History of the Arians

by Athanasius
From: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2815.ht

Part IV



28. But the inheritors of the opinions and impiety of Eusebius and his
fellows, the eunuch Leontius[1], who ought not to remain in communion even as
a layman[2], because he mutilated himself that he might henceforward be at
liberty to sleep with one Eustolium, who is a wife as far as he is concerned,
but is called a virgin; and George and Acacius, and Theodorus, and Narcissus,
who are deposed by the Council; when they heard and saw these things, were
greatly ashamed. And when they perceived the unanimity and peace that existed
between Athanasius and the Bishops (they were more than four hundred 3, from
great Rome, and all Italy, from Calabria, Apulia, Campania, Bruttia, Sicily,
Sardinia, Corsica, and the whole of Africa; and those from Gaul, Britain, and
Spain, with the great Confessor Hosius; and also those from Pannonia, Noricum,
Siscia, Dalmatia, Dardania, Dacia, Moesia, Macedonia, Thessaly, and all
Achaia, and from Crete, Cyprus, and Lycia, with most of those from Palestine,
Isauria, Egypt, the Thebais, the whole of Libya, and Pentapolis); when I say
they perceived these things, they were possessed with envy and fear; with
envy, on account of the communion of so many together; and with fear, lest
those who had been entrapped by them should be brought over by the unanimity
of so great a number, and henceforth their heresy should be triumphantly
exposed, and everywhere proscribed.

29. Relapse of Ursacius and Valens.

First of all they persuade Ursacius, Valens and their fellows to change
sides again, and like dogs[4] to return to their own vomit, and like swine to
wallow again in the former mire of their impiety; and they make this excuse
for their retractation, that they did it through fear of the most religious
Constans. And yet even had there been cause for fear, yet if they had
confidence in what they had done, they ought not to have become traitors to
their friends. But when there was no cause for fear, and yet they were guilty
of a lie, are they not deserving of utter condemnation? For no soldier was
present, no Palatine or Notary[5] had been sent, as they now send them, nor
yet was the Emperor there, nor had they been invited by any one, when they
wrote their recantation. But they voluntarily went up to Rome, and of their
own accord recanted and wrote it down in the Church, where there was no fear
from without, where the only fear is the fear of God, and where every one has
liberty of conscience. And yet although they have a second time become Arians,
and then have devised this unseemly excuse for their conduct, they are still
without shame.

30. Constantius changes sides again.

In the next place they went in a body to the Emperor Constantius, and
besought him, saying, 'When we first made our request to you, we were not
believed; for we told you, when you sent for Athanasius, that by inviting him
to come forward, you are expelling our heresy. For he has been opposed to it
from the very first, and never ceases to anathematize it. He has already
written letters against us into all parts of the world, and the majority of
men have embraced communion with him; and


even of those who seemed to be on our side, some have been gained over by him,
and others are likely to be. And we are left alone, so that the fear is, lest
the character of our heresy become known, and henceforth both we and you gain
the name of heretics. And if this come to pass, you must take care that we be
not classed with the Manich'ans. Therefore begin again to persecute, and
support the heresy, for it accounts you its king.' Such was the language of
their iniquity. And the Emperors when in his passage through the country on
his hasty march against Magnentius[6], he saw the communion of the Bishops
with Athanasius, like one set on fire, suddenly changed his mind, and no
longer remembered his oaths but was alike forgetful of what he had written and
regardless of the duty he owed his brother. For in his letters to him, as well
as in his interview with Athanasius, he took oaths that he would not act
otherwise than as the people should wish, and as should be agreeable to the
Bishops. But his zeal for impiety caused him at once to forget all these
things. And yet one ought not to wonder that after so many letters and so many
oaths Constantius had altered his mind, when we remember that Pharaoh of old
the tyrant of Egypt, after frequently promising and by that means obtaining a
remission of his punishments, likewise changed, until he at last perished
together with his associates.

