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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
a heresy with regard to the person of Christ which spread widely in the church from the fourth to the seventh centuries. It took its name from Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria, said to have been a Libyan, and a man of subtle, but not profound mind. The most probable account is that he was educated in the school of Lucian the martyr at Antioch; and the doctrinal position of Lucian (scientifically nearer to the subsequent doctrine of Arius than of Athanasius) helps to explain not only how Arius's view arose, but also how it happened to be so widely received (comp. Dorner, Person of Christ, div. 1, vol. 2, p. 490; Socrates, Hist. Ecclesiastes 2, 10; Sozomen, Hist. Ecclesiastes 3, 5). He is said to have favored Meletius (q.v.), who was deposed A.D. 306; but it appears that Peter, bishop of Alexandria, the great enemy of Meletius, ordained Arius deacon (Sozom. Hist. Ecclesiastes 1:15) about A.D. 311, but soon, on account of his turbulent disposition, ejected him. When Peter was dead, Arius feigned penitence; and being pardoned by Achillas, who succeeded Peter, he was by him raised to the priesthood, and entrusted with the church of Baucalis, in Alexandria (Epiphan. Haeres, 68, 4). It is said that on the death of Achillas, A.D. 313, Arius was greatly mortified because Alexander was preferred before him, and made bishop, and that he consequently sought every occasion of exciting tumults against Alexander; but this story rests simply on a remark of Theodoret (Hist. Ecclesiastes 1, 2) that Arius was envious of Alexander.
I. Ancient Arianism. —
1. First Period: to the Council of Nice. — The eloquence of Arius gained him popularity; and he soon began to teach a doctrine concerning the person of Christ inconsistent with His divinity. When Alexander had one day. been addressing his clergy, and insisting that the Son is co-eternal, co- essential, and co-equal with the Father (ὁμότιμον τοῦ Πατρός, καὶ τὴν αὐτὴν οὐσίαν ἔχειν, Theod. 1:11), Arius opposed him, accused him of Sabellianism, and asserted that there was a time when the Son was not (῏ην ὅτε οὐκ ῏ην ὁ ὑιός ), since the Father who begot must be before the Son who was begotten, and the latter, therefore, could not be eternal (Socrat. Hist. Ecclesiastes 1, 5). Such is the account, by the early writers, of the origin of the controversy. But if it had not begun in this way, it must soon have began in some other. The points in question had not arrived at scientific precision in the mind of the church; and it was only during the Arian controversy, and by means of the earnest struggles invoked by it, carried on through many years, causing the convocation of many synods, and employing some of the most acute and profound intellects the church has ever seen, that a definite and permanent form of truth was arrived at (Dorner, Person of Christ, div. 1, vol. 2, p. 227). (See ATHANASIUS).
At length, Alexander called a council of his clergy, which was attended by nearly one hundred Egyptian and Libyan bishops, by whom Arius was deposed and excommunicated (Sozom. Hist. Eccl. 1, 15). This decision was conveyed to all the foreign bishops by circulars sent by Alexander himself (A.D. 321). Arius retired to Palestine, where by his eloquence and talents he soon gained a number of converts. Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, who had also studied under Lucian, and doubtless held his opinions, naturally inclined to favor Arius, who addressed to Eusebius a letter, still extant (Epiphanius, Haeres. 69. 6, and in Theodoret, Hist. Ecclesiastes 1, 5), from which we derive our knowledge of the first stage of Arian opinion.: It runs thus: "We cannot assent to these expressions, ‘ always Father, always Son;' ‘ at the same time Father and Son;' that ‘ the Son always co-exists with the Father;' that ‘ the Father has no pre-existence before the Son, no, not so much as in thought or a moment.' But this we think and teach, that the Son is not unbegotten, nor a part of the unbegotten by any means. Nor is he made out of any pre-existent thing; but, by the will and pleasure of the Father, he existed before time and ages, the only begotten God, unchangeable; and that before He was begotten, or made, or designed, or founded, he was not. But we are persecuted because we say that the Son has a beginning, and that God has no beginning. For this we are persecuted; and because we say the Son is out of nothing. Which we therefore say, because he is not a part of God, or made out of any pre-existent thing" (διδάσκομεν, ὅτι ὁ υἱὸς οὐκ ἔστιν ἀγέννητος, οὐδὲ μέρος ἀγεννήτου κατ᾿ οὐδένα τρόπον, οὐδὲ ἐξ ὑποκειμένου τινός· ἀλλ᾿ ὅτι θελήματι καὶ βουλῇ ὑπέστη πρὸ χρὸνων καὶ πρὸ αἰὼνων πλὴρης θεός, μονογενής, ἀναλλοίωτος, καὶ πρὶν γεννηθῇ, ἤτοι κτισθῇ, ἢ ὁρισθῇ, ἢ θεμελιωθῇ, οὐκ ῏ην· ἀγέννητος γὰρ οὐκ ῏ην· διωκόμεθα ὅτι εἴπαμεν, ἀρχὴν ἔχει ὁ υἱός, ὁ δὲ θεὸς ἄναρχός ἐστι . . . . καὶ ὃτι εἴπαμεν, ὃτι ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων ἐστίν· οὕτω δὲ εἴπαμεν καθότι οὐδὲ μέρος θεοῦ οὐδὲ ἐξ ὑτοκειμένου τινός ). Voigt (in his Lehre des Athanasius von Alexandrien) gives this letter, with critical emendations, which elucidate the development of the opinions of Arius (see transl. from Voigt, by Dr. Schaeffer, in Bibliotheca Sacra, 21, 138). The second direct source of our knowledge of the. opinions of Arius is a letter addressed by him to Alexander (preserved in Epiphanius Haeres. 69, 7, and in Athanasius, De Synod. 16), in which he states his positions plausibly and cautiously, and claims that they are the traditional opinions of the church. "We believe that there are three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. God, the cause of all things, is alone without beginning. The Son, begotten of the Father before time, made before the ages were founded, was not before he was begotten. Nor is he eternal, or co-eternal, or begotten at the same time with the Father." In these two letters Arius teaches that the Father alone is God, and that the Son is his creature. He still regards the Son, however, "as occupying a unique position among creatures; as unalterable and unchangeable; and as bearing a distinctive and peculiar likeness to the Father" (Dorner, l. c. p. 236). He terms the Son "a perfect creature of God, but not as one of the creatures; an offspring, but not as one of those who are generated" (Ep. ad Alex.). Alexander now wrote a letter to Alexander of Constantinople (Theod. 1, 4), in which he charges Arius with teaching not only that the Son is less than the Father, but also that he is "liable to change," notwithstanding that Arius, in the epistles cited above, speaks of the Son as "unalterable and unchangeable" (ἀναλλοίωτος, ἄτρεπτος ). But Arius abandoned these terms, and set forth the changeableness of the Son without reservation in his Thalia (Θάλεια ), the latest of his writings known to us (written during his stay at Nicomedia). It is partly in prose and partly in verse, and obviously addressed to the popular ear. What we have extant of it is preserved in Athanasius (cont. Arianos, 1, 5-9; De Synod. 15; see citations from all the remains of Arius in Gieseler, Ch. History, 1, § 79).
A council was called in Bithynia (A.D. 323) by Eusebius of Nicomedia, and other favorers of Arius, by which an epistle was written to "all bishops," exhorting them to hold fellowship with Arius (Sozomen, 1:15). Another council was now held at Alexandria (323?), from which Alexander sent forth an encyclical letter against Arius, and also sharply censured Eusebius of Nicomedia, and other Eastern bishops, as supporters of grave heresy (preserved in Socrates, Hist. Ecclesiastes 1:6). We now hear, for the first time, the name of Eusebius of Caesarea in connection with the controversy. He did not accept the Arian formula (῏ην πότε ὅτε οὐκ ῏ην ); but, as he had been educated in Origen's denial of the eternal Sonship of Christ, he was just in the position to suggest a compromise between the opposing parties. He wrote letters in this spirit (excusing Arius) to Alexander; but the question at issue was a fundamental one, ready for its final decision, and the day of compromise was past and gone (Sozomen, Hist. Eccl. 1, 15; Epiphanius, Haeres. 69, 4; (See EUSEBIUS OF CAESAREA)). The controversy had now spread like a flame throughout the Eastern empire, and at last Constantine found it absolutely necessary to bring it to a point. At first he sought to reconcile Alexander and Arius by a letter in which he urged them to drop discussion on unessential points, and to agree together for the harmony of the church. This letter was conveyed by his court bishop, Hosius; but he met with no success, and an uproar arose in Alexandria, in which the effigy of the emperor himself was insulted. As all the provincial synods had only helped to fan the flame of strife, Constantine determined to call a general council of bishops, and accordingly the first oecumenical council was held at Nice, A.D. 325, consisting of 318 bishops, most of whom were from the East. ( (See NICE, COUNCIL OF). )
