« НазадПродовжити »
and with difficulty brought about a forced reconciliation between the antagonist prelates.
Chrysostom by this time had many enemies. The clergy whom he had deposed, and those who dreaded the severity of his government, united with the court and the eunuchs of the palace to form a cabal against him. The great ladies of the palace, and above all the Empress Eudoxia, were deeply offended by many passages in his sermons, which they interpreted as levelled against themselves ;* and opponents congregated from all quarters to act reprisals on the austere prelate. Theophilus, Chrysostom's old enemy, led on the malcontents. By the invitation of the empress, he landed at Constantinople with a stout body-guard of Egyptian sailors, to overawe any popular resistance. A synod was convened; the ecclesiastics, amongst whom were twenty-six bishops, many of them brought out of Egypt by Theophilus, sat in judgment on the great archbishop, and after a fortnight's session, passed sentence of condemnation on him in twenty-nine articles. They even intimated to the emperor that Chrysostom was guilty of high treason, for having stigmatised the empress by the uncourteous appellation of " Jezebel,” in one of his sermons. Sentence of deposition was pronounced against the illustrious prelate: three bishops, whom Chrysostom had deposed, were restored; the emperor confirmed the sentence of the packed synod, and banished the archbishop to a small town in Bithynia. The people of Constantinople, fully alive to the injustice of these proceedings, and their evident partiality, understanding the secret of his enemies' intrigues, and firmly attached to the * character of their upright prelate, whose integrity and eloquence they equally admired, rose in sedition against the government; and after an alarming tumult so terrified the court, that the Emperor Arcadius hastily recalled Chrysostom, to resume his archiepiscopal functions. Chrysostom returned to Constantinople in all the glories of a popular triumph; and amidst the acclamations of the multitude he mounted once more the pulpit, the unfailing theatre of his power. He was not, however, allowed long to retain his re-conquered seat. The Empress Eudoxia had erected her statue in some part of the city, near the cathedral. The people, to express their loyalty, kept up a sort of fair for two days round the statue, amusing themselves with public games and festivities. The archbishop, who never favoured such proceedings, was still less disposed to do so on the present occasion, when the object of this popular rejoicing was a licentious woman, whose character he despised, and who was his acknowledged enemy. It is said that on this occasion he began a sermon with this sentence, evidently meant for the empress, * _“ Herodias is again furious; Herodias again dances, and demands the head of John in a charger.” The court was now determined to be rid of the obnoxious prelate. Theophilus, the constant enemy of Chrysostom, was put in requisition on the occasion; and by his advice the archbishop was to be expelled, not by any new sentence, but in virtue of the decree of the former council, which had never been cancelled.
* In the following graphic passage he thus attacks the great dames of Constantinople. Lo, if a rich lady enter the church, she thinketh not of how she best shall hear the word of God, but how she shall show herself; how she may sit in pomp and glory; how she may surprise other women in the splendour of her apparel; and render herself more admired by her form, her mien, and the stately bearing of her walk. Her whole mind whether this or that person behold her ; whether she be admired ; Am I well adorned? My dress must not be spoiled or rumpled. All her anxiety is directed to such objects. In like manner the rich man cometh to display himself to the poor, and to strike them with awe by the manner of wearing his toga, and the number of his youthful slaves who surround him, making way for him among the crowd.... How can those ever be healed who are thus puffed up ?"-Hom. in 2 Thess. iii.
In the Lent of the year 404, the emperor commanded Chrysostom to keep his house, and not go to church ; and on Easter-day, a band of barbarian soldiers, which the government had introduced into the city to repress any tumult of the people, rudely entered the cathedral, and drove forth all the Catholics, insulting those who were receiving baptism at that sacred season, and profaning the mysteries of religion. A few days afterwards, Chrysostom was conducted under a military guard into his second and final banishment; and on the very day of his departure, the cathedral, the senate-house, and several adjoining public buildings, were burnt to the ground. This conflagration was probably the work of the furious populace, who, finding that there was no hope of retaining their archbishop, were determined that no intruder should occupy that cathedral from which he had been expelled. The empress exiled Chrysostom to the miserable town of Cacusus, among the ridges of Mount Taurus, in the lesser Armenia: but this banishment was, after a time, considered not sufficiently severe; and he was ordered to remove still further, to the extreme desert of Pityus. Chrysostom died on the journey, at Comana, in Pontus, in the year 407 ; thus, at last, satisfying by his death the rage of his implacable enemies.
The death of the Saint increased the admiration of his followers; and his enemies, who were chiefly bishops and courtiers, were silenced by his death, but more effectually by their own. Thirty years afterwards,
* Παλιν Ηρωδιας μαινεται, παλιν ταρασσεται, παλιν ορχείται, παλιν επι πινακι την κεφαλην Ιωαννου ξητει λαβειν.--Socrat. vi. 18.
veneration alone accompanied his memory; and to satisfy the hungry superstition of the imperial city, the bones of the illustrious Chrysostom were solemnly transported from their humble sepulture in the desert to Constantinople, with all the pomp imaginable on such an occasion. The Emperor Theodosius went forth with his court to meet the relics of the Saint ; which were soon enshrined in glittering magnificence, and received the adoration of the misguided people.
The clerical body have always admired Chrysostom's “ Treatise on the Priesthood,” as containing those doctrines which precisely suit their order, but which we should in vain look for in the Scriptures. As a literary composition, this treatise has considerable merit: as an exposition of Christian verity, it is highly pernicious. And we now proceed to make quotations from it, for the purpose of showing how deeply sunk in ignorance, and how far advanced in the spirit of Popery, the Church Catholic was in the fourth century.