31. Constantius begins to persecute.

He compelled then the people in every city to change their party; and on
arriving at Aries and Milan[7], he proceeded to act entirely in accordance
with the designs and suggestions of the heretics; or rather they acted
themselves, and receiving authority from him, furiously attacked every one.
Letters and orders were immediately sent hither to the Prefect, that for the
future the corn should be taken from Athanasius and given to those who
favoured the Arian doctrines, and that whoever pleased might freely insult
them that held communion with him; and the magistrates were threatened if they
did not hold communion with the Arians. These things were but the prelude to
what afterwards took place under the direction of the Duke Syrianus. Orders
were sent also to the more distant parts, and Notaries despatched to every
city, and Palatines, with threats to the Bishops and Magistrates, directing
the Magistrates to urge on the Bishops, and informing the Bishops that either
they must subscribe against Athanasius, and hold communion with the Arians, or
themselves undergo the punishment of exile, while the people who took part
with them were to understand that chains, and insults, and scourgings, and the
loss of their possessions, would be their portion. These orders were not
neglected, for the commissioners had in their company the Clergy of Ursacius
and Valens, to inspire them with zeal, and to inform the Emperor if the
Magistrates neglected their duty. The other heresies, as younger sisters of
their own[8], they permitted to blaspheme the Lord, and only conspired against
the Christians, not enduring to hear orthodox language concerning Christ. How
many Bishops in consequence, according to the words of Scripture, were brought
before rulers and kings[9], and received this sentence from magistrates,
'Subscribe, or withdraw from your churches, for the Emperor has commanded you
to be deposed! 'How many in every city were roughly handled, lest they should
accuse them as friends of the Bishops! Moreover letters were sent to the city
authorities, and a threat of a fine was held out to them, if they did not
compel the Bishops of their respective cities to subscribe. In short, every
place and every city was full of fear and confusion, while the Bishops were
dragged along to trial, and the magistrates witnessed the lamentations and
groans of the people.

32. Persecution by Constantius.

Such were the proceedings of the Palatine commissioners; on the other
hand, those admirable persons, confident in the patronage which they had
obtained, display great zeal, and cause some of the Bishops to be summoned
before the Emperor, while they persecute others by letters, inventing charges
against them; to the intent that the one might be overawed by the presence of
Constantius, and the other, through fear of the commissioners and the threats
held out to them in these pretended accusations, might be brought to renounce
their orthodox and pious opinions. In this manner it was that the Emperor
forced so great a multitude of Bishops, partly by threats, and partly by
promises, to declare, 'We will no longer hold communion with Athanasius.' For
those who came for an interview, were not admitted to his presence, nor
allowed any relaxation, not so much as to go out of their dwellings, until
they had either subscribed, or refused and incurred banishment thereupon. And
this he did because he saw that the heresy was hateful to all men. For this
reason especially he compelled so many to add their names to the small
number[1] of the Arians, his earnest desire being to collect together a crowd
of names, both from

Please choose an option.


envy of the Bishop, and for the sake of making a shew in favour of the Arian
impiety, of which he is the patron; supposing that he will be able to alter
the truth, as easily as he can influence the minds of men. He knows not, nor
has ever read, how that the Sadducees and the Herodians, taking unto them the
Pharisees, were not able to obscure the truth; rather it shines out thereby
more brightly every day, while they crying out, 'We have no king but
C'sar[2],' and obtaining the judgment of Pilate in their favour, are
nevertheless left destitute, and wait in utter shame, expecting shortly[3] to
become bereft, like the partridge[4], when they shall see their patron near
his death.

