Page images

unreasonable contempt, but from which imperious necessity never released him.

Southey stands at the head of the class of literary men, and amongst founders of the profession as an acknowledged and dignified one. His many high qualities,-his honesty, independence, perseverance, high tone of morals, domestic virtues, simple tastes, all tended to elevate literature to its deserved rank as a pursuit; and to raise it from the degradation to which so many of its most distinguished followers had sunk it, to its just preeminence as a calling. When we consider the names and principles which first roused his enthusiasm and caught his youthful fancy, it is a matter at once of wonder and thankfulness that he early saw their hollowness, that he was preserved from the many temptations that surrounded his path, and to which so many of his day fell victims, to become the warm and devoted champion of truth and order, and the advocate and defender of institutions which probably he himself and those who watched his entrance upon his career, equally believed it would be the business of his life to oppose and undermine.

The volumes before us have given, as far as we may expect to possess it, the history of his youth; those which follow will, no doubt, record the workings of that progress and change which maturer years brought with them.

ART. II.-1. Eusebii Pamphili Episc. Cæsar. Ecloga Propheticæ. Oxon. e Typograph. Academ. 1842.

2. Eusebius Bishop of Cæsarea on the Theophania. Cambridge: University Press. 1843.

AMONGST other important additions to the literature of theology, it has been the good fortune of the present age to witness the recovery and publication of two little known, and in fact all but lost, works of Eusebius, the celebrated historian and Bishop of Cæsarea, the 'Ecloga Propheticæ,' and the Theophania.'

Of these, the former, classed by Cave among the ȧvéкdoтα of its author, has been edited by Dr. Gaisford from a MS. known to exist at Vienna, and previously described at length by Lambecius, with a promise of its future publication, the fulfilment of which was, however, prevented by his premature death.

We may thus translate and abridge Cave's full and accurate account of it as given in his Historia Literaria, vol. i. p. 181 :


'The first book is divided into twenty-five chapters, in which are recounted and explained those prophetical testimonies to Christ which are to be found in the historical books of the Old Testament. Book II. consists of forty-five chapters, which treat of those in the Psalms; Book III., of forty-five chapters, contains the remaining testimonies of the Old Testament, viz. those in the Proverbs of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Job, Hosea, Amos, and others; and the fourth and last, of thirty-five chapters, is composed exclusively of dissertations or extracts from Isaiah.'

For the Theophania, given to the world both in its Syriac. form and in an English translation, we are indebted to the learning and labour of Dr. Lee, Canon of Bristol, and late Regius Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge; it was found by him among the MSS. recovered from Egypt through the efforts of Archdeacon Tattam, and placed in his (Dr. Lee's) hands for examination. Our readers are acquainted with another specimen of the same collection in the version of the Epistles of S. Ignatius, published by Mr. Cureton.

A large portion of this book is occupied, it should be stated, with disquisitions on the different Personal appearances of God to the patriarchs.

2 Of which we have only fourteen; the index of the remainder, referred to by Cave, being extant. From the concluding paragraph of the book it would appear probable that Eusebius never wrote any more.

Dr. Lee supposes the Theophania to be a Syriac translation of the Greek original of Eusebius, made perhaps at Scythopolis, during his lifetime, and probably under his own inspection, and that of Patrophilus the [Arian] Bishop of the place, (Preface, p. xvi.) the original being referred to rather than described by S. Jerome, Suidas, Fabricius, Asseman, and our own Cave; the last of whom places it among the lost works of its author. It is divided into five books, of which the first treats chiefly of the Word, or Son of God, and his offices of Creator and Saviour of the world; the second and third set forth at length the contradictions and oppositions of the schools of ancient philosophy; the wars, idolatries, demon-worship, human sacrifices, and other crimes and moral evils of the heathen world, which were all put an end to by the advent of Christ. The fourth consists chiefly of extracts from the Gospels, showing the divinity of Christ from His truth as a prophet; and the fifth is occupied in proving, at length, that He was no magician or imposter, but all that his Apostles declare Him to be-God, and the Son of God,-their testimony on the subject being shown to be certainly true, and therefore worthy of universal belief. The work in question, like all the productions of Eusebius, abounds in varied and profound learning; showing an intimate acquaintance with the ethical writers and philosophical systems of antiquity, and entering at length into an examination of the chief doctrines of Christianity; but it seems to us that the great value both of the Ecloga Propheticæ and the Theophania, consists in the additional light they (and especially the Ecloga Prophetica) throw on the important and much vexed question of their author's orthodoxy; it is on this latter subject, therefore, that we propose to offer a few remarks.

We would however protest, at the outset, against confining this subject within the narrow limits so frequently allotted to it, or considering it merely as an antiquarian question of individual orthodoxy or the contrary, the living interest of which has long since passed away, with the person concerned, and on which few words are now, in consequence, either required or permitted; as if any system of faith bequeathed to us by a teacher of antiquity, and based on so sacred a foundation as the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, could ever prove, whether for good or for evil, of light importance in itself, or be confined in its effects to one man or to one generation of men.

