in words of respect, teaches us to despise

[Footnote 21: Of Isidore of Pelusium, (l. i. epist. 25, p. 8.) As
the letter is not of the most creditable sort, Tillemont, less
sincere than the Bollandists, affects a doubt whether this Cyril
is the nephew of Theophilus, (Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv. p. 268.)]

[Footnote 22: A grammarian is named by Socrates (l. vii. c. 13).]

[Footnote 23: See the youth and promotion of Cyril, in Socrates,
(l. vii. c. 7) and Renaudot, (Hist. Patriarchs. Alexandrin. p.
106, 108.) The Abbe Renaudot drew his materials from the Arabic
history of Severus, bishop of Hermopolis Magma, or Ashmunein, in
the xth century, who can never be trusted, unless our assent is
extorted by the internal evidence of facts.]

Chapter XLVII: Ecclesiastical Discord.

Part II.

The prize was not unworthy of his ambition. At a distance
from the court, and at the head of an immense capital, the
patriarch, as he was now styled, of Alexandria had gradually
usurped the state and authority of a civil magistrate. The
public and private charities of the city were blindly obeyed by
his numerous and fanatic parabolani, ^24 familiarized in their
daily office with scenes of death; and the praefects of Egypt
were awed or provoked by the temporal power of these Christian
pontiffs. Ardent in the prosecution of heresy, Cyril
auspiciously opened his reign by oppressing the Novatians, the
most innocent and harmless of the sectaries. The interdiction of
their religious worship appeared in his eyes a just and
meritorious act; and he confiscated their holy vessels, without
apprehending the guilt of sacrilege. The toleration, and even the
privileges of the Jews, who had multiplied to the number of forty
thousand, were secured by the laws of the Caesars and Ptolemies,
and a long prescription of seven hundred years since the
foundation of Alexandria. Without any legal sentence, without
any royal mandate, the patriarch, at the dawn of day, led a
seditious multitude to the attack of the synagogues. Unarmed and
unprepared, the Jews were incapable of resistance; their houses
of prayer were levelled with the ground, and the episcopal
warrior, after-rewarding his troops with the plunder of their
goods, expelled from the city the remnant of the unbelieving
nation. Perhaps he might plead the insolence of their
prosperity, and their deadly hatred of the Christians, whose
blood they had recently shed in a malicious or accidental tumult.

Such crimes would have deserved the animadversion of the
magistrate; but in this promiscuous outrage, the innocent were
confounded with the guilty, and Alexandria was impoverished by
the loss of a wealthy and industrious colony. The zeal of Cyril
exposed him to the penalties of the Julian law; but in a feeble
government and a superstitious age, he was secure of impunity,
and even of praise. Orestes complained; but his just complaints
were too quickly forgotten by the ministers of Theodosius, and
too deeply remembered by a priest who affected to pardon, and
continued to hate, the praefect of Egypt. As he passed through
the streets, his chariot was assaulted by a band of five hundred
of the Nitrian monks his guards fled from the wild beasts of the
desert; his protestations that he was a Christian and a Catholic
were answered by a volley of stones, and the face of Orestes was
covered with blood. The loyal citizens of Alexandria hastened to
his rescue; he instantly satisfied his justice and revenge
against the monk by whose hand he had been wounded, and Ammonius
expired under the rod of the lictor. At the command of Cyril his
body was raised from the ground, and transported, in solemn
procession, to the cathedral; the name of Ammonius was changed to
that of Thaumasius the wonderful; his tomb was decorated with the
trophies of martyrdom, and the patriarch ascended the pulpit to
celebrate the magnanimity of an assassin and a rebel. Such
honors might incite the faithful to combat and die under the
banners of the saint; and he soon prompted, or accepted, the
sacrifice of a virgin, who professed the religion of the Greeks,
and cultivated the friendship of Orestes. Hypatia, the daughter
of Theon the mathematician, ^25 was initiated in her father's
studies; her learned comments have elucidated the geometry of
Apollonius and Diophantus, and she publicly taught, both at
Athens and Alexandria, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. In
the bloom of beauty, and in the maturity of wisdom, the modest
maid refused her lovers and instructed her disciples; the persons
most illustrious for their rank or merit were impatient to visit
the female philosopher; and Cyril beheld, with a jealous eye, the
gorgeous train of horses and slaves who crowded the door of her
academy. A rumor was spread among the Christians, that the
daughter of Theon was the only obstacle to the reconciliation of
the praefect and the archbishop; and that obstacle was speedily
removed. On a fatal day, in the holy season of Lent, Hypatia was
torn from her chariot, stripped naked, dragged to the church, and
inhumanly butchered by the hands of Peter the reader, and a troop
of savage and merciless fanatics: her flesh was scraped from her
bones with sharp cyster shells, ^26 and her quivering limbs were
delivered to the flames. The just progress of inquiry and
punishment was stopped by seasonable gifts; but the murder of
Hypatia has imprinted an indelible stain on the character and
religion of Cyril of Alexandria. ^27
[Footnote 24: The Parabolani of Alexandria were a charitable
corporation, instituted during the plague of Gallienus, to visit
the sick and to bury the dead. They gradually enlarged, abused,
and sold the privileges of their order. Their outrageous conduct
during the reign of Cyril provoked the emperor to deprive the
patriarch of their nomination, and to restrain their number to
five or six hundred. But these restraints were transient and
ineffectual. See the Theodosian Code, l. xvi. tit. ii. and
Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv. p. 276 - 278.]

[Footnote 25: For Theon and his daughter Hypatia. see Fabricius,
Bibliothec. tom. viii. p. 210, 211. Her article in the Lexicon
of Suidas is curious and original. Hesychius (Meursii Opera,
tom. vii. p. 295, 296) observes, that he was persecuted; and an
epigram in the Greek Anthology (l. i. c. 76, p. 159, edit.
Brodaei) celebrates her knowledge and eloquence. She is
honorably mentioned (Epist. 10, 15 16, 33 - 80, 124, 135, 153) by
her friend and disciple the philosophic bishop Synesius.]

[Footnote 26: Oyster shells were plentifully strewed on the
sea-beach before the Caesareum. I may therefore prefer the
literal sense, without rejecting the metaphorical version of
tegulae, tiles, which is used by M. de Valois ignorant, and the
assassins were probably regardless, whether their victim was yet

[Footnote 27: These exploits of St. Cyril are recorded by
Socrates, (l. vii. c. 13, 14, 15;) and the most reluctant bigotry
is compelled to copy an historian who coolly styles the murderers
of Hypatia. At the mention of that injured name, I am pleased to
observe a blush even on the cheek of Baronius, (A.D. 415, No.

Superstition, perhaps, would more gently expiate the blood
of a virgin, than the banishment of a saint; and Cyril had
accompanied his uncle to the iniquitous synod of the Oak. When
the memory of Chrysostom was restored and consecrated, the nephew
of Theophilus, at the head of a dying faction, still maintained
the justice of his sentence; nor was it till after a tedious
delay and an obstinate resistance, that he yielded to the consent
of the Catholic world. ^28 His enmity to the Byzantine pontiffs
^29 was a sense of interest, not a sally of passion: he envied
their fortunate station in the sunshine of the Imperial court;
and he dreaded their upstart ambition. which oppressed the
metropolitans of Europe and Asia, invaded the provinces of
Antioch and Alexandria, and measured their diocese by the limits
of the empire. The long moderation of Atticus, the mild usurper
of the throne of Chrysostom, suspended the animosities of the
Eastern patriarchs; but Cyril was at length awakened by the
exaltation of a rival more worthy of his esteem and hatred. After
the short and troubled reign of Sisinnius, bishop of
Constantinople, the factions of the clergy and people were
appeased by the choice of the emperor, who, on this occasion,
consulted the voice of fame, and invited the merit of a stranger.

Nestorius, ^30 native of Germanicia, and a monk of Antioch, was
recommended by the austerity of his life, and the eloquence of
his sermons; but the first homily which he preached before the
devout Theodosius betrayed the acrimony and impatience of his
zeal. "Give me, O Caesar!" he exclaimed, "give me the earth
purged of heretics, and I will give you in exchange the kingdom
of heaven. Exterminate with me the heretics; and with you I will
exterminate the Persians." On the fifth day as if the treaty had
been already signed, the patriarch of Constantinople discovered,
surprised, and attacked a secret conventicle of the Arians: they
preferred death to submission; the flames that were kindled by
their despair, soon spread to the neighboring houses, and the
triumph of Nestorius was clouded by the name of incendiary. On
either side of the Hellespont his episcopal vigor imposed a rigid
formulary of faith and discipline; a chronological error
concerning the festival of Easter was punished as an offence
against the church and state. Lydia and Caria, Sardes and
Miletus, were purified with the blood of the obstinate
Quartodecimans; and the edict of the emperor, or rather of the
patriarch, enumerates three-and-twenty degrees and denominations
in the guilt and punishment of heresy. ^31 But the sword of
persecution which Nestorius so furiously wielded was soon turned
against his own breast. Religion was the pretence; but, in the
judgment of a contemporary saint, ambition was the genuine motive
of episcopal warfare. ^32

[Footnote 28: He was deaf to the entreaties of Atticus of
Constantinople, and of Isidore of Pelusium, and yielded only (if
we may believe Nicephorus, l. xiv. c. 18) to the personal
intercession of the Virgin. Yet in his last years he still
muttered that John Chrysostom had been justly condemned,
(Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv. p. 278 - 282. Baronius Annal.
Eccles. A.D. 412, No. 46 - 64.)]