33. Persecution is from the Devil

Now if it was altogether unseemly in any of the Bishops to change their
opinions merely from fear of these things, yet it was much more so, and not
the part of men who have confidence in what they believe, to force and compel
the unwilling. In this manner it is that the Devil, when he has no truth on
his sides, attacks and breaks down the doors of them that admit him with axes
and hammers[6]. But our Saviour is so gentle that He teaches thus, 'If any man
wills to come after Me,' and, 'Whoever wills to be My disciple[7];' and coming
to each He does not force them, but knocks at the door and says, 'Open unto
Me, My sister, My spouse[8];' and if they open to Him, He enters in, but if
they delay and will not, He departs from them. For the truth is not preached
with swords or with darts, nor by means of soldiers; but by persuasion and
counsel. But what persuasion is there where fear of the Emperor prevails? or
what counsel is there, when he who withstands them receives at last banishment
and death? Even David, although he was a king, and had his enemy in his power,
prevented not the soldiers by an exercise of authority when they wished to
kill his enemy, but, as the Scripture says, David persuaded his men by
arguments, and suffered them not to rise up and put Saul to death[1]. But he,
being without arguments of reason, forces all men by his power, that it may be
shewn to all, that their wisdom is not according to God, but merely human, and
that they who favour the Arian doctrines have indeed no king but Caesar; for
by his means it is that these enemies of Christ accomplish whatsoever they
wish to do. But while they thought that they were carrying on their designs
against many by his means, they knew not that they were making many to be
confessors, of whom are those who have lately[2] made so glorious a
confession, religious men, and excellent Bishops, Paulinus[3] Bishop of
Treveri, the metropolis of the Gauls, Lucifer, Bishop of the metropolis of
Sardinia, Eusebius of Vercelli in Italy, and Dionysius of Milan, which is the
metropolis of Italy. These the Emperor summoned before him, and commanded them
to subscribe against Athanasius, and to hold communion with the heretics; and
when they were astonished at this novel procedure, and said that there was no
Ecclesiastical Canon to this effect, he immediately said, 'Whatever I will, be
that esteemed a Canon; the "Bishops" of Syria let me thus speak. Either then
obey, or go into banishment.'

34. Banishment of the Western Bishops spread the knowledge of the truth.

When the Bishops heard this they were utterly amazed, and stretching forth
their hands to God, they used great boldness of speech against him teaching
him that the kingdom was not his, but God's, who had given it to him, Whom
also they bid him fear, lest He should suddenly take it away from him. And
they threatened him with the day of judgment, and warned him against
infringing Ecclesiastical order, and mingling Roman sovereignty with the
constitution[4] of the Church, and against introducing the Arian heresy into
the Church of God. But he would not listen to them, nor permit them to speak
further, but threatened them so much the more, and drew his sword against
them, and gave orders for some of them to be led to execution; although
afterwards, like Pharaoh, he repented. The holy men therefore shaking off the
dust, and looking up to God, neither feared the threats of the Emperor, nor
betrayed their cause before his drawn sword; but received their banishment, as
a service pertaining to their ministry. And as they passed along, they
preached the Gospel in every place and city[5], although they were in bonds,
proclaiming the orthodox faith, anathematizing the Arian heresy, and
stigmatizing the recantation of Ursacius and Valens. But this was contrary to
the intention of their enemies; for the greater was the distance of their
place of banishment, so much the more was the hatred against them increased,
while the wanderings of these men were but the heralding of their impiety. For
who that saw them as they passed along, did not greatly admire them


as Confessors, and renounce and abominate the others, calling them not only
impious men, but executioners and murderers, and everything rather than
Christians ?



35. Now it had been better if from the first Constantius had never become
connected with this heresy at all; or being connected with it if he had not
yielded so much to those impious men; or having yielded to them, if he had
stood by them only thus far, so that judgment might come upon them all for
these atrocities alone. But as it would seem, like madmen, having fixed
themselves in the bonds of impiety, they are drawing down upon their own heads
a more severe judgment. Thus from the first[1] they spared not even Liberius,
Bishop of Rome, but extended[2] their fury even to those parts; they
respected not his bishopric, because it was an Apostolical throne; they felt
no reverence for Rome, because she is the Metropolis of Romania[3]; they
remembered not that formerly in their letters they had spoken of her Bishops
as Apostolical men. But confounding all things together, they at once forgot
everything, and cared only to shew their zeal in behalf of impiety. When they
perceived that he was an orthodox man and hated the Arian heresy, and
earnestly endeavoured to persuade all persons to renounce and withdraw from it
these impious men reasoned thus with themselves: 'If we can persuade Liberius,
we shall soon prevail over all.' Accordingly they accused him falsely before
the Emperor; and he, expecting easily to draw over all men to his side by
means of Liberius, writes to him, and sends a certain eunuch called Eusebius
with letters and offerings, to cajole him with the presents, and to threaten
him with the letters. The eunuch accordingly went to Rome, and first proposed
to Liberius to subscribe against Athanasius, and to hold communion with the
Arians, saying, 'The Emperor wishes it, and commands you to do so.' And then
shewing him the offerings, he took him by the hand, and again besought him
saying, 'Obey the Emperor, and receive these.'