The gist of the question to be settled by the Council of Nice lay in the summary argument of Arius: "The Father is a Father; the Son is a Son; therefore the Father must have existed before the Son; therefore once the Son was not; therefore he was made, like all creatures, of a substance that had not previously existed." — This was the substance of the doctrine of Arius. His intellect, logical, but not profound or intuitive, could not embrace the lofty doctrine of an eternal, unbeginning generation of the Son. In a truly rationalistic way, he thought that he could argue from the nature of human generation to divine; not seeing that his argument, while insisting on the truth of the Sonship of Christ, ended by alienating Him wholly from the essence of the Father. "The Arian Christ was confessedly lacking in a divine nature, in every sense of the term. Though the Son of God was united with human nature in the birth of Jesus, yet that Son of God has a κτίσμα . He indeed existed long before that birth, but not from eternity. The only element, consequently, in the Arian construction of Christ's person that was preserved intact and pure was the humanity" (Shedd, History of Doctrines, 1, 393). Of the debates upon these great questions in the Council of Nice no full account is extant. Athanasius, who was then a deacon under Alexander, bore a prominent part in the council, and contributed largely to its decisions, in defense of which the remainder of his life was chiefly occupied. (See ATHANASIUS). For an account of the proceedings, as far as known, see Kaye, Council of Nicaea (Lond. 1853). Eusebius of Caesarea was also a chief actor in the council, and sought, in harmony with his character and habits, to act as mediator. He proposed, finally, a creed which he declared he had "received from the bishops who had preceded him and from the Scriptures" (Socrates, Eccl. Hist. 1, 8), which received the immediate approbation of Constantine. It did not, however, contain the word ὁμοούσιος, which was insisted upon by the orthodox. (It is given in parallel columns with the Nicene Creed in Christ- an Remembrancer, January, 1854, p. 133.) The Creed, as finally adopted, condemned the heresy of Arius, and fixed the doctrine of the person of Christ as it has been held in the church to this day, declaring the Son to be "begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made" (see Socrates, Eccl. Hist. 1, 8; and article (See CREED, NICENE) ). According to Sozomen (1, 20), all the bishops but fifteen, according to Socrates (1, 8), all but five, signed the Creed. These five were Eusebius of Nicomedia, Theognis of Nice, Maris of Chalcedon, Thomas of Marmarica, and Secundus of Ptolemais; and of these only the two last held out against the threat of banishment made by the emperor. Arius was excommunicated and banished, and his books ordered by the emperor to be burnt.
2. From the Council of Nice to the Council of Milan. — Soon after the close of the Council of Nice, Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis of Nice, being found to continue their countenance of the Arian cause by refusing to carry out its anathemas, were deposed, were both subjected to the same penalty of exile by the emperor, and had successors appointed to their sees. By imposing upon the credulity of Constantine, they were in three years restored, and gained considerable influence at court (Sozom. 2, 16, 27). The indulgent emperor, on the statement being made to him (by a presbyter of the household of his sister Constantia, who herself favored Arianism, and on her death-bed recommended this presbyter to Constantine) that Arius had been misrepresented, and differed in nothing that was important from the Nicene fathers, had him recalled from banishment, and required him to present in writing a confession of his faith (Socrates, Hist. Eccles. 1, 25). He did this in such terms as, though they admitted a latent reservation, yet appeared entirely orthodox, and therefore not only satisfied the emperor, but offended some of his own friends, who from that time separated from him (see the Creed in Socrates, 1, 26). Athanasius, now bishop of Alexandria, was not so easily imposed upon, but was resolute in refusing Arius admission to the communion, since the Nicene Council had openly condemned him, until a similar synod should receive his submission and restore him. The Synod of Tyre, convened A.D. 335 by the emperor, tried Athanasius on trumped-up charges of immorality, and he was banished. The emperor then sent for Arius to Constantinople, and, after receiving his signature to the Nicene Creed, insisted on his being received to communion by Alexander, the bishop of that city. On the day before this reception was to have taken place Arius died suddenly (A.D. 336) (Socrates, 1:26-38).