[Footnote 29: See their characters in the history of Socrates,
(l. vii. c. 25 - 28;) their power and pretensions, in the huge
compilation of Thomassin, (Discipline de l'Eglise, tom. i. p. 80
- 91.)]

[Footnote 30: His elevation and conduct are described by
Socrates, (l. vii. c. 29 31;) and Marcellinus seems to have
applied the eloquentiae satis, sapi entiae parum, of Sallust.]

[Footnote 31: Cod. Theodos. l. xvi. tit. v. leg. 65, with the
illustrations of Baronius, (A.D. 428, No. 25, &c.,) Godefroy, (ad
locum,) and Pagi, Critica, tom. ii. p. 208.)]

[Footnote 32: Isidore of Pelusium, (l. iv. Epist. 57.) His words
are strong and scandalous. Isidore is a saint, but he never
became a bishop; and I half suspect that the pride of Diogenes
trampled on the pride of Plato.]
In the Syrian school, Nestorius had been taught to abhor the
confusion of the two natures, and nicely to discriminate the
humanity of his master Christ from the divinity of the Lord
Jesus. ^33 The Blessed Virgin he revered as the mother of Christ,
but his ears were offended with the rash and recent title of
mother of God, ^34 which had been insensibly adopted since the
origin of the Arian controversy. From the pulpit of
Constantinople, a friend of the patriarch, and afterwards the
patriarch himself, repeatedly preached against the use, or the
abuse, of a word ^35 unknown to the apostles, unauthorized by the
church, and which could only tend to alarm the timorous, to
mislead the simple, to amuse the profane, and to justify, by a
seeming resemblance, the old genealogy of Olympus. ^36 In his
calmer moments Nestorius confessed, that it might be tolerated or
excused by the union of the two natures, and the communication of
their idioms: ^37 but he was exasperated, by contradiction, to
disclaim the worship of a new-born, an infant Deity, to draw his
inadequate similes from the conjugal or civil partnerships of
life, and to describe the manhood of Christ as the robe, the
instrument, the tabernacle of his Godhead. At these blasphemous
sounds, the pillars of the sanctuary were shaken. The
unsuccessful competitors of Nestorius indulged their pious or
personal resentment, the Byzantine clergy was secretly displeased
with the intrusion of a stranger: whatever is superstitious or
absurd, might claim the protection of the monks; and the people
were interested in the glory of their virgin patroness. ^38 The
sermons of the archbishop, and the service of the altar, were
disturbed by seditious clamor; his authority and doctrine were
renounced by separate congregations; every wind scattered round
the empire the leaves of controversy; and the voice of the
combatants on a sonorous theatre reechoed in the cells of
Palestine and Egypt. It was the duty of Cyril to enlighten the
zeal and ignorance of his innumerable monks: in the school of
Alexandria, he had imbibed and professed the incarnation of one
nature; and the successor of Athanasius consulted his pride and
ambition, when he rose in arms against another Arius, more
formidable and more guilty, on the second throne of the
hierarchy. After a short correspondence, in which the rival
prelates disguised their hatred in the hollow language of respect
and charity, the patriarch of Alexandria denounced to the prince
and people, to the East and to the West, the damnable errors of
the Byzantine pontiff. From the East, more especially from
Antioch, he obtained the ambiguous counsels of toleration and
silence, which were addressed to both parties while they favored
the cause of Nestorius. But the Vatican received with open arms
the messengers of Egypt. The vanity of Celestine was flattered by
the appeal; and the partial version of a monk decided the faith
of the pope, who with his Latin clergy was ignorant of the
language, the arts, and the theology of the Greeks. At the head
of an Italian synod, Celestine weighed the merits of the cause,
approved the creed of Cyril, condemned the sentiments and person
of Nestorius, degraded the heretic from his episcopal dignity,
allowed a respite of ten days for recantation and penance, and
delegated to his enemy the execution of this rash and illegal
sentence. But the patriarch of Alexandria, while he darted the
thunders of a god, exposed the errors and passions of a mortal;
and his twelve anathemas ^39 still torture the orthodox slaves,
who adore the memory of a saint, without forfeiting their
allegiance to the synod of Chalcedon. These bold assertions are
indelibly tinged with the colors of the Apollinarian heresy; but
the serious, and perhaps the sincere professions of Nestorius
have satisfied the wiser and less partial theologians of the
present times. ^40
[Footnote 33: La Croze (Christianisme des Indes, tom. i. p. 44 -
53. Thesaurus Epistolicus, La Crozianus, tom. iii. p. 276 - 280)
has detected the use, which, in the ivth, vth, and vith
centuries, discriminates the school of Diodorus of Tarsus and his
Nestorian disciples.]

[Footnote 34: Deipara; as in zoology we familiarly speak of
oviparous and viviparous animals. It is not easy to fix the
invention of this word, which La Croze (Christianisme des Indes,
tom. i. p. 16) ascribes to Eusebius of Caesarea and the Arians.
The orthodox testimonies are produced by Cyril and Petavius,
(Dogmat. Theolog. tom. v. l. v. c. 15, p. 254, &c.;) but the
veracity of the saint is questionable, and the epithet so easily
slides from the margin to the text of a Catholic Ms]

[Footnote 35: Basnage, in his Histoire de l'Eglise, a work of
controversy, (tom l. p. 505,) justifies the mother, by the blood,
of God, (Acts, xx. 28, with Mill's various readings.) But the
Greek Mss. are far from unanimous; and the primitive style of the
blood of Christ is preserved in the Syriac version, even in those
copies which were used by the Christians of St. Thomas on the
coast of Malabar, (La Croze, Christianisme des Indes, tom. i. p.
347.) The jealousy of the Nestorians and Monophysites has guarded
the purity of their text.]

[Footnote 36: The Pagans of Egypt already laughed at the new
Cybele of the Christians, (Isidor. l. i. epist. 54;) a letter was
forged in the name of Hypatia, to ridicule the theology of her
assassin, (Synodicon, c. 216, in iv. tom. Concil. p. 484.) In the
article of Nestorius, Bayle has scattered some loose philosophy
on the worship of the Virgin Mary.]

[Footnote 37: The item of the Greeks, a mutual loan or transfer
of the idioms or properties of each nature to the other - of
infinity to man, passibility to God, &c. Twelve rules on this
nicest of subjects compose the Theological Grammar of Petavius,
(Dogmata Theolog. tom. v. l. iv. c. 14, 15, p 209, &c.)]
[Footnote 38: See Ducange, C. P. Christiana, l. i. p. 30, &c.]
[Footnote 39: Concil. tom. iii. p. 943. They have never been
directly approved by the church, (Tillemont. Mem. Eccles. tom.
xiv. p. 368 - 372.) I almost pity the agony of rage and sophistry
with which Petavius seems to be agitated in the vith book of his
Dogmata Theologica]

[Footnote 40: Such as the rational Basnage (ad tom. i. Variar.
Lection. Canisine in Praefat. c. 2, p. 11 - 23) and La Croze, the
universal scholar, (Christianisme des Indes, tom. i. p. 16 - 20.
De l'Ethiopie, p. 26, 27. The saur. Epist. p. 176, &c., 283,
285.) His free sentence is confirmed by that of his friends
Jablonski (Thesaur. Epist. tom. i. p. 193 - 201) and Mosheim,
(idem. p. 304, Nestorium crimine caruisse est et mea sententia;)
and three more respectable judges will not easily be found.
Asseman, a learned and modest slave, can hardly discern
(Bibliothec. Orient. tom. iv. p. 190 - 224) the guilt and error
of the Nestorians.]

Yet neither the emperor nor the primate of the East were
disposed to obey the mandate of an Italian priest; and a synod of
the Catholic, or rather of the Greek church, was unanimously
demanded as the sole remedy that could appease or decide this
ecclesiastical quarrel. ^41 Ephesus, on all sides accessible by
sea and land, was chosen for the place, the festival of Pentecost
for the day, of the meeting; a writ of summons was despatched to
each metropolitan, and a guard was stationed to protect and
confine the fathers till they should settle the mysteries of
heaven, and the faith of the earth. Nestorius appeared not as a
criminal, but as a judge; be depended on the weight rather than
the number of his prelates, and his sturdy slaves from the baths
of Zeuxippus were armed for every service of injury or defence.
But his adversary Cyril was more powerful in the weapons both of
the flesh and of the spirit. Disobedient to the letter, or at
least to the meaning, of the royal summons, he was attended by
fifty Egyptian bishops, who expected from their patriarch's nod
the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. He had contracted an intimate
alliance with Memnon, bishop of Ephesus. The despotic primate of
Asia disposed of the ready succors of thirty or forty episcopal
votes: a crowd of peasants, the slaves of the church, was poured
into the city to support with blows and clamors a metaphysical
argument; and the people zealously asserted the honor of the
Virgin, whose body reposed within the walls of Ephesus. ^42 The
fleet which had transported Cyril from Alexandria was laden with
the riches of Egypt; and he disembarked a numerous body of
mariners, slaves, and fanatics, enlisted with blind obedience
under the banner of St. Mark and the mother of God. The fathers,
and even the guards, of the council were awed by this martial
array; the adversaries of Cyril and Mary were insulted in the
streets, or threatened in their houses; his eloquence and
liberality made a daily increase in the number of his adherents;
and the Egyptian soon computed that he might command the
attendance and the voices of two hundred bishops. ^43 But the
author of the twelve anathemas foresaw and dreaded the opposition
of John of Antioch, who, with a small, but respectable, train of
metropolitans and divines, was advancing by slow journeys from
the distant capital of the East. Impatient of a delay, which he
stigmatized as voluntary and culpable, ^44 Cyril announced the
opening of the synod sixteen days after the festival of
Pentecost. Nestorius, who depended on the near approach of his
Eastern friends, persisted, like his predecessor Chrysostom, to
disclaim the jurisdiction, and to disobey the summons, of his
enemies: they hastened his trial, and his accuser presided in the
seat of judgment. Sixty-eight bishops, twenty-two of metropolitan
rank, defended his cause by a modest and temperate protest: they
were excluded from the councils of their brethren. Candidian, in
the emperor's name, requested a delay of four days; the profane
magistrate was driven with outrage and insult from the assembly
of the saints. The whole of this momentous transaction was
crowded into the compass of a summer's day: the bishops delivered
their separate opinions; but the uniformity of style reveals the
influence or the hand of a master, who has been accused of
corrupting the public evidence of their acts and subscriptions.
^45 Without a dissenting voice, they recognized in the epistles
of Cyril the Nicene creed and the doctrine of the fathers: but
the partial extracts from the letters and homilies of Nestorius
were interrupted by curses and anathemas: and the heretic was
degraded from his episcopal and ecclesiastical dignity. The
sentence, maliciously inscribed to the new Judas, was affixed and
proclaimed in the streets of Ephesus: the weary prelates, as they
issued from the church of the mother of God, were saluted as her
champions; and her victory was celebrated by the illuminations,
the songs, and the tumult of the night.

[Footnote 41: The origin and progress of the Nestorian
controversy, till the synod of Ephesus, may be found in Socrates,
(l. vii. c. 32,) Evagrius, (l. i. c. 1, 2,) Liberatus, (Brev. c.
1 - 4,) the original Acts, (Concil. tom. iii. p. 551 - 991, edit.
Venice, 1728,) the Annals of Baronius and Pagi, and the faithful
collections of Tillemont, (Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv p. 283 - 377.)]
[Footnote 42: The Christians of the four first centuries were
ignorant of the death and burial of Mary. The tradition of
Ephesus is affirmed by the synod, (Concil. tom. iii. p. 1102;)
yet it has been superseded by the claim of Jerusalem; and her
empty sepulchre, as it was shown to the pilgrims, produced the
fable of her resurrection and assumption, in which the Greek and
Latin churches have piously acquiesced. See Baronius (Annal.
Eccles. A.D. 48, No. 6, &c.) and Tillemont, (Mem. Eccles. tom. i.
p. 467 - 477.)]
[Footnote 43: The Acts of Chalcedon (Concil. tom. iv. p. 1405,
1408) exhibit a lively picture of the blind, obstinate servitude
of the bishops of Egypt to their patriarch.]

[Footnote 44: Civil or ecclesiastical business detained the
bishops at Antioch till the 18th of May. Ephesus was at the
distance of thirty days' journey; and ten days more may be fairly
allowed for accidents and repose. The march of Xenophon over the
same ground enumerates above 260 parasangs or leagues; and this
measure might be illustrated from ancient and modern itineraries,
if I knew how to compare the speed of an army, a synod, and a
caravan. John of Antioch is reluctantly acquitted by Tillemont
himself, (Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv. p. 386 - 389.)]

[Footnote 45: Evagrius, l. i. c. 7. The same imputation was
urged by Count Irenaeus, (tom. iii. p. 1249;) and the orthodox
critics do not find it an easy task to defend the purity of the
Greek or Latin copies of the Acts.]
On the fifth day, the triumph was clouded by the arrival and
indignation of the Eastern bishops. In a chamber of the inn,
before he had wiped the dust from his shoes, John of Antioch gave
audience to Candidian, the Imperial minister; who related his
ineffectual efforts to prevent or to annul the hasty violence of
the Egyptian. With equal haste and violence, the Oriental synod
of fifty bishops degraded Cyril and Memnon from their episcopal
honors, condemned, in the twelve anathemas, the purest venom of
the Apollinarian heresy, and described the Alexandrian primate as
a monster, born and educated for the destruction of the church.
^46 His throne was distant and inaccessible; but they instantly
resolved to bestow on the flock of Ephesus the blessing of a
faithful shepherd. By the vigilance of Memnon, the churches were
shut against them, and a strong garrison was thrown into the
cathedral. The troops, under the command of Candidian, advanced
to the assault; the outguards were routed and put to the sword,
but the place was impregnable: the besiegers retired; their
retreat was pursued by a vigorous sally; they lost their horses,
and many of their soldiers were dangerously wounded with clubs
and stones. Ephesus, the city of the Virgin, was defiled with
rage and clamor, with sedition and blood; the rival synods darted
anathemas and excommunications from their spiritual engines; and
the court of Theodosius was perplexed by the adverse and
contradictory narratives of the Syrian and Egyptian factions.
During a busy period of three months, the emperor tried every
method, except the most effectual means of indifference and
contempt, to reconcile this theological quarrel. He attempted to
remove or intimidate the leaders by a common sentence, of
acquittal or condemnation; he invested his representatives at
Ephesus with ample power and military force; he summoned from
either party eight chosen deputies to a free and candid
conference in the neighborhood of the capital, far from the
contagion of popular frenzy. But the Orientals refused to yield,
and the Catholics, proud of their numbers and of their Latin
allies, rejected all terms of union or toleration. The patience
of the meek Theodosius was provoked; and he dissolved in anger
this episcopal tumult, which at the distance of thirteen
centuries assumes the venerable aspect of the third oecumenical
council. ^47 "God is my witness," said the pious prince, "that I
am not the author of this confusion. His providence will discern
and punish the guilty. Return to your provinces, and may your
private virtues repair the mischief and scandal of your meeting."
They returned to their provinces; but the same passions which had
distracted the synod of Ephesus were diffused over the Eastern
world. After three obstinate and equal campaigns, John of
Antioch and Cyril of Alexandria condescended to explain and
embrace: but their seeming reunion must be imputed rather to
prudence than to reason, to the mutual lassitude rather than to
the Christian charity of the patriarchs.

[Footnote 46: After the coalition of John and Cyril these
invectives were mutually forgotten. The style of declamation
must never be confounded with the genuine sense which respectable
enemies entertain of each other's merit, (Concil tom. iii. p.

[Footnote 47: See the acts of the synod of Ephesus in the
original Greek, and a Latin version almost contemporary, (Concil.
tom. iii. p. 991 - 1339, with the Synodicon adversus Tragoediam
Irenaei, tom. iv. p. 235 - 497,) the Ecclesiastical Histories of
Socrates (l. vii. c. 34) and Evagrius, (l i. c. 3, 4, 5,) and the
Breviary of Liberatus, (in Concil. tom. vi. p. 419 - 459, c. 5,
6,) and the Memoires Eccles. of Tillemont, (tom. xiv p. 377 -
The Byzantine pontiff had instilled into the royal ear a
baleful prejudice against the character and conduct of his
Egyptian rival. An epistle of menace and invective, ^48 which
accompanied the summons, accused him as a busy, insolent, and
envious priest, who perplexed the simplicity of the faith,
violated the peace of the church and state, and, by his artful
and separate addresses to the wife and sister of Theodosius,
presumed to suppose, or to scatter, the seeds of discord in the
Imperial family. At the stern command of his sovereign. Cyril
had repaired to Ephesus, where he was resisted, threatened, and
confined, by the magistrates in the interest of Nestorius and the
Orientals; who assembled the troops of Lydia and Ionia to
suppress the fanatic and disorderly train of the patriarch.
Without expecting the royal license, he escaped from his guards,
precipitately embarked, deserted the imperfect synod, and retired
to his episcopal fortress of safety and independence. But his
artful emissaries, both in the court and city, successfully
labored to appease the resentment, and to conciliate the favor,
of the emperor. The feeble son of Arcadius was alternately
swayed by his wife and sister, by the eunuchs and women of the
palace: superstition and avarice were their ruling passions; and
the orthodox chiefs were assiduous in their endeavors to alarm
the former, and to gratify the latter. Constantinople and the
suburbs were sanctified with frequent monasteries, and the holy
abbots, Dalmatius and Eutyches, ^49 had devoted their zeal and
fidelity to the cause of Cyril, the worship of Mary, and the
unity of Christ. From the first moment of their monastic life,
they had never mingled with the world, or trod the profane ground
of the city. But in this awful moment of the danger of the
church, their vow was superseded by a more sublime and
indispensable duty. At the head of a long order of monks and
hermits, who carried burning tapers in their hands, and chanted
litanies to the mother of God, they proceeded from their
monasteries to the palace. The people was edified and inflamed
by this extraordinary spectacle, and the trembling monarch
listened to the prayers and adjurations of the saints, who boldly
pronounced, that none could hope for salvation, unless they
embraced the person and the creed of the orthodox successor of
Athanasius. At the same time, every avenue of the throne was
assaulted with gold. Under the decent names of eulogies and
benedictions, the courtiers of both sexes were bribed according
to the measure of their power and rapaciousness. But their
incessant demands despoiled the sanctuaries of Constantinople and
Alexandria; and the authority of the patriarch was unable to
silence the just murmur of his clergy, that a debt of sixty
thousand pounds had already been contracted to support the
expense of this scandalous corruption. ^50 Pulcheria, who
relieved her brother from the weight of an empire, was the
firmest pillar of orthodoxy; and so intimate was the alliance
between the thunders of the synod and the whispers of the court,
that Cyril was assured of success if he could displace one
eunuch, and substitute another in the favor of Theodosius. Yet
the Egyptian could not boast of a glorious or decisive victory.
The emperor, with unaccustomed firmness, adhered to his promise
of protecting the innocence of the Oriental bishops; and Cyril
softened his anathemas, and confessed, with ambiguity and
reluctance, a twofold nature of Christ, before he was permitted
to satiate his revenge against the unfortunate Nestorius. ^51

[Footnote 48: I should be curious to know how much Nestorius paid
for these expressions, so mortifying to his rival.]

