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in their original form, the simple, abstract, and general phrases, in which the nature of the Divine Spirit is set forth.
Again, the limitation (even though it be a needless precaution)
of the Holy inspiration, the Holy Spirit spoke by the Prophets, is a remarkable instance at once of insight into the true nature of the Biblical writings, and also of the moderation of the highest minds of that age, compared with the fanciful and extravagant theories that have sometimes prevailed in modern times on that subject.
Yet, once more, the definition of Baptism (* I believe in one *Baptism for the remission of sins'), which was sixteen years ago thundered forth at angry meetings as if decisive of the whole question then at issue on the intricate question of the mystical or moral effect of Baptism, is couched in terms so studiously general, as to include not only Christian Baptism, but the Baptism of John, from which, in the language of technical theology, no transcendental operations could be expected. Only by the most violent anachronisms and distortions of language can the scholastic doctrines of the sudden transformation of baptised infants be imported into words which embrace the doctrine of Baptism in the largest formula which the comprehensive language of Scripture has furnished.
With this last act of the Council of Constantinople, we fear, as we have said, ascribed to it without sufficient reason, yet which perhaps * may be fairly received as a monument of the parting influence of the illustrious man whom it had so shamefully treated, we take leave of the one hundred and fifty Fathers,' as they were technically called.
It was † the 9th of July, and the summer heats impended, which, though tolerable at Constantinople, would render the return of the Bishops to their several homes increasingly difficult. Theodosius, now that their work was over, felt
that his was to begin, broke silence, and affirmed by an imperial decree the condemnation of the heresies which they had issued, and the rank of the bishops which they had established. Their proceedings were closed by a splendid funeral ceremony, in which the remains of Paul, the first Bishop of the imperial city, were transferred in state from Ancyra to a church † in
* There was a lost tome or volume which may have included the creed of Epiphanius or Gregory.
+ Hefele. (Concilien-Geschichte, ii. 12.)
| The fame of the funeral was so great that a belief sprang up amongst the people, and especially among the ladies of Constantinople, that St. Paul the Apostle was buried in the church. (Sozomen, vii. c. 9.) Jt is a good instance of the growth of a legend from
Constantinople built for his rival and successor Macedonius. Paul had been present at the Council of Nicæa as a child of twelve years old, in attendance on Alexander, Bishop of Byzantium, and this incident of his posthumous honours thus seems to link together the two first assemblies of the Christian Church.
We have thought it worth while thus to present a brief sketch of this curious episode of ecclesiastical history, partly because of the numerous illustrations which it furnishes of an age often little understood by those who talk most about it, partly from its fruitfulness in ecclesiastical illustrations. It shows to us the affinity of past ages with our own--the same small intrigues and petty disputes, the same flashes of true generosity and genius, uniting kindred souls, parted by centuries asunder. It introduces us to Gregory of Nazianzus, his vanity, his weakness, his eloquence, his honesty, his vehemence. It introduces us to Gregory of Nyssa, his latitudinarianism, his influence, his moderation. It gives us in the elections of Maximus, Gregory, and Nectarius, specimens of the mode in which bishops of those days were appointed and consecrated; a fawning, flattering partisan, with the fame and the discredit of a pagan philosopher; a retiring student elevated from one see to another, at a time when such translations had been declared unlawful; an unbaptised layman of pleasing manners, but of questionable character, suddenly transformed into a prelate, by a momentary impulse of popular or Imperial favour. It shows us the inside of a church at Constantinople—its tumults, its cheers, its execrations, the women in their galleries, the men in the area, the clergy in the chancel. It reveals to us the Emperor, professing to hold aloof from ecclesiastical matters, yet really controlling all. It shows to us the rising hostility of the East and West, the first recognition of the see of Constantinople, the first feelers after universal dominion in the court of Rome, the first signs of decadence in the venerable see of Alexandria. But the chief and most important lesson which it contains, and for which we cannot sufficiently thank the Prince de Broglie, is its picture of a General Council
. The Council of Constantinople is not, like the Council of Nicæa, too sacred to be approached, nor, like those of Chalcedon or Trent, too complicated to be grasped. Here is a compendious description of a synod of ordinary materials, not stained by any great crimes such as those which have sullied the fame of the Councils
the confusion of an obscure with a celebrated name. Many such doubtless have arisen.
of Ephesus or of Constance, yet by the meanness and the frivolity of its proceedings calling down the invectives of the most eminent of its members in language which never can be forgotten. And this is set before us by M. de Broglie with a candour and vivacity which, whilst it justifies the ancient reproaches of Gregory Nazianzen, brings the whole scene before us from the higher moral judgment of the nineteenth century and from the unquestionable testimony of a devout son of the Roman Church, in a point of view as instructive as it is important:
Such' (we quote his summary of the story he has told so well) was the entire work of this Council which holds the second rank in the annals of the Ecumenical Assemblies of the Church. A work feebly carried out, hastily finished, preserved doubtless from error by the protection that the Holy Spirit affords to its least worthy interpreters, but of which the laborious formation, interrupted by deplorable failures, has neither edified the spectators, nor disposed the faithful to respect. At the time itself the effect of these decisions, faintly received in Asia, was altogether null, or rather distasteful in the West. Rome,* which had not been called to take part in it, neither recognised nor confirmed them. It was only at a later period, more than a century afterwards, that the zeal of attaching to some fixed date the proclamation of an immemorial dogma caused “ the Creed of
Constantinople” to be placed by the side and in the train of the Creed of Nicæa. Without this tardyt adhesion of the Universal Church, the Fathers of Constantinople would only be known through the invectives hurled against them by the holy and poetic indig. nation of Gregory Nazianzen.' This is strong language for the description of one of those venerated assemblies, which are sometimes regarded as the only bulwarks of the faith, by a sincere member of the Church
* This is somewhat overstated. The Council was called at the instigation of Pope Damasus.