36. The Eunuch Eusebius attempts Liberius

in vain.

But the Bishop endeavoured to convince him, reasoning with him thus: 'How
is it possible for me to do this against Athanasius? how can we condemn a man,
whom not one Council only, but a seconds assembled from all parts of the
world, has fairly acquitted, and whom the Church of the Romans dismissed in
peace? who will approve of our conduct, if we reject in his absence one, whose
presence[6] amongst us we gladly welcomed, and admitted him to our communion?
This is no Ecclesiastical Canon; nor have we had transmitted to us any such
tradition[7] from the Fathers, who in their turn received from the great and
blessed Apostle Peter s. But if the Emperor is really concerned for the peace
of the Church, if he requires our letters respecting Athanasius to be
reversed, let their proceedings both against him and against all the others be
reversed also; and then let an Ecclesiastical Council be called at a distance
from the Court, at which the Emperor shall not be present, nor any Count be
admitted, nor magistrate to threaten us, but where only the fear of God and
the Apostolical rule 9 shall prevail; that so in the first place, the faith of
the Church may be secure, as the Fathers defined it in the Council of Nic'a,
and the supporters of the Arian doctrines may be cast out, and their heresy
anathematized. And then after that, an enquiry being made into the charges
brought against Athanasius, and any other besides, as well as into those
things of which the other party is accused, let the culprits be cast out, and
the innocent receive encouragement and support. For it is impossible that they
who maintain an impious creed can be admitted as members of a Council: nor is
it fit that an enquiry into matters of conduct should precede the enquiry
concerning the faith[1]; but all diversity of opinions on points of faith
ought first to be eradicated, and then the enquiry made into matters of
conduct. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not heal them that were afflicted, until
they shewed and declared what faith they had in Him. These things we have
received from the Fathers; these report to the Emperor; for they are both
profitable for him and edifying to the Church. But let not Ursacius and Valens
be listened to, for they have retracted their former assertions, and in what
they now say they are not to be trusted.'


37. Liberius refuses the Emperors offering.

These were the words of the Bishop Liberius. And the eunuch, who was
vexed, not so much because he would not subscribe as because he found him an
enemy to the heresy, forgetting that he was in the presence of a Bishop, after
threatening him severely, went away with the offerings; and next commits an
offence, which is foreign to a Christian, and too audacious for a eunuch. In
imitation of the transgression of Saul, he went to the Martyry[2] of the
Apostle Peter, and then presented the offerings. But Liberius having notice of
it, was very angry with the person who kept the place, that he had not
prevented him, and cast out the offerings as an unlawful sacrifice, which
increased the anger of the mutilated creature against him. Consequently he
exasperates the Emperor against him, saying, 'The matter that concerns us is
no longer the obtaining the subscription of Liberius, but the fact that he is
so resolutely opposed to the heresy, that he anathematizes the Arians by
name.' He also stirs up the other eunuchs to say the same; for many of those
who were about Constantius, or rather the whole number of them, are eunuchs 3,
who engross all the influence with him, and it is impossible to do anything
there without them. The Emperor accordingly writes to Rome, and again
Palatines, and Notaries, and Counts are sent off with letters to the Prefect,
in order that either they may inveigle Liberius by stratagem away from Rome
and send him to the Court to him, or else persecute him by violence.