[Footnote 49: Eutyches, the heresiarch Eutyches, is honorably
named by Cyril as a friend, a saint, and the strenuous defender
of the faith. His brother, the abbot Dalmatus, is likewise
employed to bind the emperor and all his chamberlains terribili
conjuratione. Synodicon. c. 203, in Concil. tom. iv p. 467.]

[Footnote 50: Clerici qui hic sunt contristantur, quod ecclesia
Alexandrina nudata sit hujus causa turbelae: et debet praeter
illa quae hinc transmissa sint auri libras mille quingentas. Et
nunc ei scriptum est ut praestet; sed de tua ecclesia praesta
avaritiae quorum nosti, &c. This curious and original letter,
from Cyril's archdeacon to his creature the new bishop of
Constantinople, has been unaccountably preserved in an old Latin
version, (Synodicon, c. 203, Concil. tom. iv. p. 465 - 468.) The
mask is almost dropped, and the saints speak the honest language
of interest and confederacy.]

[Footnote 51: The tedious negotiations that succeeded the synod
of Ephesus are diffusely related in the original acts, (Concil.
tom. iii. p. 1339 - 1771, ad fin. vol. and the Synodicon, in tom.
iv.,) Socrates, (l. vii. c. 28, 35, 40, 41,) Evagrius, (l. i. c.
6, 7, 8, 12,) Liberatus, (c. 7 - 10, 7-10,) Tillemont, (Mem.
Eccles. tom. xiv. p. 487 - 676.) The most patient reader will
thank me for compressing so much nonsense and falsehood in a few
The rash and obstinate Nestorius, before the end of the
synod, was oppressed by Cyril, betrayed by the court, and faintly
supported by his Eastern friends. A sentiment or fear or
indignation prompted him, while it was yet time, to affect the
glory of a voluntary abdication: ^52 his wish, or at least his
request, was readily granted; he was conducted with honor from
Ephesus to his old monastery of Antioch; and, after a short
pause, his successors, Maximian and Proclus, were acknowledged as
the lawful bishops of Constantinople. But in the silence of his
cell, the degraded patriarch could no longer resume the innocence
and security of a private monk. The past he regretted, he was
discontented with the present, and the future he had reason to
dread: the Oriental bishops successively disengaged their cause
from his unpopular name, and each day decreased the number of the
schismatics who revered Nestorius as the confessor of the faith.
After a residence at Antioch of four years, the hand of
Theodosius subscribed an edict, ^53 which ranked him with Simon
the magician, proscribed his opinions and followers, condemned
his writings to the flames, and banished his person first to
Petra, in Arabia, and at length to Oasis, one of the islands of
the Libyan desert. ^54 Secluded from the church and from the
world, the exile was still pursued by the rage of bigotry and
war. A wandering tribe of the Blemmyes or Nubians invaded his
solitary prison: in their retreat they dismissed a crowd of
useless captives: but no sooner had Nestorius reached the banks
of the Nile, than he would gladly have escaped from a Roman and
orthodox city, to the milder servitude of the savages. His
flight was punished as a new crime: the soul of the patriarch
inspired the civil and ecclesiastical powers of Egypt; the
magistrates, the soldiers, the monks, devoutly tortured the enemy
of Christ and St. Cyril; and, as far as the confines of
Aethiopia, the heretic was alternately dragged and recalled, till
his aged body was broken by the hardships and accidents of these
reiterated journeys. Yet his mind was still independent and
erect; the president of Thebais was awed by his pastoral letters;
he survived the Catholic tyrant of Alexandria, and, after sixteen
years' banishment, the synod of Chalcedon would perhaps have
restored him to the honors, or at least to the communion, of the
church. The death of Nestorius prevented his obedience to their
welcome summons; ^55 and his disease might afford some color to
the scandalous report, that his tongue, the organ of blasphemy,
had been eaten by the worms. He was buried in a city of Upper
Egypt, known by the names of Chemnis, or Panopolis, or Akmim; ^56
but the immortal malice of the Jacobites has persevered for ages
to cast stones against his sepulchre, and to propagate the
foolish tradition, that it was never watered by the rain of
heaven, which equally descends on the righteous and the ungodly.
^57 Humanity may drop a tear on the fate of Nestorius; yet
justice must observe, that he suffered the persecution which he
had approved and inflicted. ^58

[Footnote 52: Evagrius, l. i. c. 7. The original letters in the
Synodicon (c. 15, 24, 25, 26) justify the appearance of a
voluntary resignation, which is asserted by Ebed-Jesu, a
Nestorian writer, apud Asseman. Bibliot. Oriental. tom. iii. p.
299, 302.]

[Footnote 53: See the Imperial letters in the Acts of the Synod
of Ephesus, (Concil. tom. iii. p. 1730 - 1735.) The odious name
of Simonians, which was affixed to the disciples of this. Yet
these were Christians! who differed only in names and in

[Footnote 54: The metaphor of islands is applied by the grave
civilians (Pandect. l. xlviii. tit. 22, leg. 7) to those happy
spots which are discriminated by water and verdure from the
Libyan sands. Three of these under the common name of Oasis, or
Alvahat: 1. The temple of Jupiter Ammon. 2. The middle Oasis,
three days' journey to the west of Lycopolis. 3. The southern,
where Nestorius was banished in the first climate, and only three
days' journey from the confines of Nubia. See a learned note of
Michaelis, (ad Descript. Aegypt. Abulfedae, p. 21-34.)

Note: 1. The Oasis of Sivah has been visited by Mons.
Drovetti and Mr. Browne. 2. The little Oasis, that of El Kassar,
was visited and described by Belzoni. 3. The great Oasis, and
its splendid ruins, have been well described in the travels of
Sir A. Edmonstone. To these must be added another Western Oasis
also visited by Sir A. Edmonstone. - M.]

[Footnote 55: The invitation of Nestorius to the synod of
Chalcedon, is related by Zacharias, bishop of Melitene (Evagrius,
l. ii. c. 2. Asseman. Biblioth. Orient. tom. ii. p. 55,) and the
famous Xenaias or Philoxenus, bishop of Hierapolis, (Asseman.
Bibliot. Orient. tom. ii. p. 40, &c.,) denied by Evagrius and
Asseman, and stoutly maintained by La Croze, (Thesaur. Epistol.
tom. iii. p. 181, &c.) The fact is not improbable; yet it was the
interest of the Monophysites to spread the invidious report, and
Eutychius (tom. ii. p. 12) affirms, that Nestorius died after an
exile of seven years, and consequently ten years before the synod
of Chalcedon.]
[Footnote 56: Consult D'Anville, (Memoire sur l'Egypte, p. 191,)
Pocock. (Description of the East, vol. i. p. 76,) Abulfeda,
Descript. Aegypt, p. 14,) and his commentator Michaelis, (Not. p.
78 - 83,) and the Nubian Geographer, (p. 42,) who mentions, in
the xiith century, the ruins and the sugar-canes of Akmim.]

[Footnote 57: Eutychius (Annal. tom. ii. p. 12) and Gregory
Bar-Hebraeus, of Abulpharagius, (Asseman, tom. ii. p. 316,)
represent the credulity of the xth and xiith centuries.]

[Footnote 58: We are obliged to Evagrius (l. i. c. 7) for some
extracts from the letters of Nestorius; but the lively picture of
his sufferings is treated with insult by the hard and stupid

Chapter XLVII: Ecclesiastical Discord.

Part III.

The death of the Alexandrian primate, after a reign of
thirty-two years, abandoned the Catholics to the intemperance of
zeal and the abuse of victory. ^59 The monophysite doctrine (one
incarnate nature) was rigorously preached in the churches of
Egypt and the monasteries of the East; the primitive creed of
Apollinarius was protected by the sanctity of Cyril; and the name
of Eutyches, his venerable friend, has been applied to the sect
most adverse to the Syrian heresy of Nestorius. His rival
Eutyches was the abbot, or archimandrite, or superior of three
hundred monks, but the opinions of a simple and illiterate
recluse might have expired in the cell, where he had slept above
seventy years, if the resentment or indiscretion of Flavian, the
Byzantine pontiff, had not exposed the scandal to the eyes of the
Christian world. His domestic synod was instantly convened,
their proceedings were sullied with clamor and artifice, and the
aged heretic was surprised into a seeming confession, that Christ
had not derived his body from the substance of the Virgin Mary.
From their partial decree, Eutyches appealed to a general
council; and his cause was vigorously asserted by his godson
Chrysaphius, the reigning eunuch of the palace, and his
accomplice Dioscorus, who had succeeded to the throne, the creed,
the talents, and the vices, of the nephew of Theophilus. By the
special summons of Theodosius, the second synod of Ephesus was
judiciously composed of ten metropolitans and ten bishops from
each of the six dioceses of the Eastern empire: some exceptions
of favor or merit enlarged the number to one hundred and
thirty-five; and the Syrian Barsumas, as the chief and
representative of the monks, was invited to sit and vote with the
successors of the apostles. But the despotism of the Alexandrian
patriarch again oppressed the freedom of debate: the same
spiritual and carnal weapons were again drawn from the arsenals
of Egypt: the Asiatic veterans, a band of archers, served under
the orders of Dioscorus; and the more formidable monks, whose
minds were inaccessible to reason or mercy, besieged the doors of
the cathedral. The general, and, as it should seem, the
unconstrained voice of the fathers, accepted the faith and even
the anathemas of Cyril; and the heresy of the two natures was
formally condemned in the persons and writings of the most
learned Orientals. "May those who divide Christ be divided with
the sword, may they be hewn in pieces, may they be burned alive!"
were the charitable wishes of a Christian synod. ^60 The
innocence and sanctity of Eutyches were acknowledged without
hesitation; but the prelates, more especially those of Thrace and
Asia, were unwilling to depose their patriarch for the use or
even the abuse of his lawful jurisdiction. They embraced the
knees of Dioscorus, as he stood with a threatening aspect on the
footstool of his throne, and conjured him to forgive the
offences, and to respect the dignity, of his brother. "Do you
mean to raise a sedition?" exclaimed the relentless tyrant.
"Where are the officers?" At these words a furious multitude of
monks and soldiers, with staves, and swords, and chains, burst
into the church; the trembling bishops hid themselves behind the
altar, or under the benches, and as they were not inspired with
the zeal of martyrdom, they successively subscribed a blank
paper, which was afterwards filled with the condemnation of the
Byzantine pontiff. Flavian was instantly delivered to the wild
beasts of this spiritual amphitheatre: the monks were stimulated
by the voice and example of Barsumas to avenge the injuries of
Christ: it is said that the patriarch of Alexandria reviled, and
buffeted, and kicked, and trampled his brother of Constantinople:
^61 it is certain, that the victim, before he could reach the
place of his exile, expired on the third day of the wounds and
bruises which he had received at Ephesus. This second synod has
been justly branded as a gang of robbers and assassins; yet the
accusers of Dioscorus would magnify his violence, to alleviate
the cowardice and inconstancy of their own behavior.

