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CONSULS OF GOD

Carthage, where 286 Catholic and 279 Donatist bishops met but could not agree, only the Empire's penal legislation could bring the sectarians to terms; and in quite the same way many a danger to the unity of the Church and therewith also the unity of Europe was put down only by fire, sword and rope before which the flesh proved mightier than the spirit.

Not the nature of the Church but of Christianity itself was the issue in the dogmatic struggles of the East. Who was Jesus? Primi- tive Christianity had also known those who answered that He had been merely a man. Their contentions could be disproved by citing writ- ten and oral tradition concerning the person and deeds of the Galilean. The conviction triumphed that He was the promised Messiah, the Son of God, the Christ. Yet this response of the Evangelists and Paul suggested many another question to later generations. The Old and the New Testaments, Greek and Jewish philosophic definitions, tended to meet in a lucid synthesis in which the simple "Father," the undefined "Spirit" and the "Son" were brought into an inner essential relationship not incompatible with the concept, the unity and the singleness of the Divine Nature. From Alexandria, in that time the world's market-place for ideas, the question as to what was the nature and the significance of Jesus led to both light and darkness. Some beheld in Him the Mediator between Heaven and earth, God and man. Therefore He must belong to both realms and have in Him something of God and of man. The East, where Greeks and Jews philosophized in Platonic manner, could not agree to let simple faith take the place of knowledge in the study of what Jesus had been. And once they had seized the mystery of Christ in their thoughts, an antique dread of anthropomorphic conceptions of the divine made them hesitate to believe that God could have appeared in man. The divine cannot, they said, ever act directly on what is earthly. How then can it have been made flesh? Therefore Christ also could not be in essence the Son of God. He could only be created mediate being, doubtless the first-born of all creatures, who creates and governs all things. Though this view had been approximately that of earlier thinkers, it was Arias, a priest who came from Libya to the Alex- andrine school, who gave it definitive form. He seems to have been a composite of vanity and earnestness. His teaching was inchoate, for


ARIANISM