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case he seems to have started with the intention of making the portrait of Arius as grotesque as possible. A few such phrases as "moonstruck giant," artfully thrown in, tell in the portraiture. But, passing over these embellishments, drawn from imagination, what shall we say of the authorities themselves? They are such, we believe, one of them at least, as no writer of reputation or standing, however inimical to the memory of the heretic of Alexandria, has ventured to use as furnishing altogether authentic materials for a description of his personal qualities and habits. Of the two, Epiphanius is the more trustworthy, and the part of the description taken from him is the least exceptionable. Yet Epiphanius, who was Bishop of Constantia, in Cyprus, and who wrote in the latter part of the fourth century, some years after the death of the great heresiarch, was narrow, bigoted, and violent, and was especially hostile to the Arians. His authority has always been regarded with suspicion by writers on ecclesiastical history. Mosheim imputes to him "credulity and ignorance." Dr. Murdock in a note adds: "His learning was great, his judgment rash, and his credulity and mistakes very abundant." The learned Jortin had no better opinion of him; † and Cave pronounces him "too credulous," and wanting in accuracy. Du Pin says that he had "much reading and learning, but no faculty of discerning, nor exactness of judgment"; that he was "very credulous, and not very accurate"; that he is "mistaken in many places about very considerable matters in history"; that he "gave credit too lightly to false memoirs, or to uncertain reports."§ "He was," says Smith, in his Greek and Roman Biography, "without critical or logical power, . . . . . of a very bigoted and dogmatical turn of mind." Neander mentions the "little reliance" that "can be placed on his authority." "Educated among the Egyptian monks," he says that "he had a narrow intellectual culture," was "quite deficient in criticism," and was "as excitable as he was credulous." ||
*Murdock's Mosheim, I. 293, ed. New Haven, 1832.
+ Remarks on Eccles. Hist., III. 47, ed. Lond. 1805.
New Hist. Eccles. Writers, II. 239, Lond. 1693.
Such is one of Dr. Stanley's authorities, and the better of the two. His other authority is Gelasius of Cyzicus, a worthless writer near the end of the fifth century. He left a work called "The Acts of the First Council," compiled in part, as he says, from an old manuscript on parchment found in his father's house. Parts of it Cave believed to be " pure inventions," either of Gelasius himself, or of the author of the old manuscript.* Du Pin asserts that large portions of it are "either dubious or manifestly false,"-" a mere fiction." It has been published in several editions of the Acts of Councils. Du Pin recommends that it should be omitted in future editions, as a work of no authority.† Moreri thought no better of it. The learned Tillemont speaks very contemptuously of the work of Gelasius on the "Acts of the Council of Nice." "There is a good deal of probability," he says, "that there never were any written." As for Gelasius's work, he says it is "nothing but a jumble of what he took from Eusebius, Rufinus, and other ecclesiastical authors," mixed up with something of his own, which he inserts "without giving us any notice of it." The rest, he adds, consists of several "letters, speeches, or disputes," which "are by no means received as authentic, and they are not thought very strongly supported when they stand only on the testimony of this author." ‡
The work was originally in three books. It has been asserted that the third, which consisted of letters ascribed to Constantine, is lost. Of this opinion are Cave and Gieseler. In what now purports to be the third book, however, there are three such letters, the genuineness of which is more than
oubtful. How any one can attribute the least weight to that used as an authority by Dr. Stanley, without any intimation at the time that it is of questionable genuineness, exceeds our power of comprehension. Even the Oxford translator of several pieces contained in the "Library of the Fathers," a work evidently used by Dr. Stanley, feels obliged to explain. "It is possible," says he, "that Constantine is only declaiming, for
* Historia Literaria, I. 454.
† Tom. III. Part 2.
Hist. Council of Nice, appended to his History of the Arians, sec. 20, and
his whole invective is like a school exercise or fancy composition. Constantine, too, had not seen Arius at the time of this invective, which was prior to the Nicene Council." It is very improbable that Constantine should have been the writer of such an invective. Regarded as a mere school-boy "declamation," it is certainly in very bad taste. But it was to Dr. Stanley's purpose, as, with a little aid from imagination, it furnished colors for his marvellous portrait.
We now give the other part of Dr. Stanley's description. In the Council,
"Athanasius was his chief opponent. It was now, apparently, that the Council first heard of the songs which Arius had written, under the name of Thalia,† for the sake of popularizing his speculations with the lower orders. The songs were set to tunes or written in metres, which had acquired a questionable reputation from their use in the licentious verses of the heathen poet Sotades, ordinarily used in the low revels or dances of Alexandria; and the grave Arius himself is said, in moments of wild excitement, to have danced like an Eastern dervish, whilst he sang those abstract statements in long straggling lines, of which about twenty are preserved to us."—pp. 152, 153.
