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bishops should be forth with restored to their several sees : after which he wrote letters to Athanasius (who was esteemed the principal defender of the orthodox faith at that time) desiring him to send him an exact account what the true Christian belief really, was. Athanasius being glad of this opportunity, directly convened a synod of neighbouring bishops, who drew up a letter to the following purport, which he, together with some others, was ordered to present to the emperor in the name of the asseinbly.
“ To the most religious Prince Jovian. “A mind actuated with an earnest desire after the knowledge of divine things, is highly becoming a religious prince for so shall your heart truly be in the hand of God. Forasmuch, therefore, as your piety desires to learn from us the faith of the Catholic church; we, after rendering for this our thanks to God, have resolved to Jay, before your devout mind, the faith which was pubJished by the fathers at Nice; which, some have rejected, and thereupon endeavoured, by a thousand artifices, to undermine us; because we went not along with the Arian sect, who have introduced schisms and heresies into the church. But the true and holy faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, is manifest unto all, being read in the holy scriptures: in which faith holy men have suffered mattyrdom, and are now at rest in the Lord. But a certain
, , serting, that the Son of God was a creature, and made out of notiring, our said Nicene fathers being assembled together, condemned the Arian heresy, and eonsigned to writing a confession of their faith; which being every where published, extinguished the heresy aforesaid ; and this faith is every where known and preached throughout all the churches in all the world, namely, by those of Spain, Britain, Gaul, Italy, Campania, Dalmatia, Dacia, Mysia, Macedonia, and all Achaia; by those of Africa, Sardinia, Cyprus, Cretë, Pamphylia, Lycia,: Isauria, Egypt, Lybia, Pontus; and Galatia, and in short, by all the churches in the east, a few only excepted, who embraced the sentiments of Arius. The opinions of all the churches above-mentioned we are able to produce, having their letters by us. Now, that your piety may know what the faith published by the 318 fathers at Nice really was, we have sent you their confession, which is as follows ?
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things, visible and invisible: and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten, begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance of the Father: God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten, nut made, substantial with the Father, by whom all things were made, things in heaven and things on earth : who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate, and became man, suffered and rose again the third day, and ascended into the heavens, and will come to judge the quick and dead : and in the Holy Ghost. And the catholic and apostolic church does anathematize those persons who say, that there was a time when He, the Son of God, was not : that he was not before he was born; that he was made of nothing, or of another substance or being ; or that he is created, or changeable, or convertible.
“ In this faith, Sir, we ought to continue, as being divine and apostolical; nor may any man alter it by plausible pretences, or sophistical reasoning, as the Arians have done; who affirin, that the Son of God was made out of nothing. But the council condemned that heresy, and affirmed him to be consubstantial with the Father, which is the property of a true genuine son, begotten of a true natural father. Nor did they separate the Holy Ghost, from the Father and the Son, but rather glorified him together with them; there being but one Godhead in the Holy Trinity.”
The emperor having perused this epistle, Athanasius was honourably dismissed by him, with great commendations of his wisdom and virtue, his integrity and piety.
After Jovian had governed the empire for the space of eight months, he departed this life, and was succeeded by Valentinian, who made his brother Valens his partner in the government. This Valens being an Arian, and the eastern provinces falling to his share, he issued out orders, that all the orthodox bishops in those parts, who had been banished by Constantius, and restored by Jovian, should be driven again from their respective churches. In consequence of this order, Athanasius was obliged to retire once more; but after about four months absence, on the intercession of his own people, he was allowed by the emperor to return again, and with them he continued the remainder of his life ; for being full of years, and broken with labours and hardships, he departed this life
Vol. VIII. Churchm. Mag. June 1805. ' 3G about
about the year 373, having been bishop of Alexandria forty-six years. Thus the great St. Athanasius, after all his various conflicts with the enemies of his God and Saviour, at length ended his days in peace among his own people.
He was a person of very strong natural parts, being en. dowed with a piercing wit and solid judgment, both which were heightened by acquired instruction. He was well acquainted with the holy scripture of both testa ments, and likewise with the sentiments of the catholic fathers of the Christian church. His piety was great and unfeigned, and his courage in defending the truth unconquerable. He was a most profound divine, an excellent preacher, and a prudent governor. To the poor he was an'unwearied benefactor, an husband to widows, and a father to orphans. It is said concerning him by Nazi
“ that to commend Athanasius, was to commend virtue itself; the course of his life being such, as caused it to be esteemed a kind of pattern for those of the episcopal function to follow : yet, notwithstanding his great qualities, he was of a very humble mind, easy of access, and courteous to all. He was undoubtedly, hoth by his understanding and resolution, the principal pillar and support of the true catholic faith in the times in which he lived; which, as it caused him to be very highly esteened then, will also render his name venerable to the latest posterity."