The book on the Priesthood is in the form of a dialogue. The speakers are Chrysostom and his friend Basilius; and their conversation begins with an expostulation from Basilius, who complains that Chrysostom had purposely deceived him, in refusing the episcopal office; and the gravamen of the complaint will be best seen in Chrysostom's account of the matter. -“ My generous friend, Basilius, coming to me privately, mentioned the rumour of our both being elected bishops, and begged we might here, as on former occasions, be unanimous in our designs. As for himself, he was prepared to do as I should do, either in rejecting or accepting the office. Having, therefore, perceived in him a ready inclination; and having considered, that if, through my infirmity, I deprived the flock of Christ of so excellent a young man, and one so qualified to guide it, I should do a public injury,–I concealed the opinion I held; and telling him it were better to defer our consideration of this subject to another time, I soon persuaded him to think no more about it: as far as I was concerned, I assured him, if the thing should come to pass, he might rely on my concurrence. After no great length of time, as the day for our ordination drew nigh, I concealed myself, unknown to him; and he, knowing nothing of all this, led on by some other pretence, receives the yoke; supposing, from the promises I had made him, that I was following him, or rather that he was following me.” This certainly is not a very creditable story; for it involves not only Chrysostom in this deliberate fraud, but brings in the ordaining bishops as his accomplices, as the trick could not have been successfully executed without their concurrence. They must have agreed with Chrysostom thus to deceive the unsuspecting Basilius.
This, however, is but a vehicle for the dialogue on the priesthood. Basilius commences with expostulating with Chrysostom on the fraud of which he was the victim. Chrysostom gets rid of these expostulations by a eulogium on fraud, which he declares is both useful and justifiable on many occasions, both in war and peace,-laying down as a general maxim, that deceit may be practised where the object to be gained is virtuous :* a most lax decision, and pretty nearly amounting to the rule of the Jesuits, that it is lawful to do evil for good purposes.
Chrysostom then states at length his reasons for declining the office which his friend had been led to accept: and these reasons are, his exceedingly high notions of the duties and privileges of a priest, which he undertakes to explain in a most ample manner.
" When the church is to be governed," says he, "and the cure of so many souls is to be given in trust, let the whole race of women, and the greater number of men, stand aloof from the mighty work. Let those only stand forth who pre-eminently exceed all others : those who in virtue are as much loftier in their souls than others, as Saul was above all the people of the Hebrews in the stature of his body; yea, even much more than this. Here let them not seek their standard by the measurement of the shoulders; but as much as is the difference between brutes and men, just so much let there be between the shepherd and the sheep,-even though I say not greater.” And this preeminence, he says, should be in superior abilities and superior holiness. Abilities are required in preaching,--the difficulties of which he explains with much feeling and eloquence,--and in governing. Abilities are also required to act with firmness and prudence, and to hit the happy medium between lenity and severity.
Of the superior holiness of the priest, he says: “If those men who live in solitude (the monks), freed from the troubles of the city and the forum, in the full enjoyment of rest and tranquillity, are unwilling to presume upon the security which results from this mode of existence, but superadd a number of other safeguards, and fortify themselves on every side; cautiously and carefully acting and speaking, that they may be able, so far as it lies in human power, to approach God with an unfeigned confidence and sincerity ; what strength and force, then, are
* Οτι μεν ουν εστι και επι καλα τη της απατης κεχρησθαι δυναμει μαλλον δε οτι μηδε απατην δει το τοιουτον καλειν αλλ' οικονομιαν τινα θαυμαστης, ενην μεν και πλειονα λεγειν. . “That we may use the power of deceit even meritoriously, and that we ought not to call this dcceit, but rather an admirable management, I could shew more at length.”
wanted in a priest to extricate his mind from every defilement, and to preserve unharmed its spiritual perfection. A greater purity is required in him than in them. And he from whom a greater is expected, is subject to many more vicissitudes; which have the power to pollute him, unless he render his soul inaccessible to them by continual sobriety, and considerable rigour.” Not content with this extravagant doctrine, he goes on, in other passages, in a still wilder strain, as if he had entirely forgotten that there was a great High Priest over the House of God, ever living to make intercession for the church. “The sacerdotal office,” says he, " is executed here upon earth ; but it is classed with heavenly things, and deservedly so: for neither man, nor angel, nor archangel, nor any other created power, but the Paraclete himself hath arranged this institution, and counselled men, while in the flesh, to imitate the ministry of angels. Wherefore, it behoves the priest to be as pure as if he stood in the heavens, and in the midst of those very powers. Fearful and terrific were holy things before the days of grace; such as the bells, the pomegranates, the stones on the breast-plate, the mitre and crown of gold, the garments hanging down to the feet, the plate of gold, the holy of holies, and the profound silence therein. But if any one should examine the sacred things of the covenant of grace, he will find those (of the law) less frightful and dire. Hence the truth of that which was spoken concerning the law: "That which was made glorious hath no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth ;' for when you behold the Lord sacrificed and lying in the sacrament), and the priest standing by and praying, and the congregation embued by the precious blood of it; do you believe yourself then to be amongst men, and stand upon earth ?”
This, it should be observed, is language apparently favourable to the Popish doctrine of transubstantiation : and it is owing to such passages that the Romanists quote Chrysostom, as supporting their views. But though it would be easy to adduce passages still stronger than this, yet it is certain that Chrysostom did not believe in, and had never heard of, transubstantiation; for there are other passages in his writings, with which the Romanists are well acquainted, entirely inimical to their great superstition. The fathers spoke, indeed, most unadvisedly on the subject of the sacrament, and most so when they were endeavouring to exalt the clerical order : but transubstantiation, in the Popish sense, was an absurdity beyond their reach. It was not introduced into the church for many centuries after the death of Chrysostom. The
powers of the priest are thus stated : “ Whose soever sins ye remit,' said Christ, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever ye