38. The evil influence of Eunuchs at Court.

Such being the tenor of the letters, there also fear and treachery
forthwith became rife throughout the whole city. How many were the families
against which threats were held out! How many received great promises on
condition of their acting against Liberius! How many Bishops hid themselves
when they saw these things! How many noble women retired to country places in
consequence of the, calumnies of the enemies of Christ! How many ascetics were
made the objects of their plots I How many who were sojourning there, and had
made that place their home, did they cause to be persecuted! How often and how
strictly did they guard the harbour[4] and the approaches to the gates, lest
any orthodox person should enter and visit Liberius! Rome also had trial of
the enemies of Christ, and now experienced what be(ore she would not believe,
when she heard how the other Churches in every city were ravaged by them. It
was the eunuchs who instigated these proceedings against all. And the most
remarkable circumstance in the matter is this; that the Arian heresy which
denies the Son of God, receives its support from eunuchs, who, as both their
bodies are fruitless, and their souls barren of virtue, cannot bear even to
hear the name of son. The Eunuch of Ethiopia indeed, though he understood not
what he reads, believed the words of Philip, when he taught him concerning the
Saviour; but the eunuchs of Constantius cannot endure the confession of
Peter[6], nay, they turn away when the Father manifests the Son, and madly
rage against those who say, that the Son of God is His genuine Son, thus
claiming as a heresy of eunuchs, that there is no genuine and true offspring
of the Father. On these grounds it is that the law forbids such persons to be
admitted into any ecclesiastical Council[7]; notwithstanding which they have
now regarded these as competent judges of ecclesiastical causes, and whatever
seems good to them, that Constantius decrees, while men with the name of
Bishops dissemble with them. Oh! who shall be their historian? who shall
transmit the record of these things to another generation? who indeed would
believe it, were he to hear it, that eunuchs who are scarcely entrusted with
household services (for theirs is a pleasure-loving race, that has no serious
concern but that of hindering in others what nature has taken from them); that
these, I say, now exercise authority in ecclesiastical matters, and that
Constantius in submission to their will treacherously conspired against all,
and banished Liberius!

39. Liberius's speech to Constantius.

For after the Emperor had frequently written to Rome, had threatened, sent
commissioners, devised schemes, on the persecution[7a] subsequently breaking
out at Alexandria, Liberius is dragged before him, and uses great boldness of
speech towards him. 'Cease,' he said, 'to persecute the Christians; attempt
not by my means to introduce impiety into the Church. We are ready to suffer
anything rather than to be called Arian madmen. We are Christians; compel us
not to become enemies of Christ. We also give you this counsel: fight not
against Him who gave you this empire, nor show impiety towards Him instead of


ness[8]; persecute not them that believe in Him, lest you also hear the words,
'It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks[9].' Nay, I would that you
might hear them, that you might obey, as the holy Paul did. Behold, here we
are; we are come, before they fabricate charges. For this cause we hastened
hither, knowing that banishment awaits us at your hands, that we might suffer
before a charge encounters us, add that all may clearly see that all the
others too have suffered as we shall suffer, and that the charges brought
against them were fabrications of their enemies, and all their proceedings
were mere calumny and falsehood.'

40. Banishment of Liberius anal others.

These were the words of Liberius at that time, and he was admired by all
men for them. But the Emperor instead of answering[9a], only gave orders for
their banishment, separating each of them from the rest, as he had done in the
former cases. For he had himself devised this plan in the banishments which he
inflicted, that so the severity of his punishments might be greater than that
of former tyrants and persecutors[1]. In the former persecution Maximian, who
was then Emperor, commanded a number of Confessors to be banished together[2],
and thus lightened their punishment by the consolation which he gave them in
each other's society. But this man was more savage than he; he separated those
who had spoken boldly and confessed together, he put asunder those who were
united by the bond of faith, that when they came to die they might not see one
another; thinking that bodily separation can disunite also the affections of
the mind, and that being severed from each other, they would forget the
concord and unanimity which existed among them. He knew not that however each
one may remain a apart from the rest, he has nevertheless with him that Lord,
whom they confessed in one body together, who will also provide (as he did in
the case of the Prophet Elisha[4]) that more shall be with each of them, than
there are soldiers with Constantius. Of a truth iniquity is blind I for in
that they thought to afflict the Confessors, by separating them from one
another, they rather brought thereby a great injury upon themselves. For had
they continued in each other's company, and abode together, the pollutions of
those impious men would have been proclaimed from one place only; but now by
putting them asunder, they have made their impious heresy and wickedness to
spread abroad and become known in every place s.