It must be remembered that the catholic faith forms one, and but one, system of belief, the truth of which may be ascertained by its harmony with the general tenor of Scripture, both as a whole, and in its several parts; by its self-consistency, and by its invulnerability to all the assaults of its enemies: that which

under these tests stands firm and fails not, is to be received and treasured as that great body of God's truth, which forms one of the especial gifts that He came in our nature to bestow on us; and all that falls beneath their weight, or even yields to their pressure, is to be cast aside as false and worthless.

And surely these tests are all fulfilled in that Creed, the doctrines of which the great Bishop S. Athanasius was God's chief instrument in building up and maintaining; surely the result of those heresies which, assailing Christ himself, had for their ultimate object the overthrow of His faith and Church, has been to prove unanswerably that in this we have a certain and enduring standard of truth and a balance by which to weigh the belief of all; and if the doctrines of any particular teacher, be he who he may, ancient or modern, be found to vary from it, with such we must use no half measures—as we regard our own hope and standing in God's sight, we must at once reject it.

It is by this test that we propose to try the faith of Eusebius. The charge that has been brought against him is that of Arianism -does his system of belief lay him open to it or not? And since there may be, and in fact have been, different opinions as to the degree of guilt attaching to one who is accused of holding this heresy, and as it seems to us that an accurate knowledge of its real source and essence is necessary to the forming a correct conclusion, we will endeavour briefly to show not only what Arianism is, but whence it derived its origin.

The origin of Arianism has been frequently attributed to an erroneous interpretation of Scripture; because the supposed authors of this heresy were professedly within the pale of the Christian Church, however widely they departed from her doctrine; and in consequence the greater number of writers, (among whom, if we are not mistaken, would be found Dr. Lee,) who have treated of the subject, agree in regarding its followers as in the main Christians, though such as cannot be denied to have based their opinions on error. This view of the case has, however, we conceive, more of charity in it than of truth. Arianism undoubtedly tried to support its cause by an appeal to the Scriptures, but Scripture interpretation never was the source from which it originally sprang. Of its chief doctrines some indeed (as we shall shortly endeavour to show at more length) may be traced to the times of the Apostles themselves, and the first spread of the Gospel, (but these were held by men who, so far from being members of the Christian Church, were among its most bitter opponents ;) whilst others are to be found in the various religious systems which had been rife in the East, and especially at Alexandria, even before the advent of our Lord. Not that we would assert that there was any one body or

[blocks in formation]

system of doctrines, such as Arianism afterwards proved to be, in existence and operation thus early; to say so would be palpably absurd; but we conceive that the principal tenets of that heresy, (although some of them differed greatly, to say, the least, from others,) were seized upon by Arius and his followers from different sources, to give colour and consistency to their assertions, and that, under pretence of authority, (for these, like all other heretics, were especially anxious to avoid the charge of teaching novelties,) they might the better advance towards the attainment of their ultimate object,-the destruction of that fundamental truth of Christianity, the true Godhead of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

And it is not a little remarkable, in connexion with this opinion, that Marcellus, one of Eusebius' opponents, of whom we shall see more hereafter, accuses him (whether rightly or otherwise is not now the question) of believing, not with Christians though mistaken ones, but with oi ewlev, i. e. as he had before specified, with Valentinus and Hermes; Narcissus, an Arian and one of Eusebius' coadjutors, being conjoined in the same passage with Marcion and Plato. Alexander of Alexandria, too, Arius' Bishop,' ascribes the opinions avowed by him to Ebion, Artemas and Paul of Samosata, whilst more than one modern-e. g. Bishop Bull' and Tillemont-have agreed in taking the same view of the case, viz. that the heresy in question (and we might perhaps add all those which vexed the early Church as well) is of extra and not of intra-ecclesiastical origin. It should be remembered, too, that the question of the Messiahship was originally one of persons. The Jews would at first have given it to John the Baptist; and after the ascension of Christ it was claimed by Simon Magus,' Dositheus, Barchochebas,' and perhaps some others, e.g. Apollonius of Tyana; but the first step in any attempt to deprive Christ of that office, (whether made practically, as by Simon Magus through his false miracles and the like, or only doctrinally, as by Arius and the Arians,) must be to disprove the source of it-His true Divinity; but whenever this was done, there, it is plain, was to be found, in germ and essence, the after heresy of Arius.


Arius originally began his attack on the faith, in opposition

1 Eusebius contra Marcellum, lib. i. c. 4. pp. 26, 27. We quote throughout from Bishop Montague's edition of this work which is subjoined to that of the 'Demonstration,' published at Paris, 1628.

2 Theodoret, Hist. b. i. c. 3. Schulz, Halle, 1769.

3 Defence, sect. iii. c. 1. § 16.

On Simon the Magician.

S. Epiphanius, Her. xxi. § 7. Theodoret, Hær. fab. i. 1.

Ittigius de Hæresibus, Sæc. 1. c. 5. § 3. Brucker, vol. ii. De Philosophia Judaica,

p. 679, § 9, and others.

7 Mosheim de Rebus, Sec. 2. § 13. History, Cent. 2, c. i. § 11, and others.

« PreviousContinue »