[Footnote 59: Dixi Cyrillum dum viveret, auctoritate sua
effecisse, ne Eutychianismus et Monophysitarum error in nervum
erumperet: idque verum puto ...aliquo ... honesto modo cecinerat.

The learned but cautious Jablonski did not always speak the whole
truth. Cum Cyrillo lenius omnino egi, quam si tecum aut cum
aliis rei hujus probe gnaris et aequis rerum aestimatoribus
sermones privatos conferrem, (Thesaur. Epistol. La Crozian. tom.
i. p. 197, 198) an excellent key to his dissertations on the
Nestorian controversy!]

[Footnote 60: At the request of Dioscorus, those who were not
able to roar, stretched out their hands. At Chalcedon, the
Orientals disclaimed these exclamations: but the Egyptians more
consistently declared. (Concil. tom. iv. p. 1012.)]

[Footnote 61: (Eusebius, bishop of Dorylaeum): and this testimony
of Evagrius (l. ii. c. 2) is amplified by the historian Zonaras,
(tom. ii. l. xiii. p. 44,) who affirms that Dioscorus kicked like
a wild ass. But the language of Liberatus (Brev. c. 12, in
Concil. tom. vi. p. 438) is more cautious; and the Acts of
Chalcedon, which lavish the names of homicide, Cain, &c., do not
justify so pointed a charge. The monk Barsumas is more
particularly accused, (Concil. tom. iv. p. 1418.)]

The faith of Egypt had prevailed: but the vanquished party
was supported by the same pope who encountered without fear the
hostile rage of Attila and Genseric. The theology of Leo, his
famous tome or epistle on the mystery of the incarnation, had
been disregarded by the synod of Ephesus: his authority, and that
of the Latin church, was insulted in his legates, who escaped
from slavery and death to relate the melancholy tale of the
tyranny of Dioscorus and the martyrdom of Flavian. His
provincial synod annulled the irregular proceedings of Ephesus;
but as this step was itself irregular, he solicited the
convocation of a general council in the free and orthodox
provinces of Italy. From his independent throne, the Roman
bishop spoke and acted without danger as the head of the
Christians, and his dictates were obsequiously transcribed by
Placidia and her son Valentinian; who addressed their Eastern
colleague to restore the peace and unity of the church. But the
pageant of Oriental royalty was moved with equal dexterity by the
hand of the eunuch; and Theodosius could pronounce, without
hesitation, that the church was already peaceful and triumphant,
and that the recent flame had been extinguished by the just
punishment of the Nestorians. Perhaps the Greeks would be still
involved in the heresy of the Monophysites, if the emperor's
horse had not fortunately stumbled; Theodosius expired; his
orthodox sister Pulcheria, with a nominal husband, succeeded to
the throne; Chrysaphius was burnt, Dioscorus was disgraced, the
exiles were recalled, and the tome of Leo was subscribed by the
Oriental bishops. Yet the pope was disappointed in his favorite
project of a Latin council: he disdained to preside in the Greek
synod, which was speedily assembled at Nice in Bithynia; his
legates required in a peremptory tone the presence of the
emperor; and the weary fathers were transported to Chalcedon
under the immediate eye of Marcian and the senate of
Constantinople. A quarter of a mile from the Thracian Bosphorus,
the church of St. Euphemia was built on the summit of a gentle
though lofty ascent: the triple structure was celebrated as a
prodigy of art, and the boundless prospect of the land and sea
might have raised the mind of a sectary to the contemplation of
the God of the universe. Six hundred and thirty bishops were
ranged in order in the nave of the church; but the patriarchs of
the East were preceded by the legates, of whom the third was a
simple priest; and the place of honor was reserved for twenty
laymen of consular or senatorian rank. The gospel was
ostentatiously displayed in the centre, but the rule of faith was
defined by the Papal and Imperial ministers, who moderated the
thirteen sessions of the council of Chalcedon. ^62 Their partial
interposition silenced the intemperate shouts and execrations,
which degraded the episcopal gravity; but, on the formal
accusation of the legates, Dioscorus was compelled to descend
from his throne to the rank of a criminal, already condemned in
the opinion of his judges. The Orientals, less adverse to
Nestorius than to Cyril, accepted the Romans as their deliverers:
Thrace, and Pontus, and Asia, were exasperated against the
murderer of Flavian, and the new patriarchs of Constantinople and
Antioch secured their places by the sacrifice of their
benefactor. The bishops of Palestine, Macedonia, and Greece,
were attached to the faith of Cyril; but in the face of the
synod, in the heat of the battle, the leaders, with their
obsequious train, passed from the right to the left wing, and
decided the victory by this seasonable desertion. Of the
seventeen suffragans who sailed from Alexandria, four were
tempted from their allegiance, and the thirteen, falling
prostrate on the ground, implored the mercy of the council, with
sighs and tears, and a pathetic declaration, that, if they
yielded, they should be massacred, on their return to Egypt, by
the indignant people. A tardy repentance was allowed to expiate
the guilt or error of the accomplices of Dioscorus: but their
sins were accumulated on his head; he neither asked nor hoped for
pardon, and the moderation of those who pleaded for a general
amnesty was drowned in the prevailing cry of victory and revenge.

To save the reputation of his late adherents, some personal
offences were skilfully detected; his rash and illegal
excommunication of the pope, and his contumacious refusal (while
he was detained a prisoner) to attend to the summons of the
synod. Witnesses were introduced to prove the special facts of
his pride, avarice, and cruelty; and the fathers heard with
abhorrence, that the alms of the church were lavished on the
female dancers, that his palace, and even his bath, was open to
the prostitutes of Alexandria, and that the infamous Pansophia,
or Irene, was publicly entertained as the concubine of the
patriarch. ^63

[Footnote 62: The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon (Concil. tom.
iv. p. 761 - 2071) comprehend those of Ephesus, (p. 890 - 1189,)
which again comprise the synod of Constantinople under Flavian,
(p. 930 - 1072;) and at requires some attention to disengage this
double involution. The whole business of Eutyches, Flavian, and
Dioscorus, is related by Evagrius (l. i. c. 9 - 12, and l. ii. c.
1, 2, 3, 4,) and Liberatus, (Brev. c. 11, 12, 13, 14.) Once more,
and almost for the last time, I appeal to the diligence of
Tillemont, (Mem. Eccles. tom. xv. p. 479-719.) The annals of
Baronius and Pagi will accompany me much further on my long and
laborious journey.]

[Footnote 63: (Concil. tom. iv. p. 1276.) A specimen of the wit
and malice of the people is preserved in the Greek Anthology, (l.
ii. c. 5, p. 188, edit. Wechel,) although the application was
unknown to the editor Brodaeus. The nameless epigrammatist
raises a tolerable pun, by confounding the episcopal salutation
of "Peace be to all!" with the genuine or corrupted name of the
bishop's concubine:

I am ignorant whether the patriarch, who seems to have been
a jealous lover, is the Cimon of a preceding epigram, was viewed
with envy aud wonder by Priapus himself.]