41. Lapse of Liberius.

Who that shall hear what they did in the course of these proceedings will
not think them to be anything rather than Christians? When Liberius sent
Eutropius, a Presbyter, and Hilarius, a Deacon, with letters to the Emperor,
at the time that LuciFer and his fellows made their confession, they banished
the Presbyter on the spot, and after stripping Hilarius[6] the Deacon and
scourging him on the back, they banished him too, clamouring at him, 'Why
didst thou not resist Liberius instead of being the bearer of letters from
him.' Ursacius and Valens, with the eunuchs who sided with them, were the
authors of this outrage. The Deacon, while he was being scourged, praised the
Lord, remembering His words, 'I gave My back to the smiters[7];' but they
while they scourged him laughed and mocked him, feeling no shame that they
were insulting a Levitt. Indeed they acted but consistently in laughing while
he continued to praise God; for it is the part of Christians to endure
stripes, but to scourge Christians is the outrage of a Pilate or a Caiaphas.
Thus they endeavoured at the first to corrupt the Church of the Romans,
wishing to introduce impiety into it as well i as others. But Liberius after
he had been gin banishment two years gave way, and from fear of threatened
death subscribed. Yet even this only shews their violent conduct, and the
hatred of Liberius against the heresy, and his support of Athanasius, so long
as he was suffered to exercise a free choice. For that which men are forced by
torture to do contrary to their first judgment, ought not to be considered the
willing deed of those who are in fear, but rather of their tormentors. They
however attempted everything in support of their heresy, while the people in
every Church, preserving the faith which they had learnt, waited for the
return of their teachers, and condemned the Antichristian heresy, and all
avoid it, as they would a serpent.



42. But although they had done all this, yet these impious men thought
they had accomplished nothing, so long as the great Hosius escaped their
wicked machinations. And now


they undertook to extend their fury[1] to that great old man. They felt no
shame at the thought that he is the father[2] of the Bishops; they regarded
not that he had been a Confessor[3]; they reverenced not the length of his
Episcopate, in which he had continued more than sixty years; but they set
aside everything, and looked only to the interests of their heresy, as being
of a truth such as neither fear God, nor regard man[4]. Accordingly they went
to Constantius, and again employed such arguments as the following: 'We have
done everything; we have banished the Bishop of the Romans; and before him a
very great number of other Bishops, and have filled every place with alarm.
But these strong measures of yours are as nothing to us, nor is our success at
all more secure, so long as Hosius remains. While he is in his own place, the
rest also continue in their Churches, for he is able by his arguments and his
faith to persuade all men against us. He is the president of Councils[5], and
his letters are everywhere attended to. He it was who put forth the Nicene
Confession, and proclaimed everywhere that the Arians were heretics. If
therefore he is suffered to remain, the banishment of the rest is of no avail,
for our heresy will be destroyed. Begin then to persecute him also and spare
him not, ancient as he is. Our heresy knows not to honour even the hoary hairs
of the aged.'

43. Brave resistance of Hosius.

Upon hearing this, the Emperor no longer delayed, but knowing the man, and
the dignity of his years, wrote to summon him. This was when he first[6] began
his attempt upon Liberius. Upon his arrival he desired him, and urged him with
the usual arguments, with which he thought also to deceive the others, that
he would subscribe against us, and hold! communion with the Arians. But the
old man, scarcely bearing to hear the words, and grieved that he had even
ventured to utter such a proposal, severely rebuked him, and after gaining his
consent, withdrew to his own country and Church. But the heretics still
complaining, and instigating him to proceed (he had the eunuchs also to remind
him and to urge him further), the Emperor again wrote in threatening terms but
still Hosius, while he endured their insults was unmoved by any fear of their
designs against him, and remaining firm to his purpose, as one who had built
the house of his faith upon the rock, he spake boldly against the heresy,
regarding the threats held out to him in the letters but as drops of rain and
blasts of wind. And although Constantius wrote frequently, sometimes
flattering him with the title of Father, and sometimes threatening and
recounting the names of those who had been banished, and saying, 'Will you
continue the only person to oppose the heresy? Be persuaded and subscribe
against Athanasius; for whoever subscribes against him thereby embraces with
us the Arian cause;' still Hosius remained fearless, and while suffering these
insults, wrote an answer in such terms as these. We have read the letter,
which is placed at the end[7].

44. 'Hosius to Constantius the Emperor sends health in the Lord.

