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ATHANASIUS.

ing the condemnation of Athanasius. On the lat­ter occasion, the whole weight of the imperial au­thority was thrown into the scale against him; and those of the bishops who resolutely vindicated his cause were punished with exile. Among these (though his banishment occurred some time after the synod of Milan had closed) was Liberius, bishop of Rome. Persecution was widely directed against those who sided with Athanasius; and he himself, after some abortive attempts to remove him in a more quiet manner, was obliged once more to flee from Alexandria in the midst of dreadful atrocities committed by Syrianus, a crea­ture of the emperor's. The primate retired to the Egyptian, deserts, whence he wrote a pastoral address to his persecuted flock, to comfort and strengthen them amidst their trials. His enemies meanwhile had appointed to the vacant primacy one George of Cappadocia, an illiterate man, whose moral character was far from blameless. The new archbishop commenced a ruthless persecution against the orthodox, which seems to have continued, with greater or less severity, during the whole of his ecclesiastical administration. The banished primate was affectionately entertained in the monastic re­treats which had already begun to multiply in the deserts of Egypt; and he employed his leisure in composing some of his principal works. His place of retreat was diligently sought for by his enemies ; but, through his own activity and the unswerving fidelity of his friends, the monks, the search was always unsuccessful. In the year 361, Constan-tius, the great patron of the Arians, expired. He was succeeded by Julian, commonly called the Apostate, who, at the commencement of his reign, ordered the restoration of the bishops banished by Constantius. This was rendered the easier in the case of Athanasius, inasmuch as George the Cappa-docian was slain, at that very juncture, in a tumult raised by the heathen population of the city. Once more reinstated in his office, amidst the joyful ac­clamations of his friends, Athanasius behaved with lenity towafds his humbled opponents, while he vigorously addressed himself to the restoration of ecclesiastical order and sound doctrine. But, after all his reverses, he was again to be driven from his charge, and again to return to it in triumph. The heathens of Alexandria complained against him to the emperor, for no other reason, it would seem, than his successful zeal in extending the Christian faith. Julian was probably aware that the superstition he was bent upon re-establishing had no enemy more formidable than the thrice-exiled archbishop : he therefore banished him not only from Alexandria,, but from Egypt itself, threatening the prefect of that country with a heavy fine if the sentence were not carried into execution. Theodoret, indeed, affirms, that Julian gave secret orders for inflicting the last penalties of the law upon the hated prelate. He escaped, however, to the desert (a. d. 362), having predicted that this calamity would be but of brief duration ; and after a few months' conceal­ment in the monasteries, he returned to Alexan­dria on receiving intelligence of the death of Julian. By Jovian, who succeeded to the throne of the empire, Athanasius was held in high esteem. When, therefore, his inveterate enemies endeavour­ed to persuade the emperor to depose him, they were repeatedly repulsed, and that with no little asperity. The speedy demise of Jovian again de­prived Athanasius of a powerful protector. During

ATHANASIUS.

the first three years of the administration of Valens, the orthodox party seem to have been exempt from annoyance. In this interval Athanasius wrote the life of St. Antony, and two treatises on the doc­trine of the Trinity. In the year 367, Valens issued an edict for the deposition and banishment of all those bishops who had returned to their sees at the death of Constantius. After a delay oc­casioned by the importunate prayers of the people on behalf of their beloved teacher, Athanasius was for the fifth time expelled from Alexandria. His last exile, however, was short. In the space of a few months, he was recalled by Valens himself, for reasons which it is now impossible to penetrate ; and from this time to the date of his death, a. d. 373, he seems to have remained unmolested. He continued to discharge the laborious duties of his office with unabated energy to the last; and after holding the primacy for a term of forty-six years, during which he sustained unexampled reverses with heroic fortitude, and prosecuted the great purpose of his life with singular sagacity and reso­lution, he died without a blemish upon his name, full of years and covered with honour.

The following eulogium was extorted by his merits from the pen of an historian who seldom lavishes praise upon ancient or modern defenders of orthodoxy :—" Amidst the storms of persecu­tion, the Archbishop of Alexandria was patient of labour, jealous of fame, careless of safety; and though his mind was tainted by the contagion of fanaticism, Athanasius displayed a superiority of character and abilities, which would have qualified him, far better than the degenerate sons of Con-stantine, for the government of a great monarchy. His learning was much less profound and extensive than that of Eusebius of Caesarea, and his rude eloquence could not be compared with the polished oratory of Gregory or Basil; but whenever the primate of Egypt was called upon to justify his sentiments or his conduct, his unpremeditated style, either of speaking or writing, was clear, forcible, and persuasive." (Gibbon, Decline and Fall, <jfc. ch. xxi. vol. iii. pp. 351, 352, Milrnan's edition.) Erasmus's opinion of the style of Atha­nasius seems to us more just and discriminating than Gibbon's :—" Erat vir ille saeculo tranquillis-simo dignus, dedisset nobis egregios ingenii facun-diaeque suae fructus. Habebat enim vere dotem illam, quam Paulus in Episcopo putat esse prae-cipuam, to SiSaKTiKov ; adeo dilucidus est, acutus, sobrius, adtentus, breviter omnibus modis ad do-cendum appositus. Nihil habet durum, quod offen« dit in Tertulliano : nihil eVicJei/crt/co];',quod vidimus in Hieronymo ; nihil operosum, quod in Hilario : nihil laciniosum, quod est in Augustine, atque etiam Chrysostoino : nihil Isocraticos numeros, aut Lysiae compositionem redolens, quod est in Grego-rio Nazianzeno : sed totus est in explicanda re."

The most important among the works of Atha­nasius are the following:—" Oratio contraGentes;" " Oratio de Incarnatione ;" " Encyclica ad Epis-copos Epistola ;" " Apologia contra Arianos ;" " Epistola de Nicaenis Decretis;" *' Epistola ad Episcopos Aegypti et Libyae ;" " Apologia ad Imperatorem Constantium ;" " Apologia de Fuga sua ;" " Historia Arianorum ad Monachos;" " Orationes quatuor contra Arianos ;" " Epistolae quatuor ad Serapionem ;" " Epistola de Synodis Arimini et Seleuciae ;" " Vita Antonii;" " Li­ber de Incarnatione Dei Verbi et c. Arianos,"

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