Constantine died A.D. 337, and the empire fell to his three sons, Constantine II in Gaul; Constantius in the East; Constans in Italy and Gaul. The latter was a friend and protector of Athanasius. The religious question was now greatly mixed up with politics. On the death of the younger Constantine, the emperor of the East, Constantius (340), took the Arians formally under his protection (Sozom. 3, 18). Eusebius obtained great influence with Constantius, and became bishop of Constantinople A.D. 339, and secured permission for the Arians to celebrate public worship at Alexandria and other places of the Eastern empire. Nevertheless, a council was held at Antioch, A.D. 341, in which the Eastern bishops declared that they could not be followers of Arius, because "how could we, being bishops, be followers of a presbyter?" In this synod four creeds were approved, in which an endeavor was made to steer a middle course between the Nicaean Homoousios and the definitions of Arius, which two points were considered to be the two extremes of divergence from the standard of ecclesiastical orthodoxy in the East. These four Antiochene creeds are extant in Athanasius, De Synodis, § 22-25 (see Gieseler, Ch. History, 1, § 80). As this middle course originated with Eusebius of Nicomedia, its adherents were called Eusebians. The Council of Antioch deposed Athanasius, who went to Rome, and was fully recognized as orthodox by the Synod of Rome, A.D. 342. Another Arian council met at Antioch, A.D. 345, and drew up what was called the long Creed (μακρόστιχος , to be found in Socrates, Hist. Eccl. 2, 18), leaving out the homoousion, which they sent to the council of Western bishops summoned by Constans at Milan (A.D. 346). The Milan council not only rejected this creed, but required the deputies who brought it to sign a condemnation of Arianism. Of course they left the council in wrath. The emperors Constantius and Constans endeavored to reconcile the combatants for Oriental and Occidental orthodoxy by calling a general council of both East and West at Sardica, in Illyricum, A.D. 347 (according to Mansi A.D. 344, putting back also the preceding dates); but the Eusebians refused to remain in the council unless Athanasius and other heterodox bishops were excluded. Failing in this, they retired to the neighboring city of Philippopolis, leaving their opponents alone at Sardica. Eusebianism was, under Constantius, as victorious in the East as the Nicene Creed was, under Constans, in the West. The Eusebians procured the deposition of Marcellus, bishop of Ancyra, on a charge of Sabellianism. After the death of Constans, A.D. 350, and the victory over Masnentius, A.D. 353, Constantius endeavored to establish Arianism by force in the West. In the synods of Arles, A.D. 354, and of Milan, A.D. 355, he compelled the assembled bishops to sign the condemnation of Athanasius, though most of them were, it is thought, orthodox. Hosius of Cordova and Liberius of Rome, refusing to sign, were deprived of their sees. Athanasius was expelled from Alexandria (A.D. 356), and George of Cappadocia put in his place, not without force of arms. Constantius persecuted the orthodox relentlessly, and it seemed for a time as if their cause were irretrievably ruined. Even Hosius (now a century old) and Liberius were brought to sign a confession which excluded the homoousion.
3. Divisions among the Arians: History to the Council of Constantinople.
— A new era now began with this apparent triumph of Arianism. Heretofore the various classes of opponents of the orthodox doctrine had been kept together by the common bond of opposition. Now that the state and church were both in their power, their differences of doctrine soon became apparent. The reins of government were really in the hands of the Eusebians (q.v.), whose opinions were a compromise between strict Arianism and orthodoxy. The strict Arians were probably in a minority during the whole period of the strife. Their leaders at this period were Aetius of Antioch, Eunomius of Cappadocia, and Acacius of Caesarea; and from them the parties were called Aetians, Eunomians, Acacians. They were also called ἀνόμοιοι (Anomoeans), because they denied the sameness of the essence of the Son with the Father; and also Heterousians, as they held the Son to be ἑτεροούσιος (of different essence), inasmuch as the unbegotten, according to their materialistic way of judging, could not be similar in essence to the begotten. Aetius and Eunomius sought, at the first Council of Sirmium (A.D. 351), to put an end to all communion between Arians and orthodox; but they were vigorously met by the Semi- Arians, led by "Basilius, bishop of Ancyra, and Georgius, bishop of Laodicea, who held fast by the position of the Eusebians, viz. that the Son is of similar essence with the Father (ὁμοιούσιος ), and were hence called Homoiousians and SemiArians. Constantius was attached to the Semi- Arians, but a powerful party about his court exerted themselves with no less cunning than perseverance in favor of the Anomoeans. And because they could not publicly vindicate their formula, they persuaded the emperor that, in order to restore peace, the formulas of the two other parties also must be prohibited, which measure they brought about at the second synod of Sirmium (A.D. 357. The formula is given in Walch, Bibl. Symb. p. 133). On the other hand, Basil, bishop of Ancyra, called together a synod at Ancyra (358), which established the Semi-Arian creed, and rejected the Arian (see the decrees in Epiphan. Haer. 73; the confession of faith adopted by the synod, in Athanas. de Syn. § 41). Constantius allowed himself to be easily convinced that the Sirmium formula favored the Anomoeans, and the confession of faith adopted at the second was now rejected at a third synod of Sirmium (358), and the anathemas of the Synod of Ancyra were confirmed. The Anomceans, for the purpose of uniting in appearance with the Semi-Arians, and yet establishing their own doctrine, now adopted the formula τὸν υἱὸν ὅμοιον τῷ πατρὶ κατὰ πὰντα ώς αἱ ἃγιαι γραφαὶ λέγουσι τέ καὶ διδάσκουσι (the Son is similar to the Father in all respects, as the Scriptures say and teach), and succeeded in convincing the emperor that all parties might be easily united in it. For this all bishops were now prepared, and then the Westerns were summoned to a council at Ariminum, the Easterns to another at Seleucia, simultaneously (359). After many efforts, the emperor at last succeeded in getting most of the bishops to adopt that formula. But, along with this external union, not only did the internal doctrinal schism continue, but there were besides differences among such as had been like-minded, whether they had gone in with that union or not. Thus Constantius, at his death, left all in the greatest confusion (A.D. 360). The new emperor, Julian (361-363), was, as a Pagan, of course equally indifferent to all Christian dogmas, and restored all the banished bishops to their sees. Jovian also (t 364), and his successors in the West, Valentinian († 375), then Gratian and Valentinian II, maintained general toleration. On the contrary, Valens, emperor of the East (364 378), was a zealous Arian, and persecuted both orthodox and Semi-Arians.