The part to which we particularly object in this passage is that which relates to Arius's "wild excitement, and his dancing like an Eastern dervish," while his own "straggling lines" were sung. All very graphic, no doubt, and not without an element of the ludicrous. Arius is made to appear very ridiculous, when we recollect what has been just said of his person and costume, his age, his long, lank limbs, seemingly unable to support his tall "stature," his "odd way of contorting and twisting himself," his serpent "wrigglings," his "emaciation and deadly pallor," his downcast visage, his throbbing and swelling veins and his tremors, his "wild look," so"startling," his "hair hanging like a tangled mass over his head," his "long coat with short sleeves," with all this, dancing like an Eastern dervish." Very ludicrous, to be
* Select Treatises of Athanasius, translated by Newman, p. 183, note. † Soc. I. 9. 29. Apollinarius did the same. His songs were sung at banquets,
and at work, and by women weaving. Soz. VI. 25. (Stanley's note.)
Ath. Or. c. Ar. I. 4.
sure! Was the picture intended by the writer to make the heresiarch ridiculous?
But what authority is there for this "wild excitement" and dancing imputed to him? Only a somewhat obscure expression of Athanasius, which justifies nothing of the sort. Dr. Stanley appeals to his first oration against the Arians, section fourth. We will give the whole passage, and, to avoid the charge of partiality we will present it in the Oxford translation (Newman's). Athanasius speaks of Arius's "Thalias," called "a new wisdom." He proceeds: "Whereas, many have written many treatises and abundant homilies upon the Old Testament and the New, yet in none of them is a Thalia found, nay, not among the more respectable of the Gentiles, but among those only who sing such strains over their cups, amid cheers and jokes, when men are merry, that the rest may laugh; till this marvellous Arius, taking no grave pattern, and ignorant even of what is respectable, while he stole largely from other heretics, would be original in the ludicrous, with none but Sotades for his rival. For what beseemed him more, when he would dance forth against the Saviour, than to throw his words of irreligion into dissolute and abandoned metres.'
This, it will be recollected, is the account of Athanasius, who, by his own confession, "hated" Arius, for he was as good a hater as Dr. Johnson. It bears marks of a hostile hand. Yet there is nothing here which authorizes Dr. Stanley's assertion, "The grave Arius himself is said, in moments of wild excitement, to have danced like an Eastern dervish." Athanasius, as just said, betrays a hostile hand; but Dr. Stanley goes far beyond him. The Alexandrian prelate is severe; he indulges in bitter invective; but, as we read him, he does not attempt to make Arius ridiculous, by introducing him dancing in this wild way. This was left for the Regius Professor of Oxford, who seems to have thought the subject a fit one for the exercise of his talent for ludicrous description.
It is not clear from Athanasius's account that Arius himself danced at all. Whether the choric dance formed part of the
* Oxford Library of the Fathers, Vol. VIII. p 182. VOL. LXXII.-5TH S. VOL. X. NO. II.
religion of the old Alexandrian Christians, in imitation of the Hebrews, we are not prepared to say. It is worthy of notice that the Greek word used by Athanasius is the same which occurs in the Septuagint, where David is represented as dancing "before the Lord," on occasion of bringing the ark to the tabernacle. The dance, too, was practised, as a part of sacred worship, at the national festivals of the Jews, and on other occasions of religious interest, as history informs us. It is barely possible that something of the kind may have taken place among the Christians of Alexandria, being borrowed from the Jews, many of whom had long resided in Egypt, and especially at Alexandria, the home of Philo, the dance being accompanied with song. If so, this may be what Athanasius refers to, when he speaks of Arius as adapting his verses to the light measure used by the Egyptians on festal occasions. Arius might or might not have joined in the dance, but if he was half as infirm as Dr. Stanley's description makes him, he would hardly be expected to dance with the animation and "wild excitement" of an "Eastern dervish." This is all fiction."
There are other parts of Dr. Stanley's description which are open to criticism. He speaks, in our first extract, of this "moonstruck giant." Now, to say nothing on the question whether a man so excessively thin and emaciated, his limbs scarcely able to support his height (which, however, is not represented as excessive, it being said only that he was "very tall"), can with propriety be called a "giant," what are we to make of "moonstruck"? Arius was no lunatic. He is
Dr. Milman defends Arius in the matter of the Sotadic measure, and refers to a "celebrated modern humorist and preacher," who "adapted hymns to some of the most popular airs, and declared that the Devil ought not to have all the best tunes." (Hist. Christ., p. 314.) As to the songs of Arius, we have suggested the bare possibility that they were intended for religious dances. This is very improbable, however. We are expressly told by the historian, that they were written for mariners, for those who worked at the mill, or who were travelling. (Philostorg., II. 2.) Nothing is said about religious dances like those of Miriam, David, or any other referred to in the Old Testament or the New; nor does the language of Athanasius," when he would dance forth against the Saviour," whatever may be its meaning, necessarily imply it. To make a demonstration, or set forth words, "against the Saviour," that is, against the orthodox doctrines, may be, probably is, all which