For these scandalous offences, Dioscorus was deposed by the
synod, and banished by the emperor; but the purity of his faith
was declared in the presence, and with the tacit approbation, of
the fathers. Their prudence supposed rather than pronounced the
heresy of Eutyches, who was never summoned before their tribunal;
and they sat silent and abashed, when a bold Monophysite casting
at their feet a volume of Cyril, challenged them to anathematize
in his person the doctrine of the saint. If we fairly peruse the
acts of Chalcedon as they are recorded by the orthodox party, ^64
we shall find that a great majority of the bishops embraced the
simple unity of Christ; and the ambiguous concession that he was
formed Of or From two natures, might imply either their previous
existence, or their subsequent confusion, or some dangerous
interval between the conception of the man and the assumption of
the God. The Roman theology, more positive and precise, adopted
the term most offensive to the ears of the Egyptians, that Christ
existed In two natures; and this momentous particle ^65 (which
the memory, rather than the understanding, must retain) had
almost produced a schism among the Catholic bishops. The tome of
Leo had been respectfully, perhaps sincerely, subscribed; but
they protested, in two successive debates, that it was neither
expedient nor lawful to transgress the sacred landmarks which had
been fixed at Nice, Constantinople, and Ephesus, according to the
rule of Scripture and tradition. At length they yielded to the
importunities of their masters; but their infallible decree,
after it had been ratified with deliberate votes and vehement
acclamations, was overturned in the next session by the
opposition of the legates and their Oriental friends. It was in
vain that a multitude of episcopal voices repeated in chorus,
"The definition of the fathers is orthodox and immutable! The
heretics are now discovered! Anathema to the Nestorians! Let
them depart from the synod! Let them repair to Rome." ^66 The
legates threatened, the emperor was absolute, and a committee of
eighteen bishops prepared a new decree, which was imposed on the
reluctant assembly. In the name of the fourth general council,
the Christ in one person, but in two natures, was announced to
the Catholic world: an invisible line was drawn between the
heresy of Apollinaris and the faith of St. Cyril; and the road to
paradise, a bridge as sharp as a razor, was suspended over the
abyss by the master-hand of the theological artist. During ten
centuries of blindness and servitude, Europe received her
religious opinions from the oracle of the Vatican; and the same
doctrine, already varnished with the rust of antiquity, was
admitted without dispute into the creed of the reformers, who
disclaimed the supremacy of the Roman pontiff. The synod of
Chalcedon still triumphs in the Protestant churches; but the
ferment of controversy has subsided, and the most pious
Christians of the present day are ignorant, or careless, of their
own belief concerning the mystery of the incarnation.

[Footnote 64: Those who reverence the infallibility of synods,
may try to ascertain their sense. The leading bishops were
attended by partial or careless scribes, who dispersed their
copies round the world. Our Greek Mss. are sullied with the
false and prescribed reading of (Concil. tom. iii. p. 1460:) the
authentic translation of Pope Leo I. does not seem to have been
executed, and the old Latin versions materially differ from the
present Vulgate, which was revised (A.D. 550) by Rusticus, a
Roman priest, from the best Mss. at Constantinople, (Ducange, C.
P. Christiana, l. iv. p. 151,) a famous monastery of Latins,
Greeks, and Syrians. See Concil. tom. iv. p. 1959 - 2049, and
Pagi, Critica, tom. ii. p. 326, &c.]

[Footnote 65: It is darkly represented in the microscope of
Petavius, (tom. v. l. iii. c. 5;) yet the subtle theologian is
himself afraid - ne quis fortasse supervacaneam, et nimis anxiam
putet hujusmodi vocularum inquisitionem, et ab instituti
theologici gravitate alienam, (p. 124.)]

[Footnote 66: (Concil. tom. iv. p. 1449.) Evagrius and Liberatus
present only the placid face of the synod, and discreetly slide
over these embers, suppositos cineri doloso.]

Far different was the temper of the Greeks and Egyptians
under the orthodox reigns of Leo and Marcian. Those pious
emperors enforced with arms and edicts the symbol of their faith;
^67 and it was declared by the conscience or honor of five
hundred bishops, that the decrees of the synod of Chalcedon might
be lawfully supported, even with blood. The Catholics observed
with satisfaction, that the same synod was odious both to the
Nestorians and the Monophysites; ^68 but the Nestorians were less
angry, or less powerful, and the East was distracted by the
obstinate and sanguinary zeal of the Monophysites. Jerusalem was
occupied by an army of monks; in the name of the one incarnate
nature, they pillaged, they burnt, they murdered; the sepulchre
of Christ was defiled with blood; and the gates of the city were
guarded in tumultuous rebellion against the troops of the
emperor. After the disgrace and exile of Dioscorus, the Egyptians
still regretted their spiritual father; and detested the
usurpation of his successor, who was introduced by the fathers of
Chalcedon. The throne of Proterius was supported by a guard of
two thousand soldiers: he waged a five years' war against the
people of Alexandria; and on the first intelligence of the death
of Marcian, he became the victim of their zeal. On the third day
before the festival of Easter, the patriarch was besieged in the
cathedral, and murdered in the baptistery. The remains of his
mangled corpse were delivered to the flames, and his ashes to the
wind; and the deed was inspired by the vision of a pretended
angel: an ambitious monk, who, under the name of Timothy the Cat,
^69 succeeded to the place and opinions of Dioscorus. This
deadly superstition was inflamed, on either side, by the
principle and the practice of retaliation: in the pursuit of a
metaphysical quarrel, many thousands ^70 were slain, and the
Christians of every degree were deprived of the substantial
enjoyments of social life, and of the invisible gifts of baptism
and the holy communion. Perhaps an extravagant fable of the
times may conceal an allegorical picture of these fanatics, who
tortured each other and themselves. "Under the consulship of
Venantius and Celer," says a grave bishop, "the people of
Alexandria, and all Egypt, were seized with a strange and
diabolical frenzy: great and small, slaves and freedmen, monks
and clergy, the natives of the land, who opposed the synod of
Chalcedon, lost their speech and reason, barked like dogs, and
tore, with their own teeth the flesh from their hands and arms."
[Footnote 67: See, in the Appendix to the Acts of Chalcedon, the
confirmation of the Synod by Marcian, (Concil. tom. iv. p. 1781,
1783;) his letters to the monks of Alexandria, (p. 1791,) of
Mount Sinai, (p. 1793,) of Jerusalem and Palestine, (p. 1798;)
his laws against the Eutychians, (p. 1809, 1811, 1831;) the
correspondence of Leo with the provincial synods on the
revolution of Alexandria, (p. 1835 - 1930.)]

[Footnote 68: Photius (or rather Eulogius of Alexandria)
confesses, in a fine passage, the specious color of this double
charge against Pope Leo and his synod of Chalcedon, (Bibliot.
cod. ccxxv. p. 768.) He waged a double war against the enemies of
the church, and wounded either foe with the darts of his
adversary. Against Nestorius he seemed to introduce
Monophysites; against Eutyches he appeared to countenance the
Nestorians. The apologist claims a charitable interpretation for
the saints: if the same had been extended to the heretics, the
sound of the controversy would have been lost in the air]
[Footnote 69: From his nocturnal expeditions. In darkness and
disguise he crept round the cells of the monastery, and whispered
the revelation to his slumbering brethren, (Theodor. Lector. l.

[Footnote 70: Such is the hyperbolic language of the Henoticon.]
[Footnote 71: See the Chronicle of Victor Tunnunensis, in the
Lectiones Antiquae of Canisius, republished by Basnage, tom.

The disorders of thirty years at length produced the famous
Henoticon ^72 of the emperor Zeno, which in his reign, and in
that of Anastasius, was signed by all the bishops of the East,
under the penalty of degradation and exile, if they rejected or
infringed this salutary and fundamental law. The clergy may
smile or groan at the presumption of a layman who defines the
articles of faith; yet if he stoops to the humiliating task, his
mind is less infected by prejudice or interest, and the authority
of the magistrate can only be maintained by the concord of the
people. It is in ecclesiastical story, that Zeno appears least
contemptible; and I am not able to discern any Manichaean or
Eutychian guilt in the generous saying of Anastasius. That it
was unworthy of an emperor to persecute the worshippers of Christ
and the citizens of Rome. The Henoticon was most pleasing to the
Egyptians; yet the smallest blemish has not been described by the
jealous, and even jaundiced eyes of our orthodox schoolmen, and
it accurately represents the Catholic faith of the incarnation,
without adopting or disclaiming the peculiar terms of tenets of
the hostile sects. A solemn anathema is pronounced against
Nestorius and Eutyches; against all heretics by whom Christ is
divided, or confounded, or reduced to a phantom. Without
defining the number or the article of the word nature, the pure
system of St. Cyril, the faith of Nice, Constantinople, and
Ephesus, is respectfully confirmed; but, instead of bowing at the
name of the fourth council, the subject is dismissed by the
censure of all contrary doctrines, if any such have been taught
either elsewhere or at Chalcedon. Under this ambiguous
expression, the friends and the enemies of the last synod might
unite in a silent embrace. The most reasonable Christians
acquiesced in this mode of toleration; but their reason was
feeble and inconstant, and their obedience was despised as timid
and servile by the vehement spirit of their brethren. On a
subject which engrossed the thoughts and discourses of men, it
was difficult to preserve an exact neutrality; a book, a sermon,
a prayer, rekindled the flame of controversy; and the bonds of
communion were alternately broken and renewed by the private
animosity of the bishops. The space between Nestorius and
Eutyches was filled by a thousand shades of language and opinion;
the acephali ^73 of Egypt, and the Roman pontiffs, of equal
valor, though of unequal strength, may be found at the two
extremities of the theological scale. The acephali, without a
king or a bishop, were separated above three hundred years from
the patriarchs of Alexandria, who had accepted the communion of
Constantinople, without exacting a formal condemnation of the
synod of Chalcedon. For accepting the communion of Alexandria,
without a formal approbation of the same synod, the patriarchs of
Constantinople were anathematized by the popes. Their inflexible
despotism involved the most orthodox of the Greek churches in
this spiritual contagion, denied or doubted the validity of their
sacraments, ^74 and fomented, thirty-five years, the schism of
the East and West, till they finally abolished the memory of four
Byzantine pontiffs, who had dared to oppose the supremacy of St.
Peter. ^75 Before that period, the precarious truce of
Constantinople and Egypt had been violated by the zeal of the
rival prelates. Macedonius, who was suspected of the Nestorian
heresy, asserted, in disgrace and exile, the synod of Chalcedon,
while the successor of Cyril would have purchased its overthrow
with a bribe of two thousand pounds of gold.
[Footnote 72: The Henoticon is transcribed by Evagrius, (l. iii.
c. 13,) and translated by Liberatus, (Brev. c. 18.) Pagi
(Critica, tom. ii. p. 411) and (Bibliot. Orient. tom. i. p. 343)
are satisfied that it is free from heresy; but Petavius (Dogmat.
Theolog. tom. v. l. i. c. 13, p. 40) most unaccountably affirms
Chalcedonensem ascivit. An adversary would prove that he had
never read the Henoticon.]