Arius (whose false doctrines he so strenuously opposed) was a presbyter of Alexandria, and, it is said, was possessed of a tolerable good understanding, and some learning; but being disappointed in his expectation of succeeding to that bishopric on the decease of Achillas, he set on foot his heresy, affirming, “ that our Saviour was a mere creature," in opposition to Alexander, who was chosen in his stead; and great disturbances arising in consequence of his new opinions, the emperor Constantine was constrained to call a general council, in order to have them examined. This assembly, which consisted of 318 bishops, besides a vast number of presbyters and deacons, met at Nice in Bythinia, and, after a careful examination, conden ned the tenets of Arius; and, on his ' refusing to retract them, he was; by the emperor, sent into banishment, but, after he had been some time in exile, he got some of his party to insinuate at court
that that he had been misrepresented.. On which,' being res called, and brought before the emperor, he exhibited à confession of faith drawn up in seemingly orthodox terms, and, at the same time, called the searcher of hearts to witness, that that paper contained his real opinions. Being in consequence hereof restored to the favour of Constantine, an order was sent to Alexander, bishop of Constantinople to admit him to communion : but that prelate, being firmly persuaded that Arius was insincere, refused to comply with the injunction : whereupon the partizans of Arianism made preparation to introduce him into the church by force of arms the next day : but, as they were going along, he was suddenly seized with a pain in his belly, and going to a privy hard by, it is said, he voided all his bowels, and died upon the spot.
Practical Discourses by Thomas A KEMPIS.
Translated by Bishop HORNE.
Of bearing with the defects of others. 1. E not offended at the spots which you will often
times discover in the characters of your religious acquaintance; nor wonder if some fall away, and others grow lukewarm and careless, through the daily temptations of the adversary. For there is nothing extraordi. Bary in all this; nothing but what hath happened in all ages, through ibe infirmity of the flesh. Wild and thoughtless, are we all by nature, like horse and mule that have no understanding; our mouths must be held with the bit and bridle of wholesoine discipline, and thereby we must be fastened to the tree of life, the cross of the holy JESUS: Otherwise by living to ourselves, and after the desires of our own hearts we shall turn aside quickly from the right way, which leadeth through the straight gate to the king.
do:n of heaven. Let us therefore pray for each other, that God would vouchsafe to strengthen and comfort us in all our tribulations and temptations, and to preserve us from being molested and deceived by the enemy, who goeth about seeking whom he may devour, and by what means he may draw a sout from the church to the world, and from thence to the pit of destruction. From those regions of eternal horror there is no hope of redemption : there wretched spirits seek for death, and find it not: there they are torinented day and night, because here they would not repent, but suffered their precious hours to pass unprofitably away.
2. Let us not look for ease and indulgence of the flesh in a world where we ought to be doing penance for our sins, by all the holy arts of' mortification and self denial. Thus much is certain, that wheresoever we are, and whatsoever we do, in order to shift off the load that lieth upon us, we shall find no rest, no comfort, until we turn unto the Lord our God with "sorrow and contrition of heart for the sins that are past, and with full purpose of amendment of life; that so we may escape from the wrath to come. The life of Christ and the examples of the Saints all conspire to teach us, that happiness upon earth consists in neekly and patiently enduring thuse evils, out of the reach of which no journeys by land, no voyages by sea can carry us." Jonah tried the experiment. He would have fled from the face of the Lord. He put himself aboard a ship, and there sought for rest but found none. He closed his eyes indeed, but was soon called upon to open them, to behold the wares raised against him by the breath of the Almighty. The lot discovered him, where he thought himself sufficiently concealed : and for his disobedience he was committed to a new and strange prison, being entombed alive in the belly of a whale: destitute of all help from man, he cried unto the lord, and was delivered, having been fully instructed in this salutary truth, that it is impossible tu escape the hand of God, and that in obedience to the divine commands consisteth the felicity of man. not therefore think of flying from those difficulties and troubles which arise in our Christian course, through the folly and perverseness of those about us : but let us stand firin, contend manfully; obey readily, pray frequently, labour diligently, and willingly keep silence; let us bear all things patiently for the sake of Christ, as holy men