† M. de Broglie endeavours to counterbalance these reflections by pointing to the deference paid by Theodosius to this distracted body of old priests, deprived by their own fault of the sole ray of glory
that could light up their brows.' But two remarks more than qualify the deference of the Emperor on this occasion. First, Theodosius was an exceptional case ; Constantine, Marcian, Pulcheria, Justinian, Theodora, took the most direct part in the proceedings of the Councils of their time. Secondly, even Theodosius, as we have seen, did in fact control the Council
, by convoking it, by injecting into it new elements, and by forcing upon it a president to the great surprise of the majority of those convened. For the whole relation of the imperial to the ecclesiastical power in those times we may refer to the earlier article on M. de Broglie's work in Ed. Rev., vol. cxi. pp. 445–450.
of Rome; yet, we think, our readers will acknowledge, not stronger than his own previous narrative fully justifies. If, in the matter of dogma,' the Council was preserved from
error, it was because, as we have seen, in that respect, they did nothing at all; and their abstinence from action or at most their adoption of the comprehensive formula already existing in the writings of Epiphanius or Gregory of Nyssa, was probably due to the moderation of the eminent man whom they cast out of his bishopric. Their numerous errors, of a far graver kind than any dogmatic mistake, in the matters of justice, mercy, and truth, are an incontestible proof of the accuracy of the statement of the English Article, that ‘General Councils, forasmuch as they be an assembly of men whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God, may err • and sometimes have erred even in things pertaining unto God.'
But M. de Broglie's picture of the littleness and futility of this Council is doubly valuable from the time when it appears.
At the very moment in which we write two such Assemblies have been convened---not indeed according to the ancient usages of the Church by the commandment and will of 'princes'-but by two high ecclesiastical authorities, who have taken upon themselves to do that from which the Constantines and Theodosiuses of our times have wisely shrunk. The Bishop of Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury * have each issued invitations to an Assembly of Bishops to meet, the one, it has been reported, on June 29th at the Vatican, the other on September 24th at Lambeth. Each, indeed, falls short of the dignity, however much the former of them may aspire to the name, of an Ecumenical Council. The Roman Assembly is to exclude all the Eastern and all the Protestant Churches, and the invitations to the Anglican Synod, although convoked in such general terms as would, if fairly interpreted, include at least the Bishops of Scandinavia, and perhaps those of the Greek and Roman Churches, are understood in point of fact to be addressed only to English, Scottish, and American Bishops. But each professes to aim at representing the voice of the communion from which the summons was issued, and each, according to the For
a comparison of the two synods, with their relative advantages and disadvantages, and for the numerous difficulties involved in the prospect of the English gathering, see the Letter of the Bishop of St. David's to the Archbishop of Canterbury on the Episcopal Meeting of 1867,-a document which will well repay every reader who is capable of entering into an union of judicial wisdom with playful irony, such as is rarely seen in modern literature.
designs of those who have promoted the respective gatherings, has analogous, if not similar instructions. The Roman Council is intended, if we may believe common rumour, if not by the venerable Pontiff himself, at least by his most influential advisers, to be called together partly for the sake of suppressing an obnoxious prelate, the Cardinal Andrea at Subiaco, partly in the hope of adding to the articles of the Roman Catholic faith two new dogmas, one on the Infallibility of the Pope, the other on the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The Anglican Council is intended not indeed by the venerable Primate who has issued the invitations, but by the prelates* at whose request they were issued, and with whom the whole project originated -to be called together partly for the sake of suppressing an obnoxious bishop in South Africa, partly in the hope of adding two new dogmas to the faith of the Church of England, one on the Verbal Inspiration of Scripture, the other on the Everlasting Torments of Hell. Each has been convened within
of a few short months, without any public exposition of the reasons of their assemblage, without any prescribed rules to guide their debates, and with the command-rumoured in the one case and openly avowed in the other—to despatch these momentous questions in the course of a few days.
It is obvious that in some important respects these Assemblies will meet under serious disadvantages compared with even the questionable Council whose proceedings we have just been discussing-which at least had the guidance and control of the Imperial Legislature, which knew beforehand what it was to transact, and which had two months to bring its labours to a completion, and moreover had at starting one of the most eloquent, temperate, and liberal men of the age to act as its moderator and president.
We could not wish a better study to those who have convoked our modern Councils than the lively description that M. de Broglie has given of the Council of Constantinople. They will there see how far such an assembly succeeded in its object and how far it failed; what were the causes of any success that it achieved; what also were the causes of its failure. They will see also what is and is not the prestige of any such assembly; they will see that no multitude of bishops, neither 144, as at Lambeth, nor 150, as at Constantinople, nor 1,000, as at Rome, can of themselves com
* See the Address of the Bishop of Capetown to his diocese, in 1867, and the Appendix to the Sermon of the Bishop of Montreal on the Pananglican Synod, 1866.