[Footnote 73: See Renaudot, (Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 123, 131,
145, 195, 247.) They were reconciled by the care of Mark I. (A.D.
799 - 819;) he promoted their chiefs to the bishoprics of
Athribis and Talba, (perhaps Tava. See D'Anville, p. 82,) and
supplied the sacraments, which had failed for want of an
episcopal ordination.]

[Footnote 74: De his quos baptizavit, quos ordinavit Acacius,
majorum traditione confectam et veram, praecipue religiosae
solicitudini congruam praebemus sine difficultate medicinam,
(Galacius, in epist. i. ad Euphemium, Concil. tom. v. 286.) The
offer of a medicine proves the disease, and numbers must have
perished before the arrival of the Roman physician. Tillemont
himself (Mem. Eccles. tom. xvi. p. 372, 642, &c.) is shocked at
the proud, uncharitable temper of the popes; they are now glad,
says he, to invoke St. Flavian of Antioch, St. Elias of
Jerusalem, &c., to whom they refused communion whilst upon earth.

But Cardinal Baronius is firm and hard as the rock of St. Peter.]

[Footnote 75: Their names were erased from the diptych of the
church: ex venerabili diptycho, in quo piae memoriae transitum ad
coelum habentium episcoporum vocabula continentur, (Concil. tom.
iv. p. 1846.) This ecclesiastical record was therefore equivalent
to the book of life.]
In the fever of the times, the sense, or rather the sound of
a syllable, was sufficient to disturb the peace of an empire.
The Trisagion ^76 (thrice holy,) "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of
Hosts!" is supposed, by the Greeks, to be the identical hymn
which the angels and cherubim eternally repeat before the throne
of God, and which, about the middle of the fifth century, was
miraculously revealed to the church of Constantinople. The
devotion of Antioch soon added, "who was crucified for us!" and
this grateful address, either to Christ alone, or to the whole
Trinity, may be justified by the rules of theology, and has been
gradually adopted by the Catholics of the East and West. But it
had been imagined by a Monophysite bishop; ^77 the gift of an
enemy was at first rejected as a dire and dangerous blasphemy,
and the rash innovation had nearly cost the emperor Anastasius
his throne and his life. ^78 The people of Constantinople was
devoid of any rational principles of freedom; but they held, as a
lawful cause of rebellion, the color of a livery in the races, or
the color of a mystery in the schools. The Trisagion, with and
without this obnoxious addition, was chanted in the cathedral by
two adverse choirs, and when their lungs were exhausted, they had
recourse to the more solid arguments of sticks and stones; the
aggressors were punished by the emperor, and defended by the
patriarch; and the crown and mitre were staked on the event of
this momentous quarrel. The streets were instantly crowded with
innumerable swarms of men, women, and children; the legions of
monks, in regular array, marched, and shouted, and fought at
their head, "Christians! this is the day of martyrdom: let us not
desert our spiritual father; anathema to the Manichaean tyrant!
he is unworthy to reign." Such was the Catholic cry; and the
galleys of Anastasius lay upon their oars before the palace, till
the patriarch had pardoned his penitent, and hushed the waves of
the troubled multitude. The triumph of Macedonius was checked by
a speedy exile; but the zeal of his flock was again exasperated
by the same question, "Whether one of the Trinity had been
crucified?" On this momentous occasion, the blue and green
factions of Constantinople suspended their discord, and the civil
and military powers were annihilated in their presence. The keys
of the city, and the standards of the guards, were deposited in
the forum of Constantine, the principal station and camp of the
faithful. Day and night they were incessantly busied either in
singing hymns to the honor of their God, or in pillaging and
murdering the servants of their prince. The head of his favorite
monk, the friend, as they styled him, of the enemy of the Holy
Trinity, was borne aloft on a spear; and the firebrands, which
had been darted against heretical structures, diffused the
undistinguishing flames over the most orthodox buildings. The
statues of the emperor were broken, and his person was concealed
in a suburb, till, at the end of three days, he dared to implore
the mercy of his subjects. Without his diadem, and in the
posture of a suppliant, Anastasius appeared on the throne of the
circus. The Catholics, before his face, rehearsed their genuine
Trisagion; they exulted in the offer, which he proclaimed by the
voice of a herald, of abdicating the purple; they listened to the
admonition, that, since all could not reign, they should
previously agree in the choice of a sovereign; and they accepted
the blood of two unpopular ministers, whom their master, without
hesitation, condemned to the lions. These furious but transient
seditions were encouraged by the success of Vitalian, who, with
an army of Huns and Bulgarians, for the most part idolaters,
declared himself the champion of the Catholic faith. In this
pious rebellion he depopulated Thrace, besieged Constantinople,
exterminated sixty-five thousand of his fellow-Christians, till
he obtained the recall of the bishops, the satisfaction of the
pope, and the establishment of the council of Chalcedon, an
orthodox treaty, reluctantly signed by the dying Anastasius, and
more faithfully performed by the uncle of Justinian. And such
was the event of the first of the religious wars which have been
waged in the name and by the disciples, of the God of peace. ^79

[Footnote 76: Petavius (Dogmat. Theolog. tom. v. l. v. c. 2, 3,
4, p. 217 - 225) and Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv. p. 713,
&c., 799) represent the history and doctrine of the Trisagion.
In the twelve centuries between Isaiah and St. Proculs's boy,
who was taken up into heaven before the bishop and people of
Constantinople, the song was considerably improved. The boy
heard the angels sing, "Holy God! Holy strong! Holy immortal!"]

[Footnote 77: Peter Gnapheus, the fuller, (a trade which he had
exercised in his monastery,) patriarch of Antioch. His tedious
story is discussed in the Annals of Pagi (A.D. 477 - 490) and a
dissertation of M. de Valois at the end of his Evagrius.]

[Footnote 78: The troubles under the reign of Anastasius must be
gathered from the Chronicles of Victor, Marcellinus, and
Theophanes. As the last was not published in the time of
Baronius, his critic Pagi is more copious, as well as more

[Footnote 79: The general history, from the council of Chalcedon
to the death of Anastasius, may be found in the Breviary of
Liberatus, (c. 14 - 19,) the iid and iiid books of Evagrius, the
abstract of the two books of Theodore the Reader, the Acts of the
Synods, and the Epistles of the Pope, (Concil. tom. v.) The
series is continued with some disorder in the xvth and xvith
tomes of the Memoires Ecclesiastiques of Tillemont. And here I
must take leave forever of that incomparable guide - whose
bigotry is overbalanced by the merits of erudition, diligence,
veracity, and scrupulous minuteness. He was prevented by death
from completing, as he designed, the vith century of the church
and empire.]

Chapter XLVII: Ecclesiastical Discord.

Part III.

Justinian has been already seen in the various lights of a
prince, a conqueror, and a lawgiver: the theologian ^80 still
remains, and it affords an unfavorable prejudice, that his
theology should form a very prominent feature of his portrait.
The sovereign sympathized with his subjects in their
superstitious reverence for living and departed saints: his Code,
and more especially his Novels, confirm and enlarge the
privileges of the clergy; and in every dispute between a monk and
a layman, the partial judge was inclined to pronounce, that
truth, and innocence, and justice, were always on the side of the
church. In his public and private devotions, the emperor was
assiduous and exemplary; his prayers, vigils, and fasts,
displayed the austere penance of a monk; his fancy was amused by
the hope, or belief, of personal inspiration; he had secured the
patronage of the Virgin and St. Michael the archangel; and his
recovery from a dangerous disease was ascribed to the miraculous
succor of the holy martyrs Cosmas and Damian. The capital and
the provinces of the East were decorated with the monuments of
his religion; ^81 and though the far greater part of these costly
structures may be attributed to his taste or ostentation, the
zeal of the royal architect was probably quickened by a genuine
sense of love and gratitude towards his invisible benefactors.
Among the titles of Imperial greatness, the name of Pious was
most pleasing to his ear; to promote the temporal and spiritual
interest of the church was the serious business of his life; and
the duty of father of his country was often sacrificed to that of
defender of the faith. The controversies of the times were
congenial to his temper and understanding and the theological
professors must inwardly deride the diligence of a stranger, who
cultivated their art and neglected his own. "What can ye fear,"
said a bold conspirator to his associates, "from your bigoted
tyrant? Sleepless and unarmed, he sits whole nights in his
closet, debating with reverend graybeards, and turning over the
pages of ecclesiastical volumes." ^82 The fruits of these
lucubrations were displayed in many a conference, where Justinian
might shine as the loudest and most subtile of the disputants; in
many a sermon, which, under the name of edicts and epistles,
proclaimed to the empire the theology of their master. While the
Barbarians invaded the provinces, while the victorious legion
marched under the banners of Belisarius and Narses, the successor
of Trajan, unknown to the camp, was content to vanquish at the
head of a synod. Had he invited to these synods a disinterested
and rational spectator, Justinian might have learned, "that
religious controversy is the offspring of arrogance and folly;
that true piety is most laudably expressed by silence and
submission; that man, ignorant of his own nature, should not
presume to scrutinize the nature of his God; and that it is
sufficient for us to know, that power and benevolence are the
perfect attributes of the Deity." ^83

[Footnote 80: The strain of the Anecdotes of Procopius, (c. 11,
13, 18, 27, 28,) with the learned remarks of Alemannus, is
confirmed, rather than contradicted, by the Acts of the Councils,
the fourth book of Evagrius, and the complaints of the African
Facundus, in his xiith book - de tribus capitulis, "cum videri
doctus appetit importune ...spontaneis quaestionibus ecclesiam
turbat." See Procop. de Bell. Goth. l. iii. c. 35.]
[Footnote 81: Procop. de Edificiis, l. i. c. 6, 7, &c., passim.]
[Footnote 82: Procop. de Bell. Goth. l. iii. c. 32. In the life
of St. Eutychius (apud Aleman. ad Procop. Arcan. c. 18) the same
character is given with a design to praise Justinian.]

