Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Works of Sulpitius Severus.: Chapter XLIV.
But these, the fewer they became, showed themselves all the more powerful; as the most steadfast among them was to be reckoned our friend Fœgadius, and Servatio, bishop of the Tungri. As these had not yielded to threats and terrors, Taurus assails them with entreaties, and beseeches them with tears to adopt milder counsels. He argued that the bishops were now in the seventh month since they had been shut up within one city—that no hope of returning home presented itself to them, worn out by the inclemency of winter and positive want; and what then would be the end? He urged them to follow the example of the majority, and to derive authority for so doing at least from the numbers who had preceded them. For Fœgadius openly declared that he was prepared for banishment, and for every kind of punishment that might be assigned him, but would not accept that confession of faith which had been drawn up by the Arians. Thus several days passed in this sort of discussion. And when they made little progress towards a pacification, by degrees Fœgadius began to yield, and at the last was overcome by a proposal which was made to him. For Valens and Ursatius affirmed that the present confession of faith was drawn up on the lines of Catholic doctrine, and having been brought forward by the Easterns at the instigation of the emperor, could not be rejected without impiety; and what possible end of strife could there be if a confession which satisfied the Easterns was rejected by those of the West? Finally, if there appeared anything less fully stated in the present confession than was desirable, they themselves should add what they thought ought to be added, and that they, for their part, would acquiesce in those things which might be added. This friendly profession was received with favorable minds by all. Nor did our people venture any longer to make opposition, desiring as they did in some way or other now to put an end to the business. Then confessions drawn up by Fœgadius and Servatio began to be published; and in these first Arius and his whole unfaithful scheme was condemned, while the Son of God also was 381 pronounced equal to the Father, and without beginning, [that is] without any commencement 382 in time. Then Valens, as if assisting our friends, subjoined the statement (in which there lurked a secret guile) that the Son of God was not a creature like the other creatures; and the deceit involved in this declaration escaped the notice of the hearers. For in these words, in which the Son was denied to be like the other creatures, he was nevertheless pronounced a creature, only superior to the rest. Thus neither party could hold that it had wholly conquered or had wholly been conquered, since the confession itself was in favor of the Arians, but the declarations afterwards added were in favor of our friends. That one, however, must be excepted which Valens had subjoined, and which, not being at the time understood, was at length comprehended when it was too late. In this way, at any rate, the council was brought to an end, a council which had a good beginning but a disgraceful conclusion.
The text is very uncertain; we have followed that of Halm, but the common text inserts a “non,” and reads thus: “but the Son of God is not pronounced equal to the Father, and without beginning,” etc.118:382
Next: Chapter XLV.
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