"Various causes had contributed, since the death of Constantius, to increase in the East the number of adherents to the Nicene Creed. The majority of the Orientals, who held fast by the emanation of the Son from the Father, were naturally averse to strict Arianism; while the Nicene decrees were naturally allied to their ideas, as being fuller developments of them. Moreover, the orthodox were united and steadfast; the Arians were divided and wavering. Finally, the influence of Monachism, which had now arisen in Egypt, and was rapidly becoming general and influential, was bound up with the fortunes of Athanasius; and in all countries where it was diffused, was busy in favor of the Nicene Creed. One of the first of the important converts was Meletius, formerly an Acacian Arian, who declared himself in favor of the Nicene Creed immediately after he had been nominated bishop of Antioch, A.D. 361. But the old Nicene community, which had still existed in Antioch from the time of Eustathius, and was now headed by a presbyter, Paulinus, refused to acknowledge Meletius as bishop on the charge that he was not entirely orthodox (Socrates, Hist. Eccl. 2, 44). The Council of Alexandria, assembled by Athanasius (362), sought, indeed, not only to smooth the way generally for the Arians to join their party by mild measures, but endeavored particularly to settle this Antiochian dispute; but Lucifer, bishop of Calaris, gave firm footing to the Meletian schism about the same time by consecrating, as bishop, Paulinus the Eustathian. The Westerns and Egyptians acknowledged Paulinus, the Oriental Nicenes, Meletius, as the orthodox bishop of Antioch. If the emperor Valens (364-378) had now favored the Semi-Arians instead of the Arians, he might, perhaps, have considerably checked the further spread of the Nicene party; but, since he wished to make Arianism alone predominant by horribly persecuting all who thought differently, he drove by this means the Semi-Arians, who did not sink under the persecution, to unite still more closely with the Nicenes. Thus a great part of the Semi-Arians (or, as they were now also called, Macedonians, from Macedonius, bishop of Constantinople, who had been deposed in 360, at the instigation of the Arians) declared themselves, at several councils of Asia Minor, in favor of the Nicene confession, and sent an embassy to Rome to announce their assent to it (366). The Arians, supported by the emperor Valens, endeavored to counteract this new turn of affairs; yet the Macedonians were always passing over more and more to the Nicene Creed, and for this the three great teachers of the Church, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa, began now to work. These new Oriental Nicenians did not believe their faith changed by their assent to the Nicene formula, but thought they had merely assumed a more definite expression for it in the rightly-understood ὁμοούσιος . Since they supposed that they had unchangeably remained steadfast to their faith, they also continued to consider their Eusebian and Semi-Arian fathers as orthodox, although condemned by the old Nicenes. Thus the canons of the Oriental councils held during the schism constantly remained in force, particularly those of the Council of Antioch, A.D. 341, and of Laodicea (perhaps A.D. 363), which canons afterward passed over from the Eastern to the Western Church. During this time new schisms arose from new disputes on other points of doctrine. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and the controversies respecting the Logos, had for a long time remained untouched. But when, in the East, not only the Semi-Arians, but also many of the new Nicenians, could not get rid of the Arian idea that the Holy Spirit is a creature and servant of God, the other Nicenes took great offense at this, and opposed there errorists as πνευματομάχους (afterward Macedonians). Finally Apollinarism arose. (See APOLLINARIS).