[Footnote 83: For these wise and moderate sentiments, Procopius
(de Bell. Goth. l. i. c. 3) is scourged in the preface of
Alemannus, who ranks him among the political Christians - sed
longe verius haeresium omnium sentinas, prorsusque Atheos -
abominable Atheists, who preached the imitation of God's mercy to
man, (ad Hist. Arcan. c. 13.)]

Toleration was not the virtue of the times, and indulgence
to rebels has seldom been the virtue of princes. But when the
prince descends to the narrow and peevish character of a
disputant, he is easily provoked to supply the defect of argument
by the plenitude of power, and to chastise without mercy the
perverse blindness of those who wilfully shut their eyes against
the light of demonstration. The reign of Justinian was a uniform
yet various scene of persecution; and he appears to have
surpassed his indolent predecessors, both in the contrivance of
his laws and the rigor of their execution. The insufficient term
of three months was assigned for the conversion or exile of all
heretics; ^84 and if he still connived at their precarious stay,
they were deprived, under his iron yoke, not only of the benefits
of society, but of the common birth-right of men and Christians.
At the end of four hundred years, the Montanists of Phrygia ^85
still breathed the wild enthusiasm of perfection and prophecy
which they had imbibed from their male and female apostles, the
special organs of the Paraclete. On the approach of the Catholic
priests and soldiers, they grasped with alacrity the crown of
martyrdom the conventicle and the congregation perished in the
flames, but these primitive fanatics were not extinguished three
hundred years after the death of their tyrant. Under the
protection of their Gothic confederates, the church of the Arians
at Constantinople had braved the severity of the laws: their
clergy equalled the wealth and magnificence of the senate; and
the gold and silver which were seized by the rapacious hand of
Justinian might perhaps be claimed as the spoils of the
provinces, and the trophies of the Barbarians. A secret remnant
of Pagans, who still lurked in the most refined and most rustic
conditions of mankind, excited the indignation of the Christians,
who were perhaps unwilling that any strangers should be the
witnesses of their intestine quarrels. A bishop was named as the
inquisitor of the faith, and his diligence soon discovered, in
the court and city, the magistrates, lawyers, physicians, and
sophists, who still cherished the superstition of the Greeks.
They were sternly informed that they must choose without delay
between the displeasure of Jupiter or Justinian, and that their
aversion to the gospel could no longer be distinguished under the
scandalous mask of indifference or impiety. The patrician
Photius, perhaps, alone was resolved to live and to die like his
ancestors: he enfranchised himself with the stroke of a dagger,
and left his tyrant the poor consolation of exposing with
ignominy the lifeless corpse of the fugitive. His weaker
brethren submitted to their earthly monarch, underwent the
ceremony of baptism, and labored, by their extraordinary zeal, to
erase the suspicion, or to expiate the guilt, of idolatry. The
native country of Homer, and the theatre of the Trojan war, still
retained the last sparks of his mythology: by the care of the
same bishop, seventy thousand Pagans were detected and converted
in Asia, Phrygia, Lydia, and Caria; ninety-six churches were
built for the new proselytes; and linen vestments, Bibles, and
liturgies, and vases of gold and silver, were supplied by the
pious munificence of Justinian. ^86 The Jews, who had been
gradually stripped of their immunities, were oppressed by a
vexatious law, which compelled them to observe the festival of
Easter the same day on which it was celebrated by the Christians.
^87 And they might complain with the more reason, since the
Catholics themselves did not agree with the astronomical
calculations of their sovereign: the people of Constantinople
delayed the beginning of their Lent a whole week after it had
been ordained by authority; and they had the pleasure of fasting
seven days, while meat was exposed for sale by the command of the
emperor. The Samaritans of Palestine ^88 were a motley race, an
ambiguous sect, rejected as Jews by the Pagans, by the Jews as
schismatics, and by the Christians as idolaters. The abomination
of the cross had already been planted on their holy mount of
Garizim, ^89 but the persecution of Justinian offered only the
alternative of baptism or rebellion. They chose the latter:
under the standard of a desperate leader, they rose in arms, and
retaliated their wrongs on the lives, the property, and the
temples, of a defenceless people. The Samaritans were finally
subdued by the regular forces of the East: twenty thousand were
slain, twenty thousand were sold by the Arabs to the infidels of
Persia and India, and the remains of that unhappy nation atoned
for the crime of treason by the sin of hypocrisy. It has been
computed that one hundred thousand Roman subjects were extirpated
in the Samaritan war, ^90 which converted the once fruitful
province into a desolate and smoking wilderness. But in the
creed of Justinian, the guilt of murder could not be applied to
the slaughter of unbelievers; and he piously labored to establish
with fire and sword the unity of the Christian faith. ^91

[Footnote 84: This alternative, a precious circumstance, is
preserved by John Malala, (tom. ii. p. 63, edit. Venet. 1733,)
who deserves more credit as he draws towards his end. After
numbering the heretics, Nestorians, Eutychians, &c., ne
expectent, says Justinian, ut digni venia judicen tur: jubemus,
enim ut ...convicti et aperti haeretici justae et idoneae
animadversioni subjiciantur. Baronius copies and applauds this
edict of the Code, (A.D. 527, No. 39, 40.)]

[Footnote 85: See the character and principles of the Montanists,
in Mosheim, Rebus Christ. ante Constantinum, p. 410 - 424.]

[Footnote 86: Theophan. Chron. p. 153. John, the Monophysite
bishop of Asia, is a more authentic witness of this transaction,
in which he was himself employed by the emperor, (Asseman. Bib.
Orient. tom. ii. p. 85.)]
[Footnote 87: Compare Procopius (Hist. Arcan. c. 28, and Aleman's
Notes) with Theophanes, (Chron. p. 190.) The council of Nice has
intrusted the patriarch, or rather the astronomers, of
Alexandria, with the annual proclamation of Easter; and we still
read, or rather we do not read, many of the Paschal epistles of
St. Cyril. Since the reign of Monophytism in Egypt, the
Catholics were perplexed by such a foolish prejudice as that
which so long opposed, among the Protestants, the reception of
the Gregorian style.]
[Footnote 88: For the religion and history of the Samaritans,
consult Basnage, Histoire des Juifs, a learned and impartial

[Footnote 89: Sichem, Neapolis, Naplous, the ancient and modern
seat of the Samaritans, is situate in a valley between the barren
Ebal, the mountain of cursing to the north, and the fruitful
Garizim, or mountain of cursing to the south, ten or eleven
hours' travel from Jerusalem. See Maundrel, Journey from Aleppo

[Footnote 90: Procop. Anecdot. c. 11. Theophan. Chron. p. 122.
John Malala Chron. tom. ii. p. 62. I remember an observation,
half philosophical. half superstitious, that the province which
had been ruined by the bigotry of Justinian, was the same through
which the Mahometans penetrated into the empire.]

[Footnote 91: The expression of Procopius is remarkable.
Anecdot. c. 13.]
With these sentiments, it was incumbent on him, at least, to
be always in the right. In the first years of his
administration, he signalized his zeal as the disciple and patron
of orthodoxy: the reconciliation of the Greeks and Latins
established the tome of St. Leo as the creed of the emperor and
the empire; the Nestorians and Eutychians were exposed. on either
side, to the double edge of persecution; and the four synods of
Nice, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, were ratified by
the code of a Catholic lawgiver. ^92 But while Justinian strove
to maintain the uniformity of faith and worship, his wife
Theodora, whose vices were not incompatible with devotion, had
listened to the Monophysite teachers; and the open or clandestine
enemies of the church revived and multiplied at the smile of
their gracious patroness. The capital, the palace, the nuptial
bed, were torn by spiritual discord; yet so doubtful was the
sincerity of the royal consorts, that their seeming disagreement
was imputed by many to a secret and mischievous confederacy
against the religion and happiness of their people. ^93 The
famous dispute of the Three Chapters, ^94 which has filled more
volumes than it deserves lines, is deeply marked with this
subtile and disingenuous spirit. It was now three hundred years
since the body of Origen ^95 had been eaten by the worms: his
soul, of which he held the preexistence, was in the hands of its
Creator; but his writings were eagerly perused by the monks of
Palestine. In these writings, the piercing eye of Justinian
descried more than ten metaphysical errors; and the primitive
doctor, in the company of Pythagoras and Plato, was devoted by
the clergy to the eternity of hell-fire, which he had presumed to
deny. Under the cover of this precedent, a treacherous blow was
aimed at the council of Chalcedon. The fathers had listened
without impatience to the praise of Theodore of Mopsuestia; ^96
and their justice or indulgence had restored both Theodore of


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