I was a Confessor at the first, when a persecution arose in the time of
your grandfather Maximian; and if you shall persecute me, I am ready now, too,
to endure anything rather than to shed innocent blood and to betray the truth.
But I cannot approve of your conduct in writing after this threatening manner.
Cease to write thus; adopt not the cause of Arius, nor listen to those in the
East, nor give credit to Ursacius, Valens and their fellows. For whatever they
assert, it is not on account of Athanasius, but for the sake of their own
heresy. Believe my statement, O Constantius, who am of an age to be your
grandfather. I was present at the Council of Sardica, when you and your
brother Constans of blessed memory assembled us all together; and on my own
account I challenged the enemies of Athanasius, when they came to the church
where I abode[8], that if they had anything against him they might declare it;
desiring them to have confidence, and not to expect otherwise than that a
right judgment would be passed in all things. This I did once and again,
requesting them, if they were unwilling to appear before the whole Council,
yet to appear before me alone; promising them also, that if he should be
proved guilty, he should certainly be rejected by us; but if he should be
found to be blameless, and should prove them to be calumniators, that if they
should then refuse to hold communion with him, I would persuade him to go with
me into the Spains. Athanasias was willing to comply with these conditions,
and made no objection to my proposal; but they, altogether distrusting their
cause, would not consent. And on another occasion Athanasius came to your
Court[9], when you wrote for him, and his enemies being at the time in
Antioch, he requested that they might be summoned either altogether or
separately, in order that they might either con-


vict him, or be convicted[10], and might either in his presence prove him to
be what they represented, or cease to accuse him when absent. To this proposal
also you would not listen, and they equally rejected it. Why then do you still
give ear to them that speak evil of him? How can you endure Valens and
Ursacius, although they have retracted and made a written confession of their
calumnies[1]? For it is not true, as they pretend, that they were forced to
confess; there were no soldiers at hand to influence them your brother was not
cognizant of the matter[2]. No, such things were not done under his
government, as are done now; God forbid. But they voluntarily went up to Rome,
and in the presence of the Bishop and Presbyters wrote their recantation,
having previously addressed to Athanasius a friendly and peaceable letter. And
if they pretend that force was employed towards them, and acknowledge that
this is an evil thing, which you also disapprove of; then do you cease to use
force; write no letters, send no Counts; but release those that have been
banished, lest while you are complaining of violence, they do but exercise
greater violence. When was any such thing done by Constans? What Bishop
suffered banishment? When did he appear as arbiter of an Ecclesiastical trial?
When did any Palatine of his compel men to subscribe against any one, that
Valens and his fellows should be able to affirm this? Cease these proceedings,
I beseech you, and remember that you are a mortal man. Be afraid of the day of
judgment, and keep yourself pure thereunto. Intrude not yourself into
Ecclesiastical matters, neither give commands unto us concerning them; but
learn them from us. God has put into your hands the kingdom; to us He has
entrusted the affairs of His Church; and as he who would steal the empire from
you would resist the ordinance of God, so likewise fear on your part lest by
taking upon yourself the government of the Church, you become guilty of a
great offence. It is written, "Render unto C'sar the things that are C'sar's,
and unto God the things that are God's[3]." Neither therefore is it permitted
unto us to exercise an earthly rule, nor have you, Sire, any authority to burn
incense[4]. These things I write unto you out of a concern for your salvation.
With regard to the subject of your letters, this is my determination; I will
not unite myself to the Arians; I anathematize their heresy. Neither will I
subscribe against, Athanasius, whom both we and the Church of the Romans and
the whole Council pronounced to be guiltless. And yourself also, when you
understood this, sent for the man, and gave him permission to return with
honour to his country and his Church. What reason then can there be for so
great a change in your conduct? The same persons who were his enemies before,
are so now also; and the things they now whisper to his prejudice (for they do
not declare them openly in his presence), the same they spoke against him,
before you sent for him; the same they spread abroad concerning him when they
come to the Council. And when I required them to come forward, as I have
before said, they were unable to produce their proofs; had they possessed any,
they would not have fled so disgracefully. Who then persuaded you so long
after to forget your own letters and declarations? Forbear, and be not
influenced by evil men, lest while you act for the mutual advantage of
yourself and them, you render yourself responsible, For here you comply with
their desires, hereafter in the judgment you will have to answer for doing so
alone. These men desire by your means to injure their enemy, and wish to make
you the minister of their wickedness, in order that through your help they may
sow the seeds s of their accursed heresy in the Church. Now it is not a
prudent thing to cast one's self into manifest danger for the pleasure of
others. Cease then, I beseech you, O Constantius, and be persuaded by me.
These things it becomes me to write, and you not to despise.'