"Thus Theodosius, who, as a Spaniard, was a zealous adherent of the Nicene Creed, found at his accession to the throne of the West (379) universal toleration; in the East; Arianism prevalent, the Homoousians persecuted, and, besides them, the parties of the Photinians, Macedonians, and Apollinarists, with innumerable other sects, existing. After conquering the Goths, he determined to put an end to these prolonged and destructive strifes. Accordingly, he summoned a general council at Constantinople (381), by which the schism among the Nicenes was peaceably removed, and the Nicene Creed enlarged, with additions directed against heretics who had risen up since its origin, (See CREED, NICENE). Valentinian II allowed the Arians in the West to enjoy freedom of religion some years longer; but the case was quite altered by Theodosius, and a universal suppression of the sect ensued. The last traces of its existence in the Byzantine empire appear under the Emperor Anastasius at Constantinople, 491-518" (Gieseler, Church History, § 81).
4. Closing Period of Ancient Arianism. — In the West, Arianism maintained itself for a long time among the German tribes, which had received Christianity in the Arian form under the emperor Valens. Arianism was carried by the Ostrogoths into Italy, by the Visigoths into Spain, and by the Vandals into Africa. The Ostrogoths, though strong Arians, did not persecute the orthodox. Arianism rentained among them till the destruction of the Ostrogoth kingdom by Justinian (A.D. 553). More intolerant against the Catholics were the Visigoths; but Arianism gradually lost hold upon them, and finally, under the guidance of their king, Reccaredus, they adopted the Nicene Creed, and were received into the Catholic Church by the Council of Toledo (A.D. 589). The Arian Vandals, after conquering Africa in 429, under the leadership of Genseric, instituted a furious persecution against the Catholics, which did not cease until the destruction of the Vandal empire through Belisarius in 534. The Suevi of Spain became Arians about the middle of the fifth century, probably in consequence of their connection with the Visigoths; they went over to the Catholic Church in 558, under Theodemir. The Burgundians, who came to Gaul as pagans in 417, appear as Arians in 440. The progress of the Catholic Church among this tribe is especially due to Aristus of Vienna, who gained over the son of king Gundobad, Sigismund, who, after his accession to the throne in 517, secured to the Catholic Church the ascendency. Nowhere did the Arian doctrine maintain itself so long as among the Lombards. They invaded Italy (A.D. 568), and founded a new kingdom at Pavia, and their king, Antharis, embraced Arian Christianity in 587; but when his successor Agilulph married Theudelinda, the Catholic daughter of the duke of Bavaria, the orthodox faith soon found adherents among them, and the son of Theudelinda, Adelward, gave all the churches to the Catholics. But this called forth a reaction. An Arian ascended the throne, who, however, was unable to suppress Catholicism; and we now find in every important city in Lombardy both a Catholic and an Arian bishop. Under Luitprand, who died in 744, the Catholic Church was entirely predominant. But, although Arianism was externally suppressed, its long prevalence in Spain, Gaul, and Northern Italy left behind it a spirit of opposition to the ecclesiastical supremacy of Rome, and made these countries a fertile soil for the spreading of dissenting doctrines. See Revillont, de l'Arianisme des Peuples Germaniques (Paris, 1850, 8vo).
II. MODERN ARIANISM. — After the Reformation, the Antitrinitarians, who soon appeared, were chiefly Socinians. In Italy they especially developed themselves, and Alciati (1555) commenced his heretical course with teaching that Christ was divine, but inferior to the Father. His views were adopted by Job. Val. Gentilis (q. v,), an acute Calabrian, who was beheaded at Berne (1566), after going far beyond Arianism in heresy. The earlier English writers on the Church history of the period tell of Arians put to death in England for heresy under Elizabeth. Plowright († 1579), Lewis († 1583), Cole and Ket († 1588), are named by Fuller, who, as well as Burnet, speak of Arian sentiments as held and propagated by various individuals in England after the Reformation. There is so much vagueness and inaccuracy in the way in which they speak about them that little dependence can be placed on most of the allegations. Arian views were probably held by individuals from time to time; but no important manifestation took place till the beginning of the 18th century, when Arianism made its appearance in the Church of England, and also among Dissenters. Thomas Emlyn (q.v.), an English Presbyterian (but pastor in Dublin), was deposed for Arianism by the Presbytery of Dublin in 1698 (see Reid, Hist. of Presbyt. Ch. in Ireland, 3, 14), and afterward wrote largely on the controversy (Emlyn, Works, with Life, Lond. 1746, 3 vols. 8vo). In the Church of England Arian views were set forth by Whiston, professor of mathematics at Cambridge, in his Primitive Christianity Revived (Lond. 1711, 4 vols. 8vo), the last volume of which contains an account of what he considered the primitive faith in the person of Christ, and the doctrine of the Trinity, and the first volume a historical account of the proceedings of the University and Convocation against him. His sentiments were declared heretical, and he was ejected from his chair at Cambridge. He still, however, went on to write, and produced a fifth volume of his Primitive Christianity Revived, in 1712; his Council of Nice Vindicated from the Athanasian Heresy, in 1713; his Letter to the Earl of Nottingham, on the Eternity of the Son of God and the Holy Ghost, 1719; to which Lord Nottingham replied in 1720. Whiston went on to the end of his life occasionally publishing on the subject. (See WHISTON).
A far more learned and logical champion of error appeared in Dr. Samuel Clarke, who published in 1712 Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity, in which he endeavors to show, in a commentary on forty texts of Scripture, the subordination of the Son to the Father. "Reason had so strongly the ascendant in Clarke's composition that every thing must be subjected to its rule and measure; that only must stand, in matters of religious belief, which reason could distinctly grasp and make good by a formal demonstration. His book on The Trinity is pervaded by this spirit, and is very artfully planned. It is divided into three parts; in the first of which are set forth all the passages in the New Testament bearing on the Father, then on the Son, and, lastly, on the Spirit; certain of the passages, and particularly those relating to the Son, being accompanied with brief comments, partly furnished by the author, and partly taken from the fathers and from later theologians. In the second part, the import of all these passages so explained is presented in a series of propositions concerning Father, Son, and Spirit respectively, each proposition accompanied with quotations from the Liturgy of the Church of England, to show the conformity of the propositions with the devotional utterances of the church" (Fairbairn, Appendix to Dorner, Person of Christ, 5, 373). Clarke was replied to by Dr. Knight in The Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity Vindicated against Dr. Clarke (ed. by Nelson, London, 1713 and 1715, 8vo); by Bishop Gastrell, in Some Considerations of Dr. Clarke's Doctrine of the Trinity (republished in Randolph's Enchiridion Theologicum, vol. 2); and by various others. Clarke wrote voluminously in reply to these and other attacks (Clarke, Collected Works, London, 1738, 4 vols. fol.). His works were translated into German by Semler, and found favor there, at a period in which the tendency of the age was toward "the creaturely aspect of Christ." (See CLARKE).
But his superior in learning and controversy appeared in Waterland, who published, at different times. A Vindicatican of Christ's Divinity: — A Further Vindicacation: — A Defence of the Divinity of Christ, in eight sermons: — The Case of Arian Subscription Considered: — A Critical History of the Athanasians Creed, and the Importance of the Doctrie of the Trinity asserted; making six vols. 8vo, besides smaller pieces. Waterland brought to his task a logical intellect, cool, wary, and disciplined, a thorough knowledge of the fathers, and a profound though unimpassioned love of truth. He demonstrated the inaccuracy, to say the least, of Clarke's patristic learning, and proved that the very fathers whom Clarke had cited maintained the strictly divine, uncreated, eternal being of the Son, while, at the same time, he pointed out their defective apprehension of the eternal filiation. (See WATERLAND).
On the other side, and in answer to Waterland, Whitby wrote Disquisitiones Modestae, and Reply to Dr. Waterland's Objections against them, in two parts, with an Appendix. 1720-21. An anonymous country clergyman (afterward known to be Mr. Jackson) produced A Reply to Dr. Waterland's Defence of his Queries, 1722, entering very largely into the controversy. It was this book which gave rise to Dr. Waterland's Second Vindication (1723), above mentioned. Dr. Sykes wrote several pamphlets on the subject (Letter to the Earl of Nottingham (1721); Answer to Remarks on Dr. Clarke (1730); Defence of the Answer (1730). In this controversy, Clarke, and those who sided with him generally, refused to be called Arians, while at the same time they affirmed the subordination of Christ, and denied that he was consubstantial with the Father. Dr. Waterland exposed the sophistry of this position sharply: "They deny the necessary existence of God the Son. Run them down to but the next immediate consequence, precarious existence, and they are amazed and confounded. Push them a little further, as making a creature of God the Son, and they fall to blessing themselves upon it; they make the Son of God a creature! not they; God forbid." The Arian controversy commenced about the same time among the Dissenters, and raged as fiercely and more destructively among them than in the Church of England. It began in the west of England with James Pierce, who, and his colleague Joseph Hallet, were learned Presbyterian ministers in Exeter. The flame spread to London, and occasioned the celebrated Salter's Hall controversy, and led to the most dismal effects on the Presbyterian body. The books and pamphlets written on the subject are very numerous. The principal on the Arian side are the following: The Case of the ejected Ministers of Exon; Defence of ditto; The Western Inquisition, by Pierce; The Case of Martin Tombkins, 1719. On the other side, Dr. Calamy published nineteen sermons concerning the Doctrine of the Trinity, 1722, in which the controversy is discussed with considerable ability and learning; and there appeared also The Doctrine of the Trinity stated and defended by some Lond)n Ministers, viz. Long, Robinson, Smith, and Reynolds. The controversy was revived again in the Church of England by Dr. Clayton, bishop of Clogher, and for a while carried on with considerable warmth. He published in 1751 An Essay on Spirit, in which the doctrine of the Trinity is considered, etc. This pamphlet was not in reality the bishop's, but the production of a young clergyman, whose cause and sentiments, however, he identified himself with. (See CLAYTON).