45. Lapse of Hosius, due to cruel persecution.

Such were the sentiments, and such the letter, of the Abraham-like old
man, Hosius, truly so called[6]. But the Emperor desisted not from his
designs, nor ceased to seek an occasion against him; but continued to threaten
him severely, with a view either to bring him over by force, or to banish him
if he refused to comply. And as the Officers and Satraps of Babylon[7],
seeking an occasion against Daniel, found none except in the law of his God;
so likewise these present Satraps of impiety were unable to invent any charge
against the old man (for this true Hosius, and his blameless life were known
to all), except the charge of hatred to their heresy. They


therefore proceeded to accuse him; though not under the same circumstances as
those others accused Daniel to Darius, for Darius was grieved to hear the
charge, but as Jezebel accused Naboth, and as the Jews applied themselves to
Herod. And they said, 'He not only will not subscribe against Athanasius, but
also on his account condemns us; and his hatred to the heresy is so great,
that he also writes to others, that they should rather suffer death, than
become traitors to the truth. For, he says, our beloved Athanasius also is
persecuted for the Truth's sake, and Liberius, Bishop of Rome, and all the
rest, are treacherously assailed.' When this patron of impiety, and Emperor of
heresy[8], Constantius, heard this, and especially that there were others also
in the Spains of the same mind as Hosius, after he had tempted them also to
subscribe, and was unable to compel them to do so, he sent for Hosius, and
instead of banishing him, detained him a whole year in Sirmium. Godless,
unholy, without natural affection, he feared not God, he regarded not his
father's affection for Hosius, he reverenced not his great age, for he was now
a hundred years old[9]; but all these things this modern Ahab, this second
Belshazzar of our times, disregarded for the sake of impiety. He used such
violence towards the old man, and confined him so straitly, that at last,
broken by suffering, he was brought, though hardly, to hold communion with
Valens, Ursacius, and their fellows, though he would not subscribe against
Athanasius. Yet even thus he forgot not his duty, for at the approach of
death, as it were by his last testament, he bore witness to the force which
had been used towards him, and anathematized the Arian heresy, and gave strict
charge that no one should receive it.

46. Arbitrary expulsion of so many bishops.

Who that witnessed these things, or that has merely heard of them, will
not be greatly amazed, and cry aloud unto the Lord, saying, 'Wilt Thou make a
full end of Israel[10]?' Who that is acquainted with these proceedings, will
not with good reason cry out and say, 'A wonderful and horrible thing is done
in the land;' and, 'The heavens are astonished at this, and the earth is even
more horribly afraid[11].' The fathers of the people and the teachers of the
faith are taken away, and the impious are brought into the Churches? Who that
saw when Liberius, Bishop of Rome, was banished, and when the great Hosius,
the father" of the Bishops, suffered these things, or who that saw so many
Bishops banished out of Spain and the other parts, could fail to perceive,
however little sense he might possess, that the charges[13] against Athanasius
also and the rest were false, and altogether mere calumny? For this reason
those others also endured all suffering, because they saw plainly that the
conspiracies laid against these were founded in falsehood. For what charge was
there against Liberius? or what accusation against the aged Hosius? who bore
even a false witness against Paulinus, and Lucifer, and Dionysius, and
Eusebius? or what sin could be lain to the account of the rest of the banished
Bishops, and Presbyters, and Deacons? None whatever; God forbid. There were no
charges against them on which a plot for their ruin might be formed; nor was
it on the ground of any accusation that they were severally banished. It was
an insurrection of impiety against godliness; it was zeal for the Arian
heresy, and a prelude to the coming of Antichrist, for whom Constantius is
thus preparing the way.