The most learned of all English Arians was Lardner (q.v.). On the orthodox side were William Jones, in his Full Answer to the Essay on Spirit, and afterward in his Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity (Jones, Works, 1801, vol. 1), and Dr. Randolph, in his Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity (1753, 8vo). At the present day Arianism has almost become extinct in England, having merged into one or other of the various grades of Socinianism, and is only to be found, in any thing like a systematic form, among the Presbyterians in the north of Ireland, especially those of the Synod of Munster (see Henderson's Buck, Theol. Dictionary, s.v.; Bogue and Bennett, History of Dissenters, 2, 168 sq.; Reid, Hist. of Presbyter. Ch. in Ireland, 3, 14, 489). Both in England and America there are doubtless many Arians among those who are called Socinians and Unitarians. See articles on these titles, and also (See ATHANASIUS); (See TRINITY).
The sources of information on the early history of Arianism are the church histories of Sozomen, Socrates, and Theodoret, and also of Philostorgius the Arian, with the writings of Epiphanius and Athanasius. See also Maimbourg, Histoire de l'A rianisme (Amsterd. 1682, 3 vols.); the same, History of Ariazism, transl. by Webster (Lond. 1728, 2 vols. 4to); Stark, Versuch einer Geschichte d. Arian;smus (Berl. 1785, 2 vols. 8vo); Tillemont, Memoires, t. 6; also, translated, Tillemont, History of the Arians and the Council of Nice (London, 1721, 2 vols. 8vo); Whitaker, Origin of Arianism disclosed (Lond. 1791, 8vo); Mohler, Athanasius und seine Zeit (1827); Newman, The Arians of the Fourth Century (Lond. 1833, 8vo); Kaye, Account of the Council of Nicea (Lond. 1853, 8vo); Hassenkamp, Hist. Ariane Controversice (Marburg, 1845); Baur, Geschichte der Dreieinigkeit (1841-3, 3 vols. 8vo); Meier, Lehre v. d. Dreieinigkeit (1844, 3 vols. 8vo); Dorner, Lehre v. d. Person Christi, bd. 1, abt. 2, 3; Engl. translation, div. 1, vol. 2; Neander, Church History, 2:365-425; Mosheim, Ch. Hist. cent. 4, pt. 2, ch. 5, § 9 sq.; Walch, Hist. d. Ketzereien, thl. 2; Hase, Ch. Hist. § 102-106; Neander, Hist. of Dogmas, 1, 262 sq.; Hagenbach, Hist. of Doctrines, §§ 89-92, § 262; Shedd, Hist. of Doctrines, vol. 1, bk. 2; Herzog, Real-Encyklopadie, 1, 490; Watson, Theol. Institutes, pt. 2, ch. 16; Bright, Ch. Historyfrom Milan to Chalcedon (Lond. 1860, 8vo); Christian Eraminer (Unitarian), 12:298; Cunningham, Historical Theology, ch. 9; A. de Broglie, L'Eglise et I'Empire Romain au IV Siecle (6 vols. Paris, 1866; vols. 1 and 2 contain the reign of Constantine; vols. 3 and 4 the reigns of Constans and Julian; vols. 5 and 6 the reigns of Valentinian and Theodosius). On modern Arianism, see, besides the writers named in the course of this article, Van Mildert, Life of Waterland (in Waterland's Works, vol. 1); Nelson, Life of Bishop Bull; Lindsay, Historical Vieew of Unitarianism (Socinian, Lond. 1783, 8vo); Fairbairn, Appendix to Dorner's Person of Christ, vol. 5.
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Arianism'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